The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/18/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my
friend. It`s really good to have you there.
Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour. You cannot
take liquids in any significant quantity onboard a passenger aircraft
anymore. You know this, right? You have to put any liquids or gels in
teeny tiny little containers. And you can`t bring on board a large number
of those teeny tiny little containers.
The total amount of liquid and the size of the containers that all
your liquids have to be in, it`s very tightly regulated now, in a very
annoying way, for going on a decade now. But if you have ever wondered why
it is that you can only put something this size in your carry-on luggage,
but on the same flight, as the same person, you`re welcome to put something
giant like this, full of the exact same liquid in any size into your
checked luggage – this can go in the carry-on, but this or something
bigger, even, can go into your checked luggage, your checked luggage you
don`t have access to during the flight.
If you`ve ever wondered why we have a liquid ban for carry-on luggage
but not for our checked luggage, it`s because of this house in London, East
London. And it`s because of something that the British version of the FBI,
something that MI-5 saw inside that house.
And what they saw, initially, made no sense to them. But when they
figured it out, all of a sudden, rules changed around the world. It was
some time in the summer of 2006. MI-5 decided to put surveillance on this
house, this guy`s house in East London.
They were worried about some associations that this guy had. They
were worried about his trips back and forth to Pakistan. They were worried
about some unusual stuff that they were seeing in his luggage, some stuff
when he was coming back into the U.K. from some foreign trips. They didn`t
find anything illegal, but there were weird combinations of items that they
And that combination of factors led MI-5 to put surveillance on this
guy, including hidden cameras in this house. And what they found inside
that house was what appeared to be a bomb-making factory. But it appeared
to be making sort of miniature bombs.
That guy who they had under surveillance and another young man were
seen by MI-5 in that house constructing devices of some kind, what might
have been explosive devices, inside soda bottles. And not big two-liter
soda bottles, but normal, personal-sized plastic soda bottles. And MI-5
investigators were looking at the surveillance footage, they were
initially, reportedly confused as to why these guys would be making little
bombs like that.
But then, when day found the same guy intensively researching flight
timetables for hours at a time in an Internet cafe, they ended up putting
two and two together. These little drink bottle bombs, these little drink
bottle explosive devices – they were bombs, they were small bombs, but
they were just large enough to rip a hole in the fuselage of a commercial
airliner at cruising altitude and thereby crash the plane.
And they were just small enough – they were big enough to do that,
but they were small enough for these guys to be able to plan to get bombs
of this size onboard those aircraft. And not just onboard one or two, they
had plans, apparently, to get these bombs in soda pop containers on to
seven different airliners.
The MI-5 surveillance camera catching the soda bottle bomb-making,
that footage was seen by the surveillance cameras on August 3rd, 2006.
Within a week, the U.K. authorities arrested young men all over the U.K.
who were said to be involved in that plot. Six of them had already made
martyrdom videos, that they wanted to be seen in the aftermath of
committing these planned suicide bombing attacks onboard airliners with the
bombs and these little soda bottles.
The hidden camera revelation about them making those soda pop bombs
inside that house, that surveillance footage happened on August 3rd. The
arrests happened across the U.K. on August 9th. And then, on August 10th,
the very next day, the very day after those arrests in the U.K., the U.S.
put in place our new national rule, restricting the amount of liquids that
you can bring onboard a plane. And that rule has been in place of since.
But the reason it applies to carry-on luggage, specifically, and not
to your luggage you stow in the cargo area, the reason it applies to carry-
on luggage, specifically, is how exactly those guys in London were
assembling their soda bottle bombs. According to the evidence that
prosecutors presented against the eight British men who got life sentences
in this plot, according to prosecutors, what they planned to do was use
those soda bottles and a few other innocuous-seeming everyday items to
basically bring bomb components onboard commercial planes and assemble the
bombs in flight.
So, the detonators for these bombs were going to be rigged using
little AA batteries, which had been hollowed out and re-filled with a
different chemical to be part of the detonator. As a power source or an
igniter, they planned to use some little electronic device, like
potentially a disposable camera.
