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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Carson: There Is A Desperation to Tarnish Me; Report: Investigators Convinced Bomb Blew Apart Jet. Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired November 6, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why don't you get them out of the way and try to move on? You say --
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As far as I'm concerned -- as far as I'm concerned, they are out of the way. And let me just say one other thing. I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. In fact, I remember just the opposite. I remember people just, oh, we really don't talk about that. We won't talk about that relationship. Well, Marshal Davis, we don't want to talk about that. Bernadine Dorn, Bill Ayers, he didn't really know them. You know, all the thing that's Jeremiah Wright was saying, oh, that's not a big problem. Goes to Occidental College doesn't do that well. And somehow ends up at Columbia University. Oh, I don't know. His records are sealed. You know, why is his records seal? Why are you guys aren't interested in why his records are sealed? Why are you not interested in that? Let me ask you that. Because somebody tell me why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you think they are?
CARSON: I'm asking why they're sealed? No, no, no -- I'm asking you, will someone tell me, please, why you have not investigated that. I want to know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you raising it?
CARSON: Why? Because I want to know. You should want to know, too. Wait a minute. Hold on one minute. One second here. Now, you're saying that something that happened with the words a scholarship was offered is a big deal but the President of the United States, his academic records being sealed -- wait a minute.
Tel me how there's equivalency there. Doesn't matter where it is. Tell me how -- that's a silly argument. Tell me how there's equivalency. Tell me how there is equivalence there. Tell me somebody, please. Because, you see, what you're not going to find with me is somebody who's just going to sit back and let you be completely unfair without letting the American people know what's going on. And the American people are waking up to your games.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Carson (INAUDIBLE) with South Florida Times, do you think that there would have been this level of scrutiny about your so-called violent past if you hadn't brought it up yourself? Like if they had found this information out beforehand, before you disclosed it? Do you think it would be treated the same?
CARSON: Well, let me put it this way. If everybody here will sign an affidavit saying that, if I reveal the name of the person involved in this stabbing incident that you will be singing my praises and none of this stuff will ever go on again, I'll think about it. Will you do that? Yes? Yes? Yes? Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Carson, we're trying to ask questions and vet --
CARSON: Yes. Well, my job is to call you out when you're unfair, and I'm going to continue to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the book accurate? You're saying this is just one thing?
CARSON: What is just the one thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you use the term --
CARSON: What about the west point thing is false? What is false about it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying it's one thing. Is everything else in the book accurate?
CARSON: As far as I know it's accurate, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you feel like it was dishonest or not?
CARSON: Wait a minute. Hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Donald trump tweeted out very soon after this came out that this is one of many lies of Dr. Ben Carson and it's a big story. What would be your response?
CARSON: What would you expect Donald Trump to say, with somebody who's running neck in neck with him? What would you expect him to say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For somebody to say it's dishonest, the reports have been that you said you received a full scholarship.
CARSON: I never said I received a full scholarship. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Don't lie. I never said that I received a full scholarship. Nowhere did I say that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There haven't reports made --
CARSON: Politico, as you know, told a bold-faced lie. They've been called out by that by "The Washington Post" and by the "New York Times" and I'm sure there will be several others who will call them out on that because there are actually some people with integrity in your business.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just said, you just told me that you got a scholarship offer. You just said that.
CARSON: No, she said that I got a scholarship. I never said I got a scholarship. I had people who said, yes, that I could get a scholarship to West Point. And I told them that I wasn't interested, that I was going to pursue medicine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Carson (INAUDIBLE) did you make a mistake the way you characterized this?
CARSON: I don't think so. I think it's perfectly clear. I think there are people who want to make it into a mistake. I'm not going to say it is a mistake. So, forgot about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Carson, all the information about the violent past, why is that so important? Why is that important for your background?
CARSON: Well, it's important to me because it was the transformation for me. That's when I became a person who really understood the power of God in a person's life. And it created a whole new relationship between me and God at that point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moving forward, why we're here tonight, the African-American vote, is that important to you? And are you doing a good enough job in the polling? Would you like to see that go up?
CARSON: It's a very important demographic. All demographics I think are very important.
[19:05:19] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You've been listening to Dr. Ben Carson speaking to reporters there live in Florida. This is the most animated, agitated, alive you have seen Dr. Ben Carson. He was taking questions from reporters and passionately fighting back about reports that have questioned his personal history. Among them, you just heard him talking about West Point. He had said that he had been told he could get a scholarship there. There was a report today that said that he did not get a scholarship. And he's saying that he's standing by his side of the story.
Our Sunlen Serfaty is actually in the room with Dr. Carson right now. You saw that shot go down. We'll going to talk to her in just a moment.
I want to go now though to our political reporter Maeve Reston. And Maeve, in terms of the specifics here on this West Point story, which is the story of the day, he referenced it, Politico reporting that he said he got a scholarship there, they are saying it's untrue, he didn't get a scholarship. He's standing by his version, which is that someone told him he could get a scholarship if he wanted one. Standing by his side of the story, does it add up to you? MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I'm looking
right here at Dr. Carson's book "Gifted Hands." Just to read you a quick sentence from it, he said, later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn't refuse the scholarship outright but I let them know that a military career was not where I was going. So he has written about this in his book. He explained to the "New York Times" today that it was an informal offer that was made to him or that he understood it to be an informal offer and that's what he saw him trying to clarify just there in the press conference. So I mean, I guess, you know, the public is going to have to just take a look at his book and what he said about it in the past and make up their own minds.
BURNETT: And also, Maeve, he's very, very strenuously responding to other reports, your reporting. You went to Detroit where he grew up, a big part of his story is that he hit people with bats and hammers, at one point tried to stab someone. That's in the book that you have there. You went to talk to people he knew when he was young. They were unable to corroborate that. He's fighting back very strenuously tonight. What did you -- did it put any of your questions that you have raised to rest?
RESTON: Well, you know, we had heard from the campaign earlier tonight that actually there would be someone coming forward over the weekend who would be able to corroborate some of these violent incidents that he's talked about that were more than 50 years ago when he was a teenager. My colleague Scott Glover and I set out to find people who knew him during those years to paint a portrait of those years in Detroit and this very pivotal moment in his life, as he said, where he had all of these acts of violence and, you know, hitting people with bricks and bats but then had this moment of divine intervention that cured him.
And he said it kept him from ever having a violent outburst again. When we went to talk to people in Detroit and his classmates, we could find no one who had any recollection of those incidents with the exception of one person who said that they may have heard a vague rumor about it at the time. We talked to people that he knew in elementary school, junior high school, all the way through. And they just said that this didn't square with the quiet, calm, collected person that they knew.
BURNETT: Right. So Maeve, I want to play for you something that he just said moments ago so that those of you who are just tuning in you may have missed what we just saw from Dr. Ben Carson. It was pretty stunning. I want to say to everybody watching. This is not the Ben Carson that we have ever seen before. This is agitated, he was angry. He was showing his disgust, frankly, I think is the right word for his feeling for the reporting. But, Maeve, let me play for you what he just said. Explaining his side of the West Point story. And again, everybody, this is about whether he said he was offered a scholarship to West Point, whether he lied about that because the offer he now says was an informal one. Here's what he just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: It was an offer to me. It was specifically made --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You interpreted it as an offer --
CARSON: I interpreted it as an offer. I made it very clear in my --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who --
CARSON: I don't remember the names of the people. It's almost 50 years ago. I bet you don't remember all the people you talked to 50 years ago. But, anyway, you know, they told me this was available to me because of my accomplishments and that they would be delighted for me to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Maeve, I know you're saying, look, the American people will need to look what he writes in his book, where he says he's had the offer, now his explanation. On some level, though, this would seem to add up, right, if he's a young African-American man from Detroit, he has a meeting with someone from West Point. They say, look, you can come here if you want. Please come here. That he would interpret that as an offer, right?
[19:10:22] RESTON: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And you know, we talked to West Point today, one of my colleagues -- talked to folks at West point, and they said that, you know, this very well could have happened, some kind of informal conversation that he interpreted in this way. But also that they would have no records at this point of, you know, how far that process went, et cetera. So we're still trying to track down the details on this. I will say that, you know, when it comes to the violent incidents, the reason why this has been such a story of interest this week is because his version of events has changed over time.
