tv The Situation Room CNN March 18, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
i didn't know you were so good at rhyming. >> it brings out the brit in me. >> tom, thank you so much. that's it for "the lead." i'm brianna keilar in for jake tapper. i turn you over now to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, massacre and manhunt. terrorists storm a museum and slaughter 19 people most of them tourists. two gunmen are killed. the search is now under way for three others. kennedy targeted. she is the daughter of jfk and the u.s. ambassador to japan. threats to her life are reported on the same day that the first lady michelle obama, arrives in the country. pleading not guilty. a u.s. air force veteran accused of trying to help isis answers the charges against him but does the evidence presented in court tell a different story? and isis recruiter, to millions he's a symbol of evil. the iconic killer of isis shown in videos beheading hostages. why do some young people see
jihadi john as a hero and a reason to join the terror group? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's get right to the breaking news. an urgent man hunt is under way for the gunmen who attacked a museum and killed 19 people in tunisia's capital. thousands of cruise ship passengers were in the city of tunis at the time. security forces killed two attackers, described by the interior minister as islamists. the search is now under way for three others while tunisia is a moderate nation and the first country where the arab spring took hold, it may also have provided more foreign fighters to isis than any other country. i will talk to senator corey gardner of the foreign relations committee coming up. our correspondents and analysts are standing by with full coverage. but let's begin with our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara? >> reporter: wolf this lovely north african capital, the city
the site of bloodshed earlier today when gunmen opened up in a complex that involved both the parliament and this major museum in downtown tunis. 17 -- 19 people killed 22 wounded. the hunt for additional gunmen is on. it was brutal and it was sudden. tourists some of them were getting off buses to visit the museum when they were hit with this hail of gunfire. fighting broke out. you see pictures of people on the run as security forces rushed to try to bring them to safety. it was what could only be described as a very deadly very brutal scene. the question now, who is behind it all. of course the finger of suspicion does point potentially, we do not know for sure points potentially to isis. isis adherents in tunisia have been pledging their support to the organization. there has been an awful lot of social media chatter about isis extending its reach. we know that they are extending
their reach across north africa into egypt, libya and tunisia so there is a lot of concern tonight that isis has now opened up a new front in tunisia and that this is another country with a very fragile government where isis may try to take hold. >> amidst all of this we are also hearing of new threats against u.s. embassies in that part of the world. >> reporter: across the region wolf in north africa in the horn of africa the nation of djibouti the u.s. embassy there saying they have a threat stream closing the embassy to consular services. basically the public not allowed in. across the way in saudi arabia now, the u.s. embassy in riyadh and other u.s. facilities diplomatic facilities across the country, closed for several days now. again, a threat stream that they say that is causing them to shut these areas down for consular
services. they are not giving very much in the way of specifics but let's be clear. the state department doesn't shut things down for no reason. >> it follows the complete shutdown of the u.s. embassies in somalia, in libya, in yemen, certainly in syria as well. so these u.s. embassies are being shut down across the region. barbara, thanks very much. as the united states steps up security at some of its embassies there are now reports of death threats, death threats directed at caroline kennedy. the united states ambassador to japan, the daughter of john f. kennedy. word of the threat comes on the same day that the first lady michelle obama arrives in japan and the reports follow the recent stabbing of another u.s. ambassador. let's go to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta for much more. jim? >> reporter: it's a very sensitive matter so the state department of course is saying very little about these reported threats to one of the administration's highest profile ambassadors, caroline kennedy, in japan. but these concerns for kennedy's safety come as the first lady as
you mention is just arriving in tokyo for an overseas trip. she is due to meet with kennedy. the state department spokeswoman jen psaki said the reported phone-in threats to kennedy and another american diplomat in okinawa last month have prompted changes to the security posture at the u.s. embassy in japan. that is despite the fact that first lady michelle obama just landed in tokyo. keep in mind former president bill clinton was just in tokyo yesterday appearing alongside kennedy before delivering a speech on her father's legacy which of course was cut short a half century ago. but the state department says it is making sure that the right precautions are in place. >> we take any threats to u.s. diplomats seriously. we take every step possible to protect our personnel. we are working with the japanese government to ensure the necessary security measures are in place which is something we would do and continue to do around the world. we are not going to comment on the specific details of any threats or steps we take to address them. >> reporter: diplomatic
personnel in asia they are already on edge after that knife attack on the u.s. ambassador to south korea, mark lippert, who is awaiting a security report on that incident. as for that apparent threat to ambassador kennedy, japanese media reports are saying it was phoned in by an english-speaking man but authorities at this point, either they don't know or are not saying at this point who that person could be. >> very worrisome developments. a lot of us are worried about copycats especially in the aftermath of that attack that stabbing attack against the u.s. ambassador mark lippert in seoul, south korea. apparently he was only accompanied by one unarmed security guard at that time. very disturbing developments indeed. jim acosta, thank you. it's been a year since russia grabbed the strategic crimean peninsula away from ukraine and vladimir putin has thrown a party to celebrate. he is also military chest pounding in another hot spot as nato intercepts russian aircraft. let's go live to our senior international correspondent
matthew chance, joining us from moscow. >> reporter: thanks very much. the relationship with russia just continues to deteriorate, more saber rattling as russian war planes are intercepted in international air space as they approach nato air space. also tension in the north as well as russia places its arctic fleet on high alert for maneuvers, 40,000 troops involved in that. in response the nato maneuvers across the border in norway. all this happening as vladimir putin, the russian president, celebrates a year since crimea that ukrainian territory, was annexed. tens of thousands of russians were in moscow today joining him in those celebrations. there was music and dancing. vladimir putin on a jumbo screen near red square. this to mark the one-year anniversary since russia's annexation of crimea from ukraine. a land grab that redrew europe's
map and shattered ties with the west. the annexation of crimea was extremely popular and this whole event has turned into a celebration of russian nationalism. the opinion polls say the country is fully behind the decision to annex crimea and only a tiny minority believe it would be justified to ever consider giving it back. but at the same time on wednesday, nato jets were scrambled to intercept a number of russian military aircraft as they neared latvian air space. latvia a tiny baltic nation where u.s. troops and equipment just arrived for nato training and where fears are growing about putin's next move. >> now we are going to demonstrate that same resolve as we lean forward and demonstrate to russia and to putin that we are not broken in our efforts to stand together through this type of aggression. >> reporter: but putin has been
flexing russia's military might. russia's northern fleet has been placed on full combat alert for arctic exercises involving nearly 40,000 troops and 50 warships. rattling nerves in some nato states. >> they are nervous in poland particularly in the baltic states particularly estonia and latvia. that goes back to for a number of years the kremlin has talked about this right that russia has to defend ethnic russians or russian speakers wherever they are located and whatever their citizenship. >> reporter: the u.s. army says it will soon be sending armored striker vehicles on an 1100 mile convoy through six european countries to show solidarity with nato allies. washington is sending a strong message to moscow. >> we just want to make the point that as far as nato allies are concerned, that raises a whole other set of issues that i
hope anyone who is considering encroaching upon a nato ally takes seriously. >> reporter: there are already u.s. and european sanctions of course on russia over its actions in crimea and elsewhere in ukraine as well. tomorrow european leaders are going to be meeting to discuss what else they can do what next steps they can take to get russia to change its course. wolf? >> matthew chance in moscow thanks very much. let's get some more now. joining us senator corey gardner, freshman republican from colorado member of the foreign relations committee. thanks so much senator, for joining us. let's talk about what's going on over there. russian military jets they were intercepted near latvian air space. latvia of course a member of nato. u.s. troops had just arrived there for nato training. what is going on? is this a direct threat from putin? >> again, i think we have to make it very clear that the illegal annexation that occurred a year ago of crimea will never be accepted by the international community. this is a violation of international law. what we have to do at this moment is make sure that we are
