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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
New Airport Security Measures; Palestinian Teen Killed; Facebook Under Fire; U.S. Military Advisers Assess Iraqi Military; Revenge Killing?
Aired July 2, 2014 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The original 13 colonies are being threatened by a hurricane this July 4 weekend.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
Breaking news in the national lead: New airport security measures are coming, all to protect against a new threat, the next generation of bombs from al Qaeda and affiliated groups.
The world lead, kidnapped, tortured and burned -- the White House makes a notable condemnation of the murder of a Palestinian teenager, one that comes right after the bodies of three kidnapped Israeli teens were found. Was it a revenge killing and what's to stop this all from spiraling further out of control?
And the money lead. Facebook apologizing for those secret psychological experiments that sparked outrage, but some critics are asking, hey, when is Facebook not messing with your head?
Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we're going to begin today with some breaking news, an announcement from the Department of Homeland Security secretary about enhanced security measures for flights coming into the United States.
CNN chief national security Correspondent Jim Sciutto is here to explain.
Jim, what is the announcement?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is going to come very quickly. Passengers are going to start to notice these changes in the next several days.
And it's not going to be not domestic flights, international flights with directs to the U.S., with particular attention to flights from Europe and the Middle East, and it's basically enhanced security screening. There's been concern for a number of months about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, and their master bomb maker constantly updating their bombs to get past current security screening.
There was a vulnerability discovered, I am told by intelligence officials, in the last several weeks and that DHS was then directed to address that vulnerability and that's what they're doing right now by enhancing security at these airports.
TAPPER: So, what are -- travelers who are flying into the United States from these other countries, what should they expect?
SCIUTTO: They're going to see things like this, not dramatically out of the ordinary. They will see more attention to electronic devices and shoes. These are two means of getting explosives on a plane. We know this going back to the shoe bomber Richard Reid.
You might see more of these swabs that you get that are explosive residue detectors, see more of that, more screening like that. And you also might see an additional ring of security when you get to the gate and normally you go through. Just after you check in and then you go to the gate, sometimes you will see that on international flights where when you get to the gate, they also look at your bags and they might take another swab from your hands or your clothes.
That's most likely what you will be seeing. And just to be clear, it's not -- we have got the July 4th weekend coming up. It's not about domestic flights around the July 4th weekend. It's not about a threat coming out of Iraq and Syria, but it is about these direct flights coming from international cities and about a continuing concern that these guys are constantly trying to update these explosive devices to get past current security measures.
TAPPER: Because of the master bomb maker in Yemen.
TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, we appreciate it.
In other national news, it is starting to breathe on its own. That's how our severe weather point man described Tropical Storm Arthur as it picks up fuel off Florida. Several states are on guard right now for what could just become Hurricane Arthur just in time for it to slam into the East Coast for the Fourth of July holiday.
A tropical storm watch is in effect in South Carolina. A tropical storm warning is issued all the way to the Virginia border, and North Carolina is on alert for a hurricane, with the storm on a potential collision course with the Outer Banks, due early Friday.
In places like Cape Hatteras, the Fourth of July could actually become the 6th or 7th of July with fireworks shows on hold.
Despite the calm before the storm, North Carolina's governor is warning people, do not be fooled.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Don't put your stupid hat on. Usually, most injuries occur right before a storm or right after a storm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN's Rene Marsh is in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
Rene, are people there starting to worry?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, they are waiting and they are definitely watching to see what this storm is doing and what direction it is going in.
I can tell you, just about two hours ago, a mandatory evacuation got under way in one county here in North Carolina and in just a matter of hours, Jake, we are expecting heavy winds, heavy rains. And you see those waves there? Well, guaranteed, they will be much, much larger in just again a matter of hours.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't plan on a hurricane over the Fourth of July.
MARSH (voice-over): Tropical Storm Arthur threatening to deliver fireworks on its own. Captured on radar and from space, it's barreling up the East Coast and gaining strength, in its path, beach towns like Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully, it will just bounce off and keep going back to sea.
MARSH (on camera): And if it doesn't?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe we will head inland.
MARSH (voice-over): Arthur battered Florida shores as a tropical storm. By Thursday, it's expected to morph into the season's first hurricane, clocking in as a Category 1. Coastal North Carolina is preparing for a hit.
MCCRORY: Projections right now indicate it will brush the coast and affect primarily the Outer Banks, but, as we know, there is always the possibility that this could change.
MARSH: A coastal state of emergency declared in the Tar Heel State and voluntary evacuations ordered in at least one county.
With the sun still shining, Arthur's threat isn't enough to make visitors staying at the water's edge uneasy just yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that's what we're expecting, great weather.
MARSH (on camera): Despite the forecast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Despite the forecast. You know, they can be wrong.
MARSH: Well, as we speak to you right now, they are not telling people to leave. However, they are telling people to be on alert, be aware and take
precaution. Of course, the warnings may change as the storm inches closer. Jake, the one thing that they are telling people, if you are along these coastlines, just be very mindful whether or not you are in a storm surge zone. If you are, you need to react in the proper way -- Jake.
TAPPER: Rene Marsh in North Carolina, thank you so much.
No matter where this storm makes landfall, its impact could be felt for more than 1,000 miles, whether they're hurricane-force wind gusts or storm surge, flooding or rip currents that could leave even Michael Phelps powerless.
TAPPER: If you live on the East Coast and had hoped to lay on the beach this holiday weekend, should you be rethinking your plans about now?
Let's talk to Mark Murphy. He's the founder and CEO of TravelPulse.com and author of "Travel Forward." He joins us from the great city of Philadelphia.
Mark, AAA says travel this Fourth of July was expected to be up 2 percent from last year, 41 million people traveling at least about an hour from home, three million flying, 35 million of them by car. Let's break it down. What should flyers expect?
MARK MURPHY, FOUNDER, TRAVELPULSE.COM: Flyers should anticipate the potential of cancellations.
If this storm comes in the way they're outlining it right now, it definitely will affect air travel in certain markets and that means because of government regulations, the airlines, as we have seen with other things like snow in the wintertime, they proactively cancel departures because they don't want to have people stuck on the tarmac and then those stuck on the tarmac and they suffer millions of dollars in fines.
So right now no one is canceling anything. They're not changing cancellation fees or change fees. They're not waiving any of that. So, it's a wait and see with the airlines, as well as the hotels that you have actually booked.
TAPPER: And what about the 35 million who are anticipated to be driving? What should the drivers expect?
MURPHY: Well, your meteorologist said the best thing.
First of all, if you are going down to the beach, you're not going to go in the water, so I suggest if your vacation is starting in the next two days, delay it a couple of days. Just let everything pass through and then you will know the situation on the ground. If you're already on location and have concerns, don't wait for the mandatory rules to come into effect. If you're not feeling good about it, and the water is rough, pack up,
go home a couple of days early, get inland. Don't think you have to put it all out there and take risks just because it's your vacation. You can do a staycation by staying at home for a couple of extra days.
TAPPER: And, Mark, we already know that gas prices are up 19 cents a gallon from last year. How do you think this weather could impact the cost of vacations for our viewers? Will hotels raise prices because of the situation?
MURPHY: It could go one of two ways. If there is an issue and people have to move inland and hotels fill up, those prices will move up. It's yield. Management, they will charge more for fewer rooms.
On the other hand, if people stay away and the storm skirts the areas and they're open for business, then you're going see really quick price cuts right now and you can jump on that. That's why it's better to kind of sit back and wait and see and you could have an impulse- based vacation if everything goes OK for those folks down there on the coast.
TAPPER: Quickly, you heard the news at the top of the show that there will be some enhanced security measures for some direct flights overseas coming from overseas to the United States.
How should travelers who are abroad or planning to go abroad, how should they prepare for that?
MURPHY: Well, you know what? It's kind of what we have been going through. Take your shoes off, take your belt off. Pull your computers out. In some international markets, this has been a problem of security.
Think about where the threats have originated. Most of the threats, Reid the shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, all originated overseas. I'm glad they are taking these extra steps. The challenge is, they can't govern those various markets. They can put practices into place and we hope those other countries comply with that as a way of protecting all flyers, not just Americans who happen to be traveling back and forth.
TAPPER: Mark Murphy, author of the book "Travel Forward," thank you so much. We always appreciate your coming by.
MURPHY: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Coming up on THE LEAD, the battle for Baghdad. As terrorists move toward Iraq's capital, U.S. troops there and ready to fight, but are Iraqi forces lying to Americans about the situation on the ground?
And, later, it's one of his top priorities, equal pay for women. But should President Obama be taking a closer look at the salaries of his own staffers?
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Time for the world lead and the crisis in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki says the top priority for his country is fighting the Sunni Islamic terrorists known as ISIL or ISIL, and getting them under control. That's the top priority, he said, not forming a new government through political reconciliation between Sunni, Shiites and Kurds.
That doesn't quite seem to square with what the White House said a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If Iraq intends to successfully confront the threat posed by ISIL, it will require a united Iraq to do so. A nation of Iraq will only be united if there is a unified government that is representative of Iraq's diverse population.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We are also learning that those U.S. forces sent to gather intel and advise the Iraqi military are starting to get some answers.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now with that story.
Barbara, what are these advisers saying?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it may not be a surprise that so far, the advisers are pretty optimistic about the Iraqi forces, but there are skeptics who once again say is the intelligence on Iraq any good?
STARR (voice-over): The Iraqi air force striking in what it says are ISIS targets. Iraqi ground forces on the move, tanks and troops heading toward provinces overrun by Islamic insurgents. Preliminary intelligence reports from U.S. military advisers in Iraq say the Iraqis will stand up and fight.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Everything that we see indicates that they will fight, that they will defend Baghdad.
STARR: But U.S. advisers for now are not going patrols or anywhere near Iraqi combat positions. They are staying at Iraqi headquarters around Baghdad.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), FORMER AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: It would be like staying at the Pentagon and assessing the health of the U.S. military just from the U.S. Pentagon. It's impossible to do that.
STARR: So, is the latest intel on Iraq any good?
LEIGHTON: When you only deal with the headquarters level, you will never get the true picture and quite frankly, it's in the interest of the Iraqi forces at headquarters level to lie to their American counterparts.
STARR: Even protecting Baghdad airport, a top priority will take Iraqi troops. It's the only way to evacuate thousands of Americans out of Baghdad in a crisis, but there are only 300 U.S. troops there.
U.S. arms could help. This week, 100 hellfire missiles delivered to the Iraqis, fighter jets from Russia now flying over Baghdad, as well. Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki says there will be amnesty from those who fought the government unless they killed Iraqi forces.
But the prospect of sectarian war still looms large. U.S. intelligence reports increased presence of Iranian Qods force personnel coming into Iraq to train Shia militias.
STARR: And so far, no word on when U.S. military advisers may head into northern Iraq as was originally planned because, of course, northern Iraq is still very much under ISIS control -- Jake.
TAPPER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.
Joining me to talk about this is Fareed Zakaria, host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN.
Fareed, you just heard Barbara Starr's reporting on the U.S. military advisers assessing the strength of Iraqi forces. They say they believe that those Iraqi forces will stay and fight for Baghdad. Is this what the conflict has basically come down to right, just holding Baghdad? Is it all won or lost in that city?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Well, that's a hugely important issue, right? Whether you lose the capital or not, but Baghdad is now essentially a Shia city. It used to be mixed. Sunnis have been driven out and of course, there are still many, many Sunnis, but it's mostly a Shia city and has become part of the Shia-dominated government's strong hold.
So, the reason that the Iraqi government lost lots of territory and these are scenarios. The locals were, if not sympathetic to the insurgents and sympathetic to ISIS they were pretty anti-government and that's not true in Baghdad and the army will fight it as a Shiite core that will fight there, but it only reinforces what is the central element here, Jake, which has now turned into a sectarian civil war.
TAPPER: The U.S. military advisers who are in Iraq, we are told they're going to make recommendations in the next few days about what they need after they've gathered in intelligence.
If the military recommends to the White House that they need more than the few hundred troops than the president has already authorized. The troop level right now is about 800. Does this become an issue that President Obama is not able to untangle? He is -- obviously, he campaigned against involvement in Iraq. Is he going to be able to sell more troops in Iraq to Congress and to the public?
ZAKARIA: Well, I hope he doesn't go down that route because the problem here is not that the Iraqi government doesn't have troops and fire power. The Iraqi government has between security forces and army, something in the range of 650,000 soldiers or people under arms. It has a defense budget around $17 billion. It is trying to defend itself against a few thousand lightly armed insurgents.
The problem is that the insurgents have the sympathy of the public in these areas, in these Sunni areas. We've seen this movie before, Jake. This happened in 2007 and 2008, and with 140,000 troops, General Petraeus still said the only solution was political. You had to reach out to the Sunnis, to the tribes, you had to divide the Sunnis so they could stop supporting troops like al Qaeda. That's the same solution here and if Prime Minister Maliki isn't willing to do it, sending in a few hundred more American advisers or a few thousand more American troops is certainly not going to solve the problem.
TAPPER: And let's talk about that, what was called the Sunni awakening and all those tribal leaders were able to join with the government's effort. A lot of them felt abandoned after the U.S. left. A lot of them felt like they stuck their neck out and that Maliki who is Shiite as you pointed out basically turned his back on bringing Sunnis into the government.
What needs to happen? What does Maliki need to do for this to work?
ZAKARIA: I think the American demand should really be stronger than it is. Maliki should step down. It is very difficult for me to imagine a circumstance in which Maliki can regain the trust of these groups. Remember, as you pointed out, after -- it was before the Americans left, he stopped paying out those Sunni tribes on deals that General Petraeus had made, he reneged on power-sharing agreements, he went and targeted Sunni officials and he sent out in some cases death squads against these people.
Now, you know, he can't come around and say "I was just kidding, folks. Let's all hold hands and sing kumbaya." That's not going work.
I think you need a fresh face ahead of the Iraqi government and that should be our demand if we -- if the United States is going to provide anything substantial in terms of support.
TAPPER: And, Fareed, before you go, I just want to get your view on something. CNN has just confirmed that the last of Syria's declared chemical weapons have been transferred to an American vessel according to the organization in charge of gathering the chemical weapons.
Is this significant?
ZAKARIA: It is significant because one of the complexities of the raging civil war in Syria was that things could spin out of control and they could spin out of control in several ways, but the use of weapons of mass destruction was one of them, and then that produces circumstances where Israel could get involved, other countries could get involved, retaliation, terrorists could get control of those weapons. The fact that those weapons aren't there, look, it doesn't solve the Syrian civil war, but it takes one very combustible element out of the arena and that has to be seen as a diplomatic triumph for the Obama administration.
TAPPER: Although, of course, as you point out the slaughter continues and other forms of chemical weapons that aren't qualified, don't qualify as chemical weapons like chlorine gas, still being used and still a tragedy over there.
Fareed Zakaria, thank you so much. Of course, you can watch "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" this Sunday and every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on CNN.
When we come back, when three teenagers were kidnapped and killed, Israel's president vowed retaliation, but are some Israelis already seeking their own revenge?
Plus, Mitt Romney stepping back into the political scene in New Hampshire today. Maybe he's seen those new poll numbers. Our politics lead is coming up.