But for the actual explosive material for the bomb, that was inside
the soda bottles. What they would do, according to prosecutors, the way
this plot worked, is they would leave the top of the bottle on, leave it
factory sealed. They would then drill a little tiny hole through the
bottom of the soda bottle, empty out the soft drink, fill it, instead, with
the explosive fuel, and then they would use something like glue or
superglue, something soft but adhesive to re-seal the tiny hole in the
bottle that they`d made with the drill – something that would seal the
bottle back up, so it could still hold liquid, but it was soft and
And that was important, because once onboard the plane with what
appeared to be a can – a bottle of soda pop, the bombers plan to take out
their apparently unopened, innocuous bottle of soda, they would puncture
that soft seal in the bottom of the bottle, using a syringe. Through the
syringe, they would squirt into the bottle the secondary chemical they
needed to add to the liquid to make into a proper bomb, then they rigged
the thing up to the little MacGyver detonator that they had hooked up and
So, you cannot take liquids on to planes in any significant quantity,
to this day, because of the plot that the British law enforcement thwarted
by eight British men to make small bombs onboard planes using doctored soda
bottles and syringes.
And bombs are no simple thing. The so-called shoe bomber, Rich Reid,
he tried and failed to detonate the bombs that he had hidden in his shoe.
The underwear bomber tried to combine bomb components onboard the plane for
his bomb, but he couldn`t pull that off either.
In Paris, though, we know the bombs worked. A lot of them worked.
Six of the seven attackers who were killed during the Paris attacks on
Friday night, six of them died when they detonated suicide vests or suicide
belts that they were wearing during the attacks.
The seventh attacker who was killed on Friday night was shot, but he
was also wearing a suicide vest or belt when he was killed. So that`s six,
if not seven, working, operational suicide bomb vests or belts that were
used in the Paris attack. That`s a lot.
Who built those bombs? Where`s the bomb factory? Who`s the bomb
maker? Where is the bomb maker now? And how many more of his suicide
bombs are out there?
Because in the last 24 hours, we have found out that whoever made the
suicide bombs for the attackers on Friday night in Paris may not have
stopped the at seven. We now know there was an eight suicide bomb that had
been constructed and we know that because yet another suicide bomb was set
off last night by a woman inside an apartment in Saint-Denis, just
immediately north of Paris proper during that massive French police assault
on that apartment building.
And we`re going to have more on that raid coming up, including live
reporting from Richard Engel in Paris. We`ll have that in just a moment,
talking about the identity of that apparent suicide bomber in that
apartment building, the ongoing manhunt that continues today and into
tonight and much more.
But there are two other things that have just happened that I think
put the explosives issue, put the attack issue back at the heart of the
ongoing nature of what`s going on here. Not just looking back at Friday,
but thinking about what is yet to be resolved and what may be yet to come.
First is some visual images that were posted by the French news
magazine called “Le Point.” Visual images from “Le Point” showing the
inside of a hotel room that was apparently used by the attackers in a lead
up to Friday`s assault. Among the still-unexplained items left behind in
the attacker`s hotel room were a pile of syringes – syringes – and what
the publication describes as short needles and the kind of tubing that you
would use for intravenous lines.
Were those for bomb making? Were the attackers either making the
bombs that they then detonated later on that night? Were they responsible
for the last-minute combining of components of the bombs?
Were those syringes totally unrelated to the suicide vests and belts?
Could the syringes conceivably used for drugs or for something else we
don`t understand? But that`s one factor to consider.
The other factor to consider today is that today, ISIS put out the
latest edition of its propaganda magazine, in which they claimed credit
again for bombing the Russian passenger jet that crashed in Egypt 2 1/2
weeks ago. As part of their propaganda magazine, they posted this picture
of what they claimed was the bomb or at least the kind of bomb they say
they used to bomb that Russian jet.
As you can see, it is small as a soda can. It is, in fact, designed
adds a soda can, an intact one. Probably wouldn`t get a succeed glance
before it was hooked up to that detonator and what appears to be a switch.
Making bombs is hard. It is much easier to do it wrong than to do it
right. And when it goes wrong, you either accidentally hurt or kill
yourself or you make a dud.
But these guys in France are not making duds. And the number of bombs
they made for the Paris attacks, the number of bombs they made for Paris is
still unknown. We can account for eight of these suicide bombs so far and
at least seven of those eight seem to be in fine working order.
Are there more? Where are they? Who`s making them?
Tonight, ISIS released another one of their slick propaganda videos,
where in this latest one, they used recycled footage that they`ve used
before of this guy strapping on a suicide bomb and then they show footage
of New York City`s Times Square.
