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Is U.S. Nearing Airstrikes In Syria?; Peaceful Protests In Ferguson; Rams Help High School Football Teams; Rallies Planned for Michael Brown Today; Ebola-Infected Doctor Discharged; U.S. Ponders Airstrikes on ISIS in Syria

Aired August 23, 2014 - 08:00   ET


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: People are out getting ready for Ukraine's Independence Day. Tomorrow, the Ukrainian flag is everywhere. They say they are praying for the citizens of these two be leaguered cities, Luhansk and Donetsk where the fighting is still under way -- Christi.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Diana Magnay, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it. We're back here in literally 2 seconds.

Two seconds to say we are grateful for your company as always. It's 8:00 here in the east. I'm Christi Paul at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. Little lonely without my cohort, Victor Blackwell. But you know, he is doing some important work in Ferguson, Missouri. Hi, Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Christi. Of course, I miss being back there with you in Atlanta. It's 7:00 here in Ferguson, Missouri. Welcome everyone to NEW DAY SATURDAY.

PAUL: We will check back in with Victor in just a bit. But right now, we want to begin with a possible escalation in the U.S. battle against ISIS this hour.

The U.S. is now gathering intelligence on ISIS leaders and troops in Syria, which leads to the possibility of air strikes there. CNN's Michelle Kosinski has more on the response to the ISIS threat.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today's assessment of the ISIS threat by the White House is serious.

BEN RHODES, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's not simply the threat they pose to the United States. It's the threat they pose to the entire world.

KOSINSKI: A big jump, though, this talk now about how to contain and ultimately defeat ISIS as the lives of other American hostages hang in the balance from January when President Obama referred to such groups in an interview as a JV team when compared to al Qaeda?

(on camera): Would you still agree with his assessment just a few months ago?

RHODES: As they have become better funded through various funding streams including what they are able to sell in terms of oil and gas and the ransoms that they have been able to obtain.

And that has developed their capacity in a way that has increased the threat. And they pose a greater threat today than they did six months ago and we are taking it very seriously.

KOSINSKI (voice-over): The administration does agree, though, that ISIS is still mainly involved in regional operations not the 9/11 level planning of al Qaeda. And today the Department of Homeland Security and FBI sent out a bulletin to law enforcement across America saying there is no credible homeland security threat linked to ISIS.

But warns ISIS is using social media to try to gain followers and that it's urging acts of violence against, quote, "American interests." And today the White House would not go so far as to agree with Defense Secretary Hagel's words yesterday.

CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is beyond anything that we've seen. So we must prepare for everything.

ERIC SCHULTZ, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: They abduct women and children and subject them to torture, rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, Sunni and Shia by the thousands.

KOSINSKI (on camera): So in those terms, is that beyond anything we've seen?

SCHULTZ: The president has addressed this a little bit ago.

KOSINSKI: Does he agree with Secretary Hagel's assessment though?

SCHULTZ: That what?

KOSINSKI: That this is a threat beyond anything we've seen or that ISIS is a force beyond anything we've seen.

SCHULTZ: I think how the president views ISIL has been articulated a couple of times now.


PAUL: Michelle Kosinski traveling with the president as he vacations on Martha's Vineyard. What do we know about the possibility for intelligence in Syria -- Michelle.

KOSINSKI: That's one of the big questions. One of the big problems with dealing with Syria whether you are trying to rescue hostages or you are looking at targets. You can see the two sides of it. On the one hand, they were able to gather enough intelligence and the Department of Defense says they knew where the hostages were.

That they think that was the correct location, however, the intelligence was such that they missed the hostages at that location by a few days. You can see the problem there. There aren't Americans on the ground to gather that intelligence, but, a senior administration official tells me that they do have several extremes of intelligence that they are able to monitor ISIS' movements,

And now, of course, they want to gather as much as possible just so they are able to find what targets they can hit. Syria, of course, is not only a difficult intelligence environment, it's a difficult military environment with all of these insurgent groups fighting the Assad regime, mixing within the civilian population.

