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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Security Stepped Up At Malls After New Attack Threat; Terrorists Threatens Attacks on U.S. Malls; Students in Critical Condition After Taking Drug Molly
Aired February 23, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, a new terror threat aimed at malls in the United States. Security across the nation tightened as the Homeland Security secretary warns shoppers. How serious is the threat?
Plus, drug overdoses, college students hospitalized. Some fighting for their lives tonight. Police pointing to the popular designer drug Molly. A special report coming up on the surge of synthetic drug use.
And the so-called road rage murder, the suspect's lawyer speaks OUTFRONT. We have some news and disturbing information about the relationship between the suspect and the victim. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, terror at the mall. Security officials are on alert at the Mall of America, the nation's biggest mall, in the wake of a deadly terror threat calling it for Muslims to attack shopping malls. The threats specifically names the Minnesota megamall as well as malls in Canada, Britain, and other western countries. At the mall of America today, security ramped up, stores put through lockdown drills in the morning and night, halls patrolled by uniformed and plain-clothes security officers. But this all comes as the secretary of homeland security tells CNN that shoppers at that mall must be aware.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I would say that if anyone is planning to go to the mall of America today, they've got to be particularly careful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pretty sunny morning. Forty million people visit that mall every year. It is one of the biggest shopping complexes in the world. Its location, home to the largest Somali population in the United States. A group from which the terror group Al Shabaab has recruited heavily. The terror group's most infamous attack was on a mall. This video from an HBO documentary that aired here on CNN shows that attack from 2013 on the Westgate mall in Kenya. They were captured in multiple surveillance cameras. The terror of young families on a Saturday morning going shopping, over four horrific days Al Shabaab gunmen killed 67 people. Brian Todd is OUTFRONT tonight outside the mall of America in
Bloomington, Minnesota. And Brian, obviously this is a pretty terrifying thing for them to hear. No matter what they say and malls across this country, they are not prepared for this kind of attack. What are they doing there to get ready?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, they are ramping up security in ways both seen and unseen and it's a massive challenge, as you just mentioned. This mall has more than 80 acres for security teams to patrol, to monitor. It's got more than a dozen entrances. It is, as they say, a soft target with a lot of people coming in and out. As you mentioned, 80 million -- actually, 40 million people coming out of here every year. They have, you know, just hundreds of thousands per day per week coming in and out of here. So what you've got is, you know, just a very, very massive and soft target and what they are doing today is in the ways that are visible, there is a slight increase as far as what you can see of security officers and police. There are canine teams roving around looking for explosives but it's the unseen that really is kind of the telling factor here tonight.
They have got plain-clothed police officers roaming around the mall. They have hundreds of surveillance cameras. They even have a station here that monitors social media. Now, some of those measures have been in place for a while now but all of it ramping up tonight. That's really what makes this mall unique. This mall actually has its own intelligence branch. So those are some of the things that they've had in place here that they are ramping up here. Erin, a lot of it is unseen. And one other factor that they are kind of imploring here, they actually have teams of specialists here who are good at what they call basically it's profiling. It's identifying people who look suspicious, are acting suspicious, pulling them aside, questioning them. That's something that has been implemented here in recent years as well. All of these measures tonight Erin are ramping up.
BURNETT: Right. And of course they profile, you know, a lot of people don't like it but they do it because they think it helps them identify the people who are actually going to do harm. Right? Thank you very much, Brian Todd. The U.S. and Europe are on high alert after the terrorist group Al Shabaab released a video. And in this video, they called for specifically four attacks against shopping malls in the United States, in Canada and in Britain. Now, the Somali-based extremist group was responsible for that horrific siege at the Westgate mall, you may remember this picture from one of the grocery stores.
Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): All is quiet in the moments before the Al Shabaab attack, until shoppers at Kenya's Westgate Mall here, gun fires and grenades. Men, women and children run for their lives.
KAMAL KAUR, WESTGATE MALL SHOPPER: The sound was loud and children, I believe they have never heard something that loud. They started screaming and the shots started coming in.
RIPLEY: Most of the surveillance video from the 2013 massacre is too gruesome to show. This wounded man tries desperately to crawl away. A gunman returns, aims and fires. The attackers are on the phone getting instructions from outside the mall. They allow these hostages to go free. Along with others who answer "yes" when asked if their Muslim. By the end of Nairobi's four-day nightmare, more than 60 innocent people are dead, including several pregnant women and a dozen children. Al Shabaab says it can happen again.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What if an attack were to occur in Mall of America in Minnesota?
RIPLEY: This videotape threat was enough for Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson initially to warn shoppers.
JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: If anyone is planning of going to the Mall of America today, they've got to be particularly careful.
RIPLEY: The national counterterrorism center says, Al Shabaab is losing ground on its home turf in East Africa. The FBI says, the group likely doesn't have the resources to launch its own attack in America. The real risk, says the FBI, the video is a call to arms.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: People who might never have met an Al Shabaab member may try to attack in the United States or Canada.
RIPLEY: Ex-CIA official Philip Mudd says, al-Shabaab's ties to al-Qaeda and increasingly sophisticated use of social media poses a potent threat to the west.
MUDD: If there's two kids in the basement who decides that that's sufficient inspiration to go find a weapon and shoot up a mall in my own word at the agency and at the FBI, that's a disaster.
RIPLEY: Erin, the Minneapolis area is home to about 30,000 Somalis. That is the largest concentration in the United States and since 2007, al Shabaab has recruited more than 20 men from the twin cities area, most of them are Somali origin. These are men who have gone, who have fought and many of them are dead tonight. A real, real difficult situation for that community and this new propaganda video is really sparking some concern that more may be inspired to mobilize, instead this time Erin not go abroad but commit horrific acts of violence right here at home.
BURNETT: All right. Will, thank you very much. So this question is, what does this new threat mean for soft targets, things like malls right here in the U.S.?
OUTFRONT now, CNN intelligence and security analyst Bob Baer, former CIA officer. And Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent. Good to have both of you with us. Bob, those images, people may remember them from the Westgate
Mall. Horrific. Absolutely horrific, watching all of these innocent people on a Saturday dying. Could this happen, this kind of a style of an attack in the U.S.?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: I think, Erin, we've feared this for a long time, a lone wolf attack, someone gets access to an automatic weapon. There's no way to secure these malls. You simply drive a car through the front door and you're in. There would be complete panic and there would be enough casualties to cause panic in this country. And there's also the possibility of suicide attacks. It's easy to make this stuff. And there has been a Somali -- an American Somali went back to Somalia and blew himself up. At least one. There's probably more. So, I think it's a real threat and I think the FBI understands it is monitoring the Somali community, the people who are active, going to mosques and the rest of it are traveling back. But it's the lone wolf, what they don't know that really scares them.
BURNETT: And Tim, how serious is this threat of a lone wolf? You know someone, al Shabaab obviously wants to carry through but even if they can't, someone sees this video as a call to arms, someone in that 30,000 strong community there or elsewhere, and it could be at any mall.
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Absolutely, Erin. I think it's very real. I agree with Bob completely only it doesn't have to be an individual. So, we wouldn't have to just say a lone wolf. It could be a gaggle. Like Phil Mudd said, two kids sitting in the basement. And it's not just in Minneapolis. I live in Virginia and in Northern Virginia there's a large Somali population. There is in San Diego, there is in Toronto. Several other cities in North America. And it's not just the Somalis that we have to worry about but this particular subject, al Shabaab heavily recruits from around their Somali diaspora around the world and the fact that they've gotten 20 to travel halfway around the world to fight means that there are probably several times that many that would be willing to fight here in America.
BURNETT: I mean, Bob, what about this particular issue? I mean, you heard Will say, when you look at Minnesota, it's the largest Somali population in the United States, 20,000 strong. As Tim just said, 20 plus men have gone to fight for them. But this is just the Somali community. You also of course have those inspired by ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups.
BAER: Well, Erin, my concern is that the assimilation problem in a place like Minnesota, isolated community, small suburbs where immigrants go to live. They are not passing through the great gateways in Boston and New York. So they are not being assimilated. They are identifying with Islam rather than they are in the United States and they are on the Internet and they're reading these calls to battle and this is clearly what happened in France and Belgium and the rest of the Europeans are worried about. And, you know, we do better than the Europeans at assimilating Muslims but it's not full proof. You know, we, you just can't guarantee security and we are an open society and you can't put armed guards at all malls of the United States or put hesco barriers to protect them from a car or something. And I think it's a real threat.
