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THE SITUATION ROOM
Mysterious ISIS Figure; Ebola Fears Growing; Panetta Slams Obama on ISIS; New Ebola Screening Procedures; Ferguson Protesters, Cardinals Fans Clash at Game
Aired October 7, 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, breaking news. Search for a killer. The FBI asks the public's help in identifying an ISIS executioner who may be an American. Does someone watching right now know who this man is?
Laying blame. A former top Obama administration official slamming the president's action and inaction in Iraq and Syria. Leon Panetta telling CNN why he thinks the president is partially responsible for the ISIS onslaught.
Violent confrontation. Police smash a car window, use a Taser on the man inside in front of his terrified family, all during a routine traffic stop. Now the family is suing. What prompted the officers to use such extreme measures?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news, urgent and escalating concern about American jihadis both in the United States and abroad plotting and fighting with ISIS, underscoring the seriousness of the threat, a new and unusual step by the FBI in the search for an ISIS executioner who may be an American.
We're covering the breaking news with our correspondents, our guests is hour, using CNN's global resources.
Brian Todd begins our coverage. He is here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
What are you finding out, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it is rare for the FBI to ask for the public's help in identifying someone they're after. But tonight, the bureau wants the public's help in finding the identity of a fighter with ISIS who appears to have a North American accent in a recent video.
The U.S. intelligence community has already been combing that video for clues. What's so chilling is that the man speaks perfect English and appears to commit a horrifying act on camera.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): In a recent 55-minute film from ISIS, he appears only at the end. But his voice resonates all the way to Washington, where tonight the FBI is looking for the public's help in finding out who this man is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we're here with the soldiers of Bashar. You can see them now digging their own graves in the very place where they were stationed.
TODD: This masked ISIS militant gloats as he presides over the executions of Syrians apparently captured from a military base near Raqqa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They said that he abandoned the front and stopped fighting the kuffar to turn our guns toward the Muslims. They lied! Wallahi, we are the harshest towards the kuffar, and the flames of war are only beginning to intensify.
TODD: He speaks perfect English.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the end of every (INAUDIBLE) that we get ahold of.
TODD: He could be Arab and educated in the West. He could be American or Canadian.
FRANK CILLUFFO, HOMELAND SECURITY POLICY INSTITUTE: Clearly ISIS had a calculated step to be able to put this guy on camera. Why? Because he seems American. The message is aimed at a Western audience. And his intent is to, A, project fear to the United States, and, B, to instill and give this sense of projection of power.
TODD: The entire video is pure ISIS propaganda. Stylishly edited battle scenes featuring the enemy's heavy armor getting blown apart. But a crucial moment comes in the film's final minutes when the masked ISIS militant and his comrades ready their guns and appear to execute the Syrians who dug their own graves.
Analysts say this could be the first time a North American fighter has committed a war crime on camera. The FBI says it hopes someone will recognize him and give the bureau key pieces of information. They say no tip is too small. The FBI and other agencies are looking at every conceivable clue in the video.
CILLUFFO: It is going to be voice analysis. They're going to be looking at any particular accents they may have, anything that could tip off law enforcement where they can then pull the thread even further in terms of state and local to meet with some of the communities.
TODD: Now, did ISIS possibly slip up by exposing this man? By having him say and do too much on camera? Analyst Frank Cilluffo says in the eyes of ISIS, probably not. The value for them he says is in the propaganda and recruiting. If this man gets captured or killed, they have plenty more Westerners in their ranks.
And you know, Wolf, Westerners are valuable to them.
BLITZER: All these videos, these social media postings, they clearly seem to have an effect on ISIS' following in the United States.
TODD: That's right. We have reported recently there is a growing following of ISIS inside the U.S., in social media especially.
More and more people in America are expressing support for ISIS in their online postings. It doesn't mean they will attack, but law enforcement are telling us this is a huge challenge for them because they have to run all of those things down as leads. They are really taking up...
BLITZER: Somebody just even were to write on a Twitter or something nice about ISIS, they're going to be suspected.
TODD: That's right. They will be suspected, they will be investigated and for law enforcement, imagine how much volume that is. They have on check all of it out. It is almost a nightmare for them.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much.
