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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  September 2, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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completely in the clear. i cloud only recently put a limit how many times users can attempt to guess a password. make sure to follow me on twitter @an jaketapper and at the lead cnn. check out our show page for video blogs, extras and more. i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer right next door to me in "the situation room." wolf? >> happening now, isis beheading video. it apparently shows the brutal murder of a second american journalist steven sotloff and warns a british hostage been next. isis warning to obama. the group says if u.s. air strikes continues, it will strike the necks of americans. will the president now expand u.s. action to syria? and americans in isis. some are fighting with the jihadists abroad. will they bring their terror training back to the united states? i'll ask the chairman of the house homeland security committee, congressman mike mccaul. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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>> let's get right to the breaking news. isis relations a new video apparently showing the beheading of another american, steven sotloff, who disappeared last year in syria. the brutal execution video comes two weeks after the murder of american james foley. this one comes with a direct warning to president obama. our correspondents and guests are standing by with full coverage. let's begin with global affairs correspondent elise la by the. she has the latest. >> it appears very similar to the video showing the beheading of james foley. it is equally as shocking. it's a gruesome image. american steven sotloff dressed in an orange jump suit, kneeling at the feet of his executioner. a hand on his throat, the masked figure all in black brandishes a knife and speaks to president obama. >> so just as your to strike our people, our neck will continue to strike the necks of your
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people. >> before his apparent beheading, sotloff speaks to the camera, saying under duress that he is "having to pay the price for u.s. intervention." he appeared two weeks ago in a video capturing the brutal execution of american journalist james foley. isis warned that sotloff's fate depended on the u.s. next moves in iraq. later a british citizen identified as david haynes appears in the video. isis warns he could be their next victim. >> my son stephen is in your hands. >> two weeks ago, sotloff's mother shirley issued a heartfelt plea for isis to spare her son. a freelance journalist captured in syria a year ago. >> i ask you to please release my child. as a mother, i ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son formatters he has no control over. >> the killer appears to speak with the same british accent as the militant who murdered james foley. the u.s. says it's working to
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authenticate the video. >> if it is genuine, our hearts go out to the sotloff family and it's just a reminder of the barbarism of this organization. >> after foley's death, president obama promised justice. >> america does not forget, our reach is long. we are patient. justice will be done. >> but even some of the president's staunchest supporters suggest his lack of strategy for combating isis has helped the group's lightning advance through syria and iraq. >> i've learned one thing about this president. and that is, he's very cautious. maybe in this instance, too cautious. >> now, the obama administration says military action is just one tool to combat isis. there are many other ways to go after the group which president obama, wolf, will be discussing this week in wales when he meets with nato allies. >> then the secretary of state and secretary of defense peel off from that nato summit and head to the middle east. >> that's right. basically the goal is to set up
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a coalition to deal with isis. obviously the military is involved. but there needs to be a kind of diplomatic, economic and real whole regional approach. that's what secretary kerry will be traveling with him will be discussing next week. >> thanks for that report. u.s. experts say they're working to authenticate the isis video of the beheading. tom foreman compared the new vid coio with the one showing the beheading of james foley last month. what the clues are you finding? >> here's a frame from the new video of the apparent murder of steven sotloff. here is the killing of james foley. the terrain, time of day, the weather all seem to be generally similar. but there are many details similar, too. in each case, the victims are dressed in orange which analysts say isis uses to. >> mike r.: the jump suits worn by prisoners at guantanamo. in each video, the executioner wears black, keeping his face almost entirely covered. he has a gun and holds a medium
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sized knife which looks very similar in his left hand. he has the same general body build, gestures and demeanor. so is this the same person? listen to the voice in this latest video. >> you, obama, having to gain from your actions for another american citizen. just as your the opportunity to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> now compare that to the voice in the murder of james foley. >> any attempt by you, obama, to deny did the muslims their rights of living in safety under the islamic caliphate will result in the blood shed of your people. >> intelligence analysts say if it is not the same voice at very least the accent in both cases sounds as if it comes from the london area. that suggests a possible link to dozens of radicals believed to have traveled from there to join the fight against the syrian government. people who are thought to be
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handling foreigners captured by isis. >> the intelligence community will go through the every inch of this, every second, analyzing the electronic impulses, the audio, the video, the speech, voice identification. the gee og graphy for whatever information it can provide as well as the production techniques. >> there are a few things in this video which suggest that james sotloff may have been killed in the past couple days. that's not clear. there are many mysteries. each video includes a statement by the victims critical of u.s. policies, statements given under extreme duress. just as the foley video ended with a threat to kill sotloff, the sotloff video ends with another implied threat. >> so chilling indeed. tom, thanks very much. let's dig deeper with chief national security correspondent jim sciutto.
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you watched the entire tape. so what struck you? >> i think two things, wolf. i will say i did not watch on purpose i did not watch the james foley tape just personally. i felt i didn't -- i wanted to allow one less person frankly to be terrorized by these videos. i watched this one. one thing that strikes you is just how it is directed very much at the u.s. title "a second message to obama," following the james foley beheading. two, he addresses president obama directly. then of course, addresses u.s. military action in syria and says that this killing, this purported killing of sotloff on camera is in direct response to u.s. air strikes against syria, against isis positions in syria. but the other thing that stands out is as you watch this long tape and you watch what steven sotloff must have known were his final words is just the immense calm that he handles this with strength. you know, and as we watch this and, of course, we focus on the
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politics, the military options, et cetera, this it is very much a human story. and we saw a young man of 31-year-old man presumably in his final moments here. and as i personally watched that, he just exhibited really incredible strength which is hard to believe under the circumstances. >> a lot of folks believe sick as it may sound that these kinds of horrendous vitio tapes are actually some sort of recruitment tool for isis. what's the strategy here? >> the strategy is reacuting, one, but also just showing its strength internationally. it is, it's shocking that this kind of attack can energize people to join a movement like this, but it really gets at this immense angelinaer that some people even in our own country, there are american who have gone out to join this group, but this immense anger that they feel justified in holding against the u.s. and the west. you have a couple of intentions
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here. one is surely to tearize and show share strength, two to show that they and they alone are standing up to the u.s. and the west. that is a recruiting tool, as well. we've seen that working. you'll remember one of the americans who was killed fighting for isis, he appears in a video pep talks about what an immense charge it is to fight against more powerful countries abroad. so yes, this brutality as much as it shocks us, it works for certain portion of the population, even alarmingly in our own country, wolf. >> it's a sick sick thought. jim sciutto, thanks very much. let's go in depth with the chairman of the house homeland security committee, texas republican congressman mike mccaul. thanks very much for joining us. quickly, have you actually watched this video, can the beheading of steven sotloff? >> yes, i did. it's a very chilling disturbing video. very similar to the execution of
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james foley, as well. the executioner appears to be the aim individual that we saw in the foley video. left-handed, are british accent. but just very again, chilling reminder of how brutal isis is, how savage they are and how intent they are on killing americans. >> the numbers we've heard and you're the chairman of the committee so you probably have more precise numbers, maybe a dozen americans have actually gone over to syria and iraq to join isis. is that right? >> no, that number is actually much larger than what you stated. i believe based on the briefings i've received that we're talking somewhere in the range of 100 to 200 americans that are over in syria and iraq joining the fight. in addition to the tens of thousands of other foreign fighter including a lot of western europeans, all of which as you pointed out, have western passport and travel documents, which is why the biggest -- what
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is the homeland security concern here? it's the fact that we have americans and those with travel documents that can come back to the united states and perpetrate an act of terrorism. we're on a high state of alert right now. >> that 100 to 200 number i had been told. you have more precise information, includes all the various terrorist groups in iraq and syria, al newsra, not just isis. i had been told maybe a dozen that they know of working with isis. there are a lot more working with another terrorist group called al nusra. >> well, al nusra is the al qaeda core al qaeda affiliate in the syria. but what we do know is there are between 100 to 200 measures in the region. i would argue, wolf, we don't have precise intelligence on the ground to determine who -- which al qaeda faction they're working for or fighting with. but the fact is those numbers are very alarming to me. and they should concern the american people. >> they're alarming to me, as
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well and there are hundreds of europeans who are serving with isis, al newsra, some of the other terrorist groups in iraq and syria. they have european passports and could enter the united states without visas fairly easily, as well. we have a lot more to discuss specifically about the threat to the u.s. hopeland from isis, these other terrorist groups. we'll continue our conversation with congressman pamccaul right after this.
