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American Killed in Mali Terror Attack; Terror Threat in Brussels; Manhunt for Key Suspect Goes Worldwide. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 20, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Well said, Anderson, fallen hero indeed. Stay right there, we're going to need you to bring us up to date.
It is 10 p.m. on the East Coast, 4 a.m. in Paris where you are. This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Our breaking news, a serious and imminent terror threat in Brussels. We have the latest on that. And one week after the attacks that shattered the city of light. The manhunt for a key terror suspect goes worldwide as the death toll rises to 130.
Authority say the woman found dead after a police raid did not blow herself up. We're learning more about her tonight.
And meanwhile, terror spreads 6,000 miles to another continent. Gunman with AK-47s burst into a luxury hotel in Mali, forcing guests and employees to run for their lives. At least 21 people are dead including one American. The Islamist militants claiming responsibility along with an Al Qaeda affiliate.
Now, is Al Qaeda locked in a deadly competition with ISIS?
I want to begin with our breaking news tonight and the terror level in Brussels raise to the highest level amidst warnings of a serious and imminent threat.
Drew Griffin is on that story for us. Drew, hello to you. A new threat to Brussels. What do you know?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: It came in the middle of the night from the interior ministry. A level four alert which said there is an imminent and serious threat to Brussels which is why this region-wide warning has gone out.
Don, something is going on in this town but I can't quite figure out what. We just took a picture of a bus load of what looked like a military police, armed military police in a caravan of other police vehicles. And when we tried to take video they came over here and told us we needed to stop taking video.
We do know this alert came out in the middle of the night. It does talk about a serious and imminent threat but nothing specific, and only tells people of Brussels now to avoid places with high concentrations of people. To avoid concerts, major events, train stations, airports, public transport, and high commercial concentrations.
Don, that's just about every place in this entire city. Most of the public is sleeping, they don't know much about this. There is going to be a public announcement we are told tomorrow morning. We'll have to see actually in just a few hours from now, we'll have to see how they react.
But a much bigger, heavier police presence and military presence on the streets of Brussels. But we just don't know exactly what this is about.
LEMON: My goodness, telling people to stay off of public transportation and out of crowded areas group. They are taking this threat very seriously. Is there a precedent for this?
GRIFFIN: It's never been done before; level four for an entire region. They've been making this threat assessments since 2006. We were at level three earlier in the week. The rest of Belgium is at level three. But specifically for Brussels this is the first time a region has ever got into a level four alert. So, it is somewhat unprecedented.
LEMON: Drew Griffin in Brussels for us. Drew, thank you very much. I want to go to back now to Anderson, and also bring in Paul Cruickshank in Paris. Paul, what are your associates telling you about -- about Brussels?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Don, there is significant concern tonight in Brussels about the possibility that there is a terrorist plots in the works to hit Brussels. I think that's why you have the maximum terror alert for the capital.
There's been concern all week about this eighth attacker in Paris, Salah Abdeslam that he might be back in Brussels, back in Belgium. But I think this goes well beyond that. I think this is a larger scale concern now, that there may be something being planned in Brussels in the days ahead.
And I don't think they have a very good handle on what it is and what direction it's coming from. Otherwise, I don't think they would basically tell everybody in Brussels to stay home tomorrow.
I mean, this is an unprecedented step, telling people not to go to airports, train stations, any public spaces where crowds gather. There is clearly a high level of concern that something may be in the works. And when you think of this terrorist attack in Paris that took place on Friday, it had a precedent.
There was this plot in Belgium that was thwarted in January. The ringleader in that plot was the same guy, Abdelhamid Abaaoud who was coordinating a group ISIS fighters in Belgium in January to launch a major gun and bomb attack somewhere in Belgium.
[22:04:57] They'd acquired police uniforms in that plot and the concern was that they were going to use them to gain access to sensitive sites.
Belgian authorities managed to arrest some of the plotters. There was a fierce fire fight in Eastern Belgium where they manage to kill two of the plotters arrest, a key logistician who was part of the plot.
But at that time they did not feel that they rounded up the whole cell. There was quite a lot of concern. And clearly, Abdelhamid Abaaoud was -- managed to evade the international dragnet that followed that plot.
