tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN August 26, 2014 5:00pm-7:01pm PDT
knee defender or a knee to the flying public's groin, can't we all just remember what louis c.k. says about the wonder of flying. >> you're sitting in a chair in the sky. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york. i'm jim sciutto, thanks for watching tonight. "a.c. 360" starts right now. >> good evening and thanks for joining us. one american's journey tonight from christianity to islam to jihad. an isis fighter, an american killed in syria during a battle with rival extremist. tonight, what we know about why he left the united states to fight alongside terrorists and why experts say there could be many more just like him. and also tonight, a scathing new report on an issue drew griffin brought to light more than a year ago, about delays in veterans getting the medical care they desperately need and in some cases dying on the waiting list. tonight, what the v.a. inspector general's report skpez what happens next. but we begin in ferguson,
missouri, with what could be a critical piece in the puzzle about what really happened when darren wilson shot and killed michael brown. there's new audio recorded by a man who lives nearby. his attorney says he caught the incident on tape as he was talking with a friend on video chat. cnn cannot independently confirm whether it was definitely the michael brown shooting that is on this recording. the fbi, however, has spoken to the man who recorded it, and the man is being analyzed by experts to see what information can possibly be drawn from it. ted rowlands tonight brings us up to date. >> reporter: it's the critical moment caught on audio tape, and it could be a key piece of evidence as investigators work to determine exactly what happened between michael brown and ferguson police officers, darren wilson. the shots can be heard in the background of an online video chat. >> you are pretty -- [ gunfire ]
you're so fine. [ gunfire ] >> it's electronic, it's objective. it doesn't take sides. >> reporter: forensic audio expert paul ginsburg analyzed the nine-second clip and created a way form graphic highlighting the gunshots. he counts a total of ten shots with an approximate three-second pause after the sixth shot. take another listen. >> you are pretty -- [ gunshots ] >> you're so fine. [ gunshots ] >> the three-second pause could be very significant. >> it could be, depending upon what the witnesses say they saw and what's in the police report. >> several of the witnesses do mention a pause. >> they shot him, and he fell, he put his arms up to let them know he was compliant and that he was unarmed with and they shot him twice more. >> he put his hands in the air, and he started to get down, but the officers still approached with his weapons drawn, and he fired several more shots.
>> an independent autopsy determined that michael brown was shot at least six times, all to the front of his body. the other four shots is heard on the recording could have missed. >> the man who inadvertently recorded this audio wants to remain anonymous. he lives in one of these apartment buildings, which as you can see, is very close to where michael brown was shot and killed. >> he was in his apartment, he was talking to a friend on a video chat. he heard loud noises and at the moment, at the time, he didn't even realize the import of what he was hearing. until afterwards. >> reporter: the recording could prove critical, should this go to trial, a tool both the prosecution and the defense could use to bolster their case. >> this has a bearing on really everything else. this is a piece of the puzzle that has to fit. >> ted rowlands joins me now live from ferguson. so what are investigators saying about the audio? >> well, anderson, they are analyzing it, according to the
man that recorded it. his attorney says that he has been interviewed by the fbi, they're analyzing it, and as you mentioned at the top of the show, looking to see what you can use out of that, that will be pertinent to this investigation. >> all right, ted, appreciate the update. joining us now are our legal team, former federal prosecutor, sunny hostin, mark geragos, and mark o'mara. sunny, do you think this is a significant piece? >> no question about it. if that pause, and three seconds is a significant amount of time when you're talking about a shooting, because they do happen very, very quickly. and i think if it corroborates all of the witnesses who are explaining, and i think we've seen them explain, that there was a pause, and that michael brown, during that time, turned around with his hands up, that, i think, is a game changer in a case like this. >> although we should also point out, there is another witness, who i interviewed, who said he didn't see the hands going up. he saw, actually, hands more around his waste. again, conflicting accounts. mark o'mara, what do you think
about this recording? >> first of all, i'm frustrated that yet another tidbit of information is coming out. for this reason, not only does it allow speculation, but it now is going to have an opportunity to infect witnesses testimony, because it's natural for witnesses to drag in facts that they know are out there into their testimony. so it may now show up in witnesses' testimony, it may customize other testimony. but having said that, it's still one piece of information that i agree needs to fit into the overall picture. but it doesn't offer, i think, evidence one way or the other. i'll give you an example. as sunny mentioned, this could be evidence that the officer turned into, you know, a racist murderer, and took aim with the last four shots, and executed him. or it could be that the first several shots missed their mark, as he's running after the -- after mr. brown. maybe those shots weren't even justified, who knows if brown was running away. but when brown turns around to confront or to focus on him, then the last set of shots could be justified, so as a defense attorney, i look at this and say, well, wait a minute, if, in
fact, those shots hit the front of mr. brown, he had to be facing the officer, and maybe the second half were justified. so, now that i'm getting both sides of the story, we just have to wait and stop speculating as to how this fits the overall picture. >> but mark o'mara, what you're saying is interesting. you're saying if the final four shots are actually justified, even if the first six are not, that doesn't matter? >> no, not only does it not matter, that makes the fatal shot, which is only relevant shot, the you think about it, that may make the fatal shot justified, if, in fact, mike brown, having been hit or having whatever happened with the first six shots, justified or as unjustified as they may have been, when he turns around and confronts the officer, those last four shots, which we know are the fatal shots, may well have been justified because of the then existing confrontation. >> that's a really loaded phrase, though, mark. when you're saying "confrontation." >> i agree it is. >> i mean, there's no evidence -- >> i'm not suggesting evidence.
look, this is pure speculation. we have to be careful doing that. but if you want to look at both sides, then if there was a confrontation, then the last four shots may have been justified. if there wasn't, and i'll say the other side of it. if mike brown has his hands up, which might be shown on that audio tape, which is shown to say what the officer says. if mike brown says, i surrender, i'm sorry, and shoots him, that's an execution. >> mark geragos, what do you make of this tape? >> i'm a little leery about speculating as far as any of my esteemed colleagues are. because when somebody wants to remain anonymous and somebody is putting something out there and it's on a video chat and i don't know how you ever, at this point, at least, us in the media, substantiate that. i mean, i understand what the forensic guy just did in your package, and and i agree, unfortunately, with sunny and mark, i guess, in this. you can make it move eertd way. as a defense lawyer, there's a
wealth of stuff to play with here. and as a prosecutor, this could give you the impetus to say, i've got probable cause to file the charges. but remember, this is somebody who wants to remain anonymous. they're putting something out there by the lawyer. take it with a grain of salt. it would not be the first time i've been commenting on some high-profile case and some piece of make-or-break supposed evidence came about and it turned out to be -- >> i'm not -- >> but if the fbi has actually interviewed this person, sunny, according to their person, you would think they would be able to see what time this was recorded, if, in fact, that does jive with the time of the shooting. >> well, no question, the fbi certainly can authenticate it. and i'm not surprised that someone in a case like this that is so charged, would want to remain anonymous. and when you listen to the video, it's a video chat, it's -- he's talking about how he enjoyed seeing someone's video -- >> it's creepy. it's a creepy video chat. >> there's no question that someone would want --
>> it's probably the most embarrassing kind of thing you could be recording, like him saying to some person, hey, baby, you look great. >> and it makes it almost more authentic to me, because why would someone want to record that? >> i want to show some live pictures from ferguson, a small protest underway. we're just getting some pictures in. i'm looking at them and they goent seem to be showing much of anything. mark, you agree with that, that to you, it's not the idea that this person doesn't want to come forward, that's explainable to you? >> no, i think this is going to turn out to be a legitimate audiotape of the shooting. it just showed up, he's close by, the timing is going to be right. his embarrassment put aside, the fbi will be able to identify that it's probably shots of thatical ber weapon from that distance. i think it will turn out to be legitimate. i don't think that whatever it is, on its own, or even in context of some of what we know now, it's going to be all that relevant. i agree, it matches some of what the eyewitnesss have said they heard, but i can also look at
that and go, wait a minute, one said two, one said four, one said -- i think we just wait until we all get it -- let the grand jury do what they do -- >> and again -- >> and stop building up expectations. >> and again, the forensic evidence, we don't know. there's been really no forensic evidence, and i keep repeating that every night, because i do think that's going to be critical, because of different conflicting testimony. >> i look forward to see if that tape may have mike brown's voice on it or darren wilson's voice on it, saying stop, or i give up, or whatever. because even at that distance, we know in the zimmerman case, you can hear a lot on the tape once the voice -- >> but you know what i wonder is, why is it -- it's wonderful that in america, if you're a cop and you shoot somebody, that you get all of this deliberation, you get all of this time. we'll let the grand jury look at it for two months. you know, if one of my clients shot somebody, he'd be in custody right now. he would have already had the arraignment and we'd have the discovery. why is it -- why is there such a double standard when it comes to cops?
