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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  October 11, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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embassy and the saudi embassy as possible targets. what do make of the information on these indictments of two iranians and one iranian-american? >> for doesn't sound like al qaeda. when you look at a slide, you expect someone, these are iranian and iranian-americans. this might be something linked back to iran. we have to be careful here. it's possible they were on their own or doing this out of a sympathy out of solidarity with iran. it has to be said that the government engaged in tactics like this. they have been tracked and traced and linked to very serious terrorist plots targeting embassies and including in argentina. we have to see whether or not to
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the government which was different than the terrorist threat they focused on. >> absolutely. the information we are receiving into us that say that sources confirm the case started when one of the men, the iranian americans made contact with an under cover dea informant and asked for assistance from a mexican drug cartel to assassinate the am bass tor. this is what sources are telling us at this hour. you can tell us any information you might have on the saudi diplomats, the saudi ambassador to the united states? >> he's a prominent spokesman in saudi government and very well recognized and very well respected in washington, d.c. whether you are part of the government or sympathetic, there is no doubt he was at the jurvethure of a lot of worlds
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that are critical and for that matter he makes a good target. it's not a secret that the saudi government shares concerns about iranian interest in that region and the saudis and iranians have clashed over a number of different issues including what's going on in bahrain and the struggle between the government protest in bahrain to the sovereignty of particular islands in the persian gulf. for the iranians, whether it's the government we speak of or people sympathetic to their cause. they tend to see the saudis as the local representatives. the target on the ambassador here in the united states will send a clear message and the question it's going to be in everyone's minds right now, is this something linked back to iranian intelligence or is this
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done by homegrown individuals? >> i want to zero in at least on the part of the report that said that the israeli embassy could have been possible targets here. if they have this and they were able to stop this before being carried through if the information is accurate and the details are accurate here, this would honestly be something unimaginable and the times of everything going on. >> again, it fits in with a lost them coming out. one of the question is how to help syria. i don't know if you have been to the israeli embassy in washington, d.c., but among others, the security there always has been and only gotten more so. it would have taken a substantial plot and a plan to get around the security. that's not clear idea. we will have to see whether or
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not it's something that is an idea in someone's mind or something that someone with the real work if there was an imminent threat to security and the israeli embassy in washington, d.c. >> one of the suspects may still be a fugitive, but to your point, we are waiting to get confirmation and all of the details is what sources are indicating to us right now. one of the suspects may still be a tujative at this hour. back to the saudis, they have not responded or commented as of yet which i imagine would be expected. >> they don't want to be a big deal with the clashes with iran. they would prefer this to be taken care of. they are not looking to spark a confrontation. i don't think there is any doubt about this. much like any other country, they will be upset about the
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idea that they will be target and they will be taking this seriously because as far as the saudis are concerned, the mortal threats is iran. much of what they are putting into foreign policy is trying to prevent iran from establishing more bases or more operations inside the iranian peninsula and particularly the case in bahrain. there is a lot of tension between the iranians and the saudis and a few days ago, there was what was a riot that took place in a town in eastern saudi arabia. the saudis claimed on a foreign government. suggesting that it was sparking these up risings in shiite areas. that almost certainly is a reference to iran. the saudis definitely had their tensions, but everything that they are doing, they are trying to make this at least a private battle and not public.
