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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  November 21, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PST

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>> we stand free. we stand with life, we stand with happiness. we play games with my son and know they don't win. hello, again, everyone. and thanks so much for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield. we begin with breaking news in the paris terror attacks, investigation, and growing concerns across europe. one suspect has been arrested in belgium, with suspected ties to isis. and right now, there is a serious and possible imminent threat for attacks in multiple locations in brussels. belgium is raising the terror alert there to the highest level. belgium's prime minister is closing the capital city's metro for the weekend and has warned people to avoid large crowds.
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>> we are talking of a threat with several individuals with arms and explosives to launch actions, perhaps even in several places at the same time. there's no question of us giving any comment on the investigations that are ongoing, on the operations that are underway for obvious reasons. >> the manhunt is still underway there, for leading terror suspect salah abdeslam, who was last seen driving towards the belgium border. right now, officials have arrested three new suspects in turkey with suspected ties to isis. one of them accused of scouting the paris venues targeted by gunmen and suicide bombers. let's go to cnn correspondent nema albagger, whose live for us right now in brussels. so what more are you hearing about this serious and possible imminent threat, his twhich is way they're putting it. >> reporter: well, we're seeing a continuing serges and continuing reinforcement of the police presence here, down in the center of brussels. just a few moments ago, we saw
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police trucks, officers stepping out of the trucks and looking into every single passing car with flashlights, clearly trying to positively identify someone inside those vehicles. the sense that we're getting, these searches, these raids, this investigation is ongoing and intensifying. belgium authorities have said that all of this is in connection with the broader network responsible for carrying out those paris attacks. this isn't just limited any longer, fredricka, to the search for that eighth attacker, as it was last weekend, so-called eighth attacker, salah abdeslam. this now feels like the net is widening. people are still on the streets, though, in spite of the heightened terror alert. it's not what you would expect for a saturday night in a major european capital, but there continues to be a presence here. fredricka? >> and how forthright are investigators being about what they're sharing with the public, how are they weighing that
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information with the need to try to secure that country? >> reporter: they're not being particularly forthright. you saw the prime minister earlier say, i won't go into anymore details. and even just in our experience, we were filming a little earlier on, those searches, and a police vehicle moved and blocked our camera. there is really a concern that this heightened scrutiny, the pressure that it's putting on this investigation, the concerns about the stress on people here. i was here a little earlier. we were out, actually, in the shopping district earlier. some of the shops had opened, in spite of the terror threat, and very quickly, they were told to close. and you could see police trying very hard to control any kind of tension and any rising panic in people. but being very serious about moving people on from those congregations that the belgium public has already been warned against, fredricka. this is an ongoing and intensive investigation, but it's being carried out under the eyes of
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the world. >> nema, thank you so much, in brussels. so three suspects allegedly linked to the attacks on paris have been arrested. nic robertson joins me now with the latest on that. so what are you learning about these recent arrests and is it helping investigators lead to any other suspicious characters? >> reporter: fredricka, potentially, it could be very valuable for french investigators. this is a man who's believed to have been behind sort of scoping out, scouting out the targets for the attacks last friday. what we know, from turkish authorities, is that they've arrested three men. one of them is ahmed dahmani, he's a belgian, 26 years old. the ring leader to this, an del hamd abboud was also belgian, of moroccan decent from molenbeek.
