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Five New U.S. Airstrikes Against ISIS In Iraq; Interview with Amb. Peter Westmacott; Ray Rice Appeal Happening Tonight; Obama Sends 3,000 U.S. Troops to Fight Ebola

Aired September 16, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, will American troops join the fight on the ground against ISIS, America's top general opens the door.

Plus the man kidnapped with Steven Sotloff is alive tonight and telling his story to CNN. The man with U.S. government never interviewed.

And breaking news, Ray Rice and the players union appeal his suspension. So could Ray Rice be back on the field this season? Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, five more U.S. air strikes over Iraq tonight. The new phase of the rocks, and admission to Congress, saying Americans could join the ground war against ISIS.


GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It could be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission.


BURNETT: Keep in mind, President Obama has insisted that there will be no U.S. boots on the ground so Dempsey's admission forced the administration to go into major damage control mode.


REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: He said he felt the strategy as it was being proposed and executed was failing that he would not fail to change his advice to the commander-in-chief.


BURNETT: Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT. Barbara, I mean, this question of U.S. troops on the ground is at the center of this issue for the American public and the president.

The president has defined a mission as destroying ISIS, something again and again, we've been told ground troops are required to do. The question is will they be American? Is it possible?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what General Dempsey did today, Erin, is open the door to the possibility of U.S. troops on the ground, but in a narrow role at least in his mind to help call in airstrikes and to be advisers on the ground on the front lines possibly for Iraqi forces.

But by Pentagon definitions not to engage in combat themselves. For many people this is a distinction without a difference. If you are on the frontlines doing those jobs and bullets are coming your way, it is pretty darn near combat no matter what you want to call it.

So there is a word game of semantics that's going around Washington all day forcing General Dempsey's office to put out a statement tonight again clarifying what he said, but making no substantive changes from his testimony today.

One of the things I think he did say that was so interesting is, yes, they might have to use troops in these two manners, calling in airstrikes, advising on the ground.

But he said that the president, President Obama told him Dempsey, come back to me if your advice changes, come back to me on a case by case basis. President Obama perhaps opening the door to considering the use of ground forces in some fashion -- Erin.

BURNETT: So it sounds like what you are saying, Barbara, at the moment he meant what he said, of course, in that primetime address to the nation where he was categorical about this issue. But it sounds like he wants to know what his general. If they say, you should put ground troops on the ground. At least, he is indicating to them he would consider it.

STARR: He wants to hear General Dempsey's best military advice, all of the commander's advice about what it will take to get the job done to degrade and destroy ISIS. And I will tell you that most people, including top military commanders, say air strikes will not be enough. It will take some kind of ground capability and exactly what you said a minute ago. Will it be the U.S. or the other coalition countries.

BURNETT: So far, of course, none have stepped forward. Thanks so much to you, Barbara Starr.

Joining me now, British ambassador to the United States, Sir Peter Westmacott. Ambassador, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us tonight. So far Britain has agreed to help arm Kurdish forces, support the Iraqi.

You have been supplying humanitarian aid and coordinating with the U.N., all of those things to battle ISIS. Of course, David Cameron has said this is not about British troops on the ground, which sounds like Barack Obama. But then who should put boots on the ground?

PETER WESTMACOTT, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I think at the moment what we're looking for is a strong response from the regional members of the coalition, which Secretary Kerry and others are putting together and of course, we're part of that coalition, but we have done a great number of things already.

My prime minister has made clear particularly after the last brutal beheading of David Haines that we could take whatever steps are necessary to counter the threat of ISIS. So we'll see where we go. But clearly, we're not in the business of putting troops on the ground.

BURNETT: Of course, Prime Minister Cameron has vowed to, you know, in his words hunt down those responsible for David Haines killing as you indicate. He says he is going to bring them to justice no matter how long it takes. You said no matter what it takes, but then said we're not in the business of ground troops. So is there anything off the table in the hunt for the killer of David Haines?

WESTMACOTT: Well, what we're doing in the case of the killer of David Haines and the other beheaders, if indeed it's the same person, it seems possible. We are putting a lot of resource into this. We will hunt down those responsible. We will bring him to justice.

