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Secret Service Under Fire; How Did Obama Administration Underestimate ISIS?; Fears of Massacre if ISIS Takes Syrian City; Is NFL Turning Blind Eye to Rape?

Aired September 29, 2014 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Great to see you, Don. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

How could this happen? It turns out the man who jumped the fence and barreled through the entrance of the White House got deeper into the first floor of the executive mansion than we previously knew. Where was the Secret Service, and what happens now?

LEMON: And what about ISIS? New fears of a massacre. ISIS fighters are within two miles of the Syrian Kurdish see of Kobani. Officials there are desperately calling for help, saying blood will run in the streets if ISIS takes control.

CAMEROTA: And this could be the break they're looking for. Police say the arrest of a suspect in the disappearance of that University of Virginia student has led to a break in another case, the death of a female college student five years ago. Do police have a serial killer on their hands?

LEMON: And is the NFL's sex abuse scandal growing? A prominent attorney says her client has filed a police report claiming she was raped by a player who has not yet been named, but who played the very next day. We're going to hear from that attorney.

CAMEROTA: All right, but we begin at the White House and a new report that the armed man who jumped the fence on September 19 not only got through the entrance, but overpowered a Secret Service officer. The intruder then ran through the main floor before he was tackled.

So let's go right away to senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.

Jim, what do we know?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, sources have confirmed that Omar Gonzalez, that fence jumper here at the White House, made it much farther inside the building than previously acknowledged by the Secret Service.

According to congressional and law enforcement sources, once Gonzalez entered the White House, he managed to get past a Secret Service officer, or overpowered that officer at the North Portico door that's right behind me, went past the stairs leading beyond the first family residence.

You can see it in this diagram here. And then ran into the East Room of the White House before he was tackled just as he was trying to head inside the Green Room. Now, no shots were fired inside or outside of the White House. And according to a memo that will be used by lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee at a hearing on this tomorrow, there were multiple lapses that allowed Gonzalez to make it in that far.

CAMEROTA: Jim, you say multiple lapses. How many?

ACOSTA: They're saying about four different layers of protection broke down. And the one that we really didn't hear about just this evening is something called the crash button.

That crash button, had it been activated, would have instantly locked down the White House. The question tonight is why that button was not pushed. And this new information, we should point out, it runs completely counter to what the Secret Service initially said on the night of the fence jumping incident. A spokesman at that time told reporters that Gonzalez was apprehended just inside the North Portico door.

This is definitely a very different story. And the director of the Secret Service, we should point out, Julia Pierson, she's scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee tomorrow morning. Much of that hearing will be out in a closed session, but some of it will be in front of the cameras, and she's likely to be asked about this incident, as well as other factors leading into overall White House security with the Secret Service and how all of these layers of protection broke down.

CAMEROTA: Right, because there was another incident that we're now learning more details about back in 2011 where shots were fired and they actually hit the White House.

ACOSTA: That's right.

That is something that came up at the White House briefing earlier today, and White House officials, the White House press secretary was very frank in saying that the president and the first lady were very concerned about this.

You can expect the Secret Service director to be asked about this as well. And, basically, in that case according to "The Washington Post," Secret Service officers upon hearing shots being fired in the vicinity of the White House, they were given a stand-down order and were told at one point that no shots were fired.

And we, of course, did not learn until days later that an usher found a bullet hole in one of the windows here at the White House and he alerted staff, and that is how the president and the first lady found out about it. They, of course, were furious about this. And this is just one of several incidences here at the White House that have raised very big questions about what the Secret Service is doing over here and whether or not they're providing adequate protection for the first family.

The White House said earlier today the president does have confidence in the Secret Service, but expect this director to be tested big-time at this hearing tomorrow, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Yes, there are big questions that need to be answered. Jim Acosta, thanks so much, because in that second incident that he just told us about, Sasha was home during those bullets flying.

LEMON: Who knows what the heck is going on here.

Let's bring in now Chris Swecker. He's former assistant director of the FBI.

Thank you, sir.

What in the world is going on at the White House? Some people may call it an identity crisis, but it appears that there are lapses and something is going on, somebody is not in control of what they should be doing.

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, they have always been the gold standard when it comes to personal protection, but I think they're struggling with being assimilated within the Department of Homeland Security.

