tv The Situation Room CNN April 3, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
not having his back. >> who is the last one standing? >> john the beloved because he was the only one who showed up at the crucifixion. >> good news for john the beloved. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to brianna keilar in "the situation room." have a wonderful peaceful passover and easter. happening now, terror tailspin. al qaeda empties a prison freeing dozens of known terrorists. are bomb makers among those on the loose and will americans be more at risk? american isis. the feds say a woman who calls herself young lioness knowingly helped terrorists and even bought an airline ticket to go join them. this makes three terror cases against american women in just two days. what is the attraction? intentional acceleration. the newly discovered flight data recorder shows the germanwings co-pilot sped up his airliner's deadly plunge into a mountainside. what else is the black box
revealing? and pleasure squads. we are picking up reports that north korea's reclusive leader has decided to carry on a bizarre family tradition, recruiting young women for what's called entertainment. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room." the breaking news alarming new developments in the war on terror including another arrest of a u.s. woman who allegedly bought a ticket to fly from philadelphia to go join isis in syria. the feds now have rounded up three u.s. women in two days. this comes just as we're learning more about a prison break where dozens of al qaeda members apparently got away including members of a group that's threatened to bomb u.s. airliners. our cnn correspondents analysts and experts are working their own sources, they are standing by with the very latest information, and i want to begin with cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. >> reporter: good evening. in the middle east today, two
saudi border guards were killed in an exchange of gunfire across the border with yemen. they believe it was by iranian backed rebels in yemen. this area now becoming a flash point that could threaten the u.s. gunfire and unrest continuing in yemen at the jail where 270 inmates broke out, dozens linked to the terror group al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, aqap. the group that has repeatedly attempted to attack u.s. aircraft. >> while the houthis and yemeni forces are fighting each other, no one is paying attention to aqap. that's why they have been allowed to break into a jail freeing several hundred of their prisoners. >> reporter: a senior u.s. military official tells cnn in the short run, aqap may be just trying to survive the chaos. but in the long term the threat may be increasingly tough to detect.
operatives are staying out of sight using trusted couriers and secure internet communications links. u.s. commandos are gone from yemen. there are only communications intercepts and satellites watching overhead. >> there's a great amount of concern about what aqap was able to do in terms of the prison fighting remains ongoing on the ground and the situation is fairly fluid. >> reporter: as yemen unravels the u.s. and saudi arabia back weak government forces who are desperately fighting iranian backed houthi shia rebels. with the aid of u.s. intelligence the saudis are stepping up air strikes against the rebels who are trying to move south to the strategic port of aden. >> we don't have troops formal saudi troops in aden. the issue of using ground troops is always something that's on the table but the decisions will be made depending on the circumstances and the need. >> reporter: in the north, saudi ground combat forces moving to
protect the border with yemen to stop any incursion. the saudis making clear they will not allow the houthis to get more iranian weapons. >> we have targeted the air force, we have targeted air bases, we have targeted ballistic missiles. we have targeted heavy weapons depots. >> reporter: u.s. naval warships on nearby patrol keep watch for any iranian weapons being smuggled in. now if this becomes a full-blown proxy war, between the u.s. and iran the worry is in the middle will be that al qaeda group in yemen free to plot and plan against the united states. brianna? >> barbara starr for us at the pentagon. a surprising turn of events in iran today. the country's presidents is praising the new nuclear deal with the u.s. and other nations promising iran does not lie when it promises to abide by the agreement. members of congress they are not so sure. the battle lines already are forming for what looks to be a titanic battle over what president obama is calling an
historic deal. let's bring in cnn senior white house correspondent jim acosta. jim? >> reporter: that's right. when it comes to this nuclear deal with iran the white house has no shortage of critics from congress to the middle east. white house aides tell us they have just about every top official in this administration reaching out to skeptics starting with the president who plans to speak with the top four leaders in congress by the end of today. even as he was on the road president obama was on the phone, dialing up nervous lawmakers who aren't sold on his nuclear deal with iran. the president's already tried and failed to convince his biggest critic israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> this deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the state of israel. >> reporter: netanyahu made that case to the president in another tense conversation between the two leaders that he's making an historic mistake. >> the deal would not shut down a single nuclear facility in
iran. the deal would legitimize iran's nuclear program. >> reporter: republicans in congress are raising questions about the administration's talking points on the deal that claim iran will be required to grant access to international inspectors to investigate suspicious sites anywhere in the country. >> the administration believes that these verifications, these examinations these basically right to inspect, is going to be sufficient. i have real concerns about that. >> reporter: the white house is responding to the skeptics with a full court press, from the president and vice president on down pleading with members of congress to avoid passing legislation as talks with the iranians continue. senate foreign relations chairman bob corker has a bill that would require congressional approval of the deal while senators mark kirk and bob menendez have a measure that would apply tougher sanctions on iran. that bill's fate is unclear but
menendez facing federal corruption charges. >> i'm angry because prosecutors at the justice department don't know the difference between friendship and corruption. >> reporter: the white house argues those bills could backfire and drive iran to pull out of the talks as the u.s. and other world powers try to craft a final nuclear deal by june 30th. in that scenario aides say, the u.s. will get the blame. >> our argument to them is that diplomacy is the best way for us to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. >> reporter: the argument that argument will be made to democrats but congressional aides tell us that as many as a dozen senators from the president's own party could support the corker bill that would give congress a final say on the nuclear deal. that may be enough votes to override a presidential veto. we have to wat be waiting. jim acosta thank you. we will be watching sunday at 9:00 a.m. eastern when you anchor cnn's "state of the union." with us now in "the situation room" we have new york congressman eliot engel, the top democrat on the house foreign affairs committee. congressman, thanks so much for
talking with us. i do want to talk to you about iran but first, i want to ask you about this situation in yemen. al qaeda fighting and managing to release almost 300 prisoners in a coastal city there. have you been briefed on this situation? can you share anything with us? >> well the only thing i can really say is what's really been said. yemen is terrible. it's certainly been overrun and the government is destroyed. iran has played a large role in that. that's what makes some of little bit nervous about doing any kind of a deal with iran because iran has been such a bad player in the region and a bad player around the world, supporting hezbollah and hamas, so it really all ties in. >> yeah. and supporting the houthis there in yemen as well. >> yes. as well. >> u.s. officials are calling this situation dire. it was as you know just less than a year ago when president obama cited this as an example of a place where the u.s. counter terrorism strategy had
been a success. can you explain how the u.s. missed this drastic change just over the last several months? was this bad intel that the president and other officials were given? >> well, i don't know if it's bad intel. i just think when you have al shabab thugs affiliated with al qaeda who have no respect for human life running around and killing civilians, willy-nilly, killing christians and doing all kinds of horrific things i don't know how you could really guard against that. we are facing the same fight in terms of isis as well and this just seems to be the pattern nowadays. i think to a very large extent unfortunately in the middle east all bets are off. we are seeing unprecedented barbary and this seems to get worse and worse. >> as we are talking about yemen, though because this certainly and definitely understanding what you're saying about terrorists in places all over that region and then the
outlying areas of it being a problem but specifically when it cmes to yemen, this was a place where the peace was so -- either it was so fragile and the u.s. was calling it a success, or it missed how fragile the stability was, right? >> look everything is fragile. in libya we helped get rid of gadhafi and we thought that was good. we thought the government that was installed would be a democratic government and now look at libya. libya's a no man's land again. this has been happening straight on, unfortunately. >> all right. we have many more questions for you, congressman, but i need to take a quick break. we'll be right back. oh, i love game night. ooh, it's a house and a car! so far, you're horrible at this, flo. yeah, no talent for drawing, flo. house! car! oh, raise the roof! no one? remember when we used to raise the roof, diane? oh, quiet, richard i'm trying to make sense of flo's terrible drawing.
