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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Manhunt For Ringleader of Belgian Terror Cell; Terror Investigation Reveals New Intelligence Failures; Abdul-Jabbar: Terror Attacks are "Ultimately About Money"; Final Moments Inside Doomed Jet's Cockpit
Aired January 19, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, an international manhunt on tonight for the suspected ringleader of the Belgian terror cell. It's targeted in police raid. A cell police say was poised to attack within hours and we're learning more information about how major that attack was.
And the mystery of AirAsia Flight 8501 tonight getting the first detail of what actually on those cockpit voice recorders.
Plus, a prosecutor investigating Iran's linked to a terror bombing found dead just hours before he was to testify, was it suicide or murder? Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, an international manhunt is on, an international manhunt underway for the ringleader of a terror cell that police broke up late last week. Officials in Belgium reporting terrorists there were ready to strike within hours. We are also learning that this was an incredibly ambitious attack. And we have more on that in just a moment. Heavily armed troops now patrolling the streets tonight across Belgium. Something not seen in that nation for decades. Still, more accomplices are said to be on the loose as far away as Greece. Authorities there have arrested at least one suspect and they are searching for more.
France also on alert tonight. Police and investigators on the lookout for a suspect whose DNA was found on the gun of kosher supermarket shooter Amedy Coulibaly. And there's more DNA evidence found in Coulibaly's car. There are nine in custody in Paris. And all of this as we're learning new details of missed signals by French intelligence, and some of them showing that one of the brothers have given up extremism for crime. It turns out that it didn't certainly end up being true. CNN is covering all of angles of this expanding story.
Nick Paton Walsh is the only western reporter in Yemen where American officials are in high alert tonight ready to evacuate the U.S. Embassy. Pamela Brown is in Paris, we begin though with Paul Cruickshank here with me with the breaking news. And Paul, you have some very, very significant developments.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. I spoke to CNN Belgian kind of terrorism official and he tells that the suspected ringleader in this plot in Belgium, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who is a Belgian Moroccan 27-years-old, connected with ISIS about a year ago, he's believed to be still at large. There's a big international manhunt for him. He was believed to be operating from Greece in talks with this Belgian terrorist cell by phone from Greece also connected back to the top leadership of ISIS in Syria. The Belgians are increasingly sure. This is an ISIS directed plot to retaliate in Europe for these strikes against it in Iraq.
BURNETT: And you're finding out not only that they knew who this person is but there now this desperate manhunt is on. But also that the scale of this attack was not just significant, it was extremely significant?
CRUICKSHANK: Very significant indeed. And the Belgians now think it went far beyond just targeting police officers. They found chemicals for explosives. They found those police uniforms, the suggestion being that they were trying to get access to a sensitive site for a major attack. The Belgians now think that they may have been planning multiple attacks in Belgium. They say that the danger is not over. They think they disrupted the major part of this plot but some of these suspected cell members are still believed to be at large and they may wish to act to avenge the death of two of their comrades in that Belgian police operation in Verviers, in Eastern Belgium last week.
BURNETT: All right. Paul Cruickshank, thank you very much. So, a manhunt is on. The plot much bigger than they thought and some involved are still on the loose tonight. And in Paris, where Pam Brown is OUTFRONT, there is also a manhunt going on. And they are finding people through DNA and trying desperately to find them. Right, Pam?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. At least one in particular, Erin, we have learned that authorities are honing in on two men who had DNA matches with Amedy Coulibaly's belongings. One man is believed to be in French custody right now, according to sources. His DNA was found on Amedy Coulibaly's car which apparently he used to go to that kosher store where he killed four people and then there is another man that is believed to still be on the loose whose DNA was found on Amedy Coulibaly's gun magazine. So, of course, authorities want to track down this person in order to take him into custody, question him, to see if, in fact, he played any role with the attacks -- Erin.
BURNETT: And as they are looking for those individuals -- and I know that it's an incredibly high priority given that they don't know if more attacks could be planned, you're also learning about some of the missteps that were made leading up to these attacks, perhaps things that had they noticed before would have prevented them from happening in the first place?