Again, they`ve used this before. This follows ISIS releasing a
different video several days ago, in which they overtly threatened an
attack in Washington, D.C., as well. Both the FBI and NYPD say they`re
aware of this new video out tonight from ISIS. They say there`s no
specific, credible threat to New York that they are aware of at this time.
But amid the ongoing manhunt, amid the ongoing raids, hundreds of
raids now across France and in other European countries, as the French
state of emergency continues, there is still this ongoing issue that is
still in the mix of the ISIS bomb master and what presumably has got to be
sort of bomb-making factory and a good one, somewhere in western Europe.
This time last week, Paris had never had a suicide bombing before.
Now, it`s had seven and it could have had eight. And as security has
evolved in the past, which each new successful terrorist attack and each
real but interrupted terrorist attack, until that bomb maker and that bomb
factory are found, that physical, technical threat is going to dominate
everything about the response to this attack, right alongside the manhunt
and all the issues of human intelligence.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: One of the things we have been watching for and worrying
about in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks is whether there
would be a follow-on or copycat attacks of a large or small scale.
Well, today, French officials say they thwarted what they expected to
be a large follow-on attack when they launched that huge raid north of
Paris, in which eight people were arrested and two people were killed.
One, apparently, by suicide bomb. That was last night. We`ll be talking
about that in more detail with Richard Engel in just a moment.
But after that at around 8:00 p.m. local time in France tonight, which
is about 2:00 p.m. on the East Coast of the United States, there was a
stabbing attack against someone who teaches at a Jewish school in
Marseille. Marseille is in the far south of France. It`s quite a distance
This is a male teacher who himself is Jewish, who was apparently
accosted by three men who threatened him and shouted anti-Semitic insults
at him, and then stabbed him in the arm and the leg. Local prosecutor says
one of the men who was involved in this attack wore a t-shirt supporting
The attackers fled when the police showed up. They have not been
apprehended. The only good news here is that the teacher`s wounds they say
are not life-threatening. This happened today, of course, as France is
We`ve got Richard Engel live in Paris, next.
MADDOW: One of the best-known car companies in all of Western Europe
is a French carmaker named Citroen. You may have seen this logo before.
Their cars are not common here in United States, but Citroen are pretty
common throughout Europe.
The model you see here is called the Citroen Xsara. And it`s Xsara
spelled with an X at the beginning.
And tonight, police agencies all across Europe have been told to keep
their eyes open for this particular vehicle model, along with a specific
possible license plate number. A notice went out this morning from French
authorities to be on the lookout for that specific car, a Citroen Xsara,
because it may be transporting one of the named suspects from the terror
attacks in Paris who`s still believed to be on the loose tonight.
There may be two attackers who took part in Friday`s attack in Paris
who are still at large. If there are two, one of them is somebody who
police have yet to identify publicly. But the other is by this man, who by
now could essentially be anywhere. Two men are in custody today after
police say they gave this man, they gave Salah Abdeslam a ride out of
France and into Belgium in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
But the closest lead that French authorities seem to have on him now
is he may be traveling in this kind of Citroen, somewhere in Europe.
So, in terms of the manhunt part of the story, there still is Salah
Abdeslam and possibly one other attacker on the loose. And there`s also
the alleged mastermind behind these attacks. He`s a 27-year-old Belgium
man who`s appeared in is propaganda video and ISIS propaganda magazines in
recent months, as we reported earlier this week.
He`s not only believed to be the mastermind behind the attack in
Paris, he`s also been linked to a failed attack on a high-speed train,
traveling between Amsterdam and Paris earlier this summer. That was the
attack that was foiled by a bunch of young Americans on the train.
He`s also been linked to a failed attack on a church in France earlier
this year, in which the attacker himself the screwed it up by shooting
himself in the thigh, accidentally, on his way to carry out the attack.
He`s also linked to a well-armed, highly organized plot to apparently
ambush and kill Belgian police officers. This one guy is believed to be
linked to all of those plots, just over the course of the past year,
including now the Paris Friday attacks.
And apparently, last night, French police thought they had him. Last
night, at about 4:30 in the morning local time, French authorities launched
an all-out raid from that apartment in the Saint-Denis section of Paris.
It`s actually just north of Paris.
