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THE SITUATION ROOM
Ebola Worries; Protests in Ferguson; ISIS Advancing; Terror Arrests in London, New Fears in U.S
Aired October 13, 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 ANCHOR: ISIS-inspired terrorists attacking police and other law enforcement offices or even members of the news media.
Also, new protests lead to new arrests in Ferguson, Missouri. Will the crowd's demands bring about real change?
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: We're following breaking news on two major stories, first, new fears of Ebola spreading. We're monitoring the situation right now at Boston's Logan International Airport. Emergency medical crews in hazmat gear entered the Emirates Airlines plane.
"The Boston Globe" reporting five passengers came down with flu- like symptoms during the flight. This afternoon, we also learned that 26-year-old Nina Pham is the Dallas nurse who was infected with Ebola while she was caring for the man who died of the virus last week. And now an urgent search is on to determine exactly how it happened and whether her neighbors and co-workers potentially could be at risk.
We're also following a key battle with the war on ISIS. Kurdish and ISIS fighters are battling street to street for a town along the Syrian-Turkish border. Throughout the day, explosions from coalition airstrikes sent massive plums of smoke and dust towering into the sky. But it may not be enough to stop the ISIS advance.
An official with the World Health Organization is here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Our correspondents across the nation and overseas, they are all standing by as well.
Let's begin with new fears about Ebola and the 26-year-old nurse who is the first known instance of the virus spreading right here in the United States.
Our national correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is following the search for answers -- Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This first case of contracted Ebola in this country is a game changer. CDC officials are baffled, because more than 50 health care workers who were involved in caring for Thomas Duncan who died of Ebola last week, they were fully dressed in their protective gear and by all accounts following the protocol set out to protect by the hospital to protect themselves from the disease.
But now one of them is infected and it means others could be as well. So now health officials are now just doubling down on hospital training. They also have to figure out what went wrong in their attempts to contain this deadly virus.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): And 26-year-old Nina Pham, a nurse in Dallas, is the first person to contract the deadly Ebola virus on U.S. soil.
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I feel awful that a health care worker became infected in the care of an Ebola patient. She was there trying to help the first patient survive. And now she has become infected.
MALVEAUX: Pham was part of the team at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital caring for Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan died there last Wednesday and he contracted the disease in Liberia, but showed no symptoms when he landed in the U.S.
FRIEDEN: We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable.
MALVEAUX: The new case has health officials asking what went wrong in the isolation unit where the nurse and dozens of others wore protective masks, gloves, and suits to avoid the deadly virus.
FRIEDEN: It is possible that other individuals could have been infected as well. So we consider them to potentially be at risk.
MALVEAUX: While those health workers are being monitored, Pham is reported to be in stable condition and her apartment is being scrubbed and her dog monitored for signs of the disease. Last week, a dog belonging to a Spanish nurse who also contracted Ebola was put down.
Saturday, new screenings went into effect at JFK Airport for passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Those 91 passengers had their temperatures checked and filled out detailed questionnaires. The CDC concluded no one had Ebola.
This afternoon in Boston, five sick passengers were removed from this Emirates Airlines flight after they showed flu-like symptoms. None of the ill passengers were from West Africa. Today, President Obama was briefed on Ebola by his national security team. In the meantime, politicians are seizing on the Ebola crisis to score political points.
One liberal advocacy group is blaming Republican budget cuts for hurting the U.S. response to the disease.
MALVEAUX: In the meantime, the CDC is casting a much wider net to monitor and identify those who might have been exposed to Ebola. The 48 people who were in contact with Duncan, they are being monitored as well. And the more than 50 health workers who treated him are being tracked down. The one person who came into contract with Ms. Pham is also under observation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Suzanne Malveaux.
Let's go to Dallas right now. CNN's Victor Blackwell is outside the hospital where this new patient is being treated.
Victor, what can you tell us?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today, the hospital and the company that owns it really wanted to highlight something that was said by the CDC director, Tom Frieden, today. That was actually a clarification, he characterized it as, of something he said on Sunday.