BROWN: That's absolutely right. We heard Leon Panetta say, former head of the CIA telling CNN that intelligence failures really are what helped these suspects able to sort of carry out the attack, Erin. And here's what we've learned. There's a few. First of all, authorities monitored the brothers, the Kouachi
brothers' phones and not their computers when they were put under surveillance in 2011. And we know that there's a lot of perhaps critical evidence that could have been taken from their computers. One of the brothers was looking at videos and sermons from the American cleric, al Qaeda cleric Anwar al Awlaki.
Also we learn that there were significant delays in communication among these intelligence agencies. There was apparently a very important alert that was taken from one of the brother's phones in 2014 but one of the French intelligence agencies did not pass on that information on until four months later when the brothers were taken off of surveillance.
And of course, had the main domestic intelligence agency here, France gotten that information sooner, perhaps something could have been prevented. And of course, just the fact that the brothers were taken off of surveillance in the first place, Cherif Kouachi taken off in 2013, the other brother in June of 2014 and we've learned that one of the brothers was actually selling counterfeit goods in order to make money to buy weapons, but authorities thought that that was really innocent that he was just selling counterfeit goods and was not related to, you know, any terror-related activity. So it seems like, you know, these are some pretty significant missteps -- Erin.
BURNETT: Very significant indeed when you tie them all together. All right. Thank you so much to Pamela Brown live in Paris for us tonight.
And in Yemen, at the heart of all of this, the home base of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group that has claimed responsibility for the massacre of "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris. The U.S. officials tells CNN that they are currently prepared to evacuate the American Embassy in Yemen on short notice.
Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in the middle of it all in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen tonight, he's the only western television reporter there. And Nick, the situation where you are escalating?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly. And now we really have a tense standoff over who will run the country. The Houthi rebels who have moved into the capital in the past few months and now said to be surrounding the prime minister in his residence and all around the presidential administration. At stake here is the outcome of closed-door negotiations that have come after a cease-fire that came in the middle of the afternoon here. Those talks really are going to have to magic some kind of incredible compromise to stop the fighting. So this morning, picking up all over again. In the early hours of this morning, Erin, we heard blasts as the presidential administration worried after their chief of staff was kidnapped that more of them might face the same fate. Putting robuks (ph) around the key buildings. The Houthi is there, the rebels sheer movement been like that.
They have their own checkpoints, clashes started, we don't know who was to blame but there was a remarkable sight here. The presidential administration, the White House frankly of Yemen, the subject of an artillery jewel from the hills around it. Residential buildings nearby hit. Many injured, dozens are struck apparently by mortars too. Calls for a cease-fire but remarkably those talks themselves were targeted as the prime minister came out, his convoy shot up. As the Houthi delegation came out, their convoy shot up. A real sense of a country nearing collapse.
And now that cease-fire does seem to be holding. We've heard occasional spread, a gunfire in the city, the real fear though is that these political talks, post the result tomorrow, and everyone sitting down, the President then signing a document. It's going to have to be a bit of a miracle, frankly. It's going to have to give constitutional concession to the Houthis that have taken to release the chief of staff almost remarkable actually, to talk about a presidential chief of staff being held hostage over changes to the constitution of the country. That's how fragile Yemen is right now and it's fragility, its chaos, just gives al Qaeda more room to grow here and more room to plot attack against the west -- Erin.
BURNETT: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much. It gives everyone just a sense of what's at stake here. It's truly a failed state and even more chaos. Now our terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank is back with me, along with Tim Clemente, retired FBI counterterrorism agent.
Paul, the issue here and it's amazing when you see it all in Yemen. How things are getting worse and worse, more and more disarray and chaos. But your sources are saying that the threats are not over. Yes. Sure, they are monitoring hundreds of people in Europe right now but there's still a very big risk of a big attack?
CRUICKSHANK: Absolutely. You know, the game changer is that European intelligence sources have detected a pivot from ISIS towards launching attacks in Europe, launching attacks against the west specifically to retaliate for these air strikes. A number of European countries have been conducting air strikes on ISIS in Iraq, the United Kingdom, France, Holland and Belgium and Denmark. And so those targets are most at risk from ISIS. ISIS are now trying to persuade up to 1,000 European recruits they have in their ranks in Syria and Iraq to return some of them to launch attacks. That's a really big game changer given all of the resources that this group has got, Erin.
