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tv   Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield  CNN  January 15, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PST

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insurgency under control. >> all right. thank you so much for that. just received word that secretary of state john kerry just landed in paris. we know he's scheduled to meet with president francois hollande tomorrow. many more details right ahead here on cnn. legal view with ashleigh banfield starts now. >> hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield and welcome to "legal view." imagine the "charlie hebdo" ham page playing out on the capitol. and then several more officials. one after the other as they ran from the building all in the name of jihad. his name is christopher lee cornell though the feds say his
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twitter name was raheel ubaydah. the feds shut him down and this is what it looked like when they did just that. that's mr. cornell on the sidewalk outside of a cincinnati gun shop right after he purchased two rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition. tomorrow, he's going to ask a federal judge to let him bond out of jail pending trial on terrorism charges. today, i want to talk about the suspect and how all of this came to light. susan, this is just an unbelievable story. how did they know what he was up to allegedly? >> according to the criminal complaint, it looks like it started to come together last summer because this young man set up some twitter accounts. and the documents state that he was posting videos about isis and support of that, making comments. and then a confidential informant gets involved.
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this is someone admittedly trying to cut a deal for himself with authorities. he gets involved with the fbi and then the informant and this young man start communicating with each other. eventually, that leads to two meetings and the details of this plot. the complaint says where he wants to buy weapons and setoff pipe bombs at the capitol and then shooting them as they go running for their lives. how did it all come down? after these series of meetings, the young man goes into a gun shop yesterday, and buys the two rifles. as soon as he leaves, they take him down. the gun shop owner was told about this he says about a week in advance, told by the fbi that this young man was going to come in and buy two weapons and that it was okay to make the sale. so the gun shop owner had some knowledge ahead of time,
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ashleigh. what's interesting to me in part is that when they took him down, the fbi did not allow him to get all the way to washington, follow him there, which might be an indication that they might not have thought there was anyone else involved in this. certainly law enforcement source tells us that there is no indication that this young man had any contact, direct linkage with isis or isil. >> i want to bring in my senior legal analyst and hln analyst joey jackson and a retired u.s. army green ber ray. you have written ex-tentively on the lone wolf versus the stray dog theory on these kinds of self-radicalized people if that is what christopher lee cornell actually is. when you look at the reportering on this person, how does this
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fit into the grander scheme of the kinds of threats we've seen play out before? >> each one of these episodes is different, but this one does conform to the general pattern that we have seen. first of all, most of the alleged plots that have been uncovered by the authorities that have led to arrests have involved a single individual, about 68% of them. and so that's typical. we have a young man here. we don't know all the details of his biography. we'll learn more about that. a plot is a -- a plot begins to evolve. a confidential informant or an undercover police officer picks up information about this plot. when it goes beyond talk and when it comes to the point where the individual is actually acquiring the material, in this case weapons and ammunition to carry out the attack, then there's a strong pressure to
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move in. while the plot may have involved him going all the way to washington, once a person has the weapons, they could decide to change their plan at the last minute and do something else. >> and important to note that this takedown was in cincinnati. there was no travel to washington. and the authorities say that no one in washington was at any risk all the way along as they kept their eye on this alleged terrorist. but i want you all to listen to this young man's father. he spoke with my colleague just a short time ago and talked about who his son is at least to him and his wife. talking about an aimless and impressionable kid. have a listen. >> he's not an informant. what he was was a person that had criminal charges pending and is a snitch. he became a snitch for the fbi. and i'm telling you, my son -- i'm not saying he's a saint.
