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THE SITUATION ROOM
Secret Service Director Resigns; Details Revealed of White House Intruder; U.S.: New Airstrike Near Besieged Syrian Town; U.S., Coalition Step Up ISIS Airstrikes; Children Exposed To Ebola Patient; Drone Searching for Missing Virginia Student
Aired October 1, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now: Breaking news, the Secret Service director resigns after shocking security breaches involving an armed intruder at the White House and a man with a gun right next to the president.
Border battle. CNN's cameras capture the desperate struggle as Kurdish forces try to break an ISIS siege. The Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, he's here with me live right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And the suspect in the disappearance of a Virginia student is being looked at for possible connections to several other unsolved missing person and murder cases.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get right to the breaking news. The director of the U.S. Secret Service, who was put in place to clean up the agency after a series of embarrassing incidents has now resigned after shocking security breaches that occurred on her own watch.
Julia Pierson is out just days after an armed intruder made it deep inside the White House and after word that a man with a gun recently stood in an elevator right next to the president of the United States.
We're also following the latest breaking news on Ebola. The name of the patient diagnosed here in the United States has just been revealed. Our correspondents, our analysts, our newsmakers, they're all standing by with the very latest information.
Let's begin, though, with our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta -- Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia Pierson submitted her resignation to Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson earlier this afternoon. Then President Obama called Pierson to thank her for her many years of service. And now the White House begins the process of finding a successor to lead this bruised agency.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ACOSTA (voice-over): After a string of astounding failures at the Secret Service, President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson accepted the resignation of the agency's embattled director, Julia Pierson.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: They both agree with that assessment because of the recent and accumulating reports that raise legitimate questions about the performance of the agency.
ACOSTA: It was a stunning turn of events for Pierson, who had the backing of the White House just this morning.
EARNEST: The president and everybody here at the White House stands solidly behind all the men and women of the Secret Service, including the director of the Secret Service.
ACOSTA: Last month's fence jumper was not the only breach to shock the White House. During a presidential visit to the CDC in September, a security contractor, armed with a gun, rode an elevator with Mr. Obama, a blatant violation of Secret Service protocol. A lapse the White House didn't know about until 24 hours ago.
(on camera): Did Director Pierson brief the president on that incident?
EARNEST: Jim, I can tell you that the White House first learned of that incident yesterday afternoon shortly before it was reported by -- before it was publicly reported by news organizations.
JULIA PIERSON, OUTGOING DIRECTOR, SECRET SERVICE: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you so much.
ACOSTA: When the president tapped Pierson to become the first female director of the Secret Service 18 months ago, her mission was to fix the agency's culture.
OBAMA: She's breaking the mold in terms of directors of the agencies, and I think that people are all extraordinarily proud of her. I couldn't be placing our lives in better hands than Julia.
ACOSTA: Now, retired Secret Service agent Joseph Clancy has been named the agency's temporary replacement until a permanent one can be found.
In the meantime, Julia Pierson has given a quick interview to Bloomberg News, Wolf. She said that leaving right now is painful for her at this time, because she said she had a vision for the agency's future, a vision she will not be seeing through, Wolf.
BLITZER: So she resigned, but for all practical purposes, she was pushed to resign. Is that right? ACOSTA: I think she was pushed to resign. I think her testimony
yesterday in front of the House Oversight Committee was uninspiring, not reassuring. And so you saw a steady stream of lawmakers coming to the cameras all day long today, like Elijah Cummings, like Nancy Pelosi.
Then Chuck Schumer was about to have a news conference this afternoon to call on Pierson to resign. I think that just was too much weight on this White House in addition to that elevator incident, Wolf. The fact that the White House only found out about this before press reports came out detailing that the president was in an elevator with an armed man that the Secret Service did not know about. I think that was the last straw.
BLITZER: Yes. When one of President Obama's appointees has lost Nancy Pelosi and Elijah Cummings, you know they're in deep, deep trouble.
