Guest: Tyler Drumheller, Riz Khan
DAVID SHUSTER, GUEST HOST: Terror attack in India's financial capital. At least 80 people have been killed and the hostage situation is still developing as the U.S. government tries to assess what happened and why. Good evening, and welcome to HARDBALL. You're looking at live pictures of one of the two five-star hotels in India's capital. I'm David Shuster, in tonight for Chris Matthews. Again, there has been a very large and deadly coordinate terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, tonight, the country's financial capital. Gunmen used machine guns and hand grenades to attack the city's train station, two five-star hotels and several tourist sites in an area that is home to many Western and American businesses. As many as 80 people have been killed. There are reports right now that the target was Westerners, expressly Americans and Britons. And for the first time, we're getting new video of the gunmen. And at the same time, police officials have just said they believe there are hostages still being held at two luxury Mumbai hotels. We do not know if any of those hostages are Americans.This was the scene a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These bloodstains are witness of the (INAUDIBLE) gun battle that is going on in Mumbai at this point in time. A number of places are said to be under siege of various gunmen. I am at the junction I am at the Metro junction, which is at a-which is at a critical location where, on this side, as you see, there is Cama Hospital. On the right side, there is Fashion (ph) Street (ph). And if I can (INAUDIBLE) pan on extreme left, that-on this road is the police headquarters. And the gun battle, the gun firing, has been on for some time now. We've been told that random bullets are being fired here. And because of the heavy media presence here, the police have also taken precautionary efforts. We know (INAUDIBLE) teams-at least two (INAUDIBLE) teams have headed towards Cama Hospital. But there is some amount of confusion amongst (INAUDIBLE) as to where exactly is the source of the fighting. Every single person passing on this route or any other route in this (INAUDIBLE) Mumbai is being checked. The cars are being stopped. I-cards are being demanded. Heavy security presence has been-heavy security presence has been put across (INAUDIBLE) especially in the south Mumbai area. Police (INAUDIBLE) as you can see, are located at strategical areas so as to provide maximum support to whoever is out on the streets, public (ph) has come down, to help people and to ask them to step back indoors. Media personnel are also being advised by...
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SHUSTER: As you can see, a very chaotic scene in Mumbai, India. And again, part of this is caused by the fact that there are reports of several teams of attackers, four and five each going into each of the hotels. There's a report that the hospital, Cama Hospital, has been attacked, a report of the train station. And again, you're looking at a live picture right now from the Taj Hotel, which is one of these two five-star hotels right in the heart of Mumbai. A group by the named of Deccan Mujahideen is claiming responsibility for these attacks. This is according to Indian television channels. And for more on that, we are joined now by NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey. He joins us on the phone. And Roger, what do we know about the group, Deccan Mujahideen? And what do you make of these attacks that they've tried to carry out tonight?
ROGER CRESSEY, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, David, we know very little about them. This is a newly announced group. So any time you hear a new group having-claiming responsibility for an attack this coordinated, there's some suspicion there. I think there's really two-there's two possibilities. One, of course, is an outside influence, and that, of course, leads to Pakistani influence, and potentially an al Qaeda angle. But it's just as likely that this was home grown, that there's a growing problem with Indian terrorism, where you have Muslim militants who have been quite deadly in recent time on attacks. There's been a series of bombings this year alone, September 13 most recently, that was triggered by local Muslims, no real ties to outside groups. So once the immediate crisis is over, identifying whether or not this was inside Indian terrorism or outside sponsors is going to be a real-a real opportunity and priority.
SHUSTER: Well, Roger, given these reports that, again, there was a very sort of coordinated attack, multiple teams, perhaps as many as 15 or 20 different terrorist attackers going after several different sites at once, and this thing's still going on, with perhaps as many as 80 killed and 250 wounded, the scope of this terrorist attack-what does that tell you?
CRESSEY: Well, it tells you a couple things, David. The first is, this was done on the cheap. This was-this did not involve a whole lot of financing, a whole lot of procurement of sophisticated explosives. AK-47s, basic bombs, hand grenades. That's one thing. Second thing is, a large group of individuals involved, and going after soft targets, quintessential soft targets, much like we saw with the Marriott in Pakistan in September. So high-profile soft targets where large numbers of Westerners are present are very, very attractive targets, and we've seen it in Pakistan recently, and now we're seeing it unfold today in India, unfortunately.