reassuring our nato allies that we are standing strong behind our commitments, our european partnership and nato allies need to know we are there fully committed to our nato alliance. >> so far it's been a year and certainly, the russians under putin have no inclination to withdraw from crimea. is that going to be a fait accompli if you will? >> no. this was an illegal act under international law. communities around the world will not accept this. i think before the senate foreign relations committee hearing from the former president of georgia who was acting as president poroshenko's spokesperson around the globe as this crisis goes on we hear from him the need for the united states to encourage and increase its commitment to speed the deployment of lethal and non-lethal assistance and our conversations to make sure we are doing everything we can to live up to the promises we have made to the people of ukraine. the people of ukraine who have alerted us that they believe
there are right now 10,000 russian fighters still in eastern ukraine and obviously still supplying heavy weaponry to rebels. >> the assistant secretary of state for european affairs. what does putin ultimately want? what is he up to? >> i think he's right now flexing his muscle. he is testing the temperament of the united states and the allies that we have in nato to see what he can get away with. we have to send a very strong message that we will not accept this. this is something the international community will not stand for. but along those lines, i think we have to do our part in stepping up what we have committed to do. talking to various department of defense officials, talking to the state department understanding what it would take when we send the assistance we have promised under legislation that we have agreed to. the length of time that it would take to train and provide training to ukrainian forces to utilize that equipment, that's something that can no longer wait. the longer we wait according to people like the president, the
more serious the situation becomes. >> lot of nervousness in eastern europe. senator, please stand by. we have lots more to talk about, including isis. was isis behind the massacre in tunis today? much more with the senator when we come back. shopping online is as easy as it gets. wouldn't it be great if hiring plumbers, carpenters and even piano tuners were just as simple? thanks to angie's list now it is. start shopping online from a list of top-rated providers. visit angieslist.com today.
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we are back with republican senator corey gardner, member of the foreign relations committee. senator, do you know if isis lot of suspicion isis may have been behind this tunisian museum massacre. what do we know about that? >> there's a lot of speculation as to which jihadi terror group may have been behind this heinous attack. i think chairman mccaul, chair of the house homeland security committee, had stated that he believes there are 3,000 tunisians who are members of isis so logically you can draw a conclusion that could be part of the group that may have been responsible or one of the groups that may have been responsible for this but again, we are trying to learn more information about this heinous attack. we have to make sure we are committing our full resources to finding and investigating the truth of what happened. but tunisia represents a very strong u.s. ally. it's a post arab spring democracy that probably makes it a prime target for these actors who want nothing more than to bring down the emerging democracy of tunisia. >> we see what's happening right next door in libya, which for
all practical purposes is now a failed state and isis has got a foothold in libya. actually got a little foothold in parts of egypt as well. my concern is that isis may be moving towards tunisia. that's a real fear, isn't it? >> well again, chairman mccaul made the statement that there are tunisian 3,000 tunisians in isis. i think that's a legitimate concern. i think that's something that we know from our reports from the state department about the isis troops moving into additional countries, spreading and not being contained. it's a very large concern. >> the whole region seems to be on fire right now. take a look at what's going on with u.s. embassies, senator. in djibouti the horn of africa the state department announced for security reasons they will shut it down tomorrow. at least for a day, to see what's going on to reassure americans who might be there. riyadh saudi arabia huge embassy there, that's been shut down for all consular services all week. in recent months the u.s.
permanently shut down its embassies in yemen, in somalia, in libya, of course in syria over the past few years. what's going on in that part of the world? >> it's a very large concern as the united states faces threats from isis in other parts of the continent. if you are looking at africa looking at boko haram, look at what they are doing pledging allegiance to isis as they try to grow this cancer they are spreading, the malignancy is growing and i think that's the challenge we face. obviously our embassy security our diplomatic security a concern not just in the middle east and those regions but around the globe. the attack on ambassador lippert, the threats to ambassador kennedy. i spoke to ambassador lippert in the days following the attack as chairman of the east asia subcommittee making sure we are doing everything we can to find out what happened. senator rubio and i asking the state department for -- telling us more information about what is happening to security efforts there and getting behind -- getting to know what's behind these attacks and this increase in threats.
>> his face was slashed, as you know by this knife guy, this guy with a knife, who just came in there, slashed him. he's out of the hospital seems to be okay. but is it true he only had one unarmed security guard with him at the time? >> that's exactly what we are trying to get from the state department information. we have asked for a briefing. we will be holding a briefing of the east asia subcommittee with state department officials to find out exactly what happened. i don't want to jump to conclusions but this is something we take very seriously and you mentioned the talks of what's happening in the embassies and the threats to ambassadors in the middle east those nations. this is something that cannot be repeated whether it's in south korea, whether it's in japan or the threat that our officials may face in nations like venezuela, at a hearing yesterday we talked about the safety of our diplomats in venezuela and concerns about the regime and whether or not they pose threats. >> because if american ambassadors are in danger in safe countries like seoul, south korea, an ally of the united
states or tokyo, japan, where caroline kennedy is the u.s. ambassador there was a death threat phoned into the u.s. embassy last month that we only now are learning about, you can only imagine what must be going on for u.s. ambassadors who are in more hostile parts of the world, right? >> and that just shows you the seriousness of the challenges that we face as a country. i think if you look back six years, eight years, we are in new territory when it comes to threats abroad to american officials, to american diplomatic efforts. we have seen what happened at benghazi. we have seen attacks on american officials and we are now seeing them more prevalent, it seems like and hearing these threats in recent days. >> you have to beef up security for diplomats around the world even if they are in supposedly relatively safe cities. let me get your quick thought on this u.s. air force veteran who was apparently trying to sneak in to syria to hook up with isis. he was stopped by the turks in turkey sent back to egypt and extradited to the united states. he was charged in new york. what do you make of this development? apparently he did have some
sophisticated avionics background? >> this issue of foreign fighters americans or europeans, people around the globe who trying to get into join isis and join with isis fighting on their behalf is a large concern. we have been talking to our allies in the region and talking to nations like turkey about what is happening on their border how we address this flow of foreign fighters. but when you talk to officials at the state department i don't think we have a good handle on exactly how to stem this flow of foreign fighters despite the fact that we know they have lester toreless territory. isis has less territory in iraq than they did. we have been hitting them hard in syria. the question is how do the foreign fighters continue to join forces with isis. that's a very large challenge. it goes to this recruitment effort around the globe they have been successful in and the efforts we have to pick up in the united states and our allies to counter these, whether it's recruitments over the internet, whether it's recruitments in europe or the united states. what we can do as allies to
counter that recruitment effort and slow this stem of foreign fighters. >> very quickly, correct me if i'm wrong -- >> stem the flow i'm sorry. >> there was some young people from your state of colorado who apparently were trying to join up with isis right? >> we had a woman arrested at denver international airport several months ago, then of course there were three young women who were caught in europe attempting to join. this is a threat that isn't just something that europe or the middle east faces. this is somethng we are dealing with at home in states like colorado and around our country. >> senator gardner, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. up next the u.s. air force veteran who allegedly tried to join isis in syria. he goes to court in new york city on terror charges. we are getting disturbing new details about the warning signs that the u.s. government seems, seems to have ignored until it was almost too late.
