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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
First Ebola Case Diagnosed In U.S.; President Obama Meeting with National Security Council; Interview with Congressman Paul Ryan; Prosecutor: Suspect Had Infatuation with Beheadings
Aired September 30, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, the first confirmed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient tonight being treated in a Dallas hospital. That patient went about his business for days before knowing that Ebola was in his system. How many others could follow?
BURNETT: And the biggest day of bombings against ISIS so far as ISIS closes in on Baghdad. Former vice president candidate and leading Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is OUTFRONT tonight.
Plus a suspect in the disappearance of UVA student Hannah Graham. Police are now investigating possible links to four more cases. Could this be the serial killer? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. Ebola is in the United States. Just moments ago, the CDC confirming the first case of the deadly virus has been diagnosed at a Dallas, Texas hospital.
The patient as we are now returning, just recently returned from West Africa where the virus has already killed more than 3,000 people. The president of the United States has just been briefed and we're going live to the White House in just a moment.
First though, our chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta is OUTFRONT. And Sanjay, what more can you tell us about the case and the patient.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing is that this is someone that was in Liberia, a country on your map you just showed, has Ebola. They returned to the United States on 20th. We know when this person got on the plane and when they landed in the United States, the person was not sick.
That is what we're being told. It was four days later on the 24th when the person started to become sick. We knew on the 26th the person did seek care. We're not sure if they went to a doctor's office or hospital or what exactly, but they did not get admitted or isolated at that time.
And it was two days after that, on the 28th, when eventually they did get the isolation, the person got the isolation and was also tested. We now know, as you mentioned, Erin, this is the first person diagnosed positive for Ebola in the United States.
There have been other patients in the United States with Ebola, but as you well know, they were diagnosed in West Africa and then sent to the United States. This is the first person diagnosed of Ebola outside of Africa and that is what is prompting all of this discussion tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: And Sanjay, I mean, in a sense this is terrifying and sobering at the same time. You are talking about eight days during which the patient came into contact with people who came into contact with other people who came into contact with other people. I mean, I know they are trying to track all of that down, but you have to admit, right, it is possible this has spread?
GUPTA: Yes. I think you characterize that well. In some ways this is not unexpected. We've been talking about this for months and we know people can carry the Ebola virus in their body without being sick for up to 21 days and you can travel around the world.
So the idea that someone would show up in the United States with Ebola and then get sick here and be tested, that wasn't unexpected. I think what was a little bit surprising to me, Erin, and a little concerning was those four days as you mentioned.
On the 24th this person got sick. Apparently, you know, according to our CDC sources, they were concerned -- this person was concerned that he or she may have had Ebola and went to seek care on the 26th, but again it wasn't until two days after that that they actually got isolation.
How many people did this person come in contact with at that point? How sick were they, and how likely is it that the person subsequently spread the virus to other people?
And I can tell you now, Erin, to your point this is a process now at this point. You have to go back and you got to find all the people this person may have come in contact with. What happens to them?
They all go into isolation for three weeks because that's as long as Ebola can incubate in someone's body. They got to be isolated and they have to have their temperature taken every day.
And then if they start to show signs or symptoms, they get tested. You also have to go back and find out who they had contact with. So you can see the concentric circles that start to form. This is called contract tracing.
Dr. Frieden said he is 100 percent confident they can stop Ebola in the United States, but I'm giving you a little bit of insight into what that process really entails.
BURNETT: It entails a lot. And Dr. Sanjay Gupta, please stay with us because we are going to talk a lot about this and a study coming out today, a virus on a door within four hours, half of the office had come into contact with it. This are very serious questions. I want to get, though, first to the president because he was just briefed by the CDC. Joe Johns is OUTFRONT live at the White House. Joe, what was he told?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the person doing the briefing was, just who you were talking about, Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and they talked exactly about what Sanjay was just speaking to you about.
That is tracing contacts to mitigate risk on the patient as well as isolation protocols. It is also important to say that the president visited the CDC just a couple of weeks ago and talked with the people down there.
And among the things he said, quoting here, "In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we've taken measures so we are prepared here at home."
But the president did give one sobering remark at that time, he said the reality is that this epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better -- Erin.
BURNETT: It is. And now with it's in the United States, it is a whole new game in terms of how they deal with it and what the implications are.
I want to bring in our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joining the conversation. She was just in Liberia covering the Ebola outbreak.
