tv The Situation Room CNN October 15, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
speaks exclusively to cnn and leaves open the possibility that u.s. ground troops could be asked to fight. plus, new terror threat. u.s. intelligence deeply worried right now the chaos in yemen could help al qaeda succeed in its goal in attacking the united states. the hunt for hannah graham, the search for the virginia student entering a new phase. we have the latest details. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." escalating concern about ebola in the united states with a second texas nurse now diagnosed with the virus and the troubling revelation that she was on a commercial flight only hours before she was hospitalized in dallas. there are now growing concerns about texas health presbyterian hospital where the two nurses contracted ebola after caring for the liberian patient who died last week. the centers for disease control now saying the newly diagnosed nurse is being flown to emory
university hospital in atlanta which has successfully treated two other ebola patients and the president is meeting with his cabinet right now to try to deal with this huge crisis. we're covering all angles of the breaking news. our correspondent, cnn's ed lavandera is live. what's the late of the you're hearing well? >> cdc investigators are taking a look at this latest outbreak. two health care workers now inpekted and they're takinga i look at the early days when thomas eric duncan, the first patient who died from ebola last week, they're taking i look at the early days as one of the areas of greatest concern. >> the second infected nurse, amber vinson is a 29-year-old registered nurse from ohio. she like nurse nina pham had close contact with duncan before he died from ebola. after caring for duncan, vinson flew to ohio to work on wedding plans. she then flew back to dallas from cleveland on frontier
airlines 1143 monday evening one day before her ebola diagnosis. >> although she did not report any symptoms and she did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4, she did report at that time that she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5. the cdc says she should not have flown and is reaching out to passengers on that return flight. >> we want to deal with facts, not fear. >> battles on two front as texas health officials scramble to contain the deadly ebola virus and mitigate criticism of preparedness. >> we're deeply alarmed and we've been sounding the alarm and our nurses are not protected and not prepared to handle ebola or any other pandemics, and the protocols that should have been in place in dallas were not in pla place. >> reporter: among questions about protocols and procedure,
serious allegations. >> were the protocols breached? the nurses say they were no protocol. nurses had to interact with there duncan with whatever protective equipment was availab availab available at the time when he had copious aims of diarrhea and vomiting which produces a lot of contagious fluids. >> the gear was insufficient and left them exposed and that the guidelines were constantly changing. >> a lot is being said about what may or may not have occurred to cause some of our colleagues to contract this disease, but it's clear there was an exposure somewhere, some time if their treatment of mr. duncan. >> reporter: the worse, they add, may be yet to come. >> at the hospital we have a situation involving 77 people. two of which have tested positive for ebola. we are preparing contingencies
for more and that is a very real possibility. >> in what could be seen as a breach of confidence, the cdc says vinson will be transferred dallas to the emory university in atlanta where the first two ebola patients were successfully cared for. miss vinson's apartment has been sanitized and nina pham's condition is said to be improving. >> reporter: so, wolf, as you hear, officials here will be closely monitoring the other workers for more of those symptoms and they're fully anticipating to perhaps see more of these cases and the cdc says it will put in place at these locations a site manager to ensure that the health care workers who are going in and dealing directly with these patients that they're properly protected following the proper protocols. wolf some. >> what a story. ed lavandera, thanks very much. passengers on amber vinson's
flight to dallas are asked to call the cdc. frontier airlines says the plane has been thoroughly cleaned and it is back in service and it made multiple trips before the airline learned of vinson's diagnosis. renee marsh is joined at reagan national airport. the time between the flight and when the nurse reported symptoms are extremely close. within only a few hours. how likely does the cdc think that other passengers right now are at risk? >> reporter: wolf, in the cdc's own words they say the risk is low despite the fact that the time in which -- between which she landed in dallas and the time that she reported these symptoms. as you mentioned, extremely close and they say because she didn't vomit and she didn't excrete those bodily fluids, they do not believe that the other passengers onboard are high risk. that being said, they are reaching out to those
passengers. we were talking about 132 people who were onboard this flight to answer any questions and follow up with them. they even put out this 1-800-phone number for people who were onboard this flight. if they had concerns they could call the cdc and we dialled that number today and at last check the wait time to get through 390 minutes, wolf. >> 390 minutes, there's obviously a problem they have there and they have to fix that problem quickly. what's the status, renee, of e thea airplane that she flew from cleveland to dallas so? >> reporter: we know according to the airline, frontier airline, the night it landed there it stayed overnight in dallas. the airline says it was thoroughly cleaned and we also know from officials this morning they say it was decontaminated two times in a remote area of the airport. so now by our count, three very thorough cleaning. so they say that this airliner
is -- there's no concern at this point because they have gone through it. they've cleaned it all up and we do know it's in use. we know it is scheduled to make a flight to denver today, wolf. >> the cdc says the nurse should have never stepped foot on the commercial plain even with a low, elevated fever. whose responsibility was it to make sure that didn't happen? >> reporter: that is the question that we have at this point, wolf. the cdc made it very clear she shouldn't have gotten on that plane, but the question now and i've asked this question to the cdc is whose responsibility was it to ensure that she did not board a plane? and at this point the information i'm getting is there was no system in place in which an individual is assigned to ensure that this person who may be self-monitoring or may be under observation doesn't get on a plane. the cdc said that there are guideline, but the question
becomes was this nurse aware of those guidelines? is this another example of perhaps the information being out there, but the person who needed to know it did not know it it. the cdc now saying, wolf, they will put some measures in place so that this does not happen again. we see them reacting to this and they say they'll be working with state and local officials to make sure that anyone came in contact with an ebola patient and could be infected does not get on a commercial airplane. wolf? >> renee marsh over at reagan national airport in washington. president obama canceled travel plans today because of this huge ebola crisis. instead he met with cabinet members and coordinated the government's ebola response. jim acosta has late-breaking details and what is the latest? i take it the meeting is still anything on. is that right? >> that's right, wolf. the meeting is still going on and i can tell you tv cameras have not been allowed into that room yet to pick up on some of
the president's remarks. we expected that to happen sooner than right now, wolf, but that just hasn't happened yet and as you know, the president canceled a campaign event that he was supposed to have this evening with the connecticut governor dan maloy and that was scrapped so the president could hold this meeting with officials dealing with thebola crisis. why is it that the president canceled this event when he's done campaign-type activities in the past while dealing with crises? you'll recall he was on a campaign trip when the malaysian flight crashed in ukraine. the white house said the president sometimes had has to make the call on a case by case-basis to stay back at the white house to deal with a situation like this and that's why he did what he did today. there are questions about whether or not the question still has confidence in the cdc director. he still has confidence and the administration is saying very plainly wolf that it is
perfectly natural for people to feel fearful about what is happening right now and what they're trying to say is that the public should have confidence in the administration's ability to respond down in dallas. they're pointing out that there have still been only two patients who contracted this virus from the original patient and that that second patient is being transferred to the emory experts in atlanta, but at the same time, wolf, raises questions about once again whether or not the administration is on top of what is an unfolding crisis. >> jim, stand by because as soon as the president speaks we'll have that for our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we'll get back to you. jim acosta is at the white house. let's get back to our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta and dr. zhan van tolliken. we know the the nurse got on the commercial plane back to dallas and low-grade fever. she had 99.5 or something like
that. what protocol exists for these people at risk and who are being monitored? was there a leadership failure? what happened here? >> what we know is the guidelines say there should only be controlled movement and that's the way it's been described. someone who has had extensive contract witha kn a an ebola pa should not be allowed to go on a commercial flight, she could get in a car or charter flight, but not a commercial flight. the first flight from dallas to cleveland should not have happened based on those sort of guidelines and recommendations. i don't know if it's a leadership failure or what, wolf or people not fully understanding the guidance and recommendations and not following them and i don't know if miss vinson knew this and we were talking about screenings in airports in west africa now for several weeks. what do they do there?
