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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf; ISIS Threat; White House Security Breach; Police: 800 Rounds of Ammo in Intruder's Car; Mystery Deepens as Missing Afghans Found; Obama's Challenges At The United Nations
Aired September 22, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now: bringing the fight to ISIS.
President Obama could order U.S. airstrikes in Syria at any moment as he gets ready to personally push world leaders to join the newest war against terror.
Plus, shocking new details about the man who jumped the fence at the White House and actually made it inside the White House. What was he planning to do with more than 800 rounds of ammunition?
And stand by to hear the actress Emma Watson. I was there when the start of the "Harry Potter" movies delivered a passionate speech about feminism right here at the United Nations. You will get a taste of why her remarks have now gone viral around the world.
And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and indeed around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer at the United Nations. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Right now, the world's most powerful leaders are gathering here at the United Nations. They're facing new and deadly threats from ISIS. For the first time, a senior leader of the terror group is now directly calling for supporters to independently carry out attacks inside the United States and other Western nations that are taking military action against ISIS.
The U.S.-led war is expanding right now. Four new airstrikes were launched against ISIS in Iraq today. And for the first time, U.S. strikes inside Syria could be launched at any time. We have our correspondents, our analysts, our newsmakers, they are all standing by with new information on the ISIS threat and the response here in the United States and around the world.
Let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She has the very latest -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, everything is in place.
The United States may be headed towards a bombing campaign inside Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STARR (voice-over): A new crop of young ISIS fighters training in Raqqa, their stronghold in Northern Syria. As they practice firing weapons to join the fight, the fight may be about to come to them. The Pentagon has been signaling for days.
CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: General Dempsey and I have both approved and spent considerable time reviewing and adapting the CENTCOM plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready to go.
STARR: ISIS' latest assault in northern Syria accelerating the crisis; 130,000 Syrians have escaped the ISIS advance, and fled across the border into Turkey, according to the U.N. The majority of airstrikes are most likely to be carried out by manned aircraft. Planes could launch from bases in the Middle East or the aircraft carrier George W. Bush currently in the Arabian Gulf.
U.S. commanders believe they can evade anti-aircraft weapons in the area. Officials say, importantly, they are getting other nations in the region to join the bombing campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are not having problems getting countries to commit.
STARR: President Obama still has to give a final order before U.S. warplanes fly against ISIS targets in Syria. When and if they do, the bombing may start in Raqqa, trying to stop ISIS' ability to plan future operations.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: For starters, they're going to try to go after command-and-control targets, basically leadership targets and the ability of the leadership to disseminate orders to the lower echelon elements of ISIS.
STARR: U.S. warplanes also will try to stop ISIS in its current positions.
LEIGHTON: I would go after training camps because where there's the young fighters are being trained, also where there's a huge concentration, at least potentially a huge concentration, of ISIS fighters.
STARR: And, Wolf, you know, this campaign could start really at any minute. One of the big issues is ISIS remains very much on the move, trying to hide from the possibility of U.S. airstrikes. But U.S. officials say they believe even if ISIS moves into civilian areas, they will be able to go after those targets -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, we will see when the president decides. We know the Pentagon has been working on all sorts of target lists, ISIS target lists inside Syria, not only in Iraq.
The president is getting ready to address the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning. The ISIS threat will certainly be a critical part of his address.
Our global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott, is here with me over at the United Nations.
He's got a number of challenges, Elise, on his agenda.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, and ISIS is certainly going to dominate the agenda. The president will be making his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly and then on Wednesday hosting all of the world leaders for a summit of stopping the flow of foreign fighters.
But Ebola really taking up another big issue here. The United Nations really ramping up its involvement. The Obama administration prepared to ramp up its involvement in Ebola. And I think the Obama administration really wants to elevate this, get the whole world rallying around what the World Health Organization and the CDC here in the U.S. call a real global threat.
And then there's climate change, really kind of exploded this year. You have this U.N. climate summit a lot of leaders addressing. But you saw on Sunday hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating on the streets against their leaders who they say are not doing enough to combat climate change. The Obama administration I think really wants to elevate this issue, make some of the worst offenders stay true to their commitments on climate change.
