Hardball with Chris Matthews, Transcript 01/07/15
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Islamists kill 12 in Paris. Liberty,
equality, fraternity – they hate it all.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews out in Los Angeles.
We begin tonight with breaking news out of France. NBC News can report now
that one of the gunmen in today`s terror attack on a satiric magazine was
killed and the other two have been arrested.
Today`s attack was the deadliest in France in decades. Twelve people were
killed. The magazine “Charlie Hedbo” had provoked rage in the Muslim world
in the past for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
According to witnesses of today`s killings, one of the men shouted, they
avenged the Prophet Mohammed. Well dressed in black, they carried assault
weapons. In video taken outside the magazine`s offices, two of the gunmen
confront a police officer. After he`s wounded and lying on the ground, one
of the gunmen walks over and shoots and kills him. Then the gunmen walk to
a waiting car, get in and drive away.
Well, late today, a large police operation was launched in the French city
of Reims, northeast of Paris. And again tonight, NBC News can report that
one of the gunmen is dead and the other two are in custody.
Let`s get the latest now from NBC`s justice correspondent, Pete Williams,
who`s in Washington. Pete, what have we got?
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, the assumption all day long from
the way this unfolded this afternoon in Paris was that when the gunmen were
identified and found, they would not simply give up, and that seems to be
the case here, that there was some kind of shoot-out. We don`t know the
condition of the other two who were arrested. We don`t know whether they
were wounded, what their condition is, where they`ve been taken.
But what we`re told by several U.S. officials is that this did end. The
police were able to identify them relatively quickly, the police in Paris,
find them in this suburb, and there were – or rather, this city in
northern France, and move in and encounter them. One was killed. The
other two are now in custody.
We don`t know a couple of things here, Chris. We don`t know how the police
found them, whether it had to do with the car that they were – they used
as their getaway. There was an accident. The gunmen got into a crash with
the car and had to abandon it. They carjacked another car and moved on, is
our understanding, whether they were able to exploit the car, whether it
was rounds that they recovered at the scene of the shooting, whether it was
tips from the public, intelligence that the police developed, we don`t
But in any event, it was very fast work. They identified the three. One
of the three, French officials say, had actually been arrested and
convicted in 2005, nine years ago, of trying to recruit people to go to
Iraq to engage in jihad against American soldiers in Iraq. So this is,
according to officials we`ve talked to, sort of a blend of a lot of
different things. One is –
MATTHEWS: Did they put the – did he go to prison for that? Do we know if
he served time?
WILLIAMS: Yes, 18 months is my understanding, a year-and-a-half. So it`s
not a person unknown to the French. But we`re told by U.S. authorities
that there was no intelligence that led up to this, nothing that was missed
so far, also, Chris, no known connection between any of these three and
people in the United States, no threats against the U.S., no plans to raise
the terror threat level here.
MATTHEWS: It seems to me that we had surveillance camera – we`ve been
watching it all afternoon here – of the little black car that the – the
suspects got into.
MATTHEWS: And the fact that they would ride – drive around in that little
car – that was not much of an escape vehicle. And then they go over and
shoot that cop in cold blood. You want to – that`s almost, like, Please
follow us, police in France. We`re going to – we shoot one of you to make
sure you follow us.
WILLIAMS: Well, and remember, this is the third encounter, according to
our understanding, with law enforcement. The first was when they went into
the offices of the magazine or the newspaper. They had a bodyguard there.
The editor had a bodyguard. He was killed.
Then outside on the street outside the newspaper office, a police car had
blocked the road. And you saw – you`ve probably seen the pictures of the
police car windshield that was riddled with bullets. Our understanding is
the gunmen fired at that car. It backed away.
And then some distance away, several blocks away, is when the third
encounter takes place. That`s the pictures you see of the policeman who
was on foot. So they actually encountered law enforcement or security
three separate times. Now, as for driving the little black Citroen,
whether that was a good choice or not – I mean, I guess if you`re trying
to blend in to French traffic, that`s not a bad choice.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I suppose. Do we have a sense of how organized this was?
I mean, they seemed to know just – or accidentally or awfully on time –
to hit the group just as the editorial meeting was taking place, where
everyone was gathered around the table at 11:30 Parisian time this morning.
It seemed like somebody tipped them off as to when to hit.
WILLIAMS: Well, we don`t know whether they knew that or whether that just
was coincidence. And there are some contradictory indications about this.
It doesn`t – it does seem sort of relatively disciplined. They seemed to
act calmly. They seemed to be comfortable with weapons. They`re not just
firing indiscriminately all over the place or panicking.
