tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 2, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
state. they released this video today. they have beheaded steven sotloff. this video has a title "the second message to america" and appears to show the brutal execution of the 31-year-old journalist. we need to be clear here, as we're getting new information at this point, the pentagon is not confirming any reports on steven sotloff. secretary rear admiral john kirby was asked about that and this is his response. >> we've all seen press reporting about the potential murder by isil of mr. sotloff. i don't have anything to confirm it today. obviously we're monitoring it as best we can. and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the sotloff family who has endured incredible hardship and suffering just by virtue of his captivity and being held
hostage. i can't confirm those press reports right now. >> british prime minister david cameron has released a statement. he's saying sotloff's apparent death is, quote, an absolutely disgusting and despicable act. keep in mind the contents of this second beheading. it was just two weeks ago isis threatened to kill steven sotloff and we saw him in that video if president obama did not back off on air strikes in iraq and it was in that video of the beheading of james foley. in this video that we're focusing on today involving steven sotloff in the final moments of his life, sotloff spoke directly into the camera. he said he is, quote, paying the price for u.s. intervention and considering he was a captive, it is likely that those words were
scripted for him, by isis, by these terrorists. sotloff's mother made a desperate plea for her son's life just last week. shirley sotloff spoke directly to the leaders of isis saying her son was not responsible for american actions in iraq. joining me now, correspondent karl penhaul is live in london and he's seen this video. karl, athena jones, terrorism analyst paul crookshaink. paul, let me begin with you. you've seen this video. tell me what you saw. >> it's a video of about 2 minutes and 45 seconds, brooke. we see steven sotloff once again in an orange jump suit, the type of uniform that guantanamo bay uniforms would have worn. the man is holding a combat knife in his left hand and he appeared in the james foley
execution video two weeks ago as well. from what we can tell, these two videos do not appear to have been filmed at the same time. they are filmed in a very similar style. seems both were filmed with two separate cameras but there are a number of differences that indicate that the sotloff video was filmed much more recently. first of all, look at sotloff himself in the video two weeks ago, his head was pretty much shaven and didn't have much of a beard. in the video today, he's got more hair on his head and the stubble of a beard growth as well. a number of days have definitely passed there. also, the man speaking in a british accent or apparently a british accent refers to bombings around the mosul dam but, more importantly, around the northeastern iraqi attorney around amerli. as said in the pentagon press briefing a few moments ago, it took place late saturday into
sunday and so if the audio and video was recorded at the same time, that would put this video, the timing of it and the timing of steven sotloff's execution at sometime just after sunday. also importantly, in this video we hear the executioner waving his knife and saying, obama, back off, just leave us alone and then we see him grabbing another apparent hostage by scruff of the neck, a man identified as david haines and the implication that he's next on the list, brooke. >> you mentioned the mosul dam and the strikes over the weekend in amerli and the mass terrorist holding that knife mentions exactly that and we have a little bit of audio. i just want to air this. >> because of your insistence of continuing your bombings in amerli and mosul dam despite our
serious warnings, just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> it is chilling. it is maddening to listen to this. paul crookshanink, hearing a similar british accent as in the james foley beheading video, your read on this? >> brooke, this is not just a message to the united states, to the white house, but also a message to isis supporters around the world. they are extremist supporters and that message is, we're not going to take this lying down and this is going to be the way we retaliate. >> we have just gotten a message
from steven sotloff's family. the family knows of the video and is grieving privately. the family is awaiting the authentication of the video. >> when we talk about the air strikes, this is the most recent round of air strikes over the weekend in amerli, correct? >> reporter: yes, brooke. those strikes were a game changer. amerli was the seize for more than two months. the u.s. warned of a massacre if isis got in there. they had been mobilized to go
and break that siege of amerli but they were having trouble getting in there. north of baghdad was under the control of isis since june. on saturday night and into sunday morning when you saw the u.s. air strikes, the u.s. said those were in conjunction with the aid drops to facilitate the humanitarian mission. within a few hours of that, brooke, the siege of amerli ended and militia entered the town. they have been allowing these troops on the ground to make advances and roll back the gains of isis. >> so a game changer over the weekend. part of this greater larger air strike campaign that we've seen playing out in iraq but not in syria. let me pivot to you at the white house, athena jones, because you
see this isis fighter, this terrorist speaking once again to the president saying essentially back off, back off of these air strikes. the president has been criticized, particularly when he met with his national security team last thursday when asked specifically about potential air strikes in syria, the president said he didn't want to put the cart before the horse, that he had no strategy and he's been criticized since. what is the white house's response to all of this? >> well, first of all, the reports of the killing, the second beheading of an american journalist, were coming out during the white house press briefing. white house press secretary josh earnest responded to those reports. if we have that, let's play what he said. >> i have not seen those reports today. it may have just happened in the last few minutes while i've been standing up here. this is something that the administration has obviously
