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tv   Wolf  CNN  May 18, 2015 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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arrested and being processed as we speak. danny thank you, joey thank you as well. thank you for watching. i'm going to turn the helm over to wolf blitzer who will start right now. hello. i'm wolf blitzer, 1:00 p.m. in washington noon in waco texas, 8:00 p.m. in ramadi iraq. wherever you're watching from around the world thanks very much for joining us. we start with major developments in iraq. the proven├žal capital of the anbar province has fallen to isis fighters. u.s.-led coalition air strikes were certainly not enough to keep the iraqi military from being forced to flee the city. joining us now from the pentagon is our own correspondent barbara starr, and from beirut lebanon, senior international correspondent, nick paton walsh. the deputy white house press secretary downplaying the situation in ramadi saying he's
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confident the tide will turn back. he says very soon in ramadi. he says the air strikes the u.s. led air strikes will continue. are you getting that same sort of upbeat assessment what some are calling spin coming in from pentagon officials? >> absolutely wolf yes. this is the line that you're hearing this morning across washington from the administration. secretary of state john kerry already saying he thinks ramadi could be retaken very soon by the iraqi forces the pentagon saying it's a setback, but it's only a setback for today. that iraqi forces will move with u.s. assistance to retake the city. i think many people believe that will be very problematic. this is an urban area. iraqi forces have fled. the people are under siege. isis has moved in ieds once again, a massive fighters a mass of fire power digging them out of an urban area is not
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something air strikes is going to be able to do. it doesn't work that way. air strikes don't work unless that way until you're willing to take civilian casualties and the u.s. and iraqis are to the. what we have here is exactly what the information says said it didn't think isis was capable of doing, massing a large number of its fighters and going in once again as an offensive military force. that's what happened in ramadi and the big unanswered question is why could the iraqi security if forces not stop them? wolf? >> they did in ramadi what they did in mosul, flee. what's your analysis nick of what's going on? because this looks like a disaster? >> well it is exactly the opposite narrative that the u.s. and coalition have been trying to give about anbar, that this is going to be the next place the iraqi forces cleaned isis
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out of. instead they're trying to explain it's not that important but we're still going to have to retake it. messy narrative. 500 dead in the last weekend's worth of clashes. isis showing their capacity to penetrate into the town and most shockingly the elite of the elite frankly past the golden vision of iraq's security forces leaving in a hurry and leaving behind what seems to be quite a lot of their armor and weaponry. right now about 15 kilometers to the east iraqi tribesmen, loyal to the government along with police they say have those days ago even a fraction of them they would have been able to affect a change inside ramadi. as messy response and many asking how we got to this stage where shia militia will be called upon to try to retake the city. that's a very complicated task not only because as barbara says isis will be dug in fast with good weaponry but because they're shia and this is a pretty sunni town. that could find a nasty moment
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in ramadi. the iranian defense minister is also in baghdad, too. that's leading to fears that is growing into a wider potential for conflict for iraq. he's meeting his counterparts to offer iranian assistance. the u.s. not on the sidelines here but i think trying to construct an effective response. wolf? >> certainly they're trying to do something. we'll see what happens. nick thank you very much. barbara starr, back to you at the pentagon. let's talk more about the importance of ramadi and what has happened including the participation of iranian backed shiite militias the u.s. backed coalition air power, lots at stake. ramadi sits at the west of baghdad, to the west of fallujah also under isis control. the anbar province the site of the most deadly battles for u.s. troops during the war in iraq more than 1,000 american military personnel were killed in the battle for anbar province. joining us now is our global affairs analyst retired colonel james reese, former delta force
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commander. from toerntto mubean sheikh former terror operative. give your quick analysis ramadi a city of half a million people 120,000 of them have already fled. it looks like a disaster that's unfolding right now. what's going on? >> yeah wolf. i mean it is a setback, no question. the coalition have been doing pretty good bombing out there, but you have to be able to follow it up with ground forces to seize that terrain. i think one thing you will watch here over the next couple days is what the pictures you're seeing are all out of the north and northwest of ramadi and because the fighting started to get so close in the iraqis have sometimes some problems which a lot of militaries do at some times making sure the logistics can get up to help out the front line traces of the combat folks. one thing we might see is a pullback of the iraqi forces which leaves isis kind of in the clear in the north and northwest where the coalition air forces
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can go back in there and really bomb them hard with air strikes and allow the iraqis to get re-set and go back in and grab that terrain. >> the isis fighters who have now taken over ramadi just as they took over last year mosul, the second largest city in iraq a city of 2 million people not only will they collect all the weapons that the iraqi military abandoned including armored personnel carriers artillery, tanks, a lot of sophisticated weaponry that the iraqi military like they did in mosul, now they did in ramadi abandon, what will they do? do these isis fighters have the capability to take advantage and actually use the sewophisticated largely u.s. supplied equipment? >> most definitely, wolf they have the capabilities to use the weapons. a lot of isis members are ex-baathist came from the military and intelligence establishment so that kind of training has already occurred.
