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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Hagel: ISIS must be Destroyed; What We Know About ISIS; Report: Sotloff hid Jewish Faith From ISIS; Source: Feds to investigate Ferguson Police; Transforming a Police Force; First Interview: American Ebola Survivor
Aired September 3, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, AC360: Good evening. Thanks very much for joining us and thanks for watching the special extended edition of AC360. We have a lot happening in the hour ahead. President Obama trying to line up allies to confront Russia, take on ISIS, trying as well to address criticism that he's been less than clear about American strategy against ISIS.
Vice President Biden vowing the United States would follow ISIS, in his words "to the gates of hell." Defense Secretary Hagel clearly part of a media pledge by the administration, today is sitting down with our Senior National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHACK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is just beyond quite like we have seen. It is a look into where part of the world maybe going unless the United States along with our partners and our coalitions stop it. This is the point the President was making. We got to destroy it, because if we don't destroy it, it will get worst and it will get wider and deeper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It wasn't all he said. Jim Sciutto joins us now. So there's been a lot of discussion today about Obama's comments, where he spoke first the need "degrade and destroy ISIS" and at just moments later he seems to indicate a strategy of contentment, saying ISIS can be strong until it's a managerial problem. You ask Secretary Hagel about those comments?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I did Anderson and I pressed him and it took some pressing to in effect get to defense secretary to be more definitive than his boss, then president was earlier in the day but when it came down from Secretary Hagel is that the mission he has been tasked with is to degrade and destroy, not to contain, not to minimize, et cetera.
That's what he says he's been tasked to do. And he argues that the President has been clear cut about that at least in his own personal conversations with him which he says have continued over the last several days. COOPER: We don't have a strategy yet comment from Obama last week, that's still getting a lot of scrutiny. What did Hagel have to say about options presented by the Pentagon?
SCIUTTO: You know, it's interesting because you'll remember when the president made that -- those now infamous comments about no strategy. At first they said that, well there's a strategy for Iraq, we're still working for the strategy inside Syria. But also the White House Spokesman Josh Earnest hinted that the Pentagon hadn't come true with options yet, that the President, the administration, in effect, waiting for the Pentagon to come through.
Secretary Hagel said today, "In fact, the Pentagon has presented options to the President and while they are constantly reassessing those and offering new options." He says, "There are options on the table including military strikes inside Syria." And it's up to the president to decide which one he wants to move forward with.
COOPER: Did he talk about execution of Steven Sotloff?
SCIUTTO: He did no question. I asked him, you know, I asked him in this way Anderson. He was as, you know, a Vietnam veteran. He was a squad leader. He saw Americans died. He saw he squad mates die. People, knew die. I asked him what his own reaction was when he saw this and he said in his words, it made him sick. And I sense some of the same guttural (inaudible) role emotion that we heard from Vice President Joe Biden today talking about chasing ISIS to the gates of hell, similar here from Hagel. And I think that in part he was preparing the American people for what they should expect to be a long and very difficult war against ISIS.
COOPER: All right, Jim Sciutto, I appreciate it. Thanks Jim. It almost goes without saying, the terror groups like ISIS do what they do to terrorize, to instill fearing in people. It's in their interest therefore, no matter how deadly they've already been, no matter how barbaric they are to appear even more so, which is why it's worth looking closely at the group for what it actually is. Strength and weaknesses not what it wants the world to see.
Tom Foreman has been putting together a rundown. He joins us now. Tom, so one of the big mysteries here about ISIS is precisely how many fighters they have at their disposal. What did you learn about that?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson, this question is surprisingly hard to answer. Some estimates are down around 10,000, others who are up to 80,000 or more. This is happening because ISIS is building alliances with other groups who share their radical ideology. So are these allies members of ISIS or just temporarily partners in crime? Hard to say.
COOPER: How well trained are they?
FOREMAN: A core of this group grew out of members of the Iraqi military under Saddam Hussein, soldiers who are pushed out of all public services after Saddam was toppled but who still have valuable knowledge of military tactics, strategies and weaponry. Other fighters are likely less skilled but they bring enthusiasm and dedication and commitment then come from all around the region and indeed from around the world, drawn by dreams of an Islamic caliphate and Islamic state and by ISIS's sophisticated social media effort to appeal to them. It's estimated that 100 American citizens are fighting in Syria and Anderson, about a dozen are believed to be with ISIS.
COOPER: And I'll number these younger experience fighters certainly bring a willingness to commit great acts of brutality and barbarism. But what kind of weapons does ISIS have now? Because we've heard so much about them, you know, gaining from the weaknesses, the Iraqi forces in getting weapons -- the U.S. basically gave the Iraqi forces?
FOREMAN: Yeah. You're absolutely right about that Anderson. Of course they have all the typical AK-47 and improvise explosives but ISIS is believed to be exceedingly wealthy. The group seems to capitalism every opportunity to make money, where they're selling goods they've stolen or oil and electricity from places they've captured, that long with as you mentioned, the military post that they have overrun, is believe to help build the formidable arsenal of armored vehicles, rockets, missiles, mortars, machine guns. Even American made tanks, making them much more like a terrorist army, Anderson.
COOPER: Are they located in anyone's (inaudible)? They obviously control a wide, you know, that's why the territory is stretching from Syria to Iraq?
FOREMAN: Yeah. It's kind of hard to tell exactly what they control. Our maps currently show them holding only thins swath of territory in Syria and Iraq, in terms of truly controlling it. But if you include all the areas in which ISIS has influence, you go beyond those red lairs, they are the small under control areas beyond the yellow ISIS support zones and their territory gets much bigger with places of support in Jordan, in Lebanon and even in Europe and in the United States, Anderson. That's what worries so many security analyst so much.
COOPER: Tom, I appreciate it. Thanks very much. More perspective now from courts managing editor Bobby Ghosh, who's done more reporting in the Middle East than just about anyone working, also on the phone from (inaudible) is Ben Hubbard of the New York Times.
So Ben, you made a point at your reporting that ISIS isn't made up for first time fighters armed with AK-47s. It's a heavily bolstered force, bolstered by career military man, essentially a hybrid between a terror organization and the conventional army.
BEN HUBBARD, NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: Right, I mean that's one of the things that we believe is giving them a lot of their powers, that they're not just counting on, you know, the sort of hard-core Jihadist that got a lot of experience of fighting the Americans during the American occupation in Iraq. But then we also have a lot of people who are veterans of Saddam Hussein's military and brought with them a lot of military, know how that they've been able to combine with their assurgency tactics to make them now much more effective.
COOPER: Bobby, I mean, which obviously also makes it very different than Al-Qaeda was -- but the fact as Ben said that it is that's much an army as it is a terrorist organization. I supposed you can look at and say, well, that also could be a vulnerability in terms of targeting for the U.S. It would make it possible for the U.S. to actually hit hard targets.
BOBBY GHOSH, MANAGING EDITOR, QUARTZ: Well, yes. It's also what pointing out in addition to what Ben said that not only is this an army, a lot of them are actually Iraqis and they're fighting on their own territory. So unlike Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan for instance, that you had a small group of Arab foreigners in Afghanistan in non-Arab country.
Here you have Iraqis, Iraqi ex-military men operating in Iraqi. But you're absolutely right because they have some conventional military tactics that gives you an opening to hit them back. And what we've seen in recent days in places like the Mosul dam, in places like Amerli, the small village that was relieved the day before yesterday by Iraqi groups, conventional arms plus American airstrikes have been pushing ISIS back.
COOPER: Ben, I mean they obviously have a command over a large amount of area and territory in Syria and Iraq. How central is the organization? How centrally control is it?
HUBBARD: We don't know that much. And what we do know is that there is a (inaudible) of leaders who are providing general oversight for the organization across all the territory that it covers and that they're -- but underneath them, there are a lots of different regional commanders and that these regional commanders do have a fair share of autonomy and they have their own subordinate.
So these people can make a lot of the on calls on the local level. But at the same time we have seen evidence that there is sort of general guidance coming from a central organization and there is coordination that takes place, I mean I think that, you know, these beheadings of the American journalist that we seen show that this exist, I mean when we have the first American airstrikes on Mosul dam in northern Iraq, it was very -- it did not take very long for another group, you know, 200 miles away to respond by beheading an American journalist inside of Syria.
