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Khorasan Leaders Still Alive; Iraqi Tribe: ISIS Killed Hundreds in 2 Days; Nurse Defies Quarantine; Maine Governor Threatens Nurse; Kim in Command; FBI Sting Going Too Far?; UVA Suspect to Appear Before a Judge

Aired October 30, 2014 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, still alive and plotting. Officials say missile strikes in Syria did not take out leaders of an al Qaeda affiliate, who now pose a direct, maybe imminent threat to the United States.

Nurse versus governor. The healthcare worker who braved the Ebola hot zone is back in her home state where she's now facing a new threat.

Las Vegas sting. FBI agents pose as Internet repairmen to bust a gambling operation. But did they go too far?

And the top gun. Kim Jong-un in the driver's seat of a jet fighter as North Korea now goes all out to show its leader is firmly in charge.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The powerful cruise missile attack that kicked off the U.S. campaign in Syria did not -- repeat, did not -- achieve its objective. There are new concerns that leaders of an al Qaeda all-star group survived the strikes and are continuing with plans to attack U.S. targets.

Meantime, U.S. airstrikes and new reinforcements on the ground are causing big problems for ISIS in the Syrian border town of Kobani. But that terror group is unleashing more atrocities in Iraq.

Congressman Peter King is standing by, along with our correspondents, our analysts, on this day's big story. Let's begin with our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a terrorist group that the U.S. says is an imminent threat, and the problem right now, nobody knows where these terrorists are.


STARR (voice-over): These U.S. attacks apparently did not work. The first missile strikes in Syria last month were supposed to stop one of the most deadly al Qaeda affiliates, the Khorasan group, al Qaeda operatives the U.S. says are a direct threat. LT. GEN. WILLIAM MAYVILLE, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, JOINT STAFF:

The intelligence reports indicate that the Khorasan group was in the final stages of plans to execute major attacks against western targets and potentially the U.S. homeland.

STARR: But now U.S. intelligence believes two key Khorasan leaders are still alive, still plotting against the U.S.

While the coalition has conducted over 300 airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, an administration official tells CNN there have been no new military strikes against Khorasan. Nobody knows where they are.

SETH JONES, RAND CORPORATION: What's actually happened is senior Khorasan members, Fadhli, David Drugeon and a number of other individuals have scattered to various safe houses in Syria, haven't stayed together but have scattered and may be more difficult to target.

STARR: After getting help from al Qaeda's master bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, the group is capable of making bombs that could potentially evade airport screening. The U.S. urgently needs to find and target two key operatives.

Mushin al-Fadhli, a longtime Osama bin Laden insider, he moved to Syria about a year ago; now involved in plots against the U.S.

JONES: The Americans and other European countries are using all means possible to collect intelligence on Khorasan, including Fadhli. Human signals, anything they can get their hands on to identify his whereabouts.

STARR: The hunt is also on for French jihadist David Drugeon, a skilled Khorasan bomb maker, also with ties to core al Qaeda in Pakistan; even facilitated the movement of European jihadists to Syria and back to Europe, where they then could travel to the U.S.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: These two men now know they are marked men, so they'll be taking huge precautions to stay safe. So it's going to be a real hard job to get them.


STARR: So how did they disappear? Well, officials say it is possible that they were never even at that site that the U.S. targeted last month. What are the odds that they're still alive? One intelligence analyst telling me 99.5 percent -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Ninety-nine point five percent, and they're still alive. And they launched 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles to try to kill these guys. Each one of those missiles costs more than half a million dollars. We're talking 20 or 30 million dollars for obviously limited payback, at least as of now, right?

STARR: That's what it's beginning to look like. Wherever these two men are, what the U.S. is saying is Khorasan is still an imminent threat to the United States. They still believe this group is directly plotting and planning to try and carry out an attack here -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thanks very much. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Between the U.S. airstrikes and the newly reinforced defenders, ISIS may have hit a brick wall in the Syrian town of Kobani, but in Iraq, it's unleashing new savagery against those who dare to oppose it.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is here with me. He's got details -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a slaughter is unfolding -- there's really no other way to describe it -- just west of the capital of Baghdad in Anbar province. Four hundred Sunni tribesmen who had taken up arms against ISIS killed in just the last 48 hours, tribal leaders tell CNN.