We're also following breaking news in London right now, where four young men are under arrest, suspected in a terror plot that police described as quite serious.
Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, is in London for us. He's joining us live.
What are you hearing? What's the latest, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Metropolitan Police chief, the police chief of London, if you will, has said that this is an operation that has ties and connections going all the way back to Syria and Iraq.
The inference being that this has connections to ISIS. The police aren't spelling that out. These terror raids, arrests began in the early hours today.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Searches tonight continue after early morning raids rounded up four young men who were in the early stages of a terror plot. Armed counterterrorism police made the arrests. One suspect was subdued with a Taser. The names have not been released and few other details are known.
This just a week-and-a-half after at least 10 other London area terror-related arrests, and, last month, Australian police arrested 15 men with alleged ISIS ties who were said to be planning public executions in Sydney. Following Great Britain's airstrikes against ISIS and a heightened threat level of severe, authorities here say they are taking a more interventionist approach to suspected terror plots and Islamist related-terrorism.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: As a country, what we must do with our allies is everything we can to defeat this organization in the region, but also to defeat it at home.
ROBERTSON: It is believed that hundreds of British citizens have gone to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS and other Islamist militant groups. A Britain-ISIS link is best known in the form of the ISIS militant with a British accent who is seen in the beheading videos of two Americans and two British hostages.
ROBERTSON: And the concern is that there could be replications of this type of act. We have seen it in Australia. The concerns are here that people will go to Syria, will get training, will come back, will inspire others to act.
So those are all the concerns that are evolving at the moment and being sort of weighed as police decide when to go in and make arrests like this. Wolf, again, I think there are still a lot more details to come on this. It is in early days yet, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you. Nic is in London.
Let's get some more now on the breaking news with our CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, our national security analyst Fran Townsend, and Con Coughlin, the defense editor for the British newspaper "The Telegraph."
Con, you have some details that you're learning about what these four individuals now arrested may have been plotting. What can you tell us?
CON COUGHLIN, DEFENSE EDITOR, "THE TELEGRAPH": Well, hi, Wolf.
What we're hearing over here is the briefings I'm getting from British intelligence is that there was a genuine concern that the group of men arrested today in London were planning to carry out beheadings on the streets of London and that one of them has recently returned from Syria.
The big concern of British intelligence is that we have got about 500 British citizens fighting in Syria and Iraq at the moment. And the concern is that one day, they will return home and carry out atrocities, beheadings on the streets of Britain.
And the plot today that has been uncovered is said to relate to that. It's early days, of course. The arrests only took place this morning in London. The investigations are continuing. But, as I said, the intelligence briefings I'm doing here in London, that this was a plot to carry out beheadings in London similar to the Australian plot that was uncovered a couple weeks ago.
BLITZER: Have you heard anything, Con, about which terrorist organization these four may have been linked to?
COUGHLIN: Well, as I said, the early indications are that one of the group has recently been in Syria with ISIS or ISIL, whatever you want to call it.
Certainly, the intelligence briefings here are that this is Britain's first ISIL-related plot. And again, as I said, the intelligence community has been warning that this kind of thing would happen. As Nic Robertson said in his report, the fact that British warplanes have recently started bombing Islamic militants in Iraq, not in Syria, may have persuaded these people that now is the time to act, that they need to retaliate and they wanted to retaliate on the streets of Britain.
BLITZER: Fran, it's always sensitive when authorities, whether in Britain or here in the United States, actually decide to go round up these kinds of suspects, because the temptation is to let them go along and try to get a wider net, web, if you will, more suspects in the process. Take us a little bit behind the scenes on this decision to go ahead and make the arrests of the four suspected terrorists.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: One has to presume, Wolf, that this has been an ongoing intelligence operation, that there has been information shared among a number of foreign intelligence services.
The British would have been receiving information from the Americans, from Jordanians, from other Arab services in the region. Presumably, they have been following them and using wiretaps and every available means of intelligence gathering against the group.
And typically, you know, you get to a point, Wolf, where you say, I can't risk losing them and I can't risk missing the opportunity when the plot, the plan actually goes live. And so they have -- the British intelligence service is very capable. So they must have had some indication, that this group, although in the early stages, they might lose them or in some way not know when they were actually going to begin to commit the atrocity.