BURNETT: I mean, Tim, because the truth of it is, it doesn't matter how much they say they are prepared and they have all of these plain-clothed officers. I mean, let's just be honest, I mean, that's not going to stop anything from happening.
CLEMENTE: No. Absolutely, Erin. And the fact that they are protecting the Mall of America or any other mall, for that matter, doesn't make America that much safer because the mall is a soft target as is every other event where a large groups of people gather. It's hard to harden a target that is open, you know, go to any soccer stadium, football stadium, an open field, anyplace where a large group of people, it could be a target for a group like this because all they want to do is kill. That's the message they want to deliver. And it's very easy to deliver if they want to in a free society.
BURNETT: They want to kill innocent people, too. It's not killing warriors. It's killing innocence.
BURNETT: Thanks so much to both of you. And next, did ISIS actually want to do a prisoner swap for the American hostage Kayla Mueller? Her parents speaking out for the first time. That's next.
Plus, nearly a dozen young people overdosing on Molly in a college dorm. So, what is Molly? Why is it so popular? Our cameras go undercover in an exclusive report, ahead.
And the suspects in the road rage killing. His lawyer tells outfront, there was no road rage at all. Disturbing new details in the story tonight.
BURNETT: Tonight, the parents of ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller speaking out for the first time. Mueller was abducted in Syria in 2013. Her family was in contact with ISIS terrorist for months. Desperately trying to free her. And now they're taking aim at the President for trading terrorists in Guantanamo Bay for one U.S. hostage but not for their daughter or other civilians held by ISIS.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty six-year-old Kayla Mueller didn't just want to help the Syrians, she needed to be there. Her parents breaking their silence to NBC News just didn't know how far she was willing to go.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Did you know that she was planning to go to Syria?
MARSHA MUELLER, KAYLA MUELLER'S MOTHER: No.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: What do you think you would have thought had you known?
M. MUELLER: Well, of course as her mother I wouldn't have let her go. You know, I would have talked with her.
CARL MUELLER, KAYLA MUELLER'S FATHER: There are mistakes that we all made in our life and didn't get caught at. Kayla was just in a place that was more dangerous than most.
LAH: Once hostage, her captor mirrored others in many ways, a civilian grabbed by ISIS, the threat of death but there was one difference.
C. MUELLER: I really feel that we had a chance to get Kayla out. Because we were in communications with them. Unlike the other families. But how do you raise $6.2 million?
LAH: Even if they could, Kayla's parents would be breaking U.S. policy and violating federal law, giving money to a terrorist group. Then that vital communication with Kayla's captors fell apart when the U.S. traded five Taliban detainees for American soldier Bowe Bergdahl who was held for five years by the Taliban.
ERIC MUELLER, BROTHER OF KAYLA MUELLER: That made the whole situation worst. Because that's when the demands got greater, they got larger, they realized that they had something. They realized that if they are going to let five people go for one person, why won't they do this?
LAH: Why? Because Kayla Mueller is a civilian. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. serviceman. An unfair distinction to determine which hostage to negotiate for, says the Muellers.
C. MUELLER: I actually asked the President that question when we were in the White House. Yes, that was pretty hard.
M. MUELLER: I think they wanted to but I think again it's the policy.
LAH: The White House defended the policy to not negotiate with terrorists, for civilians saying, overall it makes Americans safer.
JOSH EARNEST, PRESS WHITE HOUSE SECRETARY: The President is confident that his administration did do everything that was possible within the confines of that policy using our military might, using our intelligence capability, using our diplomatic influence to try to secure the safe release and return of Kayla Mueller.
BURNETT: So many questions about whether she could have indeed been saved and released. Kyung, I remember talking to James Foley's parents just a couple weeks ago. And they were angry. You know, they said the White House didn't do everything it could. I know his mother felt her son's captivity was more of an annoyance than anything else, right, to the administration?
LAH: Absolutely annoying, it's the word that she's used many times. And she felt that the White House simply put that policy again ahead of her son's life. It's something we're hearing from Arizona. It's a theme that's beginning to run through the families. The President in response to this late last year decided to review the policy. It does not appear that the heart of the policy will change as far as negotiating with the terrorists but certainly trying to have better lines of communications, Erin, with the families involved.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Kyung Lah.