SHUSTER: NBC News terrorism analyst Roger Cressey. Roger, thank you. And let's bring in now Tyler Drumheller. He served as the CIA's chief of European operations. And Tyler, what do you make of this attack, and as Roger was pointing out, soft targets like hotels, train stations, large number of attackers? What does it add up to, in your mind?
TYLER DRUMHELLER, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF EUROPEAN OPERATIONS: Well, David, I think it's-it goes along with what we were worried about in Europe and in other parts of the world, is that these groups-whereas al Qaeda is a group that we all focus on and it could have some influence here it could be some larger problem. But the fact is, it very likely is driven by some local issue, and they attach them to al Qaeda just to give themselves more publicity. But I don't see that in this case.This is actually more the classic terrorist type of attack. We've gotten used to saying classic al Qaeda attacks with suicide bombings and the more sophisticated bombings. In fact, this is the more classic of what real, in the past, terrorists have done, use of weapons up close to their targets, you know, very simple bombs, things that people can do in taking hostages and making a point about it. And this is the type of thing very difficult to defend against. You -with this large group of people-the Indian intelligence and security services are very efficient and they have very good sources. You would think if they were not able to penetrate this group and didn't have some advance warning, it's got to be one-it's got to be of those situations where you know that every once in a while, one of these groups, maybe more often than not-one of these groups is going to be successful. And the key has got to be how you react to it. You do everything you can to stop it in the beginning, but you have to be prepared how to react to it when it actually does happen. But it's all-it's going to involve coordination of intelligence and police. And it actually confirms this isn't really a military issue. This is not something where you can defeat. This is-you know, terrorism is always with us. It always will be with us. It's a matter of us trying to control it.
SHUSTER: And Tyler, we're looking at pictures of somebody who looks like they're trying to scale the Taj Hotel. What do you make of the fact that, obviously, two five-star hotels were targeted? There was at least a claim of responsibility by this group, Deccan Mujahideen.
SHUSTER: There are claims that British and American citizens were specifically targeted in this attack, given that it was at, obviously, India's financial capital, two Western-style hotels where Americans and British citizens might be staying.
DRUMHELLER: Well, the obvious-the obvious point here, the same as in Pakistan. If you're trying to make a point-there's another part of this, too, is the attacks in Mumbai, which is one of the most Westernized cities in India and the center the financial industry, which is linked to the West and to the-all the problems of the world economy, as these people-as the terrorists see this. But I think they're looking-as always, terrorists are looking for someone to make an impact. And then if in doing that, if you can find a high-impact target, British, U.S. citizens, Israelis, then also you have-you have a high-impact target and you get-you got a lot of attention at the same time, it's going to be an issue. They tend to view-I know from the past, from discussions with people in the past, that these people-terrorists in these type of situations tend to look on British, Americans and Israelis as one entity. They don't-and so when they see that, it's an easy target because it's someone they don't like. But it also is a group target for them because it gives them-it gives them high visibility. So it's something that all Westerners are going to have to think about, have had to think about for many years. And it's-like I say, it's just there, and it's going to-it's something that we-we just constantly have to be aware of the possibility, try and to do everything you can to stop it. But in the end, you really have to be prepared for how to deal with it once it happens.
SHUSTER: Tyler Drumheller, former-formerly in charge of the CIA European operations. Tyler, I'm going to ask you to stick around.
SHUSTER: And I want to bring in Jack Jacobs in part because this is an ongoing military operation now in India. A number of reports that, in fact, the attackers remain at least inside two of the hotels, possibly inside the hospital. India's home minister says there were around four or five attackers in each of the two hotels. Quote, "The have attacked hotels. They've attacked the hospitals. They have attacked the railway station." Colonel Jack Jacobs, how difficult is the situation now for Indian forces to try to get into these five-star hotels and try to find who's responsible for this, when you're obviously talking about a very large-scale terrorist attack?
COL. JACK JACOBS (RET.), MSNBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I have several problems confronting them. The first is that the hotel-one or both hotels are already on fire. A second is that the terrorists have good vantage points from which they can cover all accesses from anywhere around any of the streets approaching the hotels. Third, they can't possibly secure those areas without a substantial number of security troops, which it appears have taken them quite some time to get there. You can see in some of the footage that the hotels are on fire and there is not any attempt to put the fire out, which would indicate that the area around the hotel is not yet secured. They got an additional problem in that they don't know who these people are. It's a new group. It may have been a pick-up squad influenced by al Qaeda or somebody else. And as a result, there's no way to track them down and figure out who they are, where else they might have gone, and whether or not there's going to be a tertiary attack come dawn, which is going to-which is rapidly approaching. So they've got a number of different problems. They're also-the Indian army is not necessarily experienced in doing SWAT operations against targets like this, large edifices like this in the center of a very heavily populated area. They've been out in the countryside, but they haven't been in these areas operating. And of course, the Indian government is not going to take any solace in the knowledge that Westerners were targeted. There's going to be lots of yelling and screaming across the border because fingers will be pointed at Pakistan if not actually training people to conduct this attack, which they have not, but turning a blind eye towards it. Don't forget there's nothing but animosity over terrorist attacks across the border between India and Pakistan. All those things are going to complicate clear thinking about how to defeat this-the current situation.
