Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
New Details on Major Ground Offensive Against ISIS; U.S Official: Top ISIS Leader is a "Psychopath"; Road Rage Shooting Suspect Knew Victim; Road Rage Shooting Suspect Charged With Murder; Obama: ISIS Does Not Represent Islam; Kim Jong Un's Calculated New Cut; Doctors Warn of Deadly Superbug Outbreak
Aired February 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: Next, breaking news, a plan for attack, new information just coming in from the U.S. military on a major offensive against ISIS. We have the details next.
And more breaking news in Iraq in the Las Vegas road rage murder. The suspects in custody after an intent hours long stand-off this afternoon and now the victim's family are saying they've actually known the suspect for years.
And what doctors are calling the nightmare bacteria, the deadly super bug spreading tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT tonight with breaking news. We are learning of a major new offensive planned against ISIS in Iraq. American trained forces preparing to launch attacks in weeks. Up to 25,000 troops will be deployed to win back the key city of Mosul in Northern Iraq. And the question tonight is how many Americans will be in harm's way. This as ISIS releases another propaganda video showing recruits in training. Is this a force to be reckoned with? The force that we have seen in all those videos? Or is this proof the world is completely overestimated ISIS?
Plus, images of ISIS military style parade and the coastal Libyan town of Sert (ph) just released. It features well-armed, cheering fighters along with the seemingly endless line of what appears to be, let me emphasize this, brand new SUVs. We'll going to have much more on these images tonight.
But first, more on the breaking developments. Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT on this new ground offensive. Jim, this is a major operation the U.S. military is announcing.
JIM SCIUTTO, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. Unlike any operation we have seen so far in the fight against ISIS. To this point, conducted largely from the air by the coalitions. Some small operations by Iraqi forces, Kurdish forces along the ground but really just in small towns. This would be urban warfare on a grand scale. It's believed there are thousand to 2,000 ISIS fighters but hiding in a city and a city that they will have weeks and months to prepare for this, it's going to be a real challenge for those Iraqi forces and still on the table. U.S. commanders have said this repeatedly the possibility that U.S. advisors, military advisors or ground controllers called in the airstrikes could be, not decided yet, but could be deployed alongside those Iraqi forces.
BURNETT: And there's also of course, you talk about ISIS having a long time to prepare for this. It's interesting the U.S. military has decide to announce this kind of an offensive. To say that they're going to do this, to talk about how many troops they're going to be putting in on the ground. The same day that ISIS puts out a new video showing ISIS fighters being trained right there in Mosul. What's behind this?
SCIUTTO: It looks like a message, of course, ISIS didn't know that the Pentagon was going to announce this today but they didn't know that a major operation was planned, has been talked about for weeks. We take Mosul possibly starting in the spring. And you look at this training video. Some of it which looks frankly, you know, goofy. Some are assault, et cetera. But they did also show some things in the city. People repelling down buildings, et cetera to give taste of the kind of urban fighting that the coalition, Iraqi forces et cetera could expect when they come in the city. And let's be honest, we have seen this already in the town of Kobani, that's a smaller town. And it took a long time. It took hundreds of U.S. and coalition airstrikes with Kurdish forces on the ground to rest that small town from ISIS control. Imagine what it will take to take major city which is a real ISIS stronghold from ISIS control as well.
BURNETT: It is a major city. Second largest in Iraq. Jim Sciutto, thank you very much.
And we have breaking new details today on the world's most wanted terrorist. That's the leader of ISIS. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was virtually unknown when he declared himself the caliph for the leader of our Muslims last summer. But tonight we have obtained new intelligence document and they called al-Baghdadi a psychopath. The United States is apparently just beginning to understand.
Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was an office worker who might not get a second glance when this picture was taken after U.S. forces in Iraq captured him as a suspected insurgent. Today, he is perhaps the world's most wanted terrorist.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
He's Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, not seen since this video last year in Mosul. The leader of ISIS. The group responsible for brutal killings across Iraq, Syria and now Libya. The slaughter of U.S. hostages and a Jordanian air force pilot. One U.S. official tells CNN, he is, quote, "a psychopath." The U.S. may only now be beginning to understand him.
MICHAEL WEISS, CO-AUTHOR, "ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": He wasn't an insurgent in the initial phases of the U.S. occupation. He became one.
