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ISIS Advancing; Protests Near Ferguson; Ebola Screenings to Begin at Major U.S. Airports

Aired October 9, 2014 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, ISIS tightens its grip despite punishing U.S. airstrikes. The terror group is grinding down defenders in a key city on the Turkish border. Is an ISIS victory inevitable?

Ebola alert. U.S. airports get ready to screen passengers from the outbreak zone while one victim's family is asking if he could have been saved. I'll talk to the U.S. point man on infectious disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And police shooting. This one near Ferguson, Missouri, may have been a shoot-out, but it sparked violent protests overnight. We have new video as residents brace for more trouble.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're tracking two major developing stories this hour. ISIS is tightening its hold over the city of Kobani. That's just inside Syria's border with Turkey. Vicious street fighting is bringing heavy casualties as the United States steps up airstrikes. The jihadists are paying a price. But officials say airstrikes alone won't save the city.

Turkey has tanks overlooking the battle but won't use them, and that is sparking deadly protests inside Turkey.

And as Ebola fears grip a major U.S. city, the family of a victim is now asking if he could have been saved, while five of America's busiest airports get ready to screen travelers from affected countries.

CNN's Richard Quest and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, they are standing by and they have new information and new details, as our correspondents, our analysts, our newsmakers are also standing by with full coverage this hour.

Let's begin with ISIS and the savage onslaught against the Syrian border town. Despite fierce resistance from Kurdish defenders and U.S.-led airstrikes, the jihadists are slowly gaining control.

CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has the very latest -- Jim. JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we learned just a few moments ago that the U.S. has carried out today nine airstrikes in and around Kobani in an attempt to save the city from advancing ISIS fighters.

But those fighters keep advancing and they're getting reinforcements from the south and east of the country. It is tonight the U.S. military's assessment that ISIS can take the city.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): It's the most visible front in the war against is. And today despite U.S. B-1 bombers and other warplanes patrolling the skies over Kobani, ISIS fighters are still gaining ground there. They now control a third of the city, bolstered by reinforcements from their stronghold in Raqqa.

Within sight of Kobani, just across the border, are dozens of Turkish tanks. But they continue to watch from the sidelines. Today, while acknowledging that airstrikes alone will not stop ISIS' advance, Turkey's foreign minister made clear his country will not commit ground troops.

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It's not realistic to expect Turkey to carry out a ground operation on its own. We are holding talks. Once there is a common decision, Turkey will not hold back away from playing its part.

SCIUTTO: ISIS is the enemy, but the war against it has unwittingly pitted NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. against each other. Today, President Obama dispatched his point men for the military campaign to Istanbul to find ways for Turkey to help.

JEN PSAKI, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The events of last week made it clear that that urgent and rapid steps are needed to halt ISIL military capabilities and General Allen and Ambassador McGurk will make that clear in their meetings with Turkish officials.

SCIUTTO: The trouble is, the two sides have different priorities. For the U.S. it's ISIS. For Turkey, it remains the regime of Bashar al-Assad. And that difference is generating a real division within NATO.

ERIC EDELMAN, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT AND DEFENSE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: There's a bit of a kind of a la carte view of their membership in NATO here that I think is very, very troubling and portends lots of difficulty in the future in this relationship.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Does it make them a bad NATO ally?

EDELMAN: I think it makes them a difficult, problematic NATO ally. We have had those before. They're not the only ones. But they are definitely a problem for the alliance.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCIUTTO: With these latest airstrikes against those ISIS positions around Kobani, that brings to the total of 46 airstrikes around Kobani. That is the second most struck targets, Wolf, since the beginning of this campaign in either Iraq or in Syria.

For a town that the military officials say is not strategically important, which says cannot be saved by airpower, it's a tremendous allocation of airpower to try to stem that assault by ISIS.

BLITZER: Yes, but they're trying to prevent a massacre of the people there, not only the Kurds, but there are a lot of Christians and a lot of Arabs who are there as well, who potentially could be slaughtered by these ISIS terrorists if they take over that city.

SCIUTTO: That's right. But it's interesting. They're not using the word genocide, which they used as a motivation, for instance, for protecting the Yazidi people in Sinjar, which started the whole U.S. air campaign.