BURNETT: Yes. It is a game changer. But Tim, when you hear and when anyone watching this show here across the United States that Europe is being targeted for being part of the air strikes, of course most people think that the country leading the airstrikes conducting most of the air strikes, according to the airstrikes is of course the United States. How at risk is the U.S.?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: We're very much at risk, Erin, because what we just heard Paul say, the ISIS recruiting effort is not just them actually sending out people that are in -- working with ISIS now in Syria and Iraq. They have individuals that want to be allied, that are within the United States, within European countries that are willing to step up and take part in attacks now. And so it's not a question of us being necessarily able to track these individuals returning from Syria and Iraq. The threat may be here now. And so, it's very real, not only to Europe but throughout the western world because we are their target.
BURNETT: Right. And of course, ultimately the U.S. is their target. Paul, when Pamela's reporting on the missteps and some of the mistakes that were made, obviously when anything happens, you can look back and see all kinds of missteps. But there's one thing in this case that you pointed out that I think which is fascinating which is, they outsmarted French intelligence. They were for a long time listening to their cell phones but not their wives.
CRUICKSHANK: Well, that's absolutely right. They used their wives' cell phones to communicate. The Kouachi brothers on one side, and Coulibaly on the other --
BURNETT: So, we heard about the 500 calls between the wives. It wasn't really the wives?
CRUICKSHANK: No. Now that the investigators believe that it was them. And more broadly, it appears to camouflage their radicalism when they came back from Yemen. They were put under some really strict surveillance by the French and all those, during those years they pretended that they were not radical anymore. They did sort of usual everyday things. They dressed in jeans and sneakers.
CRUICKSHANK: They didn't do anything to attract attention.
CRUICKSHANK: And that's exactly what this cleric, Anwar al Awlaki an American was encouraging recruits to do when they came back.
BURNETT: To blend in. So, Tim, what can the United States do to prevent something like the Paris attacks from happening in the U.S.? But when you look at this sure, you can look at the missteps, but the one thing that I see is that everyone of these cases, if you look once it happens, you can see that it would have happened. So how could you stop it?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, you need to look closely at where these people are. Unfortunately for the Muslim communities in America and around the Western world. They're going to have to be looked at more closely, and it would be beneficial to them and to us if they were self-looking, they were looking within themselves to see where these problem people are because it's not the community as a whole but they are coming from the Muslim communities. And so people like Anwar al Awlaki were identified by individuals who didn't like his radicalism when he was in a mosque here in northern Virginia years ago right around 9/11. And so, that kind of activity needs to be done throughout the country, throughout the Muslim world where Muslims living peaceably, use their information as an intelligence network to root out their own.
BURNETT: Right. Thanks very much to both of you. And our next guest going to have a lot to say about that. Next, massive protests from Africa to the Middle East to Russia. Angry reaction to the latest edition of the "Charlie Hebdo" magazine, could it spark another terror attack tonight?
Plus, my guest, basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He's going to talk about that very question, the role of Muslim communities and the Muslim community overall. We'll talk Rupert Murdoch and Bill O'Reilly.
And the fire destroy a tech executives mansion an hours later, he, his wife, four grandkids unaccounted for. Authorities are calling the fire tonight suspicious.
BURNETT: Tonight, outrage over "Charlie Hebdo's" decision to put a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on the cover, that's nearly two weeks after the terror attack inside the French offices of the satirical magazine. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims taking to the streets. The crowds at times turned violent, burning effigies, flags and even churches.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A crowd of thousands on the streets of Amman, Jordan. In Grozny, Chechen and Russia, hundreds of thousands filled the square during the central mosque. And in the street in Mogadishu, Somalia, college students march with a peaceful but blunt message. Je suis Muslim.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (INAUDIBLE) We our Muslims and we love our prophet.
LAH: The widespread protests in Islamic countries come into days following "Charlie Hebdo's" first magazine published since the terrorist attack on its staff. The cover depicted a crying Prophet Muhammad on the cover holding a sign reading "Je suis Charlie." CNN has chosen not to show any depictions of the prophet. The first million copies of the magazine sold out within minutes of hitting shelves. A total of seven million will eventually be printed while many of the protests in response remain peaceful, anger across the Islamic world is palpable.
