tv The Situation Room CNN April 7, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
sort of proud that in the dark days of the lewinsky scandal hillary clinton would call frequently to request her favorite treat, which was mocha cake and also that the female staff really rallied to her side, at least amongst themselves. >> brianna, i can't help but observe that the clirntens had reason to not trust the staffers. >> that's true. >> thank you so. . that's it for me. i'll turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room". happening now, breaking news. white house tapped. hackers working for the russian government they say broke into whoit house computers and obtained sensitive information, including access to the president's schedule. how did they get in? and were they able to access important secrets? weapons and intelligence. as a country in chaos and students sign when air strikes their school, the u.s. steps up aid to a key ally. but is it too late? 10$10 billion wasted? your tax dollars spent on floating radar platforms and war
plane that's shoot lasers. unfortunately none of it works. why was the money wasted? the interview by air. copies of the movie mocking kim jong-un are being air-dropped into north korea. we'll find out how the rest of the world vies their leader. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. we're following two major stories. the united states now increasing military aid and intelligence to help saudi arabia with its air strikes in yemen. the one-time u.s. ally is in chaos right now with gun battles in the streets and air strikes meant to target rebels killing civilians instead. also a very disturbing story breaking right now. exclusively, in fact here in "the situation room." krn cnn is learning about a computer break-in at the white house by hackers working for the russian government. our correspondents and experts have been working their sources. they have new details on all the
day's breaking stories. president obama's deputy national security adviser ben rhodes is stranding by at the white house to take questions. first, let's go to cnn justice reporter evan perez with the breaking news on the white house hack. evan what have you learned? >> wolf, these russian hackers got access to the sensitive parts of the white house e-mail system, they could see the president's schedule the non-public parts of it in realtime. they got access to all of this in a clever way, through the state department. once they got in there, they used that access to trick someone to get them into the executive office of the president. investigators say it's one of the most serious cyber breaches of u.s. government agencies. hackers are believed to be working for the u.s. government wolf. >> was this information classified, the information presumably they hacked? >> the white house says this was an unclassified system but, even an unclassified system has a lot of sensitive information very valuable to foreign spies. this is stuff that you know everything to do from the president's schedule as we
mentioned to plans for major policy announcements. a lot of sensitive stuff that people are trading back and forth not only in the white house but with all government agencies. >> when you say the president schedule, the white house realizes a public schedule every day the president has. but there's obviously sensitive information they don't release publicly about meetings, conversations, other stuff like that. >> right. conversations he's having with foreign leaders, phone calls that again russian spies or chinese spies would love to get their hands on. >> so has the government the u.s. government, the obama administration, acknowledged this hack? >> well they haven't publicly. but you can get some hints of thf from some statements some of the government officials have made recently. the director of national intelligence james clapper was at a hearing a fuf weeks ago in the senate. here's how he put it, wolf. >> russia and china continue to develop very sophisticated cyber programs. while i can't go into detail here the russian cyber threat
is more severe than we had previously assessed. >> wolf the white house said in october that it had noticed some of the suspicious activity. it shut down the system to make sure that it could lock the doors, make sure the hackers could not get back in. but one of the things that we can't begin to sort of understand is how further this will go. the u.s. and russia are obviously at odds over many policy issues including ukraine and syria, and so officials tell me they expect a lot more of this activity. >> just to recap, what happened was they managed to hack into the state department system. >> right. >> and then back into the white house system. >> right. exactly. this is what they call phishing. once they got control of someone's e-mail account at the state department they tricked someone to allow them to get access into the white house. it's something that the government sees a lot. a lot of times you see the fbi warning average people consumers out there, that this is the way people get to steal your financial information. in this case, we're talking
about national security that's at risk. >> good reporting, evan. thanks very much. we'll have more on this story coming up later. let's get to another breaking story happening right now. the united states increasing military aid and intelligence to help saudi arabia's air strikes on rebels in yemen. this comes amid reports the saudis are killing civilians and even hit a school. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr work the story for us. what are you learning? >> wolf so far no verification that the saudi air strikes have directly killed civilians on the ground. but the question of civilian casualties is something that has the pentagon concerned. a yemen government special forces camp under attack. explosions in the street. as government and rebel forces battle each other in southern yemen. civilians run for safety as french troops evacuate children. more than 600 indian chinese, pakistani and slivisri lankans
getsing out. the u.s. is providing more backup for the campaign against the iranian-backed rebels. >> we have expedited weapons delivery increased intelligence sharing and we've established a joint coordination planning cell in the saudi operation center. >> the pentagon appointed karl mundy to run a 20-person support operation. the immediate question will the u.s. share detailed satellite imagery on specific targets the saudis want to hit? >> the united states would be in a terribly difficult and awkward position if it did not offer the saudis support of this nature. >> the pentagon already urging caution. defense secretary ash carter wednesday spoke to the saudi defense minister and emphasized the importance of limiting civilian casualties when conducting air strikes, according to a u.s. statement.
