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Police: Philly Gunman Says He Acted for ISIS; Crowds Awaiting Trump Campaign Rally; North Koreans: Saber-Rattling is Self-Defense; New Details on Paris Terror Attacks; Philadelphia Police Officer Shot; El Chapo Captured. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired January 8, 2016 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: But there are no scientists there. And now South Korea is resuming propaganda broadcasts blasted into North Korea by loudspeaker. Will tension along the world's most heavily armed border now boil over?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news, a terror attack in Philadelphia by a gunman who ambushed and shot a police officer in the name of ISIS. Investigators say the 30-year-old suspect, Edward Archer, told them he pledged allegiance to the terror group.
Also breaking tonight, terror arrests in California and Texas. Two young Palestinian men who came to the United States as refugees from Iraq, one of them now charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. A law enforcement source tells CNN the suspects communicated on social media talking about weapons and training in Syria.
And there is breaking news in the investigation into the Paris terror attacks. New clues include bomb-making ingredients, suicide belts and the fingerprint of a fugitive suspect all found inside a Brussels apartment.
We're covering all of this, much more this hour with our guests, our correspondents, and our analysts, who are also standing by. We have reporters covering all the late-breaking developments in the race for the White House as well.
Let's begin with the ambush of the Philadelphia police officer by a man who pledged allegiance to ISIS.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Philadelphia for us tonight.
Miguel, that police officer suffered some very serious injuries.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Extraordinarily serious, but it's amazing that he survived. This is an officer, 33-year-old Jesse Hartnett, who was on a routine patrol. He had his window down and he was in West Philadelphia when somebody flagged him down.
That person then pulled out a .9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun and began moving toward his car. The pictures, surveillance video of 30- year-old Edward Archer as he moved in firing at least 11 shots. At one point, his hand is inside the police cruiser firing shots into the arm of officer Hartnett.
Officer Hartnett not only survived, he then jumped out of the car, gave chase, shooting the suspect in the butt so that others could pick him up later, all of this while also talking to dispatchers on the radio. Amazing story that this guy was able to survive and perform the way he did. Police today holding a press conference saying after not speaking for some time to their investigators, Edward Archer, the suspect in this thing, says he did it for ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. JAMES CLARK, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: He stated that he pledges his allegiance to Islamic State. He follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Now, Jonny Castro is another police officer and a friend of officer Hartnett. And he happened to be by that scene. He responded to the scene last night.
And in what appears to be a Facebook posting by officer Castro, a very emotional and moving tribute to his fellow officer. It shows a picture with the blood of officer Hartnett flowing from it, telling him basically a blow by blow of everything happening to him that night and how officer Hartnett responded with just great heroism and unbelievable stamina to be able to stay up and at it.
I asked the police commissioner today about what sort of shape officer Hartnett was in by the time rescuers got to him. They said he lost a lot of blood. He was not in great shape. His arm, by the way, Wolf, was hit very, very badly. Despite only being hit in the arm, it went through the bone, shattering it in one place, severed an artery and it damaged many nerves. It will be a long time before officer Hartnett is back up and on the force -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What is also alarming, Miguel, is where the shooter actually got the weapon. Tell our viewers.
MARQUEZ: This is something that police here were almost embarrassed to admit, but realized that it was probably something that would get out. This was a stolen police weapon, a stolen police .9-millimeter handgun.
It was stolen in October of 2013 from the house of a police officer. The commissioner saying, you know, sheepishly sort of admitting we don't want to say this, but you guys are going to find out, this was a stolen police weapon. They are trying to figure out who stole the weapon, how many hands it went through and how it got into Archer's hands. He may have stolen it, but they are not saying that tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Miguel, thanks very much, Miguel Marquez reporting for us from Philadelphia.
We're also following terror arrests in California and Texas, the suspect, two refugees from Iraq, one of them charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is working the story for us.
Pamela, we're learning these men were in communication with each other. What do we know?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
The two men, 24-year-old Omar Al Hardan from Houston and 23-year-old Aws Mohammed Al-Jayab of Sacramento, had allegedly been discussing training with terrorists in Syria online back in 2013. Both of these men were from Iraq and living in the U.S. as refugees.
We see in these video, one of the men from Houston, he is walking out after his court hearing today. Al-Jayab had immigrated to the U.S. from Syria. This is the one from Sacramento. He allegedly returned a year later to fight with terrorists in Syria before being allowed back into the United States in 2014., this according to the criminal complaint.
Al Hardan, who we saw in that video, was charged with providing material support to ISIS. Both of these men are accused of lying to federal immigration officials about their alleged ties to terrorism and their arrests come amid a heated debate about whether refugee screening in the U.S. is sufficient.
