Return to Transcripts main page
THE SITUATION ROOM
Fighting ISIS; D.C. Murders; Dennis Hastert Indicted; 2016 GOP Rivals Gang Up on Rand Paul. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired May 28, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The feds are accusing him of a cover- up and lying to the FBI.
And person of interest. As police search for possible accomplices in the D.C. mansion murders, we're learning more about a key witness who is now under scrutiny.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Breaking now, as many as 26 people are being treated for possible exposure to the often deadly bacteria anthrax. An investigation now under way into the U.S. military's mishandling of live anthrax samples. They were mistakenly sent to labs here in the United States and overseas. A U.S. Defense Department official tells CNN the anthrax was shipped by FedEx and there are now new questions tonight about whether anyone else might be at risk.
The former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers, is standing by, along with our correspondents and our analysts. They're all covering the news that's breaking right are now.
First, let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, for the very latest -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Wolf.
Tonight, the Centers for Disease Control is taking charge of the investigation into what the Pentagon did. The only problem is the Pentagon right now doesn't even know what happened.
STARR (voice-over): Nearly two dozen shipments, all potentially live anthrax and, worse, for over a year, nobody knew it. The military now scrambling to explain how it could have happened.
COL. RONALD FIZER, U.S. ARMY: It's a great question, and that's exactly why we have brought in the Centers for Disease Control and their investigators.
STARR: The Army contracted with FedEx for the shipments. The company says it's working with the federal government. The anthrax was to be shipped as dead agent, supposedly a less dangerous form.
LEONARD COLE, BIOTERRORISM EXPERT: That doesn't have much meaning to me. Anthrax can exist for decades, centuries underground in a spore form, this hard, crusted, inanimate form that eventually can change into an active poisonous-type form.
STARR: A history of anthrax fears. Weeks after the 9/11 attacks, letters laced with anthrax were sent, killing five Americans in what the FBI calls the worst biological attack in U.S. history, this time, no indication of a deliberate act, and the Pentagon says no one is sick.
A growing investigation is spreading across nine states and overseas to Osan Air Base in South Korea, where 22 people are receiving precautionary antibiotics and vaccinations after a potential exposure during a training exercise. They began medical care May 27, five days after the Pentagon first received word from a lab it got live anthrax from the shipments, not dead agent for research.
The Pentagon says it's looking into why the late notification. The anthrax was in South Korea for over a year, no one knowing it was live. It all began last year on March 28, 2014, at Dugway Proving Grounds, an Army base in Utah. A load of anthrax was irradiated, the intent, to kill the live agent before shipment.
Over the next year, the material was divided into a number of lots, and it was shipped 22 times, until last Friday, when a Maryland lab discovered it had live anthrax.
STARR: And, tonight, Wolf, no one can say when the Centers for Disease Control will be done with their investigation into all of this -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a story that is. All right, Barbara, thank you.
Also breaking tonight, the White House accusing Congress of playing dangerous games with U.S. national security. Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire a little more than 72 hours from now. The National Security Agency is getting ready to pull the plug on a controversial phone data collection program if the U.S. Senate doesn't act before time runs out.
Let's go to our White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski. She's standing by with much more -- Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
Yes, we see the White House pushing the Senate to act to keep these parts of the Patriot Act up and running, and they say failing to do so is like playing national security Russian roulette, an unnecessary risk, saying that the FBI's work is going to be severely impacted. Here's the White House today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What security
professionals have told us is that these are programs that have provided valuable information in the past. These are critical tools that are used to keep the American people safe. They use these tools to collect information that has not been otherwise available to them, that was then used to prevent individuals from carrying out acts of violence, to round up people who wished harm on the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSINSKI: Well, that's what they're saying. But the thing is U.S. officials can't point to any one case where these programs saved the day and thwarted terror.
And you look at the other programs besides the bulk data collection that are going to expire, things like being able to collect an individual's records like bank data, hotel data, things like that, that's used about 200 times a year.
Officials say, yes, there are other ways to go about getting that kind of info, but those would be more limited and less secret. Also, roving wiretaps on people who keep switching cell phones, it turns out that's used only less than 100 times a year, but officials do say that this is the only way they can quickly and effectively track people like that.
Also, there's wiretaps on lone wolves, people who aren't connected to any known terror group. It turns out this has never even been used before. And it only applies to people outside the U.S., not American lone wolves. So, this big question that linger lingers, how is our national security going to be at risk? It just depends on whom you ask.
