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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

American Investigators to See Russian Plane Debris; FBI Arrests Men Accused Of Targeting Blacks, Jews; Suspect Arrested Over University Of Missouri Racist Threats; Nearly 50,000 Veterans Still Homeless. Aired 4:40-5p ET

Aired November 11, 2015 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:30:03]

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One more thing the NTSB is looking at, a flight that landed at that Akron Airport shortly before this one was set to land.

They have interviewed the pilot of that flight to try to get an idea of the conditions on the air and on the ground. However, they haven't revealed what that pilot told them, because they say this is an ongoing investigation. And, Jake, they may actually have to interview him once again in the future.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Boris Sanchez, thanks so much.

In our world lead, U.S. investigators now being asked to take part in the Metrojet crash investigation in Egypt, as an ISIS affiliate releases a new video threat -- that story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Topping our world lead today, U.S. officials confirming to CNN today that American investigators could soon get a chance to examine physical evidence from the Russian jet crash. The Egyptian government has accepted the National Transportation Safety Board's offer to assist in the probe, all of this coming as ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula releases a new video threatening more attacks.

[16:35:02]

Let's get right to CNN's Barbara Starr. She's live at the Pentagon for us.

Barbara, what can you tell us about these new threats?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, on the video, the speaker threatens explosive-laden vehicles, suicide bombers. It's all just the latest challenge facing the Cairo government in dealing with ISIS.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STARR (voice-over): Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visited Sharm el-Sheikh Airport Wednesday, promising his government will hide nothing.

ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will announce the results of the investigation with complete transparency and clarity.

STARR: For the first time, the U.S. has been asked to get directly involved in the investigation of what brought down Russian Metrojet Flight 9268.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators now on standby to go to Egypt. The first indication came from Egypt's foreign minister saying the government was willing to accept American personnel.

SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: They have to be given full access to the crash area site. And they will undertake the same and have the same accessibility to all of the international investigators.

STARR: Security still a question in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. CNN has seen security personnel using handheld bomb detectors that British officials and security experts say just don't work.

ISIS in Sinai, believed to be behind the attack, released a new propaganda video. The speaker threatens attacks in Egypt and Israel, but no mention of the Metrojet crash.

The pressure is on Egypt to do more than just find the perpetrator, experts say, especially given the tourism industry that Egypt does not want to scare off.

MELISSA DALTON, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They need to take stock of what could potentially be a growing threat in the Sinai potentially, with this franchise of the Islamic State growing in its capability and capacity.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: All of which may explain Egypt's continuing sensitivity to letting outside personnel into the crash investigation, Jake.

TAPPER: Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for us, thank you so much.

Joining me now is Republican Congressman Mike McCaul. He's chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for being here.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), TEXAS: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: All signs point to ISIS in Sinai being behind this attack, but then in this video that they released, no mention of the attack. Does that affect whether or not intelligence ultimately believes they're behind it? MCCAUL: No, I don't think so. They have already taken credit for the

bombing of the airline.

I think all indicators, information that I have points towards a bombing event by ISIS on a Russian airliner. Remember, this is sort of a two-prong attack for them. One is against El-Sisi in Egypt to hit their tourism industry. And the second one is to hit the Russians who they have declared war against because of their presence in the region and Syria.

So, I again have a high degree of confidence this was an ISIS attack getting a bomb on an airplane. And the question is, how did it get on the airplane?

TAPPER: Do you think that the terror group is capable of carrying out an attack like this that hits Americans?

MCCAUL: Well, if this was in fact an insider threat, we can have the best vetting procedures from a screening technology standpoint, but if somebody can be compromised and corrupted from within, or radicalized to put a piece of luggage in the hull of an aircraft, Jake, that's a very hard thing to stop.

And that is the biggest vulnerability in the aviation sector that I see with respect to aircraft coming into the United States. Now, having said that, I have talked to the TSA administrator, the secretary of homeland security. They have beefed up their measures in last points of departure airports, in addition to screening and vetting employees.

But now that ISIS has this capability, we knew that AQAP had this.

TAPPER: Right.

MCCAUL: And a new technology, by the way. But now that ISIS has demonstrated, if this in fact is the case, that they have that kind of capability, that's a whole new chapter in terrorism.

TAPPER: You're talking about TSA and those who work behind the TSA security lines in American airports. That's almost a million, a million people who are able to get past the TSA security for their job.

Is there sufficient screening of these individuals?

MCCAUL: You know, with TSA, I believe so.

But there are thousands of airport workers and those who have access to the airplane that I passed legislation out of my committee to more properly vet and screen them. And I do believe the secretary is cognizant of this. The TSA administrator knows about this insider threat being probably one of the greatest vulnerabilities we have.

[16:40:05]

And so I think moving forward in a proactive way, we need to screen them better.

TAPPER: Have you seen any uptick in chatter? Are intelligence officials seeing any uptick in chatter about this incident in Sinai by people who are sympathetic with ISIS in the United States?

