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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Candidates Try To Appeal To Wisconsin Voters; Search Is On For Dozens Of ISIS Terror Suspects; .S. Justice Department To Review Claims Of Secret Accounts; Explosion Of Cyber Attacks Freezing Computer Networks. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired April 4, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEVEN YOUNG JR., BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTER: Two years ago, I was really stuck on violence.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Then an educational program called The Right Path helped Young attend a Milwaukee-area technical college while serving time. He graduated first in his class last December.
YOUNG: It was a really big step for me.
CASAREZ: Young was lucky. Most don't get that type of help.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to take our jobs back.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Getting new jobs.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can create 13 million jobs.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can create more good jobs.
CASAREZ: Reverend Willie Brisco, a mainstay in this community, says all of the candidates must take notice.
REV. WILLIE BRISCO, NEW COVENANT BAPTIST CHURCH: We are suffering in this community right now. There's a lack of esteem and a lack of who we are.
CASAREZ: Young wants the candidates to help fund the public schools, among the worst performing in the nation.
(on camera): So, school suspends a student. Then they have got all the free time in the world.
YOUNG: That's right.
CASAREZ: And that leads to what?
YOUNG: Trouble. Crime.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Crime that is at its worst in zip code 53206.
Manufacturing jobs thrived in this area until companies started leaving, one by one. With limited transportation available to find jobs in the outlying areas, this community slowly broke down. Violent crime came in. The people of this area are desperate for job opportunities, good jobs, and they are looking for a presidential candidate who cares about that.
BRISCO: There has to be some symbol of growth, some symbol of industry that is happening in these neighborhoods and in these areas to give our children and our people hope.
CASAREZ: And it's not just Milwaukee. The state of Wisconsin lost over 10,000 jobs in 2015.
The 100-year-old Oscar Mayer plant in Madison is shutting down and moving to Chicago, more than 1,000 jobs lost. At General Electric's plant in Waukesha, 350 positions are moving to Canada. And Harley- Davidson, headquartered in the cheesehead state, is laying off 250 employees.
While Wisconsin reports about 30,000 jobs were created in 2015, Dr. Charles Franklin, head of Marquette University polling, says most are lower-paying jobs.
DR. CHARLES FRANKLIN, MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY: When people transition out of old jobs to new ones, they may be at best treading water but more likely taking a step down in income.
CASAREZ: To prove his point, Milwaukee's landmark Pabst Brewery, according to one resident -- quote -- "just packed their bags and left in 1996."
Twenty years later, the buildings are being revitalized, but for student housing, not manufacturing. Steven Young, who just got a factory job, has advice for his favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders.
YOUNG: I'm telling Bernie Sanders that he really needs to help Milwaukee.
CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
TAPPER: And our thanks to Jean Casarez.
The unemployment rate in Wisconsin is 4.4 percent, which is lower than the national average of 5 percent, but in Milwaukee it is 6.3 percent.
In our world lead, CNN is just learning dozens of ISIS terrorists, including several believed to be connected to the deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels, could still be on the loose, some of them perhaps hiding in plain sight -- that story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Topping our world lead today: The fight against terrorism continues, the Pentagon confirming U.S. airstrikes killed two top terrorists, one in Somalia, the other in Iraq. Each, according to U.S. officials, had American blood on his hands.
But, more pressingly, perhaps, CNN has learned that dozens of suspects with possible ties to the Brussels and Paris terrorist attacks are likely still at large, sending intelligence and security officials across Europe scrambling to track them down.
Let's get right to CNN's Barbara Starr. She's live at the Pentagon.
Barbara, did these men on the run train with ISIS in Syria? Are they that experts in their terrorist craft?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to tell you, Jake, some U.S. officials do believe that some of these men may still be in Syria, some of them may be back in Europe. Where they are and what they are up to is the critical question.
STARR (voice-over): The terror attacks in Brussels and Paris have European and U.S. security officials chasing dozens of ISIS operatives and terror suspects identified as part of a wider terror web stretching from Europe to the Middle East, including at least eight suspects they believe are linked to the ISIS attacks in Paris and Brussels, about 18 additional jihadists not directly linked to specific attacks, but tried in absentia in European courts, also on the run, their whereabouts unknown.
The manhunt underscoring the reach of ISIS from its base in Syria to inspire and direct attacks in the West, with operatives trained in bombing and weapons tactics.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need to do even more to prevent the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. After the Paris attacks, the United States deployed surge teams to Europe to bolster these efforts and we will be deploying additional teams in the near future.
STARR: Those teams working on border and aviation security in Europe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ISIS is able to place people wherever and whenever they want to. They are able to in essence create cells when and where they need to create those cells. They are also operationally capable of hiding under the radar.