And then, in the month afterwards plotted this terrorist attack in Paris which was going to be a two-wave terrorist attack, first on Friday with that horrendous attack. And then they were planning a second wave of attack with the -- where all of us media gathered here. The worry is that something in addition may be planned for Belgium.
LEMON: Yes. And, Anderson, you know, you've been there covering this all week. This is just shows you how all, all of Europe is on edge right now. And Brussels is taking this threat very seriously, obviously.
COOPER: Yes. No doubt about it. And, you know, there had been many raids, both in Belgium and also, I mean, hundreds of raids here throughout France are using the fact that there are these special emergency powers, the state of emergency that's been put into effect and have been extended for another three months.
Several hundred raids, police are really trying to sort of shake the trees, if you will, to try to see what -- what falls out, what intelligence they can gather. We're learning more information now about that raid that took place in Saint Denis.
As you know, Don, just yesterday, authorities were saying that the woman who was killed in that raid, the cousin of the ringleader, Abaaoud, that she had actually detonated a suicide device. They are now saying today, that is not the case. That she did not detonated the device but she was killed in the raid.
It's not clear if she was killed when someone else detonated the device or if she was shot to death. But she is dead. They've also now said there is a third person whose remains they found in that apartment.
So, that was three people who was killed. The ringleader, her cousin -- excuse me, his cousin, the female woman who was thought to be a bomber, and an unidentified male, who, we have yet to find out more about.
So, there's a lot of information still coming to light and no doubt in the days and weeks ahead we'll get a clearer picture of exactly what went on.
LEMON: Hey, Anderson and Paul, I'm going to talk more about what you're discussing there in just a moment. Will you stay with us because I want to bring in Pamela Brown now with some disturbing news in this country. Pamela Brown is here with us. Pamela, there is new information from U.S. officials that at least one
of the eight Paris attackers could have travelled to the U.S. What are your sources telling you?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. For days, Don, we've been trying to answer that question. Could any of them have travelled to the U.S.?
And what we're learning from talking to counterterrorism officials and intelligence officials is that at least one of the Paris attackers had a clean enough background that he likely wouldn't have raised any flags and would have gone -- got into the U.S. pretty easily.
In fact, one of the officials we spoke to, Don, said at least three of them would have likely gained entry into the U.S. if they had tried. There is no indication that any of them travelled here at this point in the investigation.
We've learned that four of the attackers were in this broad terror data base run by the intelligence community called TIDE, and that at least one of them was in on the no-fly list. But, Don, there is great concern among the law enforcement community in the United States here that some of them could have slipped through.
And also there is disagreement as well, some intelligence officials we have spoken to have said, we had enough intelligence that that would have most likely prevented these attackers from getting into the U.S. But you talked to other people who say we didn't know much about these people at all.
And so, there is divide depending on which agency you talk to which is concerning.
LEMON: Yes. Does this -- does this expose a problem with intelligence sharing, Pamela?
BROWN: Absolutely. I've spoken to several officials who say this reflects the issue that they've been having. First of all, European officials have incomplete information on people they suspect could be radicalized or tied to Jihadist because they're so overwhelmed with all of these people going over to Syria and coming back. And they're focused on those that have returned.
There is that aspect of it. There is the sharing aspect of it as well, Don. Sharing intelligence. And I think we saw that play out this week with Abaaoud, someone officials thought was in Syria, then we find out not only was he in France, but he was on train, a subway train in Paris during the attacks.
I think that was a big wakeup call, too, that intelligence isn't being shared and that methods aren't being used effectually.
LEMON: Pamela Brown, thank you very much. I appreciate that. Back to Paris now, Paul Cruickshank. Paul, let's talk about some information that you can help us. But we know that an attack in this country is the goal for ISIS. [22:10:02] So, how do we prevent that if we don't enough intelligence for them to be stopped trying to get into this country?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, as Pamela is reporting, I think it is almost be very disturbing for a number of Americans that a number of these attackers could have got on to planes, come to the United States. And I think that is the easiest path now for ISIS to launch an attack on the U.S. homeland. And they want to do this, Don.
I mean, that's the basic fact. And it would be great for them in terms of their global rivalry with Al Qaeda. They've been ratcheting up the propaganda, threatening attacks against the United States.
