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NYT: Young Black Voters Still Weary of Clinton; Sources: ISIS plotting More Strikes in Europe; "The Essential Hillary Clinton" Airs Tonight. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired September 5, 2016 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When he points to this idea there is a frustration that some African-Americans feel, that the Democrats have taken our vote for granted and have not delivered, that is not off the mark. You hear that in black barber shops and nail salons and black churches. He goes wrong when he tries to use that to score cheap political points and not create real engagement. He says, what the hell do you have to lose? Your schools are terrible. Your jobs are terrible. That is so tone deaf. What if I said that to poor white voters who have been in red states forever voting for Republicans? You are poor, you live in a trailer, you don't have good dental health, what the hell do you have to lose, vote for Hillary Clinton? No one would see that as legitimate outreach. They would see that as insulting. What you have to understand is that there are some legitimate grievances but the messenger and the tone of the message on Donald Trump is not the way to go. In fact, he drove more blacks back to the Democrats with that than he pulled away.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Van Jones, thanks very much for joining us.
JONES: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, a CNN exclusive. We have new details about ISIS planning attacks in Europe and how terrorists are hiding among Syrian refugees.
[13:35:33] BLITZER: We have new and exclusive details today about how ISIS plans and carries out attacks against Western countries. CNN has obtained tens of thousands of pages of documents into the investigation into the ISIS attack in Paris last November. They reveal that ISIS operates a sophisticated organization throughout Europe, which helps would-be terrorists plan and carry out terror attacks. The document trove includes photos that have never before been seen by the public, interrogations, and actual communications between the ISIS attackers and their handlers back in Syria. And they name an ISIS operative who was on the loose for months.
CNN senior international correspondent, Clarissa War, has an exclusive report.
(SHOUTING) CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): November 13th, 10 ISIS operatives attacked Paris --
WARD: -- targeting bars, restaurants, a concert hall and a stadium, shooting as many people as they could before blowing themselves up. By the end of the massacre, the worst terrorist attack in Europe in a decade, 130 people were dead.
Now, for the first time, CNN has gained access to thousands of pages of documents and photos from the internal European investigation which shed new light on the sophisticated network ISIS uses to coordinate terror attacks across Europe.
WARD: The documents reveal another suspected terrorist, never before made public, who investigators link to the cell that carried out the Paris attacks. He was on the loose in Europe for more than six months. Other ISIS operatives are believed to be living among ordinary citizens in Europe, plotting other strikes directed by senior ISIS handlers in Syria, according to multiple sources.
WARD: Within day of the shocking rampage in Paris, police learned that two of the three suicide bombers at the stadium entered Europe by posing as Syrian refugees. These surveillance photos never seen before publicly show the bombers as they approach their target. This is the moment they detonate their devices.
But according to the documents, two more men were part of the ISIS cell. They traveled the same refugee route as the suicide bombers, blending in with thousands of people from war-torn countries. Their names are Adel Hadaddi and Mohammad Usman. They were eventually arrested. Records of their capture and interrogation, obtained by CNN, show how ISIS supported the attackers throughout their mission.
This is their story, based on multiple interrogations of Haddadi. Early October, six weeks before the Paris attacks, the documents show their journey began in Raqqa, Syria, the capitol of the self-declared ISIS caliphate. The men didn't know each other's real names or what their mission would be. According to the documents, Haddadi later tells investigators he only knew they were being sent to France to do something for the good of God. Much of their journey was directed by a shadowy ISIS leader in Syria, known only as Abu Ahmad, who arranged cell phone meetings and money and transportation for them.
Jean-Charles Brisard is a French expert on terrorism analyzed the documents obtained by CNN.
JEAN-CHARLES BRISARD, FRENCH TERRORISM EXPERT: Abu Ahmad is clearly an ISIS operative. He is key in sending those individuals to the Paris attacks because he's the one who recruited them, funded them, trained them, provided the devices to their telephones. He was always in contact with them.
