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Anti-ISIS Fighters Reinforce Besieged Town; Russians Blamed for White House Hack Attack; Report: Administration Official Called Netanyahu Chicken; Interview with Marie Harf; Report: U.S. May Treat Foreign Ebola Patients; Obama Lashes Out: 'Respect' Ebola 'Heroes'; Defiant Ebola Nurse: 'I Won't Stick to Guidelines"; New Revelations about North Korea Human Rights Abuses; Insiders Reveal Details About UVA Suspect

Aired October 29, 2014 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, security concerns -- as the U.S. attacks ISIS, are Russian hackers attacking the White House?

I'll ask a State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf.

Defiant noise -- back from treating Ebola patients in Africa, she was freed from isolation in New Jersey.

Can she now get out of quarantine at her home in Maine?

Hannah Graham suspect -- as prosecutors build their cases against Jesse Matthew, we'll hear from a former high school classmate.

And what went wrong -- investigators looking into the rocket launch that ended in a shocking explosion.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


U.S. airstrikes have kept ISIS from overrunning a Syrian border town. Now, the hard-pressed defenders are getting some help on the ground. A convoy of British fighters from Iraq armed with heavy weapons are poised to enter Kobani from Turkey. And dozens of Syrian rebels have already arrived, bringing mortars and machine guns.

But in Iraq, ISIS is committing more atrocities. The terrorists are boasting of the slaughter of 45 Iraqis after a U.S. air drop to their tribe.

The State Department deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf, she's standing by, along w our correspondents and our analysts.

Let's begin with our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara, ISIS brutality continuing. The reign of terror, as it's called, what's going on?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it just becomes more and more unspeakable day after day. The latest, a couple of days ago, the U.S. airdropped supplies, about 7,000 meals, to members of a tribe in Western Iraq that were beginning to turn against ISIS, take up arms against them.

We learned today, no direct connection to that U.S. air drop, but 45 men from that tribe were brutally murdered by ISIS -- pure retaliation for the tribe's move to try and turn against ISIS, to move away from them. As you say, unspeakable brutality. It still is continuing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What's the latest with Kobani -- Barbara?

STARR: Kobani, this border town in Northern Syria near the Turkish border we have all been watching for so many weeks, they appear to be getting some help. These Peshmerga fighters (INAUDIBLE) some from Northern Iraq coming around through Turkey now and entering Kobani with their weapons, with their fighting expertise, a very experienced force. It may help.

But the fighting on the ground in Kobani is still very tough, block by block. The U.S., of course, as you see, still conducting airstrikes there.

BLITZER: And if that were not enough, amidst all of this, Barbara, NATO is now closely watching Russian air activity over Europe.

What's going on there?

STARR: A very startling announcement from NATO today, Wolf, that they are concerned about some stepped-up Russian air activity over European airspace, where thousands of commercial airliners fly.

Let me put up a map for a minute and just let's leave it up there and walk through what is happening between NATO and the Russians.

Over the last two days, NATO has monitored an increased number of Russian flights. They have been over the North Atlantic, the Balkans, the Baltic, and to the east, in the Black Sea.

A number of European air forces have responded. They are intercepting these flights. They are generally Russian Bear bombers with refueling aircraft in groups of eight.

Now, here's the problem. They're not doing anything particularly illegal. They are not violating airspace. They are being intercepted. There has been no startling military move.

But the problem, they are not filing flight plans. They are not using their transponders. And they are not in radio contact with civilian air traffic control over Europe. This is raising concerns.

The civilian air traffic controllers, the commercial aircraft that fly all over the European continent, those air traffic controllers need to know what is out there. And the Russians are keeping silent.

It can be a very dangerous situation.

BLITZER: It certainly can be. A very, very disturbing situation, at least for now. All right, stand by, Barbara.

Thank you.

There's other breaking news we're following. The White House has been hit by hackers and the cyber security breach is thought to have originated in Russia.

Let's get some details now.

Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is standing by -- Pamela, what are you learning?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning that two U.S. officials with knowledge of the breach are saying that this early indication is that it's believed to be emanating from Russia, given the complexity of the breach. Officials say it wouldn't be surprising if it was backed by the government.

But it's too early to know that for certain. They are still investigating this.

And according to "The Washington Post," it appears the White House may not have been the ones to actually detect its computer systems, having been compromised several weeks ago, but instead, an ally then alerted the administration.

A White House official says for security reasons, we are not saying who is responsible, but that it is not to say we are not aware.

And here's what White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had to say today.


JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our efforts are ongoing and by publicly revealing what we know, it might affect our ability to learn more.