It is hard to tell them even apart when they are on the ground especially considering the type of intelligence Americans have to gather right now. So we just had to wait and see how long this will take.

Also, the White House has emphasized that this would need consultation with Congress before air strikes would begin over Syria. A legal justification for taking a move like that -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Good to know, Michelle Kosinski, thank you so much. I want to talk about the U.S. strategy against ISIS now with former U.S. Army officer and senior intelligence analyst, Michael Pregent. And we also have Richard Barrett. He is a former counterterrorism director of M16.

Richard, I want to come to you first and thank you both, Gentlemen, for being with us. Do you think that it was a mistake to release the details of that failed special ops mission to rescue James Foley? Some think it could compromise future missions. Do you believe that to be the case?

RICHARD BARRETT, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM DIRECTOR, M16: I think the Islamic State reckoned that there must have been some sort of rescue attempt because that fight they had with the group was better equipped and better able to take them on than any local opposition might have been. I'm sure they are probably aware of that.

I think it's important for the rest of the public, if you like, to know that the United States is prepared to mount such rescue operations even if they fail because it does show a real determination and to a certain extent ability to know where the hostages are and to collect intelligence about them.

PAUL: Michael, we just heard Michelle talking about the difficulty of getting intelligence out of Syria. We know that Bashar Al-Assad allowed ISIS to grow there. Because at one point, it is believed they were helping him fight the anti-government factions that were there.

What is the thought that you have about teaming up with the Assad regime? Is that even something that would be likely and what would that entail?

MICHAEL PREGENT, FORMER U.S. ARMY OFFICER: I think it entails limited operation on the counter terrorist side. Looking at the Islamic State rather at the broader issues. I mean, to a certain extent, the Islamic State is not only fighting the Assad regime and all the other rebels there, but it is fighting the whole world.

It is trying to re-establish organization in the Middle East, which is really upsetting the whole area. So I think that to that extent, Assad may be a partner. Of course, it is a real political hurdle to overcome to start fighting a common enemy even if you are not by doing so aligning with Assad himself.

PAUL: All right, Michael, you are a former U.S. Army officer, would you even be comfortable with the thought of fighting alongside or on the same side of Assad?

PREGENT: We don't need to fight alongside or with Assad. One thing that Assad should look at is the loss of the Mosul Dam to ISIS. This demonstrated that any gain that ISIS has when they seize infrastructure like they did the Mosul Dam, it could be temporary.

If you look at the U.S. airstrikes in concert with Peshmerga taking back the Mosul Dam is the first time ISIS lost key infrastructure. The ability to provide services, electricity and water to reward and punish populations much like Saddam did.

Assad can look at the successes of the Mosul Dam and make his targeting more surgical and less indiscriminate action against Sunni population centers and take lessons learned from America. Where we can work together against taking out ISIS, we should, but it should be no sharing of intelligence of this time.

Intelligence on key positions on infrastructure, sure. We cannot trust Assad not to indiscriminately target Sunni population centers and then we will be blamed for that by the notion we are working with them.

PAUL: Michael, do you think that this war with ISIS, so to speak, do you think it can be won without intervening in Syria?

PREGENT: I think right now, with the U.S. air strikes, all the videos you are showing right now, that is ISIS pre-Mosul Dam. That's ISIS pre-U.S. air strikes. Gone are the days of ISIS convoys moving from town to town in Iraq. The majority of the captured U.S. equipment was moved to Syria because it can survive a lesser air force.

The air force that Assad has. Right now, ISIS is moving a lot of the key leaders back to Syria because it is not as difficult to fight there. Right now, Mosul is being controlled by 5,000 ISIS fighters. There are 750,000 Sunni military there that have seen the crack in the invisibility we gave ISIS.