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he's 20 years old. he's a big kid. >> so i want you to dove tail off that. the father said there was an fbi informant and a snitch who effectively was trying to clear himself by setting up his son. he's saying there was someone else doing this and that it was entrapment. how hard is that to prove? >> it's nearly impossible to prove. let me set this up for you. if this kid is going to argue entrapment, he now has the burden. he's got to basically say the entire plot was the government agent's idea. that this snitch is the one who came up with the idea. he's also got to prove that he was not predisposed to do this. there was a report put out by columbia law school. since 9/11, the federal government has convicted over
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500 people in these kind of terrorism cases. 50% of these resulted from informant-based convictions just like in this case. 30% of those involved a sting operation just like in this case. in none, none was there ever a successful defense for entrapment. >> i'm going to get you to jump on this in a moment. i want to read you the two charges and on whether they sound very familiar to you. attempted killing of a u.s. government officer. let's remember, he was in cincinnati. he was nowhere near washington at the time. and possession of firearm in furtherance of attempted crime or violence. should we expect other ones to follow? >> well, there may be further charges. as this thing moves toward trial. these charges will be disputed in a court of law. there will be a judge, perhaps a
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jury as well depending on whether he elects to have a trial with a jury. and there will be discussions about which of these charges they actually will go forward with and which they will not. but ultimately a judge and jury will act as the auditor in the case. but the charges are fairly typical. >> with that, joey, i get the possession of firearm and furtherance of an attempted crime of violence. i'm not sure i can see all the evidence so far. again, the burden of evidence a jury would have to deal with. could it not be argued he was fantasizing. >> they're going to make a lot of arguments. what the defense attorneys will say is that the law provides that mere preparation is never enough. there was substantial preparation that was engaged here like the purchasing of ammunition, the drafting out of maps. so certainly that was that. at the same time, we're in a
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position to keep americans safe. we're in a position to act and act now. we have no burden or obligation to wait until he endangers congress by letting him go to washington d.c. and the burden on us is to demonstrate he took a substantial step. >> by buying the weapons. >> absolutely. meeting with the informant to articulate what his plan was and otherwise make a substantial step towards the carrying out of that plan. the fact that he's in his hometown instead of the capitol, i think will be meaningless. >> i have a feeling that we are only at the beginning of the evidence. my guess is there are tapes. >> plenty. >> they knew where he was going to go to buy the guns. >> they were listening in, more than likely recording that as well. i want to thank brian jenkins. ask you to stick around. lots more to come.
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>> now to the terror attacks in paris. u.s. secretary of state john kerry just landed there. yes, someone from the american administration has gone to france. more on his mission. and also more possible suspects being investigated for possible connections to the attacks. this as the terror continues to unravel. details that are so surprising. live from paris next. at ally bank no branches equals great rates. it's a fact. kind of like mute buttons equal danger.
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travel there specifically to show american solidarity with france. he arrived in paris just a few minutes ago. he plans to meet with the french president tomorrow. his office says he will reiterate the support of the united states for the french people. police in belgium say a man they have in custody may be connected to the paris terrorist attacks. here's what we know about him, and sad to say, it is not very much. police say he had papers linked to the type of gun used to kill a police officer in paris. and that he's quote, known to police. we'll have more on this investigation. and this man in that picture, being buried today in a small town outside of paris. he's one of the policemen shot dead outside the office of
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"charlie hebdo" last week. the french president undered people in his country to not loop terrorists together with all islams. >> translator: islam is compatible with democracy, that we must refuse mixing up and confusions and in france, the french people who are muslim have the same rights, the same duties as all citizens. >> live to paris now and john berman standing by. as we look into the investigation, the tentbles seem to be spreading far out from paris. exactly where are they going? >> reporter: indeed, the web keeps growing. there is also a connection now to madrid.
