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Underwater Search Continues for Flight 370; Russia's Next Move?; Critics: Obama Isn't Standing Up to Putin; Bluefin Back Underwater After Aborted Mission; Alleged Jewish Center Shooter Charged With Murder

Aired April 15, 2014 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: deep uncertainty in the new underwater hunt for Flight 370. Will the Bluefin-21 be able to finish its second mission after the first one was aborted? We're standing by for live updates on the search.

Another breaking story: a new warning of civil war in Ukraine, civilians trying to stop a moving tank with their bare hands as troops push back against pro-Russian protesters.

And the accused Jewish center killer is charged with murder. And federal prosecutors may soon attempt to punish him even more.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Right now, the best hope for finding Flight 370 is underwater searching for wreckage. The Bluefin-21 should be about eight hours right now into a 24-hour diving cycle if, if, nothing's gone wrong.

It was a little after this time yesterday that we learned the Bluefin's first mission had been aborted. Conditions are similar today, including the depth, which was a problem, so anything could happen.

Right now, our correspondents in the United States and around the world are covering all the breaking developments and our team of experts, they are here in THE SITUATION ROOM to break it all down.

Let's go to our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, first for the latest information -- Rene.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as we speak, that underwater search is happening. Mission number two is under way and the hope is the underwater vehicle will cover more ground this time. The Navy says mission one covered only about four square miles. It was supposed to scan 15.


MARSH (voice-over): After an abbreviated first launch, Bluefin-21 is back in the water and searching, but, so far, no trace of Flight 370. Extremely deep water caused it to abort its first mission.

CAPT. MARK MATTHEWS, U.S. NAVY: One condition that causes it to abort its dive is if it reaches its maximum operating depth of 4,500 meters. So, that's what happened in this case.

MARSH: Bluefin can operate in water almost three miles deep, but it turns out the search area, which is so remote and has never been mapped before, was deeper than expected. Bluefin was pushed to its limit.

It should have spent two hours diving to the ocean floor, 16 hours searching for wreckage, and two hours resurfacing. Instead, it only spent seven-and-a-half-hours in the water, including its trip to and from the surface.

MATTHEWS: Once it hit that max depth, it said, hey, this is deeper than I am programmed to be, so it aborted the mission.

MARSH: The Bluefin did collect data, which included first ever images of the seafloor, but they showed nothing of interest in areas crews consider to be the most promising.

As for the oil slick spotted nearly three-and-a-half miles away, they are still chasing that lead, waiting for the water sample to reach Australia.

MATTHEWS: Certainly, we're analyzing the water sample from that area to see if it was a petroleum product related to the aircraft, and we will know that over the next couple of days. And there's many possible sources of an oil sheen on the surface of the ocean, but it's -- would be one explanation is that it was lubricating fluid or control oil from the aircraft.

MARSH: As the search for the critical black boxes continues, an almost equally critical question looms: Who will get them?

HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER: I don't think it's important who gets custody as far as I'm concerned. And this is my own personal position. It's finding out the truth.

MARSH: That truth likely only to be found if or when the black boxes are.


MARSH: Well, since Flight 370 went missing, people have asked, is there a better way than radar to track planes?

In the U.S., radar tracks a plane's position every 4.7 seconds, but the FAA just announced the completion of a key part of an initiative to upgrade aviation technology. Eventually, the old ground-based radar system will be replaced with a satellite-based tracking system. Someone could still disable the system, but controllers and nearby pilots would be notified.

BLITZER: Rene, stand by. I want to get back to you in a moment. I want to go to Perth right now. Perth, Australia, that's the staging point for the aerial search. It's early Wednesday morning already, and the air search is about to resume.

Michael Holmes is on the scene for us.

What's the very latest there, Michael?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, well, certainly hoping they are going to get more out of this new dive than they got out of the last one, that aborted mission, of course, not something that they wanted to see.

But, you know, it's interesting. Those involved in the search say they actually hope that the Bluefin will be capable of going down lower than 4,500 meters, so they are going to be giving it all sorts of tests on this dive, seeing if it can stay down there below that level.

Initially, of course, that was thought to be the extent of its range. They are actually hoping to see if it could go even further, so, yes, you're right, they are several hours into this mission. They are hoping to get that side sonar to give them good data about the bottom of the ocean, but it is really only the very beginning, as we have been discussing. This is a search area that it could take them up to two months to cover at the pace that the Bluefin goes.

