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Brussels On High Alert After "Imminent" Threat; Turkey Arrests ISIS Suspects Linked To Paris Attacks; Four Arrests In Europe Linked To Paris Attack; Terror Attack in Mali; 31 Governors Refuse to Accept Syrians. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 21, 2015 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And in Turkey, three men in custody, one of them accused of scouting the Paris venues targeted by gunmen and suicide bombers.

[08:00:07] The others may have been trying to smuggle him across the Turkish border into Syria.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We are always so grateful to have you spend your morning with us. Good morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, is heading up our coverage live from Paris. Fred, what have you learned this hour?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Christi and Victor. There is so much going on here on the ground in France. As far as that investigation is concerned, as far as those arrests are concerned, but also of course as far as new measures are concerned to try and prevent attacks like that in the future.

Of course, one of the things that you've just mentioned, were those arrests that happened in Belgium, but then also those new emergency measures that are in place in Belgium as the capital of Brussels is on the highest terror alert.

I want to get right to our own, Drew Griffin, who is following this morning's breaking news. Drew, what are we learning about the new terror arrest and about Brussels being on high alert?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: We know very little about the arrest other than some weapons were confiscated in Molenbeek early in the morning or last night. Police making sure to say that they didn't find any explosives, nor did they find an explosive vest?

One person in custody and the raids have been going on here almost nightly since the Paris attack. But overnight in the middle of the night, Fred, the alert came out that all of the Belgium region was going to a threat level 4, that is the highest level they have here.

And it was because what have we were told was an imminent and serious threat. So this is what the people of Brussels woke up to this morning, Belgium state of alert.

And telling them not to congregate, not to shop, not to go to concerts, that soccer games would be canceled and the subway would actually be closed, very serious, a heavy presence of military officers are on the streets here.

And I don't see any sense of panic, but certainly there are much fewer people on the street than would be on this pre-holiday Saturday. So that is the situation here in Brussels as people are trying to go on with their day.

At the same time their government is telling they are we're at the highest level of threat for terrorism that we've ever been -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: Drew, you've been doing some very valuable reporting for us over the past couple of days and we've been seeing raids in various places in Belgium. Of course, many of them in Molenbeek, in that district that is known to have a lot of extremists but in other places, as well.

And yet we still have this raising of a terror alert level. Is that a sign that they still don't really have a handle on the extremist scene there in Belgium?

GRIFFIN: I think that's very true. These raids have targeted every single possible known location that is connected with any of the Paris terrorists who are connected with the bombing that happened in Paris and are connected to Belgium.

But Fred, also importantly they are connected with Salah Abdeslam, the terrorist who remains on the loose. And for Belgium authorities, seems to be the biggest threat right now.

Although they have not given us any specific information on what this particular threat is about, the prime minister in his speech this morning did say, look, we believe that this possible threat is very similar to the one carried out in Paris, specifically mentioned firearms and explosives and multiple locations.

I will tell you that the Belgian authorities seem to be playing catch-up in a lot of these cases. They're going to places and homes that they knew these people were involved in some sort of terrorist activity, but they didn't act until after the Paris attack kind of exposed that relationship -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: You're absolutely right, Drew. They have been playing catch-up with an extremist scene that has been expanding over the past couple of years. And also the fact that Belgium for quite a long time has been the hub for weapons trafficking in Europe. What do you know about that, how can it be, why is it that Belgium is such a hub of these two things? GRIFFIN: Well, Belgium has been a hub of illegal arms trading for quite a while. And in our reporting this week, we've heard from several experts who basically say the shopping here for these kinds of things is pretty darn good on the black market especially in some of these suburbs.

One think tank who does do some consulting with the government here, he told us that you can get a Kalashnikov rifle, the gun choice for many of these attacks for as little as $1,000 U.S. on the black market here in Belgium.

[08:05:03]Add to that a pretty robust trade and fake passports and other things. The Belgian government has now addressed the fact that it is being criticized severely for not doing enough in terms of security and intelligence, and trying to interject and break up these terror cells before they actually can strike.

The prime minister said this week that they were going to increase spending, increase efforts, increase programs to not only try to increase security, but to stop Belgians from going to Syria and fighting for ISIS in the first place.

