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Iranian Nuclear Negotiations; Germanwings Crash Investigation Continues; Anger Over Leak of Cockpit Recording; Nuclear Dangers as Deadline for Iran Deal Nears; Possible 2016 Primary Rival Slams Hillary Clinton. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired March 30, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:01] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: New information about why the co- pilot of Flight 9525 was declared unfit to work on the day he crashed the plane.
What did the airline know about his psychological problems? Chilling transcript -- the new account of the final moments before the plane went down, including the locked-out pilot's desperate screams.
Final hours, U.S. diplomats racing to reach a nuclear deal with Iran before the deadline. Will the Iranians give ground or walk out?
And challenging Clinton. The former Maryland governor comes out swinging against the Democratic front-runner for president. Can Martin O'Malley derail her White House hopes, like Barack Obama did back in 2008?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Breaking now, new confirmation the co-pilot of Flight 9525 had secret psychological problems, including a history of wanting to kill himself. As new video surfaced showing Andreas Lubitz in the cockpit of a glider, the prosecutor's office in Germany now revealing that Lubitz was once suicidal. Tonight, CNN has learned that a doctor determined that Lubitz was unfit to work on the day he crashed the plane in part because he had psychosomatic disorder, vision issues that weren't based on any actual problem with his eyes.
Our correspondents and analysts are all standing by here in the United States and around the world. They are covering all the news breaking right now.
First, let's go to our justice correspondent Pamela Brown. She's joining us live from Dusseldorf, Germany. She's digging in to the crash investigation -- Pamela.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A young Andreas Lubitz laughing behind the controls of a glider plane, now said to have been suicidal before he ever got his commercial pilots license.
CHRISTOPH KUMPA, DUSSELDORF PROSECUTOR: He had at that time been in treatment of a psychotherapist because of what is documented as being suicidal at that time.
BROWN: More recently, a source tells CNN Lubitz went to an eye doctor complaining of vision issues. But the doctor determined there was nothing was wrong and it was all in his head, diagnosing him with a psychosomatic disorder, according to the source.
The source also said Lubitz visited a neuropsychologist for complaints of being overburdened and stressed at work. But today the German prosecutor said Lubitz didn't tell his doctors he was suicidal and showed no aggression toward other people. Prosecutors say they found torn-up doctors notes deeming him unfit to work in Lubitz's trash can, including one for the day authorities say he deliberately crashed Flight 9525 into the French Alps.
What investigators didn't find? A confession letter showing his action was premeditated.
KUMPA: We have not found anything in the surrounding personal or his family or his professional surrounding that is giving us any hints that enable us to say anything about his motivation.
BROWN: A German aviation source tells CNN Lubitz passed his annual recertification test in the summer. As part of that exam, CNN has learned he would have had to fill out this questionnaire, specifically asking, are you taking any medication? Do you have any psychological, psychiatric or neurological diseases? And have you ever attempted suicide? Lufthansa says it was not aware of any medical issues.
BLITZER: That report from CNN's Pamela Brown in Dusseldorf.
Tonight, we also have a more detailed account of the final horrific moments of Flight 9525 before it slammed into the French Alps.
Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, is here. She has got more information.
What are you learning, Rene?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, new details coming from the plane's cockpit voice recorder. It provides a harrowing account of the deadly flight. The audio has not been made public, but a German newspaper says they have obtained a transcript from the recorder and it paints a picture of a co-pilot who appeared to encourage the captain to leave the cockpit, a captain who fought to get back in and terrified passengers on board.
MARSH (voice-over): At around 10:00 Tuesday morning, Germanwings Flight 9525 takes off from Barcelona nearly 20 minutes late. According to the "Bild," a German newspaper, the captain, 34-year-old Patrick Sondenheimer, apologizes for the delay and says they will try to make up for it in the air. Sondenheimer tells his co-pilot he didn't get a chance to go to the
bathroom before departure; 27-year-old Andreas Lubitz responds, "Go any time."
[18:05:08] At 10:27, the plane reaches 38,000 feet, cruising altitude. The captain asks Lubitz to prepare the landing. After the check, Lubitz tells the captain, "You can go now."
There's the sound of a seat moving backward and the captain allegedly says, "You can take over." Once the captain leaves, the cockpit door is locked.
BRICE ROBIN, MARSEILLE, FRANCE, PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: The co-pilot manipulates the flight monitoring controls to activate the descent of the aircraft.