The White House's take is, well, why allow any risk, especially when those privacy concerns can be addressed through this bipartisan bill that's already been passed through the House? That's what the White House wants the Senate to pass, Wolf.
BLITZER: And they assume it will happen, at least an extension for a few days, Michelle, because we just heard Jen Psaki, the White House communications director, say there is no plan B right now that the White House has if it isn't extended.
KOSINSKI: Right, exactly. And they're calling this legal limbo, that if these expirations do happen, that it's going to throw the whole system into these legal questions even for current cases, that they're then going to have lawyers and see if it's still legal.
So, even the grandfathering in of the warrants that have already been obtained, officials say even that is thrown into question, in addition because of lawsuits recently on some of these programs -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Michelle Kosinski at the White House for us, thank you. Let's get more now from the former chairman of the House
Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers. He's now a CNN national security commentator.
Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.
MIKE ROGERS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: What happens if the Senate fails to act by midnight Sunday?
ROGERS: Well, it actually starts earlier. There are servers that have to be shut down at the National Security Agency. And that takes time to do.
BLITZER: That's supposed to start around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
ROGERS: That's correct.
And once that kicks off, it's nearly impossible to stop it. They'd have to stop and then regroup and try to reprogram the thing to get back...
BLITZER: But the Senate isn't even coming into -- into session until Sunday afternoon.
ROGERS: It's definitely a problem. And I'm certainly disappointed in both the Senate and the House actually for just leaving town.
This is an important issue. And to that question where people say, well, can you point to one case, one smoking gun, in an investigation, it's never just the smoking gun. It's all the pieces, all the pieces of evidence you can put together to stop an act of terror. This provides a very important tool. And by the numbers that they're giving you, 200 on this program, 100 on the roving wiretaps, you know it's used judiciously, but an important piece of a very big and complicated puzzle.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul, Republican presidential candidate, says it's unconstitutional and illegal.
ROGERS: Well, no court has said that it is unconstitutional for sure.
The appeals court actually said they believe that the way the warrants were obtained were wrong, and then actually provided a path to do it correctly. And, remember, nine judges, 40 different times has this program been reviewed and approved.
BLITZER: Well, what happens if it isn't extended? The White House says there is no plan B. What do you think? Will America be more in danger if it isn't extended? Practically speaking, what's going to happen?
ROGERS: So, think of it.
One of the reasons we have this program is because they missed -- the intelligence and law enforcement missed a phone call from Yemen from a safe house, a known terrorist safe house into the United States. After the event of 9/11, we found out that was one of the calls to the 9/11 hijackers.
Wouldn't it have been great for that to kick off an investigation to determine, who did they call and why did they call? You will lose that part. And you will lose these roving wiretaps. Terrorists are pretty savvy these days. They understand that switching phones and switching them frequently will screw up the warrant process when trying to listen to those phone calls.
Without that, you run the risk of a very savvy terrorist organization getting an operation in the United States and circumventing legal surveillance. I think that's a problem. I don't think we should -- especially with what's going on with ISIS in Syria, knowing that they're trying to get an act of terror to happen in the United States.
BLITZER: Now, you were chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for a long time. You were fully briefed on this NSA program. If Senator Rand Paul were sitting with us right now, what would you say to him?
ROGERS: Well, first of all, come you up with an alternative. Saying no to all of it and letting it expire, I think, is irresponsible. If you want to be commander in chief, taking these important tools away, do you have an alternative that you believe protects privacy more than a bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives, which is hard to do?
It came together and said, we think this is the way forward. He's saying no to any of it. I think that part is irresponsible. Let them vote on it. If he disagrees, vote no, and then tell us why he voted no.
I think that's appropriate. But to stop the whole process, I think, is irresponsible, knowing that we have terrorists in Syria, in Iraq, who want to conduct attacks here in the United States.
BLITZER: All right, Mike Rogers, I want to you stand by. There's more to discuss.
We're following other breaking news. We will take a quick break. We will be right back.
BLITZER: We're back with the former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. I want him to stand by, though, because we're getting some new
information right now on a major breaking story here in Washington, the indictment of the former speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert.
Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent, Joe Johns. He has got details.
Joe, this is pretty startling. Tell our viewers what you have learned.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: It's very startling, Wolf.
Former Speaker Dennis Hastert is charged with false statements, making false statements, as well as structuring payments to an unknown individual in an attempt to avoid IRS indictments. The indictment says Hastert has -- had agreed to make payments of $3.5 million and that he withdrew approximately $1.7 million in cash and gave it to this person identified as Individual A between 2010 and 2014.
