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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  February 9, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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show page at cnn.com/thelead for videos, blogs, extras. you can subscribe to our magazine on our flip board. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. turning you over to wolf blitzer right next door in "the situation room." happening now, new isis threats as the u.s. and its allies step up their air camp releases a new video of a hostage, saying ominously that it's the last in a series. on the front lines, while coalition war planes pound targets in iraq our reporters are on the ground where the coalition is battling isis. the first step to recapturing a major city. boston has five feet of snow on the ground and another foot on the way. with no place to put it all, we will show you how they are trying to melt it. and north korean missiles days after warning the u.s. of quote, final doom kim jong-un's regime fires off new weapons that could sink u.s. ships as the dictator looks on.
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i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following major stories breaking right now as the united states and its allies step up their air campaign against isis targets. the terror group issues a new hostage video. it shows the british hostage john cantley acting as if he's reporting from the war-torn city of aleppo. he calls this the last the last of a series. president obama is grappling with another bloody crisis as ukraine tries to hold off russian aggression on the border but is a major ally standing in the way of a u.s. move to arm ukraine? the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, congressman adam schiff is standing by live along with our correspondents and analysts. we go to the front lines of the war against isis in just a moment but let's begin with our justice correspondent, pamela brown. she has got new information for us. pamela? >> well british journalist held
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by isis for more than two years, right here john cantley, is resurfacing in yet another isis propaganda video. this time he is sending an ominous message after appearing in multiple isis videos he is seen in the video in the city of aleppo and looks like a journalist just doing his job. analysts say he is doing this under duress and in the beginning of the video, he says something very disturbing. take a listen. >> hello. i'm john cantley. in the last film in this series we are in a city that has been at the heart of the fighting since summer 2012. >> he says there the last film in a series. meantime u.s. officials are working around the clock to determine the fate of that 26-year-old american aid worker kayla mueller. isis claimed that she died in a jordanian air strike last week but u.s. officials tell cnn there still hasn't been proof of death evidence that has surfaced. mueller's family is holding out hope, even sending a direct message to isis saying telling isis that it has sent that
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private message and is awaiting a response. meanwhile, in the wake of the gruesome murder of a jordanian pilot, galvanized coalition forces are stepping up strikes against isis targets and the united arab emirates is re-entering the fight after pulling out, sending in a squadron of f-16s to fly alongside jordanian fighter jets. wolf? >> so jordan is clearly trying to establish a major new arab-led sunni arab-led coalition, the uae coming in other arab states presumably going to join in and intensify attacks against isis as well. >> it's clear they are galvanized in the wake of the killing of the jordanian pilot, and now you see the uae which had initially pulled out when that pilot was kidnapped, now rejoining the fight and helping out jordan. >> an impressive coalition. let's see how they get this thing done. thanks very much. in iraq right now, coalition war planes have been pounding isis targets around the city of mosul. kurdish forces are battling isis
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on the ground. ahead of an expected offensive aimed at retaking the city from the terror group. cnn's phil black reports on the front lines in northern iraq. >> reporter: kurdish peshmerga fighters alert, watching. their enemy is close. the commander points out a factory complex only a short distance away. he says isis is there. we hear more rounds fly overhead and kurdish fighters respond. the exchange is no threat to this fortified position. what the fighters do fear is the darkness of night, fog, mortar rounds and armored vehicles converted into massive suicide bombs. they say isis makes use of them all. we travel north with peshmerga, past the ruins of abandoned villages isis once controlled and climb to the top of the mount. isis also held this position and its commanding view across a wide plain. the fighters point out the towns and villages factories and
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roads, all still occupied by isis. in the hazy distance its greatest prize so far. the city of mosul. overhead that circling aircraft is a constant presence. we hear regular thundering explosions. from the direction of mosul. that's an air strike in the distance. they seem to be hitting every few minutes. is that normal? he says aircraft have been hitting the area around mosul very hard for several days. trenches and defenses stretch across the countryside. kurdish officials call it phase one of the campaign containing isis stopping its fighters advancing again. phase two will be very difficult. retaking mosul. these peshmerga fighters are willing to join any effort to free mosul from isis but the time frame really isn't up to
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them. it comes down to the iraqi government in baghdad and its efforts to rebuild, retrain the iraqi army. the same military force that ran away and abandoned mosul when isis first came charging through this region. the peshmerga don't want to take mosul alone because it's an arab city and because the iraqi army has better weapons. as proof, they show us this historic artillery piece. it's from england. >> yes. >> reporter: how old? >> 1941. >> reporter: it was made in 1941. >> yes. made in 1941 in england. >> reporter: not surprisingly ammunition for this relic is hard to source. they have just 20 precious rounds left. from this vantage point, it's easy to see the progress these fighters have made in the battle against isis. but also the great challenges still looming on the horizon. those containment lines are clearly holding but it's only part of the job. they may have stopped isis cut
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back its ability to actually surge forward and claim new ground but they still have to retake mosul. there is a question over when such an operation can begin. u.s. officials have suggested within just a couple of months. on the front lines, kurdish fighters believe that is optimism but they still believe it will happen this year. >> it's pretty shocking that the peshmerga, the kurdish fighters are using artillery pieces from 1941, with 20 rounds left. i know they have complained often in the past that the u.s. is still providing them weapons but only through the shiite-led government in baghdad. and most of those weaponry they rarely get to the peshmerga. how bitter are they that the united states isn't directly sending weapons, artillery, armor, directly to the kurdish fighters who are taking such a major assault right now, leading the fighting, if you will? >> reporter: they are frustrated. there is no doubt about that.
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that old artillery piece that is an extreme example but it really does back up what we have been hearing at every level and every front line we have visited. they have limited weaponry. they have old guns. they have no heavy weapons. they are frustrated because isis has advanced weaponry. it does have heavy weapons, that it stole from the iraqi army when it fled this region. as a result they believe the kurdish fighters are taking much higher casualties than they should. they are frustrated because they want to be treated as equal partners. they believe they are effectively the ground force in the international coalition and in order to keep doing it they want the weapons that will enable them to do the job. >> yeah. those isis forces have u.s. weapons that they took from the iraqi military who simply abandoned those weapons and ran away. so in other words, american weaponry is killing those kurdish fighters trying to retake mosul. phil black, good reporting for us. thanks very much. president obama, meanwhile, is wrestling with another major
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crisis. the bloody fighting in eastern ukraine which is fueled by russian military might. the obama administration is weighing lethal aid, military aid, to ukraine but when the president met with a key ally today at the white house, it was clear they are not, repeat not on the same page. let's go to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta for the very latest. jim? >> reporter: president obama and german chancellor angela merkel tried to show a united front when dealing with russian aggression in ukraine but they sounded very far apart when it comes to sending arms to the ukrainian military. president obama made it clear he may well take his confrontation with russian president vladimir putin to the next level. and ship arms to ukraine to fight pro-moscow separatists. >> what i have asked my team to do is look at all options. what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's
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calculus and the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that's being examined. but i have not made a decision about that yet. >> reporter: the german chancellor angela merkel wants the white house to wait at least until wednesday, when she is expected to sit down with putin to hammer out a peace deal. >> i have always said i don't see a military solution to this conflict but we have to put all our efforts in bringing about a diplomatic solution. >> reporter: with russia already accused of violating past agreements and sanctions having little effect on putin, the obama administration is dropping plenty of hints. >> too many times, president putin has promised peace and delivered tanks, troops and weapons. so we will continue to provide ukraine with security assistance not to encourage war but to allow ukraine to defend itself. >> reporter: even the president's nominee for defense secretary is open to more weapons. >> i very much incline in that direction.
