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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Mystery of Flight 370; Technology of Underwater Search Vehicle; Lessons Learned from Previous Air Crashes; New Video Shows Largest Al Qaeda Meeting In Years; Health Workers Race To Contain Deadly Ebola Outbreak In Guinea
Aired April 15, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, it is 8:00 p.m. here on the East Coast, United States, 8:00 a.m. off the west coast of Australia, and there's breaking news tonight.
A sonar sub in the water and the search for Flight 370 is finally back on track. Tonight you'll see for yourself exactly what a Bluefin-21 can see down in those depths.
Also tonight breaking, new video of what appears to be the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years. The big question, did the CIA and Pentagon know about it or not. We'll tell you who is in the video and why it's so important.
And later, only on 360, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta suits up with medical personnel fighting to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Some of whom have lost lives in the battle. Some of the medical personnel. Dr. Gupta is on the frontline.
We begin, though, with the latest nearly three miles deep. That is where a Bluefin sonar scanner is right now deep in the water, deep into what's expected to be its first full day on the job. As you know, yesterday's mission ended prematurely. It was aborted after just six hours. Today it's expected to go nearly round the clock.
There are new developments on that front. New developments as well with that oily substance recovered from the ocean surface.
We'll also tell you about a tracking system for airplanes that's being rolled out over the six years that might have changed everything about what happened to Flight 370. The question is, why six years from now it will be rolled out? What is taking so long.
First, Michael Holmes is in Perth on today's search effort.
So what's the latest, Michael?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good morning from Perth. Yes, the Bluefin-21 down, doing its work at the moment. By our calculations it's almost half way through the ocean floor segment of that. As we know it takes two hours to get down, 16 hours on the bottom, and then two hours to get up and then they download the data. Also planes and ships out there again today. We had been told that that phase of things looking for surface wreckage would be scaled down this week. But no sign of that yet. They are still in the air and on the ocean looking for any wreckage. Of course, none found so far and we're now into our sixth week -- Anderson.
COOPER: As you said none found so far, no wreckage. Has the data, has that been processed from the Bluefin's first dive, which, as we said, was called off because of unexpected depths that it suddenly faced? Do you know -- did they find anything of note?
HOLMES: Yes, good question. And in fact, only in the last hour, Anderson, we did get word about that. It covered about four square miles during that aborted mission. On a normal mission it would cover about 15.5 square miles or 40 square kilometers. They did analyze that data. And sad to say they found absolutely nothing of any use, nothing relevant. But of course it was just the first mission and an aborted one at that. And this is a huge area they're covering -- Anderson.
COOPER: Also the fuel recovered from the search, do they know -- is it related to the plane? Have they been able to determine that yet?
HOLMES: Not yet, no. You know, we've got to remember that those -- that search area is about over 2,000 kilometers off the coast of western Australia. They did pick up the two liters of oil that they found floating out there near where the Ocean Shield is. They've bottled it. They've -- what they're going to do basically is they've got to get a ship out there and then helicopter it to that ship, and the ship can get it closer in. And then the helicopter will take off again to get it here to Perth.
They said it would take about two or three days so in a day or so we will know what it is. They have sent samples actually of the engine oil that would have been in MH-370's engine so that they can do a comparative analysis on that. They're also going to check to see whether it could be hydraulic fluid as well. Still unanswered questions but yes, even just getting that back here is a bit of a -- a bit of a journey -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Michael Holmes, appreciate the update.
I want to bring in the panel now. CNN safety analyst David Soucie, author of "Why Plane Crash: An Accident Investigator's Fight for Safe Skies," CNN analyst, David Gallo, co-leader of the search for Air France Flight 447 and director of Special Projects for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Also former Department of Transportation inspector general, Mary Schiavo, who currently represents accident victims and their families.
David Gallo, the fact that they did not get any data from this Bluefin, I mean, it doesn't -- I don't think you would be all that surprised by that.
DAVID GALLO, CO-LED SEARCH FOR AIR FRANCE FLIGHT 447: Well, they got data. It's just now what -- they didn't see anything that would fit the gap.
COOPER: Right. Nothing --
GALLO: No, no. This is all very typical of the first days of an expedition like this. And it's unfortunate, it's frustrating, especially to the (INAUDIBLE) I think that something went wrong but it's not unusual.
COOPER: The fact that the mission yesterday was aborted because of the depth, suddenly they found themselves in deeper water than they had anticipated.