The indictment says these two men discussed past misconduct against this individual that had occurred years earlier. Then, when the FBI asked this individual about the payments, actually asked the speaker about it, the speaker made a false statement, according to the indictment.
And now reading from the indictment, "Specifically in response of the agents' question confirming whether the purpose of the withdrawals was to store cash because he did not feel safe with the banking system, as he previously indicated, Hastert said: 'Yes. I kept the cash. That's what I'm doing.'"
This indictment does make reference, among other things, to the fact that Hastert was a high school teacher in Yorkville, Illinois, from 196 to 1981 before he entered politics. It does not specify whatever the alleged misconduct was that Hastert was actually paying for.
So, a lot of questions in this indictment. The speaker of the House well-known here in Washington, D.C., for a long time, now Denny Hastert in retirement facing a federal indictment, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, obviously startling, major, major development. All right, Joe, thanks very much.
Mike Rogers is still with us. He was the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
You know Dennis Hastert. You worked with him.
BLITZER: He was, what, after the vice president, speaker of the House, as next in line to be president of the United States, very, very startling development. Your reaction?
ROGERS: Well, from a personal perspective, I'm just shocked and disheartened that Dennis Hastert found himself in a position he felt had to do something this drastic.
Obviously, clearly, he must have known that it was illegal to do it in the way that they structured it, because that's the way they structured it. So, on a personal level, shocked, dismayed. My heart goes out to his family. I hope they get it worked out.
From an FBI agent perspective, lots of questions.
BLITZER: And you used to be an FBI agent.
ROGERS: I did use to be an FBI agent. Lots of questions. Was he extorted? Likely, the way they have written the indictment, where it says Individual A means that Individual A is likely to have cooperated with the FBI at some point in this investigation. So, I think there is going to be a lot more story to be told here.
BLITZER: Because we don't know who Individual A is. And we don't know what allegedly Hastert's prior misconduct against Individual A -- as you just heard Joe say, we don't know what that alleged prior misconduct that Hastert committed against Individual A is.
ROGERS: And if it happened during his tenure as speaker or his tenure in the House of Representatives. We don't know. A lot to be determined, because that could add additional charges later if it was related to his official duties.
Now, it sounds like that is not the case, the way they have structured the indictment, but you just don't know, a lot of holes in that indictment that I think answers need to...
BLITZER: And he was very well-liked up on Capitol Hill all those years, right?
ROGERS: He was well-liked, warm guy, ran the House with a genuine spirit of a legislator trying to accommodate both sides as often as he could. He was kind of known as the gentle giant as speaker. So, I think a lot of people are going to be a bit shocked today.
BLITZER: Yes, we haven't gotten official -- any reaction yet from Dennis Hastert or his attorney. We're working on that. And as soon as we get that, we will share it with our viewers as well, but obviously a major development here in Washington, D.C.'
Let's talk a little bit about what's going on in Iraq right now, Barbara Starr, our Pentagon correspondent, saying the administration is now at least thinking of providing weapons directly to some of those Sunni tribes in the Anbar province. As you know, right now, they don't give them directly. They go through the central government in Baghdad, just as they do with the Kurds up in the north.
The U.S. doesn't provide weapons directly to the Kurds or the Sunnis, only to the government in Baghdad. What's your analysis? Should the U.S. be helping the Sunnis and the Kurds directly and ignore, at least in certain areas, the government of the prime minister right now?
ROGERS: Well, currently, what's happening isn't working. So, I say, yes, they probably should do this.
And, again, remember, they have a good relationship -- our military and our intelligence services had relationships with that awakening in Anbar province, the Sunni awakening, the tribal awakening.
BLITZER: That was a good relationship, at least in part because the CIA was providing huge sums of money to those Sunni tribal sheiks. Right?
ROGERS: Well, it was not the same, so not every -- not all of those payments were equal for sure.
BLITZER: There were -- I don't know if billions, but at least of hundreds of millions of dollars were doled out. General Petraeus was in charge of that. They were giving away a lot of money to those tribal leaders.
ROGERS: Money, equipment. They were digging wells, putting roofs on schools.
All of those things all helped consolidate and it pushed out the folks who were -- by the way, which was ISIS at the time. Only, they were an al Qaeda affiliate at the time, under a guy named Zarqawi, same group of people, same ideology.