MCCAUL: I'm not quite sure I understand your question.

But the information that I have that has come to my attention again indicates this is an ISIS-related event with an explosive device. They obviously have very -- they have several enemies. One is the Egyptian government.

And they hit that through the tourism at Sharm el-Sheikh. The other is the Russians here in the region. And, of course, the West and the United States have always been declared enemies of ISIS. So it's not a far stretch to imagine a scenario where they would try to put a bomb on an airplane inbound into the United States.

TAPPER: Just a quick question, sir, on another topic, sir.

There was a disturbing incident on the campus of University of California, Merced, last week. A Muslim American student named Faisal Mohammad stabbed four people before being shot by police. He had a manifesto on him that praised Allah, described a desire to behead people.

There are reports that he had a printout of an ISIS black flag. Law enforcement there saying this was not terrorism-related.

What can you tell us about that incident? Do you believe he's a self- radicalized lone wolf?

MCCAUL: I think so. I mean, I don't think there's any link between ISIS and this individual.

But it's a classic case, Jake, of this radicalization online of a lone wolf type in the United States. This is the very case that's probably the most difficult to stop because you can't see it happening in advance to stop it. And so I think this individual radicalized over the Internet and then perpetrated the stabbing.

This can happen anywhere, any time, any place. I think that's what's concerns us the most, is, how do you stop these random acts that could happen anywhere? And the Internet is filled with this type of ISIS propaganda.

TAPPER: Congressman Michael McCaul, thank you so much. Appreciate your time, sir.

MCCAUL: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Two white supremacists arrested for allegedly planning to bomb black churches and Jewish synagogues in acts of terrorism. Did a little known pagan religion play a role in their plot?

Plus, one restaurant chain now officially telling customers tipping is not allowed. That story's next in our money lead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. New details today on a foiled white supremacist terror plot to bomb or shoot up black churches and Jewish synagogues. Robert Curtis Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney were arrested in Virginia after allegedly trying to buy guns, silencers, and explosives from an undercover FBI agent.

The pair were planning to start a, quote, "Race war," according to the FBI. A third man is also in custody accused of wanting to help them.

Let's bring in CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez. He's been speaking with his sources. How close did these men get to carrying out their plan and what exactly was this, a race war?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, this is exactly what they were trying to do. Apparently they wanted to rob businessmen to raise money in order to start this race war. Now, they were according to the FBI, which was conducting using confidential sources, wiretaps, surveillance to watch these guys.

They had plans to kill a jeweler, rob him, and use that money to purchase land to stockpile weapons for this planned race war. According to the FBI, they had met with an undercover FBI agent as part of a sting operation, Jake.

They placed an order for automatic weapons explosives and a pistol with a silencer when they showed up to pay for these weapons is when the FBI carried out these arrests earlier this week.

TAPPER: And these men have some sort of allegiance or adherence to an extremist version of the Asatru faith? What is that?

PEREZ: That's right. It's apparently a pagan religion that grew up in the 1960s here in the United States and some of these people are, you know, both practicing this Nordic faith as well as being racist. Some of them are not. These guys apparently were part of the one group that believed that they were white supremacist and at the same time worshipping these Scandinavian (inaudible).

TAPPER: And how did these guys initially get on the radar of the FBI?

PEREZ: Well, the FBI apparently found out about this meeting that they were having where there was this plan coming forward to attack Jewish synagogues and black churches. Now, this brings up reminders of Dylann Roof and the attack in Charleston that killed nine members of a historic black church down there.

That's what really alerted the FBI here. They wanted to make sure they stopped this. They didn't get really very far with their plan. They just wanted to make sure they stopped this before they got any closer.

TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much. Classes going on as planned today at the University of Missouri under tighter security however after new threats of violence against African-American students.

Campus police say they have arrested a suspect accused of posting online threats including one post that said, quote, "I'm going to shoot every black person I see." The threatening posts come after days of protests over the university's handling of racism complaints.

There are protests and other things that were part of the protests forced the resignations of the university's president and chancellor. Campus police say the suspect was not on or near the university's Columbia, Missouri campus when the threat was made.

Turning now to our Money Lead, put away that calculator app millennials, you will not need to figure out that pesky math your teacher tried to convince you that you would need to know, at least not to calculate your server's tip if you're dining at 18 select locations of Joe's Crab Shack that is.

It's the first major chain restaurant to roll out a no tipping policy at some of his restaurants. The practice has been picking up steam with fine dining in an effort to pay restaurant staff a higher fixed wage that comes with a price though of course.

[16:50:07]The CEO of Joe's Crab Shack told investigators that prices are now expected to rise about 12 percent to 15 percent.

You don't need to play fantasy football, you don't even need to be a football fan, all you need is eyeballs to be aware of sites like Fan Duel and Draft Kings. The daily fantasy sports spending sites have spent more than the entire beer industry in the early part of the football season showcasing giant checks and success stories of fans who have played.