And lastly, Wolf, the Iran talks. You know, they're really in the homestretch. The November deadline is coming up. A little bit of pessimism. These rounds I'm told have been very difficult. It's unclear whether there will be a deal. Iran is really holding out and it's unclear whether they could be holding out, trying to hope the international community wants their help on ISIS.
We will have to see. Secretary Kerry met with Foreign Minister Zarif. They did talk about the ISIS issue, but, clearly, that Iran nuclear deal is really in the forefront of the administration's goals for the next couple of months, Wolf.
BLITZER: As you know, Elise, the U.S. has been launching airstrikes for weeks now against ISIS targets in Iraq. France is doing the same thing.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador the U.N., she said over the weekend that if the U.S. does launch airstrikes against targets in Syria, the U.S. won't be alone. Is France, any other country indicating they're ready to do same thing?
LABOTT: Some nations have said they would take part. Australia,for instance, said they would take part.
There are Arab nations who also said they would commit planes. We're talking about some nations in the Gulf, Jordan, for instance. But the truth of the matter is, Wolf, the United States really does not want a lot of countries. The U.S. military feels that that could muddy the waters. They want to be in the lead here. Of course, they want some symbolic involvement, but what I'm hearing here on the streets of New York and from Arab own diplomats is that the Arabs are going to contribute to this coalition.
The United States is a close ally and they do feel that ISIS is a threat. But they are concerned. They want to see a more larger vision for the region in combating extremism. Today, there was a very big meeting on Libya. Islamic extremists really have control of that country. So the question is for these Arabs, will the United States -- yes, ISIS is the big threat, but will they give a larger vision for the region? That's what they're going to be looking for from President Obama this week, Wolf.
BLITZER: He speaks before the General Assembly Wednesday morning. All right, Elise, thank you very much.
As the United States and allies go after ISIS in the Middle East, the terror group is ratcheting up the threat to Americans. We have more now on the new call for attacks inside this country and other western nations.
Brian Todd is joining us. He has this part of the story -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, U.S. officials telling us of their increasing concern over the ISIS threat to the American homeland.
One official saying ISIS is "pursuing its own violent and nihilistic goals." Another saying ISIS is ripping a page from the playbook of other terrorist groups and calling for lone wolf attacks.
TODD (voice-over): These are the fighters ISIS is preparing to be stone cold killers featured in a new training camp video. And tonight, a new audiotape threatening attacks on the U.S. homeland is drawing a strong response from Washington.
A U.S. official tells CNN law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are working with foreign partners to thwart this threat, a threat made by a senior ISIS leader who, for the first time, specifically calls for lone wolf attacks inside Western countries.
"Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases, raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter blow up their homes."
(on camera): Could this audiotape activate someone who is in ISIS or even a sympathizer inside the U.S. to conduct a lone wolf attack?
KATHERINE ZIMMERMAN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It certainly could. Al Qaeda has tried it before and keeps pushing that message for individuals within the United States and within European countries to simply act out. The Islamic State could be trying to do the same thing. TODD (voice-over): The ISIS leader also specifically -- U.S. allies
attacks on France and Australia. Just days ago, Australian authorities say they disrupted just such an attack in Sydney. In the new training video, ISIS is refining its military tactics and shows it's able to attract more Westerners.
STEVE BUCCI, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: They see this as a serious organization that really wants to fight, NOT just talk about it, to be a warrior, and this is part and parcel of making that transition from being a civilian to being a warrior in the minds of these recruits.
TODD: This is one man who could be drawing them in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flames of war are only beginning to intensify.
TODD: U.S. intelligence officials now say this man, seen in a recent video apparently executing Syrians could be an American. Voice analysis is under way. And officials tell us they're concerned this could be the first time they're seeing an American in position of apparent authority inside ISIS.
Further evidence of Westerners getting recruited to join jihads in Syria? This video showing ISIS fighters from Britain.
TODD: Now, tonight, just hours of that ISIS spokesman called on foreign fighters to carry out attacks inside the U.S., a senior Obama administration official warned that the international community is not prepared to respond to such calls, the official saying -- quote -- "We're not structured that way effectively right now," Wolf, kind of a chilling message.
BLITZER: Brian, what is the latest we know tonight about ISIS capabilities to strike inside the United States vs. European and other Western countries?
