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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  August 29, 2014 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT

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people laugh. >> i think i'm working the best i've ever worked now. the only time i'm truly happy is when i'm on a stage. >> reporter: and now her show has been cancelled tonight and there are shows scheduled for september. they are not canceling yet. >> thank you. and erin burnett "outfront" and erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- "outfront" next, a dire warning, isis forcing the uk to raise its terror alert. is the united states homeland at risk too? terrifying documents in what's being called isis' laptop of doom. manuals on building bombs and spreading the bouw bonnic plague. and two ferguson area police officers off the force tonight. the actions during the michael brown protests that landed them
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in hot water. let's go "outfront." good evening i'm ashley banfield in for erin burnett tonight. and "outfront" an urgent new terror alert. fear of an attack from isis is causing the british government to raise its terror threat level from substantial to severe. according to government officials there, quote, that means that a terrarir attack is highly likely. as you may recall the man seen and heard in that horrible isis standing over james foley before and after she was beheaded that man spoke with a british accent. our carl penhall is in london tonight. the british prime minister himself took to the air waves. talk about this significance of that. >> reporter: this is the highest threat level there has been in britain for the last three years
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and brchlt david cameron said that britain is now locked in a generational battle against radical islam, a battle that could take years, could even take decades. he said that the real threat right now although he didn't have in specific threat that an attack was imminent he said it was highly likely that one or several of these 500 or more british jihadists who have headed off to syria or iraq could return home any time and unleash terror attacks on british soil. he said we have to fight that threat in the middle east but he said we have to fight it on the home front in britain as well. what he is proposing and he will put them to parliament next week are measures like withdrawing british passports from british nationals who have traveled to combat zones and pulling their passports when they get home and putting travel bans in place to
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stop young britons from going to the areas in the first place. we are likely to see an upsurge of police presence in the train stations and airports and seeing police patrolling with guns and that's not something we are used to seeing. >> pulling passports and travel bans. that's strong stuff. karl, hold that thought for a moment. the united states and uk are closest allies. and all eyes are on what the american response will be. >> the question in washington was, why is london so concerned when washington is not. u.s. officials saying they have no intelligence there is an imminent, credible attack being planned in the u.s. homeland, britain very concerned. they have about 500 britons who have travelled to the war zone. here in the united states it's
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about a hundred or a dozen or so who have followed the ice sis path. the u.s. law enforcement and counterterrorism officials say they are tracking those people. they have the measures in place with aviation security and transportation measures pretty much in place they can keep track of people and put them on watch lists but they are cautious. it's not ire clad. so you know, this is something that is a growing threat. but the focus in the united states right now seems to be from the administration to do what it can, which isn't much so far, to figure out how to fight isis overseas especially in the strongholds in syria. >> not without your questioning in the pentagon as you were questioning the rear admiral about what the president said today in terms of not having a specific strategy for action inside syria. take me from there and tell me what you got out of the pentagon with regard to how america plans
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to deal with. this. >> you have to ask yourself are we saying there is no strategy that the united states military could not respond at this point if there was an isis attack against the united states either the homeland or abroad. that's not the case. the u.s. military is always ready do. they have a strategy or plans or options? whatever you call it, we asked about this. we really pressed. where are you in the planning? and if the president doesn't have what he needs, what is taking so long? and here's the answer we got. >> planning is an ittive process, barb. the question assumes is it a binary thing where we are ordered to do it and here's the binder and it's -- there you go. it's turned in. >> admiral kirby would be the first to tell you that the u.s.