The most likely immediate threat in the United States is more of the ISIS inspired variety people who are still in the United States that have become radicalized that want to fight ISIS' war back in the United States.
But I think perhaps, the more concerning threats in the medium term is that ISIS manages to recruit European extremists, perhaps who traveled to Syria to get training and then getting them on to planes from Europe to the United States with the possibility of making bombs, TATP, suicide vests in the United States. And then going to gun shops and it's so easy to get extraordinarily
powerful weapons in the U.S.
So, I think that's something that U.S. officials are going to be very concerned about in the weeks ahead. And clearly, everybody has just to have -- get better on intelligence sharing. And they have a chronic problem here in Europe.
There's no European FBI. There are all these different sovereignties and -- and they have to make some changes now. Otherwise, we're going to have to unfortunately have more repeats of what we've seen play out in the last week.
LEMON: It makes the sharing...
CRUICKSHANK: This is a very concerning -- very concerning time indeed. Because that the wider network is still there in Syria they are still plotting these attacks, people who are connected and working with Abdelhamid Abaaoud including Fabien Clain, who is likely the senior ringleader in this plot, I understand still there.
The guy who claimed responsibility for this still persuading this fresh recruits coming in to ISIS to come back to Europe, to launch attacks, and potentially even to come to the United States.
LEMON: Speaking of ISIS and and we know where Abaaoud obviously, it was confirmed that he had died. But where is -- have they figured out where Abdeslam is? Have they figured out any info -- any new information on that?
CRUICKSHANK: The last time I checked in with Belgium counterterrorism officials they had no idea whatsoever where he was. No idea whether he was in Brussels, whether he was in Belgium, whether he was in some other country. And of course, that's terribly frustrating for the Belgians.
Because the French stopped him 9 o'clock in the morning on the Saturday after he got picked up by a couple of friends who came driving all the way through the night to pick him up after he called them up after the attacks.
But they didn't realize at 9 o'clock in the morning when they stopped him that he was a suspect at that time. It was just a few hours later, literally two hours later that they put all those pieces together. By that time, though, he'd driven on with those two friends.
They arrested the two other friends in Molenbeek. But he evaded capture and they have little idea of where he is. And it's possible that he's gone to ground somewhere. Clearly, as he start to moving around he is going to be vulnerable because he is the most wanted man in Europe right now.
And once there is he could be some cellar somewhere in Molenbeek, his home turf, where there is this logistical support network. Not all of whom are being arrested because the bomb maker is still also believed to be at large, Don, according to Belgium officials.
LEMON: Paul, there is new surveillance video of Abaaoud in Paris around the time of the attacks on last Friday. Does it give us any more clues to his involvement?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, it was near the scene of one of the attacks. That suggests that perhaps he could have had some involvement, perhaps driving one of the cars. We don't know the pieces of that puzzle yet. But clearly, he was never going to be part of that first wave in terms of becoming a suicide bomber in terms of being an attacker.
He clearly wanted to be a part of the second wave, which was probably going to be a more ambitious way, certainly a more spectacular wave given that the fact that the world's media had congregated on Paris the whole global attention here. And they were minutes perhaps away from launching something truly terrible.
We do not know what they were planning to do, what they were planning to hit. But the sheer arsenal of weaponry, the suicide vests that they had there that -- that fierce fire fight with French commandos suggests that they would have had an enormous amount of fire power to go somewhere crowded in Paris that morning and -- and that would have traumatized France in a much greater way than even what happened on Friday, Don.
[22:15:10] LEMON: Paul Cruickshank, I appreciate your expertise, sir. Thank you very much.
When we come right back, terror, half a world away from Paris. A hotel siege that left at least 21 people dead, including one American. Is it a sign of a deadly competition between Al Qaeda and ISIS? Plus, fears that one of the Paris attackers likely would have been
able to travel here under the visa, under the visa waiver program. How worried should we be about terror on the home front?
LEMON: Our breaking news, Brussels on the highest terror alert tonight. Belgian officials citing a serious and imminent threat of an attack.
And meanwhile, an Islamist militant group claims responsibility for the deadly assault in Mali with the help of Al Qaeda. Does this mean ISIS and Al Qaeda are in a deadly competition?