TODD: Tonight, we heard from a senior administration official, Wolf, who told Jim Acosta -- said they're not aware of any ISIS fighters who are back on U.S. soil.
Now, recently ,we have heard from U.S. intelligence officials who said they have indications that ISIS has cells in Europe, but they have no indications of ISIS cells inside the U.S., but you better believe they're watching for them, especially now.
BLITZER: They certainly are. We just spoke to the homeland security secretary, Jeh Johnson, here in THE SITUATION ROOM in the last hour. Clearly, he's very, very concerned about this potential threat. Brian, thank you very much.
Let's dig a little deeper here at the United Nations right now.
Joining us, the State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.
Marie, thanks very much for coming in. MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: Happy to be here.
BLITZER: What is your reaction to the latest ISIS threat calling for these lone wolves, if you will, here in the United States to attack and kill Americans?
HARF: We know ISIS is trying to threaten us, and we have seen them do this before.
We have always said what we're most concerned about are Americans or other Westerners who have passports who could travel back to Europe or to the United States. We are very focused on it. I agree with what the previous segment said. We are not aware of active plots in the U.S. We're not aware of sleeper cells or even people who have gone to the fight and returned.
But we are very focused on people who may want to. And that's what all of us are working on together.
BLITZER: The president will be here, President Obama, Wednesday morning. He will address the General Assembly. Then he's going to convene I take it Wednesday afternoon a special session of the United Nations Security Council. The U.S. is the president of the Security Council this month, seeking a resolution.
What does he want in that resolution?
HARF: Well, we're focused on the foreign fighter issue, which is what is going to be the crux of a session that he's pulling together at the General Assembly this week in the Security Council -- as you mentioned, we're the president of that council right now -- we know the foreign fighter challenge with ISIL is an incredibly serious one.
We have to figure out ways to increasingly cut off the ways foreign fighters are able to go to Iraq and to Syria. That's working with other countries in the region. We have to talk about how we can combat the threat that they pose coming back to their home countries. We will sit in the Security Council chambers and have a conversation with other countries about how we can all do that.
BLITZER: Have you received any indication from Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, whether they will vote with the U.S., abstain or veto?
HARF: We know Russia is very focused on the ISIL threat. And they do see that it's a threat to the region's security and stability. Obviously, it's something we talk about with them and other partners on the Security Council as well.
BLITZER: Here's a worrying development. Tell me if you're worried about this. The U.S. has launched nearly 200 airstrikes against ISIS targets inside Iraq over these past few weeks, but ISIS is still moving in, taking over villages, towns closer and closer to Baghdad. Here's the question. What is going on?
HARF: The president said this is going to be a long fight. And he's absolutely right.
You have seen a sustained air campaign against ISIL inside Iraq. The president has been clear that in going after this group, we will not be restricted by territorial borders. And we will go after them wherever they threaten us. And he reserves that right to act. So we have made some progress. I think the ISIL fighters on the other end of those American bombs in Iraq very much feel like we have made progress against them, but this is long fight.
And at the end of the day, it's not an American military solution. It's really training up the forces on the ground, the Iraqi forces to push ISIL back permanently, take their territory back and hold it.
BLITZER: I'm still a little confused on the Iranian role right now. The secretary of state, your boss, John Kerry, he has met with Iranians with here in New York. Has he asked for their cooperation, their coordination?
HARF: Not at all. We will not be cooperating or coordinating action against ISIL with Iran, period. Our position on that hasn't changed.
The secretary did meet with the Foreign Minister Zarif last night in New York and they talked primarily about the nuclear negotiations, which, as you know, are a huge focus of this week, but also about the threat from ISIL. We know Iran sees them as a threat. There are things and steps that they can do, steps Iran can take to fight ISIL. But we are not going to be coordinating action...
BLITZER: Because the Iranians say the U.S. has asked for that cooperation and they say they have rejected the U.S. request because of U.S. policies and all sort of other issues, specifically going against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.
HARF: Well, we hear a lot of things said in the press, some of which are more accurate than others.
But we won't be coordinating military action with them. That's not something we're looking to do. it's not something we have looked to do. That's not just what is on our agenda. But we are open to having the conversation with them. If they will take steps to support the Iraqi government, the Iraqi security forces, they can certainly play a role in doing that. We're just not going to do it together.