And while today Pentagon officials spoke of some encouraging progress against ISIS by Kurdish and Iraqi forces, they acknowledge that Iraqi forces in Anbar are incapable of coming to the aid of this key ally, even with the possibility of U.S. air power to back them up. We're seeing in this case the stark limits of the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): When they took up arms against ISIS earlier this month, the Abu Nimer tribe celebrated with gunfire and a parade.

They are essential to the U.S.-led war: moderate Sunnis challenging the extremist Sunnis of ISIS, much as the Sunni awakening fought back against al Qaeda in Iraq during the Iraq war.

But now, just two weeks later, this. In the last 48 hours tribal leaders tell CNN ISIS has mas massacred 400 tribesmen. Forty-five Iraqi men executed on camera by the terror group on Wednesday. And today, hundreds more found in a mass grave.

Today Pentagon leaders acknowledge that U.S.-trained Iraqi forces could not be relied on to help.

GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: The Iraqi Security Forces in al-Anbar province are in defensive positions and would be unlikely to be able to respond to a request for assistance from the Abu Nimer tribe.

SCIUTTO: On Monday, the U.S. air-dropped humanitarian aid, halal meals at the request of Iraqi forces, but there were no military actions to rescue them. Pentagon leaders indicated that will not change any time soon.

(on camera): Here you have a group that is literally risking their lives in a way that the coalition is frankly desperate for, and yet, no one came to their aid except an air drop of meals. CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is just another but one of

many daily dimensions of what's going on over there. The brutality of ISIL and what they're doing has to be stopped.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): As ISIS continues its deadly march through Syria and Iraq, the president's national security team is facing its own internal disagreements. Today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel acknowledged that he sent a two-page memo arguing for a change in Syria policy. Specifically, to make confronting the regime of Bashar al-Assad a central part of the strategy.

HAGEL: That's a central responsibility of any leader, and because we are a significant element of this issue, we owe the president, and we owe the National Security Council our best thinking on this, and it has to be honest and it has to be direct.


SCIUTTO: This is a very public disagreement on a core element of the administration's Syria policy. What to do about Assad.

For three years the president has said Assad must be removed. Now you have an air campaign, which Secretary Hagel admitted today is benefiting Assad. So what is the U.S. policy?

And, Wolf, this is, of course, a key point of contention not only within the administration, as we've seen here, but between NATO allies, the U.S. and Turkey. Because Turkey is saying, "Listen, it's fine fighting you're ISIS, but what are you going to do about Assad?" And frankly, there are some who say they see the benefits of having ISIS, because it confronts Turkey's chief adversary here, which is Assad. So this is really a question that needs an answer.

BLITZER: And so far, the U.S. is launching air strikes, Tomahawk cruise missiles, against ISIS targets inside Syria but not against the Syrian military of Bashar al-Assad.

TAPPER: No. And frankly, a Syrian military that is still massacring Syrian civilians, bombs dropped from aircraft, et cetera, and back from the brink of airstrikes against Assad a year ago, when the president chose not to in response to these chemical weapons.

BLITZER: Millions of Syrian refugees internally and externally displaced. And at least 200,000 people killed over the past three years.

SCIUTTO: And every day more.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Jim Sciutto, for that report.

Let's discuss what's going on with Congressman Peter King of New York. He's a key member of the House Homeland Security as well as the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. You know, the Sunni awakening, the U.S. goes in there with its friends into Iraq. They tell these Iraqi Sunnis, "Rise up, go after ISIS," who are also Sunni. But what happens? They don't get enough support, and these Sunnis who the U.S. is trying to support, these Sunnis are slaughtered by ISIS. What's going on here?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Wolf, I think this shows a basic flaw in the Obama policy, in that by ruling out ground troops, by saying that up front, that has allowed ISIS to go forward, knowing that we're not going to have troops on the ground.