Meanwhile, as you say, just after 6:00 a.m. here in Perth, and the planes, we believe, will be going up again. Angus Houston, the search coordinator, had said a day or so ago in his briefing that that search would be wound down in the days ahead, but it is still ongoing as far as we know, that the planes will be up again having a look for any surface debris.

No luck so far, of course, and the ships that were looking as well, in that area, well to the west of where the Ocean Shield is, they have moved south, and they are looking at an area where they had previously looked, also hoping to find surface debris, but very much the focus, Wolf, on the bottom of the ocean at the moment. And hopefully when Bluefin surfaces a little later today, they will get some data that will show them how things look down there, Wolf.

BLITZER: Any indications over there? What are you hearing, Michael, about when the air search might end?

HOLMES: Yes, well, all we have got is what Air Vice Marshal Angus Houston said the other day, which was that it would wind down in the next few days. Well, we're a couple of days into that now, and no sign of the search ending. Instead, those ships are still out there and the planes are likely to go up again this morning.

We have heard nothing to the contrary. We normally get word from the search coordinating body in the next hour or two, and we will probably have more idea of that aerial and sea search then, but, at this stage, that search continues. But, as we have reported, six weeks -- we're into the sixth week now. It really does seem extraordinary that they have found absolutely nothing out there, as vast as the ocean is, no sign of Malaysian Flight 370 -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michael Holmes reporting from Perth, thank you.

Let's bring in our panel. Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, she's still here, along with our aviation analyst Peter Goelz, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.

Peter, this Bluefin-21, is that the best option right now available to try to find the two black boxes or any wreckage that may be on the floor of the ocean?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: I think it's the only option they have got right now. There are other options, tethered deep dive remote vehicles, but right now we have got the Bluefin and that's what we're going to use.

BLITZER: What about those other options? Because we have been hearing there are these other options, more guarantee that these other options can go deeper than the Bluefin-21.

MARSH: That's right, but, remember, when they first deployed Bluefin- 21, we still didn't even know what was going to be the focus of our search.

We thought at one point it was going to be in point A, then point B, so they didn't know that. They didn't know what they know now, which is how deep this water is. So you're right, there's other equipment that could go a lot deeper, but they're already in that position. It would take days for this boat to travel back to the port to switch out and get another piece of equipment which is better, so they have to work with what they have.

We do know that some testing has been done and they believe they could push it to the limit of 5,000 meters, so at some point it may even go deeper than the 4,500 meters.

BLITZER: If you push it too much to the limit, that whole system could collapse. You don't want to go too much to the limit, do you?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, but it raises the question why they didn't use the Echo to scan the bottom of the ocean to know exactly how deep it is in the area.

BLITZER: What's the answer to that? Why didn't they?

FUENTES: I don't know. That's what I'm saying. That's the question to be asked is why they didn't do that so they would know exactly the depth they're dealing with.


BLITZER: The Echo can go deeper than the Bluefin? FUENTES: Well, the Echo would map the bottom of the ocean and tell them what equipment they might need. And then they might need Bluefin's big brother, the Orion, which can go 20,000 feet deep and is towed on a sled.


GOELZ: I have no idea why they didn't bring the Echo in to do, you know, ocean bottom mapping, but Tom's right. There are a couple of other options that go deeper. They are a little slower and a little more cumbersome, but, boy, they can hit the bottom.

BLITZER: Are you hearing anything about that?

MARSH: Well, remember, Echo wasn't always in this position where it is now, so do keep that in mind. It came after Ocean Shield was focused on this area here, so perhaps that's the reason behind it.

Remember, this is an area unknown to man, as Angus Houston said. They don't have accurate charts on just how deep it is, so it was probably a surprise to them when they realized, wow, this is deeper than we thought it was.

BLITZER: Hold on for a minute.

I want to go back to Perth. Geoffrey Thomas is joining us now from Perth. He's the editor in chief of

What's the latest that you're hearing as far as this underwater search that's going on? You're there. You're on the scene, Geoffrey.


Look, the way it's been described to me is that this first mission that was aborted, this is more of a shakedown mission to see what the operating environment is at the very bottom. Echo has actually been in the area for quite some time, over a week, and it has been with Ocean Shield.

As Ocean Shield was towing the pinger through, Echo would follow it and do some mapping, although its echo sounding of the bottom is not nearly as accurate as sending something down right down to the bottom, 4,500 meters.