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they've trained individuals in isis to have compre tennessee in the use of these weapons and they've done this everywhere else they've attacked other weapon storages. the training is in place already. they tend to send people who know how to use the weapons as well so when they're obtained they can be used right away if need be. >> well let me ask colonel reese, why is the iraqi military so awful? >> wolf they're not awful. all right. it's just a very difficult thing to sync together and one of the problems we've watched over the year is they have to get rearmed and refit across the spectrum of their military. they've got a very good police force that did great job in tikrit. they're out there now. at the end of the day, we have to bring all the combat power and the prime minister today signed a paper to allowing some of the badder corps and other militias that were prominent in tikrit and federal police in the seventh division will come out there and they'll help.
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i think this is good because at the end of the day, the iraqis not about sunni and shia iraqi nationalists and right now they have a common enemy and they want to defeat daesh, isis in al anbar. >> final question to you, on the u.s. delta force operation, the special operations force that went into syria and killed abu sayyaf described as the chief financial officer of isis how big of a deal do you believe this is? >> well it's, you know a mid-sized deal i guess. i mean the individual will be replace replaced, of course, but on one side a lot of documentation has been obtained in the raid. we'll see what kind of intelligence comes out of the wife of the individual. but you know what there are far more waiting in the wings. one down and many more to go. >> thanks very much. james reese, guys we'll continue our reporting on what's going on. major major developments. and to our viewers out there,
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don't miss "blindsided" how isis shook the world, that airs tonight 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. up next more on the fall of ramadi is raising serious concerns about the fight against isis the future of iraq as a country. the role of iran shia versus sunni tensions. analysis on that. later, other news we're following here in the united states amtrak restoring full service out of philadelphia following last week's derailment. a closer look at new safety measures that they're scrambleing to put in place over the next several days.
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to isis complicates the efforts to defeat the terrorist group. ramadi is about 70 miles or so west of baghdad as the capital of iraq's hugely important anbar province. the loss of the city raising strategic and political concerns. let's get more analysis. joining us the former assistant secretary of state james rubin and former democratic congresswoman jane harman, for scholars here in washington. how much of a setback, jane is this the loss of isis the loss of ramadi to isis right now? >> i think it's political terms what i assume you're asking me is a big deal and i can't imagine if i were a moderate sunni living in iraq right now, why i would want to fight for iraq and what's wrong with the picture is the shiite militias are basically iranian inspired militias and if they are going to take over sunni enclaves in
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iraq the message is that we're just repeating what the mall lackey administration did wrong, a body is not an improvement ands they goes downhill fast. >> there's a lot of concern, jamie, the secretary of state john kerry insisting he's, quote, absolutely confident the tide will turn against isis in ramadi. is that confidence at least the public bluster, justified? >> it's not justified based on the current alignment of forces that we have facing isis right now. it would be justified if we took a rather modest step forward. the reason the air power can't work is because it can't be coordinated with anyone on the ground. if the united states would deploy some of the special forces that were so effective in syria for short periods of time to coordinate with its close air support and aircraft the american air power would have a