Joining me now to talk about this is Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, he is a correspondent for Vice. And also Juliette Kayyem, Philip Mudd, our security experts here on CNN.
Good evening to all of you. We're going into this weekend very scary for, really -- you know, Juliette, I had a friend who just said my daughter is in Germany right now, she's at a concert. Should I be worried? And my answer to him was probably all of Europe you need to -- you need to take precautions.
[22:19:57] JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think that's right. I'm the mother of three children and I surely feel unease even though I'm in this field. And it's right to do so. I mean, for someone in Germany right now or any advices obviously, it is a tense time.
But the increased security is serving or should serve as a deterrent for any activity, particularly countries that are focused on it like in Europe. But also, as I've been saying all week, you know, you can only minimize the risk so much.
I mean, as we see in Mali, I mean, just a couple guys walk into a hotel and it's an international and global terrorism incident. So, we can lower the risk. But part -- part of this new world order is also accepting a level of risk for being in cities and living in society.
LEMON: Absolutely. Philip, do you think that there will be an increase in coordination now. Because you heard -- you heard our correspondents talking about, you know, that sharing, there is a problem with sharing information. There will be more coordination and intelligence sharing after the events in the past week and what we're seeing tonight in Brussels?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Don, I think there is going to be some tough questions in the coming days. The question is going to be, if an individual from this plot travelled to the United States, did any European country have information that would have led the United States to deny a visa?
We're 14 years after 9/11. The lesson in the United States after 9/11 between the FBI and the CIA was you've got to share information better. I think 14 years on, the lesson among European countries is going to be, if you have information on one of your citizens and to protect that citizen, you're not passing information, the answer is going to be, you can't do that anymore.
So, we don't have the full answer yet. But I fear what we'll discover is that Europeans knew things that should have been passed to the Americans and then might have prevented one of the -- one of the attackers from traveling here.
LEMON: Philip, hey, could this news, this maximum terror alert in Brussels have something to do with the hunt for Salah Abdeslam?
MUDD: I think the answer is yes. What you're looking at in the security service is two things. First, after the attack any security service is going to operate on an abundance of caution. If I were sitting at the FBI or CIA today where I served for -- for 25 years, you're going to react very quickly to even a blip on the screen.
But the extent of this warning, to me, it suggests that the Belgians have more than just concern. You don't shut down a city like this unless you've got information that suggests that something is at foot.
MUDD: Maybe that somebody is coming into the country that people are there about to stage an attack. This is just too broad a warning to be -- to be disseminated just because you have a broad concern.
LEMON: You got to -- Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, you've got here in the United States, of course you know what happened in Paris. Is this what ISIS wants?
AHMED SHIHAB-ELDON, VICE CORRESPONDENT ON HBO: Yes. I think ISIS wants to use fear as the weapon of terrorism in order to, you know, drive home the point that it's perception at the end of the day when these things happened that take precedent over fact.
And they want to use fear so manipulate people to react in a way where that you close down cities, and they want specifically to create this illusion that this is not just terrorism against all. This is terrorism, a war on terror between Islam and the West.
They want to make the very notion of Islam to seem incompatible with the West. they want this to be framed as clashes of civilizations, which is unfortunately, how it's unfolding because that is what they depend on for their survival.
And for as much as there are differences between Al Qaeda and ISIS, it's important to focus on the similarities that they, you know, come from an ideological kind of perspective.
LEMON: Is this a competition between them?
SHIHAB-ELDON: Yes. Which is -- yes. I mean, it is a competition perhaps, but I don't know that that's necessarily the right question. The question is, what unites them, you know, the invasion in Iraq, the occupation -- Al Qaeda was just, you know, made up and consisted of several hundred members back before 2001, and now they're stronger than ever.
We have ISIS on the other hand now, even though they're primarily focused on their territory and their caliphate. You see that they are increasingly targeting those who are making or obstructing their ability to expand their caliphate. Like the Russian jetliner that was, you know, attacked after Russia's sort of launching air strike.
The same is true with France. We saw in September they increased their attacks and now their cities were attacked. So, this is all part of ISIS strategy.
LEMON: Paul, what do mean an echo effect, you call this an echo effect?
