tv The Situation Room CNN April 16, 2014 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
coordination center and asked, why aren't any more assets brought in to assist with the search? still waiting to have that question answered but we'll stay on it. >> thanks. that it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer right next door in "the situation room." >> thanks very much. happening now, breaking news we're following, the search setbacks, back-to-back glitches, plaguing the unmanned sub, seen as the best hope of finding flight 370. why isn't better equipment being deployed? ferry disaster, a boat rolls over chilly waters forcing some passengers to jump for their lives. the death toll is climbing lp rescuers be able to find dozens of missing people? face-off, pro-russian militants seizing tanks from ukrainian forces as putin issues a dire warning. is ukraine on the brink of civil war. massive terrorist meet, disturbing video emerging of an
extraordinary al qaeda gathering seen first here on cnn. did the u.s. completely miss it? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this cnn breaking news. we again with the breaking news in the search for malaysian airlines flight 370. a second mission by the unmanned sub, scouring the indian ocean floor cut short because it was running low on oil. the bluefin-21 now back in the water but no sign of the boeing 777 or the 239 people on board missing for 41 days. we have our correspondents and analysts here in the situation and around the world. bringing you the kind of coverage that only cnn can. straight to perth, australia, michael holmes joining us live right now. what's the latest, michael, that you're seeing and hearing there? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, the bluefin submersible, as you said, had another problem on its second descent to the ocean
floor. as far as we know, all is well now of the third trip down. as the search continues, so too does the agony and in many cases the anger for the relatives of those on board malaysian flight 370. translator you're all bloody liars and lying to us again. >> reporter: new from you administration for flight 370 families and the underwater certain for the missing plane. dozens of relatives of chinese passengers stormed out of a teleconference, with seen year malaysian officials, furious when the link between beijing and kuala lumpur went down. deep below the indian ocean, the second setback for the bluefin-21, a technical glitch. the u.s. navy says, it ran low on oil that protects its electronic equipment from saltwater. the drone resurfaced 11 hours into its 24-hour mission. it was filled with more oil and sent back under water.
the navy says this latest problem not at all unusual. but it is driving home the many challenges involved with the bluefin mission. first dive aborted because it went into waters deeper than it was programmed to go. despite interruptions the bluefin has been able to download data. so far, no evidence of the plane. >> it's absolutely confounding to me that we've not seen a single shred of concrete evidence. >> reporter: and the bluefin-21, wolf, has been down of the third run above the ocean floor for hours now. no word of further difficulties so far. we are expecting an update in the next few hours on that and also on the state of the air and sea search for surface wreckage. one more thing, wolf, the oil sample from the ocean surface, we're told, it is now on land, here in western australia, and being analyzed. results, we hope, too in the hours ahead. >> as soon as you get those results, you'll let us know.
thank you. digging deeper into one of the latest twists in the story. the first officer's cell phone was on around the time the plane disappeared, at least one expert calling that revelation flat-out suspicious. our justice corner pamela brown is here, working this part of the story. i know we reported on this a few days ago, but you're getting more information? >> yeah. you know, questions about the new information really are mounting, because there's so many more unknowns than known at this point. sources, experts are trying to figure out what it means, if the cell phone connected with that tower, was the phone on in the beginning of the flight or turned on mid flight? >> reporter: malaysian officials investigating flight 370's disappearance have told u.s. investigators they have data that shows first officers hamid's phone connected to his cell tower near malaysia once the plane was airborne, we don't know whether the phone connec d
connectedconnecte with other towers. >> it's odd it would have connected with one cell tower. you might have thought if the phone were on for a longer period of time, that multiple cell tower would have picked it up. so it certainly is a little suspicious in terms of the information at this point. >> reporter: the plane would likely have been lower than 10,000 feet for a phone to connect to a cell tower. suggesting the plane may have been flying at a lower altitude, at the time it passed over the area. u.s. officials say there's no indication the co-pilot or anyone else on the plane made any actual calls. they say even if someone had tried to dial up from the plane, just because the tower connected to the phone doesn't mean a call would have gone through. >> by the time you're flying at 300 knots, 400 knots you'll go through the cell phone areas so quickly it doesn't even have time to make a connection. >> reporter: one recent survey
