Global strategy against ISIS amid UK attack

Insight and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report with Bret Baier," May 23, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY: Armed peace officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: So many young, beautiful, innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life.

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAN COATS: This threat is real. It is not going away.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, R-FLA.: There's got to be a rejection of the sort of ideology, and that's an ongoing effort and I think part of what the president is endeavoring to do in this trip beginning in Saudi Arabia.


JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: In the wake of this horrific attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, some of the kinds of sentiments we've become sadly all too accustomed to a hearing.

Let's bring our panel: Tom Rogan, columnist for National Review; Kristen Soltis Anderson, GOP pollster and columnist for the Washington Examiner; Olivier Knox, Yahoo! News chief Washington correspondent, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.

Tom, let's start with you. Aside from the horror that this visits upon us all, do we learn anything new about the phenomenon of international terrorism from this incident?

TOM ROGAN, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, I think the main take away today is the escalation in terms of what the British government had done. So the movement earlier this evening towards a critical alert status, which is very unusual and carries with it functional changes. For example, we've seen there about the mentioning of armed force deployments from combat infantry units across the country. That will be much greater than, perhaps, American viewers might perceive it to be. It speaks to the notion I think that they suspect this individual was aligned with some kind of support cell or operational cell because of the skill and construction of the explosive device and the fact that it went undetected. So I think the concern there reflects that this is not necessarily an Omar Mateen type situation where it's a lone wolf, but there's more to this picture.

ROSEN: Referring of course to the killer in the Orlando attack.

Two Republican lawmakers with jurisdiction over terrorism related issues spoke out today and in essence located the origin for this problem elsewhere in the Middle East, with ISIS and the Syrian conflict.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZ.: It's terrible and tragic and another reason why we need to expedite liberating Raqqa, to drive them out, because there are plans and operations that began in Raqqa.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, R-TEXAS: As we have squeezed the caliphate and broken ISIS in Mosul and now we're dealing with them in Iraq and Syria, I think you're going to see them sort of scatter outside of the caliphate to other countries, Europe being a prime target.


ROSEN: Olivier Knox making his Fox News debut, we're very fortunate to have you. Are these lawmakers correct that in essence the road out of this terrorism problem for our age takes us through the Middle East and through Syria?

OLIVIER KNOX, YAHOO! NEWS: Well, it certainly wouldn't hurt to dampen the ability of the so called Islamic State to inspire and in some cases organize or order attacks in the west. If you talk to counterterrorism experts, they will tell you that as officials and the United States starve the Islamic State of foreign fighters, they've really cut down on the flow of fighters from the west into Syria, those folks are now looking at home to carry out attacks. So it is a plausible explanation, we just don't know yet. ISIS has claimed responsibility for this latest attack but we don't know yet what the full connections are.

ROSEN: And when ISIS when they claim credit for a lot of these attacks it simply propagandizing and had very little to do with it.

One person it seems to me we should hear from, and I want to read you her tweet, is Ariana Grande, who of course is another victim in all of this. And she wrote earlier, this is last night at 10:51 p.m., eastern time, simply, "Broken. From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don't have words." Kristen, what do you anticipate would be, if anything at all, the political impact of an event like this, especially coming as it did when President Trump is traveling overseas?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Think about the uniquely horrifying nature of this attack. I mean, all terrorist attacks are horrible, but in this case you have a man walk into a crowd of young women, little girls as young as eight have been killed in this attack. And yet you as a parent can't let your child attend a concert, that they are at risk of being killed by someone who is affiliated with ISIS or a pledging allegiance to ISIS, or in any way trying to create terror in public.

This is something that I am concerned people are beginning to wonder, is this the new normal? Is this just something we need to accept? It may well be if you talk to folks who work in intelligence. They say there's no way to permanently stop things like this from happening. But I think the political impact will be that people are yet again reminded that we are not safe, that we need to remain vigilant, and will be looking for leaders to do the sorts of things that sometimes here in Washington we say will be potentially unpopular or bold moves but that I think a lot of voters become more comfortable with in the aftermath of attacks like this.

ROSEN: Do you happen to think that the election result of 2016 wasn't part in some measure, perhaps preponderantly, attributable to concerns like this about events like this, and that's what drove voters in key battle ground states to Donald Trump?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: One of the moments I remember being very struck by was actually during the Republican primary, during the attacks that occurred in Paris, wondering -- during their Republican primary, I was thinking in that moment, would this be a moment that Donald Trump falls in the polls or will he rise? How will people view Donald Trump within his own party in response to a situation like this? And Donald Trump's numbers went up after that attack. People were looking for someone who projected strength and spoke about these sorts of things in a different sort of way. Today we heard him say "evil losers," not something you would normally expect from an American president. Yet after terrorist attacks Donald Trump's numbers have, there have been moments when they have increased as people look for someone to channel that frustration and anger.

ROSEN: No question the president has an ability to communicate in terms that ordinary individual citizens understand. But Charles, is there a connection to be drawn between an event like and the comments we heard from President Trump when he was in Saudi Arabia on this trip and, in essence, saying to what we call the Muslim world, in essence, not so many words, this is your problem, you need to fix this.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, a lot of presidents have been saying that, but I thought the dramatic effect of the president's Saudi visit was the meeting of the 50 nations at this summit, mostly, I think overwhelmingly, Sunni, where essentially what Trump did was to put together a posse, a coalition of Sunni Arabs.

The first objective is to oppose the Iranians, the Shiite threat to fight the civil war within Islam with the Shiites and the Sunni's, between the Persians and the Arabs. But there was a secondary message, and that is to fight the Sunni radicals among them. Al Qaeda and ISIS are Sunni radicals. They are not Iranian. They're not Shiite. And I think it's time, after 50 years of the Saudis using their wealth to spread their Wahhabi radical ideology through the madrassas throughout the Muslim world, and thereby radicalizing people throughout the world, we're now seeing the fruits a generation later of that. The Saudis understand the irony of what they've done. And I think this could be the beginning of Saudis and other Sunni radical nations, radical in the sense that they spread this radical ideology, reining it back. And that would be a major step.

ROSEN: Tom, very quickly, about 15 seconds, the campaigning in Great Britain for the general elections was suspended after this. How do you see this event, if at all, impacting on that process?

ROGAN: Bluntly, it will play well for Theresa May. She was declining slightly in the polls even though she had a very lead. But she is seen as tough on counterterrorism. Her opponent, Jeremy Corbyn, is not.

ROSEN: We want to play a little bit from Bret Baier's travels on the Saudi-Yemeni border, which of course is a flash point in the war on terror right now.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: It's an existential threat essentially to the kingdom.

ADEL AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: Absolutely, we cannot have Iran involved in Yemen. Yemen is a strategically important country of 28 million people on our doorstep. And it sits at the entrance of one of the world's most critical waterways, which also connects to a another critical waterway which is the Suez Canal.


ROSEN: Is Iran an existential threat for Saudi Arabia, Olivier?

KNOX: Historically it's been Saudi Arabia's regional rival for influence. I don't know that it's set out in its goals the destruction of Saudi Arabia, but certainly they are regional rivals. They always have been, and in the aftermath of the Iran nuclear deal, the Saudis are really feeling some pressure.

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