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because i think we need to support the ukrainians in defending themselves. >> reporter: a move to arm ukraine could further strain relations with germany after those disclosures the u.s. spied on merkel's phone calls. in a sign of the internal debate within his administration the president downplayed the impact of helping ukraine defend themselves. >> i think both angela and i have emphasized that the prospect for a military solution to this problem has always been low. >> reporter: still, if putin balks at another deal merkel conceded the world may be running out of diplomatic options. >> if we give up this principle of territorial integrity of our countries we will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of europe we have been able to achieve. >> reporter: worth noting the president was asked if he had a red line for vladimir putin. he offered no red lines for when russia might go too far but
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ukraine was not the only subject today at the white house. the president and merkel grappled with the war on isis the looming deadline for a nuclear deal with iran. this is hardly a good time for the u.s. and germany to be moving in opposite directions. >> they have lots and lots of international issues they are trying to deal with. jim acosta thanks very much. let's talk about some of them. joining us the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, democratic congressman adam schiff of california. congressman, thanks very much for joining us. i want to get back to ukraine in a moment but let's go first, let's get through the latest isis threat. specifically this chilling new video isis released today of the british hostage john cantley who says in this video this is in his words, we assume he is forced to say so the last video in this series. the last video in this series. what does that mean, congressman? >> i'm not sure what it means. hopefully that doesn't mean that it's the last appearance we are going to see of him because i think as long as he has utility for these terrorists they will keep him alive and plainly he's doing whatever is necessary to
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stay alive. we are doing everything we can to try to identify where he is as well as any other hostages and what might be done to help them. but obviously this is very difficult. our intelligence resources are limited in syria and it's a very grave situation. >> it certainly, the fear is that they are about to kill john cantley cantley, right? >> that is certainly a fear with all of their hostages. we can't tell what to read into that phrase that he uttered, whether this is the last of this series or he is going to make an additional series or whether they contemplate this as the last time we are going to see him. obviously we hope that he stays alive but the record of isis hostages is a very discouraging one. >> what about kayla mueller, the 26-year-old american aid worker that isis said was killed in a jordanian air strike the other day? there's no evidence to back up that isis assertion. what is the current assessment? do officials believe she's still alive?
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>> i think the reality is we don't know wolf. obviously we trying to find out and hope and pray that she is but i don't think anyone gives credibility to the isis claims that she was killed in a jordanian air strike. it's all too convenient a propaganda message. so that's i think very plainly not the case. the question though is is she still alive or was she killed earlier by isis. this is just the way they want to roll out that gruesome fact. we are trying to find out, we don't know the answer and we will make every effort to find the answer and if she is alive obviously do everything we can to help and rescue. >> congressman, i want you to stand by. we have more to discuss including a very disturbing development that isis may be moving beyond what is called the aspirational desire to go after targets right here in the united states to a more specific plan. much more with congressman adam schiff after this.
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back with the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, congressman adam schiff of california. congressman, i spoke with a member of the senate intelligence committee, who said flatly he has reason to believe, reason to believe that isis is moving beyond what he calls the aspirational level into specific more planning and maybe even plots. that was the impression i got, here in the united states that there may have been an aspirational desire at one point but now it's becoming more
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worrisome. what if anything can you tell us about that? >> well i think that's a very legitimate concern. in the beginning i think isis was so preoccupied with trying to establish its caliphate, it had little time to focus on directing attacks outward at the west but those days are probably behind us and we have seen in paris with coulibaly how very little inspiration and very little material assistance if any, was necessary for that terrorist to carry out a lethal attack in the name of isis. we have had many thousands of foreign fighters enter the fight from europe. we have had many many hundreds return. some of those undoubtedly who were discouraged by what they saw and just wanted to get away from the fight, others who are returning with the idea of attacking the west in europe or the united states. so i think that is a very real concern and something that we are doing everything possible to guard against. >> that represents a major new threat. another threat paul cruickshank, our terrorism analyst, told us about this one, is that isis is now seeking to
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capture more american and european hostages even if they are in neighboring countries like jordan or lebanon, for example, and then bring them back to syria or iraq to hold them hostage. what if anything can you tell us about this? >> i think that's also a very realistic concern and americans need to be very careful anywhere in the region anywhere in the proximity of syria or iraq. some of the hostages were close to the border in turkey. they may have been within the border area when they were abducted. so i think that journalism has now become very dangerous in many places in the globe but especially in this region but all american citizens are a great value to these terrorist organizations for their propaganda purposes for purposes of ransom and we have to do everything possible not to give them that opportunity. >> we are told the president will now ask congress for new authority to use military force
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against isis on wednesday. you have worked on this i think since last september. it's taken a long time but i assume you welcome this move by the president. >> absolutely. we have seen some real deep engagement now by the white house with congress. i think something is forthcoming in the next 24 to 48 mowers and that's very positive. it will definitely gel the debate in congress about what a new authorization will look like and that authorization will move forward. it's been frustrating to gain traction on this. we are half a year into this war. there will be some key issues about whether we preclude ground forces and what the sunset date is. most significantly i think we need a sunset not only the new authorization but the old ones as well. that may be an area of contention. >> i assume you are also frustrated the president hasn't made up his mind about whether to arm the ukrainian military. >> well this is a tough decision but yes, i strongly favor arming the ukrainian military helping ukraine defend itself.
