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THE SITUATION ROOM
Nationwide Walkouts Over Ferguson; New Obama Comments on Ferguson; New Obama Comments on Ferguson; FBI Warns Troops Inside U.S. of ISIS Threat; Pentagon Insider May Lead War on ISIS; North Korea Suspected in Computer Attack
Aired December 1, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, nationwide walkout. Dozens of fresh Ferguson protests from coast to coast. Demonstrators walking off the job and out of school in solidarity with Michael Brown. Will these walkouts remain peaceful?
Wilson resigns. The officer who shot and killed Michael Brown steps down from the Ferguson Police Department. We'll talk to the Brown family attorney. Are they getting what they want out of all of this?
ISIS threat. A chilling warning to U.S. troops, the terrorists now believed to be looking for recruits to attack American military personnel. Is social media making them more vulnerable?
And cyber-attack. A major movie studio targeted as it releases a movie blasted by North Korea. Is Kim Jong-un's regime taking revenge online?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. President Obama discussing the Ferguson fallout right now over at the White House. He's meeting today with officials and activists among a wave of new protests across the country. At least 60 separate walkouts today, protesting the grand jury decision not to charge the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. Officer Darren Wilson, who has now resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.
We're covering all angles of the story this hour with our correspondents, our guests across the nation, including the lawyer for Michael Brown's family, Benjamin Crump. He's standing by live.
But we begin in Ferguson right now. CNN's George Howell is there for us.
George, what's the latest on these walkouts?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we know that protesters here in Ferguson called for a day of walkouts. And around the country, we have seen that play out. Here in Ferguson, the city itself, it has been quiet for the most
part, except for a meeting that's playing out here behind me. This was commissioned by the governor.
We're starting to hear public opinion. It's starting to get heated. You get a sense, though, Wolf, that the frustration and the anger remain.
HOWELL (voice-over): Across the country, protests continue one week after a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. In Washington, D.C., they blocked the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For them to be inconvenienced for 20 minutes is only a testament to how the lives of black people are stopped every day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will love each other and protect each other.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will love each other and protect each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will love each other and protect each other.
HOWELL: Some even gathered in solidarity outside the Justice Department.
From coast to coast, there have been walkouts. During Sunday's NFL game in St. Louis, five Rams players staged their own protest as they took to the field --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- acknowledge the events in Ferguson --
HOWELL: -- all displaying the "hands up, don't shoot" pose, which has been widely adopted by supporters of Michael Brown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- as they ran out onto the field --
HOWELL: But the St. Louis Police Officers Association condemned the action.
JEFF ROORDA, ST. LOUIS POLICE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION: Let's not diminish what the show of hands meant. It's accusing a police officer, a brother police officer, of executing a young man in cold blood. Not only are St. Louis police officers mad but friends of law enforcement from across the country were calling me last night.
JAMES KNOWLES, FERGUSON MAYOR: We have now severed ties with Officer Darren Wilson.
HOWELL: as for Officer Darren Wilson, he will not be in a Ferguson police uniform. He resigned, saying the risk of more violence prompted his decision and that he hopes his resignation will help allow the community to heal.
KNOWLES: The city of Ferguson will not be making a severance payment to Officer Wilson.
HOWELL: Ferguson's mayor announced new initiatives to help heal the rift between police and the community, including a scholarship program to recruit more African-American police officers.
HOWELL: So as we continue to monitor this meeting, we're going to go back there and see what people have to say. I can tell you that some people are asking that question: what happens next with Darren Wilson?
Well, we spoke with his attorneys, and they tell us that Wilson is looking to possibly go back to school. It's not concrete yet. But we do know that, at this point, he remains in hiding, Wolf, after a week of unrest and riots.
BLITZER: And we'll speak to two of his attorneys later here in THE SITUATION ROOM. George, thanks very much. George Howell on the ground for us in Ferguson.
Let's get more now on those White House meetings that are unfolding right now. Our White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, is joining us.
Michelle, what do we know about these meetings? I take it we're standing by to hear directly from the president momentarily?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right. We could hear from him any minute. But he had a day of meetings, three of them, lasted all day, first with his cabinet, then young civil rights leaders, then a larger group meeting with community and faith leaders from around the country, also law enforcement.
And the goal is to try to find ways to build trust between local police officers and communities. The White House sees that as being really one of the root causes of the continued unrest in problems like Ferguson.
