tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN August 21, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
brooke. what happened was, some of the tactical unit police officers started chasing somebody in the crowd who had thrown a boggs bottle at them. and suddenly the police officers were mixed up with the protesters. we had a lot of police officers working together. and some of them aren't used to working side by side. and some of them have never done crowd control before. this particular police officer comes from a very small police department, perhaps maybe shouldn't have been out here in this crowd. but he obviously got spooked. and i walked right by him as he was saying those horrible things, threatening to shoot people if they came close. and as you know, he has since been suspended, brooke. he will not be out there again. >> glad you mentioned that. he has been suspended, indeed. steve cast ten bomb, thank you so much for being there. let's stay in ferguson as we roll along, top of the hour, i'm brooke baldwin. the national guard has been ordered out of ferguson, missouri. it seems cooler heads are prevailing in the city that has really become this flash point of protests, that clashes with
police. overnight, though, i can tell you those protests were mostly peaceful. arrests, just six. that is minimal compared with the dozens arrested over previous nights. one of the them charged with restoring calm is highway patrol captain ron johnson. cnn's don lemon rode along with him, saw firsthand how he is interacting with the people of ferguson, missouri. >> not that many people out. it seems to be under control. what did you do right since two days ago? >> i think that first, the community did some things right. the clergy, the elders came out, and didn't allow agitators and criminals to amass themselves within the group. and they are actually pointing them out to us. they were helping us. they were moving away from them and not having the same activity. so really, the community did it. >> i'll be like young man, come here, let me talk to you for a
second. i might stop and listen and see what you have to say. but when you are jumping on me and i feel animosity, i feel like i'm doing your job today then. >> so it's how somebody approaches you. you would respond. >> like we already committed a violent crime or something. they're approaching us like you caught me selling dope or something. you just pulled me over, okay? i pulled you over because your pants are sagging, can you pull them up? okay, i can pull them up, officer. no problem. pull your pants up! man, look. man, what? >> you saw don there, joining me now from ferguson. can we go back to the initial question you asked of captain johnson when you said, sir, what have you done right, did you listen to his answer? he's not taken -- at least it seems to me, not much of the credit. >> yeah. he's -- and that's the kind of guy he is. he's saying it's a coordinated effort and talked about the community leaders being out. he talked about his officers being out.
and listen, you know, he's -- when you -- you know, i like to call him the velvet glove. because he's clearly in charge when we go around. and if he doesn't like something from his own officers, they were blocking the street with their cars. and he got out and said listen, i need to get out and handle this. saying we don't need all these cars there, we don't need this much presence here. you have the cars, you have the presence. move out of the way. don't block the traffic. and people really respond to him, because he gets out, he talks to people. and he meets people where they are. and that's very important. that's real community policing, brooke. >> you know, you're out there, you're talking to people. we are hearing different accounts too of the shooting of michael brown some 11, 12 days ago. anderson just talked to a man by the name of michael brady, his own account. but i have to imagine, and you've been, you know, a journalist for a number of years, knowing that there have to be other people who have witnessed this shooting and they are just simply not coming forward, because they're afraid. >> yeah. we spoke to a witness much like
anderson spoke to -- he said, listen, i saw some of it, he hea i heard the shots and as i got there i saw sort of the aftermath and what was happening after. and there were people there already there with their cameras, already out there on the street. and i know some of those people. they have not been interviewed by police. because they are afraid of the police. they don't want to get involved. and also they don't want the media attention. but quite frankly, the number one thing they say to me is, they're afraid of the they don't want any retaliation from the police. because of the interaction that they have had so far. they just don't want to get involved. and i mean, that's a sad statement about kind of the relationship between police and the community. really shouldn't be that way, brooke. they said that police -- this is according to them. we're taking people's phones and asking for their facebook ktsz accounts and those sorts of things. that could be part of the investigation to figure out what happened much but to some people it issin it tim dating to have officers do that. >> keep telling those stories,
don lemon. find the truth what happened in ferguson. thank you so much for all of your reporting. >> thank you. what exactly happened between michael brown and officer darren wilson? at this moment, it's still a mystery. and now another witness to the shooting has come forward here to cnn. i want you to listen to what he describes as what he saw. >> by the time i get outside, he's already turned around, facing the officer. he is -- he had his arms under his stomach and he was halfway down like he was going down. and the officer lets out three or four shots at him. >> this new account differs from what we have heard from previous witnesses. for one, michael brown's friend, dorian johnson, who was there. he says after being chased brown turned around with his hands up, told the officer he wasn't armed. then we heard from a woman by the name of tiffany mitchell.