So they decided to take it down. There comes a point where it is just too risky to let it go any further.
BLITZER: Paul, these men in London arrested, they were 20, 21 years old. Yesterday, a 19-year-old American was arrested trying to supposedly leave Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, this individual Mohammed Hamzah Khan, 19, now under arrest here in the United States. There's a picture of him.
How vulnerable are these young men to these kinds of terror recruitment, if you will?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, they're very vulnerable indeed. ISIS is recruiting on social media. They're using English speakers, German speakers, French speakers to reach out not only to Westerners, but to their friends in the West telling them it is your religious duty to come and fight. Join the group in Syria and Iraq.
And ISIS is thought to have up to 1,000 Western recruits in its ranks right now, many of them British, many of them European, but also a dozen Americans, Wolf.
BLITZER: And tell us what's going on in England, in Britain right now. The effort to stop this kind of recruitment of these young men?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, there are a lot of efforts and a lot of it has come from the Muslim community.
The Muslim community in London is really sort of stepping up to this. They're putting out Twitter hashtags notinmyname. So there is a lot of movement in the U.K. from the Muslim community against this, Wolf.
BLITZER: Go ahead. I want you to weigh in as well. Con, go ahead.
COUGHLIN: Yes. What I was going to say is that British Prime Minister David Cameron and other senior ministers are very much aware of this threat and a lot of thought is now going into how do we stop these people?
A lot of them are British citizens coming back. If they want to go to Syria and wage jihad, does that mean that the British government has the right to withdraw their British passports, leave them stateless? These are big issues.
But a lot of thought is going into this. And, of course, the intelligence and security services here in London are trying their best to monitor people. And we have had some arrests of people who have been to Syria, who have come back. They claim they have been working for charities.
But the intelligence services believe that they have been doing something a lot more sinister, so this is a very complex area, but a lot of thought is going into it. And I think you will see the British authorities in the months to come passing legislation, passing laws to try and prevent these people coming back, and importing this rather warped form of Islamic fanaticism onto the streets of Britain.
BLITZER: Fran, as you know, the FBI here in the United States asking the American public to help identify the jihadi with the North American accent who was shown in those ISIS videos released last month.
Why do you think they're making this a priority right now? How important is it for someone who may recognize his eyes or his voice to reach out and talk to the FBI?
TOWNSEND: Wolf, let's remember the first real public instance of the FBI coming out and asking for help was the Boston Marathon bombing. And it was very successful.
I think the whole idea of crowdsourcing the intelligence effort for lead information is really what you need, because it is a force multiplier. Right? You're able to leverage the American people who really want to help. They ask what they can do. So the FBI puts out what information they can without revealing sources and methods to try and gather, garner that help.
Remember, law enforcement are working with the United States military. This is an all instruments and national power effort. The FBI is able to share their information with the U.S. military coalition and Arab allies to help develop targeting packages for their air raids.
BLITZER: Fran Townsend, thanks very much. Con Coughlin, Paul Cruickshank, thanks to you as well.
Still ahead, ISIS forces now on the verge of taking a key city only a few miles from the Turkish border despite repeated coalition airstrikes. We're getting new details of the deadly battle that is under way right now.
Plus, we will get the inside story with the former U.S. ambassador to Turkey. He's standing by right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: A stunning new warning today. ISIS is about to seize a critical city on the border between Turkey and Syria despite five more U.S.-led airstrikes on ISIS targets in the area.
Turkey's president is now warning the terror group is poised to take over the key city of Kobani after weeks of fighting.
CNN's Phil Black is following all the late-breaking developments. He's on the Turkish-Syrian border.
What are you seeing, Phil? What are you hearing?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as dusk fell over Kobani, we saw in the skies the distinctive silhouette of an American B-1 bomber.
We had hear an aircraft in the sky for much of the day and saw repeated loud explosions around the perimeter of Kobani, that city just across the border in Syria. The Kurdish fighters that are in Kobani resisting ISIS, they were thrilled by those airstrikes today.
They say they really made a difference, but not enough to necessarily shift the prevailing reality on the ground, which suggests, and all the facts point to it, that Kobani is set to fall to ISIS. Its future is now being decided on the streets within the built-up area of the city. That's where ISIS and those Kurdish fighters resisting them are battling from building to building.