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new isis video apparently showing the beheading of a second american journalist, steven sotloff who disappeared in syria last year comes two weeks after a video showing the murder of james foley. we're back with the chairman of the house homeland security committee, texas republican congressman mike mccaul. i want to clarify one more time, the number of americans serving with terrorist groups in iraq and syria, you say between 100 and 200. is that right? >> the numbers that we've received and, of course, they're not 100% accurate, is there are around 100 to 200 americans in the region joining this fight. and that is of grave concern, certainly not only to the region but from a homeland security standpoint because of their ability to travel back to the united states and we saw a case like that in florida where the individual traveled back to florida and then went back to syria again and was a suicide bomber.
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what if he had stayed in florida and detonated a car bomb in the united states instead? so that is why is intelligence officials and homeland security officials are so concerned about this threat. >> we heard the british prime minister david cameron in recent days raise the threat level in britain. is it time for the u.s. to raise the threat level here? >> well, i think that these chilling videos are a reminder, it's a wake-up call for the american people as to the threat that isis presents again to the united states. that they are intent on killing americans. they would love nothing better than to pull off something in the homeland. they took how we're in your cities, we're in your streets. and that's what we're very concerned about. i think we are on a higher state of alert. we've had two be on the lookout notices by the fbi and department of homeland security. basically alerting state and locals to look for suspicious activities and so i do think
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that the prime minister of the uk is moving forward in the right direction. i would encourage the president to do so but more so in terms of eliminating the threat overseas where isis exists rather than allowing them the opportunity to come to the united states. >> should the u.s., congressman, be taking special precautions coming up in a few days, the anniversary of 9/11 on september 11th? >> sadly and unfortunately, the answer yes. they feel take anniversaries very seriously in terms of when they choose to attack in the united states. al qaeda likes to pick anniversaries. they like to pick large sporting events, for instance, like the boston marathon. they look at economic damage they can inflict and political damage. so i think coming up on the heels of this video now of 9/11 just a couple days away, or a couple weeks, i think we have to be on a high state of alert.
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>> the boston marathon not necessarily al qaeda but sort of muslim fanatics if you will, maybe even homegrown, right? >> wolf, that's the other part of this threat that we're concerned about are these homegrown extremists, people that can get on the website, look at this video, somehow in a sick way get inspired by it. there is inspire magazine out there that show them how to make bombs, for instance. we're very concerned about radicalization within the united states. isis has demonstrated they're a very adept social media. they can launch a campaign offensive on social media that can be radicalize and inspire americans already in the united states. so that's the other half of the equation that we're trying to guard and protect americans against. >> what -- i don't know if you studied some of david cameron, the british prime minister's actions. what the british are doing preemptively to deal with this threat. would they be some of the more controversial ones not allowing
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these british citizens, for example, to come back to britain or to go out and arrest them even before they've done certain things, is that something that the u.s. should be considering? >> well, we always have to balance, you know, privacy and security. i think that certainly the uk is looking at a larger threat than the united states because of the proximity of where they are. i think he's probably doing the responsible thing to protect his citizens. you know, whether we need to change a law, if you are providing material aid to a foreign terrorist organization, we revoke your passport, maybe something we ought to look at. we are trying to properly identify those overseas to ensure that we never allow them to travel into the united states. i think that's a very important point to make, particularly when you look at the bomb making capability that we see demonstrated out of yemen with the al qaeda in the arabian peninsula now aligning itself with isis.
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now you have this technology and manpower coming together with isis. we need to do everything we canning to stop that from getting on airplanes, as well. and as you know, wolf, we have heightened the security precautions at these foreign airports we believe are the most likely to be targeted by isis. >> as you know, the u.s. launches air strikes against terrorist targets only in the past couple days in somalia against al she bob in yemen, against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula against the taliban in yemen. is it time for the u.s. to launch air strikes against isis targets in syria? >> i believe so. i mean, if this is not a wake-up call, what is? what more evidence do we need? the fact we're launching air strikes against al she bob when isis is clearly the more greater threat to the homeland and the united states, it seems to me that we ought to be hitting isis
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wherever they exist including as the chairman of the joint chiefs dempsey said in syria. i think what you're seeing, wolf, is an internal debate within the administration between the pentagon which came out pretty strong for action and others in administration who were warning to be more cautious. i think this policy of containment needs to shift to a policy of defeating isis where they are including in syria rather than just containing them in iraq. >> do you believe the president has the authority without additional congressional action to launch those air strikes? >> he does under the war powers act. he's operating i think within the law. he's reported these actions to the congress as he should. i do think that it would be a good idea to update the authorized use of military force. which was passed in 2001 to include organizations like isis. and i believe he would have broad-based support within the congress to get that.