COOPER: The surface was deeper, it couldn't go that deep, they had to call it back.
COOPER: And sort of re-calibrate things. Is that going to happen more and more? And does that indicate to you a lack of real understanding of what this -- the depth is here?
GALLO: Well, every day they go out there they're going to learn something new about the terrain and they'll make adjustments, both to the hardware of the vehicle, the software of the vehicle, and their operations plan. It may happen once or twice more. In the Air France 447 we had a lot of aborted runs from our robots but you learn. I mean, that team is very capable so they're going to learn from all that.
COOPER: Why not have more than one Bluefin out there?
GALLO: Well --
COOPER: I mean, on the Air France you had -- you had three vehicles.
GALLO: We had the REMUS 6000s on Air France 447. I think because their approach is different. They were going with -- as Captain Matthews talked about this tactical approach, where they had -- the idea was they have the solid pinger location, they're going to throw the dart right at the bull's eye. Our idea was to make -- pick an area that's much larger than the search area -- the entire area, cover it with multiple vehicles so it was a totally different kind of mapping program.
COOPER: David Soucie, I mean, do you think that indicates perhaps they more information that they're letting on?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: That's the way I'm seeing it. Apparently they've got a lot of confidence on where it is, or they would have more out there, like David Gallo said, there's more of a throwing at the target instead of a mass screening of the area. So it does indicate that to me. COOPER: The -- I mean, the Navy has said that they do, David, have another underwater vehicle that can go deeper?
GALLO: Yes, they've got plenty of tools in the -- and they are Quiver that they can bring to bear on this. And as the -- if they need to change strategy, maybe this -- the tactical means is not working and they have to go to more strategic, they'll bring something else in on the mission.
COOPER: And, Mary, we heard from the Air Marshal Angus Houston, the air search is nearing its end. That's certainly not something that the families would want to hear.
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, that's true, but at some points the currents they have now worked their will on any debris that might have been on the service for, what, five, almost six weeks. And there's just not a really a real chance that they're going to find much at this point. This far out it would be so far dissipated. And they can't justify it. Particularly if -- as the other guests have said they really believe they have zeroed on the point where the plane is.
And there is, of course, always the -- you know, the many stories that float around about Australia's, you know, incredible radar, almost mythical quality, I guess. So perhaps they do have additional information but they're throwing the dart at the dartboard as they said right where they think the bull's eye is.
COOPER: It is kind of amazing that a plane, I mean, theoretically can hit the water and no debris be found. I mean, I guess there was that ship that went down --
SOUCIE: The Sidney.
COOPER: The Sidney which went down and what, only a life raft was found?
GALLO: Many, many -- I believe it was years later on Christmas Island, thousands of miles north of the site. One life raft showed up.
COOPER: It's incredible.
GALLO: Absolutely incredible.
COOPER: The -- we heard the Malaysian Transportation minister, David Soucie, say that it matters less who takes control of the black boxes as long as the black boxes are found. But to you does it matter who takes control?
SOUCIE: That was a little bit disturbing for me to hear that. You know, it really doesn't matter who takes control. It matters a great deal. And he's in charge of this investigation, by ICAO rules nothing goes anywhere until he says it goes there. So he is responsible for making that decision. I think of anybody he would care where it goes.
COOPER: Mary, we also heard the Malaysians said that they are setting up an investigative committee to essentially look into how a plane could have vanished without hardly a trace. Is that what should be happening at this point?
SCHIAVO: Well, that plus more. We -- when we do an investigation, when the NTSB does an investigation it set up similar committees, except far more. So it's good that they're setting up committees to investigate but the true investigative committee that should be working overall to solve this accident, the causes, the probable causes, any recommendations, the full panoply of what comes out after a crash really should contain far more working groups and many more committees.
But yes, if they're going to be very objective and look at how this happened. Look at their own response or lack thereof, then of course it's good that they do that.
COOPER: On multiple front story at one time. A lot to cover tonight, including as we've been mentioning, underwater territory that no one has ever seen before.
Also, Vladimir Putin's chilling assessment of Ukraine, to his words, paved the way for Russian tanks and which might pave the way for civil war.
Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @andersoncooper. Tweet us using #ac360.
Coming up next, David Gallo shows us the amazing look of what the ocean floor looks like. Two underwater sonar devices, something like the Bluefin-21. Some of the remarkable pictures these machines can take.
And later this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 797, over on the -- mayday, going down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're going to show you what begins as a disaster becomes an opportunity. Air crashes over the years that have made air crashes today so rare. Lessons that have been learned and what is being learned this time when we continue.