STARR: He was born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri in Fallujah according to his U.S. detention record obtained by CNN. Captured in February, 2004 and held at Camp Bucca in Southern Iraq. It's believed he became increasingly radicalized there before being released in December of that year. Did the U.S. miss the clues that al-Baghdadi would turn into the master mind of ISIS?
WEISS: A lot of people were processed and run through the U.S. run prisons who for all intents of purposes did not seem to pose a credible threat and then of course they became masters of terror.
STARR: The U.S. intelligence community's personality profile of al-Baghdadi suggest he is head strong. A religious zealot was an apocalyptic, end of days vision but also a savvy leader who broke with al Qaeda to become his own man. A U.S. intelligence official tells CNN, al-Baghdadi's religious credentials experience as a senior leader and dense network of relationships propelled him to ISIS' top spot in 2010. But as he now hides from U.S. airstrikes, al-Baghdadi maybe running the risk.
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The mystery surrounding Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. Strength because it's allowed ISIS to create a myth around him and able to project him as this religious leader with series Islamic credentials but weakness as well for al-Baghdadi because there's so little known about him. There's very little for his supporters around the world to get excited about.
STARR: And more details in that personality profile. U.S. intelligence believes that al-Baghdadi relies on trusted lieutenants and allows some local commanders to make decisions -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Barbara, thank you. And now Thomas Sanderson, a counter terrorism analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies is OUTFRONT. Along with Bob Baer, former CIA operative and CNN intelligence analyst. Good to have both of you with us.
Bob, let me start with you. This new ISIS propaganda video that we just saw a clip of, it shows fighters training in Mosul. And, you know, if you look at it, they're doing some somersaults down a mountain or little hill. And one of them, a man is actually disguised as a bush. He's using some sort of camouflage, show that picture here. So, he's literally walking in a courtyard disguise as a bush. Now, when you look at this you sort of laugh and said, this is ridiculous. Do they think this is scary? Has the world is completely overestimated them. I mean, what do you make of this video?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Erin, there's a couple of things. They are ready for a fight for Mosul. They intend to defend it. They will use suicide bombers. They will track that city with explosives and they will defend it until the last person standing. These video tapes look silly to us but for them it's matter of branding and recruiting people. According to U.S. intelligence, a lot more people are joining and flowing in from various countries. So, I think what they are telling the world, yes, the U.S. is coming with Baghdad government but we are also prepared to fight. And oddly enough these video do have an effect on people and draw recruits.
BURNETT: So, you think that even though it looks so innocence, bush league that this actually does get people involved and recruit people. That maybe even, are you going so far to say that being the underdog is part of the appeal here?
BAER: Erin, it's martyrdom, this is a death cult, these people are prepared to die. When they took Mosul for instance, they had people jumping up buildings with suicide vest on exploding in the middle of the troops from the Iraqi government. I mean, this is not a normal group obviously and this is their way of defending Islam. I think at the end of the day they'll loss but in the process a lot of people are going to die.
BURNETT: Thomas, at the end of this video, of the training video, there's a convoy. And what I wanted to point out about this convoy is it looks like it's all brand new cars. We'll slow that to you. There they are. Right? They all look brand new. I mean, it looks like they are just coming off the dealer lot. They're all white. In then in another one, that really caught my attention these are Chevys brand new American pickup trucks. How is ISIS getting all these new cars?
THOMAS SANDERSON, COUNTER TERRORISM ANALYST, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, I don't think it's too difficult to get them. Don't forget the geographic location of this country and this area that they have in control is at the confluence of a lot of trading routes. It's easy to get vehicles in Turkey, in Jordan, in Iraq, there's a lot of aid money coming in. There's a lot of money coming in for the military and Iraq. And it's very easy for these vehicles be purchased or stolen, traded. There's a robust car theft market in Europe that moves vehicles down into the Middle East. Also in Russia. So, I don't think that it's exceptional that we would see a convoy of 20, 30 brand new trucks. And the fact they are American trucks also is no surprise. American trucks have a good reputation overseas.
SANDERSON: And you can find them anywhere.
BURNETT: And it also makes the point they have the money. Because you're looking at convoys, I mean, yes, there are some older cars in those convoys but I mean, you're looking at tons and tons and tons of brand new cars.