suggested 30% of u.s. passengers forget to turn off their phones in flight, one reason experts say the cell tower connected only to hamid's cell phone seems highly unlikely or suspicious. if you're in the air, the passengers would have had their phones turned off or on airplane mode so they would not have been transmitting. so it is certainly plausible that his could have been the only one on since the passengers would have been respecting the rule, not have their phones on. >> again, if that was true, the phone should have connected to other towers, which raises the question of whether someone turned on the phone to try to reach out for help. wolf, u.s. officials tell me that there could have been other passengers' cell phones that hit the tower but malaysians have only shared information, indicating it was the co-pilot's phone. keep this in perspective here. this is one tiny piece of the puzzle. and without more information, it's tough to know what exactly this means. >> hold on for i moment. i want to bring in our aviation
analyst, former ntsb manager director, peter goulds and former fbi assistant dwikt dire. one tower may have discovered this, sounds ridiculous one cell phone, for example, was on. we know that people in planes don't turn off their cell phones, a lot don't. >> exactly, people don't turn them off. i think we've got to put it under suspicious. i don't think the malaysians have released all of the information that they have on this. >> why wouldn't they? what's holding them back? >> it has been a criminal investigation that they have let out pieces of information, so some of accurate from the beginning. it hasn't helped them. >> you believe that only one cell phone, tom, was on the co-pilot's cell phone? >> not for a second. i think if you -- it's one thing while that plane was at airport, the city of 10 million people,
all of the people, thousands of people in the airport with cell phones on, hard to isolate. you don't know the phone number of all of the people from the 14 other countries. that might be hard to isolate for the police. but, that tower, that plane as david soucie said, it's going through that zone so quickly that there should have been a burst of cell phones connected for a short time and unconnected. >> are your sources suggesting the malaysians may have been holding back information, not just from the public but from u.s. investigators, as well? >> i think that u.s. investigators i have been speaking with are cautious and skeptical of all of the information they're getting. they're not privy to all of the information out there. and of course, as we dissixth what this means, there's a lot of information we don't know, such as were other passengers' phones on, did they ping that tower as well? so, that is sort of the general sense that i'm getting, wolf. >> hold on for a moment, because
i want to go back to the region right now. andy scott is joining us, the wing commander, involved in flight 370 search. thanks very much for coming in. first of all, any developments as far as you know, over the past 24 hours? have they spotted anything, have they found anything? any word yet on that oil slick? >> so, good afternoon, wolf. unfortunately, it was a similar story over the last 24 hours to what we've previously been reporting on. the new zealand aircraft completed another 11-hour mission yesterday, overnight new zealand time, and they did find the usual amount of debris out there around ten contacts, which is fairly common for what we're seeing at the moment. one of those contacts was picked up by a chinese vessel, 171 which is out there. but it was just consistent with normal fishing-type debris. and this one looks like it was a
lot of rope that wasn't in any way connected to mh370. >> we spoke a couple days to a colleague, kevin mcka voi, found one piece of something they were checking out yesterday when we reconnected with him. he didn't know yet if it was related to the wreckage. a final answer on that? >> we don't have a final answer, but the actual item was a breadbasket that you see at a grocery store. of course any in-flight rations, food on the aircraft, anything in the car hole has to be meticulously checked to make sure whether or not it can be ruled out. in this case, that's still with the authorities to go and compa compare. >> they're looking at that still an open question. as far as the oil slick that we understand it's now back on the ground in perth, at a laboratory, they're looking to see if it came from the airliner, any word on that? >> so, no word on that yet.
at the end of the day, it did appear to be a different substance to what you'd find in heavy oil on fishing vessels or normal shipping-type activities. but at the end of the day, that will all again be meticulously checked to be ruled out as part of the mh370. it's painstaking work. we have to make sure all leads are followed up and whether or not they can actually be ruled out. >> the air search, i take it, it will continue at least for a few more days, is that your understanding? >> yes, that's correct. there's other data being searched. so because we still don't have that one point where we can actually locate the vessel, of course, as we talked about before, that looking back to work out where the point of impact could actually have been makes this still a very, very difficult task.