In Algeria, protest morphed into a clash of police. And in Niger, demonstrators who gather to protest and insult their religion burned churches and bibles in the country's capital. Many of the protests came with warnings from Pakistan's interior minister, the depictions of the prophet in the name of free expression is adding fuel to the spate of terrorism. That's a ridiculous criticism says "Charlie Hebdo's" editor-in-chief speaking to a translator on "Meet the Press," the editor defended the current and future covers.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN (through a translator): Every time that we draw a cartoon of Muhammad, every time that we draw the cartoon of the prophet, every time that we draw the cartoon of God, we defend the freedom of religion. We declare that God must not be political or public figure. He must be a private figure. We defend the freedom of religion. LAH: A division of culture, religion and politics in an increasingly
smaller, more globalized world.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, also a "Time" columnist who has written about the recent terror attacks and the author of the upcoming book "Ceiling the Game." Kareem, thank you so much for being with us. You've written that violence committed in the name of religion is not about religion, it's ultimately about money. You know, in terms of, in this case, you know, raising money to recruit more people.
But I'm curious, because the Paris terrorists of course said they were carrying out their actions in the name of Islam and it seems that the people who actually carry out these attacks, who are willing to die for them, they are not doing it for money and isn't it their dedication that actually is getting the recruits as opposed to money?
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, NBA HALL OF FAMER: Well, you have to make a distinction between people who are being manipulated and who don't understand exactly how they are being manipulated and people who understand their faith and try to practice it the right way. Muslims cannot be thin skinned. Okay? We have to be able to deal with criticism and attacks just like any other religion and apparently that's taking some time but that's the way it has to go because there is no other way forward. We have to be able to tolerate each other and if we're going to have free speech, we have to deal with it in all of its phases.
BURNETT: And so what do you think about what Rupert Murdoch said? He got criticized for this but, you know, it was a really interesting tweet that he sent out. Obviously the CEO of 21st Century Fox. He tweeted, "Maybe most Muslims peaceful but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer, they must be held responsible." I was wondering if you think he has a point. Right? He's saying, look, it's the Muslim community and the moderate Muslims that has to end extremism. It can't be led by Christians or Jews or anybody else. It has to come from the Muslim community.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, the whole idea about Muslims being -- I can't be responsible for someone who I don't control. And that, to me, is the issue. I teach my children and I try to practice peace and co- existence and that is my duty as a Muslim. Now, I can't go and make other people behave rationally. That's up to them. So, it's up to law enforcement to deal with people who resort to criminal acts just to make a point. It's absurd that they would try to do that. But that's what we're dealing with and that should go across the board. The law should be enforced against anyone who irrationally goes out and tries to use coercion, threats and intimidation to bend people to their will.
BURNETT: So -- so, you know, as a moderate Muslim who's trying to, you know, raise awareness for all of the wonderful things about that faith, what do you think about what the former FBI agent Tim Clemente just said. You know, he said, look, in the United States, as a leader of the airstrikes against ISIS, the United States is the number one target.
And he said, look, the only way that this could be stopped would be for the Muslim community to self-report, self-police for the focus of law enforcement to be 100 percent on the Muslim community. That, yes, the Muslim faith is peaceful but, yes, these attacks have all come out of the Muslim community so -- he didn't use the words racially profile but that's sort of what the bottom-line is. Is there a point there?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, of course there's a point. But look, the incident in Paris that just happened, it was a Muslim -- a young Muslim from Mali who helped save some lives by hurting some people -- hiding them within the building, then he snuck out and cooperated with the police officials, gave them critical information that enabled them to put an end to the incident. So, you know, you have Muslims on both sides of this. And Muslims doing what they should be doing will try to save lives and promote peace. That's what we are supposed to be doing as Muslims. But if some Muslims can be dissuaded and misled, we have to deal with that in the only way possible and that is a question for law enforcement.
BURNETT: And I have to ask you one thing about the Seahawks game yesterday. And don't worry, it's related to this. But, you know, I'm really curious because on Martin Luther King Day, it's a day to in this country observe all of the progress that's been made for the African-American community and for the American community. Seattle Seahawks obviously won the game.
