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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Deadly Ebola Outbreak; Panetta Criticizes President Obama on New Memoir; FBI Wants Help Identifying Possible American Jihadist; Police Smash Window, Tase Passenger; VA To Fire Four Senior Officials
Aired October 7, 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: Or the equipment to deal with the disease. We'll take you there.
Also tonight, how did a traffic stop for an alleged seatbelt violation end up with police officers pulling guns, smashing the car window, and tasing a passenger? There were two kids in the back seat, one of them caught it all on video. We'll show you that tonight.
We begin with the breaking news on the Ebola outbreak. As we just mentioned, another person in Spain tonight under observation, suspected of having the virus. There is that, and a new timeline emerging about the diagnosis of the patient in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan. He remains in critical condition tonight, but stable condition, we're told, as we learn more about exactly what happened before he left Liberia.
Now we know that back in September he helped a pregnant woman who had collapsed. We know that nine people who helped her that day are now dead or dying, infected with the disease. Nine people.
Tonight we now know that the pregnant woman's Ebola diagnosis came after, again I repeat, after Mr. Duncan had already left Liberia to come to the United States. We know this because reporting on the ground from CNN's Nima Elbagir, were learned a bit of this last night from Nima and I asked her today to go back and see what more she could find out because this is critical information.
She joins me now live from Monrovia, Liberia.
So there's been some confusion as to not only when exactly Duncan contracted Ebola, but also when he realized he contracted it. You're learning more details. What have you -- what have you found out?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've now confirmed, Anderson, with the Liberian health official in charge of contact tracing in this case that Thomas Eric Duncan left Liberia on September 19th. It wasn't until days later that they began to suspect that the pregnant woman who he had happened after her collapse might have been -- might have been a victim of Ebola, and they learned this by tracing back the cases of all those people who were falling ill back to her as the ground zero in this outbreak.
It still took them a further 11 days to quarantine that neighborhood where Thomas Eric Duncan was living. So it could quite possibly be the Liberian health officials told us that he didn't realize he might have contracted Ebola until he walked into that clinic in Texas -- Anderson.
COOPER: So just to be clear when --
ELBAGIR: In Dallas, sorry, I should say.
COOPER: Yes. When did this woman collapse, the pregnant woman that he helped? When did that occur? Because he left Liberia on September 19th.
ELBAGIR: Well, we understand that it was in the day or two immediately before his travel, so he actually departed the country on the day of her death. So he was there when the funeral preparations were going on. It's a very small compound. You saw the pictures yesterday. And with a lot of people crowned and mourning here. That's the big concern here is how many people were jostling each other, how many people were jostling each other on to her body, as the mourning process was going on -- Anderson.
COOPER: And this was a young woman who collapsed, she was pregnant. So, I mean, given the fact that Ebola is ravaging Liberia, did people in the village, when they saw her collapse and when she died, they didn't think, well, there is a good chance it's Ebola? Because some people will say, OK, well, he probably -- maybe he suspected that -- that he had Ebola. I mean, why else would a young woman collapse and die?
ELBAGIR: Well, this was a pregnant teenager, so I think most people's immediate thought was this has to be complications with the pregnancy. She was seven months along. We understand from her 12-year-old sister that she'd been having quite a difficult pregnancy and she wasn't showing any of the usual symptoms that people associate with Ebola. None of the -- none of that horrifying bleeding from the nose, from the eyes, from the ears. She just simply collapsed.
And I think it sounds like most people acted on that natural instinct to run towards her, and try and help her, but in this case, with devastating consequences -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nima Elbagir, again, the critical information on this, thank you so much for reporting.
More breaking news tonight, another nurse's assistant under observation in Spain, possibly -- and I said possibly infected with Ebola. That's after a different nurse's assistant became the first person in the current outbreak to contract Ebola outside Africa. She had helped take care of two missionaries who returned to Spain for treatment and those missionaries have since died.
Now health workers in Spain have been protesting saying they don't have the proper tools or training to deal with an Ebola case. And now there are at least four more potential cases including this latest nurse's assistant.
CNN international correspondent Isa Soares joins me now live from Madrid with the latest.
So do we have more information as to how this nurse may have contracted Ebola?
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good evening, Anderson. What we know is the auxiliary nurse additional -- another auxiliary nurse basically was admitted to the hospital just behind me, Carlos III Hospital, about two and a half hours ago or so. She was admitted with a high fever. And that's all we know. And it hasn't been confirmed whether she has Ebola. We have been told, however, they'll be doing tests tomorrow to tell us whether she has Ebola or not.