Elizabeth, there are a lot of questions, but how difficult is it to actually leave Liberia. When you left the country, what sort of checks did you go through? I think a lot of people watching tonight are saying how did this person get on to a plane and nobody had any idea anything was wrong?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Right. And if you don't have any symptoms or have a fever, you can get on a plane easily. They take your temperature at three different points before I was allowed at the plane.
And there are nurses there looking at you, are your eyes red and do you look ill. So it does seems actually flight organized, which surprise me, which I thought a lot there is not organized. And what I was concerned about, when we got back to the U.S. and I was traveling with two colleagues.
And when we went through customs and border control, the response was not so organized. We all got treated in three very different ways. We all said we were journalists just in Liberia covering Ebola. We were very straight forward about what we did.
One of my colleagues said welcome back home, sir, and just got in. That was it. I was told, wait a minute. I think I got an e-mail about this and the border patrol officer went and consulted with his colleagues and he said you should check your symptoms for 21 days. I said what should I be checking and he wasn't sure. And our third colleague didn't mention anything about symptoms, 21 days, but he got his boots checked to see if there was mud on them. So three very different responses. There can't be any right way to do it. I was surprised at how chaotic it felt.
BURNETT: I think everyone watching is frankly shocked, Elizabeth. When you saw in the United States side and I know it is difficult to say you wouldn't put everyone in isolation for 21 days before they left a country like Liberia, but given the risk that we all now see it is a question fair to ask.
Let me ask you though. You've been back in the United States for a little over three days. Are you in isolation and what precautions are you taking and how does it work?
COHEN: Right. The way it works is if you didn't have close contact with Ebola patients, which I didn't, I was never even close. Then that is considered not having contact. So I am checking my temperature every morning and every night.
BURNETT: Can I jump in for one second. I think that shocks me too. Three feet to some people is very close, but you're saying that is not proximity?
COHEN: Correct. And if you haven't had contact with bodily fluids. So I wasn't near any Ebola patients. I didn't have contact with their bodily fluids. I take my temperature twice a day.
Let's say God forbid I'm carrying Ebola in my system and I just haven't gotten sick yet, I cannot give Ebola to anyone else. You can only give it to someone else when you are actually feeling the symptoms and even then it is a couple of days into feeling symptoms, usually not contagious immediately.
So there is really no reason for someone like me to be isolated. I didn't have close contact with patients, I feel perfectly fine. I don't have a fever. But I'm vigilant. If I don't feel well, I pay attention to that. I am taking my temperature twice a day. I'm being vigilant and I hope all people coming back from that area are vigilant.
BURNETT: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you very much.
As we said, she just returned from Liberia covering the Ebola crisis less than three days ago. I want to bring Dr. Amesh Adalja now. He is in a board certified physician for infectious disease.
Dr. Adalja, good to see you again. I guess, the first question for you is when we look back at what the president said and CDC said, in the unlikely event someone with Ebola came to the United States. The United States was prepared, it doesn't seem this was that unlikely. Should they have been surprised?
DR. AMESH ADALJA, BOARD CERTIFIED PHYSICIAN FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASES: No, I don't think this is a surprising development that we have an imported Ebola case here. This outbreak is the largest one we've had and with the way people travel, it was only a matter of time before we had an imported case.
And that's why U.S. hospitals, including the one I work at here in Pittsburgh have been working hard to develop a protocol to deal with travelers that may be infected with Ebola and presenting in our emergency departments and our clinics.
BURNETT: You know, people at home are trying to understand what the risks might be because this patient had the virus, went in to seek care, already had symptoms and was sick, was not hospitalized and went back into the general population and then went back into the hospital finally and being taken into the hospital.
Obviously a lot of people possibly could have come into contact with this. And I did happen to see, related to getting the common cold or a flu, a study in the "Wall Street Journal," that said they put a virus on a door in an office and four hours later in an office of 80 people, 40 of them had the virus on their hands. When people hear things like that, it can be scary. What are the risks?
ADALJA: So the risks for this are probably going to be very minimal. This patient did have contact with individuals while he was symptomatic and that is why the CDC is focusing on finding those contacts and looking at them and seeing if they have fevers and isolating them for the whole incubation period, 21 days.
However, you know, viruses are different and when you read stories about the common cold viruses, those are very hearty viruses that spread in a whole different manner than Ebola virus. Ebola is not a very contagious disease.
