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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
United States Military On High Alert Due To Terror Threats; New U.S. Attorney General Says She Launched Investigation At Urging Of Officials In Baltimore; Four People Killed In Plane Crash In Atlanta; Investigating Lumber Liquidators; Ebola Virus Ruining Survivors' Vision; Anthony Bourdain in Scotland. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 8, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:09] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight with breaking news. The United States military on alert and security tightened on military alert because of terror threats.
Also tonight, new concerns about ISIS supporters here in the United States.
Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us with the latest -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Anderson, the FBI is now taking a look at other suspected extremist around the country this after missing one in effect with these Texas gunmen. They are going to look back at perhaps hundreds of them in the U.S. that they have under investigation, do they need further interviews, door knocks, even possibly monitoring. It is a real measure of their level of concern right now. But the particular concern focused on U.S. military instillations. Some 3200 around the country concerning the U.S. military, they are an ISIS target, ISIS encouraging its supporters here to attack them, the military taking this threat very seriously.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): The U.S. military is raising the security level at every base across the country, as concerns grow over the threat from ISIS. It was a shooting in Texas on Sunday that prompted the increased security measures. But the military said the step is not tied to a specific credible threat, saying, we have the same concern about the potential threat posed by violent proem grown extremists. The security level has now increased to Bravo, a ranking signifying an increased and predictable threat of terrorism. U.S. bases generally have not been at this level since the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Not only do you have to secure the access to the basis, you have to ramp up security on the post itself. So this is going to be a big operation for the security forces of all of the services.
SCIUTTO: The Texas shooting is highlighting the threat from ISIS supporters hiding within the United States.
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Groups like ISIL or Al Qaeda now are calling publicly for attacks in the west, of people they have never recruited, specifically they have never trained, they never even met. Someone could decide on their own to answer that call with little or no notice.
SCIUTTO: U.S. authorities are investigating hundreds of people in the U.S. who have some social media link to ISIS, a severe challenge for law enforcement to keep tabs on.
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: It is really an expansion of how the internet has been used frankly for several years now both recruitment and radicalization of young people to join terrorist groups.
COOPER: So Jim, the idea that one of these Texas attackers was having direct contact with a known ISIS recruiter, does that mean officials are closer to declaring that was the first-ISIS directed attack inside the U.S. homeland.
SCIUTTO: Well Anderson, they still call this -- they put this in a category of an inspired attack. But keep in mind, there is a whole range from just inspired like you and I would read something on a website, agree to it, go out and carry it out an attack on our own, up to full operational command and control.
We are not in the operational command and control category, but it was clear that you had a known ISIS recruiter, this British jihadi in Syria who appeared to be prepping, pushing, perhaps coddling the Texas gunmen to carry out this attack, so more than just the left end of that spectrum, a bit of inspiration.
I had an official tell me this week that it was certainly more than just inspiration but they are investigating now how far that went. And the fact is, you don't need much more than that. Because if you can push one man or one other assailant to carry out an attack, that is all you need. Even if he picks the target, picks the timing, et cetera, and that is why they are concern because that is very hard to track and prevent.
COOPER: All right, Jim, appreciate the update. Thank you.
More breaking news tonight, attorneys for the six officers charged in the death for Freddie Gray, may have filed a motion seeking the recusal or dismissal of state attorney Marilyn Mosby from the case. Now, the motion cites conflict of interest and questions about the independent investigation her office conducted. It is exactly one week ago that Mosby announced criminal charges against the officers.
Today the department of justice opened its owned investigation of Baltimore's police department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LYNCH: This investigation will begin immediately and will focus on allegations that Baltimore police department officers used excessive force, including deadly force, conduct unlawful searches, seizure and arrest and engaged in discriminatory policing. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now, attorney general Loretta Lynch said she launched the investigation at the urging of Baltimore officials and three leads and with the support of the Baltimore police union.
Sara Sidner joins us tonight from Baltimore.
So, this motion for the recusal of Mosby, what is the latest on it?
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It spells out basically five conflicts of interest and things that the lawyers for the officer, see as a conflict of interests. We have heard a couple of them before from the police union. I'll let you know what they are.
This was a 109-page motion, so there is a lot in there. But essentially, it talks about Mosby and her husband, Nick Mosby, who happen to be a council member, who is in charge of the district where Freddie Gray was killed. The motion is basically that she is giving him a political advantage. She is getting political gain out of the fact that she charged people because people in his district were certainly chanting for that and wanting those charges to go forward against the officers.
Also, that she has some sort of personal relationship with potential witnesses that her office also took part in investigating the case against the six officers. And there is also this pending civil lawsuit against her department, her office that was talked about.
And lastly, there is -- and this came up again before with the police union that she and her husband have a close friendship with the attorney representing Gray's family. And that he actually served as her lawyer at some point, saying that is a huge conflict of interest.
