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Hegel Talks Military Cuts; Groundbreaking Deal Between Netflix, Comcast; U.S./Mexico Operation Captured el Chapo; Will Russia Intervene Militarily in Ukraine?; Interview with US Ambassador to Ukraine

Aired February 24, 2014 - 13:30   ET

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


GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN, FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER & U.S. ARMY RETIRED: How much we deploy, whether we're going to have a large naval presence off the coast of the Red Sea and elsewhere --

(CROSSTALK)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: With the Fifth Fleet in the Red Sea or Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean?

JOULWAN: Mediterranean. We have been reducing over the last 20 years, those forces.

BLITZER: But the argument is with drones and new technology, you don't need all of the old-school hardware that we used to deal with these kind of issues.

JOULWAN: That's right. But I'm not sure how much we need in the Pacific, as well. I think what you need to do is say, we also have to have capability to work with our friends and allies to deter conflict, not just to fight it, to prevent a crisis from becoming a conflict. All of that is writ large in those areas --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: One final question before I let you go, General. You've been very generous with your time. How concerned are you about this growing trend among some Democrats and some Republicans for what we should call a more isolationist U.S. policy around the -- a retreat from commitments, traditional U.S. responsibilities around the world, bringing the troops home, not get involved. Are you concerned about that?

JOULWAN: I've always been concerned about that. Every time we have tried to do that -- and those are political questions and I'll let the politicians handle it. What we're responsible for as senior military is to give clear military advice of what that means. And I think the idea of abandoning some of our friends, I think, is fraught with danger. And I think we have to be very careful of that. We need leadership, military leadership, diplomatic leadership, political leadership, to ensure we can engage. It's not just the cost of money. It's our prestige as a nation and a quality of life that we want for ourselves and for our children.

BLITZER: Chuck Hagel is going on to announce significant cuts in troop levels and spending, which as very significant, as well.

JOULWAN: And at what risk when we do that?

BLITZER: Well, we'll have a lot of time to assess that. See the follow up.

General George Joulwan, the former NATO supreme allied commander, thanks for coming in.

JOULWAN: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Up next, the United State's role in Ukraine and the threat of military intervention, at least some people see it, by Russia. I'll talk live with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Take a quick look at how the markets are doing right now. The Dow has erased January's losses, is back in record territory. Today, there you see it, trading up 182 points right now.

The big event for Wall Street this week is happening here in Washington. Janet Yellen, new head of the Federal Reserve, will address the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. What she says during -- about the economy that day, the future of the Fed's stimulus plans, could have a major move on the markets. We'll keep an eye out for you on that, of course.

If you're one of the more than 40 million Americans who use Netflix, you probably already know the frustration of getting a buffering message while you're trying to stream a movie or a tv show. But now Netflix is in a groundbreaking deal with Comcast to help fix that, and change the landscape for how we use streaming video.

Alison Kosik is joining us from the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, the deal basically means that Netflix will get its own bandwidth from Comcast. Tell us why this is such a major game- changer.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: OK. And this is a big game-changer, Wolf, because this deal essentially means that you know, the movies and the tv shows that you get from Netflix, they're going to be streamed a lot faster, because Comcast is essentially allowing Netflix to connect directly to its broadband network, instead of going through a middleman communications company as it did before. The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting, though, that Netflix will have to pay Comcast for this. The arrangement not confirmed to CNN. Here's the problem. The problem has been that the huge amount of bandwidth that Netflix eats up -- Netflix has been called a data hog. And that amount of band width can account for as much as one-third of all U.S. broadband traffic at peak times. Internet service providers, they wanted Netflix to pay them for that, especially as we have seen these shows like "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black." They keep soaring in popularity. More and more people keep watching them, and that need to sort of keep grabbing that bandwidth continues to grow -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Well, Comcast is one cable provider. I assume this will put pressure on other cable providers to work out a similar deal with Netflix.

KOSIK: And that's a really good point. Because, yeah, this Comcast/Netflix deal could set a precedent. The "Wall Street Journal" reporting that Netflix is also currently in talks with Verizon. But you know what the big question is, who is going to pay for this? Guess who? Consumers. One analyst says companies, they're ultimately going to be compelled to raise their prices. No comment yet from either side of this. But think of it like so many other bills we have to pay. The more we use, the more we have to pay, whether it's our gas bill, water bill, electricity, or the phones that we use.

But for now, if you're a Netflix binge watcher and a Comcast customer, you should be able to spend many long, relaxing hours on the couch without annoying delays or seeing that buffering -- Wolf?

BLITZER: Good point.

Alison, thanks very much. Alison Kosik reporting.

Up next, it's a new day in Ukraine, but the threat of Russian military intervention, perhaps by Vladimir Putin, to some, it looms large. The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine is standing by. We'll discuss what's going on when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: The U.S. says it wants to extradite a notorious drug lord arrested over the weekend. Joaquin Guzman, known as "el Chapo," was the reputed leader of the Sinaloa cartel, a man so powerful he made "Forbes" list of the 100 most wanted people. He's wanted here in the United States on federal drug trafficking charges. Last year, the Chicago Crime Commission even called him, quote, "public enemy number one."

Brian Todd has been following this story for us.

You're getting some new information on the operation to capture him, which came very dramatically.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really was dramatic, Wolf. I just got off the phone with a Mexican official who said this was a surgical, tactical operation. And a couple details in addition to the ones that we have been reporting over the weekend. This official said they moved in that apartment in Mazatlan, Mexico, at 6:40 a.m., just before sunrise at that time in Mazatlan. That this was a group of Mexican Marines attached to the Mexican navy that carried out this operation.

A couple things we have just learned, that there was an assault rifle near him at the time they moved in, but he didn't have time to pick it up. He was sleeping at the time that they moved in, along with his wife, and there was a body guard somewhere in the area. Not sure if the body guard was in the very same apartment or possibly in an adjoining apartment. But there was a body guard there who was arrested in the same operation with Guzman. The body guard also had weapons, but this official said that nobody really had any time to pick them up and use them. That's why no shots were fired.

Another interesting detail we're told by this official, they just prior to this operation utilized infrared sensors and heat-seeking sensors to see basically through the walls of that apartment and discern that he was sleeping and that he was a little bit vulnerable at that moment. And that's when they moved in. So just some of these details are fascinating.

BLITZER: So what happens to Guzman next? Is there any chance at all he would be extradited to the United States? Because most of the crimes, I suspect, he committed were in Mexico and not in the United States.

TODD: Well, that's something that's being worked out, we're told, between Mexican and U.S. officials. That has not been decided yet. He did commit a lot of his crimes in Mexico, his alleged crimes in Mexico. He also allegedly trafficked a lot of drugs into Chicago and some other metropolitan areas. He's public enemy number one in Chicago, as you mentioned. So what experts and officials are telling us is that things are being worked out now. Extradition has not been decided yet. It could be, Wolf, that he's tried first in Mexico and then brought to the United States to possibly be tried. But, again, these are details that are really just working out. We're told right now he is in isolation, in a basement of a prison in Mexico. He is not with the general prison population there. He is being watched 24/7.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thanks very much. I know you'll have more later in "The Situation Room" as well.

TODD: Right.

BLITZER: We'll take a quick break. More top news right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: You've probably heard all about those stray dogs in Sochi. Some of the Olympic athletes have been trying to give dogs a new home. In the case of Gus Kenworthy, silver medalist for the U.S. and men's slope-style skiing, he is adopting not one, but five of them, a mom and her puppies. He told Anderson Cooper how that whole thing came about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUS KENWORTHY, OLYMPIC SKIER: So, my 11th birthday, my dad got me a puppy. He passed away a year and a half ago. So I have been pretty recently thinking about getting another dog and wanting to.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, A.C. 360: The Humane Society said has been a beneficial thing for dogs here in the United States. There is so much focus on stray dogs that they are getting a lot of calls. KENWORTHY: Yeah, for sure. A lot of people are saying, why are you bringing dogs back from Russia. The amount of money and energy and everything it cost to do that you can adopt more dogs here. It wasn't the fact that I had to bring a dog home from there, but I saw these dogs and it more that I fell in love with them. I couldn't bear to leave them. I had to bring them back. Hopefully, it sparks people's interest to adopt dogs here and for people in Russia to bring some of them inside and make the strays pets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Cute little puppies and nice dogs.

