Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

Sources Say Terrorist Bomb Maker Survived U.S. Strike; Torture Report Sparks Calls for Retaliation; Interview with Alberto Gonzales; Torture Report Sparks Calls for Retaliation; New Protests Against Police Tactics; North Korea Suspected in Computer Attack; Calls for Action as Drone Danger Grows

Aired December 10, 2014 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news.

Terror twist -- shocking news about a bomb maker, as terrorist forces put out a chilling propaganda video.

The Senate's so-called torture report now sparking militant calls for revenge. We're going to talk about it with a key figure from the Bush administration, the former attorney general of the United States, Alberto Gonzalez.

Excessive force -- growing outrage at the tactics police use against minorities as one lawmaker visits the site of Eric Garner's death and meets his mother. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries joins us live this hour. We're going to talk about their emotional exchange.

Hollywood cyber attack -- we have new details of the unprecedented break-in that revealed personal and embarrassing information about some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Sources tell CNN there's a new clue pointing directly to North Korea and the Kim Jong Un regime.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news this hour. Sources telling CNN a notorious terrorist bomb maker initially thought to have been killed in a U.S. airstrike is, in fact, alive. That news comes just hours after the release of a new ISIS video containing new horrors and brutality, and as militant Web sites are now calling for retaliation in the wake of the Senate report detailing CIA interrogation of terror suspects.

We're covering all of this and a lot more this hour with our correspondents, our guests, including Alberto Gonzalez, the attorney general under President George W. Bush.

But we begin with CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara So there are.

Barbara has more now on the breaking news just coming in. What are you hearing -- Barbara, about this bomb maker?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we are talking about Syria. We're talking about the Khorasan Group. You will recall, this is a group of hard core al Qaeda operatives that have emerged in Syria over the last several years. The U.S. conducting several airstrikes.

They thought -- they thought they had possibly killed a French bomb maker that worked with them, a man named David Drugeon, Drugeon a notorious highly skilled bomb maker for this group. They thought he was dead.

But now, two officials are telling me they are revising that assessment. They now believe Drugeon, possibly wounded in a U.S. airstrike, is now alive.

And that, of course, is a big concern. He has the expertise to know how to make bombs that can potentially bypass airport screening measures.

In addition, they also believe now that the leader of the Khorasan group, Muhsin al-Fadhli, also alive, has survived all the previous U.S. and coalition airstrikes against the Khorasan Group inside Syria.

So the concern is after months of airstrikes against this group, even as the war against ISIS goes on inside Syria, these separate strikes against the Khorasan Group, basically, they have not taken out the leadership -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Barbara, stand by.

I know you have other breaking news you're following, as well.

But in the meantime, let's get some more now on the new ISIS video. It's brutal video, just been released.

Brian Todd is taking a closer look into this part of the story.

What are you finding out -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this new video is compelling to watch, a real action sequence of ISIS fighters running for cover, taking positions, blasting away at their enemies in the Syrian town of Kobani.

Tonight, it's leading to tough some tough questions that we posed to Pentagon officials about why ISIS has not been driven out of that tactically crucial city.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): From a drone, the camera flies right into the battle for Kobani. The fighters are heard panting, seen scrambling for a better position.

(VIDEO CLIP) TODD: This new ISIS propaganda video shows what the terror group claims are its fighters battling for control of the Syrian border town against Kurdish forces.

ISIS recently used a British hostage, John Cantlie, to make a false claim about its control of Kobani.

JOHN CANTLIE, HOSTAGE: The battle for Kobani is coming to an end. The Mujahedeen are just mopping up now.

TODD: In reality, analysts say, ISIS is losing, likely controls less than 50 percent of Kobani.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh recently traveled inside Kobani and captured these scenes.

(VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: But a key question tonight, after three months of airstrikes by the U.S. and its allies, why hasn't ISIS been driven completely out of Kobani?

DOUGLAS OLIVANT, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: The problem is, the airstrikes came too late. This allowed the Islamic State to get inside the city. Once you get fighters inside a city, then it's very hard for air power to dig them out. They can hide. Even if the building doesn't provide any protection, it provides concealment.