House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul said today these arrests show why the U.S. should clamp down on letting Syrian refugees in, but the administration has said repeatedly the screening process is rigorous, especially for those coming from Syria -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Pamela, how many other refugees from the Middle East have been arrested in the U.S. for terrorism charges prior to this?
BROWN: We know of at least one case, Wolf. These are two men who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky. They were from Iraq and then moved here as refugees.
They were arrested about five years ago after their fingerprints were found on bombs used against U.S. soldiers. The investigation showed that one of the men had boasted about killing U.S. soldiers, so they had been arrested back then. But to put it into context, Wolf, hundreds of thus of refugees have come into the U.S. since 9/11 and only a handful have been arrested on terrorism charges.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown, thank you. More breaking news. Almost two months after the terrorist slaughter
in Paris, there are new clues emerging right now in a Brussels apartment. Bomb-making ingredients, suicide belts and the fingerprint of a Paris fugitive.
Let's go to our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He's got details on what is going on.
What are you learning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the discovery of this apartment shows that ISIS was in effect hiding in plain sight in the middle of a European capital, Brussels, Belgium.
This may be the place based on the discovery of the suicide vests and other weapons where those attackers who carried out that rampage in Paris prepared their attack and, even more crucially, where that missing Paris attacker, Salah Abdeslam, may have gone, a safe house after the attacks hiding in plain sight even when he was the most wanted man in Europe.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): From the streets of Philadelphia to Europe, the reach of the terror threat growing broader. As Philadelphia police investigate the alarming ambush of a police officer in the name of ISIS, on this city street in Brussels, police have found the possible hideout of one of Europe's most wanted terrorists.
Salah Abdeslam, one of the Paris attackers whose been on the run since the deadly rampage in November, may have hidden at this apartment. Investigators say they found Abdeslam's fingerprint there along with material to make explosives and three suicide belts, clues at the terror group's operations inside Europe.
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: These guys have networks in Belgium and other parts of Europe where they can operate. They can assemble and make explosives. They can hide out. They have safe houses. They clearly have documentation that lets them elude the police.
SCIUTTO: And now Paris is reeling from another act of terror that took place on the one-year anniversary of the "Charlie Hebdo" shooting. French police say the attacker who entered a police station with a meat clever Thursday was carrying a pledge of allegiance to the is leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
FRANCOIS MOLINS, PARIS PROSECUTOR (through translator): He pledges allegiance to al-Baghdadi and says that his actions is in relation to the deaths that are taking place in Syria.
SCIUTTO: French authorities say the threat there is far from contained.
BAER: I guarantee you the more violence there is in the Middle East, the longer it continues, the more violence we're going to see migrate to Europe and eventually the United States. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SCIUTTO: In these terror attacks in the last 24 hours, you see just how broadly groups such as ISIS can reach around the world and how little they need to carry out attacks. You have a man with a meat cleaver on the streets of Paris.
You have a man with a stolen gun on the streets of Philadelphia and we learned in just recent hours about two men with knives attacking a major resort in Egypt wounding two European tourists there as well. Three countries, attackers, lone wolves in these places, very little weapons, Wolf, it shows just how difficult -- how easy it is for groups like ISIS to carry out these attacks and how difficult they are to prevent.
BLITZER: Jim Sciutto, thank you.
Let's dig deeper into all of this.
Joining us now, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis. He is the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Admiral or dean, I don't know what you prefer. I will call you admiral for now. Thanks very much for joining us.
The French say that the terror in their country is now far from contained. I assume you agree that this ISIS threat against all sorts of targets, whether in Europe, certainly in the Middle East, but even here in the United States, they are only about to get worse.
ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Absolutely, Wolf.
We're seeing really the globalization of low-cost, high-impact terror. And you don't need a big machine like we saw on 9/11 logistically. You can do this using the Internet, using some very modest means, indoctrinating.
And, frankly, in Paris, look at Brussels right across the border. You don't need any documentation to move from point to point there. And having lived in Belgium for four years, as the supreme allied commander of NATO, I can tell you it's not just beer and chocolates in Brussels. It's a high terror zone as well.
BLITZER: Some have suggested that ISIS is expanding their so-called battleground into Europe and maybe even here to the United States because they have suffered losses in both Iraq and Syria. Do you buy that?
STAVRIDIS: I think the two are somewhat connected, Wolf, but let's face it.
Addressing this, which we have to in our own societies, is really going after the symptom. The cause of this is coming out of Raqqa, and we are going to need to get a game plan together that takes us to Raqqa and takes apart the Islamic State. That's really only one part of it.
