Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Ferguson Braces for First Weekend Since Rioting; Gunman Fires at Government Buildings; Black Friday Madness; Offensive Planned to Retake Mosul from ISIS; New Allegations of North Korean Kidnapping
Aired November 28, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, HOST: Thanks, Jim.
Happening now, bracing for the weekend, ravaged and exhausted, but still tense, the city faces a critical test as it tries to move toward recovery.
And one man war -- a lone gunman shoots up government buildings in Austin, Texas. And police block an interstate, fearing he had explosives. What was behind the rampage?
And North Korea power play -- is dictator Kim Jong Un behind a reported Paris attempted kidnapping?
And what's behind the promotion of his little sister to a big new job?
And Black Friday madness -- long lines, brawls in the malls and protests. We'll be looking at whether it's worth the bargains.
Wolf Blitzer is off today.
I'm Brianna Keilar.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're tracking three major stories right now.
A gunman fires more than 100 bullets at government buildings in Austin, Texas, and sends police scrambling to learn if he also planted explosives. We have new details on a frightening one man rampage.
And they're calling it Brown Friday -- demonstrators blocking businesses, marching through shopping malls in protests tied to the shooting death of Michael Brown.
And in Ferguson itself, the battle-scarred main business street reopens briefly before nighttime curfew kicks in, as the city braces for its first weekend since the rioting.
And the Reverend Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.. AMB. ) is standing by, along with our correspondents, our analysts and newsmakers. We begin in Ferguson, where residents and business owners today
were allowed back on the street which saw so much rage and violence this week -- allowed back for a while, that is.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is there -- Stephanie, tell us what it's been like.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it's just this afternoon that this strip of West Florissant has opened back up. So people here are just now getting their first look on the devastation here on this strip.
ELAM (voice-over): Tonight, as Ferguson braces for its first weekend since the grand jury decision, police say in order to protect the community and prevent looting, they will once again close a portion of West Florissant Road. For a few hours today, the now iconic street reopened briefly to traffic and business owners, the first time since many of the businesses along it were destroyed by the firestorm that erupted Monday evening.
PATRICE BYNES, DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEEWOMAN, FERGUSON TOWNSHIP: This is a strong community and there are fantastic people that live here. If they want to rebuild, there will be people and organizations that are going to help support them to rebuild.
ELAM: Hours earlier near the Justice Center in Clayton, where the grand jury convened, a small group attempted to hold a moment of silence on private property, but was asked to leave by St. Louis Police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to take four minutes -- four-and- a-half minutes for Mike Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to start arresting people.
ELAM: In Ferguson, even what should be routine is anything but. Today, the Walmart was protected by the National Guard, as protesters rallied against Black Friday. At a nearby Target, more protests.
ELAM: Across the country, supporters of slain teen, Michael Brown, held similar events...
ELAM: -- spreading the word through social media with hashtags like #BlackoutBlackFriday and #HandsUpDon'tSpend. Protesters vowing not to shop -- or to do so only at black-owned businesses.
In downtown St. Louis Thursday, the annual Thanksgiving parade was canceled. In its place, a quickly organized rally against violence followed the traditional parade route. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The unrest up in Ferguson, I don't think,
should be a deterrent from family life. So we started making a few phone calls and it turned into what it turned into.
ELAM: With the weather improving and the weekend approaching, the community is looking forward, hoping that the violence is behind them. Still, there are signs that the wounds have not healed. This photo from Michael Brown's family highlighting a much more personal loss, showing an empty chair at their Thanksgiving dinner table.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ELAM: And back out here on West Florissant, you can see that the police presence is here. They're letting people come, walk up and down the streets, as business owners take a look back at their shops. And people have come out. We've seen then praying. We've seen them cleaning. A different energy out here, Brianna, than there was on Monday night.
KEILAR: Yes, there certainly is.
Stephanie Elam in Ferguson, Missouri, thank you AMB. ).
Protesters took their Brown Friday campaign to a St. Louis mall. We have some new pictures of that.
And CNN's Ed Lavandera is there -- Ed, tell us about this.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna.
Well, as you can see now, are pictures of the West County Center Mall, which is just a few miles away from where I'm at. They were here earlier at the Galleria Mall in St. Louis and essentially shut it down for a few hours. The St. Louis Galleria Mall is now reopened, but very tense moments inside, as you see protesters changing locations and moving to different areas.