so although you've seen those search areas move over the last 41 days, there's still other areas being looked at the moment and until those are exhausted we remain committed to the search. >> commander, hold on for a moment. i want to bring back peter goelzp you think it's a waste of time the air search or another few days won't any difference? >> don't think a few days will make any difference. we got into it too late. >> you agree? how frustrating, commander, is it to you and your men and women involved in the search, not only from the new zealand, but australia, united states, other countries involved, how frustrating is it now, day 41, still not even a tiny piece of wreckage from that plane? >> well, ibd lying if i said it wasn't frustrating not to find somethingen of course every day guys and girls go out with the hope of finding something and
there's an inherent amount of frustration every time nothing's found. it doesn't take away the fact there will be something somewhere. we can make a contribution to the search, it's very important that we do so. we remain committed to doing that. >> on a scale of one to ten, commander, wing commander, i should say, ten being 100% what number would you give to the notion that the underwater search right now is at least in the right area? >> on a scale of 1 to 10, i'd be putting it up there. certainly, there hasn't been a smoking gun found yet that can tie that evidence to that. and until something is actually seen, we're not going to have that. but with all of the indications that we've got with all of the evidence that we've had, this is the best lead that we have, and of course, the way to find that is underwater search, which as we know is going to take a great many days and weeks ahead of us to go and get there. >> saying eight or nine, based
on what the pings that came from what's believed to be one or two of those -- one of those two black boxes, that is what you base it on, or, and i suspect this is a sensitive question, is there other secret information that you and others have obtained that's pointing you in that direction, that location? >> so, what's being shared with us is similar to what's being seen in the media. there are no extra piece of information we're working off. all of the search areas that are there is being fed from information from that joint international investigative team. so it has to be very much a situation where everyone is cooperating to go and make sure the most up to date information is being used. i would love to be able to put a figure on if for you, wolf, but unfortunately i don't have all of the information myself. so it would be pure speculation on my part. >> andy scott, wing commander, royal new zealand air force, thanks for joining us. we'll check back with you and your colleagues tomorrow.
pamela, is there one piece of information, investigators you're talking to, here in washington really want that they don't have yet, other than obviously wreckage? >> i mean, that's really what they keep saying to me. they keep driving that point home, wolf, look, right now, i mean, the investigation continues but at some point, it seems like they sort of hit a dead end, as far as researching, backgrounds of the passengers and crews. there waiting for the black box to give them more clues. as far as this, you know, new information we've been talking about the cell phone ping, this isn't something that investigators are necessarily jumping up and down about, to put in perspective, it doesn't give that key information, a motive, and what happened here. >> stand by. we'll follow the breaking news up. much more on flight 370. the mystery continues, setbacks with the bluefin-21. why other potentially more effective underwater subs aren't being used and taking a closer look at options. troubling questions to a story we broke here first in
"the situation room." did the u.s., the u.s. intelligence community, the defense department, completely miss a shocking and massive al qaeda meeting? hey. i'm ted and this is rudy. say "hi" rudy. [ barks ] [ chuckles ] i'd do anything to keep this guy happy and healthy. that's why i'm so excited about these new milk-bone brushing chews.
whoa, i'm not the only one. it's a brilliant new way to take care of his teeth. clinically proven as effective as brushing. ok, here you go. have you ever seen a dog brush his own teeth? the twist and nub design cleans all the way down to the gum line, even reaching the back teeth. they taste like a treat, but they clean like a toothbrush. nothing says you care like a milk-bone brushing chew. [ barks ] ♪ hooking up the country likwhelping business run ♪chew. ♪ trains! they haul everything, safely and on time. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ helping this big country move ahead as one ♪ ♪ norfolk southern how's that function? ♪ [ male announcer ] when fixed income experts... ♪ ...work with equity experts...
♪ ...who work with regional experts... ♪ ...who work with portfolio management experts, that's when expertise happens. mfs. because there is no expertise without collaboration. mfs. frequent heartburn? the choice is yours. chalky. not chalky. temporary. 24 hour. lots of tablets. one pill. you decide. prevacid. ♪ 24 hour predibut, manufacturings a prettin the united states do. means advanced technology. we learned that technology allows us to be craft oriented.