All right. Thanks for that. As the Secret Service chief steps down, the White House intruder who may have cost her that job made a court appearance today here in Washington.
Let's get some more from our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Omar Gonzalez appeared in a D.C. courtroom, Wolf, for the third time since the latest security breach at the White House, and tonight CNN is learning new details about the breach that led in part to Pierson's downfall.
A Secret Service force tells CNN the entire incident from the time Gonzalez went over the fence to the time he was tackled inside the White House was captured on tape by an elaborate surveillance system; video now in the hands of investigators.
And also CNN has learned that, as Gonzalez ran into the White House, he bowled over a female officer who was trying to close one of the mansion's double doors. That officer, a source tells CNN, was able to get up, chase the 42-year-old and eventually tackle him just outside the East Room.
Also the source that we spoke to says it's not surprising that the crash button, the button that was supposed to set off the alarm to indicate an intruder it's not surprise that crash button was muted and the former Iraq war veteran Omar Gonzalez appeared in a federal courtroom pleading not guilty to the three charges he faces, including entering a restricted building while carrying a deadly weapon.
Today, Wolf, a federal judge ordered Gonzalez to go through a screening to see if he is competent to stand trial. His defense attorney actually pushed back and said that he is competent to stand trial. He asked for the judge's order to be delayed, Wolf.
BLITZER: But he's being held? BROWN: Being held.
BLITZER: He's not being released on bail or anything and he is suffering, by all accounts, from posttraumatic stress.
BROWN: There are accounts that he suffered from posttraumatic stress after serving in the Iraq War, but today his defense attorney said that he is fine and he is competent to stand trial. He said that before, and today he said he feels -- he believes even more strongly that he's competent to stand trial. However, the judge said she believes he needs to go through a competency test.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens. Thanks very much, Pamela, for that.
Let's go in depth now with someone who has been all over these Secret Service lapses. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah is joining us now. He's the chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security.
Is it good enough that she resigned, Congressman?
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: She had to go. I think it was the right move, and unfortunately, it had to happen. She had lost the confidence of the men and women in the Secret Service.
But I'm afraid there are more systemic challenges there at the Secret Service. Until we address the overall leadership, we talk about the protocol, the training and the culture, we won't truly root out all the problems and challenges at the Secret Service.
BLITZER: Should there be more resignations from the Secret Service?
CHAFFETZ: There needs to be some restructuring, some new management. I think the best way to move forward -- I appreciate Mr. Clancy coming in. He's a true professional. I hear nothing but good things about him.
But long term, I think it would probably be best to not only bring somebody in from the outside to direct the Secret Service, but I support Chairman Mike McCall's legislation in the House. Speaker Boehner's supportive of it. I'm very supportive of it.
It calls for a blue-ribbon commission. Let's bring in people from the military, from the FBI, from maybe private security to really take a top-down, thorough approach to this for the long-term fix to truly be in place.
BLITZER: So the new acting director, you don't think necessarily this person should be elevated to become the director. You want somebody to come in from the outside?
CHAFFETZ: As best I can tell he has a good reputation, but I still worry about the overall culture and internally how things are structured, the protocol. This is a deep-seated problem. It's not going to be fixed in a day. But this is an agency that can never, ever make a mistake. So they've got to get their act together, and do it and do it fast.
BLITZER: But in fairness to Julia Pierson, and I think you agree, you can't simply blame her for all the problems, all these various problems the Secret Service has had.
CHAFFETZ: Well, the buck needs to stop at her desk. What I'm truly concerned about is I don't think she was candid with the president of the United States. I asked her point-blank yesterday if she a hundred percent of the time reported incidents to the president if there was a breach in security, if the president's life or ring of security was ever breached. And she said that she had only done that one time in the year 2014, which means she didn't tell the president about the elevator situation.
And that is just -- if you hold things back from the president of the United States, that deal with the safety and security. He's the commander in chief of the United States of America. He's our president. I know -- Republicans and Democrats, he's the president of the United States. You can't have a Secret Service director who's holding back that type of information and then telling Congress that she tells him 100 percent of the time. That was deception.