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so we don't know why, specifically, he -- or why, specifically, if you will, the turkish authorities knew to arrest him, but they arrested him when he was meeting at a hotel -- with two other men at a hotel in antalia in turkey. this is the town president obama was in last week for the big g-20 summit meeting. the two other men he was meeting with were suspected of belonging to isis and suspected of coming from syria. the assumption is that this man on his way from belgium, in turkey, on his way with these two men to be taken across the border into syria, and therefore out of the hands of investigators here. so now the turkish authorities have him, if they can pass him back to the french or the french can question him or belgian authorities can question him, perhaps that can shed some light on the filters, the financiers, the motivators, other people on the outer ring for the attackers. and for the french right now, hugely valuable, because therefore that can potentially stop other cells of the french
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right now, fredricka. >> and nic, can you tell whether or not that high threat alert in belgium is impacting how people go about, make plans there in paris, even though i see behind you, there are an awful lot of people who continue to come to that makeshift memorial. >> reporter: there are people still coming here. people want to pay their respects. you can hear the police sirens here right now. every few minutes, there's a police vehicle that goes by. all of that alone puts people's nerves a little bit on edge right now. there's a big christmas market here. normally this should be busy, bustling, tourists here. that's not the way it is in paris right now. so people, number one, have their own fears connected with the attacks here. but when they see what's happening in belgium and they know that belgium is the capital of brussels is three hours' drive from here, with no hard border in between, we have to stop and show your passport,
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they're afraid a threat in brussels could be a threat here. so people remain on a heightened state of alert and cautious and concerned. it's not going to stop their life, they're going to get back to their lives, and for that reason, we see fewer people on the streets here than one might normally see. let's talk more about this now with mary beth long. she's the former assistant secretary of defense. she is also the ceo of meta solutions. good to see you, mary beth. so isis releasing this video in which they say more attacks are coming to paris and they also, you know, threaten attacks in the u.s., specifically, new york, and washington. how do investigators, how do intel agents use this kind of information. how do they take it seriously? i know they take it all seriously, but how do they know, discern whether this is just, you know, being bragadocious or
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teasing. >> first, they'll take a look and see if there's overlap here in the united states. they can do that through a number of intelligence means, whether it's human sources or electronic sources or other intelligence methods of collection. they'll look at the method, but they'll also look at the iceberg nature of these kinds of activities, and that is, who are the salespeople who are providing the support for the actual combatants and the bomb makers, and look for commonalities of linkages there. that's what our law enforcement is most likely doing, and there'll be a lot of trading of information back and forth between the europeans as well as here in washington. >> and then you have national security officials, actually say this, at least one of the terrorist attackers likely could have traveled to the u.s. under the visa waver program. how concerning is that to you, that that would be said, very publicly, and to show that there are, indeed, some
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vulnerabilities with the existing visa waiver program? >> i think it's just one of the places where u.s. law enforcement and immigration officials are looking. there's been an awful lot of talk about the refugee vetting, and i think one of the important things that has come out is there are lots of other ways to get into the united states, whether it's through a tourist visa or the visa waiver program or an educational visa. and taking a look at those more common means, and those are means that get less scrutiny than the refugee visas. that's where we would look first, because they're the easiest. >> and just look at the past month, when we see this russian jetliner that is taken down, isis claiming responsibility. this deadly attack in paris. isis claiming responsibility. what does this say to you about the voracity, the strength, the growth of this terror organization or movement? >> well, isis has really changed in the last couple of months as
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far as its tactics and its targets. up until recently, isis was the organization that focused on the near targets, more of a near target operating focus. and actually, after what has happened in egypt, as you point out, saudi arabia, kuwait, the most recent thing in paris, they are making a statement. they are going after the far targets. and rather than focus on shia and local power structures, they are going after the international community and soft targets to make their point. very dangerous. >> all right. mary beth long, thank you so much. >> thank you. all right, still ahead, the search is on for three suspects in the mali hotel attack that killed 19 people, including one american mother. a witness says they shot at anything that moved. the beast was as long as the boat. for seven hours, we did battle. until i said... you will not beat... meeeeee!!! greg. what should i do with your fish?