As a matter of fact, Baghdadi, the head of ISIS worked for Zarqawi. He was in custody in one of the prisons there when the U.S. pulled out. He escaped with 1,500 people and reconstituted under ISIS. That's -- I think there's an important lineage.
So, the relationships with those tribal leaders in those areas is still real, but they're going to have to have something of consequence if they're going to rise up. And, by the way, a Shia militia rolling into town heavily equipped in Humvees isn't going to do it. That is only going to create more problems.
I think it's going to be critical if they're moving forward to start putting special capabilities troops on the ground and try to reconnect with those Sunni tribal leaders that we know helped push out al Qaeda and extremists in the past.
BLITZER: All right, Mike Rogers, thanks very much for joining us, Mike Rogers, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Just ahead, a surge in homegrown terror these, including the recent attacks in Garland, Texas, right outside of Dallas, the FBI is getting new help, but is it enough?
And the spotlight is on a key witness in the D.C. mansion murders. What does this witness know and why has he allegedly been changing his story?
BLITZER: Tonight, the FBI is getting new help as it struggles to keep up with the threat from ISIS supporters here in the United States.
The New York Police Department and other law enforcement agencies around the country, they are increasing their surveillance of possible terror suspects.
Our justice reporter, Evan Perez, has been digging on this story. Also joining us, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, our militant analyst retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, and our CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd.
Evan, you have been reporting on what the NYPD is doing to try to get some more backup on this program. What else are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, what they -- what we have here is the FBI simply can't keep up with all these people, the hundreds and hundreds of people who are online talking to ISIS, communicating with them on social media, and in ways that the FBI cannot see.
And so what is happening is, the FBI has gone to other -- to law enforcement and said, look, we want you to be our eyes and ears. They cannot stop what they cannot see. And so that is simply what's happening. The NYPD says that they're adding about 400 new officers to their counterterrorism section.
The LAPD, I know, is adding some more resources to this issue as well. It's all because they see an increased threat, increased activity from ISIS. And after Garner -- after Garland, Texas, which this attack against a Prophet Mohammed drawing contest, people got really worried about not being able to see things before these people act out.
BLITZER: So, is this just a short-term move by these local law enforcement agencies, like the NYPD, until the FBI can get a better long-term plan in place?
PEREZ: Well, the FBI says that they don't have any resource issues.
When they know what's coming, they can stop it. They can dedicate the resources. What the issue is -- the FBI director has been talking about this -- more of these suspects are using peer-to- peer communications, encrypted communications. And that is incredibly difficult for the FBI to stop, because they just can't access it. And so that is one of the issues that is driving this. They want local law enforcement to do more to, again, give them an early start on any of these suspects.
BLITZER: Tom, you're a former assistant director of the FBI. Does this really change the game right now, what's going on?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Not really. All they can do is address as much as they can with the resources they have.
The FBI, even back when I was running international operations, I heard this all over the world, whether it was MI5 in England or any of our counterparts around the world, saying, we don't have enough resources to follow every known group or cell that we have identified.
And we have seen this for a decade, in, of course, most recently the attacks in Europe. So, here in Europe -- here in America, Europe, Australia, Canada, none of the agencies have enough resources. They're not going to have enough. And, by the way, these are all the police departments that we're talking about being more alert, having more counterterrorism officers that are also supposed to be stepping up community policing to ease racial tensions.
So, all of these agencies have finite resources. And it is going to be very difficult to follow ISIS members if you're trying to community police and meet with civic groups and rotary clubs, chambers of commerce. So, a lot of -- a lot to ask.
BLITZER: When you were at the CIA, Phil, you worked with the FBI for -- very close on a lot of these kinds of operations.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes.
BLITZER: What needs to be done now? Because, almost every day, we're hearing about another ISIS sympathizer or a supporter being picked up or at least questioning, if not arrested.
MUDD: This is where we're headed here.
In traditional intelligence, if you're facing a few small al Qaeda cells, let's say a decade ago, it's all about the old business of spying. That's sources and wires. Get an informant in the organization and listen to their communication.
Just in the space of a few years, the revolution we have here with the CIA and the FBI is, sources and wires are fine, but we have a social media revolution where we have thousands of kids looking on Web sites, listening to what ISIS says.
Two things need to happen, one, partnerships with Silicon Valley for the intelligence community to say, how do we sort through all this stuff?
[18:30:14] And the second is a bigger question that will include this presidential campaign, and that is what is the American people -- what's their comfort level with the feds collecting a bunch of this social media information? I don't think we know where we're headed on this.