So what the president announced today, what they want to do is, first of all, a task force to look at policing in America. Again, issues of trust. They also want to ask Congress for more money, more than $260 million, to increase training of local police and purchase some 50,000 police body cameras in the hopes, at least, of helping to answer some of those questions that that, in situations like Ferguson, oftentimes go completely unanswered.
Also they want to take a closer look into a review that they've already commissioned, the results of which came out today, into federal money and military equipment going to local police departments, $18 billion worth. Nearly half a million pieces of military equipment over the last five years. We're talking things like more than 5,000 Humvees, tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, aircraft. That's contributed to what some see as the militarization of local police departments.
The White House isn't going so far as to say they feel like that contributed to the problems we saw after the Ferguson shooting. But they want to take a closer look at it, because what their review has found so far is a glaring lack of consistency in these federal programs, as well as training and community input into using some of this equipment, Wolf.
BLITZER: Any idea, any word yet if the president will go to Ferguson, if he does, will he meet with Michael Brown's family?
KOSINSKI: Yes, that's a great question. This question has been asked of the president since the shooting took place. At this point, the White House says again and again that the president has no plans to do that. But the White House is still looking into that possibility.
But that raised other questions. I mean, we asked today, is the president afraid that his going there would just escalate the situation further? They said, no. They're just waiting for the right moment to decide if the president will make that decision, make that trip personally, Wolf.
BLITZER: Michelle, I know the president's about to speak out on what's going on in Ferguson, the fallout. We'll have coverage of that. That's coming up in the next few minutes. Michelle Kosinski is over at the White House.
Let's get some more now on the executive action President Obama's planning on taking in the wake of the Ferguson arrests. You're looking, by the way, at these pictures coming in from the Justice Department outside the Justice Department here in Washington, D.C.
Take a look at some of the protests that have been going on outside the Justice Department now for the past several hours. These are live pictures coming in right now. Our justice reporter, Evan Perez, is working this part of the story for us.
Evan, first of all, on the so-called militarization of local law enforcement, the president made some announcements today. What's going on?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Wolf, I think there was a lot of concern after the police response. It was very heavily criticized in August. You saw MRAPs. You saw police in camouflage on the streets of the St. Louis suburbs.
Well, that issue appears to have been a dud. I mean, if you read between the lines of this White House report that was issued today, it's clear that the White House really is not touching these programs, $18 billion worth of equipment that's been transferred. Most of it is like back office equipment.
So what, really, the White House is trying to decide -- they're trying to decide how to perhaps make some improvements to these programs, and that includes better training to make sure people understand -- police officers understand about civil rights and civil liberties. But they're not really going to touch these programs, even in Congress where there was some effort to change these programs, that issue has kind of died out.
BLITZER: So the Humvees, the other military equipment, the hardware, which was criticized earlier, that's basically more or less continued?
PEREZ: It's going to continue. And you know, when people, when they saw those pictures, what they didn't realize is that that's standard equipment for SWAT teams nowadays.
You know, what I think is going to happen is you're going to see more training for police officers so they don't use this, you know, sort of warrior mentality and do more work with the community they serve to get to know the people that they're trying to protect.
BLITZER: Yes. These protests, we're looking at these live pictures coming from outside the Justice Department. They've been going on now for the past several hours.
PEREZ: Right, right. And you know, I think what you hear from people here in the Justice Department, in law enforcement, is that, you know, there are ways to improve the way cops do their job. Clearly, there's an issue. And so that's what they need to focus on, better training, which is really what the problem was in Ferguson.
BLITZER: Evan Perez, thanks very, very much. We'll continue to monitor what's happening outside the Justice Department and monitor what's happening in New York City, Chicago, all over the country right now.
Let's get some more on what's going on. Joining us, the Michael Brown family attorney, Benjamin Crump.
Mr. Crump, once again, thank you very much for joining us.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: Thank you for having me, Wolf.
BLITZER: You've heard the slogans: hands up, walk out, protests being held across the country, including here in the nation's capital. You speak to the Brown family all of the time. What do they want to emerge out of all of these protests?
CRUMP: Well, certainly what they want is to prevent this from happening to anybody else's child. We want to see some positive change come from something so negative. And certainly they have been consistent with wanting this proposal for the Michael Brown law, the police officers wearing body cameras across every city in America to prevent this from happening because it will be transparency. People will see what's happening and you won't have this aftermath of their son's death of what played out in August in Ferguson, is what they're trying to prevent.
