updated 12/1/2008 4:55:15 PM ET 2008-12-01T21:55:15

Guest: Jay Carney, Pat Buchanan, Bob Shrum, Roger Cressey, Mort Zuckerman, Gary Berntsen

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, GUEST HOST: Tonight, coordinated terror attacks rock the Indian city of Mumbai. Police say that as many as 80 people have been killed, hundreds wounded, and there are new reports coming in that a hostage situation is still under way at two luxury hotels in the city. We're going to bring you the very latest on this developing story. Plus, the president-elect holds another economic press conference today, pledging that help is on the way in the form of his economic recovery team. It is all next on 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE. Good evening. I'm Mika Brzezinski, in for David Gregory tonight. We're going to continue to cover this breaking story out of Mumbai, India, where a series of terrorist attacks at two luxury hotels, a popular restaurant, and at a train station have developed over the past few hours. We are hearing reports now, and I'm looking at our hot file, in term of the wounded, The Times of India now reporting 900 wounded, along with 80 dead. And we are dealing with a potential hostage situation. Let's get the very latest. We have a panel of experts who are going stay with us throughout the hour. Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon, Roger Cressey is with us, NBC News terrorism analyst and also Colonel Jack Jacobs, MSNBC military analyst. Let's start at the Pentagon. Mik, bring us up to date.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Mika, U.S. military and intelligence officials are scrambling here at the Pentagon and other agencies around Washington to try to figure out exactly who is this group that carried off what is being described as a very sophisticated but low tech attack that was perpetrated primarily with AK-47s, some grenades and some small bombs, several which of did not detonate, but at least one car did detonate there in Mumbai. And they're also trying to figure out if any Americans are either casualties or being held hostage right now. According to U.S. military officials, just statistically alone, as many as 8,000 Americans are believed to either be visiting or reside in the Mumbai area. But must stress that at point there is no word yet that any Americans have either been killed or wounded or have been taken hostage. But with the kind of numbers we're seeing coming out of Mumbai tonight, there is a good likelihood, according to U.S. officials, that some Americans have been involved. Counterterrorism officials say it is really too early to tell so far exactly who is responsible. There is one group that called itself the Deccan Mujahedeen, which nobody has heard of it, and nobody is putting any early credibility in that report. But counterterrorism officials say it could be al Qaeda, an al Qaeda-inspired group, Kashmiri separatists or jihadists. Nobody knows just yet. I can tell you though that there have been meetings here at the Pentagon and it has been determined that so far, there is no role for the U.S. or particularly U.S. military in what's going on there now in Mumbai. But according to some officials, one of the major tasks may be to try convince India, if there is evidence to this, that Pakistan may have not been directly involved. And so far, counterterrorism officials say that there is no indication that Pakistanis were involved in this attack. But they're keeping a close eye on this situation, particularly in trying to track down who is responsible and if any Americans have been involved-Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: As we wait for that, Mik, thank you very much. He points to the fact that the U.S., at this point, trying to figure out what if any role it should take in this. President-elect Obama has put out a statement saying he strongly condemns today's terrorist attacks in Mumbai and his thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the people of India. These coordinated attacks, he goes on to say, on innocent civilians demonstrates the grave and urgent threat of terrorism. Let's go to terrorism expert Roger Cressey on this. Anything, Roger, do you know about this group that is claiming to be behind this attack where we've got The Times of India now reporting 900 wounded? These numbers are going to grow.

ROGER CRESSEY, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Absolutely, Mika, and we know nothing about them. So the first question you ask is, is this the group that is responsible or are there other individuals and this group is trying to take advantage of this tragedy? To what Mik said, this is a low tech event, yet highly coordinated. Multiple sites hit nearly simultaneously, a hostage environment as well. So there was a fair amount of preparation involved in this type of attack. So this wasn't something that was kicked off in the past couple of days. That's one point. Second point is, quintessential target set, soft targets, hotels, transportation, restaurants. So the probability of Indian defensive forces, police being in a position to respond to the initial-repel the attack would be low. So again, that works in the terrorists' favor. So you've got several dynamics going on here right now. And of course, the one that's still ongoing is the hostage situation. And that's why we'll get to see how that plays out.

BRZEZINSKI: That's what we're watching now. You were just looking at live pictures. We've gone to videotape at this point of the chaos ensuing in Mumbai. That's the Taj Hotel in flames as we speak. And we are hearing of one, potentially several, hostage situations that are still underway. Jack Jacobs, talk to me a little bit, if you could, about how complicated it is for the Indian government to figure out how to react to this coordinated multiple attack?