On the other hand, it doesn`t seem to be a highly what you`d call
professional operation. Indications are that they went to the wrong door
first and had to be told where the newspaper offices were. Then they had
to hold a woman at gunpoint to get her to punch in her security code. They
didn`t know it. And then, apparently, they had to ask the people in the
newspaper who they were. In other words, they hadn`t studied pictures.
But – so you know – but they were fairly well disciplined. They were,
you know, all dressed the same. They seemed to have a definite purpose.
One law enforcement official told me today that this was like a Mob hit.
MATTHEWS: Pete Williams, thank you so much for that reporting tonight, up
to date as could be.
Let`s go right now to NBC`s chief global correspondent, Bill Neely, who`s
in Paris himself. Bill, we just got a report from Pete Williams that one
man has been killed, two have been arrested. What more can you tell us
BILL NEELY, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This hasn`t yet been confirmed by
French police. This is news from a senior U.S. terrorism official – as
you say, one dead, two arrested. We think it relates to an operation in
the city of Reims. That`s about 90 miles northeast of here. There was a
French commando counterterrorist operation there involving men on the
ground, helicopters in the air, and it was reported that gunshots had been
fired. We haven`t quite linked up those two incidents yet.
But remember, it`s just a few hours ago that French police confirmed the
names of three men they wanted to question, three suspects. Two were
brothers. One had actually been convicted of terrorist offenses here in
France 10 years ago, and another reportedly had returned to France from
Syria just last summer.
So obviously, if the three named suspects by the French police are indeed
the three who have been cornered in Reims and the U.S. counterterrorism
officials saying one is dead and two are under arrest, then that is a very,
very significant development.
MATTHEWS: Are we getting any reaction from the Muslim community in Paris?
It`s a large Arab community there. I`ve seen it myself. And secondly, are
they assimilated in the Parisian French life or are they still basically
seeing themselves as outsiders from the Middle East and North Africa?
NEELY: Well, first of all, on reaction – the imam of a significant French
suburb, a Parisian suburb called Drancy – that was a suburb from where
Jews were deported to Auschwitz during World War II. That imam came out
very quickly and criticized this attack, saying, This is not Islam. This
does not represent our religion. And that line has been repeated by many
imams in Paris and elsewhere throughout the day.
As for the idea of integration – look, it`s very difficult. France has a
huge Muslim population. It`s the second biggest religion here. And there
have been desperate efforts to more fully integrate the Muslims into French
life for – well, for decades. Remember, France fought a very bitter war
in Algeria in the 1960s. There are still very bitter memories of that.
Indeed, many French Muslims, when the two teams play at soccer, France and
Algeria, many Muslims here will support Algeria. So there are great
difficulties in integrating the population here.
And remember, Chris, just before Christmas, there were a number of
incidents of French Muslims attacking people in this country. One was a
stabbing incident. In two other incidents, men drove their vehicles into
crowds, injuring about two dozen people. So a lot of French
counterintelligence officials were here saying it`s not a question of if
there will be a very big terrorist attack. It`s just a question of when.
And this magazine, of course, as we know, had been threatened many times
MATTHEWS: And now we have it. Thank you so much, Bill Neely over in
I`m joined now by Evan Kohlmann, an NBC News terrorism expert, and of
course, Thomas Sanderson. He`s senior fellow at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies.
Evan, you first. Put this together in terms of the international sort of -
- it`s not just a terrorist threat, it`s a kind of a cultural thing, where
people see the West as the enemy. They don`t want to hear anything against
their religion. Their view is that`s evil and it must be struck down with
harshness, and certainly in a lethal fashion today.
How do we live in a society where some people share the views of ours,
which is tolerance toward other religions and even for blasphemous
statements, and people who do not accept that – that value? They just
don`t accept it.
EVAN KOHLMANN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, look, I think it`s important
that anyone that`s looking for tolerance be willing to tolerate the ideas
of others. And so, you know, it`s a bit odd that these folks are unwilling
to tolerate people criticizing Islam, and yet, you know, you see what
happens today. It doesn`t make a lot of sense.
But let`s also put it in perspective, that France has a very serious
problem with Islamophobia. And that may not the proximate cause here
today, but the guys who were involved here, the suspects anyway who have
been named – these were individuals who were radicalized in their youth.
I mean, they were recruiting people to go to Iraq when they were 19, 20
years old. That`s very young, and that means that they were radicalized at
a young age, before they had any full understanding of the geopolitics of
the Middle East.
And because of that, I think it`s important to consider the fact that there
are a lot of French Muslims who feel that they are alienated from the
society they`re in. They feel like they can`t get hired for normal jobs.
They`re not treated the same by police just on the virtue of their religion
or their ethnic background.
