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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
ISIS Claims US Hostage Killed in Jordanian Air Strike; Pilot May Have Shut Down Wrong Engine; Brian Williams Apologizes to NBC News Staff; Jury Visits Murder Scenes & Aaron Hernandez's Home
Aired February 6, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next breaking news, ISIS makes a bold claim that a Jordanian airstrike killed an American hostage. A 26- year-old woman, could she still be alive?
And did the pilot in the Taiwan plane crash shutdown the wrong engine? We have new information from the plane's black boxes tonight.
And the jury in the Aaron Hernandez's murder trial gets a tour of the former NFL's players' home and the crime scene. How damming was the evidence. Our Susan Candiotti was there. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news. ISIS charges that an American hostage, a 26-year-old woman has been killed by a Jordanian airstrike. The terrorists though offered no proof of death, no photo of a body. And online ISIS postings claim that the American woman was killed in the building you see here after they say it was shelled by a Jordanian fighter jet. The American hostage's family identified the woman as 26-year-old Kayla Mueller, an aide worker captured in Syria in August of 2013. U.S. officials expressed what they called deep concern from Mueller but insisted that they have not yet seen anything that corroborates ISIS' claim. We're also learning at this hour, breaking news ISIS in Syria has developed plans to kidnap more westerners in neighboring countries including Lebanon and Jordan and then bring them into Syria. We're going to have much more on that major development in just a moment.
I want to begin though with Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. And Barbara, the building ISIS says was hit killing just one person, 26- year-old Kayla Mueller. We're looking at this building again, what do you know?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, tonight U.S. officials are scouring everything they have for any intelligence about what really happened here. If you look at the ISIS claim, they claim this young woman was the only person killed in this Jordanian bombing run against this building in Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold in Eastern, Syria. What are the chances that a hostage was left in this building on her own, no security, nobody watching her and that no one else was in this building? So, that's the first data point that doesn't quite add up. And there's just simply no corroboration about what happened here. There's an awful lot of people that will tell you that one of the working theories is very sadly it's possible she was killed by ISIS some time ago and now ISIS has developed this cover story, if you will, to shield itself from what would be international condemnation for having killed a woman. They don't want to be out there. They know that. You know, another step too far. But the U.S. government tonight looking for any verification, any clues that they can offer her family.
BURNETT: And Barbara, you've also found out as they're looking for this clues, that there was a raid of course this summer, as we know. Special Forces tried to rescue Americans. Among them James Foley who ended up being beheaded in one of those horrible videos. At that time in a ray, they found evidence that might have indicated that Kayla Mueller was in that same location. Right? I mean, what do you know about that?
STARR: Right. Let's revisit that one quickly. So, last year U.S. commandos went to a site in Syria, in the Raqqa area where they had information that the hostages, Mr. Foley and other hostages were being held. This was quite a daring raid. Very dangerous. They went in, they did not find any hostages there but they found evidence that the hostages had been there and of course, moved. One piece of evidence, there were writings on the cell walls, I am told. They also found DNA, hair samples. Sources I spoke to could not confirm that one of the hair samples was from Kayla Mueller, but I will tell you tonight, The Washington Post is reporting that it was her hair -- Erin.
BURNETT: It will be a significant development as they are desperately trying to find out if she's alive. When she might have been killed? Where? Thank you so much, Barbara Starr. So, who was Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old woman that ISIS says was killed overnight.
Pam Brown is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I'm in solidarity with the Syrian people.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty six-year-old Prescott, Arizona native Kayla Mueller's passion for helping people is what ultimately brought her to the Turkish Syria border several years ago. IN 2011, she took part in this Syria video declaring her support for the refugees. And she's seen in this YouTube video addressing Senator John McCain. The humanitarian aid worker volunteered with the support to life organization in Turkey where she helped people living in refugee camps. In 2013 she was credited by her hometown newspaper Daily Courier with reuniting a 6- year-old boy with her family. She told the newspaper, the story is not rare in Syria adding, for as long as I live, I will not let this suffering be normal, I will not let be something we just accept. In high school, Mueller volunteered with the Save Darfur Coalition among other organizations. She won a number of -- awards and was recognized as a national young leader. She told the Daily Courier in 2007, I love cultures and language and learning about people's cultures. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2009, she lived and worked with humanitarian A groups in India and the Middle East. In August 2013 Mueller was kidnapped in the Syrian city of Aleppo where she was leaving a Spanish doctors without borders hospital. AKI PERITZ, FORMER CIA ANALYST: What ISIS has been doing for the
last year and a half if collecting foreigners for hostages as we sort of seen in the last six months, they've been executing a lot of people who really are tangential to the conflict.
