The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 11/20/15
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Tonight two countries are under a state of
emergency, first France and now Mali in Northwestern Africa, after a
terrorist attack there today killed at least 20 people.
We have just learned the identity of the one American killed there in Mali,
Anita Datar, a public health expert, worked for a non-profit. A statement
from her family says she is survived by her son, parents, brother and many,
many friends around the world.
President Obama just addressed the Mali attack before his scheduled remarks
on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Malaysia.
The president said, “This barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this
challenge. Like the heinous attacks in Paris, this is another reminder of
the scourge of terrorism.”
And in Brussels the terror threat has been raised to its highest level.
The announcement from the Belgian interior ministry characterized it as a
serious imminent threat for the Brussels region.
Today Mali`s capital city was the site of a deadly attack when armed
jihadists took hostages in a siege at a hotel that lasted for more than
seven hours. NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has the
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just a
week after Paris, another terrorist attack in Mali, targeting the capital`s
most luxurious hotel. An Al Qaeda linked group, not ISIS, claiming
responsibility. Malian SWAT teams cautiously approach the hotel.
Inside at least three gunmen armed with grenades and assault rifles holding
some 170 hostages including about a dozen Americans.
The terrorists released those who could prove they were Muslim by reciting
passages from the Quran.
A body under a blanket shows what they did to those who couldn`t.
“Those jihadis they killed everyone, anything that was moving,” said one of
the hotel staff.
Upstairs, terrified hotel guests barricaded themselves in their rooms.
Reinforcements arrived, helped by two American special forces soldiers who
happened to be nearby and joined the effort.
The siege continued all day, until security forces finally managed to
overpower and kill the gunmen and free the rest of the hostages. But by
then at least 19 hostages, including one American and a Malian soldier,
were dead. The group claiming responsibility, an African jihadist
organization linked to Al Qaeda.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There should be also no secret to anybody that Al
Qaeda options continue to exist and to metastasize in Africa. That`s why
we`re working so hard in the international community to find ways to combat
groups like this.
ENGEL (voice-over): NBC News can`t verify the claim but the group has
attacked Westerners in Mali before and it`s thought the French backed
government of Mali, a former French colony. This might not have been ISIS
but now Islamic militant groups everywhere are flying the flag of global
ENGEL: Lawrence, a peace conference was about to start at that hotel, that
Radisson Blu in Bamako, which is the main hotel in Bamako, where people
generally stay and conferences are held. This was a peace conference which
is why so many diplomats, aid workers, U.S. military personnel and other
officials were gathered there for a high-profile event. It could it have
been the target. That would explain the timing – Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Richard Engel in Paris, thank you very much, Richard.
Joining us now from Paris, Chris Hayes, host of “ALL IN,” also with us Lt.
Col. Anthony Schaffer, a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy
Research. He served as an intelligence officer in the Army and conducted
intelligence and special operations in Mali and in that region in 2002-
Also with us, Jan Berger, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, project on
the relations with the Islamic world.
Chris Hayes, the obvious question tonight for French authorities is what is
the link between Mali and the attacks in Paris?
Do French authorities see this as some kind of retaliation against France?
I guess we don`t have Chris Hayes` sound working in Paris.
Anthony Shaffer, with your experience in the region, what`s your reaction
to the possibility of a linkage between this and what`s happening in Paris?
LT. COL. ANTHONY SHAFFER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: I think it`s a good
chance this is related both to fact that the French have been very active
in Mali as well as the leader of Al Qaeda, calling for all Al Qaeda units
in the world to rise up.
So I think it`s a combination of both. He actually released a tape – I
think it was about three weeks ago now – where he called for this very
sort of thing to happen.
So as stipulated in the opening, I think it`s very clear you see all the
radical elements of all flavors now kind of rising up. If nothing else,
they were inspired by the attack in Paris and you`ll see more of this.
O`DONNELL: We have Chris Hayes` sound working now from Paris.
Chris, if you can hear me, I`m wondering what we`re getting from French
authorities in terms of their reaction to what happened in Mali.
Do they see it as linked as to the attacks in Paris?