They sent out a tweet and they had an image of their quarterback next to a Martin Luther King quote and the quote was the text "We Shall Overcome." They've been deleted the tweet because they got all this criticism that it was utterly inappropriate given the magnitude and the importance of the civil rights movement and the sacrifice that MLK made of course with his life. Do you think they needed to apologize or is that a step too far?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I don't think we should be that sensitive. You know, someone was trying to make a comparison there and maybe they went too far. These things happen. You know, in the heat of the moment, these things can happen.
BURNETT: So you think that was perhaps too -- that was too sensitive, in your view?
ABDUL-JABBAR: Yes. I think we can't be that hypercritical. If you try to read into everything, that type of sensitivity, you know, nobody is going to say anything.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you so much, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for your incredibly thoughtful and nuance point of view in terms of the issue of Muslims and terror. Thank you sir.
ABDUL-JABBAR: Nice talking to you.
BURNETT: All right. You, too.
And tonight on CNN, two special reports on terror at 9:00 Eastern, "Inside the Paris Attacks" and the investigation at 9:30 p.m., "The war within Islam." What can be done to calm violent extremist? That's all tonight here on CNN.
Next, OUTFRONT, a suspicious fire destroying a huge mansion of a tech executive. He and all five family members are all now missing. Investigators are treating the scene as a crime scene.
And air rage. Opening emergency exits while the plane is moving and dumping falling water on flight attendants? The not so friendly skies. We'll show you what is happening there.
BURNETT: Well, breaking news out of Annapolis, Maryland, where authorities say six people are missing after a suspicious fire at a tech executive's multi-million dollar mansion. The fire erupted today reducing a 16,000 square foot home to nothing. Right now investigators are preparing to sift through the smaller debris, they're looking for clues, possibly remains.
Our crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT on the phone.
And, Shimon, what are you learning about the fire and who is actually possibly inside?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (via telephone): Well, we know there were six people inside, a husband, wife and four children. None of whom have been accounted for and is some belief that they were inside. You know, it was a really big, massive fire. When firefighters got there, the house was completely on fire. They say that the roof had already collapsed, leaving them no ability to go inside and try to rescue anyone.
And now, they are really just sort of putting out some of the hot spots, some of the smoldering -- some of the flames that are still there. And now, it's really up to them to try and find out what happened and what caused this fire and so they are calling in the ATF and so the national response team, some two dozen agents will be going there tomorrow and they are going to start going through the debris to try to figure out what happened and what caused this massive fire.
BURNETT: Shimon, why are they saying that it could be a crime scene? Do you have any sense as to what's causing that?
PROKUPECZ: Well, it's primarily because of how quickly the fire spread. You know, by the time the firefighters got to the house, it was completely engulfed in flames. And so, there is some concern that an accelerant could have been used. Usually when a fire spreads that quickly, that's usually what causes it.
But, you know, there's no indication of that right now, so they are going to bring in dogs to go through and see if they smell any kind of accelerant to try and determine, you know, what caused the fire.
BURNETT: All right. Shimon, thank you very much. Horrible story.
And we are learning for the first time now what's on the black boxes of AirAsia Flight 8501. Indonesian investigators told "Reuters" what can be heard on the cockpit voice recorders in the final minutes of the flight. This is the first time that we've heard about what is on the voice recorders. Investigators also said they believe an explosion is unlikely.
So, what could have caused the plane to crash with 162 on board?
Rene Marsh begins our coverage OUTFRONT.
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Indonesian investigators say they do not hear an explosion on AirAsia Flight 8501's cockpit voice recorder, but what brought down the plane remains a mystery.
ANDREAS HANANTO, INDONESIAN AIR SAFETY INVESTIGATOR (through translator): The voice from the cockpit does not show any sign of a terrorist attack. It is only the pilot sounding very busy.
MARSH: The AirAsia flight was traveling through severe thunderstorms when it crashed. The question remains, was weather, mechanical failure or human error to blame?
CHRISTOPHER VOSS, FORMER FBI AGENT: You want to make absolutely certain before you rule anything in for sure, or rule anything out for sure.
MARSH: Former FBI agent Christopher Voss investigated the crash of TWA Flight 800.
VOSS: If it's not a terrorist problem that brought this plane down, and that means that they potentially have to look for other manifestations of that problem, either on other flight crews or other airplanes. There has to be a hidden danger for those other planes that are still flying.
MARSH: The doomed flight was an Airbus A320, with more than 3,500 in operation worldwide.