It is bloody urban warfare. Both sides it would appear are suffering heavy casualties, but the Kurdish fighters, they are outnumbered, they are outgunned. ISIS is able to be resupplied. The Kurdish fighters believe they have an advantage because it is their town. They still have the numbers. They know the territory. But they don't think they can hold out forever.
The only thing they believe that can ultimately make a difference will be a lot more airstrikes like those that we witnessed around the city today.
BLITZER: Doesn't necessarily seem to be the top U.S. priority, at least not now. Phil Black on the scene for us, be careful over there. Thanks very much.
Let's get to more now from James Jeffrey. He's the former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and to Turkey. He's now a senior fellow here at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy here in Washington, D.C.
Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in.
JAMES JEFFREY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Good to be back, Wolf.
BLITZER: Why are not the Turks doing more to help save this city right on their border? Turkey being a NATO ally, they have got a huge military. If they wanted to send in a division of ground forces, they could take care of ISIS relatively quickly.
JEFFREY: They could, but they would take losses, Wolf, and they're nervous about that, as is everybody in the region.
Secondly, they have their own problems with the Syrian Kurds who are fighting in Kobani who are allied with the PKK Kurds in Turkey that Turkey has been negotiating with, but has also fought for over 30 years. Secondly...
BLITZER: The PKK are these -- it's a group that I believe even the U.S. regards as a terrorist...
JEFFREY: They're on the terrorist list. That's right.
BLITZER: So what you're saying is, Turkey is not going to come -- about to go to the defense of these Syrian Kurds.
JEFFREY: It might because the Turks are saying we should go to their defense. Turkey is very concerned about it falling. But they are concerned about the Syrian Kurds and their links to the PKK. They're concerned about ISIS and thus want to see them stopped.
They are also concerned most about the Assad government and they want both the Kurds in Syria and the United States to take a stronger position against Assad as well as against ISIS. So it is Rubik's Cube of various interests and various struggles. But the problem is if Kobani fails, we have got a very serious defeat for us, almost analogous to Mosul back in June.
BLITZER: Because Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, a city of nearly two million people, it's is now controlled by ISIS and several other major cities controlled by ISIS in Iraq. They have a huge swathe of land in Syria as well.
If they take Kobani, it goes almost from the Turkish border down throughout -- we're showing our viewers right there. They have an amount of area about the size of Indiana. JEFFREY: Absolutely.
Wolf, this is a very, very dramatic development. And you can see the United States government is upping its game with B-1 bombers and other additional attacks in that area. But it may not be enough. These people are now in the city. That will be harder without forward observers on the ground to find the targets.
And the Turks could -- one thing the Turks could do is open the border to additional Kurdish fighters and weapons. The Turks have just begun doing that with medical supplies today. We need to see the Turks do more too.
BLITZER: The Turkish Parliament voted to allow some military actions. Unclear what they're planning on doing if anything after those 49 Turkish diplomats who were being held hostage by ISIS were freed.
Do you know how they got them out?
JEFFREY: We know that there were negotiations. We think that there were probably, from what I have heard, some kind of agreements on people that the Turks are holding.
They may be possibly some facilitation. But the Turks also have 80 Turkish soldiers deep inside Syria at a tomb of Suleyman Shah, who is the grandfather of the first Ottoman caliph and sultan. And that's a concern for the Turks as well. They have to be careful because of those troops who are potentially hostages as well.
BLITZER: You were the U.S. ambassador not only to Turkey, but to Iraq as well. Why has the Iraqi military failed to show up?
JEFFREY: Wolf, why did the French military collapse in 1940 in six weeks after fighting off the Germans for six years? War and the military is primarily a psychological struggle on whether you believe in your leaders, whether you believe in your cause, and whether you think or lose or should run.
And these guys ran. In other areas, they have held and they fought back. But their performance in June was terrible. And we're seeing some of this again, right? While Kobani is risking being fallen, ISIS is taking down a series of Iraqi positions west of Baghdad, putting pressure on Baghdad. And that's worrying the U.S. too.
BLITZER: Could ISIS take Baghdad?
JEFFREY: No. It is too large. There are too many people in there and most of them are Shia Arabs who will fight to the death against it.