BLITZER: Rouhani, the new president of Iran, he has been there for a while now, is he coming to New York? Is he going to be here?
HARF: Yes, my understanding he is, yes.
BLITZER: All right, will the president of the United States meet with him?
HARF: The president of the United States is always open to meeting people. There's nothing on the schedule at this point. But we will see what happens over the next few days. BLITZER: You think there will at least be a phone call, as it was the
HARF: I have no predictions to make for you on that.
I think it is actually interesting though to remember it was only a year ago when, for the first time in decades, the American secretary of state met in person with the Iranian foreign minister. There was this historic phone call with our presidents. Since then, we have put a nuclear deal in place that's halted their program and hasn't moved forward.
We're trying to see if we can get a comprehensive agreement today. We have actually made, if you think about it, quite a bit of progress since we were all here last year at the same time.
BLITZER: Do you think there's going to be a deal by the deadline, which is the end of November, that will eliminate, remove Iran as a potential nuclear power?
HARF: We're focused on seeing if we can do. We only have two goals here, ensuring that Iran is not allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon and that their program is for entirely peaceful purposes.
There are things that they can do to prove that through verifiable, credible steps to show the world they are not going to get a nuclear weapon. They need to take those steps. And it's what we're all here talking about this week.
BLITZER: The other big issue is getting other international partners to actually do more than lip service, but get involved militarily. How are you doing, for example, with Saudi Arabian, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, for that matter, Turkey, which isn't an Arab country, but it's certainly a Muslim country? Are those countries ready to get involved militarily or just talk?
HARF: When it comes to the fight against ISIL, we have over 50 countries who want to be part of this coalition in some way. Most of that is not militarily, but some of it is.
The secretary has had conversations with our Arab partners in the region. We have European partners who have said very openly they would support taking military action with their own resources. So we have other people who are standing up next to us to take that action. I think you will see each of these countries in their own time come out and publicly say what they're prepared to do and what they're going to do.
BLITZER: Now those Turkish diplomats have been freed by ISIS. I don't know why they were freed, but they were freed. I don't know what kind of deal they made. Do you expect Turkey, a NATO ally, to allow the United States to use air bases in Turkey to launch airstrikes against ISIS?
HARF: Well, each country, including Turkey, I think will make its own decisions about what role it wants to play in the coalition. They're a very close counterterrorism partner and NATO ally.
They know what a serious threat ISIL is, so what that support looks like, I think we will keep talking to the Turks about. As they have announcements to make going forward, I think they will make them.
BLITZER: You don't have a commitment yet from Turkey to cooperate?
HARF: We're talking to them about how they can play a role. I don't have more details to share at this point, but suffice to say, they are a very close counterterrorism partner.
They know, for example, when it comes to foreign fighters, they have more work to do in cutting off what has been a place for fighters to get to ISIL in Iraq and Syria. They're focused on that right now.
BLITZER: Do you have a commitment from Qatar to stop allowing individuals in Qatar to give money to ISIS?
HARF: I think we have seen countries like Qatar and other Gulf states cut down on the financing from private citizens that's come from their countries, to the point where now most of Iran -- or -- excuse me -- most of ISIL's funding comes from kidnapping for ransom, comes from petty theft and bank robberies. It actually doesn't come from private citizens overseas. And I think that's because some of these Gulf states have realized they need to do more and they have done more.
BLITZER: Marie Harf is the deputy spokeswoman at the State Department. Marie, thanks for joining us.
HARF: Thank you so much for having me.
BLITZER: Still ahead, we have new details of the White House intruder, including the disturbing discovery police made in his car.
Plus, new developments in the case of three Afghan military officers who disappeared from an American mall.
BLITZER: We're learning some disturbing new details about the knife- wielding man who jumped a White House fence and actually made it inside the executive mansion. That frightening incident is raising very serious questions about the president's security.
Our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us now with the you have latest -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the White House is awaiting an internal review of Secret Service procedures after last Friday's security lapse over here at the White House.