BLITZER: It's a huge, huge problem. General Hertling, let me shift gears. Barbara Starr, our Pentagon correspondent, reporting the U.S. military inadvertently shipped potentially deadly, live anthrax to several states -- I think nine states, as well as to a base, a U.S. base in South Korea.
Here is the question a lot of viewers are asking me. Why is the U.S. military even shipping anthrax around right now?
HERTLING: Well, I'll tell you, Wolf, it's all about this. First of all, everyone knows that America's military fights our nation's wars. But when they're not fighting, they're preparing to fight the next war. It may be chemical, biological or radiological weapons.
So in order to prepare for fighting, you have to learn how to detect, treat, and even immunize against it. And I think what was going on here is these dry spores, as they were called, ones that were not supposed to have any capability, were sent to a bunch of different locations to develop training kits. That's all part of the assessment and the detection.
And especially the one in Korea, they were in the middle of an anthrax detection exercise, a very important counter to chemical, biological and radiological weapons. So that's what happened. And certainly, the Army is the executive agent for the Department of Defense and chemical weapons is embarrassed by this. If they're investigating it, and early indicators are that it was not a human error but it was, in fact, a processing error.
BLITZER: What does that mean? Because it not only was live anthrax, potentially deadly, but all of us remember the anthrax terror attacks after 9/11 that occurred here in the United States. Live anthrax, sent out via FedEx. That's a major blunder. Not so much when you know the processing. It was certainly a major blunder that the wet spores were sent out, the wet spores. But those wet spores were supposed to have been irradiated to really provide the source for a detection kit. They were not.
So there were early indicators it was a processing issue. But truthfully, Wolf, there are certain procedures to use agencies like FedEx and UPS to ship these kind of things. It doesn't come in a normal FedEx package. There are a lot more restrictions along that. But yes, you need to get it to Korea somehow.
BLITZER: You've got to figure out exactly what happened to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Let me talk about this next Prophet Mohammed cartoon event that's supposed to happen tomorrow outside of Phoenix, Arizona. We saw what happened in Garland, Texas. How worried are you about this?
MUDD: Let me tell you something, if I were back in government, I don't get too excited on this show often. The professional response to this is, are you kidding me?
The director of the FBI says there's investigations in 50 states that require so many resources that we have to ask for more eyes and ears from city cops like Los Angeles and NYPD. And now we have people who need an anger management class who can't figure out that incitement to riot is not a good idea in this environment.
Let me tell you something, Wolf, I learned in civics in high school that free speech is acceptable. These folks have a right to do this. I've learned from my mom to love your neighbor. This is incredible that these folks think that this is a great idea in this environment. I don't get it.
BLITZER: Do you agree?
FUENTES: Not quite. I think that we have the First Amendment for a reason. It might be stupid and horrific and everything about it that they're having these cartoons. But on the other hand, this is the USA, and you should have a right to do it; and people should accept that.
And the last time in Garland, of all the thousands of wannabe jihadis, in this country, they only did have two that actually showed up.
BLITZER: They showed up with a lot of weapons. They could have killed a lot of people.
FUENTES: That's right. But, still, you know, the mere fact that people don't like what you say and are going to use violence to stop it, it's a tradition in this country to let people say what they have to say and protect them.
BLITZER: All right, guys. We'll continue to watch and see what happens in Phoenix tomorrow, as well. Hopefully, it will be quiet and peaceful.
Just ahead, the growing scrutiny of a key witness in the D.C. mansion murders. What might police learn from the assistant to one of the victims?
[18:39:13] BLITZER: Tonight, we're learning new details about the man known as Witness One in the mysterious mansion murder case here in the nation's capital. Police now searching for possible accomplices after one suspect was arrested and charged with first- degree murder.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has been digging on this story. Pamela, what are you learning? PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there are
still a lot of questions surrounding the assistant (ph), and a friend of his that I spoke to today tells me he has been cooperating with police. He is one of several people still being investigated in connection to the quadruple homicide.
BROWN (voice-over): Tonight we're learning more about a key witness in the quadruple homicide. The assistant of Savvas Savopoulos, who was trying to lawn after car-racing career and began working as Savopoulos's driver just a few months ago, according to a source. Police say his last errand for his boss was to drop off $40,000 in cash at the family's home while they were held hostage. Police say his phone had a number of text messages and calls with Mr. Savopoulos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the first selected to get the $40,000 back to the house. He's going to play a hugely important role in resolving this case.