no one's losing their job. there's no beer robot that has suddenly chased them out. the technology is actually creating new jobs. siemens designed and built the right tools and resources to get the job done. humans. even when we cross our "ts" and dot our "i's", we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness with our auto policies. if you qualify, your rates won't go up due to your first accident. because making mistakes is only human, and so are we. we also offer new car replacement, so if you total your new car, we'll give you the money for a new one. call liberty mutual insurance at... and ask us all about our auto features, like guaranteed repairs,
where if you get into an accident and use one of our certified repair shops, the repairs are guaranteed for life. so call... to talk with an insurance expert about everything that comes standard with our base auto policy. and if you switch, you could save up to $423. liberty mutual insurance -- responsibility. what's your policy? with unmanned submersible, bluefin-21, widely seen for now as the best hope for finding flight 370. scouring the indian ocean but two disappointing setbacks have some wondering whether other
devices should be deployed. brian todd is here with this part of the story. what's the latest with the bluefin-21, its third trip down? >> new information about the bluefin-21. this particular vehicle cost $3.5 million. but in those first two days of deployment, two glitches bit the bluefin- bluefin-21. >> reporter: sources close to the operation tell cnn the latest glitch was minor. low oil pressure in a chamber that protects part of the bluefin's electronics, it was quickly fixed, and the bluefin sent back down. it cost five hours of search time. month the bluefin cut short a mission on its own, when it started to move towards depth beyond its range. that time it finished a third of its search. >> the troubling thing is that we have all of our eggs in one basket, and that basket is operating at the very edge of its operational parameters. >> reporter: that's leading experts to question why the bluefin is the only device searching the ocean.
there are other similar vehicles with better depth capability. the rima 6,000 an autonomous underwater vehicle but can go . 3.7 miles down. the u.s. navy has those but deployed on military missions and not available. also this device called the orion, side scan sonar, it can go a mile deeper than the bluefin. only problem, knit a warehouse in maryland disassembled. >> it's ready and available but it has not been requested. >> reporter: so why haven't the search coordinators in australia asked for a vehicle which can go deeper, especially when there are part of the search area deeper than the bluefin's range. >> they haven't responded to that specific question from cnn. but have said this -- >> at the moment, it looks like the bluefin-21 is more than adequate for the task. >> reporter: but experts say, time is working against the search teams. no underwater audio signals have
been detected for a week. the brutal winter in the southern hemisphere is approaching. >> as the weather deteriorates because auvs need to go through a daily cycle of launch, descend, search, ascend, recovery, and download, that forces them to be exposed to the weather twice a day. >> a towed system like the orion can operate much longer. a source close to the operation defends the bluefin-21 saying, quote, it's absolutely the best piece of equipment for the job we're doing, but that same store says they may recalibrate that bluefin in the indian ocean to go more than three miles down, which would be a half mile further than it can go down. they may tweak it to go further. more with oceanographer allen prager. the second aborted mission, they're in the third,
bluefin-21. too early to say it's been a failure? >> i don't think it's been a failure. as i've said before, working in the ocean is a very difficult task and almost always things go wrong. you have technical glitches, weather problems. i think this is really par for the course. i don't see this as a failure, needs some tweaking. >> if the third mission comes back and say, it didn't work exactly the way that we wanted it to work, we're going to try it again, you still wouldn't think it's a failure. you still are not ready to send in other submersible equipment down there to try to map out the bottom of the floor of the indian ocean? >> well, common sense says i'd be looking at other equipment and hopefully get this back in the water, you know, you might not be able to get its full track, the full endurance of its battery on each track but that would mean it would be operating perfectly if you had 16 hours of a track line working. so, you know, on the side, i'd be getting ready, looking at whether assets are available but
stick with the bluefin for now. it's out there, you've got the team of experts working with it. they are collecting data, maybe not as fast as we would like, but they are collecting data, and hopefully they can get back going on track again soon. >> so far the data they've collected and reviewed it hasn't shown anything significant but beginning that process of mapping out that ocean floor. what's the biggest concern you think the operators of the bluefin-21 have right now? >> well, you know, as we've heard, they're operating at their depth limit. they've got crushing pressure, freezing cold, dark, you know, they have to be worried about seawater getting inside, the hull xesin inin compressing all those things make it very difficult to work under those conditions weep leak like to s seawater and electronics not a good mix. they've got very difficult conditions and a very complex piece of machinery to work with. >> ellen will be back in our
next hour. stand by. more as far as the search for flight 370 coming up later. up next, following a major story, our barbara starr broke it here in "the situation room." new information about what the cia's trying to learn from this video of secret al qaeda meeting. later -- frightening stories of escape from a capsized ferry, hundreds of passengers are missing. co: sometimes you don't know you need a hotel room until you're sure you do. bartender: thanks, captain obvious. co: which is why i put the hotels.com mobile app on my mobile phone. anyone need a coupon? i don't.
