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THE SITUATION ROOM
Holder: "Some of Those Protesters Were Right"; Interview with Cornel William Brooks and Marc Morial; Interview with Adam Kinzinger; Feds: Multiple Racist E-mails by Ferguson Police; Iran Helping Iraqi Offensive on ISIS
Aired March 4, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, repulsive and racist -- a damning federal report finds years of discrimination and abusive behavior by the Ferguson Missouri Police Department and its municipal court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: Its policing practices disproportionately harm African-American residents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: No charges -- at the same time, the Justice Department won't prosecute Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown, saying there's no proof of unreasonable force. I'll speak with the heads of the NAACP and the National Urban League.
Iranian involvement -- a Revolutionary Guard general and Iranian forces, they're now fighting ISIS for an Iraqi city.
Will the U.S. join that battle?
And teen ISIS recruiter -- a 17-year-old taken down by the FBI right outside the nation's capital, accused of helping a man travel to Syria to fight with ISIS.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We begin with breaking news. Shocking new details of racial bias as the U.S. Justice Department issues a report on its civil rights investigation of the Ferguson Missouri Police Department, and at the same time, closes its investigation into the shooting of the black teenager, Michael Brown, by the white police officer, Darren Wilson. After an exhaustive review, the federal government now finds no evidence to support an unreasonable use of force. But federal investigators find plenty wrong with the police department and the municipal court, citing a pattern of discrimination against African- Americans. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: It's not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: From countless police stops and arrests used to generate revenue, to numerous examples of racist e-mails, including some mocking the president and the first lady, we're digging into what the attorney general, Eric Holder, calls "a highly toxic environment."
I'll speak with the NAACP president, Cornell William Brooks, and the National Urban League president, Marc Morial.
And our correspondents and analysts, they're all standing by for full coverage.
Let's begin with all the details.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, joins us -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the attorney general called it "a searing report" highlighting repeated abuse by the Ferguson Police Department against African-Americans.
BROWN: The outgoing attorney general did not mince words, saying Ferguson police undermined the public's trust and was racially biased.
HOLDER: Unlawful practices and constitutional violations have not severely undermined the public trust, eroded police legitimacy and made local residents less safe, but created an intensely charged atmosphere where people feel under assault and under siege.
BROWN: The 102 page report released by Holder today detailed examples of a police department out of control, routinely insulting and assaulting African-Americans.
HOLDER: And use of dogs by Ferguson police appears to have been exclusively reserved for African-Americans.
BROWN: Among the most damning evidence, e-mails, including ones allegedly sent by department leaders, that included racist jokes and depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee. In one e-mail forwarded by officials, a picture of bare-chested African women dancing was captioned "Michelle Obama's high school reunion."
Another message in June 2011 compared dogs to African-Americans, suggesting the animals needed welfare because they were "mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and have no fricking clue who their daddies are." the new report says while many officers participated or forwarded the e-mails, none were disciplined. Among other findings, that Ferguson police disproportionately
targeted African-Americans, with 85 percent of vehicle stops, 90 percent of citations and 93 percent of arrests, even though 67 percent of the Ferguson population is black.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
BROWN: And tonight, the Ferguson Police Department is expected to fire back and defend itself during a news conference at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Of course, we'll have coverage of that. The attorney general, meanwhile, mincing no words, as Pamela just said, about racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department. He's saying flatly some of those protesters were right.
Let's bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez, who's been poring over this report. It's a -- I've gone through a lot of it. It's a very long report with incredible details. I've got to tell you, it's pretty shocking.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really shocking, Wolf. And, you know, in Ferguson, according to this report, minor code violations led to arrests and jail time. The attorney general detailed one example in 2007 with a woman from Ferguson.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: One woman received two parking tickets that together totaled $152. To date, she has paid $550 in fines and fees to the city of Ferguson. She has been arrested twice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: And, Wolf, she still owes $541 to this day for a ticket that she incurred in 2007. There's another example the attorney general gave. In 2012, a 32-year-old African-American man was sitting in his car after playing basketball. A police officer comes and starts asking him questions. In the end, he gives him eight different charges, citations, including for not wearing his seat belt and for giving his name Mike instead of Michael. This African-American man ended up losing his job because he worked for the federal government at the time.