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and then santa's workers zapped it right to our house. and that's how they got it here. cool. the magic of the season is here at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection. in the wake of the paris attacks, there is growing concern that the u.s. watch lists and screening systems are
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not strong enough. u.s. national security officials tell cnn that several of the suspected terrorist attackers could have been able to pass through the screening process and get inside the u.s. but there is no indication that any of them actually tried to travel to the u.s. cnn investigative correspondent chris frates is live for us now in washington. so, chris, how many attackers could have gotten in and why wouldn't they have been flagged? >> reporter: fred, so, we think at least one of those attackers could have gotten in, in theory. and fbi officials say they're closely watching dozens of people who pose the highest risk of carrying out a copy cat attack. more than 100 of the investigations into isis sympathizers were, quote, taken up a notch, following the paris attacks. >> the threat here focuses primarily on troubled souls in america who are being inspired or enabled online, to do something violent for isil. we have stopped a lot of those people this year, especially leading up to july 4th, and
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there are others we worry about and we cover all across the country, using all of our lawful tools. so that's how we think about the threat. >> reporter: so fbi director james comey there and attorney general loretta lynch both saying no relationship exists between the paris attackers and anyone in the united states. but national security officials do say that at least one of the paris attackers, in theory could have been able to travel to the u.s., and as many as three of them could have slipped u.s. watch lists and screening programs. now, it's important to point out here that at least four of the attackers were on a terrorist watch list, and there's no indication that any of the attackers ever tried to travel to the u.s. but, the paris attacker who would have been able to travel to america could have done so using a visa waiver program to get into the country. that program allows people from 38 countries, mostly people from europe, to travel to the u.s. without visas. and it was used by about 20 million people last year.
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that program has caught the attention of lawmakers on capitol hill, and now there's a bipartisan bill in the senate that would end the waivers for anyone who's gone to iraq or syria during the last five years. it's sponsored by democratic senator dianne feinstein of california and a republican, jeff flake, of arizona. and this is an area, fred, where obama has expressed interest in reform, and talks are already underway between the white house and the senators. i expect we'll see more action on this front after the thanksgiving recess, when lawmakers come back into washington, fred. >> all right. chris frates, thanks so much. we'll be right back. minique wil. ...are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes... ...with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal. so i asked my doctor about victoza®. he said victoza® works differently than pills. and comes in a pen. victoza® is proven to lower blood sugar and a1c. it's taken once a day, any time.
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in mali, authorities are on the hunt for three terror suspects after gunmen barged into a hotel friday and opened fire on a crowd of people. one employee said they shot at anything that moved. at least 19 people were killed, including six russians and one israeli who was an adviser to the malian government. two of the attackers are also dead. american anita datar was among the victims. the 41-year-old mother was a public health worker. her brother says the family is devastated, saying this, quote, it's unbelievable to us that she has been killed in this senseless act of violence and terrorism. anita was one of the kindness and most generous people we know. cnn international correspondent david mackenzie
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joins us live now from mali. so, david, we know that two al qaeda-affiliated groups are claiming responsibility. what more can you tell us about the state of emergency in effect and what they're doing to go about finding these three other suspects? >> reporter: well, certainly, fredricka, this is a nation in shock. and at this scene, at this hotel, it's quiet now, but very different scenes on friday when two, maybe three gunmen stormed this hotel. they weren't, in fact, driving inside a diplomatic car, which we believed earlier according to the u.n. they walked in. one employee i just spoke to said that security guards wanted to intervene, but they didn't have ammunition in their firearms. so they came in, shooting at random, killing many people in those early stages of that hostage situation. they moved through the floors of the hotel. i spoke to an indian man, who was living at the hotel with several others, they barricading themselves in. as they heard the shots and the
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shouting getting closer. the military or the gunmen were shouting a ining ala akbar, ask to recite the koran and if they couldn't, they were shot. but they did do a good swift job to at least limit the loss of lives. fredricka? >> and let's talk about the people who were in radisson. it really is magnet for people from all over the world. russia says six of its citizens were inside that hotel. we understand that there were peace talks taking place there, so that meant a lot of people from outside of the country were there. is there a feeling among investigators that they know the motivation behind the attackers? why they chose that hotel, at that time? >> well, certainly, we've seen forensic investigators and other
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foreign police, including belgians and french move into this hotel, in the last few hours. so they are here, they are definitely involved in the investigations. and, yes, it does, in fact, require a security expert to put two and two together here. this is a hotel, the radisson, that is frequented mostly by westerners, ex-pats living here in mali, and those coming through diplomats involved in those peace talks you mentioned. so the reason they attacked this was because of the targets, from their perspective, that they would find inside, and certainly to create the maximum level of attention, on the situation here. there has been a difficult peace talks ongoing here in mali. the country was cut in two, effecti effectively, by jihadi groups two or three years ago. the french had to send thousands of troops in. and while most believe this isn't directly linked to the paris attacks of over week ago, they do believe it's a similar issue at play here. and they certainly were trying
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to strike at french and international interests. fredricka? >> david mckenzie, thank you so much. all right, europe is on edge, as more arrests have been made in connection with the paris terror attacks and the hunt for a key suspect goes international now. the details, next.
