Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
U.S. General Shot Dead In Afghanistan Attack; Second Ebola Patient Arrives In U.S. For Treatment; Two Americans Infected With Ebola Use Experimental Drug; Israel Delegation Lands in Cairo for Peace Talks; Interview with Jen Psaki; Plane Held at NYC Airport Over Ebola Concerns; Sierra Leone Deploys Troops to Fight Ebola Spread
Aired August 5, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for me. Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, we now know the identity of the U.S. general shot and killed in Afghanistan today. The highest ranking officer killed in action since Vietnam.
Plus potential new cases of Ebola around the world. An Ebola survivor is OUTFRONT to tell us what it was like for him.
A major Russian troop build-up along the Ukrainian border. Our reporter on the scene just blocks away from a massive firefight. Tonight, let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, CNN learning the identity of a U.S. general shot dead in Afghanistan today. The most senior American officer killed in action since the Vietnam War. We are going to our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, and Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, in just a moment.
Also breaking tonight, though, the Ebola scare in the United States and West Africa. Dr. Sanjay Gupta outside of the Atlanta area hospital where a second American with Ebola is now being treated. David McKenzie is at the epicenter of the outbreak tonight. The only television reporter in Sierra Leone.
And we are live in Gaza tonight with Martin Savidge for the latest in the fragile cease-fire. First, though, it's being called an insider attack. U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene shot and killed in Afghanistan today. The gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training facility in Kabul killing the general and injuring 14 coalition troops including Americans.
The Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the violence, but did praise the shooter. The shooter was killed by security forces on the scene. Greene's family has been notified. The Pentagon says he was a 34-year Army veteran, a leader in the training command in Afghanistan. A man dedicating his life to training Afghans to take over their own security was murdered by one of them. Let's begin with Jim Sciutto in Washington. Jim, how did this happen?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is a high level visit to what's been described as Afghanistan's West Point in effect. It's the training center for senior Afghan military officers, which is a big priority for U.S. and coalition forces there.
Arguably one of the most secure places in Afghanistan. But what this general did not know and the others who were injured was that lurking among the Afghan soldiers there was one who was going to take his own gun, a Russian-made light machine gun and turn it on his American partners there.
You know, they've taken a lot of measures, Erin, to reduce these so- called green on blue attacks when Afghan soldiers attack coalition soldiers and they've had a lot of success. Those attacks way down since 2012, but obviously the threat not eliminated.
BURNETT: Not eliminated and Army Major General Harold Greene, we now know the name. We waited throughout the day to get confirmation of that, Jim. He was killed today. They needed to notify his family. What can you tell us about him? This is a man who is dedicating his life to training Afghan soldiers, a man who has spent more than 30 years with the U.S. military.
SCIUTTO: That's right. He was deputy commander of what's called the combined Security Transition Command. So this is deeply involved in transitioning security control in Afghanistan from coalition forces, American forces, who as we know and reported are withdrawing to Afghan forces, which we've been -- which U.S. forces have been dedicated a lot of man-hours, a lot of money trained to take over this role.
He was essential in this process. As you said, 34-year veteran. Prior to this he was involved in reforming how the Pentagon buys all of its military equipment. And just before we came to air, Erin, a statement was released by General Ray Odierno. He is the army chief of staff.
Here's what he had to say about Major General Greene. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the families of the soldiers injured today. Eight American soldiers injured as well. These soldiers were professionals committed to the mission. It is their service and sacrifice that define us as an Army."
But he goes on to say they will be committed to their mission, which when you've traveled with soldiers there even when they lose someone and tough when it's a senior commander. They are committed to the mission and they focus on the next step.
BURNETT: Jim Sciutto, thank you very much. Joining me on the phone is Pentagon spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby. Admiral, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us.
You know, as you heard Jim Sciutto report, these attacks, they've dropped in frequency, but they're still happening. How could this have happened? REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, CNN PENTAGON SPOKESMAN (via telephone): Well, that's what the investigation is going to look at real hard, Erin. I don't have all the specific details and circumstances today. It is still a dangerous place, Afghanistan, still a combat zone.
We work very hard to try to mitigate the threat, the insider threat, specifically and we've done a lot over the last couple of years to do that. You don't hear about as many of these happening as we did just a couple years ago, but it's very difficult to say that you can eliminate it altogether.