MARSH: Data streamed from the plane's transponder suggests the co- pilot manually reprograms the autopilot from 38,000 feet to 100 feet, the lowest altitude position that can be programmed into the autopilot of an Airbus 320.
At 3:29, air traffic control detects the plane's descent. At 10:32, controllers contact the plane, but get no response from the cockpit. An alarm that sounds like this blaring in the cockpit indicating a plane is losing altitude too quickly.
JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER MEMBER, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: The fact that he had all these bells and whistles going off to tell him that he was in trouble was almost to the point where it was too late.
MARSH: At 10:35, the plane is at about 23,000 feet, 90 seconds later, another alarm in the cockpit that sounds like this, the plane now at just about 16,000 feet, the captain says,
MARSH: Then loud banging on the door. The captain is heard shouting, "For God's sake, open the door." Passengers are screaming. At 10:35, the plane is at about 23,000 feet and still rapidly descending. Then loud metallic bangs, as if someone is trying to break through the cockpit door; 90 seconds later, another alarm is triggered in the cockpit that sounds like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull up.
BROWN: The captain pleads, "Open the damn door"; 10:38, 13,000 feet, the co-pilot is only heard breathing steadily; 10:40, investigators believe they heard the plane's right wing scrape a mountain. Passengers are heard screaming once again before impact.
MARSH: Well, CNN has not been able to independently verify the transcript's timeline of events as accurate. The BEA, which is the agency in charge of the accident investigation, they will not confirm or deny the details.
But they did tell me yesterday they are shocked by the leaks and it's a complete lack of decency for the victims' families. Meantime, we should point out, Wolf, there's still one critical piece that is missing, the plane's flight data recorder.
BLITZER: They need that flight data recorder. They got the cockpit voice recorder, but not the flight data recorder, the two black boxes in those planes.
Let's bring in our aviation correspondent Richard Quest, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, our aviation analyst Miles O'Brien, the clinical psychologist Ruth Wittersgreen, and the former FAA Chief of Staff Michael Goldfarb.
Richard, we are getting a clearer picture of Andreas Lubitz's background, his health issues. He received therapy for suicidal tendencies years earlier effectively before he became a commercial pilot. But here is the question. Why was he allowed to fly this plane if, in fact, he had suicidal tendencies and major mental issues years earlier?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: And that is an excellent question to which nobody has yet come up with an answer.
Wolf, I think we know that when the final report comes out, this is going to be a classic case of the facts falling between all the stalls to create this most tragic of results. I know I'm giving you a most unsatisfactory answer here, but that's how these cases happen. Somebody gets through the system, which can never be foolproof. Everybody afterwards says, who knew? Of course, the man dropped out of air training because allegedly of depression.
He had a depressive incident and suicidal thoughts during that period. Within two years, he is flying, two or three years, he is flying for a mainline airline in Europe. Of course, something has gone dramatically, drastically wrong there. There will have to be an investigation as to how it fell through the cracks. No doubt, there will be more testing, more training, all those things.
BLITZER: Miles, should Lufthansa have been alerted to all this medical history that he had?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: They should have been alerted. But it's difficult when you are talking about the confidences between a patient and a doctor.
Should that be changed, where a psychiatrist discloses, you work for an airline, everything you say if I'm worried about you hurting someone, I'm going to have to report to the airline? That's a pretty slippery slope.
But I would suggest to you that the airline could be a lot more proactive in screening out candidates. There were an awful lot of signs here. Surely, with a little bit of due diligence, more so, they might have seen the trouble signs. And among the things they could have done is perhaps a blood test, which would have revealed some of these very potent drugs in his system.
BLITZER: Yes, that's a good point.
Michael Goldfarb, had he been a pilot here in the United States, knowing his background, could he have flown a commercial airline?
MICHAEL GOLDFARB, FORMER FAA CHIEF OF STAFF: No. He didn't have the hours; 1,500 is the minimum amount of hours.
But, more importantly, he didn't go through the socialization that getting an air transport pilot's license requires in the United States. He would not have.
[18:10:09] But we have a bigger problem, Wolf. We have low-cost budget short-hop airlines that are linking to the major hubs. There's a pilot shortage internationally. Corners get cut. Lufthansa had 22 days of pilot strikes. The FAA with Eastern Airlines many years ago, when they had labor strikes, FAA put them on a watch list. They oversaw what was happening at that airline. Too much growth, too fast. Lufthansa is trying to integrate Germanwings and then ultimately turn it back over to Eurowings.