BLITZER: Mr. Crump, does the Brown family want the president of the United States to come to Ferguson?
CRUMP: Well, they want the president of the United States to try to use his platform to make substantive change that will make policing in every community in America be one that people can have faith in and trust in. And so if he comes to Ferguson, I'm sure they will receive him. But if not, they understand that he has the position where he can help make tremendous change that we've never seen before in the way of policing, but also with the grand jury system that I've said over and again is broken and needs to be indicted and changed so we will have police officers held accountable if they illegally kill young people of color.
BLITZER: Has the president been in direct touch with the Brown family?
CRUMP: No, the attorney general, Eric Holder, has been speaking on his behalf to the Brown family.
BLITZER: Would it be -- would it be appropriate if the president did come to Ferguson for him to sit down with the Brown family? I raise the question only because you're a lawyer. You understand, there are two Justice Department, two federal investigations still under way. Would that be seen as interfering in those two separate Justice Department investigations?
CRUMP: Well, Wolf, I'm not sure about that. But the larger implications here is that Michael Brown has become symbolic of numerous young people of color who have been killed, many believe unjustifiably across America over and over again.
So this issue has illuminated that issue, this epidemic of sorts, of young people of color -- especially little black and brown boys -- being killed by police officers and some very questionable events and never being held accountable, because you have this prosecutor who's local who knows the police who stands to decide whether to indict him or not. And it's just not happening.
So we have to take a serious look at that, Wolf, to make sure we don't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. And the crux of the matter is this is about policing and race. We have to do a better job, all of us: the community, folks. But the police also have to do a better job of saying, we have to learn to care about one another. We have to learn to respect one another. We have to learn to trust one another. And that's not what we had in Ferguson.
BLITZER: Mr. Crump, I want you to stand by. We're going to take a quick break. The president of the United States has been meeting with activists over at the White House. He's about the make a statement on Ferguson, the fallout. You and I will listen together with others. We'll get your reaction to what the president is about to say right after this.
BLITZER: Following breaking news out of the White House right now. President Obama discussing the Ferguson fallout in a series of meetings with officials and activists from around the country. Within the next moment or so, we're going to be hearing directly from the president. He's got a statement to make on what's going on, the Ferguson fallout. We're standing by also to get reaction. Benjamin Crump is joining us.
He's the Michael Brown family attorney.
We only have a few seconds before the president starts, Mr. Crump. Is there anything special you would like to hear from the president?
CRUMP: Just the fact that they are taking it very seriously and they want to make sure that something happens from all this emotion, all this concern about the issue. And the issue being policing in minority communities and how we can make it better.
Concisely, Wolf, we want this proposed Michael Brown legislation, where police officers are going to be required to have video body cameras so it can be transparent when they have interactions with citizens.
BLITZER: Yes. Like there are dash cameras on police patrol cars. There's now the technology that would allow police officers all over the United States to walk around with a body camera that would document, if you will, what was going on if the police did something inappropriate and if they didn't do anything inappropriate. That's a serious subject on the agenda. We're about to hear right now from the president, Mr. Crump. Stand by. We're going to get your reaction as soon as he's done speaking. Here he is.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I said last week in the wake of the grand jury decision, I think Ferguson laid bare a problem that is not unique to St. Louis or that area and is not unique to our time. And that is a simmering distrust that exists between too many police departments and too many communities of color. The sense that, in a country where one of our basic principles, perhaps the most important principle, is equality under the law that too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they are being treated fairly.
And as I said last week, when any part of the American family does not feel like it is being treated fairly, that's a problem for all of us. It's not just a problem for some. It's not just a problem for a particular community or a particular demographic. It means that we are not as strong as a country as we can be. And when applied to the criminal justice system, it means we're not as effective in fighting crime as we could be.
And as a consequence, what I've been able to do today, thanks to excellent work by Eric Holder, our attorney general, who had to fly down to Atlanta to start a conversation down there around these issues, as well as the outstanding leaders around this table, is to begin a process in which we're able to surface an honest conversation between law enforcement, community activists, academics, elected officials, the faith community, to try to determine what the problems are and most importantly try to come up with concrete solutions that can move the ball forward.
