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WORLD RIGHT NOW WITH HALA GORANI

Cockpit Voice Recorder Shows Explosion; Black Boxes Indicate Crash Not an Accident; Thousands of Tourists Stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh; Cockpit Voice Recorder Shows Explosion; Some U.K. Tourists Arrive Back from Sharm el-Sheikh; Funerals Held for Crash Victims in Russia; Growing Questions about Carson's Past. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 6, 2015 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[15:00:00]

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Welcome, everybody. I'm Hala Gorani. We begin this hour with major developments in the investigation into the crash of

Metrojet Flight 9268. Investigators working to analyze the two black boxes now say the cockpit voice recorder shows an explosion and the flight data

recorder confirms that it was not accidental. This is reporting from our affiliate, France 2.

Also among today's major developments as we continue to piece together exactly what happened to that commercial jetliner, the Russian president,

Vladimir Putin, has called for all flights from Russia to Egypt to be suspended, not just flights to Sharm el-Sheikh but to the whole country.

Putin says he needs more information about why the plane crashed in the Sinai.

The U.S. is also taking action. It is expanding screening measures at a number of international airports on flights bound for the United States.

We don't have a list of exactly what airports are on this particular increased security measure list.

Meanwhile, a few British tourists are beginning to make their way home. However, of 29 flights scheduled, only eight took off from Sharm el-Sheikh

for the U.K.

Egyptian officials are set to hold a press conference tomorrow, Saturday. Also French aviation authorities say they expect an announcement on the

Metrojet crash within 24 hours.

Will we get confirmation that these black boxes show it was no accident?

Let's get straight to our reporters, who are on the story. Nima Elbagir is in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. CNN's Matthew Chance is following developments

from Moscow.

And Matthew, I want to start with you. We understand U.K. and U.S. intelligence have shared information with Russia now at this stage after

not having done so in the immediate aftermath. Tell us more on this.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The exact information that's been shared has not been made clear to me but I had a

conversation with the Kremlin spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, within the last hour. And he said that certain information has been shared.

So confirming for the first time there has been exchanges of intelligence between Russia and the United States and the United Kingdom, although he

didn't say which country provided the most intelligence for him to act on. But it certainly accounts for this U-turn which the Kremlin has taken in

the course of the past 24 hours.

Just yesterday they were saying they wanted to wait for the outcome of an investigation before they acted and made any determination about what was

the cause of this.

And remember, they're still not categorically saying it was a bomb that destroyed this airliner and killed 224 people. But the fact that they have

now suspended all flights from this evening according to the Russian deputy prime minister, from this evening, all flights from Russia to Egypt, then

that certainly marks a dramatic change of policy.

Yesterday the foreign ministry was indignant in its statement, saying that if the United Kingdom has information about the cause of this crash and

hadn't shared it with Russia, that was shocking. That now seems to have changed. It seems to have been addressed.

And because it's related to international terrorism, despite the fact there's been a poor relationship between Russia and the West, particularly

the United States and the United Kingdom, they're still cooperating, it seems, to get to the bottom of this crime.

GORANI: Matthew, stand by. We'll get back to you in a moment.

Nima Elbagir is in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, there at the airport.

What are you hearing on your end about this report that European investigators have analyzed these two data flight recorders and have come

to the conclusion, according to this report, that an explosion can be heard 24 minutes into the flight?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Egyptians are being very tight- lipped here on the ground, Hala. The only real lead we have is that they have announced that, tomorrow morning Egypt time, there --

[15:05:00]

ELBAGIR: -- will be a press conference at the civil aviation authority. The expectation is that that press conference could give us some sense of

what the investigation has found.

But this is really in keeping with the Egyptian line throughout this, they really have been blindsided again and again, initially by the Brits, then

that stronger line that BBC reported, that British investigators were concerned that a bomb had been smuggled onto the hold.

And now this from President Putin. A lot of the officials we were speaking to on the ground said they weren't even aware that President Putin had made

this statement about the -- about the suspension of flights.

In fact, on an official level, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that it was never informed bilaterally in advance of that statement being released

to the press by President Putin.

Already, though, Russian tourists have begun flying out. And those who the statement by their president call in mid-air, on arrival here, we

understand, we're told that they should prepare themselves to turn back around as soon as flights become available.

And that might be easier said than done. There really is a sense of confusion here, Hala. You have already the thousands of European tourists,

the Brits, the Danes and others.

Now you add several thousand Russians into the mix and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how this can be done in an orderly and, more

importantly, safe manner.