What they can do, Wolf, and we almost saw this in 2004, even with 100,000 U.S. troops, they can cut off Baghdad. They can blow the bridges. They can stop the supplies of water, or fuel, of food in there. And they can turn that into a crisis too.
BLITZER: And they could kill a lot of Americans in that Green Zone where the U.S. Embassy is if they started launching rockets, mortars and missiles into that area as well. It's a very worrisome development.
JEFFREY: If there's one thing I'm confident about is, we will protect our American personnel, civilian and military.
BLITZER: Let's hope that's the case.
Ambassador, thanks for coming in.
JEFFREY: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, as ISIS advances in the face of these U.S. airstrikes, one former member of the Obama administration is blaming his old boss for at least part of the problem. Stand by, the surprising interview with the former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
And a routine traffic stop turns violent. Look at this. Police smash a window, Tase a man in the front seat in front of two terrified kids. What's behind the shocking video?
BLITZER: Some surprisingly harsh words from an even more surprising source. The former defense secretary, the former CIA director, Leon Panetta. Sharply critical of his former boss, saying President Obama's actions and inactions are at least partially responsible for the ISIS onslaught in Iraq and Syria.
Tonight he spoke to our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. She's with us now in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Pretty stunning words, I must say.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Pretty honest words, Wolf. As you know, Leon Panetta is a practiced Washington hand and that also call for mincing your words. But in our interview, he did no such thing. He offered blunt critiques of the president on Iraq, Syria and his leadership style.
As for the war against ISIS, Panetta made it very clear: the president should not have ruled out ground forces.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: You don't just send planes in and drop bombs. You've got to have targets. You've got to know what you're going after. To do that, you do need people on the ground.
BORGER (voice-over): Panetta argues that President Obama is making up for lost time in going after ISIS now because of the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011.
(on camera): Would ISIS be as much of a threat today, had we left some force behind?
PANETTA: I do think that, if we had had a presence there, it might not have created the kind of vacuum that we saw develop in Iraq.
BORGER (voice-over): He blames former Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki and a passive White House.
(on camera): Describe a White House that -- this is your word -- that frustrated you. That didn't use the leverage, and that is your word, too. Leverage that we had in the United States to try and keep a force in Iraq.
PANETTA: What I'm saying is that al-Maliki was the kind of leader that you had to constantly put pressure on to direct him in the right direction. I mean, you need to threaten guys like that who won't come along. And everybody knew that.
BORGER: But you wrote that the president's active advocacy was missing. Are you saying he didn't give it the push?
PANETTA: I think the kind of push and direct involvement that I think would have had an impact simply never developed, because the sense was, if they don't want it, then why should we want it?
BORGER (voice-over): Panetta describes a similar scenario on the question of arming the Syrian rebels in 2012. As defense secretary, he made the case to do it, as did most of the national security team.
There was honest disagreement but then no decision.
PANETTA: To a large extent, it wasn't that the president kind of said, "No, we shouldn't do it." The president kind of never really came to a decision as to whether or not it should happen.
BORGER (on camera): What do you mean by that, never came to a decision?
PANETTA: I think it basically sat there for a while and then got to the point where everybody just kind of assumed that it was not going to happen.
BORGER: Is that the right way to do things?
PANETTA: I think it would have been far better had he just made a decision, we're not going to do it. So that everybody kind of knew where we stood. But we all kind of waited to see whether or not he would ultimately come around.
PANETTA: It didn't happen.
BORGER (voice-over): If his new book, "Worthy Fights," Panetta tries to reconcile the decisive Obama who gave the bin Laden raid a green light, with the same president who vacillated over Syria.
PANETTA: A president that made the decision to go after bin Laden and made a very gutsy decision to do that, and I really respected that decision. I just could not have imagined him not making the same decision when it came to the credibility of the United States on drawing that red line in Syria.
The president should have very clearly said you have crossed that red line and we're not going to allow that to happen. And I think initially, my sense was they were going to do exactly that. But somehow they backed away from it.
Panetta isn't new to decision making at the highest levels.
BORGER: You work for Bill Clinton. You were his chief of staff.
BORGER: Very opposite personalities.
PANETTA: The difference was Bill Clinton really loved politics. He loved the combat of politics. He loved cutting a deal. He loved working with people. He loved trying to make sure you could convince somebody as to what they should do for the country.
BLITZER: Compare that to President Obama.
PANETTA: In many ways an art form. I think what President Obama needs to do is to, A, always go to the American people. But then you have to roll up your sleeves and basically, go to war. In dealing with the Congress. And you can't let them off. You cannot give up on the process. You've got to keep going back at it.
BLITZER: All right. Gloria, so what is the message that Leon Panetta is sending President Obama?
BORGER: I think at the very end you heard it. He said you've got to reengage. I think there is a sense that I got from Leon Panetta that there is a kind of inertia that sort of took over at the White House, particularly on issues -- foreign policy issues.
And he seems to feel that it flowed into the budget, for example. That the president needed to do more to stop these across-the-board budget cuts. He's very passionate about that.
And he believes it's a leadership issue. And that the president somehow is not energized. He doesn't engage enough with the people who disagree with him, because it's not his style. And it's clear that that's Panetta's style. And so there's a difference between Panetta and Obama that way. I think his message is get engaged. Don't let decisions get out of your hands. And knock people over the head sometimes if you have to, to get something done.
BLITZER: One of his messages being he's no Bill Clinton.
BLITZER: Gloria, good work. Thanks very much.
Let's get a look at more now from President Obama's former press secretary, our senior political commentator, Jay Carney. So Jay, has Panetta made good points?
JAY CARNEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Wolf, I would say a couple of things. One, everyone who serves at a senior level in an administration of either party decides for himself or herself how and when and whether to talk about that experience and the decision-making process. You know, how to cast their views in hindsight in a certain light. And Secretary Panetta made that decision as others have made.
I would say a couple things. On the energy, you know, I actually strongly believe that you will see President Obama be very energized in the last two plus years of his administration. He's keenly aware of the fact that there's very little time left. And there are things that he believes we need to get done.
I think that on the foreign policy stuff, on the issues that Secretary Panetta raised, you should go back and look at his testimony under oath before Congress in November of 2011, where he was explaining the decisions to withdraw completely from Iraq, because the Iraqi government refused, the sovereign Iraqi government refused to allow a residual forceful; and he was very passionate in that testimony under oath. In fact, he was very passionate in his exchanges with John McCain on those issues.
So in retrospect I think you can say, a residual force may have created a better situation with ISIS than we see today. But I also think it's simply not accurate to suggest that 10,000 U.S. troops in Iraq would prevent what 160,000 troops, when they were there, couldn't prevent when there was a raging civil war. ISIS is the -- is the successor organization to al Qaeda in Iraq, which led the civil war five and six years ago.
BLITZER: So is Panetta distorting the historic record?
CARNEY: Look, I -- again, I'm not going to say that about Leon. I think that these decisions weren't easy. We had been at war in Iraq for a decade. We had expended enormous amounts of treasure and blood. And the sole purpose being, after there were no weapons of mass destruction, as you know, to establish -- to help establish in Iraq a sovereign government and to help, train and equip Iraqi security forces that could defend their country.
And at some point you have to say they won't stay there forever with tens of thousands of troops to do the job Iraq has to do. And they're certainly not going to do it if Iraq won't provide the immunities that every U.S. military leader insists that they must have.
BLITZER: This is the third senior official now who's written a book. Bob Gates wrote a book, the former defense secretary. Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state. Now Leon Panetta. Very serious criticisms of the president's foreign policy actions and inactions. What does that tell about these Obama cabinet leaders who have now come out and done these kinds of books?
CARNEY: Well, I would not lump Secretary Clinton's book in that characterization of what she said about the president. Look, I think that we are in a period of a lot of turmoil around the
world. And a lot of questions about where the situation in Iraq is going to lead, what the situation in Syria will evolve into. And that creates uncertainty.
And there are obviously threats and dangers to the United States and our allies posed by that. And I think that, until we know whether or not the current operation against ISIS is going to be effective with the coalition that we've built, until we know whether or not the strikes in Syria will have an effect and the building up of rebel forces will have a positive effect. It's an open question.
And I think that causes a lot of people to go back and look at decisions and decide whether or not they were the right decisions. In the edge, none of these decisions are easy. But I think the president has been focused on what he believes is in the best interests of the U.S. and our allies.