BLITZER: So shocking. And another thing they say is the report says 95 percent of those who received some minor infraction like jaywalking, for example, 95 percent of those people were African- Americans.
PEREZ: That's right. And, you know, that matters because without that kind of practice at the Ferguson Police Department, we're not here talking about anything. Michael Brown was stopped by Officer Darren Wilson because he was jaywalking. So because this is the practice at the Ferguson Police Department, you end up having a confrontation that really should never have gone anywhere. And, this, as a result of that, a young man is dead and a police officer has lost his job.
BLITZER: Yes, but despite all that history, the Justice Department here in Washington, the federal government, they decided there wasn't evidence to file civil rights charges or any charges against that police officer, Darren Wilson.
PEREZ: Right. And we -- you know, we've talked many times about the high bar that the Justice Department faced. According to the report that they prepared on the Darren Wilson case, they had a lot of shaky witnesses, witnesses who recanted, people who told CNN one thing and then when they went to talk to the FBI they said another.
And so in the end, they just couldn't meet the standard to bring a case against Darren Wilson.
BLITZER: And Eric Holder, the attorney general, he defended, he supported that conclusion...
PEREZ: Yes, he did.
BLITZER: -- by his department.
And we're going to have more on that coming up.
Evan, thanks very much.
The reaction is building in Ferguson, Missouri right now.
We're standing by, as we said, to hear from city officials. We'll have live coverage of that.
But I want to go to CNN's Ed Lavandera.
He's on the scene for us.
What's the mood -- Ed?
What's been the reaction?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's interesting, Wolf, when you talk to people around Ferguson, they say, we told you so. This is what we've been talking about for the last six months here since Michael Brown was shot and killed. And these stories -- and you ask people about whether or not these stories that are being publicized in this DOJ report -- and everyone has similar stories of their own.
And the reason this is really resonating so hard with people is that especially for people who might be lower income, that a lot of these citations and the harassment, is the way they describe it, really sends them into a spiral. So one citation turns into extra fines and it builds up and builds up. And it creates kind of this spiral where people are in a downward spiral, they're unable to climb out of the financial hardships that they face. And they really view this as a harassment from city officials and the police department here in Ferguson -- Wolf.
BLITZER: I know we've been reporting now for the past several weeks that no federal charges will be filed against that white police officer, Darren Wilson. But I assume a lot of folks in Ferguson are disappointed.
Are they bracing for demonstrations, for protests there?
LAVANDERA: We haven't seen any kind of preparations or any kind of a sense that anything like what we've seen here in recent months is about to transpire again. You know, you see the police department behind me. In November, when they were getting ready for the announcement of the criminal charges, all of that was barricaded. And along the other areas where there was some of the more higher profile and more dangerous unrest, we haven't seen anything. Everything has been extremely calm -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope it stays that way.
All right, thanks very much, Ed Lavandera.
He's in Ferguson for us.
Let's get some more now.
Joining us, the NAACP president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks. And also joining us, Marc Morial. He's the president and CEO of the National Urban League. The two premier African-American civil rights organizations in the United States right now.
Cornell, let me start with you.
The Justice Department, as you know, deciding not to press any charges against Darren Wilson.
I want you to listen to what the attorney general, Eric Holder, had to say about this decision just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: The facts do not support the filing of criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson in this case. Michael Brown's death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson. I have been personally briefed on multiple occasions about these findings. I concur with the investigative team's judgment and the determination about our inability to meet the required federal standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right, Cornell, your reaction.
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRESIDENT & CEO, NAACP: My reaction would be this, Wolf. I'm very disappointed and certainly hurting, along with so many Americans and the NAACP family. We grieve for the family of Michael Brown. That being said, the Justice Department in its report made clear
that the conduct that Darren Wilson engaged in is characteristic of the police department. And that conduct was found to be unconstitutional, unlawful, violative of federal statutes and a conduct that is racially biased.
The report itself speaks to any number of instances where we have police officers using overwhelming force for minor offenses where we have police dogs used against children, Selma style, Birmingham style, Bull Connor style.
And so this -- the fact that Darren Wilson was not indicted speaks to the ability of the Justice Department to bring a case against this individual. It's a tough prosecutorial decision, not one that brings comfort or solace to the family. But we will continue to press hard to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department does not continue to be a full service department of bias and bigotry and discrimination.
BLITZER: All right, let me get Marc Morial's reaction to the decision not to file any charges against the police officer.
Marc, go ahead.
MARC MORIAL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE: I certainly have got a lot of confidence in Attorney General Holder and his decision. But there's great pain in the Brown family, great pain around the community that the criminal justice system, neither state nor federal, has been able to bring out -- bring forth justice for the death of Michael Brown.
Having said that, Wolf, the key issue now is, after these very comprehensive findings and a thorough investigation by the Department of Justice, what next?
And I think there's got to be consideration as to whether, one, a monitor needs to be immediately appointed to oversee the operations of the Ferguson Police Department, or, number two whether the Ferguson Police Department needs to be completely disbanded and a new approach to policing and law enforcement in St. Louis County needs to be undertaken, since these findings are so comprehensive and this department is so broken and dysfunctional that only a new start will be appropriate.
And I think, thirdly, I hope that when the Ferguson leadership reacts in about an hour, that they do not retreat to obstinate and denial and a continuation of denying the absolute truth which has been found by the Justice Department.
So important now, Wolf, I think is also the conversation in not only the report, but what's next.
BLITZER: We've gotten this reaction from Michael Brown's family through a spokesman. "Today, we received disappointing news from the Department of Justice that the killer of our son wouldn't be held accountable for his actions. While we are saddened by this decision, we are encouraged that the DOJ, the Department of Justice, will hold the Ferguson Police Department accountable. It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson, but around the country. If that change happens, our son's death will not have been in vain." we're going to speak with the attorney for Michael Brown's family in our next hour.
Daryl Parks will be joining us.
But Cornell, you -- in the other part of this Justice Department report, the attorney general, Holder, said it was searing the racist examples that are documented in there. And you heard them from Pamela Brown, at least some of them. It goes on and on and on, 100 pages, if not more.
What was your reaction?
Were you surprised, Cornell, when you went through this report?
BROOKS: I was surprised in this sense. It did not tell me anything that the citizens of Ferguson and the citizens of Missouri hadn't been saying for months. But I want to know this. The data of the report, the evidence in the report comes as a consequence of a law that the NAACP co-wrote. Missouri's racial profiling law.
And I want to make it clear here that when you consider that at almost every point of contact between the police department, the municipal court and the citizens of Ferguson, there is racial bias, bigotry and racially disproportionate conduct, bias conduct, full service.
And so the report is scathing. If anything, the attorney general understated just how bad this is, because what it says is that at least 16 points of contact where this report indicates whether it be arrest, whether it be traffic stops, pedestrian stops, where the police department and the municipal courts are unfairly treating the citizens of Ferguson.
And when you hear young people say that the police is acting as an occupying army and to have a report on government stationery that essentially says it's a racially biased police department; it is a revenue-generating police department; it is not a community policing police department, we need a strong response.
BLITZER: All right.
BROOKS: We believe it's important for that police department if not to go out of business, then to be under very strict oversight.
BLITZER: We have a lot more to discuss with Cornell Brooks and Marc Morial. Please both of you, stand by. Is this Ferguson issue simply an isolated case or is it going on nationally?
Much more with our guests when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news. The U.S. Justice
Department issuing its report on Ferguson, Missouri. We're learning truly shocking examples of racial bias. We're back with the NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks and Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League.
Marc, the attorney general, Eric Holder, today said some of those protesters -- we all saw the video last summer. Some of those protesters were right in going out on the streets. What's your reaction when you hear the attorney general saying that?
MORIAL: I mean, it reaffirms what all of us saw and heard that this problem has existed for a long time in Ferguson and what the protests and what the death of Michael Brown spurred was it ignited something that had been there in Ferguson for quite a long time.