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>> do you have confidence in the administration, the secretary of homeland security, jeh johnson and others that they are doing what needs to be doing to prevent shall we say another 9/11. >> you don't know what you don't know, how many of these guys have gotten back into the united states, that's my biggest concern. i have a lot of admiration for jeh johnson. he comes from the defense department and he understands that this is a greatest threat we've seen since 9/11. we've had conversations about that. they are taking corrective measures to guard against the threat but it only took 19 hijackers to pull off 9/11. we have hundreds of americans and tens of thousands of foreign fighters with legal travel documents, do you the math. it increases the probability of at event to occur not only in western europe but in the united states and that's what i'm most concerned about. >> yeah, what's also concerning, you acknowledged this is that the u.s. should gear up and be ready for the anniversary of 9/11 coming up in a few days. it's obviously a very, very
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worrisome date for a lot of homeland security folks out there. mr. chairman, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf, thanks for having me. >> we'll have much more on the breaking news, the apparent beheading of another american journalist increasing pressure on president obama. is there a an strategy for dealing with isiss? syria? our experts are standing by. stay with us. you're in "the situation room" be.
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>> president obama ignored reporters' questions as he left the white house earlier this afternoon. he's now aboard air force one on his way to europe for a nato summit. our senior white house correspondent jim acosta joins us from president's first destination, the capital of estonia, talan, he's going to be making a major address there before he heads to wales for the summit. what are you learning? >> well, wolf, i did have a chance to talk to a senior administration official on the ground just within the last several minutes who said that right now the u.s. intelligence community is analyzing the video apparently the beheading of steven sotloff. this administration official said at this point, white house officials center no doubt to doubt its authenticity but the intelligence community still want to go through the process of analyzing it, trying to determine when it was shot, where it was shot. try to determine exactly whether or not the killer in this video
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is the same person who executed james foley. those are some of the basic questions being asked right now. we can tell you that the president is very likely being kept up to speed right now. no official word from the white house whether or not he's been briefed. wolf, this official did emphasize it takes several hours after the release of the james foley execution video for the intelligence community to come out and say officially they've authenticated it. this could take several hours and the president is in the air right now traveling with his own communication staff. i have to tell you, when we landed here in allin, estonia, the white house communication staff traveling with us was not exactly in the best communication with the staff traveling with the president because basically, we were landing as they were taking off. so both sides have to reconnect i think before we get more information on this. at the same time, the senior administration official that i spoking with said they still believe a small number of
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americans are being head hostage by isis and obviously, this is going to overshadow the president's trip this week. as we've seen with so many of these foreign trips, it seems like the unforeseen big breaking news developments around the world have a tendency to overshadow what he's trying to accomplish. he's landing in estonia in six or seven hours from now to talk about basically nato's commitment to the defend small states that are a part of the nato alliance like estonia. they're very nervous about vladimir putin's intentions concerned with what's happening in ukraine, they could be next. the president is here to assure them the united states has their back. >> we just heard it the chairman of the house homeland security committee tell us, sadly, the u.s. should be taking special precautions right now to gear up for security around the anniversary of 9/11 which is approaching in a few days. we'll check back with you, jim acosta. >> and wolf. >> go ahead. >> i was just going to say, i think one of the key questions that will come up and the president is holding a news
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conference in about 12 hours from now, i think it's very likely wolf, that he he will be asked the question about this apparent beheading and asked about that comment he made last week as to whether or not the u.s. has a ra strategy for going after isis in syria. the president said we don't have a strategy yet. i fully expect that question to come up. it's obvious given the response that's coming from capitol hill, he's going to be coming under growing pressure to tougheren his stance against isis. >> the pressure is enormous for the president to take action against isis in syria, not only in iraq but syria, as well. jim acosta is traveling with the president and joining us from estonia. let's dig deeper in "the situation room." joining us, former congresswoman jane harman, on the homeland security committee, also danielle pletka, paul cruikshank. i should point out jane harman is also the head of the wilson center here in washington. why, paul, you studied this.
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the beheadings. we remember in 2002, daniel pearl, the reporter from the "wall street journal" was beheaded by al qaeda in pakistan. what's with the beheadings? why do they do this? >> it's not for religious reasons. it's pure and simple to terrorize their enemies and also to satisfy the blood loss of their supporters. we've seen this several times with daniel pearl but also with nicolas berg, an american beheaded in iraq by this same group in 2004. >> jane, you agree with dianne feinstein, the chair of the intelligence committee that maybe the president is being too cautious right now. your fellow californian? >> i think it's time for him to say more and do more. i'm sad he ducked questions on his way to the airplane. it's true there's no conclusive proof yet that sotloff was beheaded and perhaps that's why he waited. but delivering his first remarks in estonia rather than in america at a time when this corrupt is grieving about this i think perhaps was not the best
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decision. but yes, i agree that it is time to roll out a comprehensive strategy, danielle and jack kean and others have written about this, john mccain and lindsey graham had a good op-ed this weekend. it's not just akin net tick strategy. it has to have more. the bottom line is this gruesome group has a narrative that's working and the b roll is on your network, 24/7. we don't have a counter narrative that's work. our commander in chief has to sketch that out for the american people, show why they have a stake and ps, congress has to play, too. i think congress has to come back in session and debate this issue and through congress, the american people have to have a voice here. >> what do you think the most important thing the president, danielle, needs to do right now. >> i think he needs to stop with the tactical approach you. mentioned earlier the air strike on al she bob in somalia. that sends a message we're not focused on the matter at hand and we're not focused on iraq.
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we're not focused on syria. that we really do have the tactical approach that the president has intimidated to the american people we have. do you have a strategy? no, i really don't. we need to push back on this group. if we push back on them just in iraq. if we push back on them just in certain places, just in the mountains just to help the kurds and these refugees and don't push back on them everywhere that they are and don't empower our partners to fight with us, then we are going to be stuck with these guys for a very long time. >> but does the u.s. really have a partner in syria, for example, the u.s. does have a partner, the kurds in iraq. the iraqi military, a partner, not a great partner but a an partner. who is the partner in the free syrian army? they seemton be incapable of doing much. >> all of these groups are incapable if we're not there to help them. these are groups that come together for a variety of reasons. they may not share our values but in these cases they share
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our enemies. we have a long history of partnering with a lot of people to achieve a particular end. the free syrian army has been left for too long and isis has been allowed to rice in their stead. >> do you agree with mike mccaul that the u.s. needs to take strict measures right now the to prepare, we hope it doesn't happen, for some sort of 9/11 anniversary terror attack on the u.s. homeland? >> there's clearly a lot of concern about this group. this is a group with truly frightening capabilities, up to 1,000 european ranks. >> just for isis. >> just for isis. training camps on a scale last seen in taliban-run afghanistan. tens of millions of dollars of cash reserves. the 9/11 operation cost $500,000 to give you some context. a lot of theoretical concern about this group. at the same time, this group has never plotted. the leadership of this group has never plotted a single terrorist plot against the west. they may now retaliate. that's everybody's concern. >> well, i think, yes, we need
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to prepare. yes we are preparing. i'm not sure we should advertise to sifs exactly what we're doing. it's smart not to do that. in the president's address, hopefully in a near time period, he does have to address america and talk about what we are doing to build resilience. i also think jeh johnson who was just praised and is a very able homeland secretary should be out there talking to the american people about what to look for and what to do. the american people are our best line of defense. we have well trained, finally well trained first responders in this country. after the syrian experience of 9/11. so i agree that we are preparing and we'd to. there's no such thing as 100% security. they have to be right once, we have to be 100% of the time. >> will the second beheading video convince not only the president but the american public to go ahead, because the u.s. is war weary right now but to go ahead and do in syria, for example, what you want the u.s. to do?