more on the mystery of flight 370 in a little bit. but we're following up now on a very important story we first told you about right here in "the situation room." new questions being asked about a recent gathering of terrorists, including the number two man in al qaeda. did the united states even know the meeting was taking place? our pentagon correspondent barbara starr broke the story, has been working sources to get more answers. what are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, a senior u.s. intelligence official tells me, in the last several months al qaeda in yemen, this very dangerous group, has clangshang
communications, staying off the internet, away from cell phones and all of that, wolf, is raising serious questions. why did they go so public in this videotape? >> reporter: u.s. intelligence experts have examined every frame of the video, showing nearly 100 al qaeda fighters meeting in yemen. they're trying to figure out if they're missing any signs of plotting for an attack against the u.s. cnn was the first to broadcast this. the intelligence community trying to identify blurred faces, and asking if they are being sent to attack the u.s. analysts are also looking at the flashy white truck leaving the convoy. who had money to pay for it? the expensive camera, even paying attention to the fruit juice being served. none of the us specced terrorists worried about a u.s. drone strike. the rarely seen al qaeda leader wuhayshi takes time greet
fighters who recently broke out of jail. it's a sunny day with a dark shadow. >> quite an extraordinary event, leadership taking a big risk in doing this. they felt propaganda purposes it was worth taking the risk, they wanted to get the message across they're a group still in business. >> reporter: u.s. officials tell cnn each image is a piece of intelligence about the group the u.s. calls the most dangerous al qaeda affiliate. most worrisome, on right, nasser al wuhayshi the leader of al qaeda in yemen and number two for al qaeda worldwide. he was a personal aide to osama bin laden. in the video he vows to attack the u.s. on the left, a former guantanamo bay detainee, now the group's main theologian. the u.s. believes the video was shot in march, weeks after the u.s. government warned airlines to watch for terrorists attempting to hide explosives in
shoes. >> they have tried to build explosives that can get around security. we've been concerned about that for many years now. >> reporter: the chairman of the house intelligence committee telling wolf blitzer, the group has gone underground in their communications, even as plotting may have increased. >> the more they believe that they can get away with plotting, planning, organizing, as you saw there, finance, training, all of the things they need to do to strike a western target, they're going through that process including bringing sophisticated people to devise new devices to try to get around security protocols at airports and other places. >> reporter: why not a u.s. drone strike? well, president obama's new rules would have required the u.s. to show that every person on that videotape was a direct threat to the united states. why not a drone strike against wuhayshi when he was perhaps in a vehicle, coming or going from that meeting? what the u.s. intelligence
committee will not say is whether they knew about the meeting in advance or even have a drone close enough to act on it when they did find out about it. >> they'd like to keep al qaeda guessing, i guess, as far as that is concerned. excellent reporting, barbara. let's bring in our national security analyst, peter bergen, who spent many years studying these things. what do you think, did the u.s. know about this made a deliberate decision not send a drone and start kill the terrorists? >> i can't imagine they knew about this meeting. after all, seven drone attacks in yemen this year, one on april 1st. it's not like the drone program has been suspended as barbara pointed out, you know, if they knew about it this guy came to the meeting, also left the meeting. he wasn't surrounded by hundreds of other people. by the way the hundreds of others he's surrounded with, don't appear to be civilians. it seems to me we don't know for a fact they did or did not know about the meeting but common
sense would suggest that they missed it. >> you heard mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee, tell me yesterday that a leak to the news media about a year or so ago may have undermined u.s. intelligence capabilities as far as al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, operations in yemen now. >> i think it's true, wolf. i've heard the same from senior u.s. officials. there was a story, you may recall, about a spy who was inside al qaeda, he was controlleded by intelligence, it came out and that meant that the u.s. lost, you know, eyes and ears inside al qaeda. and i think the intelligence community is on the back foot as a result. >> this master bombmaker, al asiri, you pent time studying him, we don't believe he was there in yemen. he's someplace else. some people have their faces blurred, some people wearing masks. do you believe he was there? >> i don't know. i've talked to a senior u.s. official thinks he's on the