BLITZER: Are you going to write a book while the president is still in office or wait until he leaves?
CARNEY: As you know, I was at "TIME" magazine for a long time. I wrote for a living, and that's hard work. You know, I'm not sure I want to go back and do that again.
BLITZER: At some point maybe you will. We'll see what happens.
All right, Jay Carney. Thanks very, very much for joining us.
Just ahead, a shocking use of force. Police smashing a car window, using a stun gun during a routine traffic stop. We're going to have details of what happened.
BLITZER: New developments in the global Ebola scare. Spanish health authorities are now monitoring three more potential cases after a nurse became the first person to contract the virus outside of Africa.
And a Norwegian staff member of the organization Doctors Without Borders has now contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone. He's being sent to Europe for treatment. It's all prompted the United States to weigh new procedures to try to keep the virus out of this country.
CNN's Rene Marsh is joining us. She's got more on this -- part of this story.
What are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, the largest flight attendant union representing nearly 60,000 flight attendants and 19 airlines is joining the call for stricter screening for people flying from Ebola impact zones. And just hours ago, we got word from health officials, ramped up measures at U.S. airports are just days away.
MARSH (voice-over): Tonight, federal agents are on alert for Ebola at U.S. airports. U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers already reviewed passengers for signs of illness as they enter the U.S. But new tougher screening measures are expected to be announced any day.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIR., NATL. INST. OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What that would like is under discussion but likely retaking the temperature and asking additional questions, so that you have screening both at the exit and the entry end.
MARSH: Passengers are already screen before getting on a plane in West Africa. But additional temperature checks in the U.S. could help detect someone who becomes contagious during long trips.
FAUCI: That 12, 13, 18 hours, however much it is to go through that trip, you start to develop a fever, you would be pick up.
MARSH: The new screening procedures are a work in progress. U.S. government sources tell CNN, no changes have happen yet.
Right now, custom officers are supposed to ask about potential exposure.
Four thousand U.S. troops have been dispatched to the region to help. Today, the Pentagon said they will take precautions to stay safe.
GEN. DAVID RODRIGUEZ, COMMANDER, U.S. AFRICA COMMAND: You're going to wash your hands and feet multiple times. You're going to get your temperature taken in and out. Then, there is a checklist to ask each personnel based on the virus or any other sickness quite frankly that could be coming up.
MARSH: At 20 major international airports, there are quarantine stations already in operation. You can see them right there on that map. We know that CDC staff works 24/7 at these stations, examining sick passengers. CDC says at those 20 stations, that's where the majority of international travelers arrive. So, they are there ready to pluck these people out of line and take a closer look at them.
BLITZER: We'll see what changes happen. It could be happening in the next few days. We'll watch that closely, Rene. Thanks very, very much.
Just ahead, a tense night of protests in St. Louis as Ferguson demonstrators fans clash with Cardinals fans at the team's playoff game. We'll update you on that and more.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: A fresh round of protests has St. Louis on edge tonight. A group of Ferguson protesters demonstrated outside of the St. Louis Cardinals playoff game. They were confronted by some Cardinals fans who fired right back, trying to drown out the protests with chants of "Let's go, Cardinals" and "Darren Wilson", that's the name of the officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown now two months ago.
Let's discuss what's going on with NCAAP board member John Gaskin, CNN anchor Don Lemon, and CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director of the FBI.
What's your reaction, Don, to when we hear these kinds of protesters, these chanting at a baseball game?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, listen, that's your right to do it. I mean, you can protest. You know, whether or not people agree with you, then that's your business.
But the interesting thing to me is that some of these people are saying to some of the black teenagers out there, we gave you your freedoms, you know, here in the United States, you know, to go back to Africa, those sorts of things, to protesters -- that's beyond the pale. But your right as an American is you can protest whatever you want and, you know, if they are on the side of the officer, that's their business. More power to them.
BLITZER: They have the right. They were protesting at the St. Louis Symphony and now at the baseball game.
John, how tense is the situation over there in Missouri?
JOHN GASKIN, NAACP: Very tense. And you have protesters that are already downtown at Busch Stadium there protesting, voicing their opinions. You know, the images that I say of last night and some of the remarks that came from some of the fans was quite embarrassing for my city and quite embarrassing -- it was just very embarrassing to hear those type of offensive remarks yelled at those young people.