But I can't give you any further information. The moment when the British authorities have something to say about the specifics, you will hear it.

BURNETT: A few weeks ago you were here on CNN and you said you were close at that point to identifying the terrorist in the video. Do you know who he is yet?

WESTMACOTT: We can't comment on the details at the moment. And as I said, when we have something to say, we'll say it.

BURNETT: So it has been a month since the first horrific beheading. That was James Foley, one of the Americans. When we compare the video of David Haines to those two videos, one thing that we saw in the David Haines video as our viewers can see here was a lot less geographical detail than the other videos.

It is just sand and sky, there isn't any of the differentiation that there was in the others of a village in the background. Is there a chance that you never find the executioner, even if, indeed, as you indicate, it could be the same person?

WESTMACOTT: Erin, I didn't study the videos. I heard about them, but I chose not to look at the horrible pictures. But we are putting effort into identifying the people involved and we know there are several involved. We know we have several hundred British subjects and we've been asked to hunt them down and bring them to justice.

BURNETT: And the other story, of course, which is hugely significant for Britain and frankly for the entire world when you think about what this could mean, the independence vote in Scotland. I was actually just in Scotland last month and I was up in sky.

Yes, it was a beautiful place and I will say it's split on age. The older people want to stay in the U.K. The younger people though anything but here is what they said at the pub.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scotland will not do well as an independent country.

BURNETT: Are you saying yes or no?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say yes. I think it would be stupid not to but yes, to be honest.


BURNETT: Are they crazy, Ambassador?

WESTMACOTT: I'm going to disappoint you, the reality is just a few days before a referendum, people like me that are civil servants really cannot enter the debate. I know what people say and I know there is a referendum of enormous importance to the future of my country, which is coming up.

It is up to the Scots to decide the future that they want. They will take account we hope of all the facts or the evidence and so on. You would have seen that all of the political leaders of the United Kingdom have been up in Scotland the last few days making the case.

So we are under no illusion of the importance of this referendum, but I'm not able to comment on what individuals think or don't think or should think or shouldn't think.

BURNETT: The importance though cannot be overstated in a sense. I mean, Britain could lose a third of its land mass, 90 percent of the oil production. The port, of course, for your nuclear subs, which is crucial.

And I saw one analysis that said if that goes away, that could mean the U.K. loses its seat on the Security Council. Brazil could even pass Britain in GDP per capita if Scotland were to go away. This would dramatically change even your job, wouldn't it? That all of a sudden Britain would be less powerful?

WESTMACOTT: Well, there are very big implications. You are right. This vote or referendum will be on enormous importance. I'm not sure the British government is looking to surrender its seat on the Security Council. We'll see what the outcome of the vote is and then on Friday morning, we will start looking to the future.

BURNETT: All right, well, Ambassador, thank you very much. Appreciate you are taking the time tonight.

WESTMACOTT: Thank you for having me.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, a man who was kidnapped with American journalist, Steven Sotloff. Before he was beheaded, he speaks out. The U.S. government never asked to talk to him.

Plus new audio recordings of militants luring young Americans to jihad, urging them to travel as tourists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED RECRUITER: Check this out. Come here. You don't even have to have a dime in your pocket. I will set you up with everything. I'll have people pick you up and I'll have a place for you. I'll even have a wife waiting for you.


BURNETT: You'll hear much more from those tapes next. And could Ray Rice be playing in the NFL again this season?


BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, the man kidnapped by ISIS with American Steven Sotloff is breaking his silence. He is sharing his story with us about what happened the day they were captured by a masked gunman. He remembers the last time he saw Sotloff before he was beheaded by ISIS.

Karl Penhaul is OUTFRONT right now with a report that you will only see here.


KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As he wanders through Istanbul, his mind floats back to the friend he could not save. Abu Bacca was a producer or fixer for U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff. They were kidnapped inside of Syria by ISIS gunman in August 2013. Sotloff never made it out alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was very angry at first, very, very angry. After that, I calmed down and I was very so sorry. I tried to do my best to help him. My feeling, so sad. Like I lost one brother.

