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Gunman Opens Fire On Tennessee Church, Kills 1, Injures 6; NFL Players Kneel During National Anthem In Defiance Of Trump; Puerto Rico Still Without Power, 95 Percent of Cell Towers Out; New CNN Film Explores U.S. War In Afghanistan; Facebook's Admission: Silicon Valley's Moment of Reckoning. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired September 24, 2017 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:02] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Last we heard from officials, one killed, six injured, including the alleged gunman. Let's go now to Antioch, Tennessee, to listen in.


DON AARON, PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER, NASHVILLE POLICE: There is one gunshot victim being treated at Skyline Medical Center, as well as the church usher who was pistol whipped. Now, after the gunman suffered the self-inflicted wound, the church usher, who does have a handgun carry permit, ran to his car, got his gun, came back in, and made sure that the gunman didn't make any more movements until the police department arrived.

We have officers at the hospitals confirming names and conditions of patients. We understand some of them are still receiving medical treatment. So I don't have an update for you on their conditions since I spoke to you 30 minutes ago.

We know that we're trying to get that. There are officers there trying to make that happen.

We have identified the gunman, he is a 26-year-old African-American individual. The police department is working now to develop more information about him. There are certain things that need to be done before we announce his identity and release his photograph. And those things are happening. I still expect to identify the gunman in the short term.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have more information about the weapon used?

AARON: No. Again, the scene is locked down. Someone asked me earlier how many people were inside the church at the time, I'm going to approximate it at about 50. I know that we have 30 something in a side building on the church campus, air conditioned side building, who are being interviewed by our detectives. Someone asked about children.

Well, we think at the time the shooting was occurring, the children mostly were not in that immediate sanctuary area, from what we've been told. All of the gunshot victims are adults from what I know at this moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have an idea know how long he was here prior to entering the church and encountering that first victim?

AARON: I will tell you that his vehicle was parked beside the church and when the police arrived, it was still running. It would appear that he was not expecting a brave individual like the church usher to initiate the struggle and confrontation. And it was during that that the gunman was wounded.

This gentleman, this church usher, an extraordinarily brave individual, he was still here at the scene when I got here, and he had what appeared to be significant injury to his head. He was bleeding about the head but he was still able to move on his own. He was able to walk into the ambulance on his own. But this was an exceptionally brave individual.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six wounded, one deceased, and the suspect also wounded; is that correct?

AARON: So there would have been a total of nine individuals, including the gunman who had some type of injury. You got the gunshot victims, the six innocents, you had the gunman. You have -- actually you have the gunman, then you have the man who was pistol whipped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then that woman who is deceased?

AARON: And then the woman who is deceased, that's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have an approximate age of that woman?

AARON: I do not. I do not. The deceased woman is in close proximity to the suspect's vehicle. Specially trained police department dogs have conducted sniffs of the suspect's vehicle, and the dogs are continuing to alert on the vehicle.

Part of the vehicle has been breached, and we can see some things that we don't know what they are inside the vehicle. They may be nothing, they may be something. Our hazardous devices unit, the bomb squad is here. They are working to secure the vehicle and make sure that the vehicle is safe. The vehicle has not been declared safe at this moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joey Spann, the minister, do you know if he was one of the six?

AARON: I do not know, I've asked about whether the minister was one of those wounded, and I don't have names yet on the persons wounded. Again, we have officers at the hospitals who are working to gather that information. But keep in mind these persons are also receiving immediate medical care.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don, did anyone manage to run out of the building all together? AARON: Witnesses are being interviewed now. I don't know that. I don't have the scenario from a witness other than what the church usher has been able to report, the man who confronted the gunman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a federal law enforcement agency --

AARON: Yes, the FBI, the ATF are here. Certainly there is a concern about potential federal law violations. And they are working with us, yes.

[15:05:01] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At this point, do you have any indication of motives?

AARON: That remains to be announced. There are certain things that have come to our attention, that are under investigation but that remains to be announced.

All right, I'll come back. When I can get solid victim condition information, I'll be back with you. Our people are working on that. It shouldn't be too much longer. OK, thanks.

WHITFIELD: All right, so again, those live comments coming out of Antioch, Tennessee. One woman is dead after a masked gunman opened fire in a church there just outside of Nashville. At least six people wounded. This is all we know thus far about the shooting.

Police say the woman was killed in the church parking lot. The gunman then entered the rear of the church where he opened fire. Police say most of the victims were over 60 years old and all of the injured have been taken to various hospitals.

I want to bring in now CNN's Polo Sandoval. So Polo, what more can you tell us?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's get to a timeline here. According to authorities, it was just after 11:15 as services is wrapping up that authorities say that this individual, a man in his mid-20s, arrived at the church shooting and killing one woman in the parking lot, and then proceeding inside the sanctuary of the Burnett Chapel Church of Christ there in Antioch, Tennessee. It's about a 20- minute drive south of Nashville. That is where authorities right now are sorting all of this out.

At this point, they say that there are six people being treated in the hospital, six people who were shot inside the sanctuary itself. And then authorities saying that it was a church usher that apparently attempted to confront this individual, somebody who is now -- this usher now being described by Nashville Police as, quote, exceptionally brave, attempted to confront this individual, was pistol-whipped himself. That's when that church usher went out to his vehicle, apparently he was licensed to carry a firearm, grabs that weapon, goes inside, and then is able to see that this gunman had shot himself.

I want you to hear directly from one of several witnesses who are at the scene. Listen to how they're describing this situation that unfolded just outside of Nashville this morning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE LOVE, WITNESS: A man and his wife run up here to the house. We heard -- my wife was on the computer and I was sitting in the living room. We heard the noise and a bang, bang.

Well, we thought it was just a crash at the corner, we have two to three a week right there at the corner. So they come running over. Next thing we know, the man and his wife that was in the shot and the guy shot at them but they was able to get out, and they ran over here to me.

And I went back, they said, we've been shot in the church. I said, what! (INAUDIBLE) they've been shot at, and my sister is still in. So I got my shoes on and went over there.

And by the time I got over there, he'd shot the first lady in the back, in the parking lot by that green explorer. Then he turned around and rolled her over, shot her in the face.

Then he went through the church, and he knocked one older man off a walker on the floor. And there was two right here. Then one guy, he shot -- he hit his scalp that he had blood all down his face (INAUDIBLE). He was inside of there, standing over the top of him with a gun. And like I say, as far as I know, he was the only one that they left there (INAUDIBLE).


SANDOVAL: Joe Love there, one of several witnesses describing the horrific scene there at the church, Fred. Three things that we are closely tracking right now, that is, authorities are searching for a motive at this point. A little while ago, you heard from Nashville P.D. saying that they found, quote, certain things that had been brought to the attention of this investigation that may lead to a motive.

The second will be clearing the suspect's vehicle, a blue SUV that was found in the parking lot. Authorities are making sure it does not pose a threat. And then finally, Fred, a key thing here is identifying everybody involved, not only the victim, this woman who was shot and killed in the parking lot but also some of the injured as well.

WHITFIELD: All right, very disturbing fact. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

Let's talk more about this with national security analyst and former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes on the phone with us. So Tom, we understand the FBI has been assisting on the ground there. What would its role be?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Well, right now, Fred, they're trying to determine --

(OFF-MIC) WHITFIELD: OK, try that again, Tom because we're having a little interference in the line with you. All right, it looks like we've lost Tom Fuentes. We'll try to reestablish that connection. Tragic situation there taking place in Antioch, Tennessee, one woman shot dead in the parking lot outside of a church there and six others including the alleged gunman were wounded.

[15:10:11] OK, I think we have now Tom Fuentes back with us. So Tom, I couldn't hear all of what you were saying because there was some interference in the line. What would the role of the FBI be there when the FBI says it is assisting?

FUENTES (via telephone): Yes, sorry for the technical problem. They would be looking at who this person might be affiliated with. Would he have other people that he's involved in, some other group that might be responsible for the attack other than just one deranged individual causing this.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. All right, so the investigation now, it is taking place inside and just outside a place of worship. This becomes a very unique set of circumstances involving law enforcement. How would local law enforcement, federal authorities be working together, particularly because it's a house of worship?

FUENTES (via telephone): Well, I think that, you know, in a way the house of worship aspect won't make a difference as far as that. I mean, other than trying to determine what the motive would be for that particular location. And, you know, whatever was going on from the worship standpoint.

But I think as far as the location of whether that would inhibit any kind of law enforcement investigation, it's not going to. And especially because you would expect everybody at that house of worship to be completely cooperative and want to help the authorities find out exactly what happened and why it happened.

WHITFIELD: Tom Fuentes, thanks so much, appreciate it. We'll have much more news from the newsroom after this.


[15:15:48] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The other big story we're following, the NFL hits back at President Donald Trump. Nine NFL games kicking off this afternoon, 1:00 Eastern hour, with a powerful show of solidarity and defiance across the league during the American national anthem. Players, coaches, staff, kneeling, hands on shoulder, locked arms, all of that, a seemingly direct response to President Trump's blistering condemnation of players who refused to stand during the anthem.

In Chicago, all but one of the Pittsburgh Steelers during its game against the bears during the national anthem chose to remain in the locker room at that moment. Several more games will be kicking off in the next hour. And we'll continue to monitor the players and the teams' responses. And in just last hour, the president responded via tweet to the show of solidarity and unity saying, "Great solidarity for our national anthem and for our country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable, bad ratings."

Remember, this really got stirred up quite a bit after what the president said, Friday night in Alabama. And you might find the words that you're about to hear from the president offensive.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to say, get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired.


WHITFIELD: All right, so let's start with CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez. So Boris, these new tweets from the president, he's saying this is a solid -- show of solidarity for the anthem. But -- that's his interpretation, as opposed to a show of solidarity among the NFL or the players in response to the president's message and it's still uncertain which it is. But, what more from the White House in terms of the interpretation of what was seen today at the NFL games?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We've yet to get more clarity on that tweet, Fred. Certainly another nebulous tweet, right, from the president that makes it unclear whether or not he believes that those players that were locked in arms were perhaps protesting in a more acceptable way or if he realizes that they were doing so in solidarity with those that were kneeling down. As we've heard an overwhelming show of support from players, owners, and coaches, saying that the president's remarks on Friday night in Alabama were at the very least disappointing, some going as far as to call them totally inappropriate.

The president went further in a separate tweet about the Pittsburgh Penguins, he writes, quote, pleased to inform that the champion Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL will be joining me at the White House for a ceremony, great team. The president obviously differentiating between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Golden Warriors which he disinvited from coming to the White House for their championship ceremony after Steph Curry, their star player said that he would not be interested in coming here in light of some of the president's remarks regarding Charlottesville and other controversial instances in which the president has really dug into some divisive issues in this country.

The timing of all of this, Fred, is fascinating when you consider that this was a controversy that was re-ignited by the president. Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling for the anthem back in August of last year. And there's so much for the White House to deal with right now, not only that tax reform rollout that's expected toward the end of this week, but also this ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill that is on the verge of collapse. And tensions at an all-time high with North Korea, Fred. Still a lot of questions to be answered.

WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this now with a former NFL player, Eric Matthews, former wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers. Good to see you.


WHITFIELD: All right, so what's your interpretation of the show of unity or solidarity at the NFL games and the president's interpretation of what he saw, and his viewpoint?

MATTHEWS: I look at it as a hit to the NFL players. You have a president who directly calls you out, bad names and things --

[15:20:09] WHITFIELD: You're talking about his Friday night message in Alabama.

MATTHEWS: -- and the brotherhood, when we do come together, we come together. And that's what you're seeing today. The players are coming together, showing what you're talking about doesn't matter, you know. And what Trump was talking about too, it doesn't have anything to do with that. These are football players but at the end of the day they're American citizens first.

WHITFIELD: Is this show of unity and solidarity in your view a statement toward the president and his messaging, or is it a statement that is in step with the motivation behind Colin Kaepernick kneeling for social injustices. He was speaking out on -- and he said because of social injustices that he wanted the nation to be paying attention to. So what was that show today? Is it a response to one or the other or both?

MATTHEWS: Both. I think it was a response to what Trump said to the players, and now the players have been wanting to do something. Now, he actually just ignited something that's going to probably take on. Once you target the NFL, these players, they have a large audience that can put words out about what's going on. And a lot of people keep misperceiving what happened.

Kaepernick was taking a knee not against the NFL but because of what's going on in our neighborhoods with the injustices in black communities. And that I think kind of get missed, the whole reason. They're not taking knees (INAUDIBLE) and our soldiers, they're taking knees because of what's going on in their neighborhoods. And I think that's getting missed.

WHIFIELD: Do you think that all the players today, the majority of players today, whether it be, you know, Tom Brady who was standing arms locked, you know, with his fellow pats, or whether you see Dolphins players, some who are kneeling, some who had hands on each other. I mean, are they making a statement to say, you know, we understand what Colin Kaepernick was all about and what he was saying. Or are they making a statement saying, any athlete, you know, any NFL player should be able to protest peacefully and not at the jeopardy of losing a job?

MATTHEWS: I think they're standing up for that. We can stand up for justice, but like I said, again, at the end of the day we're a citizen, we have the right, freedom of speech, to do what we please (INAUDIBLE) injustice. And I think they understand to that now (INAUDIBLE) yo start seeing that more, with our players standing up for what's happening with Kaepernick.

It's not about Kaepernick trying to get a job. It's about Kaepernick and what he was standing for. And I think you'll see that more.

WHITFIELD: And it's not just about the NFL because the president tweeted about NHL. You know, he talked about NHL players who are coming, the Penguins coming to the White House, good tea team. He got into a war of words with Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors, you know, and Curry said, he was thinking out loud, saying I'm not sure if I really want to go to the White House, and then the president tweets, OK, uninvited.

Golden State Warriors then comes out -- and I believe we have a statement, Golden State Warriors say, you know, our interpretation has been none of us are going to go. And we're still going to go to Washington in that statement, but instead they're going to do something else in their view that is much more socially aware.

What is going on here as it pertains to the president, these high profile athletes? I mean, is this an issue of the president versus sports? Is it the president versus, you know, a culture, you know, of America? Is this highlighting a cultural and a racial divide involving the president? What do you see?

MATTHEWS: (INAUDIBLE) crazy like -- you had this situation with Obama, Tom Brady didn't go to the White House, Obama didn't go out and say certain things about him. That's your opinion, that's your right to come to the White House. That is a privilege to go to the White House after you win a championship, and Brady didn't want to go. Obama didn't make a big deal about it.

Same thing with Curry, but it's different because of what Trump is saying in the media toward athletes. At the end of the day, I still don't understand why he's targeting athletes.

WHITFIELD: Yes. In your view, what has the president started though? And what does he stepped into, what has he stirred up by getting into this with these high profile athletes, and this on the heels of getting into it with, you know, Jemele Hill with ESPN after her tweets about her sentiments about the president.

MATTHEWS: Why is he tweeting? At the end of the day, why is our president still tweeting, going back and forth with people, athletes, you know. And like I said, at the end of the day, these athletes have the right. And he really stepped into an arena where it's going to be a huge arena where a lot of athletes on a high level can really speak their mind.

[15:25:00] So that's going to be my opinion. I hope to see a lot of these guys starts stepping up and taking that charge and supporting what Kaepernick is really talking about, our community, the injustice in our community. Nothing with the NFL. It's just an NFL player who took a knee to support that.

WHITFIELD: And then the question is, what's next? What's after this moment of solidarity? Then what?

MATTHEWS: Yes, what's next? I mean, that's of the thing we find, we don't follow through, we have this big pedestal that we can make contact and draw attention but what's next. And I hope to see that NFL players and owners take that next step. And I see that the Warriors, that they're taking the next step by not going, but going still to D.C. to do something in the community. And that's where it starts.

WHITFIELD: Eric Matthews, thanks so much, appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up next, as President Trump goes on the offense against players, what are the political risks for him? We'll discuss that.


[15:30:29] WHITFIELD: All right, a number of NFL players and owners band in together today in a show of solidarity and unity and perhaps even defiance against President Trump's messages. The Indianapolis many players (INAUDIBLE) versus Colts game kneeling during the anthem. While others like Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady choosing to stand with heads lowered, arms interlocked with fellow players.

A short time ago, President Trump tweeting, great solidarity for our national anthem and for our country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable, bad ratings.

Let's discuss this with my guests right now, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Dave Jacobson and CNN political commentator and GOP consultant, John Thomas. Let's talk about the political angles of all of this, good to see you, gentlemen.

So John, President Trump's latest tweets there, celebrating the show of solidarity he says for the national anthem. That's his interpretation. How is this helpful to the president?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this move in Alabama the other night was absolutely strategic and actually well-played by the president, because he laid the bait out there to be pro-America and now a bunch of multimillionaire athletes along with what the Hollywood elite used to do are now taking more of a racial tone, quite frankly, being anti-American. I think this is good for Trump at the end of the day, standing up for America, and we'll see how this goes on.

But I think it's key here to say, no one said these players don't have a First Amendment right to speak. It's that this is a private industry, and they shouldn't be doing that on the field.


DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump in Alabama poured gasoline on the wildfire that is racial inequality and racial injustice in this country. And John, i think you're absolutely right, it was very strategic by the president to do this. I think he did it because he wants to divert attention away from the fact that the candidate that he was supporting last Friday, Luther Strange, is poised to fail this coming Tuesday in the special election. He's down according to RealClearPolitics by eight percentage points, number one.

And number two, Donald Trump has continuously lost Republican votes when it comes to the ACA repeal currently debated before the U.S. Senate. Just hours ago today, Ted Cruz announced that he wouldn't support the bill. Susan Collins indicated she's not supporting it, John McCain, the list goes on. And I think Donald Trump is just desperate to score political points, send the red meat out to his base, that 37 percent that he's holding onto according to at least Gallup.

And I think what it's emblematic of is the fact that Donald Trump is continuing to be the divider in chief that we saw throughout the 2016 election instead of unifying the country.

WHITFIELD: So then John, would this be an example of the president being motivated by trying to stir things up so that he can benefit from it? Whether it be, you know, to gin up his base, his support, and less so being motivated to stir things up for the benefit of the American people in general?

THOMAS: Well, one thing we've learned throughout both the 2016 election cycle and Donald Trump's presidency is Donald Trump's base is with him pretty much no matter what. He didn't have to do this to keep his base. He needs to expand his base. So I actually --

WHITFIELD: Did he do that? Was this an attempt to expand his base?

THOMAS: I think it's very likely that that was. I mean, Donald Trump has had made no secret about his presidency trying to be an American first presidency and this is in line with that.

JACOBSON: With all due respect --

WHITFIELD: How so? I need you to explain that one. How is that in line with that?

THOMAS: Because he's saying that we should respect our national anthem and our soldiers who die or put their lives on the line, so that we -- those multimillionaires on the field have the right to have a First Amendment right. He's saying that we should respect them during that moment that we put our hand over our hearts for the national anthem.

WHITFIELD: OK. So, the president just tweeted again. Let's bring that up. "Courageous patriots have fought and died for our great American flag, we must honor and respect it, make America great again.'

So Dave, the flip side to that is, I'm interpreting what the president saying was, you silence people as they're trying to express their opinion. And many of these players, owners, staffers, are saying, we won't be silenced and so we stand in solidarity. What do you say?

[15:35:15] JACOBSON: Yes. Respectfully, I have to disagree with my Republican friend, John over there. Look, the reality is, several of these NFL owners have spent over $1 million propping up and supporting Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. And over the last 24 or 48 hours since the Alabama remarks, we've actually seen a number of those Trump supporters and NFL owners come out and condemn the remarks by the president.

I think, look, the fact is, like freedom of speech is a core pillar of our democracy, and the fact that you're seeing real, tangible solidarity with owners, coaches, and players standing there with locked arms, I think is a real testament of the fact that they're sending a message that speaks volumes to the president, that they won't stand for his racism, his bigotry and his xenophobia.

THOMAS: Fredricka, if we go the way of the Emmy's in Hollywood, I think the NFL will soon see their ratings dip even lower because of this.

WHITFIELD: All right, John Thomas, Dave Jacobson, thank you so much.

JACOBSON: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: We'll be right back.


[15:40:47] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. Checking your top stories. We're closely watching elections in Germany where according to exit polls, Chancellor Angela Merkel has won a fourth term. Her party did lost support though while the country's anti-immigrant party pretty made gains (INAUDIBLE) the first time since World War II, a far right party will have seats in Parliament.

And the U.S. today conducted air strike to what it calls ISIS dessert camps in Libya. This is the first time the U.S. military has struck targets in the North African country since Donald Trump became president. The targets were multiple ISIS camps in multiple remote locations.

And the death toll from Tuesday's earthquake in Mexico continues to rise. Officials now say 319 people were killed. More than half of those fatalities were in the nation's capital of Mexico City. Thousands more remain homeless after their homes were deemed uninhabitable. Authorities say search and rescue efforts could last for at least two more weeks.

And in Puerto Rico, authorities have evacuated several towns over fears a dam could completely fail, potentially creating severe flooding. FEMA says the country remains without power and some 95 percent of cellphone towers have been destroyed.

I want to bring in CNN's Rafael Romo who is in San Juan. So Rafael, is help arriving or is this island still nearly cut off?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR: Well, it's actually both, Fredricka. Let me try to explain why. Help is arriving, we have the federal government here, FEMA is here, the National Guard from at least two different states are here, bringing help, bringing people, bringing resources.

The problem is that the roads around the island are frankly impassable and so the help is not getting to the people who need it right away. We have seen ourselves how many trees downed by the storm. Also, the light posts are completely blocking many streets. So that's a big -- .

Now, the main worry right now, in addition to everything that was left behind by the hurricane, is about 70,000 people who live right next to a dam on the west side of the island. This dam, according to the government can break any moment now. And so the communication problems that have created a situation where a top official was telling me last night that they had to go in person there to let people know that this was happening. And in many cases forcibly evacuate the people so that they wouldn't be in a position where the dam was about to break and they didn't know anything about it.

And again, that's because cellphones, phones, any means of communications are not operational at this point in Puerto Rico. It's a very, very difficult situation. But we have seen definitely that the federal government and state officials also here in Puerto Rico, Fredricka have mobilized. And they're trying to do their best to help the people here.

WHITFIELD: So Rafael, what about food? What about clean water? I mean, how are people managing this many days without power, for those who don't have generators?

ROMO: It's a very good question. I was talking to a lady at a hospital today who had to bring in her son because he suffered a wound as a result of the hurricane, the strong winds. And she was telling me that they have just enough for about a week or so, and she's worried that if it takes a long time for authorities to distribute the food and water, her family is going to be in a tough situation.

And I can tell you that some of the areas in the middle of the island and also in the south are very difficult to reach at this point. So it's really anybody's guess if the food will get there. But we understand that the governor of the island has asked for the help of 30 helicopters to evaluate the situation from the air and give priority to those areas that were hardest hit, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Rafael Romo, thank you so much, in San Juan.

All right, to help those affected by Hurricane Maria, please visit And we'll be right back.


[15:48:39] WHITFIELD: All right, the new CNN film "Legion of Brothers" tells the story of the U.S. Special Forces that went into Afghanistan immediately after 9/11. They fought with the Afghan Northern Alliance to drive the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of power with minimal coalition casualties. But, despite this early victory, the U.S. remains mired in a lengthy war here. Here is a clip from the film.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we first walked into the country, you had the weight of the nation on your shoulders. You know, we were America's response to the most catastrophic terrorist attack on U.S. soil, ever. And for a lot of us, you know, we felt that we had a responsibility to the people that died to set the stage that you just don't do that to America and not pay the price. It was about not retribution, but it was about justice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that saying, about who will go, send me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whom will go and whom shall I send.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, whom will go and whom shall I send.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Send me, send me because I'm the dude that wants to make somebody pay for killing my brothers and sisters.


[15:50:04] WHITFIELD: All right, joining me now discuss, these are two of the men featured in the CNN film. Mark Nutsch is a former U.S. Army captain and Green Beret, also with me Scott Neil who is a former army master sergeant and also a Green Beret. Good to see you both, gentlemen. Thank you so much for your service.


WHITFIELD: So Mark, let me begin with you because this is heart felt, it is personal. You know, when you went into Afghanistan shortly after 9/11, what were your expectations?

CAPT. MARK NUTSCH, FORMER U.S. ARMY GREEN BERET: We knew very little about the situation that we were going into. But we knew and our commander was very candid with us that fifth group had to send in initial teams to figure out and provide what information was on the ground that could be learned from our Afghan counter parts in the various regional and ethnic leadership that we would be working with.

WHITFIELD: And to Scott, did it sound like a simple or very complicated undertaking initially?

MASTER SGT. SCOTT NEIL, FORMER U.S. ARMY GREEN BERET: Well, that's why you usually send Green Berets into an area. It's really undefined, it's unknown. And the maturity and expertise of a Green Beret team on the ground, you know, really sets the stage for, you know, follow on action by any other forces and that's kind of exactly what we did.

WHITFIELD: I've been to Afghanistan covering the conflict there. The terrain is very rugged, the culture and cultures are very complicated. In your view, Mark, you know, and of course, my time spent there, you know, month on assignment is different from you all assignments and deployments of many months and in many cases years. But is it your view that any of the number of wars being fought in Afghanistan can be won?

NUTSCH: Yes, I believe so. In Afghanistan, Special Forces worked very closely with local partners on the ground. And there were various successes over the last 16 years mainly when Special Forces were teamed with local partners either in the police, their intelligence or in their military services.

WHITFIELD: And Scott, this really did take a psychological toll on any number of you who participated in these ongoing conflicts to what degree? I think we saw a little bit of that during that camp fire moment. But expound on what you all have gone through psychologically in the midst of it then after?

NEIL: Well, I think, you know, the title itself, the brotherhood, it really bonded us all together. But what was absent during these numerous deployments was the family life. And a lot of us they came home, you know, you really had to learn to be better dads and better husbands for the first time. And the film kind of documents our journey, you know, with each other talking about the past but, you know, realizing some of what we lost along the way.

WHITFIELD: All right, Mark Nutsch, Scott Neil, so much to learn by your experiences. Thank you so much for your time. And again, thanks so much for what you have done and continue to do. Don't forget to watch the CNN film "Legion of Brothers", it premiers tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

All right, turning to politics and the Russia investigation. Facebook has admitted it sold 3,000 ads to Russian-linked accounts during the 2016 presidential campaign. And now, tech leaders are scrambling to make changes as lawmakers call for increased regulation. CNN's Senior Tech Correspondent Laurie Segall went to Silicon Valley for more.

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Hey Fred. Well, Facebook's admission that Russia was able to use the platform to influence voters in the 2016 election has served as a moment of reckoning in Silicon Valley. Tech leaders are not scrambling to make changes as lawmakers call for increased regulation.


SEGAL (voice-over): More than 3,000 ads sold to a Russian troll farm aimed at targeting U.S. citizens to influence the election and an admission from Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg. MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: Our teams have found and shut down thousands of fake accounts that could be attempting to influence elections in many other countries.

SEGALL (voice-over): But as Facebook turns over the ads purchased by Russia to Congress, there's a new sense of urgency here in Silicon Valley, make changes or face regulation. And the pressure is mounting.

ANDREW MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY, GOOGLE: I don't want the government making decisions about speech because our core democratic institutions are so unreliable. At the same time, these platforms plays such a powerfuls role in making these decisions that we want them to be somehow accountable.

SEGALL (voice-over): As Zuckerberg promised to add more transparency to political ads on Facebook, he said the company will double the number of people working on election integrity. But is it too little too late?

MCLAUGHLIN: We can't just simply write math that we can believe mutually chooses the best content. We're making choices that are inredibly consequential for what speech gets aired and seen by ordinary people, ordinary Americans.

SEGALL (voice-over): While major tech CEOs are beginning to grapple with the unseen consequences of their increasingly powerful platforms, there are some calls for tech companies to be regulated as utilities. Many in Silicon Valley disagree.

[15:55:05] I recently spoke to Twitter and medium founder Ev Williams about it.

(on camera) A congressman suggested that there should be an act passing legislation to put disclosure requirements on social media advertising similar to the ones that we see on television commercials.


SEGALL (on camera): What impact would that have?

WILLIAMS: I don't think people would pay attention to it.

SEGALL (voice-over): When it comes to regulation, Williams isn't opposed. He's just doubtful of the process producing good results.

WILLIAMS: I'd prefer no regulation to bad regulation. There's no obvious thing that you would say to Facebook or Google and Twitter like go fix this now and they're like, we're not doing that because we don't have to. They're all trying to make the best as soon as they can.

SEGALL (voice-over): Questions about content are complicated.

WILLIAMS: The difference between -- a difference of opinion or political belief and a difference in wrong facts is really hard to sort out. And I don't think anyone has figured out how to sort that out automatically.

SEGALL (voice-over): The same gray area applies to Facebook. While the company says they'll disclose political ads, who's to decide what constitutes a political ad on the platform, and what device propaganda and an idea.

WILLIAMS: And that's when some people were going there needs to be editorial guidelines and you get into an area where most tech companies be like, that's not something that really fits in our model or that we would even be good at.


SEGALL: Fred, there's a growing concern that self-regulation isn't working with the tech giant. So these changes that the companies are making in the next couple of months to try to get on top of these issues could very much determine the future of the internet and to what extent these platforms are regulated. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Laurie Segall, thank you so much.

All right, the next hour of the NEWSROOM starts right after this.


WHITFIELD: Hello again everyone and thank you so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we continue to follow breaking news out of Tennessee.