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far greater ability to destroy the isis forces. if we're going to sit back and have shiite militias do the fighting then it's not going to go very well for a while. secretary kerry will be right, of course, over time if the entire shiite military force is brought to bear on ramadi they will win. but what we don't want to see is a situation where the iraq government is reliant solely on shiite militias meaning so reliant op iran. >> yeah. and because you know, jane the iraqi sunnis and they feel oppressed by the majority of shiites in iraq let's not talk about the kurds for the time being, but the iraqi sunnis in anbar and elsewhere will be very, very angry if the central baghdad government brings in the these paramilitary iranian backed shiite forces to do the work for the iraqi military. that potentially could be a huge disaster and set the scene for
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the disintegration of iraq as the country we know. >> i think we have to contemplate that wolf, i don't think this is a time for fall cheerleading and i'm not accuse accusing secretary kerry of anything he's tried his hardest to make the abadi administration succeed but it's not succeeding. the vice president joe biden recommended five or so years ago that more maybe longer that iraq maybe should break into different parts according to the tribal affinities. sunni, shia and kurd and have a confederation government. maybe we should be thinking about that because i'm afraid and i think jamie was right, that if the moderate sunnis in iraq give up and they seem to be giving up that this will -- this country, no matter what abadi tries to do and we try do will be overrun by iran. i'm not confused about the right answer it to the 2003 vote that i made if i knew now -- if i
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knew then what i know now i would have voted now to. >> that's-- no. >> the whole iraq war and you voted in favor of that resolution from your perspective, that whole iraq war turned out to be a mistake? >> colossal mistake. i voted for it because i believed the intelligence the intelligence was wrong, my vote was wrong, and our second big mistake, by the way, was empowering malliki to lead iraq forward after we sacrificed so much in terms of blood and treasure to get to a place with the surge, with the strategy where we thought iraq could take off. maliki was a disaster and abadi is trying harder has better instincts, but he's unable to push the giant rock up this giant hill fast enough i think to save cities like ramadi and let's not pretend that we can
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see the same movie over again and have it come out differently. that's not going to work. >> very quickly, jamie, do you agree the war in iraq was a mistake? >> well clearly the devastating consequences of the war in iraq far outweigh the advantage which is the end of saddam hussein but the great irony, wolf at the time dick cheney was promoting the war he argued there was terrorists in iraq iraq was supporting terrorist organizations and that's why we should go into iraq. the great tragic irony a decade later after billions if not trillions of dollars and thousands of americans, there really are terrorist organizations in iraq today and now having committed so much force and so many lives and so many billions of dollars we're not prepared to take a few steps to defeat that force that poses a direct threat to the united states.
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now iraq poses a threat. it didn't ten years ago and it's a shame that the politics the pendulum of our political system has swung so far to the other direction that our president and others aren't prepared to take some modest steps to defeat a genuine threat not the fake threat that was exaggerated ten years ago. >> jamie rubin, thanks very much. jane harman, thanks to you as well. we will continue our special coverage what's going on with isis and ramadi but other news we're following here in the united states. get this 170 bikers in waco texas, now facing capital murder and organized crime charges following a deadly brawl outside a popular restaurant. a former atf agent stand big to join us live.