BROWN: To assess the threat, cyber security teams initiated temporary outages on its computer network to defend the system. U.S. officials saying that it appears the breach was relatively well contained, but it's so concerning because it was able to penetrate what is supposed to be one of the most secure systems in the U.S. -- Wolf, that is something the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are investigating as we speak.

BLITZER: Amazing stuff, indeed.

All right, thanks very much, Pamela for that.

Meanwhile, there is a stunning new report out there that suggests the apparent rift between the United States and Israel, at least some of the leadership, is deeper than a lot of people thought. "The Atlantic Monthly" quoting Obama administration officials as making crude comments about the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, and suggesting he's cowardly.

That follows controversial public comments by a top Israeli official.

Let's get the very latest from our senior White House senior correspondent, Jim Acosta.

What's going on in the U.S.-Israeli relationship -- Jim?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the White House quickly jumped into damage control mode today after some offensive comments directed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from an unnamed senior Obama administration official on the fraying relations between the U.S. and Israel.

"Atlantic" magazine's Jeffrey Goldberg quoted the official using a nickname for Netanyahu and saying, "The thing about Bebe is he is a chicken (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE)."

Netanyahu, for his part, sounded deeply offended by all of this, offered some heated comments of his own in a speech in Israel saying, quote, "I have been on the battlefield many times. I risked my life for the country. And I am not willing to make concessions that would endanger our country."

Now many of these disagreements between the Obama administration and Netanyahu, they're well-known. They center around Iran's nuclear program and expansion of settlements in places like East Jerusalem.

Now, when asked whether the president should personally reach out and apologize to Netanyahu, the White House declined to say whether that would even happen.

Here's what Josh Earnest had to say.


ACOSTA: Has the president called Prime Minister Netanyahu and apologized on behalf of this official who made this comment?

EARNEST: I don't have any calls on the president's schedule to tell you about. But I think I can confidently say that based on the numerous conversations that President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have held, that the prime minister is well aware of the value that President Obama personally places on the strength of the relationship between the United States and Israel.


ACOSTA: Now, House Speaker John Boehner suggested the president should fire somebody over the comments in "The Atlantic," saying -- and we can put this up on screen -- "The president sets the tone for his administration. He either condones the profanity and disrespect used by the most senior members of his administration or he does not." As for Josh Earnest, he responded to that comment from John Boehner, saying that the speaker has a, quote, "penchant for salty language."

And we should point out, back in 2008, the speaker was quoted as saying that then Senator Obama was chicken (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE) for voting "present" so many times when he was a state lawmaker in Illinois -- Wolf.

All right, let's get some more on this.

Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Joining us now, the State Department deputy spokeswoman, Marie Harf. Marie, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: A pretty ugly word, chicken (EXPLETIVE LANGUAGE). We're not going to say what it is.

Is that what the administration believes the prime minister of Israel is?

HARF: Not at all. And one anonymous source in an article does not represent this administration's views toward Israel, toward the prime minister.

Secretary Kerry speaks to him on a regular basis, probably as much as any other world leader. The president has met with him more than any other world leader.

Our relationship with Israel is unshakeable. We have an incredibly strong security relationship. We stand by them, whether it's at the U.N. Often standing alone, or elsewhere on the world stage.

So, again, I know it's an interesting story and a -- and a headline grabbing quote, but this does not in a way represent this administration's views toward Israel.

BLITZER: But there is deep irritation at the Israeli government for expanding settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

HARF: Well, no two allies agree on every single issue. You can say that about every one of our allies in the world. And when we disagree, we raise it as friends do.

But we believe the best place to do that is privately. That's the most constructive way to raise these kinds of issues when we do disagree.

That's what we do and that's what we hope happens going forward.

BLITZER: The Israeli defense minister was here in Washington last week, Moshe Ya'alon. He might want the Defense secretary, John -- Chuck Hagel, excuse me. But he wasn't invited to meet with your boss, John Kerry. He wasn't invited to meet with Susan Rice, the national security adviser, Samantha Power, the U.N. Ambassador, the vice president, Joe Biden.

His predecessor, Ehud Barak, when he was defense minister, he used to meet with all of them whenever he came to Washington.

What happened?

Was this a deliberate snub because of what the Israeli defense minister had said about John Kerry?

HARF: Well, look, the defense minister of Israel met with his counterpart here. And he's met with a wide range of U.S. Officials in the past in this position, including John Kerry, my boss, and others.