But in the meantime, it is very clear what's happening in terms of changes that are making place here. For example, they're going to start locking the front door.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA (voice-over): Investigators say they found 800 rounds of ammunition inside the car of alleged White House intruder 42-year-old Omar Gonzalez Friday night. In less than 20 seconds, Gonzalez jumped the fence that runs along Pennsylvania Avenue and raced inside the North Portico entrance to the White House. He was armed with a small knife.
Relatives say he's an Iraq war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder. In court, prosecutors said Gonzalez has had run-ins with law enforcement before. In July, he was arrested by police in Virginia with a sniper rifle and a map circling the White House. In August, he was stopped walking around the White House with a hatchet.
Gonzalez entered the White House roughly five minutes after the president and the first family left for Camp David.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The government, private sector can all work together.
ACOSTA: In the Oval Office, meeting with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the president says he still has confidence in the people protecting him.
OBAMA: Secret Service does a great job. I'm grateful for the sacrifices they make on my behalf and on my family's behalf.
All right? Thank you very much, everybody.
ACOSTA: Still, in light of the critical security lapse, the president received updates on the status of the investigation over the weekend.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His family lives in the White House. And so he's obviously concerned by the incident that occurred on Friday evening.
ACOSTA: Some key questions at the heart of the internal Secret Service review, where were the trained security dogs in the White House canine unit? They weren't deployed. And why was that North Portico door unlocked, a policy that changed immediately?
EARNEST: Secret Service has changed the procedures for ensuring that the entrance to the White House is secure.
ACOSTA: With so many visitors to this tourist hot shot, a law enforcement tells CNN the Secret Service is considering random bag checks of pedestrians around the White House. With ISIS threatening to raise its flag over the White House and this recent image that is under investigation of somebody holding a cell phone showing an ISIS flag on Pennsylvania Avenue, members of Congress want answers.
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: It's just a member of the Secret Service upping their game to make sure they can maintain that every detail matters.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA: As for the other incident that occurred on Saturday where a man refused to leave one of the secured entrances into the White House, a Secret Service spokesman said that that was not a security lapse. That is something that they deal with on a somewhat frequent basis here at the White House.
Wolf, as you know, there are people who do show up at the White House from time to time trying to get in. But what happened Friday night was unprecedented -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly was. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta, over at the White House.
Let's big deeper right now. Our CNN national security analyst, Fran Townsend is joining us, as is our law enforcement analyst, the former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, and our CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen.
Fran, I spoke to Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, in the last hour right here on THE SITUATION ROOM. Listen to this exchange we had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: How could this happen, Mr. Secretary?
JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, that's what I would like to know. Director Pierson of the Secret Service has ordered a review, security review, which she will submit to me. The Secret Service is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
I will look forward to the findings and recommendations. I'm going to wait until the facts are in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: It certainly does send a pretty awful message out there about security at the White House, Fran. You worked at the White House. You were the homeland security adviser to President Bush.
It sends a nasty message, potentially a very worrisome message to terrorists.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: That's right, Wolf, especially on the same day when you have got the spokesperson for ISIS calling for lone wolf attacks inside the United States against civilians and against sort of what they call our bases.
Very concerning, absolutely. Secretary Johnson said he was going to wait until the review is in. But the Secret Service didn't wait to decide they were going to lock the front door to the North Portico, right? There are steps they can take right away.
I suspect one of the other things you will find, Wolf, is there was not only no harm, but it would have been perfectly appropriate to release the dogs. The dogs would have made the sprint faster than the individual did. And it would have been useful in stopping him before he got through the door.
In fairness to the Secret Service, I have got to say they would have known the first family had left the property, that there was no one there. So it was -- that factors into their judgments about how they're going to handle a breach.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, what does it tell you about the Secret Service that apparently this guy was on the radar? He had been troubled obviously. He was an Iraq war veteran. How troubling is that, that this could happen?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's troubling, Wolf, but there are so many people on their radar all the time.
We have so many people in this country that they come up on the radar. We have mental health issues, which apparently we have in this case. We have a tremendous amount of weapons, high-powered weapons out there, which we have in this case with this individual. So it highlights much of the -- what we have been talking about for months in terms of what kind of mental health care people are getting, especially veterans, and the amount of firepower that's out in the general population.
