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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  January 27, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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water. high tide is going to be in the next hour or so so along the wharf and along of the downtown businesses right now are definitely under water. >> tyler herrick, keep us updated. our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family your baby. keep in touch. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. now i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now -- coastal calamity. it's high tide in new england as millions battered by a massive winter storm now face the threat of major flooding. and the snow keeps falling whipped by near-hurricane winds with some places buried under 30 inches and counting. travel meltdown. highways closed rail service suspended, flights closed. system malfunction? there's growing concern that airasia flight 8501 may have been brought down by a computer
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problem. could thousands of other commercial aircraft be at risk in. at russian spy ring. coded messages. secret meetings. two decades after the cold war, the fbi bust an alleged russian intelligence network in new york city. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking now. the blizzard that just won't quit. it's high tide right now in new england. millions are threatened with coastal flooding from the epic storm that dumped more than two feet of snow in some places and lashed out with near-hurricane winds. seven states declared emergencies. this a very dangerous storm still. you can see one example right here as firefighters battle a wind-whipped blaze in the middle of a blizzard. snow is still coming down hard in a lot of parts of the region and will keep falling for several more hours. several hundred plows are out in boston in the middle of it all and could see record
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accumulations. our correspondents and analysts and newsmakers are all standing by. let's begin with the latest. brian todd is on the massachusetts coast. >> reporter: fierce winds created whiteout conditions up and down the northeast coast. we've got the wind causing whiteout knz. you've got the tide coming in causing potential flooding. we felt it firsthand on the jersey shore. the wind is just whipping us in the face from the north to the south. along the coastline south of boston, the national guard evacuated residents in the town of marshfield after a 100-foot section of seawall was breached, causeing dangerous flooding and damaging homes. a storm surge with huge waves in some places caused extreme flooding. and then there's the snow. >> we fully expect there are parts of eastern and central massachusetts where people may get as much as another five to ten inches of snow on top of what they already have. >> reporter: but this historic blizzard is not over still blink eliminating much of new england in a massive amount of
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snow. parts of new england bracing for more than two feet of snow. connecticut is trying to dig out after receiving more than 20 inches of snow in some areas. and rhode island is still being battered by the storm and the governor is warning everyone to stay off the roads. >> even the highways are not really passable. there's zero visibility. so my message continues to be as follows -- the travel ban is still in effect. we want everybody off the roads. >> reporter: this afternoon as we drove along route 95 from connecticut to massachusetts, we experienced extremely difficult road conditions. >> that was brian todd reporting for us. brian, thanks very much. we're going to get back to you shortly. boston right now is in the middle of the blizzard and the snow continues to fall. when all is said and done, this storm could rival some of the city's worst. brooke baldwin is in boston for us. set the scene for us. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf i'm so
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mindful of you being from buffalo new york. i'm sure growing up there you've dealt with a lot of this. but take a look. i'm honestly losing track of the hours we've been out here but just i think it really shows trudging through this stuff. very slowly and carefully. we were here yesterday. it was up to my ankles. you can see it's up to my knees right now. we heard from the mayor of boston, marty walsh, this afternoon. he gave a news conference and basically was saying the city itself has seen more or less two feet of snow, and i don't know if you can tell but it definitely is still coming down just a little bit lighter than it has earlier this afternoon. we've been in it since the morning. but they were saying people in boston should anticipate it continuing to come down until 3:00 in the morning. it is possible that boston will see a record setting snowfall. i was actually in the boston area over the weekend, and once the storm really started to percolate, what everyone was
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talking about was the blizzard of '78. that won't happen as far as the damage thbsank goodness because nobody had as much of a heads-up, but it's the blizzard of 2003 the floods is the story as you were talking to brian todd along coastal massachusetts, in scituate marshfield. that is really really the story wolf. >> brooke stand by. we have the mayor of boston marty walsh on the phone right now. may mayor, are you still in the middle of the storm? is it almost over? set the scene from your perspective. >> i'm watching the local media, and it looks like we have a patch of clear skies above us right now, but we're surrounded by more snow coming in. we're expecting another six inches by i think 1:00 in the morning the last report was. and then wind until 4:00 a.m. so we'll have snow drifts all over the place. so we've made some precautions tomorrow to shut city hall down and have emergency personnel. we're trying to plow the streets
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and get the main arteries open. they're open but trying to get them curb to curb majority of workers can get to work with safety and without inconvenience. >> you think you'll get near the 27-inch record you had back in 1978 and 2003? you're getting close to that 27 inches, right? >> yeah. they say we're getting very close to it. hopefully it moves off the coast and we won't hit the record. this is one record i don't want to break. i'd be perfectly happy if the snow was to go out to sea now and allow us the opportunity to do the proper cleanup we have to in the city. >> the snow is really going to come down well into the evening, overnight maybe, right? >> that's what they're saying. right now in boston, it's not snowing much. there are wind drifts, looks like it's snowing but as of now it's not snowing. but they're saying there will be another burst of snow that comes to us before the night is over. >> we know there's been lots of
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flooding problems on the massachusetts coast. are you facing any of those problems in boston? >> no not really. just a couple of roadways in boston we've had to shut down over the course of the day. but we're not getting what's happening in scituate and other places like that because the beach-front property in the city of boston is back a bit. we're not getting that type of erosion on the seawalls and gale-force winds and tide pounding. but there has been a couple of roads closed. we'll probably have to close a couple tonight for a little while. but we're not seeing some of concerns that the homeowners have around the commonwealth. >> what about power outages? >> we've been lucky in the city of boss at any. as of the last time i got a report at 3:00 only three homes are without power, and they weren't necessarily due to the storm. we had about 155 last night. we were able to get them back up with emergency generators today. now i believe we only have three in the city of boston that i'm aware of.
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we didn't get that heavy snow with the rain so the power lines were pretty much in good condition. >> and what about the whole notion of the driving in and around boston? you still have restrictions as far as people getting on the streets? >> yeah i'm keeping the parking ban in effect until sometime tomorrow so we can get people to get from curb to curb clean. the governor of massachusetts has the emergency ban in place, no driving. he'll have a press conference in a bit and address that there. we're trying to clear the tracks and the entry ways into the different subway stations. so that's down for now. i know they're trying to get that open for the morning commute if they can, or at least the best they can. >> what about the schools? >> schools are closed tomorrow and we're going to make a determination on thursday depending on what type of snow removal has to happen.