COOPER: With the Bluefin back under water, search teams will be getting not just a better chance of finding pieces of Flight 370, they'll also be getting a better look at -- for want of a better phrase -- the lay of the land underwater, on the ocean floor, the nooks and the crannies, the hills and the mountains down there.
Back with me now is David Gallo.
So we have here an image, a sonar image, this is clearly two ships. Why -- what are the different colors? Is it different depths?
GALLO: The more I look at this, I think what we're looking at exactly, Anderson, you're looking at different depths, and it looks like -- maybe the blue is the shallow -- this looks like a mass sticking up inside here. So it gives you the kind of --
COOPER: This would be amassed up -- right there.
GALLO: Right. So it's the kind of image that -- that the Bluefin can take of objects on the sea floor.
COOPER: It's just remarkable to see it like this. An image like this, can you get this in one pass or does it need multiple passes?
GALLO: You can get it in one pass, it depends on how close the vehicle is to the bottom, or how high up it is in the water column and how big the area is, but it can be one pass or it can be multiple passes.
COOPER: I want to take a look at another image now from a side scanning sonar. This is clearly a close up of one ship. What is this --
GALLO: Yes, this is fantastic. This is a case -- this is the path of the vehicle. So the robot is heading in this direction sending out pings to either side like this. And the sound comes off here and bounces off objects. When you see something like that bright, it means that that's a hard return. There's a shadow behind it so this a ship sitting on the bottom and you can see -- right over the top of that ship But it does leaves a gap directly beneath the vehicle, why they call it a side scan or a side-looking sonar.
COOPER: And so when you get an image like this, it's actually two images with the center -- where the vehicle actually there.
GALLO: Two beams on either side of the vehicle. Right exactly. A portside and a star board side.
COOPER: I want to look at an image not from a Bluefin, but on a search you were involved in. This is the -- a wide shot underwater. This is actually the Titanic, is that right?
GALLO: Yes, Titanic split in two. We're looking at about a mile across these lines here. You see the path of our vehicles back and forth mowing the lawn or --
COOPER: I see. You can actually see lines kind of in the image itself.
GALLO: Exactly, right, and so many, many images. That's over a mile across. This is the bow of the Titanic sitting right here. It broke in half, this is the stern of the Titanic, 600 meters away so six football fields away, and all this is a debris field. This is the kind of thing when you're looking for an aircraft on the bottom. All these things inside here, everything from pieces of pottery and lights --
COOPER: All these.
GALLO: All these stuff, all these little speckles and there's some bigger pieces out inside here.
COOPER: So the Titanic really had a very wide debris here.
GALLO: It did. The stern specially. The bow not so much. But the stern had this huge debris field associated with it.
COOPER: There is another Titanic image here I want to take a look at. This is zooming in -- is this just the bow?
GALLO: Yes, just zooming in on the bow. And it just gives you the -- it shows you how powerful sonar can be.
GALLO: This is -- this is one pass along the bow and this is of course the poignant where Jack was king of the world, the mask, some of the openings here --
COOPER: And you think you can get this just from one pass?
GALLO: Just one pass. Yes. And sometimes we go over it two or three times to make sure we don't miss anything.
COOPER: What kind of a vehicle took this?
GALLO: This is the REMUS 6000, and we used two of them out on --
COOPER: This is at Woods -- from Woods Hole.
GALLO: From Woods Hole, yes. And it's very similar to the type of vehicle that Bluefin-21 is.
COOPER: Is it that the REMUS goes deeper, is that right?
GALLO: It goes to 6,000 meters so it's made for deeper water work. That's right.
COOPER: Incredible. There's one other image of Titanic again. This is extraordinary.
GALLO: This is actually an optical image, many, many, you can see the size of one image right here.
COOPER: So this is multiple photographs.
GALLO: Multiple optical -- and this is done with the Remora, which is another vehicle operated by Phoenix International that may or may not come into play later on in the Malaysian air search. So this is the optical view of that same bow. COOPER: So that's -- that's an underwater vehicle that just takes multiple --
GALLO: Moves along the side of the ship, click, click, snap, snap, snap, anyone with a digital camera that's done that panorama or with an iPod that's done a panoramic view knows how hard that can be, to get everything just right. So it's not easy to do this but there it is.
COOPER: It's incredible, the technology is just amazing.
David Gallo, thank you so much.