It is very scary and deadly but it's not contagious. It really only spreads through blood and body fluid and only when you're symptomatic. So it really has a lot of barriers to getting established.
And you see we have imported cases in both Senegal and Nigeria. And those have now -- that chain of transmission has been broke. If Senegal and Nigeria can stop it, we sure can here.
BURNETT: Sanjay, how long will it take before they know? Are we looking at 21 days before they know whether this is something that has spread to anyone else?
GUPTA: That number comes from this idea of the incubation period. That is how long it can stay in somebody's system before they start to get sick. That is roughly the time frame.
But Erin, you make an important point, let's say one of those contacts that we're talking about here, someone that was a contact of this particular patient also becomes sick, you have to go back and trace all of their contacts now as well.
So it's hard to predict how many days. If none of the people who they will contact trace now, all of the people he came in contact with, if none of them get sick, then I think we're talking 21 days until we can say all-clear.
But if one of them gets sick, the process goes on so you get an idea of how that works. And if I could just ask a question of the doctor, quickly. I was a little surprised and I'm curious if you were as well, this person went to the hospital or a doctor's office and said, look, I'm concerned about Ebola.
I was just in Liberia and having symptoms, that was on the 26th of September and they did not get admitted or isolated and it was two days later before they came back into the hospital.
I just wonder, Doctor, does that surprise you? That seems to go against the protocols that I've understood?
ADALJA: It definitely is surprising, Sanjay. I think that really underscores the fact that we have to ask travel history in individuals. And Ebola may begin as a very mild illness and then turn worse and that is what we see with this case initially being missed at the first doctor's office.
BURNETT: Pretty scary though especially coming into flu season, germ season with so many people having this and they won't all get tested. All right, thanks very much to both of you.
And OUTFRONT next, the biggest day yet of bombings on ISIS. The terror group closing in on Baghdad. Former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan is OUTFRONT tonight.
Plus we have new details for you tonight about the beheading in Oklahoma. The prosecutor said the suspect was, quote, "infatuated with beheadings and hates white people." Why wasn't he charged as a terrorist?
And the suspect in Hannah Graham's disappearance. New details of his days as a taxi driving offering free rides to women. Could he be involved in even more cases?
BURNETT: Breaking news, tonight President Obama is meeting with his national security council to discuss the U.S. strategy against ISIS. This after the single biggest day of bombing against ISIS targets so far. For the first time the U.K. carried out airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq but it is still not enough. And we just posted by the terror groups so ISIS is moving closer to Baghdad. Tonight, we can tell you they have overrun a base about 50 miles away from Baghdad. And outside the border town of Kobani in Syria, ISIS continues its assault, seizing 325 villages and town as long the way according to one monitoring group. Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. and coalition war planes rule the skies. But on the ground, ISIS is on the offensive. In Syria, Kurdish forces are locked in a fight for their lives. Surrounded by ISIS militants in the town of Kobani on the Turkish border. More than half of coalition airstrikes in Syria overnight targeted this area. But ISIS' relentless assault continues there.
In Iraq, ISIS seized a Iraqi military base, 50 miles north of Baghdad. The second biggest major Iraqi base to fall since the start of the U.S. air campaign. Dozens of ISIS militants overwhelming 180 Iraqi soldiers, most of whom fled before the base was overrun. Now, a large cash of U.S. made weapons and armored vehicles are in the hands of ISIS.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Airstrikes alone, you are just not going to bomb them away. It is not going to happen like that.
SCIUTTO: The war plan could eventually include request for U.S. ground troops, a point reiterated at the council of foreign relations today by deputy secretary of defense Robert Work.
Does the pentagon keeping that option on the table?
ROBERT WORK, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: When and if Chairman Dempsey and General Austin believe that, hey, there is a point in which we might need to have troops, they are going to put that option forward. It will be up to the president to decide.
SCIUTTO: The coalition against ISIS continues to grow with Britain carrying out the first air strikes in Iraq today. But the U.S. remains in the lead and it is getting expensive. The first wave of U.S. military action against ISIS has cost nearly $1 billion, according to one study. The bill will grow at $320 million per month if operations continue at their current pace. Amounting to $4 billion a year, in an environment of tightening military budgets.
SCIUTTO: We are 53 days into the air campaign over Iraq. Eight days into the campaign over Syria and still no real push-back against ISIS. So why not more bombing? The key really is Intel. They are going to strike targets when they have them and sometimes in the air they will see targets of opportunity.