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thursday is really about public safety here in the city. it's going to be seeing where we are with public safety. do we have enough clearance on the sidewalks for buses to get by? are the large snow piles on the corners will we have enough time tomorrow to remove them. >> i take it boston logan airport is pretty much closed. >> yes. logan hasn't had any flights today. i talked to the director of mass port a couple of times. the airport is pretty much down right now. i know they're working over there hard to clear it up. they're right on the edge of the ocean so as far as what happens with the snow and the snow drifts after that that's where their problems come into play. >> mayor, good luck to you in boston. marty walsh, mayor of boston. we'll stay in close touch. >> thank you wolf. appreciate it. >> battered by the blizzard the massachusetts coast now facing serious flooding. high tide is just rolling in. alexandra field is joining us from scituate in massachusetts. looks pretty bad over there, alexandra.
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what's the latest? >> reporter: yeah, wolf. it's gotten absolutely wicked in an ironic boston sort of way. just up this road is the seawall. we were just out there standing there and even before high tide these waves were whipping up over that wall forcing rocks and sand and flooding into the neighborhoods. the water came rushing down this street earlier today. this is a neighborhood that totally flooded out. we're talking about basements here that were flooded, four and five feet the water coming up over the seawall, swirling into this neighborhood. then coming out here onto the street i'm on and whipping across the street. on top of these high winds we have the snow accumulating. but this is really the moment that people in scituate have been bracing for all day long. they're keeping their eyes on the seawall. you cannot see it because the visibility is so bad out here. but they are waiting to see if that water comes pouring over that wall with the same kind of force that they saw earlier today. this is a neighborhood that is very prone to floodzing.
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you have the harbor on one side and the ocean on the other. but they're not used to this kind of flooding. that's what they told us earlier today. when high tide came this morning between 4:00 and 5:00 they said they were just really taken aback by the kind of water they saw, the volume of the water that they saw, really settling into these neighborhoods. there are people who have decided to stay in their homes on this street. the national guard came through. they were evacuating people who wanted to go. police have been coming through here in high-axle vehicles. a lot of this road earlier today was completely impasseable waterlogged. a lot of that water turning into ice and slush now. you've got more snow coming down on top of it. over the next hour we should see the effects of what's happening right now, which is the high tide. we'll see how much of an impression it makes and whether or not that causes more significant flooding than what people here in scituate have dealt with already today. >> it's not just in scituate. we're told that all along the coast the atlantic coast of massachusetts, there are flood warnings right now.
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isn't that right? >> reporter: yeah absolutely. down along the southern coast we're talking about the area that is south and east of boston heading out toward the cape. these are the coastal communities which can be very prone to flooding during big storms. it is quite common for these communities marshfield, hull scituate, to be on alert and on the watch for flooding because you get these factors that really combine. you get the high tide coming in as well as the storm surge, that's when people end up under water. you know, again, when you talk to people in scituate they have faced this before. they did take measures to try to prepare for the storm that they're seeing now. they actually cut power to a number of neighborhoods last night in advance of the storm so that you didn't have problems with downed power lines or the possibility of electrical fires, wolf. >> stand by. we'll get back to you, alexandra when the high tide happens and how serious that flooding will be. i suspect it will be bad. the storm certainly has
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absolutely smothered air traffic. another 4700 flights have been canceled today. let's go live to cnn's aviation correspondent rene marsh at laguardia airport. we just heard from the mayor of boston. bops ton logan airport still shut down. what's going on over there? >> reporter: runways are shut down there. they're under snow. you mentioned nearly 5,000 cancellations. that's way more than yesterday, and it's still a ghost town here at laguardia. i mean usually you would see passengers and these kiosks checking in. the conveyor belt not moving no motion. check out the ticket counters. no one is here. it's pretty much just the media. we have seen signs of small progress with spirit airlines the only carrier it appears at this point to be operating here out of laguardia. i mean, take a look. the situation looks a lot like it did yesterday, all of these flights still very much canceled. but we do know again, that airlines are starting to resume
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limited flight operations at some other airports as well jfk, newark again, very limited operations. as far as when will they be able to get to more of a normal rate? we are hearing from the airlines they are hoping to do that tomorrow. now, keep in mind that doesn't mean that everyone is going to get to their destination tomorrow. however, we will see an increased level of flight activity, wolf. >> rene, we'll get back to you as well. rene at laguardia in new york. up next, an epic storm hammering new england right now. you heard from the mayor of boston, not letting up. several more hours of snowfall. record snowfall in some places. now there's coastal flooding that poses another danger. we'll get the latest forecast. stand by. and did a computer problem bring down airasia flight 8501 and could thousands of other commercial aircraft be at risk right now? ble only one network is america's largest and most reliable 4g lte network: verizon.
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these are live pictures from plum island massachusetts. the snow is obviously still coming down. we heard from the mayor of boston. it will continue coming down for several more hours, and there are continuing problems caused by this storm. potentially of historic proportions in massachusetts and other parts of new england. it's still causing heavy snow high winds, coastal flooding. joining us on the phone is brigadier general gary keefe of the massachusetts national guard the task force commander for the storm. general thanks very much for joining us. i know you've got a lot going on. i know the national guard your men and women, rescued some residents earlier today along the massachusetts shore. how many people were rescued?
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>> all in all, wolf we ended up rescuing about 15 folks in different areas along the coastline within the commonwealth. >> what as the problem? >> a lot of it was something, the storm surge and just the winds caught a few people off guard and the roads ended up being flooded and folks were stuck in areas that normal vehicles couldn't get them out of. so we've got these light/medium tactical vehicles great for high water areas and allow us to help people get out of harm's way. >> as you know it's high tide on the massachusetts coast, the coastal flood warning is in effect i think throughout all the coast of massachusetts. at least until 8:00 p.m. eastern. this could get very dangerous. you guys might be getting really busy rescuing other folks, right? >> yeah you're right on that. we're now actually refolk you using our mission from stranded motor vehicles to high water rescue missions. we're looking to reposition our fogss looking along the coast,
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plum island, newbury port hull scituate. >> do you have enough personnel and equipment? >> we do wolf. we've got authority by governor baker to go to 500. we're sitting at 404 soldiers and airmen right now. the governor said if we need more, we'll put the request in. but we're ready to go. >> you're approaching at least in the boston area closer and closer to that record of 27 inches from 1978 and 2003. are you seeing that in other parts of the state? it looks like there's even 30 or 35 inches. >> it's kind of interesting rg wolf. worcester east really got hammered hard. the western part of the state kind of dodged a bullet on this one. it's allowed us to kind of move what we had prepositioned on the western part of the state with our soldiers and airmen who were embedded with state police troopers, we've got a great relationship with the massachusetts state police. we're moving those forces far east, to the coastline at this point, and we're like i said based on what goofrnor baker has
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us dog we're ready to go. i heard mayor walsh was on earlier. they've got things really well in hand in boston. we'll get there. >> and the temperatures could dip at least windchill below zero, right? >> it is. and freezing is always going to be an issue. i can tell you this. i was out on the highways and you know the massachusetts d.o.t. guys did a great job. most of the major intersections are cleared. i just saw where governor baker will lift the travel ban around midnight tonight. it's been lifted in western massachusetts. but i will give the residents of the commonwealth kudos. they did a great job listening to governor baker and staying off the road. that made our jobnd the state police job a lot easier so far. >> brigadier general gary keefe of the national guard, thank you so much. and thank your men and women. >> appreciate the support. >> new england certainly still bearing the brunt of this epic storm. it's not over yet. more snow is falling. millions face the threat of
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coastal flooding let's get the latest forecast from chad myers. >> the forecast is for this snow to continue where it's snowing for probably the next 6 to 12 hours. it will start to taper off around bangor, but there are still areas bands of snow coming onshore for boston. now we have a new number in auburn, massachusetts, of 32.5 inches of snow and still snowing. so another 6 inches on top of this, arntdnd there are heavy bands still out in the ocean getting that wrap around effect. though it's tapered off in boston, picking up in mrij um sandwich, across parts of the cape. here's what the map looks like at how much snow fell. remember what it looks like remember the contours remember what happens here and here and here because it's important to our new computer model, the american model, because we boast about the european model so much. the american model really kicked on this one. we'll get to that in a second.