we're following multiple breaking stories in the war on terror including a prison break of known terrorists in yemen. dozens of them. plus the third arrest in two days of americans who allegedly were trying to help isis. all three of the suspects are women, two in new york and one in pennsylvania. we are back now with the top democrat on the house foreign affairs committee, congressman eliot engel. thanks again for being with us. let's talk sort of locally for you. you represent a district that's just outside of new york city so it's not really far from where these two women were arrested in queens and they were charged with conspiring to build an
explosive device. have you been briefed on this? is there any new light you can shed on this? >> well part of my district a large part of my district is in the bronx which is part of new york city in westchester which is just outside of new york city. it's very disconcerting, you know you wonder why people would -- what the allure is for people to join these radical terrorist organizations to wreak havoc on average citizens. i mean new york of all places where we had the tragedy of september 11th 2001 who would ever think that anyone living in new york would have any kind of sympathy with terrorism. it just makes no sense whatsoever. but again, it shows the fact that they were apprehended, the wonderful job that is being done to get these people before they can do harm to the population. >> certainly, and that's the concern is that there may be -- there are so many instances our
law enforcement officials, are they able to get all of them. i want to talk to you about the iran deal this nuclear framework that iran and six other nations have come to agreement on. what's your reaction to this framework? >> well we are not going to know all of the details until june 30th so it's very difficult until we know all the details to really comment on it. but there are some questions. i mean there are obviously some good things out of this deal. the fact that iran has to reduce its centrifuges by two-thirds. that's certainly something that's good. there is going to be inspections for 25 years involving their uranium, their mills and their mines, that's certainly good. the fact that iran right now is only two months away from breakout and having a nuclear bomb. this would push it back to a year. so there are some good things. but there are also some unanswered questions. iran continues to be a bad player in the region. bad player we talked before about yemen.
iran has been giving aid to the terrorists in yemen. iran supports terrorists like hamas and hezbollah. they support the assad regime which is killing its own people. they are really just bad players in the region. so it's troublesome. the question really boils down to can you trust the iranians is this deal better than any alternative. an alternative would probably mean sanctions and bombing strikes. so we are really dealing at a point where there's really no good deals here because unfortunately, we let iran get to the point where they are two months away from breakout. if this had been eight or ten years ago it would have been easier. >> if this does push two months back to one year and you're highlighting the idea of less centrifuges, less high tech centrifuges, less uranium, i guess there's an open question about what kind of inspections will they be spot inspections,
surprise inspections. what specifically do you need to see in terms of those unanswered questions to know that this is something that you could support? >> well, you know when the negotiations started, i thought we made a mistake by not saying to iran while we're talking, while we're negotiating, you stop enriching. we didn't do that. so iran continued to enrich all throughout the discussions and so if that was the case whoever would think that at the end when you came to a final deal that iran would agree not to enrich. it's really just a balance and we're really going to have to see which is better. it's very complicated because again, iran they keep yelling death to america, death to israel. this is not something that we want to hear from someone that we are partnering with to have an agreement. it's very, very troubling. >> we do know that the senate could here in a few weeks take up this bill that would give
congress a say, would give the senate a vote on any sort of agreement that is reached. would you vote perhaps for something like that would you vote for more sanctions? what do you want to see? >> well i think congress has to be involved in this. i just don't think this is something that the executive branch should decide on its own. we have a robust congress. we have a congress house of representatives and a senate i think there needs to be an assent by the congress. how that takes its form again will be up to discussion. congress imposed sanctions on iran. only congress can lift those sanctions. i think there has to be some kind of an assent with this deal. this deal is too important for congress to play no major role in it. >> are you okay with putting sanctions on hold for now for the next few months? >> well i'm going to listen and see and i think it makes sense to see what happens between now
and the end of june. but i'm still undecided about all these things. i think we have to -- there are many, many unanswered questions and we will have to see how that plays out. the iaea the atomic control agency gave iran a set of 12 questions of which they have only answered half of one. i think iran needs to be much more forthcoming before many of us are comfortable with this deal. but again, a lot of people worked very hard on this deal and my hat's off to our negotiators who did their best. >> congressman eliot engel, thank you so much for being with us in "the situation room." coming up the alarming string of arrests of american women accused of wanting to be jihadists. what is this appeal here? also as alarming details come out about the co-pilot blamed for crashing his plane, travelers are asking if budget airlines are safe. we have answers coming up. in my world, wall isn't a street. return on investment isn't the only return
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breaking news today. authorities charged a philadelphia woman who allegedly bought an airline ticket to fly to syria and join isis. the suspect went by the name young lioness. court papers allege one of her many tweets supporting jihad says if we truly knew the realities, we all would be rushing to join our brothers in the front lines and pray allah accept us as martyrs. this comes just a day after two new york women were charged in an alleged isis inspired terrorist bomb plot. cnn national correspondent jason carroll is covering the latest
arrest. three in two days. this is a lot. >> reporter: seems like all we're doing is talking about criminal complaints these days. we start out with this one in philadelphia. as you say, she went by the name the young lioness. her real name is kiana thomas. she's 30 years old, a u.s. citizen from philadelphia. according to the criminal complaint she's accused of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. let me read one quote that spells it out. thomas attempted to travel overseas in order to join fight with and martyr herself on behalf of isil. federal authorities say as far back as 2013 she began tweeting jihadist comments on twitter. also back in 2013 she allegedly sent an electronic communication to a known somali terrorist. several times last year again, according to the complaint, she communicated several times with another known terrorist. that one happened to be in syria. federal authorities then began looking at her travel plans.
she got a visa to go to turkey. she then just recently bought a ticket to travel to barcelona, spain. that's when they moved in and made the arrest. the plan here seems to be not as specific as the one that we saw with the two women arrested in new york city yesterday, but serious still nonetheless. >> tell us about those two women who were arrested in the bronx. it seems like people who knew them were surprised, utterly surprised that they were in trouble for allegedly doing this. >> reporter: well shocked, in fact. as you know cnn spoke to several of the neighbors of both of these women, noelle velentzas, 28 years old, married, mother of a young daughter in elementary school and her friend asia siddiqui 31 years old. also velentzas's husband was just as shocked as their neighbors. he is speaking out about what happened. he said he was stunned when authorities showed up and made the arrest.