So we know that there is some coordination across territory although there does seem to be also local autonomy for different branches of this organization, where you'll have, you know, a town in Syria that has its own military commander who is probably in touched with the top leadership over the organization but probably also has good amount of decision making ability with which battle he wants to launch on the local level and how he wants to run this local affairs.
On top of that, we also definitely have, you know, some of these departments that you'd just mentioned that would be sort of parts of, you know, what we would think of as a normal government. You have people in charge of finance, people in charge of, you know, armaments and things like that and then, we know that these people are also, you know, overseeing the wider operations across the territory that ISIS controls.
COOPER: Bobby, I'm curious. How much appeal do you believe ISIS has across the war right now? I've read in one event articles said that the head of ISIS is media, department is (inaudible), with the partial intention of appealing to a broader swath of a potential fighters.
GHOSH: They are certainly the center of attention. There's a lot of morbid fascination with ISIS but there's also quite a lot of revulsion because it's what remembering that the revulsion we feel here about the way they brutally murdered Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff. They've killed thousands of Iraqis and Syrians, fellow Muslims in that same brutal salvage way and so that arouses revulsion across the Arab world and across the Muslim world.
Yes, there's always going to be a small group of people who are fascinated by this. Some across the world who are attracted to it and want to travel to these places and join them but we're seeing lots of different elements, I mean there are (inaudible) around the Arab world that have been lampooning these people. There are religious leaders who've been condemning them, who've been issuing fatalist against them.
So I think the preponderance of opinion, in the Arab world, in the Muslim world is negative towards ISIS.
COOPER: Ben, are they at all reliant on foreign sources of income of whether it's state actors or, you know, wealthy individuals given them money or at this point because of control of oil fills over the smuggling of antiquities over money taken from banks, are they pretty much self sufficient?
HUBBARD: I think this is one of the factors that's allowed ISIS to rise so quickly and that allows sort of over shadow a number of the other Syrian, you know, rebel groups that were active in Syria, but these were groups that spent all of their time begging for weapons from the west and counting on money from sympathetic government.
And ISIS very quickly, you know, we think that they have receives report from wealthy individuals. We've never seen any evidence that they've receive state support, actual money from government. But from very on in their expansion and -- from very, very on in their expansion in Syria, very clear that their priority was controlling resources and that they would send out fighters to takeover greeneries so that they can control food supplies. They would send out fighters to takeover oil field. And visibly, anything that could be use to make them self sufficient in that area that they control was priority for the organization.
COOPER: Ben, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you and Bobby Ghosh as well, thanks.
GHOSH: Thank you too.
HUBBARDL: Thank you. COOPER: Just ahead tonight, the sick appeal that ISIS videos have in the Middle East and when it will take to the counter act that? And Bobby said that a lot of people are turned off by them, certainly there are some people are attracted to the organization because of them. We'll talk to a former radical Islamist, ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back, the video tape murder of two Americans nauseating as it is, barely scratches the surface when it comes to ISIS. The group is rebelled and it's bloodless releasing a parade of images online. One more shocking and disturbing and the next. More disturbing then that is this, they're doing it because they think it will win not actually lose supporters, more on that from our Randi Kaye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: A gruesome sent choreographed and recorded by ISIS in the middle of the desert. The beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff then posted online. The reaction swift even in Muslim countries. Saudi Arabia's King saying, these terrorist do not know the name of humanity. And in Lebanon, one leader calling this actions heinous, saying the contradict the message of Islam.
Here on the United States, condemnation and a vow to destroy ISIS.
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: We will not be intimidating. I mean they're horrific acts only unite us, as a country and stiffen our resolves to take the fight against these terrorists.
KAYE: World leaders talking tough but is ISIS really listening or they're too busy uploading these horrific videos online hoping to inspire young men in the Arab world and the west?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They're absolutely trying to that base here. Some of these young man have an almost pornographic attractions to these violent scenes, these violent beheading videos. It really sort of energizes them, makes them want to go and join this group. They feel like this is holy war. They feel a complete absolute (inaudible) hatred of the United States deep in their bones.