You know, he said yesterday for the first time that two of the people that he attacked he's described as Jerry and Bob he now says those were fictitious names. And so he's saying that that's why CNN couldn't find the people that were involved in those incidents. And part of our biggest question tonight is, you know, why the campaign wouldn't want to just cooperate with us in putting some of these people forward for us to talk to. This is obviously an issue of temperament and something that is a big part of his life story, and we are looking forward to talking to those people so we do hope they emerge over the weekend as his campaign has suggested.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Maeve.
And I want to go to Sunlen Serfaty. Okay -- she'll going to be with us in a moment. She was actually in the room with Dr. Carson as he was speaking now. As I said, incredibly animated, calling the questions that have been raised about his life story a bunch of lies. Sunlen is with me now in that very room. Sunlen -- no, we don't have her. All right. When we get her, we'll bring her to you. We're going to take a brief break, though. When we come back, our other major breaking news tonight that we are following, investigators now convinced it was a bomb that took down Metrojet Flight 9268. That is next.
And with increasing evidence that the bomb on board was hidden in the cargo hold, we're going to go inside that hold. We'll be back.
[19:15:44] BURNETT: Breaking news. Officials say they are now sure a bomb took down Metrojet Flight 9268 killing all 224 people on board. Investigators analyzing the plane's black boxes are now saying categorically that the crash was not an accident. This is according to our affiliate France 2. Authorities say, the cockpit voice recorder shows there was an explosion. They say the flight data recorder which would register a mechanical malfunction confirms that the explosion was not an accident. We now know everything was normal for the first 24 minutes of that flight and then in a fraction of a second an explosion and then silence.
Also tonight, Russia's President Vladimir Putin in an about-face suspending all air traffic with Egypt, this after the U.S. and UK shared intelligence with Russia's anti-terror committee. It's a major admission since Russia had refused to acknowledge mounting evidence of a bomb.
Rene Marsh begins our coverage report tonight. And Rene, what are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, tonight new clues are emerging from the moment the Russian passenger plane broke apart. Now, as officials become more and more convinced that this was a bomb on board and as officials also zero in on the moments before that passenger plane took off, U.S. transportation officials are tightening security at airports around the world where U.S.-bound flights originate.
MARSH (voice-over): Investigators analyzing the Metrojet black boxes say sounds of an explosion can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder. And according to French media, those investigators say, with confidence, that did not stem from a technical failure. Tonight, focus remains on Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh airport where the Metrojet aircraft departed. British intelligence officials believe an insider at the airport may have planted a bomb in the plane's cargo hold right next to the aircraft's fuel line according to the BBC. That intelligence triggered dramatic new measures for many international flights leaving Egypt. Several carriers have banned passengers in Egypt from bringing anything from carry-on bags on board, forcing them to leave checked luggage behind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're glad that the government is putting in security measures for us.
MARSH: Overseas airports with direct flights to the United States are preparing for increased security measures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, everybody. MARSH: Today Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced
expanded screening of items going on to the aircraft. Travelers will also likely see random searches, extra hand swabbing of passengers and possibly more bomb sniffing dogs. DHS will also assess security at select foreign airports.
CHAD WOLF, FORMER TSA ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR: When we talk about the shoe bomber, underwear bomber, the printer cartridges, these all happened overseas but they were flights coming into the U.S. And so that's really from my perspective where the concern is.
MARSH: U.S. officials stress there are already multiple layers of security to screen passengers before they ever get on a plane bound for the U.S., including checking all passengers and crew against the U.S. terror watch list. But vulnerabilities still exist. The insider threat is a major concern.
REP. JOHN KATKO (R), NEW YORK: Well, employee vetting needs to be beefed up. And one of the things they need to do in addition to that once they hire these individuals, they need to keep continuing to vet them on a recurring basis to make sure that if they go bad during the course of their time as an employee we catch that before it's too late.
MARSH: Intelligence officials say if the downing of Metrojet was an insider job, authorities worldwide must zero in on airport and airline workers with secure access.
MARSH: Russia pulled flights to Egypt after it reviewed U.S. and British intelligence, but it is worth noting, even though a bomb on board is the leading theory now, there is still no conclusive evidence. Of course, that could come from the wreckage if they find some bomb residue.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Rene.
And now to the airport in Sharm El-Sheikh where tens of thousands of tourists are trying to leave but only a few planes are cleared as safe to fly.