Here at the Galleria Mall, there were several hundred protesters that made their way inside. They were marching and chanting through the mall, eventually laying down in various areas.
There were several employees that said that the crowd started getting bigger and bigger and started getting more agitated and they were threatening to throw chairs and start doing that kind of disruption. Inside the food court.
The National Guard soldiers and police officers moved in and essentially shut it down. The Mall was closed for several hours. They were told to close down and hunker down for the protesters to finish and get moved out of here.
Everything reopened, but after they were left here, we didn't hear any reports of any arrests made here at the Galleria Mall. And now looks like it's moved and changed locations just a few miles away, at the West County Center Mall, just a few miles away -- Brianna? KEILAR: And that's what we have some live pictures of, Ed, if we
can play those up again and take a look. These are live pictures coming to us from near Ferguson, Missouri. This is not right in Ferguson proper. But these are protesters who have been on the move, as you heard Ed say. West County Center Mall is where they are headed to at this moment.
Ed Lavandera, thank you for your report.
And we'll continue to follow what is really a developing story there near Ferguson tonight.
As the protests over the grand jury's decision moved beyond violence, the NAACP is throwing its weight behind a march 120 miles from Ferguson to the Missouri state capital.
Let's turn now to CNN national correspondent, Jason Carroll -- Jason, tell us about this event.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to start at about noon tomorrow, Brianna. And it's going to start not far from where I'm standing now at the Canfield Green Apartments. You know that name. That is where Michael Brown was shot. And that is where the NAACP protests -- it's called Journey for Justice. They're calling it a journey because it will be 120 miles, a 120 mile march from here in Ferguson to Jefferson City, to the governor's residence there. It's expected to take about seven days.
And they're doing it for several reasons, not just because of Michael Brown. But they also want to draw attention for the need for the change of leadership. They say there needs to be a change of government leadership, a change in leadership at the Ferguson Police Department, as well.
But once again, it's going to end at the governor's residence. And just a few moments ago, we reached out to the governor's office to get his take on this march. His spokesman says, Brianna, at this point, he has no comment -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, a lot of dissatisfaction there in Ferguson with Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Jason Carroll, thank you.
Well, this Black Friday boycott in the form of this Brown Friday, as it's being called, the Brown Friday protests, this has spread across the country today. And there were arrests all the way in New York.
Let's turn now to CNN's Rosa Flores.
She is in the middle of a rally -- or she's been following it.
Give us a sense of the scene there, Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna, well, just to give you an update, we just saw an arrest of a protester just moments ago. And that's the situation that we've seen throughout the day, hundreds of people marching on the streets.
Right now, take a look, it's actually on the sidewalks of New York City. And police very close to the protesters. They're asking protesters not to disrupt traffic or that they will be arrested.
Now, all of this started, Brianna, earlier today, in front of the Macy's in Herald Square. And the focus, the organizer told us, was the following. He said that it starts in Ferguson, but this has become a national movement, a movement in cities across the nation. And he boiled it down to this. He said that in order for people to have racial freedom, the freedom of racism, then they need economic freedom. That's why the protests on Black Friday.
But take a look. I mean this protest is still hundreds strong. And because they can't march on the streets, they're taking over the sidewalks of New York City -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Rosa Flores, thank you.
And joining me now is Bernice King.
She is the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.. And she's the CEO of the King Center.
Bernice, thanks so much for being with us.
BERNICE KING, CEO, KING CENTER: Thank you, Brianna.
Glad to be here.
KEILAR: You saw the violence erupt on Monday. You've seen it sort of slow down over the week in Ferguson. Buildings burned, a lot of looting.
What was your reaction as you watched that?
KING: Well, it's always disappointing to see it. But I want to point out that we have to look at the social and economic conditions that create these kind of situations. My father, even during the riots in the '60s, said that we cannot look at just the looters or the rioters, but we also have to look at what creates situations to bring about that kind of frustration and anger.
And we have neglected a lot of the social and economic issues for years now. And, in fact, in 1968, my father called for a Poor People's Campaign, and in that process, called for mass civil disobedience to address the economic inequities in our society. And we are still haunted by that today.