people wonder why it is there's the militarization of the police and they wonder why it is there's so much -- >> that's why people are so troubled by this, right? >> it's less than opaque investigation. i mean, we haven't really heard from this officer. we haven't heard a firsthand account. the police incident report that was released is so heavily redacted, you don't really know what happened. so we're getting this information and these drips and dribbles. and i think that is why we're left to sort of speculate on little bits of evidence. >> name one murder case -- >> maybe we as the well-trained lawyers can use our voice to tell people, this is the process that is going to take a long period of time, particularly those who want to make sure it's done right -- >> but it shouldn't take a long period of time. this is not a who dun it, this is not a complicated case. >> mark, i'll ask you one question. how many murder cases, involving non-cops, nonlaw enforcement, do you see somebody come out and say, yeah, we'll get to a grand jury in october. we'll get to it -- and other
than somebody like robert blake, i can't think of a single one where they took any appreciable amount of time. they arrest first and ask questions later. >> mark, answer that and then we've got to go. >> well less than half. however, when we're talking about cop shooters, the people we give the authority to shoot when they think they need to, i don't mind waiting and letting a grand jury look at a case like that, because particularly in a racially charged case that is now a national event, we should do it right and not do it by speculation. >> mark o'mara, mark geragos, sunny hostin, thanks very much. coming up tonight, another young american has died in syria fighting for isis, the same terrorist group that beheaded american journalist, james foley. this is the young man, the latest on who he was and how he ended up on the battlefield in syria, next. shopping online is as easy as it gets. wouldn't it be great if hiring plumbers,
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tonight, another grim reminder of why u.s. officials consider isis such a threat. 33-year-old american, douglas mccain, an american with ties to minnesota and california, was killed in syria over the weekend while fighting for isis. in fact, his full name is douglas mcarthur mccain. he was a convert to islam, his family was told of his death yesterday. he's not the only young american to go down this path. in may, a 22-year-old american from florida died when he carried out a suicide bombing in syria. that's him enjoying the front after converting to islam. in a martyrdom video, he's seen tearing up and burning his u.s. passport and urging others to join the fight. there's also adam gadahn who became a translator and spokesman for al qaeda. u.s. intelligence officials believe that as dos of americans may have now joined isis to fight against the u.s. and other western countries. jim sciutto joins me now with the latest. you've spoken to this man's
uncle. were they aware of what he was doing? >> they said they were not aware. in fact, he told me today, they were devastated and just as surprised as the country when they got the phone call yesterday from the state department, saying that their son, their nephew, had gone there to fight. he said, listen, he was brought up a christian, a few years ago he converted to islam. that did not raise red flags for the family. they say they respect all religions and lived in minnesota at the time where there were a lot of muslims who live in minneapolis. they were not surprised by that. they did say over time there were some postings on facebook and twitter that were concerning, expressing sympathy for some of these groups like isis, et cetera, that's one thing. but they did not expect him to go fight there. and in fact when he did go to travel, he said he was going to turkey, because he likes to travel, and they didn't know he'd gone to syria until they got the word from the u.s. department. >> but u.s. officials seemed to be aware of him? >> he was on a terrorist watch list. and one way the u.s. comes to be known of these guys, these fighters, they're very proud of it and public with it. they're posting pictures and,
you know, preachers -- sermons from imam, et cetera, showing their support. >> do we know the details of how he got killed? >> we know this. we know he was fighting for isis. u.s. officials tell us that and he was fighting in one of these battles with another militant group there, of the al nusra front, which is tied to al qaeda. and in this crazy mix of the fight that's gong on in syria right now, al nusra is, you know, the more moderate group than isis. you know, they kicked -- al qaeda kicked isis out because they were so brutal and they've been fighting each other as well. >> al nusra is the one that just released this american, theo curtis, just a short time ago. in fact, i'm going to speak to his mother. >> and al nusra is also the group that the other american from florida that you showed before, he was fighting for them when he set off the suicide car bomb. >> is it clear to western officials that you've talked to, to intelligence officials, how many americans there really are, and, you know, "the new york times" reported that the american who was fighting for al nusra who committed a suicide
attack, he came back to florida and went back again. >> it was a really alarming detail. i wouldn't say it's entirely clear. u.s. intelligence officials believe about 100 americans have gone to fight there. for all the various groups. not just for isis, but for some of them, for isis. and they are keeping close tabs on them. jen psaki from the state department and others have reiterated that point today. but clearly, there are wholes in the system. you mentioned the one, the american who detonated the truck bomb. he came back. went to syria, came back and set off the attack, which of course raises the possibility that these guys, even if you are watching for them, can come back. and that's the real fear. when they come home, do they bring jihad back to the u.s. homeland. >> i was just struck, it's a minor point, but just this guy's name, i mean, douglas mcarthur mccain, could you have a more american name? >> i was saying earlier today, he might as well been named george washington. it's incredible. >> jim sciutto, thanks very much. the white house says president obama still has not decided whether to launch air strikes against isis fighters in sir ja.