BROWN: Listed as Witness One in court documents, the assistant allegedly changed his account and the events where he left the package, when he was told to get the package and how he received the package, telling authorities he lied when he stated the money was in a manila envelope. Police say he texted a picture of the money in a red bag to another witness the morning of the murders.
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Is it possible that you misremember putting money in a manila envelope as opposed to red bags? It's possible, but it starts to become less possible when, just a few hours ago, you texted a picture of that same bag.
BROWN: According to local Washington affiliate WTTG, the assistant's Instagram account shows pictures of fancy cars, including from inside his boss' blue Porsche, where he writes, "Another day on the job. My office today is pretty nice! #Porsche #turbo #Porsche911 #work."
Police say the Savopoulos family's blue Porsche was stolen and eventually set on fire after the quadruple homicide. According to police records, a witness says the driver of the stolen Porsche had short, well-groomed hair. The only suspect named so far in the murders, Daron Wint, has mid-length dreadlocks. He was arrested after police say his DNA was found on a piece of pizza crust in the home where the murders took place.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a mystery. It's really -- it's almost like a crime novel with an elaborate and complex plot, and we're only being given pieces.
BROWN: And sources say the police continued to investigate the five people who were with Wint when he was arrested, including his brother, cousin, and two women who allegedly purchased money orders with the murder money, that $40,000 -- Wolf.
BROWN: All right. Pamela, thank you. Let's bring back our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. Also
joining us, Matthew Horace. He's a former ATF special agent in charge. Tom, we heard about this one witness, according to this indictment, lying about the nature of this $40,000 delivery, if you will. What does all of this say to you?
FUENTES: Well, it's very suspicious, Wolf, if he lied on something that really should be pretty easy to know or remember in terms of the facts of this case. It's one thing when witnesses in the heat of trauma see a bank robber run out the door and misidentify that person. But in this situation, the role that he played, you know, it's hard to imagine how you would not be accurate in telling that story to the police.
BLITZER: Matthew, what does it say to you?
MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Well, I think when you look at the tone of the investigation, the investigators are going to ensure three things: that this investigation is complete, that it's correct, and that it's comprehensive. A part of that is going to be interviewing each and every person that's come in contact with Wint or the family. His story might change one times, two times, three times, or more before we determine the full scope of this investigation.
BLITZER: Would you be surprised if there are other arrests coming forward in the days or weeks ahead, Matthew?
HORACE: I would expect there to be other arrests coming forward in the days, weeks ahead. And let me tell you why, Wolf. Because every day investigators are discussing what's being taken out of the house, what evidence they recovered initially after the fire.
What digital evidence they're recovering from the cell phones and computers. And they're developing case management systems to link all these things together and develop more witnesses.
BLITZER: You worked for the ATF for a long time, Matthew. That fire was supposedly -- I assume that whoever launched that fire was trying to destroy evidence. But could they really come up with more evidence following a horrendous fire like that?
HORACE: Wolf, I've seen evidence recovered from arson scenes in the dead of winter in Alaska and in 100-degree heat in Phoenix. The ATF certified fire investigators, as we said before, are amongst the very best arson investigators in the world. And they will stay on that scene until the scene is complete.
BLITZER: Where does this next go, Tom?
FUENTES: Well, I think when Matthew talks about that scene, there's still a lot of work continuing in terms of forensic analysis. That was the investigative material that was collected, now being analyzed. How many other people can they place at the scene in that building?
The rest of the investigation concerning the courier taking the money from the bank to the doorstep, the assistant to Savopoulos. So, you know, there's a lot of stories that have to be looked at, and I think someone at some point in this case for so many people that seem to have some piece of it, someone is going to be cooperating and tell the story to save themselves.
BLITZER: We'll see where it goes next. Tom Fuentes, Matthew Horace, guys, thanks very much.
Just ahead, there are now new political attacks against Senator Rand Paul. Why are rival Republican presidential hopefuls going after him right now?
[18:49:23] BLITZER: We're following a major breaking story. Dennis Hastert, the Republican former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has been indicted on federal banking charges. He's also accused of lying to the FBI.
According to the indictment which has just been released, Hastert evaded government rules when he withdrew nearly $1 million from a bank. The U.S. attorney's office says between 2010 and 2014, Hastert withdrew nearly $2 million from banks and ordered a, quote, "compensate for and conceal his prior misconduct against an unnamed individual.