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military is ready to. go the issue right now remains what does the president want to do what strategy does he want? does he want to deter or degrade or defeat isis? what is the strategy and how do you match that up with the options and the targeting that the pentagon is doing that crucial target planning if and when the president makes that decision to go for the military option. >> barbara starr, thank you for that. and joining me now, cnn global affairs analysis kimberly dozier and p.j. crowley and peter mansour who was the executive officer to david petraeus during the surge in iraq. i have been a war correspondent. i have witnessed american boots on a ground where i had heard they weren't. so do you suspect the americans have a presence inside syria, be
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it spec ops or intelligence gathering? >> there are no uniformed service members on the ground in syria. whether the mccray has operatives there is an open question. if they don't they are certainly trying to get operatives into syria or co opt people who are there. but isis is a very, very difficult kind of organization to penetrate. very difficult even if you don't penetrate it for someone to get information back that is timely. so this is a real problem, intelligence on the ground in syria on this target. >> do you suspect we perhaps have someone now? >> my guess is the cia has sources and the question is how good are they and is that enough? and my guess is that the answer is no. >> kimberly, the americans chased al qaeda for i dare say a
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decade and a half all the way to the pakistan border but did not cross it. what makes this different. we are work in iraq but stopping at the syrian border. >> just to jump in on the earlier conversation through my own reporting i have found that the cia does occasionally send small teams of people into syria to meet with some of their contacts and leave. they are mostly relying on signals intelligence, that's drones in the sky or technical means they leave behind and on also, partner intelligence services, friendly intelligence services in the region just like they did in pakistan. while we have no boots on the ground as the military would put it, we do have u.s. operatives going in and out. now the question is, what does the white house want to do with those operatives? so far it's put forward a plan to start next year to arm the
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syrian opposition. that opposition that we vet. but in the near term what has to be decided is what do you go after? the pentagon can make a range of options here but it's do you go after just isis? do you go after isis and the leadership structure or do you just go after the killers of american journalist james foley. that's what the pentagon needs to know before it moves forward. >> when kimberly says "go after" how much respect should or would be paid to the syrian border? pakistan is a different kettle of fish. we have a diplomatic relationship with pakistan but not with syria. how does that change the metric? >> to correct something we were very involved inside pakistan for a number of years because we have a relationship with that country both military and political. the same is true of iraq. we -- the united states has been
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invited to support the iraqi government and is doing so. syria is no it a permissive environment and the key difference is that the assad government is not part of the solution, it's part of the problem. it's part of what has enabled isis to grow to the force, you know, that it is. but, you know, whatever we decide to do is based on that definition of the mission, the most discrete thing would be to go after those responsible for the death of james foley much like going after osama bin laden. but what the president is wrestling with is you have multiple conflicts and adversaries, the assad regime, isis and hezbollah and others. and the second is can you take effective action that improves the security of the united states without necessarily owning syria and a solution in syria as we did in iraq. >> with that mess in mind,
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colonel mansoor barbara starr tried to get abanswer about a packaged proposal that they could deliver to the white house about what to do about syria. with your background and knowledge do you have any idea what that might constitute. what realistic action that could be? >> we break down strategy into ends, ways, and means. if the ends is to defeat isis, which several administration officials have said that we need to defeat or destroy isis, then you look at how you're going to accomplish that? what are the ways? in this case it would be a conversional ground assault. it would be guerrilla war faer by the free syrian army. and then perhaps a tribalal rebellion on both sides of the
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border we can perhaps reignite and you look at the means to do that and it would be arming, training and equipping those forces, providing trainers and green berets on the ground to meet with these elements and call in air strikes and then it's a much-expanded air campaign on both sides of this nonexistent border. and i'll answer that question, we should pay no attention to the iraqi-syrian border. it does not exist in the area that isis controls. >> peter mansoor, your insight is invaluable. what thousands of jihady documents on a laptop are telling us about the inner workings of isis. a man tazed by police dies that their custody. after the michael brown shooting questions about excessive police
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♪ oh, wait ♪ it's 'cause you make me smile ♪ . tonight an urgent warning about isis terrorists. the uk has raised its threat alert to severe. meaning an attack by the islamist extremist group is highly likely. and now a brand new look into what the terror group might be
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planning. reporters were able to gain access to a lam top that came from an isis hideout in syria. foreign policy is calling it the laptop of doom, end quote. inside more than 35,000 files with details on carrying out a massive terror attack, specific instructions on how to develop biological weapons and how to spread the bubonic plague from infected animals. isis says, quote, use small grenades with the virus and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums or entertainment centers. "outfront" the journalist that accessed that laptop thanks for joining us. first and foremost did you get your hands on the laptop? >> reporter: here's how the story goes, the laptop i got it me and my colleague through a source who is a moderate tribal