They say that's a legal definition. It's not a term they're using to talk about the Syrian Kurds under threat there. But, listen, if you're a family that's fled across the border, in the face of ISIS, from your perspective, I don't think you're making those distinctions.

BLITZER: Could be a massacre, though. If not genocide, it could be a massacre. Pretty horrible.

SCIUTTO: No question.

BLITZER: Jim, thanks very much.

The battle for Kobani is playing out under the gaze of the Turkish military and in full view of the entire world.

CNN's Phil Black is joining us now. He is joining us live from the Turkish-Syrian border.

What does it look like there, Phil?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, through the day, Wolf, we again saw U.S. B-1 bombers in the skies over Kobani with multiple huge explosions around the perimeters of the city there, as Jim has described, huge explosions, huge columns of black smoke over the skyline, incredibly dramatic.

And those Kurdish fighters that are resisting ISIS in the city are grateful. They say these strikes are effective, that the United States is hitting the right targets, that it is making a difference. But on the streets of Kobani, where they're battling street to street, they have had a day of very tough fighting.

They say that ISIS has sent reinforcements from its self-declared capital of Raqqa deeper in Syria. That means that they're up against even greater numbers, as well as being outgunned. And what it's meant for them in the last 24 hours are those Kurdish fighters that have taken territory back from ISIS in the city. Well, they haven't been able to hold it.

They have had to fall back further again. While there is international pressure on Turkey to get involved here, what those Kurdish fighters in the city say is they don't want Turkish troops to roll across the border save them, they just want the Turkish government to lift restrictions at the border crossing so supplies, new fighters and ammunition can get sent in. And the Kurdish fighters believe if they get resupplied, and the U.S. keeps hitting ISIS at the perimeter of the city, it's making a big difference and it will continue to do so and they can hold out for some time yet, Wolf.

BLITZER: If they were to make a decision to move in, I assume, and you're right there, Phil, the Turks have a lot of firepower on their side of the border, tanks, armored personnel carriers. They could just move right into Syria and protect those people in Kobani. Is that right?

BLACK: They have a huge capable military, there is no doubt about that. Moving into the city would be difficult because it's such a built-up area.

They would no doubt suffer casualties along the way. What they're concerned about, one of the demands they're making before any ground operation can begin is a no-fly zone because as we have heard they're also concerned about the regime of the president, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and they're concerned about his air force and his air force striking Turkish troops.

But the line from Turkey so far -- and it's been repeated again -- is thought not prepared to do this alone, so a Turkish ground operation for the moment remains a nonstarter. - Wolf.

BLITZER: Phil Black on the scene for us on that border between Turkey and Syria. it's a dangerous part of the world right now. Thank you very much.

Let's go in depth with two guests, CNN counterterrorism analyst the former CIA official Philip Mudd, along with retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, the former military spokesman fort U.S. in Iraq. He's held key posts at the State Department and the Pentagon.

Gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in.

In fairness to Turkey, should Turkey be the only NATO ally -- there are 28 NATO allies -- that are being pressured to send ground troops, boots on the ground into Turkey or Iraq for that matter?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PLANS AND STRATEGY: Well, look, Turkey is the one that is in the most immediate threat, has the most concern about the ISIL threat there.

So they have got to take some responsibility. They're clearly negotiating for a better deal than they're being offered right now by General Allen. I think they will push hard to get more support before they take any action. BLITZER: NATO was unified in dealing with Afghanistan. There was a NATO presence there. Why can't NATO get its act together and deal with ISIS?

KIMMITT: I think they will, but you're talking about a near-term problem in Kobani which we're trying to solve right now. It's probably too much to ask for NATO to come to a 28-country agreement on this in the near term.

BLITZER: You heard that Jim Sciutto report that the U.S. and others, Arab allies, they got together to save the Yazidis in Iraq. But it looks like a lot of these Kurds, Christians in Kobani, they could be slaughtered right now.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think that's what we might see.

But I think what we have to understand as well is we're way behind the curve here. We have a freight train that started months, years ago. We have been bombing for months. We're expecting results I think too quickly. I suspect the bombings are having more impact than we know. My experience of watching insurgents, terrorists respond to these is they hate to see this threat from the air.

But we're behind the eight ball and we're trying to get ahead of it. And that will take months or years.