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breaking now, new details about the case against a u.s. air force veteran who federal prosecutors say abandon his allegiance to the united states and tried to get into syria to join isis. cnn's miguel marquez was in the courtroom in brooklyn new york today when the suspect pleaded not guilty. tell us how it went. >> reporter: it went fast, wolf. this is a man who the judge says he wants to be done with by the end of summer unlike many terrorism cases. he was charged with the attempt to support a foreign terrorist organization between may of last year and january of this year. he was also charged with trying to destroy evidence or destroying evidence namely four usb drives that they said he stripped trying to keep them from getting whatever evidence was on there. the judge in this case telling
the attorneys don't plan on taking a summer vacation i want to get this case done with and fast. the attorneys say they are ready to go. amazingly, unlike most of these terrorist trials the judge saying everything is here we need to get going, we can get this done. wolf? >> he's not going to get out on bail any time soon, right? >> reporter: there is no bail for this individual. the only thing he said in court today was his name, his lawyer spoke for him on his behalf even putting in his plea on his behalf. this is a guy who won't be going anywhere. it's the first time we have seen him since he was locked up in january. >> miguel marquez, thanks very much. this latest case is raising disturbing questions about whether the government ignored warnings about the suspect's terrorist sympathies allowing him to gather information that could have put many people in danger. let's go to our justice correspondent, pamela brown. she is working this part of the story. >> that's right. there are new questions and details about why tairod pugh wasn't tracked more closely.
the fbi was aware of him for more than a decade that he had become radicalized according to court documents. back then he told co-workers at american airlines he sympathized with osama bin laden and felt the 1998 bombings of u.s. embassies overseas were justified. but despite the apparent red flags, he continued to work as an aviation mechanic and then later worked for the u.s. army as a contractor in 2009 which experts say would have required a background check. that company would not comment on this matter. a former air force colonel i spoke with today said the fact pugh was able to slip through the cracks and be given front row access to u.s. military members in iraq because of his contracting status as well as aircraft and weapons systems, having access to those, shows there is a major gap in the system and how contractors are screened. among the most concerning issues to investigators is the fact that pugh allegedly was carrying a cell phone when he was arrested that had pictures of an airplane bathroom airline seats, overhead compartments.
people i have been speaking with say that's alarming given his expertise, his alleged ideology they say even an aviation enthusiast likely wouldn't have those types of pictures on their phone. pugh allegedly recently wrote a letter to his egyptian wife about being a person engaging in jihad and court documents revealed back in 2002 the fbi was told by one of his associates that he wanted to fly to chechnyia to fight jihad. again, as miguel said he pleaded not guilty in the new york courtroom today. wolf? >> pretty shocking that this guy could get clearances to be a u.s. military contractor with that kind of background. apparently the government knew about him as well. we will have much more on this. stand by pamela. i want to bring in our national security analyst peter bergen our law enforcement analyst tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director cnn military analyst, retired lieutenant general mark hertling along with bob baer former cia operative. guys stand by for a moment. i want to take a quick break. we have much to discuss.
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iconic killer of isis shown in videos beheading hostages. some see, hard to believe, some see jihadi john as a hero and he has become a magnet for would-be jihadists. brian todd has been looking into this part of the story. what are you finding out? >> tonight a turkish officials tells us a 21-year-old british woman was just stopped at a bus terminal on suspicion of trying to get to syria. there is a clear pattern tonight of young british nationals attempting to get into syria in recent days to join isis. analysts believe this man, jihadi john is a powerful draw for many of them. for many he's become a symbol of fear. the masked face the voice of isis' reign of terror. in one horrifying video after another, jihadi john who we now know is a british militant known as mohammad emwazi presided over the killings of hostages.
but some teenaged boys stopped this week in istanbul before getting to syria or three british school girls who got to syria allegedly to join isis jihadi john may well be the terror group's best recruiter. >> individuals like emwazi aka jihadi john are seen as the hero figure to them. this is an individual that wields power and for a lot of these kids they see this guy as the kwintquintessential jihadi bad boy. >> jihadi john is a brand. they believe isis leaders and the executioner himself are well aware of his notoriety. observers see a link between the beheading videos the news reports of jihadi john's identity and background and the recent flow of young people to try to join isis. for boys he's seen as someone who walks the walk battling the governments which they believe have pushed them to the margins. for girls -- >> he is used as somebody who is promoted as the ideal embodiment of the male foreign fighter who
is masculine, who is virile who is doing something, almost like a heartthrob or sex symbol. >> this is the same man who a spanish journalist once called by isis calls a psychopath. in the sunday times of london javier espinosa said jihadi john told victims how they would die. quote, the second blow opens your neck. you would make amusing guttural sounds. >> he is reveling in the fame and notoriety he has achieved by becoming this brand for isil. >> reporter: once lured in, the teenagers discover a life very different from what they imagined. >> they will be sent off to fight and especially for a lot of these kids who they just don't have the combat experience i doubt they have taken a bullet they will find out real fast that it's not the video games they have been practicing on all this time. >> u.s. and british officials tell us they are more aware than ever of the pull that jihadi john and other isis figures have
online and in social media. this week scotland yard launched a radio and print campaign targeting mothers in immigrant neighborhoods. here is a poster of that campaign. they are pleading with mothers to talk openly with their kids especially their daughters, about the dangers of traveling to syria. wolf? >> there is disturbing new information on the number the number of young women who have actually gone to syria from britain, right? >> that's right. we have been talking to people at scotland yard over the past few days about this. they say that over the past year 22 women and girls have been reported missing to police by their families. these are from britain. families who fear these young women have traveled to syria. >> very disturbing development indeed. brian, thank you. let's get back to the breaking news. terrorists massacre 19 people including 17 tourists at a museum in the tunisian capital. a hunt is under way for three of the gunmen. let's discuss what's going on. tom fuentes is here with us right now. tom, what do you make of this massacre, if you will? it looks like a pretty sophisticated operation.