But like you said, she is one of three other people who are being monitored. One of those people is the husband of the first person who has Ebola in Europe, another nurse -- auxiliary nurse, of course. Fear, of course, that he had no sort of protection so he might have it. And also another, an engineer, a Spanish engineer who was traveling in Nigeria who really, they fear, could have the disease.
One of the other nurses who is part of -- an auxiliary nurse who is part of that 30-person team that were helping the missionaries was really -- you know, they said that she didn't have anything, they thought that she had it, but now she's being cleared and expected tomorrow to release her -- Anderson.
COOPER: Now after treating the priest who died from Ebola, I understand this nurse went on vacation, was traveling around Madrid. Do authorities have any idea how many people she may have come in contact with and when did she start to actually feel sick?
SOARES: Yes, so the last priest, the last missionary died on the 26th, pretty much, of the month and then she started feeling -- she took the day off, she went on holiday after. We've been told that she did not leave Madrid, she didn't travel elsewhere. She stayed in Madrid, but she started showing symptoms of a fever, Anderson.
That's four days later. She was then -- the fever wasn't too high, it was only this week that she actually went to the hospital, just south of here, south of Madrid. And ask the hospital to really test her for Ebola. She walked in there with a mask. It took them two hours to carry out that test. While this was all happening, you had patients and nurses and doctors going back and forth.
And then it took them an additional eight hours, Anderson, to really bring her to this hospital. So all in all, they -- they are really trying to monitor 30 people here, 22 other people she may have come in contact with in the other hospital in -- in addition to family and friends -- Anderson.
COOPER: OK. So just so I'm clear, she was walking around for several days on vacation with a fever, correct?
SOARES: Correct. That's what we understand.
COOPER: OK. SOARES: She did not travel, she did not go on a plane, we haven't
been told that she stayed in Madrid, but she was wandering around with -- started with a slight fever and then when things got more complicated, she went into the hospital.
SOARES: So at the moment they're trying to re-ascertain how many people she really was in contact with -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Isa Soares, thank you so much.
Clearly this is no longer just a West African problem. Now in addition to three cases in Spain and these two cases we know about here in the United States, so far in this outbreak there has been one Ebola case in France, one in the United Kingdom, two in Germany, one in Norway.
Joining me now live, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Seema Yasmin, a staff writer at the "Dallas Morning News" and professor of public health at the University of Texas at Dallas and a former CDC disease detective. She has experience in contact tracing -- contract tracing, tracking down people or a patient that has had contact with.
Also with us again is David Quammen, author of a lot of books including the upcoming "Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus."
So, Sanjay, if all the protocols were followed, how could a nurse, perhaps even two nurses, contract Ebola?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, with regard to the first nurse, I think you just have to assume that there was some breach in protocol.
COOPER: Because she apparently -- I mean, I read she'd only been in the room two or three times or so.
GUPTA: Right. And you know, presumably was wearing the protective gear, although obviously you've heard the same concerns, whether they had enough protective gear or not. I don't know what they were wearing. You got to cover up all your skin. When you see those spacesuits, so to speak, it's not so much that they are respirators or ventilators, they're just designed to cover your skin so you can't get any infected bodily fluids on you.
There must have been some breach. And I can tell you having been over there, even when you're taking the suits off, if you take your glove off first, and then reach around with your now ungloved hand, could you potentially touch a part of your suit that has, you know --
COOPER: And even that is enough.
GUPTA: Even that could be enough. That is because, again, this is very infectious. So just a small amount of infected bodily fluid on your skin could potentially cause an infection. But I think you just -- you know, you look at these investigations in retrospect, almost always there is some breach in the protocol somewhere.
COOPER: This -- I mean, how much of a concern is it that this nurse, the first nurse was walking around with a fever for several days, and -- I mean, as Isa said, she didn't leave Madrid, but nevertheless, she's walking around Madrid, unclear how many people she came in contact with. It's not -- you know, all these -- a lot of these other cases we've heard, with Thomas Eric Duncan, become sick and is, you know, laying at home.
GUPTA: That's right. And it sounds like she -- so she had the fever, it was a mild fever, but she didn't have sort of the rapid illness which a lot of people do. So she didn't get much sicker right away. And the best way to describe this is first of all, I mean, doctors look for a certain number, I asked about this today. Typically unless your fever is over 101.5, it is not an exact thing, but it is a high fever before you really start to become infectious.
Again, meaning there is enough virus in your body now that's gotten into your bodily fluids, your sweat, your blood, vomit if you're throwing up, that could potentially infect other people. Just have a mild fever, you're probably not at that point yet. She -- you know, frankly if she's a nurse, was taking care of Ebola patients and developed a fever, I'm surprised that she did not at that point go into the hospital to get isolated.
