tv CNN Newsroom CNN September 20, 2014 4:00pm-4:31pm PDT
the flames of war are only beginning to intensify. >> right now u.s. authorities are running vocal and facial recognition to try to identify this isis militant who appears to be in a position of power. this information coming from cnn's justice correspondent, pamela brown. meanwhile, the battle against isis rages on in northern syria. hundreds of kurdish fighters from turkey have arrived to help fight the terrorists who have recently taken over. about 60 kurdish villages. and isis has just released 49 hostages, including diplomats who have been held captive since being abducted at the kirkish consulate in mosul in june. it's not clear just yet what the conditions of this hostage release were, but the turkish government says it was in direct contact with isis. and now i want to read you a new statement we just got from the family of british citizen, allen henning, the aide worker held hostage currently by isis which has threatened to execute
him as they have three other werners. the families statement is as follows, and i quote "i am barbara henning, the wife of all allen henning. allen was taken prisoner last december and is being held by the islamic state. allen is a peaceful, selfless man who left his job as a taxi driver in the u.k. to drive to syria with his muslim colleagues and friends to help those most in need. when he was taken, he was driving an ambulance full of food and water to be handed out to anyone in need. she says, his purpose for being there was no more and no less. this was an act of sheer compassion. i cannot see how it could assist any state's cause to allow the world to see a man like allen dying. i have been trying to communicate with the islamic state and the people holding allen. i have sent some really important messages, but they have not been responded to. i pray that the people holding allen respond to my messages and
contact me before it it is too late. when they hear this message, i implore the people of the islamic state to see it in their hearts to release my husband, allen henning. again, that message from the wife of alan henning. he has two young children. joining me now is a fellow at the brookings institution center for middle east policy and author of the book "temptations of power: islamists and ill literal democrats in the middle east." and frank francona, cnn military analyst. let's start with the last plea we read for henning's life. would isis be gaining anything by another execution? >> so, you know, i think so far we -- are they really a rational actor? it may seem to us there isn't much for them to benefit. but there is almost a kind of blood lust here. and they want to essentially terrorize western populations.
they want to instill fear in the hearts of their opponents. so i think this is very deliberate and why -- there is no reason to think the beheadings are going to stop. it is ironic the people they are beheading are people devoting themselves to helping the syrian people and promoting awareness about their plight. but i don't think isis cares too much about that. so right now i think it's pretty unlikely to expect isis to move in a different direction. >> what do you think, colonel? >> i agree wholeheartedly. i think there is no reason to think they're going to stop. they believe this tactic works for them and it does terrify their opponents, not just here in the united states or in europe, but also those in iraq and syria in the areas they're trying to control. >> i want to talk a little bit about that new propaganda video we also showed at the top of the hour here, the one with the man who has the north american accent.
how significant is it? we're seeing these videos and their messages evolve. >> well, i think it's more important that the guy is from north america. if he's an american. i don't know that he holds a particular position of power in the organization. i think he's been singled out because he's an american. we know that when these -- when people show up when they go to isis and as recruits they're separated. the ones that have no education, they usually just give them basic rudimentary training and send them off to fight. but it's the ones with an education or those from the west that can be exploited for propaganda purposes. and this guy that has the north american accent, he's being exploited. he's being exploited because he's an american and he's exploited for that accent. >> speaking of recruiting, you know, we're hearing more and more about the power of isis' recruitment abilities. what is the motivation for educated western men and women to fight alongside isis? >> so if you look at the background of some of the westerners who joined isis, they come from troubled backgrounds,
they have -- they have struggled to define their identity, and this is especially an issue in europe where muslim minorities aren't well inlt grated into society. there is discrimination. there is a kind of glass ceiling in terms of getting ahead in society. so i think isis is on those vulnerable individuals. but there is also a kind of ideological component too. that the idea for at least a minority of religious muslims to be fighting and dying for a cause, in this case theis lack i didn't mean state, that does have some resonance. and i think also, isis is now trying to portray itself strategically as fighting the u.s., and that's also appealing. i mean, anti-american sentiment is rampant, not just in the middle east, but also among muslim minorities in europe. so when they're trying to kind of go to the u.s. and intervening more, that could actually benefit their propaganda, because they can say
we're fighting the american enemy. >> did the u.s., colonel, underestimate this motivation? >> i think there was a lot of underestimated. they underestimated the willingness of isis to fight and die. i mean, they are taking horrendous casualties, but they continue to fight. and they go on. i think on the other side of that, if we look what happened in iraq as the iraqi army basically threw down their arms and left, it was -- we overestimated the iraqi army, because we failed to realize how bad the leadership of the iraqi army had atrophied in our absence. after 2011, the leadership of the iraqi army was replaced by basically a nouri al maliki shia cronies. and the leadership was gone. when you've got poor leadership, i don't care how good your troops are, you're going to fail. >> i want to go back to just the kind of blanket isis, their name. islamic state of iraq and syria. they want to go by islamic
state -- so that first word, islamic. you know, what does religion play into it? we're hearing from other muslims saying this is not what our religion is all about. >> sure. the vast majority of muslims don't agree with isis' ideology whatsoever. but for isis themselves, they are, in fact, motivated by a kind of religious inspiration. they feel that they're doing god's work. so we don't have to agree with it. but i think it's very important to recognize that they believe that they're observing a very literalist interpretation of god's law. and they're also in a way trying to do a kind of historical reena reenactment, going back to the seventh century and kind of portraying themselves as successors to the prophet and his companions. so you can talk about the islamic state without talking about islam.