So we have a very wide ranging relationship with the Israelis, the closest security relationship we've ever had. We have stood by them throughout this whole administration. And again, this -- this article is in no way representative of how my boss, Secretary Kerry, looks at the situation, of how the president does. It's just not how we all do.

BLITZER: Was the secretary, the secretary of State, deeply offended by the Israeli defense minister's comments about him?

This was a few months ago, when he was criticizing him for trying to advance the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

HARF: Well, I think the term I more would use is disappointed, that the Secretary has worked tirelessly on the peace process because we know that's in the best interests of Israel's security, to try to advance a two-state solution.

He has traveled there, as you know, numerous times, numerous phone calls, hours and hours, working very hard to see if we can provide Israel more security through a two-state solution. Again, we believe both sides should not resort to any kind of personal name calling, keep the relationship constructive. That's what we're going to do.

BLITZER: And Maria, I want you to stand by.

We have a lot more to discuss, including this State Department memo that seems to be circulating. It's causing a lot of buzz out there, a lot of concern. Maybe it's time, at least some officials in the State Department believe, to start bringing Ebola patients from West Africa to the United States. We'll discuss that and more when we come back.


BLITZER: There's a report out there that the United States may commit to treating professionals from other countries, not Americans, who become infected with Ebola in West Africa.

We're back with the State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf. You've seen this report that the -- there's an internal memo circulating in the State Department some of these people may have come down with Ebola in Liberia, or Guinea or Sierra Leone and may be brought to the United States for treatment. Is that true?

HARF: Not at all. Not at all. We're not considering bringing non- Americans to the U.S. who have Ebola to be treated. This memo that you're talking about is an internal draft from weeks ago. It was never cleared by anyone in senior level. It was written by a mid- level staffer, and it has no basis if what we're actually going to be doing. We have no place to do this, period.

BLITZER: What would be wrong, though, if you have someone from Britain or France or some other volunteer doctor or nurse over there who has got Ebola and needs U.S. help. What would be wrong with bringing them to NIH or Emory University Hospital. There's something wrong with that.

HARF: Well, in practice, obviously, the reason the memo was written at that time again, several weeks ago, was that this was when western European countries were in discussions about what would happen if, as you said, one of their health workers were to get sick. That's why the memo was written.

You're right. If someone gets sick and needs treatment, we should look at all of the options, but to be very clear at this point, we do not have plans to bring non-Americans to the U.S. for treatment. Could not be more clear than that.

BLITZER: Is Russia trying to hack the cyber -- the computer system over at the White House?

HARF: Well, I know my White House colleague spoke to that today. We know there are a number of actors who are looking to see if they can penetrate our system here. When there are activities of concern that are seen on the system, obviously, people look into them and try to mitigate them.

BLITZER: Would that be a violation of that -- we know that the U.S. spies on Russia. The Russians spy on the United States. I assume this kind of stuff goes on all the time.

HARF: Well, I wouldn't assume that this kind of stuff goes on all of the time, but look, you know, people are trying to get into our systems, and we don't think it's acceptable. We have our systems protected for a reason, and if we see concerning activities, we'll address it.

BLITZER: Let's talk about ISIS and the war against ISIS and Syria and Iraq. There are reports now that ISIS has been using this chlorine gas, poison gas against the Kurds, whether in Syria or Iraq. Against Iraqi forces inside Iraq. Is that true?

HARF: Well, we're still looking into those reports. We've seen a number of them at this point. We think there may be some validity. We can't confirm it for certain yet. Obviously, it would be incredibly concerning. We talked about this. The reason we wanted to get those chemical weapons out of Syria was so they wouldn't fall into the hands of terrorists and so the Assad regime can't use them. BLITZER: But do you know if the ISIS forces have chemical weapons?

Because as you know, there were plenty of chemical weapon, I guess, stockpiles left over at various places not only in Syria, but presumably in Iraq, as well.

HARF: That's true. And in Syria we've obviously made some great steps here in getting the declared chemical weapons out of Syria. Chlorine isn't always classified as a chemical weapon, for technical reasons, but it can be used as one. And so obviously, these reports are concerning. It just shows, again, the barbaric actions this terror group is willing to take, if true, against anyone who gets in their way.

BLITZER: The situation in Kobani right now, what's your analysis? What's going on right now, because ISIS claims they basically have it under control? We saw that video they released the other day. What's your understanding?

HARF: Well, still fighting, as Barbara Starr said, I think a few minutes ago, block by block, and this is going to be a tough fight. We have supported the forces on the ground, fighting ISIL in Kobani, and obviously, we think that's important to do, because ISIL has put more resources into it and put more focus on it. So that's why we've supported them with air drops, obviously. But it's going to be a tough challenge, and no one town, as we said, will define this entire effort.