On Sunday, Frieden said that there was obviously a breach of protocol here that led to this infection. Today, Dr. Frieden seemingly walked that back a bit, saying some people saw that as his criticizing the nurse here, Nina Pham, or the hospital. The hospital sent out an e-mail blast to the media, not offering any commentary, but an extended quote of what Frieden said today, including the statement that Ebola is the enemy here, not a person, not a country, not a hospital. Ebola, the virus, is the enemy, essentially saying don't blame us, at least not yet -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Victor, what are people saying about this 26-year-old nurse, the patient, what are they saying about her specifically?
BLACKWELL: Well, her family reached out to CNN affiliate WFAA. They want to keep this very private, but they did want to offer a photograph and confirm she is the person who has now contracted Ebola.
They say that in 2010, she graduated from the nursing program at Texas Christian University, and the person who knows the family through their church in Fort Worth, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, they say that knowing her and her big heart, that she was likely doing something or going beyond what she was supposed to do to help someone.
She has this big heart, but did she go too far? That's what the CDC detectives are trying to figure out -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Victor, we will stay in touch with you. Victor is in Dallas.
Joining us now, a top official with the World Health Organization. Dr. Jon Andrus is deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization's regional office for the Americas.
Dr. Andrus, thanks very much for joining us.
You have a sense of what potentially what went wrong here? Because she was wearing protective gear.
DR. JON ANDRUS, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: I think it indicates what Tom Frieden has been saying for a long time.
It's meticulous detail to infection control. In a former life, I worked in a district hospital in Macinje (ph), and I was trained never to tie or stick a needle in blood that you cannot see the needle point, but you do it. And I can say that I have stuck myself a number of times. It's the element of human error that we have to overcome with infection control, because it's one mistake that will transmit the disease.
BLITZER: Because there could have been, in the last few hours of his life, Mr. Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola, they were doing kidney dialysis and they were doing all sorts of treatment on his lungs. Potentially, he could have been coughing. Could that have been enough, even if she was wearing all that protective gear?
ANDRUS: It's unlikely with cough. This is really direct contact with blood or other body fluids such as vomitous or fecal material.
These are liquids that nurses have to care for when taking care of a patient. So, it's more likely that she breached the infection control and exposed herself. We commonly see people rubbing their eye or scratching themselves after they take -- as they are taking their equipment off.
BLITZER: So it could be very dangerous, just the whole process of removing all that protective outfit, if you will?
ANDRUS: Yes. Again, it's one mistake. That's what Dr. Friedman is saying all along, is meticulous attention to the guidelines.
BLITZER: Which raises the question, are our health care professionals in these emergency rooms, at these hospitals, in this Dallas hospital, it's obviously an outstanding hospital, are they prepared though for Ebola?
ANDRUS: Well, they are and they aren't.
I think the point I'm trying to make is that even when you have the best training, humans being humans will make errors. I think this has been well-documented. If you take that model and then look at the African situation, where there is no system, there's intense -- there are poor conditions where transmission will happen regardless of how trained you are, in both situations, there are different challenges, bottom line, meticulous attention to the guidelines and using procedures we know work.
BLITZER: Should she be there at this Dallas hospital, this Nina Pham, or she be moved to Nebraska where there's some other Ebola expertise or the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta? In other words, do they know what they're doing as far as the specific treatment she's going to need?
ANDRUS: That's a question I can't answer. That is a question that should go to the local authorities. But
in this case, if they feel they have adequate infection control, if they feel they have the mechanism to supervise and monitor, I think that's key in any public health intervention.
That human element of supervision, monitoring, following up, is absolutely fundamental. We know in the response in Africa, it's going to require human resources, more human resources, more doctors and nurses to get ahead of the curve, because this epidemic is doubling every three weeks. What we calculate now is the number of nurses and doctors in three weeks' time may be double that.
David Nabarro the other day said that we need to ramp up 20 times what we're doing now. So what's happened in Dallas is one element. But the big picture, where we're stopping the outbreak at its point, at the source, is absolutely critical, because as Dr. Chan said today in a speech, that when this virus that is so severe enters such a vulnerable population, it puts the whole world at risk. And we don't have the capacity or the ability to face it right now.
BLITZER: We know that 8,000 people have already contracted Ebola. And 4,000 or so are dead. Those numbers may be low, given the records that are being kept in West Africa right now.
Dr. Andrus, thanks very much for joining us.
ANDRUS: Thank you.
BLITZER: Still ahead, from airport screenings to training hospital workers, is the U.S. moving quickly enough to stop Ebola from spreading?