They've seen suffered setbacks. They are no longer roll from town to town and they are starting to look at them. There are leaders in the communities that are asking us to help them with intel, special ops and surgical strikes that are ready to do something.

The two divisions that failed when ISIS invaded Mosul, the central government, the body of government should reach out and say we will fill those ranks with the Sunnis in Mosul that are willing to fight ISIS. You can be the true line of Mosul as opposed to ISIS controlling 5,000 guys. The propaganda has gone from rolling columns into towns to executions and beheadings and acts of violence and the response like we saw with the mosque in Bakava.

That's what al Qaeda was doing. We are getting to kick it out of Iraq. They resorted more to violence and that violence actually was repelled. You are seeing a lot of those tactics.

PAUL: OK. Richard, I want to play some sound here. The brother of James Foley says that the U.S. could have done more to help free some of those hostages. Let's listen to this and talk in a moment.


MICHAEL FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY'S BROTHER: The United States for a country as large as it is has pretty limited resources, at least I can see with respect to the situations and I think there's more at that state could have done. Their hands are tied by the policies. I think -- I know there is more that could have been done.


PAUL: So Richard, when it comes to ransom and negotiating with terrorists, some would the U.S. did that to a certain extent with Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Where does the U.S. draw the line?

BARRETT: It is a very difficult line to draw because you are dealing with individuals. You are dealing with families. You are dealing with very raw emotions. But the policy of not paying ransom for kidnapped hostages, I think is a really important one.

Though, of course, it's undermined by the many states that do pay ransoms for hostages. But the problem is if you pay a ransom, what does it do? It encourages the group to take more hostages and what do they use the money for? They use the money to buy more arms and weapons and attack and kill more people.

So we have to draw the line. It is an incredibly difficult policy decision to make because you are dealing with individuals. It is really important.

PAUL: Well, Michael Pregent and Richard Barrett, we certainly appreciate the conversation this morning in your perspective. Thanks for taking time for us.

PREGENT: Thank you.

BARRETT: Thanks.

PAUL: You know what? It was a quiet night in Ferguson, Missouri, although things could change today because there are marches and rallies expected. Not just in Ferguson, but across the nation including gathering of supporters of Officer Darren Wilson. The man who shot and killed Michael Brown. My colleague, Victor Blackwell in Ferguson right now -- Victor. BLACKWELL: Well, Christi, there will be more silence today. In fact, a defined moment of silence. Now two weeks since Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. We will tell you about that and the influx of people from around the country in this small town near St. Louis. Stay with us.


BLACKWELL: The protests are thinning out here in Ferguson, Missouri. Smaller numbers, but the outrage and really the distrust of the police force here, is echoing in the streets. Today marks two weeks since unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a police officer.

Since then this community much of it has been outraged. Overnight, though, it was peaceful. Protesters were on the streets, but there were no arrests. Today, in a sign of solidarity with the people of Ferguson, there are multiple rallies expected across the country including one in Washington, D.C.

Supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, they are also expected to gather in St. Louis today. In fact, some of the supporters have raised more than $250,000 for his defense.

We are also learning more about the grand jury weighing in on the case. According to a St. Louis court administrator, there is a 12- person panel. Nine members are white, three are African-American.

Meanwhile as this distrust of the police force that I'm talking about, it swells. A St. Louis County police officer, he is in trouble. We've got video of him. He's Dan Page. That's his name and you remember him. He is the officer who pushed CNN's Don Lemon and some protesters back.

This morning, Page, who is a military veteran and 35-year veteran of the force is on administrative leave. It is because of video surfaced of him making inflammatory comments about women and Muslims and gays and also about President Obama calling him an illegal alien not being from the U.S.

The police chief of that force, he apologized for Page's actions and called the video bizarre. Now CNN has placed several phone calls to what's believed to be Page's home number for comment on the video, but have not received a response.

Now today there will be a moment of silence. You know, a lot of people called Mike Brown "Big Mike." He was a big man, 18 years old, 6'4" from what I understand, a large guy. He played offensive tackle for the football team at Normandy High School before he graduated recently.