been watching very carefully since this threat against mr. sotloff's life was originally made a few weeks ago. our thoughts and prayers, first and foremost, are with mr. sotloff and his family and those who worked with him. the united states, as you know, has dedicated significant time and resources to trying and rescue mr. sotloff. i am not in a position to confirm the authenticity of that video or the reports at this point, obviously since i just walked out here. this is something that will be analyzed very carefully by the u.s. government and our intelligence officials to determine its authenticity. >> of course the community is, working as fast as they have to confirm this but it's very similar to the video we saw just under two weeks ago during the beheading of james foley. we'd be surprised if it wasn't
authenticated and it's going to talk about the pressure of both sides of congress on this president to put together a plan that he's hearing from even democrats like dianne feinstein questioning whether he's taking too cautious and an approach to figure out how to deal with iraq but also in syria. brooke? >> thank you so much. we're going to hear the comments from steven sotloff's employers. in the wake of the first beheading of james foley, you know, we started to discuss and i think it's worth reminding viewers, the u.s. policy when it comes to not paying ransoms for these americans, for these prisoners when held by these groups like isis.
some countries are willing to pay millions to rescue their own. why is that? >> well, you'll have to ask them that question and they have certainly been criticized that this is incentivizing terrorist groups to take europeans hostage because it can be a big money-making thing for them. over the last five years, al qaeda affiliates have raised more than $100 million. >> paul cruickshank, thank you so much. athena, karl. i have brian stelter waiting in the wings. we're learning more about steven sotloff, 31-year-old from florida. what previous employers are sharing with us here at cnn in
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as you continue to follow breaking news here on cnn, i want to talk a little bit about what we're learning about steven sotloff who has been beheaded. steven sotloff was 31 years old who grew up in south florida with his mother, father, younger sister. he studied journalism at university of florida. he took arabic classes and subsequently picked up freelance work for "time" and the christian science monitor as he
traveled to yemen, saudi arabia, qatar, and turkey and eventually to syria. getting more information here on steven so ttloff, i want to bri in brian stelter, host of cnn's "reliable sources." we have heard from a family spokesman of sotloff saying that the family knows of the video and are grieving privately. that said -- >> we'll hear more from the family once they have more confirmation. >> yes. what are you hearing from former employers? >> "time" magazine put out a statement talking about how saddened they are. "steven was a valuable contributor to time and gave his life so readers would have access to information from some of the most dangerous places in the world."
our thoughts and prayers are with the family. he was eager when he was in school, when he was at the university of central florida to leave school and go to the middle east and start covering these stories of, in some cases, the oppressed people that isis claims wrongly to represent. >> that is what shirley sotloff said in that video. >> every murder that isis commits is horrible to see and there have been others, syrians and others executed there. but to see a journalist there who was there to tell their stories, it's worth underscoring, that's what he was there to do, to tell their stories. >> you discover social media here at cnn and you had a family representative of sotloff talking to you last week. >> last week -- this was for a year after steven went missing, there was a lid on his story. any members of press who knew about it didn't talk about his disappearance because the family
thought he would be safer if his disappearance wasn't publicized. but once he was shown in that isis video, they had no choice but to be public about it. when that happens. the family employs various people at various places to try to manage the situation. so i had a person reach out to me saying, we need to reach someone at twitter to get some tweets taken down that we believe may jeopardize his safety. >> as early as last week? >> last week. i think we'll hear about other efforts going on behind the scenes, the same way that we heard that james foley's employers were trying to come up with the ransom money. it seems afterwards that isis wasn't -- was going to go through with their it plans regardless if the money came through or not. we'll hear more about those efforts and the family will have more to say once they've heard more. >> we're just -- the control room is telling us that his high school released a statement.
this is from kimble union high school in maryland. "steven was dedicated to putting human face on some of the most conflict zones." he helped others gain a more accurate and realistic global perspective on issues in the middle east." exactly to your point. >> we should mention when we're showing images on the screen of steven sotloff, we're trying to show images of his life. there are a couple of images that we've decided to show from the video put online but for the most part, we should be celebrating the person he was and the work that he was doing and the reporting that he was doing. even websites that typically show these terrible videos, websites that exist just to show gory videos, some of them said we're not going to show any more of these beheading videos. there's no reason to be showing them and news organizations go a step further and say we're only going to show a couple of still
images and not of the actual beheading because there's really no need or reason to be seeing that. >> brian stelter, thank you so much. more coverage of the life of steven sotloff after this. losing your chex mix too easily? deploy the boring potato chip decoy bag. with a variety of tastes and textures, only chex mix has twenty bags of interesting. pick your mix.