And later, a new FBI warning about potential targets for terror attacks right here in the United States.
BLITZER: We're following the urgent effort in Dallas right now, and at major airports around the United States to stop the spread of Ebola virus.
Joining us now, two guests. Dr. Zeke Emanuel is the chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Medical Ethics. And Gavin Macgregor-Skinner is an assistant professor at Penn State University's Department of Public Health Sciences.
Gentlemen, thanks very much for joining us.
Dr. Macgregor-Skinner, you brought with us some information. I want you to show it to our viewers. This is from the CDC, instructions put forward on how health care workers should protect themselves from Ebola. You have some problems with this.
DR. GAVIN MACGREGOR-SKINNER, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, Wolf.
The CDC Ebola Web site for health care workers, that's all hospital staff, health care within the U.S., has a PPE guide of how to put on the PPE and take it off. It doesn't match what we're seeing on TV from Emory, from Dallas, Nebraska, or even what people are wearing in West Africa. The two pictures don't correlate.
BLITZER: What does that mean?
MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Well, in West Africa, Emory, Nebraska, and Dallas, you saw the people, even in Boston today, people had a head covering on, they were wearing two gloves, they were wearing special shoes, boots on their feet. What we're seeing from the CDC official Web site, they just got a gown on and their head is exposed.
BLITZER: That's a problem.
Do you think that's a problem, Dr. Emanuel?
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL ADVISER: We know it's bodily contact with fluids and fluids can spray around.
As you mentioned in your last segment, especially if you're doing dialysis or intubating a patient, fluids can spray around. So having full protection is important. We also need to be aware that it's very possible that the breach happened in the de-gowning process, and so we have got to be careful that we don't layer on so much that in de- gowning, you can easily...
BLITZER: Explain, Dr. Emanuel, what you mean by de-gowning process.
EMANUEL: When you take off your gloves and you take off your gown, you have to take them off such that the liquid on the inside doesn't touch -- the liquid on the outside doesn't end up touching your skin. That actually might sound trivial, but it's a real process and it takes some learning.
It's not something that's intuitive to everyone to make sure that you don't touch yourself. The more you have on, the harder that process of de-gowning and removing all the protective equipment is. And again, I think we need to make sure that we have got the process that minimizes the risk to the health care workers.
BLITZER: Do you agree with that, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner?
MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Not exactly.
What we have got -- what has happened to that nurse in Dallas, Wolf, breaks my heart. We have an occupation safety and health issue here. We have had an accident in the workplace. We don't know where within where she was working, was it safe? We don't know what management she was getting, we don't know what supervision she was being provided, we don't know whether they were using the buddy system as recommended by the CDC and the World Health Organization.
So there's a lot of questions we don't know, but we have had an accident in the workplace that needs to be investigated thoroughly.
BLITZER: I know that investigation is going on, because they have got to learn from what happened there to make sure it's not repeated down the road. They got to figure that out very, very quickly.
Dr. Emanuel, the city of Dallas just released these photos showing the dog being removed from the nurse's apartment. Is her dog a potential threat to public health?
EMANUEL: They're going the isolate the dog. We don't actually know. The Spanish put down that dog prematurely. Obviously -- or obviously -- it looks like they're going to monitor the dog and take some blood tests. But it's probably not a problem here.
BLITZER: What do you think, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner?
MACGREGOR-SKINNER: This is a very important learning point for us here, Wolf.
We have previous studies from previous Ebola outbreaks where dogs have made antibodies to Ebola virus, but not shown clinical symptoms. Now we have maybe possibly a dog that was exposed to an Ebola patient. We don't know what Ebola does in dogs. And this is a great learning point. So, we can apply this to a public health perspective and maybe learn more about this Ebola virus.
BLITZER: So is it enough just to put the dog in quarantine or would you put the dog to rest?
EMANUEL: No, we want to put the dog in quarantine under observation, just like we would for a person for 21 days. Take its temperature, let's check it daily with a veterinarian, and then take some blood to see whether the virus is circulating in that dog. We don't know.
BLITZER: A medical and ethical question for you, Dr. Emanuel.
As you know, Thomas Eric Duncan, he's the Liberian who died of Ebola last week. The family has suggested they believe his financial status and the fact that he had no insurance played a role in how he was initially received in the emergency room at the Dallas hospital when he had a 103 temperature and they told him to go back home for two days.