That raid went on for hours. Something like 5,000 rounds of
ammunition were fired by French security forces during the raid. They say
that they launched that raid, because they fought that this one guy, this
27-year-old Belgium guy, the mastermind of these attacks, was hiding out at
It had previously been believed that he was in Syria and not in
Europe, but last night, apparently, French police say that he was their
target in Saint-Denis. That raid took place, again, over a period of hours
And today, there`s been this sort of evolving mystery as to whether he
really was there. As to whether that Belgian man, that alleged mastermind,
was one of the two people who was killed in the raid.
All day today, “The Washington Post” newspaper has been reporting very
confidently that the mastermind was, in fact, killed. You can see their
headline here. “Alleged ring leader in Paris attacks, killed in raid,
officials say.” “The Post” quotes two senior European officials speaking
on conditions of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. They say they
received confirmation from the French that this Belgian man was slain in
last night`s raid.
Now, that`s what “The Washington Post” says. NBC News has not
independently verified that. And it`s interesting, the Paris prosecutor
today, who released tons of new details about that raid, he made no such
announcement, either. He says at least two individuals were killed in the
raid, but he declined to identify either of them.
So, “The Washington Post” says they have two anonymous sources, who
tells on the guy is dead, but they are pretty much alone in claiming that
the guy is dead. So, it`s a bit of an important mystery right now, in
terms of how much of this manhunt is ongoing.
The organizer of the attacks, he might be found. He might be dead.
But he might not.
Joining us now is NBC News chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel,
who was in Saint-Denis last night when the raid took place.
Richard, thanks very much for being here and thank for taking over for
me last night. I was really happy to be able to put things in your hands.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you
very much. I hope I steered the ship a little bit in your absence, but I`m
very glad you`re back.
MADDOW: Thank you. And you were more than able, as I knew you would
be. What are we hearing tonight about that raid tonight? There is this
mystery with this very bold “Washington Post” reporting about the alleged
mastermind of the attack being killed in this raid.
What`s the latest?
ENGEL: Well, those journalists from “The Washington Post” are going
quite far. I would be, frankly, a little bit nervous if I had written that
article right now, because, they`ve made a very bold statement. They said
that he is dead, that the ring leader was killed in that house.
But the chief French prosecutor, as you just said, when he came out of
his press conference, gave all the details that all the reporters in this
city and around the world have been asking for. What are the connections?
How many cars? How many attackers? Which attacks were they involved in?
All of the things that we`ve been trying to piece together he laid
out. But he said very clearly that they still don`t know if the ring
leader was in the house. And the reason they don`t know is they found two-
The police raided the house. It`s interesting to know how they raided
the house. They first went to the house. They received a tip-off that a
woman and possibly Abaaoud were in the house and they decided it was a
credible tip. They rushed to the location with force.
They arrived with a massive amount of force. They try and do an
explosive breach on the door, and find out that the door is armored. It`s
a protected security door. So they can`t get through it. But by
attempting to get through the door first, they alert the people inside that
the police are trying to come in.
The attackers inside pull their weapons, I assume she either puts on
the suicide vest or gets it ready. They burst in. The second one worked
getting through the door. Guns start firing on both sides. The woman
blows up her suicide vest. Five police are injured.
The woman – and the reason I say “the woman” is because French
officials say it was a woman – but the Paris prosecutors say that she was
so badly mangled is that the indications are that she`s a woman, but
they`re not even sure. Her body is that destroyed. That they look at the
body and they think, yes, that`s probably a woman.
She was standing near someone and either because of the massive amount
of gunfire, 5,000 rounds, or because of her bomb, her bomb was so powerful,
that it dropped the floor out below her feet and part of the building
started to collapse, the person next to her is also in no condition to be
And they are conducting DNA tests to find out if that person, so
mangled that he`s unrecognizable, might have been Abaaoud. They`re also –
when they are able to stabilize this building – are going to see if there
might be more buildings under the rubble, because the prosecutors said the
building is so badly damaged, they don`t want to go inside and sift through
it. So, maybe there`s another body around the rubble.
“The Washington Post,” very forward leaning, he`s dead. I don`t know
how they know that, but I would love to and there`s a lot of people in this
country are hoping “The Washington Post” is right, I can tell you that.
MADDOW: One of the things that was so striking, both about “The
Washington Post” claim that he was dead, but also about the French police
claims that he was the target, that they believed he was there and that`s
why they launched that raid, is because I think it was widely assumed or at
least widely stated that he was believed to be in Syria.
Was that – was that an assumption or was there good reason to believe
that he was in Syria or at least not in Europe at the time of the attacks.