For all that the Bluefin-21 can learn it's only there to take sonar pictures. So is the next step when debris is actually found will be to send down other submersibles that can do a lot more.
CNN's Gary Tuchman got an up close inside look at one such vehicle that played the key role in finding pieces of Space Shuttle Challenger. Here is what he saw.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first glance, it resembles a spacecraft more than anything else. But this is a research sub that is combing the seas doing everything from medical research to ship and air craft recovery.
JIMMY NELSON, HARBOR BRANCH OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION: We have an array of light systems on the subs so you can turn on whichever light you need.
TUCHMAN: Jimmy Nelson used to spend about 170 days a year on this sub. The Johnson Sea Link Submersible, as it's known. It's now retired at the Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution.
(On camera): All right. I'm ready to go.
NELSON: Ready to go.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But other manned sea vehicles might be next in line to aid in the Malaysian Airline search.
(On camera): If this submersible or another submersible get to where the wreckage is, how effective do you think it could be in the recovery effort?
NELSON: Very effective.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This is a view of this very submersible in the Atlantic Ocean. It can go 3,000 feet deep, but like all research vehicles it's slow. It only travels just over one mile per hour when searching. The sub was called to duty in 1986 after the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. And it recovered some of the wreckage from the ill-fated shuttle. NELSON: We have the capability of lifting around 1,000 pounds of weight to the surface.
TUCHMAN: In the very front of the submersible, a tool called the manipulator which does the important work of grabbing, scooping and sucking up samples that are recovered.
(On camera): This sub is about 24 feet long. It's also about 11 feet tall. And it weighs about 28,000 pounds. It has enough oxygen and emergency provisions aboard for the people to survive underwater for up to five days.
(Voice-over): There is also a back cabin on the submersible called the aft observation chamber. A crew member who keeps an eye on the submersible's vital signs and another scientist shared that back area, which is only about 5.5 feet by 3 feet.
(On camera): So just to give our viewers an idea of how tight this is, this is how you're sitting. This is how I'm sitting and you could be here for hours.
(Voice-over): But during those hours this is what's taking place.
NELSON: So we fire up the sonar system and it does a sweep and it paints us a picture as it spins around 360 degrees. If there's any solid targets on the bottom it'll beep, and it will kind of paint a small picture of what it looks like. And we could go ahead and motor that way.
TUCHMAN: The use of high-tech unmanned underwater vehicles is increasing. But Jimmy Nelson says when looking for wreckage, manned submersibles offer an important dimension.
(On camera): So you're saying that sometimes just having a human being be able to look around the corner where I could spot things that an unmanned submersible cannot spot.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This submersible will not be going but others could soon be sent into action in the Indian Ocean under water in an effort to solve a mystery.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Fort Peace, Florida.
COOPER: Incredible technologies. As always, for more on the story and others you can go to CNN.com.
Coming up tonight, could a new system for tracking planes with GPS and satellites prevent this type of situation from happening again? The question is, if so, why isn't it being implemented right now?
Also life-saving lessons from other deadly clashes over the years. How investigators make sure the saddest moments in aviation history never repeats themselves.
Also later tonight, breaking news, a CNN exclusive. A new al Qaeda video surfacing, a top leader meeting with more than 100 followers. We'll tell you where it happened, who the people involved and where and why it's so important. The question is, did the U.S. even know about this meeting?
COOPER: The crash of Flight 370 and the mystery surrounding it understandably scares everybody. The fact is, though, your drive to the airport is many, many more times dangerous than the actual flight. And there is a reason for that. The business of making planes, carrying passengers, and regulating the industry is, for all the shortcomings we've seen lately, still a very much tight-knit community with a long tradition of learning from past mistakes or in this case, anticipating them.
This week, the FAA announced the completion of a new system for controllers to track aircraft with the help of GPS technology and satellites instead of radar. It's requiring that all aircraft operations in the U.S. be ready for it with the right transmitting equipment by the year 2020. And it is precisely this sort of system that could have made following Flight 370 and finding it so much easier. And like so many other innovations, it really evolved from a lot of bitter lessons learned the hard way.
Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ValuJet Flight 592 from Miami to Atlanta, the day before Mother's Day, 1996. The pilots hear a loud boom six minutes into the flight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five ninety-two needs immediate return to Miami.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of problem are you having?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smoke in the cabin. Smoke in the cabin.