They used to be the marquee agency within the Treasury Department, and now they're just one of 30-some-odd agencies within Homeland Security. Second, they're trying to do a lot of things. They want to do cyber- crimes. They're doing economic crimes. They're doing credit card fraud, counterfeiting, when their core mission really is personal protection.

LEMON: But the people at the White House, with all due respect, are not all doing that. The people at the White House are in charge of the president's security and keeping the White House safe. Those are done in Washington or around the country at other places. So then why not the focus on the procedures and the right amount of manpower at the White House?

SWECKER: Clearly, this is a booming lapse in security.

Both in public security and private security, you sometimes see people get complacent if they're not tested. And I wonder if they have run tests on their own security within the White House security scheme, because that's the best way to determine vulnerabilities in your security system.

LEMON: I just want to ask you something. I saw -- I don't know if you saw on "THE SITUATION ROOM" the chairman of the House Oversight Committee of national security, Jason Chaffetz, told our Wolf Blitzer this, this afternoon. Listen and then we will talk about it.


REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: What is the protocol? Why is it that the White House -- I'm sorry, the Secret Service --

they issue a statement and said that the intruder, the guy who hopped the fence, had no weapon? Ends up he did have a weapon. Why is it that they said he stopped at the door, but our whistle-blowers are telling us he went much further into the White House? Why is it that they brag about -- I say brag, but they tout the idea that there is tremendous restraint by these officers? I want to see overwhelming force, repel anybody who is trying to get into the White House. I don't think that's good leadership.


LEMON: That is a great question. And as Jim mentioned, there's a hearing tomorrow with the committee.

But the question is, why wasn't that person shot or taken down or stunned or Tased and got all the way into the White House past the entrance to the residence, into the East Room? I mean, that is clearly a problem. Jason Chaffetz has a point there.

SWECKER: No, this is a failure in leadership somewhere in that hierarchy.

I mean, clearly this should never have happened. It's a major security lapse. And, again, I go back to just basic security 101. And that is, you test yourself. That which is not inspected and tested will deteriorate.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Swecker, let's talk about that other incident from 2011, where a guy pulled up across from the White House, rolled down his window, and fired shots outside his window with a semiautomatic, I believe, gun and seven of those bullets hit the White House. This is while Sasha was home.

What can the Secret Service ever do about that?

SWECKER: Yes, that's a lot tougher. That means -- to prevent that type of incident, you have to have set-backs at the White House, at whatever building you're trying to protect, that we haven't been -- we just have not embraced as a -- we want the White House to be accessible. At the same time, we want to protect the first family and everybody in it.

So that's a much tougher security challenge than what happened with the intruder coming. That's just inexcusable. This, I could almost understand. I mean, that's just a much tougher -- tougher security challenge.

CAMEROTA: So for these hearings, last question. Do you think that they're being spread too thin? What's the answer for the Secret Service?

SWECKER: I think they need to refocus on the core mission, and that is protection. They can do other things, but they must do protection. That's the core mission of the Secret Service. If they have time to do the other things, that's fine. But those

other things are also -- there is some redundancy with these federal agencies. A lot of them are working the same violations. Someone probably should look at that.

LEMON: All right. Thank you very much, sir. We appreciate it.

We want to talk more about this security breach at the White House. It happens as the U.S. military takes action against ISIS, and there are repeated calls from terror leaders for lone wolf attacks in the United States. And that makes it even more important for police in Oklahoma to conduct thorough investigations into the beheading of one woman and the threat by a man to behead a co-worker.

We're joined now by CNN's David Mattingly.

David, incredibly, two stories in Oklahoma today involving beheadings. Let's start with the first, the case of Alton Nolen suspected of beheading a woman there. You spent the day talking to people at Nolen's mosque. What did they tell you?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, calling it his mosque is not actually accurate, according to the people who worship there. They say he started attending back in May and was only sporadically there.

And while he was there, he had virtually no contact with anyone, a real face in the crowd, they said, for people that were coming to pray there. There was one man that I met, a former Navy SEAL, who worships there. He actually had contact with Nolen.

And it was a strange incident in which he confronted Nolen for putting his Koran on the floor, which is something, a sign of disrespect and something that someone who has any sort of training in the Muslim faith would know not to do at a very, very early age if they're learning this religion.

So he knew at that point that Nolen did not know a lot about Islam, and that he observed him a little bit further and said that while the sermon was going on, he didn't seem to be listening, in fact, just seemed to be caught up in his own thoughts. But he would sit in the back and disappear quickly when the sermon was over.