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a poll plab spobdss are of of are dkz a after a horrific fight there between rival biker gangs left nine dead 17 hospitalized and 170 people in jail. people described the scene
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afterward as gruesome. law enforcement had been tipped off there might be trouble and they were present but the battle that erupted was far more brutal and violent than officers expected. moments ago police detailed the charges against those arrested. >> those individuals are being charged with engaging in organized crime, in reference to the shooting at twin peaks, which is a capital murder. it's a capital murder because of the number of victims that were killed in one episode here. >> the tragedy brought this swift response from the twin peaks corporate office. i'll read it to you. unfortunately the management team of the franchise restaurant in waco chose to ignore the warnings and advice from the police and our company and did not uphold the high security standards we have in place to ensure everyone is safe at our restaurants. we will not tolerate the actions of this relatively new franchisee and are revoking their franchise agreement
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immediately. with us via skype, is security expert former atf agent matthew horace senior vice president with fshg jc security service are you surprised at what happened? >> i'm in the surprised at all. whenever you get this many armed criminals in one place at one time this is what you have the potential to happen. they do it year-round different places around the country. law enforcement follows the organizations from an intelligent and criminal perspective and we're very fortunate that this wasn't much worse than it was. >> a lot of people dead are and here's the question what should have been done to prevent this massacre? >> well i'm quite sure that law enforcement had intelligence about the event and we won't know immediately, we will know at some point down the line if law enforcement officers were on-site on-site, meaning undercover or from an intelligence capacity. there are any number of things that could have been done but i can assure you this with the
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omos, outlaw motorcycle organizations contempt for law enforcement we're fortunate on the heels we can police that there wasn't more gun battle and law enforcement officers weren't hurt or killed in this interaction. >> because there are these biker gangs, as you know well all over the place, all over the united states, and lessons have to be learned from the terrible situation in waco texas. walk us through looking forward what some of those lessons are? >> i think there needs to be, you know the police chief said they wanted a very visible command presence. again, when you have this many armed criminals at one place, you run the risk that this will happen. but obviously law enforcement has to work within the constraints they have and continue to investigate them. i can tell you from my experience at atf these groups are very violent and they don't get together for any other reason than to talk about criminal enterprises and things that they do and the one thing for sure the only people that they hate more than each other when these things happen, are the police. we have to take the threats
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credibly investigate them very vigorously i know throughout my career i've seen cases like this investigated from an undercover capacity trying to determine where these groups buy their firearms how they get their firearms but listen 18 00 arrests -- 180 arrests and 100 firearms. over 300 omos throughout the united states. the overwhelming majority carry guns when they commit their crimes. >> this is a serious development and you're right, matthew u we have to learn lessons and make sure it doesn't happen again. matthew horace former atf agent joining us. >> thank you. >> other news we're following, a plane passenger claims he hacked into the flight controls in mid-flight. the fbi now investigating. one airline says it's not possible though. whether passengers are really at risk from hackers on board.
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welcome back to our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer reporting from washington. boeing disputing sensational allegations that a passenger gained access to the plane's controls during a flight according to federal court documents chris roberts, a cyber security consultant based in denver claims he was able to hack into in-flight entertainment systems on up to 20 flights and from there, get too other critical plane functions. but boeing says it's not possible because the flight controls are isolated from the entertainment electronics. still, the fbi says it's investigating after roberts sent out disturbing tweets at a recent flight. journalists kim jet interviewed him and wrote an article for wired magazine and author of "countdown to zero day" and joining us is former faa senior inspector david susie. what has roberts claim to have
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done? >> well according to the fbi affidavit, he told the fbi back in february he connected his laptop to a network box below the passenger seat and used a default password to get on the entertainment flight in flight entertainment system and from there he was able then to get into the avee yonic system and issue a command to the thrust management control and manipulate one of the engines. >> do you believe that that he did that and was successful in that manipulation? >> i don't know. i mean there are a lot of people who are criticizing that right now who are saying it's not possible to do that. i know that boeing says that the two networks are not connected. but i've spoken with boeing back in wat when this issue first came up the faa issued an alert to boeing notifying they needed to separate the two networks and at the time boeing told me the networks were separated but told me they separated them with a software firewall.
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and to computer security experts that's not really separating network networks. >> what do you think, david? you've taken a closer look into this? >> i have. one of the things that bothers me most about this is that the idea of the software network, the software firewall versus hardware firewall. first of all, flight management computer system is not part of the network we're talking about here. i've gone to boeing and studied what boeing does i've taught avionics on the aircraft i know how it's wired and, in fact i've taken the siisp course the certified information security specialist program, and so in my knowledge, there's no possibility that this could occur. so -- but then backing up from that as well from tamperring from the fire detector on an aircraft you can go to jail for that. the fact that he took this on his initiative and didn't go through the proper channel to report what we thought was a
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vulnerability is a serious violation of federal law. >> as you know this guy chris roberts has not been arrested but has been interviewed at least a couple times by the fbi. as far as you know what is the status of the investigation right now? >> well, so his -- the fbi seized his electronics. he was on a flight going to syracuse, new york and the fbi met him at the end of the flight seized electronics, two laptops and i believe at this point they haven't done a forensic investigation of those they were looking for a sign to see if he connected to the network and issued any commands or manipulated the systems. >> even if he had gotten into the in flight entertainment system but not flight controls as he claims he did, you point out that would still be a crime, is that right? >> yeah. it's part of the -- if the fact is he's tamperring with a part on the aircraft.