And you know, Wolf, what's shocking is that this report is taking place in 2015. This sounds like 1955, and I think it just reminds us that notwithstanding progress, there is a considerable amount of work left to do and Ferguson is now really ground zero in the battle for justice in this country.
Well said. At Cornell, dethe Department of Justice report also found -- listen to this -- nearly 90 percent of the documented force used by Ferguson police officers were used against African-Americans but one step further, in every K-9 bite, in other words, when dogs were used, in every K-9 bite incident for which racial information is available, the person bitten by a dog was African-American. It went on to say that police appeared to use K-9s not to counter a physical threat but to inflict punishment. Hard to believe this kind of stuff goes on as Marc Morial just said, in this day and age.
BROOKS: Wolf, for every parent or grandparent listening to this program, the idea that a police department would use a dog on a child is just absolutely horrifying.
This police department has been found to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment, several federal statutes. And so those young people on the streets in Ferguson and around the country, these young practitioners of democracy, they were right, and the attorney general is right in saying that they were right. Because using dogs against our children is unconscionable, as well as being unconstitutional, according to this report.
BLITZER: Marc, the Department of Justice report also found -- listen to this -- that distrust, I'm reading now, of the Ferguson Police Department is long-standing and largely attributable to Ferguson's approach to law enforcement. The approach, they said, results in patterns of unnecessary aggressive and, at times, unlawful policing.
Here's the question. The Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson, he is still in charge of this department to this very day. Is that right? MORIAL: No, it isn't right. And you know, Wolf, there needs to
be an independent monitor appointed immediately. And I hope that the Justice Department will move very swiftly to take remedial action in light of this report. Because the citizens of Ferguson, the African- American citizens of Ferguson certainly continue to be at risk of continued violations, continued constitutional objections, as long as the Ferguson leadership is not only continuing in power but also when they continue to deny, continue to oppose, continue to suggest that there is no problem.
I'm shocked that they would be in denial, and I think that's why an independent monitor may be the best temporary approach, emergency approach.
I also think that in St. Louis County writ large, there's a conversation afoot about substantial reform into policing, and that is why I think that what has to also be on the table is possibly the disbanding of this department and an entirely new approach. This department is not only dysfunctional, it's a department that places the absolute public safety of citizens at risk because of the way they have conducted themselves.
BLITZER: Cornell, give us a little bigger perspective now. Is Ferguson, Missouri, an isolated awful example, or does stuff like this go on elsewhere around the United States?
BROOKS: Well, as you know, the NAACP is present in 50 states all across the country, nearly 2,000 units. And we can simply say as Americans grassroots army of democracy, this problem is not isolated to Ferguson. We may have a police department that's committed to acting like camels, that is collectively putting their heads in the sand, but the fact is we have a national problem.
I've spoken with the governor, Jay Nixon. He understands that this municipal bond is a challenge. This is a challenge for not only Ferguson but for towns and cities across Missouri, but also around the country. When we have police departments that see the citizens as not those we should protect but those whom we should fine and sanction and use as sources of revenue, that's a problem. But it's not a problem isolated to Ferguson.
BLITZER: You agree with that, Marc?
MORIAL: I do think that what is clear is that there are many other examples around the country, and currently, Wolf, there are 15 police departments that are under consent decrees, which means they've either admitted or the Justice Department has found patterns of violations of civil rights. So that alone indicates that this is not, if you will, an isolated incident.
The law certainly gives the Justice Department the power to review not only individual complaints but potential comprehensive violations, if you will, systematic violations in departments around the country. So there's ample evidence that this is not isolated.
But what I hope, Wolf, is that this conversation, and this is where the Urban League's ten-point plan, that we not only submitted to the president's task force, but we continue to advocate for, that this conversation needs to turn to the kinds of reforms we need. And Ferguson is a perfect place to start, but these reforms have to take place all across this nation.
BLITZER: I want to invite both of you back, if you can, to join us tomorrow. I know you're both getting ready to go to Selma, Alabama, for historic events this weekend. It will give all of us a good opportunity to reflect on what's going on. Yes, there might be an African-American president of the United States. Yes, there's an African-American attorney general of the United States, an African- American secretary of homeland security of the United States, but there's a lot of work all of us have to do to fix what's wrong on this issue.
Cornell William Brooks of the NAACP, Marc Morial of the National Urban League, good luck to both of you. Thank you for joining us.
MORIAL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: The Justice Department's scathing report on police racial bias in Ferguson, Missouri, has national implications.
Up next, I'll be joined by our law enforcement and political experts, along with someone working for change in the St. Louis, Missouri, area.
And we're also covering another breaking story right now. The White House confirming -- get this -- confirming that Iran is now in Iraq with its troops. A major new military offensive under way. Iraqi combat boots are not only there, but Iranian combat boots are joining them.
BLITZER: Back to the breaking news, the shocking new details of racial bias as the U.S. Justice Department releases the results of its twin Ferguson investigations. The attorney general, Eric Holder, saying that, given the toxic environment, quote, "some of those protesters were right."
Let's go in depth with our CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. He's a former FBI assistant director. Our CNN political commentator, Van Jones. And the Reverend Starsky Wilson. He's the co-chair of the Ferguson Commission. That was an independent group studying social and economic conditions in the St. Louis area.
Reverend Wilson, first of all, what's your reaction and what's been the reaction in Ferguson to the announcements today by the Department of Justice? Does the charge by the Department of Justice against the Ferguson Police Department, from your perspective, go far enough?
REV. STARSKY WILSON, CO-CHAIR, FERGUSON COMMISSION: Well, the reaction here in Ferguson and the greater St. Louis area is one of a community that is disheartened by the things, particularly the salacious details that we see of the actions of officials in Ferguson that are documented in the report. But quite frankly, also this information is not inconsistent with the testimony we've heard from citizens through the Ferguson Commission, from our engagement with people on the streets, our own experiences of policing in our community. So this is not, quite frankly, a surprise.
The question is will we take the recommendation all the way through to the end and begin to engage the report with the recommendations on community policing? Will we engage robustly in an activity to make sure the community is engaged and has oversight of policing activity and that there's accountability to make sure that the courts are not used as an ATM for a system of municipal fragmentation and disproportionately impacting African Americans?
BLITZER: Van, you know, some of these e-mails that were released in this Department of Justice report are simply shocking. A November 2008, e-mail stating that President Barack Obama would not be president for very long because, quote, "What black man holds a steady job for four years?"
In April 2011, an e-mail depicted President Obama as a chimpanzee. In October 2011, an e-mail included a photo of a bare- chested group of dancing women apparently in Africa with the caption, quote, "Michelle Obama's high school reunion."
It's hard -- these were on city e-mail accounts. These weren't like simply some Gmail account. This is their official e-mail account.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It gives you a sense of the depth of racial hatred that was given free rein there.
You know, I was there. I was in Ferguson before, during and after the high points of the activity there. My personal observation was I've never really seen a police department have such an "us against them" attitude. BBC, CNN, the world media was there. If there was ever a time to act like you care and you see these taxpayers as your bosses, that would have been the time to do it.
Instead it felt, Wolf, very tribal, like we are, our group; these people protesting are some other species of people. And look, I grew up in the rural south. I never felt that kind of disrespect from a law enforcement agency. And it gave me a sense, if what I was hearing was correct, there's something wrong with that department.
BLITZER: These e-mails, Tom, were written by supervisors, police officers. I don't think anybody was disciplined for any of this kind of stuff. It is pretty shocking.
If you look at police departments around the country, similar question that I asked our earlier guests, is this going on around the country, or is Ferguson just an isolated incident?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Wolf, I pray that it's not going on like that at other departments. And I agree with Van that it's horrible. It was a terrible situation, and the report is much worse than I even expected it to be.
But I can't believe this is going on across the board in other police departments to this degree.
BLITZER: What a story this is. We're going to continue to stay on top of it. Guys, don't go too far away.
Still ahead, we will have much more on what the U.S. attorney general is calling implicit and explicit racial bias by the Ferguson, Missouri, police.
But up next, the White House now confirming Iran is helping Iraq with its new military offensive against ISIS. I'm going to get reaction from a congressman who's a veteran of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
BLITZER: We're continuing to follow the breaking news, that scathing new Justice Department report highlighting years of racism by the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department and the courts there.