And, as described to me, they are adjusting Bluefin-21, they are tweaking it, and, of course, it's got software that self-aborts, bring it back up. They are changing the software, send it back down again, and it may be one or two or even three missions into -- with Bluefin- 21 before they get the software package right for the operating environment that they are working in at the moment.

BLITZER: It's a tough, tough challenge.

On that oil slick that they found in that general vicinity where the pings were detected, I know they are bringing a couple liters back to shore where you are in Perth, in Australia, to try to do some chemical analysis. What are you hearing about that? Are they confident, they're not so confident that this could be oil from that airliner?

THOMAS: Yes, very interesting, this one.

It was found three, three-and-a-half miles down sea and downwind of where they believe the black boxes are. It was described as doesn't look like it's from a ship, so it could be Mobile Jet 2, which is the lubricant used in the Rolls-Royce Trent engines this airplane, or maybe it's possibly hydraulic fluid.

Our understanding is, it's on its way back to Perth now for analysis and we're hoping within 24, maybe 48 hours, we will get some definition on this. And this could be the first piece of confirmed debris, if you like, from MH370.

BLITZER: You would think, Peter -- you're a former NTSB investigator -- they would have sent some chemists out on that ship to determine and do a little analysis. It's not that complicated to see if this is the kind of fuel or oil that comes from an airliner as opposed to a ship.

GOELZ: Well, I think they want to bring it to a lab and get it right. There's been enough missteps early on. They have got it. It's a little more challenging when it's been in the ocean for some time. They want to get it right. Let's hope that it is the first real indication of where it is, but we said won't be there for 24, 48 hours.

BLITZER: It's now 40 days into this search. They haven't found even a tiny piece of the wreckage yet. They think they are looking in the right place, because they did get those pings that were detected, one for two hours, but there's no guarantee, Tom, they are even looking in the right place right now.

FUENTES: No, there's no 100 percent guarantee. They are relying on the computations of the Inmarsat sat, satellite technicians and everything hinges, all the search effort, all of the investigation is riding on the analysis of a handful of people.

BLITZER: You have been doing some reporting, Rene, the FAA now looking at potentially a new way to track airliners. What are you hearing?

MARSH: Right. This is part of an initiative that's been in the works for years now called NextGen.

And part of that initiative is tracking airplanes with satellite-based technology, getting away from the old ground-based radar, and the question has been since we have started covering Flight 370 and the disappearance of it is, how can we better track airplanes?

And people are wondering, well, will this new announcement that FAA made about the infrastructure for this satellite-based technology being complete, would that have solved this problem here?

Here's the bottom line. The technology would allow pilots in the air to know where a plane is, in addition to the air traffic control towers, so now it's not just about the tower. If you're a pilot, you're in the air, you're aware of a plane. That being said, if a transponder is turned off, that other airplane would know right away, so if it falls through the cracks with this air traffic controller, you have several other people in the air who would be aware.

And as one expert put it, a plane would not be able to fly for eight hours without people not knowing where it is.

BLITZER: Yes. That's good information.

Geoffrey, let's say this second attempt to get that Bluefin-21 goes down and it's down there right now, but in the next few hours we learn that for a second time it has self-aborted and started coming back to the surface because it wasn't capable of reaching that depth. Where do they go from here if that were to happen? And there is a possibility that could happen.

HOLMES: Indeed.

Angus Houston has suggested, in fact, if the depth is consistently greater than 4,500 meters, if it's beyond the operating range, they are already looking at bringing other assets in that can go far, far deeper. And that's, indeed, what we may have to do after a -- more analysis of the bottom, more detailed analysis of the bottom, which is what we're getting right now. That's certainly on the radar, Wolf, absolutely.

BLITZER: Geoffrey Thomas in Perth, we will check back with you tomorrow. Thanks very much. We will check back, of course, with Tom, Peter, and Rene as well. Stand by, guys. More on this story coming up.

But, also, Ukrainian troops now, they are on the move in a new crackdown on pro-Russian protesters, so is the country on the brink of an all-out civil war? CNN is there on the front lines.

And the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General RICHARD Myers, he is standing by live with his assessment of the conflict and the worst tensions between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War.


BLITZER: "CROSSFIRE" won't be seen tonight, so we can bring you more on the mystery of Flight 370. And we will get back to that coverage in a few moments.

But, first, another urgent story we're monitoring right now in THE SITUATION ROOM. Anti-terrorist operations are under way in Eastern Ukraine, as government troops move into the region. They are trying to crack down on pro-Russian protesters.