And you know, look, again, there is no excuse for murdering people and
there`s no excuse for murdering people especially when it comes to the
freedom of speech. At the same point, it`s very important for French
society to be showing and demonstrating to everyone who lives there that
they can be accepted into society, that they don`t need to wage war against
society to have their voices heard.
And I`m not necessarily saying that`s what has happened here –
KOHLMANN: – but it`s certainly what contributed in terms of the
atmosphere that leads to people like this, who – again, who apparently
have grown up in France, to suddenly decide to turn their backs on their
own country. And I think it`s important to ask why that happens and –
MATTHEWS: – their own country. They don`t see it as their country,
KOHLMANN: Yes, that`s – and that`s the whole thing is, is that when
people become alienated to that degree, they start associating themselves
with Algeria or Tunisia or Syria instead of French. And these guys, look,
by every indication, these individuals are French. They speak French.
They are French. They`re classically French. They`re not some kind of
alien species from another planet.
And I think we should be asking what led these kids to become so
radicalized so young? I mean, at age 20, one of these guys was caught
trying to travel to Syria and then go on to Iraq to join Al Qaeda in Iraq.
This was in January of 2005, when Al Qaeda in Iraq was only about 2 months
old. And these guys were early adopters. What led them down that path?
Obviously, this was not a decision that was made in the last two weeks.
These guys were on this mission for a long period of time.
And of course, the other question is, how is it that these individuals who
were so heavily radicalized and had been involved in this for so long –
how is it that French authorities missed them?
MATTHEWS: OK, let me go to Thomas Sanderson. I have absolutely – I must
say, I have absolutely no sympathy for killers. And I don`t – the world
is filled with hundreds and hundreds of millions of poor people who have no
prospects at all, but they don`t go around killing people. India is packed
with poor people. They don`t go around killing people. Africa the same.
These are killers. I don`t accept the idea of either economic or social
purposes that can be achieved by what they did today, no connection as far
as I`m concerned.
Your thoughts about this, Thomas, this idea of these people being
radicalized at a young age. It seems to me that geopolitical events in
their lifetime had no role in this. They had made up their mind early they
were going to be killers.
THOMAS SANDERSON, TRANSNATIONAL THREAT PROJECT: Well, I think at least a
couple factors are important here. One, these guys grew up in the post-11
– post-9/11 period and they see a lot of combat on TV. They see what`s
happening overseas. And at home, they are marginalized. You combine these
things, and you get individuals who feel that they have a sense of purpose,
that they need to exact revenge. And you combine that with this
denigration of the Prophet Mohammed, and for them, that`s important.
That`s a mission for them, and they pursued it with success today.
And I think it`s also important to point out here that you have over 900
French nationals who have gone Syria to fight in just the last three years.
Those individuals, the ones that survive, will come home or move on to a
third country, and they represent a threat similar to these guys.
It`s clear that these guys were very comfortable with weapons. They either
had battlefield experience overseas or they were trained overseas.
SANDERSON: So think about that large number that comes back with the
battlefield experience, the street cred, the networks, the communication
links, and think about what they could do.
And let me add one more thing, Chris. And that is these guys look –
appear to be French nationals, so they have French passports. They come
from one of 30 European visa waiver countries, which means they can get on
a plane to the United States, any of these fighters with passports, get on
a plane to the United States without having to go through a visa interview
at a U.S. embassy in Europe. That`s a big problem.
MATTHEWS: Well, what are their loyalties? Their loyalties are not to
France. They don`t –
SANDERSON: No. No.
MATTHEWS: – sing the Marseillaise. They`re rooting for Algeria in
international soccer competition. I mean, they – there`s – obviously,
their loyalties are against France. They killed 12 Frenchmen today.
SANDERSON: Sure. Sure. And that –
MATTHEWS: They killed a police officer who had nothing to do with the
editorial policy of that magazine. They killed a guard. They killed
people who were French! That`s what they did today, out of a hostility to
France, which I don`t think suggests that they`re French nationals in any
SANDERSON: Well, no, of course not. That`s irrelevant. The notion of
bringing up the French national point is that they could have a passport,
which means as a –
MATTHEWS: Oh, I see.
SANDERSON: – citizen of a visa waiver country, they can travel to the
U.S. without an interview.
MATTHEWS: Yes, I know it. They`re going to have to figure out a way of
dealing with who`s the loyal French people and who are not over there
because this is horrendous. Thank you, Evan Kohlmann.
KOHLMANN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: Thank you, Thomas Sanderson.
SANDERSON: You`re welcome.