SANDERSON: Yes. Absolutely. And they have the money to do it. Again, they have this robust local funding portfolio made up of as you've all heard many times, the oil, the granaries, the extortion, the kidnapping. So, there's plenty of money coming in that would enable them to purchase these vehicles. But of course what they never do anymore is put these long convoys out there during combat because they have come very easy targets as al Qaeda learned many, many years ago.
BURNETT: So, Bob, Barbara Starr just reporting on the new information that we got today about al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, the most wanted terrorist in the world. U.S. intelligence is actually using the word psychopath to describe him. How is that assessment in formal way coming from U.S. intelligence affect how the United States tries to catch him?
BAER: Well, that's strong, I've read a lot of intelligence report over my years and I've never seen the analyst, they psychologist call anybody a psychopath, and I think he probably is. And I think, you know, just burning the pilot, burning these people in al-Baghdadi, the cops and rest that he's clearly in the leadership of this group are psychopathic. And furthermore, I'll even go so far to say in terms of Islam, their heretics. There's nothing in the Koran and the Hadith that would justify this violence. And, you know, these are not true Muslims. And I'm not doing this to defend Islam in any way. I'm not saying that it's not in their doctrine and he is a psychopath.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. So many people watching in amaze, of course he's a psychopath. But as you heard Bob after an entire career in the CIA, I've never heard intelligence called someone a psychopath before.
OUTFRONT next, breaking news in the road rage murder of a mother of four. The suspect under arrest tonight. There was a dramatic stand-off, the victim's husband just moments ago admitting he knew the suspect all along. We have a live press conference just moments away from the Las Vegas Police Department about the arrest.
And Kim Jong-un's new haircut. Apparently, his barber was having such a good time, he couldn't stop.
BURNETT: Breaking news. In the Las Vegas road rage shooting. We are standing by as you can see for a live press conference with the police in a major breaking development today. A suspect tonight in custody charged with the murder of Tammy Meyers, a mother of four. His name is Erich Milton. Now, she was arrested just one block away from Meyers' home after an intent stand-off with police that lasted several hours. Keep in mind just one block away yet he had been on the loose for a week. And just moments ago, Meyers' husband revealed that his family actually knew this suspect for years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We know this boy. I couldn't tell you this before. He knew where I lived. We knew how bad he was but we didn't know he was this bad. This kid, my wife was going to search, my wife spent countless hours at that park consoling this boy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT from Las Vegas as we're awaiting that live press conference. And Sara, I mean, it was pretty incredible to watch that today. I mean, it all unfolded on live television. This multi-hour stand-off with the suspect.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, we were here at the family's home when we heard the helicopter going overhead. We all kind of walked down the street to see what was going on. And lo and behold there is a scene with many, many police officers. There were folks who were basically standing there waiting to try and get the suspect out and they finally did.
CAPTAIN CHRIS TOMAINO, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I'm here to provide an update to you regarding the investigation --
BURNETT: All right. We just heard Sara there, this is the press conference just beginning live in Las Vegas. Let's listen in.
TOMAINO: Thursday, February 12th. I will not be taking any questions at this time. In order to preserve our ability to further this investigation, I will be brief. I do have a prepared statement which I will refer to. This incident has understandably captured a great deal of attention due to the nature of this case as well as the link to the present day issues concerning road rage. I understand that there is a pressing concern that quickly reserved the story for the public, however these investigations unfold much more slowly than the news cycle would prefer. Please keep in mind this investigation is still dynamic and ongoing. An investigator still have a lot of work to do before a more comprehensive summary can be provided to you. We have an obligation to Mrs. Meyers and her family to be thorough and methodical.
We still have at least one more suspect to locate. When Tammy Meyers was shot and killed outside her home it shocked this community. I believe when people learn the death was result of road rage incident it frightened many people because this is not how anyone should dissolve a dispute. As most of you know already, one suspect was taken into custody earlier today, by metro police after a brief standoff at his home. Earlier this morning an arrest warrant for open murder was issued by the Clark County District Attorney's Office for Erich Nowsch age 19 for his involvement in the shooting of Tammy Myers on February 12. Nowsch was taken into custody by metro homicide investigators and the investigation is ongoing. We will provide additional information at the earliest possible convenience to balance the public's need to know and our legal and investigative needs to further the completion with thorough criminal investigation. I'm sure many of you will leave with more questions than answers. However, the real take away here is that the suspect involved in the killing of Mrs. Meyers is in custody and off the streets of Las Vegas. Thank you.
