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THE SITUATION ROOM
New Violence Ahead of Ferguson Protest Weekend; Interview with Senator Rand Paul; Paul vs. Obama on Closing Guantanamo Bay; American Teen Accused of Trying to Join ISIS; Mystery Grows on Kim Jong-Un; Search for Missing UVA Student Expands
Aired October 10, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, rage reignites -- fiery new clashes in Missouri. Another weekend of protest against police violence. Stand by for my exclusive interview with Senator Rand Paul. He's in the flashpoint city of Ferguson. He's reaching out to African-American leaders.
Also this hour, ISIS in the United States. I'll talk to the lawyer for an American teenager accused of trying to join the terrorist group about the charges and the threat to this nation right now.
Plus, the mystery deepens. North Korea's Kim Jong Un skips an important public event and triggers even more speculation about his health and his country's stability.
And cab clues -- we have new details on possible evidence against Jesse Matthew in the disappearance of two young women at the University of Virginia five years apart.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Ferguson, Missouri is bracing for a full weekend of protests and possible unrest. Some marches are already getting underway in the area only hours after a new explosion of anger about police violation and racial tension. The deadly shooting of another African-American teenager is pouring fuel on an already volatile situation triggered by the killing of Michael Brown two months ago.
Stand by for my exclusive interview with Republican senator and possible presidential hopeful, Rand Paul, about his meeting with the NAACP leadership and other black leaders in Ferguson today.
First, to CNN's national correspondent, Jason Carroll.
He's joining us live from Ferguson -- Jason.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, more demonstrations, another controversial shooting, all this as the city prepares for what is to come this weekend.
CARROLL (voice-over): Alarming yet familiar scenes in Ferguson -- street slashes caused by a fatal shooting, another African-American teenager dead at the hands of a white police officer. Police used pepper spray on the crowd, and, in turn, protesters smashed the windows of police cars.
CHIEF SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: It just shows how the emotions and how quickly this situation can turn.
CARROLL: This knife thrown at police.
DOTSON: We've had dialogue and communication with them. And we've asked them to go home and disperse. And as we were doing that, what I describe as a large knife came flying out of the crowd, actually hit an officer on his shoulder, fortunately not the blade edge, and it landed on the ground.
CARROLL: A reaction to the second shooting of an African-American teenager by a white officer. Eighteen-year-old VonDerrit Myers was shot and killed after what police called "a physical altercation with an off-duty St. Louis police officer working a security job."
Police say Myers shot three rounds. But family members dispute the claim that Myers was armed, saying he was only carrying a sandwich.
SYREETA MYERS, MOTHER OF VONDERRIT MYERS: You're supposed to teach your kid that they supposed to -- that they can depend and rely and trust on the police department. But you can't, because they're steady gunning down our kids.
CARROLL: An autopsy revealed Myers was struck by seven or eight bullets. The officer involved has not been named, but he was placed on administrative leave.
This comes ahead of a weekend of scheduled peaceful resistance events in and around St. Louis by supporters of Michael Brown. The first event here, outside the office of the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney, Robert McCulloch. He is overseeing a grand jury investigation as to whether Officer Darren Wilson wrongfully killed Michael Brown in the middle of a Ferguson street in early August.
Critics charge that McCullough cannot be impartial. Several of his family members have ties to police and his father died in the line of duty in a shootout with an African-American man in 1964.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
CARROLL: Again, more protests are planned for this weekend. Myers' family, so much like Michael Brown's family did weeks ago, are calling for peaceful demonstrations -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And joining us from Ferguson, Missouri, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us. I know you emerged from a meeting with NAACP leaders there in Ferguson. It's a pretty tense situation, as all of our viewers know.
Tell us why you decided to go there.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, you know, everywhere I go, as I travel across the United States, I try to hear people -- hear from people in the community and maybe from some in the community that Republicans haven't been listening closely enough to.
So we met with the NAACP. We met with black pastors, white pastors, basically community leaders. And I wanted to find out what we can do to make the situation better, not particularly about just the shooting, but what can we do better with criminal justice in our country to lessen some of the tension and anger that I think somehow lurks beneath the surface in a lot of American communities.
BLITZER: How did the meetings go?