MATTHEWS: Coming up: the terrorists in today`s attack targeted
journalists, cartoonists and what they consider blasphemous caricatures of
Mohammed. They also killed a policeman. They think they have a moral
right to kill people who insult their religion, a moral right. It`s not
the first time free speech has been under attack by Islamic extremists.
And again, the breaking news at this hour, NBC News is reporting now one
terror suspect is dead, two in custody after that deadly attack early today
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our thoughts and prayers are
with the families of those who`ve been lost in France and with the people
of Paris and the people of France, what that beautiful city represents, the
culture and the civilization that, you know, is so central to our
imaginations. That`s (INAUDIBLE) And those who carry out senseless
attacks against innocent civilians, ultimately, they`ll be forgotten. And
we will stand with the people of France through this very, very difficult
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Today, tomorrow, in Paris, in France,
across the world, the freedom of expression that this magazine, no matter
what your feelings were about it, the freedom of expression that it
represented is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror.
On the contrary, it will never be eradicated by any act of terror. What
they don`t understand, what these people who do these things don`t
understand is they will only strengthen the commitment to that freedom and
our commitment to a civilized world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Let`s hope that`s true.
And welcome back to HARDBALL.
The news at this hour, NBC News is reporting that one of the terror
suspects has been killed. The other two are arrested. Well, today`s
attack was an attack on free speech, of course.
Author Salman Rushdie, who was forced into hiding after Iran`s supreme
leader issued a death fatwa against him because his book “The Satanic
Verses” was considered offensive to Islam, issued a powerful statement of
his own today.
Rushdie said: “I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend art of
satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny,
dishonesty and stupidity.”
Well, joining me right now is NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman
Mohyeldin, and Irshad Manji, a Muslim reformist and founder of the Moral
Courage Project at NYU.
Thank you both for joining us.
Ayman, it seems to me that liberty is the issue here. Is it a value that
is shared by the East and West? Do all people share the view that liberty
is more important than opposing blasphemy, even if you find it hurtful?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the West certainly
has a lot more experience with liberty. And it has gone through different
But no doubt about it that liberty has taken much stronger roots in the
West than it has certain parts of the Muslim world, or particularly the
Arab world, where liberty across all spectrums of society, whether it be
social, political, individually, hasn`t taken as strong of a root.
And so I think there`s that fundamental question as to whether or not the
tolerance of some types of offensive cartoons and such types of offensive
speech are tolerated. I mean, obviously, this is an abhorrent act, what
happened today in Paris. But you`re right. There is a – there is a gap
in the way the two societies appreciate and tolerate liberty as a whole.
MATTHEWS: I have read some polling – Irshad, I have read some polling in
the Islamic world, not just the Arab world, that are pretty frightening to
Western ears to hear, that people believe, if you commit adultery, for
example, you`re worthy of stoning. Overwhelming percentages, for example,
believe that is appropriate punishment.
Do we believe that, or is that lip service, when people offer these really
frightening notions of what justice constitutes and what freedom should be
IRSHAD MANJI, MORAL COURAGE PROJECT: Well, Chris, clearly, some people
But I have to say that I think there is a generation gap here. I have been
doing work on Muslim reform for about 15 years now. When I started, the
death threats that I would receive, you know, surprised even me. And I was
But, 15 years later, I can honestly tell you that a new generation of
Muslims all over the world, by the way, not just in the West and not just
in the Middle East, but all over the world, are defending freedom of
expression. They are hungry for debate and discussion, because they
themselves see that they can`t realize their own individuality unless that
basic tolerance that Ayman was talking about of freedom of thought exists
in their societies.
MATTHEWS: But why do I see numbers of 80 percent and 90 percent in
countries like Pakistan who support stoning for a woman who is unfaithful?
I mean, these are high percentages.
MATTHEWS: You say it is only older people. It sounds like it is most
people, overwhelmingly so.
MANJI: You know, I actually don`t know the methodology behind it, so I`m
not going to comment on what the ages were of the people who are being
But what I can tell you from hard personal experience is that, very
representative of the kind of tweets that I got today, and that didn`t just
come to me, but were retweeted by others, and in that way came to me, was
one from a Muslim woman, young, who said: I am Muslim. I defend fully
freedom of speech, including offensive speech. And people like these
terrorists make a mockery of Islam.
I hear this every single day from members of a new generation. Now, here`s
the thing, Chris. They don`t make the news.
MATTHEWS: Of course.
MANJI: Idiots like these terrorists make the news.
MATTHEWS: Well, Ayman – I want to ask Ayman here –
MANJI: So there`s a lopsided understanding here. Right?
MANJI: Let me just finish the point here.
There`s a lopsided understanding. What we see on the news is what we think
is all there is. If we don`t see it on the news, we don`t believe it
exists. But you have got to look hard, and you will find the hope.