GORANI: All right. Nima, as well, stand by there at Sharm el-Sheikh. Fred Pleitgen can join us now. He's at 10 Downing Street and we're hearing

reports from this country in the U.K. that there, according to intelligence here in the United Kingdom, that they've come to the conclusion that

perhaps a bomb was planted inside the cargo hold of this particular plane.

Tell us more about what we're hearing in the United Kingdom.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's something we're hearing from various media outlets. First and foremost,

the BBC that is quoting, indeed, intelligence sources here in the United Kingdom, saying that they believe it could very possibly be someone who

worked at the airport, who could have smuggled a bomb inside the cargo hold of the plane.

Now they believe that this would have happened shortly before the plane would have taken off. They say it's unclear or it would have been unclear

whether or not some sort of explosive device would have been smuggled into the plane, inside a piece of luggage, or whether or not it was simply

placed in there before the door, the cargo door of the plane, would have been closed.

But certainly, of course, that is something that very much explains why all of these countries that are trying to bring back their people home are

bringing the people home but not allowing anything into the cargo hold.

It was interesting to see that after, as Matthew reported there, the Russians got that intelligence from the U.S. and United Kingdom, they

pretty much adopted the exact same measures that the U.K. did as well, putting together flights, saying, people, you can get on flights, you can

fly back but we're not going to take any of your luggage.

Clearly, even after additional security measures have been put in place, even after Britain has put several soldiers on the ground there to try and

ensure security, they're still not confident enough in the security procedures there to take that luggage with them.

And that certainly is something that is very, very significant and seems to point in the direction of the intelligence services believing that

something was smuggled into the cargo hold of that plane -- Hala.

GORANI: And Matthew Chance in Moscow, beyond the obvious human tragedy -- and it's been heart-wrenching, watching some of these funerals --

politically for Vladimir Putin, if indeed terrorists brought down a plane as payback for Russia's involvement in Syria, this is very damaging for the

Russian president, isn't it?

CHANCE: Well, it's certainly potentially damaging. And it kind of sprinkles some uncertainty on Russia's intervention in Syria. Up until

now, that intervention has been pretty much popular in terms of its support among the Russian public. It's been very distant. It's been at arm's

length.

We've seen images on Russian television of Russian warplanes pounding ISIS positions and those of other rebel groups as well. But it's not really

brought anything home.

And if it's found that this was a bomb planted by ISIS and it is retaliation, if you like, for the Russian intervention in Syria, it could

turn people against the campaign, the Kremlin campaign in that country. But I mean, it's pretty speculative.

And I've been thinking about this a lot recently. It could also go the other way. I mean, the Russian public is very nationalistic, it's very

militaristic as well. And if it is found this is an ISIS bomb it could just as easily confirm their support for that campaign in Syria and

actually urge the Kremlin to get even deeper into the Syrian conflict.

GORANI: Well, it will be interesting to see where public opinion goes.

Finally, I want to ask Nima a question, simply about logistics.

You were talking about the sheer number, thousands and thousands of people at this stage stranded at Sharm el-Sheikh airport. What is the plan here

for all these people?

We're speaking to one particularly British stranded tourist after the break.

But just how are they going to get all these people through the airport and home?

[15:10:00]

ELBAGIR: Well, the expectation was that, in addition to whatever the scheduled flights were, because a lot of these people are only just coming

to the end of their holidays, that they would then be able to double the capacity.

But this is not a hub. This is a smaller tourist resort airport and that is difficult enough to deal with all of this influx but then, in addition,

to do it safely. The head of security for airports and ports in this region was speaking to us a little bit earlier, Hala, and he said that,

while they are sticking to the security measures that they have always had in place and that they're comfortable with at this airport, the Brits, in

particular, for now, their military personnel team, are asking for access to all of their planes, all the British carriers that are coming in and

out, and they are taking responsibility for the security screenings.

Now you then multiply it by all the other nationals in all the other countries who might choose to take this on and the expectation just today

that there should have been 29 flights and we didn't get even a quarter of that out of here, that is very logistically difficult -- and then to do

that safely.

But the reality is -- we talk about the bigger picture. The reality is you have thousands of stranded tourists who are confused, who are concerned but

who are all repeatedly telling us, Hala, that they are increasingly, increasingly afraid about what these next coming days are going to mean for

them.

GORANI: All right, Matthew Chance in Moscow, Nima Elbagir in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt, and Fred Pleitgen at 10 Downing Street here in London, thanks to all three of you. A lot more to come this evening.