PAUL: You know, I think very well. I think that many of the leaders, some in the NAACP haven't really thought about talking with a Republican in a while. So it's good to begin that conversation. And I'm one who actually agrees with the NAACP on a host of criminal justice reforms, whether it means ending mandatory minimums or giving judges more discretion to mete out an appropriate sentence, rather than putting people in jail for 10 and 15 years, sometimes life in prison for drug use and drug sale.
I'm for getting people back `out, getting them job training and getting them back into the workforce. And I think we have common ground there.
BLITZER: Did you learn anything new today from what you heard from these leaders?
PAUL: You know, I think mostly a -- there's a sense of tension and unease that is -- that goes beyond just the shootings. I think the shooting has brought this to the surface, but there's a sense of unease in our country.
Black unemployment is twice white unemployment and has been for decade after decade. I know this president cares about trying to improve it, but it hasn't gotten better. So frankly, we had a good discussion about my proposal for economic freedom zones. I have a proposal that would leave $230 million in Ferguson over the next 10 years. It would leave nearly $1 billion in St. Louis.
So I think by dramatically lowering taxes in a city like Ferguson, you would have more job opportunities, less tension and less of sort of this problem that develops from crime, if we had more job availability.
And I think we, frankly, need to think about different ways of doing this, because what we've tried in the past hasn't worked.
BLITZER: Did you get a sense they liked what they heard from you? PAUL: I think it's the beginning of the conversation. And I don't want to characterize how everybody else, you know, feels about what I said. But I think it was a good opening to the conversation. And I think in the Republican Party, the biggest mistake we've made in the last several decades is we haven't gone into the African-American community, into the NAACP and say, you know what, we are concerned about what's going on in your cities and we have plans. They may be different than the Democrats, but we do have plans and we do want to help.
And I think beginning that conversation will change the country. If both parties are competing for votes and both parties are bringing alternative ideas to the cities, then maybe some good will happen.
BLITZER: Well, I guess the question is, Senator, why have the Republicans failed to do what you're trying to do right now?
PAUL: I think they haven't tried hard enough. And there are those of us in the party who are beginning to try harder, trying to bring the conversation to new constituencies. And I think, frankly, for me, it's pretty easy, because I believe passionately that the war on drugs has had a racial outcome. I don't think it's intentional, but I think we've locked up thousands and thousands of people of color who would be much more productive if we were giving them job training in prison and getting them back out of prison, or maybe never getting them in prison to begin with.
BLITZER: How have your fellow Republicans reacted to your reaching out to the African-American community?
Because you've been doing this for several months.
PAUL: I think mostly positive. You know, when I was at the Urban League recently, the chairman of the RNC, Reince Priebus, was there, also. When I went to Detroit to help open an office in the center of Detroit, Reince Priebus was there, also. The national Republican Party understands this. And frankly, for me, it's a little bit easier because libertarian kind of issues that I'm in favor of are lessening the war on drugs and trying to get people -- instead of having people in prison for minor offenses, trying to get them back to work.
And so I think this is something that will resonate in a big way. And I want to be part of trying to let people across the country know that the Republican Party is interested in people who live in difficult circumstances.
BLITZER: You also wrote a provocative article in August saying the United States must demilitarize the police.
Explain what you mean by that, because that's something that will certainly resonate with folks there in Ferguson and St. Louis and elsewhere.
PAUL: We have no use for 20 ton mine-resistant ambush protection vehicles in our cities. It leads to inappropriate behavior. In fact, when FEMA gives out these tanks, they say specifically they're not supposed to be used for riot control. They're supposed to be for terrorism.
But we have 20 ton tank-like vehicles being given to towns of 3,000. We have 14 assault weapons being given to a police force of one person. So we have SWAT teams in Atlanta recently that threw a grenade into a baby's crib in a no-knock raid looking for drugs. We've got no business having no-knock raids at 1:00 in the morning, scaring the bejesus out of people and getting them frightened and sometimes shooting back at people they think are intruders.
We need to treat the drug problem in a different way. Drugs are a scourge. We need to keep our young people from using them. Let the young people know it's a bad idea to get involved with drugs. But we need not to be filling up our prisons with these kids and we need not to be breaking down doors at 2:00 in the morning looking for drugs, sometimes in the wrong house.
BLITZER: We're going to show some video of what happened in the St. Louis area last night. Protesters coming in. It got sort of violent at times. And we're bracing for more of that over this weekend.
What's your message to the folks there?
PAUL: Well, the message...
BLITZER: Go ahead, Senator.