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this is going to be difficult for them to ignore. >> stand by. we have with us an nbc correspondent and michael, we are getting information as we wait on the official word from the department of justice. what can you tell me you heard so far? >> the basics are as we have been reporting that this began as a dea under cover operation. this iranian american had first approached an informant in texas saying he wanted the help of the mexican drug cartel s or was planning on using the mexican cartel s to assassinate the ambassador to carry out the operations in washington. dea turned them over to the fbi and this is a terrorism case. and the fbi then -- there is a lot we don't know, but they arrest one suspect and apparently there is another at large. we do not know where he is. most explosive elements of this
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story other than the obvious attempt to blow up the israeli and saudi embassies in washington is, was there a true iranian connection and was there hezbollah involvement in this plot? hezbollah of course often acted as an extension of iranian interests in the mideast. they have not been linked to a terrorism plot in the united states for quite sometime, but that has always been a concern of law enforcement and that's one thing you want to listen for closely when the press conference unfolds. >> let me bring back evan coleman. this alleges that they use weapons of mass destruction against the ambassadors. that's a report from a senior official. you heard michael bring up again and we are waiting to get more
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information. at this hour, we are looking at any and all options here. one, as michael brought up hezbollah, but i find that you have this drug cartel , this notorious cartel responsible for thousands of deaths and one wonders why these suspects would seek help from this drug cartel and they are already if i can be casual, catching a lot of heat as a result of the thousands of lives taken as a result of their actions. >> that may not be so strange. we will have to see how they stand out and in central and south america, there a number of locations where individuals who are connected to iranian intelligence are connected to hezbollah and working in partnership with criminal networks. it's unusual. it's not something you see often with al qaeda and not something you see often with certain groups. with iranian nationals and
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intelligence, it's not that unusual at all. especially venezuela. it sounds strange and it's unusual if you are thinking from an al qaeda perspective, but if you are thinking about this in terms of what iran has done in the past, it's not to forget that there was an israeli embassy in argentina. that was tied back to operatives and hezbollah. there is not an exact threat, but circumstances that happen before. can you say much more than that and the intelligence have been tied to the lot that sound a lot like this. that's a big difference. this is home brown. this is something that can be linked back to the government of iran that, say major major foreign policy issue and a question. is iran a national security
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threat to the united states. >> let me bring back michael. do we have an idea of the timeline? we mentioned one suspect approaches an informant in may. do we know any more about what happened after that initial contact? >> we don't other than this is described as a sting operation. that means that at some point they turn it over to the fbi and fbi under cover agents are in contact with the suspects here. at that point it would be very personal to know how far gone was the plot at that point or did the fbi under cover agents sort of let this go on a little? did they suggest any actions that were then taken that always leaves it to the entrapgz. the lawyers will bring up in cases like this. there is a lot we don't know here.
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it would be a dramatic and almost unheard of move if this could be linked back to an iranian government action. the agents are involved in a t lot. >> eric holder is approaching as we listen in. >> good afternoon. today the department of justice is announcing charges against two people who allegedly attempted to carry out a did thely plot directed by factions of the iranian government to assassinate here in the united states. a naturalized united states citizen who holds an iranian passport and arrested last month in new york is accused of
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working with members of the iranian revolutionary core to devise an international murder for hire scheme targeting the saudi arabian ambassador. according to the complaint, he is alleged to have orchestrated a $1.5 million plot with an iranian-based member and other iranian coconspirators. the force say unit of the iranian revolutionary guard core. it is suspected of sponsoring attacks against the coalition forces in iraq and was designated by the department of treasury in 2007 for providing material support to the taliban and other organizations. they allege thatted experience was conceived and sponsored and was directed from iran and constitutes a violation of u.s. and international law including
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a convention that protects diplomats from being harmed. in addition holding the individuals accountable for their alleged role in the plot, the us is committed to holding iran accountable for actions. they are charged with experience to murder a foreign official and use a rep on of mass direction and to commit an act of terrorism among other charges. bob has been in custody since september 29th, 2011. based in iran, they remain at large. according to the complaint they met with a confidential informant while posing as an associate of a violent international drug trafficking cartel . the meeting which took place in may and in mexico was the first of a series that would result in international conspiracy by elements of the iranian government to pay the informant
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$1.5 million to murder the embassador on the united states soil according to documents filed in court. according to the complaint, those discussions led with approval to facilitate the wiring of $100,000 into a bank account in the united states as a down payment for the attempted assassination. the complaint also states in the days since the defendant's arrest, he has confessed to his participation in the alleged plot as well as provided other valuable information about elements of the iranian government's role in it. the disruption of this alleged plot marks a sig knave cant achievement by law enforcement and agencies as well as the close cooperation of our partners in the mexican government. i want to comment the outstanding work of the agencies involved in the investigation including the fbi and director muller here with us today as
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well as the drug enforcement administration and michelle len hart. their agents and analysts worked closely with the prosecutors at the department's security division and the southern district of new york. with as many months to monitor the alleged experience and obtain valuable information and bring the plotters to justice. i want to thank them for the work and turn it over to director muller. >> this case illustrates that we live in a world where borders and boundaries are increasingly irrelevant. a world where individuals from one country thought to conspire with a drug trafficking cartel in another country to assassinate a foreign official on united states soil. though it reads like the pages of a hollywood script, the impact would have been real and many lives would have been lost.