saudi-yemeni border. he is using couriers, he is completely gone to ground. >> this was high definition, resolution, beautiful video, that was posted on youtube by al qaeda with faces shown. why would they do this simply to try to use it ace propaganda tool to recruit terrorists down the road? is that their main goal now? >> yeah to show we're here, we're in operation to recruit people. clearly it's not just a bombmaker we're concerned about, it's other people that he's, you know, that he's instructed with techniques and the group's potentially a threat. >> the obama administration, president of the united states, makes it clear, he's ready to give that order to use those hellfire missiles to kill terrorists but wants specific information. thank you, peter bergen reporting for us. again, barbara starr doing excellent reporting for us as well. up next, going live to south korea where survivors are
[ chainsaw buzzing ] humans. sometimes, life trips us up. sometimes, we trip ourselves up. and although the mistakes may seem to just keep coming at you, so do the solutions. like multi-policy discounts from liberty mutual insurance. save up to 10% just for combining your auto and home insurance. call liberty mutual insurance at... to speak with an insurance expert and ask about all the personalized savings available for when you get married, move into a new house, or add a car to your policy. personalized coverage
waters and screams amid all of the chaos. cnn's paula hancocks live on an island off the southwestern tip of the peninsula. what is latest, paula? >> reporter: well, wolf, it is an absolutely heartbreaking scene here. we're on the western tip of south korea and the sunken ship is 20 kilometers away from here and this is where many relatives are gathering. they've been here all night. they are sitting and standing by the side of the water, looking out across the water to see if they can see anything. they can't see anything. but this is all they can do to sit here and wait for news about their loved ones, many waiting for news about children, one woman i spoke to waiting for anything on her 16-year-old daughter. she cannot believe, he said, that she is lost. what we're seeing also is some of the families have been taken out by the coast guard to see the scenery. this is making them more ainge grishg co
angry. they're saying this is just a search operation. we've seen dramatic rescue on wednesday. it's now thursday morning, local time. it's not necessarily the case that many survivors will be found now, experts saying two hours is the limit that you can survive in these icy waters. more information about what exactly happened when the ship started to list. there are reports from eyewitnesses, survivors saying they were told not to get on the deck but stay put. let's listen to this. tornado there was an announcement telling us sit still on the ferry but the ferry was sinking. some students were not able to escape. we asked if we should escape now. but the announcement kept telling us to stay still. >> reporter: the divers, we know, are under way at the moment. civilian divers as well as navy divers, trying to find whatever they can. >> stand by. you'll have more in our next
temptation comes in many heart-pounding forms. but only one letter. "f". the performance marque from lexus. how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last. i was trying to, like, pull it a little further. [ woman ] got me to 70 years old. i'm going to have to rethink this thing. it's hard to imagine how much we'll need for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. so maybe we need to approach things differently, if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. ♪ if we want to be ready for a longer retirement. frequent heartburn? the choice is yours. chalky. not chalky. temporary. 24 hour. lots of tablets. one pill. you decide. prevacid. ♪ 24 hour
vehicles moved in on pro-russian protesters today. in one case the protesters actually ended up with the vehicles. video posted on social media shows one armored personnel carrier doing doughnuts, carrier doing doughnuts in the city street. let's bring in chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto. tell us the latest of what's going on because the crisis is clearly escalating with an enormous amount of sensitive information and lives actually at stake. >> no question, wolf. stumbling start, at best, it's much publicized, ukrainian offensive against pro-russian militants inside otherwise own territory, signaling divisions in kiev over how far to push this military action in light of possible russian response. and it comes as tensions are rising more broadly, nato bolstering its forces along the eastern frontier with ukraine
and russia. >> reporter: keev's counteroffensive in eastern ukraine stalled just as it start start. militants, waving the russian flag, protesters blocked a column of ukrainian armored vehicles rolling into the city. ukraine's defense ministry forced to admit the vehicles had been seized russian's foreign minister calls the ukrainian's military attempted crackdown illegal. >> translator: we'll ease the situation. we will make it so that the government in kiev views with respect the opinions and commands of ukrainian citizens in the southeast. >> reporter: it's been warned ukraine is on the brink of civil war. the u.s. continues to place the blame for the instability firmly on moscow. >> any destabilization that's going on inside ukraine right now is a direct result of russian action there, so it's ironic to me they seem concerned