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be linked to the attacks in paris and another arrest in belgium. our nic robertson joining me now with the latest from paris. nic, what are you learning? >> reporter: yeah, ahmed dahmani, a 26-year-old belgium of moroccan descent, picked up with others coming to a town of antalya. this is a town where the g-20 summit was held earlier this week, where president obama was attending. but the turkish authorities swept down on the town where they were meeting. it's believed that dahmani had potentially come from belgium on the run, that these two isis men from syria were going to take him back into syria. he is a person of huge interest to investigators here, because it's believed that he may have been a significant figure in the planning of the operations here. that he went out and scouted the targets. he is, as i said, belgium, of moroccan descent, and that is
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the same as the ring leader, abdelhamid abaaoud, who is now dead, killed in that raid here earlier this week in the suburbs of saint-denis, a huge firefight that killed him. so belgian authorities seem to think there's a connection here. the french authorities obviously want to get to this man, because the information that he may have can provide them with links to potential financiers, motivators, people with safe houses, and all of those who could have supported the operation here and therefore may have links to other cells in france and belgium, other cells that may be, may planning other attacks, fredricka. >> nic, these other cells, whether they be in belgium or right there in france, that you mentioned, are investigators feeling that they may be concentrated in particular areas, especially maybe the neighborhoods where they already in saint-denis conducted the raids? is there a concentrated effort, you know, to kind of better comb that area, to see if there are
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active cells there? >> well, saint-denis would be one of the neighborhoods where they would look more extensively given what they've already discovered there. but what we're seeing here and what we're seeing from the french ministry's office over the past few days, as recently as yesterday, in the past five days alone, almost 800 raids, more than 100 arrests, more than 170 weapons rounded up. and these are coming all across the country. now, many of them are happening in the larger cities, like leon, like marseille in the south, where there are neighborhoods that have high immigrant populations, where there are concerns about, you know, common criminality, drug networks. but that overlap with isis, with radical islamists. that's been the focus so far, and the french now using their new powers, three months more state of emergency, those powers give them the rights to do raids
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at a moment's notice by the police if they get active intelligence, they can use that. and also to put people under house arrest. more than a hundred people now placed under that sort of house arrest, control. they can't leave their homes. >> wow, that's a big number. nic robertson, thank you so much. let's talk more about this. let's bring into the conversation, cnn military analyst, retired air force lieutenant colonel, rick francona, who's in california. in washington, cnn global affairs analyst, kimberly dozier. nic, you're still with us. all right, great, we'll have a really big conversation. sorry about that. so, kim, you first. european countries have various privacy laws that make it pretty difficult to conduct surveillance. i talked to a french senator earlier who said there has to be a greater openness about sharing of intel. so, how has this played into the latest, you know, the investigation of the latest string of attacks in europe? >> well, this is a point that u.s. officials keep pushing with their french and european
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counterparts. that there's got to be more sharing of information. and they say they have gotten better. that in the past year, something like 4,000 suspects' names and profiles have been shared with an interpol database that everyone can access. and u.s. administration officials say that's a real leap forward. one of the problems is, though, that people still hold back. there is, even within french intelligence services, the different ones will tell their american counterparts, look, we're sharing this with you, but don't share it with ex-french agency. that kind of thing has to stop. and that's just human nature. those are walls that acts of terrorism will end up tearing down, but that does take time. >> colonel francona, you see these several coordinated attacks in one week's time here, you know. we're talking about france, we're talking about mali, and we're talking about efforts to arrest people in nearby belgium. how, in your view, does this
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encourage other terrorist organizations to want to launch attacks, take advantage of this moment? >> well, i think that people are watching what's going on with other terrorist groups. anybody that has an inclination to conduct these kinds of operations are watching what's going on. and they have to look and see what isis is doing. isis, if you look at it from their point of view have been very successful. they've had four attacks in recent times. ankara, beirut, the taking down of the airliner, which is a gold standard in the terrorism business. and then, of course, the attacks in paris. other groups are watching this, saying, this has been very effective for them. perhaps we need to do this as well. and it just looks like there's a wave of these. and i think it's going to continue. what we saw in mali might just be the beginning of other groups or we may see this in the middle east, other parts of africa. >> and nic there in paris, french president hollande asking parliament for changes to laws that would give the government more search and surveillance powers. what's the likelihood that that could happen?
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that that could potentially kush the flow of weapons on the black market. or even the porous borders that must have of these terrorists or would-be terrorists are able to take advantage of? >> well, it's certainly going to give the police and the security services an immediacy in powers that they haven't had until recently. and obviously, that will raise concerns going forward in the longer term, that powers like that don't get abused and there isn't a backlash from communities who feel that those powers are being used excessively against them. but it's certainly something the french people support at the moment, generally speaking. they feel it's needed. there's a fundamental problem in europe right now. the french have talked about the need to address it. we've heard it more recently, broadly, with the problem -- not the problem, but the number of immigrants the that are coming, that are causing problems for countries in europe to absorb that number of immigrants. and that is the porous external borders of europe. the europeans have this idea that we can be a community of nations with open borders
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inside, so you can pass between the countries without showing your passport. but the realization now is that if you want that, then you need to have a strong external border. and that strong external border doesn't exist. but if and when you get that strong external border, the new realization is you need to have a much more centralized, unified intelligence-sharing police service, within it. much as you would do in the united states. so, at the moment, there is sharing of intelligence of information, but it's slow, it's cumbersome, different forces, different services have different systems. they have national interests, we don't want to share this, we don't want to share that. but the fundamental issue facing europe right now, occupant united europe, you need a secure external border and you need to share and have a much more common police and intelligence service operating within that external border, fredricka. >> all right. nic robertson, all great points, thank you so much, kim dozier and colonel rick francona, as well. thanks to all of you.
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so the question of whether or not to allow syrian refugees in the u.s. is fueling heated debates across this country. our nick valencia visited a community in georgia with a very large number of refugees. nick? >> fredricka, it's called the ellis island of the south by locals, and it is perhaps the most diverse square mile in the country. i'm nick valencia in atlanta. coming up after the break, we'll introduce you to a community where refugees are not only welcomed, but they're flourishing. you're watching the "cnn newsroom." gentlemen. you look well. what's new, flo? well, a name your price tool went missing last week. name your what, now? it gives you coverage options based on your budget. i just hope whoever stole it knows that it only works at progressive.com. so, you can't use it to just buy stuff? no. i'm sorry, gustav. we have to go back to the pet store. [ gustav squawks ] he's gonna meet us there. the name your price tool. still only at progressive.com.
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in light of the treerecentl terror attacks, many americans are divided on whether syrian refugees should be allowed a safe haven here in the u.s. but the fact is, there are millions of refugees who have already built lives here. cnn's nick valencia visited a refugee community in a suburb of atlanta. so tell us about this so-called ellis island of the south. >> that's what the locals call it and the mayor is very proud of. all of the refugees that live there, over the course of the last generation, thousands of refugees have been welcomed to clarkston, georgia, and recently hundreds from syria. the locals i spoke to said they like it that way. >> reporter: it's friday and the refugee coffee truck in clarkston, georgia, is in the middle of its morning rush. behind the counter, a collection of culture. the three baristas, all refugees. each one from a different part of the world.