STARR: President Obama will begin reviewing efforts for increased efforts in both Syria and Iraq as the U.S. looks to accelerate its campaign against ISIS, the U.S. recently bombing a suspected ISIS chemical weapons laboratory at Mosul University, targeted airstrikes increasingly going after top ISIS leadership. [16:40:13]
U.S. special operations looking for Fabien Clain, a senior operative involved in planning external attacks. He is believed to be in and around Raqqa. One military option, additional U.S. special forces inside Syria to help local fighters take more ground back, including Raqqa.
PETER COOK, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The big focus would be in Syria, particularly as we -- as you look towards Raqqa, is doing what we can to enable those local forces to make them even more effective and to be able to provide even more pressure on ISIL as those forces isolate Raqqa.
STARR: Now, another effort in the works is a new U.S. military training program for moderate Syrian rebels. You will recall the last one failed spectacularly. This time, they have revamped it. They hope, of course, this time it actually works -- Jake.
TAPPER: Barbara Starr live for us at the Pentagon, thank you so much, Barbara.
In our money lead today, some of the world's most powerful leaders exposed, thanks to the biggest leak ever. Will any of these leaders face jail time for allegedly hiding billions of dollars?
Plus, a tough choice for two parents about whom they should root for when their sons face off against one another this evening -- that story ahead.
[16:45:33] TAPPER: Today's Money Lead, the U.S. Justice Department now announcing it will review the massive evidence alleging corruption and fraud from what may well be the biggest leak of documents ever.
The first news reports about the so-called Panama papers, more than 11 million documents, began posting online Sunday. They expose how world leaders in politics and business around the globe have been hiding billions of dollars in offshore accounts, all of it reportedly funneled through a law firm in Panama.
Today came a slew of denials from around the world, world leaders, politicians, athletes named in the files. Let's bring in Bobby Ghosh, CNN global affairs analyst. He is also a managing editor of "Quartz."
Bobby, first, what are just some of the most explosive allegations in the Panama papers?
BOBBY GHOSH, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it draws a spotlight on some really famous names. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is believed to have -- friends of his are believed to have channeled billions of dollars into these shell companies. There are some familiar figures, people like the former ruler of Egypt, Mubarak, like Gadhafi, the former ruler of Libya. But also American ally, Nawaz Sharif, the current prime minister of Pakistan.
Famous athletes as you mentioned, Leo Messi, the world's greatest soccer player, and movie stars, in Bollywood, all of whom are said to have moved vast amounts of money through these shell companies using the services of this one law firm in Panama.
TAPPER: Any high-profile Americans in these documents?
GHOSH: Not yet, not yet. That has been significant. No high profile American, nobody directly. No high-profile European unless you count the prime minister of Iceland.
But there is a sense that there are more pennies to drop here, there are more shoes to drop here. That this is not the end of it. So some of the journalists who have been -- who have sort of had access to these papers say that there's more to come and there will probably be American and European names on that list.
TAPPER: The law firm in Panama named in the leak had this response today saying in part, quote, "While we may have been the victim of a data breach, nothing we've seen in this illegally obtained cache of documents suggest we've done anything illegal.
It also said, quote, "We intend to do whatever we can to ensure the guilty parties are brought to justice. Is there any hint as to who might have pulled off this massive leak or any sort of motive?
GHOSH: Well, the best we know at the moment and it's a little murky. The best we know is that there was a whistleblower. Somebody in the company reached out to some journalists and perhaps because of a crisis of conscience decided to give up this information.
We don't know who this individual was. We don't know exactly what their motivations were. I'm speculating and hoping that this is simply a matter of somebody whose conscience finally was too heavy and decided to share this information.
It's also worth saying just as that company says it didn't do anything wrong having an offshore account is not in and of itself a crime.
It does raise suspicions when politicians move money around in that way without -- without sort of revealing that information in their home countries, but it's not absolutely certain that all these transactions were legal.
TAPPER: The U.K., France, Australia, Mexico, all say they're going to investigate this report for possible tax evasion cases. You were just noting that it might be indication of illegality. Let me just ask you finally, Bobby, this report -- put some perspective on this. How big of a leak is this?
GHOSH: Well, it's a large number of names, thousands of names. As you said, 11.5 million documents. However, this is one law firm, only the fourth largest in Panama, which is only one tax haven. There are dozens of tax havens all over the world.
There are, you have to believe, hundreds of law firms all over the world, many of which are much larger than Mossack Fonseca, the name of this particular law firm.
So there has been speculation over the years of money that has been moved into shell companies, into tax havens, running from $6 trillion to $25 trillion, $30 trillion. It's hard to know. That's the whole point.
We can never really know, but this gives us a window into how these things operate and just enough of a suggestion of what kinds of transactions take place, what kinds of people are involved.
[16:50:11]Maybe this is the thin end of the wedge. Maybe this inspires other whistleblowers. Maybe this begins investigations that in the long run will lead us to uncovering more and more of this money and more and more of this shady behavior.
TAPPER: Classic ending. Bobby Ghosh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
In other money news, two major airlines are merging. Alaska Air reached an agreement Sunday to purchase Virgin America for $2.6 billion. If regulators green light the deal, it will make Alaska Air the nation's fifth largest air carrier.