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you are watching krchl nn breaking news here and the apparent murder of american journalist steven sotloff according to the latest isis video released in the last hour or so. no doubt that this killing will bring the same chill to war reporters as james foley's beheading did two weeks ago. my next guest is a peer of steven sotloff, editor-in-chief of the interpreter. we were planning to talk to you, michael, about ukraine but we have to talk about the latest video. first, did you know steven sotloff? what can you share about that? >> no, unfortunately i'm sorry that i didn't know him. i knew his body of work and certainly among journalists, he
was held in high esteem. he was very well-respected. it's just another grave tragedy and i'm sorry to say that this was almost inevitable. nothing that the united states could have done would have stopped this. they have a very specific strategy, which is to inspire and provoke fear and a sense of menace in the united states and in the west. i think it's also interesting, this is speculation, but they didn't do this or release this video yesterday. probably knowing that this was a national holiday. it was labor day and most americans are switched off and not paying attention to the national news. isis, the guys running their media campaign, they put out publications in french, german, every language available. they have very savvy and sophisticated and this goes towards their larger propaganda outfit. people in the west have a hard time getting their heads around this given how barbaric such
activity and behavior is. this is designed to recruit. more people will want to join the ranks as a result of the this video. >> that's exactly what they have been saying, that it's total propaganda and a recruitment message for whoever could be out there and it's interesting that because of labor day they would be thinking like that. because they knew they would have a bigger american audience today. we know that this black masked terrorist with the knife had a direct message to barack obama and this is an urgent message to the west. >> sure. it's the same methodology of the james foley video. a british citizen, according to "the guardian" newspaper, part of a three-man ring of jihadis known as the beetles.
they are addressing the west. they are saying, we have rejected your way of life and your civilization. we have now joined this radical trans national terrorist army stroke state and coming soon to a theater near you. that is the message that they are trying to underscore with this. >> you are in kiev. we know president obama is headed to estonia before going to this -- >> yes. >> the stakes are huge in wales but speaking about the greater since of this global affairs, what is happening where you are, russia, ukraine, and now with isis, the stakes were already obviously high but how does this beheading of the second american -- and by the way, there was a second person in the steven sotloff video we should point. how does this news change the equation and the priority for the presidents at this meeting
on thursday? >> well, probably in the least e enviable position. trying to assure european allies that should russia decide to invade other countries and this has a direct effect. remember, obama's foreign policy is rooted in a very simple principle or understanding, which is unless it directly affects the american national interest, it's really not our problem and now two american citizens have been killed. clearly isis has become our problem. on a final point, he's going to estonia. i thought it was very interesting that the president of the estonia, raised and educated in the united states and very amenable to american audiences, the other day he tweeted what russia has done to ukraine a, quote, invasion. and all of the statements that
i've seen, his was the most robust and he referred to the separatists as terrorists. so i think from estonia, a very small nation of about 1 million people, recent nato ally, very vulnerable to attack from russia and they have tried to stoke up discontent which has a sizeable russian minority population, the president has to affirm thus far no further russia better not even think about it. >> exactly. don't touch the baltic. that's the message as the message is quite cheer and the it's quite clear to the kremlin as far as vladimir putin responds, we wait and see. michael weiss, thank you so much. let me show you live pictures of air force one, as we
hen mentioned, the president is leaving in mere minutes for the neighboring nation to russia and then to that nato meeting in wales. this is a meeting that is being billed as one of the most important since the end of the cold war and on the agenda, not just talking about what is happenings with russia but the latest beheading video, the threat of isis, the islamic state, as they called themselves. much more after this quick break. ♪ eenie. meenie. miney. go.