about the stablility of ukraine >> reporter: nato's chief announced the alliance is beefing up. a show of force meant to deter moscow and reassure kiev. >> we will have more planes in the air. more ships on the water. and more readiness on the land. >> very few people thought -- >> reporter: still, director of national intelligence james clapper in tampa for an intelligence agency conference conceded it is hard to assess exactly what vladimir putin is up to. >> we do not know what's happening inside president putin's head. that's not a secret we can capture with any intelligence discipline. it's a mystery that would require clairvoyance to know. >> reporter: nato will be conducting more air sortees over the baltics and north and deploy
ships to the baltic and more trips along the eastern border with nato allies, along the border with ukraine and russia. you have secretary of state john kerry traveling to geneva, he's going to meet the russian foreign minister lavrov and russian and ukrainian officials meeting face to face in the talks for the first time since the latest rcrisis began. you have these military moves and also have the administration and its european allies now talking about further economic sanctions against russia. >> yeah, they're clearly plotting something. thanks very much for that, tim, reporting. what kind of meaningful help can the united states give ukraine? and can it do anything really to stop any potential aggression by the russian president, vladimir putin? joining us in the "situation room" is eli lake, senior national security correspondent for the "daily beast." co-wrote an important article in the "daily beast" talking about
the cia director's recently secret visit that turned out not to be so secret to kiev to meet with ukrainian leaders, sharing intelligence with ukraine is a sensitive, sensitive matter. tell us why? >> the traditional channel for intelligence sharing is with ukrainian military. until february it was a close partner with the russian military and goes for security services and russian intelligence services. the assumption is on the part of the u.s. intelligence agency is anything that is given especially that's very detailed would reveal source and methods and end up very quickly back in moscow. that's a real problem. what's being discussed now is a realtime intelligence sharing between the u.s. government and the political leadership, the interim government in kiev that would sort of bypass what is seen as the compromise military channel. >> because the u.s. has to assume that virtually all of the ukrainian military establishment and presumably intelligence establishment is effectively penetrated by russia.
>> well, penetrated, i mean, they were effectively allies until february. so, you know, but, yes, that is -- i think that is the working assumption. that's why everyone's been very reluctant in terms of giving more detailed information. on the other hand, there is a force of at least 40,000 camped out on ukraine's border. >> russian troops. >> russian troops. there have been these spies and s sabatores that infiltrated into southern crew yan, similar tocr. that would be invaluable to the ukrainians as they mount this counteroffensive and that's the view as some like general breedlove. >> the same fear of sharing intelligence information with ukraine, the same reason i think is the fear of the u.s. providing weapons to ukraine. even defensive weapons. they could wind up in the wrong hands. >> yes, and the two things kind of go hand in hand. if you provide information that's too tactical, then there's a chance, at least, that the ukrainians could launch a
preemptive strike. it seems unlikely given the fact they're severely outmatched by the russians. if that would happen, it would provoke a war they hope doesn't happen in that respect. nonetheless, there's been a concern. >> anything special expected to emerge from vice president biden's visit there? he's going this weekend. >> i'm not going on that visit. vice president biden going there is symbolically significant, way of saying the u.s. stands with ukraine. you see it the assets being deployed that jim talked about and potentially the new sanctions as a way to create deterrence with russia while also giving them an exit ramp. >> eli lake reporting for us. thanks very much. >> thank you. coming up, the air search for malaysia flight 370 about to resume, but these could be the final days. we're going live to perth, australia, for the very latest. and we're also live in south korea right now with the latest on that deadly ferry disaster. passengers, they are sharing gripping stories of survival.
and they help you find a policy that fits your budget. i told you to wear something comfortable! this is a polyester blend! whoa! uh...little help? i got you! unh! it's so beautiful! man: should we call security? no, this is just getting good. the name your price tool, still only from progressive. [ male announcer ] when fixed income experts... ♪ ...work with equity experts... ♪ ...who work with regional experts... ♪ ...who work with portfolio management experts, that's when expertise happens. mfs. because there is no expertise without collaboration.
happening now, we're awaiting the results of the latest underwater search for flight 370 after the bluefin drone suffered its second setback. are more search vehicles needed to get the job done? plus, harrowing new details of a deadly ferry disaster. hundreds of people are still missing. survivors are sharing terrifying stories about their escape from the sinking ship. and pro-russian mill taitan graining new ground in ukraine despite the government's attempt at a crackdown. cnn is live at the center of this dangerous international crisis. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." right now, planes are