PENHAUL: Abu Bacca told CNN he first met Sotloff in 2012. Sotloff had hired him for a planned three-day trip into Syria. He had a surprise gift for him when he picked him up at the Turkey-Syria border on August 4th, 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gave me a small gift of a camera and I say to him, thank you. When I turn my face to the way in the front of me, they were right on the road and they kidnapped us.

PENHAUL: They were just 20 minutes into the drive to Aleppo. Abu Bacca explained three cars were parked by the highway and about 15 gunman armed with assault rifles and leapt out when they saw them approached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the road, I was asked, who is you? What do you want? They say to me just check out.

PENHAUL: He said the gunman ordered him and Sotloff to cover their eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would hit him with the gun and say close your face. But in Arabic. I explain to, Steve, close your eyes or they will hit you. They hit me and say to me shut up. Don't talk English.

PENHAUL: And traveling, Syria was risky. So on this trip, like others in the past, he took trusted relatives and guns for protection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have security with the guns from my family and I say to them, I have papers from (INAUDIBLE) and he give me permissions to cross.

PENHAUL: Before working as a fixer, Abu Bakr (ph) said he spent a few months fighting in the ranks of the rebel (INAUDIBLE) brigade, a moderate Islamist faction. Shortly after they were snatched, Abu Bakr (ph) says the gunmen took them to a textile factory on the outskirts of Aleppo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They took us to out to floors inside building and put everybody in a room alone. After that, I hear one, he talked to Steve, he say to him give me your passport. He said to him, passport. And Steve give him the passport, for telephone, I don't know. And then after that, I didn't hear the voice of Steve.

PENHAUL: Abu Bakr (ph), his brother and cousins were held for 15 days. He did not see or hear any American or British jihadists.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who is us? I told them, I think you are ISIS. They said, yes, you are in Islamic state of (INAUDIBLE). We should be kill you because you are a spy. You work with America, with CIA and FBI. We will leave you now because you have these papers. You can go now. But if you -- if we here you are work with journalists again, we will kill you for sure.

PENHAUL: Months after his release he heard the journalist was moved from the textile factory to an industrial complex outside of Aleppo and later to the ISIS strong hold of Raqqa. Abu Bakr (ph) said he would safety with schools of other journalists before Sotloff's abduction. Reporters who knew him and when consulted by CNN say he was trustworthy. He believes a border guard may have tipped off ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They waited for me exactly. Because when they saw my car, when they saw my car come, they lead the car.

PENHAUL: After that he was freed, he says, he was never interviewed by any U.S. officials or investigators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, from the government of America, didn't anyone -- any officer, didn't contact me and ask me about that, anything about how he was kidnapped or try to take any information about my kidnappers.

PENHAUL: The rebel fighter turned fixer learned of Sotloff's execution from the video ISIS posted online September 2nd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't have to send any message to the killer. The killer is a killer. But I send a message to the world, to say it is not really true. They are a liar. And I say that to everybody, to all of the people. I say they are not Muslims. Don't (INAUDIBLE). They are enemies. PENHAUL: Away from Syria's battlefield, Abu Bark (ph) has found safe

haven for now in Turkey. But he says he can never escape the memory of a journalist who was his friend.


BURNETT: Karl, that is a riveting story and hearing him talk about his friend and what he saw, what shocks me is that the Americans may not have interviewed him. He was with Sotloff when he was kidnapped. All right, the details, he told you, 15 gunmen were there, three cars by the road, they took them to a textile factory, then he heard that they moved to later all the way to the town of Raqqa where they believed those videos may have been film the executions. He says he was never interviewed by a U.S. official. How is that possible, Karl?

PENHAUL: Absolutely incredible, isn't it Erin? It seems to be the basic building block of any investigation that you would talk to eyewitnesses who saw it or were somehow involved. And I believe this man, as he's been telling us today, could have given the FBI or any other security agencies valuable information on how they were taken, who took them, where they were taken to, the kind of conditions they were being held in, at a time when that information could still have been useful to try to help get them out.

Now of course these revelations from Yousef Abu Bakr (ph) come at a time when we know that Steven Sotloff's family and also James Foley's family say that they weren't very happy at the way the U.S. government has handled the investigation. They handled it just to free their sons. And this will only adds to it. Now today, we heard from the FBI saying they that will not disclose investigative details and that is just one more way along with the media blackout that surrounded this case of closing us down, of ensuring they are not being held publicly accountable for their actions and efforts in this case, Erin.