he has, however, launched aerial flights o every the region. and they're trying to identify the militant who beheaded james foley, the isis militant. his gruesome execution was recorded and posted on youtube. the killer's british accent is one clue in this case. nick paton walsh joins me now with the latest in the investigation. nick, there's been a lot of focus on the isis member with the british accent in the video, but you've been honing in on discrepancies between that man and what a lot of experts are saying is a second man that appears later in the video. >> absolutely. i mean, the major clue for british and u.s. investigators has been the premise that the voice, the british accent voice is effectively identifying the man that carries out the murder. but if you look at the video more closely, forensic experts say there is a edit between the speech and the execution, that appears to be an execution. we don't see much detail. the issue, really, the forensic experts focus in on is the man who gives the speech is
physically quite different in stature to the man who carries out, it appears, the execution. that leads them to believe, potentially, we're talking about two different people. anderson? >> and we have a policy, i do not like to show even stills from this video, was given that this is what investigators are looking at, and the hunt is on, we do think it's worthwhile from this story. you've also noticed settle differences in the knives that appear in the video. >> some experts say if you look at the knife in the hand of the man giving the speech, it is visibly different to the knife that is discarded, i hate to say it, knife discarded on the floor next to the body of the deceased, which suggests some sort of change during the video. the potential -- we're not talking about the same person at this stage, anderson. >> and the discrepancies line up with what u.s. analysts have told cnn, which is essentially that it's not knowable for sure at this point who the killer is, because the murder isn't shown in the video. are you hearing anything more from sources in the united kingdom? >> i have to say, for britain, where it's normally a plethora
of leaks, there's been remarkably little information apart from the british ambassador to the u.s. saying that they think they're close to ii.d.ing the killer. there's been very little information here, frankly. and there's one other thing to point out, too. if you look at the man giving the speech, his weapon is holstered as though he'd be a right-handed person. the executioner appears to be left-handed. there are many discrepancies here, and all of them point to a much more complex job of i.d.ing the killer than they initially thought. >> nick paton walsh, appreciate it. thanks. i want to bring in our national security officer, former cia officer, bob baer. also phillip mudd, who's held senior positions with the cia as well as the fbi. bob, how difficult is it to track an american, a french citizen, a german citizen once they've gone to turkey and then are fighting inside syria or even in iraq. >> anderson, it's virtually impossible. in the '90s, i and my team used to wander across the border into
iraq. it's very easy to do up by diabakur. there's the land routes that the turks don't monitor completely. and not only that, the turks have been letting in fighters to fight this war and civil wars. they are not even sure who they are. so you meet a group in turkey, and they'll find a way across. that makes it so difficult for the fbi. if someone disappears or goes away to turkey, you don't know they've gone into syria when they come home. it's a really tough job to track these people. and of course, the syrians aren't checking the border either. there's nobody we can really refer to, who's there and who's not. >> and phil, that's apparently the appearance of this guy, douglas mcarthur mccain knew he'd gone to turkey, didn't really think he'd crossed over into syria. if there are about 100 american who is travel to syria to fight, to you, is there a clear path to that kind of decision, to that kind of radicalization? have you -- you know, we saw it early on with some somali immigrants in minneapolis, who committed the first suicide
bombings back a couple of years ago in somalia, but is it known to u.s. intelligence exactly how that radicalization process takes place? >> anderson -- >> good question -- >> sorry, phil, go ahead. >> i'm sorry. it's not, but you raise the somali case, which i followed at the fbi, anderson, back about six, seven years ago out of minneapolis. i testified on that case. that was kids first generation somalis, going from minneapolis, radicalized by an individual in the community and traveling to fight in mogadishu. as in this case, their parents didn't know. let me tell you what goes on in this case and why they're so hard to follow. in this case, and this is confusing, you think that a kid wants to go fight with an organization that has just beheaded an individual. it's not that simple. what happens, especially among converts, who are often more radical about their beliefs than people who grew up in a religion, this kid will see emotional images, images that show the murder of a child or a woman, and the appeal from a
place like syria is not to come behead an individual, it's, please come defend the religion. defend innocent men, women, and children. come fight for the cause. that appeal for somebody is very powerful and sometimes, especially among converts. >> and yet, bob, it's not a big jump -- i mean, after a while, they're killing other muslims. they're killing muslim who is they don't believe are the correct branch of the faith. >> well, anderson, that's the problem. is they may be going to syria to be aid workers, you know, helping fellow muslims and before long, they get indoctrinated, and once they become fighters, they move to the next stage, which is they agree to become martyrs and put on a suicide vest and either go after the syrians in the iraqi army or come back home. but we have no way to monitor that development in an individual. you don't know who they are, you can't see in their heads what they're thinking. >> phil, chuck hagel the other day said, look, we've never seen
anything like this, we've got to be prepared for everything. is that -- i mean, is that really true? is that really, you know, there's a lot of skepticism when government officials say stuff like that, because it just seems like ratcheting up the fear in order to get people constantly in a state of fear. >> i'm not sure i'd buy the statement i heard from secretary hagel. here's the reason why. i think people have talked about the complexity of this problem. i agree that compared to what i witnessed in places like pakistan or saudi arabia, somali, this is complex because international borders have been erased, the number of people who are involved, 100 plus americans, which might be a low estimate. in my old world at the fbi, watching kids like this come home, that's an incredibly high number of people to follow. the reason i'm skeptical, look, we've been at this 13 years. the blue team, the americans, the brits, the home team, we're a lot better too, we've learned a lot about how these guys communicate.
we've hardened borders and hardened cockpit doors in aircraft to keep them safe. we've worked with parents like the jordanians and the turks to keep kids if going out and flag them when they do move back through western europe. we've figured out intelligence tools to target these people on the battle field. so, yeah, this is really complicated. it's different than what i witnessed in 20-plus years of following terrorists, but we're pretty good too. i would say if i were in washington, you got to relax a little, and the message to the american people ought to be, this is tough, we might see an attack or two, but we've got a lot of experience. we can handle this. >> phil nutter, appreciate you being on, and bob baer as well. for more information on this story and others, you can go to cnn.com. but just ahead in this hour, the mother of american journalist, peter theo curtis, describes what it was like to hear his voice for the first time after nearly two years of being held captive. he was freed by his captors in syria just days after james foley was killed. we'll talk to the mom, ahead. a card that gave you that
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was freed. his family, like the foleys, never lost hope. for two years, they didn't know where he was or what condition he was in or if they would ever see him again. nancy curtis will soon be able to hug her son and she joins me tonight. nancy, i'm so happy for you. can you take me back to that moment when you first learned that your son had been freed? >> i got a call from the fbi agent who has been working with us the whole time. she flew to the middle east and she called me and said, i'm standing on the golan heights with your son by my side. and he wants to talk to you, but he needs some time to compose yourself. that was all she needed to say. i knew that he was healthy and safe and it was a huge relief. >> did you know that moment was coming? did you know that this was in the works? >> yes, i knew that the agent
had gone to the middle east about a week previously. so we had been waiting for that call. but, you know, it was a very, very long wait. >> what is that moment like. after waiting and, you know, so many ups and downs, and not hearing for so long -- >> this has been a very, very long road. and you learn to get over the panic, which is how i felt initially, the sheer terror is what began when i realized that he had disappeared. and then, you know, you get -- you slowly come to terms with the fact that he's gone, he's in danger. it was a relief to know after nine months we heard that he was alive. and then, you know, we had so many people working on the case and we had such support from so many terrific people that, you know, you learn to just take
each hour as it comes. and you cannot live in anguish for years on end. >> you've spoken to your son now? >> yeah, he did call me later that afternoon, after he got to tel aviv, and he was very, very excited. i think it's been -- i think it's been, obviously, tremendously stressful for him. and so to have that fear and anxiety suddenly, you know, taken away, it's just -- >> it's got to be -- >> an outburst of emotion from him. >> it's got to be surreal for him to suddenly be, i guess, in a hotel room in tel aviv. what did he say to you? >> he said, oh, mom, they're being so nice to me! and they put me in this beautiful hotel and i'm drinking a beer. he sounded over the top excited. >> do you know when you expect him to be back? >> we expect him to be back today or tomorrow.
>> wow, that quick? >> yeah. >> do you have something planned? how do you even prepare for something like that? >> you -- just like everything else. you just take it as it comes. i think he's going to be exhausted after a long trip. i can tell you, i'm exhausted. and i think that we'll just be really quiet for a while. >> the deal that freed theo, it was done by the government of qatar. and it's my understanding that ambassador to the u.n. put you in touch with them. was that a good moment for you, when you made that contact? or did you feel like -- i mean, did you have a sense that that would lead to something? >> i knew that the united states government was not going to pay a ransom and did not want anybody to pay a ransom. but we were hopeful that the
connection to qatar would be productive. but we didn't know. and they certainly were very gracious and tremendously helpful. but, you know, you have to give credit to all the people that i don't know about in the united states government who have been working on this hard for two years. >> i understand you have made a contact with jim foley's family. have you -- >> yes, early on, i met diane foley and we have become good friends and we have supported one another. and needless to say, i am devastated by jim's death. and that certainly tempers any emotion that i have about theo. >> so even in this time of happiness, there is also that sense of sadness. >> these people are like family to me. you know? i didn't know jim, but i think he -- it sounds as if he and theo had a lot in common. and i know the foley family, they're wonderful people.
and i've met the families of the other americans who are held hostage, and i can't tell you how terrible i feel about that. so i'm relieved about theo, i'm glad that he's coming home, but my emotions are very muted. >> well, nancy, i'm glad you're through it and continue to think about all those others who are being held. thank you so much for talking to us. >> all right. thank you very much. >> incredible, what she and the others have been through. coming up, veterans while dying waiting for medical care at v.a. hospitals. there's a new report out from the v.a.'s inspector general's office. drew griffin broke the story months ago and he's been going through the report. he joins us next. n billion hung. well, we grow a lot of food. we also waste about a third of what we grow. so, we put our scientists to work. and they found ways to keep the food we grow fresher, longer.