Well now just like online poker about a decade ago, the ride may be over. New York's attorney general has declared Draft Kings and Fan Duel are illegal gambling, not fantasy, and ordered them to stop taking bets from New Yorkers. The tide started to turn on these sites after allegations of insider trading of player information surfaced last month.

In our Buried Lead coming up on this Veterans Day, he put his life on the line for fighting for his country, so why did he end up sleeping in a park when he got home? That story next.

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[16:55:18]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Learned how to work on teams, how to stay committed to a mission, how to solve seemingly intractable problems, they get stuff done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: (Inaudible) and to preserve us and the freedoms we enjoy. On THE LEAD we try to honor them not merely by saluting those at the front of the Veterans Day parades, whom it is easy to praise, but by also paying attention to their brothers and sisters who are having a tougher time of it including this year those living in the streets on which those parades are marched.

Tens of thousands of American veterans are homeless in this country. In 2009, the Obama administration vowed to end this problem by the end of this year 2015. Progress has been made but not enough.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDRE JONES, FORMERLY HOMELESS VETERAN: Every time I was thinking every night I was sleeping I put my life on the line for this country, why am I sleeping in this park right now, why am I in this shelter?

TAPPER (voice-over): It's a good question. Why do so many people, tens of thousands who once put their lives on the nation, live on the streets in their own country? The 25-year-old Army veteran, Andre Jones, served in Afghanistan before struggling with homelessness.

JONES: It got pretty bad, got pretty, pretty bad.

TAPPER: In 2009, the Obama administration announced it would make ending veteran homelessness a top priority.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and I are personally committed to ending homelessness among veterans and we targeted the next five years as crucial.

TAPPER: A multiagency pushed aimed at ending it this year.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: It is an audacious goal, but it is achievable. It is absolutely achievable.

TAPPER: Absolutely achievable, but it will not be achieved this year. Though the administration says nearly 60,000 housing vouchers along with education and addiction treatment have reduced the numbers by more than a third.

JULIAN CASTRO, SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: It's not like it ends and the measure of our success is have we put a system in place that when a veteran becomes homeless in short order we can get them a place to live.

TAPPER: Today almost 50,000 veterans remain without homes. It's a larger concern in cities such as New York and Los Angeles where rent is pricey. While others including Houston, Phoenix and New Orleans say they've solved the problem publicly declaring victory however can be a problem in itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are calling people for donations. Some of them actually have said, well, I thought we licked that problem, I thought we were done. Why are you asking us for money?

TAPPER: Steve Peck is the president and CEO of U.S. vets, an organization helping thousands including Andre Jones. V.A. funding helped Peck build this transitional housing facility in Washington, D.C., a place that also provides job training.

STAN STARR, FORMER HOMELESS VETERAN: When I came here, the others came here, we had a chance to kind of stabilize a little bit, catch our breath so to speak.

TAPPER: Stan Starr, like a majority of homeless veterans, served in the Vietnam era. Unlike most however he built a career on Wall Street before falling into debt.

STARR: Is there any more humbling experience than where we are? Probably not.

TAPPER: U.S. vets helped Starr begin teaching finance and get his own apartment.

TAPPER (on camera): What's the biggest misconception that the public has about the homeless?

MATILDA CARROLL, FORMERLY HOMELESS VETERAN: They see homelessness as someone who's not educated, someone who doesn't have motivation or want anything out of life when actually we want all of that.

TAPPER (voice-over): Matilda Carroll says she was sexually harassed in the military which contributed to her drug abuse which eventually landed her in prison.

CARROLL: I just made seven months clean.

TAPPER: In the past addiction prevented many vets from being eligible for housing, but today treatment and housing go hand in hand.

CASTRO: This is one area where Washington has actually worked.

TAPPER: Worked for some, yes, but for many employers and landlords the perceived stigma of homelessness remains. Even when these veterans land job interviews, there's no guarantee they'll be hired.

(on camera): Now, you did communications in the Army?

JONES: Yes, sir.

TAPPER: And those skills didn't transfer?

JONES: It wasn't most the skills didn't transfer. I just didn't know how to apply them properly.

TAPPER: Thanks to U.S. vets, Jones is able to focus here on the future instead of where he's going to sleep tonight, and of course it does not end with providing a home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's really important that we take the long view on this. It's a human issue. It's a patriotic issue. And we have to be prepared to deal with this for as long as there are wars.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER: Progress is being made. The Commonwealth of Virginia announced today that it had effectively ended homelessness for veterans. The White House today also announced that the cities of Syracuse, New York and Las Vegas have eliminated effectively veteran homelessness.

To all our veterans out there, thank you for your service from me and my family, and everyone at THE LEAD. That's it for THE LEAD today. I'm Jake Tapper turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."