COOPER: Right. You would think -- immediately when you get a fever, if you just had contact with Ebola patients who have died.
GUPTA: And given that she's a health care person, she should have known that. I'm not sure why that didn't take place. That's the bad news. But the good news is with the mild fever, or something that is below 101.5, it's very unlikely she was infectious.
GUPTA: So we'll keep the eye on those people she came in contact with, but low risk.
COOPER: Dr. Yasmin, I mean, you have experience with this. How do you begin to trace her contacts when it could include not just family and doctors but people on public transportation, bars, restaurants, other people?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: Well, Anderson, you certainly have to cast that net really wide to begin with in a situation like this where the patient has not been isolated quickly. There's also been a few days, a lapse in time, and so people often then will forget and you have to spend a long time talking to them, Anderson, and saying, let's really retrace your steps. Where were you that day, who did you have contact with, tell me what activities you did.
So you're really helping them piece out those memories. Find out who they were and who they had contact with, but initially you do cast that net very wide, make a very long list and slowly work your way down that list and try to find out who really was at risk of Ebola infection.
COOPER: And you're really relying on the patient themselves to remember and be willing to kind of go into that level of detail.
YASMIN: That's right. You rely on the patient and then soon as they start giving you names, you send out other investigators to quickly meet those people and try and take any collateral history from them as well, see if they recall any of those events, see if they remember anybody else who was present there, any other activities of the person who could be sick at the time may not be remembering things so well because they're fighting for their lives. See what other information their friends and family can provide.
COOPER: David, there are some experts I've heard now raising concerns that the virus could spread more easily than previously thought, saying we just don't have the data in order to be able to definitively rule it out. What -- I mean, are -- is that true?
DAVID QUAMMEN, AUTHOR, "EBOLA": Well, there is a concern about that, yes. And this case in Spain probably exacerbates that concern, at least a little bit. As Sanjay said, you know, there are lots of things that could go wrong with even a person who is wearing protective equipment. But if she was well protected and she got infected, then it's very important to eliminate the possibility that this strain of the virus is more infectious than what we have seen in the past.
COOPER: And we should point out, Sanjay, I mean, as you noted, doctors there are protesting saying that the equipment that they have, even the protective suits, are not of the highest quality. So perhaps that's an issue.
But you and I were talking about this before we went on air. It's not like one moment somebody is infectious, the next moment they're not. This is a question of the virus building up in their system.
GUPTA: Yes --
COOPER: Or reach a tipping point.
GUPTA: Yes. And sort of -- two things happen simultaneously. As the virus builds up in the system, someone starts to feel more sick, the virus is just replicating and getting into organs like the kidneys and the liver, in Mr. Duncan's case, and ultimately the bodily fluids. And at the same time that makes them more infectious. So two things go hand and hand. The sicker you are, the more infectious you're going to be.
Again with regard to the nurse in Spain, just a mild fever, it's just -- again, she should have isolated herself, I think, at that point. But it's unlikely she was really infectious. It's just that it was probably coming as she got sicker and sicker.
COOPER: Dr. Yasmin, one of the challenges in containing Ebola, just getting people to talk to you, right? I mean, there's already talk of, you know, prosecution of Mr. Duncan if, in fact, he lied.
I would think that would almost have a chilling effect in some communities of people being willing to come forward, go to the hospital, maybe they have an immigration status which is unclear. Those are all issues you have to take into -- take into account, as somebody tracing sort of the contacts, right?
YASMIN: Absolutely. And when I worked at the CDC, I was very much aware that I was a federal public health official. But you want to bring down those barriers when you're talking to somebody, you don't want to be an intimidating figure.
You have to reassure them, Anderson, that hey, your immigration status may not be adequate here, but it doesn't matter for the purposes of the public health investigation. Please be open with me, tell me everything you know, so you're really trying to build a relationship of trust. Sadly some of what we're hearing right here in Dallas, though, is a lot of stigma and discrimination against folks who are living in the area where this Ebola patient resided for a few days when he first arrived in Texas.
And that certainly can make life more difficult for the public health investigators who really just want to do their job and just want to get as much information as possible and don't want people to be scared of any criminal acts or any criminal action taken against them.
COOPER: Right. You want them to come forward.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Seema Yasmin, appreciate it. Dr. Quammen as well.
A quick reminder, set your DVRs so you never miss 360, you can watch whenever you want.