And when it got to that point where it was clear to me that she was deceiving people, that's when I -- yesterday came to the conclusion that she had to resign, and I'm glad the White House did, as well.
BLITZER: She spent, what, three hours answering questions before your committee yesterday. How much did that play -- how much of a role did that play in her resignation, the three hours she spent there yesterday? By all accounts, she didn't do a very good job.
CHAFFETZ: Look, I wanted to hear from her that when we talk about an intruder in the White House -- when you talk about somebody getting close to the president, I wanted her to be fired up and say they're never, ever going to get to the president. They're never going to come into the White House again, no matter what.
Instead we heard about the study and we're going investigate. And it just didn't inspire any confidence. And I've had good working relationship with Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee. He's a good man. And he and I were lockstep in a lot of this. And I think you saw Steve Lynch out of Massachusetts, a Democrat, get pretty fired up about it, as well. Those of us that were sitting in that room in a bipartisan way, I think less -- left with less confidence in her rather than more, and it was not a good showing.
BLITZER: I want you to stand by, Congressman. I have a lot more questions for you, because this is a true, true scandal. We'll continue with the breaking news right after this.
BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news. The director of the Secret Service, who was brought in to clean up scandals, has now resigned following truly shocking new security breaches including a knife-wielding White House intruder and an armed contractor allowed to stand right next to the president in an elevator.
We're back with Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He chairs the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security.
That incident on September 16, the president is down at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. He's in an elevator with an armed contractor, a guy with a gun. That's against the protocol. But what's truly shocking -- fortunately nothing happened, but it's truly shocking -- the president didn't learn about this until all of us basically learned about it yesterday. That is amazing, isn't it?
CHAFFETZ: As a member of Congress, I shouldn't hear about it before the president of the United States, and I think that's what's fundamentally wrong. I appreciate the men and women who serve in the Secret Service. They're amazing people, patriotic, do a very difficult job under stressful circumstances, to say the least.
But it's just totally unacceptable to allow a person with a gun, with an arrest record to stand next to the president of the United States. And if it does happen, then you need to get the internal affairs immediately involved. The president needs to know about it, and that needs to be rooted out.
But as best I can tell, it was actually -- there was an attempt to cover it up, make sure that the president never did hear about it, that the media and that Congress never heard about it. That's the point where it kind of goes over the edge and you just think this person is not up to the job.
BLITZER: Who was part of the alleged cover-up?
CHAFFETZ: Well, I worry that the director herself was involved, and that she did know about it. Now, that's a strong allegation, but the only way to root it out is to shed light on it, and to hear that the president hadn't heard about it and never heard the Secret Service deny that this had ever happened. They certainly had an opportunity when contacted by "The Washington Post" to deny this. They never did deny it, so it leads us further to believe that there was a lot of truth to it. And certainly it was one of the things that was cited by the White House spokesperson today.
So, we'll learn more and more intimate details to this. I think the White House, the Secret Service themselves, if they're going to gain credibility back, Wolf, they need to start sharing this information. The night of the attack of the fence jumper, they said there was no weapon involved. But there was a weapon. They did have a gun. They said that he got just inside the door. Well, that isn't the full truth, either.
And so, you have to look to Ed Donovan, the spokesperson. You have to look to the Secret Service director herself. You're going to have to start looking further into that organization and change the culture because you just can't mislead the American people and the United States Congress. You can't do that.
BLITZER: So, you got -- you got an incident in an elevator with an armed guard there, basically shouldn't be anywhere near the president with the gun. You've got the fence jumper who gets into the East Room of the White House in 2011. You have somebody shooting, what, about seven bullets that actually hit the windows of the residence of the White House. Nobody discovers it for four days; a housekeeper discovers it.
Here's the question, Congressman, because you've spent a lot of time investigating as the chairman of your subcommittee. Are there more incidents like this that the public doesn't know about yet?