KEILAR: Yes. No, I think you make a very good point. I look at what happened in Ferguson and I think that if people just sort of focus on the death of Michael Brown, while terrible, they miss the point if they don't look at the broader issues here that this is speaking to and that the violence is really speaking to... KING: And I think, also, we need to just applaud the fact that
the majority of those that have been protesting and demonstrating have been nonviolent. In fact, we spent -- the King Center spent several weeks in Ferguson training adults and young people in my father's philosophy, in nonviolence. We call it Nonviolence 365, because it's a lifestyle.
And I think it was very helpful and perhaps it would have been worse had we not spent that time there.
KEILAR: Well, I wanted to ask you about that, because the thing is, despite that, it seems like when there is looting, when there is violence, that's really what steals the limelight. And you did lead those workshops.
Why do you think -- is it unavoidable that there is going to be an element of violence and that...
KING: Oh, definitely...
KEILAR: -- it's not just all nonviolent?
KING: Oh, definitely. I mean my father and them had it during their movement. But they stayed very focused and determined and committed to nonviolence. And they were also determined to weed out those individuals who could not commit to embracing nonviolence.
But I think it is an inevitable aspect of whenever we are facing and resisting and fighting against injustice, that you are going to have those elements.
But we have to stay on the higher moral ground and just remember that the majority of individuals -- young people today, I applaud them for what they are doing to continue the momentum, because America is under arrest right now. And we have to address these pressing issues that so many people are affected by. The racial disparities in our country is appalling, if you ask me, to say the least. And I'm so glad to see an alliance of all people in this struggle for racial and economic justice.
KEILAR: Yes. We're seeing that in the protests.
Stay with me, Bernice. We're going to talk more after a quick commercial break.
You see on the left side of your screen, that is pictures of a protest in effect, obviously, contrasting the violence that we saw on Monday night, as well.
We'll be right back with more from Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr.
KEILAR: Our top story, Ferguson is bracing for its first weekend since the rioting over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting.
And we're back now with Bernice King. She is the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. She's the CEO of the King Center, and she also helped lead nonviolence workshops in Ferguson.
Bernice, what do you think your father would have said? How would he have reacted to what we're seeing in Ferguson, Missouri?
KING: Well, first, let me say, I think my father certainly would be saddened by all that occurred in terms of the looting and the burning of buildings.
However, you know, he foresaw all of this. He -- in 1967, he wrote a book, "Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?" And he challenged us to have a revolution of values in America, that we had to begin to shift from being a thing-oriented society to a people- oriented society and that we began to embrace this whole notion of the interrelatedness of all life and recognizing the sacredness of human personality.
And I think, you know, we didn't make those shifts, and now we are experiencing a lot of the rage and the frustration and the anger and the bitterness that comes out of not making those changes to address those conditions that lead to this frustration.
KEILAR: What's your message -- we said that there were a lot of nonviolent protesters. And we heard that. There were people telling people who were throwing things to stop doing it on Monday night. But to those people who did and to the looters, what's your message to them?
KING: Well, I mean, you know, when people are angry and are frustrated, I can just tell you just through my own personal experience, it's very hard to arrest that energy. But I think you just -- you have to try to figure out a way to appeal to them in the sense of giving them outlets of expressing it.
And some people are not going to accept that, because it's like, you know, we've been dealing with this for so long. Nothing is going to ever happen, and so this is the only thing I know. The hopelessness.
So unless we can find a plan of action, especially finding economic opportunities, you know, it's very hard to reach an individual who's already made up their mind. Because you know, we sought to reach some individuals, but some people already have a made- up mind that they -- they ascribe to violence, and there's nothing much you can do but continue in your pathway.
KEILAR: And you work with the people who are open to that pathway.
KING: I'm not sure if you've seen this week's "New Yorker" cover, it's pretty powerful. It shows a black and a white division of St. Louis there on the arch. You see it right there. So more than 50 years after your father's "I Have a Dream" speech, how racially divided is the city and America as a whole?
KING: You know, I think we're still very much racially divided. It's not as overt, obviously, as it once was. But we're dealing with institutionalized and systemic issues here of racism that are not easily uncovered and dealt with.
And so, no, while we don't have as many overt racist individuals, we do have racial structures that we have to address. And that's where all of the uprising is coming from. And the hope is that, as I said earlier, we have an alliance of young people who are multicultural, people -- you know, young white individuals who are joining forces with African-Americans, which is very powerful today.
