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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/19/15

Guests: Martin O`Malley

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. And thank you. Thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. I am surprised to say that we`re actually leading tonight with some breaking political news. I did not expect to be leading with political news tonight. But something has just happened in politics that we`ve got exclusively and that is potentially a very big deal. So, here`s what`s happened -- today the leading Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, gave an interview to Yahoo Politics, which Yahoo wrote up as follows, "Yahoo News asked Mr. Trump whether his push for increased surveillance of American Muslims could include warrantless searches. He suggested he would consider a series of drastic measures. Yahoo News asked Mr. Trump whether this level of tracking of American Muslims might require registering Muslims in a database or giving them a form of special identification that noted their religion. Mr. Trump would not rule it out." So that was the situation as of this afternoon. Reporter asks candidate, would you do this rather extreme thing? And the candidate does not say no. At least in the way the reporter wrote it up. And so, yes, that interview and that story have had a big impact today, as you can see from all the headlines about it. Also from responses like this one from one American Jewish group who said in response to this Yahoo News article, "Registering everyone of a certain religion to a list? We`ve seen that. It doesn`t end well." It`s from a Jewish group called Bend the Arc. Here`s the thing: If in fact the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination really is publicly advocating that America form a national registry for Muslims, or start issuing special badging or ID cards specifically for Muslims, that indeed would be a hair on fire development. But caution, right? This is a print interview. What everybody has been reacting to today was not a direct quote from Mr. Trump but rather the characterization of that conversation by Yahoo`s reporter Hunter Walker, who`s a very good reporter. Well, we have now obtained the actual audio recording of that portion of the interview. So, you can now hear for yourself how this went. Listen. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) HUNTER WALKER, YAHOO NEWS: France declared this state of emergency where they closed the borders and they established some degree of warrantless searches. I know how you feel about the borders. But do you think there`s some kind of state of emergency here and do we need warrantless searches of Muslims? DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we`re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it. But I think that now, everybody is feeling that security is going to rule and certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country in terms of -- in terms of information and learning about the enemy. And so we`re going to have to do certain things that were frankly unthinkable a year ago when you look at what`s happening. WALKER: And in terms of doing this, to pull off the kind of tracking we need, do you think we might need to register Muslims in some type of database or note their religion on their ID? TRUMP: Well, we`re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We`re going to have to look at the mosques. We`re going to have to look very, very carefully. (END AUDIO CLIP) HAYES: So, there has been a lot of political reaction to this today. I think understandably. But the audio makes it quite clear I think that it wasn`t Mr. Trump proactively raising the idea of a national registry of Muslims or making Muslims carry special documentation identifying them as Muslims. The reporter for Yahoo News, Hunter Walker, raised those specific prospects. And the issue here is how the candidate responded when he heard those very, very radical ideas. So, that`s where we were as of this afternoon. We e-mailed the Trump campaign today to try to figure out if the candidate really means what was implied by that conversation. We asked his press secretary this. We asked, "Would Mr. Trump rule out a database of American Muslims or would he consider that? And would he rule out having Muslims carry a form of ID that notes their religion, or would he consider that?" So, we put those direct questions to the Trump campaign. So far we have not heard back directly from the campaign. But here is why this is at the top of the show tonight, and this is why is -- here`s why this is breaking political news. The candidate himself did address the subject again tonight. Not with Yahoo News but when he was asked about it by an NBC News reporter on a rope line at an event in Newton, Iowa. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Should there be a database system that tracks Muslims of this country? TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems, beyond databases. 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 happening -- REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) TRUMP: I would certainly implement that. Absolutely. REPORTER: What do you think the effect of that would be? How would that work? TRUMP: It would stop people from coming in illegally. We have to stop people from coming into our country illegally. REPORTER: Specifically how do you actually get them registered? TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures. And we can do that. It`s nice. REPORTER: Would you go to mosque and sign these people up? TRUMP: To different places. You sign them up at different -- but it`s all about management. Our country has no management. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Muslims specifically. How do I you get them registered into a database? It would just be good management. We talk about extremism in American politics all the time. And even presidential front-runners sometimes say things that seem beyond the pale and we all say, wow, that seems beyond the pale. But a national registry of Americans who are one particular religion, a mandatory national registry of people of one religion requiring them to be entered into a federal database, making Muslims carry special documentation that identifies them as Muslims, if this isn`t a big misunderstanding, this really is kind of beyond "beyond the pale". I mean, I live in hope that we will get a response from the Trump campaign directly on whether this really is what he is proposing to do. But so far, the most direct conversations on this matter have come in conversations between NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard and Donald Trump, who spoke with Mr. Trump today about this issue in Iowa on two occasions, actually. Vaughn Hillyard, thank you very much for being with us tonight on very short notice. I really appreciate you being here. VAUGHN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS CAMPAIGN EMBED: Hi, Rachel. Yes. MADDOW: So, Mr. Trump had these conversations with Yahoo News today in which a reporter raised the prospect of a Muslim registry and religion- specific identification cards for Muslims. Mr. Trump did not bat those ideas away or say they were unreasonable. He also didn`t directly endorse them. In your conversation with him where you really pressed him on those policies specifically, did he seem to understand what you were talking about and did he seem to indicate one way or the other whether he supported those policies? HILLYARD: Yes. I think the thing is there were questions up in the air. When I got him on the rope line tonight, that was a specific question. Should there be a database for Muslims in the United States? At first he said yes, we should have databases, more than databases. Then he sort of turned the conversation to illegal immigration, that we need a border, we need to identify the people here in the country. That`s when I followed up again. I said, OK, but we`re talking specifically about Muslims. Should there be a Muslim database? And he said absolutely. He said I certainly will implement that in my White House. And then I said, OK, but where do we go from there? If we`re trying to identify Muslims, where are we going to identify them? And that`s when he said, many different places. I said mosques? And he said many different places. And then I said, OK, well, how are we actually going to go about that? Then he goes we`re going to go to many different ways. He goes, that`s when he turned the conversation to management. And he goes I`m a manager and this country is not being managed correctly. So, that was the question there. And he absolutely did understand the question was about Muslim databases. That would not be denied. He said absolutely certainly that we should implement that in the Trump White House. MADDOW: I don`t mean to belabor this point, Vaughn. And I actually don`t mean to be patronizing to Mr. Trump when I say it. I ask this because this is such a radical thing to be discussing and I want to give him the benefit of the doubt because it`s hard for me to believe that even he would propose this. Did you have any sense that he might be tired or confused or mishearing anything? Is there any -- do you have any belief that there could be some ambiguity in terms of what he understood or were you clearly looking eye to eye and having the same conversation that both of you understood what you meant? HILLYARD: No, it was very, very clear. He heard me audibly, he looked me in the eye, he knew exactly what was being asked. Because you`re asking, that he actually had two town halls. The video you just watched was after the town hall, the first, number one. So, then the questions were like OK, wait, did we understand this correctly. So, I went for the second time. And that`s a question I posed in talking to some people here, is if we`re going to have Muslim databases here in the United States, what`s the difference between registering Jews in Nazi Germany -- MADDOW: Let me interrupt you. HILLYARD: I went up to him -- MADDOW: Let me interrupt you just for a second because we`ve just fed into the system just literally this second that exchange and I think we can actually just play a recording of that exchange. Fire away. Go ahead. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLYARD: Mr. Trump, why would Muslim databases not be the same thing as requiring Jews to register in Nazi Germany? What would be the difference? Is there a difference between the two? Is there a difference -- TRUMP: Who are you with? HILLYARD: I`m with NBC News. Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews? TRUMP: You tell me. HILLYARD: Do you believe -- TRUMP: Why don`t you tell me? HILLYARD: Do you believe there is? TRUMP: You tell me. HILLYARD: Should Muslims be fearful? Will there be consequences if they don`t register? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And I assume that was the end of the conversation and he walked away and didn`t engage with you any further? HILLYARD: That was the end. I mean, that entire clip you just played was 30 seconds long. And I think I don`t know how many times I asked -- I know he said four different times, he said "what do you think?" And I asked him, well, what do you think? It was very clear tonight. I got almost a minute with him trying to just ask. And I asked the campaign afterwards if he was willing to clarify behind the stage, if he would rather, you know, explain kind of his answers and they said they didn`t want to take up the offer tonight. I think what you heard, Rachel, is what it is. And I think that`s a question that will be a question at his future events here. Number one, the extent of what do these Muslim databases mean. The other question -- I know we asked at the end -- was, are there consequences for people that do not register in the system, that you`re going to have a database? Are you going to be punished for not enlisting in the database? That`s a question again he did not answer. So, at what point will we hear the answer? I`m not sure. Will it be another rope line? Will he take a presser? It`s a question that we`re going to have answered. But, again, it would be interesting to hear his answer to the difference. You know, I think there would be a reason for the Muslim community to be concerned in the United States if that`s -- if that`s being suggested. MADDOW: NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard. I`m sure that was oddly exhilarating and a little intimidating to be pressing that point and him getting so angry about it. Thanks for explaining how that went tonight and clarifying this. I really appreciate it. Vaughn Hillyard reporting from Iowa tonight. I will say that last point that Vaughn made there, which is that after having these exchanges on camera with Mr. Trump, including that last one where Mr. Trump clearly got very angry with him for pressing the point, Vaughn did go to -- off camera to members of Mr. Trump`s campaign to ask if they might want to clarify this matter, whether the campaign might want to try to, forgive me, clean this up a little bit. The campaign said they would not like to take that opportunity, to clarify Mr. Trump`s remarks, so his remarks on the record stand. And in fact the Republican presidential front-runner right now appears clearly to be advocating a national database in which Muslims in the United States will be forced to be registered. And there will be legal consequences if they don`t. Asked earlier in the day about whether or not he really means that there ought to be something like a special identification that notes that people are Muslims, Mr. Trump did not bat that question away. He did not say yes or no to that. We`ve tried to clarify with his campaign tonight whether he wants that to, that this would seem to be a qualitative different kind of proposal in American politics. And this will -- it will be hard to see this as a natural evolution of what`s happening in the Republican Party right now. I think this will have to be seen as a break. I hope. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel is going to be joining us live from Paris in just a moment tonight. We`ve also tonight got presidential candidate Martin O`Malley here in studio. Big show tonight. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, it turns out "The Washington Post" was right. Last night at this time we were basically marveling on the air at what was at that point stand-alone unique reporting by "The Washington Post" that the organizer, the leader of the Paris terrorist attacks had himself been killed in Paris in that police raid in Saint-Denis the night before last. It was only "The Washington Post" reporting that he was dead. And honestly, it seemed unlikely at best for one big reason. It just -- it seemed impossible that a guy like that could have made it into Paris undetected. I mean, of all the people in the world in all the places in the world, that seemed like the one place that that guy just could not be. Because of who he was and because of what the police and security services knew about him already. In April, when a determined terrorist attacker with an apartment full and a car full of weapons tried to attack a church just outside Paris, that attack was thwarted and that attacker was taken into custody after the genius accidentally shot himself in the thigh on his way to the attack and then called 911 to come save him. So that attack in April, the attacker himself was arrested, but another named suspect in that attack was not arrested. The other named suspect in that foiled church attack was named by police, known to police, but he was not arrested. That was the attack on the church in April. Four months later, in August, there was another thwarted terrorist attack in France when a heavily armed Moroccan man tried to shoot up a high-speed train until a group of hunky American tourists leapt into harm`s way and tackled him and put a stop to his attack. That train attacker was also taken into custody just like the church attacker, but once again in addition to the attacker himself French police named another suspect in that attack who was not himself arrested. Same guy named suspect -- from the church attack in April. And the reason that named suspect was not arrested after either of those two attempted terrorist attacks even though he was a named suspect in both is because police couldn`t find him. They did not believe he was in France or even in Europe. Right after the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks this past January, police chasing down the source of some of the weapons used in those attacks, they ended up in Belgium carrying out a ton of police raids, including one in which police were met with a huge onslaught of gunfire. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the named terror suspects for those two terror attacks, he was reportedly part of that Belgian terror cell that was hit in that police raid in Belgium just after "Charlie Hebdo" and just before that cell could apparently launch a major attack on police targets. But Mr. Abaaoud was neither killed nor captured during that raid. He turned up just a few weeks later in the ISIS propaganda magazine bragging about that Belgian terror cell of his and talking about how he had escaped that raid and talking about how he was able to get in and out of Europe and in and out of Syria at will without ever getting apprehended by the police. He then turned up in an ISIS propaganda video apparently in Syria committing atrocities on videotape and seeming really, really happy about it. So, all that to say, this is a really, really high-profile guy. He has long been considered the most notorious wanted Islamic extremist terrorist in Belgium and France. The top French prosecutor today said that French authorities have thwarted six total terrorist attacks since the spring. He has been known to them as being involved in four of the six. Excuse me. The French sentenced him in absentia in France to 20 years in prison this past July. In France, there is not a more high-profile terrorism threat or terrorism suspect or counterterrorism target than this man. And that has made it very hard to understand how after all the attention he`s brought on himself from law enforcement and the security services, it`s made it very hard to understand how he could be still leading even more active operational terror plots in France even after all his other failed or thwarted attacks just this year. Just made it hard to understand that he was still operating with enough freedom of communication, enough freedom of movement to be actively running another major complex terror operation in France. Made it hard to understand how that was possible. Made it impossible to understand how he could be doing that while physically being on French soil himself. How could a terrorist suspect that notorious, that high-profile, get anywhere in Europe let alone into France again, let alone into Paris, and then even after the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris, he was apparently still there. The Friday terrorist attacks Friday night he was apparently there. Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday, Sunday night, Monday night. Tuesday. Tuesday night -- that`s when the raid happened. (BEGIN AVIDEO CLIP) (GUNSHOTS) POLICE: Where is your boyfriend? WOMAN: He is not my boyfriend. POLICE: Where is he? WMAN: He is not my boyfriend. (GUNSHOTS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That recording obtained by NBC News, it was apparently recorded by a neighbor as the police raid went down two nights ago in Saint-Denis. The Paris prosecutor now says that raid resulted in the death of a female suicide bomber who was a cousin of the organizer of the Paris terrorist attacks. The Paris prosecutor also now says that the organizer of the Paris terror attacks was himself at that raid and killed in that raid, which means he was in Paris. He was there. How on earth was someone like that, that specific guy of all people, able to get into Paris undetected? This is just an unimaginable intelligence and law enforcement failure given how high-profile he was. NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel today interviewed a French government terrorism adviser. And Richard put it to him that that seemed to him basically like finding out after 9/11 that Osama bin Laden himself was hanging out somewhere in New York City even after the attacks, having personally been on scene to orchestrate them. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRANCOIS HEISBOURG, FRENCH GOVERNMENT COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: Yes, these guys were able to move all too easily from one country to another, one city to another. RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: This almost seems as if Osama bin Laden who was killed in a raid in Queens just outside Manhattan, he was right near the spot. HEISBOURGH: Yes. ENGEL: What does that say? HEISBOURG: That says that it`s very difficult to keep track of more than 10,000 people who have been listed as being security threats of an Islamic variety. That`s what all those people. ENGEL: What`s the answer? More cops surveilling more people or better lists, the real actors, the real dangerous ones? HEISBOURG: No, the lists I would argue to have proven to be actually the more robust part of the system. What has been definitely not robust is the ability to track the people who are on those lists. ENGEL: So the success was knowing who to look for, and the failure was not actually looking for them. HEISBOURG: Absolutely. The long and the short of it is that there were no clean skins. There were no people who came out of the blue literally. All of these people were known to some extent, to varying extents, if not by the French directly, by the security services of other countries in Europe. And we did not do what was necessary to keep track of them. ENGEL: Consistently, France has known who the actors are and said oh, yes, we were watching that guy. HEISBOURG: Yes. ENGEL: And they still managed to carry out attacks. HEISBOURG: Absolutely. This is where you get into the complete disconnect between the scale of the threat and the level of the resources. ENGEL: What does this say about the foreign fighter problem? All of these militants who`ve come from Europe, gone to ISIS, and come home. HEISBOURG: Yes. What does ISIS give them? That`s