two sources say for now the saudis take the targets they want discuss it with the u.s. which tells them where civilians may located. no indication the saudis will back off. they are worried that rebels increasingly have sophisticated arms and are being resupplied by iran. >> hezbollah and iran claim militias to harm to destroy the structure of the state in yemen. >> and there is another player on the battlefield here. that is the al qaeda group in yemen. how long before they take advantage of the chaos and plan potentially an attack against the u.s.? just another worry for the obama administration right now on this wolf. >> so when the saudis say that iran is supporting the ruthhouthi rebels, hezbollah is supporting the houthi rebels is there
evidence that there are iranian and hezbollah fighters in yemen right now working directly with these shiite houthi fighters? >> well, the u.s. doesn't have intelligence assets on the ground, personal elle to get that kind of direct information. the saudis may well believe it. but one of the big things we're watching for in terms of direct influence from iran is the resupply of weapons to those houthi allies that they have. there is a good deal of concern that iran is shipping in weapons by air, landing airplanes at airports anden loading weapons, and even trying to get them into ports that they control in yemen. that was a proven tactic with hezbollah in the past. >> barbara starr, thanks very much very much. joining us now the white house deputy national security adviser ben rhodes. ben, thanks for joining us. we have a lot to discuss. let's go through point by point. first of all, i want your reaction, you heard evan perez reporting from his sources, he
has confirmed that that hack that took place at the state department which was publicized at the time was actually done by hackers working for therussian government. eventually they managed to get into the white house computer system as well. what can you tell us about that? >> well wolf first of all, i'm not going to get into details about our cyber security efforts. what i can say, though, is as you said, we were public about the fact that we were dealing with cyber intrusions in the state department. but the fact of the matter is we have different systems here at the white house so we have an unclassified system and then we have a classified system, a top-secret system. that is where the sensitive national security information is, the classified information is. that was a secure system. so we do not believe that our classified systems were compromised. i will tell you wolf as a general matter we're constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system but we're frankly told to act as if
we need not put information that's seine tiff on that system. in other words, if you're going to do something classified you have to do it on one e-mail system, one phone system. frankly you have to act as if information could be compromised if it's not on the classified system. >> what you're saying, correct me if i'm wrong, they didn't get access to any classified information. but as you know there's one category called classified amend another category just below it called sensitive information. did they get access to what is described as sensitive information? >> well wolf i think we would view any information that is government e-mail that is even unclassified as sensitive. again what we've seen in the past is that there have been efforts to break into that system. and at times we have had that system compromised. what we do then is take immediate precautions to better secure that system and try to stay one step ahead of hackers. so we've been able to implement a number of cyber security
precautions to deal with the intrusions that took place last year. we believe that again, those have been important and effective steps. at the same time, the message that has gone out to everybody here continually since the time i've been here for six years is that, if you're going to do something classified you want to make sure there's no way for a foreign adversary to access do it on the classified system. >> do you believe it was russia who organized this attack? >> again, i don't want to get into the details of how we trace cyber kurt operations. what is fair to say, as you said as the to the director of national intelligence, russia has been certainly active in the cyberspace and active in the espionage space. we're always taking precautions against that cyber danger. they're not the only country, by the way. we have seen iran for instance, be active in the cyberspace against different targets around the world. so we're constantly vigilant for potential cyber intrusions on any u.s.-based systems. >> was the recent order
declaring cyber activities a greater national threat and new steps taken a direct result of this particular incident? >> no wolf. we've been increasingly focused and concerned about the cyber threat. frankly, that doesn't just include governments. there are private hackers individuals who may want to steal not just from the u.s. government but from u.s. businesses who could threaten u.s. critical infrastructure. that's why we put in place new measures to increase cyber security protections in the government, new ways through an executive order that the president signed for us to cooperate with the private sector to share information about cyber threats. but we're also working with congress now importantly to support legislation that could authorize and facilitate greater cooperation between the u.s. government and the private sector to defend against any cyber intrusions and threats. >> do you have any reason to believe your white house e-mail not classified but sensitive e-mail, was hacked? >> well wolf, again, i can't
speak to my personal e-mail and how that relates to whatever cyber intrusions we face beyond saying that, frankly, the guidance that we are given is to treat anything that is on the unclassified system as potential live at greater risk than what's on the classified system. we have to act as if those systems are more vulnerable even though we do have many protections up. so that's how we operate here. if there's something very sensitive you want to discuss, certainly something classified you do it on the most secure system. >> i take it -- correct me if i'm wrong here again, ben -- in the aftermath of this particular incident, the hacking at the state department and then the indirect hacking at the white house you and your colleagues all of you were told to change yurg passwords, take steps to make sure that somebody can't phish and get into your account right? >> yeah woman. frankly, these are things that frankly all americans should be
attune to. which is number one, you need to be changing your passwords frequently and choosing password that's aren't obvious so a hacker couldn't deduce from learning a few things about you what you might have as your password. number two, to be very careful about opening e-mail attachments. so if you get an e-mail from somebody who's not familiar that has an attachment that could be someone seeking to gain entry to your system. yes, we have cyber security precautions we follow here that are regularly updated. frankly i think they're the type of precautions that americans should take particularly as we've seen hacks of very large systems in the private sector as well. >> stand by for a moment, ben. we've got a lot to discuss, including the iran nuclear framework greemment, what's going on in yemen. we have many more questions. thanks for joining us. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back.
breaking now, the united states increasing military aid and intelligence help with saudi arabia's air strikes in yemen. amid reports on an air strike that killed students at a school. we're back with the white house deputy national security adviser ben rhodes. ben, what is the u.s.' role right now in the saudi military initiative to deal with these houthi rebels in yemen? >> well wolf since the beginning of this saudi-led military effort we have provided support to the saudi-led effort including intelligence and other means that we can bring assets to bear to facilitate and support their air strikes inside of yemen.
and this is an ongoing dialogue we've had with the saudis for years about yemen. how we can support political stability. that means supporting the effectiveness of their air campaign. number two that means underscoring as the saudis have that ultimately we want to get back to a political dialogue with the country. i would note that the president has invited the leader fz all six gcc countries to washington and to camp david for a summit this spring to address regional issues in the context of both the ongoing effort in yemen as well as the iran nuclear deal. >> i want to get to the iran nuclear deal in a moment. but as far as intelligence sharing, there are reports that innocent civilians including some kids, students at a school were killed in some of these air strikes. are you trying to help the saudis have better preparation for launching these air strikes so that innocent civilians aren't killed? >> well, wolf we haven't i think verified independently those reports but absolutely. when we share intelligence, part
of what we want to be able to do is help the saudis and their partners be precise in their targeting, be effective in their targeting, and certainly to try to aim to avoid civilian casualties. we have good experience working with them. they're in our coalition that is conducting air strikes against isil targets in syria so we have a history of working with our gulf partners sharing this type of intelligence, and trying toish as precise as possible. of course there's no such thing as zero risk if a military campaign of this nature. but the fact of the matter is we have ways of sharing information providing intelligence that can help them be more effective and precise. >> as you know there was a prison breakout in recent days in yemen, nearly 300 prisoners we're told mostly terrorists were freed. were any of them, as far as you know former gaun thanh know detainees? >> wolf i don't think that we have confirmed the exact presence of gitmo detainees or
the nature of the individuals who were released. what i can tell you though is that we've had a very active effort for several years now to disrupt the al qaeda affiliate in yemen, aqap that has involved u.s. air strikes, direct action through drones and other means, and we've made very clear that we will continue to do what is necessary to disrupt aqap. now, this conflict that's been ongoing inside the country has been more about its internal political situation and the houthi rebels who have been advancing inside of yemen. but at the same time we're going to keep a close eye on aqap. the president's made clear he's not going to stand idly by. he'll take action as necessary if we see plotting against the united states. >> yesterday i interviewed the saudi ambassador to the united states. i assume you know him well. he was pretty blunt. he's blaming iran and hezbollah. he says hezbollah is directly involved in yemen as well and they're supporting these shiite houthi rebels. what is the role of iran and hezbollah in yemen as far as you
know? >> wolf, what we've seen over the course of the last several months is a relationship between iran anded edthe houthis, including the provision of material to the houthis. we've been concerned about shipment of arms to the houthis. we haven't seen iran exercise the kind of command and control over the houthis they have with hezbollah in lebanon. but certainly it's a relationship that's there and is concerning to us. part of what we've said is we need to convict front iranian destabilizing actions around the region, whether in yemen or anywhere else, even in the context of this nuclear deal. we want to deal with the nuclear issue but will stand with our partners. >> what do you say to the critics of the nuclear deal who say, you had an opportunity to try to tame down some of iran's alleged terror activities in the region but you didn't even raise those issues with them as part ever this deal? >> well wolf what we say is this is a nuclear deal. it's not meant to address other
issues. it's meant to address the iranian nuclear program. that's the biggest threat wolf. i would say it is far more preferable to have an iran that doesn't have a nuclear weapon, is prevented from having a nuclear weapon than having an iran that gets that capability. if they were able to access a nuclear weapon they'd be that much more dangerous. they'd have a nuclear umbrella for the proxies, be it hezbollah or anywhere else. the first order of business is to remove the biggest threat the threat of an iranian nuclear weapon. that's what this framework deal does. at the same time we've made clear we'll continue sanctions on iran for its terror related activities. we'll continue to partner with our gulf partners to prevent iranian destabilizing action. >> between now and june 30th the deadline for signing a document is concerned i take it you won't raise some of these other non-nuclear related issues like iran's support for terrorism or its continued call for israel's
destruction or its refusing to release american prisoners from iran. these issues won't be part of the next three months' negotiations? >> wolf, we raised them. we raised very directly with iran the need for them to release americans who are held in custody in iran who we think should not be held and should be reunited with their families. we certainly raised our concerns about iran's threats towards israel and its destabilizing actions in the region. but it's not part of the deal being negotiated that is expressly focused on the nuclear issue. it's not just us at the table on that it's the p5+1. what we have is a good framework that will prevent iran from getting a nuclear weapon, cuts off its pathways to the weapon and has unprecedented inspections to verify that. if we get that done it will be a significant accomplish. in terms of preventing nuclear proliferation. at the same time we'll continue to express our concern to the iranians and publicly about our activities iran is engaged in. >> what's your reaction to senator chuck schumer likely to be the next democratic leader in
the senate now saying that he's going to join bob corker the chairman of the foreign relations committee, a republican, and get some sort of legislation that will require you to go before congress for some sort of up or down vote as far as the iran deal is concerned? >> well first of all wolf we want to be able to brief members of congress on the merits of the deal. we're actively scheduling briefings for congress this week and as soon as they get back so they understand what's in the framework. we'll be prepared to do that after june 30th if we get an agreement. what we said is first of all let's give the negotiators the space to get this done and complete the work of getting an iranian nuclear deal. second of all, let's be clear that congress will have a role to play and that includes they'll take a vote to lift sanctions at some point in the duration of the agreement. we're open to discussing with congress other ways they can play a constructive role in looking at this deal. but at the same time if you look at the legislation that senator corker has advanced it also includes a number of provisions that even go beyond congress taking a vote.
again which we have opposed on the matter of precedent that congress does not tend to vote on agreements like this. they have not in the past. but at the same time there are provisions that bring in issues like terrorism that take away the president's waiver authorities already in existing legislation. so we'd have problems with this legislation in its own right, but our principle focus right now is let's give time and space to the negotiators to get this done. we'll put forward the deal before congress. then they'll be able to make a judgment. but don't take action over the course of the next couple of months that could jeopardize the negotiations and by backing the iranians and the rest of the world away from the table wf. >> one final question. are you about to remove cuba from the state department list of countries that support terrorism? >> the president initiated a review of cuba's president on that list concurrent with his announcement about the process of normalization with cuba. the state department does a
review on the facts. they have not completed and sent over to the white house their recommendation that has to come from secretary kerry. when they do the president will look at it and make a judgment about how to move forward. but again, this review is expressly focused on the question of, does cuba sponsor terrorist organizations? if they do they should be on the list. if they don't, the recommendation am come to take them off the list. i think the state department has dob a lot of work the last couple of months. we're awaiting that confirmation. but we haven't gotten that and aren't prepare to make an announcement. >> ben rhodes the national security adviser to the president, thanks for joining us. >> thanks wolf. good to be here. coming up we're looking into reports that the pentagon wasted $10 billion, your tax money, on fancy new weapons and radar systems that simply don't work. also copies of the film "the interview," the movie mocking kim jong-un, are being air-dropped right into into north korea. will it change how its citizens view their leader?
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of the house intelligence committee national security commentatore oror mike rodgers and tom fuentes. mike rodgers, you were chairman of the intelligence community. is this a surprise evan perez, our justice reporter breaking the story here this hour that we knew the state department had been hacked, but now he's saying the hackers were russian hackers working directly for the russian government and they not only hacked into the state department but then they got into the white house computers as well. >> to have the breaking news on cnn, that the russians got into the system certainly is news. i will tell you, as chairman nation states have penetrated government systems before. this is not the first time. >> u.s. government systems. >> u.s. government systems before. and the quickest way to get to a classified system is by the adjoining unclassified system. meaning those individuals who use unclassified networks and cross back and forth in the course of their daily work that's a great place to be to get on that classified.
>> to do a fiving expedition. >> you could be phishing, do a man in the middle type exercises where you follow that piece of information back over onto what they would call the high side or classified side in those cyber systems. so, again, they got into the state department clearly by the news that you all broke and then followed it back to the white house. this is exactly the way they do it in the private sector when they're trying to penetrate companies. this is exactly the way they're doing it in government systems. >> tom fuentes whashgs's the fbi role in this? >> they'll be running the investigation trying to see what kind of penetration, how it was done where it was done from. but don't forget here that the person that perpetrated the biggest penetration ever of u.s. government systems is sitting in russia, snowden. you know, whether he provided assistance to the russian government in getting into our systems or just a general type of stuff he's leaked out over time the last few years enabled somebody to have a pathway to get into the system. >> i'm sure there's a lot of nervousness going on. bob bair the director of
national security james clapper said this that hearing the threat more severe than previously assessed. is this why you think? because clearly officials in of the u.s. government were aware of this russian activity for some time. >> well wolf you have to look at the whole picture here and the russians are possessing us everywhere, whether it's on our air defenses, whether it's in the ukraine, europe norway. they certainly have stepped up cyber attacks on the united states and they would love to get into these classified systems. and remember if you have a cell phone and you're communicating next to a desktop that's classified, there's certain emnation that's can be picked up. this is very dangerous. i mean intelligence communities won't even allow unclassified systems in the same room with classified systems. that's how severe it is and that's how vulnerable we are. and russia uses an organization called fapcy, their nsa, are
very good at manipulateing this stuff. once they come after washington they could get some successes. >> supposedly general, the russian had access to sensitive information at the state department and at the white house and including the president's not only public activities movements, if you will, but private ones as well. how big of a deal do you think this is? >> well it's a big deal just because of everything congressman rogers and bob just said wolf. you have those systems which ben rhodes described very well. you have the secret internet protocol and the unclassified ones the nipper. in the military and the intelligence community, we grow up with both and we know you can't take phones and put them next to a sipper device. there's a tendency for some to transfer information between the two. that's a really bad thing. and just the sensitive information like the president's schedule is critically important because you connect dots of intelligence. and that's a bad thing. so, yeah it's important, it's certainly not as important as getting on the sipper side the
secret side but it's critically important still. there's more to it than just changing your password and watching out for phishing attacks. you have to wipe the computers clean to make sure that kind of information doesn't get out. >> it's a good point. stand by everybody. we have a lot more coming up, including a new report that says the pentagon has spent, get this $10 billion, with a "b," on missile defense programs with absolutely nothing to show for the $10 billion. were your tax dollars wasted? a secret mission in south korea. activists are air-dropping copies of the satirical film "the"t "the interview." we're going to the korean peninsula. stand by. is safely recovering lots more oil and natural gas. supporting millions of new jobs. billions in tax revenue... and a new century of american energy security.