There's a lot of security precautions that are taken. There were security force personnel present on this trip. They did respond eventually killing the assailant, but it's very difficult to eliminate it completely.
BURNETT: But these are Afghans who are vetted, trusted, trained by Americans, providing security on U.S. bases. I mean, they've killed dozens of coalition troops. I know it may sound like an unfair question because I know the answer, but I think it's fair to ask it. You can't guarantee this won't happen again, can you?
KIRBY: There are few guarantees in war, Erin, no, we cannot guarantee that it will never happen again. But what we can guarantee our Afghan partners, troops and certainly Americans is that we're going to do everything we can to try to get at this threat as much as possible.
We're going to do everything we can to mitigate and minimize it and to prevent something like this from happening again. There's an investigation going on. We need to let that play out. We just don't know all the facts right now.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Admiral Kirby. We appreciate you are taking the time, again the spokesperson for the Pentagon. Now to break this down, our national security analyst, Fran Townshend, she was the security adviser to George W. Bush.
You know, Fran, Admiral Kirby had to answer the question honestly, they can't guarantee this won't happen again. Yes, the numbers are down. But appalling to so many Americans that in a war this country is committed to leaving, the president is drawing down troops, you have people still dying, the first general killed in combat since Vietnam today in Afghanistan.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's extraordinary. It's tragic for the troops he leads, the command he led, and his family, right? So it really is a particularly painful event. I will tell you I think we've got to be careful to not too quickly jump to conclusions. This is somebody wearing an Afghan army uniform. Was this, as you suggested, a vetted, trained --
BURNETT: Someone that took a uniform and put it on?
TOWNSEND: Exactly right. Because we know the Taliban, they're growing in strength, they're being more aggressive. They've praised this attack, they've not yet taken claim for it. We don't know if this is a member or sympathizer with the Taliban who put on an Afghan army uniform. I think we just have to wait. As Admiral Kirby said to hear the facts.
BURNETT: It is so difficult though when I was in Afghanistan with a sergeant with a family at home, every day he was going out to train Afghan forces. He talked about the relationship that he had with them and how he trusted them and believed in the cause of what he was doing.
And so many of them are trying to come and fight for their country and do the right thing, but when these sorts of things happen, it makes you question as an American, why this country is still continuing with this mission as troops are coming out. You have fewer and fewer people to defend.
TOWNSEND: Although I will tell you what you wouldn't have seen when you visited with that sergeant -- like you, Erin, I was in Afghanistan in the spring of 2013 with General Danford, got briefed on the study they did --
BURNETT: The study on Afghan troops killing American.
TOWNSEND: Killing American trainers. It's extraordinary the steps and personnel and resources they devote to protecting the trainers. So you have watchers who are there. When that sergeant's out training, there are people committed to watching him and watching his back while he does the training. And that's how they reduced the numbers dramatically, these sorts of incidents.
BURNETT: But is the pull down of troops going to mean that there are more of these?
TOWNSEND: What it means is, look, we know that the Taliban is looking for opportunities to launch more attacks. This is one of the vectors we know they're very focused on. So that is certainly a risk. It's what makes getting the security agreement in place so we don't do it precipitously so important.
BURNETT: All right, Fran Townsend, thank you very much.
Still OUTFRONT, the second American infected with Ebola now on American soil. Many others being tested. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live from the hospital where the victim is being treated.
Plus the experimental drug given to both American Ebola patients, is it a cure? We have a special report on exactly what this is.
Breaking news out of Ukraine, a Russian troop build-up surging along the border. Our Nick Paton Walsh is there with a fire fight going on just behind him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Another gunshot I've just heard. You can hear that in the distance, Erin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The second American aid worker diagnosed with Ebola now being treated in the United States. A specially equipped plane carrying Nancy Writebol just arrived outside of Atlanta this morning.
Nancy Writebol was then whisked away in ambulance to Emory University Hospital to be treated for the lethal virus. Tonight, there are fears that the virus may have spread beyond Africa. Saudi Arabia is now testing a man who fell ill after traveling to Sierra Leone, which is the epicentre of the deadly outbreak.