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these individuals had no regard for their intended victim. no regard for innocent citizens who might have been hurt or killed in this attempted assassination. they add no regard for the rule of law. with these charges we bring the full weight that was law to bear on those responsible. we send a clear message that any attempts to american soil will not be tolerated. this was not a typical case for any of us. given the global ties we unravel and the scope of the plot itself, it represents the full range of threats we face and illustrates the need for continued collaboration, collaboration between agencies, departments between countries. we said it many times before, but it wears repeating. it is only working side by side that we are able to stop plots like this before they can take
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hold. we will continue to work together to find and stop those who seek to do us harm whether they attempt to strike overseas or here at home. whether it is a experience to kill a foreign official on u.s. soil, a terrorist attack on the united states citizens, or crime in our communities. now let me turn it over to lisa. thank you very much, director muller. i want to echo the remarks in thanking those involved in the operation. this is a significant milestone and achievement in our national security effort. as you have heard, facts as alleged today in today's complaint shed light on an assassination plot that was conceive and sponsored by elements of the iranian government. thanks to a coordinated law enforcement effort, we were able to penetrate and thwart the plot
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before it could result in harm to the ambassador or anyone else. i want to thank the men and women of the national security division, in particular those from the division's counter terrorism section and other sections within the division for theirests in helping to shepherd the case and efforts in the extensive coordination required to arrive at today's result. this case perhaps more than any in recent memory involved an incredible amount of collaboration with partners over several months. were it not for the hard work of the division and many partners, we wouldn't be standing here today. i want to thank our partners in the u.s. attorney's office for the southern district of new york for their extensive and hard work on this matter. i want to acknowledge the work of the prosecutors in houston's u.s. attorney's office and the investigators that the fbi, dea
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and new york joint terrorism task force. they deserve a special presentation for obtaining information for those behind it. i want to thank the intelligence community for the critical role in the matter. the security division was designed to serve as the place where intelligence and law enforcement come together. i am proud to say that we served that purpose here. this case demonstrates exactly how the division is supposed to work and should serve as a model for future cases. i would like to introduce the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. >> thank you. as has been described, the complaint unsealed today reveals a well-funded plot that had as the first priority the assassination of the saudi ambassador to the united states. the details of the plot are chilling to say the least.
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the defendants had no care or concern about inflicting mass casualties on innocent americans on american soil in furtherance of assassination plan. for example, to set forth in the complaint, they noted there could be 100 or 150 people in a fictional restaurant where the requested bombing would take place, including possibly members of the united states congress, the lead defendant, acting on behalf of a component of the government of iran said no problems and no big deal. as we allege the defendants showed they were more than ready, willing, and able to carry out the plan by among other things, causing $100,000 to be wired through a new york bank as a deadly down payment for the hired gun. it didn't stop there. the saudi ambassador's assassination was intended to be the opening act of a series of lethal attacks by defendants and cohorts in iran.
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i want to thank the partners responsible for unraveling the plot before it got off the ground. our work is a instruct of a collaborative effort of intelligence and law enforcement that share commitment to keeping americans safe both at home and abroad and protecting representatives of foreign governments while they are guests in our country. i want to comment the director and the fbi for outstanding work unprecedent and ongoing investigation, specifically also the office for tremendous work and the task force and our partner in so many cases, the assistant directionor in charge. i want to thank the houston office of the dea for the roll in the investigation and of course the attorney general and his staff and assistant general and close colleagues at the national security division for leadership and support. i want to acknowledge the career prosecutors in my office in the
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other district of new york. along with the super advisers. and the acting chief. no one of the people that have been mepzed have gotten much sleep and we are all safer because of it. today's charges should make crystal clear that we will not let other countries use our soil as their battle ground. thank you. >> questions you might have? >> mr. attorney general, when you say you will hold iran accountable, what do you mean by that? >> we will be working with the colleagues at the white house at the state department and the treasury department and they will be taking further action which they will be making known in the relatively -- over the next few hours. >> just to be clear, to what degree are you saying that the iranian government was complicit?