There's a game today. His team, the former team now, will hold a moment of silence this morning. Game starts at 10:00. Moment of silence expected at 11:00. There are more tributes and honors for the family that are planned later. We talked about the protests and the rallies across the country. We are hearing about an influx of people from around the country coming here to Ferguson for planned rallies across this community. Now you can look at that one of two ways.

One, there will be a continuation of the peaceful protests that we have even over the last few nights or consider this, many of the people who have been arrested over these last two weeks had been out- of-towners. The last night when there were seven arrests, four of the people were from Michigan, from the Detroit area.

Also, you know, a lot of people may not be coming out because they are workdays and weekdays and people have things to do in places to be in the morning. Possibly you will have a lot of people staying out much later because, you know, we are going into a Sunday in which there are no plans for many people to be there.

You know, a lot of people are concerned also about the children in this community. They were scheduled to start school more than a week ago. Classes have not yet begun here. They are expected to start on Monday, the same day as Brown's funeral.

But my colleague, Don Lemon, sat down with the youngest members of the community and asked what they know about what is happening here and how it is affecting them. Listen.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Do you know what is going on? What's happening? A kid got shot. What do you think of that?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I think it's mean, kind of.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I think he shouldn't have done that. I think he should have just leave the kid alone when he was doing. He shouldn't have done anything, but leave the kid alone and see what he was doing and said, Mister, what are you doing and then walk away.

LEMON: And nobody gets hurt, right?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Yes, but now he died.


BLACKWELL: So, you hear there that she says a lot of people there that she says a lot of people are in the way. More people will be coming here and we said the rallies across the country, Christi, and also the funeral on Monday, we're told it will be at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis.

A lot of details are coming together. But many people from across the country who are not holding those rallies in their respective cities will be here in Ferguson.

PAUL: You hear it from a kid's perspective and it is more profound than anything we can come up with. Victor, thank you so much.

You know, he just mentioned that local schools had to shut down in the wake of the turmoil in Ferguson. The NFL's St. Louis Rams came to the rescue. At least for some people. We will tell you what's going on.


PAUL: You know, with schools closed for the past week because of the unrest in Ferguson, local high school football teams have not been able to practice on their home fields. Well, the National Football League's St. Louis Rams has the help.

Kristen Ledlow has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." It seems like a pretty good team.

KRISTEN LEDLOW, CNN BLEACHER REPORT: For students, obviously, that means no school. But for athletes, that means no practice. The season is starting this weekend. Three local teams have been scrambling to find places to practice. One of them actually had to train in a park near a swamp with crickets swarming their players.

But that is when the St. Louis Rams stepped in and invited each of those three high schools to use the indoor facility. The coaches and players say they have chance to practice on a real field gives them a chance to forget about the chaos on the streets of their hometown.


COURTLAND GRIFFIN, MCCLUER NORTH COACH: I called them. Just the parent in me and coach in my and big brother. What are you doing? Coach, I'm at home. OK. Well, I was just checking on you. Can you stop calling me every 2 minutes?

TIVONE CLARK, MCCLUER SOUTH BERKELEY PLAYER: I'm not saying we're trouble makers. When we don't have anything to do, there is stuff out there to get you in trouble. Football is keeping us out of trouble.


LEDLOW: The high schoolers were also invited to stay and watch the Rams close their own training camps. Head Coach, Jeff Fisher, says the schools have an open door policy for as long as they need a place to practice.

And a team of Little Leaguers from Chicago is making a big impact on and off the field. The Jackie Robinson West team made up entirely of African-American kids will play for the U.S. championship this afternoon and a shot at the World Series title.

Now it has been 31 years since an all black team made it into the series and that was also the Jackie Robinson West team back in 1983. This is a group of 11, 12 and 13-year-olds from Chicago's South side. They will now face a team from Las Vegas with the winner playing for the World Series championship tomorrow.

Now, these kids have caught the attention of several Major Leaguers including Carl Crawford. The Dodgers outfielder decided he would pick up part of the tab for the team's road trip.

PAUL: We have been watching it with our girls. It is just awesome to watch.

LEDLOW: It really is.

PAUL: Take notice of the names. You will see them.

LEDLOW: They will be back.

PAUL: Kristen, good to see you.

LEDLOW: Thank you.

PAUL: You know, diplomacy can take strange turns. Coming up, we will tell you why the Russians are going after Ronald McDonald.

And also, you know the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, have been quieter overnight and this morning as well thankfully. Concerns that tensions could ramp up with the grand jury doesn't indict the police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown.


PAUL: Hope R&R is on the menu today for you. Bottom of the hour right now, welcome back. I'm Christi Paul. So glad to have you here.

Here are five things that you need to know for your NEW DAY.

Number one: James Foley's murder is unmistakable proof that ISIS is capable of anything -- right. Well, since his killing, the U.S. has increased air strikes against ISIS even threatening to expand them into Syria. As a result the FBI and Homeland Security telling law enforcement now to be on alert for possible terror attacks inside the U.S.

Number two: a Hamas official now admits rogue Hamas militants kidnapped and killed those three Israeli teens back in June that we talked about. Their deaths triggered the relentless violence between Israel and Gaza that we're seeing now. Well, a Hamas official says the militants acted on their own.

Number three: Looking very much like a presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry in New Hampshire. He admits he did not do enough homework before jumping into the race in 2010. If he runs this time, he says he hasn't decided yet, by the way, he does promise that he won't make that same mistake.

Number four: the world of diplomacy can sometimes take a bizarre little twist. The Russian government shut down four McDonald's restaurants in Moscow. The reason on paper is alleged sanitary violations. Reading between the lines though, some people say it is likely retaliations for the U.S. and Western sanctions on the Kremlin that is behind that.

And speaking of McDonald's New York City council is going after Happy Meals. For that matter kids' meals at Burger King and Wendy's, too. In fact any meal that uses a toy as an incentive, the so-called health happy meals bill would limit them to 500 calories and cut down on the amount of salt.

It was certainly a calm night in Ferguson last night two weeks after Michael Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. That is exactly where Victor Blackwell is right now in Ferguson. Hi, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes, Christi. No tear gas, rubber bullets, no molotov cocktails -- just the city trying to get back to normal. Today there will be rallies for Michael Brown across the country including in Washington. There will also be a moment of silence here in Ferguson.

We know that there are three African-Americans, 12 whites on this 12- person grand jury weighing the case.

PAUL: We know protesters too want prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch to recuse himself from the case. He has refused. A source says reports that Officer Darren Wilson had a broken eye socket after an altercation with Michael Brown are not true. So a lot of differing information still coming out here, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we're trying to get to the bottom of all of it. Let's bring in Crystal Wright, editor and blogger; and Maria Cardona, CNN political commentator. Good to have both you with us.

Let's talk about the political angle because there are some political angles here in what is happening here in Ferguson. The explosive situation here over the past couple of weeks. I want to start with you, Crystal, do you think the President should have come here instead of just sending the AG?

CRYSTAL WRIGHT, EDITOR AND BLOGGER: No, I don't think President Obama should have gone to Ferguson. I also don't think Eric Holder should have gone to Ferguson. The reason why everything has exploded over the last two weeks in Ferguson, Missouri is because everybody's rushing to judgment. And it sends a really bad message for the U.S. Attorney General to go to Ferguson and to meet with everyone before all the evidence has been gathered.

You and Christina have said this. You have said all the evidence is coming in. There is conflicting evidence. And I would argue if President Obama hadn't talked about this tragic situation in the first place and Al Sharpton and others hadn't gone to Ferguson, you would not have molotov cocktails and you would not have the frenzied level of black people judging white people just based on the color of their skin.