One of the most powerful things that happened today was I had the opportunity to meet with some young people, including a couple of young outstanding leaders from the Ferguson community, Brittany Packnett and Rasheen Aldridge, who both served on the Ferguson committee, live in the area and I think have been hearing from a lot of young people in that area.
And what made me concerned was the degree to which they feel as if they are not heard or that the reality of what they experience has been denied. What made me greatly encouraged was how clear their voices were when they were heard and how constructive they are in wanting to solve these problems. And I think anybody who had a chance to listen to them here today felt the same way.
We also heard from law enforcement and were reminded of what a tough job it is to be in law enforcement. Whether you're in a big city or in a small community, as Eric Holder put it, police officers have the right to come home. And if they're in dangerous circumstances, we have to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and recognize that they do have a tough job.
I don't think those realities are irreconcilable. In fact, I'm convinced that, if we work hard, that we can make sure that police officers and the communities they serve are partners in battling crime, partners in making sure everybody feels safe, that we can build confidence and we can build trust. But it's not going to happen overnight. And it's not going to result just from a conversation around a table in Washington. It's got to result in concrete steps that we are able to lift up in communities all around the country and institutionalize.
In order to advance that goal, here are a couple of specific steps that we're taking. First of all, I want to thank Chuck Ramsey, the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department, as well as Laurie Robinson, who is professor of criminology, law and society at George Mason University and the former assistant attorney general. They are going to co-chair a task force that is not only going to reach out and listen to law enforcement, community activists, other stakeholders, but is going to report to me specifically in 90 days with concrete recommendations, including best practices for communities where law enforcement and neighborhoods are working well together.
How do they create accountability, how do they create transparency and how do they create trust, and how can we at the federal level work with state and local communities to make sure that some of those best practices get institutionalized?
So this is not going to be an endless report that ends up collecting dust on the shelf. My expectation is concrete recommendations that we can begin to operationalize both at the federal, state and local levels.
And the good news is, is that we've got two folks who are respected by activists and respected by law enforcement. And I'm confident they're going to do an outstanding job. I want them to help us make sure that crime continues to go down while community trust in the police goes up.
Second, one of the issues that came up during the response to Ferguson back in August was the issue of military equipment being utilized in the face of protests that may be taking place in the community. It raised a broader issue as to whether we are militarizing domestic law enforcement unnecessarily. And is the federal government facilitating that?
I have now received a review that I had ordered from all the agencies involved in this program, the 1033 program. I will be signing an executive order that specifies how we are going to make sure that that program is accountable, how we're going to make sure that that program is transparent and how are we going to make sure that we're not building a militarized culture inside our local law enforcement.
Third, I'm going to be proposing some new community policing initiatives that will significantly expand funding and training for local law enforcement, including up to 50,000 additional body-worn cameras for law enforcement agencies. And I look forward to working with Congress to make sure that, in addition to what I can do administratively and with resources that we've already got, that we are in a conversation with law enforcement that wants to do the right thing to make sure that they're adequately resourced for the training and the technology that can enhance trust between communities and the police.
And finally, as I mentioned, Eric Holder is going to be working in parallel with the task force to convene a series of these meetings all across the country, because this is not a problem simply of Ferguson, Missouri. This is a problem that is national. It is a solvable problem. But it is one that, unfortunately, spikes after one event and then fades into the background until something else happens. What we need is a sustained conversation in which, in each region of the country, people are talking about this honestly and then can move forward in a constructive fashion.
Let me just close by saying this. There was a cautionary note, I think, from everybody here that there have been commissions before, there have been task forces, there have been conversations, and nothing happens. What I tried to describe to people is why this time it will be different. And part of the reason this time it will be different is because the president of the United States is deeply invested to making sure that this time is different.
When I hear the young people around this table talk about their experiences, it violates my belief in what America can be. To hear young people feeling marginalized and distrustful even after they've done everything right, that's not who we are. And I don't think that's who the overwhelming majority of Americans want us to be.
And I think there may be a convergence here what we've got outstanding law enforcement officials who recognize that times have changed and want to be responsive. I know that Richard Berry of the International Association of Chiefs of Police spoke about how eager they are to work with us. I think that we've got activists on the ground who don't always get attention because it's oftentimes people who aren't being constructed who get attention. But there are folks there who are working really hard. I think there's a maturity of the conversation right now that can lead us to actually getting some concrete results. And in the two years I have remaining as president, I'm going to make
sure that we follow through. Not to solve every problem, not to tear down every barrier of mistrust that may exist. But to make things better. And that's how progress is always made in this great country of ours.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you very much, Jonathan. And thank you very much. Appreciate you guys. Thank you all.