LEMON: And, David, the investigators found images of bin Laden and what may be a beheading on his Facebook page. Is he facing any terrorism charges?

MATTINGLY: No terrorism charges here in Oklahoma from the authorities here in Moore.

They are pursuing this as a first-degree murder case and an assault with a deadly weapon case. What they were looking into motivation, they say that Nolen has been very cooperative, meaning that he is answering all of their questions, telling them exactly why he did what he did, and how he did it. So they're saying they're having no problem moving forward with this

investigation, but they're not finding any sort of connection to any religious motivation. They say what set him off here was the fact that he said that he was oppressed while he was here on the job, and upset because he had been denied a raise. Of course, he'd been disruptive on the job, and that we're told is what led to him being fired.

He left here, went back to his apartment, and where officers presumed that he picked up his weapon and came here, killed one of the ladies that worked here, and then wounded another.

LEMON: OK. There's another case we want to talk about. Oklahoma City police are confirming now that Jacob Muriithi was arrested and detained on a terrorism charge Friday after making a reference about beheading a female co-worker. He told his co-worker that he was affiliated with ISIS. So what do we know about that case?

MATTINGLY: This one is really strange, Don. This happened back earlier in September.

A woman who works at a nursing home says a man who was a supervisor there threatened her, threatened to cut her head off, said he was associated with ISIS. She went to police, had filed a complaint. They sent a warrant out for his arrest. She approached the police again after this incident here in Moore happened.

And you can bet they're taking this a whole lot more seriously now, when it might have been -- she thought originally it might have been his dry sense of humor. But now she's taking it very seriously, as are police. They're looking at this as a case of terrorism, as being motivated by his connections to ISIS and to their beliefs.

So, that in itself is being pursued as a case of terrorism. But what happened here in Moore is not.

LEMON: Thank you, David Mattingly, reporting from Moore, Oklahoma.

The only way to describe it is just bizarre.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

LEMON: It's unbelievable.

CAMEROTA: Frightening.


And up next, we're going to talk about a complicated question that many people are asking. Are Muslim countries more violent than others? We're going to discuss that with our guests. But here's how comedian Bill Maher feels about it.


BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": President Obama keeps insisting that ISIS is not Islamic. Well, maybe they don't practice the Muslim faith the same way he does.


CAMEROTA: That was his joke about it. We will show you the real stuff that he said in a minute.

Also ahead, while President Obama admits that he underestimated ISIS, there are fears at this hour in one Syrian city of a possible massacre if ISIS fighters succeed in taking control.


CAMEROTA: Defenders of Islam insist it is a peaceful religion. Others disagree and point to the primitive treatment in Muslim countries of women and other minorities.

LEMON: So let's discuss this now.

We're joined now by Reza Aslan, a scholar of religions, a professor at University of California, Riverside, and the author of "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth."

Let's talk about this because it's a very interesting conversation every time we have it. Before we get into this discussion, I want to play with you this clip from Bill Maher's show just this Friday night. Here it is.


MAHER: President Obama keeps insisting that ISIS is not Islamic. Well, maybe they don't practice the Muslim faith the same way he does.


MAHER: But if vast numbers of Muslims across the world believe, and they do, that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea or drawing a cartoon or writing a book or eloping with the wrong person, not only does the Muslim world have something in common with ISIS; it has too much in common with ISIS. There's so much talk -- you can applaud. Sure.



LEMON: He went on for a good five or six minutes about that, talking about how women are -- circumcision for women, not respecting the rights of women, not respecting the rights of gay people. And what's your reaction? And then we will talk.

REZA ASLAN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE: Well, I like Bill Maher. I have been on his show a bunch of times. He's a comedian.

But, you know, frankly, when it comes to the topic of religion, he's not very sophisticated in the way that he thinks. I mean, the argument about the female genital mutilation being an Islamic problem is a perfect example of that. It's not an Islamic problem. It's an African problem.


CAMEROTA: Well, wait, wait, wait.


CAMEROTA: Hold on. Hold on a second Reza, because he says it's a Muslim country problem. He says that, in Somalia...

ASLAN: Yes, but that's -- yes. And that's actually empirically factually incorrect.

It's a Central African problem. Eritrea has almost 90 percent female genital mutilation. It's a Christian country. Ethiopia has 75 percent female genital mutilation. It's a Christian country. Nowhere else in the Muslim, Muslim-majority states is female genital mutilation an issue.

But, again, this is the problem, is that you make these facile arguments that women are somehow mistreated in the Muslim world -- well, that's certainly true in many Muslim-majority countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Do you know that Muslims have elected seven women as their heads of state in those Muslim-majority countries?

How many women do we have as states in the United States?


LEMON: Reza, be honest, though. For the most part, it is not a free and open society for women in those states.

ASLAN: Well, it's not in Iran. It's not in Saudi Arabia.

It certainly is in Indonesia and Malaysia. It certainly is in Bangladesh. It certainly is in Turkey. I mean, again, this is the problem is that you're talking about a religion of 1.5 billion people and certainly it becomes very easy to just simply paint them all with a single brush by saying, well, in Saudi Arabia, they can't drive and so therefore that is somehow representative of Islam.

It's representative of Saudi Arabia.


CAMEROTA: But hold on. I think that Bill Maher's point is that these aren't extremists. We often talk about extremists and that we should crack down on extremists and why aren't Muslims speaking out about extremists?

In Saudi Arabia, when women can't vote and they can't drive and they need permission from their husband, that's not extremists. Why aren't we talking more about what...

ASLAN: Why? CAMEROTA: That's not extremist. That's commonplace. Why don't we talk more about the commonplace wrongs that are happening in some of these countries?


ASLAN: It's extremist when compared to the rights and responsibilities of women, Muslim women around the world. It's an extremist way of dealing with it.


LEMON: But it's not extremist in that country, in Saudi Arabia. That's the norm.


LEMON: That's what she is saying.

ASLAN: Oh, no, it's not.

I mean, look, Saudi Arabia is one of the most, if not the most, extremist Muslim country in the world. In the month that we have been talking about ISIS and their terrible actions in Iraq and Syria, Saudi Arabia, our closest ally, has beheaded 19 people. Nobody seems to care about that because Saudi Arabia sort of preserves our national interests.


ASLAN: You know, but this is the problem, is that these kinds of conversations that we're having aren't really being had in any kind of legitimate way. We're not talking about women in the Muslim world. We're using two or three examples to justify a generalization. That's actually the definition of bigotry.

LEMON: All right, fair enough.

Let's listen to Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations today.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: So when it comes to their ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas. And what they share in common, all militant Islamists share in common.


LEMON: So, Reza, the question at the bottom of the screen that everyone is looking at, does Islam promote violence?

ASLAN: Islam doesn't promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion, and like every religion in the world, it depends on what you bring to it. If you're a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism is going to be violent. There are Buddhist -- marauding Buddhist monks in Myanmar slaughtering

women and children. Does Buddhism promote violence? Of course not. People are violent or peaceful. And that depends on their politics, their social world, the way that they see their communities, the way they see themselves.

CAMEROTA: So, Reza, you don't think that there's anything more -- there's -- the justice system in Muslim countries you don't think is somehow more primitive or subjugates women more than in other countries?

ASLAN: Did you hear what you just said? You said in Muslim countries.

I just told you that, Indonesia, women are absolutely 100 percent equal to men. In Turkey, they have had more female representatives, more female heads of state in Turkey than we have in the United States.

LEMON: Yes, but in Pakistan...


ASLAN: Stop saying things like "Muslim countries."

LEMON: In Pakistan, women are still being stoned to death.

ASLAN: And that's a problem for Pakistan. You're right. So, let's criticize Pakistan.


LEMON: I just want to be clear on what your point is, because I thought you and Bill Maher were saying the same thing. Your point is that Muslim countries are not to blame.

There is nothing particular, there's no common thread in Muslim countries, you can't paint with a broad brush that somehow their justice system or Sharia law or what they're doing in terms of stoning and female mutilation is different than in other countries like Western countries?

ASLAN: Stoning and mutilation and those barbaric practices should be condemned and criticized by everyone. The actions of individuals and societies and countries like Iran, like Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia must be condemned, because they don't belong in the 21st century.

But to say Muslim countries, as though Pakistan and Turkey are the same, as though Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are the same, as though somehow what is happening in the most extreme forms of these repressive countries, these autocratic countries, is representative of what's happening in every other Muslim country, is, frankly -- and I use this word seriously -- stupid. So let's stop doing that.