KAYE: It's those people who spend time in password protected online chat rooms. Jihadi Forums where they repost the videos and share comments about the beheadings. Of the two main Jihadi Forums, AMEF for Ansar Al-Mujahideen is where hard-core English speaking ISIS supporters tend to gather. Members take the videos posted there then share them on Twitter and Facebook, recruiting an even wider audience.
On Twitter, the hashtag, a message to America gained popularity following the beheadings. Supporters of ISIS share tweets like these, a picture of President Obama makes to screen grab from the beheading video. Also threats like this, "we are coming to slay you," and this, "remember that we are not invaders, it is you who invade countries and (inaudible). Besides, they tweets themselves, users even changed their profile pictures to screen shots of Steven Sotloff's beheading. It may sound sickening. But terror experts say it only makes recruiting easier as ISIS spread its message.
CRUICKSHANK: It's in a very kind of interactive kind of way which is different to what Bin Laden and others, a generation that go rebels to put out which was sort of these grainy kind of grandstanding video tape. Now, it's very, very interactive. You can interact with ISIS fighters in Syria in real time. And not -- cannot just a sort of radical virtual echo chamber for these people.
KAYE: An echo chamber which feeds on hate. Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, it is encouraging that some people enter that echo chamber and then are able to actually reemerge from it. Maajid Nawaz for one, he's the author of Radical My Journey Out Of Islamist Extremism. He joins us tonight from London.
Maajid, do these execution videos as horrific and brutal as they are, by all accounts they're also a fairly effective recruitment tool for ISIS. Can you explain that? Explain the appeal?
MAAJID NAWAZ, AUTHOR, "RADICAL": Of course. There are certain passages within religious scripture that ISIS misinterpret, they highjack, they abuse for their propaganda purposes and one of them is the passage in the Koran talking about terrifying ones enemy, so ISIS interpret this to mean that of course beheadings and all forms of barbaric medieval punishment indeed does terrify their enemy which is us.
And so any form of spectacle on camera is for ISIS a sign of, one, following god's command directly to terrify their enemy and two, demonstrating to potential recruits that they are able to attract the world's attention. And of course the use of social media is what's enabled them to attract recruits from all over the world.
COOPER: I mean they're very dark images that you actually see, you know, in these videos. You see the killer dressed in black. You see the kidnap victim, the hostage, dressed as they are. For the actual most horrific part they don't show, why do you think that is?
NAWAZ: Well, it's very gruesome for us to go into this level of detail but we have of course being forced to have this level of conversation but it's -- Anderson, it's not easy to decapitate a head from a body. You know, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes it's harder than one thinks to be able to take a head off a body. And so I think what's going on here is two points, one, they don't want to demonstrate where their trainees are making mistakes, were they receiving instruction.
And the second is at the end of the day we are talking about an organization that has deeply held twisted, yes, perverted, of course, but nevertheless religious beliefs. And they also have ideas around the dignity of the death in the human body. And they may have taken a line here to show that "before and after" and not the "during" because they may have taken a view about that death means to them and particularly the moment of death, which for them would be quite a sacred and twisted moment.
COOPER: I spoke to David Rohde last night who as you know was held hostage by the Taliban, who was able to escape after seven months. He says he think these videos that the strategy of executions will ultimately backfire on ISIS. The people in the region are disgusted by these images. Do you agree with that? And is that some thing that ISIS would even be concerned with at all?
NAWAZ: Well, no. ISIS won't be concerned with that. There are of course -- the vast majority of all of us in across the world not just in the West would be disgusted by these videos, but we have to recognize it. There is an audience out there that receives these videos in the way that ISIS intends which is an indication of victory of god being on their side because if they are able to act with impunity as they have been able to so far, ISIS are able to draw upon traditional -- in fact they are able to twist traditional Islamic Religious Scripture to demonstrate that when the Prophet Muhammad himself experienced great victories on the battle field and he was able to paralyze both the Roman and the Persian Empires of his day. That proves that indeed god's on their side.