BROWN: After the beheadings of three American hostages, Mueller would be the last known American hostage held by ISIS. Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: And Kyung Lah is near Prescott, Arizona tonight. That's what Mueller's family lived. So, Kyung, what is the reaction there tonight? I know they had been hoping against hope. They had had contact with ISIS trying to negotiate safety for their daughter.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're hearing from everyone we've reached out to here Erin is confusion, profound sadness and fear that they're going to say the wrong thing. So, for that reason, many of the people who know her here have declined to speak on camera. The family has requested privacy. They are not making on camera statements right now. But they did want to share this with CNN and with the global audience. That their daughter Kayla tried to live her life with strong leadership, quiet leadership and a desire to help others. It's here. Evidence of her life here in Prescott. She volunteered in HIV shelter. She helped women at a women's shelter. She traveled the world with aid agencies in India, Israel, the Palestinian territories. But it was one conflict in Syria trying to help the refugees and especially the children that broke her heart the most. She said here in Prescott that she refused to give up on them even if the rest of the world had. The family is trying to sort this privately. They're trying to sort this very complicated story of war, of international politics, Erin. But for them and for this town, this really comes down to the fact that this is their child -- Erin.
BURNETT: Their child. And so hard for them to imagine that someone who tried to do such good could have been the victim of such evil. Kyung Lah, thank you very much reporting as we said from near Prescott, Arizona where Kayla Mueller lived.
OUTFRONT tonight, Dane Egli served as senior advisor to President George W. Bush on hostage rescue policy along with Paul Cruikshank, a CNN terrorism analysis. Paul, you broke the news that I mentioned at the top of the program. But ISIS has been working as you know say for months on plans to kidnap westerners in neighboring countries. Obviously, very significant because a lot of those countries are places people go to see some of the major sights of the world. Americans go there all the time. What more have you learned?
PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That's absolutely right. They have been developing these plans since the middle of last year. This is an ISIS outfit base in Raqqa. And the idea that they have been having is to snatch westerners and internationals from neighboring countries. Places like Jordan and Lebanon and then bring them back across the border into Syria so they can hold them as hostages and use them for this terrible propaganda. There's also a lot of concern about Egypt. But there's this new ISIS affiliate does operation now that a lot of western tourist, American tourists in Egypt. A lot of concern that that group may try to snap westerners just like ISIS has done in Syria.
BURNETT: And it is very terrifying. When you think, even within Egypt I know they killed 26 military members. Who don't pay as much to Egypt and perhaps they should because tourists do go there. I want to ask you about the issue of ISIS and how many American hostages they have, do you think ISIS may have more American hostages at this time? Is it possible?
CRUIKSHANK: There's no indications they have anymore American hostages at this time. Of course, they have a British hostage. He's been appearing in those propaganda videos.
BURNETT: They sort of turned him into a reporter of theirs in the sense.
CRUIKSHANK: Absolutely no. They're forcing him to do that. But there are two American journalists still missing in Syria. Not clear where they are. Which group might be holding them at this point. Obviously, concern about their status. But now it may be that the groups pivot to try to snatch Americans in other countries and this affiliate in Egypt. They actually killed an American in a carjacking this past summer. The group -- in Egypt.
BURNETT: Right. Which of course an ISIS affiliate. Dane, is there any possibility that Kayla Mueller do you think is still alive?
DANE EGLI, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, HOSTAGE RESCUE POLICY: Absolutely. I think that we shouldn't assume anything. There's reason to believe that they are desperate and there's a lot of theater going on in the wake of the Jordanian hostage being burned. This is a group that you can't trust. And right now they could be very desperate. So, anything they can do, they will try and do right now. And I think we should prepare accordingly.
BURNETT: And of course I know the family and then everyone watching is hoping for a miracle and hoping what Dana is saying is possible. I mean, Paul, ISIS did release a statement today saying Mueller was dead. They said the building, she was the only person, all these things that did seem rather hard to buy, didn't seem to add up at all. Will they lose credibility among their followers if their claim is not true?