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: There hasn`t been any mention so far of any link
between the two French authorities as far as I know. Although the fact
that Hollande took some significant political risk by sending French troops
into Mali back when the civil war broke out and when Islamists took a
significant portion of that country means that this is once again on
France`s doorstep just in the wake of what happened here in Paris.
We should also note something else key here, which is that in the global
sense what we`ve seen is that terrorism is most likely not in places like
Paris or places like Brussels. It`s most intense, most deadly and most
likely in places that are functionally either failing or failed states,
places that are the sites of civil war and violence. That`s been true in
the tribal areas of Pakistan, it`s true today in Mali. It has been true in
Syria, Iraq and Libya and other places like that.
If you look at the totality, according to State Department, of deaths to
terrorism the vast majority – and Nigeria as well – come in states that
are either engaged in civil war, rebellions or some sort of territorial
problems in terms of control over the integrity of the state.
O`DONNELL: Jan Berger, what about this possible sense of competition
between Al Qaeda and ISIS?
Is that present in a situation like this?
After ISIS has a big display in Paris, Al Qaeda wants to have its own
display like this?
JAN BERGER, AUTHOR: Well, an operation like this probably was planned for
some time so, they didn`t just see Paris and decide to pull this off. I
think where the competition element comes in really is that particularly Al
Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Al-Mourabitoun, the two groups that were
claiming this attack, have both seen a loss of recruits and splintering
because of the appeal of ISIS.
So I think there`s some pressure to possibly to step up operations to keep
the foot soldiers happy, to make people feel like they are in an
organization that`s dynamic, because that`s certainly the image that ISIS
O`DONNELL: President Obama has just spoken about the Mali attacks. We`ve
just obtained that video. Let`s listen to that now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before I begin I want to say
a few words about the appalling terrorist attack in Mali. We`re still
learning the facts but what we do know is that gunmen stormed a hotel in
the capital of Bamako that was filled with citizens from a number of
nations, many of whom were there to help the people of Mali build a lasting
peace. The terrorists began ruthlessly killing people and taking hostages.
And so, on behalf of the American people, I want to extend our deepest
condolences to the people of Mali and the victims` families, including at
least one American. These were innocent people who had everything to live
for and they will be remembered for the joy and love that they brought to
And we are grateful to all who responded and risked their own lives to save
others. Malian security forces and all our own diplomatic security agents
rushed in to pull people to safety. French troops and American forces, who
were in the country for training missions, provided support, as did United
And thanks to the swift action and skill of all involved, many people
escaped and lives were saved and the terrorists were prevented from causing
even more bloodshed.
But I want the American people to know that we`re still working to account
for Americans who may have been at the hotel and to ensure the safety of
all of our citizens in Mali.
Like the heinous attacks we saw in Paris – and attacks we see all too
often elsewhere – this is another awful reminder that the scourge of
terrorism threatens so many of our nations.
And once again, this barbarity only stiffens our resolve to meet this
challenge. We will stand with the people of Mali as they work to rid their
country of terrorists and strengthen their democracy.
With allies and partners, the United States will be relentless against
those who target our citizens. We`ll continue to root out terrorist
networks. We will not allow these killers to have a safe haven.
And as I`ve seen throughout my trip this week, nations around the world –
including countries represented here today – are united in our
determination to protect our people to push back on the hateful ideologies
that fuel this terrorism and to stand up for the universal values of
tolerance and respect for human dignity that unites us and makes us
stronger than any terrorist.
This is the work we must do together. This is the future that we have to
build together. And that`s why I`m here today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, the president`s remarks verging on anger with this
terrorism, in effect following him around the world as he makes this trip,
this pre-planned trip, before the attacks in Paris that occurred and there
he is again tonight,/ responding to yet another attack.
HAYES: Yes. I thought that the law and barbarity in the face of that and
also hitting the note that Richard Engel pointing out, that this was done
on the eve of the peace conference and done for a reason, right?
To destroy the chances of peace because terrorism tends to thrive on war.