The fact, also, that we have, I think, been reluctant to give weapons to those who are willing to fight for us, fight with us. Has, again, been a serious defect.

And going back to the original proposition, when we pulled out of Iraq so soon, we lost our influence over the Iraqi army, and that's why, even though the Iraqi army is there in Baghdad, it seems incapable of providing assistance in Anbar province. It's a culmination of -- first it's a culmination of the failures of the Obama policy and pulling out. And then secondly, I think it's an immediate example of a failure of the president's policy by not having any boots on the ground and by ISIS knowing we're not going to have any boots on the ground. It's really terrible for those troops. We ask them to rise up, and now we're not coming to their assistance.

BLITZER: It sort of reminds me, I've seen this movie before and after the first Gulf War back in 1991. The U.S. went in and liberated Kuwait. They told Saddam Hussein, "You know what? You're in trouble." He stayed in power, but they encouraged the Shiites, the Iraqi Shiites in the south to rise up, the Kurds in the north to rise up. The U.S. wasn't going into Iraq. They liberated Kuwait. And those -- so many of those Iraqi Shiites were slaughtered by Saddam Hussein's forces.

So we sort of...

KING: Absolutely.

BLITZER: ... seen this film, and it's an awful situation. You tell the Iraqi Sunnis this time, "Go ahead and rise up," but you don't give them the support that they need; and ISIS goes in and slaughters them, kills them, rapes their women and all of the savagery that we see going on.

Let's talk about the Khorasan group, because a lot of U.S. officials say that this al Qaeda affiliate or split-off group, they represent an imminent threat to the U.S. homeland right now. Do they?

KING: Yes. I've known about the Khorasan group, I guess, since last spring. It was intentionally kept secret, because we didn't want them to know that we were aware of them.

And basically, Khorasan group is a segment of al Qaeda. It's not even a splinter group; it's an actual hardcore of al Qaeda which moved to Syria, because they believe they have a sanctuary there. And they are extremely vicious, extremely capable, and they are intent on attacking the United States.

BLITZER: So it looks like those 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles that were launched against them, trying to take out their leadership a few weeks ago, didn't do much, because their leadership is still very much alive and well. Right?

KING: I would give it a -- again, I don't know all of the details. That hasn't come out. Having said that, accepting everything you're saying is true, I would say what it does show is that we I think we did disrupt the Khorasan group. To that extent it was successful.

I -- to me, it would have been very lucky if we could have gotten everybody on the first night. If you have a group that's in place, very smart and very sophisticated, I can't believe they would allow themselves to be so vulnerable where they could be all taken out in one night. Even though we didn't telegraph the attack, they had to be -- they assume all contingencies.

So I would doubt if they're all in that one location anyway, that they didn't have contingency plans. So again, this is another example of why this is going to be a long, hard war and why the president claimed victory far too soon as far as Iraq was concerned.

BLITZER: Yes, when you launch 47 Tomahawk cruise missiles, that's not just one site. They're going after various sites, and it looks like a lot of that leadership remains alive right now, as Barbara Starr...

KING: I would think...

BLITZER: Go ahead.

KING: Yes. I was going to say, is that there's one side, two sides and three sides. They would have enough to -- the odds would be against us getting them all in one night. That's the point I was trying to make.

They are -- these guys are horrible killers. They're professionals. And I just don't believe they would have left themselves vulnerable where in one night of attacks, they could be taken out.

BLITZER: How much concern is there about the potential sophistication of ISIS technology? Because as you know, the Yemen master bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, is thought to be sharing techniques with Khorasan, for example.

KING: Yes. If that is true, and I assume it is, this shows you, again, how deadly they are because that would enable them to evade airport detection.