TODD: A Pentagon official tells CNN the airstrikes have impacted the ability of ISIS to move around Kobani. The official says ISIS tanks and other vehicles can no longer roam free and warns it's too soon to judge the military strategy.

ISIS' propaganda campaign isn't slowing down. In another new video, ISIS shows what it claims are Iraqi soldiers deserting their positions, running away from ISIS forces. A narrator says in English, the Iraqis are, quote, "fleeing like the cowards they are."

And there are new still photos published by an ISIS Twitter account showing what it claims are ISIS militants on a rooftop in a self- proclaimed ISIS province. ISIS claims they are throwing a gay man off the rooftop then stoning him. Analysts say these images are part of the group's battle plan.

AKI PERITZ, FORMER CIA OFFICER: If they don't turn out videos like this, that have some sort of kick to them, people are going to start saying maybe they're actually on their back heels, maybe they're not as tough as they said they were going to be.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

TODD: And for ISIS and the U.S.-led allies, Kobani is at the center of it all. It's become the most important battlefield in this war, both tactically and symbolically.

If the allies win in Kobani, it's seen as a major setback for ISIS, a huge turning point. If ISIS wins there, it shows the U.S. can't help its allies, the coalition isn't as powerful as it seems, and, on the ground, ISIS gains control of an entire stretch of Syria's border with Turkey -- tonight, Wolf, both sides are all in in Kobani.

BLITZER: It's a crucial battle, indeed.

Brian, thank you.

This new ISIS video comes as jihadi Web sites are lighting up with calls for retaliation against the United States, against Americans around the world -- military, diplomats and others -- following the release of a Senate report on CIA interrogation of terror suspects.

Let's bring back our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara, how is the world reacting to this Senate report?

STARR: Well, Wolf, we still see U.S. forces on alert, watching for any retribution, any violent attacks.

Thankfully, that has not come. And for now, at least, they don't see any signs of it. They believe that if they get through the next few days, there will be a very muted reaction on the street to this report.

But that is not to say that governments around the world are not reacting. And one of the things we noticed right away was the government of Iran, the Supreme Leader there. I want to show you a drawing that appeared on his Twitter account today, as he posted a number of Tweets reacting to the CIA report. The Supreme Leader putting up a drawing you know, that's sort of reminiscent of Abu Ghraib and that interrogation scandal, showing a hooded man.

And he goes on and says, "Today, the U.S. government is a symbol of tyranny against humanity. Even the American people are faced with cruelty."

So you see some propaganda messages from Iran. A number of other countries also weighing in. Poland, for example, now openly acknowledging its former president, saying, yes, they had a CIA interrogation facility they agreed to in their country, but insisting, no, he did not know that torture was taking place there.

A number of countries reacting. Even Scotland coming up, saying it will now look at the CIA report and investigate whether any of the transit of detainees through Scotland under this program, potentially, now is a legal problem for the government there -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, I suspect the legal fallout, political fallout, diplomatic fallout and military fallout only just beginning.

Barbara, thank you.

Let's bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez.

He's got more on this huge controversy in the report that has erupted -- Evan, the White House involvement in all of this. The allegation is the CIA, or at least some CIA officials, went rogue.

You're looking into this.

What are you finding out?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes, that's right, Wolf.

This report, if you read all 600 pages of it, you get this impression that the CIA was a rogue operation, that they misled not only the Justice Department, the Congress, but also the White House.

Well, if you read between the lines, you also see an episode in 2003, where the CIA repeatedly goes back to the Justice -- to the White House and tries to get some clarification, to make sure they understand what's going on, because at that time, White House officials are going out saying we are treating prisoners humanely. They're using that term. And that's getting CIA officials very nervous.

You see, in July of 2003, Scott Mueller the CIA general counsel, calling them and saying you guys are aware of what we're up to, right?

And they even put a halt to some of these interrogations, Wolf, for a period because of this very concern.

Now, I asked Ari Fleischer today, the former White House spokesman, he was told not to use that term. He says he doesn't remember that, but he does remember being told not to say that the Geneva Conventions covered these interrogations, these detainees.

BLITZER: And we're getting more information on what President Bush may have known about all of this during those critical years, because the suggestion in this report is that he was kept in the dark on a lot of it.