PAUL: The message we have and that we discussed this morning was very constructive. My message was get out and register people to vote. And the people I was meeting with, the leaders of the community, absolutely, they're in favor of that. Violence gets nowhere and it actually sends us backwards.
So if that energy and that -- some -- some anger, if that were channeled into registering voters and getting people out to vote, then you can have constructive change in the community. And I think the leaders of the community realize that.
And I also want them -- to let them know that I'm a Republican that believes in more people voting, not less, and that I've actually introduced legislation to restore voting rights for people who have had previous nonviolent felony convictions.
BLITZER: If you run for president, Senator, do you think it's possible you could get some sizable African-American support?
PAUL: I think if we don't, we won't ever win again. We're a very diverse country, but if Republicans don't go out and compete for African-American vote, don't go out and compete for Hispanic vote, Asian-American vote, we will not win again in our country, because the country is a diverse country now and we can't have one party that monopolizes the various ethnic group votes.
So we do have to compete and if I do it, I plan on competing for all votes. BLITZER: Senator, I want you to stand by.
We have much more to discuss, including the war against ISIS, Ebola, more on 2016.
Senator Rand Paul, stay with us.
We'll take a quick break.
We'll be right back.
BLITZER: We're back now with Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky. He's joining us from Ferguson, Missouri.
Senator, let's talk about some of the current stories out there in the news right now, very provocative story in "The Wall Street Journal" saying that the White House is considering the president taking executive action to shut down the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba without any congressional authorization, in fact, going around Congress. What do you make of that?
PAUL: I've been a stickler for the Constitution. I think that the president has tried to do things that I think, frankly, are illegal and unconstitutional.
Congress is really the body that legislates, and the president is the one who executes that action. And our founding fathers really wanted that to have checks and balances. They didn't want a king. They didn't want one individual to be able to do things on his own. So I'm opposed to that. We've voted on it many times in Congress. And while I do think that we should charge the people in Guantanamo Bay and go ahead and give them adjudication and sentence them, I think that, really, shutting it down, you have to have an answer as to what you're going to do with these people. And I think bringing them to our country is not the answer.
BLITZER: So you're in favor of keeping that prison open at Guantanamo Bay?
PAUL: Yes. But I would have prosecuted these people dozens of years ago. It's a huge mistake not to have adjudicated the process and given them, if they deserve punishment, given their punishment.
I think most of the people who remain in Guantanamo Bay are a danger to the country. We should have some sort of justice, and it can be military, but it needs to be done, and they need to be given finality instead of just having them there without any decision making on how long they're going to be there.
BLITZER: Are you with President Obama when it comes to his policy of trying to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS?
PAUL: I think the biggest problem or where I disagree with the president most strenuously is in arming the Syrian rebels. The Syrian rebels don't seem to be able to hang onto the arms. Most of the arms we've given and the Saudis have given and the Qataris have wound up in the hands of ISIS. So I said a year ago that the irony they will have trouble overcoming is that we will someday be fighting the weapons that we sent into the Middle East. And I think that irony is now. I think we do have to do something about ISIS. And I do agree with military action against ISIS. But I think it's disappointing that we are now fighting against our own weapons.
BLITZER: Well, you make a fair point because a lot of the weapons that these U.S.-led airstrikes are destroying, especially in Iraq, ISIS weapons, are U.S.-made weapons that ISIS basically took from the Iraqi military after the U.S. provided those weapons to Iraq. So that's a fair point.
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon, says ultimately, U.S. ground troops will be necessary in Iraq in order to find the right targets. Are you -- do you agree with the chamber of the House Armed Services Committee?
PAUL: From a military point of view, and I'm not a general, but I would agree with the generals who say that, in order to ultimately defeat ISIS, there will need to be boots on the ground. I just think the boots on the ground should be Turkish, Iraqi, Kurdish, Saudi, Qatari, United Arab Emirates, Jordanians. I don't think that U.S. troops -- if the people who live there are not willing to fight for their country, I can't see having our G.I.s fight for something they're unwilling to fight for.
The Iraqis need to step up. The ultimate answer to beating ISIS is the Iraqis need to appoint a secretary of defense from the Sunni -- from the Sunni chieftains that helps in the surge. If they were able to have an army that were sufficiently Sunni and Shia and a national Iraqi army, I think they would be able to control and push back ISIS. The bombing alone may not do it. But I do think the bombing has served to protect our embassy and our consulate. That's why I support it.