BLITZER: The Kurdish fighters are fierce, but they only have, what, guns. They have got some rifles. They have got very little equipment right now. The Free Syrian Army, they don't seem to be able to do much to protect these people in Kobani either.

There really isn't much hope in the face of this ISIS onslaught.

MUDD: If you're looking for hope today or tomorrow, I would say step back, strap your seat on. We're going to be at this for a long time.

If you're looking for hope six, 12, 24 months down the road, I would have more optimism.

BLITZER: How important is Kobani?

KIMMITT: Well, militarily, it's not very important. But strategically it's significant. If Kobani falls with the entire world watching, this is going to be a significant strategic victory for ISIL and it's going to be a tremendous recruiting tool for ISIL as well.

BLITZER: And especially if they go in there -- and correct me if I'm wrong, Philip -- they go in there and they start videotaping the slaughter of a whole bunch of Kurds or Christians or Arabs, for that matter. From their perspective, they think that helps them get recruits.

MUDD: Look, if you're a terrorist, the success they had a few weeks ago -- I know this is tragic -- is videos that showed beheadings. If you're an insurgent who wants to hold territory and eventually run a government, the success you have in a video is we're taking territory, we're the players you want to join. I think, as Mark said, I think it's a tremendous sort of success in terms of image. I don't think over the course of time, it's a strategic success in terms of territory.

BLITZER: But they have a huge amount of territory right now, ISIS, through Syria and well into Iraq.

You spent a lot of time in Iraq. We used to talk when you were in Baghdad all the time. Can you believe that ISIS controls Mosul, for example? Looks like they're on the verge of potentially taking Fallujah, some of these other places. These are huge, huge important areas where so much American blood and treasure was spent.

KIMMITT: No, that's exactly right, but I also agree with Phil when he said we have got to take a longer-term view of this. Those towns are not going to be retaken in six months, possibly not even 12 months.

The Iraqi security forces need to get their feet back underneath them, need to go on a counteroffensive. It's going to take time and it's going to take patience.

BLITZER: So, realistically, the mission is to degrade ISIS. This notion of defeating ISIS or destroying ISIS at least in the next few years is unrealistic.

MUDD: Look, I don't understand the debate in America today. We have blunted threats in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen.

In most those cases, we do not have boots on the grounds, but we have used partners, for example, we have used drones, we have intelligence assets to damage an adversary. In this case, we're stepping back somehow and saying defeat of the adversary is our measure of success.

I don't get it. Victory to me is using partners to blunt the adversary. We don't have to kill every single one of them.

BLITZER: The U.S. military has been involved in trying to destroy al Qaeda for 13 years. It's been degraded, at least in parts of the Middle East and South Asia, but it certainly hasn't been destroyed, and that's been a 13-year war that has been going on.

KIMMITT: Well, it's going to be longer than that. We talked about this at CENTCOM as the long war, the long war against Islamic extremism. If we think this is not -- there's not a connection between al Qaeda, al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIL, we're fooling ourselves.

This is a long continuous book. It's another chapter, but it's only another chapter. We have got a long way to go before this is over.

BLITZER: General Kimmitt, thanks very much coming in. Philip, thanks to you as well, Phil Mudd.

Still ahead, new Ebola fears after the death of a patient in Dallas. His relatives want to know if he could have been saved. I will ask Dr. Anthony Fauci about that. He heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He's standing by live.


BLITZER: There are fresh questions tonight about the hospital in Dallas, Texas, where the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States was being treated.

Thomas Duncan is the only person to die of Ebola in the United States, and many are now asking if he was receiving the best care available to him and why the hospital initially sent him away.

Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is in Dallas with more on what is going on?

What's the very latest, Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Duncan's nephew issued a statement today saying that he was concerned that the white patients treated for Ebola in the U.S. lived, but that the one black man who was treated died. So the hospital had responded to these kinds of allegations earlier and they said: "He was treated the way any other patient would have been treated regardless of nationality or ability to pay for care. We have a long history of treating a multicultural community in this area."

As you mentioned, there have been these concerns did he get the right treatment as good treatment as other patients have received in this country for Ebola? It took nearly a week to get him an experimental drug, whereas other patients got that drug, got those kinds of drugs much more quickly.