Just ahead tonight, our Gloria Borger talks to former Defense secretary and former CIA director, Leon Panetta, about his new memoir, which basically slams President Obama's policies in Syria and Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Would ISIS be as much of a threat today had we left some force behind?
LEON PANETTA, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I do think that if we had had a presence there, it might not have created the kind of vacuum that we saw develop in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Also, two former presidential spokesmen, Ari Fleischer and Jay Carney go head to head on that.
Also ahead, the FBI asking for the public's help in identifying the man that you're seeing right there. A man in an ISIS recruitment video. Authorities say he speaks English and possibly an American. We'll tell you what he allegedly did. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Welcome back. It's nothing new or significant for this president or frankly any president to take heavy criticism. What is significant is when a sitting president is criticized while still in office from a former top Cabinet member.
That's what President Obama is dealing with tonight.
Leon Panetta, his former top guy at the Pentagon and the CIA, stepped down as Defense secretary less than two years ago. Now in his new memoir, "Worthy Fights," Panetta criticizes his former boss' decision- making in Syria and questions why the White House did not leave some forces in Iraq and whether that led to the rise of ISIS.
The shot from Mr. Panetta clearly comes at a crucial time for the White House.
Senior chief political analyst Gloria Borger talked with Panetta today.
BORGER (on camera): Would ISIS be as much of a threat today had we left some force behind?
PANETTA: I do think that if we had had a presence there, it might not have created the kind of vacuum that we saw develop in Iraq.
BORGER (voice-over): Leon Panetta blames that vacuum on former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and a passive White House.
(On camera): You describe a White House that, and this is your word, that frustrated you, that didn't use the leverage, and that is your word, too, leverage that we had in the United States to try and keep a force in Iraq.
PANETTA: What I'm saying is that Maliki was the kind of leader that you had to constantly put pressure on to direct him in the right direction. We had with Iraq made a commitment with regards to military assistance, F-16 fighter planes, other types of military aid that I think if we had said, look, you know, if you're not going to give us the agreement that we need to maintain our force there, you know, we may not provide this kind of assistance.
BORGER: But you wrote that the president's active advocacy was missing. So are you saying he didn't give it the push?
PANETTA: I think the kind of push and direct involvement that I think would have had an impact simply never developed because the sense was if they don't want it, then why should we want it?
BORGER (voice-over): Now Panetta says the president is taking the action he needs to take albeit a bit late, like putting U.S. military advisers on the ground to help Iraqi forces. PANETTA: He's made decision to put troops on the ground in Iraq to
try to help the security forces, he's made the decision to arm and train rebel forces in Syria, and he's made the decision to conduct air attacks. So in many ways, he's made the right decisions. Now I think those decisions should have been made two years ago.
BORGER: Another decision Panetta says the president got wrong, not following through when Syria crossed Obama's own red line by using chemical weapons against its people.
PANETTA: The president very clearly should have said you have crossed that red line, we're not going to allow that to happen. And I think initially my sense was they were going to do exactly that. But somehow they backed away from it.
BORGER: Panetta tries to reconcile the president who vacillated over Syria with the decisive president, who gave the risky bin Laden raid a green light.
PANETTA: A president that made the decision to go after bin Laden and made a very gutsy decision to do that and I really respected that decision. I just could not have imagined him not making the same decision when it came to the credibility of the United States on drawing that red line in Syria.
BORGER: It is all part of a portrait Panetta sketches of a Barack Obama that sometimes looks more like a professor than a president.
PANETTA: He relies on the logic of his presentation, the hope that ultimately people will embrace that logic and then do what's right. You know what? In 50 years my experience is, logic doesn't work in Washington. You got to basically go after people and make them understand what they have to do, and that means you create a war room, you go after votes, you have to push people.
BORGER: Panetta's version of history and his view of the president clearly didn't sit well at the White House. Vice President Biden called it inappropriate. But when I asked Panetta whether Biden had a point and whether he was being disloyal, he brushed it off, saying, you don't put a hold on history -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Gloria, thanks.
A lot to talk about. Joining me tonight, CNN senior political commentator and former Obama press secretary, Jay Carney. Also with us, Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush.
So, Jay, Secretary Panetta essentially saying what John McCain said to you last month on CNN that the Obama administration could have left a residual force in Iraq and should have left a residual force in Iraq. You obviously disagree with McCain. Is Panetta wrong as well?
JAY CARNEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The fact of the matter is, as I discussed with Senator McCain, the president did try to negotiate with the sovereign Iraqi government for the presence of a residual force in Iraq of U.S. troops for the training and CT missions that were vital to the U.S. interest. And the Iraqi government refused.