CRUIKSHANK: Yes. I mean, if she suddenly pops up alive, of course they'll lose credibility.
CRUIKSHANK: Because this was an official claim by ISIS in Raqqa. The Raqqa media vision of ISIS, put this out and then another media division linked to ISIS then repeated the claim later in the day. A lot of pro-ISIS twitter accounts that have been buzzing with this all day. So, I think prospects unfortunately really, really dead by now. BURNETT: Dane, so many people said this week that since ISIS was
willing to burn a Muslim man alive that the group would be willing to murder a woman. Right? They said that means there's nothing they won't do. But prior to that, there were questions. Right? That ISIS might spare Kayla Muller from a beheading or something else grotesque because of her gender. Because she was a woman. Do you think ISIS is blaming her death on this air strike in order to avoid having to kill her? You know, in other words, is there a line that ISIS doesn't want to cross?
EGLI: For them, I don't think there's a whole lot of lines. I think we inserted ourselves in a way that we're getting to witness and they're showcasing the way they deal with each other before we got there. So, now we insert ourselves, they're going to bring us into the mix. They want to have bravado theater shock to add to their campaign of recruiting and it's working in that sense. And that tends to backfire. And we know that when it comes to long term analysis.
BURNETT: All right. Dane, thank you very much. Paul, thank you very much with that breaking news.
And next, just how precise are these air strikes? We're going to show the weapons being used and exactly how the targets have been chosen to so far there have been more than 2,000 air strikes in the war against Iraq and Syria.
Plus, new information from the black boxes in the plane crash in Taiwan. Did the pilot's accidentally crash the plane because they shut down the wrong engine?
And Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star on trial for murder. What did the jurors see inside his home and at the crime scene today?
BURNETT: More on our breaking news story tonight. The claim from ISIS that a Jordanian airstrike yesterday killed an American hostage, 26-year-old aid worker Kayla Mueller. The terror group claims that she was in the building in Syria when they strike occur. They said she was in this building in particular. Although some have raised questions. Tom Fuentes is the director of the FBI said, for example that building would have been smoking if it was just hit by an air strike. So, there are many questions being raised about this and a Jordanian official is calling at a pr stunt.
Jomana Karadsheh is OUTFRONT in Amman, Jordan tonight. And Jomana, ISIS lied about the Jordanian pilot, right? They said, he was alive, they said, they were negotiating but they had already killed him. They've already filmed that horrific video. And I know there's a lot of skepticism about whether this American woman was actually killed in the air strike. What are they saying where you are?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, that's exactly what Jordanian officials are saying. They are describing the ISIS claim as lies, a pr stunt and they say, it just simply does not add up. And that is based on their experience. What you were just saying, they spent weeks trying to negotiate, to secure the release of their pilot, and ISIS basically deceived them there and the pilot was already dead. And the Jordanians say, why trust the claim from this group after that. And of course, there's also this feeling that they are trying to embarrass Jordan, they are trying to create these rifts within the U.S. led coalition. Something Jordan says that ISIS has been trying over the past few weeks. They tried to do this internally during the hostage negotiations, trying the make people blame their government for being a part of the coalition and ending up in that hostage crisis. And the timing of it Erin, of course, they're saying why is this happening now as Jordan is upping that military campaign against ISIS, they feel that ISIS is responding with this propaganda campaign.
BURNETT: Now, Jordan then went ahead, they went ahead with more air strikes today. Jomana, is there any sign they're going to pull back or any sort of nervousness because of this claim?
KARADSHEH: It is the complete opposite, Erin. What we see is a serious real determination here from Jordanians from the government, from officials. Really based on the rhetoric, the feelings that we have been seeing. They're saying this is just the beginning of their retaliation for the killing of the pilot. And we heard yesterday, the father of the Jordanian pilot telling us that the king promised him personally, telling him that they are going to continue to bombard ISIS strongholds until they destroy the group. And there's so much support right now in this country, for the government, for the king's efforts to go after ISIS -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jomana, thank you very much. Reporting live from Amman, Jordan tonight. Coalition forces have carried out nearly 2,300 strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. So, how effective? How precise have these airstrikes been? Two thousand three hundred airstrikes.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT. Tom, let's just start with I guess the basic question here. What kind of planes, what kind of weapons are being used?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, when talk about the air attacks against ISIS, you have to start by talk about the F-16 fighter jet. Capable of flying two times the speed of sound. Obviously, it can fire things like sidewinder missiles. But you can also drop these 2,000 pound smart bombs sometimes for miles away from the target and hit them very accurately. This is the number one weapon being used out there. But there's also been a lot of action for the A-10 warthog. This is being used very effectively against armored vehicles owned by ISIS in 45 positions. Why? Look up in the nose. Right up there. That's one of the biggest canons ever put onto an aircraft. It can fire armor piercing 30 millimeter rounds 70 per second. And it's a very tough aircraft. You can have half of the wing shot off, part of the tail shot off, the hydraulic system ruined and it can keep flying.