a question we have to ask because after all, why would they go to Syria when they can self-radicalize at home? There`s all sort of stuff you can learn on the Internet. They went to ISIS in Syria or Iraq both to be in contact with the people who were inspiring them and motivating them -- this is a powerful ideology for these people. And, of course, ISIS also provide them with operational training. There`s stuff you that can`t do through the Internet. You do not learn how to prepare explosives in real time through the Internet, even if you have the step-by-step instructions. You do not learn how to kill the maximum number of people with a limited number of Kalashnikovs without doing some training. That is what ISIS provided. ENGEL: This was a known militant. Probably the most wanted man in France. And he`s caught a few miles from the center of Paris. HEISBOURG: Yes. There`s an Arab saying -- ENGEL: That seems like an absolute failure. HEISBOURG: It is a failure. Of course it`s a failure. What`s your definition of success? That certainly was not a success. That was an absolute failure. But you have an Arab saying which is if you want to hide, hide in the eyes of the sun. The place where you are the least likely to be looked for is actually very close to your target. That is not an exoneration of the failure. But -- ENGEL: I keep imagining Osama bin Laden after 9/11 hiding in Brooklyn. It`s just -- it seems like a total breakdown. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Today, France put forward a resolution that may be voted on at the U.N. Security Council tomorrow. It calls on every country in the world to take action to eliminate ISIS`s safe haven in Iraq and Syria. Tomorrow, E.U. ministers will meet in an emergency session to address sharing intelligence to try to stop ISIS attacks in Europe. Today, police raids continued across Europe and specifically in France. Officials say there have now been more than 600 counterterrorism and police raids in France in the past week. So, the response is now turned up to 11. But it was kind of turned up to 10 before this. I mean, the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks were earlier this year. How did the most notorious terrorism suspect in France get back into that country, into Paris, right under the nose of French intelligence? I could understand almost anyone except him. Richard Engel`s here next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HEISBOURG: We have yet to build up a skill base and a number of people are needed to keep track of an organization as professional and as competent as Daesh. Daesh leaves al Qaeda in the dust. This is a completely different generation. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Francois Heisbourg, he`s a counterterrorism adviser to the French government. He was speaking today with NBC`s Richard Engel, who joins us live now from the streets of Paris. Richard, my friend, thank you very much for being with us. ENGEL: Good to be with you once again. MADDOW: So, that was a remarkable back and forth with the counterterrorism adviser to the French government. Did you ever get an answer today from him or from anybody in terms of how French authorities think the organizer of the attacks was able to get into France, get into Paris right under their noses? ENGEL: They weren`t that surprised, frankly. He wasn`t that surprised and many people aren`t because the border system in Europe, the borders between Europe and the Middle East go through Turkey. That whole system is collapsed right now. As you know, there are no borders within Europe. So, the only challenge is getting onto the continent. And right now, if you can leave Syria, you can get into Turkey, that border is completely porous. People cross it illegally all the time. Then, just go between Turkey and Greece. And there are boats that go every single day with thousands of people making that journey on small rafts, and there are no checks. We had a piece on this show a couple of days ago about how easy it is. So, really, you cross the Syrian border, you enter Turkey. There are many indications that the mastermind, now late mastermind, was crossing often between Syria and Turkey. Once you do that, you`re in Turkey. Move on to Greece, you`re in Europe. Then everything else is open. There are indications, this top counterterrorism adviser was saying that he moved a lot, that he wasn`t just this one trip coming to Paris, that he frequently traveled. So, no, he was not surprised. And what was interesting -- I was listening to your previous segment, which is sort of disturbing on many levels, but what he was advocating is not mass surveillance, not mass registry. He said they have a list, this country has a list with 10,000 names on it. Now, that`s a big list, but there are millions of Muslims in Europe and there are millions of citizens in this country who are immigrants. And he was saying there are 10,000 names on the list that they think are dangerous people, suspected radicals. Follow them, he was saying. Focus on them and leave everybody else alone. And he said the breakdown here is they`re not doing that, they`re not focusing on the people who they think are in trouble. They come in, they put them on a list and then they disappear, they go to other countries, they`re ignored and that`s where the breakdown is. He was not calling for more wiretaps and more text messages to be gathered and massive surveillance and shutting down the borders and walls and data registries and ID cards with religions on them. He said, the people we know are dangerous, actually watch them. MADDOW: And that`s the other side of the fact that these guys all popped on various lists. These guys were on the watch list. These guys were not clean skins as he put it. And that is good news in terms of how people are getting onto those lists. But if those lists aren`t turning into law enforcement action, all it lets you do is have more acute regret. NBC chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel reporting for us from Paris -- Richard, thank you so much. Great to have you here. Amazing interview today. Thank you. ENGEL: Absolutely. MADDOW: Thanks. We`ve got much more ahead tonight, including Governor Martin O`Malley, Democratic presidential candidate, here live. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given two major national security speeches since she has been running for president this year. The first was in September around the time of the Iran nuclear deal. She gave a big speech about that, big Q&A afterwards, made a bunch of news. Her second major national security address as a presidential candidate was today in New York on the issue of ISIS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s time to begin a new phase and intensify and broaden our efforts to smash the would-be caliphate and deny ISIS control of territory in Iraq and Syria. That starts with a more effective coalition air campaign with more allied planes, more strikes, and a broader target set. We may have to give our own troops, advising and training the Iraqis, greater freedom of movement and flexibility, including embedding in local units and helping target airstrikes. We should immediately deploy the special operations force President Obama has already authorized and be prepared to deploy more as more Syrians get into the fight. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Hillary Clinton has said in this campaign that she is not more hawkish than President Obama, that she would not necessarily be a more aggressive commander in chief. But today at the Council on Foreign Relations, she laid out a complex plan to fight ISIS that continues many of the efforts of the Obama administration, but on the military side, she says she would do more -- more planes, more airstrikes, more targets for air strikes, more American troops on the ground, getting those U.S. troops into more combat, arming more regional fighters, running a no-fly zone, running safe zones on the ground in Syria. She is proposing a bigger and more aggressive war. Joining us now is one of her rivals for the Democratic nomination for president, former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley. It is good to see you again, sir. MARTIN O`MALLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Good to see you, too, Rachel. MADDOW: This is a detailed plan of action from Secretary Clinton today. Are there -- are there specific points of policy on which you disagree with her, things that she`s proposing doing that you think are wrong, that you wouldn`t do? O`MALLEY: Secretary Clinton`s speech today was really like everything and the kitchen sink. And I think where she really gets it wrong is in this. She said, it all begins with sending in more firepower. Actually, I respectfully disagree. It all begins with having a lot better intelligence on the ground, which we`ve not done as a nation -- MADDOW: Well, she`s proposed an intelligence surge as well. O`MALLEY: I`ve seen that. She had everything in this speech. There wasn`t anything in this speech, but she said the first thing was send in more firepower. Actually, in this new era of warfare, this is very different from the 20th century. This is 21st century warfare. And I would argue that actually understanding your enemies, understanding their networks, I saw your clip before about the counterintelligence chief from France talking about the fact that -- and he said I think very honestly, we have not built up the numbers of people with the training, the skills, and the intelligence to be able to step -- to keep one step ahead against these gangs. It`s a lot more like fighting gangs than it is the old world sort of two nation states squaring off with big divisions in an open field. And that`s what we`re missing here. Look, we`re not going to defeat ISIS by applying cold war strategies or big military solutions in the absence of better intelligence on the ground, understanding how these networks are connected. It`s almost like -- here`s a metaphor for you -- look, an immune system is strong not because it outnumbers the bad germs in the world. It`s strong because it`s better connected. And what we have the ability to do as a nation is actually to connect what France wasn`t able to do, the big central intelligence, with state police and with the local police who are actually there on the ground, but it requires closer and better and more timely connections to stay three steps ahead of these guys. It`s very hard to do from a centralized big institution standpoint, which is the old way of fighting these wars. MADDOW: And I hear you in terms of how the military response has to fit into a larger response and you`re saying a more complex response. But on the military part of it specifically, I spent a long time today trying to figure out if you have ever answered this question directly and I`m not sure that you have. When President Obama said he wants limited number, several dozens of special operations forces on the ground in Syria -- O`MALLEY: I supported it. MADDOW: You do support that? O`MALLEY: I did it. I support td like four weeks ago when he said it. MADDOW: OK. Do you also support a no-fly zone, enforcing a no-fly zone in Syria? O`MALLEY: I do not