they take your temperature and they give you a question aheir. have you come in contact with a patient with ebola and if you have you've been flagged. she would have had a hard time getting on a plane in west africa and was able to get on a plane in the united states for a domestic flight. something didn't work here and i feel like i'm saying this over and over again, but it's another misstep in a series of missteps over this past week or so, wolf. >> it's a serious misstep, indeed. sanjay, stand by. doctor, she had, what, 99.5 fever. slightly elevated and the cdc says that's below the so-called threshold where she potentially could be contagious. they're saying it has to be a little bit higher. how much of a risk was there? do they know for sure that 99.5 represents no real threat? >> i think this is a gray area because the temperature represents a response to a rising level of virus in her
blood. and one of the really early signs and she did have a detectable virus in her blood and she would have had a fair amount of it and she did not have the vomiting, and what's massively concerning here is not only should she not have been on a plane. she should have been isolated at home and been monitored and had serious blood tests and if she had a blood test they would have found the virus. we've heard how wide the net was cast and didn't include the nurses in terms of active surveillance and the blood work that would have stopped them flying a flying and potentially kn lly g treatment. does it worry me that we can't isolate nurses, the second nurse after we'd already had an exposure that we can't isolate those health care workers and protect them? yeah. that does worry them a lot. >> we're showing our viewers
live pictures of a plane. this is the plane that will be carrying amber vinson from dallas to atlanta, georgia, the home of emory university hospital. a hospital that you know well over there. i take it, sanjay, that this is at least in part a recognition that maybe she can't get the perfect and the excellent treatment in dallas that potentially she could get in atlanta, is that right? >> yeah. perhaps that is the case, wolf. i would like to know what exactly instigated this transfer and who instigated this? was it the hospital? was it the cdc? was it her family? regardless, what you're saying, wolf, is correct. i do want to point out something we talked about and there is no specific treatment for ebola. there is exper imal drugs that we talked about, there are drug transfusions from people who have survived ebola. we know nurse nina pham was able to get that in dallas, so i think it is less of a treatment issue and more of a containment
issue in some way which is disappointing to say, wolf. it basically saying, look, she is very ill. she'll be more contagious. i should say she's ill'll, not very ill, but she is more ill than nina pham and perhaps more contagious and as a result we think she needs to be at a place like emory because we're not sure we can contain that their in dallas. in that's the case that's disappointing, wolf. this is a well-known hospital and it's a great hospital in so many ways and also ebola is something that we know has been successfully contained in these tiny tent hospitals in the rural, west and central africa, and it can be done. the fact it didn't happen in dallas i find disappointing and i don't know what the problem has been, exactly here, if this is a lack of protocols or just bad protocols or maybe it's been too much confidence and people not abiding by the protocols because they thought we have this beat. we don't have to worry about
this. >> sanjay, i want you to stay with us. stick around, we have a lot more to discuss about what's going on and the breaking news on ebola and also we'll hear from cnn's brian todd. he's received some unusual inside access to a facility where an ebola vaccine is being tested. can it help with the current outbreak? go ahead and put your bag right here. have a nice flight! traveling can feel like one big mystery. you're never quite sure what is coming your way. but when you've got an entire company who knows that the most on-time flights are nothing if we can't get your things there too. it's no wonder more people choose delta
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take a look at that. you see the private jet right in the middle of the screen over there. she's now being transferred, about to be transferred texas health presbyterian hospital in dallas where she contracted a virus from a patient from liberia. she's about top transferred to emory hospital in georgia. they have successfully treated two other ebola patients. the unfoaling crisis adding urgency to the effort to create some sort of ebola vaccine. brian todd is working this part of the sotory for us. you have access to two labs in the united states testing the ebola vaccine. what are you finding out there some. >> wolf, we did get inside access here. we've known about the ebola virus for 38 years, but so far no vaccines have been available for public use. tonight at this u.s. army fas will ility outside washington, they are frantically testing a vaccine for the first time on
hum humans. tonight, an urgent need to find a vaccine for ebola. in this u.s. army laboratory, vials like these contain the ingredients crucial in the race against the deadly virus. it is one of two vaccines being tested in the u.s. on humans. >> can the vaccine be tested for the outbreak. >> so that it can be used in efficacy-type trials. right now we have to establish that it's safe. >> reporter: vaccine investigator colonel sean remec gave us access to the walter reed institute of research. the vaccines being tested here on 39 people and they cannot get ebola from the vaccine and the side effects are minimal. experts say when ebola gets into the body it often overwhelms the immune system and works too fast for the immune system to combat it. this vaccine is designed to speed up the immune system to
fight ebola. >> it could it be used to treat people who have it? >> post-exposure. animals that were exposed to the ebola virus and then reited. we did some studies that looked to pre-exposure. so we were given the vaccine and then exposed. both of those were good results and so we are cautiously optimistic. >> but will it work in humans? >> to be very realistic, most medicines and vaccines even that look great in animals don't pan well in the long run. >> even as they run through vaccines through trials, even though we've known about the ebola virus since 1976 there are mow approved ebola vaccines available to the public. ebola outbreaks until now, haven't been widespread enough. >> it is not on the order or it hasn't been until recently with a problem like malaria, hiv or
tb in yhow they prioritized investment and vaccines. >> how soon can this vaccine be ready? dr. remec says they're pushing the testing protocol here as fast as they can, but he and other experts say even under the best of circumstances, the vaccine being tested here or the one being tested at the national institutes of health would not be ready for several months. they simply have to make sure that these vaccines are safe. >> brian, can they test the vaccines in those country m rer west africa where it is worst, guinea, sierra leone and liberia? >> the director of allergy and infectious diseases say you cannot test them in those particular countries because they're not strong enough to support testing, but they will test in gambia where they have
infrastructure where they can support vaccine testing. let's hope they come up with this vehicle seen and do so quickly. we are standing by, by the way to hear from president obama. he's wrapping up a meeting from his cabinet and a meeting about the ebola crisis and we'll have coverage about what the president has to say. stand by. you'll hear it here in "the situation room" baghdad, the capital of iraq in serious danger of falling? we have an exclusive interview with the i remember cha an of the joint chiefs, general martin dempsey and a new terror threat, why chaos if a country half a world away may help al qaeda succeed in its goal in attacking the united states. lots of news happening today right here in "the situation room." i'm only in my 60's.