We have more from Sierra Leone coming up in the center of the hot zone. Some incredible footage. The only television reporter in the world inside Sierra Leone. First, though, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT live at Emory University. Sanjay, what have you learned about Nancy Writebol's condition?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We heard obviously that she is stable, stable enough to make that trip, that medical evacuation trip from Africa to Atlanta. We also got a better idea today of just how sick she was a few days ago. I want you to listen to what Bruce Johnson, the head of SIM USA had to say about her husband.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, SIM USA: A week ago we were thinking about a possible funeral arrangements. Yet we kept our faith. Now we have a real reason to be hopeful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: One of the things worth pointing out, he talks about being hopeful. She did receive two doses of this experimental serum that we talked about a bit. It's a type of medication that had been not used before in a human being ever before Dr. Kent Brantly and then Nancy Writebol.
They sound like they had pretty amazing recovery as a result. We'll have to see how they do over the next several days. As of now, she's in a hospital getting assessed how much of an impact this disease has had on her heart, lungs, kidney and liver. Then hopes to meet with her family as well -- Erin.
BURNETT: I mean, it is incredible. We do have a Special Report on that. I know serum isn't necessarily the right word but this potentially miraculous treatment that they received.
But what precautions is the hospital taking to ensure the safety? I mean, these people that they were in a plane, and then transited to an ambulance, I mean. You thing about the risks that were taken.
GUPTA: Yes. There's no question, and you see the suits people wear, the people who are in closest contact with patients who are sick with Ebola. That is because you don't want to get any of the body fluid on any part of your skin because that can potentially cause an infection.
But Erin, look. I'm outside of the hospital. That's the hospital right here behind me. That is where the isolation unit is. I can tell you, I've been here all day. It's sort of business as usual. So for the vast majority of the hospital personnel and, certainly, the people in this community there's just no risk. And you just don't feel that at all.
The doctors and nurses that go in, they take care of the patient do have to take these precaution and wear those suits. They use a buddy system to make -- they can check each other to make sure each other is actually covered adequately. When they walk in there, they go in, in pairs for that very reason. They take their temperature twice a day as well to see if there's any signs of a viral exposure.
But I can tell you Dr. Ribner, who is the lead doctor, he says he'll go home every night. He is going to sleep in his own bed because his concern of being sick is so low, that you know, he doesn't worry about actually going back to his own home.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Sanjay Gupta.
And I want to bring Doctor Thomas Cairns, the man who was infected and survived -- affected with Ebola and survived before they even knew what it was. That's what's incredible. They didn't have all these special treatments.
Dr. Cairns was performing an autopsy at the hospital. We are going to show you now this is what's in now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at the time in the '70s, it was Zaire. During the procedure, he nicked himself with a scalpel. Less than two weeks later he was gravely ill.
And Dr. Cairns, you know, when you saw you yesterday, you said that at first it felt like the flu. And for almost two weeks, you have no symptoms, whatsoever, you felt completely fine. Then you felt like you had the flu but much worse. So when did you realize what you had was not the flu? And what was it about the symptoms specifically that made you know it was different?
DR. THOMAS CAIRNS, EBOLA SURVIVOR: You know, the fever was certainly a big part of it. Fever in flu normally doesn't drag on that long. And it carried on -- my wife made very good temperature charts. And this went on for, you know, well over a week into two weeks, and that would not be typical for flu.
In addition, the rash that I developed, that would not be typical for flu. So we were realizing this is not a classical flu. There's something more to it than that.
BURNETT: And where was the rash? We heard Dr. Brantly who now is recovering. They described a rash on his torso. What kind of a rash was it for people who may, you know, trying to understand? So many people are afraid and confused about the symptoms.
CAIRNS: I don't know that I can tell you in detail because as I said last night I was pretty much in a stupor. But there was a definite rash on much of the body is all I know.
BURNETT: A rash on much of the body. And in terms of what was the virus doing to your body when you had this rash and you had this fever that had put you to such an extent and such a high fever that you were in a stupor?
CAIRNS: Well, the virus is working throughout the entire body. It's attacking cells all throughout. Whether a liver, kidneys, you name it. It's not just the visible like the skin. It's acting in many parts of the body to destroy. And that's what it's all about.
BURNETT: And that's what causes the -- I guess at first it could be that you're throwing up, you're vomiting, you have diarrhea, but then just bleeding.