[18:50:01] Hastert, he's 73 years old. He was speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007.
There's another story that's breaking right now. The National Security Agency preparing to shut down a controversial domestic surveillance program that's due to expire a little more than 72 hours from now. Republican senator and presidential candidate, Rand Paul, has led the charge against the NSA's mass collection of phone records. That's one the reasons several of his rivals are pouncing on him right now.
CNN's Athena Jones is working the story for us.
What else is going to on, Athena?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
Well, he's at just 7 percent in the latest presidential poll, but Rand Paul is at the center in a debate within his party over the domestic surveillance and the war against ISIS. And that's made the Kentucky senator a punching bag in the GOP field.
JONES (voice-over): Tonight, Rand Paul, increasingly at odds with key members of his own party, doubling down on his opposition to government surveillance, tools supporters say are vital to finding terrorism.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our Founding Fathers' intent was to protect our privacy.
JONES: Paul has led the charge against the NSA's mass collection of phone data. He took to the Senate floor this weekend to block attempts to extend the program beyond its June 1st expiration, now just days away. That prompted an eye roll from one fellow Republican.
PAUL: I object.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection is heard.
PAUL: Our forefathers would be aghast.
JONES: A libertarian with an isolationist streak, he's also blaming some in his party for the rise of ISIS.
PAUL: ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.
JONES: Comments also drawing fire from his fellow presidential hopefuls.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: When it comes to foreign policy which is increasingly important issue, his statements yesterday and some of his previous statements I just think were under unsuitable --
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think there's a lot of good things about him. But I think he's just wrong on this one.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would expect to hear that from maybe Bernie Sanders. I don't expect to hear that from someone running for the Republican nomination.
JONES: Paul vows to keep blocking the NSA programs, sending snarky tweets like this to President Obama. "In 2006, you said we should defend privacy of Americans. So you were for privacy before you were against it?"
And calling on his supporters to stand with Rand and throw in some cash. His campaign even selling this filibuster starter pack with a t-shirt that reads, "The NSA knows I bought this Rand Paul t- shirt."
Still, Paul's opponents say he's wrong on the NSA.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: There's nobody engaging on this national conversation other than me who's used these tools. I've used them for seven years now as a prosecutor. What I talk about is theoretical. What I talk about is actual.
(END VIDEOTAPE) JONES: Now, Paul's campaign says voters want a candidate with
coherent views and that he's the only Republican running who's willing to learn from America's mistakes in the Middle East. And when it comes to that NSA debate, we expect to see Paul once again in action on the Senate floor Sunday night when the Senate comes back to try to pass an extension of this Patriot Act provisions before they expire at midnight -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Athena, thanks very much.
Let's bring in our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, CNN politics reporter Sara Murray, and our CNN political director, David Chalian.
Is it really Rand Paul versus the rest of the Republican field right now? Is that what's going on?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It certainly is on this issue of ISIS, right? About him saying that right-wing hawks inside the party are the ones that caused this moment where ISIS is having this resurgent moment. That he stands alone.
And, quite frankly, he's got a tricky challenge standing alone, Wolf, because he needs to appeal to that libertarian streak in the party, the group of folks that fueled his dad's rise in the party and grow beyond that. And if he is right now on these issues of the NSA or of ISIS and appealing just to that wing, he's not doing the addition part he needs to do. His competitors are well-aware of that and they're eager to jump on this to make sure that they pigeonhole him still just with that libertarian wing of the party.
BLITZER: Could he, though, Gloria, benefit from being a punching bag right now?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Yes, it's all about name recognition.
You know, right now, there's the debate, the ideological debate that's going on. They're campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire, and there's another primary that's going on. The primary that's going on is to get on that debate stage, the first FOX debate in August is going to take the top 10 folks.
So, it's like the hunger games out there, Wolf, only without the fun for these guys. So, the more your name recognition goes up, all you need to do is get a little bit of a sliver of the electorate. If you're going to have 15 candidates out there, you don't need to have a wing of the party. You just need to have a little sliver of the party supporting you so you can qualify for these debates which actually give you oxygen.
BLITZER: Because you wrote a column in CNN.com saying one of the motivations for what the attacks that are going on right now is to get name recognition.
