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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  January 4, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

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yeah? who's peter? well sweetie, he's your great-great grandfather. does he look like me? yeah. yeah? yeah. turn questions you've always had into stories you can't wait to share; with ancestry. we have a quick programming note. before beyonce, before lady gaga, linda ron stadd was the first female pop icon. "linda ronstadt: the sound of my voice" will be airing tonight at 9:00 p.m. on cnn. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world, you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm alex mar quad in today for ana cabrera. as the u.s. steps up its presence in the middle east, officials are on the edge for potential counterattacks from iran, a response from iran or
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many allies and proxies. breaking this afternoon a seen kwor white house official is telling cnn the trump administration told congress it plans to send formal noifrgs today under the war powers act about the drone strike that killed the iranian leader qasem soleimani on thursday. in the meantime our military sources are telling us there are high-level discussions at the pentagon considering whether iranian retaliation could happen already within days. national security officials say they want lawmakers to be clear-eyed, as they say, as mourners fill the streets of many iranian cities to denounce the death of qasem soleimani. now, there are three big questions at least, how will iran respond? how strongly will they respond? and where will they respond? cnn international security editor nick paton walsh is in beirut, our jeremy diamond is live in west palm beach, near the president's mar-a-lago resort. jeremy, i want to start with you.
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what is the significance of the trump administration now sending this formal notification to congress almost 48 hours after the strike? >> yes, well, alex, this is a pro forma process. the administration is required under the law to notify congress formally of any kind of military action and any introduction of u.s. forces into a military theater that could potentially lead to war. that is according to the war powers act. so we are coming right up against that 48-hour deadline. and so the administration, we're now learning from a senior administration official, that that notification is expected to take place today. it is something that will likely lay out the administration's legal justification for carrying out this strike. alex, as you know, this already set off quite a debate in congress that is beginning to bubble back up to the surface about the war power of the president of the united states and whether congress should take any political action.
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you should further expect this notification will further that debate and add to the conversation. >> nick, to you, the secretary of state mike pompeo has said this is a good thing for the citizens of iraq. in fact, he tweeted a video of iraqis dancing in the street. that is not, of course, totally representative of the reaction from the region. you are in lebanon, which is home to one of the biggest proxies of iran, hezbollah. what has been the reaction there in lebanon and from other countries where iran has real presence and sway? >> yes, look, hezbollah here in lebanon, the predominant military and political power to some degree, their leader relatively calm in his opening statements on this, expressing condolences to qasem soleimani's family and saying there will be further victories of the axis resistance because of shedding of soleimani's blood.
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the axis of resistance what hezbollah call the groups in this region backed by iran who oppose the american presence here. you have to bear in mind the u.s. is currently trying to work out exactly if it should expect retaliation now in the days ahead or something more complex and strategic from iran poimly in the weeks and months ahead? we're already seeing some moves by iran's proxies, particularly hezbollah, who were behind, it's thought by the u.s. strike on the kirkuk base that killed a u.s. contractor nearly a week ago now. we are seeing them issue a warning to iraqi military personnel to get out of bases where there were u.s. personnel as well. whether they put any sort of fruition to that threat, we'll have to see in the days ahead. but that's possibly what some anticipated iran's proxies would look to publicly almost show their strength and support for iran. immediately, we do have days of mourning now that we're currently in. qasem soleimani's body will
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arrive back in iran tomorrow and begin a series of moves around that country will that essentially end with it coming to rest in tyroehran. we've seen it in the streets of iraq today, powerful scenes there. when that period of mourning comes to an end, we may see more retaliation but you have to bear in mind iraq is looking for something symbolic and strategic. it may take a little while perhaps to put into effect. i asked a u.s. official if your threat from qasem soleimani was so imminent that you had to strike, does that mean the things he was planning can still be executed? and the response i got was, quote, things will change. essentially possibly the death of qasem soleimani may disrupt the plans he had under way, so say the u.s. to imminently threaten u.s. assets and personnel in the region. the trump administration with a real problem here, frankly. they have consistently poured doubt and scorn often on their intelligence community that they're now relying upon as the basis for their most substantial military and frankly foreign
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policy move yet of donald trump's first term. it's changing the balance of the sort of calculations of everybody in the middle east frankly right now. nobody knows quite what the iranian response will be, how powerful it will be, if the u.s. will have to retaliate and escalate back and whether that could drag the u.s. into war. everybody knows a u.s./iranian conventional military conflict will end likely in iranian defeat. but president trump said he does not desire to be in the middle east indefinitely and that may be the pressure point he pushes upon. alex? >> he's headline he wants to stop a war, not start a war. it's worth telling the 48 hours before the strike president trump got updates on intelligence that showed the threats from iran. jeremy, what else are we learning about the timeline and was being discussed in the hours up to the strike? >> alex, our sources are telling us there was a serious debate inside the administration over what action the president should
