This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," July 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Lots of news breaking tonight. A day of national celebration turns into a scene of mind-numbing horror as France once again finds itself the target of a major terror attack.
Welcome to "The Kelly File," everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. The news tonight out of the resort town of Nice, France, is very grim. A local official now saying 77 people are dead, 50 injured in what by all measures appears to have been a terrorist attack. It all started as a beautiful night on the French Riviera where folks had gathered to watch fireworks marking Bastille Day. A celebration similar to our 4th of July. But the beauty of the night quickly shattered by someone who was clearly intent on doing as much harm as possible.
We warn you the videos and images you are about to see are disturbing although we will not show you the most disturbing in our possession. A large truck reportedly laden with explosives appears to come out of nowhere going at full speed, plowing through the crowds of human beings. Eyewitnesses report the truck appeared to be intentionally targeting people, zigzagging through the crowd. Those in its path desperately tried to save themselves while horrified onlookers in hotel rooms above watched helplessly, some filming the aftermath.
We'll be joined by some of them this hour. Gruesome images also flooded social media accounts. Many so awful we cannot show them on TV. We will not. Images of bodies strewn across the roadways. Some barely recognizable. We have a lot to get to tonight, including eyewitnesses who were on the scene and breaking news on who may be responsible.
With General Mike Flynn, Congressman Pete King, author Brad Thor, and more than a dozen others. We have a lot to get to tonight. But we begin the evening with Benjamin Hall reporting from London. Benjamin.
BENJAMIN HALL, FOX NEWS FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good evening, Megyn. Look, another terror attack has hit the very heart of Europe, and this is the heart. This is one of the most famous roads in Europe. It's along the most beautiful stretch, most famous hotels, and it was just after 11:00 p.m. when the crowds were watching the celebration of liberty, fraternity, equality, their Independence Day. This truck came out of nowhere, mowing down people.
The truck traveled about 1.2 miles before it was stopped, zigzagging left and right. And there are indications that the driver was also firing from the window as he did so. We know that may well be the case as they found guns and explosives in the truck later on. He was eventually stopped when he was killed by police through the windows, but that death toll now continues to rise as they start piecing together what exactly happened. Seventy seven already with 15 critical. So this number pushing right up to the 100 mark. Remember 130 were killed back in November in Paris.
That was the most ever killed in a French terror attack, and this one is almost getting up there too. French President Francois Hollande, just a couple of hours before the attack, had come on television and said that the threat level was going to come down, that since November it had been at its highest level, and that now maybe things are moving on. This was the end of a one-month French soccer tournament which had been so successful. They had thought that would be attacked. It wasn't. Tonight was. And now we have many, many dead. Trying to piece together who this man was and where the truck came from -- Megyn.
KELLY: Ben, thank you.
Well, our next guest was one of thousands celebrating Bastille Day when her family -- with her family when the truck rammed through the street, closed off for just pedestrians. As hundreds ran for safety, our next guest was there to capture this video.
You can feel the panic as you watch. Grace Ann Morrow is an American visiting Nice for the summer. She joins us now by phone. Grace Ann, thank you so much for being here. You were over there visiting your aunt and uncle. How close to this attack were you?
GRACE ANN MORROW, NICE, FRANCE ATTACK EYEWITNESS (on the phone): I was approximately 500 meters. Whenever I got home, my uncle figured it out, and I was about 500 meters away.
KELLY: And what was the first sign you had of trouble?
MORROW: Well, as we were talking home from the fireworks show that happened on the Promenade Des Anglais, out of nowhere this panic just erupted from the street. And at that point you kind of, you know, had to make a decision of, you know, how seriously do I take this because you had no idea what was going on in the moment.
KELLY: You didn't hear -- you didn't hear anything, I take it?
MORROW: No, no. But as I -- sorry. I'm -- Kelly?
KELLY: Yes. I'm here. I'm waiting for you. I'm just trying to give you your time.
MORROW: No. As we were walking back, towards the end of the fireworks show, I believe during the finale of the fireworks show was whenever the truck ran through the -- drove through -- I'm sorry. I'm a little bit shaken up. I don't think I can articulate very well. It's also 3:00 a.m. here.
KELLY: I understand, hon. You have been through so much this evening. As we watch the tape that you took allows us all to see some of what you saw and some of what you experienced. I mean, you were not there as the truck drove through is my understanding. You were leaving, and then you saw the people run. Did you -- what did you do? I mean did you take shelter? Did you run toward home? What did you do?
MORROW: I actually stood there and questioned what was going on because I did not have any incentive to believe that something crazy had just happened because I did not hear any explosion. I did not hear or see blood, nothing -- sorry. I didn't hear any gunshots. But I think that the gunshots happened towards the end of the fireworks show, so it was all kind of muddled, the noise.
MORROW: But what I did see was hundreds of people running in the opposite direction of (INAUDIBLE) which is where it happened.
KELLY: Mm-hmm. And did you go back to the scene, or did you go back home after the running stopped and the crowd calmed down?
MORROW: Well, briefly I walked towards -- I walked towards where everyone else was running from because I was really curious as to what was going on. And I was questioning, you know, how serious was this. Were people just panicked over nothing? You know, is this a joke because it just didn't make any sense. It was so paradoxical to the energy of the night, I mean the mood. Everybody was so happy and enjoying themselves, and all of a sudden people are running and screaming for their lives. And you just kind of have to stop and go, okay, how do I react? What decisions do I make now? Do I run for home? Do I -- do I run toward the scene and try to help?
KELLY: And I know that you're still trying to find out whether your friends are accounted for and okay.