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there's the numbers, 32. look at the wind gusts, boston, 38 miles per hour windchill down with that kind of windchill at 5 below zero. and the wind continues all night long. finally by morning it pulls away and boston gets down to about 15 miles per hour. you can deal with that. it still snows for hours and hours. timely by about 4 in:00 in the morning things dry out for boston. remember the map i showed you? now look at what the new american gfs model -- wolf i will say this. the americans put millions of dollars into this improvement, and it certainly was worth it. there's the same contour. there's the same contour. all of that new york city about 6 to 10 inches. that's exactly what we got. laguardia got 11. the old model looks like this two feet of snow in new york. that didn't happen. so now we have one that we can respect. >> now that the american model works so well this time do we
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just go with it from now on? >> i think so. absolutely. you take a test take it for a test drive, you like it you buy it. we took it for a test drive this week, and it worked right on the money. >> thanks very much chad myers reporting for us. thank you. much more ahead on the storm emergency. there's new video updated reports coming into "the situation room." more snow on the way right now. plus, we're also getting new information about who was operating that drone, that drone that crash-landed on the white house grounds?
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take a look at these live pictures from massachusetts. this is plum island along the massachusetts coast where it's obviously a serious situation coming up we'll havemuch more or on the snow to coastal emergencies boston mayor calling it a storm of historic proportions, justify as bad as forecasters predicted at least in the boston area. brian todd is joining us in marshfield along the coast. let's check in with brian, if we can. i know we've had some problems trying to connect with him. we don't have brian. we'll check in with him shortly. brian is along the coast of massachusetts right now as well. we'll get back to that in a few moments. other news we're following. we're getting new and troubling information about the airasia crash that killed all 162 people on board. reuters is now reporting that investigators are looking at a possible computer problem on the plane something that could
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raise serious concerns about the thousands of other similar airbus jets around the globe. let's go to cnn's tom foreman, he's taking a closer look at what's going on. what have we learned, tom? >> this is the burning question at this moment. was there something wrong with an onboard computer before this fatal flight? and, even if that computer was working properly did it somehow contribute to this plunge into the sea? a new focus of the investigation according to reuters is on the flight augmentation computers or the fac. there were two on this airbus 320 jet, one serving as a backup. that matters because of reports of a possible earlier maintenance problem with the primary computer. the fac helps pilots with both the stability and control of the aircraft, keeping it on course at the proper altitude and making sure adjustments to the rudder, flaps and more are
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smooth. in addition, the fac warns pilots if they manually try to push the plane beyond its capabilities. so even if an fac mal functions, can that cause a crash? pilots and engineers say not likely. keith was a commercial pilot. >> the fac can't cause a crash. it's a protection system. >> reporter: but indonesian authorities say the airasia flight climbed dramatically in the middle of a fierce storm right before it fell. whether that was caused by a powerful updraft or the pilots or both is unknown. but aviation analysts say the fac could have recognized trouble and at a critical moment automatically shifted full control back to the pilots who may not have realized it as they were overwhelmed by severe turbulence, a ka coughcacophony of alarms and the threat of an imminent stall. >> pilots are trained to handle multiple emergencies simultaneously. maybe not exactly the circumstances that this crew
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encountered, but certainly multiple failures, multiple warnings. and we're mentally equipped to prioritize dealing with these warnings. anything short of structural failure pilots are exposed to some of these situations at least and taught how to recover. >> this is one of many theories out there right now. that's all it is. but if it is determined that there was something wrong some kind of glitch in the software in this computer or that there was some sort of fatal failure of communication between the computer and the crew, if that's something they come up with in all of this that's going to raise an awful lot of questions all around the world about how these systems operate. wolf? >> certainly. tom foreman, thank you. let's get more insight now on this information. joining us in "the situation room," former pilot alister warp steen. 's flown the same route as the
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airasia flight. alister, you've flown this exact route. take us inside the cockpit and explain why these computer systems potentially are so critical. >> well, we're talking here about an a-320. i flew boeing 747s. but the same principles apply. the a-320 has a system which prevents the pilots from flying outside of the flight envelope. in other words, they're unable to stall the aircraft or render the aircraft unflyable. however, if they revert back to manual control, they would then lose that protection. and that could be confusing aspect to the pilots if they're not immediately aware, especially if they're in a situation of severe turbulence or may have a loss of situational awareness. so there are various problems when you do fly an aircraft which normally offers you safety to prevent you overcontrolling
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the aircraft and then you lose that safety protection because a system redundancy failures. then you're in a rather difficult position. >> certainly. and miles, there are what about 3600 of these a-320s operating right now around the world? as i've been saying for a long time, if there is some sort of problem there, they've got to figure it out to make sure it doesn't happen again. >> and it could be more than the a-320. if you hearken back to the air france crash which was a difficult model of airbus some of the similar factors may have come into play there. what we're talking about here in essence is the man/machine interface. these are aircraft highly automated. the pilots are in a systems management mode 9 niep9% of the time and don't spend a lot of time manually flying the plane. what happen sz the computer gets in a bad situation that exceeds its parameters, it gives up the ghosts, hands it over to the humans and says, here, it's your
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airplane at the most inopportune time. >> al astar, do you have confidence the indonesians know what they're doing in terms of this investigation? because everyone needs to get this information asap. >> well if they're not revealing at this stage what they've found on the flight deck recorder and voice recorder they're following the normal protocol, which is establish the facts before you speak to the public. at the moment they seem to be doing that. occasionally somebody speaks out of turn so we've got some strange information being put out occasionally. but it's difficult to say just how they're handling it because we're not prify to what's happening behind closed doors. but i would imagine -- well i know that airbus will be involved in this investigation as well. so i'm sure it's being handled properly. the important factor here -- and i speak now as a pilot, retired pilot -- is that anything that
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happened to this aircraft that might possibly occur again for another crew must be known as soon as possible in order to avoid it happening again. >> i totally agree. everyone agrees with you. alister alister, miles thanks very much. we're keeping our eyes on that northeastern blizzard. not only is it still dumping snow in boston, the new england states. it's causing major flooding along the coast. also coming up, a surprising new detail about who was operating that drone that crash-landed on the white house grounds. stand by. we have new information for you. expanded minuteclinic for walk-in medical care. and created programs that encourage people to take their medications regularly. introducing cvs health. a new purpose. a new promise... to help all those wishes come true. cvs health. because health is everything.