Cruise missiles have also been brought into play. This can carry a thousand pound war head on one of this tomahawk missiles from more than a thousand miles away. We redirected in flight on any given target. And we have to talk about predator drones in all of this. Now, drones can be fitted with missiles. We know that. But in this case, they are not being used that way much. They're primarily being used according to the military for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. In other words, these are flying over ISIS, figuring out where they're strongholds are, where the troops are, where buildings are and directing all these other weapon systems in their attacks -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, it sounds impressive. When you talk about the canon on the front, the warthog, with 70 rounds per minute.
FOREMAN: Per second. Per second.
BURNETT: Per second. I'm sorry, per second. The question of accuracy, right? The ultimate claim today is that ISIS says the Jordanians hit a building and killed the American hostage. Is such a thing possible given what we know?
FOREMAN: These are highly accurate weapons. But such a thing is possible impart because there's not a lot of good intelligence on the ground here. And you can only tell so much from the air and there have been a lot of attacks out here. And the U.S. hasn't been in charge of all of them. Take a look at all the coalition forces involved here. There are a good number of countries here. But make no mistake. This is not a coalition of equals. The United States is in charge of things here. If you look at overall numbers out here, the total number of air strikes over here are pretty big. But in Iraq, the U.S., way out front of all the coalition partners combined. Same thing over here in Syria. So much that the U.S. is leading 80 percent of all the attacks against ISIS. And they are largely very carefully calculated and precisely delivered. Can there be a mistake? Absolutely. But there seems to be truly every effort according to U.S. military officials to not make those mistakes -- Erin.
BURNETT: Tom Foreman, thank you very much. Incredibly valuable just to hear all that reporting. And joining me now the retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton who served as an intelligence officer provided specialized intelligence for coalition and U.S. forces during the Iraq war. Colonel, you just heard the numbers Tom was sharing. Right? Nearly 2300 hundred air strikes against ISIS. The United States has conducted the exact number, 81 percent of them. Arab coalition members, 3.5 percent of them. Does the moderate Arab world need to do more?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR TRAINING NSA: Well, Erin, I think so. I think they have the capability. They certainly have the money. The problem is that they don't have the same doctrine that we use within the U.S. military and that's a significant difference. Not only do we have the doctrine that allows for us to do these joint and combined operations but we also have the abilities and we've had the training to do this. And the Arab world has a lot of significant capabilities especially when it comes to some of the modern weapons but they don't have that overarching architecture in which they can actually employ these weapons in a joint and effective manner.
BURNETT: And by that, you mean the command center that Tom is showing. Sort of that, you have all of these weapon systems and there's a single thing controlling it. That all works together, they don't have that.
LEIGHTON: That's right. And then the airpower, it's called the air operation center. And that air operation center will combined their air operation center, is the one that directs combat operations. That system was used very effectively in first part of the Iraq war. The second Iraq war and it was also the way in which we have really taken air power and integrated it fully into the joint effort to fight our wars. And that's exactly what we need to do here.
BURNETT: Colonel, in the last year, ISIS has doubled the territory it controls in Syria. There has been, there'd been no troops on the ground outside various rebel forces. ISIS and Syrian regime forces. When you hear about the President of the United States authorizing the use of force, asking Congress for that vote, which they would give him to authorize it, what does that mean? Special Forces, SEALS, combat troops, who's going into Syria?