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welcome back tonight. keeping 'em honest with another disturbing chapter to a story we've been following for nearly a year now. long delays at va hospitals while some veterans dying while on the weight list. a scathing report has been released about the va facilities in phoenix from the department of veterans affairs inspector general's office. in a study, more than 3,000 cases, investigators found that dozens of veterans have quote, clinically significant delay in
care and six of them died. the report says investigators couldn't conclusively link their deaths to t delay, but had other disturbing findings about the poor care that veterans received. our senior investigative correspondent drew griffin broke the story and he's been keeping 'em thohonest from the beginnin and has been going through the report tonight. he joins me now live. so what was in the report? what did the office of inspector general find? >> well, basically, it's a confirmation of everything we've been reporting and our whistle-blowers have been telling us about for months and months, anderson. veterans suffered while waiting to get care. they couldn't even get initial appointments in time. and administers all along were trying to hide that fact. there were unofficial lists, official lists, thousands of people waiting on these lists. in many cases, requests for appointments just stuffed into drawers, the hidden list, the secret list we've been telling you about. 3,500 veterans waiting on lists at the phoenix va, anderson. >> it's just infuriating.
what about -- the whistle-blowers had said to you, they thought as many as 40 veterans had died while waiting for care on this secret list. any evidence of that? >> this is where it gets just a bit confusing. they did find 40 veterans who were on the waiting list, who died. but they went through the 3,000 various cases on these waiting lists, and while they did find those 40 patients on the waiting list died, they couldn't say they'd died because of the delays. more importantly, they linked 20 deaths to substandard care, but, again, couldn't say that those substandard care deaths were caused by the delays. they couldn't conclusively say that even though these veterans died, even though they died on the waiting list, that we can't medically say or conclusively say, anderson, that they died because of the waits. >> so what happens from here? is the inspector general office still investigating? >> yeah, they are still investigating, both in phoenix and at 93 places across the country, anderson.
the fbi is involved, the department of justice is involved as well. so this continues and we'll see more reports coming out in the near future. >> and do the families, are they buying if the inspector general couldn't find conclusive proof that the delays caused the death of their loved ones? >> you know, they're not buying this at all. two families don't even think their cases were looked at. let me tell you about priscilla valdez. her father waited a year to get care. he died. sally barnes' father-in-law waited months after urinating blood in the emergency room, waited months to get care. he died. they both told us that the va inspector general hasn't even called them yet. take a listen. >> no one from the va's asked for your father's medical records? >> no. >> no one from the va has asked for any autopsy, either one of your families might have done? >> no. >> no one in your -- in the va has asked to compile a list of
how many times you, priscilla, drove your dad down there, or your dad went down and was denied care? >> no, no. >> so nobody in the va has really bothered to pick up the phone and find out your stories? >> nothing, nothing. >> so do you think -- >> there's no sense of acknowledgement, whatsoever. nothing. in spite of all of our attempts to keep this in the front lines of the media, so it wouldn't get pushed under the carpet, it's basically what happened anyhow. >> so do you think the va even wants to know what happened to your loved ones? >> my answer to that question, drew, is, they had no choice. they couldn't close their eyes and turn their back to it anymore. if my father hadn't died, if pops hadn't died and other people hadn't come out and expose what had happened, they would have never admitted it. >> anderson, priscilla valdez's father was just 66 years old, he fought in vietnam. he coughed for a year trying to
get an appointment at the va, died of acute respiratory failure. she is getting over this by believing that her father was not only a hero in vietnam, but a hero at the veterans authority hospital, because he led to the changes that are taking place now. and that's only way she can get her head wrapped around the fact that her father's gone. >> and have really changes started to be made yet at the va? >> yes, real changes have been made. they've been drastically cutting down on these wait lists. there is some question as to whether or not these vets are seeing real doctors or not, but they are seeing medical professionals. they're being evaluated. they are getting some treatment. but as far as all the administrators who created this problem, for the most part, they are still there. they're not being fired. there's not the wholesale changes that many believe need to take place to fix this, you know, this sick va system that
led to these hidden wait lists, for crying out loud. >> drew will keep on it. thanks very much. and drew has been on this story from the beginning, knows it inside and out. if you have questions about this report or the va, go to our facebook page, facebook.com/alas"a.c. 360." up next, a stunning admission by the director of the cdc from the front lines of the fight against ebola. also, trapped, angry, and hungry. more than 17,000 people trapped in one neighborhood. dr. sanjay gupta joins me to discuss it all. the latest the on the ebola outbreak. you make a great team.
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well, worse than we fear. that's how it's being described right now. the alarming message on the fight against ebola from the director of the cdc who's on the ground right now in liberia. dr. thomas friedman warned it's a brutal battle in an interview. listen. >> this is an absolute emergency. we have never seen anything on this scale of ebola before and, unfortunately, it's going to get worse before it gets better. we have not yet turned the tide. the outbreak is ahead of our skpo response and the critical block now is getting treatment centers up around the country as rapidly as possible, but ensuring safety
at all steps. >> the outbreak is ahead of our response. that's what he said. the ebola virus has already killed more than 1,400 people in west africa. liberia is the hardest hit nation. the government is struggling to stop the spread of the disease. in the capital of monrovia, an entire neighborhood has been quarantine e quarantined. more than 17,000 people are trapped with no way out. the military is blocking them. many people are angry, scared, hungry. strict measures put in place after they looted an ebola treatment center, saying it was all a government hoax. it is no hoax. the world health organization warned today that an unprecedented number of world health care workers, 120, have died in the outbreak, and 240 have been affected. chief medical correspondent, dr. sanjay gupta, joins me now with more on the new developments. this is an unprecedented number of health care workers, who have become hill with this virus. do we know why so many? is it just the scope of the outbreak? >> i think a lot of it is the
scope. but what's interesting is that the health care workers are always the first people to get sick, because they don't at the time that they're dealing with ebola, so at the beginning of the outbreak, you always have a lot of health care workers. but think about this as several simultaneous outbreaks. so you've got somebody, for example, appearing in nigeria. the first people that cared for him, they didn't suspect that he had ebola and i think several, five, maybe seven health care workers got sick within a short time after caring for him. a lot of it's not knowing where these sporadic outbreaks are coming. but you have 240 affected health care workers, 120 of them have died. >> incredible. >> they're literally risking their lives to do this work. >> and continuing to do it, even though they know the odds of what they're facing. the facility you were at, did you have the feeling that everybody was well trained, everybody knew the protocol? >> we were with the doctors without borders, msf, and they're very well trained. i was with one particular doctor, who has been in previous ebola outbreaks, so there's almost a feeling of exactly how
we get dressed, how we put this protective gear on. you see us doing it there. and the goal is to protect every inch of your skin, nothing showing. but then there's also little things. when you come out, you're kind of blinded a little bit, you have to have a buddy behind you, helping you to put your gown on and also to take it off. you're being sprayed down. you have to be sure that now that this hand is bare, you don't touch it against a part of your suit, because that could be a potential contamination. >> something little like that, brushing your hand against the -- >> even some on your skin, even if the skin doesn't appear broken, could be a threat. we all have breaks in our skin, even if we don't realize it. one day, one of the doctors showed me something he could barely see underneath his finger and he said, i can't go until that is completely healed up. they are careful, but they're running out of resources. we're hearing stories about people re-using gowns, some of this protective gear. that just increases the risk for
error each time you do something like that. >> i saw the director of the cdc is on the ground in liberia and he reported seeing bodies laying out on the streets, which is terrifying for just, not only is it tragic, it's terrifying for the spread of the disease. >> that was some of the strongest language i think i've heard from dr. frieden. he basically said, we are nowhere near controlling this thing. we haven't gotten to the point where we can even say that we've made significant progress. and corpses lying in the street is of significant concern with ebola, because the virus can still spread from a body that is deceased. a lot of bacteria and other viral diseases, once the body dies, the virus will essentially die pretty quickly after. with ebola, it can live longer. >> and that's one of the way it spreads, people handling a dead body and cultural practices. >> they wrap the body for a few days, as you know, before they will actually do a burial. and during that time, there's a lot of laying on of hands on the body. and that's what they believe. in liberia, as you may know,
they've had a public decree now that the bodies had to be cremated. and just cultural rculturally, such a shock. >> sanjay, thanks. coming up next on "360," we're live for the next hour, the fbi is investigating an alleged new recording of the michael brown shooting. that at the top of the hour. ♪ [music] defiance is in our bones. defiance never grows old. citracal maximum. easily absorbed calcium plus d. beauty is bone deep. so what we're looking for is a way to "plus" our accounting firm's mobile plan. and "minus" our expenses. perfect timing. we're offering our best-ever pricing on mobile plans for business. run the numbers on that. well, unlimited talk and text, and ten gigs of data for the five of you would be... one-seventy-five a month. good calculating kyle. good job kyle. you just made partner. our best-ever pricing on mobile share value plans for business.