KELLY: We'll say a prayer, and we thank you so much, Grace Ann, for being with us tonight.
MORROW: You're welcome.
KELLY: All the best.
More horrific video of the attack coming into our newsroom right now. In this next one, you see families, children on their fathers' shoulders, strollers. And then on the right of your screen, a white truck comes into the picture, accelerating into the crowd. For a moment, everyone is stunned, and then chaos.
Our chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge has been working this story for the past few hours. She's live for us tonight in Washington. Catherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you, Megyn. The White House issuing a statement tonight condemning in the strongest possible terms what it says appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France. The U.S. government is now offering assistance to investigate. In previous attacks, that has included signals intelligence from the NSA that was used to identify and track the terrorists responsible for the Paris massacre last November.
A U.S. government official tells FOX News that the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson is receiving regular updates on the attack. The officials said given the indicators, a soft target in a major economic tourist hub on the French national holiday, it all points to terrorism and ISIS, that has become more brazen in its targets and plots. The officials said they are, quote, "starting with terrorism and then working back." The officials said a threat screened for trucks used as killing machines or laden with explosives was not in today's intelligence briefs nor in recent days and described the attack in Nice as quote, "a surprise," that they were in fact blindsided.
Tonight two sources including one that tracks Jihadist social media report that ISIS accounts are, quote, "celebratory." And telling followers to use the Nice hashtags. This is not a claim of responsibility, and these are not leadership accounts, but it gives us a flavor of the attack's immediate impact. And a former senior intelligence official is drawing our attention tonight to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In this fall 2010 edition of its propaganda magazine inspire where it calls on followers to use trucks as killing machines to mow down civilians. Al Qaeda and ISIS share the same tactics, but al Qaeda has really been the one to champion these styles of plots with trucks -- Megyn.
KELLY: Catherine, thank you.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
KELLY: Another view of the terror as it unfolded on the streets of Nice, France. This one shot from a room above street level, showing innocent men, women, and children running for their lives after trying to have a celebratory evening.
Joining us now from London, Maajid Nawaz who is a former Islamic fundamentalist who now leads a counter-extremist think tank. Maajid, thank you for being here with us. Here we are again. France with its third major terror attack in a year. Why?
MAAJID NAWAZ, FORMER ISLAMIC EXTREMIST: Let's be clear. I mean these sorts of attacks are not unexpected. At least they shouldn't have been. Hamas has for years encouraging his followers to use vehicles, to drive up on pavements and to kill the Israeli citizens. Megyn, in 2010, al Qaeda announced to the world that it wanted its followers to do the same. And only two years ago, in 2014, ISIS' spokesperson Adnani not only encouraged their followers in ISIS to get into vehicles and to mow people down on the streets, he specifically said especially in France.
There are a number of reasons jihadists are so angry with France, one of them among many others, as we know, is the tragic attack on the "Charlie Hebdo" offices and their stance on free speech was a laudable, praise worthy stance. And the second is the -- Jihadists are taken it upon themselves to attack France as a symbolic gesture that symbolizes generally attack on the west.
KELLY: Let's just back up because I don't think a lot of Americans are familiar with that. Five, six years ago, they banned the face veil, the burkas, and they wanted the Muslim culture to assimilate into French culture. And this has not gone over well.
NAWAZ: It's not gone over well among those who belief -- and there's an austere fundamentalist strand within Islam, the Salafis strand within Islam, mainly found in Saudi Arabia, who believe that women are obliged within the religion to cover their faces. I must emphasize that, a strand within Islam. But the jihadists subscribe to that strand. Now, it's yet to be confirmed whether this was ISIS, al Nusra or any other terrorist organization.
We certainly know this is a terrorist attack. And what we certainly know based on what I've just said, is that ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists groups across the world have long been encouraging their followers to perpetrate exactly this kind of attack because it's unacceptable. We just had the football games in France, but we were expecting attacks there.
KELLY: Over here in the United States, we're also asking what to do. How do we prevent this kind of a thing? Obviously it's a soft target and it's very easy for these terrorists to get in. So you ask, okay, how do we fight the ideology? How do we defeat the group such that it doesn't want to unleash hell on all of our citizens? And, you know, query whether it has anything to do with France's ban on burkas or the veil as opposed to their ideology that supports freedom. I mean we see that right here in the United States where we have no such bans. Your thoughts.
NAWAZ: Yes. It's nothing to do with that. I mentioned it as that's what ISIS uses as an excuse. It's what jihadists use as an excuse to rile their followers. Of course, we know that they will seek any excuse in any country. I mean, why Turkey, why recently Medina? The holy city of the Prophet Muhammad. They will find any excuse to attack anywhere, but they do look for these excuses of course. The issue is the ideology. Now, we can't begin to defeat that ideology in this way with such unpredictable attacks unless we prepare ourselves and accept that we are in for a generational struggle.
We have to galvanize civil society to push back against this ideology so that people in the long term aren't recruited and don't join this phenomenon. That requires recognizing it, naming it Islamist extremism, and then putting forward a strategy that can isolate it from Islam as a religion and then start -- Muslim and non-Muslim community to stand together to push back against it as we've done with racism in the west and as we've done with homophobia and anti-Semitism.
KELLY: Last question. What do you think the odds are that this really was a lone wolf?
NAWAZ: I don't use that phrase. I use the phrase self-starter because these days people are inspired online and offline by all forms of networks, by relatives, by people that have been listening to him on videos online, or by other attacks that they've seen. So they're certainly inspired by the jihadist ideology. Whether they start the operation themselves or are taking command directly from ISIS headquarters. You know, we've looked into this. Very, very few people if any are lone wolves in the literal sense of that world.