And most importantly, Fred, to arrest and imprison any Belgian who comes back from fighting from ISIS, they are no longer welcome in their homeland -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: Yes, certainly a lot on their plate and very little time to try and do all of that. Drew Griffin, thanks very much for your reporting there from Belgian capital of Brussels.

Now we want to give you new details on those three people who were arrested in Turkey. Turkish authorities suspect these men have ties to ISIS and are connected with last week's terrorist attacks right here in Paris.

Want to go straight to our own senior international correspondent, Atika Shubert. Atika, tell us more about these men and how all of this could help in the hunt for that suspect of the attacks here who is still at large, Salah Abdeslam.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The focus is on a 26-year-old, Ahmet Dahmani. He's a Belgian Moroccan, also recently just arrived it seems. He was in a hotel in the coastal town of Antalya.

Now, he was being met by two other Syrian nationals who Turkish authorities believe were going to help transport him across the border into Syria. The key is whether or not Ahmet Dahmani was, as Turkish authorities believed, whether he could have been the scout for the locations here in Paris.

So what is really important here is trying to figure out the logistical support network behind the attacks here. If indeed that is the case, they might be able to track down or work backwards really to see if they can find the eighth suspect still on the run, Salah Abdeslam.

He is still unknown where he is. The last time he was spotted was crossing the border from France into Belgium and clearly with that high terror alert right now in Belgium, it is a priority to find him as soon as possible.

PLEITGEN: And Atika, I want you and our viewers to take a look at this video that shows the moment the suicide bomber there in Saint- Denis blew himself up. Let's have a look at that real quick.


PLEITGEN: Now, this was, of course -- there you have the explosions. That is of course during that raid where Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed and also his cousin. What do we know about the third person who was in that apartment?

SHUBERT: We don't have an identity for him yet. Police have not been able to identify him. All we know is that there was another male suspect who was killed. And it really speaks to the horrific nature of the scene there, that the bomb really just completely tore the place apart.

And they have only been able to identify the bodies through the body parts they found, fingerprints, palm prints and the sole prints of their feet. But they didn't know who that third suspect is.

There is some speculation here on local media that it could be Abdeslam, the eighth attacker who is still on the run, but that seems highly unlikely at this point. The search for him is really focused on Belgium and the area around Belgium.

I should also point out that during the police raid, eight people were also arrested. Police have now updated that saying that seven of those people have been released.

But one of them, the man who was actually renting the apartment to them, he remains in police custody for interrogation. So they're still trying to figure out the logistical support network how they were able to carry this out.

PLEITGEN: Atika Shubert keeping an eye on the situation for us right here in Paris. Thank you very much for that.

And when we come back, we're following the fast moving developments in the Paris attacks investigation including the new arrests that are happening both in Belgium and in Turkey.

Plus Belgium on high alert for a terror attack this morning. We'll talk about the security measures that are now in place.



PLEITGEN: Welcome back to Paris. I'm Fred Pleitgen reporting on the aftermath and the investigation into those terror attacks that happened here in Paris more than one week ago.

And of course we have been following new breaking news this morning, the arrests overnight of terror suspects in Belgium and Turkey, as well, linked to the Paris terror attacks.

I want to talk more about all that and what all that means with CNN's military analyst, Retired Lt. General Mark Hertling.

Sir, we're seeing a lot of these raids right now. What does that mean about the amount of actionable intelligence that the authorities have and that they're getting from people who are being arrested?

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Fred, the network I would suspect is coming together. I've been involved in many of these operations where the intel folks are finding snippets of information and on a big wall somewhere they have different diagrams being connected.

You're always looking for four things, who, what, where and when something is going to happen. So when the intel guys start getting a picture and I'm sure some of that has actually come together because of the various raids that have been conducted in Paris or in France and in Belgium at large.

I'm sure some of that pointed to the three men they have taken into custody in Turkey as one of either the financiers or leaders or facilitators of the group. So as you take more cells down, as you raid more cells and get more information, you start clarifying this puzzle in those four answers.

Now, what is going on in Brussels right now is they may have gotten one of the four answers of the, who, what, where or when. So they may say it's this group in Brussels or they may say an attack will occur on the underground or occur on the 21st of November.

So depending on how much information that they now have, they are zeroing in on preventing attacks and perhaps getting other perpetrators.