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we are trying to reach another agreement in minsk but we already had an agreement with the russians. the problem is getting them to uphold the agreements they reach. the only way to do that is to raise the cost of their further aggression. i wish this wasn't necessary and i wish the economic sanctions had worked but they haven't worked. they haven't deterred russia. we have an obligation not only to ukraine which gave up its nuclear weapons at our request and insistence and we represented along with others that we would help protect the territorial integrity of ukraine so thinkss is also about nonproliferation and about ukraine's neighbors and curbing russian aggression against them. >> one final question that came up in the president's news conference. he seemed to be irritated that benjamin netanyahu is coming to washington on march 3rd to speak before congress two weeks before the israeli election. thinks is this a bad idea? should the prime minister reschedule that visit to the united states? >> it was a bad idea for the speaker to extend the invitation right before the israeli
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elections but he did extend it it has been accepted i'm planning to be there to welcome the prime minister but i think it was a serious mistake by our speaker and i lay the responsibility on our own shoulders. >> was it a serious mistake for the prime minister to accept that invitation? >> you know that's a decision the prime minister will have to make. i'm sure that they are having deliberations in israel about that. but that's a call he'll have to make. >> you would be happy if he postponed it? >> you know again, wolf i'm going to be there to welcome him. i wish this hadn't happened to begin with because it's a terrible distraction from the weighty issues of iran's nuclear program and i think kind of this kerfuffle over this has to be greatly well received in iran because to the degree that it shows any division between us and our israeli allies or within the two parties in congress is simply not good for the relationship. i look forward to this coming to an end. >> ranking member of the house intelligence committee adam schiff thanks for joining us. we will have much more ahead
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on the threat of the potentially new atrocities committed by isis. we are also following a very dangerous storm hitting millions of people right here in the united states. there's a snow emergency in boston where they are buried under five feet of snow already. we go there live. also coming up the latest threat from north korea's kim jong-un. new missiles capable of hitting ships more than 100 miles out at sea. you can't predict the market. but at t. rowe price we've helped guide our clients through good times and bad. our experienced investment professionals are one reason over 85% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper averages. so in a variety of markets we can help you feel confident. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. there's nothing more romantic than a spontaneous moment. so why pause to take a pill?
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the snow will be followed by a new blast of dangerously cold air and once again, boston is right in the bull's eye. about ten inches of snow already fell today, bringing the city's total since mid-january to just over 62 inches. that's more than five feet of snow and it's already broken a 37-year-old record. cnn's miguel marquez is joining us from quincy massachusetts, near boston. you are driving around. what's it like over there, miguel? >> reporter: i think they would refer to it as wicked miserable, wolf. this is quincy massachusetts. look outside here. this is the worst conditions we have seen all day long. it is snowing, the wind is blowing, the snow is whiteout conditions here in quincy. they received more than 24 inches more than two feet of snow here in quincy in just this one storm alone. boston transportation authorities telling us that they are going to suspend service from 7:00 p.m. until at least midnight tonight because in some
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cases, the wheels are falling off of trains. if we can pull over to one of the neighborhoods here i want to show you what the side streets look like down here. it is absolute misery on these side streets. the snow piled six, seven feet high on some of them and the wind is whipping so hard here that it is sometimes very hard to see without goggles which is why i have these goggles on and i'm going to don them before we jump out. this is a typical neighborhood here in quincy massachusetts. you can see they have been trying to keep the snow out of here as much as possible but it is nearly impossible to keep it completely out. this right over here is the bay. you come around this way, this is all the snow blowing from the bay. they are trying to dump as much snow as they can on to this side but it keeps blowing all the way into the neighborhood. it is an absolute massive amount
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and incredibly painful to be in as well. wolf? >> it looks awful out there. be careful, miguel marquez on the scene for us in quincy massachusetts. today the governor of massachusetts complained that the record snowfall is shattering cleanup budgets. the governor says in just the past two weeks, crews have removed enough snow to fill the football stadium used by the new england patriots 90 times. as for where the snow really goes cnn reporter chris welch is joining us from a facility right there. what are they doing, trying to melt all this snow? is that what's going on? >> reporter: that's exactly right, wolf. they have had so much of it here, this is what it's come to. they are trying to figure out exactly how, what would help get rid of some of this. take a look behind me. there is a lot of activity here right now. we are essentially in an empty parking lot which are now being called snow farms. these front end loaders have been going back and forth from these piles of snow and taking
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it over to this machine on the left here. that is the snow melter. that little baby right there can melt about 350 ton of snow per hour. if you take a look they put it in the top, you see the massive amounts of steam coming off, then out the bottom turns it into water. we have puddles, essentially little mini wading pools. i don't think this is a wading pool anyone wants to get into right now. wading pools, pools on the street pools in the parking lot, but take a look to our far right over here. take a look at just the sheer size of some of these snow mountains, if you can see them. this snow farm was filled with 10,000 truckloads of snow. now, these front end loaders have dwindled that down to about 5,000 truckloads left but you know what's going to happen? today they have been plowing the streets. tomorrow the streets they have been plowing from today's snow that snow will be brought here again so the removal process off the street continues and the
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melting process will continue as well. wolf? >> they've got a lot of snow to melt if they can. chris, thank you. let's bring in our meteorologist tom sater, who is monitoring the storm from the cnn severe weather center. what's the latest forecast? what's going on? >> we have got a few more inches still to fall until morning and believe it or not, in the 140 years of recordkeeping in boston this now ranks as the tenth snowiest year. by the end of the week we will be in the top five as another round is coming that could drop a foot. 19.7 in boston. those numbers as mentioned, maybe 21 22 by morning. the numbers are in the 20s as far as temperatures. a little mix moving toward philadelphia a spotty mix of sleet. more snow for hartford to providence, to boston overnight and the coldest air of the season will be moving in too, followed by another round of what we can say will be the coldest air of the season. right now, i-95 patchy snowfall, a few breaks now and then. here's the concern. once this storm system leaves the conveyor belt of snowfall
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continues. no one knows where the off switch is. out of canada another area of low pressure a clipper, will transfer its energy to a developing storm on the coast, a nor'easter the kind we do not like to see. this is where accumulating snows could easily top a foot. models still in disagreement but even for boston the lighter model, six to eight inches. the heavier models over a foot. we will be in the top five we just have to get to 85 inches to be in the top five and we are about 74. it's amazing. look at the cold air saturday morning, four in boston sunday zero. after the coldest air of the season a secondary round will follow and dare i say even a weekend storm after that. we have to find the off switch. i know you love stats. in the 140 years of recordkeeping for boston if you find the snowiest 40 day period we have surpassed that in only 17 days. >> wow. tom sater, thanks very much. good luck to all the folks in boston and new england. tonight, there are also new questions about the fate of an american woman isis claims is
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dead along with new video of a british hostage and hints isis may be planning another atrocity. also coming up kim jong-un is showing off what north koreans claim is a cutting edge new weapon. kid: hey dad, who was that man? dad: he's our broker. he helps looks after all our money. kid: do you pay him? dad: of course. kid: how much? dad: i don't know exactly.