LEIGHTON: I think it should be all of the above plus air power. So, what you'll looking out here see is an authorization to use military forces, kind of the modern way of declaring war. And when we do this, when Congress approves this and I think they will, what you'll see is a broad idea that this is what we're going to do and then the details of it are going to be worked out in a way that will show between the White House and the Pentagon will show exactly what types of forces will be moved forward. So, that would include Special Operations Forces in my estimation possibly, some infantry units. Certainly marines would be part of the mix and definitely air power. So, those are the things and then the exact composition of those forces, would depend on the tactical targets that we're going after but into of course hopefully the overall strategy that we would have but those are the things that would go into what happens after the authorization to use military force.
BURNETT: Of course something, I know that so many don't want to see, never wanted to see U.S. ground troops in Syria. Thank you very much. Colonel Leighton.
And OUTFRONT next, the Aaron Hernandez jury. They actually went to the crime scene today. Full day on a field trip. They were driven to his home. What did they see?
Plus, the Taiwan plane crash. Did the pilot actually shutdown the plane's only working engine by mistake?
BURNETT: Tonight, we are learning the pilots of the deadly plane crash this week in Taiwan may have shut down the wrong engine. Just seconds before the plane rolled 90 degrees as you say in this unforgettable video clipping a highway and crashing into a river. At least 35 people died. Fifteen though survived. According to the plane's black boxes, just seconds after that plane took off, warning signs started blaring. And in the confusion to figure out what was wrong, the pilots may have literally by choice, cut power to the wrong engine.
Anna Coren is OUTFRONT live in Taiwan tonight. And Anna, what was going on inside that cockpit during those first few obviously terrifying confusing seconds for those pilots?
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erin, look, they're trying to work that out. But certainly, the preliminary finds from Taiwan's aviation safety council has revealed that perhaps those pilots on board that ill-fated TransAsia flight 235 reacted to the stalled engine alarm by shutting down the wrong engine. It really is a frightening thought.
This, of course, the initial findings, from the data retrieved, as you say, form those black boxes.
COREN (voice-over): The pilots of TransAsia Flight 235 may have accidentally shut down the engine or it may have failed, leaving the plane with no power before it crashed over a bridge just three minutes and 22 seconds after take off. That's according to Taiwan's aviation safety council, and information from the plane's black boxes. 10:51:50, just 37 seconds after takeoff, the first of the five warning signals sound in the cockpit.
Less than a minute later, a warning signal indicates that engine number two, the right engine, has lost power, with the plane at 1,200 feet. Five seconds after that, the crew was heard on the cockpit voice recorder. They discuss slowing down engine number one, the left engine.
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Based on the information that came out of black boxes, it's a combination of engine malfunction and pilot error. It certainly appears that they had a problem with one engine and were trying to overshoot it but then mistakenly instead shut down or rather throttle back on the other engine.
COREN: 10:53:24, the flight data recorder indicates that the left engine is still operating normally, but after throttling back, it shuts down completely. At the same time, repeated stall warnings are heard in the cockpit. The aircraft is losing speed.
10:53:34, with the flight spiraling out of control, the crew says they've restarted an engine but they also issue a distress call.
PILOT: Mayday, mayday, engine flame out.
COREN: Just a few seconds later, the plane hit a taxi and the bridge, finally crashing into the river below.
Investigators say the pilot and co-pilot were later found still in their seats clutching the controls.
In an emotional interview, the pilot's mother said she was proud of her son for saving the lives of the many people in the tall buildings in the plane's path. CHEN TSAI-KUEY, TAIWAN PILOT'S MOTHER: I am proud to have such a
son. What he did was the right thing.
SCHIAVO: He was a hero. There are hundreds of people whose lives aren't lost because of what he did. And remember, pilots can only do what they're trained to do.
COREN: Now, blame is not being assigned at this stage. The investigation, of course, is ongoing. But the focus is pretty much switched from engine failure to pilot error. We may not have the official results of that investigation for at least a year.
Now, Erin, where we are standing, we're at the crash site and divers, hundreds of them, are back in the water here at Keelung River, scouring it, trying to find those remaining eight passengers whose bodies have still not been accounted for.
BURNETT: Anna Coren, thank you very much, live in Taipei tonight.
And now, OUTFRONT, Richard Quest, along with our aviation analyst, Miles O'Brien.
All right. Miles, there's this crucial issue about the wrong engine got shut down. Is it that easy to do that? The plane is telling you this engine has a problem and then you shut down that engine. Is it that easy of an error to make?