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welcome back. thanks for watching tonight's extended edition of "360." a lot to get to in this hour. we begin with what could be another important piece in the investigation into the shooting death of michael brown in ferguson, missouri. as you know, there was no dash cam, so investigators can't see what happened, but perhaps they can hear what happened. the fbi is analyzing an alleged audio recording of the shooting, which someone who lives nearby says he just happened to capture while video chatting. ted rowlands has more. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: it's the critical moment caught on audio tape, and it could be a key piece of evidence as investigators work to determine exactly what happened between michael brown and ferguson police officer darren wilson. the shots can be heard in the background of an online video chat. >> you are pretty. [ gunfire ] you're so fine. just going on some of your videos, how could i forget -- [ gunfire ] >> it's electronic, it's objective, it doesn't take sides. >> forensic audio expert paul
ginsburg analyzed the nine-second clip and created a way form graphic highlighting the gunshots. he counts a total of ten shots with an approximate three-second pause after the sixth shot. take another listen. >> you are pretty. [ gunshots ] >> you're so fine, just going on some of your videos. how can i forget? [ gunfire ] >> the three-second pause could be very significant. >> it could be, depending upon what the witnesses say they saw, and what's in the police report. >> reporter: several of the witnesses do mention a pause. >> they shot him and he fell. he put his arms up to let them know he was compliant and that he was unarmed and they shot him twice more. >> he put his hands in the air and he started to get down, but the officers still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots. >> reporter: an independent autopsy determined that michael brown was shot at least six times, all to the front of his body. the other four shots, heard on
the recording, could have missed. the man who inadvertently recorded this audio wants to remain anonymous. he lives in one of these apartment buildings. which, as you can see, is very close to where michael brown was shot and killed. >> he was in his apartment, he was talking to a friend on a video chat. he heard loud noises and at the moment -- at the time, he didn't even even realize the import of what he was hearing, until afterwards. >> reporter: the recording could prove critical, should this go to trial. a tool both the prosecution and the defense could use to bolster their case. >> this has a bearing on really everything else. this is a piece of the puzzle that has to fit. >> and ted rowlands joins me now live from ferguson. are investigators saying anything publicly about this audio? >> reporter: no, they're not, anderson. the attorney representing the man who recorded this audio says that his client has met with the
identified, been interviewed by the fbi, and the fbi has a copy of this audio and is presumably analyzing it, looking for anything significant. >> ted, appreciate it. joining me now live are cnn legal analyst, jeffrey tubin and sunny hostin, and frank pizza, an audio forensic expert. jeff, we haven't talked to you. what do you make of this tape? how significant do you think it is? >> i think it's certainly good for the investigation that it exists. assuming that it's thaauthentic and i think the signs point that way, it is an objective piece of evidence that will guide the investigators and help them figure out what happened. i don't think it really change -- i think both sides could use it on its own. i don't think it proves guilt, proves innocence. it's a piece of the puzzle. the defense, if there is a defense, officer wilson could say, look, it shows he was pausing and yet, mike brown kept coming. the prosecution could say, it shows that he kept firing, even after he had hit him a couple of
times, which shows, you know, his aggressive attitude. i think it's important piece of the puzzle, but i don't think it seals anything. >> sunny, assuming this is a legitimate tape, you believe the pause is significant? >> i do. because i think eyewitness testimony alone is troubling, because there have been some inconsistencies. i think they've been made too much of it, but i think when you hear the pause and so many of the eyewitnesss say he stopped shooting, mike turned around, put his hands up, and then the officer continued to shoot. that, i think, is very powerful corroborative evidence, and that's the type of evidence investigators lack for. >> frank, how does the fbi go about authenticating this? is there a lot of data that m comes along with a tape like this? >> the first thing the fbi will need to do is get ahold of the original recording. and if this was done with some type of video chat, they have to have access to that account. the person who is speaking, the male voice, he has to be able to
enable them to get that exact original copy. and i'm curious to know about the other side, also who was part of that video chat. let's get a copy of that. that at least get us started, knowing that we have the original recording as opposed to something that's possibly been passed around at this point right now. >> is it possible that there's more on that tape that we don't hear, just in the playing of it? that there's -- you can -- maybe if -- is there any way to kind of analyze background sounds more? you see that in movies a lot. >> yeah, you can. there's been a big fuss about the pause in the tape. you know, well, i'd be curious to know, if i had an opportunity to enhance it and analyze it, to see, maybe, if there's something buried in there. you know, what's interesting -- again, i haven't heard the recording fully examined, but those gunshots are pretty loud, which tells me that the microphone had the ability to pick up other things that might be outside that building. i don't know that. but i'd like -- i'd like to have the opportunity to bring that out. >> let's play it again.
>> you are pretty. [ gunshots ] you're so fine. just going on some of your videos. [ gunshots ] how can i forget? [ gunshots ] >> i have to say, i don't think that pause sounds so long. >> three seconds. >> there definitely is a pause, three seconds. but in the calm reflection, sitting here, weeks later. >> you're saying in the heat of the moment -- >> in the heat of the moment, and you know, in a life-or-death situation, adrenaline flowing on all sides, i'm not sure ultimately a jury will find that pause all that significant. i mean, it doesn't mean officer wilson is guilty of a crime or not, i'm just not sure that pause is all that significant. >> i disagree, because i've had cases where there have been police -- not police shootings, but shootings, and we know that these shootings occur very, very quickly. it's usually rapidfire. and a three-second pause with a trained officer who is trained to assess threats, who is
trained to de-escalate force, who is trained on the continuum of force requirement, i think a three-second -- if you have an expert that testifies about that three-second pause, i think it actually can be quite strong. >> frank, how long does examining a tape, the awe authenticity case process, how long does that tape? is it a long process? >> it is, it's longer that you would think, okay? so we're listening to, what, a 15-succeed clip, approximately. there are many areas in that recording that you have to pay attention to. one being the male voice that you hear. another being the gunshots. another being the environment where the microphone is actually making the recording. you have to confirm that all those are continuous in a kind of linear kind of way. >> to make sure there aren't any edits in it? >> absolutely, correct. >> that's something you can determine? >> usually the answer is yes. there are signatures, especially in digital recordings, recordings that are made with an ac current in the room. i know this is a little geeky,
but there are things there that you can identify. there are signatures. whether or not this has that or not, i don't know. but also, as a digital file, there's metadata too that goes with it. for example, the time and date stamp, there are ways to know that if this video chat software or whatever it was, you know, is reliable and has consistency -- >> so it would have the time and date. so they could, theoretically, find out what time, exactly, this was recorded, and compare that to the known shooting? >> oh, sure, it would definitely be time stamped, that's my opinion. >> and somewhat of frank is saying is reason, i think, the october deadline that the prosecuting attorney has said -- >> for the grand jury. >> for the grand jury, i think that's optimistic. >> really? >> yeah, absolutely. this is complicated. and this is just one part of the investigation. it's not the ballistics. it's not any dna that might be found on the gun. i mean, far better, i think,
take another month. >> we don't even know if they have found all the bullets. >> i'm sure they have. but i have to disagree with you, this is not a who dun it case, this is not a complex case. i think, certainly, the audio tape adds a wrinkle. but let's face it, prosecutors don't want to put on a lot of evidence in the grand jury, because that evidence can be used at trial. so typically you streamline your case. it's very easy to get an indictment, especially in a shooting case. >> but the prosecutor has said, we will put every piece of investigation in the grand jury. >> that is very unusual. >> it is unusual. but that's what he said. >> and that's why i think this is very troubling. it is not the norm, in my experience. and i, again, think that it is very surprising that he chose go the grand jury route, chose not to recuse himself and have a special prosecutor, and chose not to just charge this case, but bring it in front of a judge.