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we were told by a dallas affiliate wfaa that an ambulance now has picked up amber vinson, the 29-year-old nurse to take her here. you see the jet, the small jet no longer in the camera shot, but that small jet will be taking amber vinson from dallas to atlanta, georgia, emory university hospital. she's the second nurse who contracted ebola from thomas eric duncan, the liberian individual who unfortunately passed away last week from ebola. we'll monitor the story and update you on what's going on. we're also standing by to hear from the president of the united states and he's been meeting with his cabinet on the ebola crisis and as soon as he speaks and you'll hear what he has to say and that will be in the next few minutes. let's move on to other important news we're following. heavy coalition air strikes are slowing the isis advance in the
besieged town of kobani right on the syrian-turkish border. the u.s. central command says there have been nua ew air stri. there have been another five strikes in iraq and isis continues on grind down iraqi forces. kyra phillips sat down for an exclusive interview for the chairman of the joint chiefs general martin dempsey. how did it go? >> general dempsey, wolf, made it it clear that those worn down iraqi forces will not be getting help from u.s. combat troops right now, but it's not off the table. this campaign, he says, will be carried out by a coalition of forces to not just degrade isis where it's manageable, but to defeat it. >> how confident are you that you can keep baghdad from falling? >> i'm confident we can assist the iraqis to keep baghdad from falling. the iraqis have established a fairly formidable defensive
perimeter around baghdad and, you know, it's been awing waugmy militias and things and it's a very deep defense and i'm confident that baghdad won't be threatened directly and of course, isil can infiltrate and use vehicle-borne car bombs and they can, from distance, they can lob in rockets and things. so baghdad is going to be under threat r of attack, but in terms of losing control of bagbaghdad don't see that happening. >> what we're seeing iraqi forces not encouraging and they're abandoning their posts and leaders are in retreat. they're saying u.s. forces send combat help. we're in trouble. can the u.s. rely on this iraqi fighting force to be the boots on the ground as president obama has said? >>. >> i think we have a winning strategy in enabling first of all, developing the offensive
capability and enabling iraqis and peshmerga through a coalition to actually be the face of this fight against isil. in fact, that is the strategy so this doesn't become the west against christianity and islam. so we have a winning strategy. it will take time and it will be hard to measure progress and tactical near-term progress and we'll have to be adaptive as we any. war is discovery, kyra. as we go we'll have to be as adaptable, more adaptable than our enemy and we have a winning strategy. >> so how did the u.s. actually get to this point? when the president said they underestimated isis, i asked general dempsey who underestimated dempsey? was it the white house? the intelligence community and the pentagon? he had been watching isis since the time it was al qaeda talking about the risk every month in counterterrorism meetings and an
intel officer even warned back in february that isis would re-enter iraq. what they underestimated, he said, was the fact that iraqi security forces were unwilling to stand up and fight those terrorists and i was back there in the country and i remember even before this campaign, wolf, iraqi forces on all level it is said to me we don't have the confidence. we don't have the training. if u.s. forces leave we're in trouble and we're seeing it right now. >> what did general dempsey thai to you, kyra, about the threat from isis and we know it's a huge threat to iraq and syria, elsewhere in the middle east, but to the u.s. homeland. >> that's a great question. he's very concerned about that. he said this could become an international brand. they're very active on social media. they're attracting the youth. there's the whole concern about self-radicalization. we've been talking about that, wolf, so he's very concerned that it could impact us at home. >> i know we have more r this interview coming up. thank you very much. >> we learned from general
dempsey has a name for the isis campaign called inherent resolve, but does the u.s. have a winning strategy? we'll bring in retired u.s. lieutenant general in a moment, but look at this. these are live pictures courtesy of ktvt in dallas. this is the ambulance that has brought the 29-year-old nurse amber vinson from that dallas hospital to the private jet that is about to take her from dallas to atlanta to the emory university hospital in atlanta where there is clearly more sophisticated treatment for ebola patients. this has been something that's been in the works now since we learned early this morning that amber vinson is the second health care professional, the second nurse in dallas to come down with ebola, contracting, ebola from thomas eric duncan and he died, unfortunately, last week at that dallas hospital.
nina pham, the 26-year-old nurse who contracted ebola while rying to treat mr. duncan, she's still in that hospital in dallas. she, her condition is described as improving. let's hope it does, but apparently, they don't want to take any chances at all right now. with amber vinson they're going to send her to atlanta. there you see she's being removed. >> it looks like she's being removed on a stretcher there and she'll be put on that small plane, that jet to fly her from dallas to atlanta where we all hope she will recover. other ebola patients have recovered in atlanta at the emory university hospital as well as university of nebraska hospital in omaha, nebraska, but you see, she is not able on her own to make that little stretch from the ambulance to that jet so she's being carried there on that comburny and she's going to be put on there. we hope she's all right. we know that she treated mr. duncan just as nina pham treated mr. duncan. she did wear protective
equipment, protective gear, but unfortunately, it looks like it wasn't enough. she came down with initially a low-grade fever, but clearly, it has gone up. so there is a serious problem there, and a lot of concern because she came up with a slightly elevated fever as she was about to board a jet, a commercial airliner, frontier airlines on a flight from cleveland back to dallas. she left dallas three days earlier and showed no symptoms at that time and had to go to cleveland for some wedding planning. she twont cleveland and just before boarding, that return flight from cleveland back to dallas and she did show an elevated temperature of about 99.5. . the cdc says that's really not the threshold for allowing it to go forward, but there you see she's going forward on that plane right now, and you can see the protective -- except for that one individual who is right there, everybody else seems to have pretty good -- everybody
else seems to have good protection, but one person over there didn't have any protection, but i guess he feels secure enough that she's on that plane and she's going to make that flight. i think it's about a two-hour flight or so from dallas to atlanta. so she should be there not too long on this small jet, but it's obviously a dramatic development. the president of the united states, by the way, has been meeting with his cabinet to come up with some plans, some operations to deal with the ebola crisis in the united states. we'll be hearing momentarily from the president. let's take a quick break. we'll resume our special coverage right after this. (receptionist) gunderman group. gunderman group is growing. getting in a groove. growth is gratifying. goal is to grow. gotta get greater growth. i just talked to ups. they got expert advise, special discounts, new technologies. like smart pick ups. they'll only show up when you print a label and it's automatic. we save time and money.
