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New White House Warning to ISIS; Details Emerge of ISIS Email to Journalist's Family; Incident Report Released on Michael Brown Shooting; Officer on Ferguson Crowd Control Relieved of Duty; St. Louis County Officer Relieved of Duty; Interview with Ileana Ros- Lehtinen

Aired August 22, 2014 - 17:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, answering ISIS threats. The White House warns the terror group, "If you come after Americans, we will come after you." But is the U.S. ready to take that fight beyond Iraq and into Syria?

And ISIS warns America, we thirst for your blood. New details on the chilling e-mail sent to the family of a beheaded American. And I'll also speak with the lawmaker who represents the family of another ISIS hostage.

And a new controversy in Ferguson. A St. Louis County Police officer who was involved in crowd control is relieved of duty after inflammatory statements.

Wolf Blitzer is off tonight. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

KEILAR: Is the U.S. moving toward an all-out war with ISIS? The White House is making it clear that the brutal beheading of an American hostage will not go unanswered.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you come after Americans, we're going to come after you wherever you are. And that's going to guide our planning in the days to come.


KEILAR: That comes a day after a stunning assessment from the Pentagon brass that the ISIS threat is, quote, "beyond anything that we've seen." The generals made it clear that defeating ISIS would require going after the group inside Syria. We're looking at all angles of this chilling new threat, and we have the latest developments on the investigation of the fatal police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, including some significant details missing from the incident report.

Our correspondents and guests are standing by with full coverage including Don Lemon and Jason Carroll in Ferguson. But we begin with CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski.

Michelle, tell us the latest on this ISIS threat.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, today, the president's deputy national security advisor agreed that the murder of James Foley is ISIS's first terrorist attack against the United States.

And without stating it in so many words, he also said essentially that yes, the U.S. is considering air strikes in Syria, but he emphasized that that would require consultation with Congress, a legal justification for doing so.


KOSINSKI (voice-over): Today's assessment of the ISI threat by the White House is serious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not simply the threat they pose to the United States. It's the threat they pose to the entire world.

KOSINSKI: A big jump, though, this talk now about how to contain and ultimately defeat ISIS as the lives of other American hostages hang in the balance from January, when President Obama referred to such groups in an interview as a JV team when compared to al Qaeda.

(on camera): Would you still agree with his assessment just a few months ago?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As they've become better funded through various funding streams, including what they're able to sell in terms of oil and gas, the ransoms they've been able to obtain, and that has developed their capacity in a way that has increased the threat. And they pose a greater threat today than they did six months ago and we're taking it very seriously.

KOSINSKI (voice-over): The administration does agree, though, that ISIS is still mainly involved in regional operations, not the 9/11 level planning of al Qaeda.

And today the Department of Homeland Security, FBI sent out a bulletin to law enforcement across America, saying, "There is no credible homeland security threat linked to ISIS." But warns ISIS is using social media to try to gain followers and that it's urging acts of violence against, quote, "American interests."

And today, the White House would not go so far as to agree with Defense Secretary Hagel's words yesterday.

CHUCK HAGEL, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is beyond anything that we've seen. So we must prepare for everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They abduct women and children and subject them to torture, rape and slavery. They have murdered Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, by the thousands.

(on camera): So in those terms, is that beyond anything we've seen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- the president has addressed this a little bit ago.

KOSINSKI: Does he agree with Secretary Hagel's assessment, though?


KOSINSKI: That this is beyond -- a threat beyond anything we've seen, or that ISIS is a force beyond anything we've seen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think how the president views ISIL has been articulated a couple times now.


KOSINSKI: The White House has also been saying that one reason ISIS has been able to gain strength, even over the last several months, is the payment of these enormous ransoms by several countries, including European nations.

We know that the White House has put some pressure on those countries to stop that practice, but that some have been unwilling to do so. The White House today had some strong words against that, saying that it's the wrong policy, that it gives the terrorists perverse incentives for continuing with the kidnappings -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Great questioning today. Michelle Kosinski for us on Martha's Vineyard with the president. Thank you.

Now, as ISIS and the United States trade public warnings, we are learning more about chilling e-mail exchanges the terror group had with the family of hostage Jim Foley. CNN's Brian Todd here with that.

What did you find, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, we have new information tonight about those exchanges, and they are chilling indeed. The last e-mail the family received from his captors before James Foley was killed said, in part, "We will not stop until we quench our thirst for your blood."

It punctuated a series of communications between the two sides where the family appealed for mercy, and Foley's captors never seemed interested in that.


TODD: James Foley's family says they received six e-mails from his captors during the year and a half he was held. The militants at one point demanded more than $130 million for his release, according to the president of Global Post the news agency Foley worked for.

Until last week, Foley's family had heard nothing for almost a year. Then an e-mail arrived, saying, "He will be executed as a direct result of your transgressions towards us."

Foley's parents had sent multiple messages to his captors, hoping to engage them. According to the president of Global Post, the family appealed to the captors to show mercy, saying James Foley was an innocent journalist and showed great empathy for the Syrian people. He says the family told the captors they had no control over the actions of the U.S. government. One expert says the family was right to engage the captors.

CHRIS VOSS, HOSTAGE NEGOTIATION EXPERT: I would have said, "Tell me what I can do. Ask me to do something that I can do. You're in charge. The decision for what happens to James is completely your decision. You're completely in charge. Give me something to do that I can do."

And that is actually a great test to find out whether or not the other side is negotiating in good faith.

TODD: The Global Post CEO says he tried to raise money but says there was never any true negotiation between his news outlet and Foley's captors.

Now new questions are emerging about the failed Special Operations raid to rescue Foley and other Americans. Pentagon officials say they revealed the mission, because several news outlets were about to report it. Some experts say that disclosure might compromise other rescue missions.

COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: For one thing, any hostages in Syria now will be dispersed among several sites. They will be more heavily guarded. They may even be wired for demolition and death if -- if any sort of rescue attempt is made in the area.

TODD: In an interview with Yahoo! News, Foley's brother says he wishes the United States had done more.

MICHAEL FOLEY, BROTHER OF JAMES: You can accomplish both things. The United States could have done more on behalf of the western and American hostages over there and still, you know, dealt with the broader worldwide issue.


TODD: U.S. government officials say they use all the tools at their disposal to try to bring hostages home. They stressed to us they do not grant concessions to hostage takers. And under current U.S. law, paying ransoms would actually be illegal. But in reality, Brianna, no one has ever actually been prosecuted for paying a ransom to a terrorist group.

KEILAR: Now, ISIS reaches out. They reached out to the Foley family, but as you look at this, are you getting the sense that they were ever really serious about negotiating?

TODD: Experts have told us, and his boss has told us, they don't ever believe that they were ever serious about negotiation. The amount of money they demanded, $132 million, was just too unrealistic, really, for anyone to come up with. And even if they had come up with it, one expert told us they probably have kept moving the goal posts a little bit.

Foley's boss did go on record as saying there was never really any true negotiation between his new outlet and the captors. Doesn't mean what happened was inevitable, but at least as far as negotiations, they don't believe they were ever serious.

KEILAR: All right. Brian Todd, thanks so much.

Well, ISIS currently holds three Americans, including journalist Steven Sotloff, who was shown as the end of that horrifying ISIS murder video.

And joining me now is Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. She has been in touch with the members of the Sotloff family. They are residents in her district. Congresswoman, thanks for joining me.

ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: Thank you so much, Brianna. But I do want to say that we have been helping on the case, along with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Congressman Ted Deutsch. But I have not had contact with the family for the last months.


ROS-LEHTINEN: They first contacted me this time last year. They're a very private family. They had not wanted any attention paid to this case. Why? Because they believed that a solution could be found.

We had reached out to the Department of State, to the White House, to Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch. Any organization or agency that could help. And they were certainly very aware of the case. I had conversations with the White House as recently as yesterday.

They are doing everything possible to make sure that Steven is returned to his wonderful parents. They're lovely people. And our community is praying for Steven Sotloff's life and also to give these wonderful parents the strength to continue with this ordeal.

KEILAR: How hard is it, Congresswoman, to try to make way on a negotiation, or not a negotiation but on trying to get Sotloff and these others released, if paying a ransom isn't on the table? What specifically is being done, besides reaching out to these human rights groups?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, I don't wish to speak for the Sotloff family, because they will be speaking at the proper time. They do live in my community.

KEILAR: I guess I mean, in general, if you can speak more generally.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, I would say -- I would that as a member of Congress, I would say never pay a ransom, because it only encourages further kidnapping.

As a mother and as a grandmother, I would have a totally different response. I would say do everything humanly possible to return my son or my grandson to my loving arms.

So this is a very grieving situation for them. I can't fathom how difficult it would be for them to be facing this terrible ordeal with not knowing and Steven's life in the hands of these murderers, barbarians.

But we will pray, and as one of the family members said, there's a petition in And they ask for people to sign the petition and to continue praying for Steven's life.

But ISIS, heaven only knows what this group is capable of. As the mom said, he's still alive. So there's nothing to say.

KEILAR: Yes. They have reached out, ISIS has, to the Foley family, and we learned from the family that ISIS reached out on multiple occasions.

Has ISIS reached out to the Sotloff family?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I do not know. We just know that they had received a telephone call from their son in December. I don't know, and I don't wish to become part of the Sotloff family saga, because that is a very private family, and they want their privacy to be respected.

I can just say that they're a member of our community. We have tried to reach out through many government agencies and nongovernmental organizations. And it was -- it's very difficult to deal with a group that is totally out of control, but prayers for them all.

KEILAR: I wonder, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, he said that ISIS cannot be defeated without addressing the part of it that is in Syria. Do you support air strikes inside of Syria?

ROS-LEHTINEN: I do. I believe that the president should do that. I believe that he should have done it when he first announced it, when he said Assad has crossed a red line in the use of chemical weapons.

In fact, they used chemical weapons twice, and still we did not do what we said we would do.

So it was a mistake for us not to act then. Many of us were supportive of the president's actions. And then, when it comes to ISIS or ISIL in Iraq, what we have are natural allies, the Kurds. They're fighters. They want to defeat this horrible terrorist regime, and they will do so if we give them the arms to fight.

And so I support limited air strikes, and furthermore, I support arming the Kurds so that they can take ISIL out. We cannot let this cancer grow.

KEILAR: Yes. And it sounds like arming the Kurds is obviously something very much on the table there.

When you did listen to Dempsey's comments yesterday, did you take that? Did you read that? Do you get the sense that the administration will take this step of U.S. air strikes or certainly something U.S. and allies, air strikes in Syria?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Brianna, I do. I do believe that the administration is seriously considering that. And I think that by keeping Congress in the loop, keeping us informed and maybe even going a step further, getting authorization from the United States Congress, I believe that there are many members who feel the same way. My stepson and daughter-in-law served in Iraq. We know how hard it is for the military.

KEILAR: Do you think that would pass a Democratic Senate?

ROS-LEHTINEN: Well, one can only hope.

ISIS a real threat. It's a threat to the entire area. It's a threat to democratic allies and our U.S. national security interests. We cannot wish it and hope it away. We need to eliminate this.

Let's just first try limited air strikes and helping the Kurds without further involving U.S. troops on the ground. I think that we can beat these guys back, but doing nothing is not an option.

KEILAR: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, thanks for joining us.

ROS-LEHTINEN: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Now, next breaking news. A stunning new development involving a police officer who was involved in crowd control in Ferguson, Missouri. We saw him in action live right here on CNN. We will tell you what we just learned about him and a controversial new video just surfaced.


KEILAR: We have several major developments tonight from Ferguson, Missouri, including a St. Louis County Police officer who has just been relieved of duty after video surfaced of him hip making controversial comments about gay Americans, women as well as President Obama. And we have two reports tonight from Ferguson.

We will begin with Jason Carroll with concerns that the wounds that have been healing could be ripped open by Monday's funeral for Michael Brown. And there are now questions about the makeup of the grand jury and the investigation into what actually happened at the time of the shooting.

Let's go to Jason Carroll now.

What are you learning, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, certainly disappointment here on the ground. A lot of ground supporters were looking for information.

Today an incident report was released. And Brown's supporters were looking for answers, namely why Officer Wilson felt as though he need to use deadly force. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL (voice-over): This afternoon, St. Louis County Police released an incident report in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. But it reveals little information to explain what happened. Due to the ongoing investigation, much of the details have been redacted. Accounts of the incident seem conflicting about whether or not Brown threatened Officer Darren Wilson before he was shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, want to charge toward the officer?



CARROLL: Friends of Officer Wilson say Brown did charge at him, but there is no known video of the shooting to show what really happened. In the future that may change. Ferguson Police said today they are planning to install dashcams in their patrol cars.

Meanwhile, supporters of Officer Wilson say they have raised more than $200,000 for his legal defense through a crowdfunding website.

CHIEF TOM JACKSON, FERGUSON POLICE: He's very shaken about what happened that day. And the aftermath.

CARROLL: The streets of Ferguson were relatively calm overnight. Only eight arrests reported and peaceful protests where there was once violence and tear gas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're headed toward a sense of peace for our community.

CARROLL: Schools here have been closed all week. But the governor is now asking the National Guard to draw down their deployment as streets get calmer.

And funeral preparations for Michael Brown are under way, services scheduled for Monday. His parents telling CNN's Anderson Cooper Officer Wilson should go to jail, but first they want a thorough investigation.

MICHAEL BROWN SR., MICHAEL BROWN'S FATHER: I don't want a rush -- a rush to judgment. I want everyone to take their time. I want there to be no mistakes and get it done right.

CARROLL: As for the investigation, the grand jury handling the case is made up of nine whites and three African-Americans. The outcome of that jury may determine whether or not Ferguson remains calm, according to the Brown's family pastor.

CARLTON LEE JR., PASTOR, FLOOD CHRISTIAN CHURCH: I've heard people in the community, "Hey, Pastor, we'll give you the guys the 14 days of peace, but if we don't get what we're asking for..."

(END VIDEOTAPE) CARROLL: And Brianna, the reality is no matter what the grand jury

decides, it is not likely to please everyone here on the ground. The hope is whatever the grand jury decides, whenever they reach their decision, that the peace will continue to hold -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Jason Carroll in Ferguson, thank you.

And now I want to get you to some breaking news. There is a new controversy that is erupting in the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson. You are looking at something you saw live in THE SITUATION ROOM this week. This was a police officer pushing CNN's Don Lemon during a crowd control operation.

Well, that St. Louis County officer has now been relieved of duty. This all coming after there was a video that came out, showing him making harsh statements against gays, against women, against President Obama.

CNN's Don Lemon joining us live from Ferguson on this breaking news.

Don, catch us up here.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Honestly, you know, after that incident happened, I didn't talk about it. We didn't show the video anymore, because I didn't want this to be about me.

But now since this has come to light, you know, we've got to do it to put it in some context. What are the odds that this officer, the officer who was involved in pushing me in that incident that happened a couple days ago, that he would be this officer?

So apparently -- we got the video sent to CNN and sent to me. It was also sent to me this morning of this man making controversial statements. He is a 35-year veteran of the St. Louis County Police Department.

His name is Dan Page. And this is him at an Oath Keepers event as a speaker there. Allegedly this is back in April that he was speaking and giving these really inflammatory statements.

The Oath Keepers, just so you know, the Oath Keepers is a nonpartisan, they say association of current and former serving military police and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath of all the military police and take -- defend the Constitution and then on and on. It goes and talks about them.

He made some really controversial statements, and in that he talks about all men being created equal and then went on to say that does not mean affirmative action.

He rants about hate crime laws. He talks about being -- doing his fair share of killing, and that's what's concerning to the police department. And he also talks about the president and his connection to Kenya. Let's listen and then we'll tell you what happened to this officer.


DAN PAGE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE OFFICER: I said I want to go find where that illegal aliens (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- my undocumented president lives at. So I flew to Africa and right there, and I went to our undocumented president's home. And he was born in Kenya.


LEMON: OK. So that was a small part of it. And just to go on, I want to tell you he says the president was born in Kenya. He talks about being a St. Louis County cop. He talks about being briefed on situations having to do with 9/11 and that he had this extraordinary clearance.

He also says that "People involved in domestic violence should just shoot each other and get it over with. Somebody like me is going to kill you." He says, "I am into diversity. I kill everybody."

That's what's concerning to the St. Louis County Police chief, Jon Belmar, when this videotape was brought to light. We sent it to him. He looked at it, and he rushed over here to talk to us.

He tells us now that this officer has been relieved of his duty. He is on suspension now. He will have to have a psychiatric exam. And he says beyond this, he's not sure if this officer can remain with the department. He wouldn't want to comment what would happen to this officer after this. And then he apologized to everyone.


JON BELMAR, CHIEF, ST. LOUIS COUNTY POLICE: We have to be able to hear from me, apologize to the community, anybody he's offended by these remarks and understand from me that, again, he does not represent the rank and file of the St. Louis County Police Department.

LEMON: Are you apologizing for the remarks?

BELMAR: I am to anybody who was offended by them. Certainly.


LEMON: So he is apologizing again. He goes on to -- just to tell us what else is in this tape. One audience member at this Oath Keepers meeting says, "So what happens when good men like you are retiring from the military? What kind of military do we have left?"

And he says, "Sodomites and females." He rants about female Green Berets. He also calls a member of the Supreme Court justice -- a Supreme Court justice a homosexual sodomite.

So these are certainly some very controversial and very inflammatory statements. The chief of the St. Louis County Police, of course, you heard him apologizing to me and confirming to me that he has now been relieved of his duties, and they are looking into it. And he wouldn't -- he said he wouldn't want to comment beyond that, but leading us to believe that either this officer will be fired or will be forced to retire. He's a 35-year veteran.

Let's listen. Let's listen to more.


BELMAR: Administrative leave. He's going to avail himself to administrative review that may include a psych. And I can't speak beyond that on the internal affairs portions yet, but all that will be ongoing.

LEMON: And relieved from any duties?

BELMAR: Certainly.

LEMON: So again, Brianna, he is a 35-year veteran. He is also a sergeant major in the army. He's had nine deployments, approximately 18 months each between 2000 and 2003 and also 2008 and 2011. Certainly disturbing.

KEILAR: Very disturbing. I have a question for you, Don. First I want to get in, we actually have a statement from that group, the Oath Keepers. They actually say he's not affiliated with them. Here it is.

"Dan Page is not a member of Oath Keepers of St. Louis/St. Charles." It says, "He was our guest speaker on one occasion. I will forward your request to Dan Page and have him contact you."

Nonetheless, he was a guest speaker. He got some support there from folks who were in the audience, it appears.

I want to ask you about this, Don, because what he said. I mean, I will be honest, not that I, you know -- this is obviously not a professional assessment, but he sounded a little sort of unstable and kind of erratic and all over the place in his remarks. They were certainly...

LEMON: Yes, he does.

KEILAR: He really does. They were certainly anti-gay. He is misogynistic. He is a birther. But I wonder.

LEMON: But Brianna, the most disturbing things, really, he has -- the First Amendment right, right? So the police chief says, yes, of course he has a First Amendment right, and what he says about, you know, gays about, women, of whatever, that's one thing. What police are concerned about is what he says about killing people, because that, of course, police officers take that very seriously.


LEMON: That's the last thing most police officers say they want to do. He rants about -- he says negative things about police. And I think we have that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAGE: Policemen are very cynical. I know I am. I don't trust nobody, and I hate everybody. So I hate you all, too. I hate everyone. I'm into diversity. I kill everybody. I don't care.


KEILAR: So it's almost as if he's sort of like grandstanding...

LEMON: That's why...

KEILAR: ... or something there.

And then the other thing, Don, is, I mean, aside -- obviously, the killing comments were most alarming. But the comments where he is anti-gay or he is misogynistic, you know, it seems, actually, we were going through some police conduct even of statements or really the oath and the sort of rules that these police officers agree to live by and even off duty, they're not supposed to be doing things that make people of their community feel threatened. So it just seems like, you know --

LEMON: Right.

KEILAR: Yes, it just seems like even in that where everything he said violated what he would have agreed to do as a police officer whether or not he was 35 years on the force.

LEMON: Well, actually, Brianna, I read part of the Code of Conduct to Chief Belmar and he said, yes. He said that's a good statement what you just read to me. We'll have the sound bite of that a little bit later on. He says and those statements really do not personify that. And quite frankly, the chief said he was embarrassed. He says he embarrassed the St. Louis County Police and every man and woman in uniform.

And I think it's important to -- you know, when you look at the statements and you listen to them to point out that he's going to have to go -- undergo a psychiatric examination. That's huge considering that this person is still on the force. That we had an encounter with him earlier in the week, that he has been on day duty for -- during these protests and has been in charge of corralling people and handling people when it comes to the protests here in Ferguson, Missouri.

And I also asked the chief, I said listen, this is going to be confirmation to many people of the type of person that may be employed by the county police and police in this area. And he said listen, I joined this police force because I believe in the men and women here. And I don't -- he doesn't think it's indicative of the men and women who are in uniform here.


LEMON: But certainly people are going to start digging into other officers here now that this has come to light. That this videotape has been out there and it happened in April. Many are wondering why didn't the police department know about it.


KEILAR: Why didn't others around him know if there was something going on.

OK. Stick with us, Don. We're going to be talking more about this ahead. We're going to get in a quick break and be right back.


KEILAR: Our breaking news, a St. Louis County officer has now been relieved of duty after being shown on video here making harsh statements against gays, against women, as well as President Obama.

You actually saw this same officer this week. He's the guy who pushed CNN's Don Lemon during a crowd clearing operation in Ferguson.

Let's go right back to Ferguson now and to Don Lemon.

I mean, it's really -- it's really stunning, Don, to see this tape of a police officer talking about really his hatred for people who are in his community and who he is supposed to be protecting.

LEMON: Well, it's wide-ranging inflammatory remarks about a lot of people, about women, about gay people. He talks about the president of the United States. He speaks out against affirmative action, women in the military and on and on. And then he says he talks about again.

I want to remind our viewers, this is from a group called the Oath Keepers. He's speaking in front of them. We believe it is back in April. He talks about domestic violence and he says that people involved in domestic violence should just shoot each other and get it over with because somebody -- then he goes on in that and says somebody like me is going to come in and kill you.

Listen, we have that now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eighteen to 65.

When the inner cities start to ignite, people are going to start killing people they don't like. And I'm going to warn the ladies on something. And this always gets me in trouble but I got to tell you, this domestic violence stuff, every time a man turns around and gets jammed up by his wife on this, you are heading for troubles, ladies. A man can be arrested now for domestic property damage, domestic peace disturbance, domestic destruction of property, so forth and so forth.

How can you do that in your own house? You can be arrested for domestic trespassing. I've seen people with a line down the middle of the house. Stupid. If you don't like each other that much, just kill each other and get it over with. Problem solved. Get it done. Don't be wasting cops' time. Just shoot each other and get it over with.


LEMON: I mean, Brianna, what do you say after that? There's much more of that. At least an hour's worth of him ranting about different people, different situations. What I really also -- I want our viewers to really listen to what the St. Louis County Police chief had to say. We did a long interview with him. And he goes through exactly how he feels about this and what's going to happen to that officer. We'll have that for you, as well, Brianna, a little bit later on.

KEILAR: Yes --

LEMON: He is relieved of duty now.

KEILAR: All right. Yes, and he just goes on and on and on. We are going to break. When we come back, we will have some reaction from a representative from the NAACP.


KEILAR: We're back now with breaking news. A new controversy erupting in the aftermath of the police shooting in Ferguson. A St. Louis County officer has now been relieved of duty after being shown on video making harsh statements against gays, women and President Obama.

Let's get reaction now from NAACP board member John Gaskin. He's there in Ferguson.

And John, before I ask you the first question, I just want to tell our viewers that CNN has reached out this officer, Dan Page. We have not heard back. Police have confirmed it is indeed him. They relieved him of duty. We've been told by the group he spoke before, Oath Keepers, that he is not a member but he was an invited guest.

So thanks for being with us, john. And just give us your reaction to what we're hearing.

JOHN GASKIN, NAACP BOARD MEMBER: Well, what is really concerning to us is the group in the audience that is listening that invited him to speak on such a really -- almost a very concerning topic. His message is one of the very reasons that the NAACP is still relevant and is still in business. When we hear that kind of language come out of people's mouths, those types you have thoughts, that's very concerning. But let's just take it a step further.

This is someone that was a law enforcement officer, a policeman, someone that is to serve and protect here in the St. Louis County community. And it's very concerning. It makes us wonder where he is mentally in terms of his capacity, especially when he's using that type of language. That's very concerning to the NAACP that an officer like that is on the ground and who knows what he's already done on the ground already.

KEILAR: And you know, we don't know -- he's obviously been a police officer there for decades. We certainly -- I wonder if you think this reflects some of the culture, some of the issues of the police culture there. Maybe not necessarily that police officers would share his point of view but perhaps that it would be tolerated.

GASKIN: Absolutely. That's concerning. I would think that if you know someone has those kinds of thoughts, especially about killing people, I would hope his colleagues would speak up about that kind of thing, especially in the line of work that they're in.

KEILAR: Do you think -- I mean, this is something that appears to be very extreme. Do you think this is an outlier or do you think that there's something more going on here?

GASKIN: Well, to be honest with you, I don't know. Because this is new information that's just been presented to us most recently this afternoon. So we don't know. So you know, to be honest with you, it's a good possibility he could be an outlier. It's my hope, it's our hope that the average American doesn't feel that way and have those kinds of almost ludicrous views.


GASKIN: But that's -- it's still a great concern that they would tolerate that kind of behavior.

KEILAR: Yes, John Gaskin, thanks for joining us. Really appreciate it.

And coming up, we have much more of this stunning new controversy surrounding the Missouri police officer relieved of duty. We will go back to Ferguson.

And after the brutal murder of one American and chilling threats against others, could the U.S. take the fight against ISIS into Syria? We have retired General Mark Kimmitt standing by.


KEILAR: Much more on the breaking news from Ferguson. An officer there relieved of duty. But first, dire warnings about ISIS from the Pentagon brass. New U.S. airstrikes at ISIS targets in Iraq and officials not ruling out the possibility of hitting ISIS in Syria.

We want to go in-depth now. We have retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, he is just back from a trip to Iraq. And while in uniform he held senior post there. He was chief military spokesman after the Iraq invasion and he's also a former Pentagon and State Department official.

Thanks so much for joining us.


KEILAR: So you just returned from Iraq. What's the biggest concern that you're hearing from folks there and from Iraqi Security Forces?

KIMMITT: Well, the Iraq Security Forces is a concern because I think they generally understand they're not capable of fighting this threat. They understand that at the senior levels the last prime minister politicized the military, put in senior commanders not on the basis of competency but on the basis of loyalty.

They understand that there's a threat. They've got to fix it. But they're worried that it's going to take years for them to be capable to address it.

KEILAR: And certainly I think with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, there was sort of -- obviously a vacuum of security but also there was, as you mentioned, this sort of fracturing of the security forces and of the government and ISIS has clearly exploited that.

Knowing that, what do the Iraqis need from the U.S. and what are they willing to do on their own to deal with this?

KIMMITT: Well, on the short term what they believe they need is more airstrikes, more air support. They believe that in general particularly on the part of the Kurds and the Peshmerga, that if they've got American overhead support and American intelligence support and some advanced American weaponry, that they've got enough boot power themselves, enough infantry to fight and take the threat down.

KEILAR: They want that advanced weaponry that they're not getting now.

We heard from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, he said, you know, perhaps that -- I don't know, sort of hinting, I guess, at what will happen when it comes to Syria. Let's listen to what he said.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization which resides in Syria, the answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a non-existent border.


KEILAR: Will we see airstrikes in Syria, U.S. led or airstrikes that the U.S. is doing in cooperation with allies?

KIMMITT: Well, we'll see. That's a political decision. The military advice you just heard from Chairman Dempsey. He understands the threat that ISIL poses not simply to Iraq but to the region and potentially beyond the region. But to take American military, to take American airstrikes into Syria. That's a political decision and it has some legal implications as well, I hope so.

KEILAR: And some of the political calculation will no doubt be whether Americans support that. They're war weary, they have supported the airstrikes, the limited ones, in Iraq so far. We heard from Secretary Hagel, he said we need to, quote, "get ready for ISIS."

What does that mean?

KIMMITT: Well, what he is saying is that ISIS' aspirations go well beyond Syria and Iraq. It doesn't want to limit itself simply to the traditional area of what's known as Sham. Its aspirations are region wide. It wants to take down many of the kingdoms in the region and it has aspirations to go against Western powers and quite frankly to the United States of America.

KEILAR: Do you see ISIS ultimately -- clearly that's the grand aspiration of ISIS. One to be some sort of domestic attack on U.S. soil. Do you see that happening?

KIMMITT: I am concerned that if we allow Iraq and Syria to be set up as a safe haven and sanctuary for ISIL and the Islamic group to continue their training, continue their capabilities the way that Afghanistan was for al Qaeda 20 years ago, that certainly could be the case.

KEILAR: All right. General Mark Kimmitt, thank you so much for being with us and for sharing your expertise having just come back from Iraq.


KEILAR: Really getting a sense of what's on the ground. Appreciate it.

Now just ahead at the top of the hour, we have much more on the escalating threat from ISIS.

Plus, we go back live to Ferguson, Missouri.