The doctors here -- in a statement, the hospital said that he got his experimental drug as soon as his condition warranted it. Wolf, it's not clear -- when I was in Liberia, doctors who treat Ebola patients said it's really important to get these treatments as soon as possible. It's not clear why he was in the hospital for nearly a week before getting this drug -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Elizabeth, thanks very much.

Let's get some more now with one of the doctors in charge of the U.S. response to this outbreak.

Joining us is Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a real world expert on this issue.

Dr. Fauci, thank you very much for joining us.

As you know, there's a lot of fear right now concerning Ebola all over the country. So how do you balance people walking into hospitals, emergency rooms with Ebola and people are panicking? They go to the hospital thinking they may have Ebola, they just have a fever, they have an upset stomach, because you see this going on all on in emergency rooms all the country right now.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, Wolf, I think the best way to approach that is to, first of all, respect the concern and the fear and understand it, but to try and emphasize that you have got to base how you act and how you approach a certain situation based on the scientific evidence that we know.

I know because people come over to me and say, I don't feel well, do you think I have Ebola? The reality is, there's been one person in this country who has come here with Ebola. And that's Mr. Duncan, who unfortunately passed away.

He's had contact with a certain group of people that are now under surveillance and being monitored on a daily basis to see if they develop symptoms.

So if an individual had no contact or even any remote chance of contact with someone who was actively sick with Ebola, then if you wake up with a sniffle or whatever it is, you don't have Ebola. So you should not be worrying about it, because the evidence tells us that there's really no chance that you would have it.

If you are in close proximity, you had contact with and were exposed to bodily fluids of a person with Ebola, like many of our colleagues in West Africa are, then that's a big risk. But if you're at no risk, you shouldn't imagine that you're at a risk for Ebola.

BLITZER: The director of the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Thomas Frieden, a man you know, he said the world needs to act now so Ebola, in his words, doesn't become the world's next AIDS. What does he mean by that?

FAUCI: Well, I mean, I'm not sure precisely, but I what I think that Tom meant was that, early on, when I and Tom -- I'm a little older than Tom, but not that much older.

But back in the '80s when we were dealing with HIV-AIDS, there was a lot of unknowns. People were making assumptions about getting infected by going into a restaurant and being waited upon by a gay waiter who might be HIV-infected. That was all things that were just fueled by fear. We don't want that to happen here.

We want to take this epidemic very seriously and we want to do things according to the protocols that the CDC has recommended and developed. But we don't want to start becoming frightened over something that doesn't justify fear. I think that's what he was referring to, because back then, there was a lot of fear about things that were completely unrealistic.

BLITZER: I want to show our viewers some video, Dr. Fauci, from our CNN reporter Nima Elbagir. She's a courageous reporter. She's in Monrovia, Liberia, right now.

A nurse wore a camera inside a government-run treatment center there in Liberia. This is the first time we're seeing what it looks like to take care of someone with Ebola over there in Liberia. How do you get this under control in Africa? This is a horrible situation. The CDC said if it's not under control, a million people, even more, could be suffering from Ebola by January or February.


What we need to do is what we have been talking about for some time now. We have got to make sure we get the resources that are needed to identify, isolate, treat safely, protect health care workers, and importantly do contact tracing and doing the appropriate isolation if someone is at a high risk or has been exposed to Ebola in a way that they are infected or at least suspected of being infected.

This has to be done. We need the resources. We need many more beds, thousands of beds. We need hundreds, if not thousands of health care workers that we need to train. The United States has stepped up very, very aggressively in our efforts.

As you know, we're sending the military there, 3,000 to 4,000 troops. They're going to give command, control, logistics, engineering and set up the hospitals. But we can't do it alone, Wolf. We have got to have the community of nations chip in and make sure that this is a global response.

The CDC's correct. If we don't do that, this has the possibility of expanding in a way that's truly extraordinary, in a much larger effect than we're seeing right now.

BLITZER: That's why 4,000 U.S. military personnel are heading over there to Liberia to deal with this crisis. That may not be enough by any means. We will see if any other countries get involved to the extent that U.S. is now getting involved.

Dr. Fauci, I want to read a powerful statement from Josephus Weeks. He's Thomas Eric Duncan's nephew. He's the Liberian who died from Ebola in Dallas yesterday.

"It is suspicious to us that all the white patients survived and this one black patient passed away. It took eight days to get him medicine. He didn't begin treatment in Africa, he began treatment here, but he wasn't given a chance."