PLEITGEN: General, that's one of the things I want to get to as well because one of the things that was criticized before the Paris attacks has happened, and especially after they happened was the cooperation between intelligence services inside of Europe.

[08:15:02] But now what we are seeing is we are seeing actionable intelligence coming from the Belgians, the France acting on it for instance in Saint-Denis where we had intelligence coming from Morocco. We have arrests made in Turkey. Are we seeing these intelligence services better cooperate in the wake of these attacks?

HERTLING: Yes, truthfully, Fred, I've watched this over the last two weeks and having spent a great deal of my career in Europe, I know how the various intelligence agencies of the countries work. There are some really good ones. There are some that are not the so good. But when they get pieces of information and they can literally

make the synapse between one country and others saying we just found this out, will you check it? It drives the intelligence and the operation.

If you just have this cloud of facts out there and it's not being passed, you may have the gem, the real gem that you need to conduct an operation, but if it's not passed to the right people and it doesn't make the right connection, it's like having an electric cord that is not plugged in.

Just don't get the kind of information that you causes to you take action. But I think what you're seeing now is the intelligence, various intelligence collection agencies are on high alert because they have seen what happened. Now they are sharing.

Now they are driving the intelligence. They are fighting for more intelligence and because of the raids. I think the raids are probably the most important thing. You're seeing more and more intel specific to attacks coming in and being shared.

PLEITGEN: Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, as always thank you so much for joining us.

When we come back, we are following the president's movements in Asia where he has been weighing in on that hotel attack that, of course, happened in Mali and praising those who stopped an even bigger tragedy.



BLACKWELL: President Obama spoke about the latest terror threats affecting countries around the world as he attends the summit in Malaysia along with leaders of ten southeast nations in Asia.

PAUL: The president spoke about the role countries such as Malaysia are playing in the fight against terror and how this new security threat impacts the globe.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Like heinous attacks we saw in Paris and attacks we see all too often elsewhere, this is another awful reminder that the scourge of terrorism threatens so many of our nations.


PAUL: CNN's Michelle Kosinski following the president's trip live in Kuala Lumpur now. Michelle, good to see you this morning. I know that he said Americans who were in the Mali hotel are still being accounted for, what do we know about how many there might have been there? MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I wish we knew more. I mean, we've asked the White House about that, what exactly was the president referring to? How many people are we talking to here?

But they wouldn't give us any more details, just that they're working to find Americans who are unaccounted for. That doesn't mean that they were definitely in that hotel, it means that they might have been.

And we know that the U.S. is working with investigators sharing information, trying to help in any way possible. Not only to find anyone who is still unaccounted for, but to try to get to the bottom of this, and find those attackers who are still on the run -- Christine, Victor.

PAUL: Do you know what the conversations are there between the president and leaders that are there regarding not just the terror threats, but how they can work together and the refugee crisis, as well, because I know that the president did address that?

KOSINSKI: Yes, and that is a big part of this. You look at the debate that is going on in America right now. I mean, the president has found this issue absolutely unavoidable.

And it's been interesting because over the past couple of days, we've really used him -- heard him use this ramped up language addressing the rhetoric in the U.S.

I mean, he called it offensive, irresponsible, not who we are. But today it was a little bit different because he visited a center run by an organization that helps refugees, people who are fleeing war, victims of human trafficking. Here's a little bit of what he said.


PRESIDENT OBAMA: As long as I'm president, we're going to keep on stepping up, making sure that America remains as it has always been, a place where people who in other parts of the world are subject to discrimination or violence, that they have in America a friend and a place of refuge.


KOSINSKI: So he's still criticizing the rhetoric that we're hearing especially from some of the 2016 candidates, but today he is doing it in a way that more that touches on heart strings instead of lashes out.

He said look at the faces of some of these children. He said they're indistinguishable from Americans. Basically these kids could be yours or mine.

He said that to hear people say that they could be afraid of them or that they could be dangerous in any way is just not what America is about -- Christi and Victor.

PAUL: All right, Michelle Kosinski, so appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: There is a lot going on with this ongoing hunt for suspects and for answers. We'll take you back to Paris as we track this investigation into the terror attacks including the latest links to both Belgium and Turkey.

PAUL: And in Mali, a state of emergency today and a manhunt of course for at least three suspects after that bloody hotel attack. What we're learning about the American victim who was killed.