KELLY: Mm-hmm. Maajid, thank you.
Well, a witness to what French officials are calling the worst tragedy in the history of Nice joins me now. Tony Molina and his wife were sitting on a terrace of a French apartment just above the street where the attack occurred celebrating and having a good time. Once the fireworks ended, Tony and his wife heard screams and terror as the truck barreled down the Promenade. Tony says bodies were everywhere, and we saw it all. And he joins me now by phone.
Tony, thank you for being here. So you saw the truck come down the street, and what exactly did you see?
TONY MOLINA, NICE, FRANCE TERROR ATTACK WITNESS: Yes. What happened, we actually had stepped inside to our -- just inside the patio area and actually closed the door. Before we walked in, there was a huge crowd basically leaving the fireworks show. So they were leaving the beach, heading onto the streets. So this whole area right in front of where we're staying was crowded. We were inside for just a couple minutes, and we started hearing what sounded like thumping and the crowd just getting loud.
So we went back outside quickly to see what that was. I actually thought, well, maybe there were more fireworks going off. We looked over the balcony down to the street. That's actually when we saw the truck going by right in front of our view and just hitting people. It was -- it was just unbelievable because initially it kind of looked like, well, maybe it's a drunk driver. But, you know, we realized quickly that it wasn't, seeing how it was driving, you know, purposely aiming for people and zigzagging and going at a pretty good speed.
KELLY: Did the people have any chance to get out from in front of it?
MOLINA: I'd imagine -- and I mean just looking down at the crowd, the way it was swerving around, I'd imagine people had no idea which way to go. And by the time we looked down, it had already gone, I'm guessing, about half a mile because it took us some time to get to the door after hearing all this thumping and screaming. And so, you know, I knew people down there must have heard things happening and not known, you know, really which way to go. So the size of this truck, I'm sure they really had no chance, whoever was in front of it.
KELLY: When it stopped, there's some confusion about whether the driver got out, whether he was shot by police while he was still in the cab of the truck. Did you see the end of it?
MOLINA: Yes. I wouldn't be able to answer that. The truck continued. Basically the area that it went in front of us, we're just west of the Negresco, and the area that went in front of us was on the sidewalk area, which is like a huge boardwalk. It got to kind of a pergola that's in front of the Negresco and had to get back on the street, and we lost sight of it at that point. And probably several seconds later is when we heard massive gunfire, which I'm assuming is when the authorities stopped the vehicle.
KELLY: What was the condition of the victims who he left behind?
MOLINA: Yes, that was really astonishing because when I looked down, I actually didn't see people, you know, like walking away hurt. Everyone that was down appeared completely lifeless. In fact, you know, it was very -- it felt very helpless to be looking down and see this unfold. But at the same time, you could see and just realize looking down that there is absolutely nothing you can do for any of those people that were out. I mean there were obvious signs of them being deceased and just everyone running, you know, for their lives after that.
KELLY: Was there any apparent distinctions? You know, most of the victims men, most of the victims old, or was it -- did it appear to be completely random?
MOLINA: Yes, that I could not tell -- well, it appeared to be completely random, and I couldn't tell you, you know, different genders or even ages. Just the bodies that I could see appeared to be adults only because of the size. But we counted ten bodies just from our view in front of our particular apartment.
KELLY: How are you processing this right now? How are you?
MOLINA: Yes, you know, it's definitely rough. I feel awful that my son had to witness that. I mean we -- we had no idea when we ran out to the balcony and what we were going to see. So the fact that he watched -- you know, saw that happen, and I feel bad for him. And at the same time --
KELLY: How old is he?
MOLINA: I'm sorry?
KELLY: How old is your son?
MOLINA: He's 14.
KELLY: Tony, we're glad you're okay.
MOLINA: Thank you.
KELLY: Thank you for being with us.
MOLINA: You're welcome.
KELLY: Think of that. How many times have you watched the fireworks with your kids, much less in a beautiful place like the French Riviera? You know, family time in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It can happen anywhere. We're here in Times Square, New York. You know, we walk around here understanding what could happen here. It's right here in the frontal lobe. You're over in Nice watching the fireworks, it's not -- I don't know. No place is safe now. That's how it's starting to feel.
Marc Thiessen is with us. He's our Fox News contributor, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. Marc, those comments are not meant to induce or enhance anybody's panic or the terror that clearly is meant to be unleashed by an attack like this. But this is why they're hitting soft targets, to truly terrorize.
MARC THIESSEN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: No, that's exactly right, and they've been saying for a long time that they're going to hit soft targets. When I saw this attack and the news unfolding, I immediately recalled a series of articles in the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula magazine inspire called Open Source Jihad, which were published in 2010. And one of those articles described exactly what happened in Paris today. This was the magazine that was published by Anwar al Awlaki and Samir Khan who were two American born al Qaeda terrorists.
In this article, the ultimate mowing machine, let me just read you this because this is exactly what happened. The idea is to use a pickup truck as a mowing machine. Not to mow grass but to mow down the enemies of Allah. Pick your location and time carefully. Go for the most crowded locations to achieve maximum carnage, you need to pick up as much speed as you can while still retaining good control of your vehicle in order to strike as many people as possible in your first run. The ideal location is a place where there are maximum number of pedestrians and the least number of vehicles. If you can get through to pedestrian only areas that exist in some downtown city areas, that would be fabulous.
And finally this is the kicker. If you have access to firearms, carry them with you so that you may use them to finish off your work if your vehicle gets grounded during the attack. The idea would be to implement it in countries like Israel, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, and France. That is exactly what happened tonight. Al Qaeda published it in 2010 in their magazine "Inspire."