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coulibaly. they now say he and his girlfriend boumeddiene drove to madrid. there was another man with them. they spent three days there. coulibaly came back to paris. boumeddiene went onto instan bull. was it a last vacation before he was headed back to his near certain death? was it because they were meeting with people there, perhaps an extended terrorist cell or just a way to get her out of a country to an airport where she could fly on and ultimately head to syria. what you see here is an expanding web. countries like spain now involved. belgium where perhaps coulibaly got his weapons. there was a man who knew the kouachi brothers, a man arrested
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in bulgaria. security forces tell me he was trying to get to syria. very difficult to follow all the angles here. the french now rely on countries all over europe. >> we've been hearing the headlines of more than 50 people arrested. and effectively the description is in support of terrorism or speaking in support. but how many of those arrests or do we even know the answer to this. how many of those arrests pertain to this particular attack and perhaps a connection to the operations of it and how many of those are people exercising inappropriate, what should be free speech, but inappropriate speech? >> well, the issue here in france is they have very different laws obviously than we have in the united states. it's against the law here to speak out in support of terror or to even condone terror. you can do graffiti on a wall in some cases perhaps. there was a famous french comic
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detained and arrested. what he said is gentleman swee charlie coulibaly. most of the arrests have happened since the attacks here. unclear whether each one of those instances were somehow condoning or speaking out in support of what happened specifically. what they're trying to do here is create an atmosphere officials say where hate speech as they call it is not welcome, hence they say they will keep this stringent interpretation of laws up going forward. >> john berman reporting live for us from paris. we're also following the money. more on how a loan from a bank and a possible arms deal are certainly helping investigators to lipg the suspects in the paris attacks to perhaps other
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terror groups. we'll go down that flowchart for you after the break. carpenters and even piano tuners were just as simple? thanks to angie's list, now it is. start shopping online from a list of top-rated providers. visit today.
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as french investigators piece together the terror network behind the terrorist attacks, there is a tangled web of money and suspects that seems to be emerging. have a look at your screen. this lays out what we know about the the terrorists. when kouachi traveled to yemen in 2011, he returned to france carrying as much as $20,000
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given to him by an al qaeda affiliate to use for the attacks. coulibaly reportedly took out a loan from a bank in northern france. this morning, we are also learning about more possible suspects. somebody may have driven coulibaly to the kosher grocery store. he and his partner, boumeddiene may have received assistance from someone else when they traveled to spain just a few weeks ago. cnn national security analyst. all right. brian, if i can start with you. when you look at the trail of the money, the first thing that stands out is the fact that these guys were able apparently to carry that kind of money back from yemen and then have it for several years. does that sound like a big lapse in the kind of financial structures and agencies that
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we've set up to stop that very thing from happening? >> well, the -- the measures that have been put into place are primarily to prevent the transfer of money and they know that. and if in fact money was transferred to them recently, let's say from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, then that would be a huge gap in the intelligence efforts. if on the other hand they carried actual cash with them coming back into the country, then that smuggling cash in, that takes place all the time. what we see in many of these terrorist operations though is also a lot of cell financing through ordinary crime facility, through theft, drug trafficking, credit card fraud, things of that sort. so the question is did large sums of money come in from the
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outsi outside, in which case there was a gap in not finding this, or was this primarily financed through their own efforts. >> all right. so that we'll wait to find out exactly what happened with that 20,000, whether it was contraband in a suitcase. the notion that he got a $7,000 loan just a few months ago i'm not clear whether he was as key as the kouachi brothers, but if he had the association of people of their nature and they had been watched, shouldn't a bank know this. >> this shows the gaps always occurring in intelligence sharing. french agencies know something, and the bank doesn't know it. >> but the bank knows if i'm late for my utility bill. it doesn't seem right that -- >> the part of it -- i know. part of it is as intelligence
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agencies you don't want to be sharing information with everyone because some guy is a suspect or -- let's just be fair here, and a lot of people are innocent. the sharing of intelligence information is always going to be controlled. the challenge with money is innocent and guilty people always have cash. it's not like an ak-47. you and i use it, terrorists use it. that is why it's so hard to trace. some are only about 7,000. >> it's not an -- $100,000. >> and nor is 20,000. >> would not raise money eyebrows. let me ask you this, brian, the trailing the weaponing purchases. purchasing weapons in the united states is not nearly as difficult as it is in some places like canada and some european countries.