Al-Asiri is probably the most talented bomb maker in the world for the terrorists, and the fact that he's willing to join forces with the Khorasan group, if he is, that really -- again, it's very ominous, and it shows why it was wrong for to us let our guard down against these groups.

And this is not going to be something that we can do in one night or one week. It's going to take a lot of effort and intelligence on the ground. There's no substitute for intelligence on the ground. Unfortunately, we've had very little of it in that part of the world.

BLITZER: I want you to stand by, Congressman. There's much more to discuss, including that announcement earlier in the week that nearly 10,000 federal buildings here in Washington and around the country are about to go on a higher state of security, a higher state of alert. What is going on? There's new information coming in and this may only be the beginning. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: As the United States faces multiple terrorist threats abroad, it's also boosting security back here at home. We're back with Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, member of the House Homeland Security Committee, as well as the intelligence committee.

You saw that Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, announce that the U.S. was intensifying security at nearly 10,000 federal buildings in D.C., all around the country. Was this, then, because of some specific intelligence here or simply out of an abundance of caution?

KING: I would say out of an abundance of caution. And I have a high regard for Jeh Johnson. There was just a series of events over the last several weeks, including ISIS really making very effective use of social media, that I believe the homeland security secretary believed that especially with what happened in Canada with the two soldiers being killed, Canadian parliament being attacked and with the NYPD officer being actually attacked with an axe in New York City, in Queens, with federal buildings being a target, it's important to get this done. That was never necessary in New York because they were always at a high level of security.

But, no, I'm not aware of any specific threat other than the constant stream and very sophisticated stream coming from is encouraging these kind of attacks upon the police, upon the military. So these are not the actual members of ISIS or even declared followers of ISIS but even people on the fringes, such as the man in Queens who attacked the police officer. These are sympathizers who can be motivated by these type calls from the ISIS leadership.

BLITZER: Because I'm suspicious. When Lisa Monaco, the president's advisor at the White House on homeland security and counterterrorism.

When she told me here in THE SITUATION ROOM last week that the U.S. now believes there is an imminent threat from the Khorasan group, an imminent threat, those are her words, and a few days later they announce the enhanced security procedures following what happened, you're correct to point out what happened in Canada. It sounds to me that there's something that they are really

worried about right now. They don't want to share it publicly, but they have specific concerns.

KING: Wolf, if there is, I have not been told of them. I am not aware of any specific threat that would require what Jeh Johnson did as far as the upgrading of the security.

I think it's an accumulation of events. The Khorasan group is a -- "imminent" is a typical (ph) word. I'm not aware of an imminent threat from the Khorasan group other than the fact they have been a threat for the last couple of months. And the same with ISIS. But I'm not aware of any imminent in the country right now.

But again, Jeh Johnson made something -- I don't -- he's the secretary of homeland security.

BLITZER: And he's a very serious guy.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: Both of us have known him since his days at the Pentagon. I don't think he would go ahead and do this -- the cost, the effort -- unless there was something really specific going on. But let's leave that for now.

Let me talk about the Army chief of staff, General Ray Odierno. He was here in THE SITUATION ROOM with me yesterday, and he said this war right now, we're talking at least about a three or four-year war, but he's not ruling this war against ISIS and these other terror groups, we're talking maybe about a 30-year is the U.S. doesn't get it right in the next couple of three or four years. Do you agree with him on that?

KING: I believe this could go on for many, many years. I remember being back with President Bush just two days after September 11 back in the White House in 2001, and he was saying, "This is not going to be easy. This is going to go on for many years, and we have to constantly be on our guard."

And I think that's why the president pulling back the way he did in 2011, that has extended the ultimate length of this war. Because we cannot allow them to get breathing room. We have to step on their throat, and we have to kill them whenever we can, not back away and give them a chance.

They are not going to slow down. Any time we slow down, they just use that as a chance to re-energize themselves. So this is -- we have to condition the American people and ourselves to realize this is going to be a long -- you know, John Kennedy spoke about the long twilight struggle. In many ways, that's what this is going to be.

BLITZER: I suspect this is only just the beginning. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.