I certainly hope that our city can move forward beyond those types of remarks and towards those types of feelings.
But Don is right, you have the right to protest and voice your opinion in a safe way. So, I hope things remain calm tonight and hope that tensions will calm down.
BLITZER: We all hope that things remain calm indeed.
I want everybody to stand by for a moment because we're also getting shocking new video into THE SITUATION ROOM that viewers should probably see.
It begins as a routine traffic stop at Hammond, Indiana. Officers pull over a woman and a man with two children on the backseat, saying neither of the adults was wearing their seat belts. Police asked for identification, but the male passenger r doesn't have identification. They ask him to get out of the car, he refuses, and after a lot of back-and-forth, the situation escalates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you can pull out a gun with two kids in a backseat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) Do you understand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they are about to mess my -- no. That is my window.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you do that -- right, I'm not the operation of this deal.
POLICE: Are you going to open the door?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you say somebody is not going to hurt you? People are being shot by the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Police defended the officer's actions, saying in a statement, let me read to our viewers, "Police officer who make legal traffic stops are allowed to ask passengers inside of a stopped vehicle for identification and to request that they exit a stopped vehicle for the officers' safety without a requirement of reasonable suspicion."
Don, what's your reaction to what we just saw?
LEMON: Well, you are allowed to do a lot of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should do it. You know, you should probably at this point, seeing what is going on around the country, if a police officer asks you to get out of a car, then you should probably do it. But I think it was clearly in my estimation, it was more force than what was necessary for a stop for a seat belt violation, where the officer was standing outside. It appeared to be on the side of the road there.
Their explanation was saying that the officer felt in danger for his life of oncoming traffic and I don't see any traffic there. It looks like a grassy area. So I think they went beyond what they had to do.
At this point, as a person of color, considering what's going on in America. If an officer asks me to do something, whether it is his right to do it in the moment or not, I will probably do it to avoid being killed and that's the honest truth.
BLITZER: Tom, you're a former law enforcement officer. You worked with the FBI for a long time and these people are suing the police for what they call excessive force.
What's your assessment of what happened? TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think in this case,
I agree with Don. Just because the police could do it, doesn't necessarily mean they should. So, I think my question here would be, you know, the judgment that they used in smashing that window with the kid in the car and other four passengers in that car, you know, if there could have been a different way to get around that.
On the other hand, we're getting to a point, though, where -- you know, because society right now is so racially charged that any time a police officer gives a lawful command to someone or they're saying they're under arrest or step out of the car, or whatever, it's turning into -- you know, a noncompliant situation which can also escalate.
So, I'm not saying the officers were justified in smashing the window, you know, with passengers in the car like that, but I'm saying from a legal standpoint, you know, he should have gotten out of the car.
BLITZER: The situation clearly escalated.
John Gaskin, what's your reaction?
GASKIN: You just -- that incident further magnifies what took place in Ferguson, the use of excess force that appears to be happening across the breadth and width of this nation. It's very disturbing, and as Don mentioned, being a man of color, if I'm pulled over, I'm going to be very leery of the officer and I'm going to obey whatever commands they are giving me because at this point you are fearful of your life.
But, you know, to do what that officer did, to tase a man in front of his kids in his car and it appeared that he wasn't a threat to either one of the officers is, you know, it just further points out what the NAACP has been saying for years -- you know, the use of excessive force especially against not just people of color but American citizens is really out of control.
BLITZER: Don, give me a final thought. How did we get to this moment?
LEMON: Well, this moment has been building up for years really and just over the last two months with the Michael Brown situation, there are people -- you know, it started in Ferguson, who -- and this was sort of a calling for understanding around the country as to what people of color, especially men of color, go through when they have interactions with police officers.
So, I think this is what you are seeing happening around the country. And it will only get worse unless we pay attention to it. And by the way, tomorrow night on "CNN TONIGHT", I'll have a chance to speak with that couple and get their side of the story personally, Wolf.
BLITZER: Don, we'll be looking for it, not only tomorrow night, but tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Don Lemon will be anchoring "CNN TONIGHT", 10:00 p.m. later tonight.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.