PAUL: So happy to have you with us this morning. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you. We are following several breaking news stories out of Europe including a number of arrests linked to the terror attacks in Paris. Frederik Pleitgen is leading our coverage from Paris -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: Thanks, guys. Let's get everyone caught up on what we know at this hour. In the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, one man is under arrest tied to last week's attacks that happened right here in various locations in Central Paris. Authorities found weapons in his home and this is important no explosives, however.

In Turkey, three men have been taken into custody according to our affiliate CNN Turk, one of them allegedly scouted target sites for the Paris attacks that happened last week and the other two men who were trying to help him were trying to help him get out of Europe and into Syria.

Want to turn to the terror attack at that hotel that happened in the capital of Mali in Bamako. Terrorists killed at least 19 people when they stormed the hotel and one of those killed was Anita Datar, 41-year-old American mother who was also a public health worker.

Her brother says the family is devastated. Robyn Kriel is live in Nairobi, Kenya following all of these events. Robyn, what is the latest on the attack and the wave of terror attacks that has been going on in the last two weeks, what is behind all that?

ROBYN KRIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the latest on the attack is that Malian security officials are still hunting down people they say were involved in Friday's deadly attack on the Radisson Hotel in Mali's capital, Nigeria.

They are looking for three people, not sure if they were directly involved, if they were inside the hotel at the same time as the two gunmen that were shot or if they were somehow involved in aiding those gunmen, but that's what they say is the latest on the ground.

What I can tell you about the latest bombings we've seen across West Africa, we saw two bombings that Boko Haram claimed responsibility for earlier this week killing more than 40 people, one involving an 11-year-old girl, two young girls who blew themselves up in a crowded market killing dozens.

[08:29:48] In terms of why this has happened, there are typically attacks every now and again in that area specifically in Nigeria where Boko Haram has recently pledged to ISIS and is therefore trying to show that it is more operationally ready and tactical.

What we can tell you, though, is that yesterday's siege lasted all day. Here's a wrap of what went down.


KRIEL: Bamako under attack. These were the scenes in the Malian capital on Friday morning as gun men stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel firing shots and taking hostages. A U.N. spokesman says at least one of the cars had diplomatic license plates. The siege had left scores dead inside this hotel which prides itself on its tight security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The authorities need to take strong measures. We leave our houses every day to buy bread but if something like this can happen, then I'm worried.

KRIEL: For West Africa, this is the third fatal terror attack in a week. Two days ago, it was ISIS affiliated group Boko Haram blamed for orchestrating one bombing in Nigeria and suspected in another leaving more than 40 dead. The town of Yola was struck first where more than 30 people were killed; 24 hours later at a market in Kono (ph) northern Nigeria, authorities say two young girls, one only 11 years old, detonated suicide vests killing more than a dozen people.

Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS earlier this year becoming ISIS' largest affiliate. At the time the Nigerian-based terror group consisted of roughly 6,000 fighters and controlled up to 20,000 kilometers of northeastern Nigeria.

Northern Mali however has been But it's traditionally an al Qaeda stronghold with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM being the most predominant terror group in the West African Nation.

In August of this year, a splinter group of AQIM called al Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for a hotel attack in central Mali. In a similar pattern Gunmen entered the hotel popular with foreign guests killing 17 people, including U.N. personnel, westerners and Malian soldiers. A counter assault was launched as Malian troops stormed the hotel.

And in March, the same faction attacked a restaurant in Bamako killed five including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer.

Mali Islamic militants were scattered and much of their power eroded by a French military offensive that began in January 2013. But pockets of insurgents remain able to launch sophisticated asymmetric assaults.


KRIEL: Mali has declared a state of emergency for the next ten days. And France's President Francois Hollande has promised Mali's president that he will help him in whatever way possible stamp out extremism -- Fred.

PLEITGEN: Robyn Kriel for us in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Thank you very much for keeping an eye on the situation.

All right. We want to get more analysis now talking to CNN military analyst Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. And sir, it's been a week of terrorism where we've seen ISIS attack and possibly an attack linked to al Qaeda there in Mali just within days of each other.