MATTHEWS: Well, let me go to Ayman.
Where were these people hoping to find safe harbor after they committed
these crimes? Who were their people? Who were these killers` people who
would bring them in afterwards? They must have had a plan and a home to go
to, politically, culturally.
I mean, listen, at the end of the day, these guys carried out an attack.
They looked like they had an escape plan. It doesn`t necessarily mean that
they were going to go back and brag about it. If they really wanted to
make a statement and have their identities known, they would have pretty
much stayed there and would have made that statement very clear.
The fact that this is still shrouded in ambiguity as to who is behind it –
and I mean who is behind it from an organizational center.
MATTHEWS: I understand.
MOHYELDIN: Were these individuals just people that acted on their own or
do they have some kind of linkage to an organization?
The fact that they did this and then went about and tried to escape doesn`t
necessarily mean that they have any kind of embrace from their community.
And as we have been hearing and reporting, there has been widespread
condemnation from the Muslim leadership, both in organizations in France
and in Europe, as well as here in the United States, as rightfully so.
But, at the same time, these individuals may not necessarily represent
anybody broader than themselves at this particular point, unless we know
more about why they carried this attack out.
MATTHEWS: Well, I hope that the Muslim community of France, which is a
large community and robust, joins some of the demonstrators tonight against
what happened out there visibly.
MOHYELDIN: I`m sure they will do that.
MANJI: And I`m very sure that they will – that they will as well, Chris.
MANJI: And, again, I think that we`re going to see a very large contingent
of young Muslims out there.
By the way, Secretary of State John Kerry used an interesting phrase in his
speech about what happened in Paris. He used the phrase martyrs of
liberty, that these people who died were martyrs of liberty. You know
where that phrase came from? From an imam, from a Muslim leader in France.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s good to hear.
Anyway, there`s a history of retaliation for perceived slights to Islam.
MATTHEWS: Back in 1989, a fatwa, or death sentence, was issued for Salman
Rushdie because his book “Satanic Verses” was considered offensive to
In 2004 – we all know this story – Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was
murdered on the street by a killer who considered van Gogh`s work anti-
Islamic. In 2005, when a Dutch newspaper published cartoons lampooning
Mohammed, the artists and publishers were met with death threats.
So, what – what do we make of that?
I will go back to you, Irshad.
MATTHEWS: And I want your view because you`re so optimistic on this.
MATTHEWS: What do you make of what happened today? You think it is an odd
occurrence? Or is this the start of something we`re going to have to live
with for decades, where people – this whole thing being disaffected.
Tough luck. You`re disaffected.
MATTHEWS: You`re living in France. The country is called France. It is
French, liberty, equality, fraternity. Get with it. If you don`t like
living there, move.
MATTHEWS: This idea that somehow France has to adjust to your thinking
about what constitutes blasphemy is outrageous.
MANJI: Agree –
MATTHEWS: Your thoughts.
MANJI: Agree 100 percent.
You asked, do I think that this is going to go on for decades? Yes. And I
will tell you why. And this is where my optimism comes from. These folks,
the criminals behind these acts today, know that they are on the losing
side of history.
I firmly believe that they know this, because, again, I`m seeing around me
young people who are now young Muslims who are now having children, writing
openly that we are going to be raising our children with the pluralistic
values that reformist Islam stands for.
MANJI: When these – when these criminals understand that they`re soon
going to be outnumbered – when I say soon, I mean perhaps in two
This is the kind of backlash that they are going to be engaging in. So,
weirdly – and I realize that this is a hard sell, and time will tell –
but I`m making the prediction that what we saw today is not an act of the
future. It is an act that bemoans the future. It is an act of backlash
against a much more pluralistic and progressive future.
MATTHEWS: Well, losing sides can be very dangerous.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank you, Ayman Mohyeldin and Irshad Manji. I like to
hear the way you talk.
Anyway, right now, we`re looking at a live picture from outside the Newseum
in Washington, D.C., where people have gathered for a vigil in honor of the
victims of today`s attack in Paris and to voice support for freedom of the
press and expression.
And in New York City, people are gathering in Union Square to pay tribute
to the 12 people killed in the attacks. There they are.
MATTHEWS: Well, the breaking news we`re reporting right now is that one of
the terror suspects in that attack in Paris is dead, and the other two are
That`s according to two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials.
For reaction from the United States to the deadly shooting attack in Paris,
let`s turn to NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell.
By the way, also joining us is State Department deputy spokesperson Marie
Andrea, let me ask you about this.
You know, we Americans pride ourselves in at least, in most cases, you can
assimilate when you come to our country. You have to learn the language.