and i think if we try to put the religious aspect to the side, then we're not fully understanding our enemy, and what motivates them. >> all right, thank you so much for being here with us. coming up, two security incidents at the white house. this is just in the last 24 hours. two incidents. one of the men arrested made it all the way inside the white house. why did secret service let it happen? we'll discuss, next. the eyes may be the windows to the soul. but in the case of the lexus ls... ...which eyes? eyes that pivot with the road... ...that can see what light misses... ...eyes designed to warn when yours wander...
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new information now about two security incidents at the white house this weekend. today the secret service says 19-year-old kevin carr drove toward a barricade. he was arrested when he refused to leave the scene. and last night a man identified now as omar gonzalez jumped the fence and actually made it inside the president's house before he was apprehended. the secret service just released a statement in the past hour on that more serious incident, the
first one, saying although last night the officers showed tremendous restraint and discipline in dealing with this subject, the location of gonzalez's arrest is not acceptable. and then we also received this from the white house. the president has full confidence in the secret service and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the white house. i'm joined now by law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. tom, does the white house need to be worried? >>el well, it's a good question, ana. i think in terms of the judgment they use, i would say no. and i know it's a terrible thing that somebody jumped over the fence and managed to get to the front door. certainly, the white house security people could have shot him dead long before he got to that door and used their judgment that it just didn't quite look like an attack. it may be looked like a deranged person. they would be able to see if the person had a backpack on or some other bulky clothing that might be an explosive device or something. so i think that -- and the other
concern would be if they start shooting at a running subject like that, the bullets would be going, you know, into the tourists out on the sidewalk surrounding the white house. so i think they used the right judgment, the right amount of restraint. the question is, of course, you know, how athletic is this guy? maybe we should get him on our olympic team if he's able to jump over that fence. but i think that, you know, in terms of being able to prevent any violence at the white house, they used the right amount of force to prevent it. >> you know all joking aside, obviously the secret service has to be a little bit nervous that it came to him getting inside the white house. do you think that some protocols maybe need to be changed? >> well, as i just said, i mean, i think that the nervousness is that if they were really more concerned, they would have killed him. i mean, frankly. they wouldn't have allowed him to get to the front door or in the front door. and i think that they were looking at the whole circumstance of this guy coming at them and running across the lawn and just used their judgment that it didn't need to
be anymore. now, yeah, somebody needs to go back and look at whether that fence is the right size and the right shape and whether it should have a curved, you know, point at the top, curved back and make it hard to climb over. you know, and that actually out of all of the issues, that would be fairly easily taken care of, and whether they need more people patrolling that perimeter fence out near the sidewalk where all the tourists are. you know, so that if somebody starts to go up that fence and it takes them a little longer to get over it, that an officer can grab them before they get over the fence. so i think there's several counter measures that they could add to increase security. but in terms of this guy -- and i think the other question would be what they might have done if the president and first family had not left. they had already -- they were airborne as of about five minutes earlier to leave the area. what if they were still in the residence, still in the building or they were having a steak dinner at the white house or, you know, something along those
lines. so there's certainly a number of scenarios that -- where things could have been different and worse. but, you know, again, they used their judgment, and fortunately it turned out to be the right way to handle it. >> definitely. tom fuentes, thanks for your insight. a search for a suspended cop killer in pennsylvania intens y intensifi intensifies. hundreds of law enforcement officers are combing the woods there. we will have the latest on the search, next. at t-mobile, get 4 lines for just $100 bucks. with unlimited talk & text and now up to 10gb of 4g lte data. grab the hottest new phones. get the best trade-in value on your current phone guaranteed. let's see the other guys beat that. get 4 lines for $100 bucks. and the best trade-in value guaranteed.