MUDD: I would call this an echo effect because what you're seeing across the world is -- especially in Mali is groups looking at successes from their perspective like what happened in Paris and saying, look, if we're going to compete not only for global attention but for recruits and money, we've got to have the same kind of operations that we're seeing from ISIS.
So, if we look at what happened this morning in Mali, you might have an Al Qaeda organization saying, it's not just about getting control of the air waves, it's about ensuring that in this competition with ISIS, that we compete for money and recruits with an organization, that is ISIS, that has controlled the air waves over the past couple of years.
[22:24:58] LEMON: We continue our conversation, so stay with us, everyone, with word that one of the Paris attackers could have entered the U.S. through a visa waiver program.
Is American Homeland Security tight enough? We're going to talk about that next.
LEMON: Breaking news tonight, U.S. Officials say at least one of the Paris attackers might have been able to get into the United States through the visa waiver program, a sign that the fight against terror has spread worldwide.
Back with me now is Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, also Juliette Kayyem and Philip Mudd.
Juliette, I want to ask you this, we saw the mayor and police commissioner of New York City saying the other night, go out, enjoy, just, you know, make sure you're -- you are aware of your surroundings but we're going to keep you safe.
And then you have Brussels where they are telling people to stay off public transportation and out of crowded areas. Certainly, too, they are handling this two different ways. Why is that? KAYYEM: Well, that's going to be just based on the intelligence that Brussels is clearly reading right now because this is a very, very draconian response. And my guess is that they anticipated something very quickly or a group has gone dark, so they're -- they're very nervous.
[22:30:03] And it's probably the right thing to do given the climate there. So, and each city is going to be different based on the intelligence that we know at this stage that's occurring in each city, and each city is going to be different. So, we just have to recognize this. There is not going to be one global response to this and there will be surprises.
I mean, this is the challenge right now. And while we try to lower the risk we also have to, you know, sort of put cops out in the streets. We have to prepare people for what to do if something bad happens. We don't talk about that enough.
But, you know, give people the education and the skills that they might need if something happens in a public place. Where should they go? Where should their children go? Soon as cell service is down. Those basic preparedness initiatives are really important that people like me talk honestly about. Because the truth is, that you're just never going to get the risk down to zero.
LEMON: Yes. Philip, do you agree with that? Because to Ahmed's point, this is what the terrorists want. And in New York City they are trying hard not to give the terrorists what they want.
MUDD: Look, I'll be in New York City tomorrow afternoon. I can tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to go out on the city. I think the message back to terrorists has to be quite straight forward. You want to change our way of life, the definition of terror is trying to persuade people to shift away from their way of life because you have attacks that convince them that they can't live life safely in a free society.
So, I think the message is pretty straight forward. We do have an ISIS presence in the United States. The FBI director has talked about investigations in all 50 states. But as soon as you say and the Parisians have been quite good about this.
As soon as you say I'm going to stay home tonight because I'm worried about the threat in my -- in my world, you play into their narrative.
LEMON: Ahmed, how does ISIS want to define this war on terror?
AHMED SHIHAB-ELDIN, VICE CORRESPONDENT ON HBO: Well, as I told you, I mean, they want to define this as a clash of civilizations as Islams versus the West, as Islam not being welcomed in the West.
And that's why for as much as I agree with, you know, what the other guests are saying, beyond just that, you know, not wanting to disrupt their lives or to have to stay at home, they also want us to turn and they want local populations in the West to turn against Muslims because this creates and legitimize this -- them as the sole arbiters of that, which is Islam.
Which is why when we've seen not majority of American governors, for example, come out and say, you know, Syrian refugees are not welcome in America, that plays also directly into ISIS' play book. Because they view these Syrian refugees as traitors, they fled.
LEMON: We have 33 percent of Americans also uphold they are saying the same thing. There are some who believe that the president is on the wrong side of the American people and that he should rethink his stance on this issue. What do you think of that?
SHIHAB-ELDIN: I think, you know, again, this is not just on the individual or collective level of that, terrorists use fear to try and manipulate them to react emotionally, whether it's policy or whether its, you know, people themselves.
And that's why terrorism is so powerful. You know, we're now focusing on conversations that perhaps we shouldn't be focusing on because there are more important conversations like how ISIS formed in camp Bucca under the Iraqi occupation, and more importantly, for example, the role of Saudi Arabia in exporting Wahhabism.
LEMON: But that's how you start, though. I mean, you see -- you have to start a conversation somewhere. And I mean, you know, we're not opposed to those conversations but it's also in the way you have those conversations.
And speaking of the President, President Barack Obama in Kuala Lumpur tonight, he just spoke very strongly about the attacks in Paris and in Mali saying, and once again, this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this challenge. So, what happens now in the war on terror, Philip Mudd?
MUDD: Look, one of the challenges you have in the situation is collecting intelligence in the battlefield and operating against the adversary. ISIS will never win, partly because they have an ideology that can't transition from intimidating people into governing.
But what happens now is look at the range of adversaries ISIS' has developed. Russia, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, the United States, and now Europe which talked for years, about its concern about America being involved in a global war on terror saying we are at war against ISIS.
I think over time, ISIS in the short term has had people say on the fringes of Europe and the United States maybe this is an organization I should join. But the array of adversaries that they have gotten against them to my mind, along with the fact that they have an ideology that has no future, they're sealing their demise even if in a short term they gain a lot of headlines. They're just -- they're just sort of drawing too many adversaries against them. Everybody now opposes ISIS.
LEMON: Hey, I want to ask you this, Juliette, a quick question, this about France, OK? The French government today voted to extend that state of emergency now for three additional months. Do you think that was the right thing to do? KAYYEM: I think it was -- yes. I think it was the right thing to do.
They're -- they're still under essentially an imminent threat. What I like about it and we can debate the substance of is France is recognizing that they're not thinking straight.
[22:35:03] You know, in other words, they know three months from now, the world is going to look very different. And so, they have sort of tying their hands three months from now to then reinstitute it.
That's very unlike what the United States did after the 9/11 with the Patriot Act and then they ended up being a lot of controversy about it. So, in some ways, France recognizes that they are in a different position today than they will be 90 days from now. And that's how democracies actually, you know, either respond, but then go back to normal.
We are not -- just picking on one sure sense. We are going to be in this state for the -- for eternity. This is a bad moment. And we recognize the tragedy that happened. But we have to keep our heads. I mean, you know, just this the Syrian refugee or this Islam bashing, it is just everyone keep their heads.
This is a -- this is a struggle and it is dangerous. But, this is something that we will deal with. And I think it's just very important that we take the long view at this stage because the last week has been a lot of, I think very dangerous talk for democracies.
LEMON: And knee-jerk reaction from a lot of people. I appreciate all of you. Thank you so much. Have a very safe weekend. Thanks for joining us.
Coming up, the world after the Paris attacks. What have we learned about the terrorists and how to fight them?
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: A worldwide manhunt underway tonight for terror suspect, Salah Abdeslam, just seven days after the devastating Paris terror attacks shocked the world.
Joining me now is Alan Dershowitz, the author of a new book called "Abraham, the World's First But Certainly Not the Last Jewish Lawyer." Interesting title. And also with me is Pete Hoekstra, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
I can't wait to talk to you, gentlemen. Thank you so much for joining us. Pete, I'm going to go to you first. You know, it's now exactly one week, I can't believe it, from those heinous attacks on Paris. Has the world significantly changed in one week?
PETE HOEKSTRA, FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Absolutely. The, you know, the process started really two and a half weeks, three weeks ago, when you had ISIS taking down the Russian plane over the Sinai Peninsula, then you had the bombings in Beirut, and then you have what happened in Paris. And then since that time, you know, you've had the aftermath in Paris,
you've also had the attack in Mali. The world is a very, very different place and no one is sure what it looks like or what the threat environment is today.
So, everybody is kind of hopefully listening and learning as to how we can move forward and keep, you know, multiple countries safe at this time.
LEMON: A lot of people are telling me that they are listening this, Mr. Hoekstra, and learning on the street and people are telling me, today, I was with Ben Stiller and he said every night I watch and I learn from you know, the panels and the people you have on. The world is learning. Sadly, these things are happening. But we're all learning together, aren't we?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL PROFESSOR: Yes. I think it's very important. It's an expensive way to learn. Because the cost of human life has been so high. But we have to learn. We have to change.