SHUSTER: Retired colonel Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC military analyst. Jack, we're going to ask you to stick around, as well. At the moment, you're looking at live pictures of the Taj Hotel, which is one of the landmark hotels in Mumbai, India, Indian's financial capital. This is one of the nicest hotels in the city. And again, it is on fire right now, and there are reports of hostages still being held inside. Here's a firsthand account from a man who was taken hostage but managed to escape. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were having dinner in the Indian restaurant, and two gunmen came in with guns. They took us up the elevator, up the fire exit shaft, lots of smoke and fire and guns, and took us to the 18th floor. I think they were trying to get to the roof. A lot of smoke, and I guess, bombs. And that's it. Me and my friend escaped down the fire exit and-but I think they took some more people upstairs. They tried to get to the roof.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUSTER: You're looking at live pictures from Mumbai, India, where the Taj Hotel is still on fire. There are reports of a hostage situation that continues there, reports that as many as 78 people have been killed in a series of terrorist attacks in which two luxury hotels in downtown Mumbai were targeted. There was also a popular restaurant where terrorists burst in and started firing, and also a crowded train station. As we said, you can see that the response continues at this hour. There are obviously fire trucks trying to put out the fire. There are reports that the Indian military has already tried to storm one of the hotels and take it back, if that hasn't happened already. But right now on the phone, live from Mumbai, is freelance journalist Uday Shipodi (ph). And Uday, First of all, why don't you explain where you are and what you're seeing.
UDAY SHIPODI, FREELANCE JOURNALIST: Yes, I was just on the way back from Apot (ph) to my house and I was traveling to this Lafite (ph), and I could see heavy police presence, people desperately trying to go back home, cabbies refusing to take people. Mumbai is in a complete lockdown.
SHUSTER: And Uday, as far as-are you picking up any reports either from local television or local broadcast reports about what India's response is at this hour?
SHIPODI: Yes. See, right now, the energy (ph) is being sent to, you know, get into the hotel to rescue the hostages. And there is navy (ph), army around, trying to bring the situation under control. But still, you don't-no one knows what is happening inside. And I'm on the way to the Taj Hotel right now.
SHUSTER: And Uday, why don't you describe the Taj Hotel for us. How big is it? How popular is it with Westerners? What's the symbolism of it all?
SHIPODI: Oh, Taj Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in Mumbai. It was built by the Tatas. The Tatas were-are one of the biggest industrial houses of the country. And Taj was a Tata hotel. And recently, few months back, it looks like the Taj Hotel got some intelligence instructions, directives regarding some kind of attack because they've stopped allowing cars into their, you know, parking area and all cars there are being dropped off somewhere near the hotel. They're not allowed inside the hotel. But looks like those security measures were not enough today.
SHUSTER: Uday Shipodi, a freelance journalist from Mumbai. Uday, thank you very much. We appreciate it. And again, if you're just joining us, there's been a widespread terrorist attack in Mumbai, which is India's financial capital, reports of at least 78 people have been killed. There are live pictures, of course, that are coming of the Taj Hotel, one of the popular hotels for Western businessmen and women. It is on fire, reports of a hostage situation that continues, with Indian security forces trying to storm the hotel to try to take out the hostage takers. But there is also a claim of responsibility at this hour from a group known as the Deccan Mujahideen. And so for more on this group and what we know, let's go back-actually, let's go to a man who was in the hotel as the blast occurred. Watch.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We heard blasts much later. That's about 11:30 or so. That is loud blasts, and three blasts, one after the other, and then a big, huge blast after that, which I believe blew off the main (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUSTER: Let's go now to Bob Windrem, NBC News senior investigative producer. And, Bob, have you ever heard of this group Deccan Mujahedeen before?