BLITZER: On Ebola, do you have confidence in the way the federal government is dealing with this crisis? And I ask you also because you're a physician.
PAUL: You know, the thing is, is that I understand people in government not wanting to create panic. And I don't want to create panic either. But I think it's also a mistake on the other side of the coin to underplay the risk of this.
The administration has been saying over and over again, "Oh, this is only transmitted through direct bodily fluids." They make you think that this is like AIDS and not very contagious. And then in the next statement they quietly say, "Oh, but if you're within three feet of someone, we call that direct contact." I don't think many Americans think standing three feet from someone is direct contact. They also say it can't be aerosalaged (ph), but the question people should be asking is, can it transmitted by someone coughing on you?
I think the virus can be suspended in cough particles. They call that direct contact. But I think most Americans would think that's being aerosolaged (ph).
So really, I think that we've underplayed the risk of this and that we should be careful. I hope nothing bad happens. I hope we're going to have only very isolated episodes in the United States.
But I also don't think it's that unreasonable to suspend commercial flights -- I mean, if you want to visit your son or daughter coming from Liberia, couldn't you wait a couple of months?
I don't think that that is something so -- of such an immediate necessity that the chance for worldwide contagion, I think it's not unreasonable. Fifteen countries, I think, have suspended flights. I think a temporary suspension of flights should be definitely considered.
BLITZER: Let's get to a couple other issues. I know your time is limited, Senator. I just want you to clarify a subject that you and I discussed a while ago. U.S. foreign aid, specifically to Israel.
At the time you told me you didn't support foreign aid; you didn't support foreign aid to Israel. But since then, you seem to have changed your position. You're getting some grief out there in the political circuit. Where do you stand on that?
PAUL: Interestingly, they keep playing our interview, Wolf. We had a great interview. But the interesting thing is I actually still do agree with what I told you. Ultimately, I think a country that's $18 trillion in debt should not be borrowing money from China to send it to anyone. So ultimately my goal would be to have no foreign aid.
However, I think in the meantime, if we're going to try -- I've tried to put restrictions on foreign aid. I've been unsuccessful. And so I've come to the conclusion that maybe we should start by eliminating foreign aid from countries that burn our flag and hate us. And I think that would be a good place to start.
With regard to Israel, I agree with Netanyahu's position. And that's that ultimately Israel is a country that is growing and prosperous, and even Netanyahu said that, ultimately, they could and should be independent.
So it's really a matter of degrees, and am I saying that it's a different position? No. But what I am saying is that maybe, as we gradually move forward, we start with enemies of ours and enemies of Israel's, and that ultimately, though, it's not a good idea or a strong idea for our country to be 18 -- nearly $18 trillion in debt and borrowing money to send it anywhere.
BLITZER: But in the short term, you would continue aid to Israel, is that what you're saying? Until they're capable of dealing without aid? Is that what you're saying?
PAUL: Yes, it's an eventual goal, is to eliminate all aid. But we have so many -- we have such a resistance in Congress to even attaching any restrictions that my goal, since I've been in Congress and the bills I've introduced have been to place restrictions on countries that either hate us, burn our flag or persecute Christians or other religious minorities.
But here's the thing. If you ask the American people, should we send money to a country that imprisons Christians or puts Christians on Death Row for interfaith marriage? Should you send any American money to that country? The vast majority of Americans agree with me. But in Washington, placing any restrictions on foreign aid is still not that popular.
BLITZER: One final question before I let you go, Senator. Are you ready -- are you qualified, do you believe you're qualified to be president of the United States?
PAUL: You know, I think other people have to make that judgment. But what I would say is that what we need is somebody who has wisdom, somebody who thinks about issues, who isn't entirely beholden to partisanship on one -- from one party or the other. And we need somebody who ultimately, if they were in charge of our nuclear arsenal, would not be rash, reckless or eager for war. And I think I do meet that criteria.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul, thanks very much for joining us.
PAUL: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: And we just got a statement in a little while ago from the White House, from the National Security Council spokeswoman on that "Wall Street Journal" report, saying that the administration, the White House is drafting options to potentially close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, going around Congress.
The statement says, "We do not know what these new press reports are referring to when they say the administration is drafting options intending to override a congressional ban." The statement does go to say, "It remains true that the administration continues to object to congressional restrictions. As we made clear," the statement says, "including in your statement of administration policy on various issues."