My name is Chris Tomaino, C-h-r-i-s T-o-m-a-i-n-o. And the suspect's last name spelled N-o-w-s-c-h.
TOMAINO: I do not believe so, no.
TOMAINO: Yes, Eric.
BURNETT: All right. As you can see they're going through some logistics there. The police captain there, Captain Tomaino from the Las Vegas Police Department saying he's not going be taking any substantive questions. One important thing though there when he was talking was, he said there's one more suspect to locate. We knew there were other people in this car with the suspect who was finally today after the standoff taken into custody. We did not know there was another formal suspect too. As you've just heard the captain say, he's still on the loose tonight.
Sara Sidner is in Las Vegas for us. And Sara, obviously that's a development in this story. And this stand-off that we saw still so shocking because these families knew each other and they live just one block away. And yet this took a full week to find the suspect.
SIDNER: Yes. You know, there's a lot of investigating that goes on here. And clearly the suspect wasn't just going to go and turn himself in. And so, they had to do all the due diligence to try to figure out who was actually involved in this. And what's really odd is we talked to a lot of neighbors here about the suspect that was in that house and they say they have never, and I mean never seen him driving. They said that they see him in a skateboard but they had never, ever seen him behind the wheel of a car. And so, that made everyone wonder what is going on here. But police are pretty clear that this is the person they believe killed Tammy Meyers and they had said all along that they believe that was the driver of the suspected vehicle.
And we did also knew from police that there is at least one other person in that car, perhaps two. So, clearly they are looking for another person now. And that is a brand new information. Other information that came out today, the family after revealing that they had known this particular suspect said that Tammy Meyers, herself, had mothered him. Had helped take care of him, had help try and help him out every now and then. And the reason why they left their house according to the father to go and track him down is to keep him away from the house. To keep him from hurting anyone. They were very concerned after their initial confrontation that he might show up again and he did.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. It is an important layer to the story.
OUTFRONT now, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos. And retired FBI counterterrorism agent Tim Clemente. This does add Tim an important layer to the story. Because we knew there had been an original incident. Tammy Meyers had gone home, gotten her son who had a gun and they went back out to look for the suspect. Now you know that they knew each other and apparently the family is saying she actually wanted to find him and keep him away from the house. All that might make a little bit more sense. But if they knew the suspect for all this time, he lives one block away, why did it take them a week to find him?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: That's awfully suspicious, Erin. I really don't know. And I had said from the beginning that I believe we would find out that the suspect and the victim knew each other because the story just didn't make sense the way it was told. I'm sure we don't have all the details yet, unfortunately. The victim can't tell her side of the story. Though her son and daughter can tell portions of it. And this individual will be talking to the police. The fact that he was located in this house, maybe he was hiding for the past five or six days and finally returned to the house today and that's why the standoff ensued.
CLEMENTE: I mean, these are details we don't know yet. But that's what would make logical sense. Because I would imagine that on the day of the incident they were talking to the son and he eventually would have told them who this guy is if he was going to cooperate in any way with the police.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, again, you think the family would have said this to police right away. If they had nothing to hide why would you ever Danny have not said immediately, this is who the kid is. He lives one block away. At least the son who went out with the mother would have known that.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, based on what the father had said so far, he may have been asked to keep it quite while the police investigate it, which is really fascinating because the idea that a police really suspected that somebody a block away may have been responsible for a shooting. That they would sort of let him out in the wild. Maybe the idea behind that was he might contact his co-suspects and they could close in on in that way. Who knows? I think we'll find out as time goes on. But there are so many unanswered questions in this case, and the narrative has shifted so drastically just in the last 24 hours. The idea last night even was that, mom and son may have gone out looking for trouble and now today that narrative appears to have completely changed.
CEVALLOS: I would also caution as tragic as this is, almost the entire narrative that we have now comes from one Meyers or the other. Father, son, sister.
BURNETT: All one side.