>> he does say eventually all the evidence will come out. >> and that's a lot of evidence and it's going to take some time and i think october is not going to happen. >> and that's bizarre. prosecutors inform s never do n >> thanks very much. just ahead, there may not be so many questions about what happened to michael brown if the whole incident was recorded by dashboard camera, which it wasn't. we'll take a look at some cases where dash cams have cleared police of wrongdoing or caught them using excessive force, next. ♪ ♪
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shooting of michael brown wouldn't be so controversial if it was recorded on dashboard camera and we, and more importantly, investigators could see what happened just by looking at the tape. would it help to have dashboards on all police cars across the country? we'll have that discussion in a moment. but even when dash cams have been involved, it's not always an open and shut case. randi kaye reports. >> reporter: 12:30 a.m. in florida. police are chasing suspect marlin brown. his final moments alive, recorded on the officer's dash cam video. a volusia county sheriff's departme deputy tried to stop brown earlier. from there, another officer pick up the pursuit. each in his own patrol car, they spot brown down there at that intersection. they tail him all the way here until he makes the left on south delaware avenue. it's a dead end. brown suddenly takes off running. officer harris, still in his car, continues the chase.
a warning, what happens next is hard to watch. one final glance toward the oncoming police car and brown disappears beneath it. >> i think he's underneath the [ bleep ] car. >> we've got to back the car up, now. >> can you back it up? >> the 38-year-old father of two is dead. take another look. did the officer's car run brown down or did he slip and fall first? the medical examiner ruled the death accidental, after not finding any skull or pelvic fractures to suggest he was struck by the car. the m.e. said brown slipped and fell before the car reached him. the officer was fired, but a grand jury chose not to indict him for vehicular manslaughter. in green bay, wisconsin, officer derek wickland was accused of using excessive force during an arrest, which was caught on dash cam. the video shows wickland tackling the man, then himming
him twice before finally cuffing him. it might look bad, but an internal investigation cleared the officer, saying he followed department policy, and procedures. but dash cam video doesn't always favor police. last year, while vacationing in northern new mexico, a mother and her five children were pulled over for speeding. when the officer and the woman begin to struggle, her 14-year-old son rushes the officer. the woman jumps back in the driver's seat, but before she can pull away, the officer uses his baton to break the van's window. when the minivan does take off, another officer, backup, opens fire on the minivan. remember, it's full of children. after a high-speed chase through wrong-way traffic, the mother and her 14-year-old son are arrested, charged with fleeing police, child abuse, and battery. and this time, the officer who fired the three gunshots at the minivan was terminated, for
violating the department's policy regarding the use of deadly force. randi kaye, cnn, new york. >> it's unbelievable video. joining me now live is law professor, neil richards of washington university in st. louis, and cnn legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, mark geragos. mark, as i said earlier, some people feel if officer darren wilson wore a camera or had a dash cam, investigators would have a much clearer picture into what happened when mike brown was shot. do you agree with that? >> i don't disagree with it, in the sense that i've always wondered, the payouts in some of these cases in the jury verdicts can be astronomical. and the amount of money that you would potentially save if the officers were actually acting appropriately and you had a camera, and whether it's a dash cam or now they have the body cams, you know, basically a go pro, i would think you would want that. i just don't see any downside to it. what is the harm in having a
camera there that will substantiate what you claim happened if you're the officer and if you're a citizen, wouldn't you want the camera there, so it's not going to be a situation where the officer is always believed over you, because that's kind of the fear that you have as a lawyer, that anytime there isn't a camera there or there isn't an independent witness, it's the officer's word versus your word. anybody that's gone to traffic court knows how that turns out. >> mr. richards, what do you know about that? i know you think cameras can be useful, but they're not a quick fix. >> right. it might be boring to say, but it depends on how the cameras are installed, how they're wired. if the police have the ability to turn off the cameras when unfavorable things are going on, we have a problem. if the police get better at playing to the cameras than the suspects, that's a problem. these things are complex technologies, and i think as you've seen over the past 20 minutes, even when you have video or audio, it can be very difficult, even to interpret it. >> so mr. richards, you could see a case where people, officers begin to play, knowing that the cameras are recording?
>> absolutely. i mean, you guys are in front of cameras every day. i presume that you get better at working in front of the cameras. the police, when the cameras are on, will be under surveillance the whole time, and they will get better at doing that. but i also think when the police are being watched, i think they'll start worrying about how they'll appear to investigators or lawyers or internal affairs. it can be a distraction. there was a story from the lapd over the summer, the lapd had a high rate of accidents on their wireless transmitters for the dashboard cameras, like 50%, because the police didn't like being watched. it's not to say we shouldn't monitor the police, we need to be careful the way we do that, under the circumstances we do it and the way we build these technologies. >> mark, there is this study of a police in california that found that the first year after cameras were introduced, the use of force by officers fell 60%. and citizens complaints against police dropped 88%. >> it's exactly right. and the professor's point is
well made in the sense that, yes, they will tailor their activity and they'll tailor how they act, because they know they're on camera. i certainly don't think that's a bad thing. and god knows that in that one tape you played, with that officer bashing in the window of the minivan filled with kids and another one shooting at it, apparently, in some cases, nothing will stop an officer from act like the village idiot. so i really don't see any downside to it. and yes, the lapd does have this disturbing habit, unfortunately, of theirs going down at inappropriate times. i wonder why that happens. >> professor, do you think it's only a matter of time, before every police department that can afford it, certainly, is equipped with a camera? >> i think it's something that we're going to see. but i think it's important to ask, when we deploy these technologies, how is it going to happen? do the police have a pause button, do they have a delete function, can they edit, how long is it stored, when can cnn
get access to the tapes? you know, i think, though, that we have to be careful about it, because we've seen with what's been happening in ferguson, you know, quite close to my house, the police have been deploying all sorts of technologies that turn out to not have been such a good idea in hindsight. >> mark richards and mark geragos, thanks very much. you can always find out more at cnn.com. just ahead, another young american has been killed in syria, fighting for isis. the same terrorist group that beheaded american journalist james foley. we'll have the latest on who this guy was and how he ended up on a battle field in syria. abo? foreign markets. asian debt that recognizes the shift in the global economy. you know, the kind that capitalizes on diversity across the credit spectrum and gets exposure to frontier and emerging markets. if you convert 4-quarter p/e of the s&p 500, its yield is doing a lot better... if you've had to become your own investment expert, maybe it's time for bny mellon,
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tonight, another grim reminder of why u.s. officials consider isis such a threat. a 33-year-old american with ties to minnesota was killed in syria over the weekend while fitie f for isis. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has more. >> reporter: he's an american, with an all-american name. douglas mcarthur mccain. but this 33-year-old man from san diego went to fight and die in syria for isis, the terror
group u.s. officials now call the gravest of threats. it was, after all, an isis fighter who beheaded american journalist james foley, just last week. mccain's family tells cnn they were notified by the state department monday that he was killed over the weekend. his uncle kenneth told me, quote, we are devastated and we are just as surprised as the country is. mccain was raised christian, but converted to islam several years ago. police in minnesota tell cnn that mccain had past run-ins with the law, charged in 2003 with possession of marijuana and driving on a suspended license. several months ago, he told family members he was traveling to turkey. that was the last they saw him. mccain is not the first american to die fighting as a jihadi in syria. this man was killed in may detonating a truck bomb near a syrian military base. in a martyrdom video, he's seen tearing up his u.s. passport, and urging others to join the
fight. >> you think that you've won? you'll never won. he was fighting for al nusra, an al qaeda-tied terror group. mccain is the first american known to have been killed fighting for isis, a group so brutal, it was expelled by al qaeda. today, u.s. officials believe more than 100 americans are fighting as jihadis in syria, and more than a thousand westerners. u.s. officials tell cnn that mccain was on a terror watch list, and the state department says that they are doing their best to track others. >> we have increased our capacity, we've introduced our tracking, we've increased our coordination, but clearly this is a threat that we take seriously enough to put it at the front and center of our agenda. >> reporter: the fear now that when they return home, they bring jihad with them. jim sciutto, cnn, new york. >> joining me now is senior white house correspondent, jim acosta. so the white house this evening, i understand, they confirm that they were aware of this guy, is that correct? >> reporter: that's right. the national security council spokeswoman over here at the white house, anderson, caitlin
hayden, put out a statement earlier this evening, saying that the u.s. was aware of douglas mccain being in syria. other u.s. officials tell us, anderson, that they were aware of his travels to syria and that he was on a watch list. he was being watched and they were on guard, according to one u.s. official i talked to, looking for a potential return of douglas mcarthur mccain, back to the united states. so they were watching him, they were keeping an eye on him, and they were obviously concerned because of what he was up to over there, what he might be planning to do if he got back to the united states. and this really goes to the issue that i've been hearing from white house officials over the last couple of days, anderson, of westerners with passports, traveling from the united states and the west to isis battlefields and back again to potentially wreak havoc on the home front. at this point, white house officials say they don't believe isis is planning any sort of attack on the u.s. homeland, was that is the potential danger.