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does it make it far more difficult to do the kind of work that the french are doing to stop that kind of attack here in the united states. buying an assault weapon isn't so tricky and doesn't raise as many eyebrows here. >> no, it doesn't. we do have to keep in mind that although it's more difficult to obtain these weapons legally in most european countries, the fact is that there are existing black markets where these weapons are available and we have seen things. it's like ak-47s regularly used in high-value heists in france and other terrorist attacks. so they are available, especially to someone who has criminal connections. in this country of course to obtain an assault rifle or other kinds of fire power is much easier. >> all right. brian jenkins. thank you for that.
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thank you as well. before we move on, if there is any silver lining anywhere is maybe the fitting reward that a hero at the kosher market is going to receive. it's going to award french citizenship to a muslim immigrant from mali who saved 15 people by hiding them in a walk-in freezer. he then made his way outside and told police what he had done. that's great, but his many admirers think he deserve a whole lot more than that. people have signed a petition to have him awarded the legion of honor. let's remember he was also muslim saving jews. while focusing on this historic act, another terrorist group has slaughtered as many as 2,000 people, laying waste to an entire village in nigeria.
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just how this attack was a part of a group's bigger plan? that's a whole nother story and it's next. don't even think about it. i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. yeah...but what about mike? he has that dry, scratchy thing going on... guess what? (cough!) it works on his cough too. what? stop, don't pull me! spoiler alert! she doesn't make it! only mucinex dm packs 2 medicines in one pill to relieve wet and dry coughs for 12 hours. start the relief. ditch the misery. let's end this.
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as boko haram's leader praises the terror attacks in france, there is a jaw dropping view of its most destructive attack yet. it happened nearly two weeks
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ago. but we are only now just starting to get a picture of the devastation. this is a satellite picture from amnesty international. it was released today, but it was taken january 2nd. in it, you can see the homes and the businesses. the photos have actually been processed. as you look at this, these are the before pictures. the red areas indicate normal and healthy vegetation. if you look at the after picture, how alarming. you can see the village was nearly wiped off the map completely. keep in mind, some people did get away. others took refuge in their homes, but they were burned to death inside those homes. reporting death tolls that range from the hundreds to as many as 2,000. now, look at the images side by side. amnesty international says this
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resulted in more than 3,700 structures being damaged or destroyed. nick robertson joins me live from northern nigeria. cnn is the other network live in this area. sonic, perhaps you can update us on what's happening and why it's difficult to get an accurate count of how many people died in this. >> reporter: sure. 20 to 30,000 people were forced to flee that area. because they left, there isn't really anyone there who can independently verify, okay, who died, who was killed, people have scattered over a wide area. also the fact that the main army military outpost there was overrun. many of the soldiers killed. many of the others fled. there is sort of no government authority there to make that
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kind of assessment and it's remote. sort of in one of the harshed place of the country. the roads begin to breakdown out there as well. we've been talking to soldiers here in the fight. normally you would expect an army to go back in and retake that land. the soldiers we're talking to, moral is low. they say the weapons they've been given to fight them, they don't have enough bullets. boko haram came into town with big anti-aircraft guns. so the soldiers beaten back. they even tell us forced to buy their own uniforms. >> i want to play this interview that was given by a arch bishop in the area as he was reacting to what he saw in paris and at home. >> i liked it when i saw the huge numbers gathered in paris
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and then the heads of state from different nations coming together for a common cause. why can't we share the same sympathy, solidarity, concern. >> it's the kind of thing that so many people ask when we hear about this kind of a potential death toll. what about the galvanizing of that country especially the government, and can it do anything more to stanch the flow of terror that boko haram is unleashing? >> reporter: sure. these soldiers we're talking to tell us give them the right weapons and they can do the job. we saw the president going. many of the people fled that area. it's army remembrance day today. he promised them they would get what they need. a lot of people feel that's a
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hollow promise and they'd really like to see him make good on that. that's the difference between success and failure here. it is the army being able to step up and do the job that they should be doing. but without the backing of the government, which they really feel they don't have at the moment, they can't -- [ inaudible ] >> i apologize for the connection to you. it's been hard to make out everything you said. brian jenkins, if you could fill in some of the gaps. what we're hearing, it eclipses some of the worst terror attacks we've heard around the world in terms of sheer volume and numbers. the murder of hundreds of people at a time over and over again. exactly what is the effect of boko haram and its terrorist activity on other terrorist groups and is there much of a connection or a potential for a merging of these murderous forces? >> well boko haram like a number
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of the con flicks in the region has deep local roots. this reflects a divide in nigeria between a christian south and a muslim north. it also reflects the problems that although nigeria has africa's largest population and biggest economy, it also has the poorest population. so the money that's coming into the country is not making it down to the people and that fuels these local conflicts. the concern that we have is that while these conflicts begin as local conflicts, they allow groups like al qaeda to get a foothold and to again to radicalize these groups even more. boko haram has itself declared an islamic caliphatcaliphate.