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commander. they were attacking an isis safe house in north syria. at a town close to the turkish border they attacked the isis safe house and found a lot of items among them was the laptop. i knew about the laptop and was able to convince the commander to let me have a look at it and then to actually copy the contents of that lap on the on a hard drive. >> and has anyone from the administrations in the uk or in the united states or elsewhere asked you to see the contents you were able to copy? >> i have not been contacted by anyone by the administration, the uk or the u.s. to have a look at the content. what i have here is a hard drive which is 146 gigabytes of material. it contains 35,000 files that is
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more than 35,000 miles and around 2500 fold e. there are speeches of bin laden and there are a lot of speeches, a lot of jihadier y sermons and lot of documents including one entitled biological weapons. >> there is a trove of information that the magazine has outlined. weaponizing the bubonic plague. it is terrorizing to see that sort of thing. but overall what was the most alarming aspect of your find? >> the most alarming thing was the document on the biological weapons. it's a 19-page document. the title is in red, biological weapons and in it, they describe
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how to basically make biological weapons and how to make the bubonic plague and how to weaponize it. they go in details about where you can get certain bacterias and how you can cultivate it in labs and transmit into the human beings and animals first and then into human beings. they say the advantage of biological weapons is it can kill a lot of people at a very low cost and they actually staid three ways in which they would distribute. they speak about through air, food, and through water. >> let me ask you this, so much of what is happening right now is military but also political. i wonder if you had the philosophical discussion about the credibility of the laptop itself given the fact it is turned of to you from a rebel group that was fighting isis. this is the kind of thing that
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would make them appealing to the americans or uk in the fact of getting money or support in fighting isis. >> i'm positive about that the laptop belongs to isis. in addition to that, in the laptop we found exam papers of the owner of the laptop. the buy is from tunisia. the number of his identity card is written on one of the papers and it says he studied chemistry and physics in tunisia. we contacted a university and they confirmed he studied there and left in 2011 and they don't know where he went. the employee at the university told me out of the blue that you'll find his belongings in syria. and indeed that was the destination where this guy eventually left to. and you know, joined isis to fight. >> it's a fascinating piece in
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your magazine. thank you for taking the time to talk to us about it. jenan mousa thanks. and paul, i'm sure you overheard the content of that interview. it's not as if we have not heard of these kinds of finds made before specifically when it came from al qaeda who tried to carry out these attacks. but do you see as isis as a different animal with more money, recruiting and savvy? >> if first thing to say is there is a big difference betweens a separation and research and any sort of capability to pull off an attack with chemical and biological weapons. while al qaeda were experiments in places like afghanistan in the 1990s, isis now controls urban areas in iraq and syria. so may have some access to
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laboratories and hospitals and medical facilities. it's also attracting a lot of recruits from the middle east, some with scientific backgrounds and it has a lot of money. so in some respects, isis is a different creature but most experts think it's a long way off from any sort of capability to weaponize biological and chemical agents. >> paul, are you surprised at the answer when i said has any administration reached out to get a look at the goods and she said no? >> i imagine she will be getting a phone call very soon. >> but they don't necessarily get access. the reporters have to protect their sources and they are not readily willing to turn these kind of things over. >> there is one thing, protecting sources and another thing when they are quite specific things mentioned in these documents, that of course will be of interest to the united states and other
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intelligence agent scies. >> the reporter says she called the universities in tunisia and got a response and by the way did you find these things in syria. does that mean now because of their work there is a whole new investigation to try to track down this chemically, you know, highly educated in physics owner of that laptop, be him dead or alive at this point? >> this is just one isis fighter who is a tunisian guy, we understand. but someone who could have been doing the research on their own, not necessarily an i 'tis program. and he got chemistry knowledge from studying at university. that is a long way off from being a is chemical and biological weapons expert. >> and i want to dove tail on what you said that isis controls territory in a way that al qaeda never did. they were hosted by the taliban and didn't operate with complete
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freedom necessarily in all of the facilities, especially in afghanistan but this is very different. they were in control of mosul. they did have access or you would assume they had access to the kinds of places they could carry out some of this work but still the work is not easy. >> it's not easy. for them to sort of get this kind of capability. very difficult for non-state actors to launch a chem/bio attacks. the worry of course is that isis at a certain point could start acting more like a state actor if it can keep control of the strongholds and territory in iraq and syria. >> and you are not seeing if they are behaving like a state actor they will have other state friends. >> that's right.