they don't see it as a 9/11 danger at this point, but it's the reason why they are concerned about this threat. >> did the president give any indication as to how involved he's allowed the u.s. to become in the fight against isis, particularly in syria? >> reporter: yeah, you heard the president say earlier today, anderson, in that speech he gave to the american legion down in charlotte that the u.s. is going to pursue isis. that justice will be done when it comes to the killing of american journalist james foley. vengeance will happen. the president basically said that was an indication that the u.s. will go wherever the u.s. needs to go. a borderless mission to avenge foley's killing. at the same time, the president was very careful to say, no boots on the ground in iraq. i've talked to administration officials who have said, make no mistake, no boots on the ground in syria. and so the president is carefully reviewing his options when it comes to this potential decision to make air strikes or to conduct air strikes over in syria, but, again, white house
officials stress, they are just not at that decision point yet. >> and it's really interesting, jim, i remember, when the president announced 500 military advisers going to iraq weeks ago, you pressed them about mission creep. and everyone's like, oh, there's not going to be any mission creep. well, then it became, we're doing air strikes in order to protect american personnel who we've just sent into iraq and also to protect religious minorities with, and now it's like, now we'll have air strikes against isis not only in iraq but also in syria. does anyone throw around that term "mission creep" anymore? because it seems like this is kind of the definition of mission creep, right or wrong. >> reporter: i think the only people not calling it mission creep are the people here at the white house, quite frankly. what happened earlier this year when you heard the president tell "the new yorker" he didn't consider isis or jihadist-like isis to be the los angeles lakers, that they were part of a jv team, clearly the white house and the administration has been caught off guard by the isis threat. it has turned into a cancer, as
the president has called it, so now the president has to go about, and this may be really the lasting foreign policy challenge of the remainder of his term. that is to go after isis and to take it out, and if he doesn't, you know, this is going to be a problem for the next administration. and that is why, i think, you're seeing lawmakers up on capitol hill, mainly on the republican side, but i think you'll start to see it on the democratic side, call for the president to lay out a comprehensive strategy for taking care of isis, something the president has not done at this point, anderson. >> jim acosta, appreciate it, from the white house. just ahead, the mother of the american journalist, peter theo curtis, describes what it was like for her to hear her son's voice for the first time in nearly two years after he was just freed by his captors in syria, just days after we learned that james foley was kill. hey pal? you ready? can you pick me up at 6:30? ah... (boy) i'm here! i'm here! (cop) too late. i was gone for five minutes! ugh!
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welcome back. five days after we learned that american journalist james foley was beheaded by isis, another american journalist, peter theo curtis, who goes by theo, was freed by his captors in syria. his family, like foley's, never lost hope that they'd see him again. in moments, you'll hear from his mom. but first, miguel has more on
what all they have been through. >> reporter: peter theo curtis, nearly two years held prisoner in syria, today, free. a mother's relief, plain as the smile on her face. >> you're happy that he's out? >> completely. >> reporter: captured late 2012 by al qaeda-affiliated al nusra front as syria's civil war raged, writing under the name theo, he covered the horrors of syria, often critical of the assad regime, al nusra's enemy. it made little difference. for nearly a year, family, friends had no y where he was or what happened to him. >> i don't remember exactly how i discovered that he was being held. i think at first, it was just a disappearance. and then the information slowly came out that he was being held. >> reporter: others found out after matthew schrier, held captive with curtis, managed to escape in 2013. the story of their treatment, terrifying to hear. >> all day long, you're hearing people get tortured.
all day long, you just hear whack, whack, whack. the feet getting whacked and they're screaming and yelling. >> curtis' family, now gathering at his mother's cambridge, massachusetts, home. the news from theo so far, positive. >> we've heard that his health appears good. so that was very encouraging. >> reporter: but videos of curtis in captivity released over the last few months showed him in an agitated state. >> my name is peter theo curtis. i am a journalist from the city of boston, massachusetts. >> then a week ago, everything changed. the shocking public killing of journalist james foley by isis, an al nusra front rival, may have pushed the government of qatar to step up negotiations for curtis' release. no word on whether a ransom was paid. >> after foley, the qataris probably moved very fast. they wanted to show a victory. they needed to. because if this -- if it goes really bad, syria and iraq, the qataris do not want to be blamed for this. >> reporter: now his family, his
friends prepare for curtis' return. one of his favorite things, road bicycling. >> i can't wait for us to go out on a bike ride in vermont. >> reporter: on a very long bike ride, i take it? >> yeah, maybe. >> reporter: he's already had a hell of a ride. miguel marquez, cnn, new york. >> for nearly two years, nancy curtis, his mom, didn't know where his son was or if she'd ever see him again. tonight, she's getting ready to welcome him home. i spoke to her earlier. >> nancy, first of all, just congratulations. i'm so happy for you. can you take me back to that moment when you first learned that your son had been freed? >> i got a call from the fbi agent who's been working with us the whole time. she flew to the middle east and she called me and said, i'm standing on the golan heights with your son by my side. and he wants to talk to you, but he needs some time to compose
himself. you know, that was all she needed to say. i knew that he was healthy and safe and it was a huge relief. >> did you know that moment was coming? did you know that this was in the works? >> yes. i knew that the agent had gone to the middle east about a week previously. so we had been waiting for that call. but, you know, it was a very, very long wait. >> what is that moment like? after waiting and, you know, so many ups and downs and not hearing for so long -- >> this has been a very long, a very, very long road. and you learn to get over the panic, which is how i felt initially, sheer terror, is what it began, when i realized that he had disappeared. and then, you know, you get -- you slowly come to terms with the fact that he's -- he's gone, he's in danger.
it was a relief to know, after nine months, we heard that he was alive. and, you know, then we had so many people working on the case and we had such support from so many terrific people, that, you know, you learn just to take each hour as it comes. and you cannot live in anguish for years on end. >> you've spoken to your son now? >> yeah. he did call me later that afternoon, after he got to tel aviv, and he was very, very excited. i think it's been -- i think it's been, obviously, tremendously stressful for him, and so to have that fear and anxiety suddenly, you know, taken away, it's just -- >> it's got to be -- >> -- an outburst of emotion for him. >> it's got to be surreal for him to suddenly be in a hotel room in tel aviv. what did he say to you?
>> he said, oh, mom, they're being so nice to me! and they put me in this beautiful hotel and i'm drinking a beer! he sounded over the top excited. >> do you know when you expect him to be back? >> we expect him to be back today or tomorrow. >> wow, that quick? >> yeah. >> do you have something planned? how do you even prepare for something like that? >> you -- just like everything else. you just take it as it comes. i think he's going to be exhausted after a long trip. i can tell you, i'm exhausted. and i think that we'll just be really quiet for a while. >> the deal that freed theo, it was done by the government of qatar. and it's my understanding that you, an ambassador to the u.n. that put you in touch with them. were you -- was that a good moment for you, when you made that contact, or did you feel
like dish mean, did you have a sense that that would lead to something? >> i knew that the united states government was not going to pay a ransom and did not want anybody to pay a ransom. but we were hopeful that the connection to qatar or qatar would be productive, but we didn't know. and they certainly were very gracious and tremendously helpful. but, you know, you have to give credit to all the people that i don't know about in the united states government who have worked hard for two years. >> i understand you have made a contact with jim foley's family. have you -- >> yes. early on, i met diane foley and we have become good, good friends. and we have supported one another. and needless to say, i am devastated by jim's death. and that certainly tempers any emotion that i might have about theo. >> so even in this time of happiness, there is also that sense of sadness?