BOB WINDREM, NBC INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: No. And nobody else has either, not in India, not in the United States. I mean, this is a group that may or may not exist. I mean, we have to remember that, after the 9/11 attacks, the first claim of responsibility was from a well-known group, and it-it turned out to be false. So, at this point in time, it's far too early to indicate, to tell who was responsible. I talked earlier today to a senior U.S. intelligence official, who said, look, if you look at what could happen in a country like India, bordering Pakistan, it could be al Qaeda central. It could be al Qaeda-inspired. It could be a separatist group from Kashmir or the eastern part of the country. The possibilities, if not endless, are quite-you know, are quite broad. And I think the-the reality here is, you may not know for several days. In the case of several of the attacks that we have learned, there were mistaken claims, not only as well as false claims. And it took a few days before either the intelligence agency or the group was able to-to say, "Hey, this was our attack." And-and I don't anticipate we're going to know anything on this probably for a couple of days. One thing, however, that I think is very important to note here, this is a very inexpensive terrorist attack. This is not something like the 9/11 attacks, which cost a half-million dollars. These people with grenades, with AK-47s, perhaps with a small bomb or two, and a small number of people. And it shows that-what you can do with a small amount of money and a small coterie, if they are disciplined and organized. And, finally, the other thing is, remember, this is now the second time in the last two months where we have had a hotel in a spectacular nighttime fire. You may recall that, two months ago, we had the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad hit by an attack and suddenly lit up the night sky. And there is some fear within intelligence communities and counterterrorism communities around the world that hotels now, because of how well-known they are, because of what they look like when they are under attack and on fire, could become a new class of terrorist target.
SHUSTER: Bob, it was two years ago when Mumbai, which a lot of people may remember used to be called Bombay, but that was a long time ago, but, two years ago, Mumbai, when 168 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks. Has it long been expected that, if there was going to be sort of a terrorist attack in India, that Mumbai was certainly perhaps one of the most vulnerable soft targets?
WINDREM: Mumbai has been the subject of terrorist attacks now, major terrorist attacks, going back to 1993. In 1993, not long after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the first terrorist attack, there was a very similar series of attacks in the financial district of Mumbai. There were 13 attacks. Two hundred and fifty people died. You have had two train attacks. The more recent was two years ago. And, in fact, it's interesting to note that, in terms of urban attacks, other than the attack on Islamabad on that hotel, the last two major attacks in cities and in the world-around the world-were in Mumbai.
SHUSTER: Bob Windrem, NBC terrorism analyst, and also senior producer Bob, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
WINDREM: Sure thing.
SHUSTER: Again, if you are just joining us, we are looking at sort of a live situation right now in Mumbai, where at least there are lots of reports that Indian security forces have now tried to storm the Taj Hotel, to try to take it back from hostage-takers, who reportedly took some of the hostages, and, at least according to eyewitness reports, were taking many of them upstairs, to the top of the hotel, where there was a fire a short time ago. We're going to talk about the situation that is confronting Indian security forces on the other side of the break. We will also try to-try to get a little more information about what this group, Deccan Mujahedeen - - it's a new group that a lot of people have never heard of before. We will try to dig into that. Again, you are watching MSNBC, live coverage of the terror attack in Mumbai, India. We will be back after this.
SHUSTER: The situation remains dramatic and a bit chaotic in Mumbai, India, at this hour. Terrorists have attacked a train station, a hospital, two luxury hotels. There are reports that as many as 78 people were killed and that some of those who were taken hostage were taken hostage after they had been asked for their passports, with the hostage-takers reportedly separating out the British and American hostages from the rest. Again, those-those reports, though, are unconfirmed. And the State Department in fact says that all of its employees in Mumbai have been accounted for. But, for more on the situation right now, let's go to Riz Khan, who is with the Al-Jazeera English. And, again, Riz is on the ground in Mumbai. And he joins us by phone. And, Riz, what are you seeing? What are you picking up?
RIZ KHAN, AL-JAZEERA ENGLISH REPORTER: Well, it's interesting. The-the two major landmarks that were hit, the Oberoi Hotel and the Taj Hotel, if you want to compare them with-perhaps, if you look at Mumbai as-as New York, the equivalent in New York in India, it's like hitting the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. These are major landmarks. They're major tourist hubs. But they're also places where the locals go. The latest pictures I have been seeing are of fire trucks getting out to the Taj Hotel and putting out the major fire that was taking place there. It's actually very tragic to see, because it's a historic building. It's one that is pretty much a landmark in the city. And the fact that it it was on fire, I mean, seriously on fire, and there have been grenades thrown in there, there have been hostages held, it's-it's a complete shock to the city, which normally lives fairly in peace.
