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THE SITUATION ROOM
White House Seeks New ISIS Strategy; American Sailors Attacked in Turkey; Interview with Rep. Ed Royce; China Shows Off New Stealth Fighter Jet; Robot Lands on Comet; Men Rescued from Scaffolding Dangling off Skyscraper; UVA Kidnap Suspect Taken to New Jail
Aired November 12, 2014 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, new ISIS strategy. The U.S. and its allies now realizing they can't get rid of the terror group without getting rid of Syria's leader. The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce is here. We'll talk about it.
Sailors attacked. U.S. service members in Turkey, a key ally in the fight against ISIS, they're roughed up by a hostile Turkish crowd. The whole thing captured in a shocking video.
China's stealth fighter brazenly tested during President Obama's visit. The new warplane can avoid detection by radar. Was the technology stolen from the United States?
And dramatic rescue. Window washers left dangling 69 floors up. You're going to see how they were brought to safety. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZRE: Let's get right to the breaking news. Urgent White House huddles, meetings with allies, as the United States and its coalition partners now realize ISIS can't be defeated without big changes inside Syria, including the ouster of the Syrian president Bashar Al Assad. We have new details on a new strategy.
And one of those coalition partners, Turkey, is the scene of an attack on U.S. sailors. Dramatic new video shows the Americans surrounded, threatened, and roughed up by a group of radical activists.
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce, he's standing by along with our correspondents, our analysts, and our newsmakers. Let's begin the breaking news coverage this hour with an intensive effort to come up with a new strategy to defeat ISIS. The Obama administration and U.S. allies are now convinced that means a new strategy for Syria, one that would remove President Bashar Al Assad from power.
Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is here; she's working the story. Elise, what are you learning? ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just two
months ago President Obama was slammed for saying he didn't have a strategy yet for Syria and now the president seeking to review a plan for Syria, including the eventual removal of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. The president and his advisers coming to the realization you are not going to defeat ISIS without a plan to get rid of Assad, who the U.S. and many of the allies see as the reason ISIS has been able to gain strength in the country.
It's really an admission the initial strategy to confront ISIS in Iraq first and then take on Syria was a major miscalculation. In just the past week, the national security team has met four times, including one meeting chaired by the president, Wolf, to discuss how the Syria strategy will fit into the overall strategy of combating ISIS.
BLITZER: So how are the allies, the coalition partners, if you will, reacting to this emerging strategy?
LABOTT: Well, Wolf, you know many of the president's advisers -- Secretary Kerry, Defense Secretary Hagel recently we understand, have been calling for a more robust strategy in Syria. And when Secretary Kerry and General John Allen, who is the envoy to the global coalition, traveled across the globe, they're talking with the allies, some are saying, listen, the strategy to defeat ISIS only works if there is a more coherent plan for a more Syria's future. Secretary Kerry intensifying talks with allies.
Arab diplomats tell CNN Kerry, Allen and others have been pushing for a political roadmap ultimately transitioning Assad from power. Now the U.S. went after ISIS in Iraq first, hoping that it would give U.S. time to vet, train, and arm a moderate rebel force, who would then go after ISIS and eventually Assad's regime. But officials now realize they don't have the time to go after Iraq first, because the administration is battling -- the opposition is battling two fronts, the regime and ISIS, and could be obliterated by the time the U.S. pivots from Syria to Iraq (sic).
So talk about expanding and accelerating the trainer-equipped program with allies. Wolf, the vetting of those rebels hasn't even started yet. It's going to be very difficult, and you also don't have a viable plan for an opposition, a political opposition in Syria. But we understand that Secretary Kerry, key Arab allies, Turkey, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, even Russia involved. And Secretary Kerry has mentioned this on the margins of nuclear talks to Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, so they're hoping everybody can at least agree on a political transition. It's going to take a lot of time and eventually they do want to see President Assad out, but maybe maintain a lot of the regime and the institutions of the state.
BLITZER: Well, the Iranians don't want to see President Bashar Al Assad out there. Close allies.
LABOTT: No indication they're doing anything yet.
BLITZER: So if they could have talks on the margins, as they say, that's probably not going to go very far with the Iranians. All right, Elise, thanks very much.
Turkey, a key NATO ally, a partner in this fight against ISIS, all of a sudden the scene of a sudden and shocking incident and it's all captured on video. Three American sailors are surrounded. They have bags thrown over their heads. They're roughed up during shore leave. Let's get details from our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. Barbara, what happened here?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the U.S. is already calling this video appalling and disturbing, and that is just the beginning of it.