LEMON: The French President, Francois Hollande said that they are at war with ISIS. And I've heard some say, Alan, that that this is the beginning of World War III. Do you believe that?
DERSHOWITZ: No, that's a very Eurocentric view. Look, we've been at this war now for 30 years. You look at Israel; they've been fighting terrorism now for many, many, many years, airplane hijackings, thousands of people killed in terrorist attacks. But when it comes to Paris we pay far more attention because we are so much more closely identified with European countries and we fear what will happen here.
It's not a war. We have to understand that. We know how to fight wars and we always fight the last war. This is a very different phenomenon. We have to develop very different techniques, and specially this is a new phenomenon using new technologies.
We've seen nothing until we see the internet starting to be hacked, until we see, you know, the whole structure being subject to terrorism. We have to learn how to fight the next war not refight the last one.
LEMON: Someone ask me, Mr. Hoekster, we are -- Mr. Hoekstra, we are learning tonight that the Paris attackers, Salah Abdeslam, his record was clean enough to allow him to enter -- entry into this country. Do we need to add extra security in our screening process here of security screening?
HOEKSTRA: I think you do need to add more screening here. But let me disagree a little bit with what Alan was just talking about. You know, if we don't actually start confronting threats today, it's going to start looking a lot more like a war.
We have ISIS now that controls a geographic area in Syria and Iraq that is close to the size of the State of Indiana. That we have other caliphates, you know, their threat is environment is evolving to cyberspace which right now they've been using for recruiting purposes and messaging purposes.
But I fully expect that one of these days we're going to see a cyberattack coming from -- from ISIS and so, yes, I think we're approaching that scale where it's going to be a war. But Alan is correct, it's going to be a very, very different war.
In regards to, you know, talking about upping screening, we need much better coordination at all levels of intelligence. You know, our terrorism centers at the regional levels need to be better coordinated with the FBI. The FBI needs to be better coordinated with the CIA. And then the CIA needs to be better coordinated with other intelligence services around the world.
LEMON: You said a cyber-attack. In what way do you fear?
HOEKSTRA: I fear that they'll go after our infrastructure. You know, they can shut down, you know, they could shut down perhaps some power plants. They could go after a financial center. There are all kinds of areas where the United States is very, very vulnerable to a cyber- attack.
They're trying to develop those capabilities, and just like we're listening and learning, they are also listening and learning and cyber is a, you know, it's a poor man's tool. You need the knowledge, but you can attack the West or not your enemy with a very small investment. You just need to be very smart.
[22:45:00] LEMON: And is that a bigger threat, you think than the type of attacks that happened in Paris?
DERSHOWITZ: I think it's a greater existential threat to the country. I think that, you know, killing people over Christmas vacation or going into malls or going into theaters or Grand Central Station, dramatically we react to it much more because we see the human life before us.
But cyber-attacks can really bring the country to an economic halt, to a medical halt. It can really devastate. We have to be prepared for those kinds of attacks. Now it's not only ISIS. Look, the attacks today were not ISIS.
DERSHOWITZ: There is Al Qaeda. There are the other groups that don't have property.
LEMON: Boko Haram don't have those...
DERSHOWITZ: And even if we win the war against the areas that ISIS attacks, there will still be ISIS cells and other -- in Europe and in the United States that can attack even without them having territory. So, it's a new type of a battle we are fighting.
LEMON: All right. Both of you, gentlemen, stay with me. In the wake of the Paris terror attacks the battle is heating up in the U.S. over refugees, and whether to let them in. That discussion is next.
LEMON: In the wake of the Paris terror attacks, the battle over refugees in this country really heating up. President Barack Obama meeting with Muslim refugees in Malaysia as the White House tries to shape the debate.
[22:50:03] Back with me now is Alan Dershowitz and Pete Hoekstra. Again, great conversation. Thank you so much for coming in. As a crusader, Alan, you're a crusader against anti-semitism, what comes to mind when you hear this recent anti-refugee rhetoric?
DERSHOWITZ: Oh, there is no question. I remember my parents telling me that, you know, the 1930's when Roosevelt turned away the St. Louis with almost a thousand Jewish refugees from Germany...
LEMON: Nine hundred on there and 200 were killed...