And finally what I would like to say is that I'm here in Chicago. Earlier this week, a nine-year-old black boy was savagely gunned down here in Chicago. He is the youngest -- he was a fourth grader -- he is the youngest victim of shootings in the city this year. We see nothing from our President of the United States and I think what that says is that when blacks are killed by other blacks, we have become immune to their deaths and accepted that.

It is wrong what we're doing in Ferguson and we need to sit back and let the evidence and the grand jury make their decision.

BLACKWELL: Maria, what do you think about that? The President said that he did not want to put his thumb on the scale. But the mere fact that he sent the AG here, in which, you know, he's not sending him to every case that's being investigated by the U.S. attorney's office or even when led the attorney general. That is, in fact, putting a thumb on the scale, isn't it?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is. I think it is doing it in an appropriate manner. I completely agree with Crystal that President Obama was right in not coming to Ferguson because I think that would have been too much. But he is in a position where he will get criticized whether he does it or not.

I think sending his top law enforcement official in Eric Holder was exactly the right thing to do. Attorney general Holder was not here to judge or prejudge any kind of evidence or any kind of information that is still coming in. In fact, he said that we all need to be calm while we figure out exactly what happened.

He came here to calm things down. And I disagree with Crystal in that if he hadn't come here, we would not have had the molotov cocktails or the rest of the rioting going on. I don't think that is the case at all. I think that would have happened anyway because there is a lot of tension and there is a lot of frustration from the African-American community and rightly so.

I think the attorney general came here to calm things down and to reassure everybody that the investigation is going to move forward in a very thorough and independent manner. He asked for calm from everybody, from community leaders on down.

And look, I'm in Washington, D.C., and in Washington, D.C., there are murders every week of young black children. My husband has gone to many, many -- too many funerals of young black kids that he has mentored. And, you know, it is something that we all need to keep an eye on and that we don't put enough attention on.

But the President has talked about it. He will continue to talk about it. And we all need to talk about it.

WRIGHT: Right. But Maria, President Obama also stuck his neck into the Trayvon Martin situation before anything happened. He said If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.

My point is the message is when the President of the United States comes into situations without all the evidence being gathered without any charges being brought against suspects, sends the message that he is taking the side of one of the victim which was Trayvon Martin last year and this year, Michael Brown. You raise an important point about black Americans.

BLACKWELL: But Crystal, let me get in here -- in which situation has he taken a side? Because I think he is acknowledging the grief, he's acknowledging the tragedy. He is standing up for the rights of journalists and saying that things need to happen calmly. WRIGHT: Let me finish. Victor, you just said that by sending Eric Holder to Ferguson, he put his thumb on the scale. But what that means is he put his thumb on the scale taking the side of, in this case, slain Michael Brown. That's really true.

Maria points out all the shootings in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The President hasn't spoken about any of those. You know why -- because the victims and the perpetrators are black. I think as a black American, please don't put me in that box -- let me finish -- don't put me in the box of saying that all black Americans think one way or another.

All black Americans do not think that the protesters and rioters, largely black ones in Ferguson, are doing the right thing. I don't think they are. I think what saddens me as a black woman in this country is we are talking about this case in black and white. And we are basically saying if you are white, you are on the wrong side of this and if you are black, you are on the right side. I think that is absolutely wrong.

BLACKWELL: 15 seconds. Maria -- 15 seconds. We've got to wrap it up.

CARDONA: I don't think -- I don't think that's -- sure. I don't think that's true at all, Crystal. First of all the President has talked about this at length. He talked about it when he announced his My Brother's Keeper Initiative. He talks about it all the time. It doesn't necessarily get front page news, but he does talk about it.

Number two, I agree with you on the community level. We need to focus more on those African-Americans in Ferguson who have actually said that the looters are doing exactly the wrong thing. So I disagree with you that everyone is putting this in black and white terms because there are leaders in Ferguson that have stood up and he condemned the African-American looters and those who are coming from the outside to try to stir things up. And I applaud them for doing that.