BURNETT: Certainly not being held publicly accountable. But it tell, of course, reporting like that incredible reporting that you've done here, Karl. Now, you also say it in here that he says that when they were kidnapped, there were no American or British terrorists, at least he said, at that time. Obviously, the voice in the execution video has -- everyone said that is someone of British accent, perhaps from south London. What did he have to say about that?

PENHAUL: Yes, what he said, Abu Bakr (ph) said was that the 15 gunmen who kidnapped them in the first place were dressed in black. They were also masked, heavily armed. He said that he believes that all of those 15 were Syrians because of their accents. He said when they were taken to the textile factory that served as the temporary jail, there he was aware that the jailers were different origins, different foreign fighters. He said some were Libyans, some were Tunisians (ph), some were Algerians, ands and some were Moroccans (ph). But categorically that he was not aware of any European jihadis being present at that particular jail at that time, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Karl Penhaul, thank you very much.

And also breaking tonight, we have obtained tapes of American terrorists recruiting friends in the United States to join terror groups like ISIS. We hear the voice of a Boston man whose friend is now wanting by the FBI for ties to ISIS. He is lured by a fellow American to fight jihad overseas. They promise him a good life and everything taken care of, even they offer a wife. And when you hear these conversations, you are going to be amazed at how casual they are. How they just sound so much like conversations you may hear every day and that is what is so shocking. Deborah Feyerick is OUTFRONT with the audio.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to jihad and recruitment, the conversation between two American, one in Boston and one in Somalia, is as relevant today as it was eight years ago when it was initially recorded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come with Ahmed, come with Daniel, come with everybody, come now though.

FEYERICK: And American in Somalia aggressively trying to recruit Boston grass student (INAUDIBLE) in 2006, referring to him as brother or Akhi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you, Akhi, this is the life man. There is no other life except for this. It is 100 percent, Akhi. It is more than you think it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, I just want to be somewhere where I can pray five times a day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Akhi, pray five days a day. Do you know where I am, you can't even smoke cigarettes. It is illegal.

FEYERICK: The hard cell is laced with religious words and ideas intended to reel in the potential recruit.

What we are hearing so far, does this sound like the same kind of message that are being put out by recruiters today?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: This is the exactly the same message that ISIS recruiters over social media, other forms are putting out today. You have to join, it is your religious duty.

FEYERICK: The friend turned recruiter makes it clear everything will be arranged once (INAUDIBLE) lands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check this out. Come here. You don't even have to have a dime in your pocket. I will set you up with everything. I'll have people pick you up, a place to give you stay and heck, if you want, I can have a wife waiting for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is what I want. That is what I'm there for.

FEYERICK: The recruiter refocuses (INAUDIBLE) back on jihad, referring to fighting as making sandwiches. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. But you know what the truth is, once you see

the brothers, you are not going to get married. You are going to want to like just make sandwich all day and hang out with us.

FEYERICK: And getting there is easy, promises the recruiter. Travel first to Dubai, meet a handler, then buy a ticket to Somalia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't make your flight until you get to Dubai because they're -- once you get to Dubai --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then arrange it from there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call me. Yes. We are also going to set you up with some people so you got somewhat of a visa. There is really no such thing as a visa.

FEYERICK: The eager recruiter is being coached by another American from Alabama named Omar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was that Omar? You're coming as a tourist, so bring tourist clothes and money to buy stuff. But don't bring anything huge. Don't bring anything too small. You are tourist.

FEYERICK: Federal officials say Omar Hamami is an al-Shabaab operative in key propagandas for the Somali terror group, killed in action in 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said you should make your intention now and know that you get your jar even if you were to die along the way. But I'm telling you Akhi, I'm talking about, like if you can leave tomorrow, do it.

CRUICKSHANK: Often the dream turned to nightmare. The reality there is this brutal civil war where you have different Islamist factions killing each other, allure them become disillusioned.