>> i'm not sure how sophisticated it is for a handful of guys with ak-47s to just start blasting away. i think the question is they were right next door to the parliament was that the initial place they were going to attack and then maybe were repelled by the security at the parliament went next door to the museum full of tourists shooting at tourists getting off the tour buses. it doesn't take much. these guys do not have to be trained as navy s.e.a.l.s to launch this attack. >> three of them are still at large so they must have had some plan. two of them were captured and killed in the process. tunisia supposedly correct me if i'm wrong peter, the largest place, the largest contributor of terrorists to isis foreign terrorists going to isis to hook up in syria and iraq. is that right? >> it is. it's sort of puzzling because tunisia is one of the few countries to emerge out of the arab spring sort of relatively unscathed with a relatively peaceful transfer of power between secular and islamist and islamist and secular parties.
it also has an okay economy because of the tourist industry it has. so why tunisia is producing these thousands of foreign fighters for isis i don't really know what the answer is. it's hard to explain. >> the number we have heard is about 3,000 tunisians have left to go fight with isis in syria and iraq. general hertling you were a commanding general in europe. i know tunisia is a place u.s. intelligence community watches very closely. why is that? >> we watched it very closely because it's one of the nations in what is called the land of the maghreb by al qaeda affiliates and we were seeing a lot of rat lines coming across the mediterranean sea and affecting europe. we had to pay a lot of intelligence potential to it. there is also a historical link. as you know you have been to tunis, you know that the battle of the pass between germans and americans took place in tunisia during world war ii. in addition to that you have the linkages that's where a lot
of europeans go for vacation. it's a beautiful area. we actually have an american battlefield cemetery there. but to get to peter's point, the fact that they do have an emerging representative government is actually pushing some of the more extremist muslims to join al qaeda in the land of the maghreb and do these kind of actions. >> al qaeda of the maghreb in north africa. a very disturbing development. isis al qaeda, different organizations but obviously both really really dangerous. bob baer one of the suicide bombers, you know this responsible for that attack in tripoli, libya, was tunisian. libya, of course for all practical purposes right now, a failed state. lots of terrorism going on there. could the attacks going on in libya spill over next door into tunisia, what's happened today only be just the beginning? >> wolf, i think it's inevitable. you look at that border between tunisia and libya, it's wide open it's porous. you can get people across
weapons. as you know libya when gadhafi fell all those weapons caches or looted surface-to-air missiles heavy weapons. you have a lot of tunisians who have gone across the border for combat training. doesn't really come as a surprise that tunis got hit. i would like to go back to peter's point. this was a very secular country. i used to live there. it was amazing. it was almost french at that point. and the fact that they have switched over to this jihadi mentality is not a good sign. >> i was there right after the glow the height the optimism of the arab spring. it started in tunisia. things seemed to be moving in a great direction not only there but throughout north africa. of course elsewhere in the middle east. but that has collapsed for all practical purposes totally, right? >> i think it remains to be seen in tunisia. this is one event. but it's only obviously collapsed completely in libya. to call libya a failed state is almost too polite at this point. i talked to u.s. government officials who estimate about a
twelfth of the country is under control of these jihadi groups like isis. and you know which is not an outcome that anybody could have predicted immediately after the fall of gadhafi. >> general hertling let me get your quick thought about that u.s. air force veteran who was arraigned in a brooklyn federal court trying to sneak across from turkey into syria to join forces with isis. he had been on the fbi's radar screen at least going back to 9/11 when he was expressing sympathy for bin laden. how does a guy like this get clearances to become a u.s. army contractor? >> yeah, wolf, that's very concerning to me. i know the history. he was a u.s. air force veteran but long time ago, 25 years ago. but he worked for american airlines he worked for griffin airlines in kuwait. he actually came out of egypt to attempt to get into syria. then i found out today as they did the trial that he actually worked for dinecorps in iraq. this guy could have been one of my aviation maintenance guys
when i had helicopters there. the security clearance capability of some of american industry is not quite as good as the american public. what he did was basically say, you know he agreed with the bombings in africa and he wanted to join the chechen rebels. that's not something that's going to keep him, as tom will tell you, on an fbi watch list. it is disturbing but companies aren't going to pass that kind of information. if they don't, this guy and people like him could end up working for defense contractors and being even in combat zones that could hurt soldiers and in this case attempt to hurt american citizens. >> they got to do a complete post-mortem review to see what happened here and learn lessons from that. guys stand by. coming up at the top of the hour we will have more on the breaking news the death threats against president john f. kennedy's daughter who is now serving as the u.s. ambassador to japan. but up next important developments in the investigation of that recent drone crash over at the white house, along with new worries about their potential use as
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the government employee whose drone crashed on the white house grounds several weeks ago won't face federal charges, even gets to keep his sensitive job. but the many bare rasing ingembarrassing incident is racing concerns. >> reporter: that white house drone incident it highlights the potential threat to national security as more and more drones take to the skies. tonight, some members of congress say there's a real
concern the federal government is currently unprepared to protect the homeland from rogue drones. tonight, new concerns in washington that drones could be used to carry out a terrorist attack. >> a lone wolf or maybe even a group of actors that would use them. we already know that they have discussed planning and surveillance using drones to conduct their operations. >> reporter: on capitol hill wednesday, experts warned nuclear power plants military bases and government buildings could all be at risk. >> even consumer grade drones can be rigged to carry out potent attacks. >> the concerns are real. there is nothing to stop the criminal element from purchasing a uas and using it to cause damage. >> reporter: authorities foiled aid 2011 terror plot targeting the pentagon and the u.s. capitol with a remote controlled plane packed with explosives. in january of this year a drone
crashed on the white house lawn. >> could be carrying explosives noxious agent. here we are with questions about how to defend the white house and other infrastructure. >> reporter: the secret service is running drills. around the world, drones continue to breach sensitive areas without being caught. in france drones were recently reported over at leasten seven nuclear power plants. here in the u.s. officials say they are unclear who is in charge of protecting the homeland from rogue drones. >> when you can fly an unmanned vehicle right next to a head of state and nobody knows it's coming nobody is aware what the intentions are, what might be on board, certainly, that's a national security threat. >> reporter: government official tells me there's an interagency
effort under way to figure out the best defense against rogue drones. but still no clear answer to the question of who is leading this effort? i have asked a few agencies and still don't have a clear answer. >> very disturbing development. thanks very much for that report. coming up ah manhunt is under way for terrorists attacking a museum. is isis opening a new threat? death threats directed at caroline kennedy. she's the u.s. ambassador to japan.