CAIRNS: Correct. And patients can go into liver failure and renal failure and a major organ failure because of it as well.
BURNETT: So what were doctors doing to keep you alive? Again, to emphasize to our viewers, given the mortality rate of this disease, you did not even know you had Ebola.
CAIRNS: That's correct, yes. My physician there, my colleague -- we were the only two doctors at the station at the time, was using IVs. They were giving me aspirin. And nowadays that seems very strange because we don't normally use aspirin in people that were bleeding. But that's what we had available at the time. But those are the big ones as well as a lot of what I would call spiritual care, prayer for me and this sort of thing.
Overall, it was a very difficult time and very little that we could do to cure it. We didn't know what we were dealing with. It was purely supportive care.
BURNETT: And it must have been, honestly, Dr. Cairns, a miracle that you didn't infect your wife or your children or anyone else. Because we are talking about a man who came in and died and a scalpel that you used to treat him, that's how you got this disease and almost died. They were caring for you not knowing not to get anywhere near any bodily fluids, and yet they didn't get it.
CAIRNS: That's right. Using that word "miracle" is exactly the word I would use, too. I can't account for it other than the power of God.
BURNETT: Wow. That's an incredible thing to say, and from a doctor. Thank you so much, Dr. Cairns.
CAIRNS: Yes. Thank you.
BURNETT: And still OUTFRONT, the experimental cocktail that could have saved two Americans from Ebola. It wasn't supposed to be tested on humans until next year at least.
And a delicate cease-fire in the Middle East. We are live in Gaza tonight.
BURNETT: There's still so many questions about the drug that could save two Americans from Ebola, and obviously the hope would be that it would help save the lives of so many who are in grave danger of losing their lives in Africa. It's called zmapp. It is an experimental medication. It is not approved by the FDA.
Doctors say that when it was given to Dr. Kent Brantly his condition improved dramatically. And when we say dramatically, it is not an exaggeration. It was an improvement, a dramatic one, in one hour.
Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT with the money and power of the cocktail.
ERICA OLLMANN SAPHIRE, PROFESSOR, SCRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE: It's profound. Everything we work for.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Erica Ollmann Saphire is part of the team of 25 labs in seven countries that created the serum taken by both American Ebola patients. And so far the cocktail seems to be working. Until now, the drug wasn't known to the public. It wasn't even supposed to be tested on humans until 2015.
Did you have any reservations before the outbreak happened about trying it on people?
SAPHIRE: I thought it would work. I would take it myself. But I know what it is. And I spent my life studying Ebola virus.
ELAM: Saphire says the antibodies work by binding to the virus or the infected cell.
SAPHIRE: So this is a model that we made of the structure of the structure of this protein that's in the surface of the virus, green and white. Yellow is the antibody. So this is the molecule, the virus uses to attach to a human cell and drive itself in. The antibody will attach itself to it and do one of a couple things. One of the ones in the zmapp cocktail alerts the system to the presence of the infection. The other two do exactly this. They bind to the base of this molecule and prevent it from working.
ELAM: One reason it takes so long to make doses is the need to re- create the antibodies, something the scientists are able to do rather cheaply with tobacco plants.
DR. CHARLES ARTNZEIN, PROFESSOR, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY: They're taking hundreds of plants a t a time, dipping them in this genetic solution. The plants take up the virus, they start this process of viral infection, and in the process, get jammed full of monoclonal antibody. As the plant starts turning yellow because it's going to die from the viral infection, once you see that the plant has gotten to that point, the guys in Kentucky harvest the leaf material.
ELAM: After separating the antibodies through a multistep process, the three desired antibodies are then combined to make the drug that the Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, received. It's called zmapp.
SAPHIRE: It looks very promising and it certainly encouraging and it is certainly a reason to go forward with these kinds of studies.
ELAM: Now, Erin, you talk about how quickly Dr. Brantly improved. Well, when you talk to Dr. Saphire, she said it brought tears to her eyes when she saw him walk from the ambulance into the hospital. But that being said, these are the first two humans to get this drug. And so, the saying without having a control patient, there's still a lot more information that need to be taken in, a lot more research that need to be done before they're sure exactly how well it works because right now we don't know if these two patients were improving on their own or if it was all because of the experimental drug, Erin.
BURNETT: It's amazing. Thank you so much to Stephanie Elam.
And of course, the big question would be with hundreds dying in Africa, why it wasn't given to them and it took two Americans to have this even tested.
Still OUTFRONT, Israeli delegation is arriving in Cairo to discuss a cease-fire. We are live in Gaza city tonight.
And breaking news, a massive Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border. Just a moment ago, right before this program began, I was talking to our Nick Paton Walsh. He was there on the ground and this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Particularly close to where I'm standing in the city center -- another barrage of automatic gunfire there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news: Russia nearly doubling the number of troops along the Ukraine border. A NATO official says there are now 20,000 troops there. The news rattled investors around the world. Here in New York, all three of the major indices fell sharply, down by nearly a percent.
Right before this show began, I spoke to our Nick Paton Walsh who is in Donetsk, Ukraine. I asked him about the situation on the ground in Donetsk. And just as we started to speak, a gunfight erupted just a couple of blocks away.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've just heard some gun shots. There have been explosions far away, a jet in the skies. We know the Ukrainian army is moving much closer towards the city center. Two people killed in their advance just over there behind me earlier on today.
And as you said, the Russian military now doubling its size along the border, not enough to really intervene and hold territory, but as one NATO official said to me, the mobility of these units is the fact that they're special force, anti-aircraft, artillery, everything you need to, quote, "seriously interfere here." If the Kremlin does decide it's not worried about Western sanctions, it needs to prove its point here and try to assist separatist militants now seriously on their back foot here. Another gunshot, I've just heard, you can hear that, Erin, in the distance.
And, potentially, there's the room for the Kremlin's decide to send forces across the border here, Erin.
BURNETT: And can you tell at all, I mean -- that's just the sort of -- the noises, the gunshots that you're hearing? I mean, obviously, I know you're near the MH17 crash site as well. This is a lot going on for the early hours of the morning.
WALSH: That actually is the most sustained gunfire we've heard quite this close to the city center where we are here. It is making life for the inspectors difficult, too.
We understand from an official close to the investigation that, in fact, they are trying to get to the crash site, increasingly impeded by the violence and that, in fact, the Ukrainian and rebel front lines are now adjacent to parts of the crash site now as well.
So, almost caught in no man's land, this vital debris the inspectors still have to comb through. And then they'll say their work really seriously impeded by the violence now swirling around that area and particularly close now to where I'm standing in the city center.
Another barrage of automatic gunfire there.
BURNETT: As you said, this is the most that you've heard, Nick, in quite some time in terms of fighting, right?
WALSH: Well, certainly this close to the city center, yes. We heard explosions earlier on but hearing this sustained kind of gunfire which must be just a few streets away I think shows you how nervous perhaps separatist militants are at this stage. They have reason to be. The Ukrainian military was just a few hours ago over the hill behind me moving towards the city center. And, yes, that small arms fired is the 340es we've heard sustained in the city center thus far -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. That was our Nick Paton Walsh. And I want you to make sure you all know that that fighting was a couple streets away. And, obviously, it was rather sudden, he didn't have a bulletproof vest on. He is safe, and obviously now, is reporting with his bullet proof vest on.
Well, the breaking news from Israel, the delegation has now arrived in Cairo for peace talks with the Palestinians. Now, this is according to two senior Egyptian government officials. This is a major development because Israel had refused to go to Cairo. So they're not going to participate in the talks. Before that, Hamas said it wasn't willing to negotiate.
Now, these negotiations are going to begin tomorrow. So far, the humanitarian cease-fire that went into effect this morning has held. Gaza residents were out on the streets today and Israel withdrew its ground forces from Gaza, basically because they were done what they needed to do, let's just be realistic about this. They wanted to destroy Hamas' underground tunnel network and they say they've finished that work.
Martin Savidge is in Gaza City tonight.
Martin, do people there think the cease-fire will actually last the three days that it's supposed to? What did you see today?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think there is a totally different feel and a totally different vibe in Gaza City today. Primarily because the fact that everybody had agreed to the cease- fire. The other cease-fires, one side would agree but not the other. But this time, everybody had signed on. So, it definitely had that feel like, OK, at least it will start.
It not only started, it lasted all day and it's continued to this point, even after it got dark. There was a new kind of night life discovered here in Gaza City. And it didn't include outgoing rockets and incoming artillery. Instead, the stores stayed open late, there was a lot of lights, a lot of traffic, a lot of people.
All of that give you the sense that, yes, people believe this is for real. But, as you point out, the question is, will it continue? And, you know, no one can really give you an honest answer on that. They hope it does, but they don't know for sure.
BURNETT: So, in 72 hours, what happens then?
SAVIDGE: Well, you know, that's a really good question. There is a lot of difficult hurdles that have to be overcome here. Many people here in Gaza believe, look, we have sacrificed so much. So many lives were lost, well over 1,800 people, then on top of that 10,000 homes lost or destroyed. So much money, the infrastructure blasted, whole areas and neighborhoods almost wiped off the face of the earth.
So, there has to be something they gain. They believe they'll get the lifting of the embargo and a number of significant victories. But, of course, Israel isn't going to want to grant anything to make it look like Hamas has won something. So, I think, right there, you're seeing a potential chasm between the two sides.
If in 72 hours, they don't come up to an agreement, in theory, they would extend it, but if there's frustration, if it looks like it's going nowhere, you can have real problems, especially with the militant groups here if they decide it's better to continuing the violence, instead of continuing to talk.
BURNETT: Right. And, of course, as we know, there's several thousand more rockets left to fire. Thank you, Martin Savidge.
Joining me now, State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki.
And, Jen, you had harsh words for Israel this week. You said you were, quote, "appalled" by the, quote, "disgraceful" shelling of a U.N. school in Gaza. Obviously, the next day, President Obama signed into law a bill that provided a quarter billion dollars in emergency aid to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system. It does seem when you put those two things together that the United States is saying one thing but doing the other when it comes to Israel.
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Well, Erin, I disagree with that. Look, Israel is one of our most important strategic partners, security partners. We're proud of the work we've done to support them, whether it's Iron Dome or other funding and assistance we've provided. And that will continue.
At the same time, Israel has a responsibility to hold themselves to the highest standard that they've put out, just as the United States does.
So, we got to the point where I think there had been seven attacks, civilians had died, hundreds of civilians had died, and we felt it was important to note that more could have been done.
BURNETT: Do you feel that Israel listened? I mean, there was a report that Prime Minister Netanyahu did not deny where he said to the United States, reported by the "Associated Press", don't ever question me again when it comes to Hamas.
Do you think that Israel listened to you when you were saying stop it with the civilian deaths?
PSAKI: Well, it's hard for me to analyze that. What I will say is obviously right now, both sides are abiding by a cease-fire. There are only two things that have changed over the course of the last 10 days or so. One is that there's been growing support in the international community for a cease-fire, increasing pressure for both sides to abide by that.
And, two, Israel finished the work that they were doing on the tunnels.
So, those are the factors that have changed. Whether or not our public comments or statements have an impact, you know, that's not for me to determine.
BURNETT: So, to your point, Israel finished what it was doing, which was destroying those tunnels. That's what motivated them to actually go ahead with this cease-fire.
PSAKI: Oh, certainly a factor, yes.
BURNETT: But does it frustrate you that that might be the reason and not because the United States, which funds their military and is their biggest supporter, asked them to show some moderation? PSAKI: Well, I think, Erin, one, we understand first and foremost
when you have terrorists coming through tunnels and threatening your people, that you need to take steps to defend yourself. We've supported Israel, you know, at every point in the process in that regard. But there's also been the work the secretary has done, the work that the U.N. has done has helped built support in the international community and really a call for a cease-fire, we're at this point now.
So, it's been a building process over the course of the last several days. I don't think any one factor was the determining factor.
BURNETT: So, we've seen some video. This actually was video that came in from an Indian network, MDTV. They have some exclusive footage. They say they were in Gaza and they took this footage of basically the tarp and it turned the tarp was covering rockets which they then saw Hamas fire and right next to a civilian area next to a hotel.
The Israeli Defense Forces, as you know, put out a Hamas combat manual that they say they found. One section discusses the benefits for Hamas when civilian homes are destroyed. I mean, certainly, there's no question Hamas has benefited in the court of public opinion from Israel's killings of civilians.
Do you think, though, that Hamas is purposely putting civilians in the line of fire?