COL. JACK JACOBS, MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Roger laid a couple of the items on the table. The things that make it extremely difficult for them, first of all, it was a surprise attack. So there was no preparation. Undeniably, the Indian government will have the anti-terrorist team, will have somebody, some unit that is on duty and on alert at all times. We do it all the time. And so do they. However, not enough to cover all the targets. Multiple targets hit simultaneously, hostages taken, don't know who the group is, don't know exactly where inside the edifices they are located. And there is always the danger-which we've seen in Iraq all the time, always the danger that these attacks were set but that there are others, ambushes waiting to attack first responders. That makes it extremely difficult. That's why you saw the responses being so ginger, particularly at the Taj Hotel. It took the fire department a long time to get to where the blaze was and are now moving very quietly and selectively across the face of the hotel. You don't know how many people are inside among the terrorists, how much of the area in front they have covered with (INAUDIBLE).

BRZEZINSKI: Do we still have Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon? Mik, are you t here?

MIKLASZEWSKI: I'm here, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: All right. What, are you getting anything there? And I know the numbers are tough. In terms of hostages, what information do we know about at this point?

MIKLASZEWSKI: All U.S. military and intelligence officials have been able to tell us is that as this group was moving through the city, attacking those eight separate sites in what they say was a highly coordinated and well-planned attack, that the attackers said that they were in fact looking for Westerners. And some of the sites they attacked, not only the hotels but the train station and one of the most popular restaurants, tourist sites in Mumbai certainly would have attracted Westerners, if not Americans. And so far, that is all they've been able to tell. And that is based primarily on the reporting they are getting out of Mumbai as opposed to what they themselves haven't been able to discern directly.

BRZEZINSKI: And chances are Westerners, Jack, are being held if they're holding hostages. And they were looking for Westerners, but at this point, it is just too soon to tell.

MIKLASZEWSKI: And, Mika, I may add that U.S. officials also suspects that the death toll the casualty count will probably climb because in some of these areas, in the hotels in particular, where hostages are being held, they're being told that Indian officials haven't been able to go through the entire hotel itself looking for any possible survivors or additional victims.

BRZEZINSKI: OK. Jack, do you want to...


JACOBS: Yes, this is a very low-cost operation though highly coordinated. I saw some pictures of some of the people who were captured, terrorists who were quite young. That's exactly the kind of guy you would select in order to do this kind of operation, because although it is low-cost, it is high-risk. The expectation is that they will all be killed.

BRZEZINSKI: OK. We're looking at picture coming in from Mumbai, India. This is the Taj Hotel, one of two major hotels in Mumbai that has been part of a coordinated terrorist attack, two hotels targeted, a train station, a popular restaurant. We're going to go now to Peter Greenberg, NBC travel expert, who actually knows somebody who runs the Taj Hotel. Peter, tell me your story.

PETER GREENBERG, NBC TRAVEL EDITOR: Well, actually, he's the managing director of all the Taj Hotels. And I should tell you there are about 75 of those hotels, including many hotels here in the United States. Right at this moment, he is locked down in the first story office in the hotel, the Taj Hotel itself. His wife is in the restaurant with 200 other guests also locked down. The last report I got from him by e-mail was that the police have cornered five gunmen at the Taj Palace Wing, that's on the sixth floor, where you saw the fire. And they were preparing to storm those terrorists. That's the last we've heard from him. But he is trying to call us now. When he does, we're going to put him on the air.

BRZEZINSKI: All right. So, Peter, you keep tabs on that. You know now a couple, they're in two separate areas inside the Taj Hotel that are under lockdown right now as this ensues. A dramatic situation for your friends there, Peter. We wish them the best. Please bring them to us as soon as they call you.

Jack and Roger, I think, Roger, first, I'll ask you, because we've talked about how this is a highly coordinated, well-planned attack in multiple locations. What does that tell us about where this group may be coming from, and any potential links to al Qaeda?

CRESSEY: Mika, it is important to remember that Mumbai had a very high operational tempo of terrorism attacks in recent years. Go back two years ago to the train bombing where 188 people were killed. As recently as mid-September, there were a series of bomb blasts. So Mumbai has had to deal with this problem for a while. As a result of that, I think you have a lot of just internally focused individuals who have developed a networked capability, an expertise to do this type of attack. What that means is that people assume that al Qaeda is going to be a direct associate to this. That may not be the case here. So I think as the events continue to unfold, we should be careful about not jumping to conclusions about external influence of this operation right now.