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a cutting-edge shield meant to protect the united states from a sneak missile attack using lasers an unmatched radar technology is what the pentagon promised for a 10$10 billion investment, $10 billion worth of projects that critics now call a total flop and say left the united states dangerously exposed. were all your tax dollars wasted? cnn's brian todd has been digging into this story. what are you finding out? >> wolf these missile defense shields were impressive on the drawing board and had some flashy names like the multiple kill vehicle. but according to one report they were expensive, impractical, and some experts say they never should have been built. it's massive. 26 stories high weighs 50,000 tons and sits on top of a modified drilling platform. it's called the c-based x band
radar, sbx, designed to defend america from incoming missiles by tracking them and guiding rockets to intercept them. its only draw back? it doesn't work. >> it was rushed to deployment on a c-base platform. the c-base platform had problems with corrosion and limited the availability of the radar. >> tonight, instead of being called a technical marvel it's being labeled a $2.2 billion bust according to an investigation by "the los angeles times," which reveals four expensive anti-missile systems which it says have been moth balled over the past decade. the cost to american taxpayers according to the newspaper? almost $10 billion. all of it spent the paper says by a wing of the pentagon called the missile defense agency tasked with protecting the american homeland from attacks by adversaries like north korea and iran ff. >> it's an organization of technologists, and they have lived in a hobby shop world for
a long time and they were suddenly faced with the requirement to actually go deploy something. >> a spokesman for the agency says it respect fully disagrees with that characterization but doesn't deny the allegations of failed systems now shelved. among them, a project called the airborne laser, 747s equipped with chemical lasers that would incinerate enemy missiles. that program cost $5.3 billion according to "the l.a. times" but was scrapped because the planes would have had to fly too close to an enemy's borders. then there's the kinetic enemy interceptor. cool name but the "times" says it was too long to fit onto navy ships and the range was too limited for land launches. cost? $1.7 billion. and the multiple kill vehicle, a bundle of miniature missile inseptemberers. ground-based rockets would have had to be retrofitted to make this work. that was $700 million. supporters of the agency don't call these projects waste saying
these innovations could eventually save lives even if they come with a hefty price tag. >> we do face a real threat such as the north korean icbm which could be deployed within one or two years. this missile can hit anchorage, honolulu, maybe even seattle. our citizens in those cities are definitely worth $10 billion of effort. >> contacted by cnn, a spokesman for the missile defense agency said quote, the investments we've made in advanced missile technologyies have not been wasted. the programs that were canceled have all provided valuable research which they're going to use to build better systems in the future. as one expert told me this agency has an almost impossible task trying to shoot down bullets with other bullets, wolf. developing those bullet sz not easy. >> some of these air defense systems obviously not working. how vulnerable is the u.s. to let's say an intercontinental ballistic missile from iran,
north korea? >> the expert we talked to says the united states doesn't have a defense system against some missile attacks from north korea and iran. but the missile defense agency pointss out some systems like the massive floating radar program have not totally been scrapped, that that thing at least according to the missile defense ago remains a fightal defense asset. it sits just idle in pearl harbor for weeks, months on end. it's not really being deployed effectively. >> brian todd, very disturbing stuff. thanks very, very much. $10 billion. >> 10 billion. >> wasted. coming up our exclusive report. hackers working for the russian government broke into state department and then white house computers. we have details on what the sensitive information they accessed may show. and months after it was pulled from u.s. theaters over a cyber threat, the film "the interview" is making its way now to north korea. will kim jong-un's people finally see what so many others around the world think of their
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. a secret mission is under way in south korea right now to send copies of the film "the interview" into north korea. the movie grabbed headlines when the country government threatened mercifulless retaliation against the united states for the film's release. paula hancocks has more. paula? >> reporter: the question is could north koreans be watching the movie "the interview" right now? maybe. >> take him out. >> you want us to kill the leader of north korea?
>> yes. >> what? >> reporter: a silly comedy in the united states seen as an act of terrorism in north korea. a devastating cyberattacks followed. now the movie may have found its way into the most isolated country on earth. this man has been studying this for weeks, a defector living in the south, he's sending thousands of copies of "the interview," dollar bills and political leaflets across the border. he thinks north koreans will find the movie funny. he didn't. the regime hates this film he says he cries, he's afraid like us and then gets assassinated. it destroys the idolization of the leader. the precious carder hidden lee travels to an area close to the border an area south korean
police following him do not want them to disclose. they also asked us not to film them. the propaganda balloons infuriate north korea. the south fired back several months ago and they can't be stopped as they are civilians and this is freedom of speech. residents who live near the border disagree. last october, they physically intervened to stop activists sending these balloons and angry that they were being put in the line of fire which is why lee says he flies his balloons at night and does not usually invite media. i want my people to know the truth, he says that is when revolutions happen. if you tell the truth in north korea, you die. but by sending balloons from here i can tell the truth in safety and in secret. lee doesn't know for sure who, if anyone will see this movie but he says he knows he has to try. lee sent more than 80,000 dvds
of "the interview" in this batch. it's his fourth launch. he assumes the more he sends, the greatest the chance that kim jong-un's image will be shattered. wolf? russian hackers broke into sensitive information, including the president's movements and calls. how did they get in? and a saudi jet striking the kingdom. denver international is one of the busiest airports in the country. we operate just like a city and that takes a lot of energy. we use natural gas throughout the airport - for heating the entire terminal generating electricity on-site and fueling hundreds of vehicles. we're very focused on reducing our environmental impact. and natural gas is a big part of that commitment.