KING: Wolf, thank you. Coming up, a nurse, and a governor in a battle of wills with

nationwide implications in the fight against Ebola. We're going to discuss all of this with our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who's been to the front lines of West Africa's Ebola crisis.

And later, video that looks and sounds like the movie "Ocean's 11," but it's a very real FBI sting, and it actually may have broken the law.


BLITZER: Now to breaking news in the state of Maine. The state's governor now threatening to use the full extent of his authority to force a nurse to keep away from public places.

The nurse, who just returned from treating Ebola patients in Africa, contends her rights are being violated. She's acting like everything is normal as she even went on a bike ride earlier today.

CNN's Alexandra Field is at the home where this battle of wills is now playing out.

Alexandra, what's the latest?


She was outside of her house for about an hour today, and as soon as she left her property, police actually followed her. They didn't try to arrest her; they didn't try to detain her. The state has made it very clear that they are at odds with her position on the quarantine policy, but they say that, for now, if officers choose to follow her, they are doing so for her own protection.


FIELD (voice-over): Kaci Hickox testing Maine's quarantine, taking a morning bike ride with her boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does it feel to be out in the fresh air?

KACI HICKOX, NURSE: It feels amazing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you decide to do it?

HICKOX: You know, because we just wanted to enjoy this beautiful day.

FIELD: A state trooper who had been stationed outside her home followed in a police cruiser during the hour-long ride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why a bike ride?

HICKOX: This is something my partner and I like to do. Since we've moved here, this has been our trail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you heard anything from your lawyer? HICKOX: I sure haven't. No. We're still waiting to hear from

the state of Maine to see what they want to do. I hope that we can continue negotiations and work this out amicably.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: But the governor of Maine says that working it out may not be an option. He's prepared to take legal action to protect the public.

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: I don't want her within three feet of anybody, let's put it this way. I am going to use the legal provisions to the fullest extent that the law allows me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you mind coming up closer?

FIELD: At odds in this Ebola standoff, individual rights and federal guidelines versus state's rights and public safety.

HICKOX: I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based.

FIELD: The president and federal health officials have been critical of state policies on Ebola quarantines.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They deserve our gratitude and they deserve to be treated with dignity and with respect.

FIELD: Hickox tested negative for two Ebola tests but officials say she did record a temperature upon her arrival last week from West Africa, which led to her initial quarantine in New Jersey. Hickox said the test was a false reading and that she never had a fever.

HICKOX: I am completely healthy. You know, you could hug me, shake my hand, there is no way that I would give you Ebola.

FIELD: Though Hickox is asymptomatic, Maine health officials point to the case of Dr. Craig Spencer who walked around Manhattan for days before being diagnosed with Ebola.

MARY MAYHEW, MAINE COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: There are cases where individuals have not tested positive, did not believe that they were symptomatic and quickly developed symptoms while they were out in the public and have since been hospitalized.

FIELD: Meanwhile, residents in this small logging village here the Canadian border are split on the issue.

JIM MAJKA, NEIGHBOR: Why she's being so defiant, I'm not sure. But it's causing consternation here and people are asking why she won't honor it. It's a simple thing. Stay in the quarantine until it's over and we're good.


FIELD: And Kaci Hickox and the governor have both said that they were negotiating for a while. Those negotiations breaking down but Hickox says that there concessions she was willing to make. For instance she said that she would not ride public forms of transportation at this point, though.

Wolf, that is certainly not enough for the state.

BLITZER: Alexandra, thanks very much.

Alexandra Field reporting from the scene.

Let's get some more now, I'm joined by our chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He was at West Africa earlier this year. He's with the White House meeting with President Obama and other Ebola survivors yesterday.

Also joining us, our CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Lots of legal questions, Jeffrey. We'll get to you in a moment.

But, Sanjay, this nurse, Kaci Hickox, she's about halfway through that 21-day period when you either get Ebola or you don't get Ebola. The longer she goes without having Ebola the more likely she's not going to get it. Right?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There does seem to be a sort of peak time when people if they are going to get it do get it while the length of time can be up to 21 days. You'll see if you look at all the patients that have contracted it, it's usually around between eight and 11 days. As early as two days but between eight and 11 days. So she's still sort of in that window. But you're right, as each day goes by, the chances go down.

BLITZER: So she potentially -- and we hope she doesn't obviously. Potentially since she's a nurse who actually spent time there in West Africa, not just visiting but she was actually dealing with Ebola patients, potentially she's still at some risk?

GUPTA: Yes. Well, that's part of what's prompting this whole discussion, you know. And I think everybody, including the Doctors Without Borders, her parent organization, the Centers for Disease Control, these two scientific bodies do recognize that and say, you know, monitoring is still necessary. Taking one's temperature is still necessary. Obviously evaluating yourself to see if you're developing any symptoms.

After 21 days, they feel much more relieved to sort of give the all-clear sign. But, you know, that's why the monitoring takes place. But they also say that unless you are sick and actually, you know, putting bodily fluids out there, you are not going to infect somebody else. So that -- those two things sort of go hand in hand.

BLITZER: They certainly do.

Jeffrey, the Maine governor, you just heard him in Alexandra's report, Paul LePage. He says he will exercise the full extent of his authority allowable by law. So could she face criminal charges if she continues to go out and ride her bike and do whatever she wants to do? JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, one step at a

time. The first thing the governor has to do which he has not yet done is get a court order which requires her to stay in quarantine. There is no court order now. She's not violating anything by taking a bike ride or leaving her house.

So the first question is, can Paul LePage get an order from a judge saying this quarantine is mandatory. It's no guarantee that a judge would sign such an order because according to the science, she is not in a communicable situation. But if they did get that order and if it was not overturned on appeal, then she would be required and be -- to stay in her home and she'd be subject to arrest if she left.

BLITZER: But that hasn't happened yet?

TOOBIN: It's not happened.

BLITZER: And Sanjay, just to reiterate, as long as she doesn't have any symptoms, she has no temperature, high temperature or fever, and she's not showing any signs of an illness, she's not contagious, right?

GUPTA: That's right. I mean, and you know, there's a real science there behind this and I think more and more people are seeing the stories here in the United States. Dr. Spencer, for example, he had been out and about, the subway, the restaurant, the bowling alley that everyone was talking about. Nobody there seems to have gotten sick.

Mr. Duncan was in an apartment. Even after he was showing some symptoms, he was in an apartment with a few family members and friends, none of them got sick.

And again, that sort of speaks to how challenging this is to actually transmit. So it's -- if she is healthy, she's not essentially spilling the virus over possibly causing others to get infected.

BLITZER: All right. Let's hope she doesn't come down with Ebola. That would be awful.

All right, Sanjay, thanks very much. Jeffrey, thanks to you as well.

Up next, top gun. Kim Jong-Un in the driver's seat of a jet fighter as North Korea goes all out to show its leader is now firmly in charge.


BLITZER: North Korea's leader now back in the public eye after a lengthy disappearance for health problems. And his regime is back in the international spotlight for human rights abuses. The response is stepped up PR campaign with carefully controlled and some fascinating images.

Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott has been investigating.

What are you seeing, Elise?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Wolf, you know, we're all familiar with the cult of personality that the regime builds around North Korean leaders. But even for Kim Jong-Un, these photos are very bizarre. They appear staged photo shoots to show that Kim cares about the North Korean people and that he's firmly in charge of everything going on in their country.

But as entertaining as the images are to outsiders, they are also a tactical move to play down the brutality of North Korea's human rights record.


LABOTT (voice-over): Today North Korea's propaganda machine was in overdrive. New photos of leader Kim Jong-Un observing flight drills. Bizarrely, Kim is seated at a desk in the middle of an air strip observing North Korean fighter jets performing maneuvers. As he confers with his generals, he smiles with a cigarette in hand.