CEVALLOS: Now, does that mean that it's not the truth? Not at all. It may end up being what happened, and maybe forensics will bare that out. But, for now, we have to keep in mind that that is the only narrative we're hearing. And remember, dad as tragic as this situation is, it's not an actual eyewitness. He's only relaying the story as told as far as we know by his children.
BURNETT: And a game of phone. Tim, today we saw this stand-off unroll over several hours. And there was a woman inside the house with the suspect who claimed he was her son. She said he was threatening to harm himself. You've dealt with a situation like this before. When it comes down to it and all of a sudden, here this is unfolding on live television. Several hours trying to get the suspect out. How did they get him out?
CLEMENTE: Well, they probably talked him out. The fact that his mother was there would be helpful to the police. Because if she had any concern at all for her son's well-being she would cooperate completely with the negotiators that were probably trying to give the message to him to come out with, you know, the fact that he came out without a shirt on is an indication that he couldn't have been hiding anything under his shirt and his hands would have been in the open. Because in a situation like this, this guy obviously has had a period of cool reflection since the crime happened. And in that period the cool reflection, you start reflect on your reality and his reality is he could be going to prison for a long, long time. So, the fact that he was considering harming himself means he's also at risk or a risk for the police officers. And he also puts the police at risk of suicide by cop which no cops wants to go home at the end of that day after having to do that.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you. And OUTFRONT next, a top republican says the President doesn't love his country. That as the President doubles down on his statement that the United States is not at war with radical Islam.
And some 185 million Americans are feeling a deep freeze. See this picture? This, frozen, Niagara Falls. We'll go there.
BURNETT: President Obama doubling down today, speaking to the leaders of 60 nations. The president refusing to say the United States is fighting radical Islam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie. And all of us, regardless of our faith, have a responsibility to reject it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT live at the White House tonight. And, Jim, the president calling on Muslim nations to do more to stop ISIS but he's still stop short. He doesn't want to say radical Islamist. He refuses to say this is a product of radical Islam, specifically.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Yesterday, he doubled down. Today, I guess he tripled down, Erin. He doesn't use the words Islamic terrorism or extremism but President Obama called on Muslim and Arab nations to start doing a better job on pushing back on what he repeatedly called lies from ISIS and al Qaeda on a speech at his countering violent extremism summit to hundreds of world leaders at the State Department. The president said the U.S.-led coalition would continue pounding
ISIS with airstrikes. But he argued the Islamic world must take aim at this underlying reason for radicalism, income inequality, lack of democratic freedoms. Of course, we should point out, many of the countries in the president's coalition have those sorts of problems. But still, the president did prod them to develop a more effective counter-message to the terrorist who are now all over social media.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: All of us have responsibility to refute the nation that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam, because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, all week, critics have pounced on the president's refusal to use that term "Islamic extremism" and "Islamic terrorism". John McCain tweeted about it earlier today. It's also been Democrats as well. They have pounced as well.
The White House responds that this is really more of a media fascination with this debate over whether he should use that term radical Islam or Islamic extremism. But, Erin, I have to tell you, the White House had hoped to make great strides all this week in communicating this inclusive message to the Islamic world. But we ended up having this debate over whether the president should use words like "Islamic extremism", "Islamic terrorism" sort of stepped on their message, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jim Acosta, thank you.
And OUTFRONT tonight, James Zogby from the Arab-American Institute, and Mark Wallace, former American ambassador to the United Nations and co-founder of the Counter-Extremism Project.
James, I know you support the president's use of words here. When you look at the cover of "The New York Post" today -- obviously, they have a different point of view politically. It is here, though, it's the president blind folded with the headline, "Islamic terror, I just don't see it."
Senator John McCain tweeted today, quote, "The notion that radical Islam isn't at war with the West is an ugly lie", playing off the president's words about ugly lie. I guess the question is, why won't the president say this is a movement that is affiliated with one specific religion and that's Islam?
JAMES ZOGBY, PRESIDENT, ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE: The president made a point very clear. Number one, I don't read "The New York Post". I advise actually against reading it. I don't listen to John McCain, but I think the president threaded the needle perfectly. He called ISIS exactly what it is. It's an ugly movement. It's an evil movement. It's got to be stopped. But he denied them to be able to claim the president's fighting
against us because we represent Islam, because they do not represent Islam and we have in the coalition partners who do represent Islam in far more authentic way. So, why give them the argument they want that a claim which is the pretense that we're the caliphate, that we represent all Muslims. That's frankly speaking that's bullshit.