support a no-fly zone for this reason. With the Russian air force in that no-fly zone I think it leads to the possibility of escalations of a Cold War nature that do not merit the benefits of creating that no-fly zone. I mean, look, we already have huge refugee camps both in Turkey and also in Jordan. I don`t support a no-fly zone. MADDOW: Do you think the air strike campaign, there`s been several thousand already, do you think it`s done any good, would you support an increased air strike campaign or do you think it`s not been worth it? O`MALLEY: I could possibly support an increased air strike campaign depending on what the human intelligence is on the ground. You know, and this is what we`re missing. I mean, one of the downsides of our American character is we think that our technological superiority is actually going to pull us through every conflict. But we have to maintain our technological superiority, but we also have to add human intelligence on the ground. And so, you know, to be at the opposite end of the most technologically advance drone strike doesn`t mean a hill of beans if you don`t know what you`re striking. MADDOW: Right. O`MALLEY: I mean, you need better intelligence on the ground. That`s been the failing in every one of these regime-toppling operations Secretary Clinton has been a part of in the past. I mean, yes, there are brutal dictators in the world. There are authoritarian regimes. But we need to understand what happens after they`re gone. We need to understand who the emerging leaders are. And that`s the greatest failing. We`re still fighting like we`re in the cold war. Either you`re going to have a red jersey on because you`re for the communists or you`re going to have a blue jersey on because you`re for the United States of America. And depending on what jersey, we topple you. And in the absence of communism being a threat, we continued on that path. And what we need to understand is that we need to be in some ways a little more like the Chinese, taking a longer-term view. Understanding that America`s role in the world is fulfilled not just by drone strikes, not just by military power but building up sustainable development and doing the things to keep these jihadists from being able to recruit desperate starving angry young men into their ranks. That`s the whole of government approach that Martin Dempsey was talking about and that`s what we need for a new century. MADDOW: Former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley, Democratic candidate for president -- always good to see you sir. Come back soon. O`MALLEY: Thank you. MADDOW: Will do. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I told you this was a big show. NBC "Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt conducted an amazing interview today, a jaw-dropping interview today with the captain of the commando unit that stormed the Paris concert hall. That was the scene of the deadly hostage standoff on Friday night during the Paris attacks. You have probably seen some of this interview today, but we`ve got a big part of this interview that has not aired anywhere yet. It`s next. It is, as I say, jaw-dropping. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The anchor of NBC "Nightly News," Lester Holt, has been reporting from Paris all week. He just got an interview, which I`m going to show you in a moment, with the French commando captain who led the police assault on the Bataclan music hall the night of the Paris attacks. That`s where 89 people died that night. And, of course, hundreds of hostages were held inside that music venue. Three terrorists stormed the building with AK-47s and live suicide vests. The standoff went on for hours. It finally ended when an elite French commando force stormed the building, killed the remaining terrorists inside. But tonight, NBC News got an exclusive interview with the captain of the unit who led that assault, and he went step by step through what happened inside the Bataclan. I lobbied to air this tonight, portions you haven`t seen anywhere else, because as an uninterrupted piece of testimony, it is unbelievable. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: What did you see when you got there? POLICE CAPTAIN: First, we saw the uniformed division, the street police, from the district trying to do something at the entrance of the theater. So, we try to replace them. We took position on the entry of the theater, and then we discovered hell on earth. I mean, more than maybe 7,000, 8,000 people were laying on the floor. HOLT: Seven hundred to 800? POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes. Laying on the floor. Tons of blood anywhere. No sound. Nobody was screaming. HOLT: Were the people afraid to leave? POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes, nobody was moving because they were afraid of the terrorists. At that time, we know that one terrorist had been killed by the uniformed division, the first responders. And we try to find the two more. HOLT: And were there? POLICE CAPTAIN: They were on the first floor on the left side of the theatre. HOLT: When you say the first floor? The balcony? POLICE CAPTAIN: The balcony, exactly. HOLT: So, your team goes upstairs. POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes. HOLT: Into the balcony. POLICE CAPTAIN: Exactly, on the left side. HOLT: Where did you find the terrorists? POLICE CAPTAIN: It was the last door, an access to the backstage on the balcony. We approached the door and suddenly one of the terrorists on the stage, we don`t know, asked us to go backward. So, I tried to speak with them and he told me that