possibly hold up in the pocono mountains. people are telling people in price and barrett townships to stay inside, stay away from windows. residents are essentially on lockdown and have been now for almost 24 hours. authorities still very concerned for the safety of this community. frein is believed to have ambushed and gunned down this pennsylvania state police officer, byron dixon. another officer also seriously injured. i want to bring back our alexandra field, covering the story in eastern pennsylvania. what are you hearing on the manhunt tonight? >> reporter: a long night ahead, ana, for everyone in this community. they have been on high alert for days now, it tensions still running high as everyone continues to wait for word that officers have found their suspect. as night falls here, people are again going inside, being told to lock their doors, stay away from their windows. we saw hundreds of law enforcement officers out here today, continuing to comb this very heavily wooded area. it is near to the frein family home where that eric shared with
his parents. this is the area that has been the subject of search for days now. 3 to 400 different law enforcement officers from a number of different agencies working together to try and find a suspect who they have said is likely armed and dangerous at this point. it's the reason so many people are hoping for a quick and peaceful resolution to this man hunt which has now stretched for an entire week. again, officers were out there searching all day long at this point. they will have to continue that search. a lot of people hoping they will wake up to news that the suspect has finally been apprehended, ana. >> do you still feel that same sense of urgency we were hearing and feeling last night? we even heard of shots fired last night in an incident but yet somehow he's still on the run. >> yeah, i think this got very real for people here last night. this is when they were first told to sort of shelter in place, lock the door, stay away from windows. that's when people sort of started to really very much recognize the immediate danger of this situation. and i think that's only sort of grown as the hours pass now.
look, they know that nightfall is pretty much here and that's where we have seen activity the last two nights. last night with officers believing they had the suspect surrounded in an area, but again not detaining him the night before that was when there was a report that he had been spotted. so this is about that time when we have seen some movement on other nights and i think that really resonates with people who live here and i think everyone is really going to be heeding the advice and the warnings they have been given by law enforcement officers for trying to keep everyone safe at this point. >> all right, alexandra field, thanks for that. hundreds of volunteers headed out into the virginia woods today, looking for a missing college student. hannah graham. yesterday police searched the apartment of a so-called person of interest in this case. they believe it is the same man who was seen with his arm around graham early saturday morning last saturday. that was when she went missing. police searched his car, they searched his apartment. but they still say there wasn't enough evidence to make an arrest. graham's parents say their 18-year-old daughter would not have just disappeared on her own.
>> they want to know what happened to their little girl. that's all. >> police are offering a $50,000 reward for any information that could lead them to the university of virginia student. as the u.s. continues its campaign against isis in iraq, could the president soon give the go ahead to launch air strikes against isis in syria? we'll talk about it, next. when a pro at any 2014 pga tour event sinks a hole-in-one, quicken loans will pay your mortgage for an entire year. that is how it's done. truly amazing! get in the hole-in-one sweepstakes. enter today at pgatour.com/quickenloans and you could have your mortgage paid for an entire year. where the reward was that what if tnew car smelledit card
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president obama heads to the united nations next week and no issue looms larger than isis. he will make a speech to the general assembly and will carry special session of the security council. cnn's erin mcpike has a review. >> reporter: making a case that the united nations the fight against isis can't wait. >> we must not miss this moment. >> reporter: president obama takes the same world stage this week, but the white house is avoiding questions about when he might give the go ahead for air strikes against isis inside syria. >> both the president and his national security team, including the military commanders are prepared to conduct air strikes in syria. >> reporter: but answers like that have patience on both sides of the aisle wearing thin. >> if this plan doesn't work, what is the alternative? what does it look like in the middle east then? >> well, we always have plan bs
and cs, that's what the military does. >> the amendment is adopted. >> reporter: part of the plan now stamped with congressional approval could take a year, arming and training some 5,000 members of the free syrian army at bases in saudi arabia. >> this will be a process that takes months. and i think that's been indicated. this is not going to happen overnight. >> reporter: it's not just that time line making lawmakers nervous. >> we don't know who they are. i'm not comfortable with the vetting process. and i don't know how long this commitment is. >> reporter: the syrian rebels are the boots on the ground the president hopes will take the fight to isis, a force estimated at six times larger with roughly 30,000 extremist fighters. and the pentagon is pushing back on reports commanders are skeptical that plan can work, without at least the possibility of u.s. combat troops, something the president has ruled out. >> everybody is in alignment about the strategy. everybody is in alignment about the objectives and how to
achieve them. >> reporter: erin mcpike, cnn, the white house. >> with the rise of isis in syria and iraq, one of the ways of combatting them is by having agents on the inside. nate morton storm, former european biker turned militant islamist, turned insider, turned cia double agent. >> reporter: morton storm. for half a decade he says he moved back and forth between two worlds and two identities. when one misplaced sentence could have cost him his life. >> you don't know what angle he's playing. >> reporter: traveling between atheism, hard line islam, english and arabic. >> one minute he's 007. other side, now part of the militant circle. >> reporter: between being an agent for western intelligence and a sworn member of al qaeda,
storm says he was a double agent, so trusted by al qaeda terror leaders, he even fixed one of up with a blonde european wife. a unique powerful weapon in the war on terror, who says he got results. >> i have been responsible of 30 kills. >> 30 terrorists killed. >> reporter: in a race against time, trying to bring down the most dangerous terrorists. before they can launch their next attack. >> watch double agent inside al qaeda for the cia. that's tonight at 8:00 eastern right here on cnn. isis grabbing all the headlines right now, but make no mistake. al qaeda is still out there, and still a major threat. ahead, is that terror group growing while our focus is elsewhere? [ male announcer ] this is the cat that drank the milk... [ meows ] ...and let in the dog that woke the man
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