BLITZER: Are you satisfied with the level of cooperation you're getting in this war against ISIS from the NATO allies, and Turkey?

HARF: We are and I know this is a topic of constant conversation among -- among people in Washington, certainly, but we are. There are a number of ways Turkey is contributing to this coalition along various lines of effort. They've played a very key role. Obviously, they are affected by ISIL more than almost anyone in the region, given their proximity geographically.

BLITZER: Marie Harf, thanks very much for joining us.

HARF: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, President Obama lashes out at what he sees as the disrespect being shown to America's Ebola heroes. Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was there in the room today when the president met with some of the doctors and nurses who have been fighting the virus in Africa.

And later, new details from insiders who know the main suspect in the kidnapping of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: There's some breaking news in the fight against Ebola just now. Over at the White House, President Obama insisted the doctors and nurses who volunteer to fight Ebola at its source in West Africa are examples of American exceptionalism.

Only days after a nurse who showed no signs of illness was held in quarantine against her will by orders of the New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, the president struck a defiant tone, demanding America's returning heroes, as he called them, be treated with respect.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have hundreds of Americans from across the country -- nurses, doctors, public health workers, soldier, engineers, mechanics -- who are putting themselves on the front lines of this fight. They represent citizenship and patriotism and public service at its best. They make huge sacrifices to protect this country that we love, and when they come home they deserve to be treated properly.

When I hear people talking about American leadership and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction, and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated. So I put those on notice who think that we should hide from these problems.


BLITZER: Strong words from the president. Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he was over there at the White House, in the room, when the president met with those Ebola specialists. Sanjay is joining us now from the White House.

So Sanjay, take us inside. How did it go?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It felt like he was frustrated like you just heard there. And he also talked a lot about the fact that the idea of imposing these quarantines would discourage healthcare workers from actually doing their work in West Africa. It's a big issue. Obviously, a lot of people have differing opinions on this.

I spoke to Dr. Kent Brantly afterwards, as well. He introduced the president today, Wolf. You remember him. He was the first patient that came to the United States with Ebola and was treated at Emory University. He also sort of reinforced those points that these quarantines would likely discourage health workers from going back, even discourage someone like him from going back.

But I also asked him about the case of Dr. Craig Spencer. He was up walking around on subways and bowling alleys, and after getting back he'd been feeling sluggish for a couple of days, but it took a couple of days for him to be diagnosed with Ebola. I asked Dr. Brantly about that situation specifically. Take a listen.


DR. KENT BRANTLY, RECOVERED FROM EBOLA: I think the important thing to remember is that people, even who have been exposed to Ebola, do not transmit the disease, they don't shed the violence until they're febrile and symptomatic.

I think Dr. Spencer was making -- I think ultimately, he did what was right. How he was feeling those two days, I don't -- I don't know that I can even put myself in his shoes. My situation was totally different.

GUPTA: I ask because I think it's one of those areas as a doctor myself that's a little bit gray, right? I mean, it's not a binary thing. You don't suddenly become infectious at a particular minute of a particular hour. But if someone was feeling sluggish after having done this work, this is the question people are asking. He's unlikely to have transmitted the virus, but just out of abundance of caution, this term that gets thrown around a lot, should he have just basically stayed away from people?

BRANTLY: Again, I'll say I think Dr. Spencer did the right thing. I think those who come after him will be even more cautious, because they've seen the response that happened when he was following those guidelines that were in place for him.


GUPTA: I thought it was really interesting, Wolf, because again, he says he thinks Dr. Spencer did the right thing. But he's had a chance now to see the response to all this. And he believes -- Dr. Brantly believes that, as a result of that, that the returning healthcare workers now may be more cautious in the future.

BLITZER: It does send some sort of signal out there.

Sanjay, stay with me for a moment, because I want to come back to you. But there was also some defiance today from Kaci Hickox. She's the Ebola nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey when she got back from Africa, and now she's back in her home in Maine, still showing absolutely no signs of any illness.

Hickox says she will not obey Maine state officials' instructions to seclude herself inside her home.

Let's bring in someone who knows her. Dr. Seema Yasmin is joining us. She's a former CDC disease detective, now a writer for "The Dallas Morning News."

Seema, so we're seeing police cruisers guarding the house Kaci Hickox is being forced to stay inside of right now under mandatory quarantine, but she's not keeping quiet at all. I want you to listen to what she said earlier today on ABC.