You have to become American, dress like us, more or less. You don`t to
have join – change religions, but you can actually become an American.
In France, you get this sense over there that these people from North
Africa are still rooting for Algeria in the soccer games. They still see
themselves as from Middle Eastern countries, from Arab countries. Is that
an advantage for us that we should give – should give us some security, or
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think
that there – there is a lot of identity politics also in the United
States. We`re a broader country. We have more diversity of groups.
But I think this is a segment and a growing segment, 10 percent perhaps, of
French society with deep roots of antipathy going back to the Algerian
experience and a lot of restrictive laws, the head scarf controversies, and
a feeling of isolation, and also an identification with these groups, with
al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, with ISIS.
There have been aspirational and inspirational attacks from ISIS, the civil
war in Syria that has been going on for four years now unabated, in fact,
increasing numbers of deaths, the proximity to Syria and that civil war,
the fact that Westerners from Europe go back and forth, that we have so
many of – thousands of foreign fighters that can be retrained and
professionalized as military people.
We don`t know if that`s the case here. So, I think that what experts now
tell us is that there is less and less difference, whether this ISIS-
inspired or al Qaeda. This is now a much broader antipathy to Western
values and it`s something we`re going to have to live with and that the
West is going to have to defend against.
MATTHEWS: Let me to go Maria Harf for the State Department view.
I mean, I think it is very impressive that we have a secretary of state who
is fluent in another language, who can speak directly to the French people.
What was the secretary`s message to the French today after this horror?
MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: Well, Chris, you`re absolutely
And his message directly to the French people was that, we are going to
stand by you and that we will not be afraid. You saw thousands of people
on the streets of Paris tonight echoing that sentiment, that the U.S. will
stand by you, not just in the aftermath of this horrible tragedy, but also
working together to – speaking to what Andrea just said, looking at
disaffected communities, disaffected people, and trying to figure out
before the tragedy happens how you could possibly identify people that
might do this, and ultimately, ideally, prevent it from happening.
That`s the long-term challenge we work with the French on every day.
MATTHEWS: Well, how do you deal with a small operation like this? It is
horrible to kill a dozen people, but it is not 9/11. And do you – I mean,
do you hear chatter? Do you hear noise levels? Do you go through like the
NSA kind of approach of connecting people up by data points?
How do you stop a small operation like this, which may not have only – may
have only involved a few people?
HARF: It`s a huge challenge, Chris.
And our intelligence community, I know, right now is working very closely
with the French, pulling every thread here, seeing what we knew, what we
didn`t know. Intelligence, as you know, is a very complicated puzzle,
where we often don`t have all the pieces. These are very difficult things
to predict sometimes. But we need to do better, obviously.
And that`s what we`re working with the French on. I wholeheartedly agree
with your previous guest who said these people, these terrorists are on the
losing side of history. But, as you said, the losing side can be very
dangerous. And the challenge is identifying people and, as I said,
ultimately preventing this from happening.
But, here, we`re going to help the French try and figure out how they were
radicalized, how they ultimately became part of this group that turned to
violence. There are a lot of disaffected people. But what makes them turn
violent? What makes them do this? That`s really the longer-term challenge
that we`re working on here.
MATTHEWS: Andrea, you`re the expert on this. And I have watched it. We
have all have watched from afar, but you closer in, this pattern of going
after cultural challenges, whether it`s up in Scandinavian countries, with
the van Gogh killing or the threats about the moviemaker.
It seems like this is not going to go away for a while, that there is going
to be wise guy, if you will, editors who are going to take chances that
maybe they shouldn`t in terms of blasphemy. But there is certainly going
to be a reaction to it.
MITCHELL: Well, you know, I don`t think that the answer is for us to start
censoring ourselves. I think that we have to permit the kind of
expression. And we have our own channels here in America that do comedy,
and that do really sometimes offensive stuff –
MITCHELL: – offensive to all sorts of ethnic groups.
So the answer is not to start censoring ourselves. I think we have to be
more vigilant in terms of protecting. And we – we live in a new reality.
I remember, I was saying earlier, not that many decades ago, when I was
covering Capitol Hill, and I had my own parking space right there on the
Well, long – that`s long since passed since 9/11. You don`t drive up on
to the plaza right across from the Capitol. We have Pennsylvania Avenue
closed off. There are a lot of sacrifices that we make in access.
MITCHELL: So, the people`s house is no longer as accessible as it used to
be in Congress. We can`t wander through the Old Executive Office Building,
as we did when I was first covering the White House.
That said, we have to preserve the important aspects of our values. And
that`s freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and, yes, go back, look at
the chatter. I`m told that we haven`t found anything that`s really
demonstrative, but the French counterterror people, who are so good and
work so closely with us, obviously got two suspects, and one is dead.
And we hope it is not part of a larger conspiracy. But this is not the
first or last time, as Salman Rushdie, going back to the `80s, certainly
experienced with his fatwa, that we`re going to see insane kinds of violent
actions and threatens – threats of violent action against free expression.
MITCHELL: And we have to resist the impulse to crawl into our own caves.
MATTHEWS: I understand that. I certainly agree with that.
Anyway, Andrea Mitchell, thank you so much for your excellent reporting.
MITCHELL: You bet.
MATTHEWS: And, Marie Harf, thank you for the word from the State
Up next: Ottawa, Sydney and now Paris, there`s a pattern here. Today`s
attack is the latest in a string of attacks against Western targets. How
vulnerable are we here in the States?
Back with more after this.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
More now on these deadly terrorism attacks in Paris this morning, where NBC
News has learned now that one of the suspects has been killed and the
remaining two have been arrested. That`s according to two senior U.S.
Well, sadly, today`s tragedy is the latest in a recent string of incidents
around the globe linked back to Islamic extremism. Last October, an
Islamic convert fatally shot a Canadian soldier at an Ottawa war memorial,
and then opened fire inside parliament before being gunned down by the
Well, the next day – the very next day, an Islamic convert attacked two
NYPD officers with a hatchet. Authorities say the attacker was inspired
after watching ISIS beheading videos.
Less than two months later, a self-radicalized Muslim cleric took 17 people
hostage at a Sydney, Australia cafe. Three died as police stormed the
And today, as we`ve been reporting, three masked men left a trail of
carnage after storming a French satire magazine, killing 12. Witnesses
report they heard the gunmen say they were avenging the Prophet Mohammed.
With the frightening string of incidents obviously, so what`s coming next?
David Rothkopf is the editor of “Foreign Policy” magazine, and Laith
Alkhouri is senior analyst at Flashpoint Global Partners.
Laith, I want to start with you. If you`re advising clients around the
world about security questions, risk factors, what are we looking at right
now? Is this a trajectory that is leading to more culturally based attacks
where people don`t like what we say in the West?
LAITH ALKHOURI, FLASHPOINT: I mean, this appears to be a trend, obviously,
as you mentioned. Very low key, less than sophisticated attacks taking
place in Western and Western allied countries.
What we should expect in the future is not exactly a rise in terrorist
attacks or a decrease in them. But I think we should just increase our
proactive security measures, our protective measures, and not only in
diplomatic missions or embassies. We should take it to heart every time we
see an issue like this that we don`t back off and we are afraid.
We should be speaking out and putting out some sort of a counter-narrative
out there for the youngsters who might be indoctrinated in the future,
because they don`t have any other counter-narrative to follow.
So, communities around the world encouraged by governments or just
communities, organizational institutions and whatnot, academics and
whatnot, they should be putting out a counter out there that could prevent
youngsters from following this radical ideology and potential –
MATTHEWS: What do you mean? I`m a little skeptical. If you put out a
public service announce many on a regular basis that say we should have
tolerance in this country, and even if your god, your religion is impugned,
and blasphemed, even so, you should keep your violence down? I mean, what
can you say to a young person who`s going to counterman this strength of
the push again the West in this regard, the attack on Western satire, if
ALKHOURI: Look, we see people being recruited every day to not only join
radical groups around the world and fighting war zones but actually to
commit acts at home. And if we don`t do – if we don`t put out some sort
of narrative out there for them to not join these groups, to not adhere to
that kind of ideology, we will fail eventually, because we`re going on see
this trend on the rise. So we have to do something about it today, and,
yes, though it may take months, years or even generations on end. But if
we don`t do something about it right now, the trend will continue.
And the youngsters who grew up in post-9/11 war, you know, the jihadi war
zones, who were five, six, seven, eight years old, children, at this point
they`re adults. And they have been spoon fed this ideology and the
converts are now learning from the radicals. They`re not learning from the
moderate Muslims or the –
MATTHEWS: I know, I know.
ALKHOURI: They`re converting to a much more radical form of Islam.
MATTHEWS: David, it seem to me it would be just as hard to argue that
today`s horror is going to discourage further horrors, then it`s probably
going to encourage company cats. I mean, we talked about this guy the
other – we talked about him a couple moments ago when I ran down the
series of terrorist acts. One person was inspired by watching beheadings.
I mean, if you`ve got that kind of mindset, you`re watching something like
this would probably be equally exciting to you and encouraging for to you
join the movement.
DAVID ROTHKOPF, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Yes. Well, each of the cases
that you mentioned were very low tech, one or two or three people. And
they captured the attention of the world. They got big media reactions.
They got big political reactions.
And the way terrorists measure their success is not only in the number of
victims. It`s in how we react to them or how we overreact to them. I
think a lot of the time we`ve seen terrorist attacks since 9/11 and onward,
there has been a big overreaction. That produces backlash. That feeds
their movement. And it`s got very, very low cost to these terrorist
groups. A couple of people, some cases an act, some cases, all it took
with the guy in Australia was to go in with a machine gun and an iPad and
film people and show the terror in their faces.
You know, just the other day, David, I was at the U.S. Capitol where I used
to work all those years. And I was a capitol policeman for a while in the
Let me tell you, it`s a totally different world. We used to live in a
really free society, where anybody could walk into the Capitol building
almost any time of day without an ID card, without any special pass. You
could walk and find your congressman and knock on the door and stand there
until he or she had time to see you. You could you really petition
Today, you have to have an ID card flashing on your coat to show that you
can walk anywhere in the Capitol. You can`t walk anywhere without an ID
card, like you`re working in some defense installation.
You come in to the Capitol building today, you`re treated like a tourist.
You have to go wait in the visitor`s center to get in.
So, freedom is being taken away from us as Andrea Mitchell pointed out a
couple of minutes ago. You said the terrorists aren`t winning? I think
they`re winning that argument. They`re making us act more secure, but at
the loss of our liberties.
Anyway, thank you, David Rothkopf. Thank you for coming, Laith Alkhouri.
It was great to have you on, even at a difficult night.
We`ll be right back to Paris. We`ll go back there for more on today`s
attack with Bill Neely, in just a minute.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back.
NBC News is reporting, as I said, that one of the terror suspects in
today`s attack in Paris is dead and the other two have been arrested.
That`s according to two senior U.S. counterterrorism officials.
Let`s get right back to Paris for a recap of what`s happened today, NBC`s
chief global correspondent Bill Neely.
Bill, just give us a recap from Paris on what we`re probably going to know
BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just to pick up on
your last point, Chris, we`re still waiting for French police to confirm
what U.S. counterterrorism officials are telling NBC News. We`re still
waiting for them to say that, in fact, one suspect is dead, two have been
arrested, but it did take them quite some time to confirm the names of the
suspects, even as those names were circulating widely among the French
media on social media and even as the French arrest warrant was shown on
social media, the French police still would not confirm that.
So, it may take them some time to actually publicly say that there has been
a shoot-out and that two suspects are under arrest.
Just to recap, it was about 14 hours ago that three gunmen, although in the
videos you just see two, two gunmen entered the offices of `Charlie Hebdo”.
First of all, they killed a security guard, then they forced a woman to
take them upstairs to the editorial office where there was a meeting of
about 15 journalists. They asked for the editor Stephane Charbonnier by
name. They shot him, then they shot the policeman who was his body guard,
a policeman, it`s interesting has emerged in the last hour who was a French
They then sprayed the room with gunfire, killing many of the journalists,
including some of France`s best known cartoonists. One was 80 years old.
They then went outside. As they began their getaway, they were confronted
by police and they shot dead one of the police officers in cold blood at
point blank range.
They then escaped Paris in one of two cars. There was another hijacked car
later on, and they were traced to Reims, a city about 90 miles northeast of
here, and we believe that`s where the shoot-out has taken place. But as I
say, French police have not confirmed that.
And a couple of other details they were shouting, these gunmen, “God is
great”, “Allahu Akbar” in Arabic, although one of the witnesses said they
spoke absolutely fluent French and they`re believed to be French nationals.
So, that`s where we stand at the minute, waiting for confirmation from the
MATTHEWS: Do we know if they were racing for the border? Could we tell?
Or is that too much speculation at this point?
NEELY: Well, Belgium is in that direction, but I suppose they – I mean,
they may just as easily hoped to blend in to provincial French towns or
cities, perfectly possible to get quite a distance on French motorways in
that time. And if they were tracked to Reims, then probably its cameras on
the French motorways, on the roads that would have tracked them, pretty
MATTHEWS: I see.
NEELY: – to track that car, because obviously they were masked. So, no
identification at the scene was possible – Chris.
MATTHEWS: Well, that was good work by the French police, and it doesn`t
surprise me. It`s a heck of a police force.
Thank you, NBC`s Bill Neely for that great reporting today from Paris on a
We`ll be right back after this.
MATTHEWS: The breaking news tonight that NBC News is reporting that one of
the terror suspects in the attack today in Paris is dead. And the other
two have been arrested. That`s good news.
Our coverage continues now on “ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES”.
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