CHAFFETZ: Yes. Absolutely. Unfortunately, that's very true. In December of 2013, the inspector general put out a report where Secret Service agents and the uniform division officers were allowed to check boxes. Have they ever seen or witnessed or heard of an incident that would affect national security or the safety and security of the White House or the president himself? Over a thousand times a box was checked. A thousand.
So this is not just two or three problems. I'm worried that you could go on to this every single day. And mistakes will be made, but there's supposed to be so much redundancy built into the system that there's never, ever a concern that the president could lose his life. And when you have someone with an arrest record standing literally within arm's length of the president of the United States, and he has a gun, and the Secret Service doesn't know that, you have a bigger, broader problem than just any one person.
BLITZER: Is the president of the United States, the first lady, their two daughters, are they safe right now?
CHAFFETZ: It scares me. The more I've learned, the more frightened I am that they are not as safe and secure as they might be. And the projection of weakness, unfortunately, I worry will invite more attacks.
So when the fence jumper comes across, has a problem -- you know, this is a person who's on disability because he has problems with his foot. And nobody can get in front of him. Every layer fails. And the Secret Service puts out a press release praising -- praising -- their tremendous restraint and discipline, I've got to tell you, that is not sending the right message to the men and women of the Secret Service. I want them to know we've got their back. Nobody gets to the president. Nobody gets in the White House and no matter what.
And if they need to take more dramatic steps to make sure that never happens, then that's what they have to do. I'll have their back, and I want everybody else to have their back, as well. They can't make these split-second decisions in the age of ISIS and terrorists and improvised explosive devices and dirty bombs. If somebody is coming at the White House, if somebody is coming after the president's daughter, take them down.
BLITZER: One quick clarification, because we're out of time. First time I've heard that the fence jumper had a problem with his foot. What's that all about? CHAFFETZ: My understanding is that he was on some degree of
disability because he had some problems with his foot. Now maybe I'm wrong there, but that's the way I remember it. He wasn't exactly Carl Lewis sprinting to the front door.
BLITZER: We'll check into that, Congressman. And I'm sure you will, as well. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, thanks very much for joining us.
CHAFFETZ: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: We'll have more on this story coming up later, but there's other important news we're following, including a desperate battle near a key border town as new air strikes target ISIS positions there. Is there a major regional power about to join the fight?
And a drone with a high-powered camera is in the skies over Virginia as police step up the search for a missing student.
Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: A desperate battle is playing out within sight of a CNN crew right now. It's happening right inside Syria's border with Turkey, where Kurdish forces are trying to break an ISIS siege of a key town. The United States has launched fresh air strikes in the area, and Turkey, a NATO ally, has deployed troops as it weighs whether to join the fight against ISIS . Let's go live to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. She has the very latest -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you can debate how effective the coalition airstrikes really are, but what is not open to debate is in many places ISIS is still very much on the move.
STARR (voice-over): Kurdish fighters battling against ISIS as it tries to advance on the Syrian town of Kobani right at the Turkish border. CNN cameras captured the battle.
Turkish tanks have taken up positions on the border. Turkey, a member of NATO is considering sending troop against ISIS. The new secretary- general making clear in his first press conference the alliance would come to Turkey's aid.
JENS STOLLENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Our responsibility is the basic responsibility to stand up and we are very clear we want to protect Turkey.
STARR: The Pentagon again warning air strikes alone will never get rid of ISIS and that air strikes have limitations.
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: This is a complicated, difficult, cultural, religious, geographic struggle that we're facing here in Iraq and Syria. And it's not going to be solved overnight, and it's not going to be solved through bombs. STARR: One senior military official tells CNN, quote, "To expect ISIS
to turn and run with its tail between its legs after a few air strikes was never part of our prediction. It was never part of the assumption.
KIRBY: When we say we're going to any after them, we mean it, but I also think it's important to note that, while we continue to hit them where they are, it doesn't mean that we can or even that we should hit them everywhere they are at every moment. We must choose. We must discriminate. We care about preserving life. We're willing to be careful and patient, and precise.
