All-Star Panel: Implications of Paris attack on future of terrorism

'Special Report' All-Star panel weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," January 9, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: This was a culmination today of terrorist counter terrorist operations and both the French president and the U.S. president commented.

FRANCIS HOLLANDE, FRANCE PRESIDENT (through translation): France is not finished with being a target of threats, therefore I want to urge you to be vigilant, to be united and to be mobilized.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: And in the streets of Paris. The world seen once again what terrorist stands for then nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering. And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings.


BAIER: Want to bring in our panel a little bit early tonight. Charles Lane, opinion writer for the Washington Post, Nina Easton, columnist from Fortune Magazine and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Charles, your thoughts on this day and where we stand as this hunt continues.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, I think what's so important about this is the origin of the four killers, the brothers and the couple. They are born in France; I think we're now in sort of the third stage of the jihadist war against us. The first of course is 9/11, all of the attackers were from the Middle East. And then for the last year or two, we have seen the lone wolf attacks, usually homegrown, but fairly unstable and one-on-one and it looks as if fairly disorganized or acting out of its inspiration but on instruction or with training here.

We have perhaps the beginning of the third wave, the third stage, and this is the trained local cells, who have had to learned their trade in the Middle East, are connected in some way as we heard the 50 calls among the two groups here. And the obvious connection with Al Qaeda in Yemen. And this I think is going to be, it's as if there's a critical mass of these dissident Jihadists in the West. Who are now in a position, rather than act like the single guy in Australia, or the single guys acting separately in Canada, as a group, as a cell, and as an organized -- as an organized waves and that could be what we're facing right now.

BAIER: Nina.

NINA EASTON, COLUMNIST, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Well, I would add to that and I think Charles is exactly right. But I would add to that that you have now got this range of terrorist groups across a big part of the world. That it's far more of a deep threat to the West, than even pre-9/11, because what you've got, is you've got this connection with Al Qaeda in Yemen. We know now. We've got a Boston bomber on trial with connections to Chechnya. We have got -- we have the homegrown inspired Jihadists.

And then you have the head of the British Intelligence Agency, saying he's scared about threats, massive threats coming out of Syria, the Khorasan group. And we haven't even go gotten to ISIS, and then you -- there's a sort of -- we think, sort of a one upsmanships going on with these various terrorist group against, you know in plots against the West.

Keep in mind too, there are terrorists attacks within the Muslim community too, don't forget about the Taliban attacks, killing 143 school kids in Pakistan just last month.

BAIER: And Boko Haram 2,000 killed.

EASTON: Boko Haram 2,000. I mean that's the biggest death toll by Boko Haram so far. I mean, that's -- those are original threats so far, but those are something to be considered in this whole picture as well.


Chuck, I mean today obviously we're focus on Paris and all of the operations as they're ongoing, but that statement by MI-5, the head of MI-5 in Britain, about a big scale attack against the West by Al Qaeda in Syria is really quite startling.

CHARLES LANE, OPINION WRITER, WASHINGTON POST: You know, not that long ago, the president freshly re-elected, spoke about the need to take this country off of a war footing. I'm paraphrasing, he spoke about the need to recast the legal authorities, maybe repealed them that enable the global war on terrorism. And unfortunately, as much as that we think we would all like to do that, it takes two sides to stop a war. The other side is plainly not finished.

And I think this gives the president a real challenge and let's hope an opportunity to revisit those legal authorities and the other things he's talking about, but with an eye toward updating, modernizing and adapting them for all the new kinds of threats we're talking about.

If we're looking for opportunity to work with the Republicans on an issue that the public is really concerned about, it would be updating and adapting American counter terrorism policy. Which to be sure, was formed in the aftermath of 9/11. But as Charles points out, that was a different phase in the struggle.

And, so far, I think, you know, this has been a real wakeup call to Europe. And I think there's some positive things that come out of that, but I think it has to be a wakeup call for the United States also.

BAIER: We have more with the panel on this topic.

France under siege and a warning that the rest of the West may be next.

Plus U.S. policy towards terrorism right after the break.

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