But also breaking now, word that Iraq's army appears to be making some progress on this, the third day of a major military offensive against ISIS. The Iraqis are advancing toward Tikrit. That's an ISIS-held city notorious as the birthplace of Saddam Hussein.
Today, the White House confirmed Iran is helping with the Iraqi offensive but emphasized the United States is not coordinating militarily with the Iranians.
Joining us now here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, former member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
I don't get what's going on. The Iraqis have their military, which proved to be pretty ineffective last year. They're moving towards Tikrit, an important city, symbolically and otherwise. Iranian boots on the ground are now with them. Not just Iraqi Shiite militias but Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops have gone in, combat forces, they're helping them.
The U.S. is providing weapons to the Iraqi military, giving some advice. This sounds pretty awkward right now. The White House says there's no direct coordination between the U.S. and Iran.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Yes, it's a very awkward situation. And it just underscores how complicated this region is.
You know, the Iranians are involved, because they see the Sunni/Shia component of what you have in ISIS and what you have in the Iraqi government. Obviously, we're involved because we see the extremist element of what's going on in ISIS and groups like that. And what you have is an unnatural alliance that's occurring right now, but the reality of it is this. The Iranians are going to demand something for their involvement
with Iraq, even if they say, "Hey, we don't like ISIS," Iraq's not going to get this for free. It going to mean more Iranian influence in the Iraqi government, which has been the dream of Iran in the beginning, and it's going to mean that there's a lot owed to the Iranian government. We see Iran, obviously, involved in Syria. We see them involved in Iraq, and they're extending...
BLITZER: You served in the air force. The U.S. can't even launch airstrikes for this battle in Tikrit to help the Iraqi troops, because they don't know where the Iranians are going to be. They could wind up killing a whole bunch of Revolutionary Guard or Iraqi Shiite forces, the militias that are there, as well.
Can you fight a battle like this, because it sounds so, so complicated. And you're right, Iraq eventually potentially could become a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran.
Well, it's right. It's going to be tough to do. Keep in mind, too, about -- some estimates are upwards of a third of American casualties that occurred in the Iraq war were directly or indirectly related to Iran, either direct action or, you know, IEDs and their technology.
BLITZER: Because of the Shiite militias.
KINZINGER: That's right. They are no friend of the United States. The other thing we're hearing is potential reports out of Tikrit that there's a lot of Shia militias involved in that offensive right now.
So again, this is where the United States has to be strong. I think the more we put Special Forces on the ground embedded with Iraqi military, the more we show that strong leadership, we push out Iranian influence because we have our influence there. But at the end of the day, there's no pretty answers.
BLITZER: That may be way too late for that. Today we heard an ominous warning from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Martin Dempsey, he told Congress he's worried. He warned against ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing, those are the words, that could happen in Iraq right now, given the hatred, if you will, between the Shiites and the Sunnis and the Kurds, for that matter, as well.
KINZINGER: I would argue that it's almost begun. When I was in Iraq probably five or six months ago, I went to a refugee camp in Erbil and met people of certain ethnic groups that were kicked out by ISIS, kicked out of their territory and now, basically, are homeless. And it's a sad situation to see.
This is spiraling out of control. And again, I'm not going to put all this on President Obama and say it's his fault it's spiraling out of control, but I think that America needs to take a much stronger position here, and a hard line against Iran involvement in Iraq, but also a hard line to say you know what, the Iraqi military has got to step up and act like the kind of folks we've put -- BLITZER: And what do you say to those Americans including some
of your fellow Republicans who say you know what, this hatred in Iraq between Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds has been going on for about 1,000 years, the U.S. should just get out of there and let them do what they want?
KINZINGER: Well, I think anybody that's ever been to the region would never say that because they see the human element of what's involved. There's some arguments who say, look, we were the ones who went into Iraq, we have somewhat of a moral responsibility to help out there. And at the end of the day, you know, it's not the 1920s anymore. We can't be isolationalist. And frankly, the 1920s isolation didn't work. It led to World War II. This is a very strong human tragedy.