What's your response when you hear that kind of statement?

FAUCI: You know, Wolf, it's understandable.

There's a great pain when you lose a loved one. And oftentimes you try and look for reasons why it happened. Sometimes those reasons could be misplaced. I believe he received excellent care in the Texas hospital. Clearly, there was a misstep early on when he wasn't diagnosed immediately when he came to the emergency room.

But I cannot believe as a physician who deals with physicians and hospitals all over that they deliberately and in any way did not give this man the best possible care that they had. They have a history of treating a multicultural group of people at that hospital. So though I can understand the pain of the relatives, I just can't believe that he was deliberately treated in a less well way than others.

BLITZER: Dr. Fauci, thanks very much for joining us and thanks for what you and your team are doing over at NIH right now. We appreciate it very much.

Just ahead, new airport screenings for Ebola are set to begin in the United States, but will they do enough to protect the spread of the deadly virus? We have two of our experts standing by with live answers. There they are, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and our own Richard Quest. They are here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We will discuss when we come back.


BLITZER: Aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is at Washington's Dulles International Airport. What's the latest over there?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, in less than 48 hours, we will begin to see the more rigorous screening procedures roll out at U.S. airports. Of course, the goal is to play defense against the deadly Ebola virus.

But even before the security or the screening measures begin, already some people are questioning how effective they will be.


MARSH (voice-over): At airports in West Africa, in countries hardest hit by the Ebola virus, everyone departing is checked for a fever. Now five major U.S. airports are about to begin temperature checks for travelers when they land here. But some experts say the new screening provides a false sense of security.

DR. AMESH ADALJA, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER: People can take Tylenol. They can take ibuprofen, and they can mask that fever. So this can't a full-proof strategy for keeping Ebola out of the country.

MARSH: Over the last few months, authorities at West African airports denied boarding to 77 people with fevers or other Ebola symptoms. None of those cases turned out to be the disease.

ADALJA: You have to remember, people have fevers for lots of reasons and you're going to be looking, really, for a needle in a haystack. Mr. Duncan wouldn't have been identified by this -- by temperature screening.

MARSH: Temperature checks were announced after Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S., died in a Dallas hospital Wednesday. The CDC does not believe Duncan had any Ebola symptoms when he arrived. U.S. officials acknowledge that, even with the new measures, more Ebola cases could arrive in the U.S.

SYLVIA MATHEWS BURWELL, HHS SECRETARY: I don't think we're making a claim that anything is 100 percent secure. But what's most importantly, we know. MARSH: Now authorities in England are ramping up their screening

procedures in two London airports and its EuroRail train stations. And Canada is planning increased screening, as well.

JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: My goal is that we create internationally as many different checkpoints as possible for travelers who go through the system.

MARSH: Meanwhile, in New York, 200 workers at LaGuardia's Airport walk off the job, following ongoing complaints they say include a lack of equipment and training.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ebola scare is one of the huge parts of it, because the workers are cleaning the planes. They find all kinds -- all sorts of things: needles, you know, vomit, all kinds of stuff.


MARSH: Well, their employer has a different story, saying that they updated those employees on new Ebola protocols just last week. However, we just a short time ago heard from the Port Authority. They say they've agreed to listen to these workers' concerns. After hearing that, the workers said they will return to work.

Back to you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Rene. Thanks very much. Rene Marsh over at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C.

Let's dig deeper. Joining us, our CNN anchor, the aviation correspondent Richard Quest, and our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, let's talk a little bit about these screenings at airports. By no means they're going to be perfect. People will slip through, right?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think there's no question. I think the context is important here.

You know, fever is often the first sign that someone is starting to get sick. And that's why it's an effective potential screening tool. But keep in mind, you know, we talk about this known as the incubation period. That is the time between exposure and the time someone starts to develop symptoms. It can be as long as 21 days. It's typically somewhere around eight days. It's those days in between. You've been exposed, but you don't yet develop symptoms, you're getting on a plane. The screening is not going to pick that up.

Now I do want to point out one thing, Wolf. If you look back over the past couple of months, they've been doing these exit screenings out of these West African countries, about 36,000 people have been screened. A quarter of those people going to the United States. Seventy-seven of those people had a fever, 77 out of 36,000. And we know none of them -- they were found to have other causes for the fever. None of them were found to have Ebola. So we're not talking about particularly large numbers here.