KAYE: The pilots head to the nearest airport. Meanwhile, passengers are yelling about a fire. The aircraft rolls on its side, then crashes nose first into the Florida everglades, killing all 110 people on board. The NTSB determined the fire began in a cargo compartment.
JOHN GOGLIA, FORMER NTSB BOARD MEMBER: If we have fire detection system in this cargo compartment, the crew would have been afforded more time in which to get the airplane back on the ground.
KAYE: The FAA took those words to heart, and as a result revised standards for cargo, requiring smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers in the cargo holds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air Canada 797 on mayday, going down. KAYE: Fire was also a problem in 1983 when Air Canada Flight 797 made an emergency landing at Cincinnati's airport on the way from Dallas to Toronto. It had a fire in the bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a fire in the wash, in the back wash room, and it's -- we're filling up with smoke right now.
KAYE: Incredibly, the plane landed safely. But half the passengers and crew died because they couldn't exit the plane fast enough. That gave rise to new fire safety standards, including bathroom smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers.
(On camera): Today, planes are much more fire resistant. Carpet and seat cushions are made of a special material that burns slower. Passengers can also get out faster thanks to new and improved exit doors. And those floor lights that those flight attendants point to every time before takeoff, those were added to save your life, too.
(Voice-over): Smoke in the cockpit was the problem on Swiss Air Flight 111 after it took off from New York's JFK airport in 1998.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swissair 111 heavy is declaring emergency. Eleven heavy, we starting dump now, we have to land immediately.
KAYE: It crashed just off the coast of Nova Scotia, killing all 229 people on board. Investigators traced the fire back to the plane's entertainment system. And flammable Mylar insulation. Following that crash, the FAA ordered all Mylar replaced with fire resistant materials.
BENOIT BOUCHARD, FORMER CANADA TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHAIRMAN: We are calling for a review of in-flight fire fighting standards in the industry.
KAYE: In 1985, we saw a huge improvement in technology to protect us from high winds after Delta Flight 191 crashed at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport. It was landing during a thunderstorm, 137 people died. After much research by NASA and the FAA, forward-looking radar wind shear detectors became the standard.
The crash of TWA Flight 800 just after takeoff from JFK airport in 1996 was another hard lesson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It blew up in the air and then we saw two fireballs go down to the water.
KAYE: The NTSB determined an explosion in the fuel tank caused the crash, blaming it on a wire that short-circuited. The FAA later mandated changes to reduce sparks from faulty wiring.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: And joining me once again, CNN safety analyst David Soucie, author of "Why Plane Crash," also 777 captain and CNN aviation analyst, Les Abend.
I mean, Les, does it seem like change only occurs after -- in the wake of a tragedy, or is the industry proactive?
LES ABEND, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Dave will agree with me. This is what we call tombstone technology unfortunately. It --
COOPER: Tombstone technology?
ABEND: Yes, you know, when something tragic happens then these changes occur. I mean, it's traditional for the NTSB to come -- and the FAA to be at odds once regulatory agency, one that finds a probable cause and says hey, we recommend this. I mean, Dave has probably been at the forefront of that and it's very difficult.
COOPER: You agree with that tombstone -- I've never heard that term.
SOUCIE: Yes, it's a term that's been used. And I think that's what the FAA has been walking away from over the last years, a certification process study for commercial airplanes was started by Nick Sabatini, (INAUDIBLE) administration. That was in result of the fact that now it's not just about a singular cause and then having it fixed. It's much more complicated as these aircrafts get more complex, they have to look at the interrelationships between those systems and understand ahead of time, look for precursors so.
COOPER: With this GPS system that they're going to have in place by 2020 in the United States would that have made it much easier? I mean, if it was on -- in the area for Flight 370, can you track it?
SOUCIE: Yes, absolutely. The certification process study I just mentioned before was kind of the first crux of the results of that said we need to change some things about how we do business including the air traffic control system, which has been in place for years and years. So this is the "Next Gen" came out with this process ADSB2, which is in and out, they would have information constantly about every other aircraft that may even cross their path.
COOPER: Would it still be possible, Les, if a pilot or a co-pilot were determined to make a plane go missing, would it still be possible to do that, to make a plane go missing?
ABEND: Well, Dave and I were talking about with this new system, the satellite-based system. The airplane actually originates the signal to the satellite, the satellite sends it to a ground station. The ground station sends it to air traffic control. This is what I use across the North Atlantic. It is mandated almost totally in the North Atlantic at this and also in Europe. Could it be turned off?
You are turning off another system, which is basically the flight management computer. Dave and I were discussing the technology the transponder doesn't have an effect on it. I have to verify that, but to the best of my knowledge at least on the 777, you have to turn off the flight management computer in order to disable that system.
COOPER: You agree with that? SOUCIE: Yes, I do, but the point of this system is not can it be turned off. The beauty of this system is that everybody is interlinked, if anybody goes off of that system, it's the weak link in the chain and all the alarms and bells and whistles go off. Saying there is an aircraft out there. We don't know where it is because every single airplane's flight plan is reliant on knowing where everybody else is and where they are going.
COOPER: But this is only going to be mandates in the United States by 2020.
ABEND: But it is in Europe also at this point. It's mandated in Europe, but the problem is you have to get the air traffic control people to comply with the system or buy into the system. So the Malaysian Airline, that part of the country or world may not be subscribing to that system.
COOPER: Again, all of this technology is really fascinating. I mean, it is one of the things about what happened to 370, I think the viewers and everybody is learning a lot more stuff about aircraft than any of us even know. David Soucie and Les Abend, I appreciate it.
Up next, breaking news, a new al Qaeda video uncovered by CNN is raising some chilling questions. It shows the largest gathering of the terrorist group in years. A meeting that officials believed took place in Yemen within the last several weeks. Details on this video ahead.
Also tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta on the front lines of a health crisis in Western Africa. He has the latest in the efforts to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak.
COOPER: Breaking news out of Boston, this is video of an area near the Boston marathon finish line on Boylston Street. We're not showing you live video. The Boston police asked us not to show live images, the bomb squad dealing with what they say is a pair of backpacks. They don't know what is in them. A robot is on scene. Police say they have a man in custody, we don't know too much about it. Police say the two backpacks, again, they do not know what is inside them. Clearly, police have the area cordoned off. The bomb squad is on scene, we'll continue to follow it.
More breaking news tonight as well, a CNN exclusive, a video that could signal a new round of plotting by al Qaeda. It surfaced recently on Jihadist websites and show a top al Qaeda leader addressing more than 100 followers in Yemen, telling them he wants to attack the United States. U.S. officials were not saying if they were caught off guard and didn't know about the gathering or couldn't get a drone there in time to strike it. Barbara Starr joins me tonight with the latest.
Barbara, the video is really amazing, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also the number two al-Qaeda worldwide out in the open talking to about 100 of his followers. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Isn't it extraordinary? This is Yemen. This is the area that the U.S. considers the most dangerous al-Qaeda stronghold. They've tried to attack the United States before. They vowed to try and attack the United States directly yet again. And yet 100 of them, including this top leader and other leaders are able to openly gather and have a meeting and talk and maybe propaganda. It may be recruiting, but it is also sending a message to the United States we feel strong enough and secure enough that we can be out here in the open and we're not afraid that you're going to attack us. So it is a real message.
COOPER: I mean, there obviously have been a number of drone strikes, some effective in Yemen, do we have an idea when this video may have been taken?
STARR: Well, actually, the U.S. intelligence community believes it was taken just several weeks ago because one of the things that is happening in this video is the top leader, Al-Wuhayshi, is greeting several men that al Qaeda broke out of prison this past winter in Yemen. And now, they are free and he is trying to recruit them into his movement even further. So they believe it was actually in the last several weeks because of that tie to the prison breakout.
COOPER: Do we know how many assets or what sort of intelligence we actually have about these groups in Yemen? I mean, was the U.S. aware of this gathering?
STARR: Well, this is the absolute critical question right now. Did the U.S. know about it or is the intelligence about Yemen right now so spotty that they did not know? One of the things that concerns the CIA, the White House, the pentagon the most is this al-Qaeda group has gone underground in its communications to a large extent. They are staying off the internet. They're staying off cell phones.
They have gone back to using couriers a good deal because they are afraid of U.S. surveillance of the U.S. intercepting their communications. So this sort of going dark, if you will, is one of the big concerns that the U.S. may not know as much as it wants to about what this group is up to and didn't know that 100 of them were out there meeting in the open.
COOPER: Fascinating, Barbara Starr, thank you.
COOPER: I want to bring in national security analyst, Peter Bergen. Peter, what do you make of this video? I mean, do you think the U.S. could have known about
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: This guy is the number two in al Qaeda overall. It doesn't appear from this video that there are any civilians in the sequence. They wouldn't take a shot if there were civilians in the area. But these all appear to be members of al Qaeda. This guy is the number two in al Qaeda worldwide. To me, it doesn't make any sense that they wouldn't take the shot if they had it in their sights. COOPER: It is also -- I mean, this is a group that has been very careful about its communications. Given that, why would they make a video about this and then have it out there?