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here is the president with his cabinet. >> well, obviously, the news has been dominated by the diagnosis of a second health care worker in dallas with ebola and in light of this second case i thought it was very important for me to bring together our team including our cdc director tom freed toieden to hear direc from them in terms of how we're ramping up our efforts here. initially, we want to express concern for the two health workers who have been affected. you know, our nurses and our health care workers are absolutely vital to the health and well-being of our families. they sacrifice for us all the time. not just in this case, but in the case of other ill businesses that affect us.
they are selfless, they work hard and they're often underpaid and so our thoughts and prayers are with them and we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to take care of them even as they take care of us. as a consequence, what we've been coing here today is reviewing exactly what we know about what's happened in dallas and how we're going to make sure that something like this is not repeated and that we are monitoring, supervising, overseeing in a much more aggressive way exactly what's taking place in dallas initially in making sure that the lessons learned are then transmitted to hospitals and clinics all across the country. first of all, what i've directed the cdc to do is that as soon as someone is diagnosed with ebola, we want a rapid response team, a s.w.a.t. team essentially from the cdc to be on the ground as quickly as possible.
hopefully within 24 hours so that they are taking the local hospital step by step through exactly what needs to be done and making sure that all of the protocols are properly observed, that the use of protective equipment is done effectively and that the disposal of the protective equipment is done properly. the key thing to understand about this disease is that these protocols work. we know that because they've been used for decades now in ebola cases around the world including the cases that were treated in emory and in nebraska. so if they're done properly, they work, but we have to make sure that, understandably, certain local hospitals that may not have that experience are walking -- walked through that
process as carefully as possible and we're going to make sure that this rapid response team can do that. in addition, we are reviewing every step of what's happened since mr. duncan was initially brought in to the hospital in dallas so that we understand exactly where some of the problems may have occurred and doing a thorough canvas of inventory of all of the workers who had contact with mr. duncan including those who engaged in some of the testing that took place. we are now communicating all these various lessons to hospitals, clinics, first responders around the country and obviously, given all of the attention that this has received we're going to make sure that that provision of information is constant, ongoing and being updated on a real time basis. in arc diddition we are working
carefully with the mayor of dallas, the governor of texas, in making sure that in the event any other cases arise from these health workers that they are properly cared for in a way that is consistent with public safety. i know that people are concerned about the fact that the second health care worker had traveled. here's what we know about ebola, that it is not like the flu. it is not airborne. the only way that a person can contract ebola is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms. in other words, if they don't have symptoms, they're not contagious. what we are able to do, however, is to do what's called contact tracing so that anybody who may have had contact with someone, even if it was incidental contact, even if. they weren't showing symptoms,
being able to identify who those individuals are and make sure that they are then being monitored in a way that allows us to make certain that the disease does not spread further and that's currently taking place in a very aggressive process conducted by the cdc, hhs and the rest of our teams. i want to use myself as an example just so people have the sense of the science here. >> i shook hands with, hugged and kissed -- not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at emory because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients. they followed the protocols. they knew what they were doing and i felt perfectly safe doing so, and so this is not a situation in which, like a flu,
the risks of a rapid spread of the disease are imminent. . we do these protocols properly, if we follow the steps and get the information out then the likelihood of widespread ebola outbreak in this country are very, very low, but i think what we've all learned over the last several weeks is that folks here in this country and a lot of non-specialized hospitals and clinics don't have that much experience dealing with these issues and so we'll have to push out this information as aggressively as possible and that's the instructions that i've s just a couple other points. we are going to be monitoring carefully the health status of the other health care workers in dallas. and obviously, they're concerned. we understand that many of them are scared.
and we are going to make sure that we're on the ground 24-7 to provide them the kind of support, information, and assurances that they need to get through this particular challenge. and finally, we're also going to be continuing examining our screening processes and airports. we're making sure that in the event that we have additional cases that involve the need for transporting those patients for specialized hospitals, that those teams are in place and those facilities are in place, and we will make sure that, on a day-to-day basis, we provide the public any information they need and all the updates about what has happened, not just in dallas but what is being done across the country. i'll end with this point -- we are going to have to make sure that we do not lose sight of the
importance of the international response to what is taking place and what's happened. i am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak of the disease here in the united states. but it becomes more difficult to do so if this epidemic of ebola rages out of control in west africa. if it does, then it will spread globally in an age of frequent travel and the kind of constant interactions that people have across boarders. and so it is very important for us to understand that the investment we help making them deal with this problem is an investment in our own public health. this is not simply charity, although it's obviously
important that make takes the lead in the humanitarian crisis that's taking place there. but it is also probably the single most important thing that we can do to prevent a more serious ebola outbreak in this country is making sure we get what is a raging epidemic right now in west africa under control. for that reason, last night i had a call with prime minister abe from japan to elicit greater support from the international community. this morning, i spoke with chancellor merkel from germany, the prime minister of italy, the president of france, as well as david cameron, the prime minister of great britain, to make sure that we are coordinating our efforts and that we are putting in a lot more resources. so bottom line in terms of the public, i want people to understand that the dangers of
you contracting ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low. but we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government. and we are going to be able to manage this particular situation, but we have to look toward the future, and if we are not responding internationally in an effective way, and we do not set up the kind of preparedness and training in our public health infrastructure here in the united states not just for this outbreak but future outbreaks, then we could have problems. so in the meantime, i want everybody to be thig about and praying for two health workers that have gotten sick. those who also treated this patient with compassion and care, we just want to say thank you to them. and we are going to be doing everything we can to make sure
that they're properly cared for. thank you very much, everybody. >> so there's the president of the united states in the cabinet room, meeting with his cabinet on the ebola crisis. like all of us, wishing the 29-year-old nurse that's contracted ebola from eric duncan, wishing them a complete recovery. amber vincent, she's about to be flown from dallas to atlanta, georgia, where she will be admitted to emery university hospital for specialized treatment to other ebola patients that were admitted to emery university hospital. so that's the laptest on that development. we should be landing in atlanta in a couple of hours. we saw her being carried onto that small jet a little while
ago. the president canceled trips to meet and deal with this crisis. a lot more coming up on the ebola crisis. the new ebola patient. why was she flying with a fever just hours before she reported symptoms? there you see her, amber vincent. also, you've been watching cnn journalist explore their roots. coming up, my own very emotional and personal journey to trace my history's history. we'll go to israel, buffalo, new york. an emotional journey. that's coming up in the next hour.