[18:55:05] BORGER: Sure. Everybody wants to get into the act. You know, Jeb Bush doesn't have to do because he has that recognition. But everybody wants to get into the act right now because they want to get on that stage.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: But I think it's not just getting on the debate stage. If you look at a place like Iowa, you don't need that large of a percentage of the vote to turn out a strong showing in Iowa. So, if Rand Paul can make a name for himself doing this kind of thing and find enough voters in Iowa who are worried about America being too interventionist and he can bring it up, Ron Paul people do (INAUDIBLE), it's just a matter of getting on the debate stage, it's a matter of turning out a really strong performance in Iowa where the votes are really fractured.
BLITZER: These supporters that he has, is it the same base his father, the former congressman, Ron Paul, had?
MURRAY: It's definitely going to be some of the same base. The problem with Rand Paul is he walks this line between not totally alienating the establishment Republicans, but also trying to bring in the Ron Paul supporters. It is a very thin line. The more he brings -- the more he agrees with the establishment on foreign policy, the more Ron Paul supporters he's going to lose.
BLITZER: Can that resonate in Iowa, the Iowa caucuses, that Ron Paul, Rand Paul libertarian base, if you will?
CHALIAN: No doubt. We saw it resonate for Rand Paul. It didn't resonate to the point of victory, but it certainly resonated when he got a healthy turnout there. But Sarah's point is so critical because he's clearly, when he goes to the Senate floor, as he will do again this coming Sunday, this is a fundraising opportunity. This is build e-mail lists. This is really jazzing up those folks that are really psyched about having this libertarian guy standing there in the party as a real contender.
But the more he gives voice to that wing of the party, he's retracting some of those mainstream folks that he's been trying to win over.
BLITZER: Gloria, we got a new Republican race today, the former New York Governor George Pataki --
BORGER: What day is today? Thursday, new Republican --
BLITZER: He announced he's running for the Republican presidential nomination.
I want to put up on the screen this new Quinnipiac University poll of potential Republican candidates out there. You take a look at the top five all at, what, 10 percent right there. You see Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee.
BLITZER: And Scott Walker.
BLITZER: No real frontrunner right now.
BORGER: No, that's why they're all getting in. First of all, they think Hillary Clinton is imminently beatable and they think she might beat herself in the primary. They have no idea. But they look at this field, and they say, well, why not me? I know there's a joke about every member of the Senate looking around and saying why not me. But that's what George Pataki is doing.
And, you know, he's trying to see, I'm going to get in, see who fails, and then see who's left standing. You can say the same for John Kasich who hasn't made a decision yet to get in and a bunch of others.
MURRAY: Yes, and I think the reality is that all of these people are doing pretty well because the claws are just now starting to come out. When we talk about Jeb Bush being at 10 percent right now, along with everyone else, he's talking about raising insane amounts of money. You know why you do that? You can carpet-bomb everyone else with negative ads. So, the minute anyone like Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, even Ben Carson starts to rise up, as we get closer to that voting day in Iowa, you can expect them knock (INAUDIBLE) by negative ads.
CHALIAN: That's why all those 10 percents are not necessarily equal.
CHALIAN: It is a five-way tie right now, but because Jeb Bush is going to have, you know, $100 million just waiting in reserve to launch as needed, not every one of those guys may have that kind of money.
BORGER: And there are national polls which will determine who gets on the debate stage for now, and there are polls in Iowa in which case Jeb Bush doesn't look so good, OK? So we're looking at different sets of polling to determine different outcomes. One for debates, one for who might well win the Iowa primary, the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary. So, it's a lot of different things we have to digest right now.
BLITZER: Can a moderate Republican like George Pataki from New York state and he repeatedly was reelected in New York state, can he do well, though, nationally in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Florida, places like that?
CHALIAN: I covered George Pataki back when I covered New York politics. He is a pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-environmental Republican. I think that is a very tough portfolio to have and to win the modern day Republican presidential nomination.
BLITZER: Yes. And Rudy Giuliani learned that, what, four years ago. MURRAY: Right, absolutely. And I think the fact that we're
seeing George Pataki entered the race and everyone is like, eh, gives you a sign of just how many options there are this time and how strong of a field it is this time.
BLITZER: Take a look at these pictures. I want to leave our viewers with these disturbing pictures that are just coming in in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Take a look at the flooding. This is near Oklahoma City right now. It's been horrendous in Oklahoma, in Texas. We see what's going on.
We're going to be monitoring this throughout the night here on CNN, obviously tomorrow as well.
Significant flooding near Oklahoma City right now and more bad weather in Texas as well. Stay with CNN for complete coverage.
Guys, thanks very much. That's it for me. Please tweet me @WolfBlitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitroom. Join us tomorrow right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.