But it is interesting, Erin, one standard the U.S. is not applying to the air campaign over Iraq and Syria is the one that the president impose for drone strikes in countries such as Yemen and that is that there be near certainty of no civilian casualties that typical standard not applied in the air campaign against ISIS.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto.
And joining me now, Republican congressman Paul Ryan. He was the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee. He currently serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee. And he is the author of "The Way Forward: Renewing The American Idea."
Great to have you with us, Congressman. And as you just heard Jim Sciutto, you know, reporting here, ISIS today overrunning another Iraqi base just 50 miles from Baghdad. The president has been categorical: there will not be American boots on the ground. Is this a promise that can be kept?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I don't think so. Number one, you should not telegraph to your enemies what you will not do. Number two, define the mission, give it to the military, and then let them do their jobs. And don't armchair general these guys. That's my fear with the president.
Look, I'm supportive of what the president has done going into Syria and Iraq. But is he going to see this thing through? What we learned in Afghanistan was having enablers on the ground helping guide the air campaign, when we embedded with the northern alliance it was extremely successful. It is important to be able to have those kinds of special forces on the ground, making sure you are avoiding civilian targets, making sure you're enabling the war fighters who are the Sunnis or the peshmergas or the Syrians.
And so I do think based up just what I've learned from all of these exercises is there has to be some element here. What I fear is the president is micromanaging the military in such an incremental way, making the same mistakes we have made in the past. And we should not be doing that. We need to see this through and let the military do it as fast as possible.
BURNETT: And obviously, one of the reasons he's been so hesitant to put boots on the ground is he doesn't want another ground war in Iraq. As Bill Clinton said to me the other day, we don't win those. He also knows the American public doesn't want to take those risks. If the Pentagon comes and says, if General Dempsey does come and say, you know what, we do need troops, would you vote for that?
RYAN: No, I think we should. I think the president should come to Congress with an authorization of force, a resolution. And I would support that. And I would help the president pass it because I think it is necessary to see this threat through. We need to destroy ISIS, and we need to know what it takes to destroy ISIS.
Now, I'm not going to be an armchair general and tell you what I think has to happen to do this. But I do not believe you're going to have to have whole divisions. This is not 100,000 boots on the ground campaign. But I do believe based on our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular that having special forces teams embedded with indigenous fighters and coordinated air campaign has been very successful force in the past.
BURNETT: So in your book you write, and I want to quote you. "American must never be reduced to just one of the many voices in the crowd. If we don't fulfill our role in the world, then the vacuum we leave behind will be filled by leaders who do not share our values. That will only create more violence and instability. America must be out front."
And the president of the United States recently said in addressing the nation and in an interview this weekend something that frankly sounds a lot like what you said. And let me play it for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world.
When trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing, they don't call Moscow, they call us. That's the deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It sounds like you're actually saying the same thing?
RYAN: Yes, I like the rhetoric. The problem is the policies don't follow. I talk about this quite a bit in my book. The rhetoric sounds pretty good to me. The policies, they're untethered from the rhetoric. Look at what he's doing to the Pentagon. Look at what he's done with his defense budget. He is proposing to shrink our army to a level we haven't seen since pre-World War II, our Navy to a level we haven't seen since pre-World War I, and to shrink our Air Force to a level we've never seen before --
BURNETT: But you support what he's doing in the military.
RYAN: Yes, but we need to give the military what they need to do the job. I think we need to have the kind of military and the kind of robust foreign policy that keeps our standing in the world, and I would strongly argue as I do in this book, that the president through his policy mistakes and his preferences, retreating America's place in the world, our standing in the world. And that ultimately makes us less safe and less prosperous.
BURNETT: So you former running mate, Mitt Romney, obviously was campaigning with Republicans this weekend in Denver. And he said something that was much stronger than what you just said. He heard what the president said on "60 Minutes," which is one of those sound bites we just played for our viewers. And here is what your former partner said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, FORMER GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For the president to say, gee, we underestimated ISIS suggests he wasn't looking at the kinds of ideas being brought to him. I know people were saying to him as early as January we need to put in place a plan to combat ISIS. And yet I guess he was busy doing other things. Vacations, golf, fundraising. He just hasn't done the job that he promised he would do and that the people of America elected him to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you believe with what he said and how he said it?
RYAN: I do. But like I said, when the president is going in the right direction, I want to support him in doing that. But we have been getting briefings on ISIS for some time now. Not just recently, but for a couple of years. The intelligence community has been warning us about ISIS. The president made two colossal mistakes in his foreign policy: not getting a special forces - a status of forces in Iraq, and his Syria policy, which in part has given rise to the problem we have today.
And so we were not -- I don't think he got cold feet or he got caught off guard with ISIS. The intel has been telling us about ISIS. I just think the president hasn't put together a policy until now. (INAUDIBLE), but it has a ways to go.
BURNETT: And there were some mixed messages, there was questions on whether ISIS was a fractional group, that it was more Sunni-Shiite violence, and that's what it was as opposed to something as coordinated as --
RYAN: The intel community has been pretty good how sophisticated they've become and how they are coming into Iraq. That is something we did know.
BURNETT: So, my question to you regarding what Mitt Romney said. In your book, you are talking as a leader of the party, you're talking about trying to identify the future of the Republican Party. What he said, he's talking about the president going on vacation, going golfing, fundraising. Those are nice things perhaps to raise money, but right now when the country is at war and that is the commander-in- chief -- those aren't words you would use --
RYAN: What I'm trying to put in this book -- the reason I wrote this book, I don't like the direction the country is going on a whole host of issues, particularly domestic policy, the economy, fighting poverty and foreign policy. And so instead of just criticizing, I believe we need to offer alternatives. That's why I wrote this book. There's a different way to go; here are better ideas. Here's a better governing philosophy.
And like I said, I want to support our -- my commander-in-chief as well when I see him going in the right direction. But I will be critical if I think he's made mistakes in the past or he's about to make them in the future.
BURNETT: So, you're a big football fan. I was on your official Facebook page.
RYAN: I'm co-owner of the Green Bay Packers.
BURNETT: There's a picture of yourself on draft day. Obviously, in Green Bay attire. Look, the NFL under incredible criticism right now. Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson. I asked Bill Clinton this last week; I want to ask you. Have you changed your viewing habits at all?
RYAN: No. And that is my daughter you just saw. We were at Lambeau Field there at a Green Bay game -- BURNETT: And there are pictures of your kids - I mean, you're a family
RYAN: Yes, we are a family of fans. I haven't changed my viewing. I have been upset at the NFL for the mishandling of this Ray Rice episode. They need to have a zero-tolerance policy. They need to get ahead of this and they need to show - they lead by example. But no, I haven't changed. I watched three or four games this weekend.
And I watched the Packers get a 31-17 victory over the Bears. Sorry, I had to --
BURNETT: OK. (LAUGHTER) But look, the Republican Party - the reason I ask you this is because they are struggling with women voters. The most recent poll we have today, 51 percent of women now plan to vote for Democrats, 42 for Republicans. You're coming out and saying, I want a zero-tolerance policy, taking a stand on domestic violence issues. Why are we not hearing more of that from the Republican party?
RYAN: Well, I think you are. I think you are hearing a lot of that from people in the Republican Party. But I think we need to appeal to voters at a whole range of issues. Better education policy, better health care policy, better retirement policy. How are we going to balance the budget, pay off the debt, grow the economy? I put out a comprehensive plan to better fight poverty more effectively.
The point is, we need to show that we are a constructive party, a party of solutions, a party of better outcomes, and if we don't like the direction the country's going in -- which I think a lot of people don't - then we need to show Americans how we would do things differently. I think that appeals to everybody.
And I think by just respecting people, by asking them for their support, putting our ideas out there and listening to people, I think we can do pretty well.
BURNETT: All right, Congressman, thank you so much. It's good to see you again.
RYAN: Yeah, you too, Erin. Thanks.
BURNETT: And Congressman Ryan there, as we said there, supporting a zero-tolerance policy for the NFL.
And OUTFRONT next, the suspect in the Oklahoma beheading was quote "infatuated with beheading" writing extremist messages on his facebook pages. Yet prosecutors are not charging him with terror. Why?
Plus, police in Virginia reopening cold case after cold case looking for possible links to the suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham? Could they all be the victims of the same serial killer.
And tonight in Hong Kong, protesters not backing down today. The deadline for the government, will there be a violent crackdown?
BURNETT: Tonight, an Oklahoma man may face the death penalty for allegedly beheading his co-worker. We are learning new details about the brutal attack tonight and officials saying the suspect Alton Nolen, quote, "didn't like white people", and had a, quote, "infatuation with beheadings." Nolen has just been suspended from his job at a food processing plant and attacked the first person he saw there.