Nima Elbagir is there. And Nima, what is the scene like there tonight?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it's just gone past 2:00 in the morning, and still tourists hoping to make their way home are being bussed out of this airport. For many, this has just been an extraordinarily grueling day. We've seen bus load after bus load, many returning back to their hotels, disappointed. Just to give you a sense of the sheer scale of this operation, and this is before President Putin announced that his nationals would have to be brought home, that the Russians would be expected to be facilitated on their way back home to Russia, Britain alone had 29 flights that was scheduled to come in and out to evacuate their holiday makers. Only eight managed to leave. So that's still an extraordinary number of holiday makers who believe that they are not being communicated with effectively and fundamentally, Erin, tell us they're actually quite afraid given that nobody really knows what's going on here.
[19:20:55] BURNETT: All right. Nima, thank you very much. As we said, live at Sharm El-Sheikh airport, tens of thousands of people stranded there.
Joining me now, former CIA counterterrorism official Phil Mudd and our aviation lead correspondent Richard Quest. Okay. Thanks to both of you. Richard, what did investigators hear that has them in their words categorically convinced that a bomb brought the plane down?
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, I believe what they heard is an explosion, a noise, just a scintilla, the very smallest amount of noise, but they were able to identify it as being that of an explosion. Now, whether from a bomb or otherwise, they say they believe it's a bomb. That's the bit that's not, if you like the final part. But we've seen this before. MH-17 there was just the smallest amount of audio before the power was cut to the voice recorder, and they were able to identify it. We heard it again on TWA-800. So, the idea is not new, but the fact that they have been able to isolate it this quickly would suggest that it may be slightly longer than just a millisecond. And then cross-check that back with the flight data recorder to see if there's anything going wrong.
QUEST: Is that something -- are you seeing systems failing? Are you seeing engines --
BURNETT: They found no mechanical anything, which is how they get the explosion and the bomb --
BURNETT: And the bomb. The categorical conclusion. Now, Phil, British officials have said that the explosive device they believe was placed in the cargo hold. That's what they're saying. If that's the case, do you think they already have an idea of who did it?
QUEST: I think a vague idea. You're touching on what the next stage of this event is. In my experience, there's basically three stages. The first is disinformation. A lot of bad information about what happened. The second is starting to realize what the facts are, in this case, we're starting to understand days in that the plane was taken down by a bomb. The third is blowing out the investigation to start asking who exactly is responsible. At least four categories of people. You mentions one, the people who are actually the individuals placing the bomb on the plane. The second, who are the visionary leaders who said, we're going to go after the head of the snake, that is, the Russians? Second or third, who were the operational commanders for the actual execution of the operation? And then who's the bomb maker? So, you get the -- intelligence business, forget about the after action on the ground and start the hunt for the people. BURNETT: Right. And of course now, I mean, no one is allowed to
check luggage on the way home out of Sharm, Richard. So they clearly have concern that they do not know how this happened, or whether it could happen again.
QUEST: The planes -- the British planes are going in with the hold sealed up, the luggage is being taken from the passengers and will be transported back to the UK by the RAF.
BURNETT: Military jets.
QUEST: Right. One of the problems they've got in Sharm now is all these people checking in and tons and tons of luggage sitting in storerooms that they haven't taken away yet.
BURNETT: Which of course creates more opportunity to tamper with the luggage. But it's interesting that you're saying that they're actually sealing the cargo holds of the planes that are carrying people home.
BURNETT: I mean, that's a pretty incredible statement. Now, there's also a new video coming out Richard from ISIS in Syria. They are celebrating, they have graphics of a plane going up in flames. We are familiar with the fact that they have a video of a plane which they say is this plane. What do you make of this video?
QUEST: I'm interested in this bit here. I don't know why they've suddenly thrown the A-380 in there and then they cut to a Metrojet. I don't know what the purpose --
BURNETT: Which is -- an airbus 321.
QUEST: The relevant plane is a 321.
QUEST: But they then throw this much larger first picture of an A-380, the super jumbo. And I don't understand the purpose of that since every other picture is of the A-321.
BURNETT: So, is that just poor production in your view, or is that some sort of a statement about what they're planning?
QUEST: It seems -- well, the 380 is a much bigger kettle of fish, so to speak. But the video is just typical propaganda that one might expect at this sort of stage, and vis-a-vis the video which of course is much more serious.
BURNETT: Yes. Now, let me ask you, Phil. We now know that the Russians have stopped all flights as well, right? They had been in the corner with the Egyptians for a while, saying don't rush to judgment, we don't know. They changed their tune today.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. BURNETT: And pretty aggressively so. They're not flying in.
They said it was because they had gotten information from the United States.
BURNETT: That must mean the information is pretty significant, that the Russians would admit that they're going to stop flying and that it's because of information they got from the Americans.
[19:25:18] MUDD: Yes. Let's take the politics off the table. You have the Egyptians initially and the Russians saying for various reasons, national embarrassment, for example, tourism dollars --
MUDD: Don't jump to judgment. The professionals now, in this case, intelligence professionals are coming to the table, decades of experience following the al-Qaeda target saying, or the ISIS target saying, this is the kind of information we've intercepted. I'm going to guess that there is a fair amount of detail. When people die, national borders disappear. I can't sit there with as a -- the Russians saying --
BURNETT: I'm not going to share.
MUDD: I'm not going to share with you. So, there's got to be conversation about what just happened. The interesting conversation I would want to know about is, now we both, that is the Americans, the Russians along with the Egyptians, want to hunt who's on the ground who did this. Do we start sharing information down the road to say, we want to jointly target this group? That would be revolutionary.
QUEST: Quickly, tomorrow the Egyptians have a press conference.
QUEST: This is the moment --
BURNETT: Their first. They have been silent.
QUEST: Absolutely. This is the moment. Do they start saying, put up or shut up? Is this a moment we get some transparency? Do they finally recognize that the obviousness of the position that they now face?
BURNETT: We will see. That would be impressive if it happened. Thank you very much, both of you.
And OUTFRONT next, what kind of bomb could have taken down Flight 9268? We have a special report on that, next.
[19:30:32] BURNETT: Breaking news: The crash of MetroJet Flight 9268 was no accident. CNN affiliate France 2 tonight reporting investigators are certain there was a bomb on board. And now, it's not just the airplane in Sharm el-Sheikh. A major airline now banning checked luggage on flights from Cairo itself, the Egyptian capital.
And in Russia, President Vladimir Putin did a major about-face, suspending all air traffic after American and British officials shared their intelligence with him.
Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT from Moscow.
Matthew, for Russians to do an about-face, especially based on American intelligence, you know, we were just talking about this with former CIA counterterror chief Phil Mudd. This intelligence must be very clear and a big deal.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. American and British intelligence according to the Kremlin official that I spoke to earlier on this evening. Clearly, it was enough, big enough, for them to do an about-face like you say, but also to ban flights, not just from the Sinai peninsula or Sharm el- Sheikh, but from the whole of Egypt. They suspended all air operations to and from Egypt.
And so, it gives the suggestion that there is the possibility of a continued threat towards Russian airliners from that country. So, they're going to be embarking on a process now they've probably already started of narrowing that threat down and do a proper risk assessment to get the flights back running again.
But at the moment, the emphasis is on banning those flights and getting the 50,000 Russians who are in Egypt right now back home. It's going to be a big logistical problem.
BURNETT: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much, live from Moscow.
And we should say, these banning of flights from Egypt, and it was the Dutch airline KLM now says no luggage can be checked from Cairo. This is the biggest country in the Middle East. This is a major statement about the fears of security there, the fear of the rise of ISIS.
The big question, of course, is what kind of bomb could have brought down the jet?
Miguel Marquez has a special OUTFRONT report.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Finding a bomb that's already exploded in this? Not an easy task. But one a thorough investigation should find.
JIM MAXWELL, FORMER FBI BOMB TECHNICIAN: Every one of these bombings has a distinct signature. Once you can put it together and link it back to a group or an individual, that's the ultimate goal here. MARQUEZ: For years, terrorists have sought new ways to bring
down commercial jet aircraft, from bombs hidden in shoes to liquid containers, even underwear. In the case of MetroJet 9268, U.S. officials suspect a conventional bomb, like this one shown in this test of plastic explosives. Officials believe the bomb was placed in the cargo hold of the A321 along with other luggage.
One big question, how would such a device be detonated?
Jim Maxwell was a bomb technician for the FBI.
MAXWELL: Switches that turn your refrigerator light on and off is the type of switch that could be used in this type of setting. Vapor switches which measure the changes in air density inside a room. Or you could use a timer off your watch or your phone.
MARQUEZ: This government computer model based on several explosions shows how a small hole blasted through a pressurized cabin can be devastating.
MAXWELL: What happens is, what engineers call the zipper effect. You could blow a hole in a plane the size of, say, a volleyball or basketball, a plane going 500, 600 miles an hour will depressurize, and that hole will continue down the length of the plane.
MARQUEZ: Images of Flight 9268 indicate a midair breakup, the tail section three miles from the main debris field. In the wreckage, you can make out the wings, the fuselage in front, noticeably missing the back of the passenger jet.
In December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down by a suitcase bomb placed in a container, along with other luggage. The plastic explosives set on a timer exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. The blast punched a 20-inch hole in the plane's left side just in front of the wings. The 747 disintegrated. Seconds after the blast, the plane's nose tore away, 259 on board and 11 people on the ground died.
Investigators eventually found pieces of the luggage that carried the bomb and, most critically, a small fragment of a circuit board used as the timer, most importantly.
MAXWELL: This type of investigation is a lot of sifting and probing and testing, and that one little piece of evidence is the linchpin sometimes to making sense of it.
[19:35:01] MARQUEZ: Tiny but critical clues to solve an enormous mystery.
MARQUEZ: So reverse engineering of bombing very, very difficult to do. The hope is as they've done in many cases is find the tiny fragment that could lead them to the suitcase, suitcase lead them to a manufacturer or retailer, that could lead them to the person that bought it, the bomb maker or the group that planned the entire thing. Of course, all of this depends on the quality of the investigation and we come back to all eyes on Egypt -- Erin.
BURNETT: Miguel, thank you very much.
And OUTFRONT now, the former CIA operative Bob Baer.
Bob, obviously, you just saw Miguel's report fits with what you've been saying this week, that it could be a small bomb, a couple of ounces perhaps, that could have brought down a jet of this size. What kind of bomb do you think was responsible?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, if these guys knew what they were doing, they used a hybrid explosive, that means ones that ripped as Jimmy was saying. It opens up the side of an airplane, the zipper effect. It doesn't take much explosives.
If they wanted to make sure the plane went down, they could get it around security and have a baggage handler simply put it in the tail of the plane, use a lot of explosives to make sure the plane came down. Whether it was a vapor or barometric switch I don't think we'll ever know.
But I have to emphasize how easy this is, you know, once you've got staff on the ground to get a bomb on and blow a plane up. I mean, you don't need a suicide bomber. You don't need any fancy equipment. And the rest of it, what scares me, is the Islamic State has managed to -- I mean, they understand this and they know that the same sort of security weaknesses exist in Europe and the United States.
And what should worry us now is whether they might try something in this country because a lot of staff we have on the ground is contract.
BURNETT: So let me just ask you, do you think they have more of these bombs that are ready, that are built?
BAER: Erin, you and I could go out tonight, get the equipment and if we had explosives it would be very easy. We could have a bomb by tomorrow morning, a working bomb tested, the circuitry and the rest of it. It's very easy. The technology is widespread through the Middle East.
You know, we were picking up in the '70s and '80s and so forth. They've only gotten and more sophisticated, because you can take the detonators the size of an eraser on the pencil. Very hard to detect.
BURNETT: Quickly before we go, the video we were looking at from ISIS in Syria, it shows -- it flashes to an A380, the largest jet in the world, an Airbus, then it shows the A321.
Richard Quest was saying he believes that use of the A380 shot is purposeful, perhaps they're indicating what is next.
What do you say?
BAER: You know, reading the tea leaves with the Islamic State, all I know is they want to kill as many of us as they can. And United States is on the target list, not just Russia.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Bob Baer.
And OUTFRONT next, Ben Carson, more animated, more emotional than we have seen him yet, defending himself passionately, charging that reporters are out to get him, saying that there are lies out there. That's next.
[19:42:10] BURNETT: Tonight, Ben Carson lashing out at the media as he faces growing questions about his past. Moments ago, Carson visibly angry as he criticized reporters for asking about what he called violent behavior as a child and an offer to attend West Point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wait a minute. Hold on one minute. One second here. Now, you're saying that something that happened with the words "a scholarship was offered" is a big deal, but the president of the United States, his academic records being sealed is not?
Wait a minute. Tell me -- tell me how -- tell me how there's equivalency there. It doesn't matter where it is.
REPORTER: It's in your book.
CARSON: That's a silly argument. Tell me how there's equivalence there. Tell me how there is equivalence there. Tell me, somebody. Please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Sunlen Serfaty is live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Sunlen was in the room with Dr. Carson.
Sunlen, what was it like in that room? Certainly, I can say sitting here that's a side of Ben Carson we haven't seen before.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, I can tell you in that room there was a lot of anger from Ben Carson tonight. He was very combative, much more aggressive than we've ever seen him, really taking on these questions and very clear that all of these questions about his past are certainly getting under his skin.
And what he's trying to do is really redirect a lot of that fire on to the media, put the attention on the media. He suggested point- blank tonight, he called it a witch hunt. He said there are people who are desperate to tarnish his record.
So, certainly trying to channel some of that anger and redirect some of that anger, even bringing up and calling into question Barack Obama's record, mentioning some controversial relationships he's had in his past, specifically mentioning Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and saying there haven't been questions these characters answered in Barack Obama's life.
He did, though, reveal an important hint. He intimated that perhaps sometime soon one of the identities of these classmates or people in his life that he had involved in these violent incidents might be revealed -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much.
You heard Sunlen who's been covering this campaign is talking about this is the first time she's seen him like this.
OUTFRONT now, our political commentator and the host of "The Ben Ferguson Show", Ben Ferguson, along with Katrina Pierson, spokesperson for Donald Trump, who has been actively tweeting and commenting on the Ben Carson imbroglio today.
Let me start with you, Ben. You have -- you just saw Dr. Ben Carson there, more emotional, more engaged, more passionate than the American public and voting public has seen him so far this campaign. Does that work? Has he put this to rest?
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I would be livid if I was him. This is nothing but an incredibly vile hit piece.
[19:45:01] I mean, when someone comes to you, ask any student athlete when they're recruited by different universities, people come to you without an official piece of paper and say, the university of X want you. We want you to come here. We want to get you here.
Is that a scholarship offer? Any student athlete would say yes, it is.
BURNETT: Right. That's how he's saying it happened.
BURNETT: His book said he was offered a scholarship.
BURNETT: I'm making sure everyone understands. The subjective nature of saying, he was offered, does that mean it was formal or verbal or something?
FERGUSON: Ask Michael Jordan how many college scholarships he had that were offered to him? Most of them were not in writing, but if he wrote a book he would say, not only did UNC go after me but all these other universities.
And to somehow say that's not officially correct? Look, Ben Carson was a really smart young man. You could even say kid.
He knew he wanted to be a doctor. He went all his eggs in one basket to one university, Yale. If you can get into Yale and get accepted, I think it's pretty obvious we're not asking if he was lying about his qualifications and somehow he wasn't qualified to go to West Point.
FERGUSON: This may be one of the most vile attacks ever I've seen on a candidate and it's embarrassing.
BURNETT: Katrina, do you agree? I mean, you're the spokesperson for Donald Trump. But Ben raises a lot of fair points.
KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP SPOKESPERSON: Vile attack? No one has called him a racist.
FERGUSON: Yes, vile. You're calling him a liar.
PIERSON: I'm not going to yell, but what I will say is, welcome to running for president. He's being asked questions, Ben. This is all that he has to run on. He's being asked very simple questions. And you just saw him come apart just on asking questions about --
FERGUSON: He didn't come apart, Katrina.
PIERSON: Regardless of semantics, like Erin said, regardless whether it was he was offered a scholarship or interpreted as a scholarship, that's not really what's at question here. What's in question --
FERGUSON: Sure it is.
PIERSON: Ben Carson is running on his story and the media is asking questions.
FERGUSON: Katrina, let me --
BURNETT: Ben, Let me play one more sound bite when he was asked about whether these questions, in particular about the scholarship at West Point, were fair. Here's Dr. Carson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARSON: I don't think it's relevant at all, but I think what it shows and these kinds of things show is that there is a desperation on behalf of some to try to find a way to tarnish me because they have been looking through everything. They have been talking to everybody I've ever known, everybody I've ever seen.
There's got to be a scandal. There's got to be some nurse he's had an affair with. There's got to be something. They are getting desperate.
So, next week, it will be my kindergarten teacher who said I peed in my pants. I mean, it's ridiculous. But it's OK because I totally expect it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Ben, is this going to endear him more to voters? FERGUSON: Yes, it's going to endear him more because I think
people realize this is nothing but a political hit job trying to take down a man that went to an incredible university and was recruited by West Point.
This is semantics. This is exactly what I expect from the Trump campaign to come after him and try to blow this into a bigger story. I would say to them, stay a little classy just for once. A little classy.
BURNETT: Katrina, respond?
PIERSON: This is not being blown up. These are questions, Ben. Simple questions are being asked of Ben Carson. And yes, the base might stay behind him as long as this is where it ends.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And OUTFRONT next, MetroJet 9268, as it fell out of the sky, there was one company actually downloaded all the data from the plane. It wasn't a government, an intelligence service. It was a company. And we have a special report on this untold part of the story next.
[19:52:07] BURNETT: And back to our breaking news, the downing of MetroJet flight 9268, it was not an accident.
Tonight, CNN affiliate France 2 reporting that investigators analyzing the black boxes are now categorically convinced that a bomb took that plane out of the sky. They say that for the first 24 minutes of the flight, everything was completely normal. That's why they are ruling out a mechanical malfunction and, then they say there was a sound and then silence.
Before today, pretty much everything we knew about what went wrong on Flight 9268 came from a company that uses real-time data to track flights. Here is our report.
BURNETT (voice-over): When MetroJet Flight 9268 crashed, killing all 224 on board, many turned to the Web site FlightRadar24. FlightRadar24 revealing the exact moment that the airbus jet began falling from 31,000 feet, even detecting the plane wobbling from side to side, an indication that it broke apart before plummeting to earth.
DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: It's something the FAA hasn't done, the NTSB hasn't done, even Europe hasn't been able to pull it together.
BURNETT: Mikael Robertsson is the man behind the idea for FlightRadar24, now used by airlines, air traffic controllers and intelligence officials around the world to track flights, it started as a gimmick on his airline ticket Web site.
MIKAEL ROBERTSSON, FLIGHTRADAR24 FOUNDER: The flight tracking service became much more popular than the price comparison part.
BURNETT: Soon, tracking planes became Robertsson's primary business. FlightRadar24 has been the number one selling app for Apple in more than 100 countries. FlightRadar building a never before seen map of the skies with real time information on every single one of the 100,000 flights that take off and land every day.
It's a massive task and to do it, Robertsson and his partners rely on volunteers to set up receivers around the world, from Greenland to Israel and Jordan where devices captured the explosion and plunge of Flight 9268.
ROBERTSSON: The first date we published was the date that has been uploaded to our server from three different receivers.
BURNETT: The company now has 8,000 receivers, enabling it to build a network unmatched by others including governments.
SOUCIE: It's something the FAA could learn something from, but I don't think the government is ever going to get there.
BURNETT: This is the receiver. It has a range of 200 miles and costs around $600. It downloads second by second information from a plane, including the call sign, position, altitude, air speed, and heading -- something you can read from your phone simply by pointing it at a passing plane.
FlightRadar24's most dramatic find came when a Germanwings plane crashed in the Alps, killing all 150 onboard. FlightRadar receiver showed auto pilot was the first to descend to 100 feet. It was the first evidence that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the jet.
[19:55:00] ROBERTSSON: By downloading this data and analyzing it for two days, we were able to find it.
BURNETT: And Robertsson says his next goal is buoys with receivers in the ocean, something that would have solved the mystery of missing Malaysia Flight 370.
ROBERTSSON: Before, there were speculations that an aircraft could have disappeared somewhere and we could in someway confirm which aircraft and where it disappeared.
BURNETT: All right. We will be right back.
BURENTT: Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you have a great weekend. Be sure to set DVR. You can record OUTFRONT and watch us anytime. And, of course, you can catch our show on CNN International tomorrow and Sunday.
"AC360" starts now.