But again, to your point, there is a period of time when someone could potentially sneak through.

BLITZER: And if someone had a fever on the plane, they could take an Advil or a Tylenol or some other medication, and the fever would go away, right?

GUPTA: Yes. I mean, look, if someone wanted to game the system, so to speak, they could even take a Tylenol or something before they got to the airport before the screening and then potentially get through that way.

You know, when people start to develop higher fevers, they likely have other symptoms. So if they're examined, you look in their eyes start to develop redness, these types of things, they may come under a little bit more scrutiny. But certainly, if the thought is that someone knows they've been exposed, they now want to get out of Liberia or Sierra Leone or Guinea, wherever it may be, they could take a Tylenol. They could do something like that and expose the imperfections, if you will, of the system.

BLITZER: Richard, you're here in Washington. There's a meeting of world leaders going on at the IMF, the International Monetary Fund. What are you hearing about what the international community should be doing to deal with this Ebola crisis?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This is not about policy now, Wolf. This is about practicality. What we heard today from the head of the IMF and the World Bank, they need basic raw resources. Medicines, beds, tents, mobile hospitals. And most importantly, they need qualified staff to go there.

The president of the World Bank said to me today that the U.S. hospital system have not yet provided sufficient numbers of people to go there and help. And that's what they're really calling for. This is now all about literally medical boots on the ground.

BLITZER: This is an international crisis, and literally hundreds of thousands, about a million could potentially be infected in Africa if nothing is done between now and January or February. That's what the CDC of Atlanta is saying.

Sanjay, just getting word, and I want your reaction from Spain that seven more people have now been admitted to hospitals. Fears of Ebola growing there. We heard about that one nurse who has Ebola, contracted it in Spain. It looks like there are 14 people in hospitals in Spain dealing with this crisis. Give us some perspective.

GUPTA: Well, there's a lot of fear, and there's some collision of fear and what will actually turn out to be true Ebola may be a much smaller number if any of those people at all.

You know, this is a person we know who was moving around the city. May have had a mild fever at that point, and obviously, the concern is, could she potentially have been infectious at that time?

I can tell you, typically with mild fever, people aren't spreading the disease. It's when they get quite sick, and the virus is in their bodily fluids, and those bodily fluids get on somebody else. That's when they start spreading the disease.

So look, I understand the fear, and they're probably going to look at these people carefully, see if they can get sick, and if they do get sick, it will test them. But I think statistically, if you had to look at it, the odds are probably on their sides still that they're going to be OK.

BLITZER: The initial person who got Ebola in Spain is a health worker, a nurse's assistant. I assume health workers all over the world are pretty nervous right now.

GUPTA: You know, it's interesting, Wolf. When this first happened, we've been looking at what happened to this particular nurse, and, you know, the idea that she got sick, she wasn't sure about how she got sick initially, and people started to speculate, does that mean that Ebola is transmitting in a different way? I mean, healthcare workers are getting sick.

And what we found out subsequently, that she likely touched a part of her skin with a glove that may have been contaminated. The point is this, that, you know, there's a human error component to this. There are breaches to protocol, which is why healthcare workers could possibly get sick. They're the ones taking care of sick patients.

But to -- to extrapolate and say, well, this now means Ebola is transmitting more quickly, more widely in some ways, I don't think it means that. So I think the science stays the same. The fear grows, which is understandable, but the science hasn't changed.

BLITZER: Richard, you saw in New York these workers who clean plans, they're on strike right now. They're afraid to go into those planes because of needles there, vomiting there. What's going on here, because I'm sure that they are very, very worried about what's going on?

QUEST: What's going on is unbridled fear now, and it will get worse and it will grow until the crisis is put to bed.

What the World Bank basically said today, Wolf, which is really interesting, is if you look at what the U.S. is doing at the airports, this is the equivalent of putting a wet towel under the door of a building on fire. It's not going to do much good. The only way to deal with this crisis, Wolf, they believe, all the experts say, is where the fire is, and that's in West Africa. More resources need to go there.

BLITZER: Is it fair, Sanjay, to say that planes in general, when you get on a plane, whether a small or a big plane, that there's potentially a lot of stuff on that plane where you can get infected?