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: It is, unfortunately. It's happened. It's not unprecedented. It's happened dozens of times over the course of aviation history, perhaps most notably in 1989, Midland, U.K., a 737, one engine out, the pilot did precisely the same thing, shut down the good working engine.
What happens is in these situations, pilots are drilled to act precisely and very quickly. In some cases, it's good to stop and take a moment and double check what you're doing. It's quite possible that the captain, who apparently had some issues with the left engine before he started that flight, might have been predisposed to think he had a problem with the left engine, and might have done that, or might have just not crossed check it well with his first officer.
BURNETT: Yes, Richard, that's the point. Maybe he thought that the left engine, right, as Miles pointed out, had a problem. So, he was in that quick second hit that engine.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, they knew that number two engine had gone. They discussed throttling back on number one. They confirmed that number two wasn't working. Then they cut back on number one.
So, they clearly intended to cut back on an engine. Did they realize that either which one it was or, B, they hit the wrong button intending to do the other. BURNETT: They could have hit the wrong button.
BURNETT: Now, obviously, seconds before the plane crashed in the last few seconds, they tried to start that engine up. And they successfully start up the left engine, but it was too late. There's nothing you could do. The plane had started turning.
QUEST: And also, it would take, you know, many seconds to build up to speed and to certainly generate enough lift to get the aircraft up.
No, Miles, the Midland, 1989 was the classic example of switching off the wrong engine. And changes in procedure and manufacturer and design of the cockpit was put in place to prevent this from happening again, but in the heat of the seconds that we're talking about here.
BURNETT: Miles, I guess I have another question about this. I mean, if one engine is shut down, or it's malfunctioning, right? It's not functioning at all, is it possible, would it be smart to put something in the cockpit so you wouldn't be able to turn the other engine off, so you could prevent this kind of a mistake from happening since it has happened before?
O'BRIEN: I think it would be smart. I think that the ergonomics of this make it much easier to do that you might imagine. The gauges are close together. The throttles themselves are couple in a sense. They're right beside each other.
Very easy to make these mistakes particularly when you're in a dynamic boarding on panic kind of situation there. This is a critical thing at low altitude and marginal speed. You've got to do everything just right. You can imagine not thinking things through clearly because you don't feel you have enough time.
BURNETT: Right. And no matter how trained you are, you know you're possibly about to die. I mean, you can never train completely for that because even in training environment, you're not about to die.
Richard, satellite image of the buildings, right? You heard the mother talking about her son being a hero. They missed those buildings, the plane came down over the water. This is just an angle from the street view. Did they have any way to steer, have control at that point?
QUEST: My guess is every pilot is going to do the best they can to avoid the buildings, if possible. But if you listen to the transcript or see what was going on, they were just doing their best to keep that aircraft in the air. And I would -- I don't wish to take away from anything that happened in that cockpit, but my feeling is probably you're talking more about good luck than good management that he didn't one of those buildings.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to both of you. And OUTFRONT next, NBC News launching an internal investigation
into Brian Williams discredited war story. Could the anchor be suspended or more?
And the Super Bowl dancing sharks. Nobody took them seriously except Katy Perry and her lawyer. That's ahead.
BURNETT: NBC News announced it is launching an internal investigation into the false claims anchor Brian Williams made about a trip that he took to Iraq. Williams has apologized for claiming he was on a U.S. military helicopter that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. He, in fact, was on a different helicopter that was not hit.
For two nights, there's been no mention of the growing controversy on the "Nightly News".
Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.
And, Brian, how long can Brian Williams go without publicly commenting more on this?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Now, it's been 48 hours. But we did hear from the president of NBC News. She said there's an investigation going on internally. But it's not an independent investigation. It's being done by the head of the investigations department at the news division, someone who knows Brian Williams well and somehow pitches stories to his broadcast.
So, people are now asking, how can there be an investigation of this if it's not being done externally. I think overall, Erin, this has gone from bad really to worse.
STELTER (voice-over): Brian Williams' apology for exaggerating some of his Iraq war reporting is not silencing the story.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: I want to apologize.
STELTER: Despite a separate apology to NBC employees today, the conversation is only getting louder. Ten years ago, Tom Brokaw seated the big chair at "NBC Nightly News" to Brian Williams.