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year and a half after seizing kayla mueller, isis on friday claimed, claimed she was killed in a jordanian air strike but the family wants proof and isis has released no proof at all. let's go live to our national correspondent, kyung lah, in prescott arizona, where the family lives. what's the latest there? >> reporter: well wolf you touched on something that this family is desperate for and that is proof, that is something they do not have. they only have that picture of that building and given isis' track record this family has no reason to believe it. over the weekend, they said that they urged isis in a statement to please reach out to them that they had kept their end of the deal they kept her name out of the news. they now want isis to reach them. so how. we have heard through the family spokesman that what they want is to be reached through quote, the original channels. what those channels are, we don't know but the family trying to seek some direct contact with isis private contact with isis.
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what they want wolf is simply an answer. wolf? >> i hope they get an answer and they get an answer soon. thank you. let's dig deeper with our law enforcement analyst tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director and our justice reporter evan peres. you have been following this story very closely. what's the latest information you're hearing? >> you know u.s. intelligence and law enforcement is still looking for any proof that indeed, what isis says that they are done which is kill this hostage, whether that is indeed true. they have some normal intelligence sources that they usually see turn up things for example, if they killed a hostage, they filmed it they produced videos. they haven't been able to identify anything yet that proves that she is indeed dead. >> we do know there was a special operations unit that tried to rescue james foley, the american hostage who was later beheaded tried to -- and they found some hair in this area where they went in the dna from
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the hair showed it was the hair of this young woman. could that at all be helpful in the search for her, maybe assuming hopefully she is still alive? >> well it's helpful to show she was with the other group of hostages they were all together. the rescue attempt came close but the hostages were moved before the rescuers got there. really that's the last time they have evidence of her presence. that goes back to last summer. there has been no recent proof of life even during the time when the japanese hostages were being negotiated for by isis during that time the jordanian prisoner was not shown publicly. she's not been shown publicly at all during any of this. >> i assume what they are trying to do is listen in either surveillance intercepting communications to get some chatter, if you will to try and determine if she's alive or dead. >> that's what they're trying to do. frankly, if they in fact had any lead on where she's at and that they could do a rescue we would be the last to know. they would go ahead and try to
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do what they could do to get her but absent that there has been no public information about her condition. >> there has been absolutely since that original statement that isis released showing the still photo of a bombed-out building in roqqa in syria, one of the bases of isis claiming that a jordanian air strike killed this young woman, there has been nothing from isis right? no statements no video, no nothing. >> there has been nothing. the expectation is that we are going to hear something. sometimes what we know from previous cases from law enforcement and the intelligence agencies know that these guys take sometimes weeks before they finally produce any evidence of what they have done. they believe that that's likely the case here. the working theory is that she was likely already killed. >> the new video isis did release had nothing to do with her but john cantley, the british hostage who pointed out in this video in ominous words, this was the last in a series of videos that they are releasing.
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when you saw that tom, what did that say to you? >> nothing, frankly, that was useful. i thought they've got this guy out there under threat of death. he's producing these videos or making these commentaries. doesn't tell us where he's at or why he's doing it. >> apparently he said aleppo. >> we don't know. he says that but we don't know for sure where these are being produced. when he says it's the last one, we don't know whether they will stop producing them with him, whether that means he's going to be killed. we just don't know. >> it's weird that they used this one british hostage almost like supposedly a reporter doing a video for isis. this is the last in a series of videos he points out. very weird. >> it's very weird because they do gruesome beheadings and burned the jordanian pilot alive, then here they have him talking in a reasonable almost newsman demeanor as if they are trying to get credibility, as if they want respectability in terms of putting out his video. >> evan u.s. law enforcement
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intelligence they will look at this video, they will be able to determine if it was done in aleppo for example, based on what's around it. >> they can usually tell pretty quickly whether these are videos that were produced with some kind of backdrop that's superimposed. these are very highly produced and that's one of the things that has been a marker of the isis operation. >> all right, guys thanks very much. stand by. coming up another important story we are following involving north korea who tests a new missile it claims is cutting edge technology. what's really behind kim jong-un's latest show of military force? doug, we have the results, but first, we have a very special guest. come on out, flo! [house band playing] you have anything to say to flo? nah, i'll just let the results do the talking. [crowd booing] well, he can do that. we show our progressive direct rate and the rates of our competitors
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just days after threatening the united states request "final doom" north korea test fired what it is calling a cutting edge new anti-ship missile. brian todd is here in "the situation room" taking a closer look at the test. what are you finding out? >> weapons experts are telling us this say more advanced cruise missile than north korea has shown us before. it represents a new threat. the test firing of this missile comes at a time of high tension between the regime and the most bitter enemies. the dramatic pictures of a launch at sea set the tone of confrontation. kim jong-un is seen in a command posture. tonight, new concerns about north korea's ability to strike
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u.s. and allied warships off the korean coast. this is a new anti-ship cruise missile test fired by north korea. it appears to be a more advanced weapon of its kind than north korea has revealed before. >> this is a big step forward in terms of what north korea has tested. if north korea wants to hold a risk either u.s. japanese or perhaps sorjuth korean this is a good way to do it. >> analysts say look at how it compared to the russian kh-35e missile. >> it's similar from here to here. it's a cruise missile. it's operated on arrow dieerodynamicaerodynamic. this appears to be a solid fuel booster that gets it off the ship and moving quickly. >> did the north koreans buy this missile from russia take the design and repurpose it? no response from officials.
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at the same time, the north was testing five other short-range missiles. it comes just ahead of joint u.s./south korean military exercises. analysts say kim jong-un exercises his might to get the u.s. to cancel the drills. this cops scomes a few days after they say they have no reason to negotiate with the gangster-like united states. >> it's born of north korean frustration because they understand the united states has capabilities they don't possess. they feel for their own political purposes they have to make these threats. in effect their language is suicidal. that doesn't mean their actions will be suicidal. >> as worrisome as the missiles tested are, experts say the north koreans are developing a much longer range missile that could be a lot more dangerous.
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it's the typadong 2. it could strike as far away as alaska. there's doubt as to whether it could carry a heavy payload that far. >> what is this saying about kim jong-un personally? there have been suggestions maybe he is under some sort of internal threat right now. >> that's right. it's hard to determine that right now. one analyst says he has such heavy layers of protection around him he may not be under an immediate threat. but there are doubts on the outside, doubts about his ability to lead the impulsive nature of his decisions. the more those doubts linger on the outside, the more it might under mine kim among those closest to him. as you know wolf they watch the international news cnn couldn't stant ly constantly. other news we're following
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as well. u.s. officials work to determine the fate of an american woman hostage. the terror group releases a video of a british hostage saying ominously it's the last in a series. as ukraine struggles against russian military might, is a major american ally standing in the way of the u.s. way to arm ukraine? how much money do you have in your pocket right now? i have $40 $21. could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? i don't think so. well if you start putting that towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time, for twenty to thirty years that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. ♪ ♪
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happening now, isis threats. one of the terror group's last western hostages utters chilling words as america's arab allies wrap up attacks, vowing to wipe isis off the map. plus this.