Then we have got to do the strategic communication, the soft power, the long game to really change the ideology that is driving this. We have got a lot of work ahead of us.
BLITZER: It sounds like this could go on not just for weeks or months, but a military struggle could last for years.
And, Wolf, let's remember the basis of this is the Sunni-Shia split in the Middle East. This is kind of the wars of the Reformation that we recall from the Christian faith unspooling themselves in the world of Islam and creating enormous turbulence there.
It's disaggregating to our societies as we become stalking horses in the middle of it.
BLITZER: Speaking of that Sunni-Shia rift, now there is a huge confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran right now and it looks like it's getting more intense even as we speak.
The Saudis severed diplomatic relations with Iran, as you know, after protesters in Tehran ransacked, burned down big chunks of that Saudi Embassy there and the Iranians now accusing the Saudis of trying to attack the Iranian Embassy in Yemen. This has enormous ramifications if this crisis escalates.
STAVRIDIS: It really does, Wolf.
And, frankly, the first casualty is going to be the Syrian peace talks, if you will, the political diplomatic process that Secretary Kerry is working so hard to pull together. You have got to get the Sunni and the Shia, which means Saudi Arabia and Iran, to the table, because they are fighting a proxy war in Syria, as well as Yemen, by the way.
We are not going to be able to solve Syria until we can figure out how to tamp down this level of violence between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It's only going to get worse. And I will tell you the next place to watch, Wolf. It's at sea. It's the Arabian Persian Gulf, that body of water between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Those two navies are going to come into collision. And I think that's going to be the next hot spot in this confrontation.
BLITZER: That would be a dramatic moment if there is actual direct confrontation between Iran and Saudi Arabia. They have been fighting through proxies in Yemen, in Iraq, in Syria, if you will, but if they actually get involved in a military confrontation directly especially in the Persian Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz, where so much oil is attempting to flow through, that would be a serious, serious development.
But you see that as potentially realistic?
STAVRIDIS: I think it is very realistic. I wouldn't predict it at the moment.
I would say it's about a 20 percent chance, but here you have two huge economies in a direct collision course fighting proxy wars, a huge body of water, the Arabian Persian Gulf right between them. Even the name of it, Wolf, some call it the Arabian Gulf, the Arab, Saudi Arabia. Some call it the Persian Gulf, the Iranians. It's a very potential hot spot. Low probability, but a real chance of that if this thing continues to ratchet up.
BLITZER: As you know, the Saudis, they didn't like the U.S.-brokered nuclear deal with Iran.
I spoke to Adel Al-Jubeir last year. He's now the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia. He wouldn't rule out the possibility that Saudi Arabia at some point might try to either develop or even buy some sort of nuclear bomb. As you know, they have very good relations with Pakistan, which has a nuclear arsenal.
Is that a realistic fear?
STAVRIDIS: I think it is very much a realistic fear.
And, oh, by the way, in another corner of the world, North Korea continuing to ratchet up its program puts a lot of pressure domestically in South Korea and Japan for them to develop nuclear weapons. This is the real proliferation long term that we all ought to be worried about.
And, yes, Saudi Arabia looking at concern whether the U.S. will come to their aid has got to be considering that option.
BLITZER: We know the North Koreans provided nuclear technology to Syria to build their reactor, which the Israelis blew up back in, what, 2007, to Pakistan, and Pakistan now has a significant nuclear arsenal.
Is there any evidence that North Korea has cooperated on a nuclear front with Iran?
STAVRIDIS: You see tendrils of that, you see flickers of that in the intelligence, but generally it's been conventional weapons flowing from North Korea toward Iran.
Wolf, I would not rule it out when you stop and look at the dynamics of all the relationships.
BLITZER: That's a pretty ominous development when you think the situation is bad now. You paint a picture it could get a lot worse.
I want you to stand by, Admiral. We have much more to discuss. It's a crisis not only in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia right now. We will be back with Admiral Stavridis right after this.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, an ambush terror attack on a police officer by a man who told investigators he pledged allegiance to ISIS.
We're going to go back live to Philadelphia in a few moments. Stand by for that.
But, first, I want to bring back the former NATO supreme allied commander, James Stavridis. He is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.
Admiral, it's hard to believe, but an inactive U.S. Hellfire missile, a Hellfire missile, as all of know, used in Afghanistan and Yemen and Iraq, ended up in Havana, Cuba, instead of being returned to the United States after a training exercise in Europe. What a failure. How can this take place?
STAVRIDIS: I will use a technical term, Wolf. In the military, we call this buffoonery.
This is just a human error at an extreme level. The only thing I can really compare it to is kind of the -- if you will recall, a couple years ago, we had a nuclear weapon that was flying around the United States kind of in an untethered, unsure posture.