BRZEZINSKI: Jack, hold on. Jim Miklaszewski, are we getting a sense on just hearing about certain suspects who have been killed, others that are being cornered, are there many suspects in this? Were there many terrorists involved? Do we get a sense of the numbers there?

MIKLASZEWSKI: Don't know the total number. at least from the officials I've talked to. But clearly, if you had eight separate sites and they appear to have been quite affected, although, as Jack pointed out, this is a very low-tech operation, they were pretty effective to kill 90 people-or 80 people and wound 900, that the numbers would probably-given eight, probably well exceed 100 if not a couple hundred of these terrorist suspects. While they're talking about the casualties-the civilian casualties, we have yet to hear exactly how many of the terrorists themselves were captured, killed or wounded in this attack.

BRZEZINSKI: Jack, now we're-highly coordinated, multiple locations, well-planned attacks, but also a low-tech operation in terms of what Mik is talking about.

JACOBS: Yes, you're talking about small unit tactics which any new recruit can undertake after a few weeks of training. And they don't have to come from Pakistan or any place else. It is a big country. There are 100 million or more Muslims. I think several hundred million Muslims who are Indians and who live in India. And there is no shortage of enemies of the Indian government from inside. So these people could have been trained anywhere inside India. They could have been recruited from disaffected people, probably young people from just about anywhere. But possibly-most likely in the far east or far west of the country where the Muslims are located. And-but coordinating-planning the attack is one thing, took a little sophistication, executing it, required practice, but it's a very low-tech operation.

BRZEZINSKI: All right. Jack Jacobs, Roger Cressey, Jim Miklaszewski, Peter Greenberg, stay with us. A recap of this developing story, Mumbai, India, eight separate sites have been attacked by terrorists. Teams of heavily armed gunmen have stormed these sites. Up to 80 people dead, up to 900 wounded. The numbers expected to grow. We're told that the secretary of state has briefed the president on her communications with the U.S. consul general in Mumbai. And The Times of India now reporting 900 wounded. We'll watch those numbers. We'll watch this developing story. You're looking at live pictures of the Taj Hotel in flames in Mumbai. We'll be right back.


BRZEZINSKI: The Taj Hotel in Mumbai, in flames after a series of terrorist attacks. We're going to hear from a reporter who has just toured inside that hotel after the attack in just a moment.


BRZEZINSKI: All right. Our breaking news coverage continues out of Mumbai, India, we're continuing to follow the deadly coordinated terror attacks there across the city, more than 80 people have been killed. Here's the latest report from the scene of the ambushed Taj Hotel courtesy of our India news network IBN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we're right here in the front of the main entrance of the Taj (INAUDIBLE). You can see firemen coming. Also, what have you seen inside? What is the extent of the damage?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... people, they are now safe. Just going to take a bus (ph) here, OK.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what have you seen inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, there is nobody inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of damage?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is major damage inside.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are inside the door-main door. They have stopped people and guests. But the six are now safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. So here you are (INAUDIBLE) and this is the first pictures of the kind of damage you've seen at the Heritage Wing. The entire thing has been broken down, luckily. The two big symbols of what defines the Taj Hotel, the Taj Heritage Wing are pretty much intact, but as you can see, these were broken open by the fire brigade trying to gain access. And if we can walk around here, we can just show you the kind of damage that has happened in terms of the metal detector, which doesn't (INAUDIBLE) obviously scans people for (INAUDIBLE). Obviously today could not do its job. Also look at the kind of damage inside the Taj Hotel if we can show you. It is all broken inside, there's a lot of water. obviously the fire alarms did go on and the kind of water, which is coming inside. We have not seen any people inside as the fire people said, they have been rescued, but clearly a lot of damage to this great old hotel, a part of history. All these doors have been broken down and they were locked after the terrorists gained access. So clearly this has been a huge setback for Mumbai, for Mumbai's sense of security. (INAUDIBLE) tried to aim (INAUDIBLE), this is the first time they have made (INAUDIBLE) such a (INAUDIBLE) target of attacks. Again, the damage and the kind of fire that broke out at the top end of the dome of the old Heritage Wing is a clear indication of the intention of the terrorists. The entire encounter is over here at the Taj Heritage Wing. People are being rescued. They are completely shaken and completely overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, but they're at least happy that (INAUDIBLE).