>> i'm surprised just like it was a knock at the door and everything changed. i didn't see anything like this happening, didn't see anything like this coming. just right now, lost for words. >> reporter: both velentzas and siddiqui both of them from queens new york both of them roommates, they are charged with trying to conspire to use a weapon of mass destruction. we should also point out that siddiqui's attorney came out and says that his client is not guilty. he says that when we pressed him for more information about his client and the case he made it clear that he wasn't going to try it in front of the press, that he was going to try it in the courtroom. >> jason carroll, thank you so much. with us now in "the situation room" we have cnn national security analyst peter bergen cnn counter terrorism analyst and former cia counter terrorism
official philip mudd and cnn intelligence and security analyst and former cia operative, bob baer. this is the question phil. we see three women in two days. what is the allure here? some people might think this is nuts that they would want to make this trek whether it's to syria or that they would want to do something at home inspired by isis. >> this game has changed so much since i was at the front table at the agency in 2001-2002. back then we were chasing a relatively small terrorist group that didn't own space. they didn't own geography. they were focused on the 9/11 attacks. fast forward to 2015 isis owns geography. they're not focused only on attacks, they are focused on building a society, a culture. you need women for that culture. there's another major change. we never talked about social media in 2001-2002. we talked about guys in the tribal areas of pakistan who were the 9/11 architects. social media enables people to participate in the al qaeda movement women in philadelphia
women in new york in ways that we couldn't have even anticipated just a decade plus ago. big changes. >> there is some allure there has to be for women to want to travel or do something on behalf of isis. what is that allure? >> well they are buying the claim that the perfect islamic society is being created in syria and they are buying that claim as phil says through social media and it's a claim that isis' sort of magazine it's in english, we have just seen issue number eight, they are putting out a huge amount of material in english explaining this to the people that might be interested. it's interesting in jason's comments about the woman from philadelphia, she tried to fly to barcelona. well isis is now advising people not to fly to turkey which is next door to syria, to fly to other places then buy another ticket so you are less likely to be if you buy a ticket for turkey now, it's a real signal. >> from the u.s. >> it's a real signal. people will pay a lot of attention. all of this is in english.
it's very easily accessible. anybody watching this show can find this stuff. >> yeah. amazing. so bob, it does seem like every day you've got someone who is being arrested with similar charges. when you think of that just over the last two days what we have seen especially this idea of a plot here in the u.s. what are the chances that one slips through the cracks? >> oh, i think it's very good. you look at all of these arrests and these people have gone up in social media, it's flagged to the fbi, then it's a matter of getting into the data bases and watching them to see if they go out and buy some sort of arms or improvised explosives. the fbi will admit this we are pretty much getting the low-hanging fruit. it's the clever one who doesn't go up on social media, doesn't travel to turkey decides that he can identify with the islamic state and goes out and makes an improvised device sort of like the oklahoma city bombing where
they went out and practiced and knew what they were doing. that is what's got the fbi scared and rightfully so. >> or in the case of the same case of the women in queens versus say this woman who is making moves, saying things on twitter, making contacts with terrorists overseas. you used to sit in threat assessment meetings. how much has that changed and how much in a meeting of these government threat assessment meetings do you have officials worried about people like these women in queens or maybe even proposing things like keeping an eye on bomb making materials or tracing pressure cookers or something? >> this story, let's book end this. let's go back to the beginnings and fast forward to today. when we started this we were focused on al qaeda guys who sent mostly saudis to the united states to conduct attacks. later in 2003-2004, for example, they are attacking in places like saudi arabia and indonesia. today, reverse it. we have people in the united
states not being sent by al qaeda, but instead saying i would like to join i'm in queens i don't really know that much about the organization but i would like to participate. fundamentally different. a 180 from what we faced 15 years ago. >> these are the biggest threats, you think? >> the question is the scale of the threat. 9/11 involved 19 hijackers, a huge infrastructure and they did this very big attack. lone wolves there's a natural ceiling to what they can do. we saw in boston two lone wolves brothers kill four people. it was a great tragedy for boston and for the nation but it wasn't a national catastrophe like 9/11. we have managed the scale of the threat. if lone wolves is the only threat we have really right now in the states it's a relatively small threat. one person can do damage but it's a very limited form of damage compared to a massive organization like al qaeda at 9/11. >> peter, phil bob, thanks so much to all of you. coming up after the devastating germanwings crash, there are new concerns tonight about budget carriers. are they compromising your safety to save money?
and north korea's young leader is said to be recruiting young women for quote, entertainment. we have a kind of disturbing report ahead. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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we are getting new information from the second black box recovered from the germanwings crash site. investigators say the co-pilot changed the speed of the plane multiple times in those final moments. cnn justice correspondent pamela brown is in dusseldorf with the latest on the investigation. what are you learning? >> reporter: well this is disturbing new details coming from that flight data recorder
that was just uncovered. investigators say that this shows that andreas lubitz changed the driver setting multiple times to increase the speed of that airplane as it headed toward the french alps. it also says in this first reading that he changed the auto pilot to engage the airplane down to 100 feet and that he also tried to deactivate the alarms on the plane. we have been speaking to aviation experts about this and they say that passengers likely in those final moments would have known that the plane was speeding up and that obviously it was descending and what this new data does is bolster investigators' belief that this was a deliberate act, this was voluntary and premeditated. >> pamela brown for us in germany, certainly very alarming. there are some new concerns tonight about so-called budget airlines like germanwings and whether in the wake of disasters like this crash, they are as safe to fly. this is what cnn aviation
correspondent rene marsh has been looking at. what have you found? >> well germanwings flight 9525's co-pilot andreas lubitz set the plane on a deadly collision course the moment his captain left the cockpit for a bathroom break. the captain told lubitz he didn't have time to go before takeoff. some have said a prime example of the enormous pressure some budget airlines pilots are under to stay on tight landing and takeoff schedules. the crash now fueling a debate about whether budget carriers are safe to fly. until the germanwings deadly crash, the low cost carrier had a spotless safety record but now, the incident is drawing scrutiny about how safe budget carriers are. >> pilots are often asked to fly more while being paid less which increases stress in their lives. >> reporter: while investigators are focusing on medical issues and not pilot pay or experience critics believe the cost-cutting
airline culture could have deadly consequences. >> these things cumulatively have added up to create a situation where pilots are basically distracted they are having labor disputes with management. >> reporter: commercial airline pilot james schilling says low cost does not mean low safety. >> low cost carriers do make their living at trying to keep the tickets as low as they can. but everybody, whether you're a low cost carrier or one of the international major airlines you have a minimum standard that you have to meet. >> reporter: low cost carriers like ryan air, easy jet, jetblue, spirit and southwest airlines have good safety records with no fatal accidents. >> they don't look at near-miss accidents. they don't look at the kind of accidents that potentially could occur, the statistical studies have limitations. >> reporter: some argue it's not who you fly but where you fly. africa had the worst safety record. for every one million flights, 6.83 had a catastrophic end.