Meanwhile, the painstaking search for bodies continues. Two more found Sunday. But the water-logged remains are decomposing and only 53 of the 162 on board have been recovered.
SUPRIYADI, INDONESIAN SEARCH & RESCUE (through translator): Due to currents, the divers could not reach the bottom which constrained our operation.
MARSH: Divers were able to pull up debris like passenger seats but the fuselage remains at the bottom of the Java Sea. It's the largest piece of wreckage at nearly 100 feet long and is believed to hold some of the missing bodies.
MARSH: While there are still many outstanding questions, like what exactly what were pilots saying? The transcript of their conversation is only halfway complete. Investigators hope to finish it this week. But before they draw any concrete conclusions, they will compare what they heard to the information on the flight data recorder which, of course, details how the plane's systems were functioning. The debris also tells a story, so they will consider that as well.
By next week, we expect a preliminary report -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Rene, thank you.
And now, CNN aviation analyst Mary Schiavo, former inspector general at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Mary, obviously, this is the first time we've heard anything about what was on the cockpit voice recorder and it's just -- you know, the snippets that we understand. And what they are emphasizing is the final minutes were sounds of machines and sounds of warnings. That's a quote now that "Reuters" got from the lead investigator.
When you hear that, what are you hearing? I mean, because what I hear is, I'm not hearing about voices.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, you won't hear the voices until they have a chance to isolate each track of sound and when they look at these cockpit voice recorders, when they finally break all of the sounds out, it actually looks like a sound track for a movie. They put each sound on a separate sound lib and they can eliminate first the sounds of warnings, the sounds of the engines. It's so -- you're so capable now with a sound analysis, you can tell the sounds of one engine from the other engine. And they will analyze each of those sound lines separately.
But I think there's a lot of clues here that they have already let out already, and that there were warnings going off in the cockpit and not just one, many. So, you had problems with stalls, problems with engines, problems with air speed and all of those warnings would be going off at the same time. So, it would be very loud in that cockpit, not to over look the fact, just the sounds of the plane diving at that tremendous rate that it was falling would put noise in the cockpit as well.
BURNETT: And would the passengers have been aware of what was happening? If you have that many alarms going off, I would imagine the answer to that is clearly, yes, and it sounds like this was happening for many minutes?
SCHIAVO: Yes. It probably would have been about a three-minute sequence and the passengers would have been conscience because the G- force, even though the plane climbed dramatically, it climbed above its approved climb rate which is why we think there was tremendous up and down drafts on the plane, because the pilots wouldn't have done that. And then the descend rate was many times the actual approved or capable descent rate of the plane.
So, the plane, in all likelihood, was still pressurized and the passengers would have withstood the G-forces and would have gone down for those three minutes knowing something was wrong.
BURNETT: When you hear the one thing that they are saying that you could hear from the pilots, and I don't know if this is from an isolated track or over the machines, you know, to your point that when you get the track, you're going to get the full conversation, it might have happened in the pilot. The investigator said he could only hear the pilot being very busy. That seems to mean that the pilot was to your point about withstanding G-forces aware of what's happening, trying to correct, you know, trying every second to try to fix the situation, very much aware.
SCHIAVO: That's the most impressive thing overall the years in investigations is how hard and how professional a pilots usually are when they are fighting to save their plane. I worked many accidents where the pilot realizes they are going in and they are professional to the very end, and that gives us a clue that they were trying to maintain control of the plane and might explain why the plane is basically in three pieces, the nose, the fuselage and the tail.
So, it appears that he had -- some partial control, certainly didn't have total control, but that may explain why the plane didn't completely go nose-first into the water because in that case, it would have been in many, many more pieces. So, I think we will find that these pilots fought all the way down to try to save the flight but mistakes were made probably at 35,000 feet that could not be overcome.
BURNETT: All the way down and, as you say, on some level came so -- I don't know how close but close on some level to succeeding. Thank you so much, Mary.
SCHIAVO: All right. Thank you.
BURNETT: Next, from infuriated passengers to another making an early exit by dropping emergency chutes -- why traveling in the sky has become so awful.
And all signs point to a suicide in a prosecutor's death but friends say it was murder. The bigger question is, could the Iranian government be behind his death?