So they believe they're repeating history. And frankly, with talking to somebody who has a detail knowledge of that history. Everything up until now is demonstrating their narrative to be true. The best way to destroy that narrative would be for ISIS to face a crushing defeat because of course god doesn't support the defeated side. And that's why I think it's so important for ISIS to face a serious and devastating military defeat.
COOPER: Maajid, I appreciate you being on again. Thank you Maajid Nawaz.
NAWAZ: A pleasure. Thank you very much Anderson.
COOPER: There's some breaking news tonight about Steven Sotloff. His family confirming his deep Jewish faith and the fact that he held Dual American-Israeli Citizenship, now in our last hour we spoke with the Editor in Chief, the Jewish Daily Forward who told us about reports he secretly practice his faith even while in captivity, even fasting to one of the high holy days (inaudible) without his captors knowing and even facing towards Jerusalem to pray.
Coming up next, a journalist and a friend shares her memories of Steven Sotloff.
COOPER: Hey welcome back. A Sotloff family spokesman today describe Steven Sotloff someone who made friends wherever he went. It's not surprising those friends have been coming forward to talk about the person they knew. Earlier tonight spokesman Newsweek Middle East editor Janine di Giovanni, she told one of her producer she didn't want us to call her friend of Stevens only a colleague.
She said it would take away from his story and make it too much about her. But listen, though, to her talk about Steven Sotloff and see why we politely beg to differ.
Janine, tell us about Steven. What kind of guy was he? What kind of a reporter was he?
JANINE DI GIOVANNI, MIDDLE EAST EDITOR, NEWSWEEK: He was a very dedicated reporter. I think that he believed very strongly in the principles of journalism and especially in the front line reporting. He believed that you had to be on the ground to tell the story. He believed in telling the story of people who didn't have a voice of their own. So he was in places where you could really focus on the effect of war has on people's lives.
And the thing that he liked to cover were the sort of everyday stories and how people reacted during war time. He was a very compassionate person. He was very funny. He was very clever. He had a fantastic sense of humor which I think in war zone or in a difficult situation was very important to kind of bring some light to this terrible situation that he was working in.
COOPER: You wrote about one of the last messages the he sent to you and I wanted to read. He wrote, "We are all naive. I still ran out to take video on my cellphone when bombs drop out of a jet. It's easy to feel invincible even with death all around." Do you believe that he felt invincible, I mean, he certainly must have known the danger.
GIOVANNI: No, I don't think he felt invincible. I think what happens with war reporters and those of us that do this especially overtime is that you just begin to think it would be you, it won't happen to you. He was apprehensive before he went in the last time. He was concerned about various things and working in a place like that, you really have to trust people you're working with.
I think he has the normal apprehension that anyone has working in those kind of situations, but I don't think he had any kind of intuition that something like this could happen. I think that it would just be beyond comprehension to do this job and to think every time you go into it I could die, I could be wounded, I could be mutilated, I could be kidnapped.
I think he just wanted to do his job and I think he just wanted to do it as efficiently and as compassionately as he could.
COOPER: I've heard people talk too about his sense of humor that he was a funny guy and as you said that's important when you're in an incredibly stressful situations and dealing with the kind of things that he and reporters deal with every single day.
GIOVANNI: He really made me laugh. It was a very difficult time, this memory I have of him that was bombing, it was cold, it was -- there was incredible destruction all around us and he was sitting in his computer. I've -- there was no electricity but he was trying to get the last bit of energy out of it and he was talking with a colleague of his about sports. And they were obsessively talking about scores in a kind of language that just seemed so funny and so kind of like an American kid.
And it just for a second took me out of this really terrible situation and made it -- it seem bearable and I think that's what he did. He was a very clever guy. He spoke Arabic. He knew the politics of the region. He knew the culture of the Middle East. He had lived in Yemen. He lived in Libya. So he really -- he knew what he was doing. He wasn't a cowboy but at the same time I think he recognized that in order to do this kind of work day in and day out you really have to keep some part of yourself.
And I just think if I was to describe him I would say he was an incredibly kind and thoughtful person and very real and gentle.