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news. terrorists on the loose. gunmen storm a museum full of western tourists killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens more. tonight, an international manhunt for three heavily armed men, killers on the run. kennedy death threats. someone is threatening to kill one of america's most recognized women. the ambassador of the united states to japan, caroline kennedy. with first lady michelle obama just arriving in tokyo, is enough being done to protect their lives? missed terror warnings? an air force veteran who tried to join isis pleads not guilty. now there are new questions more than a decade after being warned of his alleged terrorist sympathies, why wasn't the fbi tracking him more closely? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." we are following breaking
news. a deadly attack in tunisia. a manhunt is under way for three gnmen who fled. growing concerns right now about security at u.s. diplomatic facilities. warnings are being issued. now one embassy is being temporarily closed. tonight, there's also concern for the life of caroline kennedy, the u.s. ambassador to japan. she reportedly received death threats that u.s. and japanese officials are now investigating. the first lady of the united states she just got to japan. that's sparking new security concerns as well. we're covering all of those stories. much more this hour with our correspondents and guests including congressman adam kinzinger. let's begin with barbara starr. she has more on the museum attack. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf the u.s. embassy moved very quickly warping all americans to stay away from the area of the attack. there's a lot of concern about what unfolded today and a lot of
suspicion about who may have been responsible. it happened without warning. gunmen attacking parliament and museum buildings in tunisia's capital. people desperately escaping led to safety by security forces. at least 19 people most of them tourists killed and 22 hurt. two attackers were also killed. concern this attack is at the hands of isis ed aeyeisis opening a new front for their violence. tunisian militants have pledged loyalty to isis. >> it appears that this was an attack by the islamic state. but we have to remember that there are other possibilities. it could have been a local group. it could have been al qaeda. >> reporter: the u.s. at one time held up tunisia as a place where the arab spring blossomed.
>> will be continuing to engage with authorities there and our counterparts there to discuss what this means moving forward. >> reporter: the security situation has deteriorated across north africa. in egypt, libya and tunisia, isis brutal slaughtering egyptian laborers earlier this year. just days ago, the u.s. defense secretary warning isis has now moved far beyond strongholds in iraq and syria. >> we are seeing it. we're seeing it throughout north africa. >> reporter: out of the 20,000 foreigners that have joined the fight in iraq and syria, a british think tank says up to 3,000 of them are from tunisia, the largest number from any country. >> a significant number of those foreign fighters have returned from iraq and syria or from fighting in libya for the islamic state to tunisia. this clearly presents a very significant security problem. >> reporter: now, some of the tourists were killed as they
stepped off buses trying to make their way to the museum for a visit. thousands of tourists were ordered back to their cruise ships for their own safety. look wolf the bottom line is this is a country with a very fragile government at the moment. the concern, another place where isis may take hold and another place where it may become very difficult for the government to really control things for the economy to flourish and for people there to even have a decent life. >> three of those terrorists on run. two were killed, but three are on the run. thank you. we're fomllowing reports of death threats against caroline kennedy. officials are taking the threats very seriously. coming two weeks after the u.s. ambassador to south korea was slashed in a knife attack. jim acosta is working this story for us. what do we know about the threats against the life of ambassador caroline kennedy? >> reporter: the state department is remaining very
tight-lipped about the reported threats against caroline kennedy. these concerns for kennedy's safety come as the first lady is arriving in tokyo for an overseas visit. the state department says it's taking seriously news reports out offof tokyo that caroline kennedy was the subject of death threats. >> we take every step possible to protect our personnel. we're working with the japanese government to ensure security measures are in place. >> reporter: jen psaki said the threats to kennedy and another diplomat have not promptprompted security changes. that's despite the fact that first lady michelle obama just landed in tokyo for an overseas trip that include a meeting with kennedy. bill clinton was just in tokyo, appearing alongside kennedy before delivering a speech on
her father's legacy which was cut short a half century ago. the president's selection of a child of camelot to become ambassador to japan in 2013 was a sign of asia's growing significance in u.s. foreign policy. >> the japanese government in particular will take this very seriously. they provide the bulk of the security for an american ambassador. i am confident that the japanese will do everything they can to protect ambassador kennedy. >> reporter: diplomatic personnel in asia are already on edge after the knife attack on u.s. am boss door the u.s. ambassador to south korea. >> they will look at the techniques procedures in place both here and around the world. >> reporter: state department security overseas is a constant concern considering the recent evacuation of the u.s. embassy in yemen, the suspension of services in saudi arabia and the closing of the u.s. embassy in
gentleman boo tee. they say it was phoned in by an english speaking man. we should point out, japan's embassy to the u.s. in washington just announced that ambassador kennedy will be here in washington next week for a u.s./japanese economic summit. >> don't forget the embassies in is a mall ya somalia and libya have been shut down as well. thanks very much. let's get more on all of this. joining us congressman adam kinzinger. i want to talk about all of these things. let's get back to the terror attack in tunisia. was this eye snisisis in? >> it's possible it was isis or isis related. it could be al qaeda. we know there's a competition between al qaeda and isis for who is the lead jihadist group.
we don't even know what the target was. there's suspicion that the target was the parliament. parliament was in session. maybe as the terrorists were going in they saw target of opportunity, by a museum see tourists getting off and maybe they decided that was the moment. before i got on the air here i looked at twitter. i just typed in tunisia. what was amazing to me was to see all the people that say, i'm tunisia and i'm standing strong with the tunisian people. it was like what happened in france after the "charlie hebdo" attacks. this could have the possibility -- it's a fragile democracy. this could have the opposite affect of solidifying the people behind their government and behind peace. >> tunisia, that's where the arab spring was born a few years ago, amid hope for the entire region, north after arerica and the middle east. in tunisia, they have had relatively some good prospects. >> they have a tough economy. tourist is a big part of that economy. this is -- especially hurtful
when maybe tourists decide they don't want to go to tunisia. at the end of the day, it's -- they have had a transition of government. it's a democracy that seems to be working. i think this is important for the united states its western allies to lend the government the support they need whether in law enforcement, surveillance monetary assistance. tunisia really could be an example of what these other countries where we see a lot of tumultuous situations tunisia could be the best example. >> here is the down side. 3,000 tunisias have left, they have gone to syria to join forces with isis. 500 or so have supposedly returned. a lot of those isis forces are now next door right next door in libya which is for all practical purposes a failed a state. the fear is they will move from libya next door into tunisia. >> it's frightening. it's almost the frontier of isis
right now. when we found out they were in libya, we called that the frontier. now we're finding out tunisia. what's next? that's why it's important for countries that have the ability like the united states like europe to help tunisia to root out some of these terrorists that are returning. but the other point to make is if you have 3,000 people leaving go fight, what you have is people that were bent towards this jihadism but they realize, we can't do that here. we have to go fight in failed states which i think could say that tunisia has got their act together if they decide the war is not going to be there. this is very disturbing today. i don't think that this is necessarily a sign that tunisia is done. i think this is a sign that maybe they are standing strong and that's why they are the focus of the terrorist attacks. >> let's hope that's the case. stand by congressman. more to discuss, including putin's latest moves, threatening a nato ally. stay with us. much more right after this. sir, we're going to need you on the runway later. don't let a severe cold hold you back.