experts blame weak government safety regulations. in the u.s. only .20 ended with a crash. >> there are places throughout the world where safety and security is not as good as it is here in the united states. >> analysts say these carriers are able to keep prices low by charging flyers for everything from baggage to seat choice to priority boarding. low cost carriers themselves say their safety record proves they do not cut corners on safety. >> rene marsh, thanks for that report. i want to dig deeper with david soucie former faa safety inspector and cnn safety analyst as well as tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi and our cnn law enforcement analyst. we are also joined by kit darby, a retired united airlines captain, and reichen lempool, a former air force captain. kit, to you first. i don't mean to make this sound
trivial by any means, but this idea that this may have come down to this bathroom break in a way, that this was why the pilot left it seems to stand to common sense, you would think someone would go to the bathroom before takeoff. it's what passengers do. but when you are looking at perhaps the tight schedules of budget airlines is that something that may have factored into this? >> the bathroom break is obviously very important but having flown for many years, his explanation of it makes perfect sense. there are times when things come up and you simply don't have the time to go. normally it would be perfectly permissible to do it at altitude. the difference here might be that in europe there would be only one pilot in the cockpit. here in the u.s. there would have been a flight attendant and many people say a flight attendant, what could she do. one thing is she could open the door and all of us tend to behave better in the presence of others. so i do think it's an important step that was missing in the european procedures. >> is having that -- what do you think about that david, having
that extra body in the cockpit, you think that needs to change to be more in line with u.s. carriers? >> yeah, absolutely. there have already been steps taken to do that to take something before an accident investigation is completed without waiting for the results and making a regulatory change or mandate right away that's very -- it's unprecedented and something that had to be done right away. >> you have the u.s. already having this rule in effect that you have to have two people in the cockpit, whether it is the two pilots. if a pilot comes out, someone else goes in there. and you also have different rules about rest time for instance. do you think that american carriers are safer? >> you know i actually do believe american carriers are safer. this goes along with i have spent most of my commercial pilot experience instructing commercial pilots and we really hammer down how important it is
and how much safer they are as pilots when they have proper crew rest and when they follow these procedures like we have here in the u.s. for having two crew members in the cockpit. so we were talking earlier about or in your clip you were talking about minimum standards for u.s. carriers and i know just from teaching it that our minimum standards are super, super high. so yes, i do feel safer when i'm flying on an american carrier. >> tom, i want to ask you about these revelations. we are learning from the information that we got from the second black box like this one here that the pilot sped up that rate of descent right before the crash. what does that tell us in terms of what are investigators reading that as? >> my speculation is that he was doing research into how strong the cockpit doors really are and he may have had some doubts about how strong they are and when the captain was trying to break it down and re-enter he may have thought i'd better hurry up and crash this thing, he might get in and stop me.
>> okay. reichen, i want to ask you about kind of looking historically at this you handled a case for a similar crash in mozambique. the pilot locked out his co-pilot out of the cockpit, took down the plane. ultimately when you look at that case when you look at this one, does the fault rest with the airlines for letting people pilots like this through the screening process? >> yeah i'm still litigating or working on litigating this case through the law firm and it's almost an identical situation except you switch the pilot and co-pilot. we had the co-pilot in the bathroom and then banging on the door while the pilot took the plane down on this mozambique airline in africa. to answer your question under the montreal convention which is the rules of international flight which both of these flights were it's always the airline's fault. the airline is actually held
liable even if there's a terrorist act on the flight. so in the wake of the fact that it's probably nearly impossible to have prevented what just happened here on the germanwings crash, the airline is the one who is going to be responsible. >> thank you so much. david, thanks for being with us. kit as well and tom, thank you very much for being on the panel today. coming up north korea's volatile young leader is said to be recruiting young women for a pleasure squad. we'll have details on that next. bring us your baffling. bring us your audacious. we want your sticky notes, sketchbooks, and scribbles. let's pin 'em to the wall. kick 'em around. kick 'em around, see what happens. because we're in the how-do-i-get-this-startup- off-the-ground business. the taking-your-business- global-business.
some disturbing news out of north korea. the young leader is now recruiting women for what are called pleasure squads. this report comes as they fired four missiles off the west coast in a show of force. this is a bizarre story. >> reporter: it is. this the ninth time this month that north korea has tested these missiles. some see this as especially antagonistic given ash carter will be in south korea next week. with tensions high as the u.s. and south korea conduct military drills more saber rattling towards the west. north korea test firing four short-range missiles traveling 84 miles before plunging into the sea. a pentagon official saying, we
urge north korea from aggravating tensions and focus on fulfilling its international obligations and commitments. the north korean leader is setting his sights on his personal indull gens. a tradition enjoyed by his father and his grandfather, employing young female companions hand picked based on good looks and measurements, to be at their disposal by their side for personal entertainment whether by swimming or just a shower of affection. >> kim jung-il died and then his son refrained for three years of
mourning. now that he is out of the period he may be resuscitating the joy brigades. >> reporter: he will take his first trip outside the country as the leader. he is due to meet with putin in russia. his pleasure squad will not travel with him. >> will not travel with him. all right. thanks for clearing that up. very interesting report. thank you. coming up known terrorists broken out of prison on the lose. this includes members that want to sneak bombs on u.s. airliners. can the trust trust iran? the promise of the cloud is that every organization has unlimited access to information, no matter where they are. the microsoft cloud gives our team the power to instantly deliver critical information to people, whenever they need it. here at accuweather we get up to 10 billion data requests every day. the cloud allows us to scale up so we can handle that volume.