BURNETT: All right. You make a lot of good points. So, let me quote "The New York Times" because you don't like "The New York Post". OK. So, let's go with Thomas Friedman at "The New York Times", probably more down your line of thinking. Here's what he wrote recently, "I am all for restraint on the issue and never would every Muslim accountable for the acts of a few. But it is not good for us or the Muslim world to pretend that the spreading jihadist violence isn't coming out of their faith community."
ZOGBY: Look, I don't think if you were at the summit, as I was, that there was any holding back on the part of the president when he spoke to Muslim leaders here in America, spoke to Muslim leaders all over the world. More has to be done to confront this ideology.
The president was spot on both in speaking to faith leaders about what needed to be done, while at the same time saying to the folks in ISIS you don't represent this faith. You've perverted this faith, and I'm calling on the authentic leaders to step up to the challenge of confronting this message.
But the president went further. He also made the point that every faith has these kinds of extremists. Every faith has been distorted by its followers. He pointed, yes, to the crusades, but he also talked about Jim Crow. Look, when folks are being lynched who were in Sunday go to meeting clothes, because they had just come out of church to go lynch the folks that they lynched, that problem has not stopped in America with the Klan and with white militias and the Christian Nation and all that stuff. That is a problem we all have.
But we don't call them Christians. We call them crazy extremist who use the language of Christianity to justify their evil behavior. That's what the president said.
BURNETT: And that's a fair point. We should call them extremist Christians, you know, Mark, I guess to be consistent and that would be absolutely fair.
The point is, though, that this terror movement that is coming out of the Middle East right now, that is dominating the world in many ways, is coming out of the Muslim faith.
MARK WALLACE, PRESIDENT, UNITED AGAINST NUCLEAR IRAN: It is. And I think that Jim Acosta nailed it. I think it only step on the president's message, but it's getting a bit more complicated for him to lead. Remember, he's leading a coalition with flying air strikes over these areas and American boots on the ground, whether we pretend that it's there or not and I think we have to call it for what it is. I think that's hurting his ability to lead. That message isn't just for ISIS. It's for Americans, Europeans
and for the parts of this coalition. And being straight and calling it what it is is so important. I think the debate is what false. Jim said that they need legitimacy. I don't think ISIS needs legitimacy from President Obama. I don't think they care. They're beheading people on video, emolliating innocence, beheading people that are of different faith, they're not looking for legitimacy. They can't be anymore emboldened than they are.
So, somehow that feeds ISIS I think is undercutting the president's message.
ZOGBY: You know, the only reason it's undercutting the president's message is you all are focusing on it, and Republicans are attacking him for it. And the bottom line here is that if you stood behind the president as he is confronting ISIS and building an international coalition, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. That's the truth. Listen to what he says, not pick on the word that you want there that he didn't give you.
BURNETT: Mark, is the bottom line that the president worried that if he puts the word Islam at all into a sentence that moderate Muslims in the Middle East won't understand the difference?
WALLACE: It makes no sense.
BURNETT: That they won't understand radical Islam, that it's about the word radical not the word Islam.
WALLACE: I think we all want a president that's capable of leading. In his speech that we're all referring to, he mentioned Islam Muslim 30 times. He called Muslim leaders to do more. He said in some very strong things that were good and important to hear. But his failure is digging in, is being entrenched on unable to call it what it is, is hurting his message. And that's important for him -- ability to lead.
This is not a political debate. This is about his ability to lead a big coalition and inspire Americans to understand and trust him in this foreign policy issue.
BURNETT: Thanks very much to both of you.
And OUTFRONT next, an outbreak of what doctors are calling the nightmare bacteria. U.S. health officials warning of the spread of the deadly superbug that's incredibly resistant to antibiotic. Our report on what it is.
And more than half of the nation suffering the coldest temperatures in decades. How cold? This is Niagara Falls. We'll show you, next.