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it doesn't matter if you're tamperring with a seat fire detective, the fact is if he took something apart, he took it on himself to try to hack into that that is a federal crime. it is not something that should be taken lightly at all. there's wires, others flight critical wires connected down there that are not part of this system necessarily, but nonetheless, to be hacking into an aircraft or attempting to hack into an aircraft is a serious problem. >> you know this guy, don't you, kim? tell us about him. you've interviewed him and spoken with him. >> yes. he's the founder of a security company called one world labs. they do what's called penetration testing which is this kind of thing where you go into systems and look for vulnerabilities. legitimate testing means getting permission of the owners of the system you're testing and researching. i should point out he did speak with boeing and air bus about these issues. he started looking into the problems with planes going back
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to 2009 and he's done a couple presentations at computer security conferences. so he did have meetings with the airlines. they didn't do anything based on what he told them. he had a conversation with the fbi in february with the understanding the fbi was going to help him ensure that the question were answered. >> so david, even if he didn't get into the flight controls i think you will agree, that there's a lot more work that needs to be done to make sure these planes cannot be hacked into? >> absolutely. and it's a consistent look at this. there's a continuous improvement program that boeing has that air bus has, everybody using it and in that program it's constantly looking for ways to improve security because for every system you have another hacker that tries to do it. that's why there's a physical firewall between the two systems now. in 2008 there was not. but there is now. and so i really don't see that this is a risk, but there may be
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something i don't know. that's part of the continuous improvement program, is making sure that everyone is looking at this all the time and kim, if it's an opportunity, i would love to speak with him and see if there is a vulnerability. with my background i can connect him with the people that need to be there to test this properly. >> all right. >> kim, want to respond to that? >> yeah. you know even if it's true there are hardware firewalls here and he wasn't able to get into the system there are questions about the ability to connect to that network box underneath the passenger seats. those network boxes shouldn't be there and they shouldn't be accessible and the fact that they were secured with the default password is another issue the airlines should be looking into. >> good points made by both of you. kim thanks very much david, thanks to you. to our slewviewers read more at go ahead and read it if you're interested and i think you probably are. still ahead, amtrak has restored full service in the northeast. i'm going to tell you why the
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some semblance of normal returning to the busy northeast amtrak corridor. resumed service resumed on the philadelphia to new york route. amtrak scrambling over the weekend to get the trains running once again. more than 300 workers installed new safeguards including speed controls in the same area where the train barreled off the tracks. the investigation continues into last week's crash that killed eight people injured more than 200. the fbi is now on the scene looking into the possibility that the train's windshield was hit by something before it crashed. let's bring in peter goelz, our cnn transportation analyst, former managing director of the national transportation safety board here in the united states. the theory is that maybe
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something hit that windshield some sort of projectile a brick or whatever and maybe disrupted the engineer because after that windshield was hit the throttle went forward and the train went from 60 miles per hour to 106 miles per hour in a 50 mile an hour zone around the curve. is that theory realistic? >> it could be. you want to look carefully at the 45 seconds to say two minutes prior to the train accelerating and see what was going on in the cab. was, you know, did something hit the windshield? was there some sort of communications from the outside coming in? was something else going on where he lost situational awareness, where he forget just for a second where he was and thought perhaps he was beyond the turn and started to accelerate. the train wasn't accelerating by itself. the impact of an object against a windshield wouldn't have accelerated the train.