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deadly choice as fighting exemployeds sex explodes in ukraine. piling on. millions of americans are in the cross crosshair cross hairs of a third big storm. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in the situation room. breaking now, growing fears for the life of one of the last western host ajzages by isis. he says his appearance in the last in a series. this as the parents of american hostage kayla mueller await proof of her fate days after isis claimed she was killed in an air strike. we're following dangerous new developments in the u.s.-led war against isis and in the escalating war in eastern ukraine. president obama talking publically today about the possibility of sending u.s. weapons into the mix.
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senator king is standing by. a top member of the armed services and intelligence committees. we have our team of analysts covering all the news breaking right now. first let's go to our justice correspondent pamela brown with the latest on isis and its hostages. pamela? >> reporter: wolf we are learning tonight from sources that new intelligence has surfaced since the isis claims about kayla mueller, but nothing conclusive to prove that she was killed. this as another western hostage sends an ominous message through one of the most recent propaganda videos from isis. >> hello. >> reporter: a british journalist held for more than two years is one of isis' last known western hostages. after appearing in multiple propaganda videos he claims this is the last in the series. >> that could be his signoff saying this is my last film. now my fate is with isis.
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>> reporter: new intelligence shows isis has been developing plans to kidnap more western and international hostages in neighboring countries, including lebanon and jordan. >> it's a very plausible scenario that isis could move to the refugee camps on the turkish border and target an aid worker or reporter and pull them into syria. >> reporter: the fate of kayla mueller remains unknown. isis claims she died in an air strike but has made public these images of a deilapidated building as proof. her family is holding out hope and sending a direct plea to isis. we have sent you a private message and ask that you respond to us privately, the family said in this statement. you told us that you treated kayla as your guest and as your
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guest her safety and well-being remains your responsibility. >> there has been a living hell for the family and it is today. >> reporter: following the gruesome murder of a jordanian pilot, coalition forces are continuing strikes against isis targets in syria and iraq. the united arab exratsmirates have joined in now. the u.s. military is trying to gather intelligence about isis defenses in mosul. they are trying to make a key decision about whether the u.s. should step up involvement of u.s. troops in the fight to retake mosul. >> almost two million people that isis simply walked into because the iraqi military abandoned positions. thanks very much. let's get to the bloody war in ukraine right now. president obama says he is exploring all options to respond to russian aggression including
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sending u.s. weapons to the ukrainian government military forces. for now, he is trying other ways to pressure the russian president. let's bring in our chief national correspondent jim sciutto. >> reporter: wolf what was clear to me in kiev in the last few days was a deep sense of urgency and fear about the expanding war in the east. you get a sense of it here in the map. the line here of russian controlled territory moving westward. all of these contacts between russian forces and ukrainian forces. the number going up. in the words of one ukrainian mp we are fighting for or lives here. today you heard some of that urgency from the american president. on the ground in eastern ukraine there is all-out war. russian forces ss and russian-backed separatists launching rockets. ukrainian forces firing back with civilians caught in the
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cross crossfire. merkel and obama described it as a threat not only to ukraine but to europe and nato. >> we are in agreement that the 21st century cannot have us stand idle and allow the borders of europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun. >> translator: if we give up on this principle of integrity of countries, they well will not be able to maintain the peaceful order of europe. >> reporter: they agree that the root to peace is diplomacy. a return trip on wednesday to resurrect a september cease-fire that quickly fell apart. failing diplomacy they disagree however on whether to arm the ukrainian forces as a next step. president obama leaving the option open. >> what other means can we put in place to change mr. putin's
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calculus? and the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that's being examined. >> reporter: they agree to disagree. >> there may be areas where there are tactical disagreement disagreements. >> translator: on certain issues we may not agree. >> reporter: since the september agreement, russian had a solidified its military occupation of the east with a massive influx of heavy weapons, soldiers including special forces and command and control. lack of military help is certain to das point ukrainian officials who told us in kiev they are simply trying to defend their country. >> why we are asking for an increased defense capabilities of ukraine. it's not for the offensive operation. this is for the defensive operation. >> reporter: the challenge now is that a diplomatic solution
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depebdde depends on the same outlines of a peace agreement and the same russian president as the last peace process that as we know immediately was broken. can they come to an agreement this time? i heard skepticism in the ukrainian capitol. >> they are very worried for good reason. one of the arguments u.s. hear from europeans, critics who say the u.s. should not be providing arms to the oohukraineian military is they are not up to the job. if you give these weapons to the ukraineian military they could wind up in the hands of pro-russian separatists as u.s. weapons given to the iraqi military have wound up in the hands of isis. >> the same concern obama administration had about arming rebels was that. in addition to that whether or not the weapons end up in the hands of pro-russian separatists or russia forces is how does russia react? do they use weapons coming from the west as further impetus to
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send even more weapons in there? the trouble is they are sending -- propoetentialsetentiale nents will say they already are. >> jim sciutto, thanks very much. let's talk about both of the wars in ukraine and the middle east the war against isis. senator king is joining us. senator, thanks very much for coming in. i want to get your analysis, first of all on the new video that isis released today, showing this british hostage. he is supposedly in aleppo. he says these ominous words this is the last film in the series last video in the series that he is going to be releasing. what's your analysis of what this means? >> it sounds that way, or canit
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could be. he doesn't look look he's under great duress. he is talking. and acting like a reporter. you don't know how long he has been there, how much pressure he has been put under. it doesn't sound good. he is one of the last western hostages. one of the rules of dealing with hostages and these kinds of situations is you really can't -- you shouldn't put a lot of credence in what people say because they have been under such tremendous duress. we don't know whether he's been tortured or what he has been through to get him to make what amounts to a very slick propaganda video. >> clearly, isis has propaganda interest. they are releasing a video like this. we will see what it means if anything. do we know how many western hostages are still being held? he is still being held. we know this 26-year-old american woman, they claim she was killed. no evidence to back that up. do we know how many hostages are still being held by them? >> it's a small number.