Do you believe that?
EMANUEL: Look, Wolf, we don't know what happened in that interaction, what was going through the doctors and nurses' minds.
But there is some question here about whether they were -- they knew that he had come from West Africa. They knew he had a fever. There were lots of things that could explain that. But it does seem a little strange that they didn't actually connect the dots of Ebola, or one believes they didn't, and that sending him home was probably -- was definitely a mistake. Whether it changed the outcome or not, we don't know. But the
fact is, again, I don't know Texas Health, but we -- there were some errors there. There clearly were some errors in communication and errors in understanding. Whether it was an ethical violation that the man didn't have insurance and therefore they turned him away, we just don't have enough information about that.
BLITZER: It's a heartbreaking situation. He was turned away for two days, even though he was very sick, Dr. Macgregor-Skinner, came back. Could it have made a difference potentially if he had been treated right away?
MACGREGOR-SKINNER: Wolf, we have seen over 8,000 cases in West Africa.
But over 4,000 people have survived. When I was there with my team from the Elizabeth R. Griffin Foundation, we found that people who had come to the hospital early in the first few days were the most likely to survive. So early detection is the key.
BLITZER: Dr. Emanuel, what do you think about -- you want to make another point?
EMANUEL: No, look, part of the problem is, you have a disease with a 50 percent mortality rate, and it's very hard to know which way it would have gone had he gotten treatment two days earlier.
I think Dr. Macgregor is right. You don't want to turn away a sick patient and you want to be able to provide all the care. Whether it would have made a difference in a disease that has a 50 percent morality rate, we're just not going to know.
BLITZER: We're going to learn a lot in the next few days hopefully about this to make sure the mistakes that did occur will not be repeated.
Dr. Emanuel, thanks very much for joining us.
Dr. Macgregor-Skinner, thanks to you as well.
We have got breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM, breaking news out of North Korea. A state news agency now says the leader Kim Jong-un has, in fact, made an appearance well over a month he seemingly vanished from public view.
So far, there is little evidence to directly back up that claim.
Brian Todd is gathering the latest information coming in from North Korea.
What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here's what we got from the North Korean government news agency KCNA. It says that Kim Jong-un has appeared at two events. It says he
was seen -- quote -- "giving field guidance" in a scientist residential district. And on the same day, he visited the natural energy institute and the state academy of sciences. KCNA says at the academy of sciences event, he had a photo session with a group of scientists, but so far we have not seen the photo or any images of any of these events. CNN cannot independently confirm the appearances.
The North Korean state media does not give a date when Kim's so- called field guidance was given. If he did surface, though, it would be his first public appearance in about 40 days. That's a new record for Kim. Just a couple days ago, a U.S. intelligence official had told us that they were concerned when Kim was not seen at the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party. That was on Friday.
His public disappearance has led to all sorts of speculation that he was not in control of the regime, that something was amiss. Even with these latest reports of him surfacing, there are a lot of questions, few answers at this moment.
BLITZER: Yes. We want to see pictures and we want to see video. His health has been a big question, Brian.
TODD: That's right. There's video from over the summer -- it's right here -- that shows him with a visible limp. There are reports he had gout, possible problems with his ankles.
Now, gout, high blood pressure and diabetes runs in his family. And picture comparisons of Kim clearly indicated that he has gained a lot since ascending to power in late 2011, early 2012. We will be eagerly waiting, Wolf, to see what, if any, images of these two purported events he attended possibly Monday, but not sure what date.
BLITZER: We will see what happens. All right, Brian, thanks very much.
Just ahead, as ISIS fighters gain ground in Syria and Iraq, we're also following a new FBI warning about potential terror targets right inside the United States.
And later, a new surge in protests and arrests in Ferguson, Missouri, will it bring change to the town's police?
BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the war on ISIS.
A series of huge explosions sent plumes of smoke and dust soaring over the embattled Syrian town of Kobani, ISIS fighters also perilously close to Iraq's capital of Baghdad.
Let's bring in our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He's got the very latest -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I've just been told by a military official that Kobani has not fallen to ISIS. And that qualifies as good news in recent days there. But the fact is, ISIS has been advancing on that city near the Turkish border, a very visible fight, if not particularly important. Kobani not strategically important, say U.S. military officials.