BLITZER: Famous words attributed to Colin Powell, if you break it, you own it. That's how a lot of people fear happened.
Thanks very much for joining us.
KINZINGER: Yes. Thanks.
BLITZER: Up next, the new report says another alleged ISIS recruiter has been arrested. The suspect in this particular case, a teenager, a teenager who lives only miles from the White House.
And in our next hour, top officials in Ferguson, Missouri, they're getting ready to face reporters. How will they react to today's scathing federal report detailing years of racial bias in their city's police and courts?
BLITZER: Breaking now, new report says the FBI has arrested another alleged ISIS recruiter here in the United States. What's especially disturbing, not only is the accused recruiter a teenager, he actually lives only miles from the nation's capital.
CNN's Brian Todd is joining us in THE SITUATION ROOM with the story -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, very startling information tonight. This teenager who lives less than 25 miles from the White House, he was enrolled at a high school in northern Virginia, but does not attend classes, according to school officials. He allegedly helped ISIS. And it wasn't some passive kind of assistance like showing support for the terror group online. This boy, according to law enforcement, was a recruiter.
TODD (voice-over): He allegedly helped a man travel to Syria to fight with ISIS, went online to connect the recruit to the terror group. The alleged recruiter, a 17-year-old boy in the suburbs of Washington. That's according to a law enforcement official. "The Washington Post" reports the boy lives in Woodbridge, Virginia. PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: ISIS are putting out
their propaganda message over social media. Teenagers are using social media more than any other demographic. So it's no surprise that somebody who's 17 would become involved in pro-ISIS activities.
TODD: FBI agents raided the townhouse where the alleged recruiter lives, leading him outside in handcuffs according to the "Post." The FBI is not commenting. The boy is in custody and is charged as a juvenile. An official with the Prince William County Public Schools tells CNN the young man is enrolled at this high school, Osborne Park in Manassas, Virginia, but is not currently attending classes.
This follows other high profile cases of young Americans being enticed to try to join ISIS. Two men from the New York area, including a 19-year-old, picked up last month. A 19-year-old Somali American from Minneapolis Hamza Ahmed grabbed by federal agents at JFK Airport just before his plane was to leave for Turkey. A law enforcement source says Ahmed posted these tweets saying he wanted to become a jihadist and, quote, "be a martyr."
What prompts a young person to want to leave America and join ISIS?
CLINTON WATTS, FORMER FBI AGENT: They usually are those that are very isolated, very upset about one issue or another, and have, you know, some variety of motivations. Sometimes it's psychological. Sometimes it's family issues. Other times it's social.
TODD: A top FBI counter-terror official recently said over the past year or two, ISIS and other groups have gotten better and better at spotting potential recruits and that younger and younger people are being recruited. This official said in the U.S., the FBI has seen children as young as 15 years old recruited by ISIS -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That's really chilling stuff.
All right, Brian, thank you very much.
Coming up, a damning federal report finds years of discrimination and abuse of (INAUDIBLE) by the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department. We're learning about repulsive new examples of racial bias as we wait for Ferguson officials to respond.
And the new CNN original series, "FINDING JESUS" blends science and archeology to offer fascinating insights into ancient artifacts that could be linked to Jesus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unprecedented CNN event. He didn't vanish without leaving a trace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time in history we're able to place these relics.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And grasp something that changed the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really the moment of truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the story of Jesus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rock upon which the church was built.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An icon of scientific obsession.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is extraordinary to find an archaeological piece.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do we really have here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did Judas betray Jesus?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody chose to write this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The science does matter. Is this the burial shroud of Jesus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are the clues he left behind? Faith, fact, forgery.
"FINDING JESUS." Sunday nights at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Happening now, toxic racism. A scathing new federal report reveals in graphic detail how police in Ferguson, Missouri, targeted African-Americans, a climate that helped ignite rioting. We're standing by for reaction.
From city leaders this hour, officer cleared. It's now official, no federal charges are being filed against Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. A lawyer for the Brown family is joining us to respond.
Iran's role. The White House is now publicly acknowledging that one of America's most dangerous adversaries is helping the U.S.-led war against ISIS.