Which of these groups do you think poses the biggest threat to Americans both at home and abroad?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, they both pose threats, but I think everybody is now more concerned about ISIS because ISIS has demonstrated capabilities that have exceeded what we've seen out of al Qaeda. And I'm specifically referring to the ability to take down a civilian airliner.

In the terrorism world that's kind of the gold standard and ISIS has demonstrated the capability to do that. But we can't write-off these other groups. And I think what we're seeing Fred is people like piling on, they see that ISIS has been very successful.

They have had four, successful in their eyes, attacks -- you know, Ankara, Beirut, the airliner and now Paris. So other groups are looking at this and saying hey this tactic works. ISIS is being very effective. We need do this, as well.

So I think we're seeing more groups who have been planning these things actually starting to execute them now because they see that it does have an impact.

PLEITGEN: I want to talk a little bit more about ISIS because one of the things that I think concerns people a lot is their apparent level of sophistication. As you've mentioned they managed to apparently take down an airliner. They managed to conduct a pretty sophisticated operation here in Paris.

Also as far as their logistics are concerned, and yet even at this point we know very little about the people behind what happened to that airliner, to the Russian airliner; very little about the wider network here in Paris, as well. Is that a cause of concern that we know so little about the logistics behind it, about how they're getting to do this?

FRANCONA: And this is the nature of ISIS. And ISIS has actually very cleverly set this up by setting up these provinces. What they do is bring in local people. [08:35:05] If you look at what happened in Egypt, I'm talking about the airliner -- those were Egyptians who did that. They swore loyalty to ISIS. So we're not seeing people coming from Syria or Iraq to conduct these situations. We're seeing people go to Syria, get trained and go back.

But these are locals, they know the local area. They fit in very easily. Many of them have travel documents that allow them to move quite freely. So the logistics are almost ready-made and ISIS is capitalizing on that.

Remember who makes up the senior leadership of ISIS, these are former Iraqi military officers, intelligence officers and Ba'ath party officials. So they know how to run operations. They know how to conduct logistics. And they know how to govern.

PLEITGEN: It's certainly very concerning. Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona -- thank you very much for joining us this morning.

FRANCONA: Good to be with you.

PLEITGEN: And a week after the devastating attacks, not just on Paris but on hundreds of individuals and families, we'll talk about how Parisians are coping.

And a reminder that as support grows around the globe for the victims of the Paris terror attacks, CNN's Impact Your World has gathered ways you can offer your support. Go to for details.


[08:40:15] PLEITGEN: Welcome back, everyone to our ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the terror attacks here in Paris. I'm Fred Pleitgen on the Place de la Republique and what you're seeing right now is the makeshift memorial on the Place de la Republique.

It is very cold here in Paris today. It's raining. But as you can see, people are still coming out to pay their respects to the many people who were killed in that string of attacks that happened about one week ago right here in Paris. And that for many people, changed everything.

For 130 people and their loved ones, a typical Friday night at dinner or the concert ended in tragedy. The emotional wounds are still very much evident around the city especially right here at the Place de la Republique.

But we're also seeing a slow return to normalcy. Friday night we saw people out at cafes and bistros.

And here to discuss all this with me is Jean Marc Illouz, a media consultant, former senior correspondent for France 2 Network. Sir, since these attacks, you've seen the mood of defiance here in Paris, but people still are very much concerned -- they're sad. How is Paris dealing with this? JEAN MARC ILLOUZ, MEDIA CONSULTANT: Well, first of all, this is a new

ball game. We've had terrorist attacks in the past that are of a totally different nature. This time it was not pinpointing journalists or Jew, but everyone, especially young people. So the mood is not only sadness and some fright, but also anger and a lot of defiance.

Defiance because I saw to my big surprise the young generation that have not been like mine used to Beirut and other conflicts suddenly decide they would show up, have a glass of wine just to show they were not being frightened and that ISIS or whoever did it was not going to change their habits, their life and their values.

PLEITGEN: To what extent are people seeing this as the new reality of France, as maybe an age of terrorism in France and how concerned are people about that?

ILLOUZ: Well, people have just been frightened by the fact that it was against anybody. It was like indiscriminate killing. But the reality is that we have now a new kind of terrorism. These are not the days of al Qaeda.

This is most of the people who plant bombs or shot at people have or held European passports. Some of them were French. So you have a combination of imported values and in-bred terrorism. And this is the real problem.