Thousands of tourists remain stranded in Sharm el-Sheikh. We spoke about that with Nima. Some flights to the U.K. are starting to take off but

certainly not all of them. I will be speaking live to one of those tourists who was due to leave a couple of days ago but who is still in

Sharm in a few minutes. Stay with us.

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GORANI: Well, let's update you on the major developments in the investigation into the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268. According to our

affiliate, France 2, investigators working to analyze the two black boxes say the cockpit voice recorder reveals an explosion. And they say the

flight data recorder confirms that this was not an accident last Saturday.

For tourists in Sharm el-Sheikh, it has been a day of confusion and of fear, it has to be said. Not all flights originally scheduled for Friday

have left for the U.K. This is leaving the remaining tourists stranded and unsure when they will make it home.

The British government says it's working to get people home as soon as possible but the operation at the airport is "hugely complex." And that is

quoting a statement from Downing Street.

One has to wonder what people on the ground are using in terms of adjectives to describe the situation. One of those tourists stuck in Sharm

is Shawn Gainsford. He was due to leave on Thursday but his flight was suspended.

Shawn joins me from his hotel via Skype.

Shawn, so as I mentioned to our viewers, you were meant to leave on Thursday.

[15:15:00]

GORANI: What is your status right now?

Obviously, you're still at your hotel.

SHAWN GAINSFORD, TOURIST STUCK IN SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Yes. We're still at the hotel. And the status is still unknown. We don't know when we're

going back.

GORANI: What airline are you on?

GAINSFORD: Airline is easyJet.

GORANI: And are they in touch with you?

GAINSFORD: No. Not at all. We're meant to just look at the tracker basically on the website.

GORANI: So do you have to go to the airport, ask them what's going on?

Or are you basically just checking out their website every, you know, half an hour or hour?

How are you keeping yourself informed?

GAINSFORD: It's basically every half an hour we just check the website, just to see what's going on. But again, we're getting conflicting

information from easyJet so that if you're not sure about your flight, just stay at your hotel. And, you know, that was yesterday as well. We

actually went to the airport and it was again canceled.

GORANI: Right.

And what's the situation at the airport?

Is it chaotic?

Are you able to get information?

Or is it just too crowded to get any kind of -- anybody to help you there?

GAINSFORD: It's basically all of the above. It's very crowded. You can see that people are very anxious and it's just not a place to be. It's not

a place how you'd actually want to end your holiday.

GORANI: Are you -- eventually you'll get home. Hopefully a few easyJet flights and other flights took off today bound for the U.K.

But do you have any safety concerns?

Are you comfortable flying out of Sharm el-Sheikh?

GAINSFORD: Absolutely not. But I have to say they have really beefed up the security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport. It took us 20 minutes just to get

into the front gate. So that gives us a bit of, you know, certainty that things are being looked after better.

GORANI: So it took you 20 minutes to get to the front gate of the airport surrounding the actual airport building?

GAINSFORD: Yes.

GORANI: And that's because of the increased checkpoints and identity checks?

Why did it take that long?

GAINSFORD: It took that long because they literally check every single vehicle, underneath, open up the boot and they check all the passports.

GORANI: Oh, interesting. So they're checking your ID and they're looking under cars and everything, presumably for explosive devices?

GAINSFORD: Absolutely.

GORANI: OK. So now you're two days -- no, you were meant to leave yesterday. So you're now 24 hours delayed.

What happens now?

It could potentially be a whole lot longer.

What are you doing in the meantime in Sharm el-Sheikh?

GAINSFORD: Well, in the meantime, it's -- you know, we're trying to relax as much as we can just by the poolside. And obviously just keeping up

there with new developments. I have to say Twitter has been fantastic in terms of just getting new information through.

GORANI: And I've got to ask you about the Egyptians. I opinion, they must be really concerned right now that really the source of their livelihood is

being threatened in a major way.

When you discuss this situation with Egyptians there in Sharm el-Sheikh, what are they telling you?

GAINSFORD: Yes. It is a really, really sad story for them because they really depend on us being here. It's their livelihood. They are fantastic

people. You know, everyone that we got to know at the hotel is fantastic and helped us really, really well. So I do feel very sorry for them.

GORANI: All right. Shawn Gainsford, who's stranded right now in Sharm el- Sheikh. He's in his hotel waiting for information on when he can fly out. Thanks very much for joining us.