COOPER: Janine again, I'm sorry for the loss of your friend and I appreciate you talking to us tonight. Thank you.
GIOVANNI: Thank you.
COOPER: Just up ahead tonight, breaking news in the Michael Brown Shooting case late word, the Justice Department is preparing to open a Civil Investigation to Ferguson's Police Department, details on that ahead.
COOPER: We have breaking news tonight out of Missouri. Sources tell CNN that the Justice Department is getting ready to launch a Civil Investigation into the Ferguson Police Department. The Probe is going to focus on Police Department practices and training. Ferguson officials were reportedly notified about it today. The shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown last month by Officer Darren Wilson obviously put a big spotlight on Ferguson's Police Department.
A lot of people were stunned by what they saw. Officers decked out in military gear, armed with military grade weapons and armored vehicles, pointing their guns, firing tear gas at times to protesters to a number of people, it looked like war zone at times not a suburb of St. Louis. Ferguson of course isn't the only police department to use those tactics and have that kind of military hardware. There's been a lot of talk since the shooting about the militarization of U.S. police departments.
Tonight, though, we wanted to tell you about a police department that went in the opposite direction and actually transformed itself. Here's Deborah Feyerick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Two years ago, when it came to murders, shootings and drugs, Camden, New Jersey ranked dead last as the absolute worst and most dangerous city in the nation.
SERGEAT RAPHAEL THORNTON, CAMDEN COUNTY POLICE: We were wrestling, fighting for our lives getting in and shooting but eventually we will be overrun.
FEYERICK: Sergeant Raphael Thornton, an 18 year police veteran doesn't hide the fact Camden's criminals were winning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Platoon, attention.
FEYRICK: Then the city decided to do something that sounded unthinkable, get rid of its police department, disband it, replacing it in May 2013 with this new one, run by the County, Camden County.
New officers got out of their squad cars and hit the streets on foot. A uniformed force of 400 men and women up from 250, life in Camden began to change.
THORNTON: You couldn't stand here like we are and hear nothing, you either heard screams, people fighting or sounds of gunfire, and now look at it.
FEYERICK: It's quite.
THORNTON: It's quite.
FEYERICK: Part of Camden success is its real time tactical operations command center.
And these are the older ones you have on file?
Chief Scott Thomson calls it the department central nervous system. Analyst quickly process and respond to all incoming information. And rather than militarize police, Chief Thomson says he has instead enlisted the community's help.
On a scale of one to 10, what is the trust level like now between police and community and what was it before?
CHIEF SCOTT THOMSON, CAMDEN COUNTY POLICE: You know, I would say that in probably been a year's time, a little over a year and a half, we've gone from about a two to an eight.
FEYERICK: How were you able to affect that degree of trust from your perspective?
THOMSON: Well it's from the cops on the ground.
FEYERICK: Cops like rookie Cabria Davis who was nine years old when her father was shot dead on the streets of Camden.
So you want to change history?
OFFICER CABRIA DAVIS, CAMDEN COUNTY POLICE: Yes ma'am if I can. At least a little piece of it.
FEYERICK: Camden is 95 percent African-American and Hispanic. Its police force, 45 percent minority, the same as before that the number of minority commanders has now doubled to 70.
How many of you feel that Camden is safer? All right.
Even the community feels the changes.
BARBARA GREEN LEWIS, HOPEWORKS 'N CAMDEN: I think the community had enough like we are tired all of the killings, like we want to our kids to grow up in a safe community.
FEYERICK: While life in Camden is definitely getting better, high unemployment, drugs and the high school dropout rate continue to worry Chief Thomson, especially in the light (ph) of what happened in Ferguson, Missouri.
CHIEF SCOTT THOMSON, CAMDEN COUNTY POLICE: There isn't a police chief in the nation that didn't do the wrong self-assessment. We've made some great strives policing as an organization and relationships with the minority community but Ferguson has reminded that maybe we haven't made as many as we thought.
FEYERICK: Camden police know there's still a long way to go.
THOMSON: So we're waving a flag of victory, right? This is progress not success.
FEYERICK: But at least now children can play outdoors again, that people can stoops unafraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's amazing transformation. Deborah Feyerick joins us now. So the new police force -- I mean, in addition to the praise, is it facing criticism as well?