BLITZER: Because Lufthansa, as you know, has an excellent reputation being very, very precise.
GOLDFARB: This is going to hurt their reputation. They are very precise. But the growth has gotten out ahead of them.
BLITZER: Because this is a cheaper airline.
GOLDFARB: Cheap doesn't mean unsafe, but, yes, this and AirAsia. Remember AirAsia? They flew on a Sunday and had no authority to fly that route? That's kind of unheard of. Too much growth, everybody wants to fly, especially in different parts of the world. Carriers are trying to accommodate them, but not with a robust screening and training program.
BLITZER: Ruth, explain how someone has major mental issues, for example, that could affect his or her eyesight.
DR. RUTH WITTERSGREEN, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: If someone has delusions, if they are psychotic, their brain is just not functioning the way most of our brains do, I compare it when I describe, for instance, to the family members of someone who is being diagnosed with psychosis, a major mental illness of that severity, that they can understand it by thinking about how they experience going into the dream state, when you are somewhat lucid, but you're starting to dream at the beginning of sleep or when you are waking up in the morning.
The brain is not always functioning well.
BLITZER: If you are going through major depression, for example, that could manifest itself with physical ailments?
WITTERSGREEN: No, I would say that is extremely almost not an issue with major depression. This is an issue with psychosis, so much more rare. As the psychiatrist who was on earlier said, it would be really good
to get the word depression disassociated with this young man. Depression is just a symptom, like a fever is a symptom. So, yes, of course he probably had depressive symptoms. That was a symptom. He had psychosis.
BLITZER: All the investigators -- you used to do this for the FBI -- they want to talk to all -- everybody -- everybody who basically knew this guy, not only friends, family, girlfriends, whatever, but also professional doctors, psychiatrists and others who may have treated him.
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They will before this is over. You could be talking hundreds of people, but they will talk to all of them.
What's unfortunate for everyone is that the leaks that have come out so quickly before they could get into all of this investigation. That may drive some witnesses to go into hiding and not want to come out, seeing that their identities are going to be divulged, a relationship with him is going to be divulged. These are investigations that are much better conducted on a confidential basis.
I know the families don't like it. The media doesn't like it. But, really, it's necessary for the integrity of the case. That's been blown out of the water this time.
BLITZER: All right, everybody, stand by, because we're watching what's going on. We're checking some more information just coming in. Much more right after this.
[18:17:41] BLITZER: A top official at the plane crash site is warning it may not be possible to find the remains of all 150 people on board.
Our correspondent Karl Penhaul is up near that site in the French Alps.
What's the latest over there, Karl?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is mixed news today from this corner of France, Wolf.
We are hearing that the track that the local village mayor has been trying to build to get vehicles to the crash site is almost complete. About 100 yards to go, just one more obstacle, we're told. That track could be completed by tomorrow. That will allow access to all-terrain vehicles, get the recovery teams in much quicker over land, because, remember, up until now, they have all had to fly in by helicopter and then winched down.
That has made the process of bringing remains and also parts of the wreckage back very slow indeed and very difficult on a day like today, when it was windy. What the head of the recovery teams is also telling us is that overnight and during the day as well, because that wreckage and the human body parts are spread over a four-acre area, then they have three permanent guards out there in the hillsides because there are wolves, foxes and other predators there.
But the head of the recovery mission doesn't think that's a problem. He doesn't think that the animals are going to get involved eating and marauding there. But there is bad news, in the sense that despite the fact that 78 of the bodies or remains have now been identified, because of the speed of that crash, more than 430 miles an hour, the forensic teams say that some of the bodies may never show up.
And that means that their loved ones will have simply nothing to put for burial, Wolf.
BLITZER: Such a sad part of this story.
Karl, I understand the captain of the plane, the man who was prevented from getting back into the cockpit, his father visited the site. Explain what the father of the captain said.
PENHAUL: Yes, his father visited the site. We understand that the mother and a brother may also have come here and spoke to the local village mayor.
The local village mayor didn't go into a huge amount of detail about that. He has played a very discreet role trying to help the families on their first steps towards finding some consolation here. But he did say he described the father as a broken man, had a huge -- many questions as to just why this had happened. He, like all the other relatives, is really struggling to come to terms with this, Wolf.