KELLY: Mm-hmm. This is back to the Anwar al Awlaki writings which remain on long past his death, which some criticize in the drone program, and people continue to find inspiration from that magazine unfortunately, Marc. There's not much we can do about it. The question is, what can we do about the larger problem of radical Islamic terror which was not uttered tonight by President Obama. In his defense, we don't have confirmation who was in that truck, although our -- you know, the clues so far would certainly suggest we do know. What he called it tonight was a horrific terrorist attack.
THIESSEN: And that's true. But the problem is that the jihadists are inspired. Just the other day, ISIS put out an info graphic showing that they had killed -- bragging that they had killed or injured 5,200 people around the world in 14 different attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, and they had a chart with a map and all the attacks that they had carried out. And they of course declared a caliphate. They've taken over territory. And if you talk to interrogators, we don't interrogate terrorists any more. So, that would be a good start. Started capturing these people alive and founding out their plans.
But when you talk to the interrogators who spent thousands and thousands of hours with terrorists, like James Mitchell, who you've had on this show, what the terrorists tell you is that what inspires terrorist recruitment, what inspires attacks, are successful terrorist attacks. So the more success they have in taking territory, the more they stand up to America and Iraq and Syria and are able to withstand our results. The more attacks they carry out, more jihadists flock to them and carry out more attacks. So, the way you stop them is to defeat them over there so we don't have to face them over here. And that's not what we're doing today.
KELLY: We're past Ramadan. That ended. The terror attacks did not. Marc, thank you.
THIESSEN: Thanks, Megyn.
KELLY: My next guest says, he's irate at what has been happening and has been in touched with contacts all across Europe tonight, which are plentiful in his case. He's now warning that he's hearing about another possible target.
Lieutenant General Michael Flynn is the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and my guest now. General, it makes many people feel hopeless. It makes you feel angry. Your thoughts tonight.
LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FMR. DIR., DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Yes. Yes, this is unbelievable, and I've been able to catch up your -- you know, three or four of your last guests. I mean, this is unbelievable. So first of all, I mean what we have seen on the clips of this vehicle, this is about a two and a half ton vehicle, so it's about 5,000 pounds. And what these guys did -- what I was told by a friend that was there was that they basically drove very slowly up to the crowd, and I think you've shown it.
And then the guy gunned it, and he basically swerved to hit as many people as possible and just literally run them down like they were, you know, chattel. I mean this is unbelievable. So, that's the tactic that they used. And you've had enough people on tonight that have said, you know, they've written about using this tactic. We've actually seen this tactic by Hamas, which was talked about by the gentleman from London. Hamas uses cars, and they've done this in Israel to run Israelis over. So, this is a tactic that we know of.
KELLY: But we've never seen this sort of mass terror attack with this kind of truck. I mean, I've never seen 77 dead because of a truck. You tell me.
FLYNN: Right. I mean all of this is just a larger-scale version of this tactic that we have seen used. So they have used this tactic before against -- we know this in the Middle East against Israelis. The thing that I'm concerned about, there is a warning that is coming across social media for Germany, and I've gotten little bits and pieces about the potential for Berlin. So I don't know what activities are going on there, but I'm just -- I'm putting that out. I've already contacted my friends over there to let them know because I have social media capabilities that we look at.
And so anyway, the thing that we have -- and let me just take a step back because I am really irritated about this. President Obama came out with his statement. Okay, I got it. And that's wonderful. You know, I'm done trying to convince him to really recognize what it is that we are facing, and we should not fear what it is that we are facing. We should stand up to this. What I want, Megyn, after something that I saw tonight, I want the President of Egypt. I want the king of Saudi Arabia, I want the Imam, or I want Khomeini in Iran to stand up and be counted. And I want them to be counted tonight and to talk about this radical form of this ideology in their bloodstream, in their DNA, and declare this thing that it is just -- it cannot exist on this planet as it exists and as we've just witnessed again.
This is not about just instilling fear. We have captured their campaign plans over the last decade. I know personally we've captured it twice, and it is essentially the same thing. So we're going to hear about how well we're doing in Iraq and Syria, that we're pushing them back, we've fought them out of Fallujah. Actually, that's not what I see, and that's not what I hear. There is so much chatter right tonight by what I would kind of describe as the jihadi soldiers, the jihadi army on the twitter and telegram social media. There's no -- there's no chatter by leaders, but we don't know exactly who these guys are.
But we know -- I know that there's a lot of chatter by their soldiers, praising what just happened. So I want these leaders in this world -- okay. I want these leaders in this world, in this Muslim world that have this radical Islamic ideology festering, metastasizing, to stand up and stand up tonight and be counted and say something to condemn this attack that we have just seen. We are going to see more of these. These guys are executing a campaign plan. Thiessen, who you just had on recently, he read it out of their magazine. I think that's the 18th edition of this magazine.
There is another thing for your listeners, Megyn, called Al Amaq. Al Amaq is like their version of headline news. It's like their FOX News headline. I mean these guys are so sophisticated. There's so savvy, and we are foolish. What we have not done -- and I'll stop here and get off my soapbox in a second. But what we have not done is we have not, from an international standpoint, we have not established an international strategic set of objectives to go after this very vicious, barbaric enemy. They have declared war on us. This is a world war. This is a world war.
It's not like it was in the history books of World War II. It may not feel like that, like tanks on the desert and, you know, and planes and ships at sea. But this is a world war. They've declared war on us. We must -- we must internationally, and we must create, I believe, a new 21st Century alliance, but we have got to take the Arab Muslim world to task. The leaders in this world, that's who I want to see get up on the net tonight, get up on their soapbox like I'm on my soapbox right now and condemn this madness. I mean it's happening, and it's crazy --
FLYNN: -- and we cannot continue to have this. The ideology inside of this Islamic world is -- it just cannot exist like this.
FLYNN: And frankly I'm sick of having, you know, just the Europeans and frankly our own, you know, leaders, you know, condemn it even though our own president -- I mean like I said, I'm done trying to convince our President to actually define this enemy.
We know what it is. It's radical Islamic terrorism. They are vicious. They're barbaric. They are on the march. If you -- and I'm sorry, I'm on a roll here because I'm so just pissed and excuse my Irish.
KELLY: You're one of the few people in the country who knows of what he speaks, so we're listening.
FLYNN: Yeah, well so -- so what do we do? I mean, what do we do? And here - - and you know, I've thought a lot about this, and I have -- I'm very passionate about this and I'm irritated about it because what we have just seen, and it's just unbelievable, untold amount of tragedy that is going on tonight. I mean we still -- and I keep harping back to what has happened in our country, in Orlando, in San Bernardino.
I mean people forget about 9/11. We in this country, we in this country, we can't think past Saturday night. We have got to start thinking much more strategically in this country. And I'm serious about this. I'm very serious about this.
KELLY: I'm going to have to cut you off soon because our break is coming in 30 seconds.
FLYNN: I'm sorry.
KELLY: No, you take the last word. Keep going, sir.
FLYNN: Well, here's what I would say. There are solutions to this. There is no enemy that is defeatable, and we should not fear this enemy. We should beat them, and I'm telling, you we can beat them. We have proven it many, many times. When you have victory on the battlefield, you must sustain that victory, and we did not.
KELLY: There is no enemy that is undefeatable. General Flynn, thank you so much. Thank you. Congressman Pete King will be here next. Don't go away.
KELLY: Breaking tonight, 77 people reportedly killed in an attack in the city of Nice in Southern France. My next guest was watching fireworks from the promenade of a nearby restaurant when just a few minutes after the fireworks concluded, he heard the horror unfold. Joining me now, American eyewitness Shai Benhamou. Shai, thank you for being with us by phone tonight. Tell us what you first heard and saw.
SHAI BENHAMOU, EYEWITNESS: Hi, Kelly -- Megyn, sorry. Well, we were in the restaurant. We were just -- we were on the promenade actually a little bit earlier and got to the restaurant before the fireworks started. We actually, you know, were looking for a place that kind of, it has some drinks, enjoy the fireworks.
Luckily we were able to find a spot at the bar right as the restaurant -- of the opening of the restaurant where the windows are. Had we not, we probably would have been out on the promenade enjoying the fireworks with everyone else.
As the fireworks concluded, you know, there was music. There was a lot of people on the streets. You know, maybe five minutes or so after the fireworks, we heard a loud kind of a bang. There was a lot of commotion. All of a sudden people, you know, running, screaming. You know you knew it wasn't, you know, something minor although it was kind of hard to make out from the sounds. We definitely heard a few, you know, small pops that kind of sounded like they could have been gunshots.
Again, being the fireworks had just happened, there was a little bit of a confusion, but when I saw people running in fear and people yelling "run" and it's an attack et cetera, my first instinct was, you know, something's going on. This is definitely serious and, you know, I turned and, you know, I grabbed my girlfriend. I pretty much tackled her to the floor, dragged her behind a column so we were kind of -- we had some kind of shelter.
People in the restaurant, there was a lot of commotion. Tables getting overturned. A few people diving next to us. I was trying to peek up to see if anybody was coming, you know, if there was anything to worry about as far as, you know, people shooting at the restaurant. You know, obviously I have recent memories from recent attacks...
BENHAMOU: ...creeping into my mind, as you know, shooting at the restaurants and whatnot. At that time, you know, I'm kind of trying to -- I'm staying calm. I was actually quite calm throughout, which, you know, I'm surprised thinking back as of now. A restaurant worker...
KELLY: You'll never know how you're going to react in a situation like this.
KELLY: When you left the restaurant, did you go over to the promenade at all? Did you see what had happened?
BENHAMOU: So at the time, we didn't know what was going on. We didn't know if there was an attack, there wasn't an attack. I'm operating under the assumption that there was. You know, I come from New York. The first thing that pops into my mind, I have family in the Middle East, it's not, you know, foreign to me to think this way.
One of the restaurant workers propped open a back door. We crawled towards the back and kind of shot out the back of the restaurant and ran for it. We probably got four or five blocks up, you know, as far as -- I'm not from here. I didn't know where we were running to. All we knew is we were running away.
We ducked into an apartment building with a number of people, went upstairs. There was a nice elderly couple that took us in, gave us shelter until we figured out what the situation was. You know, we were kind of trying to, you know, assess how dangerous it was outside, peeking out the window.
KELLY: And there was no information for a while about whether this man acted alone. In fact, that is still not determined about whether, in fact, he acted alone. And there were reports early on he might have had an accomplice. That is all being investigated. Shai, I thank you for taking the time on a night like this to call back home and into this show. All the best to you.
BENHAMOU: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
KELLY: Joining me now with the latest on how this ties into U.S. intelligence, Congressman Peter King. He sits on the House Homeland Security and Permanent Select Intelligence Committees. Here we are again -- here we are again, congressman. Here we are again.
It's not the United States, but it's like every week now we sit and we talk about how many dead. What happened? What was the weapon of choice? It's becoming not -- not rote but it's not surprising either.