STARR: CNN has learned the air campaign is changing. The Pentagon calls it dynamic targeting. Warplanes loaded with missiles and bombs patrol a designated grid in the sky, looking for ISIS fighters, vehicles and weapons. They call in a target to a command center, get permission and launch their weapons.
But still, the question on the Turkish border, why not more?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Truthfully, it's just a matter of you can't be everywhere all of the time. If things shifted to Kobani (ph) in terms of support you could go to another town and someone would say, "Hey, we're not getting the support here, either."
STARR: -- the impact. They are seeing some impact from the air strikes. In some places ISIS fighters are staying off their cell phones and staying off the roads and trying to do what they can to avoid U.S. And coalition air strikes, but by all accounts, Wolf, still a very long way to go.
BLITZER: Very long, indeed. All right, Barbara. Thanks very much.
The U.S. and its allies, they are stepping up the air war against ISIS, but is it enough? Joining us now right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Rear Admiral Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, chief spokesman, Pentagon. Thank you very much for joining us.
KIRBY: Thank you.
BLITZER: I've got a lot of questions, but I want to quickly start on what's going on Baghdad, the capital right now. We're hearing -- CNN has heard at least four mortar rounds that hit the so-called Green Zone. That's where the U.S. embassy is. A lot of Americans are there, diplomats, civilians, military personnel, what can you tell us about that?
KIRBY: I don't know. We've seen the reports of that, but I can't confirm that right now. It's not -- it doesn't come as a surprise to us that they'll continue to try to pressure Baghdad. They have. They've been doing for many, many weeks. In fact, you may have seen some of our air strikes have taken place to the south of the city and to the southwest of it. So we know they're trying to put pressure on it. We also know that
the Iraqi security forces around the capital city have been stiffening their defenses. And again, we're seeing these reports same as you, and we'll look into these. But it's no surprise to us that ISIL will be putting pressure on the capital.
BLITZER: We know the second largest city in Iraq, Mosul, a city of nearly two million people, is under the control of ISIS right now. How vulnerable is the largest city in Iraq, the capital, Baghdad?
KIRBY: It is -- it is better defended than places like Mosul were and what we've seen around Fallujah. So believe me, the Iraqi security forces, they know what that city means to them and to their people and to their country. And like I said, we see them stiffening their defenses, and so far they've been able to protect the capital.
BLITZER: Do you think the -- it will be necessary to increase the number of U.S. troops and advisers in Baghdad, for example, to protect American diplomats and contractors, others who are right there, about 1,600 U.S. active duty military personnel are serving in Iraq.
KIRBY: Not all 1,600 are there. Most of them are, and you saw they announced another 200 going of the 475 that the president announced a couple of Wednesdays ago. But they're all flowing in that direction.
It's important to remember two things, Wolf. One, the advisers are just that. They're going to be advisers. They're not in combat; they're not engaging the enemy.
BLITZER: But they are protecting the American embassy.
KIRBY: Those are security systems people. That's different than the advisers. That's a completely different mission set. We see no need right now to increase their numbers. I think we think we've got an adequate level of protection there around the embassy and the facilities that we have in Baghdad.
But the advisers are going to be increased. The president announced that not long ago. So we will be sending more advising teams to work with various units in the Iraqi security--
BLITZER: About 50 miles outside of Baghdad, ISIS has now taken another Iraqi military base, killing a whole bunch of Iraqi troops, and many others simply just ran away, left their U.S. weapons behind.
KIRBY: One of the reasons why an advising mission is so important is so that we can get into those higher headquarters and help the Iraqis improve their competence on the battlefield.
I would also say, and this gets to Barbara's report. I think she covered it very well. This remains a very potent, real threat. These guys -- these guys are serious, and they are trying to continue to grab ground. And so I think we all need to be mindful of the fact that this is not going to be an easy or a short struggle.
BLITZER: Is Turkey, a NATO ally, about to get involved and help the United States?