We need to focus more on those who are trying to bring everybody together to find solutions.

WRIGHT: Right. But you know I think Maria --

BLACKWELL: You know, I think this conversation continues. But I also think we have to wrap it up here. But I think it is important also that we ask the question. We talk about this being the death of an unarmed teen, but if Darren Wilson had been a black man, would there be these rallies every night? I think that's an important question to ask.

Crystal Wright, Maria Cardona --

WRIGHT: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: -- thank you both for being part of the conversation.

CARDONA: Thank you -- Victor.

WRIGHT: Thank you.

CARDONA: Great job, by the way.

PAUL: All right. Good job, by the way, absolutely. She's saying to you Victor and that last question that you posed out there definitely something to ponder as well. Thank you so much.

Listen, still ahead on NEW DAY, how an American doctor and aid worker miraculously survived ebola. We're going to hear from Dr. Kent Brantly and breakdown what's fact, what's fiction here about this deadly disease.


PAUL: The American doctor infected with the ebola virus has been released from the Atlanta hospital. And Dr. Brantly as you see there, he's one of the fortunate ones. Most cases, 90 percent of them end in death particularly if they are not treated. It has a lot of Americans worried that they could get infected, of course. As deadly as it can be, ebola is not easily transmitted.

CNN's medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here to help us sort out ebola facts from fiction. Good morning -- Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi -- when Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol were released from the hospital, there was of course great happiness and joy, but there were some people who expressed maybe quietly but they did express that they were concerned. These two people who had ebola will now be out in the general public, was it safe for other people.

Now the answer from the doctors at Emory who treated them is yes, there is no threat to people in the general public. There is nothing to worry about. The reason for that is they no longer have the virus in their blood. And they know that because they tested these people over the course of two days, did more than one blood test and they know that it is no longer there.

Now, of course, many people are wondering this secret serum, this new experimental medicine that these two people received is that what saved them? The Emory doctors said, you know what, there is no way of answering that question. Maybe it was, but maybe it wasn't.

Let's take a look at some of the facts. In this particular outbreak, nearly half the people lived and these people did not get that new medicine. So nearly half the people lived even without the medicine so in some ways, you know, they have pretty good odds working for them.

Here is another thing to think about. Writebol and Brantly they had terrific supportive care. What I mean is for example, they were kept really well hydrated. And that's crucial, that can really help someone survive an ebola infection. So they weren't given necessarily the same kind of care that other people with ebola have received. But I will say this as well, six people have been given this new medicine and five of them are still alive.

Now another interesting question is whether Writebol and Brantly are immune to ebola because they've already had it. The doctors at Emory say that the evidence suggests that they are indeed immune to ebola, but only this one strain and there are five strains of ebola. So if they did choose to go back to Africa and work with ebola patients again, they would be somewhat better protected than other health care workers who didn't have ebola -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Elizabeth, thank you so much. And if you would like to help the thousands worldwide infected by the ebola virus as you saw those videos from different parts of the world, go to We will give you an option to do so. Thanks for thinking about it.

It is one thing to fight ISIS on their own turf, right? What happens if they get inside the U.S. because that fear is real now?


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Good morning. I'm Michael Smerconish. This morning, the United States is weighing whether or not to use air strikes against ISIS leadership targets in Syria. It would be a move sure to escalate the fight against the terror group.

It has been two weeks since a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. Thought the protests have turned peaceful, the anger over the direction of the investigation is anything but.

A lot to share with you at the top of the hour. I'll see you then -- Christi.

PAUL: Looking forward to it Michael -- thank you. "SMERCONISH" coming at you at the top of the hour at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

You know, when we learned that the assassin who killed U.S. journalist James Foley is likely British, it stoked U.S. officials' worst fears. How many western citizens are fighting with the ISIS? Could they use Western visas and passports to gain entry in the United States?