CRUICKSHANK: In the end, (INAUDIBLE) was convicted on terror charges. The recruiter returned to the United States and testified against Mahana (ph) at trial and then officials say he allegedly turned his life around.

Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Chilling audio tape.

Well OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a manhunt under way for armed and dangerous suspect wanted in the killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper.

And Ray Rice appealed. The players association said his punishment amounts to double jeopardy. So will Ray Rice be playing again this year?

And 3,000 U.S. troops deployed to fight Ebola. Is it really as big of a threat to the U.S. as ISIS?


BURNETT: Breaking news, a manhunt under way right now in Pennsylvania for a man police say is armed and extremely dangerous. He is 31-year- old Eric Matthew Frein on the run. And officials say he ambushed a police barracks, killing a Pennsylvania state trooper, injuring another on Friday, in an ambush as I said.

Officials say Frein has survivalist skills and has made statements about wanting to kill law enforcement officials and commit mass murder. He's on the run tonight.

Jason Carroll is on the ground in Hawley, Pennsylvania.

Jason, obviously, what he has threatened to do, what he has already done, they are on this manhunt. What do you know now?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, police out here are saying, Erin, that this is a man, Eric Frein, who had a grudge against law enforcement and what he did was he took his anger out against these two state troopers. One identified as Byron Dickson, this was the young man who was killed. Another, Alex Douglass, he was badly injured during the shooting. We're told he came out of surgery on Monday and he is doing better. Now, that manhunt is on for 31-year- old Eric Frein.

Some interesting information about what investigators were able to find. They actually found his Jeep over the weekend and some chilling things they found inside that Jeep, Erin, including camouflage face paint, military gear. They also and spent casings.

What's even more interesting is what they were able to find at his home where he lived with his mother and his father. His father telling police that two guns were missing, an AK-47 and also a rifle. And here's what else is what's interesting is what they found inside the suspect's bedroom, a book titled "Sniper Training and Employment".

His father also telling police that his son very well-trained and, in fact, was in the gun club when he was in high school. He said in describing his son, when his son fires, quote, "He never misses."

So you can imagine while there is a great deal of concern, why this man who has survivalist skills, who is armed and considered dangerous is somewhere in this wooded area -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Jason Carol, in that urgent situation going on in Pennsylvania.

We'll be checking back in with Jason as he gets more information.

Tonight, the National Players Association says it will appeal Ray Rice's indefinite suspension by the NFL. When we spoke exclusively to the president of the association yesterday, he told me the organization has an obligation to defend its members and he was clear that in his view, Rice has been disciplined multiple times by the NFL commissioner. He said that's a double jeopardy of sorts, and therefore, Ray Rice should be able to play again. After all, the first punishment was two-game suspension.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT with more and why the association feels it has a case against the league and Roger Goodell.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rice's appeal will focus not on a punch to his then-fiancee Janay Palmer, but on what Rice told Roger Goodell on June 16 during a meeting at NFL headquarters in New York.

Goodell says Rice misled him about the severity of what happened in that Atlantic City casino last February.

ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: The description of what happened was not consistent with what the videotape was.

When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.

MARQUEZ: In the letter officially suspending Rice, Goodell makes clear, it wasn't what's happened in the elevator that forced his hand, it was Rice's recounting of the story that didn't match reality. In the letter obtained by ESPN, Goodell wrote, this video shows a starkly different sequence of events from what you and your representatives stated when we met on June 16th.

Ray Rice's team is expected to argue that the three-time pro-bowler told the truth all along and Goodell only upped the punishment when the second video caused a public outcry. ESPN reported four sources said Rice told Goodell in that June 16 meeting that he punched or hit Janay in the elevator.

On the day Rice was terminated from the Ravens, its coach John Harbaugh suggested his star running back did not mislead him.

REPORTER: John, did he misled you -- were you misled in any way and you stood up here and defended the guy, and now you see the video and make this decision?

JOHN HARBAUGH, RAVENS HEAD COACH: You know, I don't want to get into all of that. I don't think it that way. You know, everything I said in terms of what I believe, I stand behind.

MARQUEZ: One person definitely feeling misled and apparently angry, Rihanna who has her own history as a victim of domestic violence.