And OUTFRONT tonight, Jessica Buchanan, she was held hostage for 93 days until she was rescued by SEAL Team 6. Also with me, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers.
Chairman Rogers, let me start with you. Kayla Mueller's father, you just heard her, he said ISIS really did want to release his daughter. That would be incredible as true, right? Because ISIS has never released an American, we keep hearing, they may pretend to negotiate but Americans are more valuable to kill. Do you think it's true, though, that Kayla was different?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: I'm highly suspect of that, that she was different. I do believe that they were conflicted at some point on what to do with a female hostage. But I think she was clearly destined -- the odds of her survival were not very good. And I might just point out, remember that there was a military action undertaken, it covered military action to try to rescue the hostages, including their daughter, at one point. Unfortunately, the intelligence was a little raw but it's hard to believe that she was the one that they were going to actually release for some ransom money.
BURNETT: Jessica, you were held hostage for 93 days and I know you were kind enough to share the video that at one point was released by your captors, your proof of live video that you released. I mean, just, I can't even imagine what it's like for you to watch and remember that. You were held hostage for 93 days. Kayla, of course, was a hostage for 18 months of ISIS. And as the chairman just referenced, the SEALs did try to rescue her at one point. That failed. SEAL Team 6 was able to rescue you. What was that rescue like, Jessica?
JESSICA BUCHANAN, AUTHOR, "IMPOSSIBLE ODDS": Well, I mean, as you can imagine, it was a completely incredible and completely unexpected on my part. I was feeling pretty hopeless at that point. Day 93, I was incredibly ill. Not even able to walk and at the point of the attack when SEAL Team 6 came in and got me, I never even cross my mind and it could be help that was coming for me. I thought actually I was being kidnapped by another group, possibly by al Shabaab which is an al-Qaeda linked group. And so I thought for sure, my hopes and chances for survival were nil at that point.
BURNETT: And you were, as you mentioned, very sick. You thought at that time you were dying. As people try to just comprehend what Kayla endured, did you ever give up hope or did you always have a little hope in the back of your mind, Jessica, that you might be saved?
BUCHANAN: I think my hope was that, you know, I'm going to survive this. It didn't cross my mind that there would be a military intervention and that's how my survival would happen. But I just kept trying to focus on being strong for my husband and for my family and you could only take it like minute by minute. You can't think about, you know, the next several months or the next several weeks or however long this thing is going to last. And you know, my heart and my sympathies go out to the Mueller family. I can only imagine what they are going through right now and my family as well. You know, very much in that kind of a situation even though it ended very differently, the emotions are still very I think similar, that they are feeling right now.
BURNETT: And Chairman, Kayla's family says ISIS' demands got bigger after the U.S. traded the five Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl, the service member who had been taken hostage by the Taliban. Here is what Kayla's brother had to say about the Bowe Bergdahl's exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
E. MUELLER: That's when the demands got greater, they got larger. They realized that they have something. They realized that if they are going to let five people go for one person, why won't they do this or why won't they do that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The Bowe Bergdahl trade cost American lives like Kayla's?
ROGERS: You know, that would be really hard to say and very speculative. I mean, clearly I opposed the Bowe Bergdahl exchange at the time, I oppose that leading up to it for a whole host of reasons. But again, ISIS is a whole different ball game and they viewed American hostages as a propaganda tool, not necessarily a financial tool. Now, al Qaeda affiliates do make a tremendous amount of money exchanging hostages and the countries that pay tend to have the most hostages. France comes to mind. So, it was really hard for me to see the tie directly.
ROGERS: But clearly, clearly they thought that the U.S. position was changing and that's why I think the price probably went up, in their mind, even if they didn't believe they were going to get it.
BURNETT: Fair point. And Jessica, I know you just heard Kayla's mother a few moments ago saying she wouldn't have let her daughter go to Syria, if she had known about it, she wouldn't have wanted her to go. From what we know, Kayla wasn't in Syria as an aide worker directly on this visit. She was with her boyfriend by every account, this was a young woman who had traveled the world trying to help others, to help refugees. You were a young aid worker, too. I know you thought long and hard about whether to go on the trip you went on. You went, you were eventually of course taken hostage by this group in Somalia. What would you tell another young American who idealistically has drown to a place like this, thinking I can save the world and it won't happen to me. Should they go?