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mtd 6 fr. dangerous situation still developing along the massachusetts coast. let's go to brian todd in marshfield where part of the seawall collapsed overnight. now it's high tide there. tell us what's going on brian. >> reporter: wolf we had to move away from the area where the high tide was, where the seawall was being breached. we were there shooting video, trying to transmit that. we lost our live signal because there was no cell phone signal there. we couldn't transmit. and it got extremely dangerous. the water was just breaching the seawall, huge waves coming over the seawall, coming very near us hitting us on a couple of occasions. we did get near the breach and saw how dangerous it was. several people had to be evacuated from their homes right by that seawall here in
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marshfield because of the breach. they got flooded out dflooded, out, at least nine homes possibly 11 had significant damage and several people had to be evacuated. high tide has returned and also what is obviously afoot here is whiteout conditions. look at these conditions behind me. we can barely walk around. barely make our way around here. you certainly can't see much because of the whiteout conditions. the wind is devastating. it's kicking everything up. rescue crews are going through this town trying to find people in these homes near the seawall. i just talked to one official here. he believes that all of them have probably been cleared out by now, but they're still going around and trying to find some of those people in those homes. but it's very very dangerous. there are also downed power lines all over the place, wolf so it is a very dangerous situation here as high tide returns to the town of marshfield, massachusetts. >> be careful over there, brian. we'll get back to you soon. we're also getting some other
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information on another story about the person who was operating that drone that crashed at the white house. let's go in depth with our justice reporter evan perez and our law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. evan, you are talking to your sources. what's going on over here? who's the individual that apparently was responsible for flying a inging drone over the residence of the white house, then see it crash-land on the south grounds? >> wolf this is the big surprise. this person was an employee of the national geospatial intelligence agency. this is a spy agency that focuses on analyzing maps and satellite imagery to help u.s. spy agencies do their work including finding osama bin laden. but this employee says that he was out for a night of drinking with his friends and decided to test-drive this quadcopter drone, which is about two feet long, and he was test-driving it going down pennsylvania avenue when he lost control. he says it was completely an accident and did not intend to
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fly it over the white house grounds. this is now something that's under investigation not only by the secret service but also by u.s. prosecutors from the u.s. attorney's office here in washington. >> but this is a guy who works for the spy agency the national geospatial intelligence agency. they're in charge of mapping and reconnaissance and stuff like that. he was at 3:00 in the morning deliberately flying a drone over the white house? he knew that was restricted air space. >> there's a lot of things that prosecutors are interested in including the fact wolf, that there's a lot of space there he could have been flying. he could have been flying over the national mall, which is a much wider space. why did this drone end up being on the white house grounds? he says it wasn't intentional, it was something he was doing to i guess impress his friends at 3:00 in the morning after a night of drinking. >> i guess he's going to have some problems. the questions are going to be serious, right? i assume he's being investigated right now. >> he,wolf. but the question is going to be of how intentional did he
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realize it was going to be that close to the white house. it's illegal to fly a drone anywhere in washington, but the fact it was that close to the white house raises all of those issues. here's somebody working for one of the most sensitive agencies in the u.s. intelligence community, as evan mentioned. it's a pretty severe thing for him to be involved in something like this. the question is, there have been some reports that he was extremely intoxicated at the time of this when the drone got away from him he just went home and went to bed and friends woke him the next day and said did you hear about the drone on the white house lawn? it does prove the point, don't drink and drone. >> that is good advice tom fuentes, evan perez, thanks very much. we'll have a lot more on this story later. also we're getting live updates from our crews our reporters photographers in the snow emergency zone and along the coast where there's a new round of flooding. but up next, allegations of russian spies exchanging secrets
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. take a look at this. these are live pictures of saugus massachusetts. a storm is continuing to hammer the northeast and new england. coastal flooding is a growing threat. take a look at these pictures coming in from marshville. it's high tide right now. part of the seawall has collapsed. much more coming up in a few moments. but there's other news including some secret meetings
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and coded messages sent to moscow. the fbi has busted a spy ring in new york city. our joe johns has details. it sounds like a spy story that's happening now but straight out of the cold war. >> it certainly is wolf. three russian men are charged in this case. two have already left the country with diplomatic immunity. the third is being held for holding suspecting information, including destabilization of economic markets and how to limit trading robots. listen. he claimed to be a russian banker working in his company's new york office. but the justice department alleges that he was one of three russian spies under surveillance in this country for years. the u.s. attorney said two decades after the presumptive end of the cold war, russian spies continue to operate in our
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midst under cover of secrecy. >> they continued to run sources in washington. they never reduced the size of their station in washington or new york. >> reporter: the investigation started almost five years ago when ten other russian agents seen in these fbi surveillance videos pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were shipped back to russia as part of a spy swap. they used two other russian men undercover in new york to relay information back to russia that they would schedule meetings over the phone claiming they needed to transfer things like tickets, to sporting events or movies they never attended or other items like books or hats. they met on dozens of occasions between 2012 and 2014 watched by the fbi. meetings usually occurred outdoors where surveillance was more difficult, where one man would hand a bag, magazine or slip of paper to another.
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prosecute are tos say they tried to recruit u.s. citizens as intelligence sources in new york. the target people working for major companies and young women with ties to a university located in new york. intelligence of interest included information on u.s. sanctions against russia and u.s. efforts to develop alternative energy sources. >> russians are in trouble right now with the price of oil. having halved in the last six months they look at this in fact as a saudi/american conspiracy to take down their oil industry. >> reporter: they are frustrated that the real-life world of a spy wasn't like in the movies. in one conversation quoted in court papers saying it was not even close to the james bond movies and i also thought that at least i would go abroad with a different passport. >> you're my wife. >> a movie that could have been lifted straight out of "the americas." our calls to the russian embassy
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were not answered today. however, in the moscow times, a russian government official was quoted as saying that the charges against him have not been substantiated and he should be released. >> cold war revisited right now. thank you for that, joe johns. much more coming up on the epic blizzard. as the snow keeps piling up they face the threat of flooding. and isis raises the stakes threatening to kill two hostages unless the convicted terrorist is free. ogist about a biologic... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira giving me new perspective. doctors have been prescribing humira for ten years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections
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happening now, eye of the
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storm. millions of americans are in the middle of a relentless blizzard. i'll speak live with the governor of road island one of the states getting hammered right now. floodwaters swamped some coastal waters a seawall crack and an entire island goes dark. cnn is across the winter storm zone where conditions are the worst right now. and an isis deadline. the terrorists set a new time frame for killing hostages adding pressure for a prisoner swap. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." millions of americans are under siege from a powerful winter storm. it's walloping parts of new england right now where blizzard warnings remain in effect. massachusetts is buried under record snowfall and in some places there is 3 feet. it's still in the bull's eye at
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this hour. there is heavy snow treacherous roads, coastal flooding plunging temperatures and power outages. the reach of the storm is going beyond the region. at least 400,000 americans have been affected by flight cancellations alone. we have a team of correspondents in the blizzard zone to bring you the newest information about the weather emergency. first, let's go to cnn's brooke baldwin. she's joining us in boston with the latest. brooke? >> reporter: wolf is the kind of disaster that marty walsh says he does not want to break. there is 2 feet here in boston. in a matter of hours, this could be record-setting snowfall. take a look. the blizzard of 2015 still isn't done with new england. >> there are parts of central and eastern massachusetts where people may get as much as another 5 to 10 inches of snow on top of what they already
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have. >> reporter: auburn massachusetts, got 32.5 inches of snow. 30 inches of snow already fell in framingham. here in boston there's nearly 21 inches and forecasters predict the state capital could get close to another foot. >> we've been through blizzards before and i'm certainly confident that we are prepared. but a storm of this size poses a threat to public safety. we're taking this storm very seriously. >> reporter: in worcester, firefighters battled blizzard conditions after this home went up in flames. >> the drifting continues to be an issue, the blowing. there are drifts now as high as 4, 5, 6 feet in many places. >> reporter: heavy snow isn't the only issue. along the coast, there was early-morning flooding heavy snow and strong winds. tides along the coast have been running up to 5 feet above normal. wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour.
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right now, people who live in the area are bracing for new high tide and storm surge. farther south, this section of a seawall collapsed in marshville and not too far away in scituate flooding clogged streets. the storm shut down highways mass transit and road travel. some roads are still shut down tonight. >> it is very bad. these roads are not safe. the snow is still coming down several inches an hour. >> reporter: about 17 inches of snow already fell in providence rhode island, and the snow is expected to continue through wednesday morning. so one of the things i wanted to point out, wolf, we talked to the fire commissioner here in boston earlier this afternoon and he said it's actually great news because of how cold it is. this is some of the snow. i fell accidently and it was --
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it was a soft fall. it's incredibly light snow. why is that great? because one of the anticipated worry was the power outages and they haven't had significant numbers of people at least in the city of boston without power because it's light snow. so it's not downing, so far, those lines and branches. the story, it seems, other than potentially breaking records, as you will see, i'm sure on your show the coastal flooding and the power outages along the southern and eastern part of the state. wolf? >> we're going to check that out. brooke baldwin, thanks very much. the flooding is an extremely serious problem right now in the storm zone. there are concerns rising in the past hour alone as the water reached high tide. let's go to marshville. brian todd is there. set the scene for us where you are, brian todd. >> reporter: wolf the wind here is really devastating.
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this is a driving wind in addition to the snowstorm right here in marshfield an area southeast of boston. we're on this street in marshfield because we had to come away from the coastal area. we shot video of the seawall being breached again by incredibly heavy waves. we shot video of some of those waves as the high tide came back and threatened that seawall once again. several people had to be evacuated from their homes and luckily there were no injuries to report that we know of at this time. but this area is still very much under threat because high tide is coming back and the video that hopefully you're looking at now from the waves washing over the seawall that we shot earlier, it's very dangerous there, wolf. what they are telling us is that if there's any power in any of those houses and the water comes back in it could short circuit some things and some fires could
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start. they are really worried about that right now. that's really dangerous if the high tide comes back. right now, no injuries to report in marshfield despite the fact that several people had to be evacuated from their homes. wolf? >> okay. emergency crews are putting them there in place of areas of massachusetts to respond to all of the flooding under way. there's been some evacuations, including in the town of scituate. our alexandra field is live there. what is the tide like now? >> reporter: wolf we were up at the seawall and we saw the water beginning to spill over the seawall and trickle down through the snow not in the volume that you saw earlier, at least not on this street here. but these are people who have dealt with a tremendous amount of flooding already today. people in this house say that their basement flooded 4 or 5 inches. still, we had to back down get away from that water as it was
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coming up over that wall. there's incredible wind. you can see the snow blowing around behind me. i've spoken to people and, as you can see, they still have the power. they have the electricity. they are grateful for that of course. they want their lights and heat on since they are staying home but brian todd pointed out some of the concerns that are being shared here in scituate along with marshfield. part of the town shut off power last night to avoid electrical fires. at this point, the street is covered in snow. you can't actually see it but this road was completely covered by water earlier today because of the early high tide the one that came in around 4:00 or 5:00 this morning and brought the water flooding into the street and well back into the neighborhood down this way. flooding really these backyards. so at this point, really watching the wind out here. that's the biggest problem for everyone. >> all right. be careful over there
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alexandra. thank you very much. this is proving to be one of the worst storms ever to hit massachusetts. take a look at some of the latest snowfall numbers. parts of massachusetts nearing 3 feet of snow. boston got under 2 feet. remember the snow is still falling. new england has been harder hit than new york which got less than a foot of snow. let's go to our meteorologist and weather expert chad myers. what are we expecting in the hours ahead? >> still snow coming down for maine, massachusetts, parts of vermont, new hampshire and even into connecticut. it's those arms that are coming back on shore as the storm rotates to the east the arm coming back one band of snow after another. there's one right there. here's another here. not showing up that well on the radar. but there's more offshore. even though it looks like there's not anything here there is. the radar just can't see it and there is snow. it doesn't get picked up that well. there's boston.
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snow is coming down now. no end in sight. at least for the next six hours. that's an inch an hour for six hours. that's why we're talking about this historical storm getting very very close to breaking records in many many cities. we're up to 32 inches in a lot of them. the winds have picked up. boston we saw some of those winds there in scituate. nantucket, finally down below 60 miles per hour for the first time in half a dozen hours. finally by tomorrow morning, even boston down to 16. that's half of where you are now. that will feel pretty good. if you're without power, it doesn't feel good because with the cold wind blowing right through the house and the heater just can't come on without power. so 8:00 still snowing. it's those arms coming back on shore from the low there. by 10:00, still snowing although getting close to the edge and finally then moving offshore.