LEMON: OK, Reza. Let's -- I want you to listen to Benjamin Netanyahu again. This is actually the one I wanted you to hear. ASLAN: Yes, the ISIS.


NETANYAHU: But our hopes and the world's hopes for peace are in danger, because everywhere we look, militant Islam is on the march. It's not militants. It's not Islam. It's militant Islam. And, typically, its first victims are other Muslims, but it spares no one.


LEMON: He's making a clear distinction there. He says it's not militants, it's not Islam; it's militant Islam. Do you understand his distinction there? Is he correct?

ASLAN: Well, he's correct in talking about militant Islam being a problem.

He is absolutely incorrect in talking about ISIS equaling Hamas. That's just ridiculous. No one takes him seriously when he says things like that. And, frankly, it's precisely why, under his leadership, Israel has become so incredibly isolated from the rest of the global community.

Those kinds of statements are illogical, they're irrational, they're so obviously propagandistic. In fact, he went so far as to then bring up the Nazis, which has become kind of a verbal tick for him whenever he brings up either Hamas or ISIS.

Again, these kinds of oversimplifications I think only cause more danger. There is a very real problem. ISIS is a problem. Al Qaeda is a problem. These militant Islamic groups like Hamas, like Hezbollah, like the Taliban have to be dealt with. But it doesn't actually help us to deal with them when, instead of talking about rational conflicts, rational criticisms of a particular religion, we instead so easily slip into bigotry by simply painting everyone with a single brush, as we have been doing in this conversation, mind you.

LEMON: Well, we're just asking the questions, Reza. And you're answering. And I think you answered very fairly, and we appreciate it.

Thank you, Reza Aslan.

CAMEROTA: We appreciate your perspective...

ASLAN: My pleasure.

CAMEROTA: ... and helping everyone understand your perspective.

LEMON: One hundred and twenty-six Muslim leaders from around the world have sent a letter to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling on him and his group to stop harming people. The letter states that ISIS has misinterpreted Islam from a religion of mercy to one of harshness, brutality and murder. CAMEROTA: We are joined by Nihad Awad. He's the national executive

director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and one of the signers of the letter.

Mr. Awad, thanks so much for being here. What did you say in the letter?


The letter is a clear case against the ideology, behavior, conduct, program of ISIS. We told them what every Muslim will tell them, that ISIS is misrepresenting the religion of Islam, ISIS is in violation of the Islamic teachings, ISIS is killing people in the name of Islam and the Koran.

The Islam revered text -- the revered text clearly prohibits the killing of innocent people. ISIS is murdering noncombatants. Islam says clearly to save the lives of noncombatants. ISIS is killing non- Muslims, Christians and other faith people. And Islam protects those minorities.

ISIS is preventing women from being educated and from taking her rights. And we condemn them for that. And we cite in more than 28 pages addressing 24 points where ISIS violates Islam clearly.

Now, keep in mind that the scholars who drafted this letter are first- class scholars, legitimate leaders and grand muftis from Muslims all over the world. They have made a case by condemning ISIS and dismantling their religious argument, whether in the action they take on the ground or by their propaganda in recruiting young people who are deceived by their symbolism and the religious texts that they have been using in their videos and in their publications.

LEMON: Nihad Awad, thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us here on CNN this evening.

CAMEROTA: We hope they get your message. Thank you.

President Obama admits his administration underestimated the growing threat from ISIS. Up next, we will discuss the implication with presidential historian Douglas Brinkley.


LEMON: President Obama admits his administration underestimated the growing strength of ISIS while at the same time overestimating the ability of Iraqi troops to fight off the terror group. He made those comments last night on "60 Minutes."

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about all this with Douglas Brinkley. He's a presidential historian.

Douglas, great to see you.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thanks for having me. CAMEROTA: Good to have you on set here. So let's play a clip for

everyone of the president talking about how his administration, not he exactly, underestimated the threat from ISIS.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't say that -- just say that we underestimated ISIL. He said we overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight.

OBAMA: That's true. That's absolutely true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And these are the people that we are now expecting to carry on the fight.


CAMEROTA: Not exactly inspiring rhetoric.

BRINKLEY: No. Poor Jim Clapper kind of got thrown under the bus with that one. The president really is blaming the intelligence. And he very well might be right. But I think he needs to take a little bit of a buck stops here, that "I goofed up on the intelligence." I think that's what he wanted to say, but he kind of hedged it a little bit there.