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did they know about it and direct it and toward? what are you saying? >> the organization that i reference in my remarks is a component of the iranian government. as we alleged in the complaint say this was directed and approved by elements of the iranian government and specifically senior members of the cuds force, a part of the iranian islamic guard corps and iranian military. high up officials in the agencies which was an integral part of the government were responsible for the plot. >> just into the upper reaches of the iranian government knew about this and blessed this? >> we are not making that charge at this point. >> can we charge more about the attacks that were to follow and what is the understood motivation or purpose in the overall plot? >> we are restricting comments to that which we have charged in the complaint. >> why was the charges brought
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in new york and were there any charges to be brought in d.c.? >> as of the case when you have a plot that touches a lot of jurisdictions, the cases can be brought and one of the basis for jurisdiction to be in the southern district of new york, there was a $100,000 payment, a down payment on the alleged assassination attempt and that travelled to a bank in the southern district of new york. >> mr. attorney general, besides the wiring of the money, what were the other overt acts? did anybody obtain explosives? >> i want to go through that, but the answer is no. the complaint alleges a couple of overt acts. there the discussions of conversations and meetings that toopgz. it does not say that explosives were performed. as the complaint lays out, the entire time it was being investigated, they were
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operating under the guidance and monitorship. no explosives were placed anywhere or no one was in any danger. >> can you address what the mexican government played in the investigation of this? the subject traveled back and forth and you can tell us how they were involved? >> i can say that we have all commended the mexican government for cooperation with us in this, helping us uncover the plot and helping us ultimately unlined it. i don't want to go into the detail of the nature of the cooperation, but it was significant and i don't think without it we would have been able to accomplish what we have today. you -- are there any other suspects at large in the united states that was referenced to others here and the families in washington.
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are there any folks who you suspect are a part of this plot in the united states? >> no reason to believe there any other coconspirators here in the united states. >> did the iranian man know the ambassador dor's first restaurant? it was discussed or was that something that the confidential informant came up with and second, why was the other person still at large? >> i'm not going to comment on that, but the second question in response to the first question, we should be clear as the complaint lays out, there was never actually any identified restaurant. i refer to it as the official restaurant. it was the way in which as is laid out in the complaint, the source was providing information to the people paying him to engage in the assassination plot. as for the detail and it is way in which he was going about setting up what was requested of
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him after the payment was made. >> you can elaborate on the kind of attack this was supposed to be whether it's a car bomb or what sort of an attack? >> directing you to the complaint. it's not a long document. there is a discussion in the complaint about the way in which the assassination attempt would go off. there is a discussion between the government defendant and the source about the best way to do it whether it's indoors or outdoors or a bomb or otherwise. at some point it's laid out in the complaint. there is a discussion of using explosives and why one of the charges is used with a weapon of mass destruction. >> this case culminated attempt with two hikers. with any consideration or discussion given to their play at the timing? >> these cases, this case was
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brought as the facts warranted and dictated. we have been at this matter for a member number of months. the attorneys in the office in the district of new york are colleagues in the national security division worked on this matter irrespective of the things going on. >> at what point was the saudi government brought in? >> i'm not exactly sure when they were notified, but they have been notified and they will be reacting as well. in a public fashion very soon. >> other countries that are in danger or threatened? >> with regard to this experience, i think one has to be concerned about the chilling nature of what the iranian government attempted to do and one of the things our state department will be doing is getting in touch with other of our allies and nations around the world to make them aware of what his motive is that was