BLITZER: Peter, a French citizen in Algeria is now being threatened by an ISIS affiliate there in North Africa. The first time, I think, that a ISIS hostage know to be both kidnapped and threatened well outside the borders of the so-called Islamic state. They claim their territory reaches across portions of Syria and Iraq, as we know.
But now they seem to have inspired others. How worried should we be about this and potentially Americans also being threatened, kidnapped, if you will, warned that, if the U.S. or France in this particular case don't stop launching attacks against ISIS targets in Iraq, these individuals will be killed.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Actually, Wolf, I think it is pretty worrisome, because the al Qaeda affiliates in that part of the world, called Kayyam Islamic Madred (ph), have typically not killed their hostages. They've made about $90 million from ransoms. The French government has been one of the governments that has paid the most. So it's not an accident that quite a number of the hostages are French.
But if indeed, this group is sort of affiliating itself with ISIS, that is not a good thing for these hostages or for that part of the world, because ISIS' ideology is so much more militant even than al Qaeda, particularly when it comes to executing hostages in their custody.
BLITZER: Do you know, Peter, why those 47 Turkish diplomats being held hostage were all of a sudden freed?
BERGEN: I don't know. I don't think we know, Wolf. Typically money has exchanged hands when these hostages have been released. I can't think of any hostage released by ISIS where there wasn't money exchanged. And in fact, it's very hard to think of any kind of al Qaeda-affiliated group giving up somebody where money wasn't part of the equation. It has happened very infrequently, almost to the point of zero.
BLITZER: Fran, how much of a threat does ISIS pose? We know they pose a great threat in Iraq and Syria, elsewhere in the region, maybe. How much of a threat do they actually pose to the U.S. homeland?
TOWNSEND: You know, Wolf, just today, the ISIS spokesman issued a call basically for lone wolf attacks. We heard the Brian Todd piece. Very concerning, because it doesn't just necessarily call for attacks against sort of official targets but it invites the idea of lone wolf attacks against civilians in both the United States and in France.
We know the Australians recently disrupted that plot. And I think this is a real concern. So now you don't only have the foreign fighter threat but you have to contend with, as we know, the lone wolf attacks, the lone wolf type of attacks, which have now been called for officially by the group.
BLITZER: Peter, let me play a clip. This is the King Abdullah of Jordan speaking today at the Clinton Global Initiative here in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH, JORAN: As we try to create jobs and opportunities for the youth, ISIS today is providing foreign fighters $1,000 a month in salaries, which to people in Jordan is the equivalent of middle-class to higher middle-class income.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. So how much of a threat is this? They have a lot of money. Apparently, they've stolen hundreds of millions from banks in Iraq.
BERGEN: Yes. And they're also benefiting from potentially millions of dollars a day from oil flows, and obviously, they have access to money from ransoms and also extortion. So it's a big problem.
And, you know, King Abdullah made the same point at greater length on "60 Minutes" last night. And I think it's a problem that sort of speaks for itself. These guys can pay for a large-scale insurgency, and they can pay pretty good salaries.
BLITZER: Peter Bergen, Fran Townsend, Tom Fuentes, guys, thanks very, very much. We'll stay on top of this part of the story, as well. Very worrisome.
Just ahead, they disappeared from an American mall only to get found trying to get into Canada. We're learning new details about the case of the missing Afghan military officers.
Plus, a young star speaks at the United Nations. A U.N. Event that goes viral. You're going to hear some of Emma Watson's powerful and emotional remarks. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Three Afghan military officers who disappeared from a U.S. mall have been found, solving the mystery of their whereabouts. But now there's a burning new question: Why were they trying to sneak into Canada? International correspondent Deborah Feyerick is working the story for us.
What's the latest on that? It's a major mystery.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, you know, and this is one of the situations where the people you would expect to hear from -- the Pentagon, the State Department, Customs and Border Protection -- all are remaining especially quiet.
These officers were guests of the U.S. military. They were invited to attend this cooperation program where they train and then go back to their own countries better than when they left. Well, that's not what happened. They just didn't want to go back to their own countries.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Three senior Afghan military officers attending a special training program in Massachusetts were in custody Monday after trying to cross from the U.S. into Canada. Canadian officials, who are in charge, will not confirm whether the three men were seeking asylum.