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news russia hacks the white house. hackers said to be working for the kremlin accessed sensitive information on the white house system including the president's movements. has this put national security at risk? a critical u.s. partner is descending into deadly chaos with air strikes killing an increasingly number of civilians? the is washington getting involved in another terror war? and joining republicans who are demanding congress approve the final agreement, is the president losing support for his historic deal? and rand stand. first-term senator rand paul slams washington as he joins the gop in the race for the white house? is he the future for the republican party? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer.
you're in "the situation room." we're following major breaking stories this hour including a disturbing online attack on the white house. sources telling cnn that hackers working for the russian government have accessed the white house computer system and obtained sensitive information about the president. also the deadly fighting in yemen which had been a critical u.s. ally in the fight against al qaeda. saudi-led air strikes on rebel forces reportedly hit a school killing students. the death toll is now in the hundreds and the u.s. involvement is increasing as the pentagon steps up military and intelligence assistance for the saudis. we're covering all of the breaking news with our correspondents and guests including republican congressman darrell issa a member of the house foreign affairs committee. we begin, though with cnn justice reporter evan perez. he has more on the breaking news about the white house hacker attack. evan you broke this story. tell our viewers what your
sources are saying. >> wolf those russian hackers got access to sensitive parts of the white house's e-mail system. they could even see the president's schedule nonpublic parts of it in realtime. they got access to this all in a clever way through the state department. once they got in there, they used that access to trick someone to get into the executive office of the president. now, investigators tell me wolf this is one of the most serious cyberattacks they have seen against the u.s. government and it's something that -- it's one reason why they've increased warnings about the threat from russia. >> was the information that the russians presumably obtained from the state department and the white house classified information? >> well it wasn't. when the white house first disclosed this back in october, they described it as suspicious activity and said it affected an unclassified e-mail system. ben rhodes in the last hour addressed that saying this was not a new hack it was something that they previously addressed. our story today details who was
doing, this how they got in through the state department and the kinds of things they saw, including the president's schedule and other sensitive things wolf. >> because we interviewed ben rhodes the white house deputy national security adviser in the last hour. he really didn't want to get into a lot of the details specifically. he didn't want to specifically say that russia was responsible for this hack. but that's your information. that's what you learned? >> that's right. you know there's a lot of sensitivity with the government right now because of the threat from russia. they don't really know what to do with it and it's something that took them by surprise. when this attack first took place against the state department i was told that officials looked at it as you know the russians owning the state department e-mail system because they were all through it and despite, you know maybe efforts to try to get them out of the system, it took forever and they still don't know whether they eradicated it. >> some intelligence experts say even if you didn't have access
to sensitive information, if you penetrated that wall either at the state department or the white house, it's not all that difficult to get involved in fishing expeditions and penetrate classified information as well. >> well you know what i was told by some of the investigators who have been working on this they were shocked to see the kinds of stuff that's shared on this on classified e-mail system. there's a lot of stuff that is not technically classified but it is things that even in law enforcement that they are doing, that they are preparing to do that is discussed in these e-mails and which, you know is very valuable for foreign spies. it's not just about the classified system. it's the unclassified that is very much a national security issue. >> especially the president's whereabouts. may not necessarily be classified but it's sensitive information and you don't necessarily want the russians or anyone else to know it. thanks for excellent reporting, evan. we'll have more on this story coming up later but there's another important story that we're following right now, the
crisis in yemen. it's growing and the u.s.' role is growing as well. the pentagon increasing aid for the saudi-led air war against the shiite houthi rebels in yemen. our chief security correspondent jim sciutto is joining us right now. what's the latest? >> the u.s. is getting more involved. the u.s. is accelerating military aid to saudi arabia including intelligent sharing to help better strike targets on the ground and they have even set up a joint command center with the saudis. the u.s. is now a partner, in effect in the saudi-led effort to take yemen back from iranian-backed rebels. fire and explosions as saudi air strikes rain down on houthi rebels in yemen. now the u.s. is a partner in the air campaign stepping up its military support to saudi-led
forces. in the capital today, deputy secretary of state says the campaign is sending a strong message. >> we have expedited weapons deliveries increased our intelligence sharing and established a joint planning cell in the saudi operation center. >> reporter: american aid further expands the u.s. military footprint in a region increasingly plagued by war. while the u.s. won't be flying war manies over yemen, it may not own the consequences. >> if you give targeting intelligence and they don't use it or misinterpret it and something bad happens, you're still going to be blamed for it. there's a way in which the united states will bear the consequences of either the success or the failure of the saudi air campaign. >> reporter: and already today, saudi strikes destroyed tanks belonging to friendly forces on the ground and hitting a school, in injuring half a dozen students. the state department is still
not evacuating american citizens. instead, alerting them to escape routes offered by other countries and organizations. >> each individual needs to assess their security situation and determine whether it's better to shelter in place or try and take advantage of one of these better opportunities that we are alerting people to. >> reporter: the human toll of the fighting is mounting. the u.n. estimates casualties of 540 killed and some 1700 wounded. >> the saudi air strikes are certainly contributing to the possibility of widespread humanitarian catastrophe in yemen. that would be hard to put a lid on things. >> i want to connect the dots here as conflict spreads in the region. look in the wars now with surrounding key u.s. allies. war in syria, iraq yemen getting worse, somalia for a long time a failed state and keep in mind the u.s. now involved in all of these wars on the ground and in the air and in
iraq and in the air over syria, now increasing military aid to saudi arabia here in yemen as that situation deteriorates and ongoing drone operations in somalia, strictly counter terror there in general. but again, u.s. involvement in all of these wars as they surround key u.s. allies. one more point i would make as you have the sensitive nuclear negotiations and progress going on with iran you have the u.s. on opposites sides. the saudis on the other side backed by the u.s. here although of course in iraq, as it happens, the u.s. and iran on the same side against isis. it's that complicated a region. it's that war torn a region today with deep u.s. involvement, wolf. >> don't forget jim, not that far away. kenya, you see what is going on with al shabab and not that far away libya got rid of gadhafi
but look what is going on there. that whole region seems to be on fire. >> no doubt. you have the u.s. involvement in afghanistan and u.s. is not going to withdraw quickly as planned, ashton carter asking to keep more troop there is for longer. >> jim sciutto, thank you. the deal to restrain iran's nuclear program is facing a hurdle with a key democrat siding with republicans. that has the white house working overtime to convince skeptics. let's go to the white house. our correspondent michelle kosinski has more about what is going on. what are you hearing, michelle? >> reporter: there is more work to do here. the white house has congress and even some democrats, israel some arab countries, all of these criticisms and questions to contend with so they have been trying to show in their view this deal is the best option available. though there are things that the president has been saying that are causing some to just jump all over it again.