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energy emergency trip. a second nurse is being taken from dallas to a special hospital in atlanta. travel fears. the infected woman took a trip to cleveland. she had a fever. what about the plane and the people she visited? also, my family's powerful journey. follow along as i trace my roots from poland where my grandparents died to my childhood home in buffalo, new york. we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news.
>> and we're covering the rush of developments in two major breaking stories. we've got these pictures in just a few moments ago as an ambulance rushed an ebola patient to a dallas airport for a flight to emery hospital in atlanta. amber vinson is the second nurse to become infected. meanwhile, we just heard from president obama who just wrapped up a cabinet level meeting, trying to stop ebola in the united states. also, in a cnn exclusive, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff shares his own worries about ebola and today's other major breaking story, the war against isis. our correspondents are standing by to bring you all the late-breaking developments on these stories. let's begin with ed lavandera with the latest in dallas. ed? >> reporter: wolf, there are stunning descriptions of what the nurses inside the hospital here in dallas were facing when they first started treating
thomas eric duncan back on september 25. cdc officials say today they are focused on those early days as perhaps one of the areas where the health care workers might have been exposed and infected. and nurses union representatives are saying that they are hearing from nurses inside the hospital who paint a grim picture of how ill prepared they were in terms of the protective gear they were wearing. cdc officials were saying they were not all wearing the same standard, fully protected gear. so serious questions about what kind of -- how prepared these health care workers were to face these treacherous and obviously very ill conditions inside that treatment room. so a lot of questions surrounding that. as you mentioned, amber vinson now in the process of being flown to emery university in atlanta. and one official close to the situation tells us that in hindsight, looking back, that
thomas eric duncan perhaps should have been taken to emery hospital or another hospital that specializes in all of this from the very beginning. wolf? >> that plane is now taking off. that small jet that's carrying the 29-year-old nurse, amber vinson, to atlanta. are they saying specifically, ed, why they decided to fly her to atlanta? are they giving a specific reason? obviously they think she'll get better treatment there. >> reporter: we've reached out to the hospital to figure out if this was a local decision made or a cdc decision. we have not gotten clarification on all of that. but remember, there's also nina pham who is still here in the same area where duncan was being treated. and obviously a very tense situation, especially here, wolf, when you consider that hospital officials are preparing everybody, saying the worst may not be over yet, that there may be other members of this team in the coming days who may become
infected, as well. >> i suspect they're sending her to atlanta for the precautions health care workers might be better than what we saw over these last few days in dallas. ed, stand by. there's another very disturbing new twist in the ebola story. the infected nurse took a commercial flight from dallas to cleveland last week, then returned on monday, but she already had a fever. that's setting off a search for the passengers who were on the return flight. our aviation correspondent renee marsh is joining us at washington's reagan national airport. what are you hearing? >> reporter: the cdc has already started the process of contacting those passengers. they're interviewing them. the goal here is being 100% certain that no one on board contracted that deadly disease.
the cdc is contacting all of the passengers who shared flights with 29-year-old amber vinson, the dallas nurse now infected with ebola. vinson took two frontier airlines flights. first from dallas to cleveland, to visit her mother, then back to dallas. according to health officials, vinson had a slight fever before boarding a flight monday. in a telephone briefing today, cdc said vinson should have never stepped foot on a plane. >> she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to ebola. she should not have traveled on a commercial airline. >> reporter: vinson reported symptoms the day after her october 13th flight to dallas. the cdc says the risk to the other 132 passengers on board is low. >> we are going and will always put in extra margins of safety,
and therefore, will be reaching out to all the passengers and crew of that flight. >> reporter: front tier airlines says they responded immediately correspondent notification of the cdc by removing the aircraft from service. the airline says the plane was cleaned the night it landed and again today, but it is still in use. >> frontier airlines aircraft has been decontaminated twice at a remote location on the airport. there will be a scheduled flight to denver using that aircraft. >> reporter: one public health expert says this case is another example of a flawed system. >> what's staggering is we've done so many table top xwexercis for novel pandemics, but in real
cases, it doesn't work. >> reporter: we know the cdc has a do not board list, but that's made up of people with known infectious diseases. this nurse did not fall under that category. yes, she did not have this infectious disease as far as the cdc was concerned. so i asked the cdc whose responsibility was it to ensure this woman did not get on a commercial airplane? i was told that there was no system in place that an individual would have stopped here, only cdc guidelines warning against traveling on commercial airlines. wolf, we do know that now this has happened, the cdc said today they will be working with state and local officials to ensure this doesn't happen again. >> renee, thank you very much. renee marsh at reagan national airport here in washington. worries about ebola forced president obama to scrap his afternoon political schedule.
the president wrapped up a cabinet level meeting on how to make sure what happened in dallas and is still happening in dallas does not repeat itself any place else. let's go to jim acosta with more on this part of the story. jim? >> reporter: president obama urged his administration to get aggressive, as he put it, in its response to the ebola virus. that's an acknowledgement that so far it has. been tough enough. ebola is just the latest test of government competence for president obama, one he vows his administration will pass. >> we are monitoring, supervising, overseeing in a much more aggressive way exact think what's taken place. >> reporter: the white house secretary was peppered with questions about whether the cdc dropped the ball. >> i think it's appropriate for you to describe the president as very concerned about this situation. >> reporter: and who is in charge? is it the president's adviserer,
lisa monaco, tapped to coordinate the response. >> so she's not overseeing it? >> she's not overseeing the construction of ebola transition units in west africa. >> who is in charge of the federal response to ebola this>> reporter: earlier this month, top administration officials maintained u.s. hospitals were well prepared to care for ebola patients. >> every hospital in this country has the capability to isolate a patient. >> reporter: but that wasn't the case in dallas at the hospital that was treating thomas duncan. >> the nurses say there were no protocols. >> reporter: in response, the cdc director said special team also supervise ebola care at hospitals. >> i wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed. >> reporter: but then the cdc shifted gears again, announcing that the latest patient to contract the virus, a nurse,
will be transferred to emery hospital in atlanta. the hh secretary dodged when pressed over whether the administration had confidence in that dallas hospital. >> we have added additional staff from the cdc. >> but you're not answering my question, in all due respect. >> reporter: the president himself down played the possibility of ebola surfacing in the u.s. >> in the unlikely event that someone with ebola does reach o our shores, we've taken new measures that we're prepared. >> reporter: now he maintains the white house is on top of it. >> we have the systems in support that make an epidemic here highly unlikely. but obviously one case is too many. >> reporter: the president said he wants c "s.w.a.t. teams" to be deployed to hospitals and