And so although we still have these racial disparities, it's my hope that what seems to be a very serious movement on the horizons is going to bring about some fundamental change in the disparities.
We cannot forget that there are still great racial disparities across all spectrums in our country. And that's not just accidental. And so we have to be very intentional about addressing those.
KEILAR: No. We can't forget that. And we've been seeing, obviously, the frustration with that coming out of what happened in Ferguson. Bernice King, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.
KING: Thank you.
KEILAR: And we are watching live pictures after what appears so far to be a nonviolent protest there in New York City this weekend after the grand jury decision in the killing of Michael Brown.
Let's turn now to the attorney for the Brown family, Benjamin Crump. He's joining us by the phone.
Obviously, this is a very tough time, Mr. Crump, for the family. Anytime around the holidays, I think, when you've lost a loved one, it is especially tough. And we certainly saw the photo of the empty chair that his family left for Michael. How are they doing?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY (via phone): They're doing the best they can. They had to explain to their children, his brothers and sisters, why the empty chair was there and why Michael wasn't coming back. So obviously, it's very emotional for them.
KEILAR: Yes. No, I mean, and certainly expected for it to be as they -- as they honor him at the Thanksgiving table.
I'm sure you've heard Darren Wilson's attorneys. They said that he's never going to police again. At first it seemed like maybe he wanted to, and they told him that if he did, he would essentially be executed. He's decided not to. What's your reaction to that? CRUMP: Well, you know, I'm still trying to get through the
testimony at the grand jury where he characterized Michael Brown as a demon and that he had an aggressive look in his eye and that the community was a place that the police officers are hated.
So we're saying, if you have that kind of thinking and you're a police officer, then maybe you don't need to be a police officer if you're not going to be able to treat all people as American citizens and you're going to understand that your job is to protect and serve everybody in your police precinct. It doesn't matter if it's a black or Hispanic or white or poor community. They're Americans. And you've taken an oath.
KEILAR: His lawyers have also said -- they say that he's sorry, but they also say that he doesn't plan to specifically apologize to the Brown family. I wonder, do they want to hear from him? Do they not want to hear from him?
CRUMP: Well, I think they heard loud and clear in the interview that he said he had a clear conscience. And Brianna, remember he said he wouldn't change a thing. He would do the same thing again.
So I think, other than that decision by the grand jury, that was probably the hardest thing for his mother and father to hear, that he almost has no consideration for the fact that he killed that child.
And so they're just dealing with it one day at a time. First you have your child killed in this manner and lay out there on the street with blood coming from his head for four hours. And then you get this decision, which they said was like -- that was a bullet hitting them. And then you hear the guy who shot and killed their son say, "I have a clear conscience about it all."
So they're just trying now to see what they can do to get justice and preserve the legacy of their unarmed son, who was killed on August 9.
KEILAR: So what are they -- you said they're looking into what they can do to get justice. You have the Justice Department that is investigating. But what are the Browns -- the Brown family's next steps legally?
CRUMP: Well, obviously, they are looking to the Justice Department to look and investigate if there's any federal charges that can be launched against the killer of their son. But also they will explore civil matters and whatever other legal avenues there are for them to get some sense of justice.
You know, they wanted the killer of their child to be brought to trial. And as we know from that transcript from the grand jury, nobody has never cross-examined him. And then finally, what they really want is to try to make it where this doesn't continue to happen to our children over and over again.
And I don't know if you saw the reports. They said there were, what, 80 children or 80 people of color killed since August 9 by law enforcement across America. So it's one of these things we have to look into how can we change it?
And we think that this proposal for the Michael Brown Law, Brianna, this law that requires police officers in every community in America to have video body cameras is a solution and a proper legacy so we can have transparency, and we will know what happened the next time the police have any interaction with a citizen.
KEILAR: Yes. And we'll be talking about that very proposal a little later in our show. Benjamin Crump, thanks so much for being with us.
CRUMP: Thank you.
KEILAR: And we're watching live pictures. Here on the left, you see New York City. This is a protest there. On the right, upper side of your screen, we are monitoring a live protest near Ferguson, Missouri. And coming up in our next hour, I will speak with Officer Darren Wilson's attorney.