BERGEN: As Barbara said, this group is relying on couriers. They know from stories in the past that their electronic communications were intercepted. That is why we had a lot of U.S. embassies closed last year as a result of NSA intercept. So this sort of flies in the case of being careful. So clearly they felt they could do this with some impunity.
COOPER: And clearly felt that it some sort of propaganda value, again, a show of display of strength. There are people we don't see in the video who are part of this group, the bombmaker, correct?
BERGEN: Yes, he is really the crown jewel of the group. I mean, he is the guy who makes bombs and get on planes --
COOPER: Al-Aziri, is his name?
BERGEN: Yes, he has really gone dark. He is very, very hard to find. At the end of the day this guy is more important than anybody else because he is the guy that can build bombs on planes that are undetectable. Unfortunately, he may have trained other people to do the same thing, we do not see him here.
COOPER: Do we know how much power this group has in Yemen. I mean, a number of the people in this video were, as Barbara saying, people broke out of prison in the big prison break in Yemen.
BERGEN: Well, I think, Anderson, they controlled big chunks of Southern Yemen in 2007. They actually have taken a lot of hits. For starters, there have been a hundred of drone strikes and cruise missile strikes since President Obama assumed office. This videotape actually indicates that they feel the pressure is off. But for the past couple of years they have been under a great deal of pressure.
COOPER: Peter Bergen, appreciate your expertise. Thanks, Peter.
Just ahead, as Ukraine's military begins a crackdown on pro-Russian separatist, Vladimir Putin says something that sounds a lot like what he said about Crimea. The question is, is he getting ready to move his troops in.
Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has new details on the race to contain the deadly Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. He is on the ground in the frontline in Guinea getting a firsthand look at the crisis.
COOPER: New developments tonight in the Ebola outbreak in the Western African country of Guinea, our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is there, reporting on the efforts to contain this mysterious and deadly virus. Now over the last three weeks, at least 112 people have died, 14 of them health care workers. There is no cure from the Ebola virus. What has caused concern it has reached the capital of Guinea, a city of 2 million people not far from an international airport. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're about to go inside an isolation ward in Guinea. There is a reason you may not have seen images like this before. These patients are fighting one of the deadliest diseases in the world. Ebola. It has disarmed their immune system, shut off their blood's ability to clot and invaded their organs in their body.
Up to nine out of ten patients will die. But this horror is isolated in Conakry, Guinea, we found traffic still busy here. Markets are full. Children, lots of children still smiling.
(on camera): You see as scary as Ebola is, it is not particularly contagious. It doesn't disperse easily through the air. It doesn't live long on surfaces either and people don't typically spread it until they're sick, really sick.
(voice-over): When that is the case, patients are not usually walking up and down the streets, they are down in beds, in hospitals or even worse. Even the dead are highly contagious. This doctor from the CDC has helped to trace Ebola outbreaks for more than 30 years.
DR. PIERRE ROLLIN, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: This risk is not the people dealing with the Ebola patients. It is dealing with regular patients not thinking of Ebola.
GUPTA: You see it only takes a small amount of virus on your skin to spread the disease. As I learned no precaution is too small for the doctors who care for these patients. Tim Jagatek is one of the "Doctors Without Borders." He is from Canada who comes in for weeks at a time. He is not married. He has no children. That would be a job liability, he tells me.
Multiple pairs of gloves and masks, the head is completely covered. A multi-layer gown, boots, and then an apron. It is positively suffocating in the 100-degree weather. Prepares to help a patient with Ebola is like preparing for a visit from somebody from the moon. They do this so people outside the wards, the people on the streets will never know what it is like to be inside.
COOPER: Sanjay joins us, now, the number of people infected in this outbreak. They are still going up, but the prime minister there says the outbreak is nearly under control. Can both be true?
GUPTA: Well, you know what happens in these situations a lot, Anderson, initially because there is some confusion as to whether this is Ebola or not, you suddenly get a lot of cases as people go back and realize, previously sick people in fact had Ebola. So the numbers are still going up. The rate at which they are going up has slowed down a little bit. But it is important to report sometime from now, a month and a half before you can even say the outbreak is over because of the incubation period. COOPER: It is incredible to see the video that you shot. To see inside, I feel for the patients there. It must be so terrifying. A, to know the mortality rate of this, to have all the doctors and nurses to be completely protective in gear, which of course they have to be. It has to be so terrifying or isolating. When will they know or how will they know when the outbreak is over?