BUCHANAN: I think that's a complex question. And important thing is to always listen to your own intuition, always put security first, always listen to others who know more than you, you know, and be smart, above all. And, you know, bad things happen all over the world and you've got to go and you've got to live your life and you've to do the work that you think you are meant to do. And so I say go but I say, you know, make the best possible decisions you can.
BURNETT: All right. She says go but make the best possible decisions. Thanks so much to both of you. I really appreciate it.
And OUTFRONT next, really a dozen people overdosing on the club drug Molly. But not at a club. This wasn't in a college dorm room. We have an OUTFRONT exclusive, next. Our cameras will go undercover.
Plus, the suspect, attorney, and the road rage shooting says the victims' family is lying, his clients' actions were in self-defense. And the envelope, please, John Travolta at the Oscars winner of the most cringe-worthy moment of the night.
BURNETT: Tonight, two college students in critical condition, ten others recovering after apparently overdosing on a popular synthetic drug. Police say, the overdose happened at a party on the campus of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Jean Casarez begins our coverage. She is OUTFRONT live inside a hospital in Hartford where two students are in critical conditions tonight. And Jean, what are authorities learning about where this drug came from?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the pivotal question right now. And the investigation is really in full force. The Middletown Connecticut Police Department. Because they want to find who or what people distributed or sold this Molly-like drug to students at Wesleyan University and others over the weekend. Now, here's how it all came about. It came to light yesterday about 7:00 in the morning. Police and EMS started getting phone calls, started hearing symptoms and people started being transported to the hospital. The two most critical were medevaced by helicopter right here to Hartford because this is a level one trauma center. They remain in critical condition tonight but we're told that some were able to say I took Molly. Others who were not able to talk to communicate that. But the first thing they did was urine testing to see chemical composition. That led them down the road of Molly. Now more sophisticated testing is being done at the state crime lab in Connecticut to determine the actual composition but the head of toxicology at this hospital told me he believes it is a synthetic form of Molly, which can be even more dangerous. Now, we do know parents are coming in and have been here to be
with their children. And we've also learned, I've spoke with the elected state attorney of this area, Peter McShane, and he tells me he's aware of the police investigation that's going on right now but his heart is with the families and the victims because this is a very serious situation.
BURNETT: All right. Jean, thank you very much. Incredibly serious. As we said, two are in critical condition fighting for their lives.
Molly is part of a multi-billion dollar synthetic drug market. It is surging across the United States with, as you can see, deadly consequences. Last year, a young man died of a Molly overdose. There have been molly-related deaths at music concerts in Boston and New York City.
So, why is the drug so toxic?
Well, our cameras tonight exclusively go undercover. Drew Griffin is OUTFRONT.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It's Saturday night at a New York City Dance Club, and the steady beat of electronic dance music or EDM signals the start of another night of searching for many of these dancers. They want "Molly", lately, the drug of choice. It's a nickname given to pure form of MDMA or ecstasy.
Speaking to our undercover cameras, some tell us getting ready for "Molly" has taken all week.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know what to do to prepare for it. Dude, I hydrate all week. I drink (EXPLETIVE DELETED) 11 bottles of water all week. Every time I take like a gram or more. Today, I'm not taking that much. I didn't take any yet.
GRIFFIN: "Molly" has been around for a decade. Originally, it was ecstasy. But just in the last few years, "Molly" has gone from unknown drug to an unknown quantity, a toxic chemical cocktail. Users don't know what they are getting and one hit can put you in the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They took me to the hospital and they gave me oxygen. I was about to pass out because I couldn't breathe. One of my friends got this with me and she had the same reaction. And she went to the hospital.
GRIFFIN: She was lucky.
"Molly" is no longer just ecstasy. What it is, according to the DEA, is any of a half dozen of variations of extremely dangerous synthetic designer drugs flooding the Western world. AL SANTOS, DEAD ADMINISTRATOR: We're seizing larger and larger
quantities of methylone, and a half a dozen other compounds that we're frequently seeing in these substances that are being marketed as "Molly".
GRIFFIN (on camera): And we see the overdoses and even deaths.
SANTOS: We've seen a number of deaths attributed to what the abuser thought was "Molly". Our kids are really being used as guinea pigs but these drug traffickers.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Kids as guinea pigs for the new drug dealers, chemists creating their often toxic compounds in labs, mostly in China. And chemicals imported to the U.S. and Europe where they're assembled, packaged and sold to kids who may think it's just the same old MDMA.
It's taken just three years for this flood of new synthetic drugs like these to change the landscape of the illicit drug market in this country. As CNN has shown, the drugs known as Spice, M Bomb, bath salts can be bought easily over the Internet, mailed directly to your home.
It is information not likely to be involved in the decision whether to ingest or not ingest a pill, a powder, a package at a dance club on a Saturday night in New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we're just drinking right now. It's game time decision if I'm going to roll.
GRIFFIN: Here, night after night and in clubs across the U.S., the real dangers of "Molly" are being felt one hit, one overdose, one death at a time.
For OUTFRONT, Drew Griffin, CNN, Washington.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, Dr. Drew, host of "Dr. Drew on Call" which airs at 9:00 p.m. HLN.
All right. Dr. Drew, you just heard Drew Griffin reporting. Almost all the chemicals in this drug Molly come from labs in China. I mean, just how dangerous is this drug? In Connecticut, they were saying it was a bad batch. That might not be the case, right?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN: Right, Erin. I mean, people are getting this story and most of the stories around molly completely wrong. The original sort of story that has swirled around Molly was, oh, this is a pure form of MDMA. Therefore, it is safer.
MDMA is the dangerous compound in Molly. It is highly neurotoxic. We have known this for years, and if taken in high concentrations, even modest concentrations, people get malignant hypothermia, hypothermia, brain swelling, cardiac arrhythmias, end up in the hospital just as these kids did. The problem is not that it was a bad batch. It was probably a
good batch and because it was a more concentrated MDMA, the MDMA is the problem. People can't get through their head.
And, by the way, you don't have to overdose on it to get somebody immediate and serious and sometimes medically critical effects.
BURNETT: It's pretty terrifying. Kids have died. We've got two kids right now in critical condition from this incident in Connecticut. But the thing is, when you talk about those horrible and brain swelling, and people can die, that's not what they are told from pop culture, right? Kanye West --
PINSKY: I know.
BURNETT: Miley Cyrus even saying this is cool stuff. I mean, here they are.
BURNETT: I mean, it's horrible that it is acceptable. But that's what people are saying.
PINSKY: Well, what it tells, well, the report even in this pop cultural context is how alluring this drug is. It really does work. It really does feel great and they do kind of know there are dangers although they brush over them. They've covered them. Whitewash them. It's not going to happen to me, that sort of magical thinking about it.
But it is a great feeling. They all know that. And they just over look the dangerous effects, which are not common. They don't all come across this every time they see it. Unfortunately, what they don't get to see which I see all the time, which is the downstream effect years later, which is memory problems and mood disturbances that can be absolutely intractable.
BURNETT: Which is -- which is terrifying. And you wish those people who are young could understand what it would be like that they're causing memory loss later in life.
PINSKY: You bet.
BURNETT: All right. Dr. Drew, thank you.
PINSKY: You bet.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, the ISIS propaganda machine. New video tonight capturing 5-year-old children purportedly being trained as the next generation of ISIS fighters.
Plus, the road rage shooting. The suspect's attorney says it was not about road rage. Says it was actually self-defense. We have disturbing new details of that story tonight.
And John Travolta admitting he might have done a little too much chin touching at the Oscars. Creepy or cute?
BURNETT: Tonight, ISIS brutality on display, the terror group releasing a flood of new propaganda videos, including this one with children. Supposedly these children are an ISIS training camp for kids. They are dressed in camouflage, wearing bandannas and exercising, some of them as young as 5 years old. That's what they look like.
Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT tonight.
And, Jim, you know, we're showing this video so people can see how young they are. They can see their faces. It's about a minute and a half in all.
What else is in it?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, you see them also citing religious phrases and answering questions from the Koran.
You know, it's interesting, last week, we saw video of teenage fighters, ISIS recruits, released. So, this one taking it a step even earlier, another decade earlier to kids that are 5, 6, 7 years old. I think there's a message in that, because ISIS is taking losses. Some of its leaders have been killed, thousands of its fighters have been killed, and I think we've always got to keep in mind this is pure propaganda they're spitting out, it's to say you may kill the older ones but we have a new generation coming up.
BURNETT: Right. Of course, as you point out, they are making sure that they have brand-new camo outfits.
BURNETT: You know, hard to imagine that's fully representative of what's been happening there.
But ISIS has been changing its pr a little bit and now making a bigger deal of a video showing what is supposedly daily life is bustling and normal, right? This has been a real shift in what they have been trying to do. What do you see in this video?
SCIUTTO: Well, they have a big audience that they want to get to and what they want to show the audience particularly here is, listen, the Islamic State is working. We're not only fighting, we're not only taking over territory, but as you can see there, we've got busy shopping streets, we have fruit stands open. I mean, we heard reports early on of ISIS issuing license plates, and this kind of thing, to show not only can they take territory but they can hold and control that territory.
Now, the thing is, when you hear accounts of eyewitnesses who have actually lived under ISIS rule, of course, the reality is very different. They speak of brutal treatment, torture and, as you know, Erin, there are too many stories to recount in that category.
BURNETT: There are. And, of course, they show, you know, people walking on the streets, as you see, with this other push, domesticated, we sell candy and sweets, and things are so great here. The same day, you have to juxtapose it with a video that comes out, more video of human beings in cages.
SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, look at this again. The cage, of course, reminiscent of the horrible video of the poor Jordanian pilot who is burned alive in the case. These are Kurdish fighters captured. The site intelligence groups believe that this video was taken in Kirkuk, Iraq, which would be significant, because that's an area that's largely controlled by the Kurds, but ISIS did carry operations inside there, an attack inside there in recent weeks.
And, you know, what is not known is what their fate is because, of course, all other folks that we've seen in those orange suits have sadly met a very sad death, usually by beheading. You don't actually see that in this video, whether that's part of a change in their propaganda messaging, Erin, remains to be seen but last week we saw a number of Christians who are beheaded on camera. So, I wouldn't put it past them to see a later deadlier video.
BURNETT: And, Jim, part of the problem is the lack of intelligence. As you say, you're talking about a terror analysis group who says this was in Kirkuk. U.S. intelligence about this group is poor, as we know.
And I know you spoke with Admiral Michael Rogers today, who's the head of the NSA, and he agreed with you that the U.S. has blind spots when it comes to tracking terrorists. He says it's because of the, quote/unquote, "revelations" leaked by Edward Snowden. Let me play a clip of your conversation with the admiral.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Do you have new blind spots that you have prior to the revelations?
ADM. MICHAEL ROGERS, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: Have I lost capability that we had prior to the revelations? Yes.
SCIUTTO: How much does that concern you?
ROGERS: It concerns me a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The look on his face is pretty incredible there.
SCIUTTO: It is. I mean, this is a stark and a frank assessment from the head of one of the most capable intelligence organizations in the world saying that because of the way terrorists have changed the way they communicate post-Edward Snowden -- and I've been hearing this from intelligence officials for some time, but he said it in very stark terms, because of the way that they are changing communications, that they can in some respects no longer be tracked the way that they used to be, intercepted phone calls, e-mails, et cetera. That's a real problem when you want to prevent terror attacks. It's quite an alarming admission from the head of the NSA.
BURNETT: It certainly is. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, the suspect's attorney in the road rage murder turning the corner, questioning whether there was a road rage incident at all. He says the mother and the son were the aggressors. We have disturbing revelations and the relationship between the victim and the shooter.
And on a much lighter note, Jeanne Moos and talked of the day, the winter of what truly is the most talked about Oscar moment -- John Travolta's grab.
BURNETT: New developments in the case of alleged road rage that left a mother of four dead. A 19-year-old Eric Nowsch made his first appearance in court today. He's the one accused of gunning down Tammy Meyers in her Las Vegas driveway. A manhunt is still on for another suspect. Meyers family says the murder stemmed from an incident of road rage when Meyers took her teenage daughter out for a driving lesson.
But tonight, the suspect's attorney says it wasn't road rage. He says the Meyers family isn't telling the truth about what happened that night.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Eric Nowsch walked into the courtroom, Robert Meyers was right there to look into the eyes of the teenager charged with killing his wife and mother of four.
ROBERT MEYERS: I'll be here every court date.
SIDNER: The Meyers have said a lot about what happened the day Tammy Meyers was killed. The case initially built as a road rage incident with a stranger that turned deadly. But then it turned out, the victim and suspect knew one another. A fact the family knew, but police say only found out the day of the arrest.
Robert Meyers telling CNN he didn't think it was worth mentioning to police because they did not suspect Nowsch was directly involved until the day he was arrested.
Now, for the first time, we hear the details of the shooting suspect's side of the story. His attorney Conrad Claus sat down with us. (on camera): Was this a case of road rage?
CONRAD CLAUS, ATTORNEY: We can say with some confidence, there was no road rage.
SIDNER: Can you tell me anything about what he's saying happened?
CLAUS: What we know is, that a story kept changing, that it was an illogical story. There's a sequence of illogical and untruthful stories that come out one after the other, that just lead you to the inescapable conclusion that you cannot depend upon what the Meyers family is saying occurred that night.
SIDNER (voice-over): The Meyers family says it is the defendant who was lying, not them.
Police are still investigating the case. The prosecution says this is not a simple case, but a case of murder, nonetheless.
PROSECUTOR: I don't want to get into the specifics because it would take me about 30 minutes. It's not a straightforward case. It is not a garden variety, run of the mill case. We all know there are certain nuances to this case.
But at the end of the day, this young man is charged with a senseless, stupid act of murder, and we intend to prove it in court.
SIDNER (on camera): Are you going to say that this is self- defense? Is Eric Nowsch going to say, I was defending myself?
SIDNER: And you heard there the defense saying they did believe that self-defense will likely be something that they look at when this case goes further in the court system. What we have now is the police report.
And on the police report, what's really interesting here is that Nowsch tells his friend a lot of details, talking about a car he thought was following him, a green car which matches Tammy Meyers' car. But he never mentions the Meyers either.
So, at first, we didn't know the two knew each other, partly because he didn't tell his friend that either. The police didn't know until the day they arrested him. The case getting more and more and more complicated as time goes on -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much. Complicated, like somebody knows something they don't want to share at this point. There's got to be that kind of aha moment.
OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on John Travolta, doubling down on the most awkward Oscar moment of the night. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Tonight's money and power: the Academy Award swag bag.
So this year's bag was valued about $167,000. A big win for the losers, who still walked away with 81 gifts to make them feel better from a $4 bag of gluten-free popcorn, to a $4,000 liposuction treatment that uses LED lights and a $250 sex toy.
As for the non-nominees like John Travolta, without a big statue or bag, he still found a way to keep his hands full.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John Travolta walked the red carpet with his wife, but he got called on the carpet for what happened on stage with Idina Menzel.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked like he's a howler monkey, you know, glomming her.
MOOS: First, Idina got revenge by mangling Travolta's name like he mangled hers last year.
IDINA MENZEL, PERFORMER: My very dear friend, Glom Gazingo.
MOOS: Then, Travolta, glommed on to her face.
JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: My darling, my beautiful, my wickedly talented Idina Menzel.
MOOS: The comparisons ranged from Mr. Spock's mind-melding moves, to the V.P. who does creepy old guy better. It may seem Vice President Biden has the edge with his hands on nuzzling, the defense secretary's wife to the daughter of a senator.
But Travolta earned the hash tag #creepyunclejohn.
Well, I for one was not creeped out. That face cupping was just a bit. He was an actor, acting. Leave John Travolta alone. Travolta himself recreated the moment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
TRAVOLTA: Apparently, I played with her chin too much.
MOOS: Travolta also got flak for planting a surprise kiss and a hand on Scarlett Johansson. Look like she looks peeved? Watch the video.
And this is nothing compared to the time designer Isaac Mizrahi examined the architecture of Scarlett's gown.
ISAACH MIZRAHI, DESIGNER: Just want to feel it. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is going on?
MOOS: Travolta finally explained why he butchered Idina Menzel's name last year, saying he was so star-struck meeting Goldie Hawn backstage he didn't pay any attention when told Idina's name had been changed on the teleprompter to phonetic spelling.
TRAVOLTA: So, I go out there and I get to her thing and I felt, hmm?
MOOS: Yes, but he called her Adele Dazene with the phonetic spelling like that?
Gaffes that are over in a blink of the eye, and what do we do for days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Milk it, Scarlett, milk it.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
TRAVOLTA: My beautiful.
BURNETT: And thanks for joining us. Be sure to DVR the show. You can watch it anytime.
Anderson starts now.