FEYERICK: There is some criticism. For example, in order to get this new police force, the old one had to be disbanded and (inaudible) busting a union. There's also some skeptics who say, "Look the Drug Enforcement Agency was in there, the DEA was in there and actually they rounded up a number of criminals and therefore they're getting the worst of the street. It enabled this police department to come in and affect as much changes as it has.
But you have to keep in mind, this is a very attractive model to a number of cities, they're all looking at it now thinking that perhaps this is the way to go because the city police forces are so overwhelmed that if they bring in the other resource and if they really involve the community Anderson, they really do believe that they can make a difference.
And I was in Camden about 10 years ago. It is a completely different city. I even said to the Sergeant, I said, "take me to the bad places." And he says, "We're driving through them." I said, "Are you sure?" So it's making a difference. It's really making a change.
COOPER: All right. And it's great for the people there. Deborah Fereyick, thanks very much.
Just ahead tonight in her first interview one on one, American missionary Nancy Writebol describes her battle to survive Ebola. She told me how close she came to death and what she believes saved her life. We'll talked to her husband as well.
COOPER: Hey welcome back. Tonight our first person account from Ebola survivor, Nancy Writebol. First, there are new numbers to tell you about tonight on the toll the Ebola epidemic is taking.
The World Health Organization now says that more than 3,500 people have been infected in West Africa and the death toll has to 1,900. Liberia has been hit especially hard with a lot of people under quarantine, tens of thousands and food and medical supplier scarce.
A video shot by (inaudible) shows just how angry and desperate people have to come. Take a look at this video, the man in the red shirt there on the left-hand side in the screen. He's carrying a stick. He is being followed by crowds of people through a marketplace.
Now, according to (inaudible) he actually test of positive for Ebola and then escape from a quarantine center, went to a local market, apparently looking for food. People there freaked out, they starting basically chasing him, following him and then medical workers from the quarantine center showed up in full-protective gear, trying to get him to stop, trying figure out how to stop him from moving away or escaping.
Watch what happens.
They try to talks him in, and finally they end up forcing him, trying to force him back into a vehicle, into an ambulance. He fights back. Obviously, this is an extremely dangerous situation for the medical workers if they get any of the fluid from this man who is currently tested positive, on their skin, they could be at risk in contracting Ebola.
The ambulance took him back to the quarantine zone. That happened in Liberia's capital Monrovia where third American now has contracted Ebola.
Today we learned his name as Dr. Rick Sacra of Massachusetts. He was working SIM in U.S.A. It's a missionary group.
In a statement tonight, his wife said she is very concern and is praying with family and friends for his recovery.
Dr. Sacra as I say was working with the same missionary group as the other Americans who got sick. Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol as you recall were airlifted home and they were treated in Atlanta. Both have survived.
This week, Nancy Writebol sat down with me for her first interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: At what point did you start to feel something? NANCY WRITEBOL, EBOLA PATIENT: I had gone to the isolation unit on the 22nd of July. I went home and I called one of our doctors and said you know what, I'm not really feeling very good, I think I have malaria.
On Saturday, the doctors came in, they said, Nancy, we know you don't have Ebola, but we're going to just run the test anyway. You're not feeling better, you still have a fever, and we just want to make sure. We want to set everybody's mind at ease.
COOPER: Until that moment, had you thought it could possibly be Ebola?
WRITEBOL: No. I didn't -- it didn't worry me at all.
COOPER: Even though you were working in a unit of Ebola patients?
WRITEBOL: Yeah. And I mean, even now I look back and I don't really know how I got it.
COOPER: So they said you know what, look, we're going to test you for Ebola.
WRITEBOL: So I said, OK. And so they drew the blood, of course. And David came home pretty quickly. And he came into the room and he said, "Nancy, I need to tell you some things." I said, "OK." And he said "Kent has Ebola." And I was just sick.
COOPER: Dr. Brantly.
WRITEBOL: Yeah, when David told me. And then after I kind of regrouped from that, he said, and "Nancy, you do too."