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that's six hours away before the snow starts for good. wolf? >> it could dump a lot of snow in the next six hours. chad thank you. the governor of rhode island is warning people about the snowy roads. the governor is joining us right now. what are you expecting in rhode island? what's your biggest concern? >> good evening, wolf. my biggest concern is people going out and it's not safe to go out. i have extended air travel ban until 8:00 tonight and i'm urging rhode islanders not to go out after 8:00 unless they absolutely need to. the roads are not safe. we still have 40-mile-an-hour winds and it's going to be minus 10 degrees, which means it's going to be icy. people are getting antsy. >> it's bitter freezing cold and
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still flooding. do you have a problem of flooding along the coast? >> we have not had flooding, thankful low. we've had power outages and excessive wind outages along the coast. but right now it's snow and unsafe roads and we have to keep folks off the roads. >> how long before rhode island is up and running? >> well we hope tomorrow. i think the main arteries will be up and running tomorrow and certainly by the end of the day i think that we'll be fully functioning by the end of the day tomorrow. >> and hopefully no deaths right, so far? >> no. no. we've had no fatalities. i issued a travel ban almost immediately yesterday and thankfully people heeded that. so we've had very few accidents, no fatalities. >> why are you lifting the travel ban at 8:00 tonight? maybe keep it plow the roads and ease it by 4:00 5:00 in the morning? >> it's always a balance. connecticut lifted theirs earlier. we have folks coming in from
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connecticut. we have the national guard and our department of transportation all day. so i believe it will be safe which is why i've done that. but nonetheless, i'm urging extreme caution for folks to stay home unless they absolutely have to be out. >> i see the roads are still pretty icy, right? have they all be cleared? >> the main arteries have been cleared. the highways are in pretty godod shape. right now we have 17 national guard and d.o.t. teams out there coordinating cleanup. two hours makes a big difference and they are working overtime in the next two hours and i feel confident that it will be passable by 8:00. >> good luck governor. we'll stay in close touch with you. >> thank you so much. >> the governor, gina raimondo joining us via phone. we'll update you next on the flight cancellations, a
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new york city largely spared but not long island battered by heavy snow raging winds and we're now learning of at least two people killed. cnn's ana cabrera is joining us from montauk, the tip of long island. >> reporter: we've heard reports
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of waves up to 16 feet high. that's inviting to many surfers that who brave the cold weather and the blizzard-like conditions that have continued throughout the day here. we're seeing a little reprieve. fortunately the threat of coastal flooding was looming for so long and that has seemed to pass. the snow has really piled up causing a huge inconvenience for the folks still trying to get back to a sense of normalcy here. in fact i'm going to step forward and see how the snow has accumulated. more than two feet of snow in this region tonight, i stepped out of the light. forgive me for that. i hope this gives you a sense for how this remains. up to 28 inches remain in some areas. in fact the snow has been causing it to drift. it's prevented a lot of people
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from getting out and about. we spoke to one man digging out, expecting to take some two hours to clear part of his driveway so he can get his all-way drive vehicle out. and a keeper who really waited out for the storm last night and described it very similar to superstorm sandy. so terrifying but even colder. up to 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts have been reported and that dropped the windchill to near 12 degrees. that's proved deadly. an 83-year-old man was found dead. he had dementia. a 17-year-old boy went out to go sledding and, unfortunately, hit something and those injuries proved fatal, wolf. so it's a dangerous storm. no doubt about it. >> it certainly is deadly in those cases. ana, thank you very much. more than 7,000 flights have
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been canceled so far because of this blizzard. new york's airports are unaring up and beginning to start going. many new england airports are closed. shock waves from all of this is being felt across the united states and indeed beyond and will be for days. our aviation correspondent is joining us from our laguardia airport in new york. what's the latest there, rene? >> wolf it's still strange to look around and see one of the busier airports in new york look like this. that being said we are seeing some small signs of progress. flights are starting to take off but it's going to take some time before everyone gets to their destination. one of america's busiest airports nearly deserted. the ticket counters empty and about 60 passengers called this terminal their hotel for the night. >> i slept right here right on the floor and by the window. used some clothes as my pillow and just batted down for the night. >> reporter: stranding
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passengers like kenzie who has been trying to get to denver. >> at this point, my family just wants me home so we're looking for the earliest time in the morning. >> reporter: at boston's logan airport, the tarmac is buried in snow. in atlanta, exhausted passengers are everywhere. >> well we were able to find some seats to pull together and kind of had a blanket, luckily with me and pulled it together and sit and try to get some rest. >> reporter: even las vegas saw canceled flights. international passengers also felt the pain. perhaps the worst was at jfk. this virgin flight was canceled after a six-hour delay, stranding passengers in the terminal at midnight. one airline company estimates the storm impacted more than 400,000 passengers costing upwards of $235 million. and the price tag for airlines about 10 million.
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back in new york the city's subways and buses are back in service. and trains are resuming as well. amtrack will roll into boston with limited service on wednesday. here at laguardia, there was some good news this afternoon. the first flight started arriving and departing and that meant nopp was on her way home. >> you just got some really good news. >> i did. i'm getting out of here at 2:45 today. so i'm so excited. >> reporter: well good for her. long gone at this point. she's probably on her way on that second leg of her flight back home to denver. all this said although we are seeing these limited flights, limited flight operations resume at these airports, travelers are not out of the woods yet. we're still seeing cancellations slated for wednesday. that being said the major airlines hope to get their operations back to normal tomorrow. wolf?
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>> let's hope that happens. rene, thank you. this is far for over for millions. up next chad myers is tracking the blizzard and has important new information. plus a new isis tactic. details of the terrorist proposal that could potentially save the life of two hostages facing death. alright, so this tylenol arthritis lasts 8 hours but aleve can last 12 hours. and aleve is proven to work better on pain than tylenol arthritis. so why am i still thinking about this? how are ya? good. aleve. proven better on pain. music: melodic, calm music. don't miss the princess cruises 50th anniversary sale. our biggest sale ever. save up to $500 per person. everywhere we sail... ... all around the world. call your travel consultant, or 1-800-princess. princess cruises. come back new.
