Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Americans With Ebola to Be Evacuated; U.S. Backs Plan to Keep Russia At Bay; Russia "Destabilizing" Ukraine; Sponsored Children Dying in Gaza; CIA Chief Sorry for Senate Spying
Aired August 1, 2014 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JERREL GILLIAM, LEAVING SIERRA LEONE FOR U.S. (via telephone): I wanted to stay as long as I could, but the situation is out of control. It seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better.
BROWN: The Penn State fellow talked to CNN from Sierra Leone's airport where he just underwent enhanced screening.
GILLIAM: As soon as you get into the arrival state and you are processed with a form asking if you've showing any of the symptoms of Ebola over the last two weeks or so. After you fill out that form, a gentleman in full medical gear with a mask and gloves looks at the form and then he takes your temperature.
BROWN: But the screening is not pool proof. The incubation period for Ebola is 21 days and the process heavily relies on the honor system.
GILL: If someone tried to get out of the country and they're filling out this form, then they're going to check no even if they had extreme fever in the last two weeks.
BROWN: The CDC predicts it will take at least three months to contain the epidemic in West Africa and says in that time, some 10,000 people will have traveled from those countries into the U.S.
BROWN: But none will be tracked. Instead, it will up to them and their doctors to report back any symptoms. Meantime, as for the two sick American health care workers, no decision has been made yet about what if any experimental treatments will be used to care for them.
Of course, there is no approved vaccine or therapy for Ebola. But again, Jake, we're hearing that at least one of them could be at Emory Hospital as early as tomorrow.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
Joining me now is the director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Tom Frieden. Dr. Frieden, thanks so much for joining us. First of all, do you have any update on the conditions of these patients for us? THOMAS FRIEDEN, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: You'd really have to address that to the nongovernmental organization, "Samaritans Purse" that employed them and is caring for them in this time.
TAPPER: Obviously, the decision to bring these Ebola patients into the U.S. just factually increases the risk of infecting more people here in the U.S. Can you assure the American people that that won't happen?
FRIEDEN: You know, it's really important to be clear about how Ebola spreads. First off, it doesn't spread from someone who's not sick. So if someone has been exposed to Ebola, but they are not sick, they can't spread it to someone else.
Second, it's spread only by contact with body fluids. And what happens in Africa is the spread is through health care where there isn't infection control and through burial practices that expose people to body fluids of someone who's died from Ebola.
We can ensure that the health care that's given here is done according to meticulous attention to infection control principles and practices that really does not allow the passage of body fluids. So if you don't have a lapse in infection control, you don't have a risk of Ebola.
TAPPER: Thank you, Dr. Frieden.
Coming up next, what's Vladimir Putin's end game in Ukraine? My next guess says the Russian president has lusted over the country for years and could be looking beyond its borders. How worried should the U.S. and its allies be? Well, very.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. On the same day that 70 international investigators reached the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the largest group yet, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation about the country where the wreckage and the bodies lie, Ukraine.
The White House says the president told Putin he was deeply concerned about, quote, "Russia's increased support for the separatists in Ukraine." Those, of course, are the very rebels who are suspected of shooting down Flight 17 and keeping investigators off the site for days on end.
Now that Putin has been accused of sticking his mitts far into Ukraine, our Barbara Starr reports on a plan to slap them back before they creep farther west.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned the U.S. military is backing a NATO proposal for U.S. and European troops to be able to respond within 48 hours of any Russian military aggression against NATO members. The move meant to send a stern warning to Russia.
But also reflecting a fundamental worry that in the future, NATO and the U.S. cannot dismiss the threat that Russia could decide to move beyond Ukraine into NATO's eastern flank.
ADRIAN BRADSHAW, NATO DEPUTY SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: We need to be absolutely sure that they understand that they can't apply this sort of pressure to a NATO nation.
STARR: The deputy military commander of NATO tells CNN that air, land and maritime forces would be on higher alert, all a response to the nearly 15,000 Russian troops now within what one U.S. official calls spitting distance of the Ukraine border and the continued flow of heavy weapons into Ukraine.
BRADSHAW: Our business is to be ready for the worst.
STARR: Currently, NATO forces including U.S. troops, have up to 30 days to respond to a threat. If finalized, the new two-day window will be part of a new military headquarters in Europe for quick response.
BRADSHAW: This is not an aggressive response. It's absolutely defensive in nature.