LEMON: Because we went back. CNN went back and looked at the administration officials over and publicly, at least over a year they have been warning the president about the danger of ISIS. They've been telling the American public about it.

BRINKLEY: I remember when James Carney did a hole spiel about worrying about ISIS. And I think the president had his, if you like, "mission accomplished" moment. Remember the banner with George W. Bush? I think when he did that "New Yorker" article and called ISIS the J.V., that's going to haunt him. That's a little...

LEMON: He said he wasn't talking about -- this is what he said. He said, "I wasn't talking about ISIS specifically but groups like ISIS." But still, ISIS is under that umbrella.

BRINKLEY: Yes. It's going to live. It's not as bad as a visual of a "mission accomplished" banner. But nevertheless, ISIS is not the J.V. We're ratcheting up for war in Syria.

LEMON: Can I ask you, did he throw the intelligence community under the bus? Because he said, "I didn't do it. The buck stops with me, but that's not what I meant."

BRINKLEY: Well, we're really just basically saying a bunch of faulty intelligence, guys, on really big issues, and where's the solution? Where's the -- when's the good intelligence coming? Are we still relying on faulty intelligence?

You know, ISIS has done a number on us. The psychological damage that the American people and the world has suffered by those beheadings, we're now all like wanting to get into action, and the president's trying to calm the waters a little bit. He may have to call Congress in session and have a vote on whether...

CAMEROTA: I'm curious about that. Given that people are so afraid of ISIS and that you think the president should calm the waters, do you think that there's a need for sort of presidential rhetoric that talks about this existential threat and talks about what America means? Maybe I've been watching too much of "The Roosevelts" on PBS, but that sort of presidential speech about "We will survive this. We are better than this." Have you heard that kind of speech?

BRINKLEY: I think instead of going on "60 Minutes" the president needs to primetime address. I know that's a little old-fashioned, but it still breaks through. Let the networks cover it and explain what's going on.

Look, we're in a political season. I understand that. The Republicans may be playing some politics with beating up on President Obama to do more in Syria and -- but we're dealing with a lot of semantics. What are boots on the ground? What is wars? A limited war? Are drones part of a war? And I don't think we have enough clarity. And I think that's the job of the president to do.

We had containment in the Cold War, and it had different phases. George Cannon's containment and then Paul Nixon's containment strategy. We need a containment strategy plus on Syria that needs to be really articulated to the American people.

LEMON: I'm going to play another bite from "60 Minutes," because he was asked about carrying -- is the U.S. carrying its weight with the anti-ISIS effort? Here's what he said.


OBAMA: That's always the case. America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing; they don't call Moscow. They call us. That's -- that's the deal. That's how they roll. And that's what makes this America.


CAMEROTA: That's more of that grand rhetoric.

BRINKLEY: Absolutely. I thought that was great. Great. The indispensable nation echoes American exceptionalism. And anytime that you say that our troops are the best in the world, you're starting to build a constituency for your foreign policy.

LEMON: Yes. But it's tough. Americans are war-weary, but we still have to protect ourselves. Thank you, Douglas. CAMEROTA: Douglas, great to see you.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Coming up, ISIS is on the move. There are fears of a massacre in a Syrian Kurdish city tonight. Just how is the U.S. dealing with all of this? We'll explain.



ANNOUNCER: Tomorrow night, as the U.S. and its allies take on ISIS, is anti-Muslim rage on the rise in the U.S.? What does that mean for homeland security? Don Lemon and Alisyn Camerota bring you the latest intelligence. CNN TONIGHT, tomorrow at 10 Eastern.


CAMEROTA: Make sure you tune in to that.

Meanwhile, desperate calls for help tonight from people in the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani. That's near the border with Turkey. And they say that ISIS fighters are within two miles, and they fear a massacre if the terrorists take control of Kobani.

LEMON: Joining us now Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, CNN military analyst and former U.S. military attache in Syria. And Lieutenant Colonel James Reese, CEO of Tiger Swan, and a retired Delta Force commander.

You two are military men. What do you make of the commander in chief saying -- this is what he said, the intelligence community underestimated ISIS? Did he underestimate ISIS when we -- last year when we were talking about the Iraqis and they were asking for assistance earlier? And this year, I should say?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think we underestimated ISIS's will to fight. And I think that's what General Clapper said.