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i don't have an exact number. i think we're in single digits. >> no other americans beyond kayla mueller, assuming she's alive, and we hope she is some. >> not that we know of. we she is. as a parent, i can't imagine what her family has been through. >> there's no evidence to back up isis' assertion she was killed in a jordanian air strike right? there's no evidence to back that up? >> none that we know of. they have been known to misrepresent these things. they represented to the jordanians that the pilot was still alive. they were negotiating. it turned out he was killed a month ago. you can't put a lot of credence in what they put out. >> is there hope this young woman might be alive? >> there might be. they treated her differently. they communicated to her parents that they were treating her as a guest. you know i think they made a major mysticaliscalculation with the gruesome video of the jordanian pilot being burned. they may -- maybe they realize that killing a woman,
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particularly in a public way like they have the prior hostages would just be further inflamed public opinion and particularly opinion in the arab countries and the muslim world against them. >> public opinion is really turning against them. you see jordan really stepping up the united arab emirates sending f-16s to jordan. i assume other sunni moderate arab countries will step up their campaign as well. >> i have never seen anything like the way that action unified the muslim world. in egypt, even in iran all over the muslim world. it was condemned, it was condemned in mosques. like i say, i think it was a major miscalculation. it really sort of outlined for the muslim world what we're dealing with. >> it seemed almost like they were taunting the world with that gruesome video of this young jordanian fighter pilot in
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a steel cage burnt to death. >> if they thought it was going to intimidate the jordanians -- i was in a meeting with the king within an hour of that video being made public. he was anything but intimidated. he was furious and resolute i think would be the right word. certainly, that's public opinion in jordan. but throughout the middle east. wolf that's the only way this problem is going to be solved. we can't solve it. it's got to be solved by people on the ground in the region who say, enough is enough, we're not going to tolerate these people perverting islam and simply brutalizing their own people. >> senator king we have more to discuss, including a suggestion by one of your colleagues from the senate intelligence committee that isis may be moving beyond aspirationally going after american targets in the united states but beginning to implement plots. stand by. much more coming up with senator king of maine right after this.
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we're back with senator king of maine. we're talking about the isis video threats. you are a key member of the intelligence committee. let's talk about one of your colleagues senator risch told me the other day. he said there's indications now that isis may be moving from an aspirational desire to hit american targets in the united states to an actual plot if you will to go from desiring do it to actually planning on doing it. what are you hearing? >> i don't think there's much
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doubt if they could, they would. >> in the united states? >> if they could. i think right now, i don't think they have the means. we have them pretty well pinned down. i think the air strikes -- over 2,000 air strikes have really diminished their physical -- their infrastructure if you will. it's not only them. my father used to say you can't tell the players without a program. we have aqap al qaeda in the arabian peninsula. >> they are in yemen. >> in yemen. then we have al qaeda yengenerally. these groups -- they are all thinking about how to make a big splash. one of the things about these videos that isis keeps producing is that's how they recruit. they want to show they are tougher and meaner than anything else. apparently there are young people throughout the world that are excited to join these organizations that show how brutal they can be. the appeal is lost on me.
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>> who is the greatest threat to the american homeland? core al qaeda? would it be isis? would it be aqap? any of these other groups? >> i think the greatest threat to the american homeland now are some obscure bomb makers developing bombs that will go through airport security. >> that sounds like aqap in yemen. they have that master bomb maker maker. >> that's one of the things they are working at. that's one of the difficulties is that we don't know where the threat is going to come from. that's what keeps me up at night is the small -- a plot you can deal with because there's intelligence and you hear communications and those things. it's the small group like the guys in paris, two guys apparently. they are pulling off an attack or somebody in america that's self-radz self-radicalized through the internet. we have to be vigilant on all fronts. >> how close are they to building a bomb that would not be -- that would be -- could you
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bring it through the metal detectors at an airport and board a plane? they have master bomb makers working on it. >> the short answer is pretty close. >> that sounds like an enormous threat if they can get away with something like that. >> it is. and it's -- we have to keep -- we have to keep developing our capacity to detect these things. >> how do you detect a bomb if it's not detectible? >> well it still has physical characteristics. i'm not go going into the specifics. just be it known that we're working on the protection and how to deal with these threats. >> that's a realistic, credible threat that the u.s. is deeply concerned about right now? >> yes, it is. >> i'm deeply concerned hearing about that. the other concern -- we heard from one of our terrorism experts. they are getting information that isis could go ahead and kidnap americans who may be in neighboring countries, jordan or
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lebanon, and bring them back to syria or iraq and use them as pawns. have you heard about that threat? >> hostages are coin of the realm to these guys. we don't pay but a lot of countries have paid to get their host anls sojages out. this is one of the ways isis makes money. i wouldn't put anything past them. they are operating -- they have so much territory that's really ungoverned in eastern syria and western iraq that they could go up toward some of those refugee camps. i think that's something again that we have to pay attention to. they are being squeezed down. cornered rats are most dangerous. there's no question between the air strikes and peshmerga and pressure that's coming from other directions, i think they are feeling some pressure.
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also internally, wolf, these guys can't govern. they are controlling a city of mosul, two million people. they have to pick up the trash and provide schools and keep the electricity on. my impression is they're not doing a good job. internal pressure, they could implode by not being able to deliver to the people they are supposedly governing. >> let me gets your thoughts on ukraine. should president obama authorize the sale or dispatch of lethal military equipment to the ukrainian military in the face of what's going on in eastern ukraine with russian aggression? >> i think it's a hard question. my inclination at this point would be no particlarly because the european allies don't want us to do that. the other question that you have to ask is okay if you provide arms, what happens theven ss then? putin will respond. you will have an escalation. it's a very tough question. it's hitler when we didn't respond and he kept going.
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or it's the danger of stumbling into world war i. there's no clear answer. there is no risk-free alternative here. >> you are with merkel the chancellor of germany, she's opposing any dispatch of lethal aid to the ukraineian military feeling that would make a bad situation worse. >> i'm inclined in that direction. you know i think it's something we have to assess on an hour to hour basis. the people of the ukraine are brave, they are fighting for their lives. you know how do you distinguish between defensive weapons and offensive weapons and as your correspondent said how are you sure they don't fall into the wrong hands? >> we arm the ukrainians what does putin do. >> you hear these assessments that they give you. >> i think he is coldly rational. i think he's coldly calculating and makes these decisions. there's people that say, when
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russians start going back to moscow in body bags that will change the calculation. i don't think so. i don't think he's going to be responsive to that. he sees this -- sometime u.s. have to -- you have to put yourself in the other guy's shoes. he sees this as part of the russian sphere of influence. the u.s. and europe are trying to invade or threaten. he sees this as a very high-stakes game. for us it's a distant country. you have to think about him and what he's going to do. he's not going to say, oh the american sent in arms we'll keep where we are. that's why you -- when you make a strategic decision like this you have to think two, three and four jumps ahead and deal with the consequences. >> senator king of maine, thanks for coming up. last in the series what are the words from an isis hostage really mean? our terrorism experts are standing by. look at these live pictures. it's a record snowfall that
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chilling words from a western hostage. john cantley has been forced to
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appear in a propaganda video. he is calling this one the last in the series. let's dig deeper with our analyst philip mudd our national security analyst peter berg enand our global affairs analyst james reese. i want to get to the video. let me get your thoughts first of all, philip mudd i will start with you. senator king just told us moments ago that aqap and their bomb makers in his words, they are pretty close to making a bomb that would not be detected by airport screening. it would be very hard to detect. that's pretty ominous right now. they are pretty close, he says. what do you make of that assessment? >> look, i think you have to put a few factors together. the first is the near successful attack over detroit in 2009. that was the bomb maker in yemen
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who is still around. the second fakis the factor the under wear bomber. he has had six years to figure out how to come up with a device that doesn't use metal components. now we have a safe haven. isis in syria has been around long enough to organize bomb makers to try to build on that technique they almost used successfully over detroit. to draw the conclusion they might be able to be at a phase where they could have the success that they couldn't get to in 2009 i think is a fair judgment. >> pretty close. that's pretty ominous. peter bergen you are familiar with that master bomb maker, the aqap bomb maker. he is very well-known by how. a high value target. the u.s. can't find him. they would like to capture or kill him. he knows what he is doing as far as making bombs. >> yeah.