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>> clearly we have heard iran suggesting this is not the kind of player they want to be involved with. "outfront" next, a man in handcuffs is tazed by police up to 13 times and then dies in their custody. so are the officers to blame for his death? and also an update on the ferguson area police officer who is suspended for this. threatening protesters by pointing his rifle at them. takt 2 aleve for all day relief. peanuts! peanuts! crowd cheers! sfx: sounds of marching band and crowd cheering sfx: sounds of marching band and crowd cheering so, i'm walking down the street, sfx: sounds of marching band and crowd cheering just you know walking, sfx: sounds of marching band and crowd cheering and i found myself in the middle of this parade honoring america's troops. which is actually quite fitting because geico has been serving the military for over 75 years. aawh no, look,
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two ferguson area police officers are off the force tonight following their actions in the protests of michael brown's shoots deaths. one officer was caught on tape threatening protesters. >> hands up. i'll kill you, get back. >> lieutenant ray albers resigned after being suspended last week. the other was fired after posting controversial comments on facebook like, protesters
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should be put down like a rabid dog. he has apologized for his posts. and five people who were arrested filed a $40 million federal civil rights lawsuit accusing the ferguson and st. louis county police forces of excessive force. danny, tell me if you think there is merit to this kind of lawsuit given that there was a protest that lasted for days and police are given a wide birth on use of force when dealing with protesters. >> i read the complaint and one of the things it mentions is the michael brown shooting as a context for the cause of action which, i certainly -- helps to set the stage but does not do much to advance the claims against the defendants and
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here's why. suing the government, suing the police is always a difficult proposition because of what we called qualified immunity. so police officers are generally protected from their actions and missouri courts have basically said in missouri, the federal circuit court has held that qualified immunity will protect anyone but the plainly incompetent. the police officers are given wide deference to make arrests and as long as they didn't do something that was clearly and plainly an error in judgment at the time they will be immune from suit. is very, very difficult to sue the police for arrests and things they do in their official capacity. >> let's just say and without a lot of the evidence that the plaintiffs have good evidence i read through the case and i noticed they named several john does. does that become problematic when you don't have a name or a badge to attach the allegations
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to? >> not at all. when you don't know the name of a defendant the plaintiff's attorney covers their bases by naming john does yet to be named and they can say we knew there was somebody but we didn't know who it was. it is safe risk averse pleading when you are filing a complaint. >> stick around. i have another case i want you to comment on in a moment. is it a disturbing story involving the use of tasers in a suburb of threaten. a family has fired a wrongful death suit against the city of east point after the man died in police custody last april. police were responding to a domestic dispute and forced to chase after towns once he fled the scene. after stopping him, towns was handcuffed and according to the lawsuit he was tazed up to 13
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times when he refused to cooperate with officers demands that he walk to the cruiser. one officer was fired. but no criminal charges have been filed in this case. claudia towns is gregory's mother and she joins me with her attorney chris stewart. if i could begin with you, mr. stewart. could you outline the merit you think this case has given the case that police protocol does allow for the police to use tasers when the suspect is not being compliant and in this case, mr. towns was not being compliant but did not suggest he was need in medical attention or show any sort of medical distress. >> that's the key thing, what you just said, "according to the officers" that's one of the main problems is according to the officers they used their stun
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guns five times. we got open records from the tasers used that day and found it was triggered 14 times. we're not taking what the officer said at the scene as truth until we find out what happened. but we do know is they violated their own eastpoint policy regarding use of a stun gun. they are not to use it on a hand kufd individual to prod or make them walk. and that's what they did. >> given the fact that the medical examiner in this case said that the cause of death was cardiac disease caused by conducted electrical stimulation but four months later there is still no criminal case. there are still no charges in this case. i'm going to give statements from the police in this case. the eastpoint police said they're not commenting pending this potential litigation and the fulton county district
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attorney says that the matter is still under investigation. the lawyer for one of the officers did give us a statement saying that officer weems is appealing his termination and did not cause mr. towns' death. that is a very tough battle in terms there is no criminal case for you to sort of base your wrongful death suit on. do you feel this will be an uphill battle for you? >> i think it's one of the very rare clear cut situations. we have their policy they violated and it just came out today from a source that the internal affairs investigation done after this incident found that both officers violated excessive force during an arrest and violated the use of a no non-lethal weapon which is the taser. which is amazing that we didn't know what was in the internal affairs investigation report until today. >> why do you think there are no