MARQUEZ: A new glitzier version of her video "Run This Town" meant to play a starring role in all CBS Thursday night openers was yanked last week. Today, she took to Twitter writing, "CBS, you pulled my song last week and now you want to slide it back in this Thursday. No. (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you. Y'all are sad for panelizing me for this." CBS, which had planned to use Rihanna's video this week quickly responded and saying the network will be moving in a different direction for a game opener.


MARQUEZ: Now, once that letter is received by the NFL from Mr. Rice, it will kick off a process where we could see Roger Goodell himself testifying during hearings or discusses as they get to the bottom of whether or not Ray Rice will play again this season or play again ever. Another problem for the NFL, Anheuser-Busch today -- this is a sponsor in the last six years, spent $1.2 billion in advertising for the NFL, says it's increasingly concerned with the problems the NFL is experiencing -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you.

Now, I want to bring in a former NFL player Reggie Rivers, longtime NFL sideline reporter and entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner, and host of CNN's "UNGUARDED", Rachel Nichols.

So, Reggie, let me start with you. Will Ray Rice play again this year?

REGGIE RIVERS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: You know, I think there is a good chance he will play again this year. I don't think he deserves to play again. I think he should be suspended for the entire season.

But the way the NFL has handled this case, it's not very thoughtful. They didn't have a policy in place before this happened. They didn't -- when they gave him the two-game suspension, it was kind of just shooting from the hip, saying well, we're going to suspend you for two games, and then there is public outcry against that and they shot from the hip again and say, six games should have been the suspension.

And then the other video comes out and now, they gave him an indefinite suspension. I think they have mismanaged this to the point that Ray Rice has a chance to come back and play when he never should have been.

BURNETT: What do you think, Nischelle?

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think that his suspension maybe reduced. Whether he will play again this year, I think that's another story. I'm not sure if anyone will take a chance on him at least this year.

Now, next year, maybe a team will take a chance on him and say, let's bring him in and give him a second chance. But this year, I think everyone will stay away.

BURNETT: All right. So, it's been seven days since Roger Goodell, Rachel, sat down with an interview. He did an interview with CBS News. He hasn't spoken about the domestic violence cases since.

Should he be speaking more? Should he be speaking from the heart about the situation?

RACHEL NICHOLS, HOST, "UNGUARDED": Well, there's certainly a lot of people who would like to hear from him. I certainly would, especially since this Adrian Peterson has come to light. This is another domestic situation. It's a complicated one.

And you have now Radisson Hotels that actually dropped its sponsorship with the Vikings, that it was going to suspend it for a while. They don't want to be involved with them. You had not only Anheuser-Busch that Miguel mentioned, but Visa come out today and condemned the NFL, saying they are not satisfied with what is going on so far. I think they are speaking because a lot of their constituents, a lot of their consumers are speaking, saying they need more from the league right now.

This Peterson case has caused a lot of people to be very upset. We've seen the pictures of this four-year-old boy with open cuts, bruises. There was allegations from one of the mothers of one of his other children, that Child Services investigated, they decided not to bring any charges against him, but the fact there was an investigation had certainly gotten a lot of people concerned and not only did all of those groups weigh in, but the governor of Minnesota and also Senator Al Franken from Minnesota spoke up today and said, we think that the Vikings should bench Adrian Peterson, and they would like to hear from the league now.

BURNETT: And the league, I mean, you know, Reggie, here's the statement from Anheuser Busch, $1.2 billion as Miguel said they have spent in advertising. When you have a company like that speak out, then the NFL has to listen. They may not care about the stuff going on on TV, they care about Anheuser-Busch.

Anheuser-Busch's statement, "We are not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league."

What do you think the expectations are?

RIVERS: Well, I think among those expectations, there is a veiled threat there that I think Roger Goodell is in his last days. I think Anheuser-Busch, speaking up, the biggest of the sponsors, more and more sponsors are going to start speaking up after Anheuser-Busch has and I think that now, Anheuser-Busch, they're not going to stop sponsoring the NFL, there is too much money to be made there.

But I think they're going to put pressure to say, listen, owners, you want to make money, we want to make money, Roger Goodell is harming --

NICHOLS: Wishful thinking.

RIVERS: -- you got to get rid of him.

NICHOLS: Wishful thinking, I got to disagree with you there. I just don't think that we are going to see the end of Roger Goodell. We have seen statement after statement of support for him from NFL owners just in the past few days. And, you know, remember, Anheuser-Busch might be $1.2 billion, but there's other rolls of money coming into the league, TV money, all kinds of money.

Anheuser-Busch didn't pull its sponsorship, by the way. They sent a strongly worded letter which is a lot different.

So, I think this will make owners listen because nothing talks like money. I do not see a direct correlation between this statement and Roger Goodell walking out the door.

I do think, though, that the public voice has been heard here both in terms of the sponsors and in terms of the league. We saw teams deactivate players over the past weekend even after they first said they wouldn't. So, we'll have to see if it has an effect again this weekend.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to all.

And OUTFRONT next, 3,000 American troops are headed right now to fight Ebola. That is more than fighting ISIS. Is it America's biggest security threat right now?

And my interview with the co-founder of PayPal. He's going to come on to talk about what he thinks is the next $100 billion company and whether you should buy Alibaba.


BURNETT: Tonight, the money and power of space. Today, NASA announced Boeing and Space X will receive a combined $6.8 billion so that astronauts can go to and from the International Space Station. It's sort of a taxi service.

Well, anyway, it's quite a feat for SpaceX, a company which was founded only about 12 years ago. One person not surprised by the company's success is investor Peter Thiel. He and SpaceX founder Elon Musk go way back. They founded someone who started PayPal.

Thiel is also known for being the first outside investor in Facebook and has investments in Lyft, ZocDoc and Airbnb. His book "Zero to One" hit shelves today.

All right. So, there's a lot to talk about. But let me start off with you on the SpaceX situation. How big of a victory is this for that company?

PETER THIEL, AUTHOR, "ZERO TO ONE": Well, it's an incredible victory because it means that they have finally gotten one of really the large NASA contracts for man travel and it is coming back to the U.S. from Russia. So, it's both a great day for the United States but also a very important day for SpaceX.

BURNETT: So, it's a taxi to and from the International Space Station.

THIEL: Yes. BURNETT: But now this is in a private company hands, are we going to be able to dream bigger? I mean, Mars. I mean, is this now what we're looking at?

THIEL: SpaceX is continuing to innovate in rockets. You know, they figuring out ways to make rockets that are reusable and one of the things what makes rockets so extensive is if you lose them every time you fly them. If you threw away a plane after every flight, air travel will be kind of expensive.

BURNETT: Interesting point.

THIEL: So, they're figuring out a way to make rockets reusable. You can probably cut the cost by two-thirds to 80 percent.

BURNETT: Wow. That's a pretty incredible statistic. And so, the company talked about right now is Alibaba, set to be the biggest IPO in world history. They are now -- I mean, every day, it seems like it cost more and more to buy a share when it is set to debut this Friday. Now up to $66 a share.

You are the kind of guy who gets in years before something would ever start trading publicly. But what do you think about Alibaba? Would you buy it at 66 to 68 bucks a share?

THIEL: I would not, although I think it's probably going to go up some. It's going to price in such a way that gets some sort of a pop. I think that the -- I do think the Chinese internet has been largely off-limits to Western investors. It is fire walled off.

If you look at the world from a perspective of company like Facebook or Google, places like Saudi Arabia and Iran are way more tolerant than China. You can get on Facebook in Saudi Arabia --

BURNETT: That's true. That's true.

THIEL: And cannot in China.

So, China is sort of this very weird category of its own. Alibaba is this protected Chinese company. It will do well. But it's fundamentally a political entity that somehow very deeply connected to the Chinese government.

BURNETT: So, you believe in the big picture. But the sort of that price -- they price it to get a little bit of a pop. But that's not you're going to get a huge return on that?

THIEL: You'll get a pop and you'll do well if you continue to stay in the good graces of the Chinese government. But it's a fundamentally a political investment.

BURNETT: So, as someone with millions of dollars and cofounded PayPal, you involved in SpaceX, and Palantir, Facebook. You've gotten a lot of things right. Where are you putting money right now?