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just past the bottom of the hour, you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. these are live pictures of air force one on the screen as we're waiting for president barack obama to be leaving any minute now for the trip overseas, including a crucial nato summit beginning with a stop in estonia. to reassure the baltic allies. in response to the crisis so far, nato is expected to approve a rapid strike force for eastern europe. we have matthew chance standing by for us from the estonian capital and glower ria gloria b. matthew, is there a real fear in
estonia that nose military moves could happen where you are? >> well, i think, brooke, there is a very deep sense of concern here in estonia and across the three estonia republics. the three nato members actually border the russian federation it's just about 30 kilometers from where i'm standing right here. there is real concern. not least because vladimir putin has said for some time now that he reserves the right to intervene and protect russian speakers that he feels are under threat in estonia, has a sizeable ethnic population number, about 25% of its 1.3 million people. there have been long-standing concerns in moscow that those russians are not treated fairly. russia is not an official
language in estonia. so it's being seen as a possible motive that russia may support some kind of unrest in estonia. it's one of the reasons, of course, the main reason that president obama is coming here. brooke? >> certainly symbolic before he heads to wales for this nato summit. gloria, to you, as the nato summit happens on thursday, russia appears to be ramping things up ukraine. do you see that as a direct challenge from him to vladimir putin? >> well, he would view it not only as a direct challenge to him but also to nato. this is a president, don't forget, who pushed the reset button with putin. that didn't work out so well for him. tried to establish a relationship with him where their mutual self-interests were involved. that didn't work out so well for him. not only do they have this issue
that matthew was talking about with ukraine but the nato allies are going to be looking to the president for leadership on this question of isis. nato is looking to not only lead on ukraine, he's done that, i would argue, on economic sanctions. but on the question of isis, will the president come out after the second beheading to say that isis is a direct threat to american national security? we don't know the answer to that yet, brooke. he's got a divided advisers on what the appropriate course of action is. all eyes are going to be on him. it could be an opportunity to lead or it could be something else. >> what kind of pressure do you think the administration and cabinets are making these incredibly important decision, what kind of pressure are they under to come up with something
tangible with regard to the isis threat? >> i think they are under a huge amount of pressure whether there were a nato conference or not. the president has always said, we are not going to go this alone so i think he will put pressure on them. but in the eyes of the american pub electric, brooke, 54% of the american public says that they don't think president obama is strong enough, tough enough when it comes to foreign policy. on the other hand, they also don't want boots on the ground anywhere. so they are a little conflicted themselves. but what they want is a president who is decisive and who leads in a direction and who explains to them what the situation is and i don't think we've really heard enough yet about that. >> okay. matthew, let me pivot back to you when you talk about this readiness force, ready to move in and move swiftly when it
comes to russia's movements. what would the trigger be for this readiness force to be used? >> well, it's not clear. presumably it would be some kind of russian aggressiveness towards a nato member. so the baltic states or poland. none of this talk of a rapid reaction force, none of this talk of increased kind of better posturing is going to be much consolation to ukraine. ukraine is not a nato member and, of course, it does not qualify for that so we're talking about military posturing outside of the crisis in u kr n ukraine. it's a huge dilemma for the u.s. president. the risk is that, you know, he
could be seen as indecisive and the western powers could be seen as disunited and that's something that vladimir putin will notice very clearly. >> matthew, thank you. gloria borger in washington, appreciate it very much. coming up next, the terrorist in that video, the isis terrorist, sent a very specific message to the united states. a former cia operative reacts to that. his read, next. denturthan real teeth.erent they're about ten times softer and have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident kills 99.99% of odor-causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. for a cleaner, fresher, brighter denture everyday. but i've managed. ♪
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back to our breaking news here on krchl nn. as we await the confirmation of this video, let me play you a sound bite as we are not watching this video but we have audio from a similar, as we saw in the james foley beheading video, british accented black masked terrorist, murderer. >> because of your insistence of bombings in amerli and mosul dam, you, obama, for your actions we take another american citizen. so just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> bob baer, former cia
operative, let me bring you in. there's a lot to get into when we hear this. but just off the top, beyond the brutality, what is your read on this? >> what isis wants to do is portray this as a war of islam against the west and in tech the united states. isis is cutting the heads off of shia muslims as well. but it's not putting those atrocities forward because it wants to appear to be on organization for all muslims and by going to war with the united states, it achieves a major propaganda victory. and you see more and more, even the taliban in afghanistan is parts of it is swearing allegiance to isis, the islamic state. that's the real fear of the administration, this virus is spreading rather than being contained. >> i mean, you have been part of cia, covered middle east for
decades. and we had talked at nauseaum, for example, about al qaeda. christiane amanpour was sitting here with me comparing isis to al qaeda. she said this is al qaeda squared cubed beyond these two groups. >> i think you're both right. this is something entirely different. you could almost look at al qaeda as a cult. this is much more closer to a sunni uprising which threatens the whole islamic world if it really picks up speed and it appears to be picking up speed rather than egressing because i put hamas, which has fought israel to a standstill. it's that kind of thinking that's so dangerous and i compare it to a prairie fire. you just don't know when it's going to die out. >> just listening, quickly, to john kirby, spokesperson at the
pentagon talking about the air strikes in amerli over the weekend and how the kurds have the mosul dam back but you say the peshmerga are losing? >> i think they are losing. i've seen the corpses being carried back and yes they have been set back at the dam but this is a highly well-officered and they will give up positions to strike elsewhere but not until, you know, the iraqi government takes back mosul and falluja and ramadi will it suffer a setback. >> bob baer, thank you so much. we know the president -- let's go to the live pictures. the president is landing in marine one and then will head to air force one, hop on the plane and head to estonia which is clearly symbolic, one of the
baltic states, neighboring to russia. certainly there is some fear in the baltic states that what has happened there could happen to them and then you will head off to that incredibly important nato summit in wales on thursday. quick break. back in a moment. wouldn't it be great if hiring plumbers, carpenters shopping online is as easy as it gets. and even piano tuners were just as simple? thanks to angie's list, now it is. we've made hiring anyone from a handyman to a dog walker as simple as a few clicks. buy their services directly at angieslist.com no more calling around. no more hassles. start shopping from a list of top-rated providers today. angie's list is revolutionizing local service again. visit angieslist.com today.