WARD: According to the transcripts of interrogation, Haddadi and Usman, along with the two Paris attackers, traveled from Raqqa, across the Turkish border, onto the coastal city of Ismir (ph), switching vehicles, picking up cash passed from one smuggler to the next along the way. They received instructions from their handler through encrypted apps, such as Telegram and Whatsap. Throughout their journey, they are only given enough money and information to get to the next stop.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: ISIS is accelerating its international attack planning. It is increasingly sophisticated in the way it does it. It has set up an intricate, logistical support system for the terrorist cells throughout Europe.
[13:40:04] WARD: In the middle of the night, the team makes the crossing to Greece in a boat filled with dozens of refugees. They're picked up by the Greek navy along the way. The two bombers that would eventually attack the Paris stadium make it through and start moving steadily north towards their target. But Haddadi and Usman's fake Syrian passports are discovered. They're arrested and their money is taken. They are held in Greece for about a month. Greece officials would not say why they were released. But authorities believe that delay was significant. They would not have a chance to become part of the Paris attacks.
Haddadi says they contacted their ISIS handler, Abu Ahmad, who arranges another 2000 Euros. Flush with cash, they continue along the refugee route. As they work their way across Europe, Usman, identified by investigators as bomb maker from a Pakistani terror group, passes the hours doing something strikingly un-Islamic, looking at porn. Documents show he visited almost two dozen porn sites on his phone.
November 14th, the day after the Paris attacks, Haddadi and Usman arrive in Salzburg, Austria. They apply for asylum and end up in this refugee center where they stayed for weeks.
(on camera): According to CNN sources, authorities believe that Haddadi and Usman were not only part of same terror cell as the Paris bombers but also that they were planning another attack. The documents show they were in contact with people in several European countries and were searching travel to France.
(voice-over): Investigators believe they were waiting for a third man to join them. A mysterious ISIS operative called Abad (ph) Tabaouni. Tabaouni has never been publicly named until now. Like Usman and Haddadi, he traveled from Syria along the refugee route, carrying a phone number linked to the terrorist cell of the ringleader of the Paris attacks, according to the documents, as well as a photo of Islamic State fighters standing before their flag.
December 10th, nearly a month after the terrorist attacks, Tabaouni finally arrives at the refugee center where Usman and Haddadi are. Later, the very same day, police raid the center. Usman and Haddadi are arrested. Here is what happened next, according to the documents. In the
scramble, Haddadi tries unsuccessfully to get rid of his SIM card. Tabaouni is nowhere to be seen. Haddadi denies knowing him. But investigators found his cell phone charging right beside Haddadi's bed. It has Haddadi's phone number saved in it. Also in that phone, a photo taken just 30 minutes before the raid showing Tabaouni sitting on a bed in the refugee center, right next to where Haddadi and Usman slept.
BRISARD: We can assume that Tabaouni was also part of the same plot and was instructed to carry out an attack.
WARD: From the time he slipped away last December, Tabaouni has been a wanted man, according to CNN sources, who also confirmed he was finally arrested in July.
The documents show this is the Facebook page Tabaouni had on his phone. In recent months, it appears he was publicly posting updates from Belgium.
Investigators are now analyzing 1600 pages of data from his phone. Sources tell CNN they are moving to extradite him to Austria and tie to him to Haddadi and Usman and the terrorist attackers.
(on camera): Are you concerned there may be many others who use the same route who you just didn't know about?
BRISARD: Yes. We have seen that in the recent weeks. Several of them, individuals who carry out individual attacks have, inspired attacks were coming back from Syria and using the same route.
WARD: So there is a possibility there are many more that you don't know about?
BRISARD: There is a high possibility.
WARD (ph): The documents show that Haddadi's phone has also proven to be a treasure trove for investigators, revealing an ISIS networks that fans out through southern and northern Europe. He had dozens of contacts. Some gave advice on crossing borders and evading the law. One tells Haddadi that he was able to sneak into France by hiding in the bathroom of a train.
December 15th, five days after the raid, the ISIS handler, Abu Ahmad, reaches out to his operatives Haddadi and Usman, perhaps wondering about their silence. "How are you," he writes, "What has become of you?" There is no reply.
BLITZER: Our senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, is joining us live from London. Our terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, is joining us from New York.
Clarissa, excellent reporting.
First, where are these three men now?
[13:45:02] WARD: From what we know, Adel Haddadi and Mohammad Usman have been extradited to France. It's believed the third man, Tabaouni, who has never been publicly named before, has been on the loose in Europe, Wolf, for more than six months. We believe that he is awaiting extradition to Austria.
But the thing this story really drove home as you comb through these tens of thousands of pages of documents -- and very much a team effort with Paul, the CNN Investigative Unit, everyone working very hard to comb through all this material. But what you realize very quickly is that there are many others out there. That's not just an attempt to frighten people. We know of at least two other people who were arrested in that refugee center alongside Haddadi and Usman. From Belgium sources, they believe 30-40 people directly were involved with facilitating the Paris attacks are still at large. As you heard, in that final exchange with Brisard, the question of how many more are there out there that authorities don't know about -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Paul, officials are telling you that investigators believe that ISIS initially was planning an even more ambitious plot against Europe than just attacks in Paris? What else are you learning?
CRUICKSHANK: Wolf, that's right. A senior European terrorism official telling me that ISIS was initially planning a much bigger attack. They had to scale back those plans after a number of operatives were not able to reach Europe. They were either detained or didn't reach Europe. The initial target that ISIS had, back when it was plotting the Paris attacks, was also to target the Netherlands and other locations in France, notably in Paris, notably in a shopping areas and a supermarket. This being a bigger plot even than the one they carried out in which 130 people were killed initially.
BLITZER: Clarissa, why do authorities believe there are more terror plots out there similar to what we saw in Paris?
WARD: For some of the reasons you just heard Paul outline. Also there are so many leads they have from all the information from the cell phones that they received that they yet don't know where those leads go to. Let me give you an example. Haddadi was in contact with a technician at a very important nuclear research facility. Since that has been aired to French authorities, French authorities, because the man was in France, have placed this man under observation. But they can't simply go and arrest a man simply because he was in contact with another man who was suspected of being an ISIS operative. There were many other conversations like this that Haddadi and others were having with various people. How can authorities tell who is an ISIS operative, who has a more cursory role in the network? What they say when they describe it is it's like a series of concentric circles. ISIS is very sophisticated in how much information gets passed on to each person. You heard again and again the operative saying they only knew as much to get them to the next stop. That makes it very difficult for authorities to connect the dots when it comes to knowing where these plots are expected to take place and when -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Paul, as you know, Donald Trump and others say the U.S. should stop all the refugee inflow from Syria, for example, because ISIS is plotting to put terrorists among those refugees. 10,000 Syrian refugees have already come to the United States this year. How do you make sure that happened in Europe, ISIS terrorists infiltrating the refugee flow, doesn't happen here?
CRUICKSHANK: Those refugees are already extraordinarily well-vetted. We need to put the threat in Europe into some context. We are talking about more than a million refugees. At most, we are talking about ISIS infiltrating dozens of operatives by posing as refugees when they come into Europe. There is some evidence it has become more difficult now for ISIS to send those operatives back because the Turkish border has become more sealed in the area, which is contiguous to ISIS territory. Also, the Turks and Europeans have managed, to some degree, to close down the Balkan refugee corridor. Nevertheless, there is real concern that they will try to continue to send these operatives back into Europe and launch attacks.
I just came back from a counterterror conference in Europe. There's massive concern right now about the potential for attack this autumn. The number of people that have become radicalized in Europe is astronomical, tens of thousands, as many as 10,000 Europeans who have traveled to Syria and Iraq. Some of them are trying to get back. And the numbers are too high for European security services to deal with, especially because they're not coordinating in the way they need to, given the scale of the threat.
[13:50:29] BLITZER: Clarissa, clearly, in Europe, they don't have the vetting process that the United States has, trying to prevent terrorist infiltrating into the country.
WARD: Well, this is the real question. I mean, we couldn't believe it when we read that the Greek authorities had stopped the two men because they had fake passports and then seemingly, inexplicably allowed them to move on after just 30 days in detentions. We have tried many times to get in touch with Greek authorities to get some sense of what exactly happened and why, but this illustrates just how difficult it is -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Clarissa Ward, doing excellent reporting, not just by herself. She's got a team that worked with her for months on this report.
Clarissa, thank you so much.