Our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is on the ground. He's got more.

I know you have been out there. You're looking at what the Ukrainian army is doing. What are you seeing, Nick? NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, Kiev calls this an anti-terrorism operation, but obviously a lot of people on the ground, they're facing pro-Russian militants, not the normal association with terrorists we would see.

But moving around the Donetsk region, we have seen today the first signs of the Ukrainian army getting into position. We ran into a convoy of about 80-plus Ukrainian armored vehicles, supply vehicles, light artillery from an elite paratroop group, it seems. They didn't tell us exactly where they were going. They were moving around to the west of two of the key towns that have been taken over by taken by pro-Russian militants, Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, and said their orders were changing constantly.

But this is one of a number of signs of the military moving into position around here. A key town, Kramatorsk, I just mentioned, we're on the airfield, the outskirts of that used by the military in the past. That saw two Ukrainian helicopters land there, a number of troops get off. When we got to that site, a crowd already gathered from that neighboring town, Kramatorsk, were at the fence, some shouting abuse at the Ukrainian troops, others going to negotiate with them.

One drunken man, in fact, approaching them, warning shots fired in the air, tension, but also I think a degree of bemusement by everybody around there quite, a strange event occurring in otherwise what used to be a quiet part of Ukraine, but it really shows, I think, the hostile reception these Ukrainian troops are getting still inside the borders of their own territory inside Ukraine and the difficulties ahead for any broader operation here.

They are talking about in Kiev how they are moving against Slavyansk, that key town. We saw little signs of that when we were on a hilltop above it earlier on today. This is going to be a very lengthy and messy operation, Wolf, with the threat still there of those 40,000 Russian troops on the other side of the border who may intervene if Moscow thinks pro-Russian here protesters are having their rights abused -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Based on what everything you're seeing and hearing, and I know you're well-plugged-in over there, Nick, what happens next?

WALSH: Difficult to say.

I mean, we wonder whether or not the Ukrainian army really has the resources or the stomach to launch a full-scale operation like that one they have been promising. What we saw today is the beginning. It's very possible while these movements haven't sparked bloodshed at this particular point, only one fatality we know of, Ukrainian security official killed on Saturday trying to get into Slavyansk, it's possible if they persist, there will, of course, be injuries, perhaps deaths at a later stage.

The real massive question here is whether or not in Kiev they have made the judgment that doing nothing and letting parts of the east slip out of their control is better at this tense time, president elections imminent, or whether they can run the risk of potentially provoking Russian military intervention and then even a war against their greater, huger neighbor here, so very complicated set of decisions here for a fledgling Ukrainian government -- Wolf. .

BLITZER: Nick Paton Walsh on the scene for us, thank you.

Elsewhere in the country, pro-Ukrainian nationalists are cheering the government's push into eastern cities. They're calling on the new government to secure Ukraine's sovereignty.

Our senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, is joining us from Kiev right now, the Ukrainian capital.

Arwa, these are really tense moments right now, so why did the Ukraine government finally decide to act?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, first of all, the government had issued numerous deadlines to these pro- Russian protesters, telling them to evacuate the various buildings that they had been occupying.

All of those deadlines had passed and that's been the source of a fair amount of frustration here in Kiev, where the vast majority of the population has been quite angered by what they were calling the passive response of their fledgling government.

We have also been seeing small demonstrations, people calling for the government to take more concrete action, so this perhaps could be the government finally trying to establish itself as a credible force and also establish its credibility amongst its population -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What about the Ukrainian troop movements, the size of the operation? Arwa, what are you learning?

DAMON: Well, the government isn't disclosing specific details about that. We do know that around 350 individuals, members of a national guard force, were dispatched earlier today to the eastern part of the country.

Interestingly, these are people that were activists beforehand and they just received two months of training. Alongside that, you also have civilians that are taking matters into their own hands. We met one of them earlier today, a man by the name of Igor Lutenskok (ph), who was making his own body armor, planning on dispatching that to the front lines as well. And we asked him why he felt he had to take such drastic measures.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We should not have any hope on, you know, government, on international community. As soon as we start to do something, the help will come. And if you do not start to do anything, nothing will come.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALSH: Of course, the concern at this stage, Wolf, is that if more civilians decide to take matters into their own hands, that could further complicate what already is a very messy and dangerous situation.