But near Anbar, which is very close to Baghdad a less visible fight. No reporters able to watch that one underway. But a very critical part of the country and ISIS advancing there, as well. In both places, showing the limits of the U.S.-led air campaign.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): This is American firepower. And this is the ISIS response. The terrorist group is still advancing.
In Syria, ISIS is closing in on capturing Kobani, say the Kurdish fighters defending the city. And in Iraq, ISIS now controls 80 percent of Anbar province just to the west of Baghdad.
Today, ISIS overrunning one of the last Iraqi military bases still standing. The U.S.-trained and U.S.-armed Iraqi soldiers posted there overwhelmed by ISIS fighters and running.
Tribal leaders in Anbar are now pleading for U.S. ground troops to join the fight. Asked if he might end U.S. forces to the rescue, chairman of the joint chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, again left the door open in an interview with ABC.
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: There will be circumstances when the answer to that question will likely be yes. But I haven't encountered one right now.
SCIUTTO: ISIS gains in Anbar give the group a dangerous base for attacks on the capital, with a small number of fighters now within eight to ten miles of the Baghdad airport, the capital's lifeline to the outside world. Still, U.S. commanders expressed confidence in the Iraqi security forces defending the city.
GEN. RAY ODIERNO, ARMY CHIEF OF STAFF: I believe the capability is there to defend Baghdad. I think we're somewhat confident.
SCIUTTO: Though not confident enough to leave the fight to Iraqi forces. U.S. military deployed Apache helicopters to help Iraqi troops defend Baghdad airport, placing U.S. pilots much closer to the combat on the ground.
SCIUTTO: I'm told by senior military officials that the U.S. will again deploy Apache helicopters to the fight if they think that's necessary.
And Wolf, those Apache helicopters, though they have many capabilities, they fly much lower, much slower than those jets -- those B-1 bombers, F-18s, et cetera, flying high in the air. And that's another risk to those U.S. pilots and U.S. forces, even though they're not physically on the ground.
BLITZER: Those Apache helicopters are pretty vulnerable if they're flying relatively low to those shoulder-fired missiles, the anti-aircraft missiles that the ISIS forces have.
SCIUTTO: That's exactly right. They do have capabilities where they could fire from a distance or behind obstructions. Iraqi military helicopters cannot. But Wolf, as you say, it puts them much closer to the action, and that's an increased risk.
BLITZER: If they fire those missiles from heavily populated areas and the Apache retaliates, a lot of innocent civilians could get killed in the process, as well. All right. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Now, there's more breaking news in the fight against terrorism. We're getting word now of arrests in an ongoing terror investigation in London. At the same time, we're also learning of a new warning from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has all of the details.
Pamela, what have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, tonight, we're learning that British police have arrested three more men as part of an ongoing terrorism investigation believed to be tied to extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.
As ISIS increases its calls online for terrorist attacks in the West, intelligence officials in the U.S. are concerned government officials could be the main target. And that's why the FBI and DHS sent out this warning to law enforcement agencies across the country.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, federal officials are warning law enforcement agencies across the U.S. ISIS may be targeting them directly for terrorist attacks.
The joint FBI and Department of Homeland Security bulletin says ISIS members are ramping up chatter on extremist forums in social media, calling for acts of violence against FBI investigators, police officers, U.S. troops, and, in at least one threat, members of the media.
Intelligence sources say the calls are aimed to motivate homegrown violent extremists to attack these targets on U.S. soil.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think the likelihood that we see something here in the United States is higher from kids who are simply affiliated with the ISIS idea than from kids who are affiliated in any way with the ISIS group.
BROWN: A similar alert was issued by U.S. officials in September, on the heels of a call by a senior ISIS leader for lone- wolf attacks in the U.S. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): rig the road with
explosives for them, attack their bases, raid their homes, cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure.
BROWN: And just last week, Twitter's CEO, Dick Costolo, confirmed that he and his employees received death threats after deleting accounts associated with ISIS.
Intelligence officials believe the recent threats from ISIS are being made in retaliation for all the U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Since the bombing campaign started, officials say several plots around the globe have been foiled.
MUDD: You can't look at the U.S. in isolation. You've got to look at us in the context of what's happening in Australia, where we've seen ISIS-linked arrests, in western Europe where we've seen ISIS activity. This is really tough for law enforcement to follow.