Shawn was mentioning there that this is bad news economically for Sharm el- Sheikh. One thing I did learn today, which was interesting, is that a third of all tourists to Egypt last year were from Russia.

But you can imagine that Russia suspending all of its flights to all of Egypt, not just to Sharm el-Sheikh, is terrible news in terms of the

economy in that particular sector, the tourism sector.

Now we were discussing with Shawn, the tourist, that some British tourists have managed to make it back home. The first flight landed a few hours ago

at Gatwick airport, one of only a few that managed to make it out of Sharm el-Sheikh. Let's get more now from CNN's Phil Black. He is at Gatwick

airport as well.

What have you been hearing from returning passengers, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hala, as one British man walked out of the terminal at Gatwick today, he screamed, "Home, sweet home," at the

top of his voice. So there is tremendous relief. A large number of relieved passengers but just not as many as there were supposed to be.

Ultimately, the planned operation today, to bring back these stranded tourists, has not lived up to expectation. There were supposed to be 29

flights but, in the end, only eight have been allowed to fly from Sharm el- Sheikh because of restrictions at that airport itself.

Five airlines, but they've all been affected differently: Monarch, for example, had sent out five empty planes from the U.K. Only four were

allowed to land at Sharm el-Sheikh and then of those only two were allowed to make the return journey.

EasyJet has had an even tougher time. It hoped to send out eight empty aircraft.

[15:20:00]

BLACK: None of them were allowed into Sharm el-Sheikh today. But it did have two planes on the ground that were able to make the return journey.

One of those was that first flight back in here into Gatwick, where we spoke to passengers as they arrived. They all shared a tremendous sense of

relief. They're all very critical of the previous security arrangements at Sharm el-Sheikh and they all had varying views on the British government

response to all of this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that David Cameron absolutely made the right decision. I felt so much

safer once we knew that they were involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think everyone was a bit angry, particularly with what's happening. We didn't get no information from anybody, EasyJet or

the British U.K. No one told us nothing.

BLACK: What was your sense of the security on the ground at Sharm el- Sheikh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't very good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wednesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) I can understand everything they're saying and everyone knew they'd gone mental. It's not safe at all there

(INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: Now, the reason so few British flights are being allowed in and out of Sharm el-Sheikh comes down to one of the additional security precautions

that are being enforced by the British government. These returning flights are not allowed to carry checked luggage.

Egyptian officials on the ground, however, say they simply don't have the storage space to hold on to so many bags, which are supposed to be returned

separately.

So it seems the British government's hopes of moving so many passengers will not be realized until they're able to organize cargo flights to move

the bags within a fairly similar timeframe -- Hala.

GORANI: All right. Phil Black at Gatwick airport. Thanks very much.

It is 8:21 pm here in London. Some news coming in to us via Reuters. The Kremlin is now saying that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has

spoken on the phone with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Unknown whether or not he shared that intelligence that was given to Moscow

by U.K. and U.S. intelligence services.

But I spoke with a high-level Egyptian official today, who preferred not to be named, who told me that U.K. and U.S. Intelligence agencies and

governments shared no intelligence with Egypt, expressed some frustration at that, saying it would be good to know what information they have,

especially if they believe that this is something, the genesis of which took place in Egypt, or if there's some sort of inside job at the airport.

Though I asked him as well to clarify whether he believed that Egypt thought that this was indeed a terrorist attack, he said, no, we are no

closer to that. We believe this is one among many other theories.

We'll see if that position changes in the coming hours. Quick break. We'll be right back with our Richard Quest.

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GORANI: More now on this hour's major developments in the investigation into the crash of Metrojet Flight 9268. Investigators working to analyze

the two black boxes, say the cockpit voice recorder shows an explosion and the flight data recorder confirms, once analyzed, that this was not an

accident according to our affiliate, France 2.

Let's cross live to New York. I'm joined by CNN's aviation correspondent, Richard Quest.

So if this is indeed confirmed, what are investigators -- how would you come to this conclusion, based on the analysis of these black boxes?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Reading what they are saying, you start off with the cockpit voice recorder. Now, the moment the

explosion happens, power is lost to both recorders. In fact, the data stream is also lost to both recorders. So it literally comes to a stop, an

instantaneous stop.

But in that millisecond before it takes place, you'll hear something. And they heard it on MH17, where the cockpit voice recorder had a deep rumble

and a noise just before they -- as the missile was exploding. In fact, they were able to analyze that and work out from which direction the

missile and the explosion had happened.

And it was the same on TWA 800 where there was a deep rumble of an explosion from the fuel tanks. But it is just a millisecond.

Now you then take the cockpit, you then take the flight data recorder and you look at all the parameters. And what they say, of course, is the

engines, the control surfaces, the fuel, the oils, everything is looking normal for the 23 minutes of the flight until suddenly something happens.

Now, Hala, we've talked about this before. Planes don't fall out of the sky for no reason. If there had been a structural failure, you'd have seen

things failing. It wouldn't have been quite as instantaneous.

In the nature of this explosion -- explosions have a unique signature to them. They stop the power. They create, obviously, destruction of the

aircraft. And that is what they are now saying they're seeing on the FDR and the CVR.

GORANI: So if this is confirmed, we know it's an explosion. We don't know necessarily that it's a bomb being placed by someone in the cargo hold or

anywhere else.

What element of the investigation will we need to confirm that?

QUEST: Oh, I think --

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GORANI: Yes.

QUEST: Sorry, sorry.

Just a -- I think --

GORANI: So go ahead, go ahead.

QUEST: -- one can say that, if it's an explosion -- well, you're talking - - to create a destruction of an aircraft on an explosion, you'd be talking about a TWA 800 situation, where you have an explosion of the central fuel

tanks.

So you have got, yes, I would say, one leaves on the table the option of that scenario.

But bearing in mind the other aspects, the shrapnel that's supposedly been in -- or the parts of metal that have been in those passengers at the rear

of the aircraft, the nature of the sudden flash fire explosion, I think you're taking options off the table rather than putting them on and you're

heading towards some form of device.

GORANI: Now we know that usually these investigations take a very long time. Some of the worst air disasters, Air France 447, even TWA 800, those

took a really long time. It seems like we're getting information very quickly in this case.

Why is that?

QUEST: No, I'm not sure that that's true in the sense that if you take MH17 we knew it was a missile on the day but it was 18 months later before

you get chapter and verse of what the missile was, where it exploded and how it detonated and brought down the plane.

And I think that's going to be the same here unless they find residue. If they find residue, then you've upped the ante in a sense.

Otherwise, I think what you're going to find is the initial report, saying -- assuming it's confirmed -- explosion brought down the plane. And then

it will be very silent for many months as the detailed research goes on until they finally come up and say this is how it was done.

And it's between aviation on one side, trying to find out what happened and prevent it happening again, and geopolitical situation on the other side,

where you've got government saying this is a battle against ISIS.

GORANI: And of course when you have these situations where planes crash in one country but the carrier is from country B and the investigation is

being carried out in country C, et cetera, et cetera, here we understand, according to this report, that these are European investigators. Would

this be Airbus investigators going over the black box material?

[15:30:03]

QUEST: My feeling is, because of their experience and expertise, this is the BEA. This is the French investigators who are there along -- who are

probably doing a lot of assistance to the Egyptians. The Egyptians are running the air accident investigation. No doubt about that. And X-13

makes that clear.

The Russians are there because they're the state of operator. The French are there because they're the state of design. The Irish are there because

they're the state of registry. And the Germans are there because they're the state of manufacture.

But the one that's there with the most experience is pretty much the French, the BEA, with the Russians.

GORANI: OK. Richard Quest, we'll see you at the top of the hour on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with all the latest breaking news lines on this story.

Ahead on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW, of course at the heart of this is a human tragedy. We will remember the victims of Metrojet crash 9268. Family

members mourn. And they are demanding answers from their government.

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GORANI: News breaking this hour on the crash of Metrojet 9268. Investigators working to analyze the two black boxes say the cockpit voice

recorder shows an explosion and that the flight data recorder confirms that it was not an accident, according to our affiliate, France 2.

Meanwhile, the first British tourists have arrived home after their flights left Sharm el-Sheikh --

[15:35:00]

GORANI: -- but thousands of others are still in Sharm el-Sheikh. Egypt says eight flights will leave the resort; 29 were previously scheduled.

The British government has described the operation as, quote, "hugely complex."

And in other news after a seven-year battle the American president, Barack Obama has now rejected the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. He says the

U.S. is a global leader in combating climate change and approving it would have undercut that.

The proposed pipeline would expand nearly 2,000 kilometers across six states and parts of Canada but it will not materialize.

Saturday will mark one week since the Russian plane crash over Egypt and the human cost is being deeply felt in St. Petersburg. More funerals took

place today. And as CNN's Nic Robertson reports, shell-shocked families are now mourning those they lost.

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NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In a Russian forest, a wife and the dead man's sister, his mother and his

father, a family tormented in grief, with friends come to bury Timor Miller, 33 years old, a businessman.

A bleak procession, remembering a life that ended aboard Metrojet Flight 9268, as it crashed into the Egyptian desert thousands of miles away.

ROBERTSON: Every day now more passengers are buried, more bodies are identified. But for so many families of victims, closure is still a long

way off. The most pressing questions remain unanswered.

Why did the plane crash?

And what killed their loved ones?

NATALIA MAKAROVA, CRASH VICTIM'S SISTER: They want just to know the truth, what is really going on. Just be honest and just tell us what was happen.

But nothing.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Natalia rushed back from New York when she learned her sister, Daria, a psychologist, was aboard the ill-fated flight. They

were close, soul sisters, spiritual.

MAKAROVA: I have to show my parents that I'm strong and to have to go through this whole hard process.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But this once happy family is struggling to get answers from the government.

MAKAROVA: They don't give us enough information about that. They just don't want to talk about it at all.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Since the moment she arrived, Natalia's mother, like her daughter, has been turning to God for support. But the hope she

needs now can only come from her government.

MAKAROVA: I think they have an answers but they don't want us to know.

ROBERTSON: Why not?

MAKAROVA: That's my opinion.

ROBERTSON: Why not?

MAKAROVA: Because it's a hard truth.

ROBERTSON: You think it might be terrorism?

MAKAROVA: It's my opinion. I don't know.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Back in the forest, Fatima's family, now is the time of their final goodbyes. In the coming weeks, many more families will

have such moments, moments hung heavier by unanswered questions -- Nic Robertson, CNN, St. Petersburg, Russia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: European investigators are now convinced there was a bomb on board the Metrojet plane, according to a report from France 2. The investigators

say the plane's cockpit voice recorder reveals an explosion and that the flight data recorder confirms or reveals that this was not an accidental

crash, essentially that there was no mechanical issue.

To discuss the investigation but mainly how intelligence is gathered in these situations, I'm joined by Buck Sexton. He's a former CIA

counterterrorism analyst and a CNN political commentator.

Buck Sexton, thanks for being with us. Russia -- and I also spoke to a high-ranking Egyptian official today -- were both essentially complaining

that the U.S. and U.K. did not share their intelligence. It appears that the U.S. and U.K. have shared some intelligence with Russia right now but

up until a few hours ago they were not with Egypt.

Why in some cases then is intelligence not shared?

BUCK SEXTON, FORMER CIA COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, there's always going to be something of a tension between those who will say look, we have

to protect sources and methods here the way that the information comes into the hands of the various intelligence agencies that we're talking about

here. They don't want to give up those sources and methods. And so sometimes they have to hold that back.

By the same token, when you're talking about an international aviation terrorist incident -- as it certainly seems like this is; I think we're

getting close to beyond a reasonable doubt that this was some kind of a bomb that took down this plane and killed over 200 people -- there's a

clearer urgency to share information such that the authorities, whether it's the Russians or the Egyptians --

[15:40:00]

SEXTON: -- and others as well, by the way, need to be involved in this and they need to understand the threat that they're facing.

But it really has to do with sources and methods protection and having to make sure that the information is parsed out such that the essential

nuggets, if you will, the parts of it that will prove this was a terrorist act perhaps are shared but not necessarily the specifics of where it came

from.

And that can slow down this intelligence sharing process and it usually is a hurdle in these kinds of situations.

GORANI: Well, their complaint was, look, if you're basically saying that this was an inside job at the airport and that perhaps the security

apparatus or the security ranks at Sharm el-Sheikh airport have been infiltrated by ISIS, how do you withhold that information?

We can apprehend people, we can try to gather intelligence ourselves, et cetera. That basically was the complaint.

And in this case, I mean, how do you explain that, then?

If indeed this is the conclusion that the intelligence agencies have come to, that this could have been planted at the airport on the tarmac itself.

SEXTON: It certainly seems that the most plausible scenario here is in fact an insider attack, somebody that was turned from the inside of the

airport, whether in security or some other part of the airport's apparatus, that got an explosive device onto this plane.

Now as to why that information, if there is an intel service -- and we're not sure which one or who it is necessarily at this point -- if somebody

has an idea as to who or whom that may be -- there could be more than one individual -- again, how they got the information could be a point of

sensitivity.