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there's more blizzard cover coverage coming up in "the situation room." first, isis is threatening to kill two more hostages unless a convicted suicide bomber is released. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's working the story what are you picking up, barbara? >> at this hour more threats, more demands from isis questions about their motives and whether the group may finally be feeling some of the pressure. isis released a new message showing showing kenji goto saying that he will be killed along with a jordanian government pilot if they do not release rishawi captured in 2005. the japanese is doing all it
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can, sending an envoy to jordan to help secure release of their hostage. this comes after the u.s. says kobani is now 90% controlled by kurdish forces a significant setback for isis. but while isis has lost some territory, it's not down and out. >> they still maintain their ability to intimidate the local population. but i think you've seen some damage done to the organization. >> reporter: still, the head of u.s. forces says isis is a recruiting powerhouse. >> over 19,000 foreign fighters from more than 90 different countries have traveled to syria and iraq. their ideology is overpowering. they are attracting youth from across the globe. >> reporter: the pentagon claims 6,000 isis fighters have been killed half the leadership eliminated. >> they are losing their ability to find operations and we're seeing indicators in several
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areas where they haven't had the same kind of power and influence. >> reporter: but it is here in mosul, iraq's second largest city where coalition air strikes are pounding isis' positions. it is mosul that is the next big test coming from all sides. one senior u.s. military official telling cnn the iraqis must have a decisive victory against isis here not just quote, get their noses bloody. but the bottom line wolf the u.s. military says isis' ability to still recruit fighters is staggering. that's the word from the u.s. military and isis can very much continue their threats, again issuing yet another call for lone wolf attacks against the west. wolf? >> they are very powerful on the social media circuit, to be sure. barbara, thanks very very much. joining us is our
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counterterrorism analyst philip mudd and colonel reese. what is the chance that this jordanian that they have been holding since 2006 is going to be released? >> i think it's a low probability. i think one of the issues that you have right now is isis said they would do a swap for japanese but just spare the life of the jordanian. i think they said they would swap both for the women terrorist in jordan there might be a possibility. but i just don't see it. and it's unfortunate but i don't see it happening. >> the jordanians clearly want their fighter pilot that went down and isis has them they want him out. >> they do. but if you listen very closely, what was said was, they would swap the japanese and spare the life of the jordanian. so the way i hear that is they would swap one for one and allow the jordanian pilot to live
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probably still under captivity. >> philip mudd what do you make of the fact that the japanese have a senior diplomat in amman, jordan right now? >> this game has changed, wolf the past week or two, isis making threats and beheading somebody to a chess match that involves the potential for isis having almost a conversation with a government. that is the government of japan. a few weeks ago or even a week ago, we were talking about the demand for 200 million. no government would take that demand seriously. now japan is on the hot seat because isis created a demand by talking about this swap that's vaguely reasonable. so they are looking at this saying it's win/win. if the japanese and jordanians don't play isis kills somebody and says not our fault, we gave them an opportunity. if the jordanians actually negotiate, first you have isis talking almost one-on-one with the government and second you have them wanting the release of a woman in the prison.
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i think isis is starting to figure out this horrible game a little bit more sophisticatedly. >> here's the problem, colonel reese. tell me if you agree. all these mixed messages that isis gets. some european countries are willing to trade a hostage. other countries, like the united states, do not negotiate with terrorists. isis gets these mixed messages right? >> wolf they do. it's a chess match but it's against multiple players at one time and isis sits at the single point of failure. but what you get is when you get these mixed messages around it starts to show continuity for isis so isis puts that out and says hey, look i have the french doing this the turks doing this and on and on and on. it show as break in the coalition and isis as being as one. >> are you surprised, philip mudd about the brutality that
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isis has recently shown with the increasing beheadings? >> i have to confess, i am. i was an analyst for over 25 years. you've got to step back and say you don't understand the world through the eyes of the adversary. i watched when islamic hit algeria back in the '90s. i watched it in iraq with some of the former leaders of the predecessors of isis. it failed every time because the population that the extremists wanted to recruit eventually turns against them. you would think -- at least i thought the extremists would learn over time. brutality can win at the fringes. you can get people to go up against charl"charlie hebdo" but you can't get the general population. >> there has been reports that the latest hostage video differed from some of their previous videos could have actually been recorded in a studio because of the distiptnct
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lighting. >> wolf it continues to show their maturity and, you know probably their funding and where they are looking at these things and also shows who is coming in to assist them and what type of aspect they get. but on the other side though it might also see where some of the concerns are, some of the aspect aspects that the coalition has been destroying so they have to get into a studio to do these things because it may not be safe for them to do it out in the past. today, an american contractor was killed if tripoli along with 11 other people supposedly an isis tear restrrorist attack. i think you've stayed there at that hotel in tripoli. what's your reaction? >> i did stay there before. it's a snapshot in how we transition from the arab spring
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what we had a few years ago and militias taking over so my first sense, when i was there years ago, i was there under the ga regime. you can get a car bomb followed by attackers in a hotel. the final thing is the sophistication of the attack. "charlie hebdo," you had a few people walking in with weapons. this as a counterterrorism guy, is a step or two above that. the vehicle goes in the car bomb breaches and then the people come behind the attackers through the breach created by the car bomb to move into the hotel. pretty serious sophistication for pretty basic terrorist groups. >> the u.s.-led effort to get rid of gadhafi has caused the u.s. embassy to shut down. we saw terrorists swimming in the u.s. ambassador's pool there
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in the embassy in tripoli. this has become a horrible situation in north africa. >> wolf it has. i stayed there the month before the u.s. embassy shut down. i will tell you, that was a hard target and the operation, like phil just said sending that exclusive ied in we've seen it in iraq and other places. it shows us a sophistication but it is a failed state. we have folks on the ground there and other folks that we know there, there's a definite split between the two different parts of the country. >> yep, i certainly agree. thanks very much. good to have you in "the situation room." i want to get back to "the situation room". there is a life-threatening weather emergency. heavy snow is expected to continue for several more hours. states of emergency travel bans remain in effect.
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our meteorologist chad myers is tracking this storm. chad you're getting new information about what's going on. what is the latest? >> yep. this storm refuses to move away from the coast, wolf. so the snow continues, the winds continue the low pressure itself is still very low, which means that the winds won't die off until it moves over toward nova scotia. so we still have this band of snow back into maine all the way down from manchester and into boston. the offshore gusts are very heavy, blowing this very dry snow around. you can see the picture right there at the top of the screen the snow is not even falling down anymore. the snow was just going across the screen going across the roadways here making very dangerous windchills. if you don't have power, of course you can't turn the heater on. you want to go ahead and turn the oven on but you shouldn't because you don't get the carbon monoxide out of the house with the natural gas oven and so you
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can actually put yourself in more danger that way. find someplace else that has heat and get to it. if you don't have heat you can't watch tv. there's the snow in boston coming down through the cape and this is what we expected to be ending about now. now it doesn't look like this is going to end until 12:00, midnight, because the storm refuses to pull away from the coast. we still have heavy snowfall coming down to boston and plymouth. there's been quite a bit of beach erosion. that was my last stop on the circus tour of big nor'easters last year. lots of wind there. boston at 26 miles per hour. nantucket, 53 miles per hour with windchills there. about 15 to 20 degrees below zero and a lot of people as you know don't have power in nantucket as the power lines have gone down with wind gusts there over 78 miles per hour. >> wow. nantucket is dark right now.