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charges? >> i think that the fulton county da's office is looking into it. i have full faith they are conducting a full investigation and will bring it to a grand jury. even if they don't it's not going to stop us. >> and ms. towns, let me express i'm very sorry for your loss and no mother should ever have to go through this. i don't know what the process it for you at one point grieving and another point seeking justice. what do you see as justice in this case? >> at this case, we're still investigating. and we're still looking forward to justice. from a criminal point of view as well as a civil point of view. >> and if you don't see charges in this case, do you think that you'll be satisfied if you can at least go forward with this
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civil prosecution? with this civil case? >> i won't be satisfied until we get justice. and not just for gregory. but for all the people. for all races. we need justice. not just in the south. but worldwide. >> i appreciate both of you. >> stop the violence. >> i appreciate you both of you. and i'm sorry for what you're having to go through, ms. towns. and i would love to be able to continue this conversation as this progresses. thank you to both of you. >> i want to point out clearly as well. this has been a very big issue with excessive force and the use of force when it comes to police and suspects, all of the people in this case were black and this wasn't a necessarily a race issue. it's not being brought up in this case as the suspect and the responding officer were black. but i also want to bring in
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danny sevalos to go through these issues as well. when you have a case where there's no charges as i laid out already, the autopsy report called this a homicide and still no charges, four months of investigation, do you see a civil case as having an uphill battle? >> every civil case against the police or governmental entity has the same qualified immunity problem that we talked about before. it's exceedingly difficult to sue the police. when it comes to use of tasers in handcuffs the courts are all over the place. but one general rule you can apply is prior to getting a suspect into handcuffs courts will decide that force including use of tasers might be more reasonable than once a suspect is in handcuffs. however you can imagine a set of facts where a suspect may still require some form of submission and courts are all over the place. defendants which are usually
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government entities or taser companies often take the position there is a causation issue. they take the position that the taser actually caused the death and they get into scientific expert studies. but believe it or not, causation is often a hotly disputed issue and that is specifically whether or not running an electric current through the human body is the direct cause of cardiac aresist mia. >> i'm always fascinated by causation. and this mr. towns did have other medical issues. he had hyper tensive cardio vascular disease but the manner of death from the medical examiner's report is homicide use of drive stun conducted electrical device by police. that is hard to get around.
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>> well, it is and it isn't. when we're talking about the medical examiner he's not the prosecutor. any time you have a death from other than natural causes it has to fall into other sub sets. one of those is homicide. that is that one human killed another. in the case of police officers they may kill and it may be justified. certainly the medical examiner's conclusion is important but on the other hand it does not mean a legal charge of an unlawful killing. again, officers enjoy -- and i mean that in the legal sense that qualified immunity which shields them from most liability that most of us civilians would be exposed too. >> the stun gun may have contributed to the death but that doesn't mean it was used erroneously. danny, good to see you, thank you. and "outfront" next, comedy
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legend joan rivers in serious condition. just a year after another health care. we are live at the hospital where she is being treated. a california man thought photographs taken by his late wife were forever lost until two detectives used a very ordinary image to connect the dots. she inspires you. no question about that. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right.
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comcast business. built for business. comedy legend joan rivers is in serious condition after suffering from cardian arrest on thursday. her condition remains serious but she is receiving the best treatment and care possible. rivers remains hospitalized at mount sinai in new york city tonight. and we are live outside of the hospital right now. so what has been the reaction from her many, many fans? >> reporter: so many of them, ashley and it's safe to say because of the sparsity of information they are holding
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their collective breath. one fan saw her show on wednesday night here in town and he is hoping now it's not her last. joan rivers appearing fit as a fiddle and in full outrage comedy mode wednesday night. even joking about her own death. >> she looked out at the audience and said you know, i'm 81. you know, i could go at any moment. i could just go over. i could just go over right here and you all look down and think it's part of the show. >> reporter: this pic was snapped from his front-row seat. he even got this one with the queen of mean just after the show around 9:30 p.m. he says she was the picture of health. >> this was a classic joan, tough, funny, bizarre, outrageous. >> the best i've every seen her. i was really surprised that she just gave everything. >> reporter: hours later, thursday morning she was at a
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facility specializing in digestive disorders at 9:30 a.m. she stopped breathing, went into cardiac arrest and was rushed to mount sinai for emergency care. >> how shocked were you when you heard the news? >> absolutely. the world turned upside down. 911. >> reporter: in recent days the 81-year-old had been in tiptop form. here she is taking the als ice bucket challenge last week. >> everybody having security. security! >> love you, joan. >> then there was rivers walking out an a cnn interview. >> stop it with you do this and you're mean, you're not the one to interview a person who does humor. sorry. >> are we serious? >> feisty and tough as ever.