>> reporter: congress now appears to be extremely close to a veto-proof majority to make sure it would have the final say on an iran deal. legislation they will start working on next week. the white house now on a full-court press to try to win over more democrats, even some republicans talking to worried arab nations, to an adamantly opposed israel. >> this discussion has just begun. >> reporter: but some top democrats are siding with republicans. senator chuck schumer telling politico i strongly believe congress should have the right to disapprove any agreement. and bob corker's bill that would give congress that vote. >> i think congress has the right to review this. >> and the president's latest interview with npr sparked more criticism when he talked about worrisome possibilities down the road even with this deal. >> a more relevant fear would be
that in year 13 14 15 they have centrifuges that can create uranium pretty rapidly. >> that's what critics are worried about, as well as what recourse there would be if iran did make a nuclear bomb. today, the latest contender president, senator rand paul weighed in. >> any deal between the u.s. and iran must be approved by congress. not only is that good policy it's the law. >> reporter: the administration stridently opposing a vote in congress while defending the deal. >> as confident you are in the points that you've laid out, don't you have some confidence then that those members of congress especially after talking directly to the white house would vote along with a deal? >> well but that assumes, michelle that they are -- well
that's a good question, michelle. i think this -- i'm going to try to find a diplomatic way of characterizing this. this is a partisan football and, frankly, they are not willing to consider the deal on the merits. >> reporter: apparently that goes for the democrats, too, who feel congress ought to vote on something so important. the white house calls this corker bill unirrelevant and the white house insists that iran with a deal is far, far safer than iran without a deal because if the roll backs to its nuclear program and the intense monitoring it would require, wolf. >> the skeptics of this deal say that's the least the iranians could do given $150 billion in revenues that they expect once the sanctions arist willed. they would like iran to suspend its terrorist support but that's not specifically part of this
nuclear deal. michelle thanks very much for that report. let's talk about all of this and more. republican congressman darrell issa from california is joining us member of the house foreign affairs committee. we have a lot to discuss. >> we do. >> our justice reporter evan perez, broke the news here. we knew there would be a hack job but the hackers were working for the russian government. the hackers also through the state department managed to penetrate white house computers. not necessarily classified information but sensitive information, including the president's private travel activities stuff like that. were you aware of this? >> only recently and from the same reports. ultimately it's more than just sensitive. who the president meets with where, when even if it's retrospectively, quite frankly, is material kept from congress in many cases. so this is very sensitive information and it's indicative of the fact that russia is
reassembling it is evil empire in many ways. it's expanding, involved in espionage and, of course it's backing countries that are destabilizing other countries like iran. >> so are we on the verge of a new cold war, the u.s. and russia? >> i think we've been in a new cold war, actually, since putin and bush times. what is difference now is that iran and other proxies are actively involved in wars. we're working with turkey to a certain extent we're working with saudi arabia we've put a lot of money into other countries, including lebanon, to try to stabilize them. as we speak, with the limited resources, iran has, they are destabilizing the same countries. if they get that $150 billion bonanza, will it go to their people or to all out war in the region? >> is the u.s. vulnerable to these kinds of cyberattacks? >> we are. we are. unfortunately, one of the challenges with cyber is once you've opened a door and
provided a port the most insidious little things can get you. and the best way to look at it is if i only took e-mail from people i knew and places i knew and they only took e-mail from people they knew and so on you wouldn't have a problem. but as soon as you open the world up to port 8080 to web surfing, everybody is likely to pick something up. and quite frankly -- and this came out publicly so it's no longer classified the fact that you can imbed into a hard drive to read and send means in some cases the real trick is to be involved in the equipment when it's delivered. >> i want you to stand by congressman. we have much more to discuss. the whole region whether north africa southeast seems to be on fire especially in yemen. much more with congressman darrell issa right after this.
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we're following the violent collapse of yemen. it was a critical ally to the united states and fighting the al qaeda affiliate in that country before the government was ousted by the rebel forces the houthis. we're back with congressman darrell issa. the fact that the u.s. has no diplomatic military presence in yemen, this is the home of aqap how much does that undermine this opportunity, this ability, in effect to prevent aqap from launching terrorist strikes against u.s. interests? >> it's not just u.s. interests. and you're right, we're blind there. obviously the cia had to pull out or substantially pull out.