Later, Kim gets into the cockpit and then talks to the pilot. He's still seen walking with a cane he relied on when he emerged after a six-week absence that South Korea says was to have ankle surgery.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: Clearly they have their own audience to portray and to project who their leader is and what their leader is doing. While I don't have more details on where he was for quite some time, obviously there were questions raised about that.

LABOTT: A far more commanding image than a softer one on display earlier this week when Kim toured an empty orphanage. That charm offensive an effort to blunt a U.N. report detailing widespread human rights abuses by the regime, including the use of prison camps, torture, starvation, and killings.

PSAKI: North Korea continues to have one of the worst human rights records in the world. And clearly there's more than can be done.

LABOTT: The report calls for the regime to be hauled before the International Criminal Court, a threat North Korea's foreign minister warned would bring, quote, "unpredictable consequences."

VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: What usually jars them is when they see things that they have not seen before. In this case, this is not a U.S.-based effort. This is -- this is coming from the United Nations.

LABOTT: South Korea says Kim's brutality extends to party officials, killed for crimes such as bribery, womanizing, even watching South Korean soap operas. The alleged purges, almost 50th this year. Part of a drive to rid the regime of cronies of Kim's uncle whom he killed last year. Last week, Kim summoned a U.S. Air Force plane to take American

Jeffrey Fowle home but the U.S. is still worried about the fate of Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Todd Miller. Both still being held by the regime.


LABOTT: Now the State Department says it is working every day to bring both Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller home but they don't seem entirely optimistic. They say they are not really holding out hope that that's going to happen any time soon -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Well, the charm offensive continues, maybe they will come home.

LABOTT: Well, we hope.

BLITZER: That would be excellent news, Elise, for them and their families as well.

Elise, thanks very much.

All right. There's other news we're following here in THE SITUATION ROOM. And get this. From Las Vegas, FBI agents posing as an Internet repair crew to bust a gambling operation. But did their sting go too far?

Brian Todd has been looking into this story for us.

What are you seeing, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this was like a scene right out of "Ocean's 11." But it wasn't George Clooney or Brad Pitt deceiving their targets. This was the FBI. But now the bureau may lose out on some critical evidence that it gathered because this operation may not have been legal.


TODD (voice-over): They sound like technicians from the geek squad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. You're in 82?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. We're going to try to see if we can get your DSL working again.

TODD: But this is undercover video from an FBI sting in a suite in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. And the people you're hearing are FBI agents posing as Internet repairman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take a look at the router. That's probably where the problem is.

TODD: The FBI agents were actually the ones who cut off the Internet in the room, according to court documents. Then when the occupants called for help, the agents posing as repair technicians moved around videotaping the people inside and their laptops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All internet, right? Everything is down?

TODD: The laptops were allegedly used to run an illegal Asian gambling Web site from inside the suite at Cesar's Palace. The videotape made in early July shows people watching the World Cup, allegedly one of the events being bet on. Eight people were charged with running an illegal gambling operation based on this evidence and now the lawyer for one of the defendants has filed a motion to throw all that evidence out.

TOM GOLDSTEIN, ATTORNEY FOR PAUL PHUA: The agents had a hunch but not enough that they could ever get a warrant to search so they tricked the residents into letting them in by cutting off the Internet access and waiting for the residents to call for help.

TODD: Tom Goldstein represents Paul Phua, who federal authorities say is a high-ranking member of the 14K Triad, an Asian crime syndicate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We search for whatever, just make sure it works.

TODD: Goldstein says the FBI agents violated the Constitution's Fourth Amendment which protects people from unreasonable search and seizure.

GOLDSTEIN: The danger here is that agents will cut off not only the Internet but your electricity, your phone, your cable television, or at least you'll worry that it's the government every time you have a problem in your house that maybe it's an undercover agent who response.