SHUSTER: And, Riz, there have been reports a short time ago that Indian security officials had tried to storm the hotel to try to essentially confront the hostage-takers. Any new information on that, whether that operation has begun, or continues, or where things stand?
KHAN: Well, the authorities haven't released a lot of information, except that they captured nine-nine of the attackers, two were killed, and three had escaped. The interesting part is-and it's quite bizarre-is that there were sort of running gun battles with the attackers, who have been using AK-47s and grenades, possibly explosive devices. The-the other issue is that they have coordinated the attacks across the whole of the city of Mumbai. And it's a huge sprawl. It's a urban sprawl, which-which actually is home to about 19 million people. And the fact that they hit the north, west, east, and south is quite a shock. It was a huge, coordinated effort. But, in the north, near the airports, for example, in the suburbs, getting areas near the airports meant that the flights which come in, international flights which come in, usually very late, after midnight, there would have been a huge flow of people coming into town, hitting the major centers downtown, in the south of the city, where a lot of tourists are out and about and enjoying the area. It was a very well-coordinated attack.
SHUSTER: And, Riz, at least 80 people killed, there's the expectation that the number is going to go up. And, again, is it your sense, from all the reports today, that this situation continues to unfold, that there are these still raging gun battles and the confrontations continue?
KHAN: Definitely. It seems that its' -- it's still ongoing. There are some reports saying that things are winding down a bit. I'm not quite sure how they assess that. But the fact that a number of security police have been killed, including the main security chief from the anti-terrorist squad was hit himself and killed, is a major shock. The hospitals were also attacked, which is tragic, because, of course, they were trying to deal with the huge casualty list that was building up. But this is-this is a major assault on the heart of India, because Mumbai, being the commercial and entertainment hub, is really the heart of the city (sic). New Delhi, which is the capital, is more-more of a political capital. It's a bit like the Washington, D.C., of India. But this is really the heart of India that the-that these attackers have-have taken a hit on.
SHUSTER: And, Riz, to-again, to underscore the number of attackers here, if they were attacking two hotels, the train station, a couple of hospitals, an area near the airport, there had to be at least, I don't know, 25 or 30 attackers, at least?
KHAN: Well, numbers haven't come out, but if nine have been captured, three escaped, and two were killed, and there are still ongoing battles, that means something. This is a major coordinated attack. The last time anything happened on this kind of scale was in 1993, 15 years ago, in March of 1993, March 12, when about 257 people were killed, more than 700 injured, and there were 13 bomb blasts. And that was actually attributed to a sort of revenge attack by a certain group in response to sectarian violence. But, otherwise, the city has flare-ups here and there, as has been reported on-on your channel, but this is really something on a different scale. And this is going to have a major effect on the psychology of the people of India and certainly the people of Mumbai.
SHUSTER: Riz Khan from Al-Jazeera English-Riz, terrific report.
And thanks for your help on this. We appreciate it.
KHAN: It's a pleasure.
SHUSTER: When we come back, we will have the latest from Mumbai. We will also take a closer look at this Indian security effort to try to end this.
You are watching MSNBC.
SHUSTER: There is now every indication that there were multiple targets in the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, at least five or six different targets, including two luxury hotels, the train stations, a couple of hospitals, an area near the airport. Again, this is in Mumbai, India, a city of 19 million people, reports of at least 80 people killed, more than 250 injured. There are also some reports that there are gun battles that continue at this hour between the hostage-takers and Indian security forces. There has been a word put out by the U.S. State Department that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is monitoring the situation in Mumbai and that she has spoken directly to the U.S. consul-general there, and, at some point, will reach out to the Indian foreign minister. In the meantime, there has been an official statement put out by Barack Obama's transition, his chief national security spokesperson, Brooke Anderson. This is the statement on behalf of Barack Obama. "President-elect Obama 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 on innocent civilians demonstrate the grave and urgent threat of terrorism. 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 the attacks." Again, that's from Brooke Anderson, the chief national security spokesperson for president-election Barack Obama. As we said, the situation continues to unfold. By all accounts, Indian security forces continue to have these gun battles, reportedly, with the terrorists, either at the hotels, or at the train station, or the hospital. And, so, again, let's bring in retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs, an MSNBC military analyst. And, Jack, based on what we know now, a lot of different targets, at least, perhaps, 15 or more terrorists involved. Again, how-how complicated does that make the situation for Indian security forces, as they try to essentially end this thing?