Now, Brokaw is denying reports he wants Williams out, saying in his statement, "I have neither demanded nor suggested Brian be fired. His future is up to Brian and NBC News executives." Those are hardly warm and fuzzy words for his colleague.
A statement from Brokaw's one time rival, CBS' Dan Rather, is more supportive. Quote, "I don't know the particulars about that day in Iraq. I do know Brian. Brian is an honest, decent man, an excellent reporter and anchor, and a brave on.
Of course, Dan Rather has had his own controversies when it comes to truthful reporting.
But the discussion about Williams' future is not limited to legends of the evening news. On social media, the hashtag #brianwilliamsremembers is exploding, placing him at various historical events.
The controversy has been growing since his mea culpa on Wednesday night.
WILLIAMS: I made a mistake of recalling the events of 12 years ago.
STELTER: And he's not the only one having trouble with the fine details. Rich Krell, the pilot who said he was flying Williams' helicopter in Iraq now admits he is questioning his own memory. Yesterday, he told CNN Williams' Chinook helicopter did come under small arms fire. Now, he's not so sure.
Several other soldiers say Krell was piloting a different helicopter in the area. Krell says his nightmares about the war are coming back and he just wants to forget.
Perhaps the only one who can clear up this confusion is Brian Williams himself.
BURNETT: And, Brian, you know, what's interesting is, a lot of these investigations are usual external, the Dan Rather one was. Even though this one is internal and as you point out, that's all kinds of conflicts, NBC has come short of really fully supporting Brian Williams.
STELTER: That's what I thought was most notable today, when the head of the NBC News, Deborah Turness, came out with a testament. She sent a memo to her staff talking about the tight knit family of the news division. But she didn't express any explicit support for Brian Williams. She might be leaving herself wiggle room. Meanwhile, the rest of the TV news industry, a very competitive industry, as you know, is talking about whether he's actually going to keep his job. It's an extraordinary change of events from the past 48 hours.
Now, I'm not saying there's anything definite or anything imminent about that, and I'd be very surprised if he was to leave the "Nightly News" chair. He's the number one news anchor in the United States. But the fact that it's being talked about shows how damaging this has been to him.
BURNETT: Damaging and how quickly things can turn.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Brian Stelter.
And OUTFRONT next, the jury in the trial of former football star Aaron Hernandez. What the jurors saw at Hernandez' home and at the crime scene? They took a field trip today. CNN was there.
BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "AC360".
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin. Yes, we'll have much more on the breaking news tonight on "360", indications that ISIS may escalate the fight threatening to grab more Western hostages. We'll talk with someone who knows what it's like to be held captive, knows what Kayla Mueller who was snatched and held by ISIS went through. I'd be joined by journalist David Rohde who survived seven months at the hands of the Taliban before managing to escape.
Also, much more on ISIS claims that Mueller was killed by Jordanian airstrikes. Mike Rogers, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is on the program. He's very skeptical of those claims as are many others.
Also, an incredible story tonight in Maryland. A 13-year-old girl watches her father struck by a car, calls 911, did the right thing and is told by the dispatcher, the 911 dispatcher told to stop whining. Tell you how that turned out. It's all at the top of the hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Anderson, looking forward to it.
Well, jurors in the murder trial involving the former NFL star Aaron Hernandez spent the day on the road. Police escorted the jurors to Hernandez's home and to the industrial park where prosecutors say the former Patriots receiver murdered his friend Odin Lloyd.
The jurors' trip to the crucial locations lasted four hours and our Susan Candiotti was there.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A field trip that's all business, requested by prosecutors and defense. The Aaron Hernandez jury escorted by bus in a police motorcade for an up close view of evidence that might make it easier to understand the case.
In court, prosecutors give a preview.
WILLIAM MCCAULEY, BRISTOL COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We're going to direct your attention to a cell tower that's located in that area.
CANDIOTTI: The jury sees four cell phone towers that prosecutors say generate signals along the route the former Patriot tight end takes with Odin Lloyd the night he is murdered.
Next stop, outside Odin Lloyd's home. During the jury tour, prosecutors point out a security camera at the house across the street. It captures this surveillance video of Lloyd getting into a car investigators say is driven by Hernandez.
Hernandez is not allowed on this trip, but the jury gets to see the spot where prosecutors say Odin Lloyd's bullet-riddled body is found in this industrial park. After about 15 minutes, they head for Hernandez's neighborhood.