David Mattingly is OUTFRONT.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Armed with a long, sharp kitchen knife and bent on revenge, Alton Nolen had just been suspended from work and was after the woman he believed responsible. Details released by the district attorney revealed Vaughan Foods employee Tracy Johnson reported Nolen to management after he made racially charged comments.
GREG MASHBURN, CLEVELAND COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: He was basically saying he didn't like white people and had this altercation with our second victim regarding that.
MATTINGLY: Court documents say Nolen entered the food processing plant where he worked and killed the first person he could reach. He grabbed Colleen Hufford from behind and severed her head. What followed was a scene of absolute panic and horror as employees tried to protect themselves and each others as Nolen reached his intended target, Tracy Johnson.
MASHBURN: They tried chairs and kicking, they were trying to help their co-worker.
MATTINGLY: Nolen allegedly admitted he planned to behead Johnson as well. He cut her across the throat and the left side of the face and her life was saved when the plant owner wounded Nolen with a rifle. Now, likely facing the death penalty, questions persist about Nolen's motivation.
MASHBURN: He was using Arabic terms during the attacks and certainly that's one of the reasons why the FBI was involved at this point in time.
MATTINGLY: Described as a convert to Islam, Nolen's Facebook page included anti-Americans posts and the beheading. But local authorities will prosecute Nolen in court on murder charges, not terrorism.
MASHBURN: Obviously, there was sort of infatuation with beheadings. That's obvious from the Facebook post. So, the manner in which it was carried out seems to be related to his interest in killing someone in that way.
But other than that, it seems to be an isolated incident with him, with being triggered by his having been suspended earlier in the day. MATTINGLY: But the investigation continues, with local authorities
leaving it to the FBI to determine if such a violent and terrifying attack can be labeled terrorism.
BURNETT: Obviously, it is a very important word they will choose, David. What is next for Alton Nolen?
MATTINGLY: Right now, the D.A. says he wants to meet with the family of the woman that he killed before he formally files any sort of death penalty charges. As for Nolen himself, he's going to get out of hospital and his next stop is right here to the country jail.
BURNETT: Thank you very much. Our David Mattingly on location tonight.
I want to go now to our counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd, and our political commentator Ben Ferguson.
Good to have both of you.
Ben, is there any way this is a workplace violence incident and not an incident of terrorism?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think so. I mean, you just look at four days before this happened, the FBI warned us of lone wolves. If you look at his own words of this attacker on this own Facebook, and he has everything on there of what a terrorist would say, advocate for and support, which is beheading.
And you hear him at the mosque he attended, saying he didn't like people that were not Islamic even coming into the mosque and said that America, in his own words, was wicked and should be attacked.
So -- I mean, when you're using words like wicked to describe America, when you're talking about beheading, when you're talking about advocating for terrorism around the world, I don't know why we don't just believe him at what he actually put out there on his own social media, which is that he wanted to be a terrorist and for some reason, people want to apologize for him, take him at his word, look at what he did. He beheaded a woman. That happens never in this country in workplace violence. Five hundred people were killed last year in workplace violence attacks, not one of them was because of a beheading.
BURNETT: Phil, what's your response? I mean, you look at the social media, you do see a beheading on his Facebook page. Osama bin Laden, the World Trade Center. All of the things that Ben just said.
Is this a case of terror or not?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Not even close. Look, you have to look at the motivation of the individual. Terrorism is the murder of innocents for a political purpose. Look at this mixed bag. He was fired from his job that day. He was
researching both Christian and Islamic things. He had Christian and Islamic tattoos on him. You look at what he said at the site. He was talking about anti-white messages.
If you want to go in a courtroom and say you understand the motivation for this individual, when you got that the mixed bag of stuff he said and was researching, no way can you get over the bar in a world I live in of claiming that he was a terrorist.
FERGUSON: It's called simple past and present. If you look at when he converted to Islam apparently in jail, the other tattoos were from his past. I mean, if you can't connect that dot, then I guess I'll do it for you. But to say that this is somehow not an extremist, a lone wolf at best.
FERGUSON: I mean, or at worst, I mean, we're talking about a lone wolf. This is what the FBI literally warned us about four days before this beheading, and then it happens and we don't want to connect the dots.
BURNETT: Quick, final word, Phil.
MUDD: There are lone wolves every day in America. We call them murderers. Here in Memphis, in Los Angeles, in Chicago, the motivations --
FERGUSON: They don't behead people.
MUDD: Go ahead and persecute them.
FERGUSON: They don't behead people and they don't say Islamic --
BURNETT: We're going to leave it there. But we want to get our viewers, to please let us know what you think about this, as we continue to cover this, because the FBI is going to have to make that big decision very soon, terror or not.
OUTFRONT next, Virginia police are investigating at least three more cases tonight, searching for a link to the man charge in the disappearance of UVA student Hannah Graham. Could he be a serial killer?
And the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States, the patient in a Dallas hospital. How sick is this person and why for days was the person out in public?
BURNETT: Breaking news: Virginia authorities at this moment investigating a possible link between the man accused of abducting Hannah Graham and at least three other cases of people either murdered or missing, including a cold case that involved a 23-year-old woman who vanished near Liberty University in 2009. That is the same school where Jesse Matthew was once a student, accused of sexually assault of another student.
Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT with more.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators across Virginia now have their eyes on Jesse Matthew, Jr., the suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham.
CHIEF TIM LONGO, CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE: We are certainly poised to be cooperative and helpful in any way that we can with regard to cases which other departments might have an interest.
CASAREZ: In addition to the disappearance of 18-year-old Graham, law enforcement sources tell CNN Matthew has been linked through DNA to the death of Morgan Harrington. She went missing from Charlottesville in 2009, and her remains were found several months later just outside town.
Now, CNN has learned authorities are looking at whether Matthew has links to at least three other unsolved murders or missing persons cases. No link has been found yet.
Cassandra Morton was reported missing in Campbell County, Virginia, in 2009, the same day as Harrington.
Also in 2009, two Virginia Tech coeds went missing. Heidi Childs and David Metzler were found shot to death close to Blacksburg campus. DNA was found at the crime scene and investigators tell CNN they are following the Matthew case very closely.
In 2010, 19-year-old Samantha Clark disappeared in Orange, Virginia, outside of Charlottesville. Police now say they are looking for any links to Matthew.
From the moment Hannah Graham went missing, Gil and Dan Harrington felt her disappearance was linked to their daughter Morgan's. They tell Anderson Cooper they find some comfort Matthew is now behind bars.
GIL HARRINGTON: I would be very relieved to know that will be prevented from ever hurting another girl again. I don't have any desire or need to tear him limb from limb, or hurt him, or -- I just want to prevent him from hurting anybody else.
CASAREZ: But Matthew's attorney Jim Camblos told CNN in a statement, I met with him yesterday and I have not been provided with any evidence that links him to either of those cases.
Chief Longo says forensic items taken from Matthew's car and apartment are still being tested and he remains determined as ever to find Hannah Graham.
LONGO: We have to find her. Make no mistake about that. We have to find her. And we will.
CASAREZ: And the police chief tells me they have interviewed 50 to 60 people in this case. They will re-interview those they believe are relevant. And as far as those two roommates of Jesse that moved out of the apartment almost immediately when the search warrant was executed, they have been cooperating with police -- Erin.
BURNETT: Jean, thank you very much. And you're going to hear more of Anderson's interview with Morgan Harrington's parents at the top of the hour.
OUTFRONT next, back to the top breaking story tonight, a man in Texas diagnosed with the first case of Ebola in the United States for days in public before he was in the hospital.
Plus, thousands on the streets of Hong Kong. The pressure is on Beijing. Could tear gas, batons, and violence and bombs silence the crowd?
BURNETT: Breaking news tonight: the deadly Ebola virus reaching the United States. A patient infected with the virus was in the United State for eight days before being hospitalized in Dallas, where the patient is tonight. At least two of those days the patient was sick with symptoms, going to a doctor, sent home, where then the patient interacted with others.
Joining me now from Dallas is Dr. Seema Yasmin, a former epidemiologist at the CDC, who is now a medical writer for "The Dallas Morning News".
Thanks for being with us, Doctor. What's the latest you're hearing on the condition of this patient?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: We're hearing he is seriously ill, and we're still learning to -- waiting to get more information about that. But we do know as the public is concerned about the spread of the disease, the conditions doctors (ph) caring for him are just concerned about him pulling through this infection.
BURNETT: They're trying to see if he can survive.
Now, what can you tell us about the time line here? I know, Seema, we know the patient returned to the United States on September 20th, obviously just going into the hospital eight days later and going to a doctor, actually, two days before that was sick, had symptoms. The doctor sent the patient home, obviously all kinds of people interacting with the patient during that time frame.
How are they tracing who might have been in contact with him or in contact with somebody who was in contact with the patient?
YASMIN: Well, of course, this is one of those really tricky thing Ebola virus, those earl symptoms, headache, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, they're so non-specific, that could be one of many other illnesses like Malaria, and someone returning from West Africa. What we have learned he was transported by ambulance to the facility he is currently in. And that a crew from Dallas fire and rescue has been quarantined, put into isolation and has been monitored for any symptoms.
And, really, this contact tracing, finding out who's been in contact with the infected patient while they were contagious is the grunt work, but the heart of public health is finding out who did the person have contact with, how are they, can we trace them and find out who else they've had contact with, and breaking the chain of transmission is key to preventing any spread.
BURNETT: And, Seema, do you know at this point you talked about an emergency crew who's been put into isolation or quarantine. Do you know of anyone else at this time?
YASMIN: We have had at least two members of the crew that had been quarantined. We haven't heard about any others. The information will be forthcoming in the next hours or days as to how many people could have been exposed and how many CDC and local public health officials reach out to them.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Seema Yasmin, of "The Dallas Morning News" and former epidemiologist at the CDC.
OUTFRONT next: we're live in Hong Kong. The deadline is approaching for Beijing to respond to the thousands of protesters, tens of thousands who had been teeming the streets. Will it be violent?
BURNETT: It's Wednesday morning in Hong Kong. Tensions are rising, tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters are preparing for a possible rematch with police. Protesters say today is the deadline for the Chinese government to meet demands to elect a leader.
And with Wednesday, a national holiday, even larger crowds are expected to flood the streets. Shocking images of these historic protests instantly spread throughout the world. But due to a blackout by communist party censors, most of the 1.4 billion people living in mainland China have no idea what's happening.
David McKenzie is OUTFRONT.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They braved tear gas and police batons in Hong Kong, demanding democracy from China's communist rulers.
The Occupy Central movement vows to dig in. But back in mainland China, CNN's coverage of protest blackout, and over in state TV, the Hong Kong protests are largely ignored. (on camera): Out on the street, state media has been warned to tow the party line, this headline saying "Occupy movement creates instability in Hong Kong." It's very difficult for Chinese in the mainland to get the full picture of what is going on.
(voice-over): "I don't know about the protest," says this man. "No, what news? Haven't seen it," she says. "I think there are people with ulterior motives behind the protests", he says. "It's probably the U.S., the Americans are always doing evil things."
China media expert Jeremy Goldkom says said the ultimate battle is on the Internet, Facebook, Twitter and Google, were all already cut off in China after protests began. The party censored the photo-sharing site, Instagram.
JEREMY GOLDKOM, FOUNDER, DANWEI: There is this idea that images are just as powerful as text when it comes to spreading certain kinds of ideas, the Chinese government would prefer it not be spread in China.
MCKENZIE: Those ideas, the freedom to vote, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, are all openly debated in Hong Kong, but far more dangerous to the party here.
(on camera): The situation in Beijing couldn't be anymore different. Even a small group of protesters moved on to Tiananmen Square, they'd be stopped immediately and detained.
The communist party in mainland China doesn't allow for any open dissent.
Because the threats of the Tiananmen Square student uprisings of 25 years ago still looms over current party leadership.
When it comes to Hong Kong, the propaganda and censorship machine in China is in lock step. Their ultimate aim making sure nothing at all threatens the party's grip on power.
BURNETT: I mean, David, this brings back memories of Tiananmen Square. These protesters show no signs of going anywhere. What will China do?
MCKENZIE: Well, it is a good question, and yes, the picture of the square is hanging over all of this in Hong Kong and here in the mainland. And certainly, many believe that the communist party here in the mainland backed themselves into a corner, that they did not in fact anticipate how dedicated these protesters would be in hitting the streets and staying there in this financial hub of Hong Kong.
Now, Xi Jinping, who is seen as one of the most powerful leaders in China in several decades, is faced with a quandary, because though Beijing is seen as the invisible hand behind everything here, will he end up being an iron fist? Erin?
BURNETT: All right. David, just very quickly, I guess I don't have time to ask this question, explain to everyone that were this program broadcast in mainland China you wouldn't have been able to see the images you saw here. Obviously, David is broadcasting here in the United States.
Thanks so much to all of you for watching.
"AC360" starts now.