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they are at the point where they can get airport security. they are not close to that point, they got past that point several years ago. this guy has trained other people, not to the degree of his. he expertise. there are people from yemen who have gone to syria and have hooked up with this group there which is al qaeda in syria and are training them on making bomb making skills. i have talked to officials who are concerned about a lockerbie-like event. so this is quite real. it's ongoing. it has been going on for several years. >> how do you deal with that colonel reese? you heard the senator say there are other means they are trying to develop now to deal with a bomb that could go through metal detectors, for example, without being detected other indications, other features. >> wolf three things. vigilance, technology and there's intelligence.
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the vigilance is everyone here in the u.s. that's looking at it homeland security tsa, they have to know about it all the lessons learned have to get put out. the technology has to continue to evolve. i know that's happening. we have great technology companies that are always looking for this. finally, the intelligence community never stops, 24/7 they continue to look continue to press. it's a difficult task they have to do. try to fine this and disrupt this operation. >> i'm sure they are working on it. you heard the senator say that's what keeps him up at night. philip mudd this new video showing the british hostage saying this is the last in the series of videos there he is supposedly in aleppo narrateing the video. what is this telling you? >> what it tells me is this is a group looking at europe and the united states and send a message to a 17-year-old in a city like
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london or denver. we saw an event out of denver where teenagers were trying to travel out. the message is if you want to drink tea with isis see a place where islamic education is practice practiced, a peace on the streets, they want to get away from simply projecting an image that says we behead people. projecting an image to someone in america or europe who wants an islamic nir have a icic vir have a na. we practice what we preach. you can live in this islamic world if you get own an airport. >> peter bergen what's your a natural sis of-- your analysis of this video? >> that may speak for itself. >> what does that mean? >> it may be the last in a series. he may be the last -- they have been keeping him alive to play this kind of faux news reporter.
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we have seen him in other cities not just in aleppo. i agree. i think -- isis has a very mixed message. they are trying to present themselves as an organization providing services and has a normal life. it's a mixed message. when you behead people and burn them alive and show social services provision, most people aren't going to buy that. >> it shows also colonel reese, he is supposedly walking around in aleppo a major syrian city. it shows him doing a stand up as if he's a television journalist if you will. it's pretty sophisticated propaganda. what's your analysis? the clues of where this british hostage may be held. >> wolf bottom line is it brings credibility to isis' production of their propaganda. using him, this former british reporter. he speaks well.
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he understands what's going on. he understands he is under the spotlight. he is doing a good job. it gives them the credibility. we do have the tools to find out the data where this is being taken care of. but we also know that isis has very sophisticated tools to put this on green screen or to tape it in time. it could be difficult. our intelligence community will find out where this is and hopefully we will see john again. >> you know philip mudd this notion that isis in its desperation for more hostages -- i don't know how many more western hostages they might have. you heard senator king say they probably have a few more that they may go to neighboring countries whether jordan turkey lebanon, look for americans, europeans, kidnap them and bring them back to syria. how realistic of a concern do you believe that could be? >> i think hostage taking should be a key concern. i wouldn't start with neighboring countries. i would start with what we saw from the jordanian, the prospect
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of an airman. i would start with another serviceman with the american or european servicemen out there. i would start with aid workers we have seen trickling over into jordan. the prospect that isis could organize an operation let's say from turkey or jordan and transport an american across that border if we saw that happen we're going to have to sit back here on the news and is a what kind of new entity are we dealing with? that's an operation the likes of which i wouldn't expect and would show a degree of sew fis 2i ty indication that is remarkable. >> you believe isis is moving beyond the aspirational desire to strike at the u.s. homeland to a more practical, actual plot if you will as senator risch of the intelligence committee told me the other day? >> i would endorse what senator king said which is there is no evidence that this is the case. >> that they can do it? >> they have the aspiration but it's not operational. people will be motivated to do
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something. but we're not seeing isis operationalizing cells in the united states. there's no evidence of that. >> guys stand by. we have more news we're watching. more on the new isis video and the effort to learn the fate of the female american hostage. up next a state of emergency declared as millions face record snowfall. look at this. live pictures coming in from boston. they are trying to get rid of the snow scooping up the snow. they are trying to melt it.
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breaking now, a state of emergency declared in massachusetts as the state struggles through what owe fishes arefish officials are calling unprecedented snowfall. there's more ahead in the forecast. all boston rail will be shut down tomorrow. miguel tell us what you are seeing right now. it looks pretty bad. >> reporter: it's miserable, wicked miserable they say here in massachusetts. this is what they are dealing with. this is just east of quincy massachusetts, just in the south boston bay. very difficult to get through this. you can see the wind whipping at 30 miles per hour the gusts --
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you can see it's whipping across the antenna or the steeple. incredible winds. incredible power. this city is crippled by it. mountains of snow slam the northeast tonight. >> everybody is fed up. >> reporter: massachusetts, boston and surrounding cities again and again baring the brunt. >> it has been 14 days. we have gotten 70 to 80 inches of snow around the commonwealth. i mean this is pretty much unprecedented. >> reporter: so much snow the city is working around the clock to melt it. across the region, schools closed once again. >> it's good because, like we get to go outside more. but it's like the wind is so hard. it makes it worse. >> reporter: transportation stopped cold. at boston's logan airport, most flights canceled. authorities urging drivers, stay off the road.