REP. PETER KING, R-NY, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Megyn, you and I have done this so often lately and it's really a disgrace. The fact is that our intelligence, you know, there was no doubt that ISIS has been preparing attacks in Europe, it was thought it would happen during the soccer tournament. But they are definitely preparing, and they are -- as they carried out tonight this attack in France, but basically all of Western Europe, they are aimed at.
KELLY: You can never let your guard down. They were about to lower the threat level. Ramadan had ended. The soccer tournament was ending. They were going to lower the threat level, and then they said they were, quote, "blindsided."
KING: Yeah, I don't know how they were blindsided. I'm not trying to, you know, Monday morning quarterback French intelligence, but there's no doubt whether or not there's a soccer tournament or not, that ISIS and the Islamic radicals and terrorists, they are planning to attack Europe, and they have had these ISIS foreign fighters that have been in Syria and gone back into Europe.
And also we know that in countries like France, there are very hostile Muslim populations. We saw what happened last year in France. We've seen what's happened over the years in Europe, and so, again, I don't know why France would even consider letting its guard down.
KELLY: So what do we do? What do we do? Because yes, you talk about the hostile Muslim population to some extent in France, and here we're looking at a situation where obviously in the United States we have many peace- loving Muslims. And then there's a faction that's more aligned with Sharia and has beliefs that don't align with any American values.
And the country's been asking itself now, especially in the political season, what to do. What do we do? We don't want to further alienate Muslim people who may be on the verge of radicalizing by antagonizing them, but we also need to protect ourselves.
KING: Megyn, I think we have to forget about hurting people's feelings. The fact is there are people out there who want to kill us. There are people in the Muslim community -- it's a small minority, but they are there. And I think if we hold back, it's looked upon as a sign of weakness. We have to have more surveillance. We have to be looking at the Muslim community. We have to be calling on them to make sure they cooperate and step forward. Of course ISIS...
KELLY: But we've been doing that. We've been doing that, and we've seen in some cases that they do report, right? I mean the guy down in Florida got reported at one point by a Muslim man, and yet still it turned out to be an intelligence failure.
KING: Again, in fact Jim Comey -- Director Comey just before the Homeland Security Committee today, and I said, again, not knowing this was going to happen. But I say that ISIS has managed to really radicalize and bring in people on the fringes of society to carry out acts like we saw in Orlando and San Bernardino, especially Orlando. And I think with the FBI does not have the personnel to be constantly investigating.
What they have to do is if they get tips or if they investigate something and they come to -- and it's inconclusive, then hand that to the local police. They are the ones who have the informants. They have the sources. They have people on the ground. We have to go in there, we have to surveil the Muslim communities. We have to watch them more carefully. We can't be shutting down investigations and is getting doubt (ph) at all.
KELLY: You're talking about all Muslims? I mean Muslims we have no suspicion of whatsoever? I mean, you know, my friend who is a yoga instructor who is a Muslim, we're going to surveil her?
KING: We have to surveil the community, and we have to have people in the community who are willing to be sources, who are willing to be undercovers because that's where the threat is coming from. It's what's done with every group whether it's the Italian community with the mafia, the Irish community with the (inaudible).
That's where the threat is coming from. You're not violating anybody's civil rights. It's just common sense. That's where it's coming from, but especially if you get a tip. And the FBI, there is maybe not enough to continue the investigation in Orlando, but turn it over to local police.
KELLY: You get a tip. That's not controversial. It's the other part that is, and yet we're a country that is struggling to survive, to protect its people. I got to go because I've two gentleman waiting.
KING: We have to put aside political correctness. We've got to get the job done, and that's where the threat is coming from.
KELLY: Thank you, congressman. Great to see you to as always.
KING: Thank you, Megyn.
KELLY: Actually, I have two guests for you now. We're going to want to hear from Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and Bill Bennett who is the former Secretary of Education under President Reagan and host of the "Bill Bennett Podcast." Good to see you both tonight.
Zuhdi, let me start with you where I left off with the Congressman King, right. The surveilling of Muslims. You know, I would say, you think in your head, OK, some guy who is radicalizing, go for it. I think of my friend, the yoga instructor who has got like three little girls, like no. People don't want that. So where do we land this plane?
ZUHDI JASSER, AMERICAN ISLAMIC FORUM FOR DEMOCRACY PRESIDENT: Well, we can't land it until we know what the runway looks like, and the runway has a Muslim, I'll tell you, who loves my country and loves freedom, is about defeating political Islam. It's about defeating the Sharia state. And yes, you know, I agree with the general earlier that we need more from the Arab leaders but they're not going to do it because they're drinking from the same drug, the intoxic (ph) and to theocratic Islam, the Sharia state.
So, what we need to land on is develop a strategy that we call the enemy and declare war just like we did in the cold war against communism. Declare war against political theocratic Islam. And then our allies become -- we have a Muslim reform movement, Megyn, that lays out that we believe in the secular state. We reject violent jihad and we reject the caliphate.
KELLY: I know about -- where -- where is that going? You've said this for years and it makes a lot of sense. Where is that going?
JASSER: Well, as long as the greatest media governments in the west ignore us and continue to point -- you know, there's an old Arabic saying and it sounds better in arabic that says when the leaders point to the moon, the idiot looks at the finger. And so far we have been looking at the finger. We're not looking where we need to be going.
This is a long war, and as long as the pundits and our government apparatus continues to look at terrorism and calls it counter and violent extremism, we're going to lose. When we start calling it countering violent Islamism and the axis starts to look at the precursor ideologies -- what Congressman King was talking about is we're ignoring the precursor ideologies.