there was a warning to the world that if ebola is not stopped in west africa, the president said it could spread globally. that sounded very ominous. >> the whole world has to get involved and deal with it in west africa right now. jim acosta, thank you very much. let's continue our analysis. joining us, two guests, kevin mcgregor-skinner from penn state university, an expert on public health preparedness. and joining me, cnn medical specialist dr. van telican. the cdc director said that amber vinson, the 29-year-old nurse who flew from cleveland brake to dallas with a low grade fever, she had not yet met that threshold of 100.4. she was flying with 99.5. do they know for sure that that threshold is 100.4 opposed to
99.5 fever? >> of course we don't. what you're seeing is the fever is a manifestation of the bod s body's -- it's a low viral mode. the more symptoms you have, the more virus you have. so i think he's right to say the exposure on this plane was very, very low. if i was on that plane, i wouldn't be worried about getting ebola and would travel on that plane now. but when he says we've taken the utmost precaution, i mean, at the point she got on that plane, we already knew that nina pham was ill and we knew that all those 70 health care staff or 76 it is now, were exposed. she not only shouldn't have been getting on a plane, she should have been at home, isolated, getting daily tests. that's what is frightening. sure, the risk is not that high with the flight to cleveland, but we're seeing yet another instance of them dropping the
ball. basically, we should be learning lessons from africa here. the screening getting on airplanes, the screening get on a plane in africa and the questionnaire would have stopped amber vinson getting on that plane. and the protective gear that the doctors without borders are using in africa would have stopped those nurses from catching it. >> let me be precise. do they need to screen in all these airports? >> no, i think airport screening -- the important thing about airport screening is screening before you get on an airplane. we've had so few people exposed, it's reasonable not to be screening internally. but we're seeing a lack of protocol and procedures. it's a very bad way of stop thing virus. the most important thing is the care in the hospitals using nurses as the front line,
protecting them and making sure they protect everything else rather than spreading it themselves. >> i just want dr. skinner to weigh in on this specific issue, the fact that she flew with slightly elevated fever, not the threshold that the cdc says would make her contagious. what is your analysis? >> wolf, the cdc has guidelines and recommendations for conducting risk assessments of people, especially health care workers, that have had close contact or direct contact with ebola patients. so who is conducting the risk assessment? when you do, you determine the appropriate public health actions based on the assessment. one of the public health actions is controlled movement. wen the cdc guidelines, controlled movement is within 21 days after having close correct contact with ebola, you need to
contact health authorities. you should not take commercial transport. where is the communication plan right now? i haven't seen it. this is from the cdc guidelines. >> the fact that two medical workers, these two nurses were infected at the same hospital, dealing with the same patient who unfortunately has passed away, what does that tell you about the protocols? >> two things -- first, it suggests that the protocols themselves are bad even if followed perfectly. when you look at tom frieden, he does not follow cdc protocols. in the videos, you can see him in w.h.o. gear. but the other thing is people aren't taught how to follow the protocols. so i think we're really seeing both the protocols and the way they're being enforced are not
correct. >> should we be bracing for more health care workers, doctors, nurses, in dallas to come down with ebola? >> i don't know, wolf. we need to conduct a risk assessment and see what happened. the local nurses and physicians and the hospital staff, they are so scared at the moment. they need support, they need counseling. they need people to evaluate the risk and hear their story. but i'm really concerned, because we have been dealing with ebola since 1976. the protocols are correct. but unfortunately, the protocols, if you go to google, put in cdc ebola, go to the cdc ebola site, the protocols on the cdc ebola site are based on a risk assessment, looking at symptoms, identifying the hazards and what you need to protect are not correct and it needs to be changed. >> i want both of you doctors to stand by. we have a lot more to discuss. the breaking news on ebola,
stand by for that. also in a cnn exclusive, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff talks about his own fears of ebola and what he calls the winning strategy for the war against isis. and later, my emotional, powerful journey in search of my own family's roots. from tracfone, i can... order safety goggles. play music for seedlings. post science fair projects. schedule guinea pig feedings. video chemical reactions. take pics of mr. bones. time the next launch. calm down principal jones. i can do all that with my android from tracfone. 90-day plans start as low as $20. unbeatable nationwide coverage. no contract. the samsung galaxy centura. just $59.88. tracfone. do everything for less.
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reservists to deploy to west africa, if necessary. up to 4,000 troops may be sent there. in an exclusive interview with cnn, the chairman joint chiefs of staff talked about his own ebola fears. >> are you, general dempsey, worried about ebola in the u.s.? >> i've been worried about ebola globally for about 90 days and i've had some on my staff probably worried a little more than i was. >> why? >> i'm worried about it because we know so little about it. if you bring two doctors who happen to have that specialty in a room, one will say no, there's no way it could become airborne but it could mutate.
another doctor will say, if it continues to mutate at the rate it's mutating, and if we go from 20,000 infected to 100,000, the population might allow it the opportunity to mutate and become airborne. then we have a serious problem. i don't know who is right. i don't want to take that chance, so i'm taking it very seriously. >> let's bring back our guests. how worried should we be about this virus evolving, if you will, and becoming airborne, contagious as opposed strictly by bodily fluids? >> well, i think the general's right that we don't really know. but it does seem like there has been no virus in the history of
the study of viralology that ever has gone from being transmitted from bodily fluids to being airborne. but he says he's not taking any risks and wants to attack the possibility of there being an airborne disease. what is reasonable to say is, even if you don't think there's any chance of ebola getting airborne at all, it's definitely true we're going to see pandemics of airborne diseases. so i think having a system in place that can cope with airborne disease will strengthen our ability to approach ebola. >> what is your analysis, dr. skinner, on this specific question? >> wolf, this is a public health emergency. we need to evaluate our capabilities and develop operational plans. at the moment, it's not airborne. we can start developing plans in case it does become airborne. but we don't have a national communications strategy or a
training program. we have a cdc handing out recommendation documents but we have no video, we aren't using lessons learned from dallas and nebraska and emery. so again, we can't do the implementation, and we have no coordination. >> please stand by. joining me now is the mayor of dallas. mayor, thank you very much for joining us. a lot of people are wondering, amber vinson, this 29-year-old nurse got on this night and flew out of dallas, went to cleveland, came back even though she had an elevated fever. what happened here? >> well, i don't know. i'm asking a lot of questions today. there's no way she should have been on that flight. she was being monitored here in dallas, and if she was monitored correctly, she would have gotten into the hospital, i think, earlier than going on that flight. >> should everyone who got into