[18:20:14] BLITZER: Karl Penhaul in the French Alps for us right near the crash scene, thank you.
We're back with our aviation experts and the newest information about the co-pilot of Flight 9525. Officials now revealing that he was in fact diagnosed as suicidal years before the plane crashed.
Tom Fuentes, the girlfriend in this particular case, she spent a lot of time with him most recently, a flight attendant. She's going to be critical in this investigation.
FUENTES: I think she will be very important to revealing what his inner thoughts were in the privacy of their home together. So, yes, she will be very important.
BLITZER: She has been speaking out, at least confidentially, Richard Quest, to some newspapers, the "Bild" newspaper in Germany, to be specific, saying that he was abusive, he would scream, he had nightmares, he would wake up in the middle of the night screaming, we're going down, we're going down, suggesting at one point Lufthansa will -- everyone at Lufthansa will know who I am.
That's pretty dramatic stuff.
QUEST: Oh, it's extremely dramatic.
I will make a name for myself, people will be talking about me, I will be -- people will know who I am.
Yes, I mean, by no means I have no expertise in psychoanalysis and the like. But those who do say this is a classic form of syndrome. But what we don't know, Wolf, is whether or not these reports are true. "Bild" has a very good reputation for leaking and getting good stories. It also has had at times questionable quotes.
And so we don't know the full veracity of that. Until we do, I strongly suggest we have to treat it with a certain amount of skepticism. It fits the story and the events too keenly for my liking.
BLITZER: Ruth, you are a psychologist. If in fact it's true what the girlfriend is quoted as saying in this German newspaper, what does that say to you?
WITTERSGREEN: There's a little bit of confusion for me, in that if he was indeed psychotic, the premeditated part in as specific of a way as to say everyone will remember my name doesn't fit. That has bothered me from the beginning.
BLITZER: Michael, let's talk a little bit about the medications supposedly he was receiving, including some major psychotic drugs, injected into him, not with a pill. Could that happen here in the United States?
GOLDFARB: No. Five years ago, the FAA allowed for the first time antidepressants to be introduced to pilots flying. They used to be called Prozac pilots because it was really something that wasn't where the agency felt comfortable if in fact a heavy antidepressant was administered.
But even with the antidepressants and they -- the pilots can even take, in the United States, Ambien, but they can't fly within 24 hours of that time. They are becoming more modern and integrating the use of antidepressants into the lifestyle. But this is extreme. This is a one-off case.
WITTERSGREEN: Completely different classification.
GOLDFARB: Yes. Yes. This is...
BLITZER: Well, Miles, should pilots with a history of these kinds of psychological problems, whether depression or much more serious, should they be allowed to fly?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think it's important to make a distinction between run-of-the-mill depression and what we're talking about here. It's kind of the difference between hypertension and full-up heart disease. You probably wouldn't want the pilot with full-up heart disease at the controls because he might keel over.
But hypertension can be well-treated and the drugs are OK to fly with. I think there's an important distinction here. What we're talking about is way beyond depression and certainly the FAA needs to understand that someone who has mild depression and treats it with Prozac or the like is perfectly safe to be there.
BLITZER: Michael, you have studied these kinds of investigations for a long time. Planes crash for whatever reason, mechanical, catastrophic. In this particular case -- how rare is what we're seeing right now?
GOLDFARB: Well, I mean, pilot suicide, EgyptAir, clearly, and although the Egyptians still to this won't admit it was a suicide of that plane, took off over the Cape Cod and when the pilot plummeted it into the ocean. We have that. We have SilkAir. And we have this.
They are exceedingly rare. But the larger question really is, can we become more modern in how we treat mental illness and the myth, mythology of flying that there's a disincentive to this day for anybody to come forward and say that they need help? And especially with a carrier where there is already distrust between the pilots and management, who is going to come forward and ask for that kind of help if they feel it will jeopardize their...
BLITZER: Yes. Richard Quest, I think you agree. If a pilot comes forward and tells the airline, you know what? I have got some major issues I'm dealing with right now, give me a few months to deal with it, then I will get back, that could be a career ender, right?
[18:25:00] QUEST: It could be. Whether it is or not, it's the fear, Wolf. It's the fear.
Put yourself in the position of a pilot who has got a family, mortgage payments, school fees, car payments, and suddenly they are facing some form of incident or mental health situation or even physical health situation where their flying career comes to an end. Of course, airlines have procedures in place. But airlines also have thousands of pilots.