BROWN: And one incident that raised alarm bells here was a recent case in Australia where a terrorist suspect stabbed two police officers.
And Wolf, this latest bulletin was sent out as a precaution. U.S. intelligence officials I've been speaking with say there's no indication that there's any credible plots here in the United States at this stage that they're aware of.
BLITZER: Everyone, all law enforcement -- local, state, federal, across the country, right?
BROWN: But over the holiday weekend, I've been speaking to intelligence officials. They said they didn't want to wait until after the weekend, after the long weekend. And that just gives you a sense of how urgent this is.
BLITZER: Certainly. All right. Pamela, thanks very, very much.
Let's get some more now on what's going on. Joining us, our CNN military analyst, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, and our CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank.
Paul, this FBI/DHS warning law-enforcement personnel, members of the news media, they could be targeted by ISIS, how real is this threat?
CRUICKSHANK: Wolf, I think it's very real indeed. Three weeks ago, the spokesman of ISIS, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, issued a fatwa, telling the supporters of ISIS in America, "It's your religious duty to kill Americans in the United States by any means possible." Law enforcement officials taking this very, very seriously, indeed. The ISIS spokesman also calling for attacks in Europe, as well.
BLITZER: And the fighting that's going on in Iraq and Syria, General Hertling, we were told ISIS fighters, they're only about eight or ten miles away from the Baghdad International Airport. They're apparently trying to encircle the capital, Baghdad, a city of 7 million people. How worried should the folks in Baghdad be that ISIS could actually take over the largest city in Iraq? They already have control of Mosul, a city of 2 million people, the second largest city there.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, looking at it, Wolf, I would suggest that ISIS is trying to do a couple things. They're trying to consolidate their gains in Anbar province, which is to the west of Baghdad, and I also think that they have the potential for attacking into the airport from an area called Zubashaka (ph), which is right there in what used to be called the Sunni Triangle to the west of the city. That's certainly very dangerous.
At the same time, they're continuing to attack in the north against the Kurdish forces. And I think we'll see the Kurds holding them back for a little bit longer, but they may be going to the northeast along the Kurdish -- excuse me, the Syrian-Turkish line. And then they're going to continue to threaten Baghdad.
I don't think, as I heard General Odierno say, that they are going to get into the city, because there are a lot of Shia security forces there. But they are certainly going to threaten the city with continued car bombs, with continued insurgency attacks. And that will cause the Baghdad government to continue to look inward, as opposed to being more exclusionary, both with the Kurds and the Sunni tribes.
BLITZER: It is pretty shocking. They now control 80 percent of the Anbar province, which is not very far away from Baghdad. And the Iraqi military is simply M.I.A. They're not even defending their own territory.
HERTLING: Well, there actually has been some strong reports of some of the Sunni units, especially the regiments, the new national guard regiments that are forming in Anbar, fighting back.
And as Jim Sciutto said in the earlier report, we don't get to see much of that. We're hearing reports, and I'm getting some feeds from some people I know there, that they are fighting hard. But you're right; they are certainly -- ISIS is certainly consolidating their gains in the Anbar province. And it is troubling that there will -- there will be these continued attacks inside the city of Baghdad by car bombs and other means such as that.
BLITZER: And Paul, what are you hearing about the Americans, supposedly an American ISIS fighter who supposedly has been killed in Kobani?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, these are unconfirmed reports at this stage, Wolf, but put out over social media by ISIS that an American fighter, somebody who spent ten years in the United States, was killed in the fighting in Kobani. This is somebody apparently who used to be part of a group Jabhat al-Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria but then changed sides, joining ISIS earlier this year. Still unconfirmed whether he was killed and if he's a U.S. national or if he was just a U.S. resident, spending 10 years in the United States, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Paul Cruickshank. We'll continue to watch what's going on together with you and General Hertling. Thank you to both of you.
Just ahead, as Ebola spreads for the first time in the United States, a political fight is growing over the Obama administration's response to the deadly disease.
And protesters square off with police in Ferguson, Missouri. A number of activists are hauled away in handcuffs. We're taking a closer look at what's behind the latest protests.