she says officer wilson was shooting, just as soon as he got out of his car, while chasing michael brown. we have heard from pj crenshaw who took that video, the aftermath from her balcony apartment. said michael brown was running away while the officer continued firing at him. and then let's be clear, this wasn't an eyewitness account, this was at least a secondhand account of officer wilson, calls herself josi. she called into this radio station, said brown shoved wilson back in the car, and grabbed the gun. she says officer wilson was acting in self defense as he shoved brown away and shot at him. sources familiar with the investigation confirm, that account does exist. so joining me now, mark o'mara, cnn legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. mark, we've touched on this before. but since we have run through, specific combinations examples of these different accounts, and no one knows the real version of events, and we actually may never know of these accounts,
which seems most credible to you? >> it's so difficult, because if you look at them all individually, they all have a commonality, which is that there was a difference of a distance between the officer and mike brown. so that's going to be significant, according to how far away he was when the shooting occurred. they do have mike brown turning around. that is significant, because either it's to surrender or it's to attack. that's a big point. this most recent witness, if he had a videotape showing what he just said he saw, that would be devastating to the officer. because if, in fact, mike brown was almost crunched over, maybe in reaction to the first shot or second shot, and was going down and he continued to shoot, then that's not appropriate. an officer is allowed to shoot to protect himself. but has to believe that he's in fear of great bodily injury. and though it's difficult to decide when that happened, and when it dissipates, stand 15, 20
feet away falling down probably does not give rise to fear. >> aren't you also as an attorney, if and when this goes to trial, looking at each oi witness or looking at each witness and determining the attachment, the relationship of the victim, in this case, michael brown, and that final account from michael brady appears he is, you know, unattached to the situation. which i would think would increase the credibility of his version of events. >> well, it would. it's according to how far we're going to dig into credibility issues and attachment issues. because if i was a criminal defense attorney in this case, one thing i'm going to be looking at is, look, there is suspicion in the streets. blacks against cops and cops against blacks. and if that suspicion impacts on how a person perceives an event that the cop is always at fault or the black is always at fault, that is going to affect the way they testify. so we as defense attorneys look at all credibility issues, including what the subtle biases
may be and also how they fit into the forensic evidence. >> okay. what about this grand jury? i understand the prosecutor has extended an invitation to this police officer, darren wilson, to testify. no one has heard from him. so would it behoove him to accept the invitation or not? >> you know, again, i said this to you a couple days ago. it goes against migraine to say this as a criminal defense attorney. but an opportunity to present a defense to a grand jury in a case like this may be a good decision. because after all, only the officer can say what exactly happened, what that officer was reacting to. so i would probably wait until i get more of the forensic evidence. look at it, see if it comports with my client's decision and then may actually take the outrageous chance of having him testify before a grand jury. >> mark, just quickly, will that initial autopsy -- will the information be made public? >> oh, yes. that's part of the ongoing
discovery. remember, we all want it right away. but the prosecutor should take control of his case and move forward. if he wants to go to the grand jury, so be it. that information doesn't need to become public until it's asked for. but we will see the autopsy at some point. the grand jury will see it probably before we will. >> okay. mark o'mara, thank you so much. on the legal aspects of this whole thing. next, new questions about police force as this chilling new video has surfaced showing the death of an african-american man just a couple miles from ferguson. this is the video contradicting the police account we heard from several days ago. we'll discuss that. and at any moment, the secretary of defense will address the beheading of an american, and what the obama administration will do in response. all of this as we learn isis militants demanded $130 million before his murder. this is cnn's special live coverage. you do a lot of things great.
you're either too far from the curb. or too close to other cars... it's just a matter of time until you rip some guy's bumper off. so, here are your choices: take the bus. or get liberty mutual insurance. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. see car insurance in a whole new light. call liberty mutual insurance. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. let's talk about this new cell phone video that has emerged. in this video, it shows two police officers shooting a young black man in st. louis. kajemi powell was killed tuesday a couple miles from ferguson. police say powell walked out of the convenience store, had energy drinks and doughnuts they say he didn't pay for. police say once outside, he came at them with a knife and in less than 20 seconds after they arrived on the scene, they opened fire. they killed him.