PSAKI: Well, I think there's clear indication that they have been. And no one should be confused here. Israel is a partner and important strategic ally of the United States. Hamas is a terrorist organization that's been shooting rockets indiscriminately into Israel, has been sending terrorists in to attack the Israeli people.
They've used civilians as targets through the course of even this recent conflict. That's certainly contributed to the casualties on the ground.
BURNETT: So, you mentioned Hamas is a terrorist organization. Of course, the United States designates it as such. Former President Jimmy Carter obviously presided over the Camp David peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, wrote today, "Hamas cannot be wished away nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only be recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor can the west begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons."
Those are incredible words. Should the United States consider taking Hamas off the terror list, recognize it as a legitimate political actor?
PSAKI: Well, I can assure you that's not something we're thinking about or focused on certainly not now, and I don't anticipate it.
It is important to note here, though, that the next step in this process is negotiations in Cairo. Those are going to be starting soon. And some of the issues that have been raised by both sides, whether it's economic opportunity and the opening of the Rafah crossing and other crossings for the people of Gaza, or its security for Israel will be discussed there and some of these issues are the only way to address this over the long-term.
BURNETT: All right. Jen Psaki, thank you so much for your time tonight.
PSAKI: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: And breaking news just coming in out of New York City, another Ebola scare. This just in, a flight coming in from Abu Dhabi to New York tonight. We're going to give you the very latest on that. Our reporters are trying to get you the exact details, a live report on the other side of this break. But that flight just landing with an Ebola scare here in New York.
Plus, Sierra Leone, the epicenter of the worse Ebola outbreak ever. Our David McKenzie, the only television reporter in the country. He's OUTFRONT next.
And new reports that the Nigerian girls have been spotted.
BURNETT: Breaking news: Ebola fears mounting.
A flight from Abu Dhabi to New York's JFK Airport -- we are just finding this out -- was held by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, because of concerns about Ebola.
Our Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT live from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. That's where another patient is being held in isolation, awaiting test results on whether he may have contracted the virus.
Miguel, what have you learned about the scare on that flight at JFK?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a good indicator of just how concerned this entire city and the country is. CDC does maintain quarantine stations at ports of entry and the country, JFK is one of those.
This was an infant on that flight that started coughing up blood during that flight. Out of an abundance of caution, they checked for Ebola. They determined that the child was likely dehydrated, cleared the flight. This flight also coming from Abu Dhabi, not a country that would have a concern about Ebola, but it's not clear where others -- they were coming from to Abu Dhabi and then into New York.
So, a lot of concern everywhere around the world about this disease and at this point, the JFK situation is completely clear -- Erin.
BURNETT: And I know that there are several people being tested around the country, various hospitals. The patient in the hospital behind where you are, Mount Sinai here in New York, what are they currently saying about the test results? MARQUEZ: We're still waiting for those test results, although the
hospital did say today that this individual was in stable condition and in good spirits overnight, which, if one were to have Ebola, there's only one direction that disease goes and that's in a pretty bad direction.
So, I think the hospital's saying it is unlikely they have it. There's further indication that he doesn't seem to have it, but they're going to hold him in isolation here at the hospital for as long as it takes, until CDC comes back with the results, then they do point out that they may test it several times just to be completely 110 percent sure -- Erin.
BURNETT: Just days ago this was a virus that seemed very much contained to West Africa and people thought of it as something very far away. That has suddenly and dramatically changed.
How did it happen?
MARQUEZ: Well, the outbreak started in March of this year, late March was the first reported cases of it. So, they probably got infected early in March, transmission either by the blood of animals into the human chain. At that time, it was only in southeastern Guinea, a very forested area of southeastern Guinea. There were 49 cases at the time reported, 29 deaths. That's a 55 percent fatality rate.
Then, the spread began, from Guinea to Liberia to Nigeria to Sierra Leone. Today, we have 1,603 cases reported, 887 deaths worldwide, most of them in West Africa. That's a 55 percent death rate.
Now, the world is on alert. Here in the U.S., there have been a half dozen cases or so says the CDC tested in government facilities. All of those negative.
We got word today of a 46-year-old woman in Ohio, she was tested because she had been in West Africa. She had some symptoms. She is negative.
We're waiting for the test results here in New York.