BURNETT: From throwing hot water on to a flight attendant, to fistfights over cry baby, angry bursts by Chinese passengers have disrupted a lot of flights in recent days. A passenger on a recent Chinese flight open the emergency door and release the plane's inflatable slide when he became impatient waiting to get off a plane. An argument to a crying baby led to a brawl on an Air China flight to Hong Kong. This sudden surge of air rage incidents comes with the massive expansion in China. In just 10 years, the number of people flying has quadrupled, yes. And we're talking about from less than 100 million to 400 million. Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In flight free-for-alls, assaults at the airport, Chinese social media sites are full of these videos. Air rage China-style.
Last month, a Chinese man's rant about cabin service turned into a threat to blow up the plane. His girlfriend hurled hot water at a flight attendant.
Earlier this month, angry passengers opened emergency exits as their plane was pushing back from the gate seven hours late.
JIM FALLOWS, AUTHOR, "CHINA AIRBORNE": Every person for himself or herself.
RIPLEY: Journalists and author of "China Airborne", Jim Fallows, says many Chinese passengers have never experienced the kind of travel headaches long familiar to other flyers.
FALLOWS: It's a nation of first generation air travelers. All of the indoctrination and beating out the rest of us have dealt with for decades about how you have to behave in airports and airliners is coming as a new experience to a lot of people in China.
RIPLEY (on camera): You see all of these tour groups in Beijing and the guides are giving instructions on the right way to behave. Of course, air rage and travel behavior is not unique to China but here, things have gotten so bad that the government issued this guidebook on how to be a civilized tourist.
(voice-over): Like the Chinese economy, its airline and tourism industries have taken off in the last few decades. China's busiest hubs are notorious for long delays.
FALLOWS: The system is especially annoying.
RIPLEY: Fallows blames much of the misery on the Chinese military which controls the vast majority of the country's increasingly crowded air space. China is expected to pass the U.S. and becomes the world's top airline market in the next 20 years, which means more agonizing waits and perhaps more passengers taking Chinese-style air rage to new heights.
BURNETT: I mean, you know, it's funny on one hand but on the other, obviously deadly serious, Will. And I know the Chinese government has responded to this.
So, what are they planning? They can't control it, can they?
RIPLEY: Two different (AUDIO GAP) it's difficult to control and it's a dangerous problem, Erin. Two different approaches: one, they are possibly going to establish a no-fly list for passengers, in addition to finding them and criminal prosecution. They could also be banned from getting on a plane. But in addition to that, the trickier problem is reducing China's chronic flight delays. The military controls most of the air space and unless they hand some of it to the commercial flights, because as you mentioned, there's a lot more flights than there was ten years ago, this problem is just going to continue.
BURNETT: All right. Will Ripley, thank you very much, reporting from Beijing today.
Just imagine, everybody, if we put people who were nasty on flights on the U.S. in-fly list in the U.S., which already has a million potential terrorists on it.
All right. Pope Francis returned to Europe after a historic six-day trip to Asia. Sunday, the pope celebrated mass in Manila, in the Philippines before some 6 million people. As you can see, rain did not keep them away. Organizers say it was the largest crowd that ever gathered for an event for the pope. The pope wore a yellow poncho in high winds and driving rain. A tropical storm was raging.
And especially touching moment during the mass actually, a 12-year-old girl, who used to live on the streets, broke down in tears while asking the pope why God let's innocent children suffer. He responded with a hug.
A beautiful moment for her.
And next, a death of a prosecutor just hours before he was to testify against powerful government officials. Was it murder?
And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos with the policeman who just might have better dance moves than Taylor.
BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up in a few minutes on "AC360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin. Yes, a lot on the program.
We're keeping them honest tonight. No-go zones, enclaves of Muslims in Western cities purportedly ruled by Sharia law and said to be off- limits to Western authority. Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal spoke out to the British parliament about no -- alleged no-go zones in England. The only problem is they don't exist. CNN's Max Foster pointed to Governor Jindal today. You'll hear that exchange. Keeping them honest.
Also, an accident so bad, that one man was sandwiched between two tractor-trailers. The image is just incredible, nearly entombed by the twisted metal, he not only survived, he walked away with nothing worse than a black eye. We'll speak to him. You're going to hear his story ahead. All that
and tonight's "RidicuList" at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, we'll see you in just a few minutes.