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ahmed arrived in the united states two months ago from syria. leon, he's from congo. and elainy was born in ethiopia. >> you like yours plain, so we are sharing our language. he's from syria, i'm from ethiopia. it's nice and we've been like family. >> reporter: clarkston is perhaps the most diverse square mile in the country, after it was singled out as a good place for refugees to resettle a generation ago. of the nearly 8,000 people who live here, more than half are foreign-born. native-born residents like kitty murray not only like it that way, but are opening businesses to make sure it stays that way. six months ago, she started refuge coffee. >> i don't think we could do what we do if there weren't other group assimilating refugees and working with them. >> day-to-day is welcoming the world here to the community center. >> reporter: as director as clarkton's community center,
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mckenzie rand plays perhaps the biggest role in clarkston. she helps the thousands of refugees in the city to transition into american life. >> in the early days about 25 years ago when clarkston began to change, people were not welcoming refugees with open arms. it's been a long evolution for people to see the benefit was of a truly diverse multi-cultural community. >> reporter: just around the corner at the local mosque, afternoon prayers. the topic of the lecture, how to be nice to your neighbor. appropriate for the city known to locals as the ellis island of the south. in fact, the majority of those here, like bari, are refugees. he's now a u.s. citizen. >> do you think refugees are treated well in clarkston? >> i'm happy, yes. >> reporter: how long have you been there? >> about two years. >> reporter: clarkston's mayor says one of his missions is to keep the city diverse. >> this is a great way for us to show the true principles of america and we are a welcoming nation. we've always been a nation of immigrants.
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>> reporter: and clarkston is a town that counts them. >> so the voices in that piece were largely positive. there are some critics. mostly, though, they've either moved away or died off. it's an older generation. the new leadership is progressive, it's younger, and they welcome all sorts of refugees from all over the world, fred. >> so what is the process? so you're overseas, you're a refugee, you know that you are being transported somewhere. qulou learn about clarkson. do you request that? >> no, as a refugee, you can say, hey, i want to go to the united states. the u.n. rc commission for refugees identifies the country that the refugee should go to, based on whether or not they have family there. and it's a long and arduous process, especially if you're coming to the united states. the vetting is by agencies. the department of defense, state department, you have counterterrorism officials as well interviews these refugees. they check out their refugee bona fides, and it could take up to two to three years before
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they're allowed swr eed entry i country. in clarkston, it's working out. 25 years ago, the state department identified clarkston as a place where refugees could feel welcome. it was low apartment rents, there were jobs available for these refugees, and it was a community that seemed at the time open to the idea. now, that was difficult at first, but the older generation there, but now it's really working out there. >> that's incredible. so about one to two years, they're in their own country, waiting? >> they're in the refugee camp. that's where they're identified. it's a long process. >> sure is. nick valencia, thanks so much. gt it right this time, right? >> yeah. >> thanks,. >> thanks, fred. >> we'll be right back.
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this sunday on cnn," the premiere of "the hunting ground," a film about sexual assaults on campus. in addition to showing the film,
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cnn is reporting on how students can protect themselves and decrease sexual violence at their schools. but what happens when a student is wrongly accused and the internal tribunal process set up by their school fails to find the truth. cnn's sarah ganim has been looking into these campus courts and finds that justice may not be their first priority. >> reporter: this young man's life changed when a fellow student accused him of sexual misconduct. his school, the university of california san diego started investigating. >> i knew that i had alled the evidence i needed to make this go away as quick as possible. >> the accusation came from a woman he had sexual relations with. she said some of the encounters were not consensual. he denies that. his name has never been public and he doesn't want his identity revealed. the university held a disciplinary hearing. like all schools that receive federal funding, ucsd is required to investigate and adjudicate sexual assault complaints of students.