BRZEZINSKI: All right. That was a reporter, just moments ago, from inside the Taj Hotel which you can see there is still in flames. We're told there is a hostage situation taking place in there by a group that carried out a series of coordinated attacks at several-eight different locations in Mumbai. Apparently, targeting Westerners. We don't know how many hostages are being held at this point. We also don't know how many injuries and fatalities there are at this point because these hotels are in lockdown. Two hotels that we know of, a train station, a popular restaurant. Peter Greenberg is waiting to hear from friends who are locked down inside the Taj Hotel. We do have confirmation though that the Marriott in Mumbai is not under any fire, not impacted by this. But the Taj, as you can see, one of the central focal points of these coordinated terrorist attacks and still a pretty chaotic situation there right now. We're going to wait to hear from Peter, hopefully his friends will call in, hopefully they're OK. Joining me now, Gary Berntsen, longtime CIA operative and the field commander who cornered Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. He is also the author of "Human Intelligence, Counterterrorism, and National Leadership." Thank you very much for joining me, sir. We know very little about exactly who was behind this. From what we do know about how these attacks have been carried out, how they've been coordinated, and the few that are in custody, which Jack Jacobs says appear to be young, on the younger side. What can we tell about any links to this organization behind this?


NATIONAL LEADERSHIP": What I would guess under these circumstances is that, of course, it is one of the Kashmiri groups. And likely to be Lashkar-e-Toiba. Lashkar-e-Toiba, the LeT, is an organization-of course, that's a Kashmiri organization. It's headed by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. They don't do suicide bombings. They do what they called "Fedayeen attacks." And that's what this looks like. They don't just go and blow themselves up. They go head-on into places and they do attacks. It looks very much like a LeT operation. The LeT also coordinates its activities and frequently works with Dawood Ibrahim. Dawood Ibrahim is a narco-terrorist in South Asia, functions out of Karachi now, and he was the architect of the 1993 bombings in Mumbai. And frequently neither Dawood Ibrahim or the LeT take credit for these sorts of attacks. They use throwaway names and that's what it looks like we have got right now.

BRZEZINSKI: Is Jim Miklaszewski still with us from the Pentagon?

MIKLASZEWSKI: Yes, indeed.

BRZEZINSKI: All right. Hey, Jim, give us a little recap in terms of what we do know at this point. We know there are hostages. We don't know how many. We don't know how many suspects, some potentially in custody. What are the basics here?

MIKLASZEWSKI: Well, you know, at the Taj Hotel alone, there are at least six terrorists believed to be holding hostages. And from report we're receiving from Mumbai that Indian military or police forces are preparing to storm the area where the hostages are being held, and at least six of these terrorists are said to be holed up. Now that's in the Taj Hotel. We don't know specifically about any other hostage situations there in Mumbai. But there were at least eight separate locations where terrorists carried out a highly coordinated, even sophisticated, but at the same time, a low-tech attack using primarily AK-47s, grenades, and a couple of bombs, at least one car bomb is said to have exploded. And you asked me earlier, Mika, about how many terrorists could have been involved in this attack. Even though 80 people have been reported killed, 900 wounded, the majority of those casualties have occurred at the main-the Victoria Train Station there in Mumbai. And you can only imagine how crowded that might be at any time. And that's where the majority of the casualties occurred. And when you think about it, in a crowded place like that, it wouldn't take too many people armed with AK-47s, and throwing grenades into those crowds, to come up with those kinds of casualties numbers.

BRZEZINSKI: I guess you're right. Jim Miklaszewski at the Pentagon.

You know, Jim, we've got Roger Cressey, Jack Jacobs, and Gary Berntsen. Jump in any time you want-into the conversation. Because I know you're bringing stuff to the table and you may have good questions, too. I'm going to the White House right now. Right now President Bush is being updated on the terror attacks in Mumbai. NBC's Kevin Corke is live at the White House with more reaction from there. And, Kevin, I've just been handed a piece of paper that says the state chief minister in Mumbai says the situation is still not under control. I take it the White House is trying to figure out what if anything should be done from that standpoint.

KEVIN CORKE, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're right. Mika, I just received word from Gordon Johndroe, and he says, among other things, look, I'm traveling today. We did know that he would be heading out to the west. He says, the White House has convened a meeting with the NSC, with State, with counterterrorism, and intelligence officials as well. They're monitoring the situation, obviously, on the ground. And they continue to seek more information. We're also hoping to get more clarification from the White House as to what they learned, when they learned it. Because, as you know, and as we've been following the story throughout the day here on MSNBC, information has been conflicting. There have been some reports of hostage circumstances that we've been monitoring, there have also been other reports of more coordinated attacks. We simply don't have as much information as we would like to have at this hour. So we continue to reach out to the White House. But again, I'm just getting bits and pieces of information from Gordon Johndroe. As I get more, if you'll give me a couple of minutes, I'll come back to you and give you the very latest from here at the White House.

BRZEZINSKI: Absolutely. Kevin, thank you very much. And we do know that Secretary Rice has been briefing the president on her talks with the U.S. consul general in Mumbai. Definitely a very delicate situation in terms of how the United States responds to this. Because this is still very much developing. Hostages being held at one, possibly two hotels in Mumbai, India. Live pictures right now. This is, I believe, the Taj Hotel. Now we're on videotape. Eight separate locations attacked by terrorists. Fires still burning. And Indian police trying to deal with how to close in on these people and put an end to it. We'll stay with it. We have a statement from Barack Obama, the president-elect. We'll bring you more of that when we come back. We're also awaiting word from friends of Peter Greenberg who are locked down inside the Taj Hotel as we speak trying to get a live look at what's happening in there from them. Stay with us, live coverage of this breaking news when we come right back.


MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: All right. We're following breaking news out of Mumbai, India, where a series of eight separate attacks, terrorist attacks, have left at least 80 people dead and up to nine hundred, possibly many more injured. This situation is still very much developing. There are hostages being held at this hour. We don't know much more, but to recap what we do know, let's go back to the Pentagon. Jim Miklaszewski is standing by with the very latest-Jim.

JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC NEWS PENTAGON CORRESPODENT: Well, Mika, one of our guests here earlier had mentioned that one of the prime suspects in this attack might be an Islamic militant group by the name of Lashkar-e-Toiba . That is raising concerns among U.S. officials who had feared that there may be some kind of link between these attacks and militants in Pakistan. Now, that particular group, the LET, was founded in Afghanistan and is based outside Lahore, Pakistan. There have been some attacks in India in the past in which both the LET and the ISI, the Pakistan intelligence agency, were implicated. U.S. officials are concerned, of course, that if in fact there is the attempt to make the link to ISI, the Pakistan intelligence agency, that there might be some kind of backlash, or even a retaliation against Pakistan. That is a major concern to U.S. diplomatic and military officials, who are doing their best to figure out exactly who is involved, and to try to convey whatever information they may be able to obtain about this to Indian officials, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: This against the back drop of the hotel that we're looking at, right here, in flames, under lock down, hostages being held inside and other people, in other areas of the hotel, waiting it out because it is locked down; including friends of NBC Travel Editor Peter Greenberg getting e-mails from his friends there. So, we're trying to figure out, first of all, how many lives can be saved, how many lives have been lost, and how many hostages are being held at this point, let alone leads as to who is behind this..

MIKLASZEWSKI: I can tell you, Mika, that U.S. officials, so far, have not been able to determine that any Americans were among the casualties or among the hostages involved here. But with 80 reported killed and 900 wounded, a number that is expected to grow as this situation unfolds, according to U.S. military officials, it could be likely that statistically alone, since many of these locations were either commuter hubs like the Victoria Train Station, or tourist attractions, one of the primary tourist restaurants in town, and several hotels among the eight locations that were attacked, they believe it is probably likely there were Americans that could be casualties, or hostages, but so far, they don't know that. As terrorists move through these various areas, they are said to have been looking for Westerners, as they carried out their attack.

BRZEZINSKI: OK, Jim Miklaszewski, stand by. Thanks very much. We want to get to our translator in just a moment, but Mort Zuckerman has joined table here. You want to jump in real quick, Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It is very important for the United States that relations between Pakistan and India improved. Zardari, the new president of Pakistan has basically just said that Pakistan will not initiate the first strike in the use of nuclear weapons. And this is a very important breakthrough in terms of Pakistan-Indian relations. The hope is that if the Pakistani military can stop focusing on Indiana as their principle opponent, they would be much more helpful to us as we try to deal with the problems in Afghanistan. And this is something that we have encouraged and Zardari has been undertaking. So, if this goes in the other direction, and the Pakistanis are involved, particularly the ISI, in this issue, it will have a very big impact on Pakistan and India, and therefore what we can hope for from Pakistan.

BRZEZINSKI: Also getting some leads, MSNBC Translator Jacob Keryakes has been listening to Al Jazeera for us. And, Jacob, you're hearing different angles on this in terms of maybe who carried out this attack.

JACOB KERYAKES, MSNBC TRANSLATOR: Yes, they're saying that we have to remember that in September 13th, five bomb exploded in New Delhi. And 20 people were killed and over 100 were wounded. The Al Jazeera reporters is trying to link these attacks to what took place in New Delhi. He said that there is this guy, called Abdul Zupan al-Koraishi (ph), who heads this group. He has heard the Indian authorities, in the past two months, saying that we're watching you. And await the right moment to respond to your bloody actions. They said he might be behind these attacks just taking a different name for the group. And he they are also saying that this might have a link to do what the conflict in Jamal (ph) and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

BRZEZINSKI: OK, Jacob, you stand by and keep monitoring that for us. We appreciate it. We should also let you know that Peter Greenberg is waiting for word from a couple that he knows, manager of the Taj, actually, who are inside the Taj Hotel, which is locked down. The husband is in one section of the hotel. The wife is in the restaurant. They're emailing him and hoping to call in at this point, a very frightening situation for anyone who is still in that hotel. Obviously, there are hostages being held as well. There are other sites across the city of Mumbai that have been attacked as well. Eight separate ones, including a train station and a popular restaurant. Jack Jacobs, anything from what Jacob said that gives you any type of thought in terms of the group behind this? Or we have to wait at this point? At the White House, monitoring the situation, trying to figure out if and how they should respond?

JACK JACOBS, MSNBC ANALYST: The immediate Pakistan response, the intellectual response will be that, the Indian response of Pakistan's-that Pakistan is behind it. It sounds from what Jacob has gleaned that it is a homegrown operation. We have to also remember that the premier flash point between Indian and Pakistan, and also internally in India, happens to be Jamal (ph) and Kashmir, up in the mountains. So that anybody who comes from there is immediately going to be suspect. Whether or not India will go up there then and start to pay back remains to be seen. That will be very nasty for them.

BRZEZINSKI: Well, Jacob is still listening to Al Jazeera, he'll pop in when he gathers more information that is pertinent to this. Also with us, for our breaking news coverage, Roger Cressey. Jay Carney, Washington bureau chief for "TIME" magazine, Pat Buchan is with us, MSNBC political analyst, and also Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. Jay, if you can, if you would like to jump in, please? Mumbai, so key on so many levels but also a city where there are always many Westerners, at all hours, traveling through that city, because it is a financial hub.

JAY CARNEY, WASH. BUREAU CHIEF, "TIME": What is important about this besides the immediate tragedy of it, is the impact it has on the sort of psychology in the West about where terrorism is. This is a major attack on a site with a lot of Westerners. It is probably been carried out --.we don't know yet - but probably carried out Islamic jihad group. Whether home grown, whether it is related to Kashmir, or not, whether it has links to Al Qaeda or now, we don't know. But it is a reminder, I think, to both the outgoing and certainly to the incoming American administration, that there is just so much volatility in the world right now. As was previously pointed out, anything that could create more uncertainty and volatility within Pakistan at this point is a huge risk. That country is already on the edge of total breakdown and incohesian (sic), and it is a nuclear armed country. So, if there is an India-Pakistan conflict to arise out of this, it is a huge threat to world peace, I think.

BRZEZINSKI: Pat Buchanan and Bob Shrum, as we recap for our viewers, we're hearing up to 80 dead, up to 900 wounded, expecting those number to rise. A hostage situation still underway in Mumbai, India. A series of coordinated terrorist attacks carried out over the past few hours and we're watching live pictures coming in. this is video streaming in to us, but live pictures that we're going to where the Taj Hotel is still in flames. As Indian police try to figure out how to move in and figure out if they can save any of these hostages. Let me ask you, Barack Obama, the president-elect, put out a statement. And Bob, you can chime in as well. Strongly condemning the terrorists attacks. He says the United States must continue to strengthen our partnerships with India and nations around the world to root out and destroy terrorist networks. We stand with the people of India whose democracy will prove far more resilient than the hateful ideology that led to these attacks. This is Barack Obama, the president-elect, according to Brooke Anderson, the chief national spokesperson. So we have a transition underway, right now, while the president, President Bush, and the president-elect, monitor the situation and try and figure out how to respond. Talk about those dynamics, Pat, and then, Bob.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: All right. Mika, first we've got massive slaughter, killed and wounded of a 1,000 people, indiscriminately at these eight sites, except Westerners are targeted. That suggests these people want the attention not only of India, but the whole world and they have got it right now. We're going full time. Other networks are as well. Secondly, obviously, some of these people were suicide bombers. If there is a hostage taking, as we've been led to believe, it suggests they have a message that they want to send and they have demands they want to make before they're wiped out. What are those demands? If they're an Islamic group, my initial thought was it would be something to do with Pakistan' response to American and British attacks. Because they were sorting out American and British passports. But I think we're going to have to wait until we find out whether we ever hear from these people what the political game here is. But there is clearly political motivation behind this terror, as well as mass murder and mayhem to bring the attention of the world to their demands.


BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, we may not know who precisely did this yet. We know two things. One, I don't think there is any division between Barack Obama or George Bush, or in America about how we have to stand up to this and we have to stand with the Indians in a very difficult time. Secondly, these terrorists clearly want to set India and Pakistan at each other's throats. That's probably one of their principal objectives. And that would be a huge problem for U.S. foreign policy. As Jay said, Pakistan is already so fragile and yet we need help from Pakistan. We need to be able to operate inside Pakistan. We need Pakistanis to do something about the northwest border as well as the U.S. from the Afghanistan side. This could make things much, much more difficult.

BRZEZINSKI: We have a foreign policy crisis on our hands now. Just minutes ago a witness at the ambushed Taj Hotel talks about being at the center of all the chaos. Take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't see anything. We were in a room, we didn't see anything. So, we don't know anything (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long were you inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About five hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you came here for the wedding party?

UIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no. I just came for dinner

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did the hotel staff tell you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were very cooperative. They were

attacked the same way. I don't think there was anything they could have done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And all this, while this was going on, what did they tell you what was happening?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we could make out there was an attack going on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, we could hear the gunshots out our doors and windows as they were shot at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were shot at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anybody get hurt inside where you were?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I told you we - our section was very safe, luckily, but-

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which part of the restaurant where you were?



BRZEZINSKI: All right. Our coverage of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, continues in just a moment. We have Pat Buchanan, Jay Carney, Bob Shrum, Mort Zuckerman, Jack Jacobs, Jim Miklaszewski, at the Pentagon, Roger Cressey, and Gary Burnson (ph), all standing by for comprehensive coverage of this breaking story. We'll be right back.


BRZEZINSKI: Welcome back, we continue to cover the terrorist attacks at eight separate sights in Mumbai, India. There are live pictures that we're monitoring right now. It is the Taj Hotel, one of the major, central focuses of the attack. Still in flames and apparently there is a hostage situation, still underway, inside the hotel which is locked down. You can see somebody hanging a sheet out the window. This is all coming into us, fresh video, or live pictures as we try and ascertain what is going on inside that hotel. And Indian police trying to figure out exactly how they can corner these guys. There were multiple attacks and many different groups of terrorists carrying out these attacks will we're trying to figure out who was behind it. The White House is monitoring the situation trying to figure out some sort of response, if any. Here now we have a British hotel guest describing the terrifying experience when the Taj came under attack by terrorists. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, basically, were having-just starting our dinner, by the pool, and then we heard some gunfire. And then we heard some sporadic gunshots. And then we ran, and we just ran up the stairs, and we basically just, the staff just moved us into two rooms, a sea lounge and another room, I think there were about 20, 30 people in each room. And then the doors are locked, very quickly, and the lights are turned off and everybody just lay very still on the floor. And then, basically, six hours passed with like gunfire and blasts. There were two blasts that were very, very loud one. And then at one point a piece of ceiling fell in, as well, and then a pipe got punctured, so then there was water all over the floor. And just five minutes before we got rescued, the smoke was really coming through and I think we were all quite worried then, actually. But, yes, it was very, very painful and six, seven hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people were inside and what were they exactly doing. Did you see any of them fighting or gunshots -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, we didn't see anything, We were basically ahead of it so we ran in front of it. So, basically, there were about 25 people in my room, and everybody was just lying still, lying under tables, lying under furniture. And just, you know, being very quiet and just hoping it would pass.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How were you rescued from the place?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From the fire brigade. And what happened was, they just smashed our windows and we all had to come out through the ladder, which just happened about a half and hour ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you told, inside. What exactly -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't tell us anything, because nobody knew anything. I mean, we only had the Taj hotel staff, who I must say were absolutely brilliant. But they didn't have any more information, so you know, they just kept on saying to us all, be quiet, stay calm. It will be okay. But nobody actually had any information. But we could just hear it. We knew when the army were in, because we could hear the army running through the hotel. And just we heard a little gunfire and we heard all the blasts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are from London. Why did you come here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm here with two friends of mine, actually. And they're all from London, actually. And so, I haven't found them yet, actually yet, but they're probably just around here somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Six hours, painful hours, what do you have to say about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most definitely, the worst experience of my entire life. It was just so horrendous. It was absolutely horrendous. I have next experienced anything like it and I hope I never do again, actually. I just give the credit to the hotel and to the military services they go us out in the time and the way that they did, you in our group, at least, there were no casualties, anyway.

BRZEZINSKI: All right. As we follow the Mumbai terror attacks, the Taj Hotel, a hostage situation underway there. We're hearing reports of gunfire inside the Taj. We will be back in just a moment with comprehensive coverage of this developing story. Still very much underway, the Taj Hotel in flames, eight separate sites in Mumbai, attack by terrorists. We'll be right back.


BRZEZINSKI: OK, we are hearing reports of gunshots now, inside the Taj Hotel, where a hostage situation is underway. The hotel is locked down. Eight separate sites have been attacked by terrorists in Mumbai, India. The story still very much developing. The White House monitoring it, and figuring out what if any reaction they need to carry out at this point. You're looking at video coming in to us raw. We have live pictures of the Taj burning. Jack Jacobs has been with us for the hour, Jack, how in the world do Indian police, Indian security forces deal with this situation. It sounds to me like this will not end well?

JACK JACOBS: No, I don't think it is going to end well. Their standard operating procedure is not to negotiate with hostages. As we see frequently in the United States in police situations their objective is to demonstrate that they can get control of any situation like this. And that means when you have hostages, and there is someplace located inside a large building like this. It is a question of pinpointing where they are and attacking, and unfortunately the result of that is going to be all the hostages killed or unfortunately there will be many more casualties likely among the terrorist as well. But, Roger, I was thinking-we were talking during the break about this. And does not this mean, the way this was carried out, the possibility that today is just not the last day of this. That there is liable-as the government is really trying to find its way. What happens next? What do the terrorists do, what do they have in store?

BRZEZINSKI: Roger Cressey?

ROGER CRESSEY: Well, Jack it's a very good question. Because when you think of the level of attack we saw today, it's a virtual certainty they didn't exhaust their pool of available recruits. We've seen a high operational tempo in Mumbai over a number of years. I think for the Intelligence Bureau, which is the domestic intelligence service for India, they have their work cut out for them. Trying to identify who else might be involved. To get to a point that Gary made earlier, about Lashkar-e-Toiba. The LET has a network throughout India. And they've been known in the past to work with other Islamic groups that may not share their particular objectives in Kashmir, but a meeting of the minds to try and execute attacks. So I think that is an element to keep in mind. The last point I want to make, though, is that the police and the intelligence service do have one thing going in their favor. They've arrested a number, and taken into custody, a number of the terrorists. So there will be an interrogation, an exploitation phase to this. And they may be able to get to the bottom of who is involved in it, sooner rather than later.

BRZEZINSKI: OK, and Mort Zuckerman, the bigger issue, the back drop here, the relationship between India and Pakistan?

ZUCKERMAN: Yes, well, from our point of view, of course, that is a critical relationship, particularly if it unsettles and destabilizes Pakistan. Which as Jay was suggesting before, Jay Connick (ph), it is not exactly the most stable country. The things that we can do, however, to help ourselves with Pakistan are really quite simple. I'll just give you two examples. They need two things, increased textile quotas from Pakistan, because that employs not only a lot of men, but a lot of women. And flour, they have tremendous shortages of flour just to make the basics of the bread they eat. This is something we can provide and would be enormously helpful and widely appreciated.

BRZEZINSKI: And it is something that-everyone is going to be looking at this as we try to get out of this situation and watch how the Indian government responds. As you can see this video coming in. Extremely disturbing. Terrorists attacks at eight separate sites in Mumbai, India. The Taj Hotel, under lockdown right now, a hostage situation inside. And reports - as we watch this injured man crying in pain-reports of gunshots now inside the Taj Hotel. More breaking news coverage right here MSNBC when we return.


BRZEZINSKI: We have been following this breaking news for several hours now, live pictures of the Taj Hotel, which parts of it are in flames. A highly coordinated, well-planned attack in Mumbai, India, targeting eight separate sites including that famous hotel. And apparently the attackers were targeting Westerners. We know of 80 dead, 900 wounded. And there are an unknown number of hostages being held right now and reports of gunshots coming out of the Taj. I'm Mika Brzezinski. Our coverage continues with David Shuster and "Hardball", next.



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