tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 26, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
much. >> thank you. we are at the beginning not the end of our efforts to degrade isil, that was from chuck hagel. i'll be back at 5:00 eastern with the situation room. "newsroom with don lemon" starts right now. hello, everyone. this is cnn's special live coverage of the war against isis. you saw it on cnn, the top brass at the pentagon, defense secretary chuck hagel and updating us on kurdish fighters trying to halt a move by isis in an embattled syrian city. it's extraordinary footage. here's how it looked before the sunset. within the past two hours, that's isis there.
isis fighters taking shots at syrian kurds positioned over that ridge. the battle has been raging for several hours now. just a short time ago a resident there told cnn the kurds are short on weapons, running out of ammo and people of the town are nervous that the people of isis will break that line of defense. no air strikes there yet. isis killed several hundred iraqi troops earlier this week. with us now is jake tapper. he's joining us from columbus, ohio, and also colonel peter mansour, cnn analyst as well. i want to talk about the battle we've been watching in northern syria. jim just asked about it over at the pentagon. here's what happened. >> you're aware of the threat
faced by syrian kurds in northwestern syria near the turkish border, near kobani, and there was a firefight playing out just on cnn a short time ago. they appear to be facing the same genocidal threat. the u.s. came to others aids, why have they not come to the aid of the syrian kurds from the air? is that a step you're willing to take? >> as general dempsey said, we have a rather sophisticated and complete isr picture of all that area including the area that you talk about. so, we are aware of what's going on. we are discussing how and what we can do with our coalition partners to help them deal with it.
>> peter, explain if you would, the significance of this battle in northern turkey, and why wouldn't the coalition be bombing isis right there right now? >> the kurds are in an existential fight for survival in northern syria. what they need is air support, but they can't get it unless they have forward air controllers on the ground to help direct the strikes. we can do a lot with that very expensive and high-tech suite of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance assets that general democracy spoke of, but what we can't do is separate forces on the ground when they're in close contact. this again shows the limitations o an air strategy absent forward air controllers, special forces or some sort of boots on the ground to direct them. >> to jake tapper now. jake, with this fighting on the border with turkey, this war has come to the edge of nato. why isn't turkey playing a larger role here?
>> initially turkish leaders said they were concerned about the 49 turkish hostages that isis was ly have been freed in recent days, and there was some opening when erdogan said on tuesday that turkey would be willing to help with logistical and other support in terms of air strikes. turkey views this conflict very differently than the quite and very differently than iraq. they view assad still as the primary destabilizing force in syria. remember, there's more than 1 million syrian refugees in turkey because of the civil war, not because of isis. second of all, some of the enemies of isis who are kurds, are enemies of turkey as well. and then third of all there are concerns in the turkish government about how much the west, the united states and
others are truly committed to a campaign against isis. for all these reasons, there is a tremendous ambivalence by the turks about how much they should become involved in this campaign of air strikes against isis. >> peter, jake just mentioned iraq. let's talk about iraq. we talked about the strikes west of baghdad today and the capture of the base by isis near fallujah. as we look at that map, could isis be poised to make a move on baghdad? >> they're clearly inching towards baghdad. it's unlikely they would seize the city. they don't have the strength to do it, and they would be met with overwhelming resistance in the urban setting. they're moving up, trying to get to the outskirts, trying to get to the south of the city and cut it off. the battle clearly is shifting somewhat from northern iraq down to the baghdad region. so, our efforts will end up shifting accordingly.