BLITZER: Arwa Damon in Kiev for us, thank you.

The White House is making clear it's not considering giving lethal aid to U.S. allies in Ukraine, at least not now.

Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski is joining us. She pressed the administration on the options that are out there on the table.

Michelle, what are they doing as far as aid to Ukraine is concerned?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We obviously know in the past few days the passage of this billion-dollar loan guarantee package, so the administration has repeatedly referred to that, that that's a big help in their estimation to the government of Ukraine to be able to move forward and establish some security when they can over the situation.

Maybe we should say if they can. But in the near term, of course, the administration is being pressed on what does the U.S. and its allies do at this point. Yes, the administration says there should not be a military solution. They repeatedly stress that, that they are not considering lethal aid to Ukraine, but they also made it clear after some questions that military assistance such as gear, night-vision goggles, that that's not off the table.

The administration says they are looking at ways to support Ukraine. They are considering options, but, obviously, didn't want to go into a lot of detail, Wolf.

BLITZER: There's a lot of criticism of the president. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page, as you know -- and they have often been critical of the president -- they had an editorial saying Putin acts and Obama assesses.

How's the White House reacting to that kind of criticism?

KOSINSKI: Absolutely.

Yesterday, the administration faced a barrage of questions from reporters, including us, as to what's really going on here. I mean, essentially, Russia has taken over Crimea. It looks like it's making moves. The administration admits that Russia is behind these moves in Eastern Ukraine, so what do you do?

But no one can deny that it's a difficult situation on either side, whether you continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, as the U.S. has continued to do, or what is the other option, acting militarily? The U.S. has chosen to act in these small steps in close concert with European allies. I mean, we pressed them saying, why not go for sanctions now if it would affect the U.S. economically less than Europe? They said it's really not the U.S.' responsibility to know how Russia's going to react to this. Here's part of the briefing from today.


KOSINSKI: Because it was Russia that reached out to the U.S. in this case, would you say that there was any nugget of progress in this call?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have not yet seen from Russia a decision to stop supporting separatists, pro-Russians in Ukraine, and we have not seen Russia make the decision or act on the decision to remove the extensive number of troops they have placed on the Ukrainian border.

We are prepared because of the authorities that we have in the executive orders the president signed to escalate sanctions and other costs if and when Russia escalates its actions.


KOSINSKI: So even in this direct contact with Vladimir Putin by phone, what the U.S. walks away with is no progress, but hope, as they put it, hope in these talks coming up on Thursday -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Michelle, thank you.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with General Richard Myers. He's a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

General, thanks very much for coming in.

How explosive is this situation right now?


It seems like Russia is doing several things that are very dangerous. The overflight of the ship multiple times is provocative.

BLITZER: They were effectively buzzing a U.S....

MYERS: Buzzing a U.S. ship, right.

BLITZER: A destroyer that's in the Black Sea.

MYERS: Right. That's provocative.

BLITZER: That stuff doesn't happen accidentally.

MYERS: No, it doesn't, but you don't know how high a level the orders were given.

BLITZER: I assume that's a high level. It was a dozen times, right? MYERS: It should be if somebody in the United States Navy or Air Force did something like that, and they weren't authorized to do it, a foreign vessel, they'd probably -- they'd probably come up for some sort of reprimand. But so we don't know that, but that's one of the things, I think, is dangerous. Having so many forces outside Ukraine right on the border, that's dangerous. Saying that these aren't taking over these towns are not instigated by Russians is ridiculous and dangerous. So all these actions are dangerous.

You know, 100 years ago was the anniversary of World War I, 1914 when it started, and it started over an incident that got out of hand, diplomacy couldn't work and went somewhere, I think, that nobody thought it could go, in a so-called end-all war. So this is very dangerous stuff that Russia and Putin are playing with.

BLITZER: Well, I just want to be precise. You think this could escalate into something like that?

MYERS: No. No, to be precise, no, but I think you never know. So I mean, I think I'd be very careful when, you know, the most likely thing is that these meetings on Thursday, hopefully, will come up with some diplomatic way to keep it from escalating. But escalation is possible if Russia keeps moving in the direction it's moving, if there -- is shots are fired, if there are people killed, then this could escalate, sure.

BLITZER: If there's a miscalculation, this could really get out of control. But you know Putin. You know the leadership over there. You used to deal with them when you were chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Why are they doing this?