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>> i don't want isis persuading the american people to do anything. what i want is the president of the united states and members of congress, mrs. harman is exactly right, members of congress showing the necessary leadership explaining why it is we need to be there, who it is we need to help. let's not forget, we're all talking about isis. isis is giving great cart to the sunni islamist jihadist movement. there's al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. there's al she bob. there's al qaeda in maghreb. libya has fallen apart. we're sitting here and haven't even talked about ukraine. we're in a world of hurt and there are all au sorts of threats out there. >> we haven't even mentioned saudi arabia. mecca is the logical capital of some new caliphate by this pseudostate and the gulf countries who are sunni also have to fear this. they need to be in this with us and the face of this new
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whatever it is action against this extremist muslim group ought to be a muslim face. >> we'll wrap it up right now. obviously the subject not going away. thanks to all three of you for coming in. >> up next, u.s. aircraft have been hammering isis targets in iraq. are those strikes really making a difference on the battlefield? we're going live to northern iraq for the very latest. stand by. a card that gave you that "i'm 16 and just got my first car" feeling. presenting the buypower card from capital one. redeem earnings toward part or even all of a new chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac - with no limits. so every time you use it, you're not just shopping for goods. you're shopping for something great. learn more at
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condemns american air strikes in towns besieged by isis along with the mosul dam in iraq. anna coren has been watching what's going on and joins us from erbil in northern iraq. isis was making significant progress. the impact of these u.s. air strikes, what has the impact been? >> well, wolf, we have been discussing those u.s. air strikes definitely placing pressure on isis, pushing them back in certain places. containing them in others. definitely the kurdish and iraqi forces have had some victories, amerli over the week where they freed that besieged city of or township of more than two months and then up near mosul dam which that critical piece of infrastructure that the kurds managed to take back last week. but still, there is fighting raging around mosul dam, around the countryside, the villages
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and the small townships. we were up there over the weekend and saw the u.s. air strikes, wolf. it surprised us isis is still digging in. they haven't retreated back to their strong hold of mosul, that city that was seized back in june. iraq's second largest city where it does have its major strong hold. the fighting is still raging, but those u.s. air strikes making a huge difference, wolf. >> ana, are there any signs that the kurds in iraq, the sierk military, they're any closer to coming up with a real effective strategy, a military strategy to destroy isis in iraq? >> well, look, wolf, i think they're definitely waiting for direction from president obama as to how the united states is going to proceed. obviously the kurdish officials want the air campaign to be extended and intensified. they feel they need more air strikes than what we will have seen to date. certainly there needs be a coordinated effort not just
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amongst the kurdish forces here in northern iraq but amongst the iraqi security forces. we've seen them come together in amerli, in mosul dam to fight. and effective ittively fight against isis. at the moment, they are very much operating quite independently. it's going to take a political situation, a political solution, wolf, as we know for their government to be inclusive so that it's the iraqis that rise up and push isis out of these major cities and townships, wolf. >> thanks very much. anna coren in erbil. be careful over there. coming up, what we know about the british captive that isis is now threatening to kill next? brian todd standing by with that. in our next hour, we'll get perspective from the u.s. state department and speak with a deputy spokeswoman at the state department, marie harve.
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we're back with breaking news. new isis video showing the beheading of a second american journalist, sotloff, weeks after the beheading of american journalist. what do we know about this? >> after steven sotloff's murder, he threatens of life of a british captive who the video identifies as david hawthorne hains. here is what the militant says in that section of the video. >> we take this opportunity to warn governments to back off and leave our people alone.
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>> now there's not a lot of information available on the man they identified as david haines. he is an aid worker and was kidnapped in march of 2013 near the refugee camp, right about here, along syria's northern border with turkey. site claims they have been trying to procure his release. on the statement by the militant, it strongly suggests a warn together british government of prime minister david cameron. they are making drops to iraq, sending weapons to the kurds. and they have laid out their threat. he wants to confiscates passports, ban suspects from boarding planes before leaving his country. about 500 british citizens are fighting with isis and other groups in syria and militant in this video is thought to be
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british. >> analysts believe the video will energize other jihadists around the world. what are you hearing about that? >> they believe it is going do that and help with the recruiting of isis fighters. it'll energize the jihadists around the world to joint movement. they get excited about videos like this. we also have what we have to say is a new account from a man who claims to have been held by isis for about 40 days last winter. he is a photographer for the british -- excuse me, turkish newspaper. he told that paper and an arabic newspaper he was held for 40 days by isis last winter. according to those publications, he said he was hooded the whole time and they would be interrogated and asked questions like, do you drink who who are the women on your facebook page. who are you working for. he said all they did all day was fight and pray but described his
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captors of young and educated with mastery of techniques. cnn hasn't been able to identify the captivity with isis, wolf. >> but it is all very, very chilling. especially the third westerner could be next, if the u.s. and others don't stop doing what they are doing. all right, brian, thanks very much. coming up, ice warns obama if air strikes continue there will be more beheadings. we are taking a closer look at the president's options. i will get the reaction from the isis beheading video from the deputy spokeswoman marie harf. and challenges yet unmet, new friendships to forge, and old ones to renew. it's more than a job. and they're more than just our students. so welcome back, to the students, and to the educators.