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the president at air force base andrews, as he just got off of marine one and is about to descend the stairs to air force one heading first to estonia and then on to wales for that nato summit on thursday. so a lot going on in the world. michael williams, former advisor to the state department, nato, pentagon and professor at new york university joining me right now to walk through everything that we're looking at. you know, i think we should begin with what we've focused on the last two hours, which is this video of this second american beheaded steven sotloff. and to your point, as we watch the president head off to ultimately wales for this nato summit, in terms of the isis threat and coalition building, how does he get other nations on board to help fight this? >> that's a great question. the president will be looking to build a coalition in the wail summit coming up in europe to
deal with the russia situation and needs to look at doing that more widely in the middle east. he needs to consider his options tactically on the ground on what he can do with u.s. military forces, which are the quite quoo limit but also what are the allies are doing. lots of people are complaining about the u.s. not doing something but they're not moving themselves against the organization. and so the u.s. needs to encourage allies again in europe at the wales summit for nato and the russia issue and in the middle east to act against isis to contain this organization. that will be more effective if it comes from an indigenous group. the west feeds knee this narrative of isis against did the united states, of the muslim world against the united states because the americans are imposing themselves on the muslim world. so getting a coalition of american muslim countries as allies in the region to work against this threat is going to be more effective than the president doing something
unilaterally. that might entail unpopular relationships such as with syria and also iran. >> that's something, who knows? looking at your face when you say iran, it's almost unimaginable. they helped with nuri al maliki getting out. in terms of the brutality of isis, hearing bob baer saying this basically al qaeda on steroids in the 90 seconds i have you, how did they evolve, develop, become as sophisticated as they are, propaganda? who taught them? >> in the remaining it 45 seconds? it's a lot of things. we have a global community now where this sort of information is shared easily and allows for recruiting. you can have people who learn through virtual sources and come as we've seen from europe and the united states to train and fight with the groups. you have elements of these fighters fighting in conflicts across central asia, afghanistan and pakistan in the middle for over a decade and also in the
balkans and caucasus, involving muslims against christian communities. the afghan jihadists came to europe and have gone back to afghanistan and now into the middle east. there are elements of individuals who move on and feed into the organization. you recruit globally and have people who fought in the conflicts. it's easier to learn about being an insurgent and it comes together in a deadly mix. >> thank you. we'll watch how the president and this coalition handles both the pressing issue with russia, ukraine and what's happening with isis. thank you for popping through. quick break. we'll be back after this. one second it wasn't there and the next second... boom! you've had your first accident. now you have to make your first claim. so you talk to your insurance company and... boom! you're blindsided for a second time. they won't give you enough money to replace your brand new car. don't those people know you're already shaken up?
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news from home depot investigating a possible hack. they have leaked customer payment information. the company said it is looking into unusual activity relating to customers, home depot is promising to alert customers as soon as it can determine what happened. that is it for me. stay right with cnn. "the lead" with jake tapper "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com isis terrorists claiming to be acting in the name of a merciful god seem to have without compassion beheaded a second american in as many weeks i'm jake tapper. his name was steven sotloff, a miami heat fan by all accounts, a kind and curious soul. he was missing for a year. now the worst has apparently happened. isis releasing a video claiming to show his execution just as the group vowed to carry out in retaliation for u.s. strikes in iraq. the politics lead. the isis executioner in if the sotloff video was s