The president also I think striking a more noticeably harsher note. I mean
there was so much backlash after his press conference in the wake of the
Paris attacks and both he and John Kerry`s responses were to many and to
myself in some ways was sober minded and clear eyed but lacked I think what
certain folks inside the U.S. felt was sufficient outrage or sufficient
emotionality. The president showing some of that in that address right
O`DONNELL: The president of Mali today issued a statement saying we don`t
want to scare our people but we have already said that Mali will have to
get used to situations like this. We must all remain humble. No one,
nowhere is safe, given the danger of terrorism.
Jan Berger, I guess a realistic assessment of the situation there.
BERGER: Yes. I mean what we have seen in the last few years is that one
person or a small group of people can wreak tremendous damage. So eight
people acting in concert with support from others were able to paralyze an
In Boston a couple of years ago, two guys were able to paralyze an entire
So, I mean we can do a lot to try to prevent these things. We can improve
our response when an incident happens. But I mean I don`t think we`re
looking at a situation where we can, anybody really can say, you know, our
country is going to be immune to this.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, in Paris tonight, here we are exactly one week
from the attacks. You`ve been there through the week.
What is the feeling in Paris tonight?
Does it feel as though they are entering a new phase or is it – or is last
Friday like yesterday there?
HAYES: You know, it`s hard to say. I think tonight marks some kind of new
phase because it was, of course, the first Saturday night, obviously,
everyone was in mourning and grief-stricken and shocked. This was the
first weekend night since the attacks. It was a week there were jubilant
crowds, defiantly jubilant crowds that gathered here in the Place de la
Republique. And there were folks outside the Bataclan and other places.
There`s been people behind me here, coming out after a long night of
drinking, coming to pay their respects to the memorial. There`s definitely
more people out each day that we have been here.
At the same time, look, France is under a state of emergency. The national
legislative body has voted for the suspension of warrants and indeterminate
house arrest. There`s discussion of a constitutional amendment to rescind
dual nationality if sufficient evidence of terrorism. I mean, there is a
very – at the policy level particularly, a very kind of post-9/11 feel to
the kinds of things that are being contemplated here
And there`s real fear, there`s real shakiness on the part of the French
populace even a week later.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, thank you very much for staying up late for your
final report for us tonight from Paris, the final report of the week.
Thank you very much, Chris.
Jan Berger, thank you for joining us.
Colonel Schaffer, we need you to join the discussion later on the cyber war
that has broken out so please stay with us.
Coming up we have new information tonight about how French police
discovered the location of the terrorists who planned the Paris attacks.
And the cyber war is now on between Anonymous and the Islamic State.
And the author of this tweet, “Hey, Donald Trump, I`m an American Muslim
and I already carry a special ID badge. Where`s yours?”
That ID badge, of course, being Marine identification. Former Marine
Sergeant Tayyib Rashid will join us.
O`DONNELL: Looks like Donald Trump will have to make room in his campaign
schedule for a jury trial.
In 2010, students of Trump University, which was not actually a university,
sued Donald Trump, calling, claiming that the thing that he called a
university promised, among other things, an experience that would rival
Wharton Business School, which, as you know is the greatest school in the
world and the school that Donald Trump went to.
This week Trump and his online school lost a bid to dismiss the claims made
by those disappointed students. The class action lawsuit will proceed to a
pretrial hearing in January.
Up next, we`ll give you the latest on France`s ongoing state of emergency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This resolution is a powerful international recognition
of the threat posed by ISIL. It`s a call to action, to member states that
have the capacity to do so, to take all necessary measures in compliance
with international law to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed by
ISIL and other terrorist groups.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Last night French police carried out 182 raids throughout the
country, detaining 17 people and seizing 76 weapons. French police have
now conducted 793 raids since the attacks in Paris just one week ago today.
The French Senate extended the country`s state of emergency for three
months, giving police the expanded powers necessary to continue carrying
out those raids without warrants.
Today the death toll in last Friday`s attacks increased by one to 130 after
one of the people gravely wounded in the attack died in the hospital.
Raids are also continuing in Belgium, where officials have filed terror
charges against another suspect they believe was involved in last week`s
Paris attacks. The Belgian prosecutor`s office said the unnamed suspect
has been charged with , quote, “participation in terrorist attacks and
participation in the activities of a terrorist organization.”
We now have new video of Wednesday`s raid that killed the ringleader of the
attack. This video captures the moment when a suicide bomber detonates a
O`DONNELL: There`s also new information tonight about how the French
police discovered the ringleader`s location. Joining us now with those
details is Laura Haim, White House correspondent and U.S. bureau chief for
Laura, what can you tell us about that?
LAURA HAIM, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND U.S. BUREAU CHIEF FOR CANAL+:
It`s interesting because the police received a tip from an ordinary
citizen. They had the phone number, a free toll number and they had on
Sunday some people all over the country to call them if they knew
And that person called them, he called a kind of 9-1-1 terrorist number
dedicated to 9-1-1 tips and said I think I saw Abaaoud. I think you might
try to go to this location in (INAUDIBLE).
The police were extremely surprised, the police people, and then they
decided to right at top and put under surveillance his cousin, Hasna. And
they followed the cousin and they find out in less than 48 hours that
Abaaoud was with Hasna in this apartment since Sunday (ph) and very quickly
they decided after the tip and after following this woman and Abaaoud, that
it was time for them to launch the ride.
O`DONNELL: Wow. So this was just what they call in the States, see
something, say something. This was just a citizen with open eyes, who
thought he was seeing something.
HAIM: Yes. Absolutely. He called, we don`t know if it`s a man or a woman
but we know that it`s a regular citizen and he was probably from the
neighborhood b he knew something extremely well Sunday all that my sources
are telling me.
O`DONNELL: And you have new information tonight about the suicide bombers
at the stadium.
What is that?
HAIM: There were three suicide bombers. It`s a part of the story we
should watch because investigators have a lot of information about those
three suicide bombers and especially about how they arrived to Paris.
The first one is Bilal Hadfi. He`s a 20 years old man. He was from
Belgium but also from Morocco. And you have to remember that Abaaoud, the
architect of the attacks, also has some family ties with Morocco. So
Morocco is also a part of this story.
So Hadfi, the teenager, the guy was 20 years old, exploded himself, was a
regular person until last year; he was listening to rock music, according
to his family. And then nobody knows why, he went to Syria. He
radicalized himself, he began to be extremely religious, he said goodbye to
his mother in the beginning of 2015.
And in march of 2015 he completely vanished and went to Syria. He came
back. We don`t know how he came back and he exploded himself.
The two other suicide bombers had at the Stade de France had Syrian
passports. But what`s interesting, one of the guy had a Syrian passport
and the French investigators took the Syrian passport and looked at the
name. But the name is the name of a soldier, a dead soldier, who was
working for Bashar al-Assad.
And this soldier, he`s dead several months ago, so they don`t believe that
this passport is – in fact, they believe this passport is a fake passport.
That`s for the seventh suicide bomber. And the third suicide bomber still
in the stadium, that did not (INAUDIBLE) that they think is Syrian, they`re
convinced he`s Syrian and they`re trying to know how he came to France and
the investigators think that this Syrian came from Greece.
So you see you have a global network, very structured. We see people
coming from Syria, going to Greece, going to Paris and it, of course,
creates a lot of questions for the French about how people are coming to
France to commit attacks.
O`DONNELL: Well, do they have evidence indicating that they moved, are any
of these terrorists moved with Syrian refugees or among Syrian refugees?
HAIM: As you know, Lawrence, it`s a very sensitive question. It`s a very
sensitive question for the French and also for you in the United States.
We don`t know precisely how these people came from Greece to France.
I spoke a lot with some people who are really following that and they are
saying that there`s two ways to come from Greece to France. You can take a
car, cross Europe very easily with a fake passport and arrive to France.
And it`s simple.
Or, and there`s a possibility, of course, that they are looking at, they
don`t know, they want to emphasize that they don`t know, you might join a
group of refugees and cross. They really don`t know what happened. They
really think at this moment that most them didn`t join refugee groups but
used fake passports.
O`DONNELL: And Laura, the Belgium terror alert, raising to it the highest
level but doing it seven days after the attacks in Paris, what`s that
HAIM: It`s extremely seniors, Lawrence. And all the people in France who
are in Belgium are extremely concerned about that something terrible might
You have to remember, and we should emphasize that there`s a guy who is
still at larger, the guy who fired at restaurants, this guy was from
Belgium, according to the investigators. He`s probably in Belgium at this
moment. They don`t know if he`s alive, if he`s not alive. They cannot
locate him. They are extremely worried about this man.
And, again, the Belgium people should be careful; that`s what the police
are telling them tonight.
O`DONNELL: Laura Haim, thank you very much for your invaluable perspective
all week. We really appreciate it.
HAIM: You`re welcome.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, muslim@muslimmarine tweeted a message for Donald Trump about IDs
and Muslims living in America. He will join us next.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Last night after the show, I saw this
“Hey, Donald Trump, I`m an American Muslim and I already carry a special ID
badge. Where`s yours?”
And there is the picture of Sergeant Tayyib Rasheed`s U.S. Marine Corps ID,
the kind of ID that no member of the Trump family has ever had.
Joining us now, former Marine Sergeant Tayyib Rashid, who tweets
Tayyib, I have to tell you when I saw that tweet last night, I immediately
sent to it the producers of this show and said, “How do we get him, how do
we find him, how do we get him on TV?”
So thank you very much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.
Obviously you were reacting to Donald Trump`s comments, first in an
interview, where he was suggesting that maybe all Muslims should be –
American Muslims in a database and possibly with an ID identifying them
that way. This was your reaction to that.
How did it feel to have the front-runner for the Republican presidential
nomination saying that there is one religious group in the United States
that should be identified as that so everyone can know who they are?
SGT. TAYYIB RASHID, USMC (RET.): First of all, Lawrence, thank you so much
for having me and thank you for this opportunity.
As a member of the Muslim community and Muslims who believe in the Messiah,
my father, who is a missionary raised my siblings and me with certain
American values and one of those very important values is that loyalty to
your nation is part of your faith. And so Ive lived by those values. Ive
tried to embody those values. And as a result of those values and that
specific value, I decided that the best way that I could serve my country,
the United States, was to serve in the Armed Forces.
And so having served in the Armed Forces, having been with brothers of all
different races, colors and creeds and different faiths, look, we all bleed
red, white and blue.
And when you have a front-runner candidate like Donald Trump making
statements that seeks to divide our society and divide our armed forces,
you know, it just hit a nerve with me and I had to respond.
So I am very honored that there`s many Americans, as a matter of fact, if
you can look at the number of retweets I`ve had, there`s many Americans
that agreed with that sentiment and I`m very grateful for that.
O`DONNELL: Yes, your tweet has flown all around the world. And, of
course, as we know, it should be noted that Donald Trump, when his – the
day came in his life to decide whether to do military service during a
period when we a draft in the Vietnam war, he did everything he could
possibly do to evade service in the military.
So, let`s listen to what Donald Trump, the first statement Donald Trump
made on video about this. Let`s watch this and listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: There should be a lot of systems beyond
database. We should have a lot of systems. And today you can do it. But
right now we have to have a border, we have to have strength, we have to
have a wall and we cannot let what`s happening to this country happen –
TRUMP: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) specifically, how do you actually get them
TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do good
management procedures and we can do that.
QUESTION: Would you go to mosques and sign these people up?
TRUMP: Different places. You sign them up at different – but it`s all
about management. Our country has no management.
QUESTION: Would you have to – (INAUDIBLE) in this database? Or would
there – ?
TRUMP: They have to be – they have to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, Tayyib, he`s feeling the heat from this one and so he has
done the usual Donald Trump thing, simply lie and pretend that he never
said what you just saw him say.
He tweeted, “I didn`t suggest a database; a reporter did.”
Now, he said, we just heard him say that, of course, he would implement
that, absolutely. He`s talked about how would you get people registered
into the database. He answers that. He says you would do it through good
management. That`s how he would track you down, Tayyib.
That`s how he would track you down and get you into his database and issue
you that ID. He would do it through good management.
RASHID: Yes. You know, and that`s Donald Trump for you, right? I mean,
at the end of the day, I think what most Americans recognize – and Muslims
– as we band together is that, look, we`re going get together and we`re
going to continue into the future and continue to advance this country
And each and every single one of us, whether we be Muslim, Christian, Jew,
Sikh, we`re an all-important element of the fabric of American society.
And as the leader of, you know, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, His
Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad has said over and over again that service to
humanity is part of every Muslim`s duty.
And so in response to that, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and I, as a
member, we have engaged in activities that serve our fellow Americans.
We`ve had blood drives. We`ve actually collected hundreds of thousands of
units of blood. We`ve had many peace rallies.
You know, look, we`re not going back down. We are open to dialogue. We`re
open to help people understand that the Islamic faith is a peaceful one.
And if a person has a disposition that is violent or if a person has a
disposition that`s hateful, they are going to act on those instincts,
regardless of what faith they are. So, we`re here to build bridges and I`m
here to build bridges with my fellow Americans.
You know, people like Donald Trump, I feel, you know, sad because they are
in a position to build bridges. And instead what they do is just divide
us. And I think that`s really unfortunate.
O`DONNELL: Sergeant Tayyib Rashid, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I have to tell you, you know, I look at Twitter, hoping, hoping
to find things that I don`t know, in fact, hoping to find things for this
show. And so just about 24 hours ago, when I saw your tweet, I just knew I
had to get you on here. So thank you very much for joining us. I really
RASHID: Thank you, Lawrence, my pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, the hacker group Anonymous reports on what they call their
success in their declared cyber war against ISIS.
O`DONNELL: After French president Francois Hollande declared war on the
Islamic State this week, the hacker collective known as Anonymous has
declared cyber war on ISIS. Here`s NBC`s Pete Williams.
PETE WILLIAMS, NBC JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They wear identical
masks in their video and target the U.S. government, shutting down websites
and posting private information online. But in a string of videos, the
hacker group Anonymous says it`s now on government`s side, declaring war on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will retaliate not with violence but with our
intelligence about hacking.
WILLIAMS (voice-over): The videos in many languages went viral, prompting
“It`s about time someone has a good, effective plan,” says one tweet.
“Keep up the fight.. I just hope the world governments are doing their
part offline,” says another.
The target: the relentless ISIS propaganda campaign on social media. Some
Anonymous members claim to have gotten more than 5,500 accounts suspended
with more than 100 ISIS websites shut down since the group first went after
ISIS more than a year ago.
But experts say making a dent in the ISIS social media machine won`t be
easy because banned accounts can be quickly renamed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody can easily change their name on Twitter or
Facebook or any of the social media identities. It`s whack-a-mole. It`s
purely whack-a-mole. It is ineffective.
WILLIAMS (voice-over): Even so, a Stanford University expert on cyber
security says what Anonymous is doing can be a useful nuisance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you get harassed, you`re less effective in doing
your work. So while they are recovering from the harassment they are not
doing as many bad things as they were before.
WILLIAMS: The government welcomes anything that weakens terrorism. But
some in the intelligence community don`t want ISIS taken off social media
because it`s a place where potential recruits can be tracked – Pete
Williams, NBC News, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Cal Perry. He is the editor of MSNBC`s
Also back with us, Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer.
Cal, so is Anonymous helping?
CAL PERRY, MSNBC EDITOR: It looks like they are finally and this is a
group that actions have listed like a list of felonies. They went after
the Church of Scientology. That`s not exactly a group that`s shy about its
They hit Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Sony, Sony Pictures. So until very
recently, the U.S. government has had them on their top target list when it
comes to the digital sphere. And now it looks like they are exposing some
of these Twitter accounts, they`re trying to get this information out there
so that not only the U.S. government but that other hackers around the
world will go ahead and try to shut down these accounts.
O`DONNELL: Carl Shaffer, we have one comment there in Pete Williams`
report, one commentator saying, this is ineffectual; this doesn`t help
SHAFFER: Yes, Lawrence, I saw that. The guy is wrong. Look, it`s very
effective for two reasons.
First, our government is ineffective in actually detecting these accounts.
They did, according to my Pentagon sources, ISIS did a 72-hour – 72 hours,
Lawrence – rollout, Twitter campaign, encouraging their brothers and
sisters for the jihad in Paris. And we missed it. So clearly something is
wrong. So we`re not having law enforcement manage these accounts. They
don`t even see them.
Secondly, ISIS is actually using social media, as stipulated, very
effectively. Anything you can do to throw these obstacles in the way is
good. More importantly I think you can`t classify technology. You can`t
make technology secret. So in this case I think Anonymous can do some very
aggressive, what I would call offensive information operations, offensive
technology operations, things we developed back in the `90s, to go in and
actually do some disruption to both their economic centers of gravity as
well as their command and control. Because some of these groups, Lawrence,
have been using Facebook as methods of communicating each other`s command
and control movements. So I think this is important.
O`DONNELL: “The Washington Post” had a report today about just how
important the cyber world is to ISIS. They report that senior media
operatives are treated as emirs of equal rank to their military
counterparts. They are directly involved in decisions on strategy and
They preside over hundreds of videographers, producers and editors, who
form a privileged professional class with status, salaries and living
arrangements that are the envy of ordinary fighters.
And so, Cal, ISIS certainly regards this as a top-level operation.
PERRY: It`s a bit crazy. They have a 24 I.T. help desk. We know this
from analysts that are close to the U.S. Army. That`s nuts. We used to
say that ISIS was socially media savvy. I think we`ve graduated now. They
are just media savvy. And we see this in the videos they put out.
It`s like they are building a media library. They go back, they dip into
that video and they put in these messages.
The other thing I think that`s worth mentioning is it takes a lot of guts
to put on a suicide belt, takes lot of crazy and it takes a lot of evil to
walk into a public place with a gun or a suicide belt and kill innocent
It doesn`t take a lot of gusts to be inspired to put out a tweet, to put
out something online, spread misinformation, spread visceral hatred online.
And that`s a problem, especially for the U.S. military.
How do you shut that down?
You shut down one site; three more pop up.
O`DONNELL: And, Colonel Shaffer, is the NSA trying to do exactly the same
thing that Anonymous is trying to do?
SHAFFER: The answer is yes, Lawrence. I was actually meeting with some
sources on this today and we`re way behind. You need a hybrid. You can`t
simply have NSA do it. You have to have essentially case officers like me.
We pioneered this sort of operation back in the late `90s, again, where you
put basically a linguist, a case officer and some technical support so you
can actually get where you need to be. These are very, very complicated
operations. Clearly Anonymous doesn`t have the oversight requirements we
had but it can to be done.
The question now becomes obviously can we catch up or, more importantly,
can we maybe do some joint operations?
Look, I`m not against – if the common enemy here is ISIS, I`m very much
for reaching out to Anonymous through our sources and working together
cohesively. This is a very important target. And as you point out, people
who are inside the ranks of ISIS doing this are treated like rock stars.
They are also now targeting individuals, military individuals online, to
actually try to plan military – terrorist operations against them. So,
again, this is no small issue.
O`DONNELL: All right. Quick break. We`ll come back with more on the
And Hillary Clinton wants tech companies to cooperate with government
O`DONNELL: As Cal Perry mentioned in our last segment, the Islamic State
actually has a 24-hour help desk which, among other things, is there to
show its followers how to use encryption software.
These programs allow users to go dark by encrypting messages until the
message is received; they make it very difficult for law enforcement to
monitor that stuff. Earlier this week, Senator Dianne Feinstein said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIF.: I think that Silicon Valley has to take
a look at their products because if you create a product that allows evil
monsters to communicate in this way, to behead children, to strike
innocents, whether it`s at a game in a stadium, in a small restaurant in
Paris, take down an airliner, that`s a big problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Cal Perry, since the Snowden revelations, Silicon Valley has
been moving away from cooperation with the government, hasn`t it?
PERRY: Yes. Absolutely. And I think that`s been the popular thing to do
since Snowden, right, to protect civil liberties and certainly that`s
But we`ve reached a new reality now, where ISIS is penetrating in ways in
which they haven`t, in which Silicon Valley is going to need, I think, to
sort of pitch in and help out.
We`re seeing a change in even the way we educate our kids here in this
country because it`s going to be the next generation that is going to take
this fight on. The kids who are learning Minecraft and how to program from
the first grade on, I think that`s who will really take this fight to ISIS.
Let`s listen to what Hillary Clinton had to say about this. It`s basically
the same thing we just heard Dianne Feinstein say. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We need Silicon Valley not to
view government as its adversary; we need to challenge our best minds in
the private sector to work with our best minds in the public sector to
develop solutions that will both keep us safe and protect our privacy.
Now is the time to solve this problem, not after the next attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Colonel Shaffer, it`s hard to imagine a Democratic presidential
candidate saying that, making that very argument even six months ago, in
the age of Snowden. But this became a very unpopular thing to say on
Hillary Clinton`s side of our politics.
SHAFFER: Well, this is a very difficult challenge. Let`s be honest here.
Terror groups, mafias, all these different nefarious organizations are
always the first to be adapters of new technology.
Lawrence, we faced drug groups in the `90s who were adept at something
called PGP. PGP was Pretty Good Protection that actually encrypted things
back then. So this is not a new challenge. The question now becomes how
do you reach out to the private sector to get them to start trusting you
again, based on some of the revelations of Snowden?
And more importantly how do you then parse between legitimate uses of
encryption and those which are perpetrated by the evildoers?
This is no small thing. And often what you have to do – I`ve said it
before – you have to get someone inside the loop, a human intelligence
plant, a double agent or someone inside because that way you can actually
avoid having to do a lot of external penetration.
Ultimately, we talk about insider threats here all time. We need to get
insider threats inside of their loop, inside of what they are doing, so
that way we know exactly what`s going on within that.
So we need to do both. Look at the technology but then again go back to
the second oldest profession of clandestine operations and penetrate the
networks so we know what`s going on inside the network.
O`DONNELL: And, Cal, the big question of the week that`s been developing -
- and we don`t have the time to resolve it here – but is the Snowden
effect on intelligence gathering, in the war against the Islamic State, and
this kind of terrorism, do you have a sense of how to describe that effect
at this point, if any?
PERRY: I think as you said, what`s become the overriding factor is
operational security. Everybody has really tried to keep things secret as
best they can and it`s a fine line to walk because now is the time where we
should share information, potentially, and try to beat the threat together.
O`DONNELL: All right. We have to leave it there for tonight. We`ll have
much more coming up. Cal Perry, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, thank you both
very much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, how do you explain the Paris attacks to a child, a French child?
That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: The last word of the night, indeed, the last word of our
coverage for this week should come from Paris. And it will come from
When a father tried to explain to a little boy the Paris attacks that
occurred a week ago. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: And now tonight`s “Last Word,” tonight, the last word goes to a
little boy, Brandon Lee, who was interviewed with his father on French
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (from captions): Do you understand what happened? Do
you understand why those people did that?
BRANDON LEE, PARISIAN (from captions): Yes, because they are really,
really mean. Bad guys are not very nice. And we have to be really careful
because we have to change houses.
BRANDON`S FATHER (from captions): Oh, no, don`t worry. We don`t need to
move out. France is our home.
LEE (from captions): But there`s bad guys, Daddy.
BRANDON`S FATHER (from captions): Yes, but there`s bad guys everywhere.
LEE (from captions): They have guns. They can shoot us because they`re
really, really mean, Daddy.
BRANDON`S FATHER (from captions): It`s OK. They might have guns but we
LEE (from captions): But flowers don`t do anything. They`re for –
BRANDON`S FATHER (from captions): Of course they do. Look, everyone`s
putting flowers. It`s to fight against guns.
LEE (from captions): It`s to protect?
BRANDON`S FATHER (from captions): It`s to remember the people who are gone
LEE (from captions) The flowers and the candles are here to protect us.
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