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happening now, terrorists escape. a prison break gives al qaeda more manpower to plot against america. u.s. forces are limited in what they can do to track the danger. dieing for isis. the feds nab a philadelphia woman accused of wanting to be a terrorist martyr. what can be done to stop american women from turning to terror? new evidence that flight 9525's co-pilot accelerated the plane shortly before it slammed into the alps. new information tonight from the second black box just recovered. racist e-mails released. ferguson goes public with the shocking messages sent by police that cost several officials their jobs. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. you are in "the situation room."
breaking now, dozens of al qaeda criminals on the lose. strength enened by a prison break. the united states is alarmed. senator james risch is here. he is a leading member of the foreign relations and intelligence committees. our correspondents and analysts are standing by, covering all of the news breaking now. first we go to barbara starr with the latest. >> reporter: good evening. about 270 inmates broke out of a jail in yemen yesterday. about one-third of them including a senior operative members of the al qaeda group in yemen. that's a group that has continued to threaten u.s. aviation continually plotted to bring down a u.s. airliner.
you see yemen unraveling. a war going on between iranian-backed rebels a weak government saudi arabia and the u.s. on the sidelines. in the middle of this al qaeda group, here is the intelligence assessment in the short run. the al qaeda operatives may be just trying to survive the chaos in yemen. but -- this is a huge but. they are beginning to operate as much as they can in a very secure fashion using couriers secure internet connections, doing what they can to stay out of sight. that is giving them maneuvering room for future plotting and planning. u.s. commandos out of yemen. the u.s. embassy shut down. very little contact with what is left of the government of yemen. the u.s. has really no eyes and no intelligence on the ground. it's limited to intercept the al qaeda communications and keep satellites overhead to see if they can spot any targets if
they can spot anything that looks like al qaeda moving around. in the middle of the chaos, in the middle of the country unraveling in yemen, al qaeda seems to be making out pretty good. >> the u.s. seems to be blind there. is there anything that the u.s. can do to help saudi arabia here barbara? >> reporter: the saudis are conducting the air strikes, trying to push back the rebels trying to get the government back in control. hoping to bring stability to yemen, which would help counter al qaeda. but this is a long shot right now. the saudis using the air strikes, and the u.s. helping with some intelligence and also helping keep an eye out for any iranian ships trying to resupply the rebels bringing in smuggling in weapons by sea or by air. that just tells how problematic all of this is. really right now, yemen a free-for-all the people there obviously caught in the middle suffering. the al qaeda group there is something the u.s. right now can't quite figure out how to
keep a sharp eye on. >> barbara starr for us at the pentagon. thank you. iran's president is vowing to keep his promises to the united states and its allies and comply with a new tentative deal aimed at preventing iran from building a nuclear bomb. there are serious concerns about whether the country's hardline supreme leader the ayatollah, will uphold an agreement with a longtime enemy. jim sciutto has that story for us. it's a big open question jim. >> reporter: no question. there's no question that the proposed agreement exceeded the expectations of many. there are looming behind this -- behind the friendly faces of iran's negotiators the hardline supreme leader. he approved of the talks. skeptics doubt he will abandon hostility to the west and follow through. celebrations on the streets of iran overnight.
the foreign minister welcomed home as a hero. behind the smiles another iran. it defines america as the great satan. and the target of death to america chants. this is the iran of the supreme leader and the revolutionary guards. many critics worry they cannot be trusted to hold up iran's side of the bargain. >> the military has a lot to say. the ayatollah and military have the power. >> reporter: israel is certain they cannot be trusted. >> israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period. >> reporter: the supreme leader faces sharp division at home. between hardliners loath to
trust the west and average iranians eager to he's their country's economic pain and isolation. >> the supreme leader is in a difficult dilemma right now. his hardline base has long opposed any accommodation with the united states. at the same time there's tens of millions of iranians who are euphoric about the prospect of sanction relief. it's going to be difficult for him to disappoint so many iranians who are eager to see this deal happen. >> reporter: trust between the u.s. and iran is already being tested in the differing views of what they agreed to in switzerland. on key question of economic sanctions, iran says there will be immediate relief. the u.s. says it will be phased in over time. while the diplomats smile, three americans remain in iranian prison cells. a former marine a christian pastor and a washington post reporter all jailed on what the u.s. considers baseless charges.
one has been held for more than 1,300 days. >> calling on iran to release my brother and the other americans openly when they are sitting face to face at this negotiating table to me seems like we're past that point. iran needs to take steps to prove their commitment. >> reporter: we hear of israeli opposition to an agreement. but the arab allies are nervous, sparking fears of a new nuclear arms race in the region. the president called many of them today from air force i speaking to the leaders of uae, bahrain, qatar. he is planning to invite the leaders to a summit at camp david to allay their fears. we talk about how hard this is going to sell on capitol hill. it's going to be hard to sell it in arab capitals as well. he has a lot of worktodo. >> many leaders have their work cut out for them. president obama is going on the offensive, trying to win
over some of the toughest critics of the iran nuclear agreement. those are the members of the u.s. congress you heard jim mention. this includes lawmakers of president owe be a manya obama's own party. >> whether it comes to the deal with iran the president has no shortage of critics on capitol hill. white house aides tell us they have just about every top administration official reaching out to the skeptics starting out with the president who plans to speak with the top four leaders in congress by the end of today as part of this full court press. the president and biden and the national security adviser and other members are pleading with lawmakers to avoid passing legislation as talks with the iranians continue. there's a wrinkle here -- a couple. senate foreign relation ss requires approval of the deal. other senators have a measure that would apply tougher sanctions on iran. white house aides argue the bills would backfire drive iran
to pull out of the talks and the u.s. and other world powers they're trying to craft the nuclear deal -- the final deal by june 30th. they say the white house will get the blame if these bills pass through the congress. here is what josh earnest told us earlier today. >> if the united states were to walk away from the deal and impose sanctions, it would cause our international coalition to fracture. we would be in a position where iran was united where the international community would be fractured. that wouldn't limit their nuclear program at all. >> that's the argument they are making on capitol hill who have become more important than the republicans opposed to this nuclear deal. congressional aides tell cnn that a dozen senators from the president's party could support the bill that would give congress that final say on the nuclear deal. that may be enough votes to overright a presidential-- to override a presidential veto.
it would be unbelievable to watch. it would be unprecedented. >> it sure be. it would be something to watch. we will wait and see if that does move in that direction. jim acosta at the white house. don't forget jim will host "state of the union" this sunday at 9:00. joining me now, we have a leading member of the senate foreign relations and intelligence committees, republican james risch here. has it completely collapsed? is that your opinion? >> it has completely collapsed. i think the report that had you earlier was very accurate. look we have all of these countries in the middle east failing. you started with libya. then you went to syria.