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happening now, breaking news. new video showing what appears to be the execution of an american journalist by beheading. video clues. hour the grimmages different from the execution of james foley. a president is increasingly facing bipartisan criticism of his handling of the growing terror threat. we want to welcome our viewer in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. we're following breaking news, beheading after second american by isis forces shown in a gruesome video released by the terror group a few hours ago. the victim, american journalist steven so ttloff who says on
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camera, that he is quote paying the price for u.s. strikes against isis. cnn's global resources including correspondents and our guests around the world. let's go to chief national correspondent jim sciutto to begin coverage this hour. >> sotloff's family is reacting now, a simple statement, a sad statement, saying, quote, the family knows of the video and is grieving privately. watching this video, and it is alarming, it is striking how it is aimed directly at the u.s. its title is, quote, a second message to america. the other of course the beheading of james foley and addresses president obama directly. saying, obama, i am back. those words spoken by an executioner. this is becoming more and more a direct confrontation between the isis, between the u.s., and isis. the image is haunting and familiar. an american in an orange jump
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suit on his knees. his killer all in black, standing above him, brandishing a knife. 13 days after american james foley was killed, a new video appears to show journalist steven sotloff brutally beheaded by isis as well. the masked isis executioner who appears to be speaking with the same voice and british accent as foley's killer made clear the murder was aimed directly at the u.s. >> so just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people. >> sotloff, 31 years old, grew up in south florida. he was freelancing for several publications including time and t"the christian science monito," when he disappeared in august 2013 while reporting from syria. staring straight ahead, sotloff himself speaks to the camera before he was apparently killed. likely under duress saying he has to pay the price for u.s. intervention.
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next to him is another hostage, identified by isis as david haines, british citizen, who isis says may be its next victim. >> my son, steven, is in your hand -- >> only last week, sotloff's mother released a video pleading for her son's life. >> i ask you to please release my child. >> today's the point person vowed a firm american response. >> just a reminder of the barberism of this organization. i think president obama has shown when organizations do these things to american citizens, they do not go unanswered. >> now watching this video, another thing that is striking is how calm steven sotloff is, even as he delivers what he must have known would have been his last words, even at the point when the knife goes to his neck, so lost in the politics, military options and slick propaganda vices. wolf, we have talked about this before. a very sad human story and
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another american family who has to watch this from afar, as their son, believed to be perished at hand of isis. >> it does put more pressure on the president to do something about isis. not only if iraq but in syria. >> we saw the reaction after james foley's killing from many -- not just in the public but in congress and we have seen today statement after statement coming from both republican and democratic lawmakers calling for military action against isis. >> and i suspect there will be major military action in the days and weeks to come. but we shall see. >> well see. the president still reserving judgment. >> obviously formulating strategy when it comes to ice n isis in syria. no comment from the president directly on steven sotloff's execution. though sotloff's name was shouted as the president left the white house this afternoon. the president, by wait, on air
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force 1 right now, heading to europe. first stop in as stona, right next door to russia. what are you picking up over there, jim? >> can i tell you in the last several minutes a white house official did confirm that the president was briefed on the video of the apparent killing of steven sotloff. one thing we should point out, white house officials, national security officials with the obama administration, they are not doubting the authenticity of the video, but they still want to go through the process of analyzing it and confirming its authenticity and want to know a few basic questions. where did it take place. when did it take place. is the person who carries out this with steven sotloff the same person who beheaded james
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foley. it is believed a small number of americans are held by isis perhaps in syria. having said all of that, wolf, obviously, as you have been talking with jim sciutto, there's a great deal of pressure building on the president so get tough and do more on isis. they have been doing air strikes in iraq but now there are members of congress who want to see the same happen in syria. but you heard the president say last week, he doesn't have a strategy for dealing with isis in syria yet. that prompted a response from senator dianne feinstein, the center intelligence committee saying the perhaps the president is too cautious when it comes to dealing with isis. josh earnest was asked about that and says the president does take risk with foreign policy and cited the case of killing osama bin laden. that goes to show you right there, wolf, that white house officials are sensitive to this criticism. we will see whether or not the president addresses it. he will be, i think, asked about this tomorrow at a news conference in about 12 hours from now and gives a speech here
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in acetosetoniaasetonia. as you know, wolf, these smaller nato countries, especially here in the baltics are watching. a lot on the president's plate. he is juggling it all at the same time. he heads to nato to rally other nato countries for perhaps more military action in syria. that's something that president want to do first before moving ton sir wyria from iraq. wolf? >> a statement of no confidence in nato, these small countries like asetonia, lithuanian, poland, these are major allies. if one nate why ally is attacked, all of the other nato allies including the united states have to come to the defense of these -- so why should they be nervous if they are a nato ally? do they really think the u.s. wouldn't come to their aid if russia were to move against them? >> i think that's a key question that is going to be asked all
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this week, wolf. article 5 of nato charters stipulate as you said, if one nation is attacked, even as small as asetonia, rest of the countries must come to that country's defense. article 5 first enforced after the terror attacks on 9/11 when the rest of the nato partners came to the defense of the united states. and so, white house officials including the president have said that that commitment is sacred. one thing that you are going to hear about this week, and it could be the sent are piece deliverable of this nato summit that will take place this wales, nato want to put together and the white house is indicating support of rapid response security force that could respond at the drop of a hat to the kind of, you know, irregular forces that we saw take control of crimea. that is something that nato is developing. it is not fully baked, but is something they are working on, wolf? >> all right, we will hear what the president has to say about all this. he has a news conference in
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about 12 hours in asetonia, delivering what the white house is calling a major address. jim acosta, thanks very much. let's dig deeper. joining us, state department deputy spokesperson marie harf. thanks for coming in. >> thank you for having me. >> let's talk about steven sotloff first. have you now definitively concluded that this young 31-year-old journalist was beheaded? >> well, the intelligence community is still looking at video. they are working to authenticate it as quickly as possible. this is a process they take very seriously. just obviously from look that the, it this is true, an incredibly sad day, of course, for the sotloff family. for his friend. we are working quickly to see if we can authenticate it. we obviously are thinking about them today and know this is a very difficult day. >> we saw the very moving video that shirley sotloff delivered last week on arabia television,
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to save her son. obviously did no good at all. are they grieving with the family. >> in constant communication with the sotloff family, with other families of americans held overseas, we are offering any assistance we can. we have made clear home to and publicly, we are putting every diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement tool behind finding americans held overseas and bringing them home. again, a very sad day if this turns out to be true. >> what do you know about this british citizen who is mentioned in this current video, saying he will be behead fed the u.s. doesn't stop doing in iraq what it's doing against isis targets david haines? >> wolf, we know there are a small number of other americans and members held by isis. to be clear, there is no justification for what isis has done. what they did to james foley. what they may have done to
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steven sotloff. they act like they are operating in the name of islam and nothing could be further from the truth. there is no justification for what they are doing. and they have shown their willingness to kill anyone in their path, not just americans, not just westerners. but iraqis of all faith, of all sex. they have shown their complete barberism in doing that. >> do you believe, assuming the video is authentic, that executioner of steven sotloff is the same executioner of james foley? >> that's one thing the intelligence community will be looking at. certainly as they look that video, we are still working on determining exactly who was james foley's killer as well. and brett wrb who you showed earlier -- >> the state department official. >> exactly, who works on iraq, is absolutely right. the president has shown if you hurt americans, harm our people, we will go to any length to hold you accountable and it will not go unanswered. the national security team is looking what the more we can do
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against isis. >> the president is still in the process of coming up with a strategy and n dealing with isis in syria? ? to be clear, we have taken the fight directly to isis inside iraq. you have seen well over a hundred strikes taking out isis targets. we have already taken the fight there. >> in iraq? >> in iraq. >> what about syria? >> we have taken steps in sir why to bolster the modern opposition fighting isis as well. we have been clear, we are looking a what additional steps we can take. another onward travel is conversation with partners but how to build a coalition. and take the fight to isis. this is not just a threat for the united states but for the whole region. >> do you want other countries, like saudi arabia, arab emirates, they used air power against gadhafi, you remember, do you want them to use air strikes against ice nis syria?