Paul Cruickshank, thanks to you as well. You were part of that team reviewing these documents. Appreciate it very, very much.
Coming up, Hillary Clinton's political roots date back to her college days. It's also where the predictions about her political future began. Up next, "The Essential Hillary Clinton." Stay with us.
[13:55:30] BLITZER: Hillary Clinton will make history if she wins the November election. Clinton has been making some headlines since her time as a young student at Wellesley College. That's where she gave what would become her first political speech. That's also where the predictions about her political future actually began.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has a preview of a CNN special report, "The Essential Hillary Clinton."
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST & HILLARY CLINTON BIOGRAPHER: There had been no tradition of a student speaker at Wellesley but the student body insisted that there be one and they chose Hillary.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She was scheduled to speak at commencement after the invited guests, Republican Senator Edward Brook of Massachusetts.
BERNSTEIN: And he gave a speech that was dismissive and patronizing about the anti-war movement, about what students were going through in the country.
JANET HILL, WELLESLEY COLLEGE CLASSMATE (voice-over): There was polite applause but mostly from our parents. Then Hillary spoke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it is a great pleasure to present to this audience, Miss Hillary Rodham."
HILL: She got up and discarded her prepared and vetted remarks and spoke extemporaneously.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): "We've had lots of empathy, we've had lots of sympathy but we feel that for too long our leaders have viewed politics as the art of the possible and the challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible."
(voice-over): While the administration was stricken by Hillary's rebuttal, the students erupted in applause.
HILL: I'll tell you what, we were ecstatic. We gave her a standing ovation. We were so proud of her.
BROWN: The following week, Hillary Rodham made national headlines for the very first time.
BERNSTEIN: It got tremendous attention. "Life" magazine did a story on her and on her political future.
BROWN: And her future appeared wide open.
HILL: Someone put a sheet of paper in the dorm predicting things about different people. They predicted I would marry a football player. The only thing written in about Hillary was that she would be the first female president of the United States. 1969.
BLITZER: Pamela Brown is joining us now live from New York.
Pamela, excellent work on your part as well.
This documentary starts with Hillary Clinton's days at Wellesley. What are some of the other aspects of her life that we're about to learn more about.
BROWN: Wolf, this was a wide-ranging interview that we did with Hillary Clinton, looking at the most important aspects of her life that so many of us remember. And we pulled back the curtains and learned about her personal relationships, why she was first hesitant to marry Bill Clinton and, surprisingly, she said the fact that it was so clear he wanted to go into politics was one reason she was reticent at first.
Then we move our way through to her time in Arkansas, to her time in the White House. We talk about the highs and low during that time and really nothing was off limits. We asked her about what her hardest moment was, whether it was the impeachment proceedings against her husband, the health care initiative, the failed health care initiative or Whitewater and she said none of those was the hardest moment in the White House.
And we talk about more recent events, Wolf, that we've been talking about in the campaign trail, having to do with Benghazi and e-mails and trust. And she addresses everything.
And I asked her towards the end of the interview her reaction to the different narratives of her out there, and she laughed and acknowledged the fact that there are these -- so many different versions of her out there and she finds it amusing and says sometimes she looks at them and thinks, "I wouldn't like that person either.
So this is an up close and personal look at Hillary Clinton as a human being beyond policy and beyond politics -- Wolf?
BLITZER: You had a chance to speak with Chelsea Clinton and get her thoughts about her mom, and a lot of other people who are close to her.
BROWN: That's right. We interviewed around 30 people. People who went to elementary school with her and those in her inner circle in the White House years and beyond, and they gave us this unique insight, particularly Chelsea Clinton, in this exclusive interview talking about Hillary Clinton as a mother, a typical mom taking her to college and obsessing over what shelf paper she should have. Those moments are what she highlights. So I think viewers will be surprised by how much they learn in this documentary -- Wolf?
BLITZER: We're looking forward to it.
Excellent work. Pamela, thank you very much.
You can watch two CNN special reports tonight. "The Essential Hillary Clinton" airs at 8:00 p.m. eastern and goes for two hours. "The Essential Donald Trump" airs at 10:00 a.m. eastern, and it airs for two hours as well.
Thanks for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer, in Washington.
The news continues right here on CNN.