This is very not as bad as that, but it's very worrisome, obviously. This is a high-tech weapon. The only good news here is that it was inert and that it appears this was not the most advanced of the guidance systems. So a big mistake, big miss. There are going to be real consequences.
BLITZER: Here is what worries me. And I have spoken to others. It worries them as well.
For a year, the Cuba have now had this U.S. Hellfire missile. them For a year, the U.S. has asked that the missile be returned. For a year, the Cubans have said they are not returning it. And despite that, over the past year, historically, the U.S. has resumed full diplomatic relations with Cuba, opening up an embassy in Havana, even though they are refusing to budge on that Hellfire missile. Is that appropriate?
STAVRIDIS: If it had been me in the driver's seat, this would have been a precondition to doing the level of reopening that we're doing.
It's a small thing perhaps, but I think, symbolically, if you're going to want to move into a posture of cooperation, this is a basic thing to do. Unfortunately, Wolf, the real point is that that technology has now bled out. There is no question it's been shared widely in a circuit that would include Russia, China, potentially Iran and other actors whom we wouldn't want anywhere near a missile like that. So, frankly, the damage at this point has been done.
BLITZER: Yes. It sort of reminds me, but in a different context, when Donald Trump keeps complaining about the U.S.-brokered nuclear deal with Iran. He says he wouldn't have even entered negotiations until the Iranians returned the Americans who were being held prisoner there, but that wasn't even an issue.
If you were negotiating that Iran nuclear deal, would you have at least demanded in exchange for easing sanctions, $150 billion, they return the Americans?
And I think, you know, we will be debating this particular Iranian negotiation for a long time, but let's see how things turn out. I'm hopeful, but skeptical that we will end up in a good place with Iran. It's too soon to tell.
Let's have that conversation in a year or two and see where things are going.
BLITZER: Admiral, thanks very much for joining us.
STAVRIDIS: All the best, Wolf. Thank you.
BLITZER: There is more breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.
The capture of the notorious Mexican drug lord nicknamed El Chapo six months after he escaped what was described as a maximum security prison in Mexico through a mile-long underground tunnel.
CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us.
Brian, you're getting some new information. What are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, dramatic new details from Mexican officials of the predawn raid and the capture of the world's most dangerous drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
A Mexican official tells us tonight the raid started with house searches at 4:30 this morning in the city of Los Mochis in El Chapo's hometown, home state of Sinaloa. Mexican special forces closed in on that house. There was a gun battle. Five people were killed, all on El Chapo's side, six people arrested.
A Mexican marine was wounded in this raid. The official we spoke with says El Chapo was actually captured at a nearby motel. It's not clear at this hour how he got there. Now, Mexican officials say El Chapo's bodyguards had a lot of firepower on them, captured in this raid, a rocket launcher, eight rifles, two armored vehicles.
The Mexican government is celebrating tonight, but they're now under enormous pressure to extradite El Chapo to the U.S. -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That's because of the huge embarrassment following his two previous escapes. TODD: It was a massive embarrassment for the Mexican government.
Wolf, he broke out of a high-security Mexican prison in July through this elaborate tunnel that had been constructed for months, connected from a house that had been built nearby, an incredible series of events leading up to his breakout then.
Previously, he had escaped their custody through a trapdoor hidden underneath his bathtub in another facility. It's just incredible. He has a pattern of doing this and yet he was allowed to do it again in July.
Now, this time around, U.S. officials want him at the supermax facility in Florence, Colorado. They have a lot of trafficking charges to throw at him and they're hoping tonight to get him extradited. They are really leaning heavily on the Mexican government tonight.
BLITZER: We will see if they do that, dramatic development today indeed, Brian. Thanks very much.
The breaking news continues next. We're going back live to Philadelphia for the latest on the ambush terror attack on a police officer, the suspect telling police he pledged allegiance to ISIS.
And huge crowds on hand for a Donald Trump campaign event tonight. Will it turn into a madhouse, sort of like last night's rally, which was interrupted by protesters?
BLITZER: More now on the breaking news in Philadelphia, a police officer ambushed and shot by a gunman who tells police he pledged alliance to ISIS, the officer hit multiple times and severely wounded.
Let's go back to CNN's Miguel Marquez. He's joining us from Philadelphia.
You're learning more details tonight, Miguel. Tell our viewers what you have learned.
[18:30:00] MARQUEZ: Yes, authorities now digging into the life of Edward Archer, trying to figure out everything and what led him to shoot a Philadelphia police officer.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): This surveillance video shows a man firing his gun directly into a Philadelphia police officer's car and police say he claims to have done it in the name of ISIS.