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love for the sharp-witted rivers coming out. >> so looking forward to joan rivers' jokes about this. >> her fans agree. >> joan rivers is necessary. we love her. we love you, joan. >> reporter: her fans certainly do love her. she has done thousands and thousands of shows. she was supposed to have one tonight. there are others that are scheduled coming up in september. venues are not cancelling them yet hoping she will get better. >> thank you miguel. coming up next a camera stolen from a grief-stricken man and the detectives who cracked the case for him.
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that is how it's done. truly amazing! get in the hole-in-one sweepstakes. enter today at and you could have your mortgage paid for an entire year. a picture is worth a thousand words and for a california man already broken hearted over the death of his wife, the pictures on a stolen camera taken from their home was worth so much more, they were prizeless. >> she's my best friend. she obviously is the woman i love. >> reporter: it's difficult for dave lacey to put into words his connection with his wife erica so it hit him hard when one of her treasured items was taken in
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a burglary. detectives nabbed the burglars, caught with a stack of stolen goods and receipts from this pawnshop where they hawked items taken from homes. >> we weren't able to track down really anything because none of the serial numbers of these items showed up in the system as stolen. >> reporter: this is where the story usually ends, the bad guy is nabbed, stolen goods received, though it is difficult to trace and return them to the original owner but in this case the detectors couldn't let go. >> so okay, great, now we can look. >> reporter: they were looking at pictures on a stolen camera. >> i started thumbing through it, it was apparent that it was a camera that was special. there was photographs of a funeral. we all take personal pictures, selfies but this didn't appear to be a selfie. this is something you would keep for 40 or 50 years or for the rest of your life. we have to find out who this he longs to.
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>> reporter: how? they had no name, only these images. >> as i flipped through the pictures, i noticed a wall that just a brown wall. that's when i went i think i know where this is at, let's go. >> reporter: how do you remember a beige wall? >> i can't explain it. when i saw the picture, i correlated my previous memory with a picture i saw and brought us here. >> reporter: they were parked outside dave lacey's house. it wfwas erica's camera that wa stolen. she was an armature photographer, a hobby to fill the days as she fought cancer. >> that was his wife. >> yes. >> those were the last moments he had with his wife. >> correct. >> i thought it was a joke at first, to be honest. i had given up all thought of recovery. >> reporter: it had been a year since the camera was stolen and
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somehow the burglars, the pawnshop, no one erase those precious images. >> i almost feel like, you know, someone was watching out for me. just to get it back. >> reporter: you feel like she was looking out for you? >> yeah, i feel like she still does. it makes things easier. >> reporter: a connection where words fail, it's the pictures that speak for themselves. >> we'll be right back. oohh, you got it!o i love the looks of it. (sound of garage closing) nobody touches my dodge dart, jake johnson not even your best friend slash neighbor?
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no one i can still get in craig i'd like to see you try all i'd have to do is roll in, dude. let's see it i choose not to right now come on indiana common, let me in. let me in! mmmm let me sit in the car mmmm ♪ don't touch my dart ♪ [music] jackie's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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-- captions by vitac -- i'm ashleigh banfield. thanks for joining us and have a great weekend. ""ac 360" starts now. i'm jake tapper filling in for anderson cooper. islamic terrorism embodied by isis. the terror threat level is raising to the top. more on that in a moment. as of now, the u.s. department of homeland security says it is not aware of any specific credible threat to the united states, but officials at all levels of government have been saying for weeks now that isis is not to be taken lightly. barbara starr joins me now. >>