BLITZER: All right. This just coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. We're getting word of a possible -- possible -- Ebola patient at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City. The hospital says because of the patient had recently worked on a medical boat off the west coast of Africa, the patient was immediately isolated, undergoing tests right now. We're standing by for a live news conference by the hospital. We'll bring it to you live once it happens. Stand by for that, another worrisome development.
Other news we're following, though, in the meantime. Protesters and police have been squaring off once again today in Ferguson, Missouri. The Princeton University Professor Cornel West was among the activists during what protesters billed as a so-called "Moral Monday March".
Joining us now to discuss, CNN's Don Lemon, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, and CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.
Do you know, Maria Chappelle-Nadal, why these individuals were arrested? What were they exactly doing?
STATE SEN. MARIA CHAPPELLE-NADAL (D), MISSOURI: Well, as you know, Wolf, today is Moral Monday. I have to tell you that for the most part, things have gone very well. But I do know that there are some people who were arrested this afternoon, including Cornel West as you stated, and a couple of other people from St. Louis. And I will tell you that today has been absolutely incredible. There have been so many experiences and opportunities to see really the hearts of some of the police officers, as well as the clergy from all different types of faiths.
In one circumstance, we saw an officer cry when he was approached by a priest. He knew what he was feeling on the inside. And all of the protesters were very glad to see those tears from that officer's face today.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, you're making arrests -- law enforcement makes 19 arrests, including Professor Cornel West. They've got to balance legitimate law and order, if you will, as opposed to exacerbating the tensions which are already pretty high. TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. The accounts I
read were some of the arrests were made when people would not stop blocking the street, or near the police station. But I don't know each case or in the case of Cornel West, what exactly happened there.
BLITZER: It sounds, Don, and you spent a lot of time there. It sounds like the tensions are actually in these days, even though the demonstrations have been largely peaceful, it sounds like it could get worse.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: There's always the potential to get worse, and I think that at this point, everyone has to be very, very careful about their positions. I think that police, for the most part, have realized the optics of it. When they look heavy handed or over-militarized. That's why in the last video, the latest video before this, people were sort of taking an approach where they didn't look so aggressive.
But I also, Wolf, think the protesters must be just as vigilant about optics, because at some point, you don't want your message to get lost, in the wash. You don't want outside people coming in and trying to increase their platforms or become famous or with their own agendas. You must remember what this is about Michael Brown, this is about the relationship between police in the community, especially among African-American men. Don't let someone else come in and steal your platform and turn it into something else, something violent or something about them.
BLITZER: Maria, Sam Dotson, the St. Louis police chief, not the Ferguson police chief, not the Ferguson police chief, the St. Louis police chief, told our Jake Tapper on "THE LEAD" today that the city's current situation didn't happen overnight, that the problems can't magically disappear. I want you to listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS METROPOLITAN: The situation that we're in didn't manifest overnight. It's years and decades in the making. And now, it's not going to be fixed by the switch of a light switch, or a wave of a magic wand. But those conversations are happening. We just have to sit at the table, and in six months, look back, this narrative that is being written around Ferguson is still incomplete, it's not done yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Maria, you agree?
CHAPPELLE-NADAL: Well, I have to tell you that the chief is right, but I think it's been decades long where people have been harassed and intimidated. I've got to tell you, the few cops that are my friends and are still my friends in St. Louis city police department, they're having a tough time right now, because they said it's taken years to build a relationship with the community. And while many officers do really well in their jobs, there's just a few who cast a dark shadow. And so, I have to tell you that none of these investigations,
whether it's in Ferguson or St. Louis City, are done. In fact, one of the reports from St. Louis City is totally inconclusive, which means that we have to get more testimony from people who were on the ground.
So, I think some of what your audiences or some of what your panelists have said today is that we have to ensure that we still maintain peace, but we have to ensure that we have the right to speak and speak our mind very freely about what we feel is going on and what direction we need to take in the future. And that's what's really serious and what people really care about right now is just going on in peace. But being heard at the same time and not being tear gas.
BLITZER: Don, is enough being of a dialogue between police and the protesters, shall we say?
LEMON: I'm not there. I think that the effort on both parts, it's important on both parts. But I think at some point, you have to sit down with the person, with the other side even if you don't have their complete trust. You have to at some point sit down and start to have a dialogue and start to build trust among each other. And it appears to me and for most people who are looking, that people are just screaming at each other, screaming at each other on the streets. We're upset. They're screaming at even other.