so we have that cell phone video of the shooting. it is very graphic. so we have chosen to freeze the footage right before powell is shot. but the audio continues. so you can still hear nine shots being fired. >> the police are going to pull up. y'all are from the police? they're ganging up. they've got a gun out. >> get your hands out! >> shoot me! >> oh [ bleep ]! oh [ bleep ]! oh [ bleep ]! they've got their guns out. >> damn! >> oh, my god! >> let me bring in jake tapper, host of "the lead" joining me from ferguson. jake, i know you went to the
scene of that shooting. what did you find? >> well, it's interesting. i think the knee jerk response of most people who are not familiar with police work at all is, oh, my god, that's horrifying. he doesn't look like he could have really done anything to those officers. isn't there another way they could have dealt with it? what i learned by going there, and also talking separately to many police officers is the following. first of all, the distance, as viewed in that video are very difficult to discern. we recreated the scene or we tried to recreate the scene. we pulled the car up, the police car up to where we thought it was and an eyewitness said no, no, no, it was far different than that. it was back about five or six feet. that five or six feet is significant. second, there is a general rule that police are instructed when it comes to self defense and this individual, of course, did have a knife. no one disputes that.
and that is, just because someone is not within arm's length does not mean they don't pose a threat. and, in fact, it's a rule of thumb for some officers, if somebody is 21 feet away and your gun is in your holster, they can get to you with a knife before you can draw and stop them. so it is -- i'm not trying to justify the shooting. obviously, that's a matter for an independent review board. >> right. >> but it is a lot more complicated than i think it looks, necessarily, on that video, which is, again, from about a quarter of a block away. >> everything you're saying corroborates. i had all kinds of questions for a former cop last hour and he corroborates everything you just said. so what about business owners in the area? what are they saying about all of this? >> first of all, they knew him, this young man, mr. powell. and, you know, there's a lot of regret that the days of community policing are over.
where people don't know, hey, this is a young guy from the neighborhood that is troubled, and the police would automatically know that, because they spent so much time in the neighborhood. a lot of regret that there weren't people there to take care of him, and take him home and tell him, you know -- put the knife away, go home. another thing that i heard from business owners is they're worried about repercussions. because obviously, some of the business owners there called 911 because he was stealing things, allegedly, and, of course, had a knife and was behaving erratically. they called 911. they didn't call 911 to have him killed. they called 911 to have the situation taken care. and they are fearful of repercussions from criminals, from looters, from angry people in the community who might take out their anger at what happened to this young man, to this 23-year-old with a knife on them. and not on -- not on police or not in a more satisfying, healthy, constructive way,
brooke. >> something i called into question on the show yesterday, and clearly just based upon what police are saying he said, not entirely stable mentally, and wondering if anyone had even addressed that with him. jake tapper, we'll look for you at the top of the hour on "the lead" live from ferguson, once again. thank you so much. and coming up next, something else that really struck me about all of this. if you've been listening and watching our coverage, you have attorneys, you have civil rights leaders there. they're using words like "execution." and "murder." when we don't have all the facts in this case, nancy grace has some thoughts. she will join me next. plus, quick reminder we're watching and waiting to hear from the secretary of defense, discussing the gruesome beheading of that american this week. and the failed mission to save him. this, as the former cia deputy director says he's afraid isis-trained westerners could attack in the u.s. stay with me. you're watching cnn. [ female announcer ] rock a 3d white smile. with crest 3d white luxe toothpaste.