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thwarted here today. >> i have to ask you about the president of the investigation. if you can indulge me for one minute. the report is on the hill to get information from the justice department naming up officials of the justice department. apparently on the hill, they don't believe your testimony. what do you have to say about that and how do you comply? >> we sent thousands of pages of documents up to the hill. i'm sure we will comply with them. what i want the american people to understand is in dealing with that inquiry that will not detract from the business we have here to do with the justice department including the ones like we have denounced here today. >> can i talk to you about the fact -- >> we are following breaking news where attorney general eric holder and fbi, director muller gave us new details on this plot
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that was unfolded and they said uncovered from may to september 29th when one of the suspects was taken into custody. let me bring in andrea mitchell. we have incredible details. let's start with the facts that eric holder said the iranian government involved in this within the hour, we will hear a response from the state and treasury department as well as the white house. >> there is clearly going to be actions taken and sanctions taken against the iranian government. they were already declared a terror back in 2007 and we were talking about retaliation against a threat and an alleged threat to bombs and kill and assassinate a diplomat hosted here in the united states. immunity and the status of diplomats throughout the conventions that all of these treaties were established with
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the security and sanctity of diplomatic service in all of our countries. he has deep roots in the united states and educated back in texas in the 1980s and has a masters from georgetown and did a tour of duty on foreign relations and has been at the embassy here in washington starting in 1987. he was the foreign policy adviser to the crown prince now king abdullah. he is well-known to all of us and has been on all of our programs on "meet the press" and all of our broadcast as a major figure and foreign policy adviser to the government. this is being taken very seriously. it is true. if these allegations can be backed up, the government or elements of the government of iran were directly involved in the alleged growths. >> we heard the fbi director say voters and boundaries are irrel skprant that's what the case showed us. >> indeed.
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they are saying there was a plot to use a bomb and what they are calling a rep on of mass destruction regardless of what the possible repercussions can be on nontargets and civilians and targeting a diplomat of the saudi embassy. it could not be a more direct threat than if it is proved. there two suspects who are nationals, one is a naturalized u.s. citizen and this was apparently with the understanding as part of an fbi sting so we have direct threats. >> let me bring in pete williams and some of the details we know at this point is that this involved a $1.5 million bounty, if you will, for the assassinati assassination. it was part of the explanation as to why this case and these dimes were brought in the state of new york.
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>> a couple of things to point out. first of all, you heard a lot of rnchs to weapons of mass destruction. that's a term in federal law. it means a bomb. it doesn't mean anything more than that. it's plenty menacing enough. it doesn't mean a kind of chemical or nuclear device. it means a bomb, as frightening as that is. this was a sting from the very beginning so that the moment one of the operatives approached a guy who we thought was involved with mek can drug cartel s, he came into the clutches without realizing it and from may on, the government held the on and off switch for the operation and there were a number of meetings that this person thought he was having with mexican drug cartel operatives and he never did meet with them. he was meeting with officials and that's an important point to emphasize. as to how this came about, the court documents and the general said one of the defendants in this case who is the person who
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went from texas and met with what he thought was a mexican cartel member, he confessed after he was arrested and the version he gave to the fbi is that this started earlier this year in the string of 2011 when the defendant was in iran talking with his cousin. the court documents say his cousin was a high ranking member of the force in iran and it's the cousin who came up with the idea to have this assassination and came to the united states and tried to carry it out. that's what the court documents say is the genesis of this. >> we just got word that he will number a federal court at 4:00 p.m. eastern time in lower manhattan. we did not get a lot of details how the other individual who is now not in custody, how that came to play, especially when as you point out this was a sting operation from the beginning. >> he was never in the u.s.