PEREZ: Right. And, you know, his own memoir says that he knew everything. The CIA -- the Senate report says that -- or suggests strongly that he was want aware of this and was kept in the dark until 2006.

Now, I talked to some former officials in the Bush administration and they dispute that. They say that while they didn't brief him personally, they do believe that over a period of time, he came to learn a lot of these details, because some of his top officials knew. Condi Rice knew. Dick Cheney knew. And we, you know, we know that presidents don't often know all the details of their -- of these programs -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Evan Perez, thanks very, very much.

Let's get some more on what's going on.

Joining us now, the former attorney general of the United States, also the former White House counsel under President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales.

Attorney General, thanks very much for joining us.

ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: It's good to be back with you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, so the Senate report, the Dianne Feinstein report that was put out yesterday says you were involved in the decisions on the use of these enhanced interrogation techniques from the very beginning.

When were you first informed about waterboarding, sleep deprivation and some of the other techniques?

GONZALES: I think it was some time in 2002 is when we -- we first began having discussions about it. And I -- earlier, there was some talk about, you know, what did President Bush know?

I think Andy Card and I had a discussion that we would not provide to the president full details until the final details had been worked out between the Justice Department and the CIA.

And I remember talking to the president about this. And what I told him is that we were looking at enhanced techniques and that we would work to ensure that the techniques were effective, the CIA would tell us if they were effective, and that they were lawful, that that would come from the Department of Justice.

And that was extremely important to him, that -- is that they would be effective and that they -- and that they were lawful.

Now, during the course of the next few months, the next few years, I was -- I was at various conversations involving the president when people talked about these techniques. And I always had the impression that he had been told about the techniques at a general level, perhaps, or had been briefed about the techniques at a more specific level. But I don't really know. As the report indicated, if you read his memoir, he indicates that he had several conversations with Tenet and others about enhanced interrogation techniques. The level of specificity, I'm just not sure about.

BLITZER: Because there's some suggestion in this report that the Democrats and the Senate Intelligence Committee put out that he really wasn't fully aware of what was going on all the way until 2006.

You don't believe that, do you?

GONZALES: Well, again, I can't com -- I don't know for certainty, Wolf. I do know that he was aware that we were engaged in enhanced interrogation techniques;. He was comforted by the fact that -- the knowledge, the belief, that, in fact, these techniques were effective in gathering actual intelligence and the Department of Justice, based upon what they were being told by the CIA, in terms of what they were doing, was opining that these were, in fact, consistent with the law.

BLITZER: Why did you and Andy Card, who was then the White House chief of staff, decide you would hold this information back from the president? GONZALES: Well, again, the decision was -- was that -- not to provide details as the details--

BLITZER: Why?

GONZALES: -- were being worked out.

BLITZER: -- why was that -- why would you tell--

GONZALES: Well, they were--

BLITZER: -- the president of the United States--

GONZALES: Because--

BLITZER: -- that CIA contractors, CIA officials were engaged in waterboarding, for example?

GONZALES: Well, because those details had not been finalized in terms of, you know, there were still ongoing discussions between the CIA and the Justice Department. And, again, you know, of course, the president could have asked what those details were at any time. And it was my impression, based upon overhearing various conversations over the next few months and the next few years, that, in fact, he had some knowledge. The level of knowledge, you know, I can't comment on.

BLITZER: But you knew from the very beginning the specific procedures that were underway. The suggestion, I guess, is that you were trying -- you and Andy Card and other White House officials, whether the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, the vice president, Dick Cheney, or George Tenet, who was the CIA director, you were trying to protect the president.

Is that a fair assessment?

GONZALES: Well, it's always our job to protect the president and to ensure that the president has the information that he needs to have in order to effectively run this country.

Again, the president, any time, can ask for as much detailed information as possible. And I can't tell you that he didn't have the information. I can't tell you the level of information that he might have.

But it was certainly my impression, over a period of time, over -- listening in on conversations that he had with others that he was certainly familiar with the fact that we were engaged in certain tech -- certain techniques, such as waterboarding.

BLITZER: He was familiar from the very beginning about that, is that -- was that your impression?