>> gentlemen, let's get into the nuts and bolts of this press conference that just happened. jake, let's talk about khorasan first. both dempsey and hagel said they have no intel right now that any leader from khorasan has been captured or killed. but then also they said that ground troops -- this is dempsey saying this, ground troops will be needed, but they don't have to be american? where do we go from here? >> the hope, and it's one that a lot of military experts and members of the military don't think is necessarily reliable, the hope is that there's enough syrian moderates, turkish fighters and iraqi fighters, that that will be some sort of ground troop presence. but even jay carney a couple days ago on my show started talking about -- jay carney, former white house press secretary, started talking about how he didn't think it was
unforeseeable that there would be more american troops sent to the region to embed within these units of iraqi, syrian and kurdish fighters. so i do think there obviously needs to be some sort of -- according to all military experts at least, some sort of a next phase that will involve more ground troops. the question, i guess, is how much will those troops be entirely be from the region and how much will they not? i don't think we'll be able to see uae, jordanian, saudi troops the way we've seen them participate to a degree in the air campaign. >> he said they don't have to be. he didn't say they weren't going to be. just they don't have to be. thank you, appreciate it. just before hagel and democracy took to the stage, historic moments on cnn. our cameras caught a dramatic firefight between kurdish fighters and terrorists.
you will see how this ended in realtime. and we will take you live to the turkey syria border to see what's happening there. the fbi admits that an al qaeda cell targeted in the air strikes could still have plots in motion here in the united states. listen up, thunder dragons, it's time to get a hotel. hey, razor. check this out. we can save big with priceline express deals. hey you know what man, these guys aint no dragons. they're cool. these deals are legit. yeah, we're cool. she's cool. we're cool.
. you're about to see something that most of us have never seen on television. pay close attention. for weeks we have been speaking of isis brutality and seeing terrorists in action only in the way they want in propaganda videos. here now, witness isis as you never have before. live in battle, taking fire and getting hit.
remarkable viewpoint from cnn crews positioned in turkey near the syrian border in a town called karoca. a warning, though, what you're about to see is dramatic war violence, including a man getting shot about 13 seconds into the video. the voices you hear, our phil black at the border speaking to john berman just a few hours ago. >> cnn photojournalist saw some of those isis fighters take casualties on the top of that hill. trying to seek shelter. as i speak, there's small arms fire being traded. i'm not sure if you can hear it over our microphones. that's been going on the last few hours. in addition to that, we've been hearing a lot of heavy artillery fire as well. mortars, one struck not far from that isis position, only about ten minutes ago. dusk is falling now.
it's getting harder to make out precisely what's going on at that distance. i apologize for that. the fighting itself appears to be slowing as well. as it stands at the moment, those isis fighters on the top of that ridge appear to have been stopped or their advance slowed down at that location by the fighting of the coalition opponents. the thing that i think is striking, watching those isis fighters -- i'm just told, sorry, that one of those fighters at the top of the hill was just injured. they have taken the casualties at the top of that hill. what i started to touch on earlier, what i think is quite striking, you see those fighters out in the open, on the top of that ridge, they're not being interfered with at all by any form of air power. that's a crucial point. the fighters on the ground have made to us, and the many refugees we've been talking to,
they all have been asking the question where is this coalition fire striking isis positions elsewhere, but not here on the ground where isis is still advancing, still trying to claim new territory, where refugees tell us they still have been killing innocent civilians in villages that they come to and take control of. that is the scene here. an extraordinary scene as dusk is falling on the syrian border. isis fighters in action. we saw tracer fire move across the skyline there. this crowd of turkish kusrds, when they have been seeing a lot of fire coming into that position, they have been cheering their brothers on the other side. dusk is falling but the fighting is continue. >> phil, please stick with me if you can and please be careful while doing that because we have
seen tracer on the screen and we can hear the gunfire. this raises several important issues all at once. it shows the enormous range of isis fighters. people out there are cheering as the battle is being taken to isis now. i think the people where phil s these refugees driven out by isis, the human toll. >> the isis reputation has sent a shockwave of fear through the kurdish villages and towns in that region. literally people picking up whatever they could carry, moving through the dusty landscape and moving to safety and security and what you have to say is an uncertain future in
refugee camps. what they have left behind is a small fighting force of kurdish fighters who say they are armed and prepared to fight very hard to slow down this advance. they say they have managed to do that successfully to some degree. but they have been reporting to us each day that isis has been making progress. a few more miles each day. just take a look up at that ridge line now. [ cheers and applause ] what you are seeing is tracer fire moving in to that ridge line that is currently occupied by isis forces. and around me the kurdish crowd is cheering. take a listen. john, it's getting dark here so increasingly difficult to make out the figures on the ridgeline itself but we can see from that tracer fire that they are still
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phil black is at the border. phil, it's dark where you are. what can you hear? has that fighting ending? >> it has largely ending. we're hearing the occasional burst of small arms fire. a short time ago there was a large explosion in the distance. we couldn't work out what that was. for the most part, it is silent. the fight, as intense as it was a few hours ago, has ceased for the night. a few hours ago we saw that intense ongoing firefight between isis fighters at the top of a ridge line and those syrian kurdish fighters, so desperately working to hold them off. >> do you know, it stopped most people in their tracks when i saw this video and i saw you on the air live earlier. i had to just watch the entire time. we understand that someone living in the syrian town right near this firefight said that people there are waiting for coalition air strikes.