GUPTA: I think it's a theoretical possibility. And you know, that obviously -- you know, when you're the person on the plane and you hear it's a theoretical possibility, that -- that's frightening. It's not likely to happen. I mean, if someone actually had contaminated a plane, someone who had been ill and subsequently found to have Ebola, could the virus still live on some surfaces? Yes. The answer is yes, it could live on surfaces. Is it likely to get somebody else sick? It could happen and, you know, we're dabbling on the edges here, Wolf, a bit.

But again, if you're the person who is going to potentially be on that plane next, you can understand the fear.

BLITZER: Sanjay, thank you very much. Richard Quest, Sanjay Gupta, appreciate it.

Just ahead, another story we're following: an officer involved a shooting in the St. Louis area sparking a violent night of protests only miles away from where Michael Brown died in Ferguson, Missouri. New details now about the multiple shots fired between a white police officer and young African-American man.


BLITZER: Violent protests on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri overnight after another officer involved in the shooting in the incident in the St. Louis area. Police say young African-American man fired on a white off-duty police officer.

Let's discuss what's going on. Joining us, John Gaskin of the NAACP, as well as our CNN anchor Don Lemon and our CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director of the FBI.

John, you're there in Missouri after last night's officer-involved shooting in the St. Louis area. Is there a sense that the increased violence, the unrest will never end? What is going on?

JOHN GASKIN, NAACP: Well, we certainly hope that it will not start back up. Last night was a very peaceful night, although you had many people that were angry within that neighborhood, protesters that came from Ferguson and across the area went to the scene of the shooting. You had hundreds there last night. But there was no violence. Police officers used a very large amount of restraint. There was no violence from police officers or towards police officers.

I believe last night, under the circumstances, was a very exceptional and peaceful night considering what we've seen. So, I hope that people will remain peaceful with the protests coming to town this weekend. But tensions are still high. But cooler heads obviously prevailed last night.

BLITZER: Let me talk a little bit about that, Tom, because the St. Louis medical examiner announced that the 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers was shot seven or eight times after firing on the police officer. Officials say he was carrying a stolen gun. So, here's the question, the number of times he was shot, does that surprise you?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think we need to investigate this further, wolf, and see the number of times, all the first couple of shots could have missed. Officers under stress are going to be very inaccurate. We saw this in the South Carolina state trooper shooting where point blank range the officer only wounded the person in the hip. So, it's not easy to hit the target under those stressful situations and at night, as it may appear.

So, we need to analyze if the person, if the young man that was killed never surrendered, never put the gun down, never stopped shooting, and the officer was just shooting away until he finally hit them, you know, that alters the situation a little bit.

BLITZER: You know, Don, what is so worrisome to me and so disturbing is this -- I guess the unraveling of the trust between local community guys and police officers, if you will. It seems to be getting worse based on all these incidents we're seeing. But I'm anxious to get your thought.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It does seem to be getting worse, and it concerns me because police officers must have control. But they also have -- they must have respect. And I have the highest respect for John Gaskin there in St. Louis, but I have to disagree with him, as he's speaking and talking about the protest.

Most of them probably were peaceful, but when you're looking at protesters kicking police vehicles and being aggressive towards the officers -- yes, you have the right to protest, but at some point, when you consider to -- if you continue to go on with not all the information, and to intimidate police officers, and to damage vehicles, you start doing more harm to your cause than good.

So, everyone, including the protesters, need to take a step back if -- when these incidents happen and hopefully it does happen again. To get all of the information before you start to protest, to figure out exactly how you're going to respond.

BLITZER: I want John to respond to that. Go ahead, John.

GASKIN: Well, I definitely do agree with Don, as well. You know, we are encouraging people to remain calm, to allow the prosecutor to allow law enforcement to try to give us as much information as possible.

This investigation is very much different, in my opinion, from Michael Brown's. The prosecutor has been much more transparent. A whole lot more details have come out today than we ever saw with the Michael Brown investigation.

So, we're encouraging people to allow the information to come forward, to remain calm and certainly don't resort to violence, because as Don mentioned, we don't want to do more harm than good in this particular situation at all.

BLITZER: John Gaskin, thanks very much.