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breaking now now, not guilty plea by a u.s. veteran trying to join isis. we're learning details of the arrangement. clues that may have been missed. we're back with illinois represent congressman adam kinzinger. hard to believe a guy like this watched since 9/11 professing loyalty to bin laden. he said he wanted to use the skills given top me by allah to establish and defend the islamic state. he gets security clear answers to work for a u.s. army contractor in iraq. how does that happen?
>> i don't know. he is caught at the border. this is sad and offensive to me as an air force veteran to see somebody who swore to protect and defend the con stistitution ends up in this position. this idea of jihadism isis or the biggest umbrella, is something we have to be on guard against. we don't want to sit here and frighten everybody and say -- there could be a terrorist around the corner. we have to be aware of it. even if somebody as honorable as serving in the united states military could be a bad person. the other thing to point out is maybe these terror groups are trying to recruit veterans, people disaffected in society and radicalized in their basement or whatever. this sayis a huge moral victory for isis. >> videotapes talking about his experience in the united states air force, even though he served
a while ago that could have been a propaganda broomoom for isis. >> imagine if he makes up lies and says as an air force guy, we did this and it's lie, lie, high lie, but he's saying it would no accent. that's a bad position to be in. i think -- i don't know if he was recruited. i don't know if he did this on his own. maybe that's something we're going to find out. it's a frightening situation. >> i think they have to do a review how he gets clearances to work at a military facility in iraq after they knew he was professing sympathies to al qaeda. you served three tours duty. you are familiar with that. it hits home for you sglchlt. >> it does. >> he is obviously -- was arranged today. let's talk about security for american ambassadors around the world. caroline kennedy gets a death threat supposedly they're not escalating security for her. but they probably should. >> yeah.
>> given what happened to the u.s. ambassador in south korea two weeks ago who was slashed with a knife in his cheek. he had one unarmed security guard with him at the time. >> yeah. that's tough to see. by the way, i think the state department needs to go over are there security personnel armed, how many security personnel are there. i have been in dangerous places, turkey for instance had security that was unarmed. it's important to make sure that happens. obviously, there's copycat issues. is this a copycat situation with caroline kennedy? i don't know. every time somebody high profile like the am boss doorbassador to south korea gets attacks, you have the possibility that somebody says this is my opportunity to shine. it sends a strong message in some people's minds. obviously, the state department needs to review security. i'm sure they're doing that.
>> not only hostile areas, but in tokyo, a friendly country, a close ally of the united states supposedly very easy going. south korea, another close country. you see these threats, you have to beef up security. >> even in europe we know there are radicals that operate in europe. maybe european ambassadors have to take a look. >> they like to go out and meet local folks and get contact with them establish rapport. it's going to be more difficult now in the aftermath of the attacks. putin in russia what is he up to right now? there's a lot of tension going on. >> yeah. there is. look i think it's a show of force right now. this is part of his attempt to boost his domestic numbers, his domestic popularity. folks in russia when they see a strong leader they get behind him. what i am concerned is this turns to a show of force to using force. and the exercises that are
occurring, maybe it's an accidental shooting that happens that sparks what would be world war iii or maybe it's intentional. i think it's important for the united states and for nato to make it clear that if article 5 is invoked, an attack on one is an attack on all, that we will take that seriously. that makes war almost unlikely because putin is not a dumb guy. he understands he can't win a war with the west. but as much as can he challenge us and push that barrier, he is going to it. >> and his popularity is going up at home in the midst of economic handshiprdship, sanks. his pop >> they are having less ability to travel to europe. they are the ones that prop him up. when you see their financial portfolio take a dip, they are invested in oil, this may be a bit of a paper tiger that eventually gets torn. we will see what happens. i think it's essential for nato and the united states to make clear we will defend nato
allies. sglt >> the russian billionaires they are the power behind the scene. >> they are. it looks like benjamin netanyahu will stay on. he will spend the next week or two or three working with the other members -- potential members. it looks like owe has a good chance of doing it. he got the most seats. what do you think of the strain -- enormous strange in his relationship netanyahu, with the president of the united states. >> i'm glad netanyahu won. i can't promise i understand israeli politics. people that live there don't fully understand it all. look, i think he's a great leader. there's a lot of tension with the white house and him. this is an opportunity for president obama, for benjamin netanyahu to call each other and say what happened in the past let's take a deep breath and figure out how going forward we have a good relationship for the next two years. president obama is only going to be there two more years. we want to ensure that we're in a good situation. a bad nuclear deal with iran
which fear -- benjamin netanyahu will find himself having to defend his country if he feels -- >> what does that mean? a military strike? >> if he feels threatened and if israel is threatened possibly. i don't predict it. i think, he is very clear-eyed about protecting israel. >> adam kinzinger thanks for joining us. an american air force veteran accused of trying to join isis. the fbi knew about him for a decade. why wasn't more being done to track him? the urgent concern over isis and it's expanding footprint. are forces positions themselves for bigger and deadlier attacks on the west?