We've known about ISIS for a long time. And you could watch their development as they sent soldiers, they sent fighters from Iraq into Syria. They created what was al Qaeda in Syria. Then they joined to form ISIS. We watched that all happen. I just think we were surprised by the fierceness and the will of them to take on these armed forces.

LEMON: Were you surprised?

LT. COL. JAMES REESE, CEO, TIGER SWAN: Yes. Surprised a bit. But like we talked about the other day, I still think they're punks. I really do. Unfortunately, when you have the bully on the playground who's got a bigger bat than you do, that's a problem.

CAMEROTA: And it comforts us to hear that you think that they're not as larger than life as they've been depicted. However, they are two miles tonight away from this city of Kobani. Why aren't air strikes stopping their forward march?

REESE: Here's the problem with air strikes. What everyone's got to understand is when a bomb goes boom on the ground, there's an explosion. And that explosion has shrapnel that's going everywhere. When you see these technical vehicles that are beside vehicles, where there's people sitting, that becomes a problem.

And there's no one on the ground to call that. We don't have AC-130s in there. We don't have A-10 Warthogs to do close air support. We're dropping bombs on fixed known targets. That's an issue right now.

FRANCONA: Yes, you can't -- you cannot do this, you can't unless you've got positive control, because all you'll do is kill a bunch of friendly forces. Now I understand the situation up there in Kobani is desperate.

CAMEROTA: What happens if they take that city?

FRANCONA: Well, there's going to be a massacre.

LEMON: If they take it, it's going to be what? They'll control all the way from Raqqah to the Turkish border, right?

FRANCONA: Well, there's an enclave of Syrian Kurds along that border, and if you look at what they're doing, this is very, very well-planned on the part of ISIS, because they're cutting it in half. And then they will roll up the two enclaves.

This is a -- if you were a military guy looking at this, this is how you would do it. The problem is once they take over what will happen? Now, we know a lot of them are departing and taking refuge in Turkey. But the ones that remain are at risk of being slaughtered.

LEMON: Go into that. You said they are splitting it. What does that -- what does that mean?

REESE: So what we've done now is ISIS has moved north up from Raqqah about 35 to 48 miles up there. They've gained a foothold, and they split the Kurdish -- the Kurdish enclaves along the -- they split them in half. So now the Kurds don't have any interlocking ability to help each other, and they turn left and right, and now they're able to roll up people.

FRANCONA: And they'll surround them and put them under siege. There will be no resupply, no ammunition, no food, no water. It'll be several days and then they'll just roll...

LEMON: So for air strikes that means you can't, because there are civilians or...

FRANCONA: Yes. They're too close. I mean, we call this troops in contact. And when you have troops in contact, you have to have forward air control. Or otherwise, as he says, everybody gets killed. CAMEROTA: I want to play for you CNN's Arwa Damon did a fascinating

interview with an ex-ISIS fighter who claims that they were prepared for the U.S. air strikes. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They almost entirely emptied out the headquarters. Some equipment they hid in civilian neighborhoods. Some they hid underground.


CAMEROTA: So you predicted it. You both said this, that that's what they would do. He says that that's what they did do.

FRANCONA: This is what happens when you announce that we are going to be conducting at some point in the future air strikes in Syria. What we should have said was "Last night we began air strikes in Syria." So they've had two weeks to move everything. So I don't think it's any surprise to anybody that they've hidden this stuff in the civilian areas. That's right out of the playbook.

CAMEROTA: But I'm just curious, how do you get to be an ex-ISIS fighter? I didn't know they let you leave the organization.

REESE: Well, I think that's a great point, though, that there's an ex-ISIS fighter. If you also know there was also a report that ISIS has had to change their tactics. Instead of moving in columns down the road to the attack, they've now had to move vehicles out one by one.

Going back to your question, that shows me there's some disruption going on. And, you know, when the might of the U.S., all the coalition -- when there's forces from the sky falling on top of you, it's not a lot of fun.

LEMON: ... ground troops, right? Is that where this is leading?

FRANCONA: Absolutely.

LEMON: Ground troops?

FRANCONA: I think so. Yes. But your point is well taken, that there is dissension in the ranks.

CAMEROTA: Good to hear.

LEMON: Thank you, guys. Thank you very much.