Yes, not all Muslims are Islamists, but all Islamists are Muslim and we need to start looking at the schools of thought of jihadism, wahhabism and (inaudible). And the fact that most Americans don't even know what those terms are is a crime.
KELLY: But those are the more extreme, you know, versions of Islam. But I want to ask you, Bill, because you tell me. I've never seen General Flynn so angry as I saw him tonight, with good reason, but he had...
BILL BENNETT, FORMER SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: You bet.
KELLY: He has the same complaint about our leaders and not being heard.
BENNETT: Yeah, he's got another reason to be angry at our leader. You know, I'm sure the president has good intentions when he goes as healer-in-chief, but that's not the job description. The job description is commander-in- chief. And you know how many times commander-in-chief met with General Flynn when he was head of defense intelligence? None.
He never met with General Flynn. That would be another reason General Flynn would be mad. It would be a reason that I'm mad too. Look, I agree with Zuhdi 100 percent.
KELLY: It's incredible when you think about that fact. He's running the sister to the CIA, and never got a meeting with the commander-in-chief, ever.
BENNETT: Right. And I agree with Zuhdi. I agree with Flynn. I think this is doable. I think they have told us how to do it. They have said that they would welcome a fight -- ISIS would welcome a fight in Dabiq, in northern Syria, but that would be a reckoning for the world to see.
President Obama said we're not going to give them what they ask for. We should give them what they ask for and really give them what they ask for. You know, Osama Bin Laden said...
KELLY: Stand by, bill. The French president is listening. We want to listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (TRANSLATED): We must do everything to fight against this terrorism. The driver was shot and killed. We are investigating whether he was linked to any others. France has been hit on its National Day, the 14th of July, our national symbol. Because human rights are linked and attacked by fanatics. I want to express my solidarity with the nation, which is now in mourning. I've instructed all regional hospitals...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: And we lost our feed. You can see there, French President FranØois Hollande, saying that they are investigating whether this man was linked to others. And that is one of the outstanding issues here. He's back. Take a listen.
(BEGN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLLANDE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: And apologies. He's back but without translation, and that doesn't do us much good here, does it. Bill, I want to let you finish your thought.
BENNETT: Well, as just Osama Bin Laden said, it's the strong horse and not the weak horse that's respected. Let's be the strong horse, let's break their necks and break their hearts. Demoralize them so they don't foster and encourage these attacks and we take them out where their nest is, where their greenhouse is. This is the only way to do it. We know how to do it. They have challenged us to do it.
There's also a notion out there that this is somehow theologically totally at odds with Islam. I believe Zuhdi when he says he is a good Muslim, but there are a lot of people. Most of the experts in the world who would tell you these guys are consistent with very important strands of Islam. This is part of this religion. A lot of people say killing apostates, killing heretics is not part of Islam.
There is doctrinal foundation for it and unless we understand that, unless the president understands that and acts on that, we're never going to do this. Haven't we had enough? How many more? How many more teddy bears? How many more balloons? I appreciate people's heartfelt sympathy, but can we stop this parade of horrible of tragedies?
This is the greatest power -- Donald Rumsfeld said something the other day. He said it -- a head of a former superpower in Europe said to him, "For God's sakes, United States, start acting like a superpower." Can we, please?
KELLY: Gentlemen, thank you both.
JASSER: Thank you.
BENNETT: Thank you.
KELLY: Joining us now with more, Mubin Shaikh, a former jihadist turned undercover operative along with Brad Thor, who is a best-selling author and a former member of the Homeland Security Department Analytic Red Cell Unit. Thank you both so much for being here.
Mubin, let me start with you. Do you believe, I mean the French president when we last left off, was talking about whether this man is linked to others? What do you think the odds are he did this by himself?
MUBIN SHAIKH, FORMER JIHADIST TURNED UNDERCOVER OPERATIVE: Yes. It's usually very rare that it's just one individual. In order to purchase the weapons and I'm sure there's an underlying network or even a larger amount of people. And of course there are still unconfirmed reports that whether or not there was an accomplice. But a lot of times it's not just going to be one individual by themselves.
KELLY: And speak to the inspiration an attack like this creates among other jihadist.
SHAIKH: Well, and then of course the ISIS fan boys are cheering the attacks. They're -- you know, they're doing their photo shop. They're showing images of France suffering, you know, people holding caskets. This is exactly what they do. They cheer it on. They're very happy about it. They celebrate it, and that's exactly what we're seeing them doing right now.
KELLY: Brad, this evening some democrats were holding an anti-gun gathering on Capitol Hill. They paused for a moment of silence for the victims in Nice. But after we saw the Orlando terror attack, this country, half of it, turned to the issue of guns. What we see tonight here in nice, yes, the man had some guns. He also had grenades inside of that truck. But he killed those 77 people, most of them, with a truck. A truck he drove down a promenade. Your thoughts?
BRAD THOR, HOMELAND SECURITY FORMER MEMBER: Well, absolutely. This has never been about gun control. This has been about fundamentalist Islamic terrorist control. And what we're hearing out of France right now, the French newspaper in Nice, "Nice Matin," that this was a 31-year-old resident of Mice with Tunisian roots.
Now, I don't know if he was born in Tunisia and his parents moved part of the Pied-Noir, the big migration of people from the North African French colonies into France, but that's something that's breaking right now. As your other guests have said, and I think it's very, very important, Megyn. We need to go after the ideology, particularly -- and Mr. Bennett was on it.