DERSHOWITZ: Yes. Right, right. And, you know, the Canadian foreign minister said, even one is too many, they wouldn't take in. So, we have to open our gates. We have to become the ultimate country of asylum. But, we shouldn't conflate two issues.
The first most important issue is to get them out of harm's way, get them out of Syria, make sure the kids don't drown, they're safe. Get them out. That's the first thing. If they could go to some place like Saudi Arabia, which has enormous land mass, very few people; could stay there until the situation is resolve and then go back to Syria and help build the country, that would be ideal.
But if that can't happen, we have to be the country of last resort. But the Arab countries and the Muslim countries should be the first ones. And we should be putting pressure on them to take them, hold them at least temporarily until the crisis abates.
But if nobody else will take them, hey, that's Statue of Liberty means something. We have to take them in.
LEMON: Are you -- do you have concerns about letting Syrian refugees into the country, Pete?
HOEKSTRA: I do have concerns about that. When you're talking about this, and, you know, I'm well -- well aware of what this process is from the time that I spent on the intelligence committee.
You know, you were looking at ungoverned areas. And what that means is there is not a central government database where we can get information on who these people are, what their backgrounds are and these types of things.
So, it's a garbage-in data system. Garbage-in it means garbage-out. We can't vet these folks. I think Alan is exactly right. Get these folks out of harm's way, you know, roll back the area that ISIS controls and then let these folks go back home and rebuild their communities.
The Kurds just did this in Iraq. They freed Sinjar Mountain and Sinjar City. That was an area that 400,000 people used to live in. This is now an area where 400,000 people should be able to be -- should be able to move back into and start rebuilding.
LEMON: Yes, but I wonder. If this is a real fear, though. If it's a real fear, if none of the Paris attackers, if they were not Syrian, if they didn't come over as part of the refugee process. What type of -- is a fear that is unreal being stoked here in the United States is my question?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think it's partly real but it is always exaggerated.
DERSHOWITZ: And it becomes generalized. An anti-Muslim fear. And we can't allow that kind of bigotry to operate. We can't generalize about people based on their religion. What we have to do is make individualized determinations. Certainly make the children -- let the children come in first. That's the first rule. But save everybody first, then we can deal with permanent residency and citizenship. That comes second.
LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. Have a safe weekend to both of you.
DERSHOWITZ: You, too. Thank you.
HOEKSTRA: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.
[22:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The season of giving is fast approaching and we're preparing for our own holiday tradition. CNN Heroes, an all-star tribute. This star-studded gala celebrating the good work of this year's top 10 heroes was held this week and our very own Michaela Pereira got the behind-the-scenes look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAELA PEREIRA, KTLA ANCHOR: I'm inside the American Museum of Natural History. We are set to honor 10 everyday people who are doing truly extraordinary things. I'm giving you your very own backstage pass. We'll get going.
Since 2007, CNN Heroes, and all-star tribute, has been an annual event. From assembling the stage, and testing the lights, to placing the cameras and rolling out the red carpet. This army of seasoned pros knows exactly what it takes to make this evening memorable.
How do you keep it fresh, Kelly?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keep it fresh? Ten new heroes every year.
PEREIRA: That's clever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And great story.
PEREIRA: Host Anderson Cooper and A-listers galore turn out to salute our honorees for their work helping others. Rising music star, Andra Day was drawn to the positive message.
ANDRA DAY, SINGER: The purpose for creating a song in the beginning of it was something that was encouraging and inspiring and healing for people. So I think it works well with the theme of tonight.
PEREIRA: A 21,000 pound blue whale rarely has to share the spotlight. But on this this special night, our top 10 CNN Heroes will take center stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The minute you walk into the place, you are just overwhelmed. It's intense. This event is going to be spectacular.
PEREIRA: And maybe motivate all of us to make an impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Make sure you tune in, Sunday, December 6th, 8:00 p.m. Eastern for CNN Heroes an all-star tribute with Anderson Cooper and a host of celebrity presenters and performers. It's an evening that is sure to inspire.
That's it for us tonight. I'll see you right back here on Monday night. And make sure you stay safe everyone. CNN special report Blind Sided: How ISIS Shook the World Starts right now.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)