Up next, we get back to the news right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Right now, the NATO commander and the secretary of state, John Kerry, they both checked in with their Russian counterparts. We are talking about the situation in Ukraine and possible Russian military involvement.

Joining us on the phone now from Kiev is the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for taking a few moments out of your hectic schedule over there. Historic, dramatic developments unfolding in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine. How concerned should all of us be that the Russians might intervene militarily in Ukraine?

GEOFFREY PYATT, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE (voice-over): Wolf, I guess what I say at this point is we believe that both Russia and the United States and all of Ukraine's European neighbors have a strong interest in stability and economic prosperity here. So we hope very much that they will play the long game and will recognize that they have an interest as much as everybody else does in the successful resolution of this political crisis. And I should say, over the past couple of days, as I've had the opportunity to speak with the acting president and other new officials, they are also very focused on the relationship with Moscow.

BLITZER: Who is in charge right now in Kiev?

PYATT: Well, you have the speaker of the Rada (ph) is -- was chosen through constitutional processes. There's no question about that at all. He is also the acting president at this point. So he is playing the role as the senior executive of the government.

The political process has been moving relatively quickly, so they have been passing laws. There is now somebody who is act as interior minster. He, too, has been blessed by the Rada (ph), by parliament. And I should emphasize that it's not just -- it's not just the formerly opposition parties that are participating in this process. It's also many people who parted ways with the President Yanukovych and are part of the party of regents. So it seems like Ukrainian politics is rebooting in a way that is good for democracy and good for stability here.

BLITZER: What about the former president, Yanukovych? He is now wanted supposedly for, quote, "mass killings of civilians." Do you know where he is?

PYATT: We don't. He is on the lamb at this point. It is very important that those who are responsible for the terrible violence that took place last Thursday, in particular, the shootings in the heart of this large European city, that the people responsible for that be held accountable. And I think the international community will be very supportive of Ukraine's efforts to achieve justice. But it's important to avoid retribution. And in any case, President Yanukovych is not to be found.

BLITZER: Because there these reports that he's hiding out somewhere in the Crimea area of Ukraine. You've heard those reports.

PYATT: Yeah, I mean, the Ukrainian press has been full of speculation at this point, but the last place we are certain that he was in was when we were told on Friday night that he was on his way to Harkiev (ph), in north eastern Ukraine. The truth is that we don't know where he is. At this point, the Speaker Oleksantr Turchinov is acting in the role of president.

BLITZER: We heard from our Phil Black, our correspondent in Kiev, that some of the supporters of the ousted regime have been calling the protesters Nazis, referring to some neo-Nazi elements out there. How prevalent are they, these ultra nationalists, in Ukraine right now?

PYATT: Well, I Mean, it's important that the new government represent a broad and Democratic coalition. We, in the past, have expressed concerns about views that have come from some of the political parties that have been extremists, but I must say Saboda (ph), led by Olek Kanoko (ph) has played an extremely constructive role during these three months of demonstrations. And Ms. Kanoko (ph), who we expect to play role in new government, was one of those who helped diffuse several of the Kiev crisis points over the past several months.

BLITZER: So is it relatively calm in Kiev right now?

PYATT: Kiev is relatively calm. It's very important that as the political process evolves over the next couple of days -- we have been encouraging the authorities to build a broad multiparty technical government, but we have also been counseling them that the top priority is to restore stability, which means demobilizing the self- defense forces, putting security responsibilities under the uniformed security institutions. But it's remarkable, today, I was at the cabinet ministry this morning and there was an amalgam of both presidential security forces and --

there was an amalgam of both presidential security forces and Maidan defenders.

BLITZER: All right. PYATT: I've never seen anything like it.

BLITZER: Ambassador Pyatt, we appreciate you taking some time. Good luck to you, good luck to all the U.S. diplomats on the ground in Kiev, elsewhere in Ukraine right now. Thanks very much.

That's it for me. I'll see you back here in THE SITUATION ROOM 5:00 p.m. Eastern. "NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.