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take. vis-a-vis iran. we know, of course, the president had earlier in the week over the weekend ordered those strikes on those iranian proxies in iraq. and following the protest that we saw at the u.s. embassy in baghdad carried out in large part by militia members of those pro-iranian proxies, the president felt that he needed to act further. and that is when the president made the decision to ultimately go after qasem soleimani using this target of opportunity really to go after somebody who previous administrations have considered targeting but ultimately declined to do because, of course, of the risk of serious escalation. there is, alex, still some major concern inside the administration about the risk for escalation as the administration watches iran very, very closely in the days to come as to what exactly their move for retaliation will be. we know that the iranians have, of course, vowed to retaliate. the big question now, alex, and
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there is quite a lot of skepticism that is being cast over parts of the administration's account, specifically this notion of an immeant threat that soleimani and the iranians posed to u.s. personnel and american individuals in the region. you know, we know this administration has cited imminent threat, imminent attacks in the words of the president of the united states, but they have provided very little information about the specificity of the nature of that threat. they've only talked about in broad terms about threats to american personnel in the region, for example, but we don't know yet exactly how imminent these threats were. but that is the insistence of these american officials, but we know, alex, members of congress, democrats in particular, are already raising questions about that and whether indeed, what indeed was the direct trigger for this very, very significant acts? >> lots of gaps that still need to be filled in.
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jeremy diamond in florida, nick paton walsh in beirut, thank you very much. iran's foreign minister in a tweet referred to secretary of state mike pompeo as an arrogant clown masquerading as a diplomat. that's not the only official statement from iran after the targeted killing of their top military leader qasem soleimani. cnn's fred politicen is in tehran. >> the president of iran, hasan r visited the daughter of qasem soleimani and she said who will take revenge for the killing of my father? he said everybody will take revenge, don't worry. essentially saying there will be a retaliation against the united states. he also said he believes the u.s. doesn't realize how big of a mistake they made with the assassination of qasem soleimani. and to sort of reiterate that point, emphasize that point. there were some very significant comments from the head of iran's
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revolutionary guard corps. he came out and said there would be what he called strategic retaliation against the u.s. and that strategic retaliation would spell the he ed of american's presence in this region. observe ougsly talking about the middle east, possibly western asia and afghanistan as well. he said that retaliation would be vast in geography, it would happen over a period of time. of course we know that the iranians have a flurry of proxy forces in the region that are loyal to iran and the iranians have for a very long time also been saying they believe time is essentially on their side. they can do this in the way that they want to at a time of their choosing. so they don't believe they're under any sort of pressure. that's also something iranian military leaders have said as well. the iranians also saying the revolutionary guard quds force, the wing the guard headed by qasem soleimani, will not miss a beat. they've already announced a successor to soleimani. they say they will continue to operate exactly the same way
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they operated before. but, of course, for the time being if you look at tehran and other places as well, it really is public mourning you're seeing from a lot of iranians, of course, very much from the iranian leadership as well. qasem soleimani's body going to make its way through various places in iran. we expect to see more people coming out on the streets and mourning the death of this head of the revolutionary guard's quds force. >> fred politicen in iran, thank you very much. i want to bring in cnn comment tart and former congressman mike rogers who served as chairman of the house intelligence committee. he was a member of the gang of eight, which is that group of lawmakers typically briefed ahead of operations like this. congressman, thank you very much for joining me today. before i ask you some questions, i want to play some sound, some of the assurances we've been hearing from both secretary of state mike pompeo and president trump about this strike. >> the world is a much safer place today. and i can assure you americans in the region are much safer
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today after the demise of qasem soleimani. >> we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. >> chairman, i want to pick up on what jeremy diamond was just saying about the lack of details as to the threats that the u.s. was facing. are you convinced with what we know that there was an imminent attack? if not, what more do we need to learn? >> unfortunately, statesmanship is dead in washington, d.c. it's early days. here's what we know, the intelligence community offered a product to the president and laid out some options. this is what we know publicly. we know soleimani has a long and bloody history attacking american interests. we know he came from damascus, which they were planning activities again american interests there. >> to baghdad. >> to baghdad. and he was planning additional activities there.