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this was something unfortunately that was probably human directed and we need to thigh to figure out what could have gone on. >> the engineer in his conversations with the ntsb the lead investigators, says he has no recollection of what happened although that throttle according to the so-called black box was thrust forward to accelerate going into that curve? >> he had no recollections of the incident leading up to it. no radio report of him acknowledging he got hit by anything. no radio contact with another train saying i just got hit. so far, i think the fbi are going to look at that windshield and say something hit it but it's not going to be a contributing factor. >> they're taking a look at the windshield to see what that was? >> that's right. >> there is a history in that area around philadelphia people throwing stuff at trains? >> unfortunately, the trains along the northeast corridor get pelted sometimes, three, four five times a month engineers report and it's a -- if you get
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hit by something hard it is startling. >> here is the tragedy. if that train had been equipped with positive control, that speed that would have automatically slowed it down right, if that system was in place in philadelphia even if he had thrust the throttle forward it would have slowed down the train instead of accelerating? >> it would have slowed the train down. >> even if he pushed the not forward. >> it would have overridden his command. it's in place today apparently why wasn't it in place last -- >> part is in place, not the full system is in place. >> on that turn it is. >> those people would be alive today if that system was in place and even if he was startled and, you know, he went out, let's say something hit the windshield and he lost control and accidentally pushed that throttle forward the system automatically would have slowed the train down instead of allowing it to accelerate. >> that's right. the tragedy would have been averted. >> thanks very much. >> thank you. >> see what investigation shows. just ahead, hillary clinton
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returns to the campaign trail today, but will she answer her republican critics by answering questions from reporters? and speaking of questions, another republican struggling to answer the one about the war in iraq. we have details. analysis coming up from our political package, that's next.
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promotion authority bill the legislation allows the president to negotiate a 12 nation deal with pacific rim countries. congress would get an up and down -- up or down vote on the trade agreement. the bill is expected to pass the u.s. senate but faces a tougher fight in the house of representatives. however, republican congressman paul ryan says the house now has the votes to pass it. presidential candidate hillary clinton gets back on the campaign trail today. she attends a grassroots house party in iowa but the question her potential republican rivals are all asking why isn't hillary clinton fielding questions from journalists? listen to what jeb bush said over the weekend. >> we're probably around 800 to 900 questions asked and hopefully answered just as an aside, hillary clinton has been a presidential candidate now for a month maybe and she's had 13 questions asked by the press. >> all right. let's bring in our political analyst gloria borger and jeff
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zeleny on the road with the clinton campaign what are they saying when asked, why doesn't she answer reporter questions? >> well wolf, the clinton campaign says she will answer all these questions in due time but she is doing this second presidential campaign on her own terms. so she is willing to ignore some of the criticism and getting a lot of it it's not just her republican rivals it's also voters who are beginning to say, isn't she going to answer our questions here. i would suspect she will answer a couple this afternoon but no full press conferences, no -- we have so many things to ask her about. she's been a candidate for about five weeks or so but she is doing this on her own terms and they're willing to put up with the criticism so she doesn't have missteps and she can roll out her campaign as she sees fit. >> is it a smart strategy? >> i think it depends how long it lasts. obviously there are issues out there she has to address.
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for example, trade. i mean, you know the party is pulling her to the left on trade. how is she going to come down? is she going to side with the president. bernie sanders a potential presidential candidate attacking her from the left on that. there are legitimate questions i think will people -- people want answered and it's a tough call for them to make because she's a candidate, so people want to hear more from her. >> is it just a matter jeff that she's sort of afraid that she might get tripped up? is that part of the reason why she's sort of dodging reporters? >> i'm mot so sure she's afraid. being a presidential candidate, you are on a tight rope every day, every moment as jeb bush has found out. i think she wants to keep her message as she sees fit. she talked about immigration a week or so ago. she's talking about small businesses today. she's trying to run her second campaign and keep the message focused. so many reporters are saying,
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why isn't she answering questions. this becomes a problem when voters start saying it and does this feed into the idea that she's being secretive and not being open enough. voters here in iowa wolf they have many questions for her. so or a while, but not much longer. >> you don't want to get the sense that you're a candidate who plays by a different set of rules when you have republicans out there doing town halls, taking questions from the press, appearing on sunday shows. you know then it looks like a little entitled and voters just don't like it. >> i want to play a clip because senator marco rubio, he also sort of got tripped up on the basic questions about the war in iraq in 2003. listen to this. >> the question was whether it was a mistake. my answer was, it's not a mistake. i still say it was not a mistake. the president was presented with intelligence that said iraq had weapons of mass destruction. it was governed by a man who had committed atrocities in the past with weapons of mass
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destruction. >> what she asked you was, was it a mistake to go to war with iraq? >> it was not a mistake given the facts the president knew at the time. >> she just said was it a mistake. >> that's not the same question. based on what we know now -- >> was it a mistake to go to war with iraq? >> i understand. but that's not the same question. >> awkward situation there between marco rubio and chris wallace of fox news. >> yeah it was awkward. i think that republicans are having a really difficult time including marco rubio and jeb bush answering this question. why? because generally the public believes that the war in iraq was a failure, that we shouldn't have been in iraq. republicans, however, are kind of split on that. they've grown a little more hawkish on foreign policy. 74% of republicans, for example, approve of some form of boots on the ground in iraq. so they're trying to walk a fine line. by the way, hillary clinton wrote about this in her own book.