OFFICER: Shots fired! I'm shot! I'm bleeding heavily!
MARQUEZ: The suspect, 30-year-old Philadelphia resident Edward Archer, allegedly ambushed Officer Jesse Hartnett at close range, firing at least 11 shots from his .9 millimeter pistol, striking the officer three times in the arm.
CAPTAIN JAMES CLARK, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: He pledges his allegiance to Islamic State. He follows Allah and that is the reason he was called upon to do this.
MARQUEZ: Hartnett got out of the car and returned fire, hitting the gunman in the buttocks. Police arrested him and recovered the gun.
COMMISSIONER RICHARD ROSS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: The bravery he demonstrated was absolutely remarkable. His will to live undoubtedly saved his life.
MARQUEZ: But it was revealed by the police commissioner that the weapon used was a stolen police gun.
ROSS: It was stolen back in October of 2013. It was reported and that is one of the things that you absolutely regret the most when an officer's gun is stolen that it is used against one of your own.
MARQUEZ: The FBI confirms its involvement, releasing a statement we are working side by side with the Philadelphia police department but made it clear Philadelphia police are the lead agency in the case.
In response to this shooting and another attack on police in Paris, the New York police department issued an internal memo urging officers to exercise heightened vigilance and implement proactive measures at all times, reminding them that ISIS has called for supporters to carry out attacks on law enforcement.
MAYOR JIM KENNEY, PHILADELPHIA: Our main concern at the moment today is the well being and health and the recovery and rehabilitation of Officer Hartnett.
MARQUEZ: In a tribute posted on Facebook that included this graphic photo of Hartnett's police cruiser. Fellow officer Johnny Castro wrote a lengthy and emotional play by play of the gunfight. "You ducked your head down right at the right moment and that missed your head by inches, three bullets tore into your arm, shattering the bone and severing an artery. Without hesitation, you fought your attacker almost instantly. You drew your service weapon and viciously returned fire. It was literally a fight for life and death."
ROSS: It's both confounding and astonishing he was able to escape it like this and I can't say enough for his bravery and how he conducted himself.
MARQUEZ: And this is one thing the police said over and over again. They can't believe themselves that this officer was able to not only take those rounds and he is messed up, Wolf. You know, his bone is broken. Artery severed and lots of nerve damage in the arm. He's going to have a long way to go before he can get back to work, if he's ever able to return to work. The other thing is that the local imams in the area where this
individual lives, Mr. Archer lives, said they don't recognize his name. His mother says, told the "Philadelphia Inquirer" that he was a devout Muslim, but the none of the imams knew this guy. So, it's still a mystery, a very big mystery as to who this guy was and why he's done this. They are digging into it tonight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And he was wearing the white robe as our viewers can see on those images as well.
Miguel, thank you very much. Let's dig deeper now with former CIA operative and CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer, former FBI assistant director, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, and our CNN contributor, Michael Weiss, he's a senior editor with "The Daily Beast."
Bob, the homicide captain he says the man pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and that's why he did what he did. Does this sound like someone who's specifically directed by ISIS or merely perhaps inspired by ISIS?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I think it's both. I mean, he's looking at the Internet. He's listening to social media and the rest of it and it was clear ISIS wants its followers to attack people in uniform so in that sense he was following direction from Raqqa.
Now, whether this plan was organized form Raqqa, I seriously doubt it. There's no evidence for it. So, I mean, this is a terrorist attack. The man was devote Muslim as reported by his family and the target was within the frame work of ISIS' fight against the United States.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, the suspect in this particular case, they're -- I assume the FBI and others are going through his computers to see who he was in contact with? Did he get inspiration or did he get formal direction? Was he part of a bigger group? Walk us through what the FBI is looking at now.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Exactly, Wolf. They're going to be searching computers, phone records, e-mails, social media, talking to friends, neighbors, colleagues, everything on those shooter to determine whether he was completely alone personally radicalized all by himself or whether he had other people in communication with, maybe members of other groups, sleeper cells or any of that.
[18:35:09] So, that's what they'll be looking at.
BLITZER: Yes, the New York City Police Department issued a lengthy memorandum to all police officers of New York, saying members of the police department there are reminded that ISIL or ISIS has called for its supporters and sympathizers in the United States to carry out attacks.
Michael Weiss, the Philadelphia police say the man was trying to assassinate the police officer. In Paris, as we saw yesterday, a knife-welding man police say attempted to enter the police station. Is there a new ISIS move, a new ISIS directive, shall we say, for individuals to target police?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I wouldn't say it's me, Wolf. You had the Chattanooga attacks several months ago targeting army recruitment center. Any symbol of law enforcement or government institution, particularly American, is a high value target for ISIS.
Bob is quite right. When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi got off in June -- sorry, July of 2014 and preached in Mosul, he was saying that all Sunni Muslims are members of ISIS. They only need to declare their fealty, pledge their allegiance and carry out attacks against the kufar, the non-Muslim infidels. And they don't have to go to Raqqa or Mosul to do that.
So, this is what I would call the phenomenon of the invisible army. You know, people who are, as Bob also said, imbibing this stuff through the Internet, being radicalized remotely, ISIS doesn't need to know about them. They don't need to know that they exist. They go to bed at night very content in the fact that these -- you know, people who aren't even practicing Muslims, any nut job, any malcontent, any lumping member of the society can decide, you know what? This is a growing concern. I quite like the cut of ISIS' jib, I want to join up and I want to carry out these attacks.
This particular operation, you can't even call it that. I mean, they went after one guy, a cop pulled up at a stoplight. Doesn't sound sophisticated to me. It doesn't sound like it's part of a cell or network and I'm sure everything is going to come out in future days will be this guy was a lone wolf, as we say.
BLITZER: Bob Baer, these two individuals, refugees from Iraq who were arrested in the United States, one from Houston, the other in Sacramento, both accused of lying to officials about alleged terrorist ties, that they actually communicated with each other about linking up with terrorists in Syria.
Do these arrests raise new questions about the screening process for refugees coming into the country?
BAER: Well, Wolf, the fact is we can't screen them. We have to rely on Iraqi documentation, Iraqi police records and even Iraqi records from places like Mosul, which, of course, we can't get to. When these people come to the consulate in Baghdad, you have to take their word for it and if they meet other requirements, they come in.
There is no way for the FBI to check it out who they are. Neither can the CIA. There are just no records in that part of the world. The same goes for Syria and Libya and you're just running a risk of refugees turning to terrorism. It's a fact.
This isn't a political judgment. It's just a government that cannot check the backgrounds of these people and I think at some point a refugee is going to conduct a terrorist attack in this country.
BLITZER: Do you agree with that analysis, there is no way the FBI or Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. agencies can do a thorough vetting of these refugees coming from countries let's say like Iraq or Syria where there is a major ISIS presence?
FUENTES: That's right. Bob is exactly right on that particular issue. They can't be vetted.
The other issue is that once they are admitted, the FBI is not going to follow tens of thousands of people running around the United States. If they are suspect in any way, they shouldn't be admitted because once they're admitted, they are on their own, they're free to roam and do what they want.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, Bob Baer, Michael Weiss, guys, thanks very much.
Meanwhile, huge crowds on hand to see Donald Trump tonight in South Carolina. Will we see a repeat of the protest that disrupted his campaign rally last night in Vermont?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Isn't this more exciting? You know. You go to a Hillary thing and it's like boring. You go to a Jeb thing and you fall asleep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:43:06] BLITZER: The GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump in South Carolina tonight, fresh from a raucous rally in Vermont. Trump taking aim at President Obama while many of his Republican rivals take aim at each other.
Our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is in South Carolina for tonight.
Jeff, things are about to get underway over there. Set the scene.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they sure are. Donald Trump is coming back to slightly more comfortable terrain here in South Carolina. It is one of the reddest of red states, and, of course, it's the first southern primary that will take place next month.
You can see the crowd has gathered behind me here. Mr. Trump will be here in the next half an hour or so and the question is will more protesters follow him like they do most everywhere else he goes.
ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump back in South Carolina tonight, on friendly terrain.
The Republican frontrunner got an earful Thursday night in Vermont.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Get him out. Throw him out into the cold. Don't give him their coat. No coat. ZELENY: In the liberal enclave of Burlington, part of Bernie Sanders
country, Trump confidently predicted only his loyal supporters would be allowed in. When that didn't happen, he grew frustrated.
TRUMP: OK, security move faster. Thank you security.
ZELENY: Some Republicans seized on the outburst as a troubling sign for the party. Long time GOP strategist Mike Murphy who is running the Jeb Bush super PAC said in Twitter, "This is what a Trump general election would look like. #totaldisaster."
Trump saw it different, as a sign that he stirs passion.
TRUMP: Isn't this more exciting, you know? You go to a Hillary thing and it's like boring. You go to a Jeb thing and you asleep.
ZELENY: As President Obama called for expanding gun control --
OBAMA: It makes sense to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of people who would try to do others harm.
[18:45:00] ZELENY: -- Trump said he would reverse any of his executive actions. He pledged to banish all gun free zones in schools and military bases.
TRUMP: You know what a gun free zone is to a sicko? That's bait. My first day, it gets signed, OK? My first day. There's no more gun free zones.
ZELENY: With Trump running high, his rivals are battling one another. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are escalating fight to emerge as the party's alternative to Trump. Christie says Rubio is a Republican Barack Obama.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Listen, we've seen what happens when we have a first term United States senator become president of the United States.
ZELENY: But Rubio said it's Christie and his New Jersey record that's more like Obama.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our next president needs to be someone who from the very first day in office is going to get rid of every single unconstitutional and unwise thing Barack Obama has done. Not someone that agrees with some of those things.
ZELENY: The fight for number two is the hottest ticket in the Republican primary race.
ZELENY: Wolf, make no mistake about it. Donald Trump is also trying to influence this fight for number two. The questions he raised about Ted Cruz' citizenship are still dogging Senator Cruz in Iowa and that's where Donald Trump is heading tomorrow for a weekend of campaigning after he finishes up tonight here in North Carolina -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jeff, thank you. Jeff Zeleny with Donald Trump in South Carolina.
Let's get some more now on this. Joining us our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, our senior political reporter Manu Raju, and our senior legal analyst Jeffry Toobin.
Gloria, FOX News just put out some new polls in New Hampshire and Iowa.
First, let's go to New Hampshire.
Trump doing amazing, still amazing in New Hampshire.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Hugely.
BLITZER: Hugely. He's at 33 percent. Rubio doing well at 15 percent, 12 percent Cruz, 9 percent Bush, Kasich, seven, Christie five. But you got to give Trump credit. He's still way ahead in New Hampshire.
BORGER: He's ahead by a very, very wide margin. I mean, what is interesting to me about the race is not only how far ahead Trump is, but if you look at Cruz in New Hampshire, which is a state in which independents can vote in the Republican primary and would assume it would be a little more moderate, right? Cruz moving right up there, right in the kind of lane with Marco Rubio and Bush, by the way, you know, Bush, Kasich and Christie were always kind of lumped together.
Christie was supposed to be having a surge. This poll is anti-surge. Doesn't show a surge at all.
And Bush close to the double digits, which we haven't seen Bush in for a very long time.
BLITZER: What's surprising about this poll, Manu, and you've been there and you spent time. Christie at only 5 percent, I thought he was going to be doing better because New Hampshire sort of tailor made for him.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Terrible news for Chris Christie, he's got to hope this is an outlier. He's really put his resources into New Hampshire.
What's interesting with the calculations of both Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are making they need to be the number two candidate coming out of New Hampshire and to some extend, that is Jeb Bush and John Kasich's calculations. They believe that if they can emerge alternative to Donald Trump coming out of New Hampshire, that would be given big momentum heading into South Carolina. But if any of these guys in the third, fourth, or fifth, that could be the death knell to their campaign.
BLITZER: Take a look at Iowa, Jeffrey Toobin. I want to put these numbers up on the screen. This is the new FOX poll that just has been released. You can see Ted Cruz is at 27 percent. Donald Trump is at 23 percent, Rubio 15, Dr. Ben Carson nine, Jeb Bush 7 percent.
This is a real battle in Iowa right now with enormous ramifications for Cruz and Trump.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: These polls in Iowa are stable for about a month. That Cruz has had this small but significant lead for about a month. You know, the interesting thing to keep in mind about Iowa is that it's not an election. It's a caucus and a very different organizing process to get people to vote.
And the question about Donald Trump has always been, is this the kind of campaign that will get people to come out on a cold night in January or actually February, whereas Cruz is running sort of the traditional Iowa campaign of organizing at the local level. Trump, it's a little more mysterious. But Cruz does seem to be in good shape in Iowa.
BLITZER: It's a real fight going on in Iowa right now and just a little more than three weeks to go.
Gloria, our Jake Tapper just sat down and interviewed Senator Ted Cruz on his bus, asked about criticism he's facing now. He's born in Calgary in Canada, but he didn't formally, officially renounce his Canadian citizenship until about 18 months or so ago. Listen to this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Carly Fiorina saying the other day that she says it's odd that it wasn't until 2014 that you renounced your dual citizenship, your citizenship with Canada. Now, I know you say you didn't even know about it until the "Dallas Morning News" wrote the story, I think, in 2013.
[18:50:03] Did you did you ever go back after the "Dallas Morning News" story and try to find out more about your parents' time in Canada, whether they did -- I mean, did they vote in Canada when they were there?
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.
TAPPER: No, they did not?
CRUZ: My mother didn't because she was a U.S. citizen. And my mother -- look, the internet has all sorts of fevered swamp theories, but the facts are simple. My mom was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She was an American citizen by birth. She's been an American citizen all 81 years of her life. She's never been a citizen of any other place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: This is day three or four that this story has continued. How is Senator Cruz handling it?