And I remember -- I could hear people at the front door. And I remember getting up and I remember that David wanted to put his arms around me. And, of course, I had fever. And I just said "Don't, don't. I don't want you to touch me, because, you know, touching -- who knows?" And so I said...
COOPER: That must have been so hard.
WRITEBOL: It was. And so I said, "But David, it's going to be OK. It's going to be OK."
COOPER: Even though, I mean, as you said, you had seen people die. You knew -- I mean, it's not a -- as you say, it is a horrific death. People bleed out. It's -- you had no doubt you would survive?
WRITEBOL: No, I didn't have any idea if I would survive. I didn't have a clue.
COOPER: So you immediately -- David left when you found out you said, don't touch me and he leaves. And you're alone in the house?
WRITEBOL: It was really lonely. And there were some nights that were -- as I have said earlier, there were some very dark nights. And I remember one night calling Dave on the phone and just saying I just need help and feeling really alone.
And yet it was amazing to me the times when I did feel really, really alone. The verses out of scripture that the word would recall to my mind and I was just thankful for them.
COOPER: Was there particular passage or something that you held unto and you thought about a lot?
WRITEBOL: There were several. There were several. And I told David when we're talking about those verses again this morning and one of them was peace I give unto you not as the world give, give I onto you. What not your heart be troubled either not be afraid.
And I think I really -- I held on to, let not your heart be troubled neither that not be afraid.
COOPER: Were you afraid?
WRITEBOL: You know what? I was not afraid. I really wasn't afraid.
COOPER: When did you start to feel better?
WRITEBOL: About two days after I had got into Emory. And all the supportive care that they were doing was amazing. And so to say this serum is what -- I don't know that you can say only the serum is what works, the supportive care is really critical.
COOPER: Treating all the other things like dehydration, all of that.
WRITEBOL: And all of the vitamins that they keep putting onto you because...
COOPER: So you're not sure it was the sort of...
WRITEBOL: No. No, I would not say it, I was sure. And they would not say it's sure. They would tell you the same that supportive care was the big part of it.
COOPER: To see her back in United States, you know, Emory hospital, how was that?
DAVID WRITEBOL, EBOLA SURVIVOR'S HUSBAND: It was the thrill and she's still the beautiful woman I know. I just don't want to stop telling you that. But yeah, it was a thrill. And, you know, even though we couldn't touch, you know, we put our hands up to the glass and, you know, talk to each other through the intercom and -- but to see her still alive and doing better in that day I knew that she would becoming out pretty soon and I could wait for that.
COOPER: Do you remember the moment of living isolation?
WRITEBOL: Of course.
COOPER: I'm told that nurses and doctors are really lined up and applauded. WRITEBOL: Yeah, they did. That was really great. They lined up in the hallway and when I came out of isolation they all cheered and clapped. And as I walked through that line of not doctors and nurses and there's a lots of hugs and tears and, I mean, those five doctors that attended to us and 21 nursing staff that doctors Kent and I had were just -- they were amazing.
COOPER: Is part of you -- part of both of you still in Liberia?
WRITEBOL: I think so. I don't think you could ever leave that country and you not be there.
COOPER: It's going to be hard to -- I mean, as you've said you prayed with the families of people who have been infected, some of those people maybe now infected as this virus continues.
COOPER: Do you -- I mean, I know the answer to this but it's never -- you have never doubt at your faith in all of these. You've never doubted or asked, why did this happen to me or why was I able to survived and others not -- I mean, not -- this has just made your faith stronger.
WRITEBOL: Yes. And I look for the day then where we see that back vaccine being made possible. Because it is true. I mean, you do think, "OK, here's my African brother and sister who has died and here I am."
COOPER: You were able to get a serum, they weren't. You think about that?
WRITEBOL: Yeah, sometimes. I'm so thankful that there has been some serum that was sent to Liberia and two of those people have survived and I'm very thankful to see that.
So I'm just praying that it's made, you know, that the research goes on and that vaccine is possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Very remarkable couples and the love between is just an extraordinary to see. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And that's all the time we have for this edition of 360. I have more of my interview with Nancy and David Writebol online at ac360.com...