is that what you're hearing among the refugees that you're with? >> yeah. very much so. it's been a repeated question. we've been spending a lot of time talking to the refugees fleeing that fighting or fighting like that that we witnessed. this approaching isis force through this region has triggered a humanitarian crisis, a very large one. we know some 140 to 150,000 refugees crossed into turkey earlier in the week, we are seeing thousands every day as isis gets closer. as they do, as they flee, they have been asking where is or where are these air strikes from this international coalition? yesterday the kurdish fighters across the border in syria issued an official statement saying they want to collaborate. they would like to work with this international coalition. they want to see this air power over this region. they're prepared to help provide the sort of targeting information that they think they can provide that would make those air strikes possible. to our knowledge, so far, no
response from the international coalition to that specific request. it is a tough ask. in this sort of fight it requires qualified eyes on the ground to talk the air strikes in to make sure they hit the right target. we know that's one thing that has been missing and is missing from this sustained international military effort. >> to see the civilians so close, to see you so close and the civilians watching it, as if it's a supporting event, even applauding at times, how are you able to discern the fighters we saw earlier from isis? >> what we're using to discern is the direction they're fighting and the direction the equipment appears to be traveling. isis fighters have been advancing through this region towards a main town, kobani, just south of the turkish/syrian
border. it is the center of this predominantly ethnic kurdish region. there are villages surrounding it. over the last week, isis fighters have been advancing through this region towards kobani. that appears to be the goal. that triggered the refugee exod exodus. due east of here is kobani. isis is fighting this town from the east, from the south and from the west from every available direction really, because north of kobani is turkey. they can't do that just yet. we know isis has been fighting to get there. we know that because the refugees have seen them, witnessed fighting. lost loved ones to it, both small arms fire and artillery. we know from the kurdish fighters on the ground that they are working desperately to slow down that advance. they believe they are underarmed
compared to isis fighters and also smaller in number. they fear they can't hold out indefinitely. that's why they are so keen to have any sort of distance that they can possibly get. it's why they are appealing to this international coalition to lend air power to this fight. >> phil black with an extraordinary position there, being able to watch that. phil black, be careful, of course. it's very close. up close and personal with what's going on over there. up next, will the united kingdom join in on this war on isis? just moments ago we got the answer after a fiery debate involving david cameron. my next guest says congress should cut its recess short and do the same thing. and a woman beheaded at work. i said a woman beheaded at work. investigators are looking into reports that the suspect was trying to convert people to islam.
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iraqi including kurdish security forces are already fighting isil. we have to decide if we are going to support them. >> if there's a consensus in here that we're going to soon be bombing syria, the words don't mention boots on the ground. but there's a consensus here that there will be boots on the ground. the only question being whose boots are they? >> we see the self glorification with the release of many videos, lines of men being marched into the desert shot or knifed on the banks of rivers, videos of sunni imams being killed because they would not turn over their mosque. there has been the persecution of minority groups. >> i have to say my fear is that i have heard nothing today that makes me certain about the end game. i think for us iraq is a
never-ending story. i would caution the government because i do not want to see this country drawn into another ending war. >> we must get out of the black and white mentality of engagement or isolation, surge and withdrawal, and instead show through a long-term diplomatic and political footprint, the serious nness which should defi this nature. >> it's secondary to the pain, death, and destruction that isil have visited upon their victims, victims who are muslim and non-muslim. isil's rightful place is behind bars or six foot under. >> let's talk about all of this. joining us is michael. it's fascinating to watch.