BORGER: Look, he's trying to kind of deflect it and he's not taking the bait from Donald Trump and he's not going back and attacking Donald Trump, because he knows it wouldn't do him any good anyway.
I think what you see in this Iowa poll is Trump kind of catching up to Ted Cruz in Iowa, and we don't know if that's a result of this because the poll was taken January 4th through 7th. It's a little early to judge that.
One other thing I want to point out in Iowa and the numbers we're looking at in Iowa, look at Dr. Ben Carson. Dr. Carson is at 9 percent in this poll, Wolf. And he has great appeal to evangelical voters. In the last Iowa caucuses, 57 percent of the participants self-identified as either born again or evangelical, and there is Dr. Carson at 9 points. So, he's got a lot of catching up to do.
BLITZER: He's doing even worse in New Hampshire, Dr. Ben Carson right now. Are you surprised by that?
RAJU: Yes, I am. It will be interesting to see how long he stays in this race, particularly if he does particularly bad in Iowa. I think for Ted Cruz, this is probably his shakiest week on the campaign.
In addition to dealing with questions over his citizenship, there was ethanol, whether or not he supports the ethanol mandate and phasing that out in Iowa, very big issue there. There were questions about whether he reversed himself on immigration, something that we reported and he told -- admitted to Dana Bash, our colleague, that he did change his position on illegal immigration.
This is really taking him off message. He's got to hope he has a good performance at the Republican debate next week.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens at that Republican debate. All right. Guys, thanks very much.
An important programming note for our viewers. Jake Tapper goes on the campaign trail with Senator Ted Cruz on "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. Eastern. The full interview with Senator Cruz on Jake's show.
Just ahead, with the shock waves still spreading from its claimed H- bomb test, North Korea shows off video of its leader watching an apparent submarine missile launch. But inside Pyongyang, the claim is it is all about self-defense. We'll have an exclusive report from inside the North Korean capital when we come back.
[18:56:46] BLITZER: Just days after North Korea rocked the world with its claims of a hydrogen bomb test, the hard-line regime has aired video of its leader watching a submarine launch missile. But inside Pyongyang, the party line is that it's all about self-defense and even peace in a CNN exclusive.
Our Will Ripley joins us. He's on the phone from the North Korean capital.
Will, what's the mood there after these nuclear tests? WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): The mood has been one
of celebration here in Pyongyang, Wolf, with a video that was aired, a rally and celebrations in Pyongyang yesterday. We did not attend those. We were not taken to those events. But we did hear them from our hotel balcony as people were filing live reports throughout the day yesterday.
We were taken, though, to a brand-new science center in Pyongyang. This just opened up on January 1st with the first foreign media that had been taken to this media. The building is shaped like a giant atom and, as you can imagine, much of the theme is about North Korea's nuclear program and you're about to see inside why young people in here so firmly believe that the military is an important part because it literally surrounds them, even if they study and prepare for the university classes.
RIPLEY (voice-over): As the clock strikes midnight on Kim Jong-un's birthday, reminding North Koreans of the sacrifices of their leaders. Musical propaganda echoes through Pyongyang every day and every night, reinforcing a message of loyalty to the supreme leader.
On the front page of North Korea's main state newspaper, Kim Jong-un signing the order for what the regime calls a hydrogen bomb. Many outsider observers question the claim.
But there's no doubt among these students lined up outside Pyongyang's science and technology center, the North Koreans say we're the first foreign media to visit the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like a symbol of science.
RIPLEY: North Korean researcher Lee Wan (ph) believes this week's nuclear test ensures peace, even as much of the world calls it a dangerous, provocative act.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is only for the self defense.
RIPLEY (on camera): So, the North Koreans want to be friends with Americans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why not?
RIPLEY (voice-over): But the current political climate makes that impossible. Years of isolation began during the previous Kim regimes. Young future scientists, doctors and other students have little or no access to the Internet, only a state-controlled intranet.
(on camera): You see a lot of students doing research here in the library, and they are using North Korean's version of the iPad.
(voice-over): They study surrounded by photos of their leaders and models of North Korea's weapons.
LEE JUE SUNG, MEDICAL STUDENT: It means that our nation is very powerful.
RIPLEY: Medical student Lee Jue Sung sits beneath the replica of a rocket that launched a North Korean satellite into orbit.
SUNG: This is all for peaceful purpose. We don't want war.
RIPLEY: But outside experts accuse North Korea's space program of being a front for ballistic missile development, missiles that could some day carry nuclear warheads across the region or even the world.
BLITZER: That report from our Will Ripley. He is in North Korea right now.
That's it for me. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.