STARR: But Ukraine is not a member of NATO. There is no obligation to defend it. Russia's envoy to the European Union says the problem is not with Moscow but with Ukraine.
VLADIMIR CHIZHOV, RUSSIAN ENVOY TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: The feelings of the people inhabiting the eastern part of the country and in many other places, as well, they feel the current government in Kiev does not represent them and does not take their interests into consideration that they need time.
STARR: And on the border with Russia, no let-up from Moscow's side as Russian troops and heavy weapons move closer.
STARR: To help boost Ukraine, the Defense Department is asking Congress for another $20 million to help train and equip their national guard. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.
TAPPER: Let's bring in retired four-star general, Wesley Clark. He's also a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe, and is now a senior flow with the UCLA Burkle Center. General, good to see you as always.
Let's start with what the deputy supreme allied commander of NATO said what Russia is doing now is, quote, "causing a seriously destabilizing effect," unquote, on Ukraine and that NATO needs to be prepared if Russia turns on a NATO country. Is Russia a threat to NATO, do you think?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), SENIOR FELLOW, UCLA BURKLE CENTER: Well, I think when you try to make labels like that, that you get yourself in trouble. But let's put it this way. There's a lot of concern in NATO countries especially Eastern European NATO countries that the tactics and strategies that Russia is following lead right to them.
So that if they can destabilize Ukraine through this -- it's basically a war of subversion. And it's perpetrated not only by the Russian intelligence agencies but by regular Russian military forces.
They've got a brigade from their far eastern military district that's been pulled all the way across Russia and assigned opposite the Ukrainian City of Kharkov in order to be able to intimidate and possibly even cross that border and intervene if the Ukrainians are very successful militarily.
We don't know where this is going to go militarily, but nations in Eastern Europe are certainly anxious.
TAPPER: General, how much do you hold Vladimir Putin responsible for what happened to Flight 17?
CLARK: Well, I think he is the man who is responsible. This is all about Vladimir Putin's -- it's his vision of restoring Russia to its greatness. He's lusted after Ukraine from the time he became prime minister that we know of. He's tried many strategies to control the Ukraine.
He knew it was premature to try to digest and bring it back into a political union with Russia. Ukraine is 45 million people. It's heavily industrialized. It's got rich agricultural resources and it's basically been in a neutral position pulled both east and west.
And I think that what Putin saw was that as the European Union offered some economic relationships that it would spoil his plans. And so he decided it was time to jump on this, and he did. He seized Crimea and he's got active military operations.
They're under the control of the Russian military hierarchy, the intelligence hierarchy and no doubt under Putin himself. So yes, he's responsible, no doubt about it in my view.
TAPPER: Overnight at least ten Ukrainian paratroopers were killed. Few than 15 miles from the Flight 17 crash site. They were ambushed by pro-rebel forces. Yesterday was the first time in nearly a week when investigators, international investigators, could get to the crash site.
What do you think should be done to secure the crash site right now so that that evidence and the poor victims of this shootdown of the plane can be recovered?
CLARK: Well, I do think that we need to put people in there to international police monitors and other people who can get on the ground at the crash site. This is a nation fighting to regain control of its own territory.
It's the kind of thing that we would in any other place in the world, the nations of the west would be saying these people are fighting for democracy. Let's help them.
Because they're fighting against Putin, everybody questions what they're doing, and it's as though we're buying what is essentially Russian propaganda.
TAPPER: All right. General Wesley Clark, thank you so much for your time.
CLARK: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming, they are a world away, kids they've never even met. It might be like losing a member of the family. Americans sponsoring children in Gaza are getting crushing news as another cease-fire crumbles.
Plus, it's like reading your supervisor's e-mails only worse. The head of the CIA admitting his employees spied on the Senate committee that's supposed to be keeping an eye on the CIA. So what happens now? We'll see.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. If you were a second grader in Gaza or Israel, you'd already be living through your third war. So many children have unfairly shoulders the brunt of this bloodshed.
It's been painful to see the pictures and read the stories of young lives lost. Entire families wiped out for those close to the victims and for those who send their love. Just a little more than a dollar a day from far away.
TAPPER (voice-over): You're no doubt familiar with advertisements like this one asking you to sponsor a child in need. The Christian Humanitarian Organization World Vision has been using campaigns such as these to help impoverished communities for more than 60 years.
Donations help provide education, nutrition and medicine for families around the globe including in Gaza where the suffering among children has become unbearable. With Israeli shelling and missiles and Hamas rockets fired and misfired, world vision was forced to suspend all, but its most crucial services here last week.
DR. MAE CANNON, SENIOR DIRECTOR OF ADVOCACY AND OUTREACH, WORLD VISION USA: As the bombs increased let alone the ground invasion began, safety became a primary concern. One of our staff members in North Gaza lost eight members of had his family during one of the bombing campaigns.
TAPPER: It's gotten so bad that now appeals for assistance aren't primarily aimed at television viewers, but instead at combatants. Please, they say, stop.
CANNON: We certainly are calling for a cease-fire. Gaza was in a humanitarian crisis prior to this conflict. Now the humanitarian issues are becoming catastrophic.
TAPPER: The Israeli government insists it does not target civilians. In the past few days, World Vision says that it has had to tell at least five families that their sponsored child in Gaza was killed not by hunger or lack of shelter but by conflict.
The 5-year-old Sahar recently took part in an event in Gaza where children flew kites carrying messages of peace and hope. World Vision says he was killed by an Israeli missile while playing inside his home.
The 5-year-old Muhammad had been receiving psychological care from World Vision. The organization says he died when an Israeli tank shell hit his room. The 9-year-old Mustafa was killed along with his mother, 8-year-old sister and 8-month-old baby sister, World Vision says when an Israeli jet bombed their home.
Another sponsored child died in this shelter when it was bombed Wednesday night. World Vision had been set to offer help to families here the next morning.
CANNON: We have people who are trained experts to work with children to teach them breathing exercises so that they can go to sleep at night when bombs are going off or to learn how to sing a song that can be help calm them down.
TAPPER: The Palestinians blame Israel, Israel blames Hamas for embedding within the population. Whomever you hold responsible, international aid workers are finding it close to impossible to help any of these children until there's a cease-fire that are features people actually ceasing fire.
TAPPER: Coming up, he says it's like the plot of a really bad "b" movie. Only this time it happened in real life. Why John McCain and others are shocked over the actions of the CIA. Stay with us. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. The Politics Lead now. A report on CIA interrogation practices after 9/11 will be declassified in the coming weeks. Today President Obama gave his declarative take on that report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: At that press conference this afternoon, the president also stood by his CIA Director John Brennan who is accused of a reversal at the very minimum, flat out lying through his teeth by some who want him out. Our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, has more.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a secret CIA location, Senate staffers worked on what they thought was their own secure computer network. They were looking at classified information investigating CIA interrogation tactics.
Little did Senate aides know CIA agents were using their cloak and dagger trade craft on them. The CIA is a spy agency. It's what they do. But snooping on staffers on the Senate committee that oversees them that they should not do, and senators in both parties here are furious.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is a very serious situation and there are serious violations.
BASH: The CIA inspector general found five agency employees, two attorneys and three I.T. staffers improperly accessed Senate aides' computers. Even veteran senators are stunned.
(on camera): Could you ever imagine something like this happening?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: This is out of a movie and I really never believed, I never believed that an agency of government particularly with the capabilities of the CIA would carry out such actions.
BASH (voice-over): What makes matters worse for the CIA, back in March, Director John Brennan denied his agents spied on senate staffers.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: Nothing could be further from the truth. When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people claiming there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.
BASH: That denial followed a highly unusual public scolding from Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I have grave concerns that the CIA's search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.
BASH: Now that Feinstein was proven right, Brennan admitted he was wrong and apologized. But saying sorry isn't enough for some who want Brennan to resign. The president is standing by Brennan.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I have full confidence in John Brennan. I think he has acknowledged and directly apologized to Senator Feinstein.
BASH: A review is under way. But it will take a long time for trust to be restored between the CIA and lawmakers who bear the crucial responsibility for keeping the secret agency in check.
(END VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: And Dana Bash joins me now from Capitol Hill. Dana, that last point you make is on target. It's extraordinary and really potentially very dangerous when you think about it. Americans rely on the Senate Intelligence Committee to be able to oversee the CIA and they were snooping on that committee.
BASH: Absolutely. It's almost hard to wrap your mind around. When it comes to the oversight responsibility of Congress, it's important across the government, but nothing is as much as the CIA because it is so secretive.
Other government agencies have had to do public disclosures. Obviously not at the CIA. So trust between the intelligence committee that oversees the CIA is so critical and so broken right now.
TAPPER: Dana Bash, thank you so much. That is it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @jaketapper. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer live from Jerusalem in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Mr. Blitzer?