And it winds up by saying, "The Obama administration will also continue to call on members of both parties to work together to ensure that Congress lifts the remaining restrictions and enables the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay." That statement from the White House National Security Council.
Coming up, the lawyer for an American teenager accused of trying to join ISIS. I'll ask him to explain his surprising remarks about the terrorist threat.
And where is Kim Jong-un? Where is he now? The mysterious North Korean leader is a no-show at a major event. What does it tell us about his health and the state of his country?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There's a growing fear that ISIS' reach is stretching into the American heartland where it seeks to radicalize young men. Authorities say 19-year-old Mohammed Hamzah Khan was one of them. And now new details are emerging about the Chicago area teen. He was arrested at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport on his way allegedly to join the violent terrorist group.
Khan appeared in court yesterday for the first time. He's charged with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. His attorney, Thomas Durkin, is joining us now from Chicago.
Mr. Durkin, thanks very much for joining us. A few specific questions. Law enforcement authorities have told me they're following the money. Where did your client get $4,000 for this round-trip flight from Chicago to Vienna, Austria then continuing on to Istanbul in Turkey?
THOMAS DURKIN, ATTORNEY FOR MOHAMMED HAMZAH KHAN: I'm not exactly sure. I've only represented him for a few days. But he was working. I don't know whether he paid for it or whether the government paid for it.
BLITZER: When you say the government, which government?
DURKIN: Our government.
BLITZER: Why would the U.S. government pay for him --
DURKIN: I don't know either way.
BLITZER: But why would the U.S. government pay for him to fly to Turkey?
DURKIN: I'm not saying that they did. I'm simply saying I don't know the answer.
BLITZER: Because -- what raised alarm bells --
BLITZER: What raised alarm bells is that he spent $4,000 for a round- trip ticket on Austrian airlines through Vienna. He could have spent $1,000, go round-trip on Turkish Airlines nonstop from Chicago to Istanbul. Why would he want to stop through Vienna? They say that's raising some alarm bells as well.
DURKIN: Well, I don't think those are sufficient enough alarm bells to be arresting people. But I think it's a silly case. But we're in very dangerous times and everybody's scared. So nothing surprises me right now.
BLITZER: What about the notebook that they supposedly found in his parents' house over there in a suburb of Chicago in which he described his support for ISIS?
DURKIN: I don't read it the same way as supplying support to ISIS. I think there's a lot of talk about his faith and wanting to live in a caliphate under Sharia law. And regardless of what he may think, that's not action. And I don't think that constitutes providing material support to a terrorist organization.
BLITZER: So you acknowledge that ISIS is a terrorist organization?
DURKIN: There's no question about that. It's been an officially designated global terrorist organization.
BLITZER: So clarify --
DURKIN: And several al Qaeda affiliates.
BLITZER: Well, clarify the statement you made --
DURKIN: There are several al Qaeda affiliates.
BLITZER: Outside the courthouse, you made a statement that ISIS isn't a threat to the United States. Explain that.
DURKIN: Well, I stand by that. I was speaking in -- in the definition of threat that political scientists and national security experts first speak in, which is an existential threat. And that's the type of threat that political scientists talk about when they talk about sufficient threat to be going to war.
I think there's any number of political scientists, including John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago, several national security experts that I'm aware of, have simply said they are simply not an existential threat to the United States.
Are they bad dudes, as one of the generals in the Pentagon was quoted as saying recently? Of course they're bad dudes. But there's bad dudes on the west side of Chicago, too.
BLITZER: So you're going to obviously defend your client, which is your job and you're going to do the best you can to get him out. In the meantime, he's being held without bail, right?
DURKIN: He's being held without bail because we decided to challenge the government's desire to close the courtroom yesterday. The judge agreed with us that it was a pretty severe step. And she didn't want to do it without further briefing. So we agreed to put the case over until the issue could be briefed because I don't think the courtroom should be closed.
I think the public should hear the evidence on this case. I think there's a lot of interesting issues in this case. It's attracted national attention and the courtroom shouldn't be closed.
BLITZER: Mr. Durkin, thanks very much for joining us. We'll obviously stay in touch with you as this process continues.
Thomas Durkin is the attorney for Mohammed Hamzah Khan.
DURKIN: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you very much.
Coming up, as North Korea and South Korea exchange fire, Kim Jong-Un once again missed a major event. So who's in charge of North Korea right now?