KIRBY: Well, they certainly have indicated that they want to participate. It's going to be up to them to determine what that participation looks like.
BLITZER: Militarily speaking.
KIRBY: Militarily speaking, obviously. They gave us every indication when we were in Ankara a few weeks ago that they were going to contribute, that they needed to work it out for themselves, and we'll certainly respect that. Just by a dint of geography -- and you can see it on your map here -- I mean, they're involved. And they have a refugee problem more than a million refugees inside the country. They have been battling terrorists of their own and have a foreign fighter problem, as well. So we have every expectation that they will participate. Again, it's up to them to figure it out.
BLITZER: We heard the president about a year or so ago announced new plans to make sure that drones flying over civilian areas have new precautions to avoid what the Pentagon calls collateral damage or civilians -- civilian deaths or injuries, unlucky people who happen to be in an area, that those rules of engagements for drone strikes, Hellfire missiles or whatever, that they are not being applied and those new, strict conditions as far as U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria are right now. They don't have the restrictions that the drones have. Is that right?
KIRBY: Well, what I would tell you is, rather than to parcel out between manned and unmanned systems. I will tell you that we go to extraordinary lengths, no matter what the operation is that we conduct. Whether it's a counterterrorism operation or it's a more kinetic operation like you're seeing in Syria the last couple of days, we go to extraordinary lengths to avoid collateral damage and civilian casualties, absolutely. We try to be as precise as we can, and we believe that we have been.
BLITZER: But the restrictions on the aircraft are not as tight as they are on the drones.
KIRBY: What I would tell you is speaking of General Austin, the restrictions on all his aircraft flying missions in both Iraq and Syria are very, very tight.
BLITZER: A lot of civilian casualties, as far as you know?
KIRBY: Well, we don't have any confirmed operational reporting. That said, we know that there is reporting out there of civilian casualties. And I can tell you that Central Command analysts are looking through those very, very carefully and very actively right now to determine the veracity.
BLITZER: And will you share that? Will you be transparent?
KIRBY: A hundred percent. Just like we've been in Iraq and Afghanistan. If we believe we've caused civilian casualties or collateral damage, we're going to own up to it, and we'll do something about it.
BLITZER: Admiral Kirby, thanks for coming in.
KIRBY: Thanks for having me.
BLITZER: We're following other breaking news, including troubling developments in the Texas Ebola case. While the patient fights for his life in a Dallas hospital, authorities are now monitoring some school-age children who may be -- may have been in contact with this patient. There you see him there.
We're also following other breaking news in Virginia. For the first time they're using a drone -- yes, a drone -- to try to find any trace of Hannah Graham.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news out of Dallas, Texas. Authorities now are monitoring schoolchildren who were with that man infected with Ebola shortly after he arrived here in the United States.
Let's get right to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay is at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Sanjay, how worried should we be about those school-age kids who were in contact with this individual?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, obviously it's concerning. I think just the fact that they're children, obviously, raises another level of concern. Their bodies of young people, old people, their immune systems oftentimes aren't as robust, aren't as strong and that they're going to be a bit more predisposed to these infections, as well.
I do want to say, though, Wolf, if still the odds are on their side. It's unlikely, even with this sort of contact, that they're actually going to become infected with Ebola. Most people who have this sort of contact won't be, but they're going to be monitored.
Wolf, we also got more details about this patient. As you may know, he's a Liberian national, 42 years old. This was his first trip to the United States. He, you know, apparently was in critical condition yesterday and is now in serious but stable condition, but they describe a story of -- describes a story as being very frustrated at the hospital the first time they went in, really making it clear that he was from Liberia. He had nausea. He had vomiting. He had fever.
Still, it's really sort of curious still, but nothing more was done for him at that time. In fact, he was told that he had a mild, viral illness and then given antibiotics, which would not work for a viral illness.