except for drones we have no eyes there. it means that a large area that we could operate from on land now has to be moved to 40 acres aboard an aircraft carrier that is already overtaxed. the reality, though is that you said the united states -- this is an existentilal. threat. it's a went for iran if they consolidate their power. obviously you've got both al qaeda and the houthi. so you have a civil war even if the government falls but, quite candidly this is a shia country predominantly enough that they will win out if they topple the government. >> because i spoke yesterday with the saudi ambassador to the united states and he says iranians and hezbollah fighters they are directly backing these shiite houthi fighters in yemen. what do you know about that. >> hezbollah are the best backed militants anywhere in the world. they have been hardened in '06,
they fought against israel relatively successfully on their own turf and they have been fighting in syria in large numbers. quite candidly that's one of our challenges to stabilize lebanon and, at the same time recognize that we've got to keep hezbollah from crossing freely across the border resting in lebanon and fighting in syria and other places such as yemen. >> where do you stand on this proposed nuclear deal with iran? >> a real nuclear deal one that absolutely stops their ability for the foreseeable future to start again would be of great value. anything less than that less than a disarmarmant creates a situation in which we are hoping that they are not cheating while all along, quite candidly going after iran for other wrongdoing is impossible. i think that's where iran is very smart. they realized that they can stop at this point and get the benefit of a nuclear weapon when it comes to containing their
terrorism. i think that's where senate republicans and democrats are saying no you can't get the equivalent of a nuclear weapon. that's not a good deal for america, not when americans are dying because of those terrorists that they are backing. >> because the administration says and i'm paraphrasing don't let the perfect be the enemy of a good deal. >> and that's a good statement. but when you're going to give $150 billion of funds very quickly released that can buy tanks, all kinds of weapons and technology just as a decade ago you and i saw iran improving the ability to kill americans in iraq with better ieds that came from iran iran can fund and support terrorists who cause americans and their allies to die. so you can't just separate the two. i think that really saying nukes are off the table is a good start. that's not what the deal seems to do. and certainly no push back from
terrorism of the sort that eastern has been guilty of around the world, i think it's worth the senate saying it's a package and we at least need to talk about it and be sold on it. the president needs to sell not order the senate to do this. >> so you're not yet convinced to support. is that what you're saying? you want more information? >> i think the negotiating process will make it better. if the president gets a et abouter deal in the last few eight weeks or so than if he says what will it take to get this done? i need it for my legacy? this isn't about legacy. those senators and members of the house will be a sustaining body that have to worry about iran for decades. >> but the administration says this is strictly a nuclear-related deal. they are not talking about other issues, like iran stopping its support for terrorism or recognizing israel's right to exist or freeing american
prisoners still being held. those are separate issues and deal separately with that. this is strictly a deal to prevent iran for the foreseeable future from having a nuclear weapons capability. >> and i believe senator schumer and grassley and corker and others if this were like it was in libya, where they backed up a boat and took the nuclear components right out of libya, we wouldn't be having this discussion. >> gadhafi's regime right after the war in 2003? >> exactly. we caught him red-handed. he capitulated. i was there and got to see some of the nuclear assets. the fact is he totally capitulated the nuclear missile facilities left the country. that's not on the table. we're not talking about somebody backing away. we're talking about somebody who says they won't continue as fast. >> congressman issa thank you for joining us. >> thank you. breaking news coming up next. we have more on the revelation of the attack on the white house by hackers working for the
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government broke into white house computers, including the president's schedule. let's get more with the cnn intelligence and security expert bob baer and mark hertling and philip mudd. how surprised should we be that they hacked into the white house system, not necessarily getting classified information but sensitive information? >> i would say zero shock. look spying is the oldest profession on the planet. 25 years ago you may be resenting telephones and then going after electrons. the surprise would be if the russians made no effort and had no success penetrating unclassified or not very classified systems at state and the white house. this is what spies do it's the
same thing. >> bob bare russia was able to hack into the state department and white house computers. what other countries are capable of doing the same thing? >> well, there's a lot of them. you can do this privately as well. we are all vulnerable on our cell phones and e-mail systems. i would imagine the chinese are into a lot of places they shouldn't be. the french could. you know south africans it doesn't matter. anybody that has the money to put towards it can get into the communication system and washington is notoriously slack of keeping information out of public channels and i think a lot of people know that and they are going after it. >> there's another great fear, peter better peter bergen it terrorists can bring the infrastructure to a halt. >> the states we're talking about are russian, china, iran
with the ability to do substantial damage to an institution like sony or steal the f-35 plans as the chinese did. terrorists are not at that point but they could get there. there is a twitter feed which is insignificant in the grand scheme of things but certainly that's the trend where we're seeing terrorists experimenting with these kinds of attacks. >> they could get into the white house computer system and might be able to get into the pentagon system as well. you used to work there. what do you think? >> absolutely wolf. it has to do with the unclassified servers. again, you have the classified servers, which a lot of the communication is -- that's where the root is. the unclassified systems are like any other internet system. it's a server that can be hacked. >> general hertling that's talk about what is going in yemen. the saudis have partners from
other gulf states and the u.s. is providing some aid, some intelligence. this is a real disaster though isn't it? >> it is wolf. and it's changing the approach i think, the command -- the central command is having on the ground in three basic areas. first of all, the focus for an air campaign to assist in an air campaign is very different than a counterterrorism campaign. it's just tougher on a command to watch those number of airplanes go over from saudi arabia into yemen. secondly, the number of resources that you have as jim sciutto pointed out earlier, there's not that many drones that can cover all of the areas that we currently are fighting in or supporting fighting in. and the third piece is resources. it's one thing to have special operations and intelligent analysts to go after terrorism but another to help an ally like saudi arabia to conduct operations in yemen. >> phil mudd there's word now that it's not just the iranians
helping the houthi rebels there is word that they are getting support from russia as well. have you heard that? >> i've heard that. back when i joined the agency as an analyst, you had a constellation of camps. saudi arabia iraq egypt and then you had russia allied with countries like india and significantly, for this case iran. iran obviously is in with the houthis. the shia organization. i think what you're having here is a bigger picture that has to do with global power politics and putin's power plays. i'm wondering if we're going to start define the world of camps. whose in with putin and who is in with the united states? i think that's starting to happen. >> guys stand by. we have more breaking news coming into "the situation room." we'll take a quick break and be right back. toenail fungus? don't hide it... tackle it with fda-approved jublia! jublia is a prescription medicine proven
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let's get right to the breaking news. a white police officer in south carolina is now being charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed african-american man in a cell phone video obtained by "the new york times," michael slater is seen firing eight shots at walter scott as he runs away from him. scott was hit in the back and he died. we're going to show you part of the video. it goes without saying it's very disturbing. watch this.
taillight. officer slater reported he fired his gun after the two men scuffled over the policeman's taser. however, scott ran away and when the policeman pulls his gun and opens fire. let's bring in "the new york times" reporter michael schmidt has been reporting on this as well as our justice reporter evan perez. michael, what are you learning about this incident? >> well this video was taken by a by stander who came to the family of the victim in recent days and said he had this. he didn't actually go to the police. he actually was scared away from the scene at the time of the incident because the officers looked at him and said why are you taking video of us? so it was only after the fact that the family got it. >> evan the north charleston
mayor said at a press conference that this police officer, michael, would be charged with murder as a result of that video and the bad decision made by our officer. are you surprised at how quickly all of this unfolded? >> it's actually very shocking that this is happening so quickly, wolf. we've seen many of these incidents in the last couple of years and they always take a long long time of investigation for the state officials to be moving so quickly is very unusual. we also have a statement that we just received from the justice department saying that the fbi in south carolina along with the justice department civil rights division are also going to be launching their own separate investigation to look into this. obviously this shocking video that michael and "the new york times" were able to obtain is what made the difference here. >> yeah it's a pretty shocking video. let me show the video once again. michael, stand by. i want you to tell me how walter scott's family is reacting to all of this. let's watch it closely.