ENGEL: The assumption was, as far as we understand, and we don`t
really know what the French know. And frankly, it would be kind of a good
ploy for the French to say, they though he was in France. Oh, well, he`s
deep in Syria. We`re not on to him.
But from what we understand, they really did think that he was in
Syria. ISIS propaganda showed him in Syria, dragging bodies. You put that
video on, you didn`t show the horrific bits, but showed the parts that were
not too disgusting, in Syria. He featured prominently, I think, three
times in major pieces of ISIS propaganda in Syria.
So, it would be fair to assume that he was in Syria or Iraq or
somewhere ISIS-friendly. But if he did manage to sneak back in, then it
would be an enormous opportunity for the French to go after him. And
that`s one of the reasons they went so quickly. They got this tip-off.
They verified the tip-off, according to the prosecutor. They thought he
was there and took advantage of the opportunity. Now they`re trying to
find if they got their man.
MADDOW: Richard, we have to take a quick break, but can you hold for
just a moment. There`s another piece of this that I want to talk to you
about, which is kind of a technical part of it in terms –
ENGEL: I was here all night last night, I`m going to leave now? I`m
here for you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right, stay right there. I`ve got bomb questions for you
when we come back.
We`ll be right back with Richard Engel. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`re back with NBC`s chief foreign correspondent, Richard
Engel, who is live in Paris and was at Saint-Denis last night when this
giant raid took place.
Richard, I want to ask you about the description you just gave about
the suicide bomb that went off in the middle of that raid. It may or may
not have been a woman who set off that bomb. A lot of people say it was,
but maybe it wasn`t.
But you described it as being such a big blast that it cratered the
floor of that apartment building, it almost collapsed the entire building.
Do we know anything about how good, how big these suicide bombs were in the
pantheon of suicide bombs? And whether or not this one that went off last
night was the same as the one on Friday?
ENGEL: I know you reported a couple of days ago that the NYPD is
coming over here or may be over here now to find out that exact question.
And a lot of bombs and their strengths also have to do with the
environment. If they`re in a closed space, the doors are closed, there`s
no place for the blast to exit. They become much more powerful. So, if
you`re in a closed room, the doors are closed, the windows are closed, it
can do a lot more damage than it can if you`re, you know, outside a stadium
or in an open place.
So, the short answer is, no, I don`t know if it was the same bomb
maker. Don`t know if it was the same caliber. But this is not an easy
device to find. It`s not an easy device to make. The other vests, French
officials described, were all similar. This cell was linked to the other
cell, so it would be a fair assumption to assume that they were similar
vests, but that is really, just an assumption.
MADDOW: And is it your sense, in terms of what you know of the
investigation and what you know about terrorism investigations, generally,
that the bombs, what`s left of the bombs, what may have survived in terms
of the one suicide vest that we think was sort of deployed in the attack,
but not used, and the one attacker who was shot rather than blown up, do we
expect that to be an important forensic part of the investigation and are
American law enforcement agencies and American and even military assets
sort of the leaders in terms of how to do that?
ENGEL: The FBI has gotten very good at this. And, frankly, it goes
back to Iraq. The U.S. military was in Iraq for so many years, dealing
IEDs killed so many American troops, huge, multi-billion dollar task
forces were established to counter IEDs, to find out who makes homemade
bombs, how they`re made. There are entire laboratories that the FBI does
primarily, where they reconstruct homemade bombs. And they`ve gotten
excellent at identifying a particular signature of a particular bomb maker,
based on the components of the chemicals and how the bombs are put together
and where the explosives are placed and the kinds of shrapnel.
But those are really, I don`t want to say, academic debates. At this
stage, France has a more immediate problem of finding out, are there more
of these bombs right now?
ENGEL: And then, long-term, yes, they need to find out who can make
these bombs, how they can be made, and what can be done to prevent them.
But, long-term – yes, the Americans have gotten very, very good at
this bomb identification. Not just because of Iraq, but that sped things
MADDOW: Right, and that question about, you know, what`s immediately
at hand, what needs to be answered, you know, if there are eight of these
suicide bombs that we know have been created for France, and just in the
past week, does that mean there`s more? Is there a stockpile somewhere?
Is there an active factory? Is there an ISIS bomb master?
ENGEL: And those syringes.
ENGEL: You hit on something very important. Every one in this
country was looking at that hotel room.
It was a strange hotel room. That video has been taken of one of safe
houses. We know there were three different safe houses that the teams of
attackers used. And the safe house didn`t have much in it.
There were some pizza boxes, a little bit of food on the table. The
beds were not made. The mattresses were turned over, unclear if it was
police who did that or the attackers themselves. Just didn`t make the beds
or knocked them over for some reason.
But very clearly on a table was a pile of syringes. And it`s unclear
why and – but if these people were bomb makers and making suicide vests,
as you mentioned earlier, syringes have a very bad connection.
MADDOW: Reporting from Paris, NBC chief foreign correspondent,
Richard Engel. Richard, thank you again for your time tonight. Really
appreciate it, my friend.
ENGEL: It`s my pleasure.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: One big thing that Paris had been planning for well before
Friday`s attacks is the huge landmark global climate conference that Paris
is supposed to be hosting at the end of this month. It is a super high
stakes, super high-profile U.N. Summit on Climate Change that has been in
the works and has been the subject of lots of political consternation in
lots of countries, especially ours. It has been in the works for years.
That conference is going to go on. It is going on as scheduled in
Paris next month. But French officials announced today, there will be a
significant change as to how it`s going to happen. They have decided to
ban a huge march, a huge demonstration that is scheduled to take place a
week from this Sunday, in Paris, at the outset of that concert.
An environmentalist march was expected to attract around 200,000
people. If you asked the environmentalists, they`d say they`re expecting
even more than that. Officials have now proclaimed, because of security
reasons, that march will not be permitted next Sunday, nor will another big
one that was planned for the end of the conference.
Marches are expected in other cities around the world over those two
days to coincide with the Paris conference, but they will not be happening
in Paris. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Yesterday, four days after the violence in Paris, we saw
those terrorist attacks make their first appearance in an American
Republican Senator David Vitter, who is well behind in the polls in
his bid for governor of Louisiana, David Vitter accused his Democratic
opponent of wanting to bring Syrian refugees and the supposed terrorists
among them to the state of Louisiana. David Vitter, as always, putting the
“K” in classy.
Well, today, we have our first presidential level political ad
featuring the Paris attacks, and the ostensible threats posed by the
refugees from the war in Syria. In Iowa, New Hampshire, and in South
Carolina today, Donald Trump has started airing a new radio ad.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, DONALD TRUMP RADIO AD)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama has no strategy to
defeat is. And now, he`s preparing to let hundreds of thousands of
refugees from Syria into the United States.
I will stop illegal immigration. We`ll build a wall on the southern
border. And yes, I will also quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of
ISIS. We`ll rebuild our military and mistake it so strong no one – and I
mean no one – will mess with us.
If I win, we will not have to listen to the politicians who are losing
the war on terrorism. We will keep America safe. And we will make America
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: On that hundreds of thousands of refugees, nobody knows where
Donald Trump is getting that hundreds of thousands number. Asked about it
at a press conference this evening, he said he had it, quote, “on pretty
good source”, that President Obama wants to bring 250,000, quote,
“migrants” to the U.S.
Ever since Friday`s attacks, Donald Trump has been saying that not
only would he not allow any Syrian refugees into this country if he were
president, he said if any are let in over the next year, when he becomes
president, he`ll round them up and kick them out.
Nobody particularly wants to talk about horse race politics at a time
like this, but there is a very real question as to whether or not the Paris
attacks are going to change our country`s politics. They`re going to
change country`s political trajectory.
For example, now that Republican voters are looking at their
candidates through the lens of a renewed terror threat, some people
positive they might abandon, sort of upstart outsider candidates, who have
been leading in the race. They might head for more establishment types
People who thought that would be what would happen are wrong, because
we now have the first polling done exclusively after Friday`s Paris
attacks. And it turns out Donald Trump pops among New Hampshire
Republicans. Donald Trump not only remains far and away the front runner
in the first poll taken in New Hampshire after the Paris attacks, he
actually got a five-point boost from his last showing in the same poll.
In the WBUR poll in New Hampshire, Donald Trump is now way out ahead
of his nearest rival, Ben Carson, by ten points.
There`s also a new FOX News poll out today in New Hampshire. This is
also, again, polling done since the Paris attacks. In the new FOX News`s
poll, look at Donald Trump`s lead. He`s at 27 percent. He leads his
nearest rival by 14 points in the new FOX News poll.
Mr. Trump has been losing ground in some national polls recently.
Maybe that will continue. We don`t know yet. But at least in New
Hampshire, in polling done in the days after the Paris attacks, Donald
Trump has been making it a central talking point that he will protect
America from dangerous Syrian refugees. And his popularity, at least in
New Hampshire, among Republican voters is growing.
And now, he is about to take his campaign of that character, to the
heart of anti-immigrant, anti-Syrian refugee politics in America. He`s
about to take his campaign back to Alabama.
On Monday, you may remember, it was Alabama`s governor, Robert
Bentley, who was the first governor in the nation to sign an executive
order that would ban any Syrian refugees from coming to his state. Alabama
was also the state in 2011 that passed an immigration law so harsh and
unprecedented that thousands of Latino families literally fled their homes
in the middle of the night.
And Alabama Senator Jefferson Beauregard Session III, Jeff Sessions,
who wrote an anti-immigration bill so extreme that even Ted Cruz opposed
it. When Donald Trump needed an immigration plan, he went to Senator Jeff
Sessions of Alabama to write his immigration plan.
In August, Donald Trump went to Alabama. He stood alongside Jeff
Sessions for some of it. He went to Alabama in Agust and drew 20,000
people to a huge rally in Mobile.
And now, tonight, we have learned that Donald Trump will be heading
back to Alabama on Saturday for another big rally in Birmingham, and if
there`s one place where he can look great as the anti-Syrian refugee bomb
ISIS tough guy, maybe he thinks it`s Alabama.
Meanwhile in Washington, on Capitol Hill, Speaker Paul Ryan confirmed
the House will vote tomorrow on a bill that would require sign-off on each
individual refugee from Syria or Iraq. The bill would require sign-off on
each one, each one individual person from the director of the FBI and the
director of national intelligence. That seems doable.
President Obama has already promised to veto that bill, but the House
is expected to vote on it tomorrow.
This is the fight now on the campaign trail, in state houses, and now
in the United States Congress.
Joining us now is Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. She`s an
Iraq war combat veteran, and as a child, she saw firsthand another refugee
crisis in Southeast Asia. She has an op-ed today called “Reject
fearmongers, welcome Syrian refugees”, that appeared in today`s “Chicago
Congresswoman Duckworth, it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks
for being with us tonight.
REP. TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), ILLINOIS: It`s good to be on, Rachel.
MADDOW: What do you think explains the move, particularly by
governors, across the U.S., including the governor, the Republican governor
in your state, to make Syrian refugees the issue and to try to block them
DUCKWORTH: Well, I don`t know why they`re doing it, Rachel, but
here`s what I do know – when we react from fear and terror, the way these
governors are reacting, we have achieved the terrorists` goals.
This is what they want to do. They can`t beat us on a conventional
battlefield, so they have to beat us somewhere else. And so, when we react
with terror and fear, we`re doing exactly what the terrorists want us to
And this is a time for us to lead from strength, not from fear. And
these governors are playing to their lowest common denominator and really
not helping our national security. If they want to help our national
security, we should actually be working towards helping the refugees get
here, because I certainly don`t want a whole another generation of
disaffected youth who hates America. And that`s what will happen if we
leave these kids in these refugee camps.
MADDOW: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about this is
specifically because of what you`ve explained about your own lived
experience. As a kid, I understand that you had some experience sort of
witnessing firsthand, refugees fleeing incredibly difficult circumstance
and the importance of the United States in dealing with the refugee crises
at that time.
Can you talk about that a little?
DUCKWORTH: Sure, Rachel, as a child, my father worked for the United
Nations development program. I actually was living in Cambodia, until two
weeks before the Khmer Rouge took over.
I remember as a child living in Thailand, as my dad was trying to
bring humanitarian aid to the refugee camps, to the refugees who were
fleeing Laos, who were fleeing the Khmer Rouge out of Cambodia, who were
fleeing Vietnam, were loading they had into boats and sailing on to the
South China Sea, seeking a were the life, seeking safety.
Let`s not forget that these refugees are victims of torture. And they
are not safe.
You know, I can`t imagine, Rachel, what it must be like. My daughter,
Abigail, turned one year old today, I can`t imagine having to go home
today, picking up Abigail, and only what I can carry, fleeing across an
entire continent. And when I get to the ocean, put her, the most precious
thing in my life, into a little rubber dingy, because that`s safer than
where she is right now.
And, you know, we did the right thing by the boat people in Southeast
Asia, when I was a child, we could have brought in we need to do the right
thing here with the Syrian refugees. These are women and children and
victims of torture.