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power basically gone. thanks very much chad. i want to go back to the flooding dangers in massachusetts. right now brian todd is in the coastal town of marshfield. what are you seeing brian? >> reporter: wolf the winds are i can picking up in marshfield. there are really severe winds. snowdrifts all over town like this one. look at this. this is whiteout conditions here right now, wolf. and this is really hampering some of the efforts to try to get around town and make sure people are okay for the first responders who are venturing out. this is what they are dealing with. just sheets of white -- just of whiteout. you can't really see about five feet in front of you here. if oliver can train his camera over here you can see the severity of the wind and how it's driving the snow. if you train it up there on the light, you can see all of that. we were a few miles away from here earlier just a short time ago looking at the high tide
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breaching the seawall again. it breached early this morning. several people had to evacuate their homes, had to be rescued from their homes. we don't have any word of any injuries yet, thankfully, so a lot of these people really dodged a bullet when the seawall was breached. we have pictures of that when the high tide returned at 5:00 p.m. eastern. we pulled onto a street that was heavy flooded and then the water was just coming right over the seawall very violently. the sea being driven by this storm, being driven by the wind and tidal surges. people were in shelters who had to evacuate their home. what they were worried about was the second wave of high tide coming in right about now and it's going to last for at least a couple more hours. they are concerned that if the power is on in some of the houses and the seawall gets breached again, the surge of
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water coming into the houses is going to cause shortcircuiting and fires. a couple of houses burned to the ground because that happened. the seawall has been a real problem here. we're you can taing totalking to a local official who says they need to enforce the seawall. this is the kind of condition that drives that point home. you have to be careful in some of these areas. very severe flooding here in marshfield and the snow has not stopped and will not stop for several hours, we're told. >> brian todd be careful there. more of the breaking news coming up. we're tracking this blizzard bringing record snowfall to parts of new england. much more coming up. welcome back to showdown! jerry rice here with 8 year old andrew hunter debating who will win the big race between the tortoise and the hare.
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what do you think andrew? rabbits are faster. it's not a rabbit, it's a hare. what's the difference? maybe figure that out before debating the best wide reciever of all time. wait, are you odell beckham jr.? thanks for the ride around norfolk! and i just wanted to say geico is proud to have served the military for over 75 years! roger that. captain's waiting to give you a tour of the wisconsin now. could've parked a little bit closer...
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breaking now, an ongoing weather emergency in new england facing blizzard conditions in many parts of new england, especially in massachusetts. snow already nearing 3 feet at least in some parts of massachusetts and there's another six hours of snowfall ahead that could dump another half a foot of snow from connecticut up to maine. we're watching all of this for you. other news a brief but very important meeting today between president obama and saudi
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arabia's new king. much more than simply a courtesy call or a photo op. our senior white house correspondent jim acosta is getting new details. what are we learning about this meeting, jim? >> reporter: the president was doing more than getting to know the new leader of saudi arabia king salman. isis yemen and iran they were all on the table. president obama's stop in saudi arabia was brief but spoke with this key u.s. ally. after cutting short the trip to india following the death of saudi arabia of king abdullah president obama praised king salman's palace the response was, now that you're here it's even more beautiful. >> when you speak about the blogger to the saudis?
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>> i think on this visit, obviously a lot of this is just paying respects to king abdullah. >> reporter: cnn's fareed zakaria asked what he would say to americans who are appalled about saudi arabia's human rights record. >> what i would say is that it's important for us to take into account existing relationships, the existing alignments within a very complicated middle east to recognize that we have strategic interests in common with saudi arabia. >> reporter: common interests like isis. yemen, where the u.s. is fighting al qaeda and saudi arabia's main rival, iran. a senior saudi official said that iran is not in charge of the houthis in yemen saying if they are not controlled by iran who is giving them guns or money? to us, that is control. the saudi trip is something of
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an optics do-over. after the white house failed to have a high-profile presence following the terror attacks in paris. by contrast the president's saudi delegation was a washington's whose who, from secretary john have i think, a period of time where different leaders are able to pass through saudi arabia to pay their respects and to meet the new king. so there is a difference. >> also on the table both leaders talked about the falling oil prices.
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>> jim acosta reporting. we'll get more on the blizzard that's socking new england. we're tracking the storm into the night. that and more, coming up. ugh... ...heartburn. did someone say burn? try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm... amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
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for several more hours. some towns have already gotten
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more than 30 inches snow and the totals are climbing. now a story with very deep meaning for me and my family. holocaust survivors got together. more than a million people were killed there. most of them jews including two of my grandparents. i visited auschwitz. >> it haunts us to this very day. you just hear that word auschwitz and you think of death. you smell death when you're walking around. i read a lot about the holocaust holocaust. i've seen the movies. until you see the location you see where it occurred and you
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get a sense of the enormity of this crime it's hard to believe that people can be as cruel as they have been. >> 1.2 million people. within two or three years were slaughtered. then when i saw the gas chambers it will stay with me for the rest of my life. it was a powerful powerful moment. survivors went through hell and lost their parents and grandparents and sisters and brothers. we hear those stories. it's so so moving to listen and to appreciate and to understand what these people had to endure. when i think about what she and her sister had to endure they were only 10 years old. taken to a doctor for the most bar baric kinds of torture, experiments. it's so shocking.
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it's so horrible and to believe that these were doctors, so called doctors. this is a sick part of the nazi history. sickest you can imagine. it's hard to believe that people could do this to other people. parents were taken to the right. older brothers and sisters were taken to the right. they went right to the gas chambers. when i first walked into the gas chamber i thought about my paternal grandparents. my dad's mom and dad who were killed probably in that gas chamber. i don't know for sure. i know they were killed. they were murdered. i know that they probably were taken into that gas chamber. i don't know what was going through their mind. did they know that this was going to be the end. i waited a long time. i could have gone many years earlier. for some reason i didn't. i don't know why. on my dad's side he grew up in the town.
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he was born there. he grew up in the village of that town. i waked around that town. i wouldn't believe how close it was. he was never taken there. they took him to a dozen other slave labor camps. my parents were very open about their experiences. finally went but it was powerful moment. when you walked around those areas knowing the blood that's in ground there, it wasn't until that moment that it hit me that my father's parents were killed. powerful experience. something i'll never forget. >> cnn special report will air tomorrow night. it will premier at 9:00 p.m. eastern. it's a powerful, powerful one-hour documentary. i recommend it highly to all of
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you. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. you can follow us on twitter. you can tweet the show at cnn. we'll see you begin tomorrow in "the situation room." you can always watch us live or dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. erin burnett outfront starts right now. breaking news. major flooding in parts of new england. this historic blizzard makes it was out east we're live in boston. up to 13,000 people without power. wind chill temperatures could dip into the single digits. new york city shut down by predictions of up to three feet of snow. how did some forecasters get it so terribly wrong. let's go outfront.