TODD: Tom Fuentes served on the FBI's Undercover Review Committee. He says an operation like this would have been rigorously scrutinized beforehand to make sure it was legal.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The idea that the entire division went rogue and ran this operation without FBI headquarters' concurrence or senior executive management concurrence and approval and the United States attorneys, it just doesn't sound right to me.


TODD: When we reached out to the FBI for comment, the bureau referred us to the U.S. attorney's office in Nevada. A spokeswoman there said they couldn't comment because the case is still pending but she said the U.S. attorney is going to respond to that motion to dismiss the evidence by or before November 7th -- Wolf.

BLITZER: That's coming up pretty quickly.

TODD: Sure is.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Brian, for that report. Up next, the suspect in the kidnapping of Hannah Graham prepares

to make an important appearance before a judge. We have new details.


BLITZER: The suspect in the kidnapping of the University of Virginia student Hannah Graham goes before a judge tomorrow.

Let's bring in investigative journalist Coy Barefoot along with CNN law enforcement analyst the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.

Coy, what can we expect tomorrow when this suspect, Jesse Matthew, appears via video, to face rape and attempted capital murder charges going back to 2005?

COY BAREFOOT, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Wolf, the Charlottesville Regional Jail is on a ridge overlooking the highway. Just south of town. And we know that in that jail tomorrow morning, sometime between 6:00 and 7:00, Jesse Matthew will be awoken for breakfast. Around 8:15, he will be shackled and led into a small room where at 8:30 a.m. he will stand before a camera and thus for the first time before Judge Dennis Smith of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County.

The first order of business tomorrow morning will be for the judge to name a lawyer, a court appointed lawyer, for Jesse Matthew. His Charlottesville lawyer Jim Camblos has requested that appointment. So that is likely to happen.

What happens next, that's what we will all be waiting to see. Will the judge just set a motion date, a control date, and a look on his calendar and say, OK, well, let's get back together at that time? Or will he go further and have a full arraignment tomorrow morning?

No one at this point is quite sure what will happen next.

BLITZER: So if there's a full arraignment, would we expect a plea from Jesse Matthew?

BAREFOOT: We would at the arraignment. The default plea at an arraignment, for default, if nothing is said, is not guilty. We would not expect -- if the arraignment was tomorrow morning, we couldn't expect a guilty plea because Jim Camblos wouldn't have been given an opportunity to negotiate an outcome for that guilty plea. And it is expected that he would need time to do that, to look at the evidence against his client, to talk with the prosecutor, and to negotiate what would happen if he pleaded guilty.

But I would not be surprised, and I am hearing this among some legal sources, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Jesse Matthew, at some point in the next few weeks, pled guilty to the crimes in Fairfax.

BLITZER: Well, what are you going to be looking for, Tom, tomorrow when we see this video, and presumably we will all see the video, his demeanor, stuff like that?

FUENTES: I think what we're going to see is how ready Fairfax County is. Because they've had nine years to prepare for their case. They have physical evidence, they have the eyewitness account of the victim in this case. So, you know, Fairfax you would think is ready to go. The timeline is going to be contingent on the defense attorney getting ready to defend him.

BLITZER: And we also know -- and you told us this the other day, Coy, that some of his high school pals, they said, and I'm quoting, that he was very outgoing, very popular, very friendly with boys and girls, very polite. So what do they say? The allegations are really horrendous against him, how does that happen?

BAREFOOT: I have not talked with a friend of his, Wolf, who isn't absolutely shocked in every possible way. And they just look at me with dismay, and to a person, they all tell me, we had no idea we were given no indication whatsoever at any point in time that L.J., as they called him, that Jesse Matthew, would have anything to do with any of these crimes that have been committed here in Virginia. All of them are shocked.

BLITZER: All right. Coy, thanks very much. We'll check back with you tomorrow with Tom, as well.

Coming up, leaders of an al Qaeda spinoff escape U.S. missiles. Are they still plotting against America? The answer is yes. I'll speak about all of this with the former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He's got deep concerns.

And breaking out of Ferguson, Missouri, where the embattled police chief under pressure to resign, tells CNN about his plans.