STARR (voice-over): The attack begins with anti-American slogans shouted at three U.S. Navy sailors on shore leave in Istanbul, Turkey. .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You declare that you are a member of U.S. army and now, because we define you as murders, as killers, we want you to get out of our land.
STARR: Then the assailants throw objects, splash red paint, and physically assault the sailors. About 20 men swarm them, shoving, grabbing and --
CROWD: Yankee, go home! Yankee, go home!
STARR: And then they put bags over their heads. The sailors put their hands up and do not resist. No one comes to their aid. The assailants then chase the Americans as they run, still chanting --
CROWD: "Yankee, go home!"
JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: This event clearly crossed the line from peaceful protest to violence and threats.
STARR: The Turkish Youth Union and anti-government group claimed responsibility, putting out a statement saying in part, "Bags we put over American soldiers are for the nations from Palestine to Syria."
BOBBY GHOSH, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: They went to a place where they expected to see American sailors, they were carrying banners with Mustafa Kemal's photograph on them, and their group's emblem. They had the bags with them. So this was clearly something that was planned.
STARR: The incident especially sensitive because it happened in Turkey, a NATO ally the U.S. wants help from in the war against ISIS in next door Syria and Iraq. The besieged Syrian city of Kobani within eyesight of the Turkish border. The U.S. has been pressing for the use of Turkish bases and to have Turkey host training of moderate Syrian rebels. It comes as the U.S. strategy and coalition commitment is being called into question.
Pentagon leadership will face a Republican dominated House Armed Services Committee hearing.
REP. BUCK MCKEON (R-CA), ARMED SERVICES CHAIRMAN: I don't think the White House administration is totally in tune with what needs to be done.
STARR: Republican patience is running out. .
MCKEON: What I want to hear from them is what they're going to do to fix this strategy.
STARR (on camera): Now back to those sailors, Wolf. The U.S. Navy is applauding them for keeping their cool and not doing anything themselves to escalate the situation. Still, those young men had to have been traumatized by this.
BLITZER: I'm sure they were. They had those bags thrown over their head and there were shouts of "Yankees, go home." This was an ugly, ugly scene. Barbara, thanks for that report.
Let's get some more now from the chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. Jim, there's a lot of concern right now. This U.S.-Turkish relationship, it potentially could be on the line.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, and here's a measure of the concern, Wolf. This just in to CNN that the U.S. has canceled all shore leave for sailors from the U.S.S. Ross, this is the guided missile destroyer from which those sailors had come on shore from. That in itself not a major step. The Ross was planning to push out tomorrow. But for all future U.S. ships visiting Turkey, and this happens eight to ten times a year as they go into the Black Sea, their shore leave is now to be determined going forward.
The U.S. Navy taking this very seriously. They're going to base that decision on how the investigation turns out with Turkish authorities in conjunction with the U.S. embassy and consulate in Turkey, as well, as they look into who carried out this attack, Wolf.
BLITZER: And even earlier they had been told, Jim, don't wear your uniforms in Turkey, wear civilian clothes.
SCIUTTO: No question. Listen, this is a measure because this is a step that we're hearing even across the border, north of us here in Canada, in response to an attack we had a couple of weeks ago by a car on a U.S.-Canadian -- on a Canadian, rather, serviceman that this is a concern. They're not telling anybody not to wear their uniforms anywhere in the world, but it is a step that they're willing to take in countries where they face threats like this.
BLITZER: All right, Jim, thanks very much. Let's get some more now. Joining us, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Republican Congresman Ed Royce of California. Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us.
That's very disturbing to see what's going on in Istanbul -- three American sailors, they leave the USS Ross, they go out there, some shore leave, and all of a sudden they're roughed up by these Turkish thugs.
REP. ED ROYCE (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: And they kept their composure, but I think what's very, very concerning to us is that this particular ultra-nationalist group that obviously pre- planned this attack, it would be good if you heard the head of state in Turkey, Erdogan, speak out. But instead of ratcheting the pressure and the temperature down, his rhetoric has been increasingly anti- American in and of itself.
And so for it to be a NATO ally and to have a government here that is so problematic, increasingly that's been one of the challenges.
BLITZER: And they're still not letting U.S. warplanes take off or land at any of the NATO bases in Turkey, Incirlik or any of those other bases, to launch strikes against ISIS targets, whether in Syria or Iraq for that matter.
ROYCE: That is correct and we hope, through diplomacy, to resolve some of these issues with Turkey, because frankly they should have the same interests we have with respect to going against ISIS. But in the meantime, if they don't bring charges against this particular ultra- nationalist Turkey organization, I think we're going to have questions.
BLITZER: Oh, you want to see arrests. You want to see major action. You know the Turkish military, the Turkish police, the intelligence services, their overall security, they're pretty good if you've ever been to Turkey. Could an incidents like this happen without them knowing about it? Is this just a bunch of random hooligans, if you will? Because this is a pretty -- looked like a pretty well organized operation.
ROYCE: I think they can reassure us by making arrests, by bringing these individuals to the bar of justice. That is the appropriate thing for the Turkish officials to do, and yes, I think they have the capability to do it.
BLITZER: I want you to hold on for a moment. We have a lot more to discuss. We got to take a quick break. Much more of the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee right after this.
BLITZER: We're back with the chairman of the House Foreig Affairs Committee, Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California. You heard Elise Labott, our global affairs correspondent, report right at the top of the hour that there's a new evolving administration strategy not just to try to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS, but at the same time go after Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus. What do you make of this?
ROYCE: Well, I think that this is one of the requests that the other regional actors have asked for. Turkey has said, "Well, we might provide brigades, but first let's see a plan." Because from the Turkish standpoint, they've watched the middle class in Aleppo be hit day after day. Forty airstrikes a day on some days from Assad, just attacks on civilian targets.
They're saying, "Look, if you marginalize or remove this -- this Assad, we could put Syria back together. That will make it easier to take on ISIS, and at that point perhaps we bring troops into the field. You have the same analysis out of the gulf states. So I think...
BLITZER: Let me interrupt for a second. What does that mean the U.S., we bring troops back into the field? What does that mean?
ROYCE: Well, this would mean that Turkey would actually commit brigades. You know, their armor is up on the border. You watch that battle. You reported on that battle over Kobani, where you saw the armored divisions of Turkey not engage in the fight, but simply sitting there watching on the Turkish border, you know, a few football fields away.
They could move into these areas and really push back ISIS, but they've asked for a plan and a plan that deals with the removal of Assad.
BLITZER: So in other words, what U.S. would like to see is combat boots on the ground, as they say, the Turkish combat troops going in. The Turks say why should Turkish ground forces go in when the U.S. refuses to send U.S. ground troops on the ground.
ROYCE: Well, what they're now saying is, "Show us a plan. Show us something that gets to a situation that will resolve the problem in Syria, such as the removal of Assad. And at that point, we will consider sending those Turkish boots on the ground." So I think that's part of the dialogue.
BLITZER: That would be a huge development, if Turkish combat troops, artillery, tanks, armored personnel carriers, warplanes, if they were to move in, not just go against ISIS but move against the Bashar al- Assad regime. You're talking about a huge escalation of this war.
ROYCE: Or -- or a solution to the problem of getting -- getting a resolution, because at this point you've got several million refugees from Syria, most of them right up, you know, in -- either right on the border or inside Turkey. You have massive losses of life.
And so Turkey could, you know, be in the largest army and in this theater could put an enormous amount of pressure. And I think this might be an attempt to get more engagement from Turkey on this resolution of the problem with ISIS.
BLITZER: Could you see the day when the U.S. would start using combat ground forces inside either Syria or Iraq, for that matter?
ROYCE: I don't see that happening. What I see is the U.S. potentially training Kurdish forces, U.S. training Sunni anti-ISIL forces, whether they be Iraqi or whether they be, you know, the Free Syrian Army. That I could see, but not the introduction of U.S. combat troops.
BLITZER: You don't see that at all? This training program, though, that could take years and years and years to get anywhere, right? In Syria or Iraq, for that matter? The Iraqi military has proven to be basically MIA.
ROYCE: But think about this: you have a different situation in Baghdad today. When General Allen was there last, training for the awakening in Anbar province, at that point you had a functioning relationship. And then you ended up with Maliki -- with Maliki and now Maliki is gone.
So I think for that reason they've asked General Allen to return to start the training again, with the presumption that the situation has changed now, and we can get some support to those anti-ISIL forces. We want them to do the fight.