I think that's where you're going to run into some problems, especially if you're talking about a human source, if it's somebody that's close to them,

they may decide they need to hold back on that information.

But I would assume that if they knew who this was at this stage of the game, meaning if they knew who was the inside threat, the inside attacker,

that that information would be shared.

So, I guess in answer to your question, if we know that or the U.K. knows that, it would be only a matter of time -- and I think it would be a very

short matter of time before that would be shared with the Egyptian authorities and perhaps even the Russians as well, depending on what we're

talking about.

GORANI: So sources did tell CNN early on, about a day and a half ago or so, that some of this intelligence that reached the conclusion that this

could have been a bomb came from chatter before and after the attack on open source -- the open Web.

Did that surprise you, that some of these discussions could be taking place online in a very easily sort of traceable way?

SEXTON: No, not at all, because, this cyber caliphate, if you will, the online jihad -- again, assuming this is a terrorist attack and I think

we're pretty much at a place where we can speak about it as a terrorist attack -- but nonetheless, that's something that's continuous.

The choosing that you're going to actually speak about this openly, the sort of seizing a moment of jihadist glory, it's a means of recruiting

people from around the world. It's a means of showing that you can attack your enemy.

And so taking credit for these kinds of things in open source material, all across the Internet in chat rooms and then, of course, in the more

protected and encrypted internal communications between the various members and branches of the Islamic State, we could expect that to be the case

because that's what happens in the aftermath of these kinds of attacks. So there's nothing out of the ordinary there.

And I think that, generally speaking, when you're talking about ISIS and claiming credit for this kind of an attack, most of the time they've been

pretty accurate about it, especially when it reaches the level that we're talking about it now.

GORANI: All right, Buck Sexton, thanks very much. If indeed it is confirmed, we'll see if there is an official claim of responsibility.

Thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it.

You can go it our Facebook page, facebook.com/halagoranicnn. There you'll find some of our interviews as well as some of the reporting on the program

this evening, facebook.com/halagoranicnn.

Quick break. We'll be right back with more news.

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[15:45:00]

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GORANI: Let's get more now on our top story. The report that the black boxes for Metrojet Flight 9268 reveal that the crash was not accidental

from our affiliate France 2. Let's get more on this breaking news.

I want to bring in Julian Bray. He's an aviation expert and he joins me now via Skype from Peterborough, England.

Julian Bray, thanks very much for joining us. So just to reiterate, in case you haven't heard it, this report that European investigators,

according to France 2 television, are saying that the black box recordings reveal that there was some sort of explosion 24 minutes into the flight and

that the voice data recorders suggest that this was not an accident.

On what do you usually base this type of conclusion?

JULIAN BRAY, AVIATION EXPERT: Well, it's pretty good if they've actually managed to rip all this data off the black boxes. And now you have a voice

recorder, which will give you about two hours of chat between the pilot, the co-pilot, air traffic control and anybody else that comes onto the

flight deck.

And you've got the voice data recorder. That would give you a full 48 hours of what has actually happened to that particular aircraft.

Every relay you open, every button you push will be on that data stack somewhere. And this is all on a timeline. So what you do, you mesh the

two lots of data together and you then have a pretty good idea of everything that's happening in that aircraft.

GORANI: Can you say with confidence that it was an explosion?

I mean, could it be something else?

Can you reach that conclusion with 100 percent confidence based only on the black box?

BRAY: No, you need other sources as well. But I think they've got it. Because if you look at the size of the debris field there had to be

something pretty catastrophic and quite high off the ground for the debris field to be spread the way it was.

So I think we can say 100 percent it was a bomb or it was a device, an explosive device and it went off at the time they said it did.

GORANI: And when you need more information, presumably that's the debris field but would there be traces of explosives?

In the initial days after the crash, we were hearing from sources on the ground that there were no traces of explosive residue so that took us away

from the theory that it could have been a bomb.

Would that necessarily result in traces of explosives on the ground or not?

BRAY: That would actually take a lot longer to determine, the initial search on the ground to try and find this.

So who knows?

We might actually find other traces of explosives. But now that they've actually been guided by the black box, they'll know where to look because

there's an awful lot of debris to go through.

And this -- well, it could take one or two years to actually come to a final conclusion. But the headline news, I think we can say, it was an

explosive device and it appears to have been placed in the luggage compartment rather than the cargo.

GORANI: But what's the difference between -- what is the difference on a black box between an explosive device, which is one thing, and an

explosion, which is another?

Let's say a fuel tank malfunction or something like that.

BRAY: Well, you can't just -- you can't just have an explosion as such. There has to be a cause, something to start the explosion off. It hasn't

self-combusted. That's what we're trying to say. So something was put in there, so an explosive device, bomb, call it what you like, pipe bomb.

It's gone in there.

And basically, what's happened, we think, other intelligence they've got, that --

[15:50:00]

BRAY: -- it's actually placed into the already screened luggage just before it went onto the aircraft. Somebody who had an airside pass, had

full security clearance, has gone onto the apron and slipped it into one of the cases.

GORANI: All right. Julian Bray, aviation expert, joining us from Peterborough. Thanks very much for being with us and for your analysis and

expertise.

A lot more to come on THE WORLD RIGHT NOW. U.S. politics: a U.S. presidential candidate's past catches up to him from the pages of his own

book. The latest on Ben Carson after the break.

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GORANI: Questions are multiplying about the personal narrative that shaped the life of Republican presidential candidate, we should say front-runner

now, Ben Carson. Carson slammed CNN's own reporting into his past earlier in the day. Listen to his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. BEN CARSON, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a bunch of lies. This is what it is. It's a bunch of lies attempting, you know, to

say that I'm lying about my history. I think it's pathetic. And basically --

(CROSSTALK)

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well --

CARSON: -- what the media does is they try to get you distracted with all of this stuff so that you don't talk about the things that are important

because we have so many important things. And you know, I'm not proud of the fact that I had these rage episodes but I am proud of the fact that I

was able to get over them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Ben Carson today. And today a "Politico" report raised even more questions about Carson's claims of having been offered a scholarship, a

full scholarship, to West Point Military Academy. CNN political correspondent Sara Murray joins me now live from Washington.

Sara, first I just want to bring our viewers up to date on what we're talking about here. Ben Carson's personal narrative takes -- as well in

one of his books about episodes where he was enraged, where he tried to stab a fellow classmate when he was a teenager.

And then when CNN went to try to find people who went to school with him or knew him during those years, they didn't say he's lying but they said we

have no recollection of this.

So why is Ben Carson not allowing -- or not giving the names of the people he says were involved in these incidents?

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it is very interesting because, of course, CNN has asked Ben Carson, has asked his campaign to put us in

touch with people he knew at that time. Maeve Reston and Scott Glover have been working on this. They've asked to be in touch.

And the campaign basically says they don't want to subject these people to media scrutiny; if those people want to come forward they'll do it on their

own.

But the really interesting thing is Ben Carson is the one who's woven this narrative. He's the one who brought the stories to light. He talks about

it as a tale of redemption, finding God and becoming the calm, mild- mannered candidate we see today.

And that's something really resonates with voters in Iowa. So to now see him push back so hard against trying to corroborate these stories is --

[15:55:00]

MURRAY: -- a little bit perplexing.

GORANI: But Alisyn Camerota, who conducted the telephone interview this morning, was asking him, this is something, as you mentioned there, Sarah,

you are using this as the reason, essentially, the reason why you turned around, stopped having rage episodes, found God, et cetera.

Why would you not allow us to speak to the people who were directly concerned?

And his answer was what exactly?

MURRAY: Well, his answer was that these people don't want to be subjected to the media scrutiny.

How do you think that you would ever find them?

But you know, he -- Maeve and Scott went, they talked to his neighbors, they talked to his childhood friends. And you know, nobody really

remembered Carson as sort of an angry and aggressive child. They sort of remember him as we see him now, more calm and mild-mannered.

And I think the really important thing to remember is that, when you're Ben Carson and you're a political outsider and you come to the race and surge

to the top of the polls like he has, it's based on his amazing life story. It's based on his biography and based on the fact that voters trust him.

And so now that there are these questions out there, that could potentially be an issue for him.

GORANI: And quickly -- yes, exactly.

Could it really hurt his campaign at this stage?

Just in a few seconds.

MURRAY: Right. So if he's attacking the media I think that -- which he was doing this morning -- I think that works really well with him for

Republican voters in Iowa. I think the problem is if it becomes an issue where people feel like they can't quite trust him, then it's the kind of

thing that can hurt his campaign.

GORANI: Sarah Murray, thanks very much, live in Washington.

I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching us this evening. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

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QUEST: The closing bell is ringing on Wall Street. The Dow up about just 40-odd points. Small gains at the end of the week. Air Products doing the

business.

Oh, dear. All right. You can stop now.

END