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emergency workers have no choice. >> every call gets more difficult. if someone doesn't have their sidewalk dug out or their stairs dug out yet, we have to try to carry them through snow or put them in plastic sleds. >> reporter: in connecticut, piles of snow dwarf equipment struggling to remove it. >> this is ridiculous. i'm ready for the summer. i'm tired of it. >> reporter: the snowfall weighing down roofs with collapse. crews have a new job, climbing to shovel them off. >> if we get any wet snow on top of this snow that's going to become a weight issue. >> reporter: i'm going to try to finish the walk. i'm going to try to finish walking towards you here wolf. one good thing about the snow here is because it's so light that it is not sticking to the electricity polls as much as it would and taking them out. people dealing as good as they
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can. i can say that despite how difficult this snow has been for this city and this region new england knows how to move snow. it's impressive to see smaller towns clearing out roads, keeping them open and making sure that life at a minimum can go on. wolf? >> dangerous situation. thank you. boston has seen a record 62 1/2 inches of snow in the last 30 days alone. with more in the forecast officials are running out of places to just move all of that snow. they are trying to melt it right now. chris, explain what's going on behind you. >> reporter: wolf miguel mentioned in his piece there the snow farms. we're standing in one of those snow farms. right behind me is one of two snowmelters that the city of boston owns. look at this. the front end loaders have been dumps snow into the snow melter
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which can melt snow at a rate of 350 tons per hour. look at some of the steam coming off of that. these run on diesel engines. the snow farms and the mountains of snow to our right, these have been here for quite a while. this is the third major storm we have been talking in so many weeks. this pile of snow was 10,000 truck loads big. their goal is to get rid of it. it will take time. they have only gotten through half of it. take a look at that steam coming out of that right now. that's an incredible sight. you know what? it's going to take more than just these two snow melters in the city and other cities around eastern massachusetts looking at possibly throwing it into the ocean. >> a lot of water after all that snowmelt s melts. it's taking a serious toll on air travel with more than 2,000 flights canceled, thousands more delayed.
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rene marsh is working this story for us. >> reporter: we're talking about two storms that slammed the northeast in the past two weeks. now we're talking about another one. of course, that means really bad news for people trying to travel by air. i want to give you a live look. this is real time. all of the red, cancellations. let's look at an airport like chicago's o'hare. you know, when you talk about cancellations, this is the ripple affect. it doesn't just impact the people who are flying in and out of chicago but it also impacts flights going as far as los angeles and san francisco. the same goes for new york city. you see all the delays as a result of the problems happening in new york city. this is boston here. i could tell you that as it relates to bosboston's logan airport where they are seeing a lot of cancellations, one company says that the number of cancellations actually higher so far this year compared to last
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year around this time. i want to zero in more on boston because that's where they are seeing the record snowfall. this is real time. this is the activity going over boston. this is usually a very busy airport. you can see maybe three flights in the air. this is what it looks like on a normal day. that gives you some perspective of just how things are really slowing down as the hours go by. because, again, no flights going in and out eventually as that storm continues to move in. >> the cancellations, they are costly not just for the airlines but for passengers as well. you can give us a picture of what the economic impact of the storms has been? >> this we're, winter storms alone, we can tell you the storms all throughout 2015 and late 2014 they have caused more than 19,000 cancellations. this comes at a cost for the passenger. we're talking roughly $693 million. that's what it costs a passenger
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every time there are cancellations. it and it costs the airlines quite a bit as well. $60 million. all of this courtesy of an anna lit analytics company. it's not just an inconvenience, there's a cost involved, too. up next exploding civilian death toll. will president obama send lethal aid to ukraine? [container door opening] ♪ what makes it an suv is what you can get into it. ♪ [container door closing] what makes it an nx is what you can get out of it. ♪ introducing the first-ever lexus nx turbo and hybrid. once you go beyond utility there's no going back.
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president obama has not yet decided whether or not the united states will provide lethal aid to the ukrainian government forces fighting russian-backed separatists in eastern ukraine. joining me is gloria borger and jeffrey toobin. you know gloria it's a tough decision the president has to make. clearly, angela merkel made it obvious once again she doesn't want the u.s. providing aid to the ukrainian military. she thinks it will be counterproductive. >> yes. she is working along with france to try to get a diplomatic resolution but the president has an administration that is divided on this. ash carter the man who will be his secretary of defense, has already said he thinks we ought to arm the ukrainians and so have bipartisan group members of congress. the president himself today said that he hadn't made up his mind. as we know his inclination is
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to try and do things through diplomacy and not do things unilaterally. but i think we got a little tip from angela merkel today that if the president were to say, we're going to arm the ukrainians that she wouldn't come out and say criticize him and a unilateral act that would harm nato. it's very clear that they understand where each other are coming from but it's obvious to me that it wasn't useful to her as she goes into this meeting, this summit on wednesday, that the u.s. isn't giving her leverage and threatening to arm ukraine. >> jeffrey, a major legal decision by the united states supreme court allowing same-sex marriage to go forward at least in some counties in alabama. >> in the whole state. not all states are following the supreme court but by a vote of 7-2, a very significant vote
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that same-sex marriages can proceed in alabama. justice thomas and justice scalia wrote an opinion saying wait a minute we haven't even considered this issue. the issue hasn't even been argued. how can you let these marriages proceed? the majority did not respond but i think it's a real signal that this court is ready to order same-sex marriage. >> nationwide because there's a big decision they have to make before the end of june. there's a hearing coming up. >> that's right. and the fact that seven justices let these marriages proceed really does seem like a signal. justice thomas even said that in his opinion, that it sure looks like they are going to order same-sex marriage in all 50 states but they haven't done it yet. >> you know when the issue came before the supreme court, it seems that people arguing for same-sex marriage were asking the court to do a really heavy lift here. but what's entintervened is that
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american public opinion has shifted so dramatically. the states have moved so dramatically towards same-sex marriage that it may not even be an issue for the court but certainly in the political arena. it may take it off the table, at least in the republican primary. >> jeffrey, look at this map. you see more than 30 -- i think 37 states now -- >> 30 states. >> -- plus the district of columbia allowed same-sex marriage to go forward and what you're saying is you suspect the supreme court will let it go nationwide and that will happen in the next couple months? >> karl rove got on the ballot in swing states voter initiatives, he thought that bringing same-sex marriage vote would drive turnout to the republicans. by 2012 mitt romney hardly even raised it at all. and i think, based on my report the republicans want to hishhis issue to go away.
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>> and what may have worked ten years ago on the issue of same-sex marriage is not going to work anymore because generationally it's kind of off the table and i think the supreme court is bowing to the demographic and the reality. >> remember six years ago when president oembama was running for -- he was opposed to same-sex marriage. look how that has changed. very quickly, you have a major article in "the new yorker". >> andrew cuomo, who is not running for president, not this time and probably ever a very complicated politician very different from his father not a great order but someone who has got a lot done in new york state and he's not someone who likes to entinteract with other people. >> and his father was the opposite. his father used to hug you with his words and his arms. >> andrew cuomo doesn't like
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dime-store psycho analysis about him and his father. >> it's a great article. i recommend it to our viewers. that's it for me. thanks for watching the erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" tonight, breaking news a massive snowstorm hits new england. the governor nor of massachusetts declaring a state of emergency. plus a. a new hostage singing isis praises. is he under duress or has he turned. and the parents of another american hostage speak out. and also former olympian bruce jenner involved in an accident. was the paparazzi trying to get a picture of him as he is trying to transition to a woman? let's go "outfront."