Coming up, a lone gunman shoots up government buildings in Austin, Texas, and police block an interstate, fearing that he had explosives. What's behind the rampage?
And long lines, brawls in the malls and protests. Is the Black Friday madness worth all of the bargains? You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
KEILAR: We're continuing to follow protests under way right now across the country in the aftermath of the Ferguson decision. You're looking at live pictures -- this is right now -- of protesters marching in New York City. And we'll be getting back to that story in just a moment.
But first in the Texas state capital, Austin, a gunman launched a ferocious one-man war against official buildings today firing more than 100 rounds at a federal courthouse. The Mexican consulate and Austin Police headquarters.
Let's get the latest details now from CNN's Victor Blackwell.
Victor, what can you tell us?
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Several new developments within the last hour, Brianna. We now know the suspect's name, Larry McWilliams. We'll told by Austin Police Department that he's now 49 years old, white male who lived there in Austin. And this is something that they say happened at a time when the streets of downtown Austin were crowded because it was a holiday Just after 2:00 a.m. local, the bars are closed and everyone flushed to the streets there.
They started getting the calls around 2:22 of so many shots fired that the callers thought that there was some automatic weapon or there was a machine gun involved. We're told that police believe he fired more than 100 rounds at the Mexican consulate, at the Austin Police Department headquarters, also at that new federal courthouse there. We're told that there were also cylinders inside the van of this suspected shooter, that they thought were explosives.
There were no explosives at the home. But the question now is why. Well, we heard from the police chief there and he blames, quite possibly, the political discourse in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF ART ACEVEDO, AUSTIN POLICE: If you look at a person shooting up the Mexican consulate, you know, and then the federal building, there's a pretty -- and this is all speculation. But when you look at the national debate right now about immigration, that certainly comes to mind. And one of the things that I -- frustration as an American for me and as a police officer and a police chief is sometimes our political discourse becomes very heated and sometimes very angry and sometimes the rhetoric is not healthy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now this all ended when a sergeant who was outside the police department who was really securing the horses from the mounted unit at night, in one hand held the reins of the horses, saw the shooter, heard the shots, and with his other hand fired a single shot in the direction of McWilliams. Now the medical examiner will have to determine if it was the officer's shot or a self-inflicted gun wound that killed him.
We can also tell you, one other update, the home, the apartment of McWilliams, was searched. No explosives found there -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. That is good to know. We've been wondering that all day today.
Victor Blackwell, thank you so much.
KEILAR: Long lines, fender-benders in the parking lots, brawls inside the malls.
Are the bargains even worth going through all of this Black Friday madness?
CNN's Sunlen Serfaty taking a look, maybe answering that question for us.
What do you think, Sunlen?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on how much patience you have, Brianna. I have to tell you, this mall here in Virginia, by the time it closes later tonight, it will have been open for 27 hours straight. And a lot of the retailers, they had modest optimism going into this big holiday weekend. And they have seen some early success. It's likely that 70 million Americans will hit the stores today and some of them even hit each other.
SERFATY (voice-over): From California to Indiana, even across the Atlantic to London, the fight for Black Friday deals was, well, a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A girl socked a guy in the face just to get the bargain.
SERFATY: Tonight, retailers are saying the holiday season in stores and online is off to a solid start. 22 million hit Wal-Mart presales on Thursday. Target says online sales are up more than 40 percent. Today traffic crashed Best Buy's Web site. Meantime, this line outside of Macy's overnight, 15,000 people long.
TERRY LUNDGREN, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, MACY'S: That's a record as far as we can -- we know. And they were anxious to buy.
SERFATY: 140 million people are expected to shop in stores or online this weekend. The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales to grow 4.1 percent, reaching more than half a billion dollars.
In part thanks to Black Friday shoppers like CNN's Jill Chappell.
JILL CHAPPELL, CNN'S THIS JUST IN: Oh, door busters. Let's do this. So excited. All right. Head to the back.
SERFATY: And it's no longer just a one-day sprint. Black Friday has become a multiday marathon. Rose (INAUDIBLE) ventured into this Virginia mall Thursday and didn't come out until today. Sixty pairs of shoes later.
SERFATY: And many retailers are eager to stretch this out as much as they can. This is where they make their big profits for the year.
Brianna, they are now pushing hard for Cyber Monday sales -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Sixty pairs of shoes. I don't even know 60 people to give that many pairs of shoes to.
All right. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.
Now next, we are getting new information on a planned major offensive to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.
And is North Korea's leader behind what may be an attempted kidnapping in Paris? And what's behind the promotion of his little sister to a big new job?
KEILAR: We're continuing to follow protests under way across the country in the aftermath of this week's Ferguson decision. And you're looking now at some live pictures from New York City. That's right now.
But first, let's talk about another story. Iraqi and Kurdish forces are gearing up for a major push to retake the northern city of Mosul from ISIS. And they'll be getting help from the United States.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is getting some new details -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this would be the big win the U.S. is looking for to get the Iraqi forces back in the game to take back control of their country. A U.S. military official now tells me there is a plan for the possibility of beginning the fight to retake Mosul beginning it as soon as January. That's very ambitious. But the U.S. is working with the Iraqis to get both Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces back into the Mosul area, get them to get some footholds back in Mosul and begin the fight to retake the entire city.
This would be a huge defeat for ISIS, a big gain for the U.S., a big gain for the coalition and of course the Iraqi people. Mosul, the ISIS fighters have been posting brazen photos and videos of their control of the city.
Look, it's going to take a long time to make it all happen. But they at least have that mark on the wall now. They want to try and get started on this in January -- Brianna.
KEILAR: How does all of this, Barbara, play into the president's choice for a new Defense secretary? Something he's hoping to do very soon.
STARR: Yes. You bet. He needs to get a name out there to Congress, doesn't he? ISIS will be a top priority for any new nominee. Right now one of the things we're noticing is the names on the list, what we're mainly seeing is names being taken off the list.
Senator Jack Reid, a prominent Democrat from Rhode Island, has already said he's not interested. The hunt is really on.
STARR (voice-over): President Obama scrambling for his fourth Defense secretary in six years. Tonight the short list of candidates includes Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the former top Pentagon lawyer. But his key role in crafting Obama's immigration executive action could mean an explosive confirmation hearing. And Ashton Carter, a former Pentagon number two, well regarded but with limited international experience.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The next secretary of Defense is going to have some big shoes to fill. STARR: A top priority for whomever is chosen? Dealing with the
war on ISIS, caught between President Obama's insistence on no combat troops and the senator who will run the confirmation hearing, Republican John McCain, a leading voice for a more assertive military strategy against ISIS.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There's going to be a gradual escalation. They're going to have to send more over there. They're going to have to have -- their controllers on the ground. They're going to have Special Forces people. We're going to have to have trainers.
STARR: One advantage for choosing Johnson? He is already steeped in ISIS, telling CNN in a recent exclusive interview --
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The new phenomenon that I see that I'm very concerned about is somebody who's never met another member of that terrorist organization, never trained at one of the camps, who is simply inspired by the social media, the literature, the propaganda, the message to commit an act of violence in this country.
STARR: Some officials say early front-runner Michelle Flournoy, a former Pentagon policy chief, withdrew her name not wanting to deal with White House micromanagement, which had frustrated Hagel. The same claim complaint raised by his two predecessors just days before Hagel resigned.
ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: It was that micromanagement that drove me crazy.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Members of the Cabinet and others that oftentimes go to a National Security Council meeting but by the time you get there, the fact is that the staff has probably already in many ways determined what the president should or should not do.
STARR: But Gates perhaps the most telling.
GATES: I was touring JASOC headquarters in Kabul and discovered a direct line to somebody on the NSC. And I had them tear it out while I was standing there.
And I told the commanders, you get a call from the White House, you tell them to go to hell and call me.
STARR: Now you know the president could decide to shuffle some Pentagon appointee into the top job, of course. But remember when Hagel was essentially fired earlier this week, the White House said it was looking for a new direction at the Pentagon. So the one thought around here is maybe, does the White House have somebody in mind, a dark horse candidate, that nobody's thought of yet -- Brianna. KEILAR: What does that say, Barbara, though, that this appears
to be the job that nobody, certainly maybe some of the top choices the White House may want, that none of them want it?
STARR: Well, you know, it's extraordinary. They fire Hagel. That's exactly what happened. And they don't have somebody lined up to go. Michelle Flournoy might have been the frontrunner but she bails. Reid says no, thank you. Senator Carl Levin, another potential candidate, has said, no thank you, he's retiring, he's not interested.
There's a couple of problems here. By the time they get confirmed, less than two years on the job and the National Security Council micromanagement. Don't underestimate everything you just heard the last two secretaries of Defense say. It has been a huge issue here at the Pentagon and one that a new secretary is going to have to be willing to tackle.
KEILAR: Barbara Starr, thank you.
And next, North Korea power play. Kim Jong-Un's aunt meets a mysterious fate. Plus, we have new details about Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson who's been forced into hiding. And I'll speak to his lawyer coming up.
KEILAR: There may be new clues to a possible power play involving North Korea's leader. A reported kidnap attempt in a European capital and a relative's mysterious fate.
CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into this.
This is really -- it's unbelievable.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Strange doing.
TODD: The Kim regime, as always, Brianna. This apparent kidnapping attempt in France may have been a brazen attempt by Kim Jong-Un to silence people who may have been even remotely tied to his uncle Jang Song-Thaek. Tonight that's raising concern of more palace intrigue, more possible instability within Kim's inner circle.
TODD (voice-over): He smiles proudly as he oversees an amphibious assault drill and his photograph visiting an orphanage. Images suggesting he's both a confident and benevolent leader. In the past month and a half alone, North Korea's supreme leader has released three Americans from custody and has opened up to South Korea. But behind those nice guy, public images and savvy diplomatic moves, Kim Jong-Un may still be coldly, shrewdly getting rid of his enemies.
Take for instance the case of a North Korean student who's been missing from class at a French architecture school for weeks. Yonhap and other news agencies say the young man was kidnapped by North Korean agents in Paris recently but escaped near the Paris airport before he could be put on a plane back to North Korea. He reportedly hasn't been seen since and may be in hiding.
Those news agency say the student, identified only as Han, is the son of an aide to Jang Song-Thaek, Kim Jong-Un's once powerful uncle who he had executed a year ago. The French news agency AFP, citing a French judicial source, says Paris prosecutors are investigating the student's disappearance.
PROF. SUE TERRY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I'm not surprised that North Koreans are going after him. This is a very typical practice that North Koreans conduct, to go after anyone that's even remotely related to someone they thought was a person who committed treason.
TODD: CNN has learned of even more apparent fallout inside the Kim family. A North Korean defector now says Kim's aunt, Kim Kyong- Hui, who was married to that same executed uncle and was very powerful herself, suffered a fatal stroke while she was on the phone with the supreme leader last year, arguing about her husband being killed.
Tonight it's not clear if the story of the stroke is true or yet another confusing example of what analysts say is a chilling tradition inside the Kim family's North Korea. Those suspected of turning on the regime rarely survive, some even having entire generations of their families killed or put in gulags. A tactic that started with Kim's father and grandfather.
JOSEPH DETRAIN, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY: Kim Jong-Il, Kim Il- Sung, they've reached out not only to the individuals, the principals, but the extended families to ensure there would be no problems for the government, there'd be no repercussions, there'd be no attempts on the part of the extended family to seek revenge. And this is how they cleanse it.
TODD: Analysts say the rumor about Kim's aunt along with several moments of intrigue over the past year indicate there is significant tension among Kim's inner circle, his top aides all wondering if they could be next, all calculating their next moves, either to get out or maybe to get him, and all of this, Brianna, stems from the execution of that uncle almost a year ago. Incredible fallout from that one event.
KEILAR: And there is, I guess, one particularly notorious example of how the regime has gone after the family of a defector.
TODD: Incredible example. This was in 1997. The defector's name was Hwang Jang-Yop, the highest ranking defector ever to leave North Korea. There's a picture of him. He was an aide to Kim Il- Song, Kim's father. After he left, they rounded up everyone even remotely tied to him, people who didn't even realize they were related to him. They said you're his eighth cousin removed, you're out. That's what they do. KEILAR: Wow. That is certainly scary.
KEILAR: If someone is considering if they want to defect. That must weigh in their minds.
KEILAR: Brian Todd, thank you.
And coming up, we have new details on Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. He's been forced into hiding. I'll be speaking with his lawyer, next.