We asked her about some of the accusations because as I mentioned they were brought up by the police union before earlier last week. And here is what she said about the accusations that she simply couldn't be fair and all of these conflicts of interest?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:06:09] MARILYN MOSBY, BALTIMORE STATE ATTORNEY: There is a number of crimes that take place in Baltimore city and unfortunately and in the district that we live. Where is the conflict? What I have to take myself away from every case and crime that takes place in west Baltimore? That maybes absolutely makes no sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And she was very, very clear. She said there is no conflict of interest. But Anderson, I have to tell you, she would not talk about a single
other detail of the case, very stern on that point. And she doesn't want to try this in the media. She is keeping a closed door when it comes to any details of this case going forward until, of course, it goes to court -- Anderson.
COOPER: A lot of people criticized her for giving out details previously. And the investigation into the department of justice, how is that going to work?
SIDNER: Well, I think it will look very similar to what we saw in Ferguson except for this is a huge department. There is a lot more to go through. I would imagine it would take longer potentially. We know from looking at what happened in Ferguson, that took over six months for the department of justice to go in and they took out all sorts of things, huge amounts of electronic data, they did extensive interviews with all sorts of police not only the officers, but community members, people in the city.
So you are going to see what is a top to bottom look at this department and there will be a lot of documents, a lot to go through. And I think it is going to take quite a bit of time and we shouldn't expect any sort of answer or revelation about what they found for some time, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Sara Sidner, appreciate the update. Thank you.
CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, joins me now. The motion for her to recuse herself, what do you make of it? Do you think it is likely she will?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. I think she is not likely to be recused either by a judge or on her own initiative. This is common that local district attorneys sometimes investigate police. As we remember from Ferguson, The usual accusation is that they are biased in favor of the police.
COOPER: Rather, they have too close to police.
TOOBIN: Right. They are closer. And so, I think this is really an attempt to condition the jury pool to say that this is not a good prosecution that Mosby is in over her head. I don't think there is any realistic chance she'll be thrown off the case.
COOPER: And let me play devil's advocate on this, though. Because her husband representing the district where this occurred, I mean, you can make a strong argument that he benefits from her having taking a tough stance against the police officers.
TOOBIN: Well, I mean, she benefits too. She's an elected official. I mean, that is the way the prosecutors are, in almost every jurisdiction in the country. The lead prosecutor in the county is an elected official and wants to ingratiate him or herself with the voters. The fact that her husband also wants to ingratiate himself, I just don't see that as a conflict. That is just a fact about his job.
COOPER: How often does it actually happen where D.A. or state attorney actually recuse themselves?
TOOBIN: Very rarely. In fact, one of the things that came out of the whole Ferguson situation was an attempt in certain states to create a sort of special prosecutor and an independent prosecutor. There is different proposals here in New York because of what went on with Eric Garner in Staten Island to create a sort of independent investigation. But it hasn't gone anywhere. And it usually doesn't. This is something that local prosecutors usually do.
COOPER: Do you think it is likely there will be a change of venue for the trial?
TOOBIN: You know, I think that is probably likely.
COOPER: Because of what went on?
TOOBIN: Because it got so much publicity, so much of Baltimore was convulsed with the riots and the protests. What makes it a little peculiar is that Maryland is such a small state, where are you going?
TOOBIN: I mean, you go Annapolis, maybe Prince George's country. But it is not -- but I do think that Baltimore itself, this was such an event about Baltimore, that it is likely they could move it out.
[20:09:56] COOPER: Jeff, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch 360 any time you want.
Just head, a horrifying site in Atlanta, a small crashing on a busy highway just after rush hour, four people died and what we know about what happened.
Also tonight, police officers mourn one of their own in New York. Tens of thousands turned out for the funeral of an officer who was slain less than a week ago.
[20:14:04] COOPER: A tragic story in Georgia, four people onboard a small plane, were killed when the plane crashed on to a busy Atlanta highway. Now, amazingly, no one on the ground was hurt even though this happened right after the height of the morning rush hour.
Martin Savidge reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Bleep) a plane just crashed in front of us.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crash of the single engine plane on the busy i-25 north of Atlanta came just as rush hour was ending. Hundreds of people witnessed its horror. The just fueled plane slammed into a cement median and burst into plane, sending big black smoke into the air. All four people on board were killed.
The piper 32 had kicked off moments before from DeKalb peach tree county airport about a mile away. Witnesses say it showed signs of trouble while still in the air.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first thing I notices was the plane flying extremely low, almost hitting the red light to come on to 285. And as I turned to get on to 285, it was just a large plume of black smoke.
[20:15:05] SAVIDGE: Drivers swerved and break to avoid the disaster. Gerald Smith's semi was one of two vehicles hit by debris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I would have stayed on the gas, I would have hit it head on and it probably would have killed me.
SAVIDGE: And fortunately no one on the ground was hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is quite remarkable, considering the fact 285 around that time of the morning, that it was not any more tragic than what it was.