THIEL: Well, I'm continuing to invest very heavily in the next generation of technology companies. We're big investors in Airbnb, which I think, if you held a gun to my head and said what's going to be the next $100 billion consumer Internet company, I would say it will Airbnb.

We are looking at things outside the computer sectors. We're looking at biotech. We're looking at some of these hard science things which have been very under-funded for years. But there are --

BURNETT: But Airbnb, $100 billion, you think that is the next big thing?

THIEL: I think it will be the next $100 billion company out of Silicon Valley.

BURNETT: All right. Peter Thiel, thank you so much.

THIEL: Erin, thanks for having me.

BURNETT: Airbnb, the next $100 billion company.

Well, 3,000 Americans right now are going to go fight Ebola. That's more than fighting ISIS. Is Ebola a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS?


BURNETT: A powerful warning today from American Ebola survivor Kent Brantly.


DR. KENT BRANTLY, EBOLA SURVIVOR: It is a fire. It is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast mode of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire.


BURNETT: Brantly also met privately with President Obama at the White House, a meeting that showed the world that it is safe to interact with Ebola survivors.

President Obama announced he is sending 3,000 American troops to the hot zone, more than currently deployed to fight ISIS. U.S. officials are worried that the virus could mutate into a more dangerous form that could be transmitted to the air. The United States has faced an Ebola crisis before.

Athena Jones has our report.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president has declared a war of sorts on a lethal enemy.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world is looking to us, the United States. And it's the responsibility that we embrace.

JONES: Strengthening the U.S. commitment to fight a virus that's spreading faster than it can be contained, part of an attempt to keep it out of the United States.

It's not the first time there have been concerns about Ebola coming here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A mutated strain of the killer virus struck a research facility outside of Washington, D.C.

JONES: In 1989, an airborne strain of the virus quickly spread through monkeys at the Hazelton research facility in Reston, Virginia, creating fear and panic outside the nation's capital.

Richard Preston chronicled the outbreak in his best seller "The Hot Zone".

RICHARD PRESTON, AUTHOR, "THE HOT ZONE": The monkeys were dying with nose bleeds, there was blood all over the place. And it was clearly a highly potentially infected environment loaded with Ebola virus.

JONES: Dr. Jerry Jaax was in charge of the Reston facility when the outbreak occurred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had one event where the monkey got loose in one of our rooms. The monkey didn't want to get caught, he was smart about it. We had a hard time catching him.

JONES: In the end, the particular sub species of Ebola species dubbed the Reston strain, proved fatal only to the monkeys. But that didn't stop the fear that an outbreak could happen here, like the one depicted in the movie "Outbreak".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If one of them has it threaten of them have it now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't stop it.

JONES: The threat of Ebola spreading in the U.S. may have been low but the concern about an epidemic was real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most optimistic projection for the spread of the virus is this: 24 hours, 36 hours, 48 hours.

JONES: Professor David Heymann helped to investigate the first Ebola outbreak in Africa in 1976.

PROFESSOR DAVID HEYMANN, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE: Ebola is a disease which is fairly easy controlled but at the same time it's a disease which is very terrifying to people and which causes great human suffering and death.

JONES: This time around, the first confirmed case of Ebola was in Guinea, in March of this year. Within a week, it spread to Liberia. Neighboring Sierra Leone reported their first case in May. Despite efforts to contain the virus, it spread to Nigeria. And now, Senegal is seeing signs of an outbreak.

PRESTON: The problem is really a problem with countries that just simply don't have the resources to fight Ebola. They need help from the outside. Because if by chance you know, the outbreak were to really get bad, then it could, you know, it could threaten the United States.

JONES: With some 10,000 people expected to fly from Ebola-stricken countries to the U.S. over the next few months, the medical community is on high alert for potential cases stateside.

Athena Jones, CNN, Washington.


BURNETT: Pretty incredible to contemplate the risks that this country is facing. Of course, as they said at this point they believe it is easy to contain in the U.S.

We'll be right back.


BURNETT: Thanks so much for watching. We'll see you back here tomorrow night, same time.

"ANDERSON COOPER 360" begins now.