COLONEL JACK JACOBS (RET.), NBC MILITARY ANALYST: It makes it very complicated for them. First of all, they have to marshal the forces in a number of disparate locations in order to defeat the terrorists who are currently occupying the two hotels and perhaps further attacks on the hospitals and so on. So, that fragments their effort and it means they have to stay in continuous communication with a number of different locations. Span of control being what it is, you can't really control very more -many more than half-a-dozen subordinates at any one time. And, so, a tactical operations center has been established in order to control all of that stuff. But you're going to need subordinates in the field to talk to. It's very complicated to defeat a number of different activities all at the same time in disparate locations. Second, they don't know who these people are, how many are left, and how many are in each location. The way these people have a tendency to-terrorists have a tendency to operate is that they will spring ambushes of various types and varieties, and then wait, with other ambushes remaining, to defeat any relief attempts that are made, which is one explanation of why it took so long, perhaps, for any control to be gained on the Taj Hotel. I'm not entirely convinced it's-it's under control now, in any case. You see, in some of the videos, the more recent videos, that fire-the fire department is gingerly moving from the left to the right across the face of the hotel, which-which didn't happen until just recently, indicating that perhaps there was some success with the police or the army storming the hotel to either defeat or distract the terrorists, while the fire department moved in from the left. That would also indicate that the-that the terrorists are located farther to the right of your picture now, if the terrorists are still there. This is undoubtedly occurring in the other areas where the terrorists have attacked. So, I mean, that's a long-winded way of saying it's extremely difficult to defeat a number of terrorist locations all at the same time in a city that has occurred-and it has occurred with surprise. One other thing I will-I will add, and that you heard-and I think you yourself reported-that the anti-terrorist chief in Mumbai was killed and some others were wounded in the-anti-terrorist squad, the first guy to arrive on the scene. That's very bad news, too, for defeating the-defeating the terrorists in place.
SHUSTER: Jack, how well regarded are these Indian security forces or the equivalent of, say, a SWAT team that they might to bring in to establish some control in these spots?
JACOBS: Well, they are quite good and they have gotten much better since the earlier attacks, beginning about a decade ago. Don't forget, the Indian perception is that they are constantly under terrorist attack, some of them trained or originating in Pakistan. And, as a result, they have worked very, very hard to train their anti-terrorist squads. They have received lots of training from external sources to India and have traveled to other places to consult with anti-terrorist squads in lots of other places, including the United States and in Europe. So, they are quite good. The fact that the ATS chief has been killed is very bad news. The report was that he was killed with three shots to the chest, which would indicate that they were in close quarters, and he may in fact have been leading the rescue attempt initially. But they're-they are very well trained and have worked very hard to increase the size of the ATS squads in the last decade.
SHUSTER: Retired Army Colonel Jack Jacobs, also an MSNBC analyst-Jack, thank you. We're going to ask you to stick around. And let's go back now to Tyler Drumheller, who served as the CIA's chief of European operations. He joins us on the phone. And, Tyler, what do you make of these reports coming in now that the terrorists, essentially, went through and asked for the passports of people in the hotel and the restaurant and separated out-or at least were looking for Americans and British passports? What do make of that?
TYLER DRUMHELLER, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF EUROPEAN OPERATIONS: Well, as I said earlier, I think the-the-one of the goals of this, these are disruption operations. This is to disrupt society, disrupt business. And it's also to demonstrate that the state, the government, can't protect its citizens or its high-profile visitors. So, the first thing you look for are, who are the most high-profile people that you can grab? And if those people happen to also fit into your demonology of who the enemies of your people are, then, if they are British or American or Israeli, whatever-you saw this in Egypt. You see it in-you have seen it in Algeria. You saw it in the Balkans, when they would-sometimes, the mujahideen there would stop buses and ask who-you know, how many Americans there were, how many Germans there were. So, it's a-this is one part of them trying to make a high-profile statement. And one of the most important parts of it is that the government can't protect the people visiting. If you can't protect American and British businessmen staying in these, the most-the most opulent hotels in India, then what can you do? And that's-that's the message they are trying to get across.
SHUSTER: Tyler, any concerns about the timing? And I ask this in reference to-there had been some reports earlier today that the Department of Homeland Security was a bit concerned over some unverified, but reporting nonetheless, that there had been chatter of some type of possible efforts or discussions involving al Qaeda supporters or al Qaeda cells involving New York City subway system, and Long Island railroad, again, nothing confirmed. But at least there was enough out there that there was a memo that was prepared, I believe in the Department of Homeland Security. And that was released to a couple of news organizations. Any concern about the timing, that perhaps this is part of some larger operation that might be going on?
DRUMHELLER: Well, normally, in these type of situations, something here wouldn't-wouldn't be related to something in New York. They would have-they would be two different things. Now, it's quite possible that, in the chatter-if you remember, before 9/11, people knew there was going to be-or believed there was going to be some kind of attack. There was a lot of indications, but people believed it was going to be in the Gulf or it was going to be in Moscow. So, there could be confusion in there like that. Now, the danger is not so much that it's a coordinated attack, because I-that's-there is not too much of a sort of worldwide coordinated attacks, not too much of a record of that, since they tend to be localized. But the danger is that someone who has heard this report who was thinking about doing something-these reports that they were talking about on Homeland Security indicate that people were thinking about something, and then something like this happens, it's just another spark to say, hey, we can do that, too. It's-these-a lot of these terrorist groups operate off emotion and passion and sort of getting people fired up to do it. To get somebody to do this, where they are pretty sure they are going to be killed, you have to get the right type of people and they have to be in the right frame of mind. So, that, to me, would be the biggest danger.
SHUSTER: Tyler Drumheller, formerly in charge of CIA operations in Europe-Tyler, thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.
DRUMHELLER: Thanks, David.
SHUSTER: And, when we come back, we will have the latest on the terror attacks in Mumbai.
You are watching MSNBC.
SHUSTER: At least 80 people have been killed in a series of terror attacks in Mumbai, India, India's financial capital, also some reports that Americans were targeted. And the situation continues.
We will have more after this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Bombay Hospital and Colaba Causeway. So, it could be, in the end, not a very large number of terrorists-we still have to wait and see-but enough, really, effectively, to make the city seem completely under attack, and almost as if the streets have been taken over by terrorists. But now at least we seem to be seeing, one by one, all those areas, those flash points now quieting down. And it's now reduced to the Trident Hotel, and, as we said, possibly to this other encounter which could be taking place outside the (INAUDIBLE) some terrorists still on the run. Mumbai will wake up to a very, very...
SHUSTER: So, you are listening to the latest report from Mumbai, India, where it does appear, at least, that Indian security forces are making progress in terms of trying to take back control of the train station, a hospital, a couple of hotels. But, apparently, the standoff does continue at, at least one of the hotels between the terrorists and Indian security forces. Reports of at least 80 people who have been killed. And one of the ways we are getting information from this is via e-mail. We have got an e-mail from an executive who is involved in the Taj Mahal Palace, who says: "We're in lockdown mode here at the Taj. My guests and I are the restaurant, where 200 guests and security were locked down on the first floor. The police have control of the whole building and have narrowed five armed men to the sixth floor of the Taj Palace and are closing in." For more information, though, let's go to Jacob Keryakes. He's the MSNBC translator who has been monitoring some of the reports and also what's been going on, on various broadcasts. And, Jacob, what are you hearing?
JACOB KERYAKES, MSNBC TRANSLATOR: Well, so far, three top Indian policemen were killed. Al-Jazeera thinks that Indian police were able to kill four of the suspects and arrest nine of them. They're saying that this group who claimed responsibility is unknown so far. They have carried out some small attacks in the past, but nothing major. In the past, Deccan Mujahideen used to carry out attacks in India, but it was banned in 2002 by the former Pakistani president in 2002. They're saying that the suspect, when they went to hotels, they were looking for Americans and British-British nationals, and they were able to detain 40 of them. They took them hostages. But the Indian police managed to deal with them and so far killed four of them and arrested nine.
SHUSTER: All right, thank you, Jacob Keryakes. Jacob, we appreciate it, MSNBC translator. NBC travel editor Peter Greenberg has spoken with someone who was at the Taj Hotel. And, Peter, what are you hearing from them?
PETER GREENBERG, TRAVEL EDITOR, "TODAY": Well, the e-mail that you just read was the e-mail that I received from Raymond Bickson, who is the managing director and the CEO of all the Taj hotels. And to put this in perspective, Taj has about 75 hotels around the world, including even the Pierre Hotel here New York, Campton Place in San Francisco. He is the one who is locked down on the first floor of his office. His wife is with 200 other guests, hostages in the restaurant. But he says the security police are basically about to storm the sixth floor, where they have cornered five armed terrorists. And that fire that you see is on the sixth floor. So, that's what we know right now. We also know the Marriott was attacked and of course the Oberoi. He reports that there were two other terrorists that were actually cornered by the police at the Oberoi. We're trying to attempt to get to him now. The phones keep getting cut off. But we know the phones are being answered, so there are people still in that hotel.