contact, especially health care workers, there are about 70 of them at the dallas hospital who were in some sort of contact with mr. duncan, should all of them be on strict quarantine right now? >> i don't know if all 70 should, but i think a group of individuals should be in some sort of isolation, away for their families, being close to the medical facilities. that's what i've asking for from the state and what i'm asking for from the cdc to examine that. this is a serious issue that we're taking very seriously. there's no way you can get this disease unless you come in contact with an individual. but we want to make sure that we are nipping this now with those health care workers. >> what have you been told, mayor, about amber vinson's condition? >> that she's doing okay, but
she was a little more progressed than ms. pham, and we are just hoping -- these folks are heroes. they are heroes for us, and we're going to do everything we can for their support. >> as of this moment, mayor, have you been told that there are other ebola cases potentially out there >> well, look, i believe there's chance we're going to get another one. i'm not happy about that. i'm not happy about the one we got today. we've all got to do a better job, and this city expects more of its officials and its government. and we're going to work hard to -- even if we get somebody else that we're going to close this down sooner versus later. >> is there somebody else who is already being tested potentially? we hope no one else comes down with ebola, but is there someone who is suspicious at this point? >> not at this point, but the
state is always looking at different individuals and assessing those things. so it wouldn't surprise me if i got another call at 1:00 in the morning, like i did this last morning, and say we've got another case. we've got to be prepared for that. that's why we have to have a sense of urgency about everything we do. and that's why we've got to stick to a very clear process and discipline, an operational way to deal with this in the city of dallas. >> do you know, mayor, have you been told how nina pham and amber vinson, these two nurses, one 26, the other 29, contracted ebola? >> i have not. and we'll find out at some point, or we may not. it may be so difficult to find out it may never come. the key is what we're doing going forward today. we believe protocol is different
right now at presbyterian hospital than it was before. but this isn't just about presbyterian hospital. this is about everybody on the team, and them doing their part in that. >> what does it say to you, mayor, that this woman, amber vinson was airlifted today, she's on a jet right now flying from dallas to atlanta. what does it say about the vote of confidence about what's going on at that dallas hospital? >> i think it's the right decision. i really do. this is one of the decisions that i asked for, and i'm so pleased that folks decided to do this. it allows presbyterian to breathe a little bit. it allows us to start to deal with those hospital workers that are part of the family. it's probably the best thing for this patient, and at some point,
maybe ms. pham moves as well. we've got to deal with all of this. we can't be parochial about this. >> do you think there's a possibility nina pham will also be airlifted? >> there's a possibility of that. that's smog we're discussing and we'll see if it happens. >> let me read to you a statement put out by the national nurse's united union. the suits they were given, talking about the health care professionals, the nurses, still exposed their necks, the part closest to their face and mouth. nurses had to use medical tape that has permeable seams, and had to put on the tape and take it off on their own. that sounds awful to me. what was going on? i know you've looked into this, mayor, because that sounds so, so elementary, shall we say, and so dangerous. >> you know, what's amazing about this, we were kind of
fighting a two-front war on this. the context of eric duncan and outside of the hospital, we thought that was going to be the more difficult one, 48 context. we tracked them all, we got their family in isolation, and knock on wood, they're doing very well. i thought the layup was really inside the hospital, so it's very disappointing what has happened. again, we're going to -- we'll do a post mortem on this and understand exactly what different people did different things, but you would hope that, as a medical community in the nation, we would do better by these patients. but these are the ladies that are -- that helped for mr. duncan, so it's not their fault, and i'm cheering them on. >> mayor, good luck to you and everyone in dallas. this is obviously a story that's resonating an enormous amount of
fear out there, not only in your community, but all over the world. mike raulings is the mayor of dallas, texas. thank you very much. just ahead, a cnn journalist explore their roots and you're about to see my own very emotional journey to trace my family's history. >> i feel like i've been robbed of an experience of having grandparents. 6 million jews were killed during the holocaust.
i'm about to take you on a very personal journey home, a journey where i learn more about my family's history. it's saturday in buffalo, new york. my hometown. how are you? and these guys, well, they're fans of fc buffalo blitzers. that's a soccer people that somehow was named after me. something i find both flattering and a little embarrassing. cnn has asked me to come here to trace my roots. a task i find daunting. i grew up here in the 1950s and '60s. with my sister and parents. a lot has changed since then. my dad passed away in 2002. and my mom, she's 92 years old
and she now lives in florida. but some things here never change. like this bar. the birthplace of the buffalo chicken wing. brings back memories from my youth. two weeks ago, i was on the israel-gaza border. now i'm eating buffalo chicken wings. my journey to learn about my family's history has been months in the making. delayed in part because of this. the war between israel and hamas. i'm in jerusalem reporting for nearly a month. but a friend suggests i take some time to visit israel's national holocaust museum. let's go to my father's side first. last name is blitzer. i knew my grandparents died during the holocaust, but i wanted to know more. circumstances of death, it says the concentration camp.
auschwitz. my dad, david blitzer, wrote a testimonial detailing what he knew about the fate of his family in poland during world war ii. i didn't know until i came here to israel this week that on my father's side, my grandparents died or were killed at auschwitz. i feel like i've been robbed of an experience of having grandparents. 6 million jews were killed during the holocaust, and i saw the documentation there, place of ex-termination, auschwitz, and i knew that's where i wanted to go. ♪ >> what will set you free.
it was a place for working. >> they were slave laborers. >> yes. it was this kind of camp, but work was an instrument of extermination. >> it's one thing to learn about the holocaust from school or books, but to see these places firsthand, some untouched since the war, can be overwhelming. most of the jews brought here -- >> then begun selection. >> who lives and who dies. >> exactly. >> my grandparents died here. >> probably they walked in. >> they thought maybe they were going to get a shower. but instead -- >> that was the gas chamber.
>> while many jews were brought here from far away, my dad's family was unique. he grew up in a neighborhood in the town of auschwitz. historian, agreed to help me find my dad's childhood home. >> we have some school records. this is information about rachel blitzer. >> that's my aunt. we've looked over here. >> many houses in this area were taken down by the nazis. >> they were destroyed. like much of my journey so far, i'm struggling to find remnants of my father's life. this house exist before world war ii. do you remember a family by the name of blitzer?
none of the neighbors remember the blitzers. but i did find a place where my family once stood. the town square. the testimony that my father provided, she has three sisters, only one survived, rachel survived the war. two of his other sisters, when the nazis came in, they were brought to this area. two sisters, they were killed. they were young girls. it's pretty much the same story on my mother's side. she survived but her parents died during the holocaust. i'm named after my grand father, wolf. the most frequent question i get asked, is your real name wolf? this is my cousin, she grew up with me in buffalo. what number was it?
>> number 12. >> whatever house they had. >> it's closed. >> together, we found what's left of my grandfather's old factory that produced clay pipes. not far from that factory was the slave labor camp where they worked. this was the land where the labor camp, camp a, was. >> in this camp, 24,000 jews came in for labor. almost 18,000 died here. there was no crematorium here, but they simply burned the bodies and buried the ashes in this place. it's conceivable our grandparents, their ashes are here. >> we have no idea. >> we have no idea, no. >> my mom now is 92. you wouldn't realize how courageous she was when she was liberated in 1945 from the slave
labor camp. they told all the jewish workers, you're going to be marching on this death march. my mother knew if they were on this forced death march, they would die. >> this remarkable woman took her siblings, and hid in the basement of the factory, and they stayed there for a few days until they were finally liberated by the russians. >> yep. pretty amazing story. >> amazing woman. >> to this day, i'm very aware of the really courageous moves my mom made. she's obviously a very wonderful woman. before we leave poland, we visit the only jewish cemetery still left in the town of auschwitz, and i see a tombstone that says "blitzer." i don't know if this woman was related to me. but i do what my father would have wanted, i say the special prayer for the dead. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> so after the war, after my parents were liberated, my mother, by the russians, the russian troops, my dad by the french troops, they did what most holocaust survivors immediately did once they were strong enough, they went and started looking for family members who may have survived. so they were on a train, and all of a sudden they saw each other. their eyes met, and they fell in love. within a few months, they were married by an american military chaplain, a rabbi. my dad found work in germany, where my sister and i were born.
my dad always said, those days you didn't know what was going to be happening a week from now. after what they went through during the war, they said, you know, you had to grab life when you could. when my dad was visiting munich, he saw a long line, so he got in it. it turned out it was a line for visas for america. the result of a law signed by president truman to bring holocaust survivors to the united states. a few months later, we were moving to upstate new york. when he came to buffalo, people helped him get that job. they said oh, you have a job at bethlehem steel, but it was awful. >> it's ungodly hot and it will not stop. >> my dad hated the steel mill and left after a year or so. he and my uncle opened a small deli. 1434 hurdle avenue. it used to be blitzer's
delicatessen. now it's buffalo airbrush tan. i used to pack eggs here. this is where we used to pack the eggs. a lot of memories. blitzer's deli. hard to believe. my dad didn't like the deli business much either. then one day he was talking to friends he knew from the concentration camp. they were buying land. and building homes for gis returning from the war. my dad decided to give it a try. my dad actually built this house. this is one of the first houses he built when he became a builder. that's my house. somebody is living there. it turns out my father had a knack for home building. with a lot of hard work, became a successful developer. i went to school here.
this is where they taught me to be a journalist. >> really? >> this is my roots. that's me, wolf blitzer. wolf i. blitzer, student council, secondary representative, concert band, debate club, german club, humanities club, advertising staff, marching band, football jv, that was me. so after months of following my family tree, i'm right back where i started, my hometown. it's a place where i grew up. where i went to college. where i met my life, lynn. and where, well, i also learned a lot about eating good food. we've got to have anderson's frozen custard. >> where are we going right now? >> ted's. what do you want on it? the cool people say, everything you got.
>> would you like french fries? >> yes, we would like all of the above. you know, it's amazing, my parents, after all they went through, the losses that they went through, i never sensed a vindictiveness. they wanted to move on. my dad, when he died in 2002, he was 82 years old. he was always upbeat. whenever he would see me on television, they would always say the same thing, this is the revenge. this is the revenge to hiltltle and the nazis. i'm very proud of the new roots my parents planted here in america. those roots have grown. and during this visit back to buffalo and indeed throughout my life, i realized a lesson i learned from my parents. like them, i try to grab life wherever i can.
>> i love buffalo, as you saw, this was a really powerful experience for me, discovering more of my roots. i was a bit up comfortable when cnn asked me to undertake this project. i didn't know how i would react, but i'm very glad that they asked and i did it. i want to thank my wonderful team of producers who helped make it possible. linda roth, who went with me to israel and poland, david gracie, who went with me back to buffalo. my video editor, jack, my photo journalist, who helped >> rich brookes, they were all amazing, certainly among the best in the business. finally, i again want to thank my parents who struggled. they survived and wound up building a wonderful new life in the united states. i'm so grateful for what they did for me and my entire family and indeed for so many others. my mom is watching, i love you mom. i want to thank her for everything.
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as u.s. continues airstrikes to try to keep the jihadists from seizing the kurdish city. security sources say isis is still advancing and now surrounded a military base. we spoke exclusively with martin demps dempsey. tell us what happened. >> he still insists that baghdad will not fall to isis and they will keep control and he said they have a winging strategy for the long term but does admit it is hard to show the progress and airstrikes alone will not defeat isis. >> are airstrikes working? >> they are working, and they are necessary but insufficient. they are working. they have forced isil to change the way it is moving. we've affected their supply bases, we've interdicted some supply convoys.
>> but there need to be more? >> absolutely. the air strikes have never been -- >> well, wolf, we've been talking about the apache helicopters with low level flying and put eyes on the target and that helped because they were able to get these quote, unquote, tactical glimpses of what isis is capable of. take a listen. >> apache helicopters have joined the fight against isis. so at what point do you say to the president, sir, i now recommend u.s. combat forces on the ground? >> well i said a moment ago, war is discovery. and i haven't discovered that point yet. i can't foresee a circumstance where i would see the introduction of units of u.s. combat forces taking control of swaths of iraq. but i could foresee a case where the advisors -- we have 12
advisory teams there and yesterday we got permission to add advisory teams. we're going to set up three training bases where we can give this offensive capability to the iraqi security forces. i can foresee that leading to some point on the ground where i would say, mr. president, we need a forward air controller in this particular mission for this purpose. but i can't foresee a case where we should re introduce large ground combat force news iraq. but again, war is discovery. isil is a national security threat. if we get to that point, i'll make the recommendation. >> so once again, not off the table, wolf. u.s. combat forces in country. and something else interesting, he got frustrated and coy feel an intensity when i asked him about the iraqi government and he said that the years of coaching, teaching, mentoring were all wasted by the government of iraq and that government is to blame for
creating an environment in which isil could flourish. >> did he explain how isis could progress as quickly as they did? because seemingly out of nowhere, they have half of iraq and syria, the second largest city in iraq, mosul, and they stole all of this u.s. military equipment, battle tanks, armory from iraqi camps that were abandoned. >> i asked if the white house underestimate, the pentagon, the intelligence community and he told me for months in their counter terrorism meeting they've been talking about isis. back in february an intelligent said they have been keeping eyes on that threat but he blames the iraqi military that they were not able to stand up and fight
isis. >> thank you very much for coming into the situation room. kira phillips joining me. and you can follow us on twitter. tweet me at wolf blitzer. tweet the show at cnn sit room. and join us tomorrow when you can watch us live, or dvr so you don't miss a moment. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. breaking news. a second dallas nurse diagnosed with ebola and also cared for thomas eric duncan. how could she board an airplane with a fever. and the u.n. said it must be controlled or the world faces no plan. and outrage over ever changing statements from the cdc. americans asked to trust a system, so far a system that has failed. let's go "outfront."