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Officials confirm the death of Paris attack mastermind

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," November 19, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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RIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS HOST: Hi I'm Eric Bolling in for Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.

We're going to go right to our top story.

French officials confirming the death of the vicious, vicious ISIS ringleader behind last week's terror attacks in Paris -- 27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud was killed yesterday in a bloody raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. Intelligence officials say he was linked to a number of other terror plots in Europe as well. Abaaoud was thought to be in Syria before the Paris terror attack raising troubling questions of how such a dangerous terrorist could go undetected throughout the heart of Europe.

Joining us now from Paris with more, Phil Chetwynd, the global editor- in-chief of AFP News Service there. So Phil -- how did the police track down Abaaoud?

PHIL CHETWYND, AFP NEWS SERVICE: I think as you said there was real surprise that he actually was even in France or in Europe. I think what they got in the end, they got an old fashioned bit of police work -- a tip, a human being coming to them and tipping them off. They followed that up and I think they were surprised to find that actually the tip worked out.

They put on some electronic surveillance and that's where they traced him to this apartment just north of Paris.

BOLLING: We also understand that a cell phone was found and one of the numbers in the cell phone they tracked back to this female terrorist who blew herself up during the raid. Very interesting to me that she had called for the Paris Special Forces to help her, help her, help her, trying to lure them into her bomb radius and then detonated herself. What do we know about her and what's the furthest information with regard to her?

CHETWYND: Yes, I mean her identity is yet to be fully confirmed but the picture emerging is of a troubled young lady who even six months ago her brother said really had no contact at all with radical Islamist. She was a young party girl who was out clubbing a lot at night and really didn't have any of this kind of link at all.

So the kind of interesting question being raised here is how quickly she was radicalized. How quickly she became under the wing of some of these people who had turned her into potentially a suicide bomber.

BOLLING: Phil -- give us a sense now. Mr. Abaaoud had bragged about being able to fly back and forth between Belgium and Syria and throughout Europe, frankly. Tell us about that investigation. What do we know about him and maybe other terrorist cells he may be linked to?

CHETWYND: I think again what's interesting is the prime minister of France just in the last hour or so making that direct connection between the refugee flow and some of these attackers. So there seems to be some kind of suspicion that Abaaoud would have used potentially this flow of refugees perhaps to move in and out of Paris -- he certainly or in or out of Europe -- he certainly bragged from Syria that he had the ability to move in and out.

And it seems that an intelligence agency certainly spotted his movement in Greece at some point in recent weeks. So that would certainly add fuel to that line of inquiry.

BOLLING: We had heard earlier today that one of the bomb makers of that vest may have been caught or at least turned himself in.

We're going to leave it right there with you Phil. Thank you very much.

But stay with us because joining us now from Washington Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.

Now Catherine --

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Good to see you.

BOLLING: -- late this afternoon the FBI held a news conference to say there is no credible terrorist threat against the United States. What do you make of that?

HERRIDGE: Well we had some rare public statements, Eric, from the FBI director along with the Attorney General and the main takeaway is that based on the analysis of something called the National Counter Terrorism Center -- this is the hub for threat analysis that was set up after 9/11 -- they found no credible connections between the Paris attackers and potential ISIS operatives inside the United States.

And Director Comey said that what they see here in the United States are more of these ISIS-inspired plots rather than ISIS-directed plots which is what we have seen in Europe -- Eric.

BOLLING: So, yes, but we have seen as recently as today some ISIS propaganda video showing Times Square, a suicide bomber putting a vest on and the implication is that he's going to blow himself up in Times Square. How can that not be a direct implication? I'm trying to figure how can we not tie those two together?

HERRIDGE: Well, Director Comey said today that these ISIS propaganda tapes and I would emphasize this is part of big media rollout. The way ISIS works is that they have the plot and then they have the propaganda on the shelf waiting for the events to unfold. And this propaganda, Comey said is not basically intelligence. They check it out. It's designed to frighten people and sort of be a weapon of mass hysteria but they have seen nothing credible in it.

And I would add the most recent tape that was released today targeting Washington, D.C., I mean, it's not highly produced. It has the feel of kind of a crash edit. Sort of a smash and grab video propaganda. So it's hard to say that there might be something very threatening within that message itself.

BOLLING: Catherine, what are the people in D.C. talking -- what are they saying about this suicide vest? We noticed that there are a couple of suicide vests that these terrorists used in Paris last Friday night; also one in Saint-Denis. Are there more and do we think that this could be a common theme -- more suicide vests, more suicide bombers linking?

HERRIDGE: Well, the key thing with the vests we're learning from our contacts is that there was a very competent bomb maker involved. Someone able to produce a half dozen vests without incident and not being flagged to the French authorities. And that this person has not been arrested to the best of our knowledge.

We're also told that this so-called ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud is not the mastermind. He is like the tactical strategic guy who was on the ground. To make a 9/11 analogy he was like the Mohammad Atta. His job was to get the operatives, to get the weapons and then to keep everyone in their lane so that the plot could be executed effectively.

And that's important because it means there are individuals higher up the food chain where senior people with the strategic vision who are still on the loose as well as this bomb maker -- Eric.

BOLLING: Abaaoud is on a lane and the implication would be that there are other lanes -- other Abaaouds out there reporting to another figure head like you are pointing out -- right.

HERRIDGE: That's correct?

BOLLING: All right. Catherine -- we're going to leave it right there. And hope -- hope they get all these guys.

HERRIDGE: Of course.

BOLLING: All right.

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