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he is the official and the person who was described as the high ranking officer of the force. that is qods. he was never here. he is the other person indicted. the claim of our person arrested in the u.s., he is the person who was dealing with in iran and wired the money thinking it was getting into the hands of the mexican drug cartel s and he was never here and i think the odds of the u.s. getting their hands on him are remote. >> we appreciate that clarification as well. let me bring in roger standing by. what stands out to you as well as weit wait to hear word from the state department and the treasury department and we have a statement from the white house that the president was briefed on the issue in june and directed the administration to provide support to the investigation. the disruption of the plot is a significant achievement and law enforcement agencies and the
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president is great 68 for their exceptional work in the instance and countless others. that's a statement from the security council spokesperson regarding the president and his knowledge of what was happening. what stands out to you? >> what's fascinate suggest that if this holes up, we are talking about an act of attempted state sponsored terrorism. although the ties between the cousin and the irgc force which is the jerusalem force for the irgc needs additional examination. was it the cousin acting on his own effect or was he acting on behalf of the government when he allegedly conducted all this? the last time the iranians tried to conduct a terrorist attack in the united states was back in the meat 1980s when they tried to kill the commander of the uss vin senz, the navy cruiser that shot down the iranian airbus
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over the persian gulf. they tried to kill him with a pipe bomb in his van in san diego. the fact that this does hold up, for years we talk about transnational terrorism and al qaeda. we really talked about state sponsored terrorism and the past decade or so. this would be very unique and old school. specifically demanding if they can be identified, they can be brought to justice. that's a tall order, but the direction the government will go. >> let me bring back this uniqueness of all of this if this is state sponsored terrorism and you heard in the news conference the others saying elements of the iranian
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governments and repeated iranian government's role as they called the assassination plot and at least the individual in custody, they know that the news conference confessed to having ties directly to the government in iran. >> there is going to be a lot of suspicion and it was a thing from the beginning. at the same time they will try to tighten the economic sanctions when you heard them mention treasury. they have been actively engaged in sanctioning many of the individuals and groups. they will try to tighten the sanctions and as long as there is still international trade and banking in european banking with many of these figures, they have not been as effective as officials would like. they have allied support at times, but within the united nations, they have blocked every
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turn. >> let me bring in a former state department employee. we have seen russia and china stand on many occasions. what do you expect to be the world reaction? there will be skepticism, but when you see and hear the lay out and the concerns we have from saudi officials, what do you make of the reaction we might hear soon? >> it will point to the plot that was foiled before there was a plot. it's important to point out how the obama administration is taking this threat seriously. certainly today the trial in detroit is under way. they have done it through international cooperation. there will be questions, but i think the way they approached this from the administration will give them credibility when talking about it overseas. >> what are do you make of the
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details that this started with a dea informant and being approached by the individual back in may and this individual sought to get help from the cartel in mexico. in that country. >> it opens up a bunch of questions, can third parties be involve and can mexican cartel s work with drug dealers and there a lot of questions that are out and approaching a dea agent was a lot of good fortune in foiling the plot, but more out of strong intensive effort. >> do we still have pete williams with us? andrea, we know that the terror suspect will be in federal court at 4:00 p.m. and lower manhat n
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manhattan. what do you hear will be the next chain of events other than what we heard from the attorney general saying in the hours we hear from the state and the treasury department especially? >> this will be the first step. the routine court work and the arraignments and they will have to show that they have probable cause to hold him for further hearings. this will be for an attorney and the normal process of the court that is familiar with these cases that handled the case and officially the indictment against bin laden and others and the blind sheik. that is indeed the very courthouse and u.s. attorney's office that handled so many of these cases in the past. >> let me bring in swiftin welker. earlier the president was first briefed on the issue in june according to the statement. what have we heard from the
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white house since the breaking news? >> that's right. the president was briefed on the situation back in june. >> he directed the administration to put all necessary resources to getting to the bottom of this investigation and this white house is saying this is a success for the intelligence and law enforcement community. the president is traveling in pittsburgh, talking about his jobs bill and talking about the economy. now the dialogue is going to shift to foreign affairs and it will be interesting to see how it will impact the relationship between the u.s. and iran. the president so far has not spoken about this today. he does have fund-raisers coming up this evening. we will be listening to see if he addresses it head on. as of right now, the administration is saying this is a success for the intelligence and law enforcement community. >> let me bring in michael. i am told you have new information for us?
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>> to underscore a point that pete was referring to earlier about how much of this was real and how much took place before the sting ghan which the agents begin to get involved and talk to the suspect here and it's worth noting that in the justice department documents, they made clear in the initial contact with the confidential informant at the dea, the first statement made, the suspect here is or at least what he confessed that he told agents that his cousin that he understood to be a member that approached him in the early spring about recruiting traffickers to kidnap the ambassador. not to assassinate and kidnap the ambassador and the first discussions of assassination don't take place later until he begins meeting with the under cover informant for dea.