MADDOW: Are you confident with the administration`s assurances that
these are the most well screened people coming into the United States by
any means and that are any security concerns should be alleviated by the
screening processes that are already in place? Are you reassured by those
assurances from the administration?
DUCKWORTH: Well, Rachel, we have the most robust screening program of
any place than any nation that`s accepting refugees. So, before they even
come to our 13-step process, they have to get through the United Nations
Refugee Commission first. And then they come to us. They go through a 13-
step process. They get biometric screening. They sit down with DHS
interviews. They go through the whole process.
I`m working with the administration to figure out what else we can do
to make sure that no one slips through the cracks.
But let`s be clear, these are women and children and victims of
torture. And we turn our backs on them, we reinforce the message that ISIS
is sending out to folks across the Middle East that America hates Islam,
that we hate them and that we will turn their backs on them. And that will
create yet another generation of people who will threaten our national
security in the future.
And I simply am not going to allow us to do that. We`re better than
that as a nation, Rachel.
MADDOW: Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth of Illinois – thank you very
much for your time tonight, Congresswoman. It was great to have you here.
We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, the State Department tonight announced a $5 million new
reward for information about this particular ISIS leader. The State
Department describes Abu Muhammad al-Shimali as basically ISIS`s
immigration master. They describe him as a key figure in the group, who`s
responsible for moving foreign terrorist fighters into Syria, into ISIS-
The State Department says last year, he helped foreign fighters from
Australia and from Europe and the Middle East all enter Syria. They say he
basically manages the ISIS processing center for new recruits in Syria,
people they collect from all over the world.
And tonight, this senior ISIS leader has a new $5 million bounty on
We got much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, this is the city of Raqqa in Syria, considered to be the
home base of ISIS in Syria. Raqqa is an important city. It`s now an
important target in the military fight against ISIS.
But about 130 miles west of Raqqa, there`s a town that holds its own
significance importance to ISIS. It`s a town called Dabiq. Dabiq is where
the end of the world is scheduled to happen, according to ISIS. In their
particular theocratic view, Dabiq is the place of impending Armageddon
between the end of the world global fight between Muslims and the
unbelievers and that will bring about the end of the world and they`re
totally psyched about that.
So much so that Dabiq is also the theme of their monthly propaganda
magazine, complete with interviews and profiles and glamorized photos of
ISIS fighters always smiling next to graphic photos of their victims.
Well, today, ISIS released its latest issue of “Dabiq” in which they
claim credit once again for the bomb that brought down the Russian jetliner
in Egypt last month, taking the lives of 224 innocent people. They`re
also, of course, crowing about pulling off the attacks in Paris on Friday.
But in this new issue of this magazine out today, they also claim to
have executed two hostages, reportedly a Norwegian man and a Chinese man,
each of whom they`ve apparently been holding for months.
ISIS posted a propaganda photo in this issue of “Dabiq” magazine today
of what they say are the bodies of those two men who they were holding
hostage but they now say they`ve executed them. The government of Norway
says it`s investigating those photos and the claims.
But there`s one other thing to know about this particular announcement
from ISIS. In a previous issue of “Dabiq”, and the issue of this magazine
that came out in September, ISIS had shown photos of the same hostages
alive. They claimed they were holding those two men alive.
And they also posted a number for a messaging service called Telegram.
They said they wanted to use Telegram, that messaging service to negotiate
a ransom for each of those men, the man from Norway and the man from China.
Telegram is a messaging app designed to be totally untraceable by security
services. There`s no way apparently you can reverse engineer or surveil
these messages in order to find out where they`re coming from.
So, Telegram is in part what ISIS have been using to communicate with
each other and also specifically what they have used to try to get people
to give them ransom money for their hostages. And now, Telegram knows
this. They have in the past acknowledged that ISIS uses their messaging
service. It`s been unsettling to see that this Telegram has not expressed
they`re particularly bothered by ISIS using their service.
But today after the attacks in Paris, and after the announcement from
ISIS whose ransom they used, the company Telegram announced that, OK, they
will shut down the channels on their service that ISIS has been using to
communicate in the past. The company says they have now blocked 78 ISIS-
related channels on Telegram across 12 languages. They`ve done it now,
because now it bothers them. No rush, you guys.
That does it for us now. Our coverage of the attacks in Paris
continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell.
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