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if you're confronted with that information as we know it today, i was hoping in this town we could at least say this was not a retaliation, this was an action by the united states. our lawmakers should have said this was an action by the united states, iran needs to understand it has boundaries. the administration and lawmakers have been back channeling for months. if you continue to ramp up iran and continue to ramp up military exchange and target u.s. civilians and you kill an american, there will be consequences. if we would have gotten that piece, i think there would be an easier discussion going in to now let's look at the intel, let's find out what we knew, when we knew it and what it looks like. right now we're working against our own u.s. interests. this was a pretty tough decision by the president. we're going to need to make sure we're ready for what comes next. however, it means we ought to stay together on this until we know something different.
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i don't like where we're at in the country which is i would not have done it this way, or we shouldn't have done x or x. if you have somebody in the chair saying there's a plan to kill diplomats and american soldiers, and one way to disrupt it is taken out target x, who fwi the way is a foreign combatant later and exploited terrorism, pretty hard to say that and do nothing. we need to understand that. we're condemning the wrong side of this. iran has exported terrorism in a pretty significant way. the houthi rebels in yemen, all of that, thanks to soleimani. the bloodbath in syria, thank you, soleimani. i think we've got to recalibrate here. it's okay to ask tough questions of the president here in the coming days but let's publicly be united in the sense listen, iran, we're not going to take your export of terrorism any longer. >> from the intelligence perspective what's really
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interesting is that we -- the u.s. knew that he was flying from damascus to baghdad as you noted. senator lindsey graham said he was briefed about the operation on monday. the strike took place on thursday. how in practical terms would u.s. intelligence have known he was traveling from syria, where the white house is saying he was planning these imminent attacks, to baghdad where he was killed? >> obviously, there's lots of ways they can do this. they can do it through human source reporting, signals intelligence, meaning their collecting bits of signals intelligence that would indicate those kinds of things. and there are other ways they can do it as well. so some other kinds of surveillance you might imagine. while i'm sure the intelligence community put all of those pieces together and realized that they had some information. he was in damascus and lukely knew that his next stop was baghdad. they figured that out through good intelligence work. sound, good, sometimes detailed nuanced intelligence work.