Afghanistan national army officers Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar arrived in the U.S. September 11 to attend the two-week-long program, designed to build good will between the U.S. military and its allies. That good will took an embarrassing turn, when the men slipped away while shopping at the Cape Cod mall Saturday.
LT. COL. JAMES SATIADY, MASSACHUSETTS NATIONAL GUARD (via phone): Security alerted the officials that were doing the exercise that they were missing, and then the state police involved. They were missing and never reported back.
FEYERICK: The men were stopped Monday by Canadian border agents who took them in for questioning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did not report back to their duty station.
FEYERICK: Neither the Pentagon nor anyone from the U.S. CentCom would comment on the incident. However, the three men were cleared by the State Department and given visas to attend the program, along with some 200 participants from five nations.
A source familiar with the vetting process says officers are usually hand-picked, then thoroughly vetted, including a complete background check, possible polygraphs and personal interviews to determine whether the applicant is a flight risk. The source says the three officers did not break the law and a spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police says no crime was committed. The Afghans were among 15 officers and senior enlisted personnel from
that country taking part in the program. They had been monitoring tactical scenarios using computer simulations. They're supposed to return to Afghanistan this week.
FEYERICK: And last week two Afghan police officers training with the Drug Enforcement Administration, they also made a run for the Canadian border. However, they were picked up and sent home -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Deborah Feyerick, what a mystery this is. Thanks very much.
Just ahead, Chelsea Clinton and her baby mom (ph) take center stage. One of the biggest moments in her family's history is about to happen. How will it affect her mother's likely presidential bid?
And an actress known for movie magic causes a sensation right here at the United Nations and on the Internet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS: You might be thinking, "Who is this Harry Potter girl and what is she doing speaking at the U.N.?"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: We're back live here at the United Nations. You can see the barricades behind me.
Security always tight here at the U.N., but even more so for the general assembly meetings this week and the speeches by President Obama and so many other world leaders. There's new reason to be concerned after a shocking security breach over at the White House as well.
Let's talk about all of this and more with our chief political analyst Gloria Borger, our CNN political commentator Donna Brazile, and "CROSSFIRE" host, S.E. Cupp.
Guys, thanks very much for joining us.
A lot on the agenda for the president, Gloria, this week. Can he get the job done? The immediate job of forging a really powerful coalition to try to defeat ISIS?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, that's what he's there to do. They'd made no secret about it, at the White House. They want to get an international coalition. They want to get a coalition together for bombing Syria.
They also want to do something called a countering violent extremism. They want to establish a commission on that, so the countries can work together, Wolf, instead of in the moment, but before hand to try and counter violent extremists. The president is going to chair a commission meeting on that.
So, I think that, you know, they have a lot on their agenda, and the president really wants to have a position where he wants to kind of lead the U.N. in this direction, and get allies together visibly, not in covert way, against ISIS.
BLITZER: You know, Donna, it's interesting that he seems to be getting, the president, a lot more political support from conservative Republicans who like this new war against ISIS, a new war on terrorism, and a whole bunch of liberal Democrats who are really queasy about what the president is getting the U.S. into right now.
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Wolf, I think what you see is both Democrats and Republicans responding to the threat that ISIL, you know, poses to, not just the United States, but to people across the globe. The president has already assembled a broad national -- I mean, international coalition, 50 countries, organizations like Arab League, Saudi Arabia that has already taken an initiative in terms of providing assistance, many other countries, whether it's air strikes or de-legitimatizing the ISIS ideology.
There's a lot -- there's a lot to do before we can just, you know, basically pack up our bags and go home. This is a global threat and I think the president is doing the right thing getting a broad international coalition to help us fight it.
BLITZER: All right. So, Donna is with the president. S.E., what about you?
S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST, CROSSFIRE: Well, I'm reminded of an interview I did a couple of years ago with Donald Rumsfeld. I asked him about President Obama's action in Libya. And Rumsfeld says, look, generally, you define a mission, you define an objective, and you build a coalition around it. And what President Obama did in Libya was to build a coalition and later tried to define the mission.
And I worry that that's what's happening here. The president seems far more concerned with building the coalition than identifying a very clear objective. And I'm worrying that we're not going to get the support we need from our international actors because they don't know that we are committed to a clear objective.