BLITZER: Very quickly on Ukraine and it looks like that situation along with the Russian border with Ukraine is escalating big time. The NATO supreme allied commander, General Philip Breedlove, he -- even as concerned, he raised the specter of Russia potentially moving equipment, weapons into Ukraine that have nuclear capability.
ROYCE: Breedlove has really been sounding the alarm here, and I think what he sees on the ground is Russian forces, as well as the rebels. Now with this -- with equipment moving to try to take the airfield in Donetsk outside of Donetsk. And what's unusual is the degree of involvement of regular Russian army troops. In the past they've tried to disguise this, but the other -- the other...
BLITZER: You have no doubt that regular Russian military personnel wearing just undeclared uniforms but wearing military uniforms, they are now deeply entrenched, fighting inside Ukraine?
ROYCE: I have no doubt. And I was in Ukraine. I've talked to people in the theater. There is no doubt at this point in time.
BLITZER: Not just in Crimea, but elsewhere in eastern Europe.
ROYCE: They're over the border, and they're over the border with equipment. And this is no longer just a fight against rebels. This is Russian forces thinly disguised that are carrying out the attacks against Ukrainian forces.
BLITZER: In China the president, President Obama, he spent, what, 15 or 20 minutes in three separate occasions, having these informal conversations with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. We don't know what was said. And they may have had an opportunity to have some more informal conversations at the G-20 in Brisbane, Australia, which is about to begin.
What advice would you give the president? What should he say to Putin?
ROYCE: Well, I think that what's surprising here is that with the price of oil rapidly declining because of what the Saudis are doing and pumping, that is 70 percent of the exports for Russia. It's 52 percent of their budget for their defense and for their government. And you can see the problem that Russia's going to be in between sanctions, declining prices on oil.
Now is the time for Putin to take an exit ramp, you know, off of this situation and wind this thing down, especially with the offer from the Ukrainian government for much more local autonomy, for rebuilding Donetsk, for recognizing the Russian language in that region. They're attempting to make an offer that will be a win-win for everybody and face saving for Russia. Russia should take it.
BLITZER: At least now he seems to be doing exactly the opposite, and that's why the Ukraine is concerned. All right, Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce.
Up next, ominous new developments in a high-tech global arms race. Does China's new stealth jet use global technology? And is China behind a recent disruption of the U.S. weather forecast system? Stand by.
And after the handshakes and the hugs in mission control, now we're getting reports of a problem with the spacecraft that landed on a comet earlier today.
BLITZER: There's breaking news in the new global arms race. China has just announced that it has a new stealth jet fighter, and it has the audacity to show it off at the same time that President Obama has been visiting China.
CNN's Brian Todd is joining us with more. What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Audacious indeed, Wolf. This new Chinese stealth fighter looks impressive. A sleek design, good maneuverability. It's been rolled out to send a message to America. But a big question tonight: Did the Chinese rip off an American design?
TODD (voice-over): With dramatic pitches and steep banks, China shows off its next-generation fighter plane. This is the J-31, a stealth fighter.
MICHAEL SWAINE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: It can come in as the U.S. has stealth fighters and stealth bombers come in in a full-up radar environment and not be detected.
TODD: Analysts say this jet could be designed for mid- to low- altitude attacks and may be deployed from an aircraft carrier. The J- 31 looks stunningly like a late-model American stealth fighter, the F- 35. DAVID FINKELSTEIN, CNA CORPORATION, CHINA DIRECTOR: It's been pretty
clear. I think the U.S. government has been pretty clear in making its claims, which I have no reason to doubt that the Chinese hackers have been targeting defense contractors, U.S. government facilities and others.
TODD: Several published reports say the Chinese got the blueprints for the F-35 through a cyber-assault on a contractor for Lockheed Martin and built their fighter jet with the same specs. The Chinese have denied that.
A Lockheed Martin official told us the Chinese didn't get the crown jewels, the most sensitive information about the F-35.
China tested the J-31 right as President Obama was in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific summit. It comes on the heels of China christening its first aircraft carrier, sending ships to islands whose territory has long been disputed. Analysts say this isn't about confronting America militarily, but about reducing U.S. military influence in its neighborhood.