But at some point you have to sit down and trust and you're going to have to sort build a relationship and see where it goes from there. You just can't stick to one mode. We have to move forward and involved and advance the situation.
BLITZER: Well said. Don Lemon, we'll see you later tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, "CNN TONIGHT". Don will be anchoring that hour. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Tom Fuentes, guys, thanks very much.
Just ahead, so who is in charge of the Ebola response in the United States? President Obama's critics what him to name -- name him -- want him, I should say, to name a special czar. Political fight is gaining steam.
BLITZER: We're standing by, by the way, for a news conference from Kansas City where the University Hospital there has isolated what is being described as a possible Ebola patient who was recently working on a medical ship off the coast of West Africa. We'll have a lot more on that as we get more information. But stand by.
In the meantime, let's get more of what's going on. Joining us, the "USA Today" Washington bureau chief Susan Page, and CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza, he's "New Yorker" magazine's Washington correspondent.
Susan, a the love buzz about the administration needs someone in charge to reassure the American people, an Ebola czar is what John McCain called it. Where did that stand? SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: Well, I think the administration doesn't
think they need an Ebola czar. And it is not entirely clear what a czar would do that officials aren't doing. People do need reinsurance. This is a very frightening disease and concern about the disease has gotten way beyond what the actual threat from the disease is here in the United States. And overshadowing it is really a crisis in West Africa.
BLITZER: It certainly is. There's no surgeon general right now. The nation's doctor, an acting surgeon general, there's a surgeon general nominee for almost a year. Hasn't been confirmed yet by the United States Senate because of his position on guns. The NRA doesn't like this individual.
What do you make of that? At this time when there it's a huge medical issue, facing the country, there is no surgeon general?
RYAN LIZZA, NEW YORKER: Well, the surgeon general's main job is public communications. They're supposed to be a public face of a health crisis.
Now, whether that's the most important thing with the Ebola crisis, I'm not sure. I'm not sure thing would be getting better because there is a surgeon general, but it does point to the fact there has been a strategy in Congress by Republicans that many of Obama's nominees are not confirmed. And you can't hold up all the presidential nominees and then criticize the White House or the administration for not acting appropriately in the current crisis.
He should -- the president should have his nominee. I'm that the surgeon general is the most important health official in the government, but he should have one.
BLITZER: But if you're talking about the czar and the surgeon general is typically known as the nation's doctor.
PAGE: You really need somebody with some credibility who can say, look, you can't get this by walking down the streets. There are only certain ways you can get it. We need to take these cases seriously but we've got them under control.
One problem for the administration is that they don't have a lot of people with creditability talking there. We've had problems with the CDC on the handling of some pathogens, (INAUDIBLE) gotten big stories. You do have somebody like Dr. Fauci on your show, and he's the guy with great credibility. He is out there a lot talking to people. So, that's really the kind of figure you need, I think.
LIZZA: There is an Ebola czar. We have a homeland security adviser in the White House, Lisa Monaco, right? Now, she's a pretty busy person.
BLITZER: But she's not a physician.
LIZZA: But this is a homeland security threat, right? Her job is to advise the president on these things. BLITZER: So, she is coordinating in the White House. There is a
secretary of health and human services also there. You don't see a lot of her.
PAGE: And, of course, she has some other things to do. There is this thing called the Affordable Care Act coming up. These are people who maybe don't have the laser like focus on Ebola that an Ebola czar would have. Yet, still, what exactly what this Ebola czar be doing?
BLITZER: Could this be a mid-term election issue?
LIZZA: Absolutely. The president is the one who should be the face of this in the United States. It is a serious enough issue that you need reinsurance from the president. Of course, he is not a doctor but that's who the czar should be.
Will it be an issue in the election? I think so. It probably runs into this narrative that the Republican have going for them, that things in this country are not working, just as general drift that things aren't going in the right direction. And that's bad for incumbents.
BLITZER: Yes, you agree.
PAGE: I think it goes to this general sense that the world is a little out of control. And whether you look at Ebola or ISIS or the Secret Service, things are not on track. Who do you blame? You blame the people who are in charge.
BLITZER: Three weeks from tomorrow, the midterm elections. Thanks very much for coming in.
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