MYERS: You know, that's a really good question, and why we aren't -- why they aren't taking advantage of some of the diplomatic overtures that have been made by both the E.U., by the United States, I do not know. Because that's the way to solve this, to find out where there's intersection of interests and try to solve them. And not do this, not let it play out in the public.

BLITZER: We've heard that the White House, the administration, the president, has asked the military for recommendations, military options, if you will. We know the NATO supreme allied commander is doing that, the chairman of the joint chiefs. What are legitimate U.S. military options in dealing with a crisis like this?

MYERS: Well, legitimate is an interesting term. There are, I'm sure without knowing exactly, there are lots of options being provided.

BLITZER: Like what? What for example? Give me an example.

MYERS: Well, the obvious one is can we provide armaments to Ukrainian armed forces? Do they need training to use them? Should we put advisers in there with them so there's a U.S. presence on the ground? There's all sorts of things you could...

BLITZER: That would be seen -- if the U.S. sent troops into Ukraine, whether as advisers, whatever you're going to call them, that would be seen by the Russians as an immediate threat to their neighborhood.

MYERS: Yes, and so it's Newton's Law. For every action, there's an opposite and equal reaction. So I said there are lots of options probably being presented, but they'll go through those options, as we always did, around the situation room table and say, "Well, here are the consequences, we think, so that's not a very good option, so we'll put that off the table for a while." I don't think there are good military options right now.

BLITZER: A lot of NATO allies in Eastern Europe right now, whether Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, they're pretty nervous. There's no possibility -- correct me if I'm wrong -- that the Russians would move on a NATO ally, knowing the treaty obligations that would immediately go into effect. An attack on one NATO ally is an attack on all of the NATO allies.

MYERS: You would think not and you would hope not, but the actions we've seen here in the last four weeks, five weeks, you would think not and hope not a lot of that, but it's already happened. So, you know, I don't know. But they should know. They should know that I think the alliance will stand firm. Has to stand firm or it's over.

BLITZER: So when you say there are no really good military options. The options that are in effect are economic sanctions, diplomatic sanctions, political sanctions, that kind of stuff to try to deal with the Russians?

MYERS: Other instances of national power, as you mentioned. The economic, diplomatic, political, and they have to be tried first. You have to go through all those, and military will be the last option, but it's not a very good option for NATO, for U.S. forces, and this particular case.

BLITZER: We hear Senator John McCain and others say at least send them defensive weapons, the Ukrainians. Would that be a good idea?

MYERS: Well, there's consequences to that.

BLITZER: What other consequences?

MYERS: Well, do they need training? Does that mean you have to bring people in to train them on these weapons? Can they use them in a responsible way, according to the laws of war, and you know, are there going to be more civilian causalities because we arm them with something that they don't know how to use properly? All those sorts of things.

And how provocative will that be seen by the Russians? And so I think -- if you think -- if you think it's going to come down to that, that the Ukrainians are going to have to defend themselves, we're in a very bad spot.

BLITZER: One concern I've heard, and you would know this better than me, what I've heard from U.S. officials, Pentagon officials, military, there's concerns that there are elements in the Ukrainian military that were actually very sympathetic to the Russians. MYERS: That's probably so. I mean, we've seen that in militaries around the world. There's always sympathizers. We found, you know, Islamic fundamentalists in some of the allies we had in the...

BLITZER: One of the reasons the U.S. doesn't provide weapons to the Syrians, who are opposed to Bashar al-Assad, because those weapons could wind up in bad hands.

MYERS: But the big point, I think even the military, and I can't speak for the military, because I'm sure they're figuring all this out, but the diplomacy has to have a chance to work through the meetings on Thursday that I think Michelle mentioned. That's -- that's where our hope is.

BLITZER: General Myers, as usual, thanks for coming in.

MYERS: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, an underwater drone in uncharted territory. The potential problems the Bluefin-21 may be facing right now in the hunt for Flight 370.

And an ocean scientist will help us better understand the Bluefin's limits as it makes its second dive toward the bottom of the sea.


BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in the hunt for Flight 370. The Bluefin-21 drone is in the midst of its second dive right now, after its first mission was aborted. That setback is driving home the enormous challenges of this sea underwater search. Tom Foreman is joining us from our virtual studio right now to show us what the Bluefin is up against.

Tom, explain, because a lot of viewers really want to understand this.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, just getting this thing in and out of the water on the surface is not an easy job. If you have a storm, if there are big waves, it can be impossible.

But once you go beneath the surface, you have to bear in mind this device is entering an utterly foreign and hostile environment, where any kind of work can be difficult. We've been describing as if you just drop it down there, and it rides back and forth and takes a sonic picture of the bottom of the ocean and that's simple. It is not. Far from it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points out that 95 percent of the world's deep oceans are uncharted. They don't know what's down there. So the terrain might be smooth like this, or maybe it's craggy like the Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains. They don't know.

So figuring out how to negotiate these turns and get the right depth from the right picture from the Bluefin is very, very tough. You're doing all this just barely above freezing, by the way, which is a challenge.

What else is there to worry about? Pressure, pressure, always a huge issue. If you went out and swam in the ocean and you went down ten feet, you would feel about 19 pounds per square inch of pressure against you. That would feel like a fair amount at ten feet, but if you push this down to two miles down, look, it jumps to more than 4,700 pounds of pressure.

And if you go all the way down to three miles, where we're talking about maybe having to operate here, that's the equivalent of having an African elephant standing on your big toe and having that kind of pressure all the way around. That is really a tremendous amount of pressure to exert on a piece of machinery.

And last of all, Wolf, what's down there? The bottom of the ocean, largely all over the world, is comprised of silt. Silt is the leftover bits from decaying plants and animals and volcanic ash and interstellar dust and dirt and all sorts of things that can fall into the ocean. It can be of different depths in different places. They routinely take cores of this that might be 100 feet or more in length, that sort of thing, and it can be hard or it can be soft. If it is soft and easily manipulated like this, well, what you're looking for can be buried inside it. So even as the Bluefin goes over, it may not be able to get a picture of it. And if you get down trying to look around for it, you can stir it up and create another big problem.

All in, Wolf, again, what you're talking about here is a very forbidding and hostile environment that they're sending this piece of equipment into. It is a great piece of technology, but it is up against very stiff resistance -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Excellent explanation. Tom Foreman, thank you. Let's bring in ocean scientist Ellen Prager. She's joining us from Miami.

That was a good explanation from Tom, and I understand that bottom over there, the floor of the Indian Ocean where they're searching, has really never been mapped at all, so they're not sure what's down there, right?

ELLEN PRAGER, OCEANOGRAPHER: That's correct. In fact, you know, you can go on the Web and you can bring up a picture of the bottom topography of the world ocean, and it looks like we know what's there.

But, in fact, that's a base map that's done from satellite altimetry, and it's only along the coast or where there are ships where we have real economic or navigation interests where you have a detailed picture of the sea floor. Where we are talking about in the southern Indian Ocean, we have a very basic map of what's there, but we don't know what the sediment types are. Are there rocks? Is it rugged, how deep the silt is.

Just as Tom -- Tom did a great job of talking about some of those challenges, but we have a crude map, essentially, and on top of that, we need more detailed information.

BLITZER: Do they even know for sure how deep that water is over there?

PRAGER: They have -- they have an idea. They have a general idea of the depth, and they'll know if there's a trench or if there's a rise. You can actually get that from satellites, you know, is it a trench, is it a peak, is it a very flat area, but they won't know on small scales do you have a very narrow valley, do you have something small sticking up? So they have a general idea, but not detailed to the extent that they need to preprogram that Bluefin to exact depths.

ELLEN PRAGER, OCEAN SCIENTIST & AUTHOR: Just as Tom -- Tom did a great job of talking about some of those challenges, but we have a crude map, essentially, and on top of that, we need more detailed information.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do they even know for sure how deep that water is over there?

PRAGER: They have an idea. They have a general idea of the depth, and they'll know if there's a trench or if there's a rise. You can actually get that from satellites. You know, is it a trench, is it a peak, is it a very flat area?

But they won't know on small scales do you have a very narrow valley? Do you have something small sticking up?

So, they have a general idea, but not detailed to the extent that they need to preprogram that Bluefin to exact depths.

BLITZER: How worried should we be, Ellen, that that Bluefin could be destroyed if it crashes into some rocks or some canyons there, stuff that it might not necessarily see?

PRAGER: Well, it's probably has a sensor in it that would prevent it from crashing into something, but you know, Wolf, amazing thing is, we've lost AUVs under the ice, in the middle of the ocean, so AUVs have gotten lost doing this kind of mission. I don't think the problem is going to be crashing. I suspect they have a sensor that would tell them they are getting too close, but, you know, all those conditions that Tom described could also impact the mechanics, the pressure, the batteries. You could have a technical failure, as well.

So, it's not an easy challenge that they've taken on.

BLITZER: It's by no means a slam dunk, if you will.

Let's say, you know, the first mission, self aborted after a few hours because it was going too low, wasn't programmed to go that low. The second mission is now under way as we speak.

Let's say there's another self abortion and it starts going up to the top. What do we do next?

PRAGER: Well, I think they'll do two things. I mean, I think they'll just keep modifying it until they get it right and they'll send it back down. And in the meantime, my guess would be they are also looking for other assets that could be used in deeper water.

So, you know, they'll be tweaking, essentially, this one to get it right if that happens, but I think at the same time you'd be looking for a back-up system.

BLITZER: We'll check back with you tomorrow, Ellen, if we can. Thanks very much, Ellen Prager, the oceanographer joining us from Miami.

Just ahead, we'll have the latest on our coverage of the mystery of Flight 370 as we're tracking that Bluefin-21 on this, its second day of searching. The air search, by the way, is resuming right now, as well.

And authorities are charging Frazier Glenn Cross -- there he is -- with murder charges. But are they calling the shooting at the Jewish community center in Kansas a hate crime?


BLITZER: Authorities are charging 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross with the murder in the deaths of three people two days after the rampage at a Jewish community center near Kansas City. Cross was in court today.

CNN's George Howell was there as well. George is joining us with the very latest.

So, how did it go down, George?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we saw cross in the courtroom today, brought in with a wheelchair, wearing a suicide smock. He didn't say anything except that he couldn't pay for an attorney. An attorney will be appointed for him. His bond has been set at $10 million.

And now, we know that he faces two charges here in the state of Kansas, one for capital murder for the death of William Corporon, a doctor who moved here from Oklahoma to be closer with his family, and his grandson, Reat Underwood, a 14-year-old boy who came to the Jewish community center to compete in a singing competition. Both were shot and killed in their car.

The other charge is for first degree premeditated murder. That charge for the death of Teresa LaManno, just a mile away from where we are, at a retirement home. She went there to see her mother. That's where she was shot and killed.

At this point again, he remains in custody, and officials are considering more charges.

BLITZER: What about the charge of hate crime?

HOWELL: That's the other charge. You know, at this point, we know that federal officials are looking into the possibility as to whether this is a hate crime. But you remember what investigators said just the other day, that they believe the evidence that they have seen, the witness statements that they have heard, they believe that this rises to the level of a hate crime.

Now, it's up to federal prosecutors. And quite frankly, Attorney General Eric Holder to make that decision as to whether this case will be a hate crime.

Also important to point out the sentencing. Here in the state of Kansas, he really could face either life without parole or the death penalty. Prosecutors do not have to indicate which way they're going with that. But those are the two options that they will consider in this case.

BLITZER: The issue of hate crime, there is some discussion he was clearly an anti-Semite. He made it clear he wanted to kill Jews. He hated African-Americans. He was also a racist.

But the three people he allegedly shot were not Jewish, were not African American. They were white and they were Christian. So how does that play into the hate crime issue?

HOWELL: Well, you certainly have to take into account all of the information that is quite available online. You have to take into account what witnesses say he said when he came here, that he went around asking people if they were Jewish. The prosecutors will have to take all of that into consideration to decide whether he went into this to hurt people, that he had a problem with, for lack of a better word that will go into consideration to determining whether this is a hate crime.

BLITZER: George Howell in Overland Park, Kansas, outside of Kansas City for us -- thanks very much.

More on this story coming up tomorrow.

Just ahead, the newest information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM on the search for Flight 370. Stand by for all the breaking developments.


BLITZER: We're following all the breaking developments in the search for Flight 370. We're standing by to see if the Bluefin 21 is able to complete its second mission that's under way right now. The drone aborted its first dive because the water was too deep. Search leaders just confirmed that nothing of interest turned up in that first scan for wreckage.

Planes are heading back to the Indian Ocean to search the surface for wreckage. There is talk the air search may end this week. Still no final decision on that.

We're also told that analysis of an oil slick found near the search area should be completed within the next 24 to 48 hours. We could learn then if it's oil from Flight 370 or not.

Remember, you can always follow us on twitter. Go ahead and tweet me @WolfBlitzer. Tweet the show @CNNSitRoom. Be sure to join us tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM. Watch us live or DVR the show, so you won't miss a minute.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.