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Germans Lookint for Tunisian Man in Connection with Christmas Market Attack; Beijing Under Toxic Cloud; Massive Fireworks Explosion Kills at Least 29 in Mexico. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired December 21, 2016 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:24] ANDREW STEVENS, HOST: I'm Andrew Stevens in Hong Kong. We have breaking news from Germany. Germany investigators believe the Tunisian
suspect police are now searching for in relation to the Berlin terror attack was linked to a pro-ISIS network operating in Germany. Well, the
ringleader of an ISIS recruitment network was arrested back in November, police say they taught Arabic and radical Islamic beliefs to those willing
to go to Syria.
Now, police are in a race against time on a hunt for a Tunisian national who is believed to be connected to Monday's attack. The man is in his
early 20s. They found his papers inside the cabin of this truck, one that was used as a lethal weapon plowing through a crowd
Christmas market killing a dozen people and injuring almost 50 others.
Well, authorities are warning that he may be armed and dangerous. The truck is thought to have been hijacked on its way from Poland, its driver
found dead in the passenger seat.
Well, CNN's Hala Gorani tells us where the investigation stands right now.
HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An urgent manhunt under way across Germany. Police warning that the driver who carried out Monday's
deadly attack may be armed and dangerous, and cautioning that there could be more than one perpetrator at large.
The desperate search intensifying after German authorities acknowledged Tuesday that they initially detained the wrong man, releasing the man who
they picked up after forensic evidence failed to connect him to the scene.
This as ISIS claims they inspired the attack, calling the driver their soldier, although investigators have yet to uncover any specific links to
JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We don't have enough information right now to back up the claims by ISIS that they inspired or
directed or in any way involved in this. We think it's prudent for the Germans to treat this as a plausible terrorist attack.
GORANI: The day of the attack the Polish driver of the black semi- truck was on a planned run from Italy to Germany, delivering steel before losing
contact with his employer. Authorities believe that the truck was hijacked about four hours before plowing into the Christmas market. The driver's
body, shot at close range, found in the passenger seat.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People go here to have a good evening. To have -- they drink wine and eat -- eat something and stay here and with friends or
family. And then they are dead.
GORANI: Thousands of mourners, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, filing into the famous Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Tuesday to pay
respect to the victims.
Merkel's re-election bid complicated by the assault as she faces growing concerns over her government's generous acceptance of nearly 900,000 asylum
seekers over the past year. Despite the fact that initial reports about the driver being a refugee were wrong, far-right leaders in Europe are already
casting blame on the German chancellor for the attack.
STEVENS: That was that Hala Gorani reporting. We'll be speaking live with Hala in Berlin in just a few minutes.
Just a few minutes ago, I spoke with CNN Terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank and asked him why German officials are sure this time that the suspect
they're looking for is, in fact, the right person.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They're moving heaven and earth right now to try and take him into custody, to locate him, to stop him from
carrying out more attacks.
We have seen this before as well, Andrew. Remember the Charlie Hebdo atttack back in January 2015, one of the attackers, Said Kouachi, also left
his ID papers behind in his get away car. In that case, well, it turned out to be actually the real attacker in
And of course we are hearing that there was a struggle inside of the cab of the truck between the
perpetrator and the truck driver. And it could have been during that struggle that these identity papers fell out. Presumably if you're going
to go on the run and try and invade security services, the last thing you want to do is leave your identity papers behind.
If he wanted to go that route, he could have gone a whole nine yards and left a long note to explain exactly why he did this. So, they're treating
this as if it's the real deal. Of course just yesterday they released somebody that for many hours they've thought was the actual perpetrator.
So, they could be very cautious in this investigation, very cautious in what they tell us in terms of definitive conclusions.
But, yes, they are really interested in finding this individual very, very quickly. They believe this is a matter of saving lives at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEVENS: Paul Cruickshank there, CNN's terrorism analyst.
Well, let's go now live to Hala Gorani. She joins us from Berlin. Hala, the place not saying much officially at this stage, but we have been able
to speak to contacts within the security forces tehre. What are they telling us about this -- the new information about the driver, the person
they think may be linked to this attack?
GORANI: Right. Well, they're saying they believe he is connected, this suspect, to this
wider network. And this is extremely significant, because it means that even though they arrested, detained and charged with terrorism offensive
the leader of the network that facilitated, for instance, the transfer of fighters to ISIS controlled territory in the Middle East, that means this
particular individual, if he's, indeed, connected to the attack, slipped through the net and this is something that is very dangerous for this
country, because it means that an armed and dangerous man with ISIS connections and sympathies is on the loose, it's as simple as that.
So, they are really racing against the clock. They've identified him as a Tunisian national, born in 1992, so a young man, 24, 25 years old.
Have they -- were they aware of his existence before but did nothing to stop him? I mean, this could be also an embarrassment for police. So,
we're waiting for more information about whether or not they had information on this particular individual, if they were ware of the
existence, if they knew, for instance, that he had ISIS sympathies, and then several months later it emerges that he's connected to this attack.
These are are all open questions. But this, once again, highlights the danger of some of these Islamist ISIS networks that are operating in
Europe, that because ISIS itself as a group, even though that it's weakening a bit in the Middle East, is still very much a pull for some of
these fighters, is able to inspire and in some ways operationally assist in the carrying out of these terrorists attacks, such as the one authorities say they believe took
place on Monday, Andrew.
STEVENS: And this particular network the Tunisian is being linked to, that was -- police raided them and actually arrested several members of it,
GORANI: Yeah, they did.
STEVENS: They did, an Iraqi national, in particular, nicknamed Abu Wallad (ph), a 32-year-old man who is -- makes no secret of the fact that he
supports ISIS. He's been charged with terrorism offenses. There have been others, the Turkish national, people with duel nationality as well, just a
collection of individuals, who authorities say are, or were, I should say, very active in promoting ISIS ideology, but also helping people travel back
and forth between ISIS-controlled territory and Europe and very, very much intent on helping this terrorist group organize and carry out the attacks
in this country.
So, it does tell you something interesting, which is if you do detain and neutralize the leader of the network, that you have others sympathetic to
the cause who maybe very closely or perhaps even more loosely connected to the group who are able to carry out these attacks. And that has to be very
scary in Germany, but in other parts of Europe, Andrew, because as you know, attack happened in
France, they happened in Brussels, now we're seeing one in Germany. These are countries that are all connected, it's easy to travel from one country
to the another. And so what is a wonderful thing for some people, which is that this, you know, continent is open and free and a
lot of people love that, well, there's that one negative aspect to it, which is it's also easy for people with very bad intentions to connect with
And in this particular instance, it could be the case. Although it seems as though this network, this sort of inter-regional, rather than European,
you know, it still is possible for some of these fighters and individuals to travel more freely from Europe to the Middle East.
So, there you have it,these are all open questions and we're waiting for more information from the police, but we hope to get that so that we're
clearer on exactly who this individual is.
STEVENS: And to your point, something like 800 Germans have traveled to the Middle East to fight for ISIS. And it's understood some probably a
third of them have been able to return to Germany, so they are in Germany at the moment.
Hala, I want to ask you about what has been happening today in Berlin. What developments have been going on?
GORANI: Well, this happened on Monday, today is Wednesday. Obviously, we're seeing some skips by appear, so it appears as though they're starting
to clean up that area where the truck rammed into the market stalls and killed all these people, 12 people, including the person in the cab of this
truck. So, there is an effort at cleanup, but it's still very much a somber and solemn mood. There's still these memorials and candles and
flowers and people are, you know, still very sad and in a state of shock and greed.
I think, though, at this point they really just want information about where the person responsible for this is or the people responsible for this
are, because they really want to be able to wrap this up.
It's a very tense and scary time for this country knowing that you have someone out there on the loose who might still want tod o some damage. And
it is a question, as Paul Cruickshank said, of saving lives at this point.
[08:10:50] STEVENS: And someone now we think linked to ISIS in Germany.
Hala Gorani in Berlin, thank you very much. We will be checking with Hala regularly and our other correspondents and experts as this story continues.
We will be following it minute by minute.
I want to move on right now, though, to another big story in Mexico. Investigators there looking for answer after a massive explosion ripped
through a fireworks market on Tuesday, at least 29 people lost their lives in this conflagration. You're looking at there.
Dozens more were wounded, many of them severely burned.
Our Sara Sidner has more.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexican authorities still searching for what exactly set off this massive fireworks explosion that
left dozens dead and even more injured. A horrifying sight in the town of Tultepec. Shooting flares ripping through the stadium-sized market place
about 25 miles north of Mexico City.
This towering gray cloud seen for miles. Images from above capture the chaos, showing emergency vehicles arriving on the scene, people running for
their lives. Many of the injured escaping with severe burns, including three children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): To tell you the truth, I do not know how I ran out of here. Everything was so horrible.
SIDNER (voice-over): After battling the blaze for hours, firefighters on the ground confirming the fires are now contained. But the devastation left
behind is staggering. Vehicles and metal charred. The marketplace bustling with holiday shoppers now reduced to rubble and ash. And this isn't the
first time this pyrotechnics market has been rocked by fire. This latest catastrophe marking the third time fires ravaged this location in the last
STEVENS: Sara Sidner reporting there. And just to remind you we are following fast moving
developments this hour in the hunt for a a Tunisian terror suspect in Berlin. Police are following every lead. The man they're looking for is
now believed to ahve been, or to have linked the man is now believed to have been or linked to an ISIS recruitment network that is operating within
The police found his papers inside the cabin of a truck that was used to plow through a crowd of shoppers on Monday evening. In all, 12 people lost
their lives, about 50 were injured.
The man is in the early 20s. Police say that he could be armed and dangerous.
You're watching News Stream, still ahead we'll be live in Berlin again for the latest on that terror investigation.
Plus, enveloped in small parts of China and choking on a pollution cloud. We have got the latest from our weather center.
[10:15:40] STEVENS: We continue to follow breaking news out of Germany this hour.
Police are right now on the hunt for a Tunisian man believed to be connected to Monday's terror
attack in Berlin. Investigators believe he was linked to an ISIS network that was in Germany. ISIS has already claimed that it inspired Monday's
truck rampage at a Christmas market.
In all, 12 people died, dozens more were injured when the truck plowed through through shoppers.
Well, as Germans mourn those killed in the attack, police are paying particular attention to
the fate of the first victim. This was the last picture taken of the truck driver. He was found dead inside his vehicle, having left Poland hours
Now, investigators say that mapping technology inside of the truck could help to piece together what happened in the lead up to the attack. Tom
Foreman has more.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the truck used in the attack owned by a Polish shipping company. It was on what should have been a routine run
delivering steel from Italy up into Germany when authorities believe it was hijacked in the outskirts of Berlin between 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon.
The driver killed. His body later found inside that cab.
How did they know it was this period of time? The shipping company back in Poland says its truck was outfitted with a sophisticated GPS system. They
told "The Mirror" newspaper that, basically, they saw odd behavior in this period of time, someone trying to start the truck twice and failing. And
then when it got rolling again, erratic driving up toward Berlin, as if somebody else was behind the wheel, not the regular driver.
By 5:00, they say, nonetheless, it had reached the Christmas market up here near Berlin. They tried to call the driver numerous times, no answer. What
happens next is also a mystery. For a few hours, it simply goes missing as it gets darker here, the foot traffic gets bigger.
And then the truck reappears down in here. Holiday markets highlighted here in red. And according to eyewitnesses, it begins accelerating, up to 40
less an hour, jumping the curb. This is where all of those stalls and people would have been, and plowing through people for about 250 feet
before finally coming to a stop down there.
Why did it stop? We don't know. It didn't hit any kind of major barrier we don't think. The police don't seem to have challenged or to have rammed it.
And there were no witnesses saying that they saw somebody get out and ran away, as far as we know at this point, only the murder victim found inside
the cab and an awful lot of questions for the investigators.
STEVENS: Tom Foreman there reporting.
We want to move to Turkey now, the scene of the private moment of grief after a brutal and public murder. Marina Karlov mourns her husband Andrei,
the Russian ambassador to Turkey before his body returned home.
He was assassinated while speaking at an art gallery in Ankara on Monday. It's not clear why he was targeted, but his attacker did shout, quote, do
not forget Aleppo. And the gunmen was killed at the scene.
Turkish They detained 12 people for questioning since that attack.
We're going to go live now to Moscow. Matthew Chance is standing by with more.
Matthew, how have Russians been acting to this assassination?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the public mood has been quite shocked. I mean, obviously, the way in which this ambassador
was killed, recorded on video, those images that we have all been horrified at have been of course broadcast time and again across the Russian media as
And just the way that assassin stood in the background looking like a security detail, although the Russian foreign ministry have denied he was
anything to do with the ambassador, before pulling out his weapon and shooting the ambassador nine times as the cameras continued to roll has
been quite shocking, and it's been a very blunt reminder to Russians as well that the war, which Russia is engaged in inside Syria, Russia's
military intervention, is not without consequences, and the consequences do occasionally spill over into not just the neighboring countries, but into
Russia's world as well. And obviously the ambassador appears to have been a victim of that.
In terms of the official sentiment, there is also a mood of national grief. The Russian President Vladimir Putin who says that he knew the ambassador
personally, having worked with him on several occasions in the region, has within the past few hours, announced that posthumously Ambassador Karlov
has been given the hero of the Russian federation awards, the highest honor that Russia can bestow on a civilian, and that's been obviously awarded
Because of his resilience and courage in his post, and the major contribution he made to the implementation of Russia's foreign policy
course, because Ambassador Karlove was also the Russian ambassador in his post when the Turks shot out the sky a Russian war plane that was on a
bombing raid in Syria, and so he was very instrumental in seeing Russia's foreign policy course and its dramatic fallout with Turkey during that
STEVENS: And there has been since then a noticeable warning and ties. In fact, the Russian leader was very quick to say that it would not affect the
normalization of relations between Russia and Turkey, Matthew.
But also on the piece talks in Syria, because Russia and Turkey are key players, even though they are on opposite sides of that conflict. Foreign
ministers are meeting in Russia. What happened?
CHANCE: Well, they said they're going to put out a road map. They're going to develop a road map -- this is the Russian, Turkish, and Iranian foreign
ministers that they met in Moscow yesterday for pre-planned talks to try and bring to an end the conflicts in Syria. It was interesting the United
States and other western countries were absent from that meeting. The representative from the Unite Nations was absent as well.
And so,y es, we've always said that Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides in the conflict in Syria, and that's true in the sense that Russia has been
four square behind Bashar al-ASsad, the Syrian president, and the Turks have backed rebel groups, various of them, opposed to Bashar a-Assad, but
it's not altogether clear that hat's going to be the Turkish policy moving forward in the sense that, you know, the Turks are now talking very closely
with the Russians to try and bring an end to this conflict that would undoubtedly be in the interests of both of those countries and the Iranians
And so we're seeing the emergency, potentially, of a new kind of access, a new alliance, between Russia, Iran, and NATO member Turkey when it comes to
the Syrian conflict. And that's a very interesting geopolitical development.
STEVENS: Indeed. OK, Matthew, thank you very much for that. Matthew Chance live in Moscow.
Now, as we said on Tuesday, Russia, Turkey and Iran did hold talks in Moscow to discuss ways of ending that Syrian civil war. The foreign
ministers from the countries as well as Iran said that they will work on finding a political solution to the brutal civil war. This as officials
say the evacuation of Aleppo could be coming to a close soon.
Turkey says around 37,000 people have been transported out so far. For more on that, let's go to
Muhammad Lila now. He joins us live from near the Turkish border with Syria,
And how are the evacuations progressing Muhammad
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand that there has been a delay in the last phase of the evacuations, but opposition
spokespeople on the ground say that they're not overly concerned. These delays sometimes happen.
You know, if you think about this as a marathon or a sprint, sometimes the last part of the race is the most important part. But we do understand
that the last groups that are ready to be evacuated from eastern Aleppo as well as a couple of other villages that have been surrounded by jihadi
militant groups are ready to be evacuated.
So, by all accounts, including official accounts from relief organizations, they are hoping that the east evacuations will be finished by the end of
But just very quickly if you look behind me, you can see the snow coming down, the snow is coming down here. It's been coming down in Aleppo as
well. And of course what that means is that the people that are outdoors waiting to be evacuated are now not only in the shivering cold, they're
also in the snow.
So, it becomes more precacrious and there's an added sense of urgency to get these people to safety as soon as possible.
STEVENS: OK. Muhammad, thank you for that. Muhammad Lila on the border in Turkey with Syria.
Now, northeast China continues to choke on smog so thick it's forced authorities to issue a red alert. This toxic cloud. It was also impacted
22 other cities for several days now. It covers an area of more than 10 million square kilometers.
And it's been so bad that flights have had to be canceled, factories shot and schools closed, well, almost every school. These students -- take a
look at this -- these students forced the sit for an exam outside despite, well take a look at the conditions. They are sitting in exam, these kids.
State media says that the headmaster at the Hainan (ph) Province School has been suspended.
Let's go to meteorologist Jennifer Gray monitoring it for us in China. Jennifer Gray monitoring the situation for us, and what's happening in
Jennifer, I think it's something like 460 million people are living in this toxic cloud and have been for more than four days now. What's the outlook
[10:25:18] GRAY: It really is unbelievable when you look at these pictures and what these people are going through. This has been really bad since
Friday or so. It is expected to get better in the next couple of days.
But look at this, it almost looks like fog, but it's actually that toxic smog. Look at it, you can barely even see the buildings in the background.
People are wearing the masks. Look at these statues even have masks on there as a sign of of what people are going through, unfortunately.
This is a satellite image taken from a couple of days ago. Right now there's so much cloud
cover, you can't see the smog underneath, so we showed this image so you can get an idea of what it looks like from space.
Beijing 467, that's the level. Look at it's hazardous across all of these northern areas. In fact, not quite as bad as you get unfortunately,
though, all of this smog it is going to continue to push through the south over the next couple of days. So the air quality is unhealthy today. It
is going to get a little bit better tomorrow, and then we are -- or Friday -- and then we are going to see very unhealthy and hazardous conditions by
Saturday and Sunday, so it gets better for two days and then goes right back to that unhealthy category.
Here is why, we do have a storm system across portions of China, very heavy rain. It's going to bring those winds out of the north. The rain and also
the snow is going to clear some of this out and those winds are going to push that smog down to the south, so the areas that look a little bit
better and the map I showed you before will actually get worse in the coming days as
all of that pushes to the south.
Here is that storm system right there draping across. It is going to push through the east in the coming days. It's going to clear out and then
those winds out of the north are going to push all of that down to the south.
Here is the seven day forecast. You can see a lot of of sunshine over the next few days. So it looks like the rain for the most part wrapping up, at
least for the extended period, those winds will help push it out and Andrew is going to make the areas to the south pretty bad as well.
STEVENS: And Hong Kong is to the south. Something to look forward to.
Jennifer, thank you so much for that.
There's a new term now called smog refugees in China as people try to escape those toxic conditions.
German authorities have linked their lead suspect in the Berlin terror attack to an ISIS recruitment network that operated inside Germany.
They're now searching for a Tunisian man in his early 20s. German police tell CNN they have conducted raids in northern Germany where the suspect
He's wanted in connection to the Monday attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, a truck was hijacked on its way from Poland into the city and a
driver plowed it mercilessly through a crowd of shoppers.
12 people were left dead, dozens more injured, several critically.
We're staying on top of all developments on the manhunt underway. And we'll bring you the very latest.
And make sure you stay with News Stream. We've also got more on these breaking developments out of Berlin on the other side as well as Donald
Trump's big test. What the president-elect's response to the attack tells us about how he might handle things on the world stage.
[08:32:21] STEVENS: Now, for the latest on the manhunt happening right now in Germany.
For more, we're joined by CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. He is in London, and Paul you have been speaking to your sources inside German
security, you're able to ascertain that the man that they are looking for has links to ISIS. What were the contacts
CRUICKSHANK: Well, let's be careful what the security officials are telling me is that he had links to a recruitment network for ISIS inside
Germany, linked to a radical figure, an Iraqi called Abu Walla (ph) in his 30s who was sending people from Germany to Syria and Iraq and smuggling
them in to join the terrorist group.
This was active in the north Rhine area, North Rhine Westphalia, in Germany. And that is where the suspected Tunisian perpetrator behind this
attack has believed to have been from.
And I'm now told that there have been raids in North Rhine Westphalia today by German security services linked to this investigation, but they do not
yet have this Tunisian suspect in custody, a suspect who does have these ties to an extremist organization operating on German soil. And the
professed -- well, the alleged leader of this organization, an individual known as Abu Walla (ph), according to German prosecutors, was a self-
professed member of ISIS, or at least that's what he kind of told people, extremists in the region.
Now that recruitment network was rolled up partially in November when German security
services made a number of key arrests five individuals, including Abu Walla, were arrested in those raids, and charges have been brought, Andrew.
STEVENS: It does beg the question, if the police knew the Tunisian man had links with this network, why were they not keeping tabs on it?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it's one of those -- when did they know what they now know kind of questions. And we're going to have to sort that all out in
the hours ahead.
But I'm also told that this individual was arrested in August in (inaudible) in southern Germany with fake documents on his way to Italy.
So at least for that reason they were on -- he was on the radar screen as well.
So, they're not clear know much they knew about his ties to this extremist network in North Rhine Westphalia, but if they of course did have some
knowledge of that, then there will be many questions for the German security services, the German government in the hours and days ahead.
But the bottom line really is that there are just a lot of substantial numbers, thousands of the suspected extremists inside of Germany. And they
can't monitor all of these people all of the time. They can only really take them into custody if they have evidence to convict them and charge
them for a crime.
And in this case this individual who had fake documents, we are told, traveling to Italy in August was let go by a judge, because there was not
enough evidence, it seems, to hold him in that case.
[08:36:09] STEVENS: Is there any sort of -- or do you have any understanding of how deeply entrenched ISIS or ISIS support groups are in
Germany, how widespread it is?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, there are some metrics. We're told that there's about 9,000 people inside of Germany who are the Salafi fundamentalist who
subscribe to a very puritanical form of the religion and some of those can be vulnerable to kind of jihadi recruitment, about 1,000 of them are
considered potentially violent by German security agencies and other metrics. We've seen more than 800 German residents travel to Syria and
Iraq to join groups like ISIS, about a third of them have come back to Germany.
And then the biggest metric of all, Andrew, is the more of million refugees that have come into the country, many of whom are from Syria and many of
whom are dislocated young Sunni men and of course woman, who are trying to forge a new life in Germany. The vast majority of them are doing so quite
successfully, but of course there are some bad apples, and there is worry that some of these youngsters are being radicalized by just exactly the
kind of indigenous radical...
STEVENS: Paul, you will have to excuse me. I just need to interrupt you. We have got a live event just happening right now. Let's leave Paul for a
moment. Thank you for that. The German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere is speaking to media about the attack. Let's listen in.
(GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER PRESS CONFERENCE)
[08:46:48] STEVENS: OK. You have been listening to a press conference there in Berlin
from authorities bringing us up to date with what they know about the Tunisian man who is being sought in connection with the deadly attack in
the Christmas market. He is believed to be the driver, or at least the police are saying that they want to question him as to whether he was the
driver after some identity papers were found in the cab of the truck -- this Tunisian man's identity papers.
Let's bring in Paul Cruickshank now who also was listening to that news conference. Paul, and it sort of chimes in what you were saying earlier,
that this Tunisian man was going to be deported. He had applied for asylum in Germany, but had been rejected.
CRUICKSHANK: Yes, and so lots of questions for German authorities about why he was still in the country, somebody who was part of extremist circles
inside Germany, somebody that was linked to an ISIS recruitment network operating in North Rhine Westphalia, whose key leaders were arrested and
charged back in November, somebody that was also on the radar screen, because they had trying to get a gun, I'm told, by a German security
official at a certain point on the radar screen of the German police because of that.
So, all sorts of questions about potential missed opportunities here, but there's always going to be this sort of Monday morning quarterbacking in
these cases and the unfortunate reality is that right across Europe is they are stretched really thin. They can't monitor everybody all of the time,
they can just monitor a small fraction of these known radicals at any one moment, because it's so prohibitively expensive and needs so much manpower.
But of course there will still be many questions about missed opportunities potentially in this investigation.
We will have sort through about what German authorities exactly at what moment. But this individual appears to be on the radar screen in various
ways to the German police and then the German security apparatus.
STEVENS: Yeah, absolutely. I mean listening to that press conference that from the German's in translation that it looked like he was going to be
deported, that his status as an asylum seeker had been refused. He was registered as a person posing a risk.
And as you were saying earlier with your contacts telling you that he was linked to this ISIS network, this network who were recruiting fighters to
go to the Middle East, you would have thought that pulling all of those strings together, this person would have been someone of very high interest
to the police.
Does it surprise you, Paul, with your knowledge of the operations of security forces, that someone of that sort of status could obviously
disappear from the radar, disappear off -- from the watching eyes of the authorities?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, yeah this is not Jason Bourne, right. I mean, the security services have limited resources, limited manpower, limited
budgets. And unless you want to establish some kind of security state, they're not going to be able to follow everybody all the time. And these
are democratic societies, rule of law. You can only incarcerate people in Germany if you have got evidence for a crime. And you know the judicial
system there until this moment hadn't sort of convicted him at least in Germany that we know of, --or charged him with any serious crime. So,
impossible to sort of put someone like that in custody unless you have the evidence. And getting that evidence is very very difficult for the police
and for the security services right across Europe at a time when some of these extremist are communicating using encrypting apps which are
impossible for security services to intercept between the sender and the receiver.
So, these are huge challenges, we are going to see more cases like, unfortunately we've seen them in the past with the Pais attacks, the
majority of those people who were part of that cell who carried it were on the radar screen of European security services before the attack. And the
problem is that people can kind of disappear, go to grounds and it's difficult for authorities to track them all of the time.
STEVENS: Yeah, and as you point out, one alternative is a police state, and Angela Merkel has made it very, very clear, as did her interior
ministry, that the sort of terrorism attacks cannot undermine the liberal values of countries like Germany.
CRUICKSHANK: That's right. I mean -- yeah, it did not work out so well last time Germany had a police state.
Paul Cruickshank , thank you so much. We will continue to check in with Paul throughout the coming hours as we get more information and try to pull
together the pieces and get reporting of what is happening in Germany.
We're going take a short break. We'll be back in just a moment.
STEVENS: An update now on the latest developments coming out of Germany. Police have been carrying out raids in western Germany in connection with
the terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin.
They say a Tunisian man wanted in connection with Monday's attack lived in the area where those raids are taking place.
They're trying to track him down after his identity papers were found inside the truck that
plowed into a group of shoppers. Investigators believe the man is linked to an ISIS recruitment network. ISIS has already claimed it inspired the
attack. In all, 12 people were killed, dozens more were injured.
Donald Trump's response to the attack in Germany is a telling sign of how he might handle global crises. Well, CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The quick detention of a suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack had all the hallmarks of
terrorism. Soon after, Donald Trump issuing the statement blaming Islamist terrorists saying, "Their regional and worldwide networks must be
Trump reacting to the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey and an attack on a mosque in Switzerland, tweeting "It is only getting worse.
The civilized world must change thinking."
[08:55:32] SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Mr. Trump has made it very, very clear he understands the threat that radical
Islamic terrorism poses to our nation and, frankly, to our friends and neighbors around the globe. And that we've got to be able to call it what
it is and then root it out.
STARR: But hot spots facing Trump may only grow. And there are questions if he is ready for it. Trump's spokesman says he is getting briefed by his,
quote, "national security team," but will not say if he has agreed to start briefings from government intelligence officials.
ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: This is not the business world. And, you know, he is going to get that call at 3:00 in the
morning with a crisis and he is going to have to act. He is the president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Allahu Akbar!
STARR: Trump now getting a sense of what it means to deal with the Taliban. On a disturbing new video, an American woman and her Canadian husband held
hostage by the group since 2012 appear with their children, begging both Trump and President Obama to free them.
Some say as threats grow, the president-elect needs to consider turning down his rhetoric because terrorists can appear to win with little effort.
JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: The fact is there is nothing the United States can do to prevent one guy from getting
in one truck once a year and trying to kill people.
STARR (on-camera): And in another potential hot spot, China now returning that drone to the U.S. Navy that it took out of the water several days ago.
Many analysts we are talking to say they believe China is still sending a message to Donald Trump that it will remain a player on the world stage and
a power broker in the South China Sea, despite Trump raising the prospect of changing the long-standing U.S. One China policy.
Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
STEVENS: That is News Stream. Thanks for joining us. I'm Andrew Stevens. Next, our Maggie Lake will have much more on the situation in Germany.