BLITZER: So there you have the president meeting with a group of officials and activists, reporters obviously shouting some questions. President making a lengthy, lengthy statement but declining to answer reporters' questions, at least at this event.
The man sitting next to the president, Charles Ramsey. He's the commissioner, the police commissioner in Philadelphia. He used to be the police chief here in Washington, D.C. He's going to be co- chairing this new commission that the president is setting up to go out there and study what's going on.
Let's get some reaction. Benjamin Crump is still with us. He's an attorney representing Michael Brown's family.
What's your reaction? What did you think of what we just heard from the president, Mr. Crump?
CRUMP: I think it's encouraging, Wolf. He talked about some deliberate things we could do to try to advance this mature conversation that we need to have like the task force, like having stakeholders in place.
I know, as an attorney representing 25 families involved in police shootings or brutality where their family members were killed, those are some of the stakeholders. The National Bar Association, the largest association of lawyers of color, represents many more families. And I know the Hispanic Bar Association also is a stakeholder representing many Hispanic young boys are who have had negative interactions with law enforcement that needs to be at the table to discuss the risks, the serious problem, the real problem, Wolf.
Because some people act like there's not a problem that exists. They don't know what it's like to have your children have an interaction with the police, and they are good, clean-cut kids who have never had involvement with police; but yet they're slammed against police cars, slammed on the ground, and for the rest of their life, they never see the police quite the same way they did before. Most families don't have to worry about that. But minority families, they worry every day not just that their kid won't be killed by a criminal but that their kid won't be killed by police.
You know, a young person of color, male, 15 to 19, has a 2,100 percent chance of being killed by the police than any other ethnic demographic. And so we have to deal with this, because these are our children. And so I think the president is hitting the right chord to try to move it forward. BLITZER: Very quickly, you heard -- I don't know if you heard, but
one of the reporters shouting a question to the president about the police -- police officer, Darren Wilson, stepping down. The president clearly didn't want to say anything about his feelings about Wilson. Does that upset you at all? Should he have said something?
CRUMP: Well, I don't think that we can criticize him for not speaking on every issue involving this -- Ferguson. There are thousands of issues. I think he hit on the ones he needed to hit on.
I think with the police officer resigning, he did what was in his best interest, both personally and professionally. And, you know, I think when you talk about being effective in the Ferguson community with the Ferguson Police Department in the aftermath of killing this unarmed teenager, it would have been problematic.
BLITZER: Yes. The president talking about a simmering distrust. He knows there have been a lot of presidential commissions. He promises this one will be different. He says because the president of the United States will make sure this commission is different than some of the other commissions that have been created over the years --
CRUMP: We hope so.
BLITZER: -- to study these programs.
All right. Mr. Crump, thanks very much for joining us.
CRUMP: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Benjamin Crump, he's an attorney representing Michael Brown's family.
We're following this new wave of Ferguson protests across the country right now. We have much more coming up, including the lawyer for the now former police Officer Darren Wilson. He's going to be joining us live, as well.
Plus, the FBI warning to U.S. troops about social media and a new ISIS terror threat right here at home.
BLITZER: We're continuing to follow today's nationwide protests, walkouts in cities across the United States, one week after we learned that Darren Wilson would not be charged with the death of Michael Brown. Wilson has now resigned from the Ferguson Police Department. I'll be speaking with his lawyer in just a few minutes.
But first, U.S. troops are being warned they may -- repeat, may -- face a new terror threat right here on U.S. soil. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is working the story for us.
What are you finding out, Pamela?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're finding out, Wolf, that there's a warning sent out by the FBI and DHS. And this latest one is so alarming, because it indicates ISIS members are not only urging attacks on Americans. They're signaling out home-grown violent extremists online who they can use to attack our military members on U.S. soil.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight, the FBI and homeland security have issued a warning to the U.S. military, telling them ISIS members are spotting and assessing like-minded individuals currently living in the U.S. who may be able to carry out attacks against them.
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.
BROWN: This latest bulletin, sent overnight, warns U.S. soldiers to be extra cautious about posting identifiable pictures and information on social media, anything that would make them easy targets for ISIS- inspired terrorists.
FRANK CILLUTTO, HOMELAND SECURITY POLICY INSTITUTE: Tons of people don't think through exactly what sort of information they're providing online and in their social media that has GPS material, that has friends, contacts and others, family members that in the hands of those who wish us harm could be really dangerous.
BROWN: Law enforcement sources say the bulletin was sent out now in advance of the upcoming holiday season, when many members of the U.S. military travel in uniform at a time of year terrorists want to attack the U.S.
CILLUTTO: Clearly, if you're in the shoes of ISIS, you'd like to instill fear and panic during this time frame.
BROWN (on camera): Why do you think it's just military personnel in this case?
CILLUTTO: Why our military? They're our heroes.
BROWN (voice-over): Similar warnings have recently been sent to military members and law enforcement personnel out of a growing concern of lone wolf attacks in the U.S. But sources say this latest bulletin is based on renewed efforts by ISIS to attack U.S. troops.
Adding to concern, recent attacks in Canada against members of the community and military, including the shooting last month where a gunman killed a soldier and then opened fire in Parliament.
BROWN: And Wolf, I've been speaking to law enforcement officials today. And they tell me that, you know, as ISIS continues its social media campaign, we could see a lone wolf attack in the U.S. That is the big concern. And it's very hard for law enforcement to detect and stop before it happens -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. It worries them greatly. Pamela, thanks very much.
Let's dig deeper right now. Joining us, our CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes; our CNN national security analyst, the former CIA operative, Bob Baer; and our CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen.
Bob Baer, how should members of the U.S. military respond to this latest warning, if you will? Should they hide their affiliation, wear only civilian clothes -- clothing when they're walking around in public? What do you think?
BOB BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I take this threat seriously, Wolf. I mean, it's a logical threat for ISIS. They want to redefine the conflict that they're fighting. We are the so-called crusaders. And hitting people in military would give them a lot of propaganda value.
So the military should take this seriously. They should avoid congregating. They should avoid getting online, as they've been advised not to do. You know, coming out of bases, they should be watchful.
And the FBI will be looking through social media and the rest of it, looking for potential attackers. But, again, this is the strength of weak links. These people are unknowns to the FBI, and those are the ones most likely the ones to get through.
BLITZER: Peter, do you agree with that analysis? And specifically, should members of the U.S. military, even in their personal, private postings online with their Facebook or Twitter, should they mention where they are, where they're going, stuff like that?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think people should take reasonable precautions. But I mean, you know, the U.S. military is a giant institution, and you can't get everybody to, you know, exactly follow some sort of directive.
I mean, the interesting fact here, Wolf, is that, for about a quarter of the cases since 9/11, people motivated by jihadi militant beliefs have either attacked or tried to attack military targets. You know, two out of three successful, quote unquote, "terrorist attacks" in the post-9/11 era, one was in Fort Hood. Another one was at a military recruiting center in Arkansas.
So you know, certainly, there have been people motivated by this ideology. Military targets are very attractive. But, by the way, this is not news to the military. I mean, there's been a lot of concern about this since at least Fort Hood, which after all, was five years ago.
BLITZER: Tom, take us behind the scenes. The FBI, they issue a bulletin like this, giving some warnings out there to U.S. men and women of the United States military. It's a big deal for them to issue a warning like this.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. They're trying not to issue a warning every other week just so, you know, people will take it seriously.
But, you know, additional concern here is that people at home take pictures using their smartphones or modern cameras, which record GPS coordinates into the picture. And so if they post that on social media and say, "Here we are welcoming our father home from Afghanistan," and they're taking pictures in the home, it's telling the bad guys where they live. It's telling them where to come get them. So that's among the concerns, that social media can identify specific locations that way.
BLITZER: Yes. It's sad that we even have to worry about this kind of stuff in this day and age. But clearly, the FBI is deeply concerned right now. All right, guys, stand by.
There's other news we're following, as well, including new suspicions North Korea may be behind a cyber-attack that has some of the year's biggest movies free for the taking online.
BLITZER: A man with extensive behind-the-scenes experience at the Pentagon may be President Obama's choice to lead the fight against ISIS.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has new details about the man who may, repeat, may be the next secretary of Defense.
Barbara, what are you learning?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Quick update for everyone tonight, Wolf. It now looks like a man named Ashton Carter is the president's leading choice to become the next secretary of Defense, replacing Chuck Hagel, who was pushed out last week.
Ash Carter was once Chuck Hagel's deputy. He was the top weapons buyer here at the Pentagon. He knows budgets. He knows weapons. He has been involved in strategy. The big issue will be, of course, can he deal with the so-called micromanagement by the White House? Will he have enough innovation to potentially offer new ideas? Will he be listened to?
He's quite an interesting man. He has a university degree in medieval history and he's also got a degree in theoretical physics -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And I know a lot of White House officials think he can be confirmed by the Republican-led United States Senate next year.
All right. Thanks very much, Barbara, for that.
We're also continuing to monitor today's nationwide protests over the events in Ferguson, Missouri. In a few minutes I'll speak live with the attorneys for Darren Wilson. He's now the former police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown.
But we're also following another major crime story, a computer attack and theft of some of the biggest movies of the year. Get this, Sony Pictures is set to be looking at whether North Korea is to blame.
CNN's Brian Todd is following this story for us.
Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this upcoming film "The Interview" is a comedy about an effort to assassinate Kim Jong-Un. But the North Koreans aren't laughing. They vowed revenge for the film and tonight, Sony is still dealing with a massive cyber attack and there are new questions about a possible North Korean connection.
TODD (voice-over): It's a Hollywood romp with the perfect villain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a gift for you.
JAMES FRANCO, ACTOR, "THE INTERVIEW": Oh, the dog is killing me with cuteness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's crazy cute.
TODD: In the movie, "The Interview," James Franco and Seth Rogen played two bumbling talk show hosts recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're going to be in a room alone with Kim. And the CIA would love if you could take him out.
SETH ROGEN, ACTOR, "THE INTERVIEW": Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take him out.
ROGEN: For coffee?
TODD: When the North Koreans got word of the film's production, they called it undisguised terrorism, vowed a, quote, "strong and merciless countermeasure." Now new questions about possible retaliation.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company which produced the movie, is dealing with a massive cyber attack. Corporate e-mails have been crippled and screener copies of five Sony movies including Brad Pitt's "Fury" have been posted on illicit Web sites. "The Interview" is not one of the movies hacked. But experts say the attack is very damaging.
MARK REACH, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT: For an entity like Sony, their movies, especially ones that haven't been released, those are the keys to the kingdom. Those are the things you really want to protect more than anything else.
TODD: The tech news website Re/code reports Sony is exploring the possibility that hackers working for North Korea possibly operating from China could be behind the attack. A North Korean official at the U.N. would not comment and a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace has apparently said it perpetrated the hack.
Could North Korea even carry out such a sophisticated attack?
REACH: They have the ability to tap into resources, but remember they can also buy hackers on demand. So you can go out to the free market and you can say this is what I want to have happened. Here's a certain amount of money. Just make it happen.
TODD: Experts say Kim Jong-Un, like his father, is a voracious consumer of Western movies. But that doesn't mean they can take a joke.
VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: When they see themselves being ridiculed in these media forms that they love, it must really hurt them more than a sanction by the United States or a sanction by the U.N. Security Council.
TODD: This attack is still not over. Sony is still working to connect some systems. Contacted by CNN, Sony would only say the theft of its content is a criminal matter and they're working with law enforcement to address it. The FBI confirms it is investigating the Sony hack. Meanwhile, experts say, Sony is likely to lose millions of dollars this holiday season from people viewing illegal downloads of those movies online rather than going to theaters -- Wolf.
BLITZER: You've got another example of the North Koreans monitoring Western news media, for example.
TODD: That's right. I reached a North Korean official at the U.N. today. He would not comment of course on the hacking reports, but when I explained who I was and who I worked for, he said yes, I know your name, I know your face. They monitor the Western media constantly, especially stories about them.
BLITZER: This was a North Korean official here at the United Nations.
TODD: That's right. At the U.N.
BLITZER: Yes. At the United Nations so presumably they watch CNN, see what's going on in the world.
TODD: They are said to be voracious consumers.
BLITZER: Like a lot of foreign leaders do.
BLITZER: Nothing wrong with that.
All right. Brian, thanks very much for that report. Coming up, dozens of protests today across the United States one week
after Ferguson exploded in rioting. We have new details of the nationwide walkouts.
And we'll talk to two lawyers for Darren Wilson who has resigned from the Ferguson Police Department. He's standing by -- they're standing by live to join us, the two lawyers.