KACI HICKOX, NURSE: You know, I remain really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies from aid workers. I think we're JUST only adding to the stigmatization that, again, is not based on science or evidence.

And if these restrictions are not removed for me from the state of Maine by tomorrow morning, Thursday morning, I will go to court to attain my freedom.


BLITZER: All right. Seema, so Kaci Hickox, she's a friend of yours. What is she telling you, and are you worried about her?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, WRITER, "DALLAS MORNING NEWS": Well, we know this is panning out to be somewhat of a test case, Wolf. So it will be interesting to see how it evolves. We know that with legal counsel and legal advice, she is going to take this to court and we'll just have to see what happens there.

We know that she's well. She doesn't have any symptoms. She's healthy. But that's really reassuring. And she's very concerned about what kind of stigma this puts on returning healthcare workers, people like her.

We heard again today from the World Health Organization that they need 5,000 more Kacis to go to West Africa if we're ever going to stop this outbreak in its tracks any time soon. We need more people going there to stop the spread. We need to make sure when their return, that they're treated with respect and dignity.

BLITZER: What do you think about this quarantine in Maine for this nurse, Sanjay?

GUPTA: You know, I think the science has been pretty clear on this.

And one thing that sort of struck me, watching what's happened with Kaci Hickox on and listening to the president today, you know, I sort of realize. I don't think that this is a fundamental lack of understanding of science.

When I talk to people I think that they fundamentally get the science, that you're not going to likely transmit this virus unless somebody is ill with Ebola symptoms.

I think this is not so much a lack of understanding as it is some distrust. There's just distrust of what they've heard. I think what happened in Dallas may have fostered some of that distrust, and I think that that's -- you know, how that gets repaired going forward, I think, is very important. As Seema mentioned, this is sort of a test case here, but it comes in the context of the first patient who was diagnosed with Ebola, Mr. Duncan, in doing what he did in Dallas.

So we have to see how -- how this goes, I think, over the next days and weeks.

BLITZER: But Seema, there seems to be a lot of confusion out there and mixed signals coming from the federal government.

On the one hand, the CDC has these guidelines. The president obviously being very passionate about adhering to these guidelines. But then the Defense Department goes ahead and says every U.S. soldier coming home from West Africa, they -- all of the U.S. troops -- there's a thousand of them there right now. There could be up to 4,000. No matter what they did, no matter how much contact they may have had with Ebola patients or absolutely no contact with anyone with Ebola, they will all be in quarantine for 21 days.

And so that sends a little confusing message. Two arms of the U.S. government: one for civilians and one with military with very different standards.

YASMIN: Absolutely, and just a sheer inconsistency of the policies is very confusing. And inconsistency, we know, among the public leads to people just to actually being more anxious, in fact, and they're feeling more insecure. They're questioning, "Well, what policy should I believe? Is the CDC? Is Maine or New Jersey correct?" We need more consistency here to actually build more trust among the public.

BLITZER: What do you think about this military decision, and the secretary of defense, Sanjay, signed off on it today, that all U.S. troops serving in West Africa in these three Ebola hot zone countries, as they're called, all of them will have to spend 21 days in quarantine, mandatory, once they leave?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I read that very carefully. I listened to Secretary Hagel's remarks. It was interesting. He sort of couched in this idea that it was unclear whether he thought -- you know, he characterized many of these military personnel as being young. Even unclear whether they could actually go through the self-monitoring on their own, whether they would need sort of -- sort of some help with the compliance in that regard.

So it wasn't so much, at least from the remarks I read, that he was saying the science was wrong or anything like that, but just that the idea of monitoring them, they were going to need some help is how he seemed to characterize it.

Wolf, you talk about inconsistencies. Let me just point out something else that I think is very interesting. You have a picture of the president of the United States today, in the White House, in the East Room. He has doctors behind him, some of whom have just returned from West Africa. They're still within that 21-day period. They -- some of them fit the same profile as Kaci Hickox, so she could have been on that stage, as well, but instead she may be in mandatory quarantine in Maine. You know, the White House behind the president or mandatory quarantine. It's remarkable to me.

BLITZER: And the White House, I take it, Sanjay -- you were there, you're still there -- they deliberately wanted to send that message that these people, even within these first 21 days of being outside of Africa, they felt confident. Let them come over to the White House -- I believe you were in the East Room at the White House over there -- and be with the president of the United States. They wanted to deliberately do that, right?

GUPTA: I think it was as much as what you saw today as what you heard. I think the optics were very important. None of them were having any symptoms. They weren't sick at all, so they weren't infectