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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Sunwing Flight 772 Returned to Toronto; Air Alegrie Flight 5017 Crashed with No Survivors; Shelling from Russia into Ukraine Continues; Israel Hamas Agree To 12-Hour Cease Fire; "Putin Is Pouring Gasoline on the Flames," U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Says of Crisis; Army War College to Investigate Plagiarism Allegations Against Senator John Walsh
Aired July 25, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thanks for joining us.
There is a lot happening tonight. There is a breaking news in the war between Israel and Hamas. A pause in the fighting, but only a pause.
Also, our first access to the wreckage of that airliner that went down in North Africa and the role weather may have played in that crash.
We begin, though, with video that raises all kinds of questions about post 9/11 airline security and raises a chill for anyone planning their next trip because it's terrifying. As you watch this, understand it is not a drill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold still! Hold still! Hands up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, hands up!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heads down, hands up! Show me all your hands, hands up, heads down! Heads down! Heads down! Heads down! Heads down!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is what passengers aboard Sunwing flight 772 from Toronto to Panama City heard after a truncated flight that included threats of fighter escort on what you just witnessed. Pamela Brown has all the latest. She joins us now.
So, what do we know? What happened here?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we saw there, Anderson, it was a chaotic scene, and dramatic moments caught on a passenger cell phone video as a SWAT team stormed the Canadian airline an airliner that returned to Toronto after what the airline told us was a quote "agitated passenger who threatened the plane."
The Sunwing flight was only 45 minutes into the route this morning from Toronto to Panama City when one passenger made what the airline said was a direct threat against the aircraft. We listened to air traffic control audio. And it appears, it was a bomb threat, so the plane turned around as is the procedure and two U.S. military jets already in the air were dispatched by NORAD to escort it back to Toronto's airport where it made an emergency landing.
And that's where the security team stormed the plane, Anderson. They arrested a 25-year-old male, a Canadian citizen, that remains in custody with police tonight. He'll have a bail hearing tomorrow.
The plane was searched and nothing was located. There were no injuries or damage. And the passengers got to fly out on another plane. But as you can imagine, they are still very shaken up from that experience -- Anderson.
COOPER: And what is the passenger actually that made the threats charged with, and were they actual threats about I'm going to bomb this plane? I thought they were sort of oblique about I don't like Canada. I wish I could bomb Canada or something like that?
BROWN: Well, authorities who have speaking with aren't giving specifics on what the actual threat was, Anderson, but we did listened to air traffic control audio and they indicate that he was making a bomb threat. But nothing more than that.
We learned he is actually facing four charges, Anderson. He's charged with endangering the safety on an aircraft, mischief of property, mischief interfering with the lawful enjoyment of property and uttering threats and also his father spoke to a Canadian news network and said that his son suffered from mental health issues, so that could play a role. But again, he'll have a bail hearing tomorrow. So we will be keeping an eye on it.
COOPER: All right. Scary moments, Pamela Brown, thanks.
The story raises certainly a lot questions. That's what I want to get answers now from aviation analysts Miles O'Brien and aviation safety analysts David Soucie.
Miles, let's start with you. Let me show that video again. This was taken once the plane landed back in Canada after being escorted by U.S. fighter jets back to Toronto and then the plane was stormed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heats down, hands up! Heads down, hands up! Heads down, hands up! Let me see your hands! Heads down, hands up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What is the protocol on this kind of situation?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Apparently, that's the RCMP, Royal Canadian minor police protocol. It looks a little excessive to me, frankly, Anderson, given all that had happened. I can only assume if they flew 45 minutes back, that the passenger who had made that threat had been neutralized in some fashion, had been handcuffed with zip ties, maybe a couple of hockey players on board and take care of them, whatever the case maybe. Otherwise, you would think that the pilot would put that the plane down in Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
Having said that, given, you know, just the overall tensions in the aviation world, and stretching everything back to 9/11, this is the hair trigger feelings we all have about flying right now and that kind of manifests in that scene with the SWAT team coming on board.
COOPER: And David, I mean, the plane, as Miles says, it was over West Virginia apparently and when it turned around, does it make sense and then started to be escorted by U.S. fighter jets. Does it make sense that it went all the way back to Canada?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, first of all, at this point, you know, they penetrated the air defense identification zone, the ADIZ. And at that point, that aircraft until it's proven that it's not a threat is a threat to the United States. So to land at Philadelphia, land at Cincinnati, the risk mitigation protocol for that would be to say how many lives would be lost the it did that if it really was a bomb.
COOPER: So you're saying under -- the protocol, they wouldn't land at a major city because in the event there was some sort of incident.
SOUCIE: Why risk thousands of lives on a potential bomb situation, although it does put the people on board the aircraft at risk, additional risk because they are in the air longer.
COOPER: So they did fly back, wasn't it to Toronto?
SOUCIE: They did because they had to get away from the ADIZ. They had to get all the way back out of the country.
COOPER: The ADIZ.
SOUCIE: The air defense identification zone.
SOUCIE: Which is our defense boarder around the United States. So it is -- they consider it a threat, they consider it a violation or breach at that point because it has been an identified threat.
COOPER: So as far as the U.S. was concerned, they just wanted it out of U.S. air space.
SOUCIE: Well, it needed to get back to where it had to be so they could control it from the country of origin and that's where it had to be dealt with at that point.
COOPER: Couldn't it be landed at a small regional airport somewhere?
SOUCIE: Possibly, if that's what they decided to do. But I just wanted to make a point that it was not the pilot's decision. When you're escorted by jets, you go exactly where they tell you to go. You don't mess with it. And that decision has made by the air defense command, not by the pilot. COOPER: Miles, have you ever seen a plane like that actually being
stormed? I mean, we've all seen training exercises where they do it and we have seen it with U.S. air marshals, even in training exercises. But clearly, they thought or felt, you know, there might be a real threat there.
O'BRIEN: I guess that you have to operate with that presumption in this day in age, and that tells you a lot about how flying changed for all of us. I think it's worth remembering here that, clearly, any captain, any pilot, they thought there was an immediate threat to the aircraft, I would be submit to you they would put it on the ground. I beg to differ from David that. They can declare an emergency and put it on the ground, period.
So, I'm going to assume that this threat one way or another had been neutralized by passengers. I think it's worth pointing out from Pennsylvania through the shoe bomber and under wear bomber and a number of other instance, passengers have really taken up the last line of defense in aviation these days. And they are tuned to the threat. And they are not going to sit by and let these things happen. It's an unsung hero in the process.
COOPER: How weird is it, David, I mean, in your experience for law enforcement to order to an aircraft like this?
SOUCIE: To do what?
COOPER: Board an aircraft. Have you heard --
SOUCIE: Yes, every time there is a suspicion on board --
COOPER: So it was really the fact it was caught on video that makes it startling?
SOUCIE: Absolutely. The same thing happened when one of the pilots went out of control not too long ago, it wasn't really stormed SWAT, but it was stormed with agents. So the SWAT, you know, that isn't something I'm familiar with but others are.
COOPER: Interesting, David, Miles, thanks very much. We are going to come back to them shortly because there are also new developments in other aviation stories, so much aviation stories right now, so many.
We go to Mali right now and the crash site of Air Alegrie flight 5017. It is to put it mildly, a stark contrast to the scene in eastern Ukraine, which we'll also bring to you.
French forces have secured the debris field already. The helicopter located the wreckage near the border with Burkina Faso. All within 24 hours of the crash as with flight 17, no survivors. Airline officials said 116 people were on board.
Tonight, there is still no definitive word on what brought the plane down. The bad weather is a prime suspect right now.
Joe Johns brings us update. So Joe, incredible images from the crash site itself, what are we
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the first pictures from the scene basically showed a field of debris. The authorities are saying it's so bad it is going to be difficult to try reconstitutes the bodies, human remains sort of scattered all over the place.
Now, to preserve the evidence, the there are military units from France and Mali, as well, trying to restrict access to the area. But when you look at this, it seems like there is not a lot to work with for investigators as they try to determine the identities of the victims, what caused the crash, but there is still confidence on the ground they are going to be able to figure it out, Anderson.
COOPER: And France's President, I understand, Joe, spoke about the situation. What did he say?
JOHNS: Well, he said the plane's debris field is concentrated in a limited area, but still too early to draw conclusions. But that the information is going to come in time. He said there are some theories, including weather conditions as a cause. But they are not putting anything aside because they want to find out exactly what happened. And there are, of course, some open questions, especially the question of whether an act of terror was responsible.
Frankly, though, the authorities are skeptical that Islamist rebels in the vicinity actually had the technology to bring down a plane at a high altitude. Meanwhile, the families of the victims are still trying to get some details.
COOPER: Yes, of course.
Joe Johns, thanks very much.
As we reported, Air Algerie flight 5017 disappeared from radar after changing his flight path because of bad weather. Fierce thunderstorms were pounding the region at the time.
Now in that corner of the world, at this time of the year, that is not unusual.
Miguel Marquez has more on that.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Flying into any storm can be a bumpy white-knuckling experience but flying into bad weather near the equator, can be a nightmare known as the inter tropical convergence zone, a band of unsettled weather around the earth's equator where some of the most ferocious storms can develop.
You're flown in a lot of storms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have fly in a more storms than I like to be. MARQUEZ: And what is it like to fly into a serious thunderstorm?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it can be anything from Mr. Toad's wild ride to the most harrowing experience you can imagine that you don't think you're going to get through it.
MARQUEZ: In Africa, powerful sand storms a product of that inter tropical convergence zone, a challenge for any pilot. This aircraft coming in for a landing goes directly into the storm. You can hear the engines rev as the plane enters the stand storm, the sky turns red, visibility zero.
Weather is suspected as the cause or contributing factor in the crash of Air Algerie flight 5017. It was a trouble with the radar, a massive thunderstorm moving through 5017's flight path.
The 18-year-old (INAUDIBLE) aircraft departed Burkina Faso Ouagadougou airport at 1:17 a.m. on its way to Algeria's capitol. To get there, it had to cross the ITCZ, the band of unpredictable weather around the world's equator where terrible weather can develop.
At 1:38 a.m., flight 5017 asked if it could change routes, a storm had developed over its intended course. The plane made its way east then north again. Last contact, 17 minutes later, near Gao Mali.
Just maybe an eerie similarity to Air France flight 447, 228 people on board in route from Rio De Janeiro to Paris on June 1st, 2009. Pilots on the airbus 330 were flying through an enormous storm spawned by the enter tropical convergence zone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That can be the most dangerous parts of the thunderstorm.
MARQUEZ: Intense winds coming down as you were from different directions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And hail.
MARQUEZ: Flight 447 was more than 30,000 feet over the Atlantic. The storm shot up to more than 50,000 feet. The pilots added power, losing all control and slammed into the ocean from 38,000 feet.
The crash of flight 447 found to be pilot error, what caused flight 5017 to crash now under intense investigation.
Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Our quick reminder, set your DVR so you can watch "360" whenever you want.
Coming up next, Russia's move that could not only complicate the Malaysia airlines flight 17 investigation but also the larger crisis surrounding it. The war, the tender box in eastern Ukraine. Alter more breaking news, violent protester over Israeli (INAUDIBLE)
Gaza erupting on the west bank. Israel and Hamas agree to a brief pause in an increasingly but bloody battle.
COOPER: New and troubling news tonight from the war zone where missile brought down Malaysia Airline flight 17. Even as the Netherlands was lost so many people in the flight, are pressing to send their police and experts to the scene. The pro-Russian rebels who control the crash site say they are getting tired of any investigation there period. And if there weren't enough, their word of Russia is sending weapons and shelling the area from Russian soil.
Barbara Starr has the latest on that. She joins us from the Pentagon.
So, what do we know about this Russian weaponry?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Anderson.
Well, the shelling from Russia side into Ukraine continues according to U.S. officials and now today, the U.S. says it has intelligence that shows Russia is about to send additional heavy weapons into Ukraine into the separatists held area. This is going to be something called 220 millimeter multiple launch systems, heavy weapons with large war heads. They can go about 20 miles. This is going to give the separatists once they get their hands on it from the Russian, the ability to escalate the ground war once again. And as always, it is very likely it's going to be the citizens, the civilians of eastern Ukraine that may pay the price and get caught in the cross fire.
COOPER: From the Pentagon perspective, how much of an escalation is this?
STARR: Well, the Pentagon today said they do consider this a definite military escalation by Russia. And it's really the unanswered question. What is Vladimir Putin up to? How far is he willing to go? He's got 15,000 troops on that boarder, firing from both sides essentially. The question is, you know, is he going to respond to the sanctions that the west and the U.S. is putting on him? Is this all going to cost him too much that he'll wretch it back? No indication that Putin is about to respond the sanctions and that is the only strategy so far -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Barbara Starr, thanks for the update.
More now on the crash site itself which was we have all been astonished to learn this past week resembles little anyone has ever seen. International monitors said they had easy access to the field's wreckage and almost certainly more human remains. The problem, there is also easy access to just about anyone whether they belong there or not.
Ivan Watson has been there. He is in Donetsk for us tonight.
Ivan, more than a week after MH 17 was shot down, the site is still not secure, still controlled by the rebels. And just I heard some sounded like shelling behind you. Is there a sense of when this is going to happen, when this site might actually get investigated?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the international monitors from the OSCE have been going day after day to the site. They were accompanied by Australian and Dutch experts, less than a dozen in all on today's visit.
They say that they uncovered new debris that they hadn't seen before laying in the middle of a village. And they also heard that some of the separatists leaders were telling them that they are getting impatient, that they want a bigger body becomes start to remove that debris, a bigger body that international experts because they are running out of patience and that probably has to do with the fact that the war here in eastern Ukraine is intensifying.
COOPER: And given the ongoing violence and the uptick in violence -- I mean, and I hope I'm wrong here, but I just don't see how there is going to be a large footprint of Australian and Dutch police and investigators cordoning off, you know, a several mile radius area and systematically searching for victims or searching through wreckage. I mean, can you foresee that occurring?
WATSON: You know, a couple days ago, we were traveling freely back and forth from the crash site. The separatists had opened the way. Some initial obstacles were lifted. And the question that was being raised, why aren't people showing up?
Well, I think what we're learning very quickly is just how combustible and unpredictable the situation is. You've had a couple of Ukrainian war planes shot down just within the last three days, the fighting is clearly intensified, the proposal to send potentially scores of Australian and Dutch military police and investigators perhaps some of them armed.
I don't know how that is going to work in a very complicated place like this, how you can get both the approval of the Ukrainian government and the rebels who are locked into this deadly struggle together for them both to agree for some kind of humanitarian corridor for another foreign, potentially armed body to come into the crash site. I just don't know how you can put that together.
COOPER: Well, let's hope it does work. But we'll have to wait and see.
Ivan Watson, stay safe. Ivan, thank you.
So a crash site in a war zone with the fighting, as Ivan said, is worsening, where the arms are flowing with rebel patience is wearing thin at the crash site. The crime scene itself remain unsecured except by those rebels.
I want to bring back Miles O'Brien and David Soucie and bring in CNN national security analyst and former CIA officer, Bob Baer.
You know, I mean, David, you heard in Ivan's report there about the difficulties, obviously, in this entire region. Do you see any possibility of an actual crash investigation going on?
SOUCIE: Honestly, I really do. You know, you look at the accident that happened in Colorado springs and how little there was left of that because it came straight down. There wasn't much left. We were able to determine everything that happened in that accident.
COOPER: Right. But that, you didn't have armed insurgent running around --
SOUCIE: That's the challenge. I mean, as far as disrupting the site, I think there is always going to be evidence there. What I recommend is that somebody goes in there immediately and document where everything is specifically with subdue reference, high-definition cameras, get those put together, at that point you have documented everything you can, get it on trucks and get it the heck out of there.
COOPER: Bob Baer, does this make sense? I mean, do you believe -- and the rebels, they are saying their patience is running thin. They are saying that the OSCE monitors, the Dutch and Australians were talking about maybe sending in military police, even armed forces, do you believe there is actually going to be an investigation?
ROBERT BAER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Anderson, there is never going to be an investigation. Clearly, at this point the best evidence points to the rebels. They do not want to come out and provide witnesses. They might have the planes pulled away as people wonder throughout the site but they are not going to have police helping with the investigation of what you need. Because we need to find out who shot the missile and why and we're not going to get that now.
It's in the middle of a civil war. I've never seen a worse situation to investigate an airline shoot down like this ever. I mean, you know, even over the ocean you're better off. And the Russians clearly do not intend to help. They are going to step up this fight in the eastern Ukraine. They are in trouble right now and they will keep sending more weapons across. And right now they don't care about an investigation.
COOPER: Miles, I mean, to me, and again, I hope I'm wrong on this and I very well may be. But I say, I kind of agree with Bob here and my hope is that at least there is some sort of systematic search for the remaining victims here because it seems like at least get those, the people out and back to their families.
O'BRIEN: I mean, that has to be first and foremost here. If there is any shred of humanity on the ground here, that's what needs to be done. There are families grieving with their loved ones just lying there. It's just -- I can barely say it. It's horrific. It's absolutely horrific.
I should point out, though, that let's not -- the photograph record here is not to be trifled with. There are photos (INAUDIBLE) out there that offer absolutely conclusive proof that this was an airplane that was shot down, the shrapnel pattern is very conclusive in the photographs. So that's about as much as you need o know. The black boxes are in
England. They were supposed to listen to the cockpit voice recorder today, may shed a little more light.
And I will say it again, the radar tapes and the air traffic control case, held by Ukrainians, those are key, as well. So really, as far as building an investigation, having boots on the ground right there touching that metal, which is seemingly unlikely, may not be critical.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, David, you talk about, obviously, from the ideal world, yes, you may want that. It seems to me at this point, you know, eight days plus in the best we can hope for is getting the people out, getting the victims out.
SOUCIE: I'm an internal optimist. And obviously, he more expert than I am as far as being in there controlling a site like this. Like he said, I've never done an investigation in a war zone either, so. but I'm naive that way.
COOPER: I mean, you're talking about an investigation that could take --
SOUCIE: Now see, there is a separation in my mind about the investigation. You know, we're not looking for who pushed the button. We're not looking for that. What we we're looking for is concrete proof that in a court of law, if it's a war court. There has to be concrete hand held proof.
COOPER: But how long would it take.
SOUCIE: So many photographs thrown out --
COOPER: How long would it take to gather debris to do what you're talking about?
SOUCIE: I would say a good team of experienced professionals. I don't know about taking the debris off because I haven't been to the site. But to document that scene can be done in a day or two. It is not a major project to document (INAUDIBLE), reference, cameras and drones, small drones that can document the whole area, of course, they would probably be shot down, I would guess, but just to get it documented so we know exactly how to recreate a three-dimensional space. And at the point, we have everything we need. We get the other remains out, if possible. That's as Miles pointed out, that's critically important as well. But in two or three days, that site could be perfectly documented in three dimensional representation on what's going on.
COOPER: And Bob, are you have of no doubt that Vladimir Putin, you know, I think the ambassador to the Ukrainian U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine said Vladimir Putin could fix this with one phone call. You have no doubt that that's the case. That if he called up the people's republic Donetsk and said look, you know, set up a perimeter around the crash site and get this done, it would be done.
BAER: Anderson, absolutely. I mean, these people exist, thanks to Putin. I mean, he is supporting this resistance. He is supplying it. And he is funding it. And without him, it would fall apart. They will do anything he asks them to do. He could also find out who fired that missile and why and that's really as a former intelligence officer, that I what I want to find out. I want to exclude the possibility that somebody fired on that airplane on purpose. I don't think they did. But you know, as an investigator I would like to know that.
COOPER: Bob Baer, David Soucie, Miles O'Brien, thanks very much, guys.
Up next, the breaking news from the Middle East, a pause in fighting, a short cease-fire. We will talk with Wolf Blitzer and to Karl Penhaul who is in Gaza City.
Later, a Democratic senator accused of plagiarism. Senator John Walsh is his name. He is facing questions about a paper he wrote, not when he was a kid, but when he was in his mid-40s at war college. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back, as we said at the top of the broadcast, there is breaking news, as well tonight, in the Middle East in the bloody and increasingly divisive clash between Israel and Hamas. Not the comprehensive cease fire that Secretary of State John Kerry has been working on in the region, but a 12-hour pause in the fighting effective at 8:00 a.m. local time.
The Israeli operations in Gaza now sparking protest in the West Bank, said Secretary Kerry today, the agony of events in Gaza, the West Bank, in Israel, all of them together cannot be over stated. It is a very ugly situation, of course, all the way around.
Karl Penhaul and Wolf Blitzer know at firsthand. Karl is in Gaza and Wolf is in Jerusalem. Wolf, the so-called pause in hostility is supposed to begin a few hours, seven-day seize fire is hoped for. What change and what is Israel hoping to accomplish with the 12-hour pause?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": Well, they are doing the 12-hour pause as a humanitarian gesture. They says they rejected that seven-day proposal that was put forward by Secretary of State John Kerry. They thought it made too many concessions to Hamas, an organization they considered to be a terrorist organization.
They also want to make sure that they don't give Hamas time, they say, to regroup, to catch its breath, rebuild some of its stockpiles so they won't accept that seven-day proposal right now for a ceasefire. It's frustrating for Secretary Kerry and some of the others because they worked really hard to try to achieve it.
Israelis say and the cabinet unanimously rejected it. They say it goes too far. It contains conditions that were not accepted by -- that were not included in the original Egyptian proposal with the Israelis accepted about a week ago, Hamas rejected. So that is up in the air right now.
COOPER: Wolf, how committed does Hamas seem to this?
BLITZER: Well, if you listen to Palestinians, not necessarily Hamas, but I spoke with representatives of the Palestinian Authority, the chief Palestinian negotiator, one of the Palestinian parliamentarians. They say that A, Hamas has agreed to the 12-hour humanitarian seize fire and won't fire rockets and missiles into Israel during 12 hours.
They also say that Hamas would have agreed to the seven-day proposal if Israel had agreed. Israel hasn't agreed so Hamas obviously is not going to unilaterally stop firing those rockets and missiles. We haven't heard that directly from Hamas. We've heard from Palestinian Authority types who say that Hamas is on board.
COOPER: Karl, I understand the U.N. tried to investigate today the blast at the U.N. school. Are we closer to learning the truth about what happened and who is responsible?
KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not, Anderson, because that U.N. team of investigators did go into the school. They had informed the military they were going in to start their investigation and said shortly after they got into the school, gunfire erupted around them and they had to pull out really pretty quickly.
You've also got to remember that there has been no chain of custody of the evidence. What I mean by that is, is that nobody has been looking after that school. That school has not been sealed. It's been in the middle of a combat zone so anything really could have happened to the evidence that they find on the ground. The Israeli military says it will launch its own investigation. The United Nations calling for a full report -- Anderson.
COOPER: Are there not bomb shelters in Gaza City at all? I mean, why hasn't Hamas built any bomb shelters?
PENHAUL: Well, I think, first of all, Hamas' militant faction, if they've been able to get their hands on concrete and rebar, they put that into building tunnels. That might sound fictitious, but it is certainly not. We have seen both pictures from the Israeli military pictures from those deep underground very long tunnels and we've also seen Hamas propaganda videos showing those tunnels as well.
They used a lot of concrete for that, not a lot of building materials getting into the Gaza Strip because of the so-called blockade and that limits their ability to build bomb shelters for ordinary folk -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wolf Blitzer, Karl Penhaul, guys, thanks very much.
Just ahead, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on what he thinks Vladimir Putin is up to.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: After the downing of Flight 17, some observers called it a game changer for Russia. Vladimir Putin they said would be forced by all the public outcry to reconsider his support for the rebels in Ukraine. The nationalist fever that he whipped up would break they said and Putin would find a way to back down.
The answer so far as you saw on Barbara Starr's reporting tonight is twofold, not yet and not hardly and that's a major concern for many tonight including Geoffrey Pyatt, the American ambassador to the Ukraine.
COOPER: Mr. Ambassador, this new intelligence that Russia soon will be transferring, in fact, it could already be happening, more heavy weaponry into Eastern Ukraine including more powerful missile launchers, what does that tell you?
GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: We're seeing two weeks of steadily raising the stakes by the Kremlin and increasing pattern of destabilizing actions targeted on Eastern Ukraine. Of course, there is a tragic shootdown of Malaysian Flight 17. We hope very much that that would give pause to some of these Russian plans, tragically that hasn't happened.
We see that the investigators are still being blocked at the site, but at the same time, we see this pattern of escalating military involvement, the transfers of heavy weapons, the firing across the Russian boarder, which is now confirmed, units in Russian territory firing into Ukraine to target Ukrainian military units, this has to stop.
This is a dangerous situation, which threatens to spin out of control very quickly. President Poroshenko has made clear he is seeking a political solution to this crisis, but that's not going to be feasible while Russia is pouring gasoline on the flames.
COOPER: You said that President Putin could end this with one phone call. Do you have any sense how many phone calls he's actually made to the rebels in Eastern Ukraine, what level of contact there is?
PYATT: Anderson, I've seen no evidence of any interventions from Moscow to deescalate this crisis with the separatists. We've seen no messaging from Moscow to the separatists that it's time to come in from the cold, to accept the Ukrainian constitutional frame work, to ac accept the meaningful peace process that President Poroshenko has put on the table including constitutional reforms, delegation of local authority and guarantees for the Russian language. None of that is happening.
COOPER: I mean, I spoke earlier today, a few hours ago with the head of the OSCE operation on the ground in Ukraine, in Eastern Ukraine and he said today pro-Russian rebels had told him and his staff that their patience is running out at the crash site, investigators are going to have one more week or so to do their work, which doesn't even seem possible if that's -- if they actually stick to that. What's your reaction to that?
PYATT: Their position is simply not credible. Firstly, it's critically important the human remains at the site are fully accounted for. That simply hasn't happened yet. We won't know how many individuals, how many remains are missing until the forensic work is completed in the Netherlands, but we know already that it is multiple individuals, whose loved ones may never know what happened to their bodies.
At the crash site itself, I've said it needs to be treated like the crime scene that it now is, which means unimpeded access by professional investigators from all the countries that the Netherlands has enlisted in this international effort. We have FBI investigators who are in Harkiv now, prepared to assist in the Dutch-lead effort.
You have professionals from Australia, the U.K., Germany, of course, from Malaysia, but they can't do their work when they are negotiating their way through rebel road blocks and when the separatists are threatening violence on the scene.
COOPER: Is it possible that there could be a time and a time approaching rapidly where a military force is needed on the ground? There has been talk about a possible Australian, troops from the Netherlands or elsewhere, can you foresee that actually occurring?
PYATT: Our best solution to this situation is the implantation of the 40 kilometer exclusion zone that President Poroshenko has proposed for the crash site and the surrounding territory. The separatists have not accepted that option. They have not accepted that proposal from President Poroshenko to de-militarize that 40 kilometer zone.
Once that happens, several of the countries that are involved in this international investigation have said that they are prepared to insert police forces, who would be there to stabilize the crash scene, to ensure security for the investigators who after all are people who aren't accustomed to and shouldn't have to do their jobs with body armor.
But that's going to take a change in tact from the separatists. That's what we are hoping President Putin will encourage. That's the message that we hope will come from Moscow. At this point, as you know, Anderson, we're talking about groups of three and four. They don't have continuous access. They haven't been able to put down a grid.
They haven't been able to tape off sensitive sites. In fact, I'm seeing even yesterday a large piece of the fuselage was discovered a mile or two from the existing investigation sites. This is a massive crime scene. It's an unprecedented international disaster where you have a civilian airliner brought down by an advanced military missile in a combatant area.
It's going to take exceptional international cooperation and certainly it's going to take a dramatic change in attitude from the separatists groups from the Donetsk People's Republic. It's inhuman how this crash site has been treated and undignified and cruel to the family members and inconsistent with the wishes of the international community. We need that kind of clarity to come from Moscow now.
COOPER: Ambassador Pyatt, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
PYATT: Good to talk to you.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, a decorated war veteran in the United States. He is a U.S. senator also, who also appears to be a plagiarist, that's the accusation.
Plus the extremist Islamist group, ISIS doing more mayhem in Iraq, this latest target is angering Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.
COOPER: Welcome back, there is new developments in a story you might have missed with all the breaking news overseas, the Army War College has opened an investigation after "The New York Times" reported that Senator John Walsh Montana plagiarized large portions of his graduate school thesis. Senator Walsh, a Democrat, and a decorated war veteran, has not denied the allegation that his office calls it a mistake. Chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, has more.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the final paper for a master's degree from the Army War College, but it turns out then 46-year-old John Walsh lifted much of it from other people and Senator Walsh is having a hard time explaining why. About a quarter of his 14-page paper on American Middle East policy was plagiarized according to the "New York Times" that broke the story and lays it out starkly on its web site.
One example, Walsh's six recommendations are taken nearly word for word from a Carnegie endowment for international peace document with no attribution or here Walsh used more than 560 words from a Harvard paper, no attribution or credit to the author. We went to the senator's office to talk to him about it, but got nowhere.
Walsh actively avoided CNN and other reporters around the Senate. When he did talk to the Montana AP, the Iraq war veteran discussed his psychological trauma from Iraq. Four soldiers in his battalion were killed. He returned just before entering the Army War College.
"I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor he said. My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment." Now back in Montana, he's backtracking.
SENATOR JOHN WALSH (D), MONTANA: I am in no way tying any of what I did to any type of, you know, PTSD. That had nothing to do with the mistake that I made.
BASH: To make matters worse, Walsh's campaign tried to keep the focus on his combat record, not his academic one, but damage control memo may have been more damage. It said Walsh survived hundreds of IED explosions while in a Humvee. That was wrong. A spokeswoman tells CNN, the memo should have said the battalion Walsh commanded survived hundreds of IED explosions. He did survive one in 2005.
Walsh has only been in the Senate five months, appointed to fill the seat vacated by Max Baccus now ambassador to China. Winning an election in November was already an uphill climb in the red state of Montana. National Democrats had hoped Walsh's 33 years in the Army National Guard, never in politics would help.
But sometimes a political novice brings unwanted surprises, Walsh is now trying to convince voters to keep his in perspective.
WALSH: The big scheme of things, this paper was not a life and death situation. I admit, I made a mistake.
COOPER: Dana joins me with the latest along with "New York Times" reporter, Jonathan Martin, who broke the story about Senator Walsh's alleged plagiarism. Jonathan, this is just incredible stuff. A quarter of the paper appears to be taken directly from other people's work. It's crazy.
JONATHAN MARTIN, REPORTER, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, a quarter of the paper taking with no attribution whatsoever. It's a pretty brazen example of academic plagiarism and it's important to keep in mind, this was not something that Senator Walsh did right after college when he was a 25-year-old grad student. He was a colonel in the National Guard, had served in Iraq, in his 40s when he did this.
COOPER: Yes, that's the thing, when I first heard the story, I thought maybe this is something he did in college, maybe not a big deal. He was in his mid to late 40s, 46, I think. Jonathan, he's now saying he made a mistake, as we heard there, but at one point he blamed it partly on PTSD. Now he says no way, that's not the case and you got a totally different explanation, I understand, two different times from his campaign.
MARTIN: Yes, I did. I first talked to Senator Walsh on Tuesday of this week and confronted him outside his office and actually showed him the documentation of where he had used the work of others, and at that point, I asked him point blank, Anderson, I said did you commit plagiarism? He said, I don't believe so, no.
Now subsequently his staff suggested that he was going through a tough time, he had thoughts of a soldier under his command in Iraq that committed suicide and that it was mentally difficult for him. Now Senator Walsh himself made similar comments to the AP, in the last day or so, though, his campaign stopped talking about that and Senator Walsh himself today on Montana radio said this was not something that was the result of PTSD.
COOPER: Dana, his military service, he's made that a corner stone of his campaign. What are your sources saying about his chances now? BASH: The problem is and the disappointment among Democrats is that in polls recently, he was closing the gap. Remember, this is a Democratic seat as I mentioned, that Democrats thought maybe they had the best chance at keeping with somebody with military service.
COOPER: Have Democrats, are they standing by him?
BASH: They are. But they are standing by him rhetorically and symbolically and then they are standing by him where it matters, which is in the pocketbooks and his when it comes to campaign cash. I think a large way to really view this is going to be in the weeks and months to come to see whether the national Democratic Party is going to give money to him and is going to support him in other ways to help his campaign.
COOPER: Jonathan, what happens now with the Army War College investigation and what is the maximum punishment he could receive?
MARTIN: Well, I talked to the Army War College, Anderson, just yesterday. They did a preliminary review of Senator Walsh's paper. They did find evidence to make clear that he appeared to commit plagiarism in their view so they are going forward with an investigation that will take place next month in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
COOPER: We'll follow it. Jonathan Martin, again, great reporting. Dana Bash, thank you so much.
Up next tonight, a crucial meeting on the boarder crisis. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Susan Hendricks has the 360 Bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Obama met with the leaders of three Central American countries today at the White House. They discussed ways to stop young migrants from coming to the U.S.
Meanwhile, there is growing concern Democrats and Republicans won't be able to pass a bill to deal with the boarder crisis before Congress leaves town next week for the entire month of August.
Officials in Iraq say the militant group, ISIS has blown up the tomb of Jonah. The prophet said to have been swallowed by a whale or great fish. The tomb was inside a Sunni mosque.
The doctor leading the fight against Ebola is infected with the deadly virus. In Western Africa over the past four months, more than 1,000 patients have been infected with the Ebola and 660 people have died.
A new report from NASA shows two years ago earth narrowly escaped a powerful solar storm that looked like this. It was big enough apparently to knock modern civilization with catastrophic damage to an electrical grid and one study suggests the impact would have been more than $2 trillion, 20 times greater than the cost of Hurricane Katrina.
COOPER: I'm glad we miss that one.
HENDRICKS: I'm glad we missed that one, too. This close.
COOPER: Yes, well, that's -- I guess. Wow. OK. All right. On that note, Susan, thanks very much. That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 P.M. Eastern, another edition of 360. "The Sixties" starts now.