These pilots suddenly find themselves enmeshed into bureaucracy of which can take many months, many months to sort out. That is what they are dealing with. None of us really understand -- Miles does and Michael does. But those of White House who have got jobs where, if we have a problem, you are told to take a couple of days off or sort it out or do the work or your duties change, that's not the life of a pilot.
You are looking at the end of your career or at least the damaging of your career in many cases. That's your fear.
BLITZER: Ruth, if in fact all these reports that years earlier when he was younger he was going through some major mental-related problems, and he dealt with them, but do those problems ever really go away if you are a pilot?
WITTERSGREEN: The types of problems that Lubitz had will not just remit.
And treatment can be very effective, but someone who is under treatment for it with antipsychotic drugs is not fit to be a pilot. But I think there's a lot that can be done in terms of understanding a person before they go through all of this training and their mortgage and student fees and so forth hinge on their income such that they have this fear. And that's better screening at the outset prior to licensing.
BLITZER: Because, as you know, Tom, when he was training in Arizona, they sent him over for some training in Arizona, he apparently took a few months off for whatever reason. We're not exactly sure what it was, but we believe it was psychologically related.
FUENTES: No, that's true. But the problem, Wolf, is that you have people that are hearing this story, maybe only a third of the story or half the story, and they are going to associate forever if a guy is really depressed, he is going to crash a plane and kill people.
It makes it impossible to take the stigma ever away that you can have a situation of mental health that's treatable. People will assume that maybe it's treatable, maybe it's not. Maybe none of them should be in the cockpit. That's what might come out of this.
BLITZER: Yes, it's a serious issue.
Miles, we learned that the standards for pilot screening in Europe are different from the screening standards here in the United States. Would you recommend that Americans -- a bold question -- only fly U.S. carriers, presumably if they have better screening techniques?
O'BRIEN: I think you should be aware of the airplane you are getting on and those kinds of things are important. It's hard to root this kind of information out.
But these low-cost carriers have been under pressure, trying to grow, trying to fill cockpit seats. They are cutting corners. And you can find this information out with not too much extra work. Generally speaking, the legacy carriers, the flag carriers have much higher standards. And the pilots have gone through a much better regime of training than you get with the AirAsia or the Germanwings, frankly.
A 600-hour pilot, that's just not -- there's just not enough experience there, taking aside what the people -- what's going on in that person's head.
BLITZER: Richard Quest, do you agree?
QUEST: No, not at all. In fact, I strongly disagree with Miles on this.
We're talking here -- this is not about the number of hours, it's about the training. That pilot was trained to the same standard as Lufthansa. You can criticize Lufthansa as much as you like, Miles, but you cannot make the corollary where you talk about a low-cost carrier that is owned by Lufthansa group. EasyJet, Ryanair, you just can't make that generalization.
O'BRIEN: Richard, there is no shortcut for experience in aviation, period. You cannot short-circuit that.
O'BRIEN: And 600 hours, I'm telling you, my insurance company would not allow that person to fly my single-engine aircraft at 600 hours. What does that tell you? That's not enough experience, period.
QUEST: That pilot could have been in the seat of a Lufthansa plane or an Iberia plane or any of the other planes that you are talking about. You are making the connection to low-cost carriers, and that's something I don't think you can make.
O'BRIEN: Well, a low-cost carrier has a young captain who felt he had to rush so much he couldn't stop and relieve himself before he got on the plane.
These pilots are under such tremendous pressure by management. They are treated like numbers. They are forced to give back. They endure all kinds of hardship in their job. It's about time we started treating them like human beings and maybe these kinds of situations wouldn't happen.
BLITZER: All right, let me just get Michael Goldfarb to wrap it up.
GOLDFARB: I agree more with Miles than -- than Richard on this.
I think that the standards in the United States are much higher. It doesn't mean low-cost is unsafe. But Colton (ph) Air was a great example, when you had a young 21-year-old who had a dead head at Newark Liberty because she couldn't afford a hotel room. You had a pilot that was making $25,000, $30,000. That adds to the stress. You're only as safe as the lowest link in aviation.
BLITZER: The plane that crashed in Buffalo?
BLITZER: OK, guys, stand by, Because we're getting more detailed and very disturbing new accounts of the plane's final moments. Should the transcript of the cockpit recording they have been leaked?