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not guilty the plea a u.s. air force veteran facing terror-related charges for allegedly trying to ing toing to join isis. now we're learnig more about him and the evidence they have against him and the years of warning signs that may have been missed. miguel marcus was in the courtroom in brooklyn for the arraignment. tell us what happened. >> reporter: we saw -- the last time he was free in january. we saw him in cuffs today. had a thick beard. he was charged with two things the attempted material support for a terrorist -- a foreign terrorist organization between may of last year and january of this year. he was also charged with destroying evidence four u.s. drives that they say stripped down to keep the evidence from investigators as they were looking into this. the judge in this case very
forceful saying he wants this done by summer. this will not be a terrorist-like case. he is saying they will see the case through very very quickly, telling lawyers in-house don't be -- don't take a vacation this summer. we will be done with this by the end of the summer. the only thing that he said during court was his name even his lawyer entering the plea of not guilty on his behalf. wolf? >> miguel thanks very much. pamela brown is standing by. she has details of the warning signs that may have been missed. what are you finding out? >> reporter: that's right. aviation and military experts say the government's accusations are true. co-have he could have caused a lot of damage given his access. new details about his background and questions about why he wasn't tracked more closely. the fbi was aware for more than a decade that he had become radicalized. according to court documents, he
allegedly told co-workers at american airlines he sympathized with ed bybin laden. >> i think we're going to uncover holes in the process between the initial investigation and the present day. >> reporter: among the more concerning issues to investigators that he was allegedly arrested carrying a cell phone with pictures of an airplane bathroom airline seats and overhead compartments. today, authorities say he had turned his back on america, allegedly writing a letter to his egyptian wife that he was a person engaged in jihad. court documents reveal back in 2002 the fbi was told by one of his associates that he wanted to fly to chechnya. he went on to work as an army contractor in 2009, which
experts say would have required a background check. >> if he had a lower level secret security clearance, they would have not picked up on the fact he was on the fbi's radar because he wasn't convicted of a crime. if he had top secret they would have picked it up under a background investigation conducted by the fbi. >> reporter: they would not tell cnn what level of security he had. experts say the case highlights potential holes in how contractors are screened. >> a lot more action should have been taken to mitigate risk and to remove him from being in a situation where he had access potentially, dangerous access to aircraft to people flying on aircraft to weapon systems. >> reporter: what's not clear is what he was doing up until the time he was arrested in january. investigators say they know he was living in the middle east for a year and a half. from online searches he was intent on joining isis according to the fbi. he was picked up trying to ply
to turkey. as authorities say, on to syria. he was stopped because he refuse refused to show turkish authorities his electronics. >> good report. thanks very much. let's more with philip mudd. this whole notion of the foreign fighters being attracted to go fight for isis. this is a huge huge problem. >> it's a huge problem. it's not a new problem. when we had the american surge in iraq back ten years ago, where did foreign fighters comes from? libya where we see foreign fighters today, tunisia, where we saw the attack today. that remains true. we're still seeing a large volume from these places. the interesting change, wolf is that most of the places have political or security vacuums. yemen, syria, libya, there's one place that transitioned well after the arab spring that was tunisia. the question going forward from the attack today is going to be whether that relatively peaceful transition allows that government to put a lid on
extremist extremists. >> all these u.s. embassies throughout this region right now, they're either shutting down for a few days shutting down permanently, for example in yemen or libya, there's no u.s. embassies, certainly in lyly in somalia but even in saudi arabia this week that embassy is -- it's a huge embassy. >> look we see djibouti and then you are in the horn of africa. there's places where you have an extremist presence but where you have an inability of security services because you have a vacuum to go after the extremists. what do we have next to that somalia. 25 years of instability. i think the threat to embassies comes from areas of instability like somalia. >> really in saudi arabia you
spent time there, the u.s. embassy is not providing services. >> it's a big deal. if you look at saudi arabia on a map, it looks huge. yemen looks small. if you look at the number of cases of threats to saudis and americans in saudi arabia you will find a vast majority have individuals that are coming up from another unstable area that's yemen. >> al qaeda in the arabian peninsula is headquatered. i want to bring in our intelligence and security analyst, bob baer and paul cruickshank. let's move coming up right here in "the situation room." he spilled a little soda on his shirt, but that wasn't the big deal... this story had 30 minutes left. the like really big deal was that he was with jessica. until kim realized that stouffer's mac and cheese is made with real aged cheddar. so, what about jessica? what about her? stouffer's. made for you to love.
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quote today,call liberty mutual insurance at see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. we're back with our terror panel. we're getting breaking news on the latest secret service scandal. we are learning the agency's director has told members of congress that surveillance video of what happened get this may have been erased. what are you learning chris? >> these are pretty stunning developments into this investigation into the two secret service agents who are accused of crashing their car into a barricade around an active bomb investigation.
what i'm hearing from house oversight chairman jason chafe its, they were showed videos. one of the videos wasn't very good angle of what was happening out there. the other was okay. they said do we have any other angles going? and do we have any other angles going? and he was told that those tapes may have been erased all those other angles may have been erased. this was a pretty stunning development. they are going to investigate. they are sending a letter to the secret service today. he is going to ask for all of the tapes. he wants all other physical evidence. he wants to get to the bottom of this. he feels like if they have two tapes, they must have others. he is wondering, wolf maybe if he is getting the run around. >> that's suspicious stuff. thanks very much. we will be all over that story.
back to breaking news monitoring a deadly attack on a museum at the tunisian parliament. what are you hearing about isis about this attack? >> there's been no official claim of responsibility by any jihadist group yet. pro-isis twitter account in syria and iraq are lighting up in celebration for this attack. no official claim yet from the isis leadership or official isis channels that they are behind this. it could be another group. there's a group in tunisia which has 40,000 followers. al qaeda has a brigade fighting along the algerian border as well which threatened attacks late last year. so it could be any number of groups. but i think isis is the lead suspect at this point given the
sophistication of the attack given 3,000 tunisias have gone off to fight in syria and iraq and 500 have come back. >> bob baer tunisia, estimated 3,000 tunisians have left the country to join forces with isis. some of them have actually returned. it's the largest contributor of foreign fighters to isis. why is this happening, especially in you tunisia, which is the birthplace of the arab spring? >> well wolf the problem is that so many of these people are westernized to a certain degree these muslims. and they come to detest the west. and they are looking to join a bigger cause, which would be the islamic state or al qaeda. and they just -- they want to fight jihad. it means something to them. they're recruited on the internet. they have easy access to the internet. there was a corrupt regime in tunisia for decades. they came to detest it. there's few opportunities, high unemployment. they don't want to work in the
tourism industry. they believe that islam is under attack whether it's iraq or syria or where have you. and it's very attract timive to them. it's across north africa. you have algeria, which have tamped it down. of course you have libya where there's no government at all and there's an encouragement to the tunisians. i think we will see more tunisians, rather than fewer, joining the jihadist movements. >> fran you know this region well. you have been there not that long ago. isis beheaded egyptian crist christians working there. now there's enormous fear that isis which has already a big chunk of libya, at least some other terrorist dozen ass do as well that's going to move toward tunisia. how worried are you? >> very worried. it was the execution of 21 christians. when you think about an tack onattack