FINKELSTEIN: What the Chinese military is trying to do is be able to put their military out further from China out into the Pacific in the air, under the sea and on the sea in order to deter others from coming too close to China.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's also about prestige. It's also about the status of China. It's also about using platforms like aircraft carriers to perform what's called military operations other than war. Humanitarian relief, that kind of thing. The United States uses its aircraft carriers for that purpose quite a lot.
TODD: Now, analysts say China is still far behind the U.S. in pure hardware and raw military power, but they still worry that with China now flexing more military muscle, one of these two powers is going to be so concerned some day with projection of power in the Pacific that it's going to overreact in a crisis or that it might escalate what seems now to be an arms race -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And tonight, Brian, in a related manner, I guess, there are some serious questions being asked over whether the Chinese hacked the U.S. government's chief weather agency. Is that right?
TODD: Absolutely, Wolf. Somebody hacked that agency. Hackers did breach America's government-run weather agency last month, causing a disruption in satellite fees and several potential -- pivotal websites.
Now, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, says that four of the websites were hacked, but a NOAA spokesman says it didn't prevent them from delivering forecasts to the American public. "The Washington Post" reports that this was the work of Chinese hackers. We've not been able to get response from Chinese officials to that. BLITZER; Another disturbing development. All right. Brian, thank you.
We're also keeping an eye on breaking news 300 million miles from earth. Today's first-ever spacecraft landing on a comet did not go as smoothly as planned. Now mission controllers are wondering if the lander is securely on the surface of that comet. CNN's Tom Foreman is joining us with more now.
What are you learning?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly hope it's secure, Wolf. Think about this. Lance Armstrong was winning his sixth Tour de France, the first as changes (ph) were happening in America, and Facebook was a new idea. That was 2004. That's when this rocket took off and has been flying all this time just for this day.
FOREMAN (voice-over): The spaceship Rosetta flew ten years over 300 million miles for a 41,000-mile-an-hour speed date with comet 67P. The approach looked good as the landing probe called Philae was released.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
FOREMAN: Still everyone in the European space agency waited breathlessly during the seven-hour unguided free fall to the comet's surface.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes. Good.
FOREMAN: And finally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are on the comet.
FOREMAN: A tweet from the team: touchdown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't be happier than what we are now. We definitely confirmed that the lander is on the surface.
FOREMAN: Almost immediately there was a complication. The probe was supposed to instantly anchor itself to the comet with a set of harpoons which malfunctioned, but it was not enough worry to dampen the excitement. The 220-pound probe, about the size of a dish washer, is now positioned to perform experiments never before attempted. It will analyze the temperature, chemical makeup and behavior of the comet as it sweeps toward the sun, even drilling about a foot down to extract material that will then be heated in a robotic oven for analysis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a small jump for the robot, a giant jump for mankind.
FOREMAN: It is cutting-edge science so rare that even top experts seldom witnesses it.
JEAN-JACQUES DORDAIN, ESA DIRECTOR GENERAL: This is the best expectations (ph) in the world, because we are the first to have done that; and that will stay forever.
FOREMAN: What will come of all this scrutiny of an ancient ball of ice, rock and dust? Maybe clues to the origin of the universe or the start of life on earth.
But the success of the landing is already a triumph of technological innovation, so much so that even William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on the "Star Trek" series, was in awe...
WILLIAM SHATNER, ACTOR: We are proceeding into the neutral zone.
FOREMAN: ... tweeting, "Congratulations."
SHATNER: Steady as we go, Mr. Zulu.
FOREMAN: Scientists are hoping the solar-powered batteries will last a year or so, so they can gather data as the comet glides past Earth and past Mars and toward the sun. Again, all of that so fast that, if you could move as quickly as this is moving, 41,000 miles an hour, you could go from New York to Los Angeles in about four minutes -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Four minutes from New York to L.A. Amazing stuff. All right, thanks very much, Tom.
Still ahead, we're learning new details about what went into this afternoon's daring rescue outside New York City's tallest skyscraper.
Plus, why police moved the suspect in the University of Virginia kidnapping case to another date.
BLITZER: They were trapped in a dangling scaffold on the outside of New York City's One World Trade Center. Two window washers were hanging at a steep angle until rescuers managed to bring them to safety.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is on the scene for us. He's got details of what happened. Miguel, this was a very, very scary and dramatic moment.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, the stomach in your feet sort of moment there, Wolf.
These two window washers were on that scaffold or rig, as they call it, when one of the ropes or the cables that hold it slipped. It didn't break, but it slipped, making one side of that rig go down, basically almost vertical.
Rescuers very quick on the scene. They had two plans, Plan A and Plan B. Plan A was to go through the windows and basically make it into a door and get them out that way. The other plan was to go up to the roof, lower another scaffold all the way down to them and then bring them all the way up. That would have taken a heck of a lot of time.
They were able to get a rope down to them, a half-inch rope with a radio on the end of it. Both of those individuals were able to then latch onto that rope so that, if the scaffolding fell, they would have been hooked to a different system that the fire department had established.
They were talking to them the entire time. They were doing fine. They were able to cut through two panes of glass in this brand-new building, one about three-quarters inch thick, the second one about three-eighth inch thick. They basically, a four-foot by eight-foot window, were able to get those two people out.
Amazingly, the only thing that they suffered was a little bit of hypothermia. These window washers are tough guys.
BLITZER: They certainly are. What a job that is. All right, Miguel, thanks very much.
Let's get some more now on the dramatic rescue that firefighters, as you pointed out -- you just heard Miguel point out, they cut through that window at one World Trade Center to reach those two stranded window washers. Were there proper precautions taken and in place?
Joining us now, Shirley Aldebol, the vice president of the union covering those window washers.
Shirley, thanks very much for joining us. First of all, have you spoken to the two window washers, Juan Lizama and Juan Lopez? How are they doing?
SHIRLEY ALDEBOL, UNION REPRESENTATIVE: I haven't been able to speak to them yet. My understanding is they were taken to the hospital and, you know, I haven't had a chance to talk to them.
BLITZER: What have you heard from your experts? What happened here? What happened to that scaffolding?
ALDEBOL: Well, apparently what I understand happened -- and this still has to be further investigated is that the coil that the cable wraps around malfunctioned, which caused the cable to then slacken and caused the scaffold or the rig to slant downward on one side.
BLITZER: How unusual is this?
ALDEBOL: I think pretty unusual. I mean, we really haven't seen an accident like this happen, but, you know, it's fortunate that it did not end tragically.
BLITZER: And so then all of a sudden these guys are hanging there on the scaffolding. And it seemed like forever until they were rescued. I guess they had to make a decision how they would be rescued. Walk us through the process of what they did. ALDEBOL: Well, you know, I can't speak to the rescue itself, but what
I can say is that, you know, these guys are highly trained to do this work. It's very dangerous work. But you know, these are union contractors. These are union workers, and because of that they get a high level of training. They take all of that -- we ensure that they take all of the safety precautions necessary in the event that an accident like this happens.
Luckily, it is rare that it happens, but it could happen and because, you know, we anticipate any kind of accident like this, they were rigged up so that, if the scaffolding fell out from under them they'd be hanging off the building, but they'd be hanging off the building and not falling off the building.
BLITZER: So you believe these window washers, who are members of your union, that there were enough safety precautions in place?
ALDEBOL: Yes. I think that, had they not had the proper equipment and the proper training to handle a situation like this, we might have had a different ending to this story.
BLITZER: Fortunately, we had a happy ending to this story. Please, if you speak to those two window washers, congratulate them for being safe. I assume they're fine, right?
ALDEBOL: Yes. You know, they were sent to the hospital with some mild hypothermia, because as you can imagine, they're 68 floors up. It's colder up there and they were there for a couple of hours. So hopefully, they're home now resting comfortably and, you know, ready to go back to work at some point.
BLITZER: All right, Shirley, thanks very much. Please thank them, as well. Let us know if they've come back on the job or if they've had enough of that really, really dangerous work. I don't blame them if they don't want to go back up 69 stories, 70 stories, 80 stories at One World Trade Center or some of those other high-rises in New York.
Up next, new and surprising developments as the man accused of kidnapping the University of Virginia student Hannah Graham settles into a new jail.
Also ahead, the grand jury considering whether to indict the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. We're about to hear from an expert. That grand jury is about to hear from an expert hired by Brown's family. What will he tell them?
BLITZER: CNN has learned now that Jesse Matthew, the suspect in the kidnapping of the University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, has now been taken to a jail right here Washington, D.C.
Let's get the latest from investigative journalist Coy Barefoot and our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director of the FBI.
Tell us about this big development overnight, Coy. What happened?
COY BAREFOOT, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Wolf, it was late last night after about 10:00 p.m. that Jesse Matthew was transported from the Charlottesville jail to a jail, the adult detention center in Fairfax. He has been held in Charlottesville since September 26th after having been arrested on that beach in Galveston, Texas. He was brought back to Charlottesville, and that is where he has been since September 26th.
But late last night he was moved up to Fairfax. We've confirmed that he was booked into the jail at Fairfax at 1:40 a.m. this morning. And so he will appear in court Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. at the status hearing at which time Judge Dennis Smith will hear motions and the judge for the trial will actually be selected.
I can tell you, Wolf, that my sources have told me that Jesse Matthew was pretty excited about this trip, even telling some fellow inmates that he was going on a road trip to Fairfax.
BLITZER: Fairfax, as you know, Tom, is right outside Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia. What does it say to you that he was moved in the middle of the night to this jail in Fairfax in northern Virginia in order to have an in-person appearance Friday at this status hearing?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Wolf, it's not just for the Friday hearing. It's also for the fact that that's going to be the first prosecution. He's going to be standing trial in Fairfax before any of the other cases go to trial. And therefore, the judge is going to want him in Fairfax and accessible to the defense attorneys.
The defense team are, you know, based in Fairfax County. They're going to want to be able to talk to him on a daily basis, probably, so it's only common sense that they would move him there quickly.
BLITZER: So, Coy, it looks like that he's going to be there in Fairfax for a while, he's not going to be brought back to Charlottesville, is that right?
BAREFOOT: At this point, Wolf, we really don't know. My sources tell me that he is due back and could come back as early as Friday right after the status hearing. But as Tom accurately points out, we have a trial. And they're going to probably set a trial date on Friday, so he could just end up staying at the jail in Fairfax through that entire process.
And this is assuming that we go to trial and that there's not a plea, in which case if we do go to trail, it could be months.
BLITZER: Because they have to get ready, the prosecution and the defense. That could be months indeed. And presumably, if that's the first series of charges he faces in the Fairfax case as opposed to Charlottesville, he's going to be in Fairfax for the time being, right?
FUENTES: Right. And that is going to be the first case. I can't see any of the other cases going before the Fairfax case. That case has been in preparation for nine years. And other than bringing the victim back to the United States to testify against him, they're pretty much ready to go.
But his defense attorneys are not going to be ready. They need to be able to meet with him. The public defender's office's lawyers assigned to him. And so that's the reason for putting him in Fairfax jail.
BLITZER: And remind our viewers, Coy, about that 2005 case in Fairfax. Why he's being brought to northern Virginia.
BAREFOOT: Right. Wolf, on September 24th, 2005, a 26-year-old woman was grabbed, she was picked up, she was taken to a secluded spot in a neighborhood where she was raped and nearly beaten to death. A passer-by scared off the perpetrator and she crawled to safety, banged on a door and asked for help.
And we believe that the -- it's been confirmed that the DNA that was found underneath her fingernail is the DNA of Jesse Matthew. And he is charged in three felony counts now in Fairfax -- abduction, rape, and attempted capital murder. And he'll face those charges beginning on Friday.
BLITZER: If in fact that DNA is his that was found underneath her fingernails, that's pretty damning evidence, isn't it?
FUENTES: It's very damning. It's not just like you have hair or other fibers on him -- I mean, on her, you have her, you know, fingernails into his skin and therefore the DNA collecting under that. That's strictly going to be, you know, based on her defending herself from attack.
BLITZER: Has there been any new DNA evidence surfacing as far as you know in the Hannah Graham case involve the suspect?
BAREFOOT: Not that I know of, Wolf. The medical examiner's office is not talking. All my sources on that are very quiet. And -- but we can expect at some point that we will hear confirmation, did they or did they not find Jesse Matthew's DNA on Hannah's remains?
But keep in mind, even if we do, that does not establish homicide. That will only confirm what we already know that, in fact, they were together the night that she disappeared.
I've talked to an eyewitness who saw them together and we also have plenty of video evidence as well that puts them together that night. So we need evidence of a homicide for that charge to be brought.
BLITZER: All right, Coy, thanks very much.
Coy Barefoot, Tom Fuentes, appreciate it.
Coming up, we have new details on how ISIS is luring Westerners into its ranks including three American teenage girls. And tension on the rise in Ferguson, Missouri. The grand jury there
about to hear some crucial testimony. I'll speak with the attorney for the family of the slain teenager, Michael Brown.