And the search for Hannah Graham expands while police officers seized the cab of the suspect, Jesse Matthew. What did they find? We have details.
BLITZER: Kim Jong-Un did not show up at a key ceremony commemorating his father and grandfather. The young North Korean leader was noticeably absent, marking over a month since the ruler of the secretive country with an arsenal of nuclear weapons has been seen.
CNN's Brian Todd has been tracking the story for all of us.
Brian, what's the latest?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, the anxiety over what's going on inside this regime is heightened. Kim Jong-Un is MIA and his absence from public view resonates all the way to Washington.
TODD (voice-over): A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN it's concerning that Kim Jong-Un is out of sight. The North Korean leader didn't show up at the much-anticipated anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party. But he did send flowers.
GORDON CHANG, DAILY BEAST CONTRIBUTOR: To skip an event which honors your father and your grandfather is a serious breach of protocol unless there's some really good reason.
I think right now that Kim Jong-Un is suffering under not only a physical disability but a political one as well.
TODD: Is Kim's power eroding? Is he under threat from inside?
Senior U.S. officials tell CNN there's no indication Kim has been completely sidelined or is in very bad health. But video showing him limping and recent reports of an ankle or leg injury to Kim only lead to more questions.
(On camera): Why not have him just sitting down behind a desk or behind something to project?
JONATHAN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Unless he's suffering a severe injury of some sort, I don't think that there should be some intrinsic reason why they don't present him in some kind of a public mode, even if it can't show him walking and being very, very active.
TODD (voice-over): South Korean officials say the regime appears to be operating normally and there are no signs of unusual military activity inside North Korea, often a signal of upheaval. South Korea's Defense minister also says they have reason to believe that Kim Jong-Un is staying at a home near an elite hospital in Pyongyang with his wife and his sister.
His younger sister Kim Yo Jong is said to be gaining stature inside the regime. Most analysts downplay rumors that she's in charge while her brother's absent. But if Kim Jong-Un is keeping her close by, could he and his sister be threatened?
POLLACK: It may not be so much an issue of -- her personal security and well-being, so much as it is he's got to have some kind of a reliable channel near him.
TODD: But adding to the tension, an exchange of gunfire across the border, when South Korean activists released these balloons filled with anti-North Korean literature, North Korean gunners fired at them. South Korea responded with its own machine gun rounds.
TODD: There were no injuries in that incident. But it was the second exchange of fire between the two sides this week after a confrontation at sea. Now analysts say the longer Kim Jong-Un's public absence continues, the more worrisome it is for South Korea, Japan and the U.S.
This is a dangerous regime with nuclear, chemical, biological weapons, long-range missiles. And right now, no one's sure who's running the place -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's not forget there are nearly 30,000 U.S. troops on that border between South and North Korea.
TODD: That's right.
BLITZER: Along the demilitarized zone.
TODD: So much potential danger.
BLITZER: As well. All right. Brian, thanks very much.
Just ahead, police seized the taxi cab driven by the suspect Jesse Matthew as the search for the missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham expands. We're going to bring you the latest.
BLITZER: As the search for Hannah Graham expands, police officers are doubling down on their investigation into the suspect, Jesse Matthew, and his past. We're just learning they've seized what they believe was his taxi cab which he may have been driving five years ago the night another woman went missing in the area.
Here's CNN's Jean Casarez.
CHIEF TIM LONGO, CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE: Jesse Matthew grew up in this community, was educated here, he worked here in our community.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: And he worked as a taxi cab driver in the Charlottesville area. In 2005, Matthew got a business license to drive a cab as an independent contractor. He continued that for five years until 2010. A source close to the case confirms to CNN that law enforcement recently impounded the taxi Matthew was allegedly driving during the time Morgan Harrington disappeared.
Harrington, a Virginia Tech student, went missing from Charlottesville in October 2009 after attending a Metallica concert on the UVA campus. Law enforcement sources have confirmed with CNN a DNA link between Matthew and Harrington, whose remains were found months later outside of the city limits.
Virginia State Police appear to be putting the Harrington investigation front and center, saying today, "State police will release new information at a time and in a manner that does not jeopardize the integrity of this ongoing complex criminal investigation."
And Matthew did work for Yellow Cab in 2007. Locals say Matthew was working for Access Cab, now out of business, the night Harrington went missing.
MARK BROWN, OWNER, YELLOW CAB: Our understanding again is that he was driving a cab the night that Morgan Harrington was abducted.
CASAREZ: Owner Mark Brown bought Yellow Cab in 2012 after Jesse had left to join Access Cab. Brown says his cabbies have been cooperating with police and remember Jesse well.
BROWN: Just in talking to a lot of our cab drivers, the one thing that came out was that he was very child-like.
CASAREZ: But during those years that Matthew drove a cab, there was no widespread technology to track a cabby's location.
BROWN: All the trips would have been recorded by hand, and so -- and so like basically a notebook almost sort of situation. So it was prone to have mistakes. You could lie obviously.
CASAREZ: But that lack of technology in 2009 further complicates the current investigation of whether Matthew, the chief suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, had anything to do with Harrington's disappearance five years earlier.
Those who spent years with Matthew here in Charlottesville still say it makes no sense.
AARON AUTRY, JESSE MATTHEW'S FRIEND: The LJ I know is not what you all been talking about or hearing on the news at all.
CASAREZ: And the owner of Yellow Cab tells me that back in 2009 when Morgan Harrington went missing that cabbies voluntarily went to law enforcement to answer every question they could and many even gave their own DNA to be eliminated as the one who had abducted Morgan Harrington -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jean Casarez, thanks very much.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now. Joining us our CNN law enforcement, Tom Fuentes, he's a former assistant director of the FBI. And investigative journalist Coy Barefoot, he's joining us from Charlottesville, Virginia.
Tom, how important is this new information that Jesse Matthew was working in a cab -- as a cab driver the night that Morgan Harrington went missing?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's very important, Wolf, because it places him that much closer to being able to have been involved in what happened to Morgan Harrington. Of course we've already heard about the linkage of forensic evidence, linking the two of them. So it's an important development.
BLITZER: We know, Coy, and you know this better than most because you're investigating there, the Virginia State Police interviewed several cab drivers following Morgan Harrington's disappearance back in 2009, but they didn't interview Matthew at the time. Why not?
COY BAREFOOT, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: I don't know specifically why they did not interview him. But we can confirm Virginia State Police released a statement last night that during the wake of Morgan's disappearance when that investigation began, they did not interview Mr. Matthew, for some reason.
They were interviewing a number of cab drivers in Charlottesville at the time, because eyewitnesses said they saw Morgan Harrington at about 10:00 that night, October 17th, 2009, on the Copely Road Bridge near the University of Virginia and she was trying to thumb down a ride. She had her arm out, her hand up, her thumb out, and she was trying to get a ride.
So of course investigators went to a number of cab drivers working in town and said, did you pick her up? And for some reason, and we don't know why, Mr. Matthew was not interviewed at that time.
BLITZER: So, Tom, what do police do next?
FUENTES: Continue to analyze the forensic evidence and try to establish without a doubt the linkage between the two events, the disappearance and murder of Morgan Harrington and Matthew.
BLITZER: And as you know that sketch that we've been showing our viewers, Coy, the sketch in 2009 of the suspect, at the time a lot of people were even joking with Matthew. You seemed to look like that guy. But they didn't even -- I guess they didn't connect the dots. Is that what happened?
BAREFOOT: That's absolutely what happened. I have confirmed that his co-workers at that time, when that sketch came out of the person who was wanted for questioning, the suspect in the abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington, his co-workers teased Jesse Matthew and said, you look just like this guy. But as they have told me repeatedly, they never suspected that he could have anything to do with Morgan.
And they continue, many of them, to believe that he has nothing to do with the abduction of Hannah Graham, as well.
BLITZER: And no new news at all in the search for Hannah Graham, right?
BAREFOOT: There are no reports of anything that has been found. I spent about an hour this morning with Mark Eggeman, who is the -- with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He is the state coordinator who is leading the search and rescue effort. And he says we are now entering the second phase of this search. It will begin next week.
There will be a stand down period early in the week, and then they will begin pointed specific searches of specific areas of curiosity that have been flagged in the search thus far or that might be the result of interviews, the tip line, or these high -- these high surveillance images that have been captured by these cameras that are taking pictures throughout the area. Those are providing information, as well.
BLITZER: All right. Coy, thanks very much. Coy Barefoot, Tom Fuentes, guys, thanks very much. We'll stay on top of this story.
But coming up, a new Ebola scare at a U.S. airport as tighter screening for the deadly virus is about to begin. We have team coverage as new details emerge on the threat right here in the United States.