And a new report that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, was treated with these antipsychotic drugs. What does that tell us about his mental health and whether he was fit to fly?
[18:35:35] BLITZER: Breaking now, a new window into the mind of Flight 9525 co-pilot before he intentionally crashed the plane. German prosecutors now say Andreas Lubitz was suicidal several years ago. CNN has learned that he was recently diagnosed with having psychosomatic vision problems, which helped persuade a doctor to declare him unfit for work on the day of the actual crash.
Tonight, investigators aren't disputing a chilling new account of the final minutes before the plane went down. But some are furious about the leak of the information.
Let's go to our correspondent, Will Ripley. He's joining us live in Dusseldorf, Germany. What else are you learning, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the German tabloid "Bild" that put this out over the weekend, Wolf. Very upsetting information for the families of the people on board, because it essentially details the final minutes of their lives. And sadly, we've learned that these final minutes included a lot of terror for people in the back of the plane.
Passengers were first heard screaming at 10:32 a.m. That was a full eight hours before -- I'm sorry, eight minutes before the plane hit the French Alps at 10:40 a.m. In between that time, you could hear the captain, who had been locked out, Patrick Sondheimer, valiantly trying to break back into the cockpit. He was screaming through the door at Andreas Lubitz, who never responded and could simply be heard on the audio recording breathing as the plane went down closer and closer towards the mountains.
But to imagine, if you had a mother or a spouse or a child on that plane and to think that, for eight minutes, they knew that something was wrong, they looked out the window, they saw the terrain getting closer and closer, very difficult, certainly, for the families and infuriating for the investigators on the ground here in Germany, Wolf.
BLITZER: It's so, so heartbreaking to think of those final minutes before that crash. Will, thank you.
Let's get back to our aviation experts. Richard Quest, you say these leaks, particularly the publishing of the transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, are unprecedented. Why isn't this information released typically so quickly?
QUEST: Because it's got to be put into context. I don't expect anybody on your panel to agree with me necessarily, Wolf, in this. But the reality is, it should not have been leaked in this fashion.
It told us -- if it had told us something we didn't know or was being hidden or was being secretive, but it didn't, Wolf. It told us what the prosecutor had already said.
And to quote the BEA, it was voyeuristic in the extreme.
It will come out, Wolf, in the BEA investigation. Nothing was going to be hidden. It's going to be published. But to publish it in a newspaper, the detail, banging on -- I'm not going to dignify it by repeating it, frankly, Wolf. That, I think, affronts dignity and is wrong. BLITZER: Now, under normal circumstances, that transcript would have
been published as part of the final conclusion of the investigation. But that would have been maybe six months or a year or two years down the road.
QUEST: But I hear what you're saying. But we knew what it said. You're talking about the minutia of what it said. Nothing substantive was missing from it. So yes, maybe it would be another six months.
Let's take AirAsia. It was about six months before the NTSB published the -- not the Air -- the Asiana San Francisco transcript. Did we miss out anything by not knowing specifically then? We knew days after what had happened.
BLITZER: Let me ask Michael. What do you think? These leaks, do they hurt the investigation?
GOLDFARB: I completely agree with Richard.
BLITZER: You do?
GOLDFARB: Yes. They do more than that. Even Thursday, the investigators were very upset with the single sourced "New York Times" report that, in fact, the co-pilot may have taken down the plane. These things are very injurious to an investigation, because they then have to -- because of the thirst of the public, they have to shift their emphasis. Richard is right, and it should never have released the audio.
BLITZER: Very quickly, Tom, your reaction?
FUENTES: I completely agree with Richard.
BLITZER: You do? OK. All of you are on the same page on that.
Miles, let's talk a little bit about some of the things we've learned. One of those things being...
O'BRIEN: I disagree completely. I completely disagree, Wolf.
BLITZER: Tell us why.
O'BRIEN: I think this is a teachable moment. We're all paying attention to a very important subject. And to the extent that this helps people understand a serious problem in aviation, I see no reason not to release this. I don't understand how this changes the investigation one iota.
I think, you know, as a journalist, I would never be in a position to say we shouldn't be releasing information like this. They hold onto this stuff for too long. We're talking about it. We're thinking about it. Let the facts come out now.
BLITZER: Well, Michael Goldfarb, how will this change the investigation? We know what happened, basically, right? GOLDFARB: Yes. But we actually don't know the full story. The
flight data recorder has not even been recovered. They are still at the beginning stages of this investigation.
