Martha MacCallum: Let's go to Steve Emerson now, the executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. He is of course a terrorism analyst and he joins us once again this morning. Steve, your thoughts on how this is unfolding at this point?
Steve Emerson: It is pretty horrific but what I can tell you what I have learned so far and what French law enforcement have learned is that these cells have sort of morphed one into another. The terrorist who killed at least two or three people at the kosher supermarket in eastern Paris apparently is a member of GIA and had been convicted several years ago involving in a Paris terrorist attack in a Paris subway. He is connected of course to the cell that killed the 12 people at Charlie Hebdo. So it looks like these gangs or these terrorist groups are sort of interconnected. They morph into one another. The first one was AQAP, connected to al-Awlaki's group. This one [at the supermarket] seems to be GIA. The fact is we've seen in the last few years [in France] how the Islamic terrorist groups have sort of migrated from southern France, from Marseille, from Merah who killed several people there to Paris now. The only question is whether there is a larger cell involved and [other] associates who are prepared to take other types of terrorist attacks.
The French police have really been caught off-guard by this because they have not [been able to keep]… up with intelligence or have been able to secure intelligence on this group ever since they were released from prison, at least the first cell, a few years ago. So it is a very fluid situation. It appears now that the French police are ready to storm the Paris supermarket, can't confirm that. But with two or three dead, who were killed immediately when the terrorist entered the kosher supermarket, it appears that the remaining five hostages, at least five hostages, their lives are in deep peril and the French police are simply not willing to wait this out any longer.
Martha MacCallum: Steve, in terms of the Kouachi brothers, we know that they wanted to live after the attack on Wednesday because they got in the car and they drove away. Now they're saying that they're willing to be martyred for their cause. In terms of profiling these two brothers, do you expect that they will want to go down in flames or do you think there is any chance they can catch them, interrogate, find out who they are connected to and work on them?
Steve Emerson: You raise a good question here. I think they're prepared to go down as martyrs. There is no doubt they [the terrorists] simply changed their minds because if they wanted to go down as martyrs immediately they would have stayed at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters and fought it out with the police and not try to elude them as they successfully did. Now that they had eluded them but now caught and surrounded they really have no options. I think they want to go down as martyrs because this is the true ending for Islamic jihadists, to become martyrs. They become memorialized at that point. And the fact is, the only question remains now is how long the French police and special forces will wait them out and how long do they think the terrorists will keep the hostage alive. The point that they think they will kill the hostage I can guarantee you they will storm the warehouse.
Martha MacCallum: They will go in, absolutely. So these guys are tired, they have been on the run since Wednesday. In many ways it does schematically remind me of what happened in Boston. You've got two brothers, likely one got the other involved. You don't know what the dynamic is between them or whether or not one is willing to die and the other isn't. They could be arguing and there's all kinds of things that could be going on in the hostage situation right now. Obviously they want to try to save the lives of the people who are being held in both locations right now. It is a really complex dynamic isn't it Steve?
Steve Emerson: And the police have some leverage here because they can shut off the water, they can shut off the electricity, they can stop the food if there's any food left. So they have some leverage here. And the only question is what the demands are. And from what I hear the demands are unclear. So they don't really know what those demand are or at least they're not possible to be met. And if so, and their threats to become martyrs are really sincere and they are being interpreted as sincere, then it looks like they're going to go down in a hail of gunfire Martha.
Martha MacCallum: What happens next? We heard this report, a speech by the director of MI5 saying that he believes that there are there mass attacks, mass casualty plans that are underway, possibly in the United States, possibly in Britain. How is that changing how either country is preparing?
Steve Emerson: Well it is pretty extraordinary that MI5 would appear publicly and make that statement which shows you the real extent to which a threat is credible in Britain. They're one notch away from the most extreme threat level possible. So they must have very credible intelligence about the threats. And what it seems to me, given what's happened in Paris, given the MI5 statement and given other things that are going on in Europe, especially the activities of ISIS and the returnees, that there is a new wave of Islamic terrorism that is evolving, that is going to be sprung and has been sprung upon European cities and may obviously penetrate the United States. We don't have as many returnees from Syria and Iraq as Europe does.
Martha MacCallum: It doesn't matter though Steve, right? All it takes one, two, maybe five out of that 100 or out of that thousand in Europe to create terror and put a city under siege as we're seeing in Paris today.
Steve Emerson: Absolutely. You don't need to have gone to Syria or Iraq to get training or to obtain weapons or to become a jihadist. You can do it all in your backyard, on your computer, in your home, at a firing range. So you don't need all those variables as the characteristics of a traditional jihadi. You can do it in your native home in the United States or in Canada as we've seen actually in the last few years. So that's a situation that goes way beyond the issue of ISIS returnees. This is no longer an issue of the problem of ISIS or al Qaeda. This is now a problem now way beyond that, of not just lone wolves, Martha, but of groups of jihadists that have the ability to acquire weapons. They can do training in their homelands and they can take and pick targets at random in any city they want, at soft targets that are not protected and carry out mass murder as we saw in Paris. That's a situation we simply have not faced. We've been trying to prepare for it but we haven't seen it. Now we have.
Martha MacCallum: And it's global and it's a global war that is ideologically driven and it's quite clear - we've seen it in Sydney, we've seen Boston, in Paris, in London over the years and we need to get much more serious perhaps about taking it on in a global way. Steve Emerson, thank you so much, sir. We'll see you next time.
Steve Emerson: Sure.