PLEITGEN: It's interesting thought that you say that the terrorism is imported, but at the same time, it also does have its roots very much here.

ILLOUZ: Well, I would say the people that have joined international jihadism in the past, they would have gone and trade drugs for example -- do drugs, deals, things like that. But now because of the influence of Saudi Arabia Wahabi sort of Islam that is a minority Islam, that is not representative of the majority Islam which is a Sufi Islam in France, this minority Islam is (inaudible) influence from Kabul to Nigeria, from Timbuktu to Toulouse has been able to do an incredible work of recruiting people both in Belgium and France and elsewhere.

PLEITGEN: But how do you -- just really quick -- how do you deal with that? How is France going to deal with that?

Because there's two options here, isn't it? You can try and solve this through security forces, you can bomb places in Syria. You can do terror raids. But you also have to do social work, don't you?

ILLOUZ: Exactly. Exactly. I think this is one of the least understood point by politicians that bombing, international resolutions will not do it unless we have the right communication with our own people, that includes the Muslims. They are very much aware. You know, the French sometimes -- the French government has been reluctant to act for fear of being considered to be anti-Islamic. The French government does not understand that most French Muslims would like the government to clean up. And apparently that's what the government has decided.

You have to be aware that we're now under a state of emergency. This is the only condition that makes possible for the police to go on the attack in the middle of the night and destroy the cell that was north of Paris. Without such emergency laws, the law would not have permitted this and in a way it's sort of a Patriot Act. Two weeks ago such an act would have been impossible to pass.

[08:45:05] PLEITGEN: Ok. Thank you very much, sir. Thank you for joining us --

ILLOUZ: You're welcome.

PLEITGEN: -- today on this quite rainy day, as well.

And in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the political battle over the migrant crisis also rages, of course, in the United States.

We'll look at how Syrian refugees are referred abroad and the already stringent checks they face. We'll also be talking to the mayor of Tallahassee who says his city will gladly take in those forced to flee war-torn countries even though his governor says that's not the case.

An extremely divisive issue in the U.S. right now -- that's coming up.


[08:49:38] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Governors more of them speaking out concerning the acceptance of Syrian refugees. A majority of governors have said that they will not allow refugees into their states. Among the latest to share their stance, Indiana's Governor Mike Pence.


GOV. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Now that we know a Syrian refugee was involved in the attacks in Paris, I just determined as governor of the state of Indiana it would be appropriate for us to suspend any further resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana unless and until we could bring about the kind of changes that would give us the absolute assurance that no one being settled in our state was a threat to our people. As governor of the state of Indiana, I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of my state.


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right. A controversy meanwhile brewing in Florida's capital where there is a big divide on this issue. The state's Governor Rick Scott says he will not take Syrian refugees. The mayor of Tallahassee however says his city would welcome them.

Mayor Andrew Gillum is joining us now. Thank you so much, Mayor, for being with us. You announced your stance, I know, earlier this week.

And I want to point something out, earlier this week there was a Syrian family of four on their way to the United States, they received an unexpected surprise. They had a settlement in Indiana or so they thought and then they were suddenly shifted to Connecticut at that moment because Indiana's Governor Mike Pence had demanded no Syrian refugees. Do you fear the same thing could happen where you are?

MAYOR ANDREW GILLUM (D), TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA: Well, I tell you, I find that extremely troubling considering that that family probably had been waiting anywhere between 18 and 24 months to receive that relocation. What is true is that all over the world, certainly here in the United States and my community is no different. People are concerned about their safety.

They're turning on the news, they're watching you all, they're seeing that all across the globe there are troubling times. And I think what bothers me the most as an elected official, as a leader in my own community, is that governors all over the country who know better, they are aware of the vetting process and the intensity of it that is required before refugees could even be considered for resettlement here in the United States.

And yet in this very important leadership moment, too many of them are choosing to demagogue, to divide and to fight in the public about what is different in this moment. And in my opinion, what is required is sobriety, what is required are leaders who are willing to reassure the public about what they know about this process and also to remind the public of what our values are as a nation. That's in fact what we're fighting for.

So I think we have to validate the concerns, but I also think we have to show great leadership.

