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Heavy Security in New York For Celebrations; Iraq Military Pushes to Retake Mosul From ISIS; New Video Raises Questions In Texas; Diminished Governorship Awaits Cooper In NC. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired December 30, 2016 - 12:30   ET



[12:31:55] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, New York is getting ready for nearly 2 million people to flood Times Square for New Year's Eve. Police officers at every corner, sand-filled trucks. The NYPD is pulling out all the stops to keep the city safe and keep everyone safe who's there for the celebration after two truck attacks in Germany and France this year on crowds of people.

New York State Police Commissioner said, there is no credible threat against the festivities but the NYPD is going to make Times -- make sure that Times Square is, in his words, one of the safest venues in the entire world.

Let me bring in right now Jeff Beatty. He's a former CIA counter terrorism officer and FBI Special Agent.

Jeff, thank you so much for the time. I mean, we know that they're stepping up security measures. They've been very candid about that. What are the lessons learned from these terror attacks in the past year that they're applying to this holiday?


I think there's a couple of important lessons learned but first, the word "credible" that you used about what the Commissioner said, you know, credible has a couple of components to it. It has a capability and it has some specificity. In other words, is someone capable of pressing home an attack like happened in Nice or like happened in Berlin? Yeah. That's possible any day so that's credible any day.

But the specific, knowing the time and the place, we have no intelligence information that knows the time and the place. So we used to say specific and credible. It's always credible at this point because it's happened so many times, but it's just not specific. So we don't want to lull anyone into thinking that, "Oh, well, we have no credible threats". They're credible but they're just not specific at the moment.

Quickly to your point on lessons learned. You know, it's important that we understand that terrorist operations proceed on a trajectory. You have to understand what happened in the past, process the lessons learned because the adversary is doing that. And then you have to connect the dots from past operations and put them out in the future and say, "OK, where will these terrorists go?" They've done this in Nice, they've done this in Berlin, using trucks as weapons. Are they going to try it again? Because we as security forces have learned lessons. NYPD is putting out over 150 large trucks to block vehicular access in there so no one could careen into the crowd of 2 million people.

But understanding the trajectory, we understood these 15 years ago when we advised the Rose Parade which has over a million people there about blocking off side streets to protect against this exact same type of attack. So the challenge is, not just be ready for what happened in Berlin but for NYPD and others to understand the trajectory. What little twist will the adversary put onto their operation that might in fact negate the benefit that we accrue by having those physical barriers, those sand trucks and other things in place?

BOLDUAN: And Jeff, the fact that the president-elect's home is just blocks from the center of it all, from Times Square. Does that change the security, posture the security planning? How it's all handled in terms of the New Year's celebration?

[12:35:00] BEATTY: Well yes it does. There's a down side to it and also a plus side to it. The plus side is that the secret services there in force, the counterterrorism task force, the FBI-led counterterrorism task force. I mean, these are the best people we have in the country that are present in New York to do these work. The NYPD, there's nobody better at doing this than NYPD.

And so think about this, Kate, they're already deployed quite near the site. So they'll be able to pick up maybe some additional operational activity that otherwise, without that security in place now to protect the president-elect might go undetected prior to a New Year's Eve type of event. So there's a plus side. The down side is, you have to continue to protect Trump Tower and that will draw resources away from protecting the Times Square venue.

BOLDUAN: If you're heading out to one of these celebrations, is there anything different that you need to do this year in light of terror attacks over the past year than you would do any year in staying safe?

BEATTY: Well, absolutely. The public has a big role in public safety. And first of all, help the process don't hinder the process. Don't show up with backpacks or things that could conceal weapons. Don't make jokes or comments about, oh, possible terrorist attacks. There'll be uniformed officers there, there'll also be a lot of people that aren't in uniform that are working security. There'll be a lot of cameras on it. Be ready to follow the guidance of see something, say something. Don't be in denial.