[ female announcer ] need to hire fast? go to ziprecruiter.com and post your job to over 30 of the web's leading job boards with a single click; then simply select the best candidates from one easy to review list. you put up one post and the next day you have all these candidates. makes my job a lot easier. [ female announcer ] over 100,000 businesses have already used zip recruiter and now you can use zip recruiter for free at a special site for tv viewers; go to ziprecruiter.com/offer5. so at this point we know attorney general eric holder has traveled to ferguson. he can say that fbi agents have made, quote, unquote, significant progress into the investigation into michael brown's death. he also says it will take time to do it completely. holder promises that his civil rights investigation will be fair and that is definitely comforting news for some people in ferguson, including, actually, michael brown's parents, to whom anderson cooper
spoke a little while ago. because there is a separate investigation being conducted by the county that a lot of people in this ferguson community just don't trust. so to hln's nancy grace we go. and a couple questions for you, nancy. first, we know that this grand jury has begun to convene. but why is it that apparently, you know -- this officer -- we may not find out if he's fully charged until mid october. why? >> well, i was concerned about that, as well. because the autopsies are done, okay? all the evidence has been gathered unless they want to talk to more witnesses. but all the evidence should be in, including toxicology. it's already come out there was marijuana in michael's system. i don't know that that's either here nor there. but that proves to you that the toxicology results are already in. or i can tell you this much. they could be in if they wanted them to be in. you know, you can put a rush on
toxicology and get them in a week. so long story short, i've been looking at it. you know, i'm not suggesting this is what's going on. but this grand jury is done toward the end of september. and i'm just wondering if they're timing this indictment to come out at the time this grand jury is going to be released so they're out of it. the district attorney is running for re-election. by the time this no bill or true bill comes out, it will be past the time for anybody to qualify to run against him. you know, if you just look at the big picture of what's going on here. now, there's some issues, will the cop testify? you cannot force -- >> should he testify? >> well, in this case, if i were his defense attorney, i think i might let him go in front of the grand jury. because i think he's probably going to be very, very persuasive. he didn't have to, because he's a target. and you have a fifth amendment
right. you cannot bring on a target or a defendant knowing that they're going to take the fifth amendment. you can't just bring them on to take the fifth in front of a grand jury or a jury. but if you are a defendant or a target, you come in and you can plead your case to a grand jury. i think that might not be a bad idea for him. on the other side of the spectrum, the prosecutor, the elected d.a., has been attacked because he's a crime victim. his father was a cop. gunned down in the line of duty. and he wanted to be a cop. but he lost his leg to cancer. and he said being county prosecutor was second-best to being a cop. a lot of people are angry about that. and i personally resent that on the state side. i'm a crime victim, does that mean -- >> your perspective. >> yeah, are all my prosecutions, thousands of cases i handled no good because i'm a crime victim? so i recent what they're saying about the d.a. my main concern is this grand jury and i don't think it should take until october to get a true
bill or a no bill. >> okay. something else, though, that struck me just sort of watching all of the coverage. i keep hearing the words "execution" and "murder." and these are words being used by michael brown's attorneys, by civil rights leaders who have taken the trip to ferguson. we don't even know the official account from this officer. he hasn't been arrested. he hasn't been charged. do you think those words are fair? >> well, you know what, when you look at a fact scenario, everyone looks at that scenario differently. and according to michael brown's family, this was a murder. i have seen some of the autopsy photos, and some of the evidence. and i will say that i believe the police officer has an uphill battle here. you know, i kept saying, if you can just show me the autopsy results, i can tell you what happened. i don't need an eyewitness. but surprisingly, after hearing
some of the autopsy results, it's even more murky right now. it is going to depend on eyewitness testimony. >> okay. actually, nancy, we're getting some breaking news and i would love for you to stand by on this. but first, let's go to don lemon with news on the condition of this officer, officer darren wilson. don, what are you learning? >> okay. we're learning some information regarding officer darren wilson's supposed injuries that we have been discussing and talking about here. one of those injuries that has not been reported by cnn but it's making its way around other media organizations and also on the internet. here's the thing. so according to a source close to the investigation, the officer, darren wilson, did go to the hospital after the altercation and the shooting death of michael brown. he did have x-rays done. he had a swollen face. but the x-rays for a broken or a torn eye socket came back