>> isn't that great stuff? >> that town down the road here in a couple hours. >> i woke up this morning at 5:00, turned on cnn, watched that. i'm a junkie for this thing, but we all should demand that level of debate and openness. >> let's put up your tweet. you said this is exactly the level of debate we are owed but have not had. >> correct. right. don, here we are with americans going to the polls in less than two months, casting ballots for a third of the senate, all of the house, do we know where our individual members stand on this issue? i say not. >> in the uk, is it a little bit too late? the bombs have already -- even here, the bombs have already started falling. >> i don't think the president has the authority to continue to do what we're already doing. >> really. >> we should have had this debate by now, but we ought to have it when they reconvene. i think you're owed the answer
when you go in and close that curtain of knowing did my member of congress, did my two u.s. senators vote for that which is now playing itself out around the globe? the answer is we don't know. >> that was the crux of your, as always, one thing that you write, one paragraph that sums up everyone. you said i think the american people are entitled to know where our elected representatives stand, not from a media appearance but from a vote. accountability demands that people close a curtain on a ballot booth in november knowing whether their representatives voted for or against the use of military force. makes sense to me. >> going to war should be the most difficult decision our legislators have to face. in my opinion, they've not faced it in this stance. >> there is a risk, a political downside or risk for congress. >> yeah. >> let's put up the poll. overwhelming support for u.s. air strikes in iraq. air strikes against isis in syria.
it shows there's support. >> i think it's soft, the support. here's my view. they all regard themselves, members of the house and senate, as presidential timber. i think they look at secretary clinton and the way she is now saddled with that 2002 vote about iraq and saying i would rather not cast this ballot. there could be an election in my future where i don't want it coming back to haunt me. >> you're much savorier about these issues. >> i doubt it. >> what happens when congress comes back? >> i would like them to come back, have a robust debate like in the uk, vote on a broad encompassed war authorization against the islamic state. do i think it will happen? no. i think they'll continue to duck. i'm frustrated with congress. i'm frustrated with the white house for not asking for this. but also the american people. go to your town hall meetings and demand this type of debate. >> but there's apathy out there.
>> you know what that is all about, the draft. without a draft very few are bearing the burden for all the rest of us. >> yeah. thank you. >> good to see you. >> i'll be watching you. i'll see you tomorrow. you know why. tune in. it's a great program. we are getting back to our special coverage in a moment. first a bizarre story developing out of chicago, an attempted suicide shutting down air traffic. it did for hours. we'll take you live to o'hare for new details. before using her new bank of america credit card, which rewards her for responsibly managing her card balance. before receiving $25 toward her balance each quarter for making more than her minimum payment on time each month. tracy got the bankamericard better balance rewards credit card, which fits nicely with everything else in life she has to balance. that's the benefit of responsibility.
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air traveling across the midwest is slowly returning to normal after an attempted suicide. for a while all flighted were grounded at the world's second busiest airport. more than 1300 flights canceled. a contract employee at a chicago area air traffic control center apparently set a fire and tried to kill himself. two law enforcement officials tell cnn that the employee has cuts on at least one wrist. police say the incident is not related to terrorism. i want to bring in ted rowlands. what is the latest from authorities on this bizarre story? >> reporter: well, what they're doing now is interviewing that individual who tried to commit
suicide and who apparently started this fire which caused so much chaos. they're also assessing the damage. that control facility, located in aurora, illinois, about 40 miles outside of chicago, it's still down. some work is being done at a facility in indianapolis, that's enaging a few flights to trickle in and out of o'hare, midway and milwaukee. the lion's share of flights are grounded here and in airports across the country. this is the result, lines extending hundreds of people in these terminals in line. a lot of these folks have been waiting for hours, being rebooked. people started -- this process started in the 6:00 a.m. hour this morning. it has caused, as you can imagine, a massive ripple effect. the faa has extended the ground stop for another two hours, 4:00 p.m. eastern time.
they'll reassess at that point. we're awaiting a news conference from aurora with local authorities for more information about this individual who tried to kill himself and apparently set the fire. >> my next question you may not be able to answer. i was going to say who is this guy. we know he's a contract employee, but what do we know about him? where is he now? >> we know it's a male, that's it we don't know his age. we're not sure of his circumstances. there has been some reporting that he was an electrician, but we have not been able to confirm that. a contract employee who had access to get into that facility in aurora. that's all we know at this point. hopefully we'll get more information at this news conference. local authorities want to emphasize, this is not a terrorism scenario. >> but, man, look at those lines behind you and in the video. keep us updated after you get to that press conference. cnn cameras rolling on something we have never seen. a live fire fight between isis
and kurdish forces. see that militant? he appears to be hit. this is not propaganda. this is what they don't want us to see? what can these pictures tell us about the strength of isis or their weaknesses? we'll examine that next. and if your father was beheaded by one of those militants, the daughter of one of the victims has a message to her government. we'll play it for you after this. eenie. meenie. miney. go. more adventures await in the seven-passenger lexus gx. see your lexus dealer. veggies you're cool... reworking the menu. mayo, corn dogs...you are so out of here!
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the daughter of a scottish man beheaded by isis supports british forces entering the war against isis. >> i.s. needs to abdicate. they can't continue to do this, no matter nationality western or not, hundreds of civilians have been killed by them. they need to be stopped. if this is what it takes, that's what it takes. >> bethany also spoke of her family's need to have her father's body returned. >> we have not had a body. i don't know if it's to prolong peoples pain that they're not returning it, or they don't feel they need to do it. but as -- as an adult or some e
someone, you want closure. they tried to hurt us by taking away someone we loved. but in a way we failed, everybody knows we'll have a part of him with us forever. >> bethany haines, 17 years old. let's get back to that firefight on the border. isis fighters had inched closer from the northwest within syria. chuck hagel saying a short time ago that a buffer zone on the turkish border may become a possibility. i want to bring in former cnn counterterroism analyst, he co-authored "find, fix, finish." thank you very much for joining
us, aki peritz. you said they're trying to consolidate their gains in the north by the turkish border. is that what's going on? >> they're trying to consolidate the land that they have. there's only a few places where you can go from turkey into syria. land borders and the like. so they're trying to actually push against the syrian kurdish areas and take over that whole area. the kurds are fighting back. but isis is creating a massive refugee crisis. over 100,000 people have left that area in the last week. to put this in perspective, it's the equivalent of boulder, colorado being depopulated within days. >> as you look at that video and the fighting, does this say to you that, you know, isis is not the giant we think it is or does
it confirm that? >> it's always tough to look at very tactical videos. we all know that isis actually has heavy weaponry and the syrian kurds have light weaponry. so, unless they -- unless there's a push, isis may triumph in the end. that's where american air power can make the difference. the kurds are the ones fighting and dying on the ground near kobani and that general vicinity. >> so you say isis has a lot of technolo technology, the kurds have light weaponry, and they have a lot of guts. what are you suggesting america should be doing with the kurds? >> several things. we're mitting to air strikes throughout syria now throughout isis positions. as we run out of targets in raqqa and other places in syria, we may consider fighting on isis
prosomethi positions. we have to work with commanders on the ground. we don't want to accidentally hit the syrian kurdish fighters as they retake things on the battlefield. >> you're suggests that they link up and provide help for the kurds. the u.s. should be striking there. can we talk about khorasan right now? >> sure. >> dempsey said it is too soon to tell if the air strikes killed any leaders of khorasan. what threat could khorasan still pose here? >> well, the thing about khorasan and al nusra, the group that al qaeda has taken over, is that this organization could actually train and recruit people with american and european passports to go and commit operations abroad, whether it's here, in the uk where i am now or in the united states. that's really the nut of the issue. they could also -- they also
could see what kind of explosives they could create. they could train them, equip these things on their fighters. so, until we know what happened with the fighters and the leaders of this organization, they still remain a very large threat. >> thank you, great information. thank you for joining us on cnn. removing the heads of their victims. it's the calling card of isis militants, but it may be the new pledge of allegiance for isis supporters around the world. police in oklahoma say a man suspected of beheading a woman at work may have been trying to convert people to islam a live report coming up. work with equity experts who work with regional experts that's when expertise happens. mfs. because there is no expertise without collaboration.
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welcome back. if you're confused about the direct threat of terrorism now, you are not alone. in the last 24 hours we have gotten really some incredible and some contradictory information. u.s. officials say the new iraqi prime minister got it wrong when he said his country uncovered an imminent isis plot against new york and paris subways. in fact even his own guy, the iraqi president, said he had no clue what his prime minister was talking about. >> translator: personally i don't have any information about this.
i have not heard or seen exactly what he said. it could be that it's an expectation to -- of this to happen by a sleeper cell and they retaliate. but they could resort to such things, but as detailed, accurate information, i have not seen any information like this. >> so instead the real threat may come from an al qaeda terror cell known as khorasan group. james comey admitted he is not sure that u.s. air strikes hit them well enough and that they could carry out the attack next week, or months from now. then there's a claim that 3,000 european westerners were either in syria, had been there, or
planned to go there to fight. and that there was a real risk some of them could return and commit attacks on western targets. so, let's talk about beheadings, shall we? they're the m.o. of isis militants, not the kind of crime you would expect to hear in a small town outside of oklahoma city. now the fbi is investigating after a woman was beheaded while working at a food distribution warehouse. we're learning this isis style of killing may not be a coincidence. we want to go to martin savage who is following it for us. we're hearing the fbi may be called in to investigate claims that he was trying to convert people to islam. obviously there's a fear of copycat killings by isis supporters here. what can you tell us about that? >> isis itself put out a call to people who may be sympathetic to their cause to launch attacks. could this be something like that? there's no down that there is that concern, there are some red flags. yesterday this was first
reported as a workplace dispute. it was a man who had been fired. it looked at that time that possibly this person had sought revenge by attacking people where he worked. however, today we learned that m.o., the first person he attacked was a woman he not only stabbed her but beheaded her. as you point out, these days any time you hear that word, you think automatically of terror. on top of that, according to authorities, this same person who is identified as alton nolen, 35, he tried to convert fellow employees at that plant before he was fired to becoming a member of the islamic faith. add those things together, people are starting to say wait a minute, maybe this was something inspired or he was sympathetic to the terrorist causes. that's why the local police called in the fbi. the fbi would be looking at this man's social footprint on social media, trying to find out what
websites or with whom was he communicating? was he getting orders from somewhere or merely finding these videos readily available out there and finding he liked what he was hearing from isis? we don't know. it's still being investigated. in the heartland of america it is sending shock waves across the rest of the country. >> in the beginning when the beheadings started, we head about all the isis recruits possibly coming from the united states, there were certain things in their background, maybe the regions in the world where they had ties to. is there anything in this man's background that would lend to this activity? >> from what we are hearing, i have to warn you, this has only just begun, the investigation only today. it will take some days, but it seems at least on the federal level they are looking at this as if it's possibly a lone wolf. in other words, someone inspired
by isis, but not a card carrying member, someone not directed to come here and carry out an assault. it's way too early. they are just starting to follow the threats. >> got it, enough. martin savage following this bizarre story from oklahoma. thank you. it is the top of the hour, i'm don lemon. thank you for joining us. this is cnn's live coverage of the war against isis. for weeks we watched videos like this one, textbook propaganda showing victory after victory, isis fighters winning battles and steamrolling through towns. today for the first time, cnn cameras caught something different. a fire dwight between isis militants and kurdish fighters. as the bullets lit up the skies, turkish, k a