>> these people are like family to me, you know? i didn't know jim, but i think it sounds as if he and theo had a lot in common. and i know the foley family, they're wonderful people. and i've met the families of the other americans who were held hostage. and i can't tell you how terrible i feel about that. so, i'm relieved about theo, i'm glad that he's coming home, but my emotions are very muted. >> well, nancy, i'm glad you're through it and continue to think about all those others who are being held. thank you so much for talking to us. >> all right. thank you very much. well, just ahead, can the u.s. actually stop isis? we'll dig into that, next. [ female announcer ] we help make secure financial tomorrows a reality for over 19 million people. [ alex ] transamerica helped provide a lifetime of retirement income. so i can focus on what matters most.
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the question is, can they actually be stopped and what's it going to take? joining me tonight from erbil, iraq, is dexter filkins for the new yorker. dexter, do you believe this is the start of a much wider war? that the conflict in iraq and syria, that it's not going to be contained? >> well, i think the war here is definitely spreading, but i think the question -- you know, the question about american involvement and how deep that is going to be, you know, that's going to depend on how big this war gets, i think, is whether, say, the obama administration decides to do air strikes or strikes of some sort in syria, which i think they're considering now. >> do you see, though, other regional actors getting involved as well? >> well, i mean, they've been involved, you know? i mean, the syrian civil war is more than three years old now. everybody in the region has been arming everybody else, you know? the iranians and the russians have been arming the assad
regime. the qataris were arming isis and al qaeda and the other groups, the united states is involved, the turks are involved, the saudis are involved. everybody's in, so i think now it's a question of just how deeply does everybody get in? i've heard you say, the choices for syria in iraq are, there are no good choices. >> so far, the air strikes that president obama have ordered, they've all been pretty limited in their targets. they're basically to stop the advance of isis. they haven't done strikes yet, they haven't decided whether to degrade, really degrade the war-making capacity of isis. >> last week, the chairman of the joint chiefs said that isis will only truly be defeated when disenfranchised sunnis reject isis. the ones, 20 million of them live between damascus and baghdad, start to actually turn on isis. do you see any sign of that
happening? because the u.s. isn't there to pay them, to help them to make that turn, like we did before. >> >> that's exactly what happened during the american war here in 2006-2007. the sunnis who had formed the backbone of the insurgency against the united states turned to the united states and said can you help us with al qaeda? we're sick of them. is that going to happen this time around? man, i don't know. i'm pretty skeptical myself. the americans are not on the ground. so they can dole out a lot of money, but ultimately, you know, you need somebody with firepower and discipline to take on isis. >> is isis really that different from other jihadist groups in your opinion? >> well, i think they're certainly different in their level of psychosis and their viciousness. but they know what they're doing. they're very good. and now of course as they have expanded and as they have rolled into iraq, they've got money. they've got american weapons. they've got humvees. they got everything they need right now.
they may be unbeatable here on the ground, and i think i was in washington recently, and an administration official said to me, the only thing that can stop isis is american air power. and that may be true. and i think that's why -- that's why right now in the white house they're having some pretty serious discussions about this. >> it's one thing for isis to take territory. and they have obviously done a very good job of that. it's another thing for them to actually rule that territory. is that something they have shown any capabilities of doing without turning people against them? >> they've shown themselves sob very smart, and they're very capable. they're also nuts. these are crazy people. and can crazy people collect taxes? they do collect taxes. but can they run electricity and can they run the sewers? can they run the schools? i don't think so. i think that is one of the big weaknesses of isis right now is that they can't govern.
>> you believe they're psychopaths, a lot of these guys in psychopaths in isis. >> a group like isis is a magnet for people who love to kill. and they may have genuine grievances. the sunnis in syria certainly do have genuine grievances. but a lot of these guys, my god, for example, there is hundreds of guys from the united kingdom, from the uk who are fighting here. and these are full of people as the guy demonstrated on the video the other day who killed the american hostage. you know, they love this. this is what they love to do. so yeah, it's full of crazy people. it is. >> i appreciate you being with us, dexter. thanks. >> thank you very much. up next, startling admission from the director of the cdc in fighting ebola and one west african neighborhood forced into quarantine.
well, it's worse than we thought. that's an alarming message about ebola from dr. thomas frieden, the director of the cdc. more than 1400 people have died so far from the virus across west africa. and in liberia, the hardest hit nation, an entire neighborhood in the capital is quarantined. the world health organization announced today that an unprecedented number of health care worker, 120 have died in the outbreak so far. twice that number have been infected. i spoke to dr. sanjay gupta earlier.
this is an unprecedented number of health care workers who have become ill with this virus. do we know why so many? is it the scope of the outbreak? >> i think a lot is the scope. what is interesting is the health care workers are always the first people to get sick. >> right. >> because they don't know at the time that they're dealing with ebola. so at the beginning of an outbreak, you always have a lot of health care workers. but think about this. several simultaneous outbreaks. you have somebody appearing in nyjah. the first people that cared for him, they didn't suspect he had ebola. i think five, maybe seven health care workers got sick within a short time after caring for him. a lot of it is not knowing where the sporadic outbreaks are coming from. but you have 240 infected health care workers. 120 of them have died. >> incredible. >> they are literally risking their lives to do this work. >> and continuing to do it, even though they they know the odds of what they're facing. at the facility you were at, did you have the feeling that everybody was well-trained, everybody knew the protocol?
>> we were with the doctor without borders. they're very well-trained. i was with one particular doctor who had been in previous ebola outbreaks there is almost a feeling of exactly how we get dressed, how we put this protective gear on. you see us doing it there. the goal is to protect every inch of your skin, nothing showing. but there is little things. when you come out, you're kind of blinded a little bit. you have to have a buddy behind you helping to put your gown on and also to take it off. you're being sprayed down. you have to make sure for example now that this hand is bare, you don't accidentally touch it against a part of your suit because that could be a potential contamination. >> just something like like that brushing your hand against the suit? >> this is the thing about ebola when they say it's so infectious. even some on your skin. even if the skin doesn't appear broken could be a threat. we all have breaks in our skin, even if we don't realize it there is little tiny breaks in our skin there was one day a doctor showed me something i could barely see underneath this finger. i've been grounded and i can't
go in until that is completely healed up. they are careful. they're running out of resource. we're hearing stories about people reusing gowns, some of the protective gear. that increases the risk for error each time you do something like that. >> i saw the director of the cdc on the ground in liberia. he reported seeing bodies laying out on the streets. which is terrifying for just not only is it tragic, it's terrifying for the spread of the disease. >> that was some of the strongest language i think i have heard from dr. frieden. he basically said we are nowhere near controlling this thing. we haven't gotten to the point where we can even say we've made significant progress. and corpses lying in the street is a significant concern with the ebola because the virus can still spread from a body that is deceased. a lot of bacterial and other viral diseases, once the body dies, the virus will die pretty quickly after. with ebola, it can live longer. >> and that's one of the ways it spreads is people handling the dead body and cultural practices. >> they wrap the body for a few
days as you know before they will actually do a burial. and during that time, there is a lot of laying on of hands on the body. and that's what they believe. in liberia, as you may know that. >> had a public decree now that the bodies had to be cremated. >> right. >> and it just culturally, that was such a shock. >> sanjay, thanks. >> you got it. thank you. >> well, that does it for us. thanks for watching. ♪ cnn tonight" start news. >> good evening. born in the usa, fighting for isis. what turns an all american named douglas mcarcher mccain into a violent jihadist, for the most feared terrorists in the world? how many more are out there? and what will the president do about the threat from isis. >> america does not forget. our reach is long. we are patient. justice will be done. we have proved time and time again, we will do what is necessary to capture those who harm americans. >> the question is are
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