negative. that source says it is not true at all. he did not have a torn eye socket. and so he is saying that unequivocally denies that, saying it did not happen. but he did have a swollen face. he did go for x-rays. and that is the very latest on that. but he said obviously there was some sort of scuffle, brooke, because, you know, it was swollen. but that eye socket tear -- it's called a tear or rupture or fracture to the orbital lobe. >> so sources saying he did not have a broken or fractured eye socket. nancy grace, this is another example of rumors flying in this whole story. what's your reaction to hearing yes, he had the swollen face, but his eye socket was not fractured. >> one thing i would like to ask don, if you don't mind. did you say it was a ruptured eye socket? >> it was -- yeah, i can hear nancy. they're saying it was a ruptured or fractured eye socket or
broken eye socket, correct, according to my producer. and they're saying that's not true. the only thing -- the only injury -- and nancy, he had x-rays. so whatever it was, a broken or fracture, whatever it is, it's not true. saying the only thing he had was a swollen face. that's the only injury that is reportable right now, nancy. >> that's consistent with what darryl parks told me at the very, very beginning, when we talked by phone and when he reiterated to me last night that there was a scuffle between michael and the police officer, and the officer might have gotten punched in the case. he might have fallen. but he told me from the get-go that there was a scuffle with the officer, so i'm not surprised at all. and i really don't know if we're going to know for sure what any of this is, or the truth of it, until it comes out in court. >> okay. okay. don, thank you. nancy, thank you both, as well. so again, just reiterating, no broken eye socket from this officer, according to this source. thanks to both of you. we'll stay on this breaking news out of ferguson. also have to talk about the
secret mission where we're now learning inside of syria to rescue americans from isis terrorists. the only thing is that mission failed. and so now we are awaiting secretary of defense, speaking at the pentagon about exactly what happened on that night in syria. stay here. you're watching cnn. moderate to severe is tough, but i've managed. i got to be pretty good at managing my symptoms, except that managing my symptoms was all i was doing. when i finally told my doctor, he said my crohn's was not under control. he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. and that in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief. and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers,
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expecting to hear straight from the pentagon. details of this daring nighttime military rescue mission inside of syria in the sands of northern syria this summer that failed to bring home american journalist, james foley. foley was gone, according to u.s. officials, when the special forces landed in the desert and battled they're their way to this oil refinery near raqqa where they hoped to find foley and perhaps other americans held hostage by isis. weeks later, we now know james foley is dead. his shocking execution having stirred both deep concern and anger among americans. as we await secretary chuck hagel and joint chiefs chairman martin dempsey at the pentagon, we'll bring that live, let me pursue another strand to the story. because a story -- the story out today says ransoms paid by european governments to isis have become one of the terror group's biggest sources of income. did you realize that?
perhaps their biggest source of income at all, and that is where they're getting their money, from ransoms with these hostages. i want you to take a listen to this interview, this gentleman from erin burnett "outfront." >> kidnappings are working. the al-qaeda affiliates have raised $125 million from kidnappings in the last five years, $60 million alone last year. france denies it. germany, spain, other countries, they pay ransoms. there were journalists from france and spain who were held with foley by the islamic state. ransoms were paid for them. they are home safe now. jim foley is dead. >> now, at one time, jim foley's captors reportedly set a ransom of $130 million. but did not get it. didn't get the ransom from the family, not from his employers. and not from the u.s. government. united states says paying ransoms to terrorists only encourages more hostage-taking. and as we await, a reminder, secretary hagel and martin
dempsey, we have michelle kosins kosinski, cnn white house correspondent and bob mcfadden, former special agent in charge of the naval criminal investigative service. so michelle kosinski, first to you, the administration is on record saying it did not want to disclose the secret operation to try to rescue jim foley. but they are doing so anyway. tell me why. >> reporter: yeah, i know. and whenever you hear that, i think there are always -- you know, everybody wants to be a skeptic and get to the heart of the information. and you want to say, really? did the white house not want to get this out there, possibly to show that a significant rescue attempt was made? but i just had a lengthy conversation with the senior administration official, saying that the reason the administration now is not even confirming or denying in many cases some of the details that have already leaked out is because they say it is not outside the realm of possibility that there will be another rescue attempt in the future.