he wanted to negotiate. So, I said, OK, give me a phone number. He gave me a phone number, I radioed it to the negotiator and they tried to contact between the terrorist and the negotiator. HOLT: Do you know what was said in that conversation, what the demand was? POLICE CAPTAIN: It was like classic political demands about, we are here, it`s a retaliation of what you do in Syria. We`re going to kill your wife, kids, because you attacked Muslim countries and all this stuff. It was the same. Like in January, it was the same. HOLT: Was it clear there were ISIS? Did they use the term caliphate? POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes, they use the term caliphate soldier, soldier of the caliphate. HOLT: And you knew they had hostages? POLICE CAPTAIN: We knew they had a lot of hostages there. HOLT: When did you get the green light, the permission to go? POLICE CAPTAIN: We got the green light very quickly. As soon as we were ready, the chief said, OK, when you want, you can go. And we start. We used the shield. HOLT: This was the first thing that went through the door? POLICE CAPTAIN: Exactly. HOLT: And it`s pretty obvious what happened. POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes, as soon as we opened the door, one of the terrorists shot like between 20 to 30 rounds of AK-47 bullet, 70.62 caliber. HOLT: And that`s these holes? POLICE CAPTAIN: Exactly. Immediately we have in the middle get hit in the hand so he fell down because of the pain. HOLT: One of your officers was hit? POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes, yes, in the middle of the group. So, we cannot take care of him. We still go. Before when we prepare, we say okay, when we first get wounded or something, nobody stop. We`re still going. There`s another group after us ready to take care of the wounded officer. HOLT: You can`t afford to pause. POLICE CAPTAIN: No, we can`t afford to pause. HOLT: So, you`re coming in, they`re shooting at you, did you get eyes -- were you able to see the hostages? POLICE CAPTAIN: The first thing we saw was the guy shooting and a lot of -- maybe 20 on the stage between the shooter and us. HOLT: On the floor? POLICE CAPTAIN: On the floor. Most of them on the floor. We cannot shoot at that time, because it was too risky for the hostage. But we keep going, keep going, keep going. And what moment there is some stairs, we didn`t know about it. And the shield fell down on the hostages. So the first two guys were only without any protection and they still go. At the end of the hallway, it was like a dead end for him and the first one blew himself with an explosive jacket. And the second one tried to do the same, but he got shot by the two first officers. HOLT: They were both wearing suicide vests and one of them went off? POLICE CAPTAIN: Yes, blood everywhere. HOLT: Did it injury any hostages or any of your people? POLICE CAPTAIN: No, no. Thankfully, no. HOLT: What`s it like to look at this shield. POLICE CAPTAIN: Well, maybe it`s good stuff. So, we want to thanks the builder. HOLT: It did its job. POLICE CAPTAIN: It did its job. And hopefully, maybe if we don`t have this, we kind of lost five or six officers. HOLT: I know you can`t talk about the investigation, but do you take any gratification in the fact that you saved hostages at the Bataclan, that your teammates took down Abaaoud. POLICE CAPTAIN: For now, I think we will feel exactly what we did in a few days. We are still on the move, we are focus on what we have to do now. So it`s difficult for us to realize what we did. HOLT: And according to the prosecutor, there are still people out there. So for you, what does that mean? POLICE CAPTAIN: It means we have to stay 24/7 ready to go. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That commando captain, his unit was, in fact, called on again to take part in raid in Saint-Denis two nights ago that we now know killed the ringleader of the attacks. It`s just an incredible interview, though, and an incredible account. If you want to see the whole thing unedited, you can go to We got more ahead tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know, you think about fighting terrorism, groups like ISIS, and everybody, including Governor Martin O`Malley, who was here earlier tonight, everybody says we need to destroy their networks, destroy their support structures. One of the key ways we do that pretty effectively in this country is that at the U.S. Department of Treasury, there`s an undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. At least there usually is. But we don`t have one right now, because Congress has gotten around to voting to confirm someone for that job. Instead today, they found time to establish a new requirement that the heads of the FBI, Homeland Security and national intelligence all must personally sign off on each individual refugee from Syria or Iraq, and guarantee personally that each one is not a security risk. The screening for these refugees already takes at least a year and a half. It includes in depth interview, reference check, biological screenings, consultation with nine different government agencies. But that bill to get these personal sign-offs on each individual refugee, that bill passed the House today. It goes to the Senate tomorrow. If it passes there, President Obama will veto it. But hey, at least Congress gets to enjoy wasting time on that demagoguery today and tomorrow. It`s not like they`ve got anything else substantive to work on. That does it for us tonight. Our live coverage continues now with Lawrence O`Donnell. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END