We've got to break the back of the fundamentalist ideology. Zuhdi Jasser is a great friend of mine. One of the guys definitely (ph) should be helping the administration work with this, but if we don't get serious about going after what is fueling this, we are going to lose. We are at war, and only one side is going to win, and it has to be the west.
KELLY: But what does that look like Brad?
THOR: What does it look like? Well, number one, it looks like I think General Flynn had a great point, which is let's get the king of Saudi Arabia, because a lot of money is flowing from Saudis into the Wahhabi sect that creates a lot of this violence. Let's get the king of Saudi Arabia coming out and saying this is not okay.
The King of Jordan has been a great friend of ours, but let's get Morsi in Egypt, and let's put the Iranians to disavow this kind of stuff too. You're either with us or you're against us now more than ever.
KELLY: And yet we're not seeing that. You know, it makes you wonder what will it take before -- before we do see that, Mubin. I mean, if President Obama or the next president calls you into the Oval Office and says, "Any thoughts on diminishing the ideology, on stopping the radicalization?" What do you say?
SHAIKH: Well, what they need to do is, you know, have the scholars, the Islamic scholars step up their role, take the lead. If they are theologians, if they're running educational institutions where people are being taught this kind of interpretation, they need to correct that interpretation. They need to teach them the proper rules of interpretation.
You don't take in an individual, what you're seeing with these extremists, it's do it yourself Islam. It's an individual who goes to the Koran and decides I'm going to take this piece and I'm going to apply it, and you become a vigilante, and that's what they're doing.
So, I think religion scholars and theologians need to take the lead when it comes to the theological side of things. And when it comes to the military side of things, Muslim armies need to be the ones to be doing this. You know, it's great that the U.S. and the coalition are involved, but there needs to be Muslim armies more involved.
KELLY: Brad, you know, what we typically see here is President Obama will come out with a statement. He had a paper statement tonight, and then he will warn there shouldn't be a backlash against American Muslims, which there shouldn't. But the country repeatedly, when we've had these terror attacks, be they in the country of an ally like France, or right here at home, they don't feel that he gets it, that he feels the urgency and the fright and the anger that so many Americans more and more are starting to feel, in a way that may be mobilizing the country toward the next steps where they weren't perhaps right after the Iraq war.
THOR: Megyn, I can't even begin to gauge what the president goes through sitting in the oval office. So, I want to be very careful about casting aspersions, but I as a citizen get the strong feeling that if he thought it would offend somebody to tell them what was causing cancer, that he would not tell them what was causing their cancer. I mean we've got a real problem here.
And when you see attacks in Orlando, San Bernardino, in Brussels, and in Paris, that's cancer that has spread. We need to go to the heart of where this cancer is growing, and cut it out, and we need our Muslim partners to go after it hard core because us non-Muslims, we cannot bring about a reformation in Islam, and that's what Islam needs. Christianity has had one. Judaism has had one. Islam is in desperate need of a reformation.
KELLY: Istanbul already been forgotten basically or Orlando, we barely mention it now. It just happened a couple of weeks ago. Gus, thank you.
THOR: Thank you Megyn.
KELLY: Like so many others, our next guest was enjoying the fireworks display in Nice just moments before the attacks. And in the course of just 25 minutes, he went from tweeting Happy Bastille Day with picture of young children on their parents' shoulders shown here, to suggesting people were screaming and running in the streets for their lives.
Mark Krikorian is the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. He joins us now by phone. Mark, what a horrific change in events in just moments. What did you see?
MARK KRIKORIAN, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Well, yeah, I was down there at the fireworks like you said. I tweeted the picture. It was the usual stuff, you know, ooh, aah. There were nice fireworks just like on 4th of July. And then when it was over, I was tired. My family didn't want to go anyway. They stayed back, so I went home. It's not that far away, a few minutes' walk.
As soon as I got into my apartment, right out the window we overlook a pedestrian mall with cafes and stores and things. People -- we started hearing screaming. People were running, knocking over tables, breaking stuff. Just, you know, hysterical. I've never seen anything like it before in person.
And you know, and then when I got down to the site after a little while, there were still ambulances coming, still police cars coming, and really it was gruesome. There was a whole convoy of minivans from the Nice City coroner's office being waved in by the police officers at the police line.
KELLY: Did you see, I mean, the number of emergency vehicles on scene, was it adequate to the problem?
KRIKORIAN: Well, I mean I have no idea. But, you know, there were police and ambulances continuing to arrive. I mean even -- this has to have been an hour, hour and a half after the attack. There were still some ambulances showing up. So, you know, obviously they called all hands on deck from all over the place.
KELLY: Mark, what was the condition of the survivors, you know, those moving about in the scenes of carnage if you will?
KRIKORIAN: Well, I mean, I saw people that I have no idea what they saw, but there were a whole bunch of civilians that were released by the police. In other words, they were on the other side of the police line toward the attack, and a whole bunch of them came out afterwards, you know, from -- I assume from being questioned by the police about what they saw and all of that. And obviously they were shaken up. I mean people were still obviously, you know, shaking, crying, that kind of thing. So it was something, as you can imagine, it's got to have a really devastating effect on people.
KELLY: And that is part of the intended effect. Mark, thank you.
KELLY: Thank you so much.
KRIKORIAN: Thank you. Bye.
KELLY: Here we are again. Is anything going to change? We don't often see this kind of event followed by a change in policy, a summit, what have you. We'll see whether this time's different. Seventy-seven dead. The number will likely change in one of our closest allies, France tonight. We're taking your thoughts, facebook.com/thekellyfile. Follow me on Twitter @megynkelly and thank you for trusting us for your coverage tonight. Good night.
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