GONZALEZ: Again, that's not what I said. But over a period of time, listening to conversations, it was certainly my impression that he was, in fact, aware of the fact of certain techniques such as waterboarding. BLITZER: OK. I want you to stand by, Alberto Gonzalez, who was then

the White House counsel and later became the attorney general. A lot more questions coming out of this report that the Senate Intelligence Committee has released. Stand by. We'll continue the conversation right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're back with the former White House counsel, the former attorney general of the United States under President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzalez.

Attorney General, the Senate report that Dianne Feinstein released, you were involved in the decisions to use the enhanced interrogation techniques. And yesterday I interviewed John Rizzo. He was chief counsel at the CIA, who came over to the White House to brief you guys, to have conversations on what was legal, what was not legal. You were in the meetings.

In an email he wrote that the committee released yesterday, dated July 31, 2003, he writes this, "It is clear to us from some of the run-up meetings we had with White House counsel that the White House is extremely concerned Secretary of State Powell would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what's been going on."

And then I had this exchange with Mr. Rizzo yesterday. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Could you tell us who at the White House wanted to deny this information to the then secretary of state, General Colin Powell?

JOHN RIZZO, FORMER CIA ACTING GENERAL COUNSEL: Well, the White House counsel at the time was Alberto Gonzalez.

BLITZER: Later became the attorney general.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right. So did you want to keep this information in 2003 away from General Powell?

GONZALEZ: I don't know whether or not specifically I wanted to keep the information away from General Powell. We obviously wanted to limit the number of people that would have -- that would be informed of the decision, only sort of the need to know.

But, you know, what we tried to do was to gather as many people as we thought appropriate within the legal circle to make it a calculation sitting down with the lawyers and the Justice Department in terms of deciding what, in fact, could be done under the law because what we're trying to do here, Wolf, is to find a way to gather up information from these terrorists that would be consistent with the law.

The torture statute is a criminal statute, and the press, it was very, very clear to us, very direct to us that we would not engage in torture as an administration. So was there a way to gather up information that's consistent with the law.

With respect to the specific meeting, I had no recollection of the desire to keep the information specifically from General Powell, but obviously, we would be concerned about -- about keeping this information fairly close hold.

BLITZER: It's one thing to keep the information in a tight circle, need to know basis. It's another thing to avoid telling the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, former national security adviser and the then secretary of state general Colin Powell to avoid this information and not letting him have it, because in the words of this cable, he would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what's been going on.

So the question is do you remember that concern? Don't tell General Powell about this because he'll go crazy if he hears about it.

GONZALEZ: I don't remember that concern, but at some -- at an appropriate time people would be reading into what it is the administration would be considering. And so at the appropriate time, General Powell and others would be advised of what -- what the administration was considering, what the CIA was proposing, what the Department of Justice was saying in terms of the legality. And then they would have the opportunity to present their views.

And the same thing happened, for example, with respect for the application of the Geneva conventions. People at the appropriate time was informed, and they had the opportunity to make their views known to the president of the United States.

BLITZER: But do -- I want to move on, but do you believe General Powell would have been really upset if he knew the specific details?

GONZALEZ: Knowing General Powell, I think he would have expressed some concerns to the president.

BLITZER: So maybe that was the reason he wasn't briefed on what was going on?

GONZALEZ: Well, again, I think everybody had the opportunity to present their concerns to the president at the appropriate time.

BLITZER: Let's talk about some other details in this report, because you were there. You reviewed it all. The report states that, what, 119 known detainees were held, 26 of them wrongfully held and later it was determined, and some of them were subject to these enhanced interrogation techniques. Twenty-six people wrongfully held. Did you know that at the time?

GONZALEZ: No. In fact, part of the concern I have about this report, Wolf, is that it is one-sided in terms of it represents the views of the Democrats on the Senate intel committee, which I think is very unfortunate. And I think we have no way -- I have no way of knowing how much of

this information is, in fact, true, because there's a lot of information, quite honestly, that surprised me. And I'm sure there's a lot of information here that surprises President Bush.

And you know, I wonder, I mean, is this a political document? I mean, Democrat senators had information about what was going on. Is this a way to protect themselves? I don't know. But what I worry about is we may have a document here that is potentially flawed and biased.

BLITZER: Well, what shocked you -- what shocked you the most after you--? I don't know if you've read all 600 pages or whatever.

GONZALEZ: I haven't.

BLITZER: But what specifically shocked you?

GONZALEZ: I haven't read it. For example, sticking items in the rectums of individuals. That is -- that is nowhere -- that's nowhere close to what the president was aware of, or what the president may have sanctioned. Certainly nowhere close to what the lawyers were aware of or what the lawyers sanctioned. At least I certainly wasn't aware of it.

So I don't know how much of this report is truly accurate. I do have concerns about the report, primarily because of the conclusion that, in fact, these techniques did not lead to any actual intelligence. I worked with George Tenet. I worked with Porter Goss. I worked with Mike Hayden. They're honorable men. They testified under oath -- under oath, Wolf -- that, in fact, these techniques did provide actual intelligence, and they were effective.

BLITZER: So I just wanted to be precise -- Attorney General, I'm sorry for interrupting. You did not know, as this report shows, citing CIA documents, by the way, that at least five detainees were subjected to what was called rectal rehydration or rectal feeding?

GONZALEZ: No. What we don't know is whether that's, in fact, accurate. That's the point I think is important for viewers to understand, is I don't know how much of this report is accurate; how much of it is biased; how much of it is political.

I think it's very unfortunate that we didn't have Republicans sign onto this report. I think what we need to do is have an unbiased, bipartisan examination of how we fight the war on terror. This document, in my judgment, does not reflect that.

If, in fact, that were proven to be true, the rectal rehydration, for example, that would have been against the law. That was not what you at the White House, as the White House counsel, signed off on, right?

GONZALEZ: It would have been contrary to the guidance given by the Department of Justice. And again, you know, that's where we need to look at in terms of who provides the advice on the legality. Not the White House counsel. It's the attorney general and the Department of Justice, the office of legal counsel. And so certainly sticking things up the rectum would be contrary to

the careful, deliberative guidance given by the lawyers at the Department of Justice, because we were under clear directives from the president of the United States. We're not going to engage in conduct that would violate this very narrow criminal statute against torture.

BLITZER: Why would waterboarding be legal, not torture, from your definition, but rectal rehydration, that would be prohibited? What's the difference, from your perspective?

GONZALEZ: Well, I don't know all the specifics about rectal rehydration, so I can't comment on that. With respect to water boarding -- and I -- and listen, I'm not going to try to talk to talk anybody -- I'm not going to try to convince anybody that that, in fact, is not torture. If you believe it is, you believe it is.

BLITZER: Do you believe it is?

GONZALEZ: Well, what I believe -- here's what I believe, is that the Bush administration, the lawyers at the Department of Justice issued a series of opinion, not just one or two, but up to five major legal opinions examining certain techniques and opining that, if conducted a certain way, they would not violate the criminal statute of torture.

It would involve high-level decision making that, in fact, this person had information about a pending attack. It would involve a psychological examination. It would evolve a medical examination. It would involve having a medical -- a doctor present at the procedure. It would involve trained interrogators. And so there were various precautionary steps put in place, required by the Department of Justice, to ensure the safety of the individual as these -- as these techniques were being administered.

BLITZER: Whether or not that happened here, I don't know. The report is troubling, in some of the details, because it would certainly be inconsistent with what the guidance was given by the Department of Justice.

But then we go back to the initial question: is the information in the report accurate? I can't -- I can't tell you that it is. And that's what I'm worried about with respect to the report that is supported solely by the Democrats on the Senate Intel Committee.

BLITZER: Well, if the information is accurate, then obviously, you were stunned by some of this information. And we're going to continue, obviously, to check that.

Before I let you go, quick question. When I interviewed the former CIA general counsel John Rizzo yesterday, he told me he's afraid to travel outside the United States right now. He doesn't want to go to Spain, or Italy, or Belgium, or France, for example. He's afraid he could be arrested by some magistrate over there for alleged war crimes. Here is the question to you. Are you afraid to travel to those countries?

GONZALEZ: I do have concerns. I just got back a few days ago from Israel, spending a week there, but there are countries that I would have concerns about. And I think that's very unfortunate, that we have lawyers acting in good faith in terms of trying to apply the law so that -- so that the administration does not engage in conduct that violates that law.

But we have different systems in European countries where you have independent magistrates, and so that would be a concern that I'd have to look, at as would other members of the administration, no matter their role in what happened here.

BLITZER: And we're talking about NATO allies. We're not talking about going to Iran or North Korea or countries like that. We're talking about Belgium, or France or--

GONZALEZ: -- that I'd have to look at, as would other members of the administration, no matter their role in what happened here.

BLITZER: And we're talking about NATO allies. We're not talking about going to Iran or North Korea or countries like that. We're talking about Belgium, or France or Spain or Italy. Those are major NATO allies of the United States. And what I hear you saying is, at least for now, you're reluctant to visit those countries.

GONZALEZ: Well, but I'm hopeful that, as the truth comes out, people will understand that what the lawyers did here was their job in terms of trying to provide the appropriate guidance. Whether or not that guidance was followed, I think that remains to be seen. And I don't think that question is answered by this report.

BLITZER: Alberto Gonzalez, the former White House counsel and former attorney general of the United States. Thanks very much. You were very candid in all your responses. We appreciate it very much.

GONZALEZ: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, in THE SITUATION ROOM, a United States congressman reacts to his first very emotional visit to the memorial set up for Eric Garner, the man who died after being put in a chokehold by New York police.

We're also learning, by the way, on a separate story, new details about a possible link between North Korea and a devastating computer break-in. More details coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're following the new protest against police tactics. We've got some live pictures coming in from Orlando, Florida, right now, where people are beginning to protest there what was going on in Ferguson, what was going on in Staten Island. Today students at medical schools around the country, including

Harvard, staged what are called die-ins. We're also watching the other protests that are happening.

This week the New York Congressman, Hakeem Jeffries, made his first visit to a makeshift memorial set up at the site where the police tackled Eric Garner on New York's Staten Island. The congressman is joining us right now.

Congressman, we've seen the video of Eric Garner, the chokehold, obviously, the sidewalk. You were there. Tell us what it was like when you went to that sidewalk and saw that location, because I know it was pretty emotional for you.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: Well, good evening, Wolf, and thank you for having me on.

It was certainly an emotional and a solemn visit. It was a tragedy that occurred at that location. Eric Garner, obviously, did not deserve to die, and there's nothing that we can do that will bring him back to life.

And as a result of that tragedy, a mother has lost a son, a wife has lost a husband, six children have lost their father. And so you felt the reality of what took place on that street upon visiting it and talking to some of the people from Staten Island who are from that neighborhood who experience different forms from police aggressive engagement each and every day and who really have taken to heart what took place at that site, as well as the need for a systematic and dramatic reform.

BLITZER: And when you were there, by chance, Eric Garner's mother showed up? Is that what happened?

JEFFRIES: Yes. As I was standing there and preparing to leave, Mrs. Carr, who I've spent a lot of time with over the last several months, including here in Washington, D.C., during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation weekend where we found mothers of police excessive force victims all across the country to Washington.

But just by happenstance she showed up, and I got the opportunity to share some quiet moments with her, to talk about the struggle to move forward and make sure that Eric Garner gets justice in his case, but also more importantly, or equally importantly, that his death was not in vain.

BLITZER: I want you to look at this, if you can see it. We'll put it up. Some troubling video of a protester punching an NYPD officer in the head last week. The protests in New York following the grand jury decision were praised for being peaceful. But this is anything but peaceful.

Are you worried about what might happen if the police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, isn't penalized for his role in Eric Garner's death?

JEFFRIES: Well, there are outside agitators, unfortunately, whose reckless behavior, such as what we just witnessed, take away from the overwhelming number of Americans who have peacefully demonstrated and expressed their outrage at the lack of accountability in the death of Eric Garner.

You know, it's important to point out, Wolf, that what we've seen across the country is that Americans who are black, who are white, who are Latino, who are Asian; Democrats and presumably Republicans, people across the ideological spectrum, have come to the conclusion that something is wrong. When you can see on video an individual who is killed by an unauthorized chokehold cries out for his life and says, "I can't breathe" 11 times; and none of the officers who were on the scene do anything about it.

And so we're going to continue to encourage people to peacefully express their outrage, their hurt, their objection to what has taken place. That is the most productive way for us to get change.

BLITZER: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, thanks very much for joining us.

JEFFRIES: Thanks so much, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up here in "THE SITUATION ROOM," theft, extortion, compromising details leaked about some of the world's biggest movie stars. And North Korea behind a devastating computer break-in. Stand by. We have new details from sources inside this investigation.

And the growing and potentially deadly threat that drones now pose to airline travelers. Is the U.S. doing enough to keep travelers safe?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're learning new details, and they are pretty alarming, about what could rank as one of the worst-ever computer attacks here in the United States. Investigators have uncovered at least one clue that may link the attack to North Korea.

Let's bring in our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown.

You're getting new information, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. In fact, sources with first-hand knowledge of the investigation into this attack on Sony Pictures' computers are saying that it is devastating in size and scope. It is unprecedented. And it has caught the attention of government officials at the highest levels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): While it's still unclear if it was North Korea, an anarchist group or even a former employee with a grudge that breached Sony's computers, tonight what is clear is that the infiltration was deep and damaging.

In new posts online, a group known as the Guardians of Peace is claiming responsibility for breaking into the studio's computers, leaking personal information of celebrities, as well as scathing email exchanges between producers and directors; some even bad-mouthing A- list actors. In one exchange, an Oscar-winning producer calls Angelina Jolie "minimally talented" and "a spoiled brat."

AMIT YORAN, FORMER NATIONAL CYPER-SECURITY DIRECTOR: I think it's a very scary trend and it's something that organizations which have sensitive information have to be very concerned about.

BROWN: The document also revealed the Social Security numbers of more than 47,000 people, including celebrities Conan O'Brien, Rebel Wilson and Sylvester Stallone, as well as the aliases stars use to check into hotels or do business. Tom Hanks apparently goes by the name "Johnny Madrid," Jessica Alba as "Cash Money," and Sarah Michelle Gellar as Neely O'Hara."

JAMES FRANCO, ACTOR, "THE INTERVIEW": Look at this.

SETH ROGEN, ACTOR, "THE INTERVIEW": Kim Jong-Un wants to do an interview with Dave Skylark?

BROWN: The leaked documents also show actor Seth Rogen raked in nearly $2 million more than co-star James Franco for "The Interview," a comedy about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The cyber attack appeared at first to be about leaking that movie online before its theatrical debut, leading to speculation North Korea may have been involved. While North Korea has denied involvement, it has called the film an act of terrorism and the leak a righteous deed. But CNN has learned the code used in the attack was written in Korean and was used in previous attacks against South Korea.

AMIT YORAN, FORMER NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY DIRECTOR: It's important to realize depending on how sophisticated your adversary is, they may be routing attacks through a certain country, or they may be using known attacks from a certain language code base in order to throw your attribution thoughts off.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: And according to the leaked documents, the hackers sent extortion e-mails to Sony executives in the days leading up to the attack, telling them pay the damage or Sony Pictures would be bombarded as a whole.

FBI director James Comey saying his agency is not yet at the point to identify who is behind the attack, neither confirming nor denying it is North Korea -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Hold on for a moment, Tom Fuentes, our law enforcement analyst, former assistant director of the FBI, is here.

Take us inside the FBI. They're investigating this attack on Sony Pictures. What are they doing?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, there's a number of agencies, Wolf, that are working on this including the FBI and other private security firms that are looking at it, along with Sony. And the problem is that they're finding that this hack was very sophisticated and they think probably state-sponsored at that level and that none of the security measures that are out there now that normally identify unlawful obtrusions, worked in this case or would have prevented it if they had been employed. So --

BLITZER: But -- do they think North Korea has that capability, though?

FUENTES: Yes.

BLITZER: They do?

FUENTES: Yes. And they think that there are many countries that, you know, they haven't named yet but they have them. And don't forget the FBI charged Chinese military officials not too long ago with attacks on the U.S. and on U.S. companies. So if they make the connection they will cite who they are.

BLITZER: I understand China, I understand Russia, but North Korea, I didn't know they had sophisticated kind of capability.