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she said that her vote authorizing the use of force in iraq was a mistake. but she also said if we knew then what we knew now, there wouldn't have been that vote. >> why is it so hard for republicans, at least some of the republicans, jeff to answer the basic question was the war in 2003 against saddam hussein's iraq a mistake? >> because it is a complicated issue, and they're not exactly sure where their base is on this. their base is sort of all over. but it also speaks to the threats going forward. it has been very surprising to watch jeb bush first and then marco rubio second sort of make these missteps if you will. at the very least, just sounds more senatorial than presidential. but it's a complicated issue, and they do not want to come out of the box and say they absolutely made a mistake. but i think the more important things are the questions going forward. those are the questions that hillary clinton and others are going to have to answer about isis and the threats like that.
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but it is absolutely been an unexpected hiccup i would say, for these republican candidates. >> all right, jeff zeleny on the campaign trail with hillary clinton in iowa. we'll see if she answers any of your questions today, or other reporters' questions for that matter. and gloria borger, thank you. >> by the way, the first president with a smartphone has become the first president with a twitter handle. @potus. his first tweet, quoting, hello, twitter, it's barack. really. six years in they're finally giving me my own account. he describes himself as dad, husband, 44th president of the united states and to stay within the law, he notes, quote, tweets may be archived. okay. still ahead, we'll go to syria, find out new details on the fight to keep isis from destroying more ancient artifacts in the middle east.
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with xfinity from comcast you can manage your account anytime, anywhere on any device. just sign into my account to pay bills
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manage service appointments and find answers to your questions. you can even check your connection status on your phone. now it's easier than ever to manage your account. get started at syrian troops are reportedly battling to keep isis from taking over the ancient syrian city of palmyra. >> reporter: for 2,000 years, its columns and temples have loomed over the horizon.
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now in a renewed eded territorial push, isis militants stand at the gates of this so-called venice of the south. this is what's happened in other towns and territories taken by isis. pillaged hacked and sawed. artifacts standing for thousands of years as testament to man's flights of imagination deemed idolatrous and unislamic by isis. the mosul museum. across iraq and syria in the place of priceless artifacts, isis has left rubble. palmyra recognized as one of the most significant monuments in the middle east. now the u.n. is pleading with the world to find a way to save this symbol of our shared past.
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>> i don't know what will happen in the palmyra. i'm very worried. i'm alarmed by what is happening. let's hope that this wonderful monument will not be destroyed like we have seen unfortunately in some of the others, some of the bulldozing and bombing of the sites. >> reporter: across iraq and syria, palmyra and seven other ancient sites and cities are on the u.n.'s cultural agency unesco's danger list. damascus' old town aleppo the list goes on. this in a year where in nepal alone 200 heritage sites were damaged during the recent earthquake. nature of course can't be stopped. whether isis who is just outside palmyra, can remains to be seen. cnn, london. >> what a disaster unfolding
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right now. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "the situation room." for our international viewers "amanpour" is coming up next. for our viewers in north america, "newsroom" with brooke baldwin starts right now. wolf blitzer, thank you. great to be with you all on this monday afternoon. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. want to begin with this biker brawl and gunfight so chaotic, investigators say they're still trying to figure out if the nine bikers killed were shot by other bikers or by police. and when you look at the weapons used here not just guns. reportedly knives clubs, chains bats were all used. more than 100 weapons in total were confiscated. here's another number for you. 170 people arrested after police say at least five different biker gangs went at each other and police officers. this was s