and also, they insist they did not want the details to come out, because they say at the time of this extraordinary but ultimately unsuccessful operation on the weekend of july 4th, the isis fighters were not even 100% sure that the people they ended up fighting there on the ground were americans. and that now knowing that, that could change isis reactions. and this official explained that the risk of the u.s. losing the intelligence path that it's been following to try at least to get to these hostages is a very real risk. they say they have access now to several streams of intelligence coming from them in regards to the situation. and this operation in particular wasn't solely related to those military advisers, as they were called. remember, up to 300 military advisers that were authorized to go into iraq, remember, not syria. but that was only days before this operation happened. so the official is saying this
wasn't directly, solely related to the intel gathered by those advisers, but that was a part of it. so they do have multiple streams, but they point out those streams of intelligence are difficult at best and also conflicting. i also found one other point that was extremely interesting, was that officials say they know the number of hostages that they're dealing with here in the cluster. and that one other, at least, including steven sotloff, is thought to be american. brooke? >> okay. i was -- wondered if there was a precise number on it, mentioning just other hostages, potential future rescues, also talking about the potential for future brutality with bob. because we know isis is threatening now to kill this other american hostage, steven sotloff. and i don't know if the government would ever tell us exactly how many people they believe to have hostage. but we're talking potentially, what do you think, several other americans? >> well, some of the reports coming out that there may be two or three more.
but as you rightfully point out, extraordinarily sensitive information about those things. and what's going on deep behind the scenes to try to, one, work the intelligence as to where they are, because rest assured, when american citizens are in this type of situation, there is always a great, great effort to -- but even the number that might be involved, very, very sensitive matter. >> even just talking about the -- hate to say like a price tag, but what these militants are demanding for the lives of these different hostages, the fact that it is not u.s. policy to pay ransom. but yet we have seen other examples in just reading about this today. france has done it, spain has done it. has there ever been an internal conversation with u.s. intelligence considering changing policy or not at all? >> i don't know about any discussion. but i would be very, very doubtful of that. u.s. policy has been consistent for a long time. there will be no negotiation for ransom money. same with the uk, the policy has been consistent. as you mentioned, some of the
european countries and entities oh -- >> let me cut you off. let's go live to the pentagon. >> by the isil. as the department of defense confirmed yesterday, earlier this summer, the united states attempted a rescue of a number of american hostages held in syria. including jim foley. we all regret that mission did not succeed. but i'm very proud, very proud of the u.s. forces that participated in it. and the united states will not relent our efforts to bring our citizens home and their captors to justice. jim foley's murder was another tragic demonstration of the ruthless, barbaric ideology of isil. isil militants continue to massacre and enslave innocent people. and persecute iraq sunni, shia, and kurdish minority populations. given the nature of this threat,
at president obama's direction and the request of the iraqi government, the u.s. military has provided assistance to iraqi security forces in order to protect u.s. personnel and facilities. and support iraq's efforts to counter isil, in addition to providing humanitarian assistance. american air strikes and american arms and assistance helped iraqi and kurdish forces blunt isil's advance around erbil where american diplomats and troops are working. and helped the iraqis retake and hold mosul dam. a breach of the dam would have threatened the lives of thousands of iraqis, as well as americans in our facilities in baghdad and prevented the iraqi government from providing critical services to its citizens. the united states led an international effort to address the humanitarian crisis and unfolded at mt. sinjar. as there continues to be an
acute humanitarian need elsewhere in iraq. the u.s. appreciates the partnership of the united kingdom, canada, france, italy and australia. and the united nations in helping provide relief. i expect more nations to step forward with more assistance in the weeks ahead. overall, these operations have stalled isil's momentum, and enabled iraqi and kurdish forces to regain their footing and take the initiative. as iraqi and kurdish forces continue to take the initiative, the united states will continue to support them. but addressing the threat posed by isil to the future of iraq requires political reform in iraq. the country's peaceful station of power last week was important, and the united states will continue urging iraq's new prime minister to establish an inclusive government that is responsive to the needs of all iraq's citizens.
the united iraq will be a more secure and prosperous iraq. political reform will make it harder for isil to exploit sectarian divisions. the united states and the international community will increase support for iraq in tandem, with political progress. the president, the chairman and i, are all very clear-eyed about the challenges ahead. we are pursuing a long-term strategy against isil, because isil clearly poses a long-term threat. we should expect isil to regroup and stage new offensives, and the u.s. military's involvement is not over. president obama has been very clear on this point. our objectives remain clear and limited. to protect american citizens and facilities, to provide assistance to iraqi forces as they confront isil, and to join with international partners to address the humanitarian crisis. with that, i'll ask chairman
dempsey for his comments and then we'll take questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. as most of you know, i just returned on sunday from a trip to vietnam. and today i have my counterpart from singapore visiting. on vietnam, it was quite remarkable to be in vietnam 40 years after our departure from vietnam. to discuss opportunities for a new relationship. building on our historical investment and the incredible sacrifices of those who served there. my engagements in the region reinforce that we have our shoulder behind the rebalance to the asia-pacific, even as our military confronts challenges in other parts of the world. in fact, on sunday, i'll depart for afghanistan. which brings me to iraq. under the command of general lloyd austin, our efforts in iraq have included to date seven humanitarian air drop missions,
delivering 636 bundles of food, water and medical supplies. more than 60 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sorties daily, each day. and to date, 89 targeted air strikes conducted by united states air force and united states navy aircraft. these air strikes have protected u.s. persons and facilities and helped prevent humanitarian crisis. as iraq's political future takes shape, i would emphasize that enduring stability will depend on achieving a credible partner in the iraqi government that must commit to being much more inclusive with all of its population than it has been thus far. and with that, i would be happy to take your questions. >> mr. secretary, in your comments, you mentioned that isil's momentum has been stalled recently. and you said nonetheless, you expect them to regroup. my question is, isil, where they
started, is in syria. i know you described a strategy of enabling the iraqis, both politically and militarily to draw back their gains in iraq. but they do have a sanctuary in eastern syria. what is the strategy if it's not to go root them out inside syria? why not go that route? >> first, going back to your point about my statement on what our objectives are, which i just restated in my statement. i would also say, in addition to that, that -- and i think the president has been very clear on this. that we continue to explore auto options. regarding isil. and how best we can assist partners in that area. the middle east, particularly in iraq. against isil. you all know that in the
presence request for a $5 million anti-terrorism fund -- $500 million in there to assist an opposition. that's what we're looking at. that's what we're doing. and we will continue to stay focused, as i said, on what we're doing now and explore all options as we go forward. >> the options you refer to include air strikes across the border. >> we're looking at all options. barbara? >> i wanted to ask both of you specifically about the hostage rescue mission. you both have talked extensively over the years about protecting. even if you had -- were told the news media was going to publish an article, which is what the state department says, you repealed it because you thought the media was going to publish something. why specifically did both of you -- both of you answer -- why did you think it was a good idea
to officially acknowledge in detail the classified information -- classified mission about a hostage rescue when there are still american hostages there? are you worried that this has risked other hostage lives? will you now have a weak investigation? and was this intelligence failure, this mission? why did you both think it was a good idea to do this? no one has ever seen either of you do this before? >> why did we think it was a good idea to -- >> publicly acknowledge a classified mission for a hostage rescue. a statement came out of this building about it last night. >> to start with, there were a number of news outlets that were aware. of the action. of the raid. and it was a decision made by the administration, which we concurred with, to address the
mission. recognizing everything that you said, there's always risk. there continues to be risk in every action or inaction we take. also, the administration had informed the families of the hostages of this effort. so, it was the decision and it was unanimous that we should, in fact, acknowledge this effort without going into any of the specifics of it, which as you know we'll not. as to your question was this a failure of intelligence, no. the fact is is you all know, intelligence doesn't come wrapped in a package with a bow.