now you have yemen. yemen, of course is driven by the iranians who have been in there supporting the houthi rebels. it was the houthi rebels that overthrew the government of yemen who were friends of ours. now have turned to al qaeda. it's a mess over there. i frankly am greatly disappointed in how the administration handled it from recent months to where we got to today. because it is a failed state today. >> what role i guess would congress have had in this? obviously, the intel available to the white house, much of it is available to members of congress democrats and republicans. this is something that spirals out of control very quickly. couldn't congress have stepped in and said something? >> well i disagree that it spun out of control very quickly. indeed i'm sure the president sees the exact same intel that
we see on the intelligence committee. by the time he made that statement that this was a poster child for this was how things should be handled, he had to know there was difficulties there. everyone knew iran was in there supporting the houthis, both with military -- with advice with every way you could support them. the administration had to know that that was going on. and there were a lot of us that were urging the administration do more in yemen. admittedly their focus at the time was much more on syria than on yemen. but yemen is a very very dangerous situation because of how difficult it is to do intel in that country. and i think the report that you had earlier about the saudis doing the air strikes there, those are all well and good. but you need to know what you are doing if you are doing air strikes. >> certainly.
really without any major eyes on the ground no ears on the ground you have 270 prisoners about who were released in the prison break. i think we're seeing reports that about a third of them -- so you are talking almost 100 who have links to al qaeda. we have seen reports, according to twitter and aqap accounts they are saying that you have a senior al qaeda in the arabian peninsula figure who is is among those who have been freed. what can you tell busus about this? what danger does this prove to the u.s. homelands? you are talking about people trying to plan attacks on u.s. targets. >> that's a good point. the number is about 90 that are hard core al qaeda operatives. they have -- these people got to prison with blood, sweat and tears. it wasn't a situation where they just went out and gathered them up and put them in prison. it's very very difficult,
particularly in a country like yemen, to identify who the hard core people are and then get them into prison. it is very disheartening to have gone through all of that get them into prison and then in one fell swoop after the houthis take over they go in and let them back out. these people are going to go back to fighting against the united states. indeed your point about a danger to the america homeland is well taken. it's well-known that yemen is a hot bed of activity trying to bring down an american airliner. the recent plots that have been uncovered in that regard the attempts the near misses every single one of those have originated in yemen. this is a serious problem not only for the region but for america. >> and just before i ask the next question here i do want to take -- you can see we are watching a tornado warning. this is near nashville tennessee. it's northeast of tennessee.
we will monitor that as we continue on talking about our top story -- one of our top stories here yemen. senator, yemen obviously a hot bed as we have been talking about for terror. when you have saudi air strikes taking on houthi rebels does that leave a vacuum? does that leave breathing room for al qaeda in the arabian peninsula to really get its stuff together more? >> well i think more importantly what it does is it distracts from other things that we need to be doing such as in syria and in western iraq where things are also getting very bad and going from bad to worse. that's a problem there. having said that i mean things can't get much worse in yemen where the government failed and the houthis have taken over. you pick up the paper and something like them taking over the palace or the government buildings or the american embassy vehicles those kinds of
things it happens every day. it can't get much worse there really. i wouldn't call it a vacuum as much as it is just a failure of the people that we want to see in control in that country. >> and so key in that region. we have many more questions to ask you. stay with us. we are going to get in a quick break, and we will be right back. what do you think? when i first sit in the seat it makes me think of a bmw. i feel like i'm in a lexus. you would think that this was a brand new audi. it's like a luxury car. feels kind of like an infinity. very similar to a range rover. this is pretty high tech. yeah it is. it reminds me of a mercedes. ♪ this is chevy? laughing i have a new appreciation for chevy. they thought about me. i could totally rock this. this thing feels pretty boss. it looks kind of dope. that's pretty cool. this is the jam. pretty bomb dude. maybe i will go chevy. i'm definitely in. ♪ toenail fungus? don't hide it... tackle it with fda-approved jublia! jublia is a prescription medicine
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calling anyone at this point. he is warning congress not to not force the u.s. to walk away with this deal. what kind of deal would you support? >> well the difficulty is i think they give away the farm right at the beginning. i would support a deal where iran says look we made a mistake, we're going to abandon our nuclear ambitions, we're going to destroy all of the centrifuges that we have that make war material. we're going to get rid of the enriched uranium we have and we're going to be good people. and that's not what you have at all. instead, you saw the celebrations in iran. they are celebrating the fact that they now have a path forward to a nuclear weapon. they know what they have to do and how they can do it. at the end of the ten or 15 years or whatever it is they will have the right to have a nuclear weapon. the other part is we don't
really know what's been agreed to so far. i've been -- i had a member of the administration call me earlier today. and they briefed me on what the situation was. then this afternoon, i hear the iranians telling their people that in late june when the deal is inked, that all the sanctions will come off immediately and they go away. the administration is telling the american people that's not the fact at all, that the sanctions stay in place and the sanctions regime stays in place so that we can ensure that they will belafshhave themselves or we will pull on leash. we have two different stories here. that is very very problematic. i know the media is reporting on that this afternoon. we're going to see how that plays out. >> can i ask -- >> i understand the administration offered an explanation that they're telling this to the iranian people so they will accept the deal. what's that all about? how can you make an agreement like that enter into a treaty
like that where one of the governments is lying to their people? that doesn't make sense. >> obviously, there's a lot of details to be worked out as well. those are two huge disprep andsy between the two sides. if you have iran saying it's going to reduce its centrifuges dramatically it's going to reduce its uranium and pushing back its ability to enrich for some time and then certainly having inspections, if they are to be inspections that can be impromptu, where iran couldn't say clean up some efforts to try to hide them from inspectors is there something along those lines that you could agree with? >> well i think you have to look at the package in total. the problem i have got is that they can still enrich they can still do research they can still do all the planning they want to make a nuclear weapon. now, certainly, their enrichment
is ratcheted back. but there's nothing to stop them from making preparations so that when they have the end of this period they can produce a nuclear weapon and say, we're in full compliance. by the way, we also have a nuclear weapon. i don't -- i have real difficulties with this. the two governments are coming at this from a different point of view. we want to see they never have a nuclear weapon. i heard the president say that the other day. he knows better than that. the deal gives them a path towards a nuclear weapon. the other side is saying we want a nuclear weapon and we want to know what we have to do what hoops we have to jump through, how long we have to wait. then we can have a nuclear weapon. we're coming at an agreement that isn't an agreement at all. indeed it's two different views of their ability to possess a nuclear weapon. >> it is an agreement that we have heard certainly a lot from the foreign minister of iran on this. what about the eye toe yaayatollah?