Don Lemon, we're going to see you back on CNN later tonight, anchoring "CNN TONIGHT", 10:00 p.m. Eastern. We watch you every night. Tom Fuentes, thanks to you, as well.

We'll have more on this story obviously coming up tomorrow.

Just ahead, did the White House actually try to cover up for one of its interns in that overseas prostitution scandal that snared a number of Secret Service agents? We're going to have late developments.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Did the White House cover up its possible connection to that prostitution scandal that snared a number of Secret Service agencies?

Our White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski has been looking into this. She filed this report.


MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the White House insists its intern was not given any special treatment in the aftermath of 2012 Cartagena prostitution that embroiled some two dozen Secret Service agents and U.S. military, just before a presidential trip to Colombia. They say a hotel record that allegedly showed the intern had a prostitute stay the night, complete with the photocopy of her ID, was nothing more than a slip of paper, not on official stationary, and that a similar record for another suspect in the scandal proved to be false. They say the intern's denials were credible.

Today, that intern is a paid advisor in the State Department's office on global women's issues, and his father, a Democratic donor, now also works for the government. Through his lawyer, the former intern again denied wrongdoing, "Neither he nor his father contacted anyone at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House to seek special treatment. The allegations are false."

As for claims by a Homeland Security investigator that higher ups told to keep evidence involving the White House intern out of the final report, including a claim that at least one Secret Service agent said he saw the intern with a woman he believed to be a prostitute, the White House refers back to the bipartisan Senate investigation of all of this, it could not substantiate the allegation of a cover-up.

Back then, the White House said this --

JAY CARNEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There have been no specific credible allegations of misconduct by anyone on the White House advance team or the White House staff.

KOSINSKI: Yet, what remains are questions about whether the White House's own investigation went far enough or nearly as far as that of the Secret Service agents.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, at the forefront of the current investigation into Secret Service blunders, wrote a letter to the White House chief of staff, requesting all documents related to the White House review, saying it is unclear how the White House came to its conclusion. Did the White House conduct a thorough and exhaustive review?


KOSINSKI: There are some in the Secret Service now who are wondering, were they held to a different standard than the White House intern? Remember, they got polygraph tests.

Congressman Chaffetz is asking, did the White House even go and interview any of the agents who supposedly saw this intern with an alleged prostitute and it's unclear if that had even been substantiated beyond that. But at this point, it appears that the White House primarily interviewed its own staff -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Michelle Kosinski, thank you very much.

More news we're following in what could be a preview of 2016. Hillary Clinton and the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, they are out on the campaign trail today. They are stumping for rival gubernatorial candidates in Pennsylvania.

Our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar is joining us live from Philadelphia.

Brianna, how is it going?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This was an interesting match-up here today, Wolf, to say the least. Chris Christie campaigning for the Republican incumbent Tom Corbett, who is very much the underdog in this race. He took the stage about an hour before Hillary Clinton took the stage here in the heart of Philadelphia, for Tom wolf, the challenger who is up very much in the polls and poised to deliver for Democrats one of the biggest turnovers of the gubernatorial level this off-year election.

Very different campaign styles. Christie was he was in the suburbs of Philadelphia, really attacking Tom Wolf, calling him outright a liar and focusing on Corbett's experience. Here's what he said.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You cannot anticipate when you go into the voting booth in 26 days, every issue that will come across the governor's desk. The only thing you can count on for certain is the honesty and the integrity of the person you put in that chair. That is all you can count on.


KEILAR: Clinton trying for a more inspirational, positive message, talking about Wolf, but also what appeared to be a tune-up for her own, perhaps, campaign speech. She talked about the positives, the advantage and the blessings of being a American worker and the challenges ahead.

Listen to what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Nobody innovates more, nobody creates more, and we have spent years now clawing our way back out of the hole that was dug in 2008. But we have a lot more to do if we want to unleash our full potential.


KEILAR: And she was focusing on women tonight. Wolf. Equal pay, reproductive rights, big applause lines here in Philadelphia.

BLITZER: I suspect we're going to see a lot more of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail and Chris Christie on the campaign trail over the next few weeks before the November 4th mid-term elections.

Brianna, thanks very much.

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Go ahead, tweet me @wolfblitzer, you tweet the show @CNNSitroom. Please be sure to join us again tomorrow, right here on THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always watch us live or DVR the show so you don't miss a moment.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.