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and were able to put him on the ground in baghdad. once that happened, remember he goes to an airport where the united states might have other surveillance capabilities, that's i'm sure how they exactly narrowed him down. the most interesting part of that is according to general milley, there was information that they had that he was trying to escalate already violent activity that they were planning. and that's why i think this narrative needs to be important here. yes, we should ask hard questions, but, boy, i think it's wrong to put the american response to an escalating violent behavior and posture by iran as the bad guys. >> and milley saying we would be culpable if the u.s. had not acted on that intelligence. let me ask you, again, as former house intelligent committee chairman, would you be angry right now if you were still in that same position that you had not been briefed as a member of the gang of eight? because a lot of democrats are saying that. >> listen, i think this is part of the credibility problem with
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the administration and a big part of the credibility problem with congress. you both have to act like adults in these circumstances. this is serious. somebody's going to lose their life. yes, i would have been engaged. my counterpart from maryland worked very closely. a great example of that was the osama bin laden raid. we were brought in, in january to go over evidence that we had at the cia along the way, including up to the raid in may, including a preannouncement of the raid. that just doesn't happen anymore. and that's a credibility problem. and so i can't say honestly in good faith if you're sitting in the situation room of the white house you want to run down and tell the house intelligence committee anything that would have to be kept secret, knowing that lives might be at risk. i think both sides of that equation need to rebuild their credibility and get back to the serious business of what is oversight of intelligence. really, the intelligence committee will have a very
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important job here in the days and weeks ahead. it would have been great had they had their input, oversight and kind of thumb's up on this as it went along for the very reason you have public shooting back and forth, shouldn't have done it. people don't know but they're concluding should or shouldn't they have done it? i think that's really destructive to proper oversight. i'm a real institutionalist that they need to be open but they need to rebuild that. >> we just heard from nick they are seeing funerals for soleimani not just in iran but iraq and beb nonand elsewhere. after that there's an expectation there will be some sort of response, in the days, weeks, months to come. what are you expecting in terms of response? >> you know, i think the asymmetric low level, you saw some attacks actually today. there was some missiles fired and mortar rounds fired into the green zone in iraq. that was probably militias tied
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to the brigade or others that were not necessarily sanctioned to do it. i think you will see a lot of offshoots, shia groups across iraq, really trying to get fight into the revenge. won't be that sophisticated. iran i think will take its time. it has a lot of options and more terroristic capability. we've seen them make these attempts and most recently, again, they ramped up their ability in the last 18 months to cause harm and try to till civilians, which by the way resulted in this strike or at least contributed to it, i should say. and then there's cyber warfare aing that. they've become much more capable. we've seen them do huge cyber damage in saudi arabia a few years back. we saw them doing probes of u.s. financial institutions back in 2012 when we thought and analysts thought they might be trying to cause some problems in our financial sector.
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so we know they have good capabilities. this is really the challenge for the national security agency is going to have to step up their game and private security companies around the country will have to step up. my argument is you will see a combination of both. if you really want to have something that the world sees, you have to have some visible event but they can also cause real harm in this cyber warfare program. >> what about the possibility of an attack on the homeland? we do know iran was planning to try to take out the saudi ambassador here in washington in a restaurant. but given the importance of soleimani, do you think they would take that leap and start targeting u.s. civilians here in the homeland? >> remember, and this is really interesting, that was the soleimani planned attack, to kill the saudi ambassador in washington, d.c. in a restaurant. >> and risk killing people in the restaurant. >> and what they said was, we don't care if we kill civilians
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or even senators. i mean, that's what the intelligence brought back. so this was a serious attempt. they didn't care if they killed unarmed, innocent american civilians in a restaurant in washington, d.c. that describes soleimani. it's really important we put this into context. yes, they're going to want to do something. i don't know if they come here first. one thing this has done, and we have to figure out what it means, they recalculated what red lines are. in the last administration, red lines got a little loose. in the last part of the bush administration there were constant decisions to say we've got other issues. we're going to let this thing go. in the iranian mind they had freedom of movement. that's why this guy became a rock star. he travels around in planned attacks and was actively engaged in planning, conducting and orchestrating attacks that killed civilians and apparently getting ready to do that again. you can't take it off the take but my argument is we have to figure out how this has
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recalculated. they do understand the united states is going to operate from strength in this. the u.s. military will look at this as if you ramp this up, this is going to go very badly for you. we told you don't kill americans. you killed an american. this is what happened. let's see if that recalculates. remember in the late '80s, the united states navy sank half of the iranian navy, half. not a lot of people talk about it. we thought this is it. we're going to be on full-on war. they recalibrated, kind of hunkered down and went to an asymmetric warfare model. they realized this probably isn't going to work out for us. we have to find out what is going on in the thinking of the supreme leader in the next few weeks. >> thank you for breaking that down. that word asymmetric is something we will be hearing a lot in the next couple of days. chairman rogers, thank you very much. appreciate it. >> a quick programming note on "state of the union" tomorrow with jake tapper, he's going to be interviewing secretary of state mike pompeo, an incredibly
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important time, as well as the former mayor of south bend, indiana, persian gulf, senator elizabeth warren and house intelligence committee chairman adam schiff. that's all on "state of the union" tomorrow morning, 9:00 eastern, sunday right here on cnn. now in the wake of qasem soleimani's death, questions are being raised about the intelligence that led to the attack to that strike. we're going to be discussing that. plus, as iran threatens revenge, u.s. officials are bracing for iranian cyber attacks. just how prepped is the united states? prepared is the united states? and tens of thousands forced from their homes in australia as massive wildfires continue to burn the country that burned an area 50 times larger than los angeles. all of that coming up. yeah, and he wanted someone to help out with chores. so, we got jean-pierre. but one thing we could both agree on was getting geico to help with renters insurance.