do you believe he will follow through in a way the foreign minister says he would? >> i can't answer that. >> do you trust him? do you trust the ayatollah to go along with this? >> i don't trust any of them. have i good reason. they have a long history of lying and cheating. i have no reason to believe that they are going to behave themselves this time. you need to have the strictest sanctions in place and you needed to have an inspect regime that is overall. they have not even declared yet what they did previously as they prepared a nuclear weapon. and the inspectors have been complaining about that even in recent weeks. >> senator risch, thank you so much. great conversation on the iran deal. appreciate you being with us. more breaking news -- right after this. ♪
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tonight, the first information from the damaged black box found buried at the flight 9525 crash site. it's more incriminating evidence against the co-pilot. pamela brown joining us live from germany with more on the investigation. pamela this sense of acceleration before the plane hit the mountain this is very incriminating. >> reporter: it is. it's very disturbing this new information coming from that knewly re newly recovered flight data recorder. they say this new information is providing crucial clues showing the co-pilot's actions were
voluntary, deliberate and premeditate premeditated. investigators now say the information recovered from the plane's charred flight data recorder shows the co-pilot changed the driver setting multiple times to speed up the plane as it headed straight into the french alps. the first reading of the recorder shows lubitz used autopilot to engage the aircraft down to 100 feet as he manually increased the speed. investigators say lubitz tried to shut down the mraep'splane's alarms. >> it would have been apparent to the passengers something was wrong, that sense of speed building up increased wind noise would have given the sense something was wrong. >> reporter: the ger manman prosecutor said lubitz made searches on suicide methods and cockpit doors and their locks, one day before the crash.
the findings bolt ss bolster the belief it was premeditated. investigators interviewed a pilot who flew with lubitz the day before the crash. he didn't suspect anything was wrong. >> it was probably planned on some particular flight. i don't believe that it was necessarily this flight. it sounds to me like there was some urging with reference to the captain's lavatory usage on this one. >> reporter: inside lubitz's apartment, a law enforcement says investigators also found personal memos with only a couple of words involving stress and his pilot license. that source says lubitz was prescribed medication for depression in the months leading ging up to the crash. lubitz told one of his doctors he was afraid his medical issues could jeopardize his ability to fly. that remains a main working theory, that he was afraid to lose his pilot license. we know that from a source that investigators have been talking to his doctors, looking at
medical records. they have not found any negligence on behalf of his doctors. they gave him a not fit to work notice which he did not give to his employer. >> pamela brown for us in germany. i want to bring in david soucie. we have miles o'brien and tom fuentes as well as a former united airlines pilot. i want to talk about this data recorder very much like this one we have here on set, this flight data recorder. this is one of the -- the second one just like this a second data recorder has been found, david soucie. one of the questions we had was, will this tell us what position the cockpit door lock was in from this data recorder? you have different options. it could be open or unlocked which it would not be in the air. you would expect. unless while the captain was leaving. it could be locked but still then accessible by a code.
it could be locked and inaccessible through a code. are we going to learn that? >> all of those things that you discussed are things the co-pilot would have had to do from the inside of the cockpit. this is a retrofit aircraft. the door was not initially installed in the aircraft. i doubt there will be a channel on that flight data recorder that would record the position of the switch. on later models i believe it is in that. but this is say retrofit. i don't think that's going to be in there. >> maybe -- probably not in this one because this is a much older plane. kit, we're learning that from the early data that lubitz increased the speed of the aircraft as alarms were sounding. walk us through the steps that he would have had to take to do this while the plane remained in autopilot. >> well this is an emergency descent. it's consistent with what the autopilot would give you if you were making a maximum descent.
the speed limit would increase as you went down. it's typical you would increase the speed or maintain a maximum speed to produce the maximum rate of descent. that's my guess he is making the adjustments, it's normal for an emergency descent to change the speed. >> it's a normal skill. he just employed it obviously in a manner it was not meant to be employed in. miles, people wonder if there's a way to stop this from happening. we know that airbus passed on a system that would have prevented this from taking place. >> the airplane is flown by computers. the pilot is managing that system. there are all kinds of ways the computer overrules the pilot.
it has a speed limit capability built into it as kit referred to it. i think something has been lost in translation here. he was changing the rate of descent probably trying to point the nose at a mountain. the aircraft it was flying on auto throttles, would have maintained something less to or up to the maximum allowed speed. he was increasing his rate of descent. do you want to make it impossible for a pilot to do that? that's dangerous. if you have some rapid need to get down to a lower altitude a decompression or fire you want the pilot to be able to do that. the same goes for this inability to fly to a certain location at a certain level. there's emergency reasons where you want to give the pilot some latitude. i guess the bottom line is here eventually you have to trust the person driving the bus. we should be focused on making sure the person in that seat is trust worthy. that's a key here. >> we have had so much talk in the last several months in the
last year about how pilots rely on automation. i want to ask you about a legal matter here, tom. the airlines in cases like this they shoulder a tremendous amount of liability. if you have it proven in a way -- if it's determined that this was premeditated murder what is lufthansa facing in terms of liability? >> i think that lufthansa is going to have the standard insurance package that they have could be $2 billion. i think financially, lufthansa is not going to be hurt. their six-decade reputation for excellence it's in severe trouble. the fact that -- what did they know about this pilot? when did they know it? >> we know that they knew. they were aware he had severe depression. >> how could they put him in the cockpit? that's the issue for lufthansa and the subsidiaries. it will come up for other airlines as well. i don't think it's a big issue financially for them.
>> thanks to all of you. to find out more about what you can do to help those affected by the crash as well as other air disasters, go to cnn.com/impact. just ahead, new information about a philadelphia woman accused of wanting to die fighting for isis. she's now under arrest. the shocking details about the racist e-mails sent by ferguson missouri police. the messages and photos we have them. they are now public.