it is a mosaic of many pictures, of many factors. the enemy always has a say in anything. the fact is that you have to always work that reality in to any decision that you make, but the underlining objective was to do everything we could as the president has said, to rescue these hostages, knowing that their lives were in danger, clearly in danger. it's the responsibility of our government and our leaders to do all we can to take action when we believe there might be a good possibility of, a good chance to make a rescue effort successful. this operation, by the way, was a flawless operation, but the hostages were not there. so we'll doll everything that we need to do that the american
people would expect from their leaders to continue to do everything we can to get our hostages back. >> do you think that -- do you have concerns that hostage lives are at risk? was it a good enough reason that the news media was going to write an article about this, and do you believe this was an intelligence failure? >> the military -- i provide military advice. military advice that was rendered in response to your question was as long as sources and methods are not revealed that it would be a policy decision on whether to release the information of the raid. as to whether it was an intelligence failure, i agree completely with the secretary of defense, the mission was executed flawlessly after a significant period of preparation and planning and rehearsal. and the -- it turned out that
the hostages were no longer at that location. >> you believe they were there at one point? >> i do. >> both address this, talk about the long-term strategy against isis. secretary of state john kerry said they will be crushed. the president calls them a cancer. if that's the case, why are u.s. air strikes so narrowly focused and so limited, and why have you delayed providing heavy weapons to the kurds? it seems rhetoric doesn't match u.s. efforts today. >> well, first of all, we are providing a tremendous amount of military assistance to the peshmerga through the iraqi security forces. it is one country, and there's no question that we have accelerated. matter of fact, all year long, we have been accelerated all the requests made by the iraqi government for lethal assistance and equipment and we continue to
do that. as to the comments made by secretary kerry and the president and we all share the same evaluation of isil, as the president has said, i've said, the chairman's said, secretary kerry has said, the defeat of isil is not only going to come at the hands of air strikes. one of the things that i noted in my comments here at the beginning of this press conference was an inclusive government in iraq is essential as to how iraq and the united states and all our international partners are going to also have to deal with isil. military kinetic actions, air strikes are part of that. but it's bigger than just a military operation. and our efforts as we have executed the president's
strategy on this, are specifically targeted just as the president has said for the reasons he said. but we are working with international partners, we're working closely with peshmerga and the isf. we are doing everything we can within the confines of our influence to assist and recognize as we've said to deal with isil there in the middle east and also recognizing that it is a threat just as we've all said. but it isn't going to just come as a result of air strikes. strategically, there are limits to how much you can accomplish with air strikes, tactically you can accomplish a significant amount. i think we've seen that. i mentioned in my comments here. so it's the broad scope of activity and actions that we are -- >> the peshmerga still said they haven'tent received the heavy weapons that they requested, and you're creating a task force, i understand, on that? >> a task force for the equipping effort with the kurds,
yes, the secretary has a task force that oversees that. they have begun to receive supplies not just, by the way, from us or regional partners but also from the government of iraq which incidentally is not to be discounted as a significant moment with the possibility that there will be a single state of iraq in the future, and we are providing, you know, those that were conducting assessments in those joint operation centers have continued to evolve. so this isn't just about air strikes. >> margaret? >> general, do you believe that isis can be defeated or destroyed without addressing the cross border threat from syria? and is it possible to contain them? >> let me start from where you ended and end up where you started. it is possible ob to contain them. i think we've seen that their momentum was disrupted. that's not to be discounted, by the way. because it was the momentum itself that had allowed them to
find a way to encourage the sunni population of western iraq and the province to accept their brutal tactics and their presence among them. so you ask, yes, the answer is they can be contained, not in perpetuity. this is an organization that has an apocalyptic end of days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated. to your question, can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in syria, the answer is no. that will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border. and that will come when we have a coalition in the region that takes on the task of defeating isis over time. isis will only truly be defeated when it's rejected by the 20 million disenfranchised sunni
that happen to reside between da moss cuss and baghdad. >> and that requires air strikes? >> it requires a variety of instruments, only one smarl part of which is air strikes. i'm not predicting that will occur in syria but it requires the application of all the tools of national power, diplomatic, economic, information, military. . >> karen? >> talking about isil in syria, my question is for both of you, mr. chairman and mr. secretary. do you have any information that there is a link, a relation between the assad regime and isil? as you may know, it the assad regime has been striking isil for the last few months. do you see yourself on the same page with the assad regime and do you still believe that assad is part of the problem or he might become part of a broader
solution in the region? >> well, assad is very much a central part of the problem. and i think it's well documented as to why. when you have the brutal dictatorship of assad and what he has done to his own country, which perpetuated much of what is happening and has been happening in syria. so he's part of the problem. and is much a part of it as probably the central core of it. as to your quell regarding isil and assad, yes, they are fighting each other. as well as other terrorist groups very so fis fisticated terrorist groups in syria. >> he is absolutely part of the
problem. >> kevin? >> sir, can you address the charges of mission creep of iraq going beyond helping humanitarian, beyond protecting americans to directly going after isil whether through the iraqis or not? does the pentagon believe it has the authority, have you talked to the general council for what you're doing now or do you need any additional type of authority going forward for what you would like to be able to do? >> well, to start with, the president's been very clear on mission creep, and he's made it very clear that he will not allow that. this is why he's been very clear on what our mission is. we comply with the war powers act. and inform congress how many people we have. of course, we will consult with our council all of