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>> we will have conversation about what they can bring. that's the conversation the secretary will have as will secretary hagel with counter parts in the region, about how we take the fight to them. that's a conversation i think you will really see play out over the next week, with travel overseaes. >> secretary of state john kerry, secretary of defense chuck hagel, in wales, will peel off and head to the middle east. the main goal is what? >> to talk to partners thereabout how to build a coalition to fight isis. how to cut off the flow of foreign fighters so we don't allow isis to grow with people coming into syria or iraq from other countries. a broad strategy. we are working on it right now but it is one we will have a lot of conversationes with partners about over the coming days. >> who are the partsers in you seek to enlist? >> we have talked a great deal
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with european partners and allies. we have talked about the british recently. >> what about the middle east? >> also in the middle east. we will talk to a number of partners who have pledged a great amount of humanitarian assistance to the iraqis and the syrian people who are really suffering under isis. but we will be having conversationes with all of those partners, turks as well, about thousand fight isis together. >> and you don't want them just to provide diplomatic support. you want them to engage militarily in trying to kill isis. >> what that support looks like is the topic of conversation. i don't want to get ahead about what discussions about what the coalition might look like but are all pieces of the puzzle about how to take on isis. if you look at success in the past against terrorist organizations, you take out their leadership, cut off fund, cut off supply of fighters, those are all pieces after larger puzzle. >> is it your sense, right now, that if the united states can go ahead and launch held fighters
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missiles from drones against targets, in somalia, or against al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. or isis targets in iraq, without congressional authorization or anything along those lines, the u.s. could start doing the same thing against isis targets in syria. >> a couple ofs to places you mentioned are under the authorization for use of military force from 2001 against al qaeda. obviously a lot of that action has been undertaken, under existing authorities, we have talked in iraq about the fact that iraqi government invited us in. asked us to undertake the action. anywhere we target terrorist organizations we have to look at what specific authorities we have. what we need. we consult with congress. >> you have the authority do that? >> we are looking that the right now. as the president and administration make additional considerations about what we will do, we will make that
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consideration. >> thank you. >> thank you, wolf. >> marie harf from the state department. more reaction from the beheading from britain's prime minister. how do these latest horrifying images compare to the beheading of james foley. the search for clues and what they reveal. that's coming up. where the reward was that what if tnew car smelledit card and the freedom of the open road? a card that gave you that "i'm 16 and just got my first car" feeling. presenting the buypower card from capital one. redeem earnings toward part or even all of a new chevrolet, buick, gmc or cadillac - with no limits. so every time you use it, you're not just shopping for goods. you're shopping for something great. learn more at
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we're following breaking news here in the situation room. a video of the beheading of
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american jesteven sotloff. carl, what was the prime minister's initial reaction to all of this? >> the initial reaction from prime minister david cameron is that this apparent execution of steven sotloff is despicable and disgusting. he has promised to make a fuller statement. he indicated that would come later tonight. time of course here in london, ticking away. it is about 40 minutes still until midnight. we're interested in seeing what more he has to add about this. the prime minister until now had been apparently the executioner having a london multicultural -- >> we know that the terrorist, isis terrorist add specific message for president obama in the latest video. they mention him a few times but is there also a specific message for britain? >> i believe that there is.
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at the end of this video, that shows steven sotloff apparently being executed, the executioner, man dressed in black, grabs another person by the skruf of the neck and the video suggests that his name is david haines and says under in parentheses that he is british. that gives david cameron two problems. one that the executioner is possibly british. we heard about ten days ago from the british ambassador to the united states that the intelligence may be close to identifying the apparent executioner but gives david cameron the second problem that the next man that could be killed could be british. this, just as parliament reconvened here in britain, just as david cameron increased the terror threat level in britain and is announcing new mesh aurs to combat islam in britain. but he is also pledging to take action in syria and iraq and arming the kurds and helping
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with greater intelligence gathering to bomb isis targets. that gives david cameron a whole world of worry because what he does now could have direct consequences on that hostage, wolf. >> what do we know about hostage david hawthorne haines? >> we know nothing. this is the first time from this video, first time we were aware that he was being held hostage in syria. we don't know whether he is possibly a journalist, possibly an aid worker or was there fulfilling some other function. the home office here, interior ministry here in britain has given us no further information but we know isis is holding a number of hostages. in some cases, the family or others have given to information and in an effort to get time to get them out. clearly, any back door channels, any attempt eats negotiation have not worked here.
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isis is now trying to kill its hostages and that obviously raisees a big question. is another military rescue attempt going to be possible? i'm sure. but the u.s. and britain must be analyzing all options right now, wolf. >> we don't know anything virtually about david haines. only the washington post saying he was, or is, an aid worker in syria and has been abducted. all right. karl penhoff, thanks. now joining us, fran thompson and tom fuentes. you were homeland security adviser to president bush. fran, walk us through the impact. now not one, but two gruesome beheading videos. killing, murder of to two americans now. what is the likely impact on the president of the united states? >> well, offo obviously, wolf, the white house is feeling additional pressure. every time something like this happens. but this should have been
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expected, right? once they saw the execution of foley and the threat against sotloff, it was clearly unfortunately coming. now you have the threat against a british citizen. the colonel is quite right. what you hope is going on is military planning. is there intelligence that allows the opportunity to plan a tactical military operation but that becomes much harder because the white house did confirm there was a failed russ cue attempt against foley. and that was, you know, at the time, when the white house confirmed that, there was a lot of criticism and this is why. because in this situation, where you hope they have the intelligence that will allow them do that it becomes that much harder when you confirmed that that is what you're doing. >> it shouldn't take very long to confirm the video that the video is authentic, tom, right? >> no, it shouldn't. they will know shortly. and you know, they are going to act as if it is already authentic right now. >> then the family, issued a
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statement, the sotloff family, saying they are grieving. when they look at that video and tom foreman will give us more specifics on this shortly. but fbi forensic analysts, they've got a lot of information potentially that they could glean from the video like this, right, tom? >> yeah, they can. but the problem is, that even not knowing for sure, you know, how the individuals were recruited, that are the killers, that we see in this video, where they're at, where this is taking place. there is so many unanswered questions, even if they get to the bottom of yes, it was actually sotloff murdered and maybe the same person or one of the two or three that have been identified, so-called beatles, three british members of isis, who are apparently holding the western hostages. but the bigger problem here wolf, is that there are always journalists that will go to sir why and iraq.