BURNETT: Tonight, the picture that captured America right now. This is Niagara Falls, frozen. Some of the falls usually have water flowing at 600,000 gallons a second. You heard me, a second.
These images taken today are stunning. Just imagine the power of cold that can stop that flow. I mean, look at it. Winter, summer, wow.
Water is still moving beneath the surface. It's been 167 years apparently since the falls have completely frozen all the way through. But the truth is this America is cold. More than 185 million Americans in 30 states are in a deep freeze, all the way the Deep South and the Gulf of Mexico. And it's a record for the Great Lakes. Lake Erie, 98 percent frozen over. That is the most ever recorded.
Well, it's relatively balmy 25 degrees right now in North Korea where the hermit leader stepped out in a chill to debut a jarring new haircut. It's not a random bad haircut -- no, every single hair on that led is gelled as the leader wants.
So, why does he want his hair standing straight up and his eyebrows chopped in half?
Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A bold transformation from last year's stylish flop cut to an extreme flat top. Kim Jong-un presides over a large political meeting in North Korea, brandishing a new hairstyle that's getting a lot of attention. Analysts say this is a calculated look.
JOSEPH DETRANI, FORMER SPECIAL ENVOY TO NORTH KOREA: Kim Jong-un wants to project the image of his grandfather, Kim Il-sung. He was viewed by the people of North Korea as a great revolutionary. He gave them independence. He fought against the colonials. He fought against Japan. He fought against the United States in the Korean War and South Korea.
TODD: Kim's been ratcheting his projection of power, his message to his people that he'll take on America. A South Korean news agency reports he's visited several military units over the past couple of months, telling them to be ready to fight. And recently, he reportedly conducted the first test of a new ballistic missile intended to be launched from a submarine. It's an ominous maneuver. Analysts when North Korea figures out how to outfit submarines with missiles, they could move undetected.
RICHARD FISHER, INT'L ASSESSMENT & STRATEGY CENTER: North Korea may be able to launch nuclear missile strikes, surprise strikes against American forces in Japan, or South Korea, sneak up on our bases in Hawaii, or if they make it to American ports, launch nuclear missiles against American targets.
TODD: The Pentagon won't comment on the latest missile test. And a new level that North Korea isn't all bluster anymore. The Sony hack, a massive cyber attack that the company is still reeling from, thought to have been ordered by Pyongyang showed this regime can and will hit Americans where they live.
Human rights advocates say Kim Jong-un acting aggressively on another front as well, expanding a program of sending North Korean workers abroad. According to human rights groups, those workers toil in factories, logging camps, build statues for dictators in Africa and are forced to send virtually all of their money to Kim and his cronies.
GREG SCARLATOIU, COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA: Dispatching North Korean workers overseas is meant to earn the regime the hard currency it needs to stay in power and to help pay those who maintain the Kim regime in power.
TODD: Analysts say they need the hard currency more now because Kim Jong-un's economy is bankrupt. His regime relies more and more on the smuggling of heroin, counterfeit American dollars, fake Viagra and weapons to bring in cash. And the proceeds of much of that are also thought to go straight into the pockets of Kim and his inner circle -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brian Todd.
And OUTFRONT next, the superbug. A new strain of superbug that's so resistant to antibiotics it's called the nightmare bacteria. It's most frequently spread in the hospital. Our special report on the crisis in Los Angeles tonight.
Plus, Jeanne Moos has the tapes, the audition tapes of the Mars One candidates who got rejected.
BURNETT: It's called the nightmare bacteria, so-called superbug so resistant to antibiotics, it can kill up to half of those infected. And now, a hospital in Los Angeles is warning nearly 200 people may have been exposed.
This is the fifth outbreak since 2012. One doctor telling "The L.A. Times" it could the most significant disease transmission linked to a contaminated medical instrument. One of the infected patients is a 18-year-old teenager.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with the story.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside UCLA Medical Center, the so-called nightmare bacteria was growing, a superbug called CRE bacteria, the infection is often drug resistant and fatal about half the time. Through the hospital's infection control, doctors leaned the very endoscope trying to detect disease were instead spreading them.
DR. ROBERT CHERRY, UCLA HEALTH SYSTEM: We took them immediately out of service. We stopped those scopes from being done. And we have implemented a whole new sterilization process that's much more stringent than what the manufacturer had originally given us based on FDA standards.