FUENTES: Well, China is a big brother. So --

BLITZER: So you think it could be collaborative? How long is this investigation going to take?

FUENTES: Well, I don't know. They're not sure how long. But they're working very hard on it. And the reason this one is scarier than normal for them is it involves data destruction, and that -- that means going into the network system, going into the data bases that have information files and deleting them or destroying them. That can ruin almost any companies.

So in this case, where the extortion is on Sony to meet the demands of the hackers, it's pretty serious and they don't know what other companies could face this kind of extortion in the future.

BLITZER: All right, Tom Fuentes, thanks very much. Pamela Brown, thanks to you, as well.

We'll stay on top of this story.

Up next, a new warning the United States is falling behind in keeping airliners and police helicopters safe from a growing and unintended menace, the threat of collisions with drones.

And coming up at the top of the hour, the former CIA director Michael Hayden standing by to join us live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. He's using words like offensive and simplistic to blast the new Senate report on the agency's interrogation tactics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Dozens of near collisions, potential disasters in just the last few months. Now there are growing calls for action as drone aircraft are increasingly coming frighteningly close to passenger planes.

Our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is here in THE SITUATION ROOM working this story for us.

And it is pretty frightening.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It is frightening. And you know, September 15th is the deadline, the congressional deadline given to the FAA to come up with rules to safely integrate drones into the air space, but the agency will likely miss that deadline. And without strong regulations and enforcement, drones sharing the skies with passenger planes could be a disaster in the making.

Today, the FAA got an earful from lawmakers who say the agency is moving too slow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH (voice-over): This is the nightmare. A drone and a passenger jet on a collision course. This few frames of video reportedly taken by a German military drone over Afghanistan. It narrowly misses a passenger plane, but the drone crashes.

In the U.S., from police helicopters --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a drone come within 50 feet of us.

MARSH: To passenger planes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw a drone. A drone.

MARSH: Close calls are becoming disturbingly frequent. Since July, the FAA received more than two dozen reports of drones nearly hitting planes. On Capitol Hill Wednesday, the agency grilled. Lawmakers say rules to safety integrate unmanned aerial systems or UAS into the air space aren't coming fast enough.

REP, FRANK LOBIONDO (R), NEW JERSEY: Road builders in Germany and farmers in France today are enjoying economic benefits from UAS because safety regulators there have found ways to permit such flights. I can't help but wonder that if the Germans, the French and the Canadians do some of these things today, then why can't we also be doing them?

MARGARET GILLIGAN, FAA ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR: We all agree that that project is taking too long.

MARSH: With the drone industry booming, preventing crashes is becoming even more critical.

REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: I've got a quad copter on my Christmas list, as I suspect quite a few people do. We've got a problem and our failure to regulate and we're going to have a Genie out of the bottle.

MARSH: To get an idea of what a drone could do to a plane, look at what birds have done, breaking wind shields and destroying engines. A flock of large birds forced this crash landing on the Hudson River. A small drone impact could do the same or worse. One frightening possibility, a drone smashes into the wing of a plane where fuel is stored and causes an explosion.

FRED ROGGERO, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: It's akin to standing on an overpass and throwing a rock down. You may hit a car or you may not hit a car. But if you did, it could have potential catastrophic repercussions.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARSH: Well, drones are not allowed to fly commercially without FAA approval. However, hobbyists, they can fly small drones like this one but they have to stay below 400 feet and of course away from airports. The problem is, people, we're talking about the hobbyists, are not following the rules in some cases.

Just one statistic for you, Wolf, they say or they're estimating in the next five years, 7500 drones will be in the skies.

BLITZER: Yes. That's pretty small, too, but potentially dangerous. Good report.

Thanks, Rene.

Breaking news coming up next. The terrorist explosives genius thought to have been killed in a U.S. airstrikes is now believed to have survived. We're going to talk about that and the fallout from the Senate CIA torture report with the former director of the CIA, General Michael Hayden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Dead or alive? U.S. officials have new information about the fate of a terrorist bombmaker targeted in a U.S. airstrike.

Angry pushback. The former Bush CIA director, General Michael Hayden, is fuming after a Senate report accusing him of misleading the nation about brutal interrogation tactics and whether they amounted to torture.