So, I think the president still has come work to do in terms of setting out those clear objectives, how long are we going to be there, what is the goal, who are we trying to eradicate and how far will we go to do it before he gets that coalition that he wants and I think should have.
BORGER: You know, Wolf, the problem with defining the clear objective, which I agree with S.E. about he ought to do, is that if you define it as destroying ISIS, then you also have to say to the American people that this is kind of open-ended, that this is going to take an awfully long time. And this is not the legacy the president wants to leave, but it's one he has to leave.
So, that's -- you know, it's very, very difficult for him. Yes, definite it but that means, you know, the work isn't going to be done in a year.
BRAZILE: But I also think that the mission is clear.
BRAZILE: Go ahead. Wolf? I'm sorry.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Donna.
BRAZILE: No, I think the mission in terms of stopping the foreign fighters from entering the battlefield. So -- and also, making sure that we can close that border. Stopping the financing of ISIS. I mean, that is something that I think the president has set out some clear objectives. The mission is clear. We know what we have to do.
Now, it's important to have coalition because if the United States is going to war with another -- with ISIS or ISIL, that is not good for us and that's not good in terms of trying to defeat this challenge.
So, I think he is going about it the right way and hopefully, we are going to be successful. I say "we", I'm talking about the United States and all of our allies. We cannot do this alone.
BLITZER: I think the mission the president has set out is very, very clear -- to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. What isn't clear is how that's going to be achieved. This is a work in progress. They have a lot to do on that.
Gloria, very quickly, it's very disturbing, very worrisome, what happened over the weekend. A guy not only jumps the fence at the White House, but actually runs across the North Lawn of the White House also gets inside the executive mansion. It's a very worrisome development and I know they got to fix this problem and this is a work in progress as well.
BORGER: Well, it is a work in progress. It is worrisome. I mean, thank goodness the president had left for Camp David, Wolf, and he wasn't there.
But I think you have to ask a lot of questions, which is -- how did this fellow get over the fence? Should the fence be changed? Why weren't the dogs sent out? Why was the door unlocked? You know, they found ammunition in his car apparently.
And, you know, what should the Secret Service have done in this particular situation? Should they have opened fire? There are plenty of snipers on the roofs over there.
So, I think, you know, this is something that has unravel and you can't do it in a day, but I do think the Secret Service yet again is going to have to be looking at its protocol and see whether something has got to be changed there, because, clearly, this fellow just hopped over.
CUPP: Yes, starting with let's lock the front door.
CUPP: I mean, This isn't, you know, Gomer Pyle's house in Mayberry. This is the White House. To have the door unlocked just seems absurd.
And more people now rank terrorism, Wolf, as the second most important concern next to the economy when it comes to voting issues. So, this is not a good time to have that lack of confidence and that breach of security at the White House for political reasons and actual, just practical reasons.
BRAZILE: But, Wolf, there's been over 30 incidents since 1970. Over 24 since we closed down Pennsylvania Avenue. So, I think this is something we have to look. A Congress is coming back next week, and hopefully, we'll get to the bottom of it.
BLITZER: Hopefully, we will. Security to the president and his family obviously a top, top matter.
Guys, thanks very much. Just ahead, you can hear from yourself why a very passionate, wonderfully delivered speech why the actress Emma Watson has received so many attention here at the United Nations and indeed around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMA WATSON, ACTRESS: The more I've spoken about feminism the more I have realize that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: One of the stars of the Harry Potter movies is an Internet sensation right now for delivering a truly passionate appeal for women's right here at the United Nations. I heard Emma Watson's moving speech in person. In fact, I introduced her in my role hosting the launch of a new U.N. initiative called He for She, promoting gender equality.
But it was this Harry Potter girl, as Emma Watson herself called herself who stole the show. If you're not familiar with her most famous movie role, she played Harry's brainy pal, Hermione Granger.
Listen to Emma Watson's powerful remarks about feminism and the misconceptions many people still have about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: I was appointed as goodwill ambassador for U.N. women six months ago. And the more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality for the sexes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: She proudly declared she is a feminist. She invited men to support gender equality, saying it's their issue, too. Go to heforshe.org if you want more information.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.