michael, you see him, walter scott clearly running away his back to the police officer that opened fire. eight shots and killed walter scott. what's been the reaction from the family and others? what are you hearing? >> i was told the family was very relieved but incredibly sad that they had this video. the authorities were eventually given this video by his lawyers who had gotten it. i think that put an enormous amount of pressure on them. they knew it was going to be coming out and they saw what happened in ferguson and knew if they acted quickly they could really get out in front of the story and that's if you talk to mr. scott's lawyer. that's what they would say. they really think the game-changer here was the video. >> the officer in question says he believed his life was in
danger because scott took his taser, his stun gun, is that right? >> well the video doesn't really back that up. what you see in the video is that mr. scott really doesn't have anything in his hands when he's -- it doesn't appear like he does when he's running away from the officer. it appears like the stun gun may have been -- may have gone off behind the officer. fallen or gone off in a different direction. it doesn't look like it backs up the officer's statement. later in the video, you see the officer go and peck up what appears to be the stun gun and moves it over towards where mr. scott's body is lying and then he later picks that up in front of another officer and puts it on his belt. it's curious behavior at a crime scene. >> you've spoke with officials and others and they are saying it's extraordinary, the cell phone video is extraordinary but the fact that the mayor has moved so quickly to charge this police officer with murder
that's pretty extraordinary as well. >> i think the way michael described it is probably true. it's definitely one of the things that makes a difference is the video and, you know, if it wasn't for the video, if it weren't for this video, you'd have the officer's word against whatever -- you know any witnesses could say happened and we have -- you know how that usually ends wolf. the officer gets a lot of the benefit of the doubt. especially when he can claim that he feared for his life. >> we're told, by the way, that the family of walter scott will be having a news conference later tonight. obviously we'll have coverage of that. michael schmidt, very quickly, the original incident occurred because what he was driving a mercedes and he had a bad taillight, a broken taillight so the police officer stopped him for that? is that what happened? >> yeah. taillight was out. they stopped him and he got out of the car and he ran. there was a warrant out for his arrest for not paying child support payments. several warrants, actually, on that.
he took off and the officer eventually went after him, tackled him. he tased him. the taser went in to mr. scott. mr. scott got up and when mr. scott got up the taser goes one way, mr. scott goes the other and then the officer shoots him. >> it's a pretty disturbing -- very disturbing video, i must say. michael schmidt of the "new york times" and evan perez, thank you. more news right after this. 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. we're in the problem-solving business. 400,000 people - ready to help you solve problems while they're still called opportunities. from figuring it out to getting it done we're here to help.
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republican senator rand paul is out on the campaign trail starting a four-day swing through early primary caucus states after hours of announcing he's running for president of the united states. he's already on the campaign trail, isn't he? >> reporter: he is. he should be arriving as we speak in the first of the nation primary state of new hampshire. she's traveling with a prominent african-american j.c. watts. he's going to a fund-raiser tonight. it's not going to be with fat cats tonight. it's going to be with karaoke
singers. proof in the paul campaign he's a different kind of candidate. in many ways rand paul's platform for president sounds like the 2010 tea party credo he used to snatch his senate seat from the gop establishment. >> too often when republicans have won, we have squandered or victory by becoming part of the washington machine. that's not who i am. rrp it would require a much larger coalition. he insists he will bring it by what he calls opportunity to liberty through minority communities who usually vote for democrats. >> this message of liberty is for all americans. americans from all walks of life. >> reporter: paul is also inheriting throngs of enthusiastic activists.
i say the phone records of law-abiding citizens are none of their business. his father's appeal have limits. for rand paul to win the white house nomination now, he's been moving towards mainstream gop positions. no doubt why here ron paul was seen but not heard. while some rhetoric mirrored anti-intervention views of his dad like opposing foreign aid. >> i say it must end. i say not one more penny more to these haters of america. >> reporter: much of his foreign policy talk was aimed at proving he's noitislationist. >> the enemy is radical islam. you can't get around it. >> reporter: i will do whatever it take-- i will do whatever it takes. >> rand paul is standing with
him. >> reporter: in an unusual move for an announcement speech paul let into the weeds to explain his iran positioning saying he would oppose any deal that doesn't end nuclear's ambitions. >> trust but verify is required in any negotiation but our goal always should be and also is peace not war. >> reporter: in an effort to show he's continuing to evolve in his stop in south carolina, the southern first prayimary state he's going to appear. trying to appeal to those who are traditionally with him, young people but also trying to stitch together patch work that does include the more traditional republican constituents. >> standby. i want to bring in gloria
borger. rand paul didn't waste any time. he would oppose any deal that doesn't end iran's ambitions. are you surprised he took such a deep dive? >> it is unusual to do this in a presidential announcement speech. i think he had something to prove here. he had to prove to the republican party establishment that no he's not sort of out on the fringe. he has to bring himself sort of into the mainstream on national security and say, you know what i think we need to defend america. i believe what ronald reagan did. they're all invoking ronald
reagan these days. trust but verify. >> his position on several sensitive issues have seemed to evolve over the years, jeff. >> only a short period of time too. he's only been in the senate for four years. he said that all u.s. aid should be stopped in 2011 he said that. in 2014 he said i didn't say that. our foreign aid should continue. civil rights his opinion has evolved. we haven't heard him on the recent issues of gay marriage. he's giving some competing views of that. his biggest challenger in the early part will be the old rand paul versus what he is saying right now. >> he's distanced himself from some of his dad's positions. his dad was a congressman from texas. pretty popular with libbib libertarians
libertarians. >> he was also saying i'm not my father on several issues nsa, you've got ron paul's position wanting to end it and rand paul has a more practical view of reigning it in. he is very much trying to do that and distance himself from his father but he's also got to figure out a way to maintain some of that outsider cred and energy his father brought. >> his father's supporters are so enthusiastic that if you alienate them at all, he could lose them. he's navigating a mine field
here. >> dana how was he received over there and what's the reaction among republicans? >> reporter: very interesting. the day after ted cruz maybe even the day ted cruz announced, the only other republican who has formally announced, rand paul went after him. he said he believe rand paul is more electable than ted cruz. being in the room you did sense that energy from the young people. the minute ron paul came into the room he came in like 40 minutes before the event started, there was an eruption of applause. there's such affection for him that rand does understand clearly that he has to have that balance between distancing himself from his father but also keeping although supporters in the poll.
in many respects all of those grass roots activists, if they're not going to be with him, they're probably not going to vote. in many respects that happens to be true. >> he was more popular a year ago before isis before the american public witnessed all in the heading. reat lineup if you're talking about college basketball. all those freshmen senators proved that last night. they got the obama problem.
>> we got to leave it there. be sure to tune into "the situation room" tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. eastern. senator rand paul will be right here. we'll have a live interview with him. that's tomorrow. you can follow us on twitter. tweet me at wolf blitzer. erin burnett outfront starts right now. we have video of a white police officer shooting a black man many the back. the police officer charged tonight. more breaking news russians hacking into the white house computer system accessing the president's schedule. how the pesticide sprayed at their resort left two sons in a coma could be in the food you're eating.