Take the AirAsia investigation -- excuse me, the Malaysia one. That was how not to change an investigation. You remember, every story had us changing our view of where that plane went. We lost valuable time finding that plane where it might have been, because we had thought maybe it went up to 39,000, 41,000 feet. Did it go left? Was it in the Indian Ocean? The South China Sea?
So they -- I agree with Miles to the extent the public has a need to know and they're very interested in this. Let it come from the investigators. They're smart enough, in fact, to give controlled information to the public when they feel it's appropriate.
BLITZER: All right. Richard Quest, more people agree with you than you originally thought. Stand by, everyone.
There's other critically important news we're following right now. The secretary of state, John Kerry, reveals the state of nuclear talks with Iran only hours before the deadline to reach an agreement.
And we'll have much more on the suicidal tendencies of the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz. What did the airline know about his mental health history, his state of mind on the day of the crash?
[18:46:01] BLITZER: Stand by for more on the crash of Flight 9525. New information we're getting about the co-pilot's suicidal tendencies.
Also breaking now, the frantic final hours of nuclear talks with Iran. Tomorrow is the deadline to reach a deal.
Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is joining us now live from Switzerland.
Explain, Elise, what's happening on the ground right now with these talks, 24 hours left in the negotiations. What's the latest sticking point?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, everybody has got an analogy here. The German foreign minister compares it to the apex of the summit in the surrounding Swiss Alps. Chinese foreign minister is comparing it to the sprint at the end of a marathon.
Whatever you call it, we are in the 11th hour and diplomats tell me there are some key sticking points. Number one, Iran wants to be able to continue to develop advanced nuclear technology while the deal is in effect. The international community wants to continue to put restrictions on that research while the deal is in effect for 15 years.
Also talking about U.N. sanctions -- Iran wants them lifted on day one. International community is saying Iran, they need to phase those out as Iran shows its compliance with the deal, and wants the flexibility to snap at those sanctions in place if Iran violates, Wolf.
So, you know, obviously at the 11th hour, everyone is driving a hard bargain. Those are the key sticking points as they go into the final day, Wolf.
BLITZER: I know you had a chance to speak with the secretary of state, John Kerry. What did he tell you? Will they have a deal by tomorrow night?
LABOTT: Well, he said that he's not sure. He said everybody is working really hard. I will read a little bit of what he said to me. He said, "There are still remain some difficult issues." He said, "There was a little more light there today in those negotiations, but there is still some tricky issues. Everybody knows," he said, "the meaning of tomorrow," Wolf.
And that's -- if there's no deadline by tomorrow, they really don't feel that there's really a use to continue to negotiate, if they can't get the outlines of a deal, not really sure whether more time would really make a difference.
BLITZER: All right. Elise, we'll check back with you. Obviously, critical hours right now. See if they can have a deal with Iran. Let's see if it's a good deal. That's the key point right now.
Meanwhile, there are also enormous stakes for the United States and the world if Iran is able to move forward, toward building a nuclear bomb.
Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is taking a look at the consequences if, if no deal is reached.
What are you seeing, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: One of the key questions, Wolf, if no deal is reached, could Iran at some point test a nuclear weapon? A key international diplomat tells me there is a way to make sure it doesn't get to that point.
STARR (voice-over): Dire predictions if Iran and the U.S. don't reach a nuclear deal.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they are doing.
STARR: The conventional wisdom: Iranian enrichment facilities begin making weapons grade fuel, and then, an Iranian nuclear test.
Dr. Lassina Zerbo runs the agency that monitors global nuclear testing. In an exclusive CNN interview, he says Tehran could not test in secret.
LASSINA ZERBO, COMPREHENSIVE NUCLEAR TEST BAN TREATY ORGANIZATION: Any country that will try today to hide a nuclear test explosion, we have more than 90 percent of chance in detecting it.
STARR: The agency's worldwide sensor network detects seismic activity from underground explosions and the release of radioactive material in the air. There are problems. It took 55 days for sensors to pick up radioactive gases from a North Korean nuclear test seeping into the atmosphere when Pyongyang set off a nuclear device in a sealed tunnel deep underground.
[18:50:05] ZERBO: What we need is cracks in the ground that could let the gas seep through and then be detected.