San Francisco Bay's Virgin America currently flies to 22 destinations in U.S. and Mexico. For its part, Alaska Air based in Seattle travels to more than 90 cities in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.
A high-tech kidnapping, your personal information held hostage. The kidnappers demanding ransom or else. That story, next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. We're back with today's Buried Lead. That's what we call stories we think are not getting enough attention. A cyber epidemic crippling businesses around the around.
The tech world calls it "ransom-ware," companies extorted for money, their computers held hostage by hackers. Even an Apple operating system fell victim last month.
[16:55:08]A cyber attack took down networks for large hospital chains in the D.C. area. Medstar Health averages 4,000 patients a day. At one point employees did business by pen and paper because of it.
CNN's Drew Griffin looked into how hackers are using ransom-ware against some other high-profile targets.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It popped up on a computer screen, then two, then dozens. This note filling and freezing the screens of hundreds of computers in the Horry County, South Carolina School District.
The school's technology director, Charles Hucks, knew immediately his system was under attack.
(on camera): Your computer systems are basically held ransom?
CHARLES HUCKS, TECHNOLOGY DIRECTOR, HORRY COUNTRY SCHOOL DISTRICT: Our data was held ransom.
GRIFFIN: By this note?
HUCKS: That's correct.
GRIFFIN: And they said, hey, you want to free your data?
HUCKS: Pay us.
GRIFFIN: Most people would think a school system gets basically its computer system hijacked, the data is being held for ransom. Hijacked, ransom, cops. You would call some kind of authority to come in and take care of this, right?
HUCKS: Correct. So we did notify the FBI, we notified SLED, which is our state law enforcement group.
GRIFFIN: What did they say?
HUCKS: They said thank you for letting us know and then this is the site that they set up for us to communicate.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): With law enforcement powerless to stop it, the Horry County schools did the only thing they could to get their data freed. They paid.
HUCKS: So you get to the point of making the business decision, do I make my end users, in our case teachers and students, wait for weeks and weeks and weeks while we restore hundreds of servers from backup or do we pay the ransom and get the data back online more quickly.
GRIFFIN: Earlier this year this hospital in California found its computer systems frozen, held for ransom. The ransom, more than $16,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a very bad trend that's been rising for the last few years.
GRIFFIN: Adam (inaudible) works for a Silicon Valley company trying to fight what the industry has dubbed ransom-ware.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the one we hear about the most and it's the one we see people asking for help the most. Unfortunately, this isn't the kind of attack that you can get infected with and then remove it and you're done. There's no quick fix.
GRIFFIN: Kidnappers demand the ransom paid in Bitcoins, the anonymous internet currency that can't be traced. What's also hard to trace is where the ransom-ware virus is coming from, usually accidentally installed by unwitting users, tricked into opening up its digital poison.
NOAH CHRISTANSON-SAFFORD, MALWAREBYTES: Maybe it's a picture that you thought that you were getting from one of your co-employees. You just innocently don't read it thoroughly and you click on it and all of a sudden you're infected with this.
GRIFFIN: You haven't heard about it because most companies pay to keep things quiet. Horry County schools decided not to keep silent to help others avoid being taken.
HUCKS: Yes and we're not alone. One of the reasons that we have been talking about this is that this is very, very common. We know of several other school districts, some other school districts where this has happened and they have been able to keep it out of the news, which is great for them.
GRIFFIN: In the end, like dealing with real kidnappers, the school set up a money drop, a Bitcoin account and sent the kidnappers just enough ransom to free one computer to make sure the kidnapper's code would work.
HUCKS: Which it did and then we said, OK, it works. We want to pay the balance and so we paid the balance.
GRIFFIN: The full ransom, $10,000, Horry County's computers are now freed and the ransom-ware pirates continue to sail freely and for now unstoppable through the world's computer systems searching for their next hostage.
GRIFFIN: Jake, to show you how powerless law enforcement is to stop this, last year at a conference, an FBI expert said, hey, if you're facing this dilemma, you might as well just go ahead and pay the ransom and get your data back. Until they get a fix for this, that is about the best they can do -- Jake.
TAPPER: Awful. Drew Griffin, thank you so much.
In our Sports Lead, the big dance ends tonight with the national title game for the NCAA men's basketball championship on TBS. For me I'm torn, Villanova right outside Philadelphia, my hometown, but my mom went to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, my grandfather taught there.
My divided loyalties, however, pale in comparison to one set of parents. When UNC and Villanova square off this evening, Nate Britt and Kris Jenkins will be suiting up against one another and potentially putting their parents at odds.
You see Britt and Jenkins are brothers. Jenkins was adopted back in 2007 by the Britt family. Now the brothers are taking their sibling rivalry to the biggest stage possible. Make sure to watch tonight on our sister network, TBS. Tip-off is just after 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.