Wolf, you mentioned these school-age children. Governor Rick Perry talked about that a little bit today during his press conference. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Some school-age children have been identified as having had contact with the patient and are now being monitored at home for any sign of the disease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: They're not, obviously, admitting them to the hospital, but they're going to have to have them take their temperature twice a day for three weeks. That's sort of the standard protocol.
But again, Wolf, we talked about this earlier in the day. If he had been admitted at that time, and he had contact with these children after he was sent home from the hospital the first time, those children wouldn't have been exposed at all. So, you know, there was obviously some failures in terms of getting this patient into the hospital and tested as quickly as could have happened.
BLITZER: And apparently, he did tell the nurse there he had just arrived from Liberia. He's vomiting. He's got a fever. And the nurse knew about this, but apparently, according to officials in Dallas, Texas, didn't tell any of the other nurses or doctors who were dealing with him, and they sent him home just with some antibiotics and some pain relievers, if you will? That's pretty shocking when you think about it.
GUPTA: It is, Wolf, and I will tell you that's what we heard, obviously, during the press conference today. It seems like there may be more to the story than that, and even, again, this friend of the patient, Mr. Duncan's friend saying, "We went there. He made it clear he was from Liberia," and when they were sent home they were very frustrated. They actually called here, the Centers for Disease Control, who then referred them to the Texas Department of Health. I mean, just think about the odyssey that this guy is on now and unable to get the care that he thinks he needs, given that he's from Liberia and having these symptoms.
So clearly this guy was worried, this patient was worried. He was concerned he may have had Ebola. And still for whatever reason, Wolf, that did not get transmitted to the medical team there in Texas, and they just sent him home.
How many contacts he had after he got sent home, that's going to be a critical thing here. They're obviously going to find these contacts. But again, none of them had to happen, had he been admitted and isolated.
BLITZER: Very quickly, Sanjay. We now know he flew from Liberia to Brussels, then from Brussels on a United flight to right here in Washington, D.C., Washington Dulles International Airport, and from Washington Dulles he flew to Dallas, Texas. People are going to be worried now. Was he contagious during that long flight?
GUPTA: Well, one of the things we've heard over and over again, and there is science behind this to back it up, is that until you are sick, until you are visibly showing symptoms, you're not contagious; you're not going to be infectious and spreading this virus around.
So we hear that he had no symptoms, no illness when he got on the plane in Liberia and none when he got off the plane in Dallas.
So look, I understand the concerns here, and we've been talking to a lot of people about this, but I don't think that the people on those plane flights or in those airports really have any cause for worry.
BLITZER: Let's hope they don't. But I'm sure a lot of them are worried right now, just by the nature of this horrible, horrible disease.
Sanjay, stay with us. Sanjay's going to be joining us right at the top of the next hour. He's got a lot more information about the breaking news involving this horrible case, the situation of Ebola right here in the United States.
But up next, there's breaking news in the search for the missing University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham. Today for the first time, investigators are using a drone to look for her.
BLITZER: We're also following the breaking news in the search for the missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham. Today for the first time a drone, a drone is being used in the search.
Let's get some more now from CNN's Athena Jones. She's on the scene for us in Charlottesville -- Athena.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the drone's operators is calling the search for Hannah Graham an incredibly important mission and he's hoping this device will help find her.
JONES (voice-over): Tonight, search teams continue to scour the Charlottesville area for Hannah Graham. Authorities now using a drone with a high-resolution camera to help find the missing student.
GIL HARRINGTON, MOTHER OF MORGAN HARRINGTON: We need to find Hannah Graham. That is front and center on our minds right now.
JONES: Jesse Matthews is being held in isolation in this jailhouse. His lawyer tells CNN he won't ask for the 32-year-old to be released on bail. Including this criminal complaint from 2009 where a man says Matthew punched him twice in the face during a roadside altercation. Then later appeared remorseful, helping the man find his glasses and driving him to the E.R. for treatment. Those charges were later dropped.
As the Hannah Graham investigation continues, law enforcement sources say DNA evidence links Matthew to the 2009 murder of another student, Morgan Harrington. HARRINGTON: I will be very relieved to know that he will be prevented
from ever hurting another girl again.