LAH: The number of patients potentially infected had grown to nearly 180 people, already two deaths linked to the case. Seven infected.
KEVIN BOYLE, PATIENT'S ATTORNEY: He was very, very unfortunately close to death.
LAH: Kevin Boyle is the attorney for one of the seven infected patients, an 18-year-old high school student. The young man went for an outpatient procedure at UCLA Medical Center, an endoscopy, so doctors could look at his pancreas. Shortly after, infection wrecked his body, and he was in the hospital for more than 80 days, much of it in ICU. He remains hospitalized.
BOYLE: They went into a very well-respected place of healing. That, you know, if this can happen in a place like UCLA Reagan, imagine what could go on at a lesser health facility. So, they were doing everything right to make their son healthy and this happens, it's mortifying.
LAH: And not the only case. Since 2009, the Centers for Disease Control reports six outbreaks in medical centers from Pittsburgh to Seattle, related to the endoscopes.
Public health care advocate Lawrence Muscerella blames the design of the endoscopes and says the FDA has been too slow to act.
LAWRENCE MUSCERELLA, LFM HEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS, PRESIDENT: This has been going on for a number of years and the injuries and fatalities have been mounting. I have been waiting for government officials to step in. And none had. But each of the outbreaks seemed to kind of follow the same M.O. They all have the same D.A.
So, what happened in Seattle is the same is what happened in Chicago and what happened in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and at UCLA.
LAH: But the prevalence of superbugs in hospitals isn't just associated with the devices. Twenty-year-old Troy Stulen caught a different type of superbug when he went to the National Institutes of Health at Bethesda, Maryland, for a bone marrow transplant. The young man had an inherent immunodeficiency and hoped the transplant would cure him. Instead, the superbug caught at the hospital killed him.
LARRY STULEN, FATHER: We thought that if Troy was going to have an issue and possibly die, that it would be a complication related to the transplant. We never dreamed that he would die from an infection, that there were no antibiotics to treat.
LAH: UCLA says that they have figured out the source case, the so-called patient zero. They say that patient brought the infection into the hospital. That that patient already had the infection and then infected the scope, then the scope spread it throughout the other scope, Erin, and then to the other confirmed patients, the seven who are confirmed to have been infected with this particular superbug -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Kyung Lah, thank you very much.
Scary how many doctors say the worst place to be when you're sick is a hospital because of the possibility of these sorts of drug- resistant bacteria.
OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos with the best of the worst auditions for that coveted trip to Mars.
BURNETT: They do almost anything for the one-way trip to Mars. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You've heard all the hoopla about the one-way manned mission to Mars. Well, here's some who won't be manning it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening, fellow Martian wannabes. My name is Ryan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm a huge chucky.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Earth. I'm Max.
MOOS: These are audition videos from Mars One rejects.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Derek and I would love to go explore some of (INAUDIBLE) -- I think I want this more. My name is Derek.
MOOS: Everyone wanted a chance to colonize Mars and be part of a reality show had to send in a video, 99 have made the cut so far. But you won't see these faces among them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Therefore, I can stay active in space.
MOOS: The candidates had to say why they'd be good for the mission.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They love my pointy ears. I was born to be a Martian.
MOOS: Some included photos in costume, weird visual effects, a card board helmet, an entire space suit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Am I crazy? I would say adventurous.
MOOS: They would ask to describe their sense of humor. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you hear about the restaurant on the
moon, great food. No atmosphere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How about this? Or this.
MOOS: How would you like to spend seven months in a spaceship with this guy?
But the rejects weren't the only ones with weird application videos.
This winner named Cody did most of his condition upside down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see, on Mars, you may need to dig a hole to survive the radiation.
MOOS: Now, the good news for the rejects, it's better to be a living reject than a dead winner. An MIT study suggested the first of the Mars colonists would suffocate in 68 days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one man named Cole Leonard (ph), willing to die in front of billions of people.
MOOS: The reject will never get the public death and now, the transgender will never pilot a spaceship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No one here. Not for long. She went to mars and it went wrong.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos.
MUSIC: This is my quest --
MOOS: -- CNN --
MUSIC: -- to follow the star --
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us.
"AC360" begins now.