Other subject tonight, the NFL. The publicity nightmare for the NFL appears to be getting worse before it gets better. Coming up, we're joined by Gloria Allred, whose client alleges she was raped by an NFL player last week. Details on the action the NFL took against that player or lack thereof. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Well, earlier today attorney Gloria Allred addressed the NFL's response to a letter she hand-delivered to their office regarding her client's accusation of rape by a current NFL player.

CAMEROTA: Let's find out more about this. Gloria Allred joins us now.

Gloria, thanks so much for being here.

GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY: Thanks for having me.

CAMEROTA: What are you alleging this NFL player did to your client on September 20?

ALLRED: Well, my client is a young woman, and she alleges that on September 20 that she was raped, that in fact she reported it very shortly thereafter to the police in the jurisdiction in which it occurred, and that the police then indicated after she, by the way, went to the hospital, had a rape kit taken, that in fact the NFL player was contacted, that he came to the police station, that he was accompanied by a representative of his NFL team and that the next day the NFL player was allowed to play with his NFL team.

CAMEROTA: But why wasn't he arrested? I mean, if she had a rape kit done, why wasn't he arrested at the police station?

ALLRED: Yes. Law enforcement would have to answer that. But all I can tell you is it may be that all of the results of the rape kit are not available yet to law enforcement.

But having said that, my focus is on the NFL, because the NFL has a personal conduct policy. And here it is, and it's on the Internet, and anybody can see it. And it says clearly that, even if there is no arrest, that the NFL requires its players, requires its clubs, requires any employee to promptly report an incident to the NFL commissioner, to the NFL.

That obviously didn't happen, Alisyn, because last Friday the NFL issued a statement to the press saying they had no information about this incident. That was six days after it was reported to the police.

So my question is why didn't they have a report of this incident? And what are they going to do now that it was not promptly reported to them? Are they going to take any disciplinary action against the player, against the club that failed to report?

LEMON: But Gloria -- Gloria, they have responded to your letter, though. They responded to your letter and here's what they said. They said that they're taking this very seriously.

They said they appreciate your concern for your client's privacy as well as your point that a criminal investigation is pending. "However, we recently retained Lisa Friel, who spent more than two decades prosecuting sexual assault in the Manhattan district attorney's office. We would certainly make Miss Friel available to interview your client on a confidential and appropriate basis to obtain more information so that we can follow up on this matter."

So will your client meet with Lisa Friel?

ALLRED: Well, of course we just got that e-mail from the NFL 30 minutes before my press conference. And definitely, my client is going to consider that.

However, let us not be distracted by the play that the NFL is making right here. They have failed to answer any of the questions that I have asked them. They have failed to say what they're going to do to enforce their personal conduct policy, which appears to have been violated, because they weren't notified.

Have they said what kind of investigation they're going to do, what kind of action they're going to take? They purport to care about victims of sexual assault. But you know, actions are louder than words, as the old saying goes. So what, in fact, are they going to do?

We'd like answers to our questions. My client is going to keep her mind open about speaking with the NFL. We also are going to be speaking with law enforcement. And we want to make sure that, if she does speak with them, that it's at the right time and it does not have an adverse impact on the investigation...

CAMEROTA: Of course, of course. But Gloria, why aren't you identifying the player or the team?

ALLRED: Well, I think it's the job of the NFL to know, and I think they do know. And the reason I say that is because they did not ask me in this very short note from the NFL who is the player, who is the team. They didn't ask. And I think that means they did know. And if they don't know, they should know and they should find out.

Because I also want to know what is their policy. Do they approve of an NFL player being allowed to play a game with his NFL team after there's an allegation of rape made to law enforcement? That's what I'd like to know.

LEMON: Gloria -- Gloria, listen, I have to run. But they are saying that they will cooperate with the legal investigation.

Do you ever -- just quickly, maybe they don't want to, because of the seriousness of the charges -- I'm just asking -- maybe they don't want to try it in the media and they just want to do it -- go through the legal process.

ALLRED: Well, you know, that's fine...

LEMON: We have to go quickly.

ALLRED: ... to go through the legal process, Don, but their own personal conduct policy says that they want to know...


ALLRED: ... that it is the players' duty and the clubs' duty to report to them, even if there is no arrest.

LEMON: I'm up against a break, Gloria.

ALLRED: ... prosecution, or conviction.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Let us know what happens, Gloria, please.

ALLRED: Thank you.

LEMON: We'll be right back.