Date: March 22, 2016 Guest: Christopher Dickey, Brian Katulis, Anthony Roman, Julie Smith, Ryan Greer, Tara Maller, Chris Murohy
GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, UNITED STATES ARMY (RET): They are AK-47s. They`re not -- I put off hundreds of explosive devices, that we`re trained. We have technology. These people are making TATP with --
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have to go.
General McCaffrey, thank you as always, sir. I love your expertise and your concern.
It`s now 1:00 a.m. in Belgium, 8:00 p.m. on the East Coast here in the United States. We`re continuing to follow the aftermath of today`s terrorist bombings in Brussels.
Here`s what we know at this hour, the blast at a Brussels airport occurred at 8:00 a.m. local or 3:00 a.m. Eastern Time in the U.S. NBC News is reporting that there were three suitcase bombs, one of which failed to detonate. An hour later, another bomb exploded in the city subway system during rush hour. The explosives reportedly contained nails that pierced the bodies of victims.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. In one location, authorities found an explosive device, chemicals and an ISIS flag.
Meanwhile, authorities released this image of three men pushing luggage carts at the airport prior to the attack. NBC reports they are suspects in the attack. Two are believed to be dead. The other, the man in the lighter jacket to the right is being sought as we talk.
Any way, tonight, many questions remain, of course. Who are the men pictured in the photo? How far in advance was this horror planned? Did it get moved up after the arrest last week of the suspect from the November`s Paris attack? And the most ominous question, are there many attacks on the way in the near future?
Let`s begin this hour in Brussels, where Christopher Dickey is the world news editor at "The Daily Beast".
Christopher, thank you for joining us. Give us wrap up, a wrap around of what you can report right now.
CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, THE DAILY BEAST: I think the most interesting thing we`ve heard is that there was a taxi driver who took the three guys out to the airport. And they wouldn`t let him lift the bags out of his trunk. In fact, they were so heavy he couldn`t lift them. He thought that was awfully weird.
When he heard there was these explosions he got in touch with police and he took police to the apartment from which he picked them up. And that is where they got that break and found those chemicals and that evidence, the flag, other evidence of jihadist activities. So, that was a really important break in the case and it helped them go back and look at the videos, the closed circuit TV videos from the airport and identify those three. That`s how they got to be singled out.
I think that`s the most interesting development. It takes them well down the path toward finding this one guy. It`s not just that they have an unidentified picture. They also know where he was holding up and they may even have some DNA. We haven`t heard anything like that yet.
MATTHEWS: Do we have any leads like that, commensurate with that on the subway, the metro attack today an hour later?
DICKEY: None that I`ve heard. That was a much more devastating attack. Not only were more people killed, but when you set off a bomb inside a crowded subway car, you`ll kill a lot of people. If it`s a suicide bomber with a vest on, his body is obliterated and it`s a horrible thing to say, but it`s also going to be mixed in with a lot of other DNA.
MATTHEWS: Living over there in Paris and reporting from there primarily, Chris, do you have a sense of Belgium? I mean, it`s taken some hits on this program as an inadequate government in terms of security, an inadequate government in terms of immigration and assimilation, and those goals we always like to put together, not being the case in that country.
Do you have a sense of that situation of Belgium? A country that gets very little attention in the United States and now does.
DICKEY: Well, you know, look, Belgium is a country that`s not terribly well-organized. You`ve got the Flemish population and the French speaking population. This is a country that went for almost two years without a government, in fact, just sort of limping along.
It`s very hard to run a tough security establishment when the people at the top can`t get their act together. That was definitely the case here. I think it`s not a surprise they are not competent in their police work.
In terms of immigration, I think they wound up with a lot of people who were brought here to work in factories and the factories closed and the people didn`t have anywhere to go. They stayed put and got embedded in neighborhoods like Molenbeek. And what`s the economy of Molenbeek is basically dealing hashish.
So, they don`t like police very much. They have an underground culture. And when you introduce jihadist into the mix, who tell young men, you seem to be leading kind of a pointless life, but I`m going to show you how to be a man, I`m going to show you how to be a hero, I`m going to show you how to go fight for the rights of your Muslim compatriots around the world.
Some men find that seductive. Some young men find that seductive. And that`s how they wind up in Syria.
MATTHEWS: You`re a great storyteller. Unfortunately, I think it`s the exact truth in what you described. I mean, it`s such -- it is a narrative that we`re going to have to live through the rest of our lives.
Anyway, thank you, Christopher Dickey, over in Brussels.
Brian Katulis is with the Center for American Progress, and Anthony Roman is counterterrorism and risk management analyst who join us now in these times.
You know, we`re just going around an area here. We`re trying to focus in on the picture of three suspects. Two of which had strangely wearing gloves, which may have contained in them a button to push. Suicide bombers, we`re looking at that because it`s all we have right now. A cab driver we just learned from Chris Dickey, a cab driver was told by the passengers, don`t try to lift the bags. We`ll do it. That`s something suspicious there.
But that`s really the rudimentary information we have, but we do know it`s ISIS. It`s something really big. So, put it together if you can, something really big with something -- with small players here.
BRIAN KATULIS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: Well, I think what`s interesting, listening to the reporting on this, is that the tip of the spear here is law enforcement and intelligence work and everything you just described there, Chris. This is what our law enforcement and intelligence agencies do. I think it`s important that this attack and our reaction to it is much more mature.
We`re understanding that, you know, a decade ago, perhaps, we have would have said, look, our U.S. military should go somewhere and invade something. And now, we understand that the nature of this threat requires there to be functioning, governing institutions and there actually has to be this forensic type investigation.
So, there`s no foolproof system but we have gotten really good in this country here in the United States in preventing attacks like this.
MATTHEWS: But just remember, 9/11, I don`t think anybody has to be reminded of it. But those people were living in Germany, the masterminds, the ones putting it together are living in Germany, the ones who really led, the pilots of those planes, they got their pilot training in Florida, right?
KATULIS : Yes. That`s right.
MATTHEWS: So, a lot of that was pretty close to home when they were putting it together.
Let me bring in Anthony Roman here about this picture.
How did we start with the macro of ISIS trying to develop a caliphate in the terrain of the land mass of Iraq, what`s left of Iraq and Syria, what`s left to Syria, and at the same time, do we have this kind of loyalty on the continent of Europe which brings people to kill themselves just to kill some people at an airport entrance on a weekday morning, or kill some people in rush hour in Brussels. Just to do that, just to create a noise that will unsettle the West. Just to do that.
ANTHONY ROMAN, RISK MANAGEMENT ANALYST: Yes, when you have an entire community that`s disenfranchised economically and socially and politically, it`s a fertile ground for ISIS to harvest future terrorists. They bring them to the so called caliphate. They receive military training.
It`s exciting. There`s camaraderie. For the first time in their lives, a purpose, and they come back and highly radicalized.
And then when you factor in that the intelligence services are not being effective, that the U.S. intelligence agencies are reluctant to cooperate with the Belgium intelligence agencies, you have a real problem on your hand. And this is why Belgium is such an easy target.
MATTHEWS: Do you think it`s why they live there? It`s a chicken and egg problem. Why are there so many bad guys coming from such a small European country?
ROMAN: Well, this area in Molenbeek is a no-go zone. Some of my intelligence sources right after the Paris attack were present undercover in Molenbeek. They reported that there was an air of absolute defiance that this is our area, this is our country, we`re not leaving and you`re not interfering with what we do.
That was the common feeling of the intelligence agencies that there were there. That is just a reflection of a complete lack of appropriate community policing, a complete lack of engaging the community, economically, socially and politically, so that they participate in the process and help you with the solution.
So, the solution is actually counter intuitive to what most people think. It`s inclusiveness. It`s participation. It`s developing your sources there.
MATTHEWS: It`s Europe. It`s not America.
ROMAN: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Brian.
I`m European, that`s why we left. That`s why most Americans left because they didn`t fit into Europe.
KATULIS: But it`s part of the answer, right? In our own debate, we are heard here in America, some messages of steady resolve and resilience, and then we`ve also heard erratic fear-mongering, trying to paint entire communities and entire, you know, Muslim communities in a particular way.
MATTHEWS: You mean the way the British treated the Irish for several hundred years?
KATULIS: True, but --
MATTHEWS: The way the French treated the Huguenots?
KATULIS: Right. But I think --
MATTHEWS: I mean, there is a history of not fitting into Europe.
KATULIS: But those were a different eras. I think at this point this issue of pluralism and exclusivity is at the core of how do we keep everybody secure?
MATTHEWS: Well, there`s a difference. I hope we still stay better at it than they are.
Anyway, Brian Katulis, thank you.
Anthony Roman, sir, I loved listening to you.
Joining us right now is Betty Newsome.
Now, Betty, thank you for joining us. It`s been reported that your niece and your husband who live in Brussels are now missing at this point tonight. Can you tell us what you know?
I think we`ll try to get back to her.
When we return, reaction to the horror in Brussels today from presidential candidate John Kasich. He`s going to join us life.
Our coverage of the terror attacks in Belgium will continue after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a time when you have to keep your cool. This is a time when you have to have a good action plan of how to move forward. This is a time when you have to remain strong.
But not a time in which you should let your rhetoric take advantage of a situation where people may be frightened. This is time for real leadership. If I were in Cuba right now, the last thing I would be doing is going to a baseball game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to our special coverage of the terror attacks in Belgium.
John Kasich, Governor Kasich, took a measured approach in his conference today, calling upon President Obama to return from Cuba, but also speaking out against those who use inflammatory rhetoric to further scare the American public.
I`m joined right now by Ohio governor and presidential candidate John Kasich.
Were you President Kasich today, what would be your priorities and what you would like to do and begin to do as you woke up this morning?
KASICH: Well, Chris, I probably would have finished the speech and then I would have wanted to come home and I would have called all the world leaders either individually or on a call. I would have had my intelligence and military folks and I would have met with them to talk about vulnerabilities and then I would have sent them to Europe.
And, by the way, this isn`t anything anybody advised me to say. This is what I, you know, intuitively and instinctively know and send them to Europe, send them to Brussels, sit down with our allies in Europe. Honestly, examine our vulnerabilities and begin to fix them.
And, Chris, the other thing is we`ve got to go and destroy is. We keep talking about it but we`re not doing anything about it, and we need that coalition of Arabs, the Muslims who support us and that good coalition to go and take them out on the air and the ground and, of course, we need aggressive, aggressive intelligence, human intelligence. We need to make sure that the civilized world is together on this.
We need to share intelligence and here at home when it comes to these counter terrorism task forces that are made up of FBI, Homeland Security, state and law enforcement -- they need to have the resources which I`m told they have, and they need to have tools, which is why I`m glad -- I think we`re getting a resolution in this encryption case.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the U.S., and I know you`re very patriotic about -- well, the gut kind of patriotism that you and I share. I know all about it.
And I`m thinking, how do we keep that the way it is that for most of the people who have come to the United States over the years? In fact, 99.999 percent come here because they want to be Americans. And that`s what they want to be. They want to be Americans and wave the flag like we all did as kids.
I remember, we used to march up and down in front of our Catholic grade school waving the flag like George M. Cohan, it was unbelievable, because we want to assimilate as fast as possible. Some people come here and they come and they join large communities. They are isolated from the rest of the countries. Might be in Denver, Detroit, New Jersey, could be anywhere, where the people really do create their communities to themselves. That could be harmless, like that little Havana down in Florida, which is really their animosity is aimed at Castro and his brother.
When you have an east/west situation, the Muslim world being offered these ideas of terrorism and radicalization, how do you work against that as Americans where we have a very free society? How do you stop it? Can you?
KASICH: Yes. Well, Chris, I think number one, is sometimes it takes another generation. You know, when my mother and father who were the sons and daughter of an immigrant, they didn`t talk much about the old country. But some people do cling to that.
But I think it`s a generational change. You know, the kids begin to assimilate on the ball field, soccer field. They begin to assimilate in school. It begins to change.
You`re right. There are some communities like as you mentioned in little Havana, but they`re still really, frankly, they love America and have assimilated. And I think that`s part of it.
The other thing is, Chris, listen, these counterterrorism task forces, the ability of state and local law enforcement, along with the FBI, to be able to gather information while still respecting the civil rights and freedom of Americans, that`s where we come in, Chris. That`s where you and I notice something in our community and our neighbors notice something, and we let law enforcement know.
I give you a perfect example, in San Bernardino, the neighbor apparently saw things happening but the neighbor didn`t tell anybody. The father saw radicalization happening to his son, didn`t tell anybody. So, there`s going to be responsibility, to some degree on our part, to be able to let the law enforcement community know about radicalization, and then we have to deal with it.
On assimilation, I think that it`s a process of generation is what I basically think.
MATTHEWS: Well, unfortunately, the case where is the people will come here from a country pretty remote from here whether North Africa or the Middle East. The parents will bust their butt when they get here to make a living and to fit in. And then the kids come along and they find themselves alienated, you know, as the kids of immigrants, it`s very tricky.
Anyway, reacting to the attacks this morning, Donald Trump said again that torture works when interrogating suspects. I`m not sure what brought this up, but here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Aare you in the camp that harsh interrogation, torture, works in case like this?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I am in that camp. I`m in that camp. I don`t believe the other people. I am in that camp.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: And here is Hillary Clinton, what she had to say on the same question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As to waterboarding, our country most experienced and greatest military leaders will tell you that torture is not effective. It does put our own soldiers and our own civilians at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, you know, Governor, I don`t know whether Donald Trump knows anything about waterboarding, if he knows anything more about snowboarding or waterboarding or any of that stuff, but it seems to be a statement of strength the people seem to like today. They want know you will push to the limits our power to protect us. Just right to the limits and beyond the limits, some people seem to like of human decency.
KASICH: Well, you know, I think that a leader is somebody who is tough and strong and measured.
You know, when you think about Ronald Reagan and you knew him and I knew him, he never overreacted. He never used inflammatory rhetoric. He was always very, very calm even the middle of a crisis.
You know, we think back to a guy we all admire and love was Winston Churchill. I mean, he said never, never, never give in. But, you know, there are proper ways to show strength. And, frankly, I think if you gyrating back and forth, it doesn`t give people confidence.
Look, when it comes to interrogation, I talk to people who were high up in the CIA, there are techniques we can use. The problem with torture is that we can often get information that`s completely false. We want to be effective in terms of our techniques of interrogation and we want to be strong about it. We don`t have to apologize for it. We`re trying to protect the country.
But my approach is to be measured, to be strong, to be calm and be able to take action. I happen to believe here in the United States with our Joint Terrorism Task Forces, their biggest challenge is the lone wolf, the home grown terrorists. And, look, we`ve got to make sure we know who`s is coming into the country, for example, with this visa waiver program. That`s an appropriate thing for Congress to look at and administration to lead the way on.
But let`s be resolute and let`s solve this problem, and that`s the way I approach it. If it doesn`t get me a vote, I guess that`s just tough, isn`t it?
MATTHEWS: What about this snake thing trump talks about? He tells the person of the story who bring the snake in, they tell a story of a person who brings the snake into their house, they raised the snake, they feed it, and the poisonous snakebites the person and kills them. And he said something like, in this little story, this little fable, what do you expect? What do you expect? That`s the argument he makes.
KASICH: Look, I can just tell you that we`re going to have -- we`re going to have to rely on local police, state police, state intelligence, not state intelligence but the FBI and our intelligence community. And in regard to that, when it comes to the lone wolf or when it comes to the home grown terrorist, we`re going to have to have neighbors keeping their eyes open.
KASICH: Because you can say all the things you want to, Chris, and you can use all the rhetoric you want to, but I`m interested in solving the problem.
So, in my state, you know, I`m the governor of Ohio, we`re the seventh largest state. It`s a state we`ve had to keep our eye on.
I remember getting a Homeland Security briefing when I first became governor of the threats. We handle these things. I`m not telling you we`re going to be perfect.
But I can tell you, today, I talked to our head of public safety today, we go over things. We ask about the resources. We try to find out where the threats might be. They tell me things that they think are appropriate, and we just move forward making sure that we`re going everything we possibly can do.
I think when people hear that, they feel better about that, frankly, than when we lose our cool. We had an Ebola crisis, we thought, in Ohio. I handled it in a calm and strong way. It gives people confidence to know somebody`s in charge.
But I can`t promise anybody we won`t have a lone wolf or a homegrown terrorist. We`re going everything we can to bring all the assets, because when I think about people whether in Europe. Look, when people die and they bleed in Europe, we die a little bit and we bleed a little bit in the United States. And I think about my family the same way I think about people that I don`t even know who live in our country.
MATTHEWS: You know, last question, and I agree with everything you said. There is a tendency in our history when we get attacks, we get very -- it`s not bellicose -- raring to do something about it. We move to the right, not left/right, the usual terms, we get very militaristic in a sense. We want to do something to show the people that hit us that we can hit them back just as hard, if not harder.
Is that going to affect this election? Is this going to help Trump because of his incredible statements about banning Muslims from the country and torture and all the things he said put him on that very marshal side of things? Doesn`t this help him what happened, not his idea to do it.
He had nothing to do with it. He didn`t want it to happen. Obviously, he didn`t want it to happen.
But, politically, does that not help the person like him who gives sump a strong statement of defiance?
KASICH: Maybe that`s a time when leaders need to really kind of stand in the breech. And, look, I don`t think we ought to namby-pamby here. I`ve been saying all along that we need to be not only in the air but on the ground against ISIS and destroy them and put a coalition together. I`m the one that argued that NATO needs to be strengthened. I`m the one that said that we`re going to arm the Ukrainians with lethal defensive weapons.
So, don`t think about me as some softy and I want to make sure that our intelligence community has what it needs. But I think there`s also -- there`s also words and an attitude that I don`t think is constructive, plain and simple.
MATTHEWS: Governor John Kasich, thank you for giving us your time tonight.
KASICH: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Up next, the challenge across Europe and here at home in the face of this continual terrorist threat. I`m going to speak to two people just back from the Belgium capital, right after this.
MATTHEWS: Right now, we`re looking at the picture. This is a strange thing to see in New York City, the Empire State Building dark tonight in honor of the victims of the Belgium terror attacks. It`s right there in the middle. It`s blocking out more than it`s showing.
It`s the Empire State Building. I haven`t seen it like that. Well, as the morning begins for the victims of the Brussels attacks today. There are renewed concerns over the impact those attacks could have here at home. Of course, Americans are thinking about this.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst and "Washington Post" columnist, Jonathan Capehart, and Julie Smith from the Center for New American Society -- Security. Actually, Julie is also an adviser to the Clinton campaign, which helps you to position her politically. She`s not a neocon.
Let me ask you -- which is very important. You know, what`s interesting just in terms of empathy, you know, somebody once said, you see the starving in Ethiopia, you`re more concerned about your toothache. You know, people`s sympathies are hard to arrest from afar. And for some reason, people`s sympathy has beginning to grow.
I know would have thought -- remember the years we had George W. Bush, France was the bad guy. France -- freedom fries -- the french were no good. Anything France was bad. And yet along came the September bombing and everybody felt something. Maybe because Paris is the most beautiful city in the world right next to San Francisco maybe, but it`s the most...
CAPEHART: Or Rome.
MATTHEWS: Or Rome. There`s some competitors there.
But people felt something for those people. Maybe because the nightclub they were at, young people having fun on a late weekend night, seemed to be something that a lot of people of any age would like to be doing and all of a sudden they`re dead.
SMITH: Yeah. Well, we`ve been talking about it since 9/11. We been talking about what if they walked into a large stadium or restaurant or a mall.
MATTHEWS: Subway, movie theater.
SMITH: Subway -- and here it is. It`s happening right in front of our eyes in place that many of us visit from time to time. And it`s a culture that feels close to ours. It`s cities...
MATTHEWS: You could walk into a movie theater, David, a big oversized luggage and nobody would stop you. If anything, they would help you and put it away in the aisle.
I mean, I hate to think about how vulnerable we. And we are -- subways, nobody checks you getting on a subway. You race on to the car. You`re there in two seconds. You`re on the train and moving. You could be doing anything.
And you don`t want to be doing profiling in this country. So, what -- I don`t know what we do.
CAPEHART: Well, look...
MATTHEWS: Lucky, we`ve been lucky.
CAPEHART: Yes, lucky we have been lucky. But let`s also talk about -- yes, there were sympathies for Paris because many of us have been there, many of us like Paris. But people forget that one week later...
MATTHEWS: You`re quite the -- yeah, I wouldn`t speak so gently. There are a lot of people in this country who have never been on a airplane who did feel for Paris.
CAPEHART: Well, right, but the point I`m getting to is one week later on November 20 in Mali, there was a horrific terrorist attack where 20 people were killed, 170 hostages in a hotel. Where...
MATTHEWS: In Timbuktu.
CAPEHART: Where were people holding vigils for them. Where were people demanding that President Obama drop everything and do something for them.
What about Cameroon...
MATTHEWS: But what`s your point.
CAPEHART: ...the next day.
MATTHEWS: These are more remote to our experience, I agree, they are very remote.
CAPEHART: But they`re all -- they are all pinpricks in the war on terror that we`re all afraid of.
MATTHEWS: Look how angry we got when Kenya was hit, a country we have always been close with, Kenya and Tanzania. Those was our embassies, but the people that were killed weren`t Americans, mainly, they were host nationals, as we said in the Peace Corps, host country nationals.
SMITH: Yeah, but Europe is our closest allies. I mean, we`ve had the longest standing relationship with these guys. We rely on them not only to fight terrorism, but a whole host of other challenges around the world. There is -- there are common values there. There are connections, personal connections. But there`s a democracy that we feel linked to.
I mean, we`ve had such a rich history with Europe for 60 or 70 years.
MATTHEW: Let`s talk about the empathy. It`s a weird empathy we have towards the killers, not negative positive, negative empathy. We try to imagine fellow human beings, as I was trying to say, fellow human beings getting up in the morning, brushing your teeth, getting your clothes on, taking a shower, getting a cab, somebody arranges to get the cab. Only this time, the cab ride for you and your two friends is to go kill yourself. And in killing yourself, kill total strangers who are babies, you know, mothers, grandmothers, regular people, just killing regular people you`ve been living among your whole life in Belgium probably.
And killing people you see on the corner, people you pass by, people you say hello to, people that sell you a newspaper in the morning. Kill them. That`s what really strikes me. And goes capability to do that, the capability to have a plan and say yes I will do it weeks ahead putting it together actually carrying it out.
How do you stop a person who is doing on that in their head basically and even know what`s going on in their heads -- three guys talking to each other for all we know. It could be five or six.
CAPEHART: Right, for all we know. I mean, the problem here is they`re like lone wolves, but this is a bigger problem than lone wolves. We`re talking about people living in a country, and some were born there. Some raised there who feel alienated, isolated, and are able to basically hide in plain sight and plot and plan and murder.
Hundreds of people, if you include all of the terrorist attacks that have happened since November 13, 2015.
I mean, I`m with you in terms -- in the exasperation over how is it possible that this can happen. I remember talking to my mother last night and she said why can`t we just go in there and get them? And I said, mom, we`re fighting an enemy that has no country.
MATTHEWS: And no person, in some cases -- I said earlier tonight, a 13- year-old today five years ago could be -- five years from now could be a terrorist. He`s not a terrorist now. He will become one. It`s not an ethnic group.
SMITH: Yeah, this is the real vulnerability for Europe. They have got all of these young people that are inspired by the ISIS movement, by the ideology, by what...
MATTHEWS: Is it online?
SMITH: It`s all online. They connect easily. They are targeted in many ways. They are targeted to be radicalized in various countries across Europe. It`s not just a Belgium problem. It`s not just a French problem. It`s all over Europe. And this is what the Europeans have been trying to tackle. They can do more. But what we have to also understand is that we may never get at the heart of our vulnerabilities if we`re going to keep our societies as open as we want to.
So, yes, we can and should do more, but in many ways as you pointed out, we`re vulnerable.
MATTHEWS: And what percentage of people we all went to school with had tough times going to school? There are a lot of people that feel alienated. Everybody in their life sometimes feels alienated. And if there`s somebody out there saying come on join up, we know just how you feel, we`re going to suit you up right. You`re going to go to heaven.
SMITH: Although, yeah, these...
MATTHEWS: We didn`t have that.
SMITH: Yeah. Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Anyway, thank god -- well, we`ll see. We don`t know what to thank god for yet, except that we`ve been lucky to be lucky so far in this country.
Thank you Jonathan Capehart and thank you Joy Smith.
Up next, what can be done here in the United States to fight this threat of terror back home here? I`m going to speak to Senator Chris Murphy of the foreign relations committee. And I usually agree with him, so I can`t wait to hear from him.
And this is MSNBC`s live coverage of the terror attack. There it is over there in Belgium today. You never know what the next day will bring. Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: That`s a makeshift memorial over there in Brussels to the victims of today`s attack.
Welcome back to our live coverage of the terror attacks today in Belgium. And joining me right now is Connecticut U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. He is a member of the Senate foreign relations committee and has long had serious concerns about how terror intelligence is actually being shared between the United States and Europe.
We`ve been hearing a lot, Senator Murphy, tonight about the problems of dealing with the Belgium government. They have, what, three languages over there -- Dutch, French and Flemish. And that`s one of the problems they have.
People think they leak, the government over there, the information we give them. How bad is it? is it that bad?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Well, add to that they have six different police departments effectively inside Brussels itself.
And the broader problem here is that right now our ability in the United States to be safe from the continued radicalization in places like Brussels is really dependent on the quality of something called the no-fly list. That is the list that prevents European citizens from traveling to the United States if they`re subject of one of these investigations.
But the reality of the situation is that we are really unsure as to how good the information on these no-fly lists are and how good Europeans are at populating that list with information about their pending investigations.
And so one of the recommendations that we have to take seriously in Congress is telling a lot of these European countries that if they still want to be part of programs like the program that allows you to come into the United States without a visa, then they have got to start populating these records, these no-fly lists with their up to date information about pending investigations.
MATTHEWS: I`m thinking of the degrees to which have -- we check people as they cross borders. When I was kid, you drive across with our parents across Niagara Falls, and to Canada all you do is answer with a local accent, a Philly accent or whatever, if it sounded American, you could cross and come right back if you saw Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.
That`s how comfortable we were. If you get on an Israeli airliner, you have to go through an interview, and you`ve probably done it. You`d have to go through a serious interview. They really try to figure you out psychologically, politically, ideologically. They want to know that nobody is going to cause any trouble to Israel, and certainly not on one of their planes.
Where do we fit in that spectrum? How tough can we interview people coming from those problem areas of the world?
MURPHY: Well, we have a different relationship with the Europeans. And of course, a lot of our economy relies on the fairly free flow of travel to and from Europe.
But we clearly have to raise the standard by which we allow people to come here without a visa. That probably involves increasing a lot of the security screens that are part of the visa free travel program to the United States. And it requires us saying to the Europeans that if they are not populating the no-fly list with their most relevant information, then we aren`t going to allow them to continue to be part of that program.
There are going to be some tough messages we need to send to the Europeans here in order to make sure that our homeland is kept safe.
MATTHEWS: Well, senator, Ted Cruz is running for president, of course, offering dire warnings today in his statement that read in part, our European allies are now seeing what come of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated radical Muslim neighborhoods. We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.
Senator Cruz was asked by reporters about his proposal to patrol Muslim neighborhoods here in the U.S. And he doubled down on the concept. Let`s listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: Political correctness costs lives. And it is standard law enforcement, it is good law enforcement to focus on where threats are emanating from. And anywhere where there is a locus of radicalization, where there is an expanding presence of radical Islamic terrorism, we need law enforcement resources directed there. We need national security resources directed there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: I`m wondering what that means. What do you think -- what does it mean to you what he`s talking about, tanks, or police cars, squad cars, regular patrolling of Muslims neighborhoods. It seemed to me that would only drive up the sense of (inaudible), of keeping secrets.
MURPHY: Yeah, so, I think there`s sort of an overplay in our politics today about analogies to the Nazis. But the ADL came out very strongly today opposing Senator Cruz`s it struck them in way that had some pretty insidious historical contexts to it.
Listen, the difference -- one of the critical differences between the United States and Belgium is that we don`t ghettoize our Muslim populations that we have been able to assimilate them as we have legions of immigrants before them.
Part of what leads to this radicalization is that Muslims believe that are coming to be ostracized from the general population. And the things that are coming out of Senator Cruz`s mouth, things that Donald Trump were saying are just going to push American Muslims into isolated corners of cities, which then allow them to fall pray, to fall victim to some of these -- to some of this messaging.
This is really dangerous. And it has some very insidious historical context to it.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, and it`s so interesting -- against that is the reality of what we see. We go to an airport. I`m in an airport every two days. Our airports and our traffic with people across this country within our country is overwhelmingly diverse. There`s so many people with traditional garb and head coverings and other signs of Islamic faith and so many different kinds of people, different shades of color. We have so many different people in this country. You would think the people would get used to that and a sense of security and not say everybody they see that looks a little different is dangerous.
And I do think they do. And people like Cruz may try to build this up, but I don`t think it`s the way most people who get around think about things anymore. Maybe their grandparents did
MURPHY: Well, you know, Chris, the piece of this is that ISIS`s development is dependent on two messages. One, the inevitable expansion of their so-called caliphate. And, two, the idea that the east is at war with the west. Now, the caliphate is shrinking and it shrunk by over a third just since the beginning of last year.
So, that narrative is really unavailable to them in a way that it has been in the past. And so there are more and more reliant on the second narrative, which is why they`re trying to strike at the west, so that they will goad us into saying things, into taking steps that will prove to their would-be recruits that this really is a war between Christians and Muslims.
And so everything that we do in our presidential candidates say to feed in to that narrative just frankly grows the potential strength of the organization.
And if you want to beat these guys, in the end you actually have to take away the reasons from their growth, not add to them.
MATTHEWS: I -- that is well said. Put that out as a statement, senator. I think people need know that what the bad guys, the ones who are stirring up the hell, encouraging young people to kill themselves, what they really want is an east-west war. And the way you get that is listening to people like the kind of things that Trump has been saying lately, and has been saying for awhile. Ban them. They`re the enemy. They want to hear that.
Anyway it`s perverse, but it does make sense if you think about it. Thank you so much, senator. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you for coming on.
Our coverage of the terror attacks in Belgium will continue. Stay with us.
MATTHEWS: Well, it`s one of those mornings where the morning newspaper has already used to this because something so horrible that day as it did today that everything else is before us. We`re back with our coverage of the deadly terror attacks in Belgium, of course.
Joining me now from Brussels is Ryan Heath who was on a bit before, senior European, or European Union correspondent with Politico. Thank you, Ryan.
Another Ryan, Ryan Greer, is with me. He`s a counterterrorism expert here at home, formerly with the State Department. And Dr. Tara Maller is a former military analyst with the CIA.
Doctor, you first -- talk about failure. I always think when people say it failed. Well, that`s definitional. But what would have been the odds on catching somebody like this and why were they really reasonable odds? To catch somebody, they just go to their car. They put some heavy thing in the cab driver notices it`s too heavy for him to even pick up. They go to the airport. Some people, the surveillance camera later catches the fact they have two gloved hands and no glove on the right hand, which is mysterious. And they may be using a button to blow up the luggage they`re carrying. They have a luggage bomb.
TARA MALLER, FRM. CIA MILITARY ANALYST: Well hindsight is 20/20. And I think in this case what you saw was strategically Belgium was on the radar screen of law enforcement. You heard it being talked about for weeks, for months.
MATTHEWS: It`s like the hole in the wall gang, it`s like they all go up to Malabeek (ph) and that`s where they hide because the police don`t bother them.
MALLER: Exactly. So, there has been ramped up security measures in place.
Having said that, there are hundreds, if not thousands of soft targets. So, what the police and law enforcement officials really need is they need the tactical intelligence, not just Belgium is heightened security they need the signals intelligence. They need the communication between the individuals.
So, unless they are able to access that, whether that was through their phones, their emails or in some cases face-to-face communication, it`s really difficult to pin down the precise time, location and place.
MATTHEWS: Does it tell you something the fact that that struck within a country within a reasonable, almost walking distance of where they live, that they didn`t go off -- with all this talk -- Ryan, who is going to talk about the inter-European thing? You are, actually, did the fact that -- this isn`t really a factor of being able to move from one European country to another, this was all done within Belgium.
MALLER: Well, this was done within Belgium, and this is where these individuals were operating. It`s possible they were going to carry this attack at a future point in time. And they may have done this now
MATTHEWS: Well, they`re not the same people, because they would be dead.
MALLER: Well, they probably did this now because of the recent capture of the terrorist that is...
MATTHEWS: You believe there`s a connection -- three days later?
MALLER: I believe there`s a connection. There`s been some reported connections in the press and -- yeah...
MATTHEWS: Just pick up on this, this whole question of easy movement within Europe. And secondly, the whole question of, well, ghettoization, for lack of a -- it`s a terrible word, but we`ve been using it.
RYAN GREER, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: When we look at the example of the Belgian city of Vilvord (ph), it was the top recruitment city for ISIL two years ago. And then they put into place community engagement, community dialogue, and...
MATTHEWS: How do we know it`s the top recruitment center?
GREER: According to the mayor there it was two years ago. Since then it`s not had any ISIL recruitment from people going to Syria. And of course the results like that aren`t always replicable, but it`s not just part of our values to reach out to people and welcome them into our communities and integrate them, but it`s also an effective way to reduce the next generation.
MATTHEWS: Chicken and egg problem. Did that become a place where these -- where the recruits are from because it`s a safe place from the police, because the police are ineffective? Is that what caused it?
GREER: Well, if you look at how many...
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Tara -- let me go to the other Ryan -- you come back. Ryan, to you, sir. Answer the question, why is it all -- why did we know that was troubled area before this morning?
RYAN HEATH, POLITICO: Well, Molenbeek has a 25 year history of local politicians being deliberately happy to recruit poorer and immigrant populations into the area. And what they failed to do was create a police force and a community leadership that was willing to engage those people.
And then by failing to invest in the community, then failing to invest in any of the security and intelligence monitoring necessary to deal with the fallout of not investing in an integrated community, you created a bit of a perfect storm to have people want to be radicalized. And then with developments in Syria we knew that over a hundred people from that district were going to Syria to be trained. And they thought many of them wouldn`t come back. And then when they did, they still failed to have police who spoke Arabic at all in most cases, often not the dialects that these people were speaking in.
Then, when we knew about the Paris attacks and we knew the list of people who were living in that area, we were promised house to house searches.
Now, obviously you can`t search 30,000 houses overnight, but you can search more than 1 out of every 250 homes. That wasn`t taking place either.
So, it`s not a case of cross border movement in Europe, it`s the case that there was a known hot spot and there wasn`t really a crackdown in that area. The Belgian authorities stumbled. They didn`t update their laws. And that`s part of the problem now.
MATTHEWS: Ryan Heath, well said.
GREER: And on top of that, I mean, there are 500 individuals from Belgium who went to fight in Syria. You can`t arrest and kill your way out of this. There`s just not enough law enforcement to do it. But there`s also not systematic border security screening in the Schengen zone.
MATTHEWS: I guess they didn`t have enough time -- they have three European languages in the country. They didn`t have time to learn Arabic, because you`re busy learning the other two European languages.
Anyway, Ryan Heath, Ryan Greeg and Tara Maller, thank you from my political science professor. We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Coming up in about 45 minutes, MSNBC will bring you live election coverage of the Arizona primary. Also, the caucuses in Utah and Idaho today. And I`ll be joining Brian Williams and Rachel Maddow for that.
Right now, our coverage of the terror attacks in Belgium continue with Rachel Maddow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END