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they want to take over northern nigerian, but it transcends the nigerian borders to encompass the neighboring african countries in recreating what was once a much greater muslim empire in that part of africa. and of course the greatest concern is that ultimately that part of nigeria, like syria, like arack, like afghanistan, will become a launching pad for terrorist operations against the west. >> it's never good news, but it's good to be certainly in the know. thank you for your insight. and nick robertson, great reporting in northern nigeria. the weak, the young, the vulnerable, how isis and other terror groups are raising a new generation of murders, executionists and terrorists. it's a really big deal.
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isis is known for its horrific tactics, but the group may have outdone itself this time. in the latest propaganda, they brag about having a child carry out a double execution of two prisoners. we report on this new declaration and a word of warning, some of the images may certainly be disturbing. >> a horrific new tactic from isis raising a new generation of terrorists. a video released this week from the terror group purports to show a young boy executing two hostages accused of being russian spies. in the video, a young boy about 10 years old with long hair dressed in a black sweater and military fatigues stands before
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the hostages armed with a handgun. a bearded soldier stands next to the boy. cnn cannot verify the authenticity of the video. but he fires several more times as the hostages slump to the ground. like priest videos showing the beheading of western hostages, this one is carefully edited and core graphed. so it is unclear if the boy did in fact kill the hostages, but the message from isis is clear. they are turning children into killers. >> unfortunately, there is a use of children for atrocities in many conflicts. we've seen it in africa and syria. the difference here is they're bragging about it. and it's disturbing. >> this video appears to be the first time isis has portrayed a
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child carrying out an execution, but the terror group has exploited children in previous videos. they call them the cubs of the cally fat, learning in isis schools and training in weapons. this particular boy has appeared in earlier isis videos. he says he's from kazakhstan and wants to grow up to kill infa fidels. this isn't the first time they've used children online. a young australian boy holds a se vered head in a photo posted last august by his father. just this week, a chicago teen pleaded not to charges he planned to join isis fighters in syria. his mother issuing an emotional
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plea to the terror group. >> we have a message for isis. leave our children alone. >> children used as pawns in a propaganda war in a global jihad, exploited, their innocence lost. what happens to these children as they grow up? what kind of adults will these terrorists send into the world? >> joining me now to talk about how isis finds and trains these child terrorists. former jihadist. so let's just start with the mining of these children. are they in fact the children of -- of the soldiers themselves or are they captured, are they -- you know, are they orphans of those they've killed sno how do they find the children to start with? >> well, i mean they'll use their own children and use children that have been captured.