GUPTA: Yes, it is amazing, imagine somebody has a headache, fever, joint pain. They end up getting tested for Ebola and the next thing they know, they're in the isolation ward. And the next people they are seeing the reality there, the people dressed as they are. The way they figure out when the outbreak is over because the virus can incubate for a period of time, up to 21 days they say, before someone might show symptoms, the general rule of thumb is they wait two incubation period, for 42 days, if there are no new cases, they say the outbreak is over. That is typically how they measure these outbreaks anywhere around the world -- Anderson.
COOPER: You and I a couple of years ago were in the jungles in Cameroon with hunters doing a report on the virus. I mean, this is sort of the most deadly I guess virus that's known. There is still so much we don't know about this. We don't know where the reservoir for this is, where exactly it comes from.
GUPTA: It is so fascinating, such a medical mystery. They don't know. And just to give you a little bit of an idea of the process where the -- where the outbreak occurs, the virus hunter's will go in there and capture hundreds if not thousands of animals, trying to find the Ebola virus, what are known as antibodies, the response to the virus, anything, any kind of clue. They sort of think the fruit bats may be the reservoir, but after nearly 40 years, Anderson, they still have not confirmed it or proven it.
COOPER: Wow, Sanjay, be careful. I appreciate you being there. For more information on how you can help the victims of the Ebola virus outbreak and the doctors helping to fight it, go to cnn.com/impact.
Up next, Russian President Vladimir Putin warning that Ukraine is on the brink of a civil war as new protest rock the area.
Also Oscar Pistorius read a Valentine's Day card written by his girlfriend, Reeve Steenkamp, one she never gave to him because he killed her. What she wrote when we return.
COOPER: Update on breaking news out of Boston, we just learned the Boston police just moments ago destroyed one of two backpacks that were left near the finish line to next week's marathon. They did it by means of the controlled detonation. We do not know whether that bag or the other one contained anything dangerous. The detonation happened without incident. The area is blocked off. The police say they do have a man in custody.
Let's caught up in some of the other stories were following. Susan Hendricks has 360 bulletin -- Susan. SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Ukraine launched its first military action against pro-Russian separatists, a day after they ignored a warning to lay down their arms. Meanwhile, Russia's President Vladimir Putin weighed in telling Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war.
Oscar Pistorius facing a fifth and final day of his examination at his murder trial, the disabled athlete testified that he didn't consciously pull the trigger the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Afterwards, the defense had him read a Valentine's Day card that Reeva had intended to give him the day she died. The trial will wrap up in May.
Also today, charges filed against the suspect in the killings of three people near Kansas City, he could face the death penalty under one of the murder charges. Police say they have determined the shootings were a hate crime. Federal prosecutors are still investigating.
And the White House says it will award the Medal of Honor to former Sergeant Kyle White who tried to save fellow soldiers during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2007. His only cover from fire was a single tree on a mountain cliff -- Anderson.
COOPER: Incredible heroism. Susan, thanks very much. As you saw, the day ends in Boston with a chilling reminder of what happened a year ago, the suspicious backpacks that were detonated. And in the year since three people lost their lives, Boston Strong became the rallying cry for the city. Today, President Obama observed a moment of silence for those who died. In a statement, the president thanked the first responders and those who showed the spirit that Boston was built on in perseverance, freedom and love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We long to be anywhere but here in this moment, in this moment, 365 days an hour, after hate and violence disrupted a beautiful April day. Tonight, to be able to thank and embrace the first responders, will carry some of you to safety.
ADRIANNE HASLET-DAVIS, BOSTON BOMBING SURVIVOR: The biggest lesson of all the lessons I have learned over the past year is that something in your life, in anyone's life can go horrifically, terribly wrong in a matter of seconds. Yet it is up to us to make every single second count after, because believe me, they do.
GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK: I'm glad to join in the remembrance of Crystal, and Martin and Sean. I'm glad to share in acknowledging and supporting the families who survived, and the other survivors, many here, and some not yet ready to be here who still hurt from this tragedy and yet inspire us with their determination.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We are Boston. We are America. We respond. We endure. We overcome and we own the finish line.
COOPER: Boston strong. That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern for another edition of 360. "CNN TONIGHT" starts now.