And no U.S. military leader or civilian defense secretary would have agreed to place U.S. troops in a country like Iraq absent the immunities that we demanded in those negotiations.
COOPER: Ari, what about Panetta's comments?
ARI FLEISCHER, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, I think what you're seeing here is most people -- not everybody, but most people in the administrations are willing to share the real things that happened inside.
I happen to finish Secretary Gates' book just last night. So here is the context for the discussion he has had. The general is in charge to have 24,000 troops left behind in Iraq. Secretary Gates knew Barack Obama would never go for it. So he wanted to do 16,000. The president wanted to leave behind 1,000, 2,000 to 4,000 troops. So the president actually put Iraq in a situation where they had no choice but to say no because those troops wouldn't have made a difference. It was too small.
CARNEY: Ari, the idea --
COOPER: Wait a minute. You're saying Iraq said no because they were too big --
CARNEY: The idea that --
FLEISCHER: Jay, I didn't interrupt you -- Jay, I didn't interrupt you, don't start that with me.
The issue here was the president wanted to get Iraq to say no and that was the answer he wanted to take. If he had wanted to support what the military was asking for, he would have pushed for more troops, it would have been meaningful, it could have stopped ISIS, and then you would have done what Leon Panetta said, which was pressure Iraq to do it.
The military wanted 24,000 troops, that way they could do the job and train the Iraqi military.
COOPER: Jay, what about that?
CARNEY: Well, first of all, the number was up to 10,000. It wasn't 1,000 to 4,000. And the fact of the matter is what Ari --
CARNEY: Up to 10,000 or even 24,000 troops could do -- excuse me, I was there, troops could do in Iraq. FLEISCHER: I've read the books.
CARNEY: Well, books are books, Ari. The argument here is that 24,000 or 10,000 troops could somehow do what 160,000 U.S. troops couldn't do when there was a civil war in Iraq that was even worse than what we're seeing now, or certainly as bad. And what the presence of U.S. troops would do in order to prevent ISIS from waging that battle against Iraqi Security Forces, it would require them to fight door to door, the way they did when we had 160,000 troops.
It would mean significant U.S. casualties and it would mean a continuation of this war, and if that's what people are arguing we should have done, then they should make that argument. But the idea that the residual force that is training and equipping Iraqi Security Forces which is all anybody was talking about, whether it was 10,000 or 24,000 should have been fighting ISIS door to door, I don't think is a rational argument.
COOPER: But to Jay's argument, at a certain point, they are a sovereign country. Don't you have to let them do what they're going to do?
FLEISCHER: Well --
CARNEY: And remember --
FLEISCHER: But in America, this is the issue with Barack Obama, and I think that's what frustrated Secretary Gates and Secretary Panetta and even Secretary Clinton. President has created vacuums all around the world because of what you just said. He's not wanted to exercise American leadership. And time and again it's turned out worse for America's national security.
Here is what Leon Panetta wrote in his book, and this is damning. The White House is so eager to rid of itself of Iraq, it was so willing withdraw, rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and our interest.
The president was so willing just to wipe his hands and say, I end wars, I don't start wars, I'm withdrawing everybody. He wanted to get to a position where Iraq said we won't take what you're offering.
CARNEY: There is no question that the president made clear his commitment to ending the war in Iraq. He made clear his commitment to keeping the agreement signed by President George W. Bush and the Iraqi government to withdraw U.S. forces by the end of 2011. And he believed, consistent with his military advisers and National Security advisers' recommendation, that the best course of action was to leave a residual force of U.S. troops. But not at any price. And not without an immunity agreement.
FLEISCHER: If it's so consistent with what they recommended, why are they all writing books saying well, we recommended it, it's inconsistent with what President Obama did. Jay, you can't say it's consistent. What you really have is an
outlier. Secretary Gates wrote in his book, you had a small group of people in the White House staff, the president and the few others on the National Security Council who regularly rejected the advice they received from Leon Panetta, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton. That happened with the Syria red line, that happened with a number of troops in Iraq.
And it's a pattern. The difference is President Obama won't just come out and say America should not be involved. He keeps putting himself in a whiplash situation where he tries to do something, says he's going to do something, he bluffs about red lines, but he doesn't mean it and won't act on it.
CARNEY: What the president has done -- honestly, Ari.
FLEISCHER: And therefore gets criticized not only by Robert Gates, a very well respected man, who served in two administrations, but Secretary Panetta who has a lifelong credential of being an elected Democrat and a former White House chief of staff.
Something is wrong on the inside when you keep getting criticized by insiders.