(on camera): The jury's bus tour winding up here at Aaron Hernandez's home, they're inside right now. Both prosecutors and defense wanting to show up the home security system, which includes at least 12 cameras. It's going to be critical evidence in this trial. They also, the defense, that is, had to remove various football memorabilia and family photos that were not there in June of 2013 --
(voice-over): -- when Hernandez is arrested for Lloyd's murder.
Inside the home, they also see --
MCCAULEY: The kitchen area and then the living room and pointing out certain features of the layout of the home.
CANDIOTTI: Including the greet room, seen in this surveillance video of Hernandez's fiancee and her sister recorded a day after Lloyd's death. Jurors also see the foyer where Hernandez is photographed moments before the murder and prosecutors say, holding the murder weapon that's never been found.
BURNETT: Now, Susan, I know there were some issues before the tour today when jurors went to see the home about what the jury was going to be allowed to see. Prosecutors were worried. Why specifically?
CANDIOTTI: Well, you know, prosecutors were pretty angry after they got a preview of what the house looked like shown by the defense because prosecutors said, hey, it does not look like it back in June of 2013, implying that the defense had changed what the house looked like.
The defense did remove all extra items from the house, like I mentioned, football memorabilia and photos, but absolutely denied that they were trying to manipulate the jury in any way, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Susan, thank you very much.
Susan, of course, giving you the details of everything she saw today.
OUTFRONT now, our legal analyst Paul Callan.
So, I want to start with what Susan just said, that things had to remove, photos, you know, family pictures, memorabilia, things that might have given you a personal feel for the person living in that home, Aaron Hernandez. That's partially because of what happened in the O.J. Simpson trial when jurors went to Simpson's home.
What exactly was the concern? Why do you not want anyone to see anything personal?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's highly reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson trial because in that case when the jury went, they were taken to the trophy room and it sort of exaggerated his role as a sports celebrity and gave them --
BURNETT: Sort of his power and authority and invincibility, maybe?
CALLAN: Yes, exactly, which really has nothing to do with how the murder took place, and the only reason they're even going to the scene in this case is to demonstrate the proximity of this house to the murder scene in the industrial park. It's only three minutes away.
BURNETT: All right. So, I could see why the prosecution would want them to see it. It's three minutes away.
But the defense also wanted the jurors to see this home. So they both wanted it. So who do you think actually gained the most by jurors seeing it?
CALLAN: I think the prosecution gains here and it's going to come back to this. When the car, the Nissan enters the industrial park, there are four men in it. One of them is Aaron Hernandez driving. When three minutes later, after gunshots are heard, it enters the garage of Aaron Hernandez, there are only three men in it, and one of them -- of the previous men is shot to death in the industrial park.
So, that's only three minutes away. The jury actually experienced that because they drove from the scene to the house. So, I say this really helps the prosecution, not the defense.
BURNETT: All right. We shall see. Thank you very much to Paul Callan.
And OUTFRONT next, Katy Perry's dancing shark. You know, we told you about this story earlier this week and, well, you know, for Katy Perry, this is -- this is nothing to laugh about. That's next.
BURNETT: We thought left shark was just a punch line when we mentioned him earlier this week. I mean, I don't know why we call him a him, it could have been a she, I can't tell. But remember, his dance moves were a little off.
Katy Perry, though, is taking left shark very seriously. Perry's lawyer sent a 3D animator in Florida a cease and desist order after he printed little left shark sculptors and put them on sale for 25 bucks a pop. The animator is irritated at the demand, tweeting today, "Lawyers didn't make left shark famous, the people did. People own left shark." Or does Katy Perry?
Our legal analyst Danny Cevallos said there's little copyright protection for costumes? But the Supreme Court has determined that if you can separate artistic merit from the functionality of the costume, that could be protected. Typical Supreme Court language, it's almost impossible to understand it. Talk about a shark in muddy waters.
Thanks so much for joining us. We hope you'll have a wonderful weekend.
I want you to know, though, OUTFRONT is now global. Our global edition airs on CNN International Saturday and Sunday. Every week, we'll bring you news makers and stories at the heart of the global conversation and among our guests this week, Congressman Andre Carson, the first Muslim to serve on the House Intelligence Committee. That's only on CNN International tomorrow and Sunday. We hope you'll join us.
"AC360" starts right now.