All right. This story reads like a spy thriller. A prosecutor accused government officials of covering up Iran's alleged involvement in the bombing of the Jewish Center. A prosecutor has been found dead, just hours before he was scheduled to testify at a hearing. Was it suicide or was he taken out?
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The body of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman found dead Sunday night behind the bathroom door in his luxury Buenos Aires apartment. A shell casing and gun by his side.
Officials were tight lipped in the hours after his death.
VIVIAN FEIN, PROSECTUOR IN CHARGE OF INVESTIGATION (through translator): As the days go by and we have the results from the autopsy, we will be able to determine the cause of death.
JOHNS: And while the signs point to suicide, Nisman supporters say that's ridiculous. They're calling it murder.
MARK DUBOWITZ, FRIEND OF ALBERTO NISMAN: A boarder told me about the death threats that he received, not only threats to him personally, but to his family, particularly a very nasty threat that he received, complete with photos of what would be done to him and his family.
JOHN: Nisman had been investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 and wounded more than 300. For years, he insisted that Iran was behind the bombing and more recently, he made the explosive charge that Argentina's president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and other high government officials, covered up for Iran in exchange for normalized relations and trade considerations, specifically oil, allegations the Argentine government strongly denies.
Further fueling doubts of suicide, Nisman under the protection of a ten-man security detail, was scheduled to testify about his findings to parliament just hours after his death. Some are asking, could it be possible that Iranian officials are involved in Nisman's death?
DUBOWITZ: We don't know based on the details surrounding Alberto's death, who was responsible. But it's certainly not inconsistent with the Iranian M.O., which consisted over the 30 years in an assassination campaign against Iran's enemies.
JOHNS: Others point to the conviction of an Iranian-American sentenced in 2013 for plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Mansoor Arbabsiar pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring with members of the Iranian military.
Even U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the plot was endorsed by the Iranian government despite Iran's denial of involvement.
BURNETT: It's a track record. But, Joe, this an incredible story.
JOHNS: It really is, and what's made Alberto Nisman's death a global story is that Iran has tried recently to present itself as more reasonable player on the world stage than just a couple of decades ago. Iran has always denied involvement at the attack at the Jewish Community Center. But being linked to an atrocity like that before the parliament could potential create enormous public relations damage, Erin.
BURNETT: Certainly enormous and threaten now the crucial nuclear deal with the United States and the West. Joe Johns, thank you very much. A fascinating report.
And next, Jeanne Moos with the police dash cam video that has gone viral.
BURNETT: Police dash cameras capture many things on video. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The next time this cop gives someone a ticket, don't be surprised if they just --
MOOS: Dover Delaware Police Officer Jeff Davis will forever be known as the cop who lip synced to Taylor Swift. Even Taylor Swift -- will rember him that way. In a tweet, she strung a few LOLs together and complimented his sassiness.
You'd have to have nothing in your brain to think this wasn't staged. The Dover P.D. tweeted, "We never intended for it to be taken as real, we thought the public affairs production was a hint."
(on camera): Another hint? Normally the dash cam pointed that away to catch the action. But in this case, a GoPro was pointed at Officer Davis, at points with both hands off the wheel. The shoot was done in what police call a secluded parking lot, done in two takes.
MOOS: The point was to make police officers seem more human. A similar video went burial this past summer when the Rosenberg, Texas police, tried to lighten their image with officers lip syncing to the Katy Perry hit "Dark Horse." And who could forget the EMT who resuscitated the Internet, voguing to
Rihanna while driving a private ambulance. This wasn't staged. And he was reprimanded.
Although he was off-duty and said he would never carry on with a patient onboard. Sort of makes Taylor Swift seem slow.
(on camera): How is it that a cop knows every word to a Taylor Swift hit?
(voice-over): Officer Davis told FOX News --
OFFICER JEFF DAVIS: I have a 10-year-old daughter who knows Taylor Swift. It's not the only song I know all the words.
MOOS: It was an award-worthy performance, nodding to non-existent passersby and fluffing his non-existent hair.
Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.
BURNETT: Thanks so much for joining us.
Be sure to DVR OUTFRONT so you can watch us anytime.
"AC360" starts now.