CARNEY: The answer, although it might have been appealing sometimes and it can be appealing in retrospect, is not always the use of military force without end and without a logical plan to reach success. And if the plan in Iraq was to stay forever, to prop up an ineffective Iraqi government and prop up an ineffective Iraqi Security Force, then that should have been the stated policy when we went in to begin with.
FLEISCHER: Not now, aren't we?
CARNEY: That wasn't the pretense that we -- well, we're not back with 160,000 troops. And if --
FLEISCHER: No, but we're back in Iraq, that's occupied now by ISIS in a large scale.
CARNEY: And we're -- and we're leading an effort to attack ISIS --
FLEISCHER: To manage them.
CARNEY: And to roll it back.
COOPER: Ari Fleischer, Jay Carney, guys, thanks very much.
FLEISCHER: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, coming up, the FBI is asking for help in identifying this man, an English speaking jihadist, possibly an American. He appears on ISIS propaganda video. What the video shows and what the FBI is saying next.
Also ahead, a traffic stop for an alleged seatbelt violation in Indiana leads to a pretty shocking scene as an officer smashes a window, tasers the passenger. The police department is defending this.
More when we continue.
COOPER: Tonight, the FBI is asking for the public's help in identifying an English speaking militant, possibly an American, who appears on an ISIS recruitment video. Now FBI posted part of the video on its web site today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here in the 17th Division military base just outside the city of Aroka. We're here with the soldiers of Bashar. You can see them now digging their own graves in the very place where they were stationed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's a clip from a 55-minute propaganda video showing the jihadists apparently orchestrating a mass execution of Syrian soldiers. Now CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, joins me with the latest. So what more are your sources telling you?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, this is a pretty significant move by the FBI. Intelligence sources I've been speaking with say it is possible this militant as we heard speaking fluent English in the propaganda video by ISIS is American.
But the bottom line is that after several weeks of trying to figure it out, the FBI doesn't know his identity. Now it is turning to the public asking for the public's help. Intelligence officials have been using a facial recognition and voice analysis to trace his accent and then they have been comparing what they find to other Americans.
The intelligence community has been watching and also officials I'm told have been using human forces to try to figure out who this militant is. But after pouring over this video, Anderson, it still hasn't turned up anything so far.
COOPER: Well, somebody must know who he is based on the voice. Voices are very recognizable. James Comey, the director of the FBI, told "60 Minutes" that a dozen Americans were fighting with terror groups in Syria. Is there any indication this guy is one of them?
BROWN: At this point, no, Anderson. It appears this is someone who is not on their radar and that's what is so concerning if this man is an American as James Comey said in that "60 Minutes" interview. I don't know what I don't know. So the big fear here, of course, is not knowing about Americans, who are currently in Syria fighting with ISIS or wanting to go fight, of course.
COOPER: Is there a reason the FBI is doing this now? Is it simply that they exhausted all other means?
BROWN: I think that's part of it. I think the FBI wanted to use its own methods, first, to see if it could gain traction that way. Since this man doesn't seem to pose an immediate threat to the homeland. They had time to do that. But I also think there have been other examples that show just how valuable the public's help can be.
The FBI put out pictures of the Boston bombing suspects and asked for help and they ended up being very successful. So the FBI knows that doing something like this, asking for the public's help is a force multiplier -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, appreciate it. Thanks. Hopefully somebody will understand something or maybe identify that voice.
There are a lot more happening tonight. Susan Hendricks has the AC360 news and business bulletin -- Susan.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, four men were arrested in London today, accused of planning an act of terrorism. Investigators won't say where or when the alleged attack would have happened or who they may have targeted.
A federal has judge ruled police in Ferguson, Missouri, violated first amendment rights when they required protesters to keep walking or face arrest following the shooting death of Michael Brown. The ACLU of Missouri filed that lawsuit.
And the Eiffel Tower is celebrating its 125th birthday with a new glass floor, nearly 200 feet off the ground. There are new shops, restaurants and a museum at the Paris landmark. The price tag, $38 million. If you're afraid of heights, looks scary standing on the glass is not where you want to be.
COOPER: Yes, that would freak me out, I think.
HENDRICKS: Me too.
COOPER: Susan, thanks.
Coming up, the cell phone video that sparked a lawsuit. Police stopped a car because the driver didn't have her seat belt on. What happened next to her friend in the passenger seat? A lot of discussion and outrage.
COOPER: Crime and punishment tonight, a traffic stop that ended with an African-American man being tasered has sparked a federal lawsuit. It was caught on video.
According to the lawsuit, the driver was on her way to the hospital to see her dying mother. A couple of things you should know before we play the video and we should warn you, some might find the video disturbing.
The man in the passenger seat is the driver's friend. Her two children are in the back seat, you'll hear them but not see them. The officers stopped the car because the driver wasn't wearing her seat belt.
You'll hear her talking to 911 while her son videotaped what happened next. Take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now they're asking me to open my door to get out. I'm scared. If you can pull out a gun in front of two kids. There are two kids in the backseat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open your door, do you understand?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, don't -- now they about to mess my window!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not the operator of this vehicle. If you do that, all right. I'm not the operator -- I'm not in operation of this vehicle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to open the door --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People are getting shot by the police --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was crazy. It's horrible. This is a horrible -- are you recording this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is terrible. This is way -- are you recording that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take it off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is crazy.
COOPER: In a statement the police said they only resorted to force after the passenger repeatedly refused to leave the car and kept reaching toward the back seat. They said they feared he had a weapon. Either the police statement or the lawsuit say a gun was found in the car.
Joining me now are CNN legal analysts, Sunny Hostin and Paul Callan. Sunny, what do you make of this? Do police have a right to ask for identification, ask somebody to exit a vehicle?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I've actually never heard of a police officer asking the passenger who is not driving, who did have his seat belt on, for identification. I've never seen that. I've never heard of it.
But I've got to tell you, my gut reaction when I first saw this video, which was just today, I was just so horrified, I was hurt, I was frustrated, I was angry because what I saw was a couple, a family being terrorized by a police officer, who is supposed to protect them.
And the police officers escalated this kind of thing. If you look at the stats, study after study after study shows that in this country, black people are pulled over disproportionately during traffic stops.
Even in Connecticut there was a recent study that found that 50 percent of African -- of stops were African-American, yet 77 percent of contraband was found when white drivers were driving.
So this is an epidemic. There is no question that race had something to do with this and I think we have not only now have to look at the bias that was clear when they stopped these people, what we also have to look at is the bias that was present during this stop.
Why was it so long? Why did they use that kind of excessive force? I was in law enforcement for quite some time, Anderson, and I didn't see anything that warranted that officer not only using an instrument, a violent instrument to break that window with children in the car, but he also then tased this man.
I am just so outraged at -- that this is something that could happen to me, my dad, to my husband, and it could happen to my son.
COOPER: Paul, how do you see this?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, frankly, I don't think it has anything to do with skin color or race.
HOSTIN: That's crazy.
CALLAN: Well, I think this could happen to anybody if the police are overreacting to a situation --
COOPER: You believe this was an overreaction?
CALLAN: Yes. I do think. It makes me cringe when I watch the film. I know from having been a prosecutor and from giving advice to clients, the advice I give is never get into an argument with a cop because you're going to lose the argument and be arrested.
Now, here, here is what the cops were confronted with. First, they make a stop and Sunny says, it was obviously a racist stop. I haven't seen any evidence of that. The reports are it had to do with a traffic violation, failure to wear a seat belt.
When they approach the car and they're asking for identification, the passenger according to the police made a move toward the console of the car, and cops are always afraid when they approach a vehicle, does somebody have a gun.
So they step back from the vehicle and say, all right, step out of the vehicle. Now what happens next? Both passengers refuse to exit the vehicle.
HOSTIN: Because they're terrified.
COOPER: But is that legal -- don't -- isn't there a legal requirement to do follow police instructions?
HOSTIN: Yes. And they didn't have it.
CALLAN: You absolutely, as a police officer, for your own safety can ask and force somebody to exit a vehicle, all right, and in this case, it goes beyond that because they had seen what they thought was a furtive move maybe for a gun. Now it turns out, of course, there is no gun.
HOSTIN: There is no gun. I got to interrupt you. That was a 13- minute police encounter and what we saw was just a snippet. You look at a bit of the tape, a longer version of the tape, it is very clear that no furtive movement was going on when that officer decided to break that window and use that excessive force.
That is ridiculous to suggest that they have the right to do that. The other thing I want to mention, Anderson, is the bottom line is to suggest that race didn't take and bias wasn't part of this, just is very naive on your part, Paul, and we had a stop very --
COOPER: Wait. What makes you save -- I mean, what evidence? I'm not saying race doesn't play a role, but what evidence -- you have no evidence in this case in particular.
HOSTIN: I mean, you can see what it is. It is naive to suggest that race and bias didn't participate in this --
COOPER: I want -- one final thought. No, no, you've been talking for 5 minutes.
CALLAN: You can't --
HOSTIN: -- stopped another woman in Michigan, another officer and bottom line is white woman and he bought her a car seat.