There was one case in Canada back in March that was tested, that was negative and right now, there is one case in Saudi Arabia. That person is in isolation and again, we're waiting test results for that one case.
So what started in West Africa is now spread to the world and the entire world has woken up and is an alert, Erin.
MARQUEZ: That's true, Miguel. Thank you so much.
Of course, it's one of those situations where we see that starts here and then suddenly jumps to here, and the question is, will it stay there or will it suddenly become something much, much bigger?
Here is the bottom line: Sierra Leone is the hot center, the epicenter, the country hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, where it may have begun -- 646 cases reported there, more than any other country. Troops are deployed to quarantine patients.
Our David McKenzie is there, the only television reporter in Sierra Leone.
And, David, I know you had a chance to travel to the country, into the center to see a country completely and utterly shut down in fear as you reported last night. You visited a hospital today. And what did you see there?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, what we saw was something extraordinary. These doctors on the front lines of the battle against Ebola in the very epicenter of this outbreak.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Taking incredible care to combat an unprecedented outbreak. Ebola can lead to death with just one drop of infected fluids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that's why we take every possible precaution to prevent that.
MCKENZIE: Already, dozens of doctors and nurses have died in this outbreak. Still, Dr. Stephon Kruger (ph) says he has to come.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what we need is, and this really big lack of resources. And at the moment, (INAUDIBLE) they do nothing. I mean, that's a good enough reason.
MCKENZIE: But at Kalahon (ph), they are losing the battle. Ebola has hit four countries. The number of infections continue to rise. This outbreak is out of control.
(on camera): In the last two weeks, they doubled the capacity for confirmed Ebola patients and they're doing all they can to help those who are sick but they're absolutely at capacity here.
With the little effort (ph) that is right now, will it stop the disease?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, to up here, no, and it's really difficult because we are running behind (INAUDIBLE). We don't know where we're staying and it's frustrating for us because we don't have a capacity to go everywhere.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): But here they do what they can. In the high risk zone, this woman calls out for help. She has Ebola, so does her son.
"Ebola is so deadly, it's killing our citizens, it's killing our country," says Tenneh Naloh. Her husband and son died of the disease. Seventy percent of confirmed cases here will die, too.
(on camera): So she's confident.
(voice-over): To talk to Tenneh, we must stand a few feet away, the strict protocols protect us, the cruelty is they isolate her. Still, Tenneh believes her 12-year-old daughter will make it and so will she.
"We are feeling much better," she says, "we are strong and we're going to fight."
(on camera): What happens when you actually beat this disease?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a real highlight of everything that we do here. Everybody comes to watch the patient come out of isolation. It really, I think motivates the staff to continue doing what they do here.
MCKENZIE: Well, Erin, you saw we weren't in any special protective gear. That was because we were in the low-risk zone of the hospital. I've been inside the high-risk zone before in previous outbreaks, but because the situation is so tense right now in terms of getting to patients, they just were not willing to take us there and also, they wouldn't even be willing to let us try out the outfit because they just don't have supplies. It's a very bad situation here, and it could get worse -- Erin. BURNETT: That's incredible that they didn't even have an outfit for
you. I mean, how did it get this bad?
MCKENZIE: It got this bad because some say governments didn't do enough in the early days. Guinea, next door, had an outbreak, it seems under control some months ago but then because of the porous borders, people spread across and then spread the disease. There is a lot of criticism that I've heard of the World Health Organization and others were not doing enough. But now they say they will, but it appears it could be too late -- Erin.
BURNETT: David McKenzie, thank you very much. Of course, stay safe there as you heard him report. Not even enough suits for him to wear one in the hospital.
OUTFRONT next, the breaking news from Nigeria, the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, a story we've been following so closely. They may have been spotted today.
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight, according to "The Wall Street Journal", the missing Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram back in April, nearly four months ago, may have been spotted by American surveillance flights over Northern Nigeria. U.S. and Nigerian officials say the images show what appear to be large groups of girls held together in remote locations.
This is incredible, 276 girls were taken under the cover of darkness. People had thought they had been sold on, some of may have been forced to kill themselves in suicide bomb attacks. This could be miraculous. We're going to have much more on the girls tomorrow and what's being done to bring them home.
Anderson starts now.