JONES: Others aren't convinced. Michael Moore says he's known Jesse Matthew, who he calls by his nickname L.J., for 25 years.
MICHAEL MOORE, FRIEND: L.J. is not the type to hurt a fly. L.J., he's a helper. I mean, he wants to help people. So for him to hurt someone, that -- that's odd.
JONES: At Monticello High School where Matthew was on the wrestling and football teams, holding the record for most tackles in a season, a staffer said he was popular, well-liked, friendly, even docile, despite his height.
JONES: Now Jesse Matthew won't have his first day in court on those abduction charges until December, but he is due to appear at the county courthouse before a judge on the reckless driving charges that are connected to this case tomorrow morning. He'll do that via video link from the regional jail -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Athena Jones, on the scene for us in Charlottesville, thanks very much.
Let's get some more on what's going on. Joining us here in the SITUATION ROOM, the CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. He's a former assistant director of the FBI. And the investigative journalist Coy Barefoot is joining us from Charlottesville once again.
Coy, what do you make of this use of drones now to try to find Hannah Graham?
COY BAREFOOT, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: We will do whatever we have to do to find her. I thought it was a terrific idea. You know, Charlottesville made international news. It was the first city, the first municipality in the world to issue a proclamation, a resolution expressing concern about the use of drones.
And the city council here said, we're OK with the use of drones. We just want to make sure that civil liberties are protected in the process. And so it's very interesting and perhaps a little ironic that here we see a drone from Virginia Tech being used here to help us find Hannah and bring her home.
BLITZER: So, Tom, this drone technology, what can it do, for example, that people on the ground can't do?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it can see down through trees, if you are in a forested area so that can be helpful. And also when you're looking at bodies of water, and apparently Matthew liked to go fishing, it can see down and often see to the bottom of small ponds, lakes, rivers, things like that if the body was in one of those locations. So it offers a different perspective and a more penetrating look down
and also, if it's equipped with infrared, although with this much time having elapsed, the infrared part of it might not be that helpful.
BLITZER: What's been the reaction over there in Charlottesville, Coy, that the bond hearing for him is not really going to come up until December. He's going to be held until then. What are folks there saying?
BAREFOOT: Well, you know, Jim (INAUDIBLE) who is the attorney has said that he won't even ask for bail. In Virginia, if you are charged with abduction with the intent to defile, you are not entitled to bond. You must stay in jail. And why ask for something you know you're not going to get?
Wolf, I would like to say that I believe Hannah's abduction has touched so many people around the world. And I know they continue to keep her in their thoughts and their prayers. But listen. We're not naive. We know what the statistics and the probabilities say about a young woman who's been abducted and is missing for nearly three weeks. But I have two names for you, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, Jaycee Lee Dugard and Elizabeth Smart. We believe and hope -- because there is reason to believe -- and we will find Hannah and we will bring her home.
BLITZER: Yes. Hopefully that will happen.
Tom, this new charge that has been filed, the class two felony of abduction with intent to defile. Explain in English what that means?
FUENTES: Basically to abduct somebody with the intent of having some type of a sexual relationship with that person.
BLITZER: And that's a -- that's considered a class two felony. What does that mean?
FUENTES: Well, it's not quite premeditated murder or abduction with intent to kill the person, or, you know, something you don't have the evidence apparently to go that far with the charges. But the abduction part of it, I think they're basing it on some of the crime scene evidence that they have early on in the case, coupled with that she was seen with him leaving in the car.
BLITZER: All right. Tom Fuentes, Coy Barefoot, we'll check back with you guys once again tomorrow.
Thanks very much.
Coming up, the breaking news we're following. The director of the Secret Service steps down after shocking security breaches, including an armed intruder inside the White House. Can anyone turn around the troubled agency?
And he helped lead the fight against al Qaeda. Now can retired U.S. General John Allen rally U.S. allies against ISIS? You're going to hear from him. That's coming up in the next hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)