If you see something that just doesn't look right, say something to someone. Because with the work that the NYPD is doing to protect this vehicular type of attack, you know, you still can't overlook the fact that in the past we've had people with body-worn bombs or someone carrying in something under a heavy coat and they're going to need to dress warm and then leaving that on the ground and walking a few paces away from it before it detonates. So be ready to be helpful and enjoy yourself.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right. Jeff Beatty, thank you very much. I really appreciate the tips and the insight. Thank you. Happy New Year.

BEATTY: Happy New Year to everyone.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Programming now for all of you, you can tune into -- tune in to CNN for our special New Year's Eve coverage. Anderson Cooper, Kathy Griffin they're going to be ringing in the New Year and leading us all into the festivities. The festivities begin at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Ahead for us still, American leaders say they are aware of the movements by ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over months -- after months of not knowing his whereabouts. Thousands of his fighters have been killed and Iraq now says that ISIS is close to defeat. Coming up, we're going to take a look at this fight ahead and where it's headed in 2017.


[12:41:05] BOLDUAN: ISIS under pressure in Iraq. The second phase is under way of the Iraqi military's operation to retake the last ISIS stronghold in the country, the city of Mosul. Here with me now, CNN Military Analyst, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona. Also here is CNN contributor and senior editor at The Daily Beast, Michael Weiss. He's co-authored ISIS -- the book "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror" and of course with us, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

Barbara, it's so important as the second phase gets underway and as we head into 2017, I think they're going to take stock of where this fight stands. What is the very the latest on the battle for Mosul?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, this so-called second phase, Kate, really is acknowledging that there was a pause in the fighting. The Iraqis took a lot of casualties in the first effort to move into Mosul. They did gain ground, they are holding some ground but ISIS has proved to be a very tough foe. So there was a bit of a pause. They regrouped, they got reorganized and are -- the Pentagon is now saying, and the Iraqis also are saying, they're in the second phase. They're going back in approaching from three areas northeast and southeast backed up by U.S. air power.

But now it's going to get even tougher perhaps because as they move into Mosul, very crowded, very heavily populated, narrow streets. The big tanks, the big artillery pieces aren't going to do you any good there. This is going to be a slog to get through all of that, get ISIS out, and try and protect the civilians who are remaining. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Michael, at this point what would the fall of Mosul means to ISIS?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well it'd be hugely significant. I mean, ISIS now relies on these population centers. That's how they make their money through taxation and so on and also when they reign over hundreds of thousands or even millions of people, they can conscript them into the military or into their version of their military which is an insurgency, turn them into terrorists and so on.


WEISS: But it's not the end of the game. I mean, they still got Raqqa. The U.S. is not going to retake Raqqa within probably the next six months. If you listen to the head of the war, the U.S. commander of the coalition, General Townsend has said that it's going to be another two years before ISIS is strategically defeated.

And -- again, there is so many different curve balls that are being thrown. Turkey intervenes in Syria, Turkey and Russia now getting closer together. Complications with the Kurds, both the Syrian Kurds and the Iraqi Kurds. Any of these things and all of them frankly can disrupt this effort to expand ISIS.

BOLDUAN: So speaking of a timetable, Colonel, I was fascinated to hear that the Iraqi Prime Minister saying just this week that he believes that Iraqi forces are going to be able to defeat ISIS in Iraq in the next three months. Do you believe that?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (Ret.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, three months should be optimistic. Remember, we had this conversation back when the Iraqis were promising that they were going to retake Mosul by the end of the year, and none of us believed that. And I think that reality set in once they actually started the operation. And as Barbara said, this two-week lull was actually a reset and they're calling it phase two but in reality, they were stopped.

ISIS put up a much more difficult fight than everybody thought they would do. The Iraqis took more casualties than they were thought they were going to so now they're reassessing. So I think three months is optimistic. I hope they can do it. But as we get closer into the city, as she said, the tanks are going to be useless. The artillery is not going to be as useful, and we'll get into that urban fighting, that is the slowest hardest to do. Casualties are going to be high. Civilian casualties are also going to be high. So we're, you know, we're in for the long fight that said. The Iraqis have allocated the resources to do this and they have the political will to do this. So I think it's a matter of time that also puts ISIS into a real fight to the death mode. It's going to be ugly.

BOLDUAN: And, Barbara, you reported this week is that the U.S. has been tracking some recent movements of the ISIS leader. How big of a priority is the kill or capture of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi at this point to the U.S.?

[12:45:06] STARR: Well, look if they could find him they absolutely would want to get him, capture or kill him much more likely kill him, are to put troops on the ground there to capture him in any reasonable fashion. But getting Baghdadi, it's a very similar question to, you know, conquering Mosul, conquering Raqqa. How -- what is defeating ISIS really mean these days? None of these things --

BODLUAN: Yeah. Hard to define it. STARR: Yeah. None of these things are going to in and of themselves change the course of this war. ISIS now a worldwide ideology. You know, the fighting may have changed in Iraq and Syria, they may get Baghdadi someday, but ISIS still has the ability to inspire a certain number of people to engage in violent activity and that is going to be the toughest thing to eradicate. That's something that could take generations.

BOLDUAN: Michael, what does all of this mean for the incoming president? What's the first big question that the president-elect is going to face on the fight against ISIS?

WEISS: Well, he's going to realize. You know. He claimed he wanted to bomb the hell out of ISIS. He's going to realize it's not quite that easy or that simple. I mean you have all of these factors on the ground, dropping bombs from the sky is not going to rid then from Mosul. They have turned Mosul into a city of booby traps essentially. Entire blocks are rigged to blow essentially when that Iraqi forces come in.

Again, we're talking about how they've stalled. Iraq has sent its most elite counter terrorism fighters, the golden division to really do the heavy lifting in this fight. And that I've seen estimates for they're sustaining something like 50 percent casualties. They could become that ineffective within a month if that keeps up, and guess what? The Iraqis do not have as many professionally fighting units on the ground to really inherit the spurt. They've been relying increasingly on these militia groups, particularly Shia militias who are seen as sectarian foes of the Sunni communities that ISIS now lords it over.

Donald Trump I think has to really get his, a sense of the dynamics at play here. This is a very complicated part of the world, and, you know, America has been at war with this organization in its various incarnations for something like 14 years now. So, does he think he's going to wrap it up in the first year of his presidency or even the full four years of his presidency? I'm skeptical that's possible.

BOLDUAN: This is one -- this is absolutely one of the examples of the area of his very different campaigning. You're the one making decisions.

WEISS: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Campaigning, governing, especially when it comes to the fight like this to very different things. Thank you all so much. Great to see you.

Coming up for us, brand new video just released that appears to show a Texas police officer shooting a man in the back. Officers say they thought the man was a threat. Does the video tell a different story? We're going to show it to you, next.


[12:50:57] BOLDUAN: New video is raising big questions about a police shooting in Texas. Fort Worth police shot a man they've say -- they mistook for an armed robbery suspect. The man survived but is paralyzed now. Officers said they thought he had a pistol and they thought he was pointing it at them. But the man's lawyer says the dashcam video is telling a very different story.

CNN's Nick Valencia has been looking into this and he's joins me now. Nick, what more are you learning? What does the video tell us?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A case of mistaken identity, as you said, Kate that could have been fatal. Let's take it back to July 2016, a 911 call comes in about an alleged robbery. The suspects two black teens and those who response to the call two off-duty deputies. One with the Tarrant County sheriffs department, the other with Fort Worth police department, both of them working a security detail while off-duty though in official police cruiser. That's what this video pulls up.

As they pull into an apartment complex, you could see the confrontation between police and the suspect David Collie. You see, a female officer emerged from the driver side of the vehicle, the male officer emerge from the passenger side -- he's securing a driver side I should say. He's gun drawn. What they say happened was a mistaken identity. You see this officer -- the female officer on the right, male officer on the left. David Collie about 30 feet away not wearing a shirt, that's a description of one of the robbery suspects. Police say they believed he was one of those robbery suspects. They also say what you can't hear in this video are demands for him to comply, to drop a silver object in his hand.

Now, the attorney for the victim in this case David Collie says that a box cutter was found at the scene. That's according to police. But the attorney for the client says that's not the case. Now, he was paralyzed, David Collie was as a result of the shooting. And to add insult to injury, for 61 days he was handcuffed in his hospital bed as the grand jury considered whether or not to indict him on charges filed of aggravated assault. In a rare move the grand jury decided not to file those charges but Mr. Collie says that he's considering his own charges. We caught up with his attorney, our affiliate KTTV did and his attorney says that police in Fort Worth must do better.


NATE WASHINGON, PARALYZED MAN'S ATTORNEY: We don't live in a police state. An officer does not have the right to stop and detain anyone. Officer is supposed to be the person who de-escalates. The officer is the professional. The officer is the one with the training and the officer is the one with weapons strapped to his hip. The officer has to be better.


VALENCIA: We have reached out for that police report through a freedom of information act request. It is not yet been made public nor the officers been named. We understand the officer who fired the shots is back on duty, back on the streets. For their part, Fort Worth police department did release a statement which read in part "We saw what you saw, we heard what you've heard. We have received your phone calls, your e-mails, your messages, your tweets, your views, your absolute concern over what occurred and your demand for answers and action. We do hear you."

It is unclear whether or not that officer will face charges. The attorney for David Collie is saying that they might bring their own charges against the police. Kate.

BOLDUAN: This all coming, this all coming to light now with this new release of this video. Nick Valencia is watching for us. Thanks so much Nick.

VALENCIA: You bet.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a rough transition of power under way, and no, I am not talking about the White House right now. It's the governor's race that took more than a month after Election Day to decide the winner and it's still the center of major controversy. We're going to take you to North Carolina, coming up.


[12:57:36] BOLDUAN: A dozen states held governors races this year but only one kept the nation guessing for almost a month past election day. Finally, the Democrat Roy Cooper was announced the winner unseating the current Republican Pat McCrory in North Carolina. But is the fight now even over at this point?

CNN's Polo Sandoval reports.



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A new year means a new governor for the people of North Carolina. Roy Cooper will be sworn in as the state's 75th governor right after midnight Saturday, appointed ceremony coming at the end of a turbulent transition for the incoming governor.

In his final weeks in office, Cooper's predecessor Republican Pat McCrory signed into laws of the bills limiting the powers of his coming credit successor. Political appointments were cut from 1500 to 425. The governor elect will be blocked from appointing members of the states, board of education and the Republican-controlled Senate must now approve Cooper's cabinet appointees. UNC law professor Michael Gerhardt believes these measures will likely make for a challenging first few weeks in office for Cooper.

PROF. MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNC SCHOOL OF LAW: Early on he's going to try and establish his authority with the people in the state and remind the legislature that he's there, he's the governor. He's got some discretion and he's a la player in the system.

SANDOVAL: Limiting the new governor's power, it's only a latest chapter in what's been a bitter and highly contested race. CROWD: Go back. Don't you come back no more, no more, no more.

SANDOVAL: Cooper beat out his Republican encampment opponent by only 10,000 votes. McCrory claimed fraud and challenged the outcome before conceding about four weeks later. And this month, both sides blamed the other fore failing to repeal North Carolinas controversial bathroom bill.

GERHARDT: He may well want to talk to the legislature about any possible revisions to that law even if some kind of repeal isn't possible. So, compromise maybe a big term that comes up fairly soon when his governor --


SANDOVAL: And don't you know long after these two bill laws were signed into -- at least these two bills were signed into law. Governor-elect Cooper did thread a legal action, Kate. And just a few moments ago, he filed documents in state court requesting a restraining order be essentially filed returning some of his powers. That is expected to be heard by a judge in the coming minutes. Clearly, though, he is expected to continue to assume office. That's expected to happen only one minute into the New Year, Kate.

BOLDUAN: And that fight continues. Polo, thank so much. And thank you all for joining me. Our covers continues right now with Jim --