SHUSTER: Peter, I'm not sure if you are going to know the answer to this question, but, according to the e-mail, with the seven attacks at four hotels, the Taj, the Oberoi, the Marriott, and the Juhu, do you know if these all-hotels are all essentially in the same location, or are they fairly spread out in Mumbai?
GREENBERG: They're fairly spread out, which means that this was really a coordinated attack, since it all happened more or less at the same time.
SHUSTER: So, I'm counting attacks on four hotels, the train station, at least a hospital, reports of an area near the airport. How many American businessmen or women would be traveling in Mumbai, given that we're right here on the eve of Thanksgiving? It seems like, if there was ever going to be an attack on Americans, this would be the best time, from our perspective, considering that so few Americans, at least on business, would be traveling this week.
GREENBERG: Well, I think the real worry here is not Americans, but Westerners, British, French, anybody in Western Europe. They don't have Thanksgiving there. They're doing business as usual. That hotel would be relatively crowded right now.
SHUSTER: And, as far as security, what do you know about security at the Taj Hotel? I mean, we got the report that the top Indian security police chief was killed in the attack. A couple of others also apparently have been killed. What-what was the security situation like to begin with?
GREENBERG: Well, they have been doing a pretty good job of security as log as I have been going there, checking all the cars that are coming in. They have metal detectors in many of the lobbies. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they were monitored for-correctly. The bottom line here is that a particular hotel like this one, especially this one, you have multiple entrances and exits, easy vehicle access, and, basically, a lot of unattended bags in the lobby. It is not a good situation in any of those hotels. Obviously, after tonight, that will change.
SHUSTER: And, Peter, why don't you again-just to underscore this situation for our viewers, because it continues to evolve again, the highlights in the e-mail that you got from Mr. Raymond Bickson?
GREENBERG: Sure. He was locked down in his first-floor office. His wife was in the restaurant with 200 other guests, surrounded by the security police. And, according to his e-mail, the Taj wing was about to be attacked by the security police, because they had cornered five armed gunmen on the sixth floor. And that is precisely where you saw the fire, the last video that you showed.
SHUSTER: Peter Greenberg is MSNBC travel editor. Peter, thanks for that information and providing the contact there. We appreciate it. We're going to have more from Mumbai when we come back. You're watching MSNBC.
SHUSTER: The latest reporting out of Mumbai, India, is that terrorists attacked at several locations tonight, at least four hotels, a train station, a hospital, an area near an airport. And according to "The Times of India," one the major news organizations in the country, at least now 900 people, according to this news organization, 900 people injured. And that news organization is also reporting 80 people, at least, killed. Of course, monitoring the situation here in Washington is the Bush administration. Kevin Corke is an NBC News White House correspondent. He is at the White House. And, Kevin, what are you picking up from there?
KEVIN CORKE, NBC CORRESPONDENT: David, you're right. The president has been informed and will be kept updated on developing situations there in India. As you might imagine, they have been watching this very closely, including down in the Sit Room, although, as you also are aware, this happens at a time when a great many people have already left the grounds, the president among them, spending the next couple of days at Camp David. However, we do have this also from a NSC spokesman, Benjamin Chang. He said: "We condemn these attack and the loss of innocent life. And we will continue to seek more information"-the White House obviously trying to keep a very close eye on the situation, in particular, as it relates to possible American hostages. We have been getting conflicting reports. We have been working the phones as well, as I'm sure you have, David. And we will continue to monitor the situation from here at the White House.
SHUSTER: NBC News White House correspondent Kevin Corke-Kevin, thanks for the update from there. We appreciate it. And, again, just to summarize, you're looking at pictures of a fire at the Taj Hotel. Firefighters have been trying to put that out for the past hour or so. Some reports that at least part of the situation is coming under control, but also reports that gun battles continue. Again, "The Times of India" is reporting at least 900 people wounded, at least 80 people killed in a series of terrorist attacks that targeted four hotels, the train station, a hospital, an area near an airport. Again, we're going to be monitoring the situation as it develops over the next while here at MSNBC. I'm David Shuster. Our coverage continues now with Mika Brzezinski in New York. You're watching MSNBC coverage of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.
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