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at least that raises a question. was the original plot here to do as was alleged here or was it something less and grew as under cover officers became involved? that is at least the question that comes out when you closely read the do you means and gets tote question of how much of this was as operational and how much of this would have been carried out had it not been for the under cover agents? >> the terror suspect will be in a federal coarse at 4:00 p.m. eastern time. we will take a quick break and be right back. u're paul matheson. and you're gonna run your business into the ground. erik gustafson would never do that! there is no erik gustafson. hey that's erik gustafson!!! there is no erik gustafson!!!!!
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many older women are not getting the information they need about sexual health. they find that women over 50 are sexually active and know about the risks of stds and are not comfortable talking to doctors and partners about them. most educational campaigns are aimed at younger women. >> welcome back to "news nation." herman cain will be taking center stage when the candidates debate tonight. debate organizers admit they moved the ceo towards the center based on recent poll numbers. ahead of the debate, a poll shows cain is in a statistical dead heat with mitt romney in iowa that holds the lead off the presidential contest. followed by ron paul and 11% for rick perry and michele bachmann with 10%. romney has a commanding lead in new hampshire followed by cain
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and ron paul. rick perwe 6%. nbc news, before we talk about the debate, the big news, chris christie plans on endorsing and they are scheduling the joint news conference at 3:00 eastern time. how does it help or does it? >> it's a very big help. a significant boost and another sign of how the republican establishment is starting to coals around mitt romney. it was a few weeks ago that rick perry pulled out pretty good endorsements on his behalf like louisiana governor bobby jindal and brian sandoval. that has pretty much stopped and we haven't heard much from the perry side of things since the tough debate performances. mitt romney this is another significant endorsement for him and good news for the campaign. >> two questions.
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what would have been his choice if not mitt romney. when you lineup their records and commonalities, it would have been likely. the second point, is mitt romney's problem is not with the conservatives. you have this new report that the advisers met with advisers of the president when he was developing reform in the white house. those who would support him, they helped mitt romney in the equation. that are are those are good points, you are correct. this is not a surprising endorsement if they were somebody that chris christie was going to endorse. it was going to be mitt romney and his biggest short coming has to do with worries from the tea party. our new mayor's poll shows that the tea party is not for him. it's for herman cain that has to worry romney. romney is the front-runner, but
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he is a vulnerable front-runner. the rank and file don't really just him yet. >> you brought up herman cain and he is center stage between mitt romney and rick perry. what do you make of the set up and what does herman cain need to do to build confidence of those who may be uncertain and sadly don't take him seriously even though he is moving up in the polls? >> one of the reasons is the lack of previous experience much the last person who didn't have political experience was dwight eisenhower who led the d-day invague. he doesn't have that on his resume yet, but when you look at cain needs to do, he needs to keep on doing what he has been doing. someone engaging at the debates and comes off as a die-hard
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conservative and doesn't have much of a record to point to at all. we had so many different flavors of the month that started with donald trump and michele bachmann and rick perry and then herman cain. whether he can sustain to sustain it. >> even if he doesn't sustain it, he can be a game changer when you look at the numbers. >> he does. the biggest thing is the tea party support. if one candidate can coalesce the support, that is going to be a significant threat to mitt romney. if it's broken up, if cain gets 15% and michele bachmann gets 10%, that's great news for mitt romney. >> a lot going on. to see the least. a programming note for tomorrow, t "the daily rundown." herman cain at 9:00 a.m. eastern time. "news nation" will be right back. bring you a low-priced medicare prescription drug plan.
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that does it for "news nation." thank you very much for joining us and see you tomorrow. martin bashir is up next. i'd race down that hill without a helmet. i took some steep risks in my teens. i'd never ride without one now. and since my doctor prescribed lipitor, i won't go without it for my high cholesterol
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>> it's tuesday, october 11th. we have details developing on our watch. iranian plot to kill the american ambassadors in saudi arabia and governor chris christie about to formally endorse mitt romney. the united states justice department today accused elements of the iranian government of being behind a plot to assassinate the ambassador to the u.s. holder said two iranians including one iranian-american planned to use a weapon of mass destruction in the attempt on the ambassador's life and said the government will be held accountable. >> a


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