CALLAN: There is racism throughout the United States. In this incident, so far, with respect to the stop, I haven't seen specific evidence of it. Now, as I started to say before Sunny continued with her argument, the police, for 13 minutes, are begging the individuals to get out of the car.
Now, if you're a police officer, aren't you going to start to be thinking, what are they hiding? Do they have a gun in the car? They call then for backup to come in, what were the cops supposed to do, build a moat around the car?
HOSTIN: Why would they think he had a gun? Why would they think they had a gun? Why?
COOPER: But shouldn't they have stepped out of the vehicle?
HOSTIN: There are children in the car.
COOPER: Don't they have to step out of the vehicle?
HOSTIN: The officers have to have reasonable suspicion in my view to ask for I.D. and ask him to get out of the car. They had none of that, other than some sort of unreasonable suspicion --
COOPER: Got it. Sunny Hostin, Paul Callan, thank you very much. Let us know what you think on Twitter @andersoncooper.
Just ahead, fallout at the VA, tonight four officials are losing their jobs including the director of the Pittsburgh VA where veterans contracted Legionnaires' disease from the hospital's contaminated water system. Drew Griffin joins me on this.
COOPER: Fallout from the scandal we have been reporting on for two years. The Veterans Administration says it's in the process of firing four senior officials after allegations and investigations, long wait times and other problems at VA medical facilities.
One of those officials is the director of the VA health care system in Pittsburgh, where an outbreak of Legionnaires disease sickened 21 vets, five of them died.
Our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, first reported on that outbreak back in 2012. The VA did not make it easy for him.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: How are you? Drew Griffin with CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has not been approved by our Public Affairs Office. I cannot allow you.
GRIFFIN: I'm calling Public Affairs right now. You want to call them?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't technically call them. Can you take the camera back across the street until we have authorization, please?
GRIFFIN: Hold on. I'm on the phone with them now.
(voice-over): After yet again reaching only a message machine, the officer told us to leave.
(on camera): Who told you to kick us out of here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is our policy, actually.
GRIFFIN: Your policy? We can't stand on United States government land with a camera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without a legitimate purpose to be here.
GRIFFIN: I have a legitimate purpose. I'm trying to find out why the patients died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to have to ask you to leave until it is approved by our Public Affairs Office.
COOPER: Keeping them honest. What Drew found is shocking. Five of the veterans contracted Legionnaires' from the hospital's internal water system. What's more, the VA officials knew about problems with the water system, they didn't disclose that information for almost a year.
Drew Griffin joins me tonight with the latest. Drew, the VA is announcing four people are being dismissed. Their director is retiring. Is this finally a purge of the bad management at the VA?
GRIFFIN: It is at least a start, Anderson. The VA is essentially saying they have begun the process to dismiss four high level officials, including the chief procurement officer at its headquarters.
But more importantly I think for the vets is the removal of hospital directors in Alabama, Georgia, and at that VA hospital in Pittsburgh. Unbelievably that has taken two years, 21 patients harmed, and five vets dead in Pittsburgh. That director finally being pushed out.
Though she's been on paid leave since June. She's made about $60,000 from our calculations just sitting at home since they took her out of that post.
COOPER: What has taken so long? I mean, two years, what about the director in Phoenix? Is she still being paid?
GRIFFIN: Yes, Sharon Helman, the director out in Phoenix, the one who drove away from our cameras when we wanted to ask about that secret wait list, she was put on leave. As far as we can tell, she's still getting paid.
Firing people at the VA, Anderson, is a process. It may sound funny, but you basically go on a sort of wait list to be fired. It is a very cumbersome process, but it is at least beginning.
COOPER: They're getting fired?
GRIFFIN: The good news, they are being fired. They are also retiring. We just learned the head of the troubled VA hospital in Chicago retires at the end of the month. This didn't used to happen at the VA. You could be found incompetent for any number of reasons. You remain in your position. That is changing.
The new VA Secretary Bob McDonnell seems to be making his move on changing the organization and I think in the weeks, months to come, you'll hear a purge with the people who caused all this mess just leaving.
COOPER: Let's hope so. Drew, thank you very much.
Up next, how the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may finally be solved.
COOPER: The deep sea hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has resumed in the Indian Ocean, about 1,200 miles off the west coast of Australia. The first of three vessels that is going to conduct the search using high tech equipment began its work on Monday.
Crews are hoping to finally find the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8th with 239 people on board. The plane was supposed to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, flown way off course. Authorities have no idea why. They believe the plane crashed when it ran out of fuel.
We're going to be back at 11 p.m., another edition of 360. "Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370" starts now.