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most schools don't need to notify police. >> i didn't really know what to effect. i thought it would be fair. >> reporter: but the student says it wasn't fair. he was allowed to bring a lawyer, but the lawyer couldn't speak and could only submit questions for the accuser in writing. >> we had a set of questions, 32 total, handed to the hearing officer, and then she started to skip questions and started to say, well, i'm not going to ask that. she wouldn't say why. >> had you ever seen anything like that before in a court hearing? >> no. it just doesn't happen. >> reporter: that's because unlike court hearings, individual universities make up their own rules for the disciplinary tribunals. the department of education requires that the process be prompt, thorough, and impartial. the university becomes prosecutor, jury, and judge. >> i tried to object a few times, and they reminded me that it was just a school hearing and it wasn't criminal, so, i wasn't allowed to do that. >> in campus hearings, guilt that has a lower bar. it's not beyond a reasonable doubt, but for most
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universities, the standard is whether the accused is more likely than not responsible. in this case, the ucsd panel hearing found the accuser was credible in her assertion that he tried the to digitally penetrate her and that he t ignored her objections. they ruled that more likely than not, he violated the student code for sexual misconduct. every time he appeals, his punishment was increased with no explanation. >> when you learned that you were suspended for more than a year from school, how did you feel? >> at that point, i was pretty devastated, just because, if i'm suspended or expelled from a school, i don't have many options left in my future. >> reporter: so he took the university to court. and in a highly publicized ruling, a judge overturned the sanctions, ruling that ucsd's hearing was unfair and that evidence did not support the findings. the university is appealing the judge's ruling and would not comment for this story, citing
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pending litigation. >> i'm all for true victims of rape to receive all the assistance they need, but at the same time, the accused students have rights. >> the ucsd case is more than one of 20 that have been brought against universities in recent months, by students found responsible for sexual misconduct. >> we'll see a lot more of these cases coming down. >> harvard law professor genie sook is a vocal critical of the tribunal process. >> what is terribly unfortunate is that if any of these cases are actually cases where someone has been raped, what that means is that the unfair process will make the case vulnerable to being overturned and the victim will not be vindicated. >> sook believes that universities are overreacting to a 2011 letter written by the department of education, which said, sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by
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title ix. schools must adjudicate these cases or risk losing federal funding. >> universities have been running scared. scared that they're going to be investigated by the department of education or found to be -- to have violated title ix. >> even advocates of these tribunals, like allison kisz say that schools need to invest more time and money into training the people who are handling these cases. >> many campuses put people in charge of responding to sexual harassment and sexual assault, who quite frankly should not be in charge of responding to sexual assault. >> and some say that means the process can be unfair for both the accused and the accuser. >> i just -- >> reporter: eva was a student at southern illinois university when she confided in a friend that she was sexually assaulted. without telling her, the friend reported it to the university. eva says she was stunned when the administration notified her
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in an e-mail that they were investigating her case. >> were you reluctant to go through with this process? >> yes. i didn't want to do it. but they said, we don't need your consent. this is happening. once it started, i had to beg and plead and call incessantly and ask the university to keep me notified, keep me aware, just tell me what the next steps are, and they just ignored my calls, they didn't respond. when they did, they were not helpful. >> the school found him responsible and then what happened? >> they suspended him, effective immediately for two years. and then he appealed. >> reporter: he won the appeal. it turns out the university had the wrong date. the actual date of the alleged assault was beyond their statute of limitations. eva watched her case fall apart over a procedural error. southern i'll university would not comment on eva's case, citing legal and privacy
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concernconcer concerns and told cnn that they take all allegations of sexual assault very seriously. >> i felt like i had survived a semester of torture. of being forced to re-live what was the worst day of my life, over and over again and i felt like it was for nothing. >> reporter: but even with all the flaws in these university panels, some say they are still necessary to keep victims and campuses safe. >> so when someone says to you, these need to go away, every rape needs to be investigated by the police and a prosecutor's office, what do you say? >> the problem that we're seeing right now is when students are coming forward, it's often, long after an assault has happened, so they may not have the option to get the forensic evidence or something that will hold up in a court of law. >> this is their only option? >> this is oftentimes their only option. >> all right. sarah ganim now joining us from new york. so, sarah, what do critics of
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campus tribunal should be done to ensure fairness and due process for the accused? >> well, she points to poor training and not enough resources to handle these complex cases. now, harvard law professor genie sook, who we interviewed, she said she was so alarmed by how unfair some of these tribunals could be, that she and many of her fellow law professors joined together and they've advocated for special specific changes on their campus, harvard law, but also, other campuses across the country, changes like making sure that both sides have an attorney representing them. making sure the appeal process is independent from the process in which guilt or innocence is found. fred? >> sarah ganim in new york. so for parents of current and future college students, this is a film you will not want to miss.
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it airs tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. immediately following the film, cnn's alisyn camerota is hosting a conversation to explore all sides of the issue in the film with a number of experts and critics. if a denture were to be put under a microscope, we can see all the bacteria that still exists. polident's unique micro clean formula works in just 3 minutes, killing 99.99% of odor causing bacteria. for a cleaner, fresher, brighter denture every day.
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