CNN's Alison Kosik takes a look at the possibilities and what the U.S. is doing to keep ISIS out of the U.S.


BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: They pose a greater threat today than they did six months ago and we're taking it very seriously.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As the U.S. continues to carry out air strikes against ISIS, they are also monitoring the possibility that the next generation of Islamic militants could come from within the United States border.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a problem in many countries. We face that problem here in America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State.

KOSIK: Authorities are already investigating the possibility that the man heard in the Foley video might be from America's strongest ally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From what we see, it is increasingly likely it is a British citizen.

KOSIK: The problem authorities are facing is how to track down citizens with potential ties to these terrorist groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI is looking at data analytics. They're looking at mosques. They're looking at databases, no-fly list, travel in particular. Young people just don't disappear into the Middle East for months or years at a time.

KOSIK: ISIS is already recruiting the next generation of militants in the U.S. through propaganda video. But new technology leads to new challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a political police in this country. The FBI, you know, cannot go after people on Facebook and just simply knock on their doors, the ones that are suspicious.

KOSIK: ISIS recruiting efforts have already attracted American members.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We are tracking 100 Americans who are over there now fighting for ISIS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having an American citizen, you know, fighting for them in Syria or Iraq is a legitimizing factor. They want to show that ISIS is a universal movement.

KOSIK: The FBI issued a bulletin on Friday warning law enforcement agencies to be aware of threats from ISIS and their efforts to garner support through social media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They know how to make homemade devices, you know, from materials they could obtain here including the detonators. So they certainly have the capacity to launch an attack here.

KOSIK: American citizens have already been investigated for possible ties to Islamic militant groups. A North Carolina man was stopped in August at the JFK Airport on a gun charge but was questioned at length for tweets he sent supporting ISIS.

And a Colorado woman was arrested by the FBI in April for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Looking for suspicious activity, tweets and travel information might lead investigators to the next potential threat to the homeland.

RHODES: As we look ahead and forward, we are going to do what is necessary to protect Americans. So if we see plotting against Americans, we see a threat to the United States emanating from anywhere we stand ready to take action.


KOSIK: And Christi, what you see happening here are sort of two different things. You have the hint that possibly, especially after the brutal beheading of James Foley that the U.S. may not just limit air strikes to Iraq, but could go after ISIS in Syria. And then you've got what's going on here in the U.S. You have law enforcement on high alert keeping an eye out for possible ISIS sympathizers or maybe those sympathizers looking to get into the U.S. You're seeing that high alert especially happening at airports and at the borders -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Alison Kosik, appreciate it. Thank you so much. We'll be right back.


JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi. I'm meteorologist Jennifer Gray with the tropical update for you. We have been watching the tropical wave in the Caribbean. It has been impacting portions of Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic dumping 10 to 12 inches of rain in portions of the Dominican Republic.

It has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression later today. It could even become a tropical storm by the time tomorrow comes around. This could become Kristobal (ph). So we are going to be watching this. It could pull things together in the next 24 hours or so as it leaves the Dominican Republic, gets in those warmer waters of the Bahamas, leaves that mountainous region and could become a little bit stronger. So this is something we're going to be watch.

Of course, most of the computer models does take it away from the land. A lot of this are outliers here, of course, sort of hard to read. But we are continuing to watch it and see which way it's going to go, still a lot of uncertainty in the storm. Of course, most of the models that we do rely on and we do have most of our confidence in does take it away from the U.S.; still, something to watch, though, out there.

We are continuing to watch the heat though that is going to be building across the southern states of the U.S. We have heat advisories in place. Christi, some areas could feel like the triple digits by this afternoon and tomorrow. It is going to be a hot one this weekend.

PAUL: Yikes. All right. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much. Good to see you.

And "SMERCONISH" is coming at you next. Thank you so much for starting your morning with us. I'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern.