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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
White House Intruder Got Further Than First Reported; Protesters in Hong Kong; Search for Hannah Graham; ISIS Warnings Missed?; Should U.S. Have Kept Troops In Iraq?; Oklahoma Beheading Police Say No Link To Terrorism; 36 Presumed Dead In Japan Volcano Eruption
Aired September 29, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin tonight with new reporting on the White House fence jumper who may have not just jumped the fence, not only sprinted across the North Lawn, not only made it through the North Portico and to the front door of the White House, all that was concerning enough.
Now, though, according to a U.S. congressman who's citing whistleblower testament into his committee, Omar Gonzalez made it much farther and deeper into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Remember, we were given to believe that Secret Service agents stopped him just as he stepped inside the White House.
Tomorrow the head of the Secret Service will testify in front of that congressional committee. You can bet this will come up.
Joining us now with what we're learning and what his sources are telling him, senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta.
So, what have you learned, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, sources have confirmed that Omar Gonzalez made it much farther inside the White House than previously acknowledged by Secret Service. According to congressional and law enforcement sources once Gonzalez entered the White House, he managed to get through a Secret Service officer at the North Portico door.
He went past the stairs leading up to the first family residence, and then ran into the East Room before he was tackled. You can see this up on screen here in this map of the White House. And this occurred just as he was trying to head into the Green Room. So he almost made it even farther.
No shots were fired inside or outside the White House during this entire incident, I'm told. And according to a memo that will be used by lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee and a hearing on this tomorrow, Anderson, there were multiple lapses that allowed Gonzalez to make it this far. One of them being the failure to use what's called the crash button, that would have instantly locked down the White House. The question is why that button was not used. COOPER: You were given a much different official story on the night
of this incident, correct?
ACOSTA: That's right. I mean, this new information runs counter to what the Secret Service initially said on the night of the fence jumping incident when a spokesman told reporters that Gonzalez was apprehended just inside the front door, the North Portico door that's right over my shoulder, Anderson. That is certainly not the case. And the director of the Secret Service, she's scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee tomorrow morning on this, and she'll be asked about that directly.
COOPER: Right. There's no doubt. I mean, she's going to be grilled about this pretty heavily. Do we know what she's expected to say or talk about? Because there was this other incident as well back in 2011.
ACOSTA: That's right. I think there'll be multiple questions to see how much is answered publicly in front of the cameras. Part of this hearing is going to be in closed session. But she's likely to be asked not only about this incident but also her agency's budget, Anderson.
Consider this, the Secret Service is authorized to have more than 1400 officers. Right now there are roughly 1300 officers. So they're about a hundred or so short. Not to mention the physical barriers around the White House. Tonight there are temporary bike rack-like fencing or fences that are up around the main fence around the White House.
That main fence around the White House, Anderson, stands only about 7 1/2 feet tall. It's been there since the 1960s. And you mentioned this incident back in 2011. Yes, keep in mind that according to "The Washington Post," Secret Service officers, when there were reports of shots being fired at the White House, Secret Service officers were given a stand-down order and that no shots were fired but of course we found out later that was not the case. An usher found a bullet hole in a window and Mr. And Mrs. Obama were furious about that.
COOPER: Yes, incredible.
Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks.
As we previously alluded to, this story troubling as it is comes on the heel of this other recent reporting about another incident back in 2011. I want to go into detail on that incident. An Ohio man -- an Idaho man, I should say, with hatred for the president, his name was Oscar Ortega Hernandez, managed to stop his car near the perimeter of the South Lawn pull out a semiautomatic rifle and open fire.
At least seven shots hit the upstairs residence where first family lives. With Sasha Obama and her grandmother at home. According to "The Washington Post" which has just put out a blockbuster of a story on this, confusion reigned. At one point, as we heard Jim said, a supervisor concluded it was a truck backfiring, later that night the incident was being treated as a gang shoot-out. Here's the audio that the "Washington Post" obtained of the Secret
Service that night speaking with Metro Police 911 operator. We're removing the Secret Service agent's name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: D.C. Emergency, 911. Dispatcher 8914. Police, fire or ambulance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police. This is -- of the Secret Service calling from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Our units are reporting shots fired on 17th and Constitution Northwest. Two vehicles exchanged gunfire. One was a black Cadillac, one was a yellow truck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It wasn't until four days later that the Secret Service realized that shots had actually hit the White House. The shooter, this man, Oscar Ortega Hernandez, was later caught in Western Pennsylvania. He's since pleaded guilty to the crime. He's doing a 25-year stretch in federal prison.
His arrest and sentencing got headlines at the time. The apparent security lapses and confusion did not.
Joining us is Carol Loennig, who did the reporting for "The Post" on both the shooter and broke tonight's story on the fence jumper. She had a busy few days. Along with us also is former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino, who is currently running for U.S. Congress on the Republican ticket. We also want to point out his brother is still a Secret Service agent.
Carol, the idea that this man was able to make it across the lawn into the entrance was shocking enough. How it is possible that he made it so far into the White House and so close to first family's living quarters? Is it clear exactly how that happened?
I understand there was an alarm box that had been muted.
CAROL LOENNIG, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, we have sources who say that this box was not working. There's a crash box on lots of the stations of various security posts around the White House complex. And this box is something you are supposed to hit basically like a big red button if you think there is an intruder or some sort of crisis at your location.
When you hit that button, it also starts alerting all the other crash boxes in the building, so it's alerting everybody else where to respond to. And it's piping in the audio of your location. So what we've heard from our sources today is that that crash box was never set off.
The protocol for the White House complex is that the Secret Service officers are trained to lock that front door if there's an intruder on the grounds. And it's clear, obviously, that this person did not lock the door. COOPER: If this intruder made it so far into the White House, why
were the public and press told differently until your reporting?
LOENNIG: Well, as you probably know, the Secret Service has not given an official account of what happened other than to confirm that someone got close to the door or in the door. It's interesting because it was bad enough before the five rings of security that were pierced on the North Lawn. Now we see a couple more that were pierced on the inside.
And I would say this goes to this larger issue that I keep hearing about the Secret Service, and that is incredible severe staffing shortages, incredible morale problems and also lots and lots of churn of employees were leaving, coming, resigning, new ones coming. Apparently the officer who was on this front door had been there for little more than half a year and the officer out front had also not been there for more than a year.
COOPER: And Dan, I mean, the Obama family had obviously left the White House minutes before. If they had still been in the White House, how much danger do you think they could have been in?
DAN BONGINO, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: There's again no putting lipstick on this. Significant danger if there was any kind of a suicide vest explosive, high powered weapon, yes, we'd be having a very different conversation. Far worse conversation.
But, you know, you just said something, Anderson, that's very pivotal here. They had just left, the first family. And the first family when they leave from the south grounds on the opposite side of the White House, there's always a little bit of chaos. You've been here for these departures when Marine One leaves. There's always a bit of the herding cats effect.
You have the public there, you have the press moving in and out. I'm not making excuses for them, they're not making excuses for themselves. But I am saying, trying to give some context to this. That in conjunction with an active United Nations General Assembly being prepared for up in New York, I can pretty much assure you the manpower shortages Carol referred to were very real and may have played some role in this event and the inexperience of the people there at the front door.
COOPER: Carol, the other scoop you've had about gunshots hitting the White House back in 2011 the first and perhaps biggest mistake by Secret Service was the call from the supervisor that, quote, "no shots had been fired," and then ordering agents to stand down. It took the Secret Service four days to realize that shots had hit the White House residence.
LOENNIG: Yes, and the first lady and the president were none too pleased. I mean, when we have started to dig a little more deeply into this shooting, the more I heard about it from people on the inside, the more I thought it reflected a little bit about what isn't working right about the Secret Service. The investigators who were working that night basically concluded very
-- in a very rushed way that it must be two gangsters shooting at each other, that sound of gunfire on Constitution Avenue couldn't have possibly been connected to the White House. But actually there were officers on the ground, underneath the Truman Balcony who said that that night they, you know, drew their weapons, heard the gunfire, thought it was aimed at the house.
One woman said she heard the sound of debris falling from the Truman Balcony, above her head. And so there were people that worked for the Secret Service and were protecting the house, who had a different impression but in the -- in the case of this officer, she said she was afraid to counter her superiors the next day.
COOPER: Dan, I mean, again, you have no doubt that this was a fumbled investigation.
BONGINO: No, it'd be silly to say otherwise. They didn't catch the rounds for four days. But again the officers on the ground, the rank and file, these were officers, not agents. The agents were not at that scene as it happened, they were there later. But the officers did what they were supposed to do. They got out their weapons, they took cover and called out what they saw.
Again it's a situation, and, Anderson, I wouldn't be surprised at all if there wasn't some pressure on management level uniform division officers, you know, to, quote, you know, "make this go away." We don't want to look like it was an attack on the White House. And when it got impossible to, you know, to cover anymore. They had -- I wouldn't be surprised at all.
COOPER: Carol Loennig, incredible reporting on the part of "Washington Post." Thank you so much.
Dan Bongino, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
BONGINO: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Hopefully we'll learn even more tomorrow when the head of the Secret Service testifies.
Half way around the world, the stories neither lone gunmen, lone runners nor lone anything. What's unfolding as we speak in Hong Kong involves people largely student-led, pro-democracy protesters by the thousands. And authorities in Beijing may not be able to put a damper on it.
Here's how some of the protests and police response played out overnight there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're now going to be enveloped in tear gas.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: That's Ivan Watson right there in the middle of it. He's still on the scene this morning. He joins us now.
Obviously a very tense situation over the last couple of days. What's it like right now?
WATSON: Much more peaceful over the last 24 hours, Anderson. Take a look. The crowd's much more sparse, but it's Tuesday morning just after 8:00 a.m. local time. And the kids that we're showing you here basically slept here on the asphalt in the middle of this highway, this eight-lane highway that runs through the center of Hong Kong. They've occupied it through the second straight night right outside the government headquarters.
The scene at night before midnight here was of just a sea of humanity here. People singing anthems, chanting "resign" to the local Hong Kong officials and the riot police that had been tear gassing this crowd periodically, hitting them with pepper spray on Sunday night, had pulled back and the numbers of people we've seen here throughout Monday were bigger than anything we've seen in more than a week of student-led protests against the government here and against the government in mainland China.
COOPER: So there's been disagreement about the level of force that police have employed. You were on the ground when the tear gas was used. Was it excessive?
WATSON: You know, I saw real efforts, Anderson, on the part of the protesters and the security forces to kind of not escalate the situation, but pushing and shoving did kind of erupt and the police did use pepper spray and tear gas, and that's a big deal for Hong Kong.
I've been to other cities, other countries where police are much more draconian, but here nobody's seen tear gas used in these streets in nearly a decade. It was clear that even the police, some of them, were not accustomed to the effects of tear gas and so just that use of maybe 80 canisters over a 24-hour period really made a lot of people angry here, that their own security forces would use these measures against unarmed demonstrators.
Of course the government here it insists that the demonstrators instigated this by shoving the police -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I think 2005 was the last time I read that tear gas was used in Hong Kong. Do you have a sense of how this is being covered in mainland China? Are they covering it?
WATSON: It's been largely blocked out. I mean, the main newscast on state TV Monday night didn't even mention Hong Kong. We know that Instagram has been shut down in mainland China. And already you had the great so-called firewall that blocks out Facebook, and Twitter, and Google and things like "The New York Times" unless you have a VPN to get in.
So it's very clear that the authorities in mainland China are trying to really control the message. And the incredible thing about that is Hong Kong is technically part of China, but since the British handover, it's had a pretty different system of government. So people have been able to get out in the streets. Have been able to criticize their government, criticize the communist party without the draconian, really violent memories of repression that you would see in mainland China.
And that gets to the crux of the dispute here. The debate here. People say they don't want this city to become like just another Chinese city.
COOPER: Ivan Watson, be careful. Continue to check in.
A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you like. We're on for two hours tonight all the way to the 10:00 hour on the East Coast.
Next, more breaking new. The suspect in the Hannah Graham disappearance. And new evidence that police say is significant. The question, does it link this man to at least one other disappearance, a deadly one? My details ahead.
COOPER: Welcome back. "Crime and Punishment" tonight, and what could be new evidence in the disappearance of University of Virginia sophomore Hannah Graham who's now been missing for more than two weeks. New evidence, however, may not mean new hope because it might and because authorities have yet to say definitively -- we underscore the word might -- link her case to two others, one rape and one murder.
More now from CNN's Jean Casarez.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the investigation continues into the disappearance of Hannah Graham, the arrest of Jesse Matthew, Jr. has turned up a potential connection.
The state police announcing a significant break pursuing a new forensic link to another young Virginia woman -- Morgan Harrington.
GIL HARRINGTON, MORGAN HARRINGTON'S MOTHER: I mean, we are relieved, but it is a roller coaster. We really haven't acclimated to this new phase.
CASAREZ: In the fall of 2009, the Virginia Tech student traveled almost 150 miles to attend a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena on the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville. The 20-year-old left the arena for a short time around 8:30 but when she tried to get back in, officials said no. So Harrington began to walk. According to the FBI, she was last seen hitchhiking. She was never heard from again.
HARRINGTON: Be strong. We are trying to find you. We will never stop.
CASAREZ: The black T-shirt Harrington was wearing was found almost one month later on November 11th, 2009 in Charlottesville. But no Morgan. Finally on January 26th, 2010, Morgan Harrington's skeletal remains were found on farmland outside of Charlottesville along Route 29.
HARRINGTON: Our sorrow is etched in our faces. Our pain has been carved into our hearts.
CASAREZ: In finding Morgan, investigators also found foreign DNA. Allegedly from her murderer. And then in 2012, a break in the case.
(On camera): DNA from Harrington's remains linked her case to another one, four years earlier. The sexual assault of a 26-year-old woman 98 miles away. That victim survived, and she gave authorities a composite sketch.
(Voice-over): Investigators in the Harrington case released the composite. Is it Jesse Matthew, Jr.? Does the, quote, "new forensic link" tie him to Morgan Harrington's death and the 2005 sexual assault? Authorities aren't giving details, details the family of Morgan Harrington have been waiting for, for five years.
DAN HARRINGTON, MORGAN HARRINGTON'S FATHER: It is critical that we solve this. There's a killer among us. And now there's a face to it, which makes me very angry.
COOPER: Our Jean Casarez joins us now.
So what have police told you about this alleged forensic connection between the two cases?
CASAREZ: The forensic link they say they are pursuing, and, Anderson, there's a lot of definitions that can come from that, but let's look at the facts. I always say that. This is what we know. The police chief told me that they spent hours combing the car of Jesse Matthew, collecting potential items of evidence. In his apartment. We saw -- I was there. It was hours they were collecting things.
They can find his DNA on cigarette butts, on a glass, on so many other things. And the lab in -- for the state of Virginia, because I spoke with the lab last week, they get someone's DNA, that's the purpose of the lab.
COOPER: All right. Jean Casarez, appreciate the update.
I want to bring in Mary Ellen O'Toole, former senior FBI profiler and author of "Dangerous Instincts: Use an FBI Profiler's Tactics to Avoid Unsafe Situations." Also legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Mary Ellen, when you hear there have been alleged forensic connection between these two cases, what does that mean to you? MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, when I heard that,
especially based on some of the more recent media reports that they were able to take DNA from the 2005 sexual assault case and link it to some type of DNA in Morgan's case, whether that's blood or semen or sweat, somehow they were able to make that some kind of connection.
At the time, however, they didn't have a suspect to compare that -- those fluids to. So that's what that suggests. I hope that it's DNA because that's the most powerful forensic evidence, but that's what it tells me, they could link the cases but they did not have a suspect at that time to link to put it at kind of the top of those two cases.
COOPER: And Sunny, when you hear about this alleged link, it obviously moves the -- truly the case in a whole new direction.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It does, although I am not sure that we know enough to say that there is this link. Because when you get this statement from the police department that is saying there is a forensic link that they are going to pursue, that doesn't, I think, tell us enough to go forward.
Forensics definitely means there's a scientific link. But what kind of forensic? So are we talking about blood, are we talking about semen, are we talking about ballistics because ballistics are also considered to be forensic evidence?
So I don't know really what this means at this point. If indeed it is some sort of DNA, and I agree of course that's the strongest type of forensic evidence, and it links this suspect to three --
HOSTIN: You know, disappearance of one girl and the murder of another and then the rape of another, we're talking about a serial rapist, serial killer, and that's just remarkable.
COOPER: Mary Ellen, it's interesting because earlier this month Morgan Harrington's mom drew comparisons between her daughter's case and Hannah Graham saying it was the same town, same kind of look of a girl, same time of year. Do you -- I mean, if somebody is a predator, do they typically follow a pattern?
O'TOOLE: They do follow a pattern. There's the obvious pattern that's call the M.O. or the modus operandi. And those behaviors change over time. They're subject to being educated by reading about your case in the newspaper, for example. The more subtle and the stronger connections is what we call the signature of the offender. And those are what his behavior is like at the crime scene, how he interacts with the victim, what he does to the victim.
So there are really two levels. The more obvious, the M.O., and then the more nuanced specific to the offender known as the signature.
COOPER: Sunny, there's a bond hearing Thursday. Could these paths, alleged links be brought up there? HOSTIN: Well, certainly at the bond hearing, yes, if that forensic
link is a strong link and they're able to link the three together, there's no question that the prosecutor is going to bring it up, and say, your honor, this is someone who is not only a suspect in the disappearance of one person, he is now also our suspect in the rape of one person and the murder of another. And so this is -- this is not a bondable offense.
COOPER: Mary Ellen, you look at those artists, you know, sketches based on the first attack of a -- of a woman. I mean, arguably doesn't really look much like this person. Are those -- I mean, are sketches still used or are sketches still considered something that's of value?
O'TOOLE: They really are. There are many people out there that can look at a sketch and they're very good at being able to say, you know, that looks familiar, and the eyes and the lips and the ears. And then there are some people that look at a sketch and they just -- they can't tell anything. So even though it may develop into several witnesses, into several courses of investigation, it's still extremely helpful. So you never want to eliminate one course of investigation.
COOPER: Right. Interesting.
Mary Ellen O'Toole, appreciate you being on. Sunny Hostin as well.
Coming up next President Obama blames his intelligence chief for underestimating ISIS that a source tells us how much of that intelligence and those warnings he himself was in a position to know at the time. "Keeping Them Honest," ahead.
COOPER: Keeping them honest tonight. Did the United States missed key warnings about ISIS and more specifically is President Obama? The answer if you ask the president appears to yes to the first and unclear about the second. He spoke last night on "60 Minutes." Here's what he told Steve Croft.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KROFT, CBS NEWS: How did this get -- how did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He didn't say that -- just say that we underestimated ISIL. He said we overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's true.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: He went on to say this fight on the ground in Iraq and Syria will depend on local forces, not American troops. What he did not do is say that he himself underestimated ISIS or talk at all about what kind of intelligence he was getting on the ground in the run-up to all of this.
However, chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been getting details on that from his sources. He joins us now with that. What are you hearing from your sources at the White House and elsewhere about, you know, who was warning and about what they were warning and when?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you, dozens of officials tell me, Anderson, that there were multiple classified intelligence reports in the months leading up to ISIS' lightning advance across Iraq detailing both its growing capabilities, but also its growing ambitions.
Including a specific report citing its desire to carry its territory all the way to the capital of Baghdad. In addition to the classified reports, there was also public testimony.
Have a listen, for instance, to Brett McGuirk, he is the administration's point man in Iraq in November last year seven months before ISIS moved into Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more that this al Qaeda network gains strength and gains roots in Western Iraq, the greater the threat will be. That's why we have to go after that in a very serious way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: I spoke earlier today with a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. He makes the point that there are a lot of intelligence reports out there.
There is a difference between having a report on something and identifying that something to administration officials as something that they have to pay particular attention to and the mountain of threats that the intelligence community and the administration is dealing with at any time.
So intelligence is not an exact science, as you know, Anderson, but one thing you can say with certainty is that the intelligence community warned often and loudly about the threat from ISIS.
COOPER: Jim, stay there, because I want to bring in "Daily Beast's" senior national security correspondent, Eli Lake and also Jay Carney, former Obama White House press secretary, now a CNN senior political commentator.
Eli, in your piece today you quote a former Pentagon official as saying either the president doesn't read the intelligence he's getting or he's bs'ing. How confident are you that your source isn't just trying to deflect criticism?
ELI LAKE, "THE DAILY BEAST": I've gotten that from a lot of people today. I think there's a lot resentment in the intelligence community right now that in the "60 Minutes" interview President Obama effectively tried to put the blame on the intelligence community when in fact the White House was getting lots of warnings.
As Jim just said, in classified materials but also very out in the open, the annual threats hearing, every year you have all the leaders of the intelligence community come before Congress.
Michael Flynn, the DIA director couldn't have been clearer. He said that there is a group. He called it al Qaeda in Iraq or ISIL as they changed their name. They intend to try to have a show of strength and tried to take more territory.
It was right after he saw these ISIS forces taking Fallujah. So it was pretty high up in the minds of most of the intelligence community. And in that sense I think many of them today are kind of scratching their heads a bit flabbergasted at the president's comments.
COOPER: Jay, what about that? I mean, people like the director of National Intelligence, James clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and then head of the DIA were all warning about ISIS as far back as January and February. And the CIA produced multiple reports. Is it fair for the president to essentially be throwing James Clapper under the bus here?
JAY CARNEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the president was quoting Jim Clapper who said what he said about underestimating ISIS' capacities and overestimating even more importantly the Iraqi security forces ability to rebuff an attack.
Look, I think that any time a president gets up and says there was an intelligence failure, he also has to say it was his administration. I think that overall nobody is doubting the fact that this is his administration and this underestimating of ISIS and overestimating of Iraqi security forces is on the administration's watch.
But I think anybody you talk to who is engaged in training up Iraqi security forces on the U.S. side and we did that for years and years and years at great expense believed that they would perform better than they ended up performing.
Because there is ambition, which ISIS was making clear they had, but there is ability is another thing. And their ability to move through Western Iraq toward Baghdad with utmost ease was amazingly abetted by the fact that the Iraqi security forces basically melted away.
And that, I think, raises real questions about not just the political leadership of the Al-Maliki government, but about the investment that we made in the United States in Iraqi security forces for years and years.
COOPER: But Jay, isn't that also an argument supporting those like Senator McCain and others who said that the U.S. should have figured out a way to keep a residual force there because if we had no intelligence about what was going on, about the capabilities of the Iraqi military over the last three years that might have been a different scenario.
CARNEY: It's certainly not true that we didn't have any intelligence. We have a robust presence in Iraq, still do. Not a military presence, but an embassy and a lot of contact with the government.
COOPER: Right, but having 3,000 U.S. personnel on an embassy stuck in Baghdad in the green zone is a lot different than having troops.
CARNEY: No question. And what Senator McCain has failed to note is that President Obama's administration actively tried against the wishes of his own party to maintain a residual force in Iraq and the sovereign government of Iraq refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement.
I don't think there's anybody in the United States in any position of leadership who would want American men and women in uniform stationed in a foreign country without that kind of agreement and without that kind of protection.
There's no question that had that residual force stayed, that we would have been better off. I don't think it would have meant all the difference in the world in terms of ISIS' abilities or the Iraqi security forces capacity to resist, but it would have made a difference.
COOPER: Eli, certainly there was not a lot of support among Democrats for keeping a residual force and this is a president who campaigned on getting U.S. troops out of Iraq.
LAKE: Well, in all due respect to Jay Carney, I have a memory of the president boasting in the 2012 campaign about how he ended the war in Iraq, and now we've learned this month in testimony before Congress that General Dempsey said he would have preferred to have more troops in Iraq. We know also --
CARNEY: Eli, I said it from the podium that it was our position that we would like to have a residual force. It was the Obama administration's position. What we didn't get, despite great effort expended in that direction was an agreement from the Iraqi government. And without that agreement, you can't leave forces.
LAKE: We can litigate the history here, but part of that --
CARNEY: I think the history is pretty important.
LAKE: I think the history is very important, but I think part of that disagreement was that in many ways I think the Maliki side of it which wanted to have a long-term security cooperation agreement with the United States didn't feel that the offer from the U.S. was terribly serious in terms of the amount of troops that were eventually offered at the end of that.
And that he felt because there wasn't a significant amount of investment that the president and the White House was willing to make in Iraq he himself felt that it would be better to then break off the relationship and publicly criticize the U.S. for asking for this kind of legal immunity.
So there are various different terms. And the other point here is that the overall policy was to treat Iraq like it was France or any other nation when before the Obama administration there was a lot of arm twisting, a lot of kind of putting your arm over the shoulder of Maliki and trying to save him from himself.
And I think that in some ways this White House did not save Maliki from himself and as a result a lot of these abuses are there because it took a pretty hands-off approach once it came into power.
CARNEY: Well, I think it's a little easy to imagine that somehow in dealing with a sovereign government that the U.S. can have whatever it wants without the agreement of the leadership of that government.
LAKE: That's a fair point.
CARNEY: And look, Maliki, the United States, you know, gave birth to the system that created Maliki and the Maliki government and we sustained it in many ways, two administrations, and I think there's some amount of regret about that.
But in the end, either Iraq is sovereign or it's not. Either we're an occupying force or we're an invited force. If we're an occupying force, that's a whole different kettle of fish, which I don't think anybody is out there saying they prefer.
COOPER: Jim, it's also important to point out that the new prime minister of Iraq is from Maliki's party. Critics will say he's essentially cut from the same cloth if not -- he's definitely from the same party.
The hope is that there will be a break in terms of how he reach out to Sunnis, holding people in the military responsible. Getting rid of this general corps that Maliki put in, but a lot of questions remain on that.
SCIUTTO: From the same party but also had been very close to Maliki for some time. He had made some strides, but he still hasn't filled the key positions, which are the interior and defense ministry positions which traditionally had been the ones most disputed over.
You can debate about the policy in Iraq, but the fact is in Syria, the administration made a decision over the recommendations of some of the president's own cabinet secretaries not to get involved in Syria earlier. And I will tell you what intelligence officials tell me.
They say that until now Syria has been an effective intelligence black hole in large part because of that. That's changing now. You're flying surveillance flights, et cetera, but the policy decision made a difference on the intelligence certainly in Syria you can debate it to some degree in Iraq. I will tell you that I also know from intelligence officials that had the U.S. had a military presence there, they would have had much better intelligence than they had otherwise.
COOPER: All right, Jay Carney, appreciate you being here. Jim Sciutto, Eli Lake as well. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Thank you.
COOPER: There's a lot more on this story and others at cnn.com.
Right now, just ahead, we have new details about the horrific attack at an Oklahoma food processing plant. What we've learned about the man accused of beheading a co-worker and what his family is now saying.
COOPER: Crime and punishment, new details tonight about that horrific attack at an Oklahoma food processing plant. Police say the man accused of beheading a co-worker and stabbing another employee will be charged with first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The 33-year-old Alton Nolen, shown here in a mug shot for an unrelated arrest back in 2010, was shot by the company's CEO during the attack. He's said to be in stable condition.
Now the timing and gruesome nature of the attack and the fact that Nolen is a convert to Islam have raised a lot of questions. Was he motivated by ISIS, who recently called for lone wolf attacks on civilians in the U.S.? So far though authorities say there is no apparent link to terrorism. Pamela Brown has the latest.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Law enforcement officials tell CNN Alton Nolen spent time watching videos of beheadings online sometime before he allegedly severed the head of one of his co-workers and repeatedly stabbed another. He was stopped only when his boss shot him.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: It sounds like he's running around out here. That's a gunshot.
BROWN: Just before that 911 call, law enforcement sources say Nolen was told he was in trouble at work at Vaughan Foods in part for disruptive behavior, trying to convert his co-workers to Islam.
Shortly after receiving the news, he took out a knife and allegedly started attacking co-workers at random, killing Colleen Hufford, a 54- year-old grandmother.
CNN is learning Nolen told investigators he felt oppressed at work and was upset about not getting a pay raise. Investigators believed this was an isolated active violence. So far, they found nothing to show that he was in contact with overseas terrorists groups, but he did seem to share their extremist views. Nolen posted on his Facebook page showing a picture of a beheading, an image of Osama Bin Laden and several anti-American rants, one saying the Statue of Liberty is going into flames. So why are police ruling out terrorism?
CULLY STIMSON, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Easier way from A to Z, innocence to conviction is just, he killed somebody, he did it deliberately, he premeditated it, end of story, guilty.
BROWN: Over the weekend, Nolen's family came to his defense.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My son was raised up in a loving home. There is two sides of the story and we are only hearing one. His family, our hearts bleed right now because what they are saying Alton has done. I want to apologize to both families because this is not Alton, but I'm praying that justice will prevail. The whole story will come out.
BROWN: But this isn't the first time Nolen has been in trouble with the law. In 2010, this Oklahoma state trooper got into a scuffle with Nolen during a traffic stop. After learning about Thursday's beheading, the trooper made this chilling statement to CNN.
LT. BETSY RANDOLPH, OKLAHOMA STATE TROOPER: If there had been any way to know the things that he is alleged to have done a couple of days ago, I would have killed him when I had the opportunity.
COOPER: Pamela Brown joins us now from Washington. This incident only happened four days ago. How can police so quickly rule out a link to terrorism especially with all the red flags you point to and when they say there's no link to terrorism, it sounds like maybe they're saying he had no connection to ISIS.
But if the guy has been watching beheading videos and trying to convert people to Islam and has all this stuff on his Facebook page, he certainly is motivated in some way by what he's seeing.
BROWN: Right. But we're being told by law enforcement officials, Anderson, that at this point the motivation for committing the alleged act of violence came from his unhappiness at work. Bottom line, though, law enforcement officials are still digging deep into his connections.
They say his postings were certainly provocative and alarming especially in the context of what he allegedly did. But as you point out, Anderson, they say they found no evidence that he ever made contact with the terrorist organization, was working on behalf of a terrorist organization, was motivated by terrorist ideology to commit an act of violence.
This is interesting, authorities tell me in their initial interview with him, Nolen told them that he was upset about work telling authorities they're holding me down, they wouldn't give me a raise and sources say he was rambling about all sorts of different topics apparently even mentioning aliens.
So one of my sources said if Nolen wasn't upset about what happened at work, this likely wouldn't have happened -- Anderson.
COOPER: Strange. Pamela, thanks very much.
Up next, stunning video, a massive ash cloud rolling down a volcano after an eruption in Japan. The latest on the death roll when 360 continues.
COOPER: Want to go quickly to the latest in the deadly volcanic eruption in Central Japan. Listen in. The volcano erupted Saturday sending ash down the mountainside engulfing hikers. At least 36 people are presumed dead, 24 bodies remain on the mountain while 12 have been recovered and so far identified.
It is morning now at the mountain. CNN's Will Ripley joins us live with the latest. So what is happening there, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well what you're seeing, Anderson, is a large plume we've been watching since the big eruption on Saturday. Just a series of smaller eruptions that are happening, part of this continuous seismic activity on the mountain that has folks, volcanologists here in Japan concerned.
Because they say in the coming days we could see another large eruption just like the one on Saturday that caught everybody off guard. The mountain was full of people who were hiking, taking in peak autumn viewing season.
They believe at least two dozen bodies are up there right now, possibly more, people that tried to take shelter in mountain lodges and succumbed to fumes from the toxic gas in that cloud up right there.
Rescuers have been trying to get up there, Anderson, but they're having a hard time. Yesterday the gas forced them to suspend the search and today they had to cut it short again because of what they describe as small volcanic movements.
So definitely a volatile situation up there and a lot of families here on the ground anxious to learn the fate of their loved ones.
COOPER: You can see the ash just from your location. Will, we'll talk to you again in our next hour. I want to get caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Randi Kaye has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, an Arkansas man is in custody tonight accused of kidnapping a real estate agent though police aren't saying how they connected him to this case. Beverly Carter vanished Thursday from a home that she was showing near Little Rock. Hundreds of volunteers have been searching for her with no success so far.
The fee for using an out of network ATM jumped 5 percent over the past year according to a survey by Bank Rate. The average fee is now $4.35 for each transaction.
And Georg Clooney and Amal Alamuddin wrapped up their wedding weekend in Venice today with a private civil ceremony to make their union official. The actor and human rights attorney took a water taxi aptly named "Amore" or love to city hall -- Anderson.
COOPER: Looked like a nice wedding. Randi, thanks very much.
Up next, startling new details on the White House intruder reports he got much farther into the White House than first reported. That's next in another live hour of AC360.
COOPER: Thanks very much for joining us on this extended edition of 360. Topping the hour, new and troubling details about how far the White House fence jumper got after he made it through the front door.
According to whistle blower testimony to congressional investigators, he not only got inside the White House armed with a knife, he briefly had for one of the better phrase, his run on the place.
Tomorrow, Secret Service said, Director Julia Pierson is scheduled to testify before a congressional panel on protecting the president and the first family but her appearance also comes hard on the Hills, reporting on Washington Post, an apparent mishandling of an incident three years ago which a gunmen open fired from his car with this semi- automatic rifle, hitting the upstairs residence. In four days past before agents concluded it was on a truck back firing or as they initially believe the gang shootout.