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i've seen screen grabs of kurdish children captured taken as slaves and captives. some of their children were brought into this. again, the use of children in war is not the first time we've seen that. isis has used children before. they've appeared in other videos. i've seen one video where a child is finishing off the beheading of an individual. they're used as informants and spies. if you do go in and invade them, which of your forces are going to open fire on a child who may be down range firing back at you. >> what's the answer to that in terms of strat jazzing against an army that's going to use children. we've seen it before. what's the strategy? >> well, that's going to be a policy issue that governments
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are going to have to deal with. but i mean the simple fact, if you're in a war zone and somebody's firing at you, you fire back. you may learn later on that this was a child, which is going to take a considerable toll on a person's psyche and on their soul. this is something that's going to have to be dealt with in the policy world, then definitely on the battle field. >> it certainly does point to a new level of unbearable assault on morality. thank you, nice to see you as always. back right after this break. eh, you don't want that one.
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our breaking news amidst all of the investigation in europe about the terror attacks in france, there is news now breaking in belgium that a terror operation has yielded several deaths among terrorists. the details are very thin at this time. we go now to our national security correspondent jim sciutto live with details. what are you learning about this operation? >> reporter: that's right. this took place in eastern belgium, about 250 miles from here in paris. we're learning that belgian police are confirming an anti-terrorism operation took
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place. three suspected terrorists killed and at least one taken into custody. this happening just in the last hour or so. apparently this was near a train station. the operation attempting to take them into custody. that's when a gun battle broke out. and to this point, belgian police saying the casualties limiting to the side of the terrorists. that is the word that belgian federal police are using. anti-terror operation, that several terrorists were killed and that at least one taken into custody. it shows you just the level of concern right now in europe. remember, the shooting that took place here in paris at "charlie hebdo" already ties leads leading outside of france. earlier today, an arms dealer tied to amedy coulibaly was found and arrested in belgium right across the border from france. a number of other ties as well to spain, bulgaria and of course
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onto turkey and into syria and yemen. an international web. now today, you have belgian police with this anti-terror operation. they are not, to be clear, saying this is tied in any way to the attacks here in paris. it does show the level of concern and alert they're at right now. >> so the arrest that you just mentioned, is there anything more we know about that arrest? i know you're saying it's not necessarily tied to paris, but is it possible that the investigative process that has perhaps yielded information that led them to what just happened in belgium? >> we have no -- belgian police are not describing any tie to the attacks in paris at this point. they are calling this an anti-terror operation. three terrorists were killed and one taken into custody. from their perspective, they believe that these people were
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tied to terrorism. they have not made any statement tieing this anti-terror operations or the suspects to the attacks in france. >> i'm sure it's early in the investigation. i don't know that anyone will know the answer to this, but i think it begs asking. the fact this operation went down near to the train station, is it suspected that there was going to be an operation carried out at the train station, a terrorist operation, or is this perhaps another side of it, that the one they arrested the others who died were perhaps trying to get on that train to escape arrest? >> reporter: no information at this point as to why it was at the train station. the police saying this was initiated by a counter terror operation. they were there to take these men into custody based on intelligence they have. they are not connecting it to an operation to that train station
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or that they were heading to the train station to get away. just that it was a counter terror operation. at least one terrorist has been taken into custody. that gives the possibility of a further investigation here. >> let's hope that arrest yields some further information. thank you for that. so quickly getting that information live in paris. an operation in paris, several terrorists dead, one arrested. a lot more details still to come on that. cnn watching this for you throughout the day. my colleague wolf takes over after this quick break. but did you know that the lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath? well, there is biotene, specially formulated with moisturizers and lubricants... biotene can provide soothing relief and it helps keep your mouth healthy too. biotene, for people who suffer from a dry mouth.
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comcast business. built for business. hello. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 7:00 p.m. in paris. 9:00 p.m. in moscow. wherever you're watching, thanks for joining us. we start with breaking news out of belgium right now where police had been looking for a suspect tied to last week's terrorist attacks. several people have been killed we are now told in an anti-terror raid. let's go to jim sciutto. i know the initial information is just coming in, but what can you tell us? >> reporter: here's the latest we have. it


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