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more now on the breaking news out of philadelphia where a third u.s. woman faces charges of supporting middle east terrorists. court papers allege the suspect, who went by the name young lioness actively supported isis. her arrest comes a day after two new york women were charged in an alleged isis-inspired terrorist bomb plot.
jason carroll is covering the latest arrest. three in two days this is alarming. >> reporter: very alarming. let's start out with the one in philadelphia. her real name is actually kiana thomas. she's 30 years old, a u.s. citizen from philadelphia. the criminal complaint spells it all out. she's accused of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization. one quote here says thomas attempted to travel overseas in order to join fight with and martyr herself on behalf of isil. federal agents say as far back as 2013 she started posting jihadist tweets on twitter. in 2013, she allegedly sent an electric communication to a known sew maulomasomali terrorist. she also reached out to a known terrorist in syria. >> jason carroll for us in new york thank you.
as isis and other terror groups cause death and destruction, we are seeing iran is wielding more influence across the middle east. philip mudd is here to map it all out for us. it's something you need to see to understand the reach of iran. >> let's look at where we have gone over the past 30, 35 years. if you are in the center of the sunni universe you are in saudi arabia in the center of the map. in 1979 we had the revolution in iran. you get iranian clerical leadership take over. they extend influence into syria, lebanon. left fast forward. you have the revolution supported by the american military. you have not a sunni, you have shia leadership. you go into yemen, the story of today has shia supported by iran taking over the capital of yemen. if you look at this from saudi
arabia also with a large shia presence in the eastern province you can see what the world looks like in the midst of the nuclear negotiations. the world is starting to look more and more shia. this is an adversary that has been for centuries. they are nervous. they think that it's enclosing them with shia influences going to get a nuclear weapon. you can see why they're concerned. >> this is why you see saudi arabia and iran fighting for pre-eminence in the region. >> not just in the region. if you look at islamic areas go asia into pakistan over in indonesia and into africa, you see a fight for influence between those two. >> it gives us a better understanding. thanks so much. we are seeing the racist e-mails that cost three ferguson, missouri, officials their jobs.
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community activist john gaskin and cnn legalage agenalyst. we've been talking since the michael brown killing in ferguson. we've been talking about the race issues in ferguson. i want you to talk to us about these e-mails. i know you've seen them. let's look at one of them by the ferguson police sergeant. this is a leader in the police force. he resigned following the doj investigation and the court clerk for ferguson police she was fired. this is comparing these two dogs to welfare recipients. it read my dogs are mixed in color, unployed lazy they expect me to feed them house them and provide them with medical care. what's your reaction to that? >> those e-mails are atrocious. the old saying goes silence
gives consent. for leaders to remain silent on those terrible issues and not say something and continue to allow that behavior to take place on taxpayer's time and with their resources is very disappointing. we know these issues existed in the city of ferguson but not to that extent. they were making those types of statements about the president of the united states can you imagine what they were saying about the common every day citizen that walked the streets of that city. >> and putting it on the work e-mail too. tom, you've seen them. they took aim at president obama, the first lady. this included an image of former president ronald reagan feeding a baby monkey. rare photo of ronald reagan baby sitting barack obama.
it was captioned michelle obama's high school reunion. these are horrible images and con know connotations that they are talking about. what do you say? >> frankly, i'm embarrassed and ashamed as a law enforcement official that another law enforcement official could send such a thing. i completely agree with john. who else knew about it of higher rank that condoned it or encouraged it or allowed it by silence as john mentioned. it's appalling. >> there are some names re redacted. we don't know the facts behind that. what about the mayor of ferguson. he's saying that he's going to stay there. there's still work to do. he's saying that when you look at these e-mails it's not reflective of the culture within the ferguson police department. what do you think about that?
does not acknowledging the issue make him a part of the problem and do you think this is reflective of the culture in the police department? >> of course it does. one thing they have in common is there's all these idiotic jokes. one thing about jokes is they express the shared assumptions of the people telling the jokes or passing the jokes along and the people who are meant to receive them. the whole thing just struck me as a perfect example of why diversity is so important. if you have an integrated police force and integrated employment situation anywhere television network, a factory, you just don't talk that way. it's just unthinkable and inappropriate, but in a whites only operation, this is the kind of thing that's allowed to fester and it's terrible. >> thank you so much for your input on that. a great conversation to have and
really appreciate you having it with us. another heated controversy is easing on the eve of one of the nation's most popular vents. the association is praising changes made to indiana's religious freedom law in response to concerns that the original legislation would allow anti-gay discrimination. i want to bring in rachel nichols of cnn sports. she's in indianapolis the host city for the final four. thanks so much for joining us ahead of this exciting weekend. i know that you've been talking to a lot of folks there. duke's head coach, coach k spoke with you about the role that sports has played in changing many things throughout society. talk to us about what he told you. >> reporter: i had the chance to sit down with coach k yesterday. he was praising the world sports takes in social change in this country. you can look at sports back to
jackie robinson but it's also the economic engine that sports brings these days. it's one of the most popular things we have in this country. we spend a lot of our money on it. this week in indiana when the ncaa felt strongly there needed to be an amendment to the law in this state, they got very involved. the president the met with the governor of the state and several republican leaders. he said there's no way they could continue to have their headquarters here in this state if there weren't some changes made and he talked about not holding final four events here in the future. this next four days here in indiana is supposed to bring a half a billion dollars into local businesses. that's a lot of clout to throw around and you can be sure that their message was heard. they had an active role behind the scenes. >> heard loud and clear even if it was behind the scenes. talk about some of the fun of the weekend, kentucky wants to
do something that no team has been able to do in nearly 40 years. how are they planning to pull this off? >> reporter: they are hoping for an undefeated season. it used to be in college basketball this wasn't that uncommon from 1956 to 1976 that 20 year span seven different teams went undefeated. it was like musical chairs and the music stopped. from 1976 on nobody has done it. kentucky has the chance to become the first ones. take a listen to my conversation with their coach. >> there are some coaches who think it's better to lose one along the way, relieve some of the pressure. do you put any credence in that? >> no. there's losing breeds losing. it puts losing in their minds. i don't believe that. the only other thing is do you think there would be any less pressure on us to win this thing whether we had won 7-11.
we're all in the same boat. everybody is 0-0 this weekend. >> reporter: you know it's funny, earlier in the season and still obviously been in the driver seat in this tournament. they're going for the whole boat. they are all in. >> all in. you've got the lead up here that's been a lot of surprises but what are viewers looking forward to this weekend. what do they have to look forward to? >> reporter: one thing is the cinderella of this final four and the number seven seed michigan state. they are battling against the big boys. tom mizzo is known for march madness. they're the team you want to follow. >> everyone loves an underdog. i love that train tieing to get in on your live shot. >> reporter: i know right. >> you have a wonderful weekend. >> reporter: tunnel vision for you. >> totally. amazing focus like an athlete.
be sure to catch her tomorrow 2:30 tomorrow afternoon for all access at the final four. it's a cnn bleacher report. you can follow us on twitter. tweet the show. erin burnett outfront begins right now. tonight, president obama working the phones to sell his nuclear deal with iran. this as the united states tests its most powerful bunker busting bomb. a bomb that can destroy iran's most secret complex. the first horrific images from inside the university where gunman massacred incident students. why were christians massacred? new to cnn tonight, the uncensored e-mails from members of the ferguson police department.