STARR: Zerbo wants Iran to take a step few are talking about, ratify the International Test Ban Treaty.
ZERBO: First, everyone talks about enrichment. But before we discuss this enrichment, let's get this treaty into force, so that we don't even think about the process of developing a nuclear weapon.
STARR: And even with the deal, Iran has potential nuclear capability intact. It recently used put a satellite in orbit using an intercontinental missile that could carry a warhead, living airstrikes as an option of last resort if there is no enrichment deal.
But U.S. intelligence calculates Iran's key nuclear sites are so far underground that Israeli bombs could not hit them and the U.S. largest bomb, the 30-pound so-called massive ordinance penetrator, also might not be able to destroy the key sites in a single strike.
OBAMA: Even military action would not be as successful as the deal that we have put forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STARR: And even if it got to the point if Iran conducted a nuclear test, Dr. Zerbo and others will tell you, is that that means the U.S. effort is lost, that is why the U.S. position right now is so strongly get a deal on enrichment, cut off the front end of this cycle. This U.N. agency is looking at trying to also cut off the test end of the cycle -- Wolf.
OBAMA: All right. Barbara, good report. Barbara Starr reporting at the Pentagon.
Just ahead, there's new information that the co-pilot of Flight 9525 had serious psychological problems. Stand by for the latest information about his suicidal tendencies and his treatment before the crash.
[18:56:26] BLITZER: New tonight, Republican Senator Marco Rubio says he'll announce his 2016 presidential plans on April 13th. He's widely expected to jump into the race.
On the Democratic side, a potential White House contender is warning that Hillary Clinton should not automatically be crowned as the party's nominee.
Let's go to our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar. She's working the story for us.
What are you learning?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're talking here about Martin O'Malley, the former Maryland governor. He's also a former Hillary Clinton supporter, who is making it known that he's likely to run as well.
KEILAR (voice-over): Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley sounding more and more like a challenger to Hillary Clinton.
On ABC's "This Week" --
MARTIN O'MALLEY (D), FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: The presidency of the United States is not some crown to be passed between two families.
KEILAR: And in the early caucus state of Iowa.
O'MALLEY: It is not unusual for there to be an inevitable front- runner early in a contest who has fantastic name recognition and is, therefore, inevitable until he or she is no longer inevitable.
KEILAR: As O'Malley works to expand his profile with interviews and trips to key early nominating states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, he is touting his progressive record, and sharpening contrast with Clinton in advance of her likely juggernaut campaign, and massive fundraising efforts -- all in hopes of sparking Democrats' attention.
O'MALLEY: I find it, you know, kind of invigorating and reassuring to know that in this age of big money and big media and big name recognition and all the other bigs, that there's still room in our democracy for one-on-one conversation.
Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next president of the United States.
KEILAR: The former Clinton backer now explaining away his enthusiastic support for her presidential inspirations the last time she ran in 2008, telling ABC --
O'MALLEY: Well, I certainly believe for those times, that she would be the best choice for us as a country.
INTERVIEWER: For those times?
O'MALLEY: For those times.
INTERVIEWER: Not now?
O'MALLEY: I believe that there are new perspectives that are needed in order for us to solve the problem that we face as Americans.
KEILAR: But so far, most Democratic voters looking for another perspective are backing someone other than O'Malley. A CNN/ORC poll shows Vice President Biden and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren far ahead of O'Malley among Democratic voters.
KEILAR: Elizabeth Warren says that she is not and she's adamant about it, like she is not, not, not running, and then you have Joe Biden, who we expect will formally make up his mind this summer, but he hasn't made any moves, like staffing up, lining up donors, that will indicate he's really thinking of running.
BLITZER: Some people think Martin O'Malley and may be a lot of the Republican candidates are just running for vice presidential running mates. You've heard that.
KEILAR: Yes. No, certainly. And I think that's -- that maybe the case here as well. But there are also a lot of strategists who question whether he would be a good vice presidential pick, and it's yet to be seen if he really is someone who would bring a lot. His approval, not approval -- but sort of -- he's not known that well. He really needs to get out there and define himself if he wants to do that to prove his worth as someone who'd be a running mate.
BLITZER: All right. Brianna, thanks very much. Brianna Keilar reporting.
An important political programming note for our viewers, be sure to watch "Showdown in Indiana", the battle of religious rights, is hosted by CNN's Chris Cuomo. It airs later tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. You'll want to see that.
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