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there is always going to be humanitarian aid workers and doctors and others that are going to go. isis will have no shortage of americans or british people to take hostage and behead in the future. that's the biggest problem here. >> fran, you were homeland security adviser, as i pointed out to president bush. in the last hour, i spoke to congressman mike mccall, from homeland security, and he did say sadly that u.s. should take steps for potentially in the anniversary of 9/11 for another major terror attack. how worried should americans be? >> wolf, we have come to the foreign fighter problem, right? you know there are dozens, if not in the neighborhood of a hundred foreign fighters, americans, who have gone to syria to fight. some percentage of those will be killed on the battlefield. some will remain there and remain in the fight. but you worry about those that will bleed out. those who made travel back through western europe and back to the united states. the focus, i think, right now
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for isis remains in the region. i think the near term threat is against american and western interest in western europe which is why you see such concern on the part of the british prime minister and european allies. but over the long-term this is a threat to the united states. now we don't know, you know, al qaeda at least, didn't used to plan attacks around an anniversary. they look for large publy gathering, which is why we worried about the 9/11 anniversary. when you talk to officials now, we they don't know of any intelligence with a direct threat. although, you do worry about it. >> tom, you do study this, about the individuals who may be inspired by al qaeda. maybe not a direct order from the leader of al qaeda or the leader of isis, but they read all the web stuff and they go through it. they could be inspired to go do something.
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>> that's exactly right, wolf. speaking of inspire, just publishing its 12th issue this may. and this is two years or three years after the death of the original publishers of "inspire" magazine. what we are looking at here, this is an ideology that is a pandemic. we have this on every continent, this extremist, extreme view of islam, carried out by isis and al qaeda and the arabian peninsula. boca haron and other groups in so mallo. you don't have to carry the germ from one of those countries to america. the germ is an idea and the idea is sent by the internet and it can't be quarantine ped. that's the problem. so we can have some kid sitting in the heartland of the united states, never go to isis, but be inspired and decide i'm going to do this all by myself, derail a train or hijack a truck and
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drive it into a bunch of people. whatever it might be. and that's the problem. we can't quarantine the idea. >> if you look at the "inspire" magazine, and tom is right, i've gone through it, they have published it before and they have a variation in how to build a mom in the kibomb in the kitc your mom. they also have recently, in las vegas, on the world wide web, fran talk about that, how dot national security folks and fbi and others deal with it threat? >> wolf, you know, the self radicalized loan wolf, if you will, the person who gets on the internet and is inspired by this sort of ideology is the most difficult to detect. and look, isis understands the power of this. which is why you have a western english speaking individual who is talking in both the foley and now the sotloff videos.
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they understand that the ability to radicalize over the internet. they have a very sophisticated social media campaign. you have fbi officials working through the joint terrorism task forces with state and local officials, looking to identify those that may be at risk. this is the most difficult problem to identify those individuals in advance when they are not really identified with a group or talking to other individuals, which is the easiest way to identify them. >> all right, guyes with be thanks very much. fran townsened. much more breaking news. experts combing through the video frame by frame by frame. what could they learn by comparing it with the images of the first american beheaded by isis. plus, the impact on president obama. he is heading to europe right now. on air force 1 heading over to asetonia, that's right next door
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two weeks ago. what are you finding, tom? >> here is a frame from the video of steven sotloff. here is the killing of james foley. the terrain, time of day, appear unall similar and many details are too. in each case victims are dressed in other which intelligence analysts say isis uses to mirror the jump suites worn by prisoners at guantanamo. in each video, the executioner wears black keeping his face almost entourly covered. he has a gun and he holds a medium sized knife in his left hand. looks like the same knife, as best we can tell. he has the same general body build, features, gestures, demeanors. so is this the same person? listen to the voice in this latest video. >> you, obama, have a game for your access just another american citizen. as you continue to strike our people, our knife will continue
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to stab the next of your people. >> now compare that to the voice in the murder of james foley. >> any attempt by you, obama, to deny the muslims their right of living result in the bloodshed of your people. for. >> intelligence analysts say if it is not the same voice, the at very least, both voices sound like it comes from the london area. people thought to be foreigners captured by isis. for. >> going through every inch of this, every second, analyzing the electronic impulses, the audio, the video, the speech, voice identification, geography for whatever information it can provide. as well as the production
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techniques and any embedded informing that may be there. >> each video has a statement, but those are given under extreme duress aeb just as the foley video ended with a threat to kill sotloff, the sotloff video ends with the display of another captive and another implied threat. wolf? >> very, very chilling indeed. tom foreman thanks very much. what will the u.s. reaction to all of this be? let's get more now joining us our chief national correspondent john king and our chief political analyst gloria borger. nato leaders gather this week in wales but now the pressure on the president has really built. >> this barbaric act, wolf, second one but this one repleased today, timing, seemingly no coincidence. it produced an instant political consensus here at home.
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conservative republicans all calling on the president to act, to not be so cautious, to act quickly and to complain his policy to the american people. broad across the speck truck statements from politicians also. the president is low in the polls, all of his colleagues know that, as he travels to this summit. he is viewed as a weakened u.s. president. can he rally their help? can he rally them to help deal with the isis threat and will he do anything in the short term, talk to the intelligence people and military people and are told the openings aren't so great. will he do something quickly or ask the american people to give him more time to come up with a more comprehensive strategy. >> in talk together people in the administration, asthmary argued before, is that they already started doing things. they are bombing isis. >> in iraq. not in sir why. >> in iraq but not in syria. the question is when you talk about members of congress, privately they tell folks at the
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white house, we don't really want to vote on this. they will only be in for a month during the days and weeks and when it comes to getting congressional approval, we don't know if the president would go to them. >> bill nelson, democrat, democrat from florida saying he wants to introduce legislation authorizing air strikes. >> that's right. sew's got -- he does. but the president does have some problems with more liberal democrats in congress and he also, by the way, has problems with the europeans. i think that the president's strategy has already been, look, if we somehow step back, then everybody will join us in leading together. that burden sharing has never worked for him. unless the united states take a leadership role, whole step forward? >> you hear some of the experts saying, it took ten years to decimate al qaeda. some think it will take 15 or 20 to deal with the isis threat. they do think, number one, first
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and foremost, he owes the american people. especially since he did say on the question of syria, we don't have a strategy yet. he owes the american people an explanation as soon as he can. yes, there are still some problems on the left but a left center democrat in tough reelection battle in new hampshire, this is now going to play out for better or worse, just inevitable in the fact we are less than -- we are two months from today from mid term election. >> to the democrats disadvantage. >> more pressure on the president. republicans say he is too timid and they will pressure democratic rivals in every campaign debate should the president do more. >> but everybody is going to stop with the boots on the ground. so everybody knows, while it is easier to call for air strikes than it is to call for troops to go in somewhere. and i think that, every democrat is going to stop at that particular point. boots on the ground. so that is will be something that's going to you night the
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democratic party with the president. but the president's ambivalence to the country's ambivalence at this point. yet, 54% of the american public says he is not tough enough on foreign policy. on the other hand, i think they want him to be more flexible than he has shown and be more of a leader. to john's point, when is he going to come out and speak to the american public. not n in a speech to the american public. >> they say caution might be well placed in a sense there aren't a lot of good options or they need more time. if you're crossing the border, you need more time to identify targets, lay out intelligence, to arrange those air strikes, caution from policy perspective might be understandable. politically, specifically because of things the president said, this barbaric act,
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politically, this hurts him. >> they will be impressive in syria and iraq. but if they want to oouts figfi united states, they will lose that battle and regret what they are doing. much more breaking news and new video from isis showing the apparent beheading after second american. so how will the obama administration respond to the murder of steven sotloff? plus our cnn team just returned from a trip inside north korea where we got rare access to the three americans held by the regime. stay tuned for the stories behind the story. story stories they couldn't share while they were there. of our scientists. ust talk they'll show you a special glue we've developed that bonds metal to plastic. and that makes the things you're trying to move... lighter. the less weight... the less energy.
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american steven sotloff by isis, much more coming up. first, this urgent story we are following at the same time. we're finally getting a behind-the-scenes look at the rare interviews with three americans detained in north korea and restrictions that our cnn crews face as will ripley travels north korea and is joining us in beijing. take us, will, behind the jea e scenes. wur in pyongyang and interviewed these three americans. what was it like? >> reporter: from you know from your time in north korea, things are very unpredictable. that's what happened with us, government controlled tour, much like you took when you traveled there. we were in the middle of lunch when our hand letters pulled aaside and said we needed to leave right now to head toward the capital. as we head toward the van, i pulled out my cell phone camera and this is what happened.
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an abrupt detour on one minute we're on a sight-seeing tour, the next we're in a van racing through the north korean countryside. government minders are on the phone getting instructions. there's been a change of plans. we're told to expect an interview with a government official. when we pull up to this building, we learn who's really inside. kenneth bae is serving 15 years of hard labor. pyongyang is giving us strictly controlled access to him and two other north koreans. we get the impression this regime is looking for a line of communication with the u.s. >> i'm the only prisoner in the camp. >> reporter: he's housed separately from what amnesty international estimates are 200,000 north korean prisoners. they endure horrific conditions at six prison camps. bae says his health is failing but his treatment is humane.
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>> condition in the camp is i'm working eight hours a day, six days a week. >> reporter: as he serves his sentence, jeffrey fowl is waiting his. he confessed to leaving a bible in north korea. his handwritten notes admit the crime. that covert act of leaving a bible could cost fowle years of freedom. experts say religion threatens the north korean reheem. in a nation accuse of widespread religious persecution only the leaders are considered divine. each man is held in a different room down the same hallway. they never have contact with each other. in this room, matthew miller, awaiting trial for tearing up his tourist visa and seeking asylum in north korea. why did you come here seeking asylum? >> during my investigation, i have discussed my motive and for the interview it is not necessary. >> reporter: now all he wants is
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help from the u.s. government. >> this interview is my final chance. >> reporter: a chance to return to his old life away from the absolute isolation of being held in north korea. during our trip government minders are always watching, not unexpected here. what caught us by surprise is how north korea appears to be reaching out to the united states using these three men to send a message. on a geopolitical scale, north korea's not a powerful country, but wolf, as you know, when you're inside, the government's control is absolute. we were told we had just five minutes with each of these three men and if we went over that time or if we strayed beyond the agreed-upon topics, the consequences would be severe. they even mentioned our flight out of the country could have been in jeopardy if we broke any of the rules, wolf. >> so obviously you got nervous when you heard a threat even implied threat like that when they start talking about it. i remember when i was there a few years ago, it was a very,
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very tense time on the korean peninsula. there was actually fighting going on between north and south korea but you had a difference experience. how worried did you get? >> reporter: well, when our government handlers were shaking when they delivered the news that we had somewhere very important to go, that made me very nervous because they weren't giving us any details. that's part of the reason i took out my cell phone camera because i wanted to document whatever was going to happen. we didn't know if there was really going to be an interview or if we had done something to offend the government. everything is shrouded in secrecy. >> it was clear to you, certainly watching your excellent interviews, will, it was clear that all three of them, of these american prisoners, these captives there, have the same message for the u.s. government, send a high level envoy to pyongyang, whether bill clinton or anyone along those lines, which is what the north koreans want, they
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want attention. >> reporter: yeah. i found it remarkable that these men were in separate rooms just feet away from each other but they're kept completely isolated. they've never seen each other, never spoken to each other, yet their talking points were almost identical, that they're being treated humanely, that they're in an urgent situation and they want a big name from the u.s. government to help secure their release. i don't know if they were coached ahead of time, we were not allowed to ask. but judging by their answers it was likely they had a talking to just like we did before the interviews. >> excellent reporting from north korea. will ripley, our man on the scene. more on the apparent beheading execution of an american journalist by isis terrorists. more of the breaking news straight ahead. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets.
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we're following the breaking news, the gruesome new video apparently showing the beheading of a second american by isis terrorists. the journalist stephen sotloff is seen neiling as a masked executioner is scene railing against the united states. just as your missiles continue to strike our people our knife will continue to strike the next of your people. the u.s. intelligence experts are working to confirm the authenticity of the video. sotloff's family says they're grieving privately. similar video showed the beheading another journalist last month, james foley. that video warned that sotloff would be next. today threatens the execution of a british captive at the same time. remember, you can always follow us on twitter. tweet me @wolfblitzer.
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be sure to join us tomorrow right here in "the situation room." that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, breaking news, video appears to show another american beheaded by isis. the masked terrorist wielding that knife threatening president obama directly, will the united states do something about it? plus we'll go frame by frame small by crucial clues in the video. will president obama find the killer? and are your darkest secrets at risk? hackers release nude photos of jennifer lawrence and other celebrities. is this just the beginning? let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone. i'm erin burnett. we begin "outfront" tonight with the breaking


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