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the trump administration justified the operation to kill qasem soleimani by quote, there was an imminent threat. at the same time we're learning the president has been discussing the deadly attack with his national security officials for months. even former national security adviser john bolton, who left the administration back in december, he said this was, quote, long in the making. with u.s. former senior adviser to president obama's national security adviser joining us as well as intelligence and national security force from "the washington post," shane harris, thank you very much for joining me. the notion of an imminent threat, you say it might not necessarily mean what we think it may? >> in the first instance i want to caution our viewers we do
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somewhat need to have a wait-and-see approach. in my experience intelligence related to a high-value target like qasem soleimani may be highly classified, highly kpartalized and we don't know if it was purely united states intelligence or if it was shared by one of our intelligence partners. that may be part of the reason why it is taking more time to share it with congress and to declassify it. that may be one explanation. the imminent threat characterization, however, is important from two respects. in the first instance, if there was an imminent threat, the key question is whether it had been neutralized or not in light of the strike. and second the immense inent th could speak to the legal justification that the administration is hoping to use with respect to this attack. the administration may be trying to make a self-defense argument as to why they took this approach perhaps under the president's article 2 authorities under the constitution. so when the war powers act
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notification is transmitted to congress, the self-defense element i think will likely be in there because the administration will say this was not just about soleimani's terrorist rap sheet, could could go on endlessly, but trying to defend the united states and national interests from another attack. >> shane, we've not heard many details from the administration about the nature of these various imminent threats against u.s. interests across the region, but our sources behind the scenes describing to you the nature of these imminent threats to justify the killing of a huge figure? >> the closest they're getting to the nature of saying things particularly hundreds of american lives were at risk. we pressed them on what do you mean by that? are you talking about some kind of spectacular or coordinated event that would result in hundreds of lives being lost or do you mean an ongoing campaign targeting americans, which frankly we've been seeing going on in iran with militia groups and frankly we have seen this
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from soleimani for many, many years. we can't get a straight answer to that. as sam said, that could be something highly kpartalized at this time and maybe will be more forthcoming. but what i am hearing is something of a general nature. there's an obvious real credible threat to u.s. personnel and diplomatic and military interests in iraq from iran but i'm not hearing anything new that would tell us something specific and the word imminent that necessitated taking out qasem soleimani. more an explanation for why hitting the leader of this organization of the quds force was going to stop a plot that presumably would have already had agents and other assets in place carrying it out. >> nothing new as you say that would justify the killing of someone like qasem soleimani, which has begged the question, sam, of why now? this is someone who is such a well-known figure, who as many u.s. officials said has the blood of hundreds of american service members on his hands. of course, administrations long
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before president trump, including your former boss president obama, was watching soleimani's movements. why wouldn't president obama have taken him out when he had him in his crosshairs? >> alex, the question is why now but what now? this was a targeted opportunity, perhaps and the administration has given various reasons for why they took this action now. the imminent threat component was just one piece of the prestrike puzzle. they cited the nature of the defensive action and again deterring ongoing future attacks by qasem soleimani. i frankly don't buy that argument based upon the cost benefit analysis here. as you mentioned, previous presidents weighed whether to engage in a targeted assassination of targets like soleimani against soleimani himself and the intelligence community has provided assessments laying out the repercussions for that action. those repercussions include not just a short-term retaliatory cycle, which we're likely about
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to enter but the overall impact this would have on the united states' influence in the region. i know why we didn't do it before. the question is what now? the biggest issue for me, alex, is we don't seem to have a strategy. it is clear we need to more more assets to the region to defend our interests there, our people. we may have to evacuate american citizens, particularly u.s. diplomats, but we have no indication as part of the prestrike deliberations there was any discussion about a diplomatic off-ramp or what this would do as the prospect of diplomacy and for me that's the most worrisome of this picture. >> shane, you and your "the washington post" have put together a timeline what led up to the decision to take out qasem soleimani. what stood out to you in the decision-making process? >> i think there's a spontaneity on the part of the president we
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saw, which is not how unusual with how donald trump makes military decisions, including military strikes. with regards to iran, we've seen that in the past. we've seen senior officials went down there last sunday to talk to him about possible responses, particularly to the rocket attack. the death of an american contractor seems to have actually been quite a triggering event for the president. he told aides before that would be his one line in the sand for him and he had to do something more significant. another thing that was interesting to hear from sources is trump was very aware of having been perceived by some of his critics as weak in previous engagements with iran. we go back to the summer remember when iran took down that su valence drone. there was an air strike ready to go and president trump called it off in the last minute. he didn't like it leaked to the press and he was being seen as indecisive or unwilling to conduct force and didn't want a repeat of that. so he's aware of the unique
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instance here of an american life being lost and also not wanting to be perceived as weak so that factors into his calculation as well. he makes the decision to go after qasem soleimani in fairly short order and that sends his apparatus out trying to prepare not just for that strike and repercussions that i think will be pretty pronounced. >> and in these situations the military will also give the president a menu of options. your reporting his senior officials were surprised he went with this very, very dramatic option. shane harris, sam vinaigrette, thank you very much for joining me. with iran threatening revenge, we will look at the ways iran could threaten the united states in the wake of the deadly air strike. that's next. it's in over 3,000 . i use it to buy makeup... travel... ...clothes, electronics. to me, rakuten is a great way to get cash back on anything you buy. sign up today and rack it up with rakuten.
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iran has vowed, quote, harsh revenge for the assassination of top military qasem soleimani. that could come in the form of potential terror attacks or military strikes or cyber attacks. but iran could choose to go a different route, taking aim that is mentioned at the american cyber infrastructure, even the u.s. economy. for more on that we turn to cnn money correspondent, christine aleschi. >> alex, iran has vowed revenge for the american killing of general soleimani. based on my reporting experts expect iran to try to undermine the u.s. economy. now for one, iran may try to disrupt the global oil market, and that's exactly why oil prices jumped on friday. u.s. crude rose more than 3%
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since september. remember it's a choke hold for global oil flow and the only pathway from oil moving to the persian gulf to ocean shipping routes around the world. and about a quarter of the global energy output flows through there on any given day. tehran can harass oil tankers or block trade routes with military exercises. it could even directly strike oil fields and oil facilities on the ground. in september oil prices spiked 14% when iran bombed saudi arabian oil facilities, disrupting 5% of the daily global oil supply. that said, america has made great strides with energy independence in recent years. as a result iran has been investing in cyber capabilities to attack u.s. companies and systems. and there's already a growing list of examples that demonstrate iran's ability to execute those cyber attacks. for example in 2018 two iranian man allegedly hacked into computer systems at hospitals and knew miss am offices.
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last year, no reported hackers linked to the iranian government tried to infiltrate trump's 2020 campaign. one security expert i spoke to said they're worried about iran targeting airline reservations and traffic control systems as well as health care systems, which would effectively bring hospitals to a halt. now all of these risks have investors on edge and it could add a new dimension to the stock market rally that we've been seeing. investors around the world shed stock on friday and bought the safety of bonds instead. alex? >> thanks to our christine aleschi for laying all of that out. the trump administration is warning that congress -- or warning congress rather iran could retaliate against the u.s. within weeks. meanwhile, as major cities ramp up resources to sensitive locations, the department of homeland security has briefed local authorities and representatives of critical infrastructure companies of potential threat. law enforcement agencies have been monitoring the events in
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iran and police departments in new york city, boston, philadelphia, d.c. and los angeles have all deployed additional resources, while officials in new york city have urged tightened vigilance. i want to bring in cnn's national security analyst and former assistant secretary of the department of homeland security, diane juliet. so good to have you with me today. i want to ask you about something we just learned, the department of security just updated its terror threat advisory, warning of a cyber risk. this is something you have were talking about immediately after the killing of qasem soleimani. what does this notice by dhs mean? >> the color code system has ended. everyone should get that out of their head. in its place we put in the national terrorism alert system, it's called ntas. it's like an intelligence advisory. it doesn't increase the alert level or make anyone do anything, it just sort of is a briefing to the public as well as first responders. this is the first change in a
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long while. i think the last one was last july and it's smart. i'm going to applaud the department of homeland security, which i have been critical of in the past on other issues, because it's focused on what i believe to be the sort of greatest concern coming from iran and from the potential retaliation. less about a conventional attack here in the united states, you know, a bombing or whatever, they may want to do, and more sort of asymmetric threat, going after our critical infrastructure, our systems that make us run essentially. whether it's health care systems as we just heard or aviation systems. the chat everything i shoulleng of those in the united states and other countries are owned by the private sector. it's not like we can as a government say we're going to protect these assets like the military can. we're actually dependent on the private sector. >> what part of our private infrastructure nationally and at
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the state level is most vulnerable? >> so it really is going to depend on what an enemy may want to do. the greatest vulnerability is going to be access to a system that can be brought down. and so we call -- we basically say you don't want a single point of failure. you don't want someone to be able to hack into a system and bring it down in its totality. so we spend a lot of time doing layer defenses. even if something went bad, you would make sure that the whole system, say an electrical grid, didn't go down. so you will have a concern of just sort of access, someone gives a password away, someone opens up a link, that sort of cyber hygiene we call it in terms of employees. the other is a traditional hack for want of a better word, just having a sophisticated intelligence agency like we might have with iran come in and be able to get into a system. in particular the systems i'm most worried about with the
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russians, i'm worried about election systems. here i'm worried about aviation systems, just to bring the system down as well as electrical systems. i think we've seen iran's interest in that in the past. it would just wreak havoc and might be hard to attribute to them. we may know they did it but it would be hard to attribute to them. >> this is something you and i talked about in terms of sewing chaos around elections. this, of course, could be a play book for how iran could respond in the wake of the killing of qasem soleimani. thank you so much for your expertise. and we'll be right back. tom: my mom always told me
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actions speak louder than words. she was a school teacher. my dad joined the navy and helped prosecute the nazis in nuremberg. their values are why i walked away from my business, took the giving pledge to give my money to good causes, and why i spent the last ten years fighting corporate insiders who put profits over people. i'm tom steyer, and i approve this message. because, right now, america needs more than words. we need action.
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southern california is home
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to hundreds of thousands of iranian-americans. it's the second largest iranian population in the world. now cnn's nick watt is in los angeles with their reaction to the death of qasem soleimani. >> okay, citizenship, fill out this form. >> reporter: as a citizenship seminar for iranian immigrants here in l.a., no one would talk to us on camera or wanted their case shown. >> a lot still have families there. their chance for their security to be in danger is high. >> reporter: many immigrants we spoke to say they watched on tv the brutal repression of anti-government protests that swept iran back in november. human rights organizations say at least 400 protesters were killed. here in l.a., qasem soleimani is not mourned. what's your first reaction? >> happy. >> reporter: we're in westwood,
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akatarangeles. there are some older generations who fled here after iran's resolution in 1979, again, they declined to speak on camera, even thousands of miles away in death soleimani's shadow still haunts. a man born and raised here preferred we not use his last name. >> it was definitely a huge shock because of the magnitude of who qasem soleimani is. >> reporter: for those who long for regime change back home, there is now more hope. >> i'm sure this is the first step for freedom probably. just looking for hope. >> reporter: but despite the u.s. president's words -- >> we did not take action to start a war. >> reporter: now a real fear of war. >> so many iranians have memory from war, and their memory from war is still alive. >> reporter: in the 1980s iran and iraq fought a brutal protracted conflict that killed
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more than half a million. >> i think a lot of us know what iran is capable of and we don't want iran to have a chance to show the world what that is. >> reporter: nick watt, cnn, los angeles. in australia devastating wildfires are scorching the country and now three massive fires have merged into one and are burning an area larger than manhattan. that's coming up. it was a life changing moment for me. i had no idea that my grandfather was a federal judge in guatemala. he was an advocate for the people... a voice for the voiceless. bring your family history to life like never before. get started for free at ancestry.com
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firefighters in australia are scummi icoming off of perha worst day yet. in victoria, three separate fires have combined into one giant ablaze, now the size of manhattan. the death toll is now at least 23 people. on fridaythe navyevacuated about 1,000 people from the coastal town. troops also working for rescues residents from other threatened areas. lynda kinkade has more on that are efforts. >> reporter: fleeing on foot
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armed with a few bare essentials -- clothes, blank either, pets. >> down to the shore, and it's something i want to forget. >> reporter: an escape by sea for this group of people forced to leave their homes after bush fires cut off the town of mallacoota. the navy is disdeployed. >> the response required is to get the boots on the ground, get the planes in the air, the ships out to sea. >> reporter: and a compulsory call-up of army reservists to help carry out the largest peacetime evacuation in the country's history. further north in new south wales, people, pets and livestock forced to seek refuge on a beach. this nationwide crisis started back in september. the prime minister continues to face backlash over the response. firefighters around the country
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battling hundreds of fires are exhausted and angry. >> tell the prime minister to go and get [ bleep ] -- >> now. >> reporter: and this season started very early. it's dragged on for months and id widespread across australia. with at least another two months of hot summer weather to come, firefighters fear there's no relief in sight. lynda kinkade, cnn. understandably lots of anger and fear. thanks to lynda kinkade. for ways you can help those affected by australia's wildfires, head to cnn.com/impact. robinhood believes now is the time to do money.
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here, it all starts withello! hi!... how can i help? a data plan for everyone. everyone? everyone. let's send to everyone! wifi up there? uhh. sure, why not?
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how'd he get out?! a camera might figure it out. that was easy! glad i could help. at xfinity, we're here to make life simple. easy. awesome. so come ask, shop, discover at your local xfinity store today. the house definitely holds to the position that we should call witnesses. what would the witnesses add? >> the need for witnesses is so basic and fundamental to our truth-seeking system of justice in this country. >> we didn't know whether there were going to be live witnesses, whether there would be any witnesses. >> we're not afraid of witnesses, but we do want fairness. >> the big uncertainty was is monica lewinsky going to be a live witness? is she going to be sitting there in the well of the senate on
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national, global television saying those things? >> i never expected to be on -- and i'm not kidding you. >> if that what happened, would the democrats stay with the president? >> good morning, sir. >> we were worried and we had reason to worry. don't miss wolf blitzer's special report tomorrow night at 9:00. that does it to me. "s.e. cupp unfiltered" is up next live after this quick break.
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welcome to "unfiltered." here's tonight's headline, this is 2020. trump starts off the new year confronting the two most consequential things any president can face -- the united states according to some could be on the brink of war, and donald trump is personally on the brink of an impeachment trial. let's start with

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