PAUL: But how can we overcome the concerns? Because David Katz -- he's a former DEA agent and firearms and U.S. homeland security expert -- was on our show earlier this morning and he said it is amazingly easy to get in to this country and who are you going to vet. There is nobody in Syria to call to get a background check on these people.

GILLUM: Well, I'll tell you -- I participated earlier this week in a briefing with the White House where they were sharing with mayors the intensity of the process that is undertaken first beginning with the United Nations doing in-depth screening before determining where refugees can be relocated. And then when it comes to the United States, we have an additional layer of screening that includes biometrics, that includes to the extent that any contradiction exists in the story could be grounds for refused entry into United States. It's an extremely intense process that takes anywhere between 18 and 24 months.

And so for those of us who know that I think we have to get that out there. I think the public is concerned because they're unfamiliar with the intensity of that process.

PAUL: I just wanted to ask you, we only have a couple of seconds left, but Mayor Gillum --

GILLUM: Yes. PAUL: -- I wanted to ask you since you're on one side of this, Florida governor is on the other side of this, how do you see this coming together and how far will you go to try to give some of these people a place to stay?

GILLUM: Well, what is true is that I don't get to decide which refugees enter the United States. Governor Scott doesn't get to decide which refugees enter the United States. That's a power that is left to the President and his administration. So after that process has been gone through, that vetting process, and they are determined to be safe and no threat to the United States and can enter, my position is that if a family chooses to relocate in our city, we'll do what we can to make sure that they are resettled and that they're integrated into our community.

I think that is part of the experiment, the American experiment, which is that we do a great job in integrating people near and far into the American culture and helping them to subscribe to our greater value set.

PAUL: All right. Mayor Andrew Gillum -- I so appreciate you being with us today. Thank you.

GILLUM: Thank you.

PAUL: A reminder to you too at home, later this morning we're speaking with a Syrian refugee family about this very issue. So check out that interview ahead. That's during the 10:00 a.m. edition of CNN NEWSROOM here.

BLACKWELL: And here is an angle of the story that you likely have not heard. We're learning about this powerful drug that ISIS is reportedly giving its fighters.

[08:55:03] PAUL: Yes. It's an amphetamine that militants say makes them feel invincible. What exactly does it do? We'll tell you more.

First, though, doing laundry is probably not at the top of your favorite things do. As you're about to see, an Oregon woman though has put her own spin on a laundry business in this "Start Small, Think Big".


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got the idea from for my business back in college when I was doing my own laundry, trying to find laundromats that I felt comfortable in. It's always really boring, nothing to do and not very clean. Later I got my MBA in sustainable business and I focused my thesis project on the laundromat and started thinking that the laundromat uses so much water and so much energy and there had to be a better way.

I started with the laundry lounge in 2014 and it's part (inaudible) -- first and only eco-focused laundromat bar and cafe.

The first thing I did was get high efficiency machines. The washers will save up to 30 percent of the water that traditional washers use and they use quite a bit less energy, as well. One of my favorite features about the machines is their text messaging capabilities. If you send the washer a text message, it will respond back to you when it has ten minutes left and then again when it's finished.

There are many ways to pay for the washers and dryers. You can use good old fashioned quarters or credit or debit card as well as your smart phone.

While waiting for your laundry, you can enjoy food or drinks from the cafe. You can go up to the mezzanine. We have pin ball and arcade games and shuffle board table and a nice couch for reading.

Sometimes I stay even after my laundry is done just to read a book and have a cup of coffee.

I definitely think Spin has been successful. And I really hope that it is an example for future laundromats. It's very important to continue this to save water and energy and make a big impact on the environment.



PLEITGEN: Welcome back to our ongoing coverage of the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and the investigation. Let's get you caught up on what we know at this hour.

In the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek, one man is under arrest tied to last week's attacks that happened, of course, right here in Paris. Authorities found weapons in his home but no explosives.

Meanwhile in Turkey, three men have been taken into custody according to our affiliate CNN Turk -- one of them allegedly scouted target sites for the Paris attacks and the other two were trying to help him slip out of Europe and into Syria.

A lot of things going on -- we'll keep on top of all of them. Victor and Christi -- back to you -- guys.

[09:00:02] PAUL: All right. Thank you so much, Fred. You'll see him again and us at 10:00.

BLACKWELL: All right. "SMERCONISH" starts now.