on a museum where there are tourists we have seen the pictures and photographs of isis desecrating antiques at two museums across iraq. for a lot of rfrns s reasons it feels like isis. remember again, isis has been very sophisticated in their prop propaganda effort releasing photographs and videos. we need to wait a little bit longer before we see whether or not isis claims responsibility and whether or not they put out propaganda around the attack. >> philip mudd some have said isis may be trying to expand too quickly for their own good this could be their downfall. you say? >> i think that's right, only in long-term. in the short-term it has been since last summer we talked about isis moving into iraq. we have seen cells in places like pakistan afghanistan, western europe north america, now tunisia. that rapid expansion has been
remarkable. the question as you suggest is how does isis control these organizations, for example, whether they kill too many innocences as isis has done in iraq. long-term, they are at risk. >> that's a good point. bob baer that u.s. airman who was arranged today in brooklyn arrested trying to join isis as far back as 2002 u.s. authorities knew this guy was trying to wage jihad. he said so. it was not a huge secret. how is it possible he gets clearance to become a u.s. army contractor in iraq in 2009? >> the standards aren't very high. they don't do thorough background checks. if you had gone around and asked friends that he served with all this would have come up. but they're doing it on the cheap, the contractors. they don't want to pay a lot of money for this. if the fbi or cia had been doing it he would have never been
employed. just like snowden got through contracting process easily so did this guy. we have to go back and fix this to keep these people out, especially someone who had access to airplanes and was taking pictures of them. he certainly would figure out how to put a bomb in one. that kind of person we don't need in our services or working for military contractors. >> fran, what's alarming is that when they captured him on his cell phone he did have pictures of an airplane bathroom he had overhead compartment pictures, seats. he was an afshvionics expert. this is frightening when you think about it. >> it's very frightening. frankly, wolf while we have every right to be angry about this and ask the questions you are asking we shouldn't be surprised. the navy yard shooter was a contractor with a clearance. we had the fort hood doctor who killed our soldiers. bin laden had a driver who was a former special operator in the
u.s. military. why is it we don't learn from the past cases and this continues to happen? i think there are questions about the fbi's involvement in tracking this guy. how did he get a clearance? what was dod's involvement? if congress wants to do oversight, this would be a good place for it. >> i totally agree. fran paul phil bob, thanks to all of you. other news we're following, the white house says the president will call the prime minister of israel benjamin netanyahu in the coming days to congratulate him on his apparent victory in israel's parliamentary election. what does a netanyahu victory mean for u.s. israeli relations, for his own personal relationship with president obama which has been strained? >> reporter: wolf, i think the fact that president obama did not call prime minister netanyahu to congratulate him, that job fell to secretary of state john kerry, shows the
uphill battle that prime minister netanyahu has to repair the relationship. it was a few weeks ago that this prime minister was in washington lobbying not only the u.s. congress but the american people against president obama's policy towards iran. now that prime minister netanyahu has a new mandate to continue what he was doing secureity issues i think you will see tensions. the prime minister feels that he was elected to continue to be tough and fight against the deal that he thinks is very dangerous for israel. >> what about some of the statements that the prime minister made in the final hours of this campaign, vowing to oppose a palestinian state on his watch? he used to support it going back to 2009 the two-state solution israel and a new state of palestine. the u.s. spent two decades trying to achieve that.
how big of a setback for u.s. policy is that netanyahu statement and his victory in this overall peace process effort? >> reporter: u.s. officials and senior administration officials telling me that's what they are trying to ascertain. they understand that prime minister netanyahu was elected with this last-minute push to the right. these right wing voters are the ones that do not support a two-state solution. they continue to support settlement construction. so they say, what we have right now are the statements. we have to see if prime minister netanyahu dials them back. it could be a real game changer for not only the u.s. involvement in the peace process but for u.s. israeli relations. >> could take him a week maybe two or three to form that new coalition government. all indications are he will be able to do so when all is said and done. more news here in "the situation room" coming up in a moment.
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accusation from the number two senate democrat. >> loretta lynch, the first african-american woman nominated to be attorney general is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the senate calendar. that is unfair. it's unjust. it's beneath the decorum and dignity of the united states senate. >> very strong words. let's dig deeper. the language is sharp suggesting this woman who could become the first african-american woman, could this backfire on republicans? >> i think it could. this is an issue of a human trafficking bill and something on abortion that was attached in it suddenly delays the approval
of the attorney general of the united states. it's crazy. it's ridiculous. she was voted out of committee with three republican votes because people think she's really qualified. it's been pending for 130 days. stop tieing it up in all this other stuff and just get her through. >> jeff, what's going on? >> the whole debate has taken a very ugly turn as we just saw. then we saw tim scott accused democrats of race baiting. it's a very ugly debate. she should have been confirmed already. we're in the middle of march. there's no reason this should have been going on. both sides are dug in. looks like she won't be confirmed until mid-april. the attorney general that no one likes still in office. >> republicans are saying to dick durbin you voted against
condi rice. get over it. do you work. >> let's take a look at some new cnn orc polls. the first poll since the whole e-mail controversy arose on the democratic field, does she seem still to be doing okay. 62% among democrats, joe biden with 15%. elizabeth warren who is not running, 10%. she's still way, way ahead. >> doing better than okay. >> the numbers are the same as they were before the e-mail. >> she has a favorable rating among democrats of 86%. who has that kind of favorable rating in their own family much less the democratic party? she is the envy of any candidate and by the way, this is why democrats have sat back and not challenging her. people have stepped aside and said this is her moment. she can raise the money. she's very well liked within the democratic party and this isn't
good news for republicans either. that i can a look at this. more likely to vote in a general election clinton versus jeb bush. she wins 55%. versus scott walker she wins 55 40%. rand paul, clinton 54%. those are still hefty majorities. >> the republican race is so unsettled and so wide open. democrats, i looked this up democrats have failed four of the last five attempts to win three straight terms. that's one problem. the reality, republicans, the biggest concern is not hillary clinton, pstit's themselves. >> take a look what the we saw
among republican candidates. pretty close for the potential 2016 field. jeb bush with 16%. scott walker 13. rand paul 12. mike huckabee 10. >> this speaks to jeff's point about people don't know who these candidates are yet. they know jeb bush's name a little more than they know anybody else's name and they not sure they like that or not. this is all about name id at this point. i want to echo something. we saw in the 2008 campaign that she's not a perfect candidate. she's not a great transactional politician. we saw her in the press conference on e-mail where is she looked like she'd rather be anywhere else than there. you have to see how a candidacy plays out.
she is far from perfect and so are the folks on the republican field. >> she was going to be beat barack obama. she was ahead of joe biden and all these other people. there has to be campaign. we have to see what her message is going to be. the republicans have their own. >> shouldn't jeb bush be doing better? he's the most well known. >> his name is not necessarily a plus. george w. -- >> even for republicans? >> even for republicans. there's lots of conserveatives who believe george w. bush was a big spender. there's a lot of revisionist history about that. i don't think the bush name is the slam dunk even in the republican party just like the clinton name is in slam dunk. >> interesting numbers we have. thanks very much. go to cnn politics.com if you want more on all of this.
thanks for watching. erin burnett outfront starts rite now. tonight, breaking news, a man hunt for the gunman who killed 19 people. is isis behind the attack. . thomas friedman is out front. the fbi calling on local police to search cold case files anywhere robert durst has lived. are there other victims out there? let's go outfront.