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Fight Against Terror Moves to Capitol Hill; Concerns Over North Korean Missile Launch; Obama Addresses Equal Pay for Women. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired April 12, 2016 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Do you agree this is a crisis in terms of putting a damper on the ISIS threat?

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R), TENNESSEE: No question that greater intelligence sharing and gathering is important. The new technologies that exist, that allow ISIS to download encrypted platforms so they can communicate so we can listen in as we have in the past is difficult and also the cultural issues that we have in Europe in germ. On one hand, they understand greater cooperation is necessary. They are concerns about privacy issues. They work against each other. All of us who want to be sure our citizens are safe, particularly here in the United States from my perspective intelligence is one of the key ingredients, if not the key ingredient to keep those attacks from occurring.

SCIUTTO: I will hear this frequently from counter-terror officials that the Europeans are in over their heads, some, through no fault of their own, they just have a far greater number of jihadis running around there, and they are closer to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. As you mentioned, some of the legal protections, are you saying Europe is the weak link to some degree in the fight against ISIS?

CORKER: It's very different than the format that we have here. I think you saw, earlier, you are well informed and pursuing these issues constantly but in Belgium in particular there were different speaking elements of the agencies, meaning that one language wasn't speaking well to the other. There are a lot of problems there. There's no question. When you say weak link, it's a challenging environment with 28 different countries. As you mentioned, the open borders issue. You have people constantly moving through. I was in the Balkans recently and thousands of people are passing trains in to Europe are. The intelligence issue is a problem. Certainly the approximate similarity, as you mentioned, with so many refugees coming in and you and us and them knowing many of these jihadists are embedded in those groups. They have significant challenges, far greater than what we have here in the U.S. What that means is there needs to be greater cooperation between ourselves and them.

SCIUTTO: Another issue brought up today in the hearing was the need to deny safe haven for terrorists in Syria, and as ISIS has expanded in to places like Libya. This idea of greater U.S. military interventions in Libya has been on the table for some time. Does the U.S. need to expand the war against ISIS in to Libya in greater numbers?

CORKER: Well, in the 6500 people there there's no question. By the way, there are three groups operating there. But it is a place, again, where we have this vacuum. What we have known watching in Syria, what happened there, I think we missed an opportunity, I will say over and over and over again in august of 2013, but with Syria, Iraq, Libya, when you have ungoverned places where governments are unstable, you have the creation of this land taking, the caliphate, that occur cans with is. No doubt denying safe haven has to be a part of what we are doing. We need to get the countries there on the ground more fully involved. It does take U.S. leadership for that to occur but it does take that. But one of the things that came out today, this is all hitting at the surface, the intelligence, safe haven, all of those things, the fact is there are root causes that this is happening and those root causes are still there. They are going to be organizations that come behind ISIS until the root causes are dealt. This will be a long, long, long-term struggle that our nation and others who care about western values will be dealing. Again, we need to combat it certainly now, the sort of superficial issues, those things that keep us safe. At the same time, what's driving the region is going to continue. We have to be more effective in countering the root causes, the poverty, the lobbyism, the things that are, the clerics that are driving this, other clerics have to speak out against. They are very complex issues. It's going to take years for us to resolve this but certainly today and urgent is making sure we keep our citizens safe here.

SCIUTTO: Years long war.

Senator Corker, thank you for your time today.

CORKER: Thank you. Yes, sir.

[13:35:00] SCIUTTO: Ahead, ISIS is recruiting Taliban fighters in Afghanistan as it tries to expand there. We need two of those fighters who say they were so horrified by ISIS atrocities they actually defected and are now fighting against ISIS.


SCIUTTO: Despite heavy U.S. bombing, ISIS is active in eastern Afghanistan. As the terror group tries to expand further across the country. It's also been recruiting fighters from inside of the Taliban.

In a CNN exclusive, we speak to two former ISIS commanders, who joined them from the Taliban, but appalled by their mass beheadings and other atrocities they have turned against ISIS.

CNN Nick Paton Walsh has the story.


[13:40:05] NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking for ISIS. In Afghanistan's east, ISIS' radio broadcast of hate was bombed off air recently by the U.S. But here it's been coming back in the past week.

"It was there three days ago, and it's gone again," says one man. "They were talking nonsense," says another. "They're asking people to pledge allegiance and march on Kabul," he adds.

This is one broadcast they recorded earlier. ISIS is trying to put down roots here. But every day, more Afghans want to tear them up. And that starts here. Two months ago, we wouldn't have sat like this. Then they were commanders in ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): They just like beheadings. Think they are good to do.

PATON WALSH: ISIS, they say, came from Pakistan, not Iraq, and promised guns and money to their struggling group of Taliban. Their agenda, black flags, killing and looting, which they did go along with at first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): They knew who was to take their money. The poor, they would arm to fight for them or kill them.

PATON WALSH: It went south fast. And they both remember the moment when.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): I remember when they beheaded seven people in the bazaar, including government workers and Taliban. I saw the long strip of wood they did it on covered in blood. They just threw the bodies away and buried. It was very Islamic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The worst memory is if you were killed fighting for them they wouldn't hand your wife and children to a relative but put them in a camp.

PATON WALSH: ISIS recruit children here. Their own videos show another reason the two men work with Afghan intelligence who set up our interview, to get other locals to join an uprising program against ISIS. But they say they've lacked government protection and money and that's put potential defectors off. The fight is now left just to American drones, they say.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Drones are doing a good job killing is. They target them as soon as they leave their houses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The government hasn't made any progress in those areas. It's only the bombing that's effective.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): You were in the Taliban, then in ISIS and now the American drones are bombing your own village but you're pleased about this because it's killing ISIS. Is that a strange feeling for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): It makes us happy. We want them wiped out.

PATON WALSH: They are killers themselves who know what they're talking about. He holds up his cloak. Holes from an American helicopter attack not long ago when he was Taliban.

ISIS has shattered ordinary lives, too. Across town and in a luxury village built for rich people who never came, are hundreds of families who fled ISIS.

(on camera): Afghanistan, like many nations, basically has to battle an idea that appeals to minds warped after decades of war. They don't see the Taliban as radical enough. An idea that no matter how hard you battle or bomb it, it's difficult to completely extinguish.

(voice-over): Many of their homes are still occupied and much damage is irreversible.

They killed this man's brother and then shot him in the waist as he helped his family escape. He's left unable to provide for them. And ISIS still live in their home.

ISIS savagery was first glimpsed in Afghanistan in this video where they lined up opponents and detonated a bomb below them. The man who speaks is survived by his brother.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): My brother called my father to tell him the death was on Facebook. We couldn't bury him if we didn't have a body. Its pieces are probably still lying where it was blown up.

PATON WALSH: Decade of trauma here, yet somehow it gets worse.


SCIUTTO: We are joined by Nick Paton Walsh, live from Kabul.

Nick, early on U.S. officials would tell us it was a limited number of turn coats in effect from Taliban and other groups joining ISIS. Do we have a sense of how many Afghans have joined ISIS?

PATON WALSH: The Afghans seem to be limited to some. The men there are pragmatic. They claim that ISIS came across the border from Pakistan. Pakistan is in fighting at the moment that Taliban are having with other Taliban saying hey, join us, we will look after you. That's how they claim to be part of ISIS. Most people we spoke to suggest it isn't Pakistani foreign, most prevalent in the east in early parts of last year to grow to get more territory and the air strikes pushed them back. Some U.S. officials say they may have lost ground in one key province but are popping up again as well. You heard the radio station emerging after bombed off the air recently. Deep concern they found some kind of route, they are mobile. They haven't gone away. The ideology hasn't caught on, but a massive distraction, Jim, for the issue of fighting the Taliban. U.S. and Afghan security forces having a struggling in the fight against ISIS, which is urgent and needs tackling, and the longer term insurgency, which is gaining ground fast -- Jim?

[13:45:27] SCIUTTO: Nick Paton Walsh, in Afghanistan, thank you very much. Ahead, new intelligence on North Korea concerning for U.S. officials.

There are signs they may be planning an unprecedented intercontinental ballistic launch. A live report from the Pentagon is next.


SCIUTTO: There's growing concern among U.S. officials that North Korea could be planning an unprecedented missile launch with the potential of reaching the United States.

Our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Barbara, a missile with a capability we haven't seen before?

[13:49:57] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jim, what U.S. officials are so concerned about, they are seeing signs, not actually happened yet, but signs that North Korea is preparing for the first time to potentially test fire a mobile missile potentially capable of hitting Guam, Alaska, and parts of the Pacific Northwest. There are three versions of this missile. They see some preparations being made. They don't really know what North Korea's up to.

Here's the part that is so concerning to the U.S. This would be the first time a mobile missile has been launched with these extended ranges. The problems for the U.S. is mobile missile launches are very difficult to detect. They come off of trucks, large wheeled vehicles. They can shoot and move very rapidly in wartime. That would mean the North Koreans could make a lot of efforts to evade U.S. surveillance. Very difficult for U.S. satellites to keep track of these mobile launchers.

Now, U.S. officials are saying they're not entirely sure what North Korea's up to. North Korea knows the U.S. is already watching overhead. This could be a deception campaign. They could just be moving a lot of things around knowing it will upset the U.S. But, in fact, what they do see are some signs that they are preparing for this type of unprecedented missile launch. The question now is whether Pyongyang will really go ahead with it -- Jim?

SCIUTTO: Steady progress on missiles and nuclear devices.

Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon.

Coming up next, the pay gap between men and women could be getting smaller but a new estimate predicts women will not be paid equally until the year 2059, not if current trends continue. We'll tell you how the White House is trying to buck that trend.


[13:55:50] SCIUTTO: Today is National Equal Pay Day in the United States. A day to remind us that women make on average 79 cents to a man's one dollar in income. Both President Obama and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, talked about this issue today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not here just to say we should close the wage gap. I'm here to say we will close the wage gap.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE The research is absolutely conclusive that people, men and women, carry different ideas in our brains, our consciousness, about how to evaluate men's and women's work.


SCIUTTO: President Obama also dedicated a new national moment to honor women's equality. So just how close are we closing that wage gap?

Joining me now is Tina Tchen, an assistant to the president, chief of staff to the first lady, as well as the administration's executive director for the Council on Women and Girls.

Welcome, Tina. Thanks for joining us today.


SCIUTTO: So the Equal Pay Act, it was actually signed 50 years ago. Over that time period, if it's 79 cents to the dollar today, how much progress have women made?

TCHEN: Well, we've made some progress. I can remember a time back in the '70s when it was 69 cents on the dollar. We all agree that 79 cents isn't progress enough. We have a long way to go to get to what the law says which is equal pay for equal work.

SCIUTTO: You heard Hillary Clinton just there, hinting at some of the biases in the workplace when it comes to judging men and women. I know, in fact, my wife and some friends were over last neat, talking about specific other issues like child care and allowances for that in the workplace. I mean, what can be done about that in terms of encouraging companies to make those changes?

TCHEN: Well, we've been doing it all along here in the administration. We tried to set an example as a federal employer by issuing orders to make sure our agencies are looking at their equal pay. We've been doing things like making sure we're extending pay parental leave as far as we can without a statutory change. Making sure that's available to both men and women, so not just women are being penalized. We want to make child care more available. This is a whole agenda. What happens to women is as they work through their work careers, you know, they start to run into the challenges of work and family. They are trying to balance themselves. These are not issues they should face themselves. They're national issue because this is really our national economy that suffers when women aren't able to work to their full potential.

SCIUTTO: What really stands in the way? The data is out there that women are as or more productive. My wife's smarter than me, I can tell you that right now. The data's out there. Companies that do it seem to Benefit from it, you know, what stands in the way? Is it an aversion to regulation? I mean, is it old biases? Is it a combination of things?

TCHEN: I think it's a combination of all of those things. One of the things you mentioned, aversion to regulation, one of the things we think will advance is pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. It has common- sense provisions like requiring pay transparency. If you don't know you're being underpaid and you can't advocate for it by teaching women negotiation skills. Because we also know the research shows that women are not as good negotiator as men for their own pay. And by protecting workers who talk about their pay. One of the things we know is there are a lot of workplaces that actually prohibit their workers from even sharing information about their pay. We've prohibited that among federal contractors. It's one of President Obama's executive actions. In order to do it all across the country, we need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

SCIUTTO: Is this something the president wishes he had made more progress on?

TCHEN: Well, from the first day, from the first bill he saved in the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act have made this a priority and we pushed it every part of the way. Do we wish we passed paycheck fairness? Yes. Because it came only two shorts vote of passing getting to 60 and getting closer in the Senate, so we can do better on that, but we have --

[14:00:00] we're very proud of the record on extending the whole working family's agenda, including equal pay, across the board. And we're especially proud of our actions today, designating this new national monument, you know, to really remind everyone across the country how important these issues are.

SCIUTTO: We'll have to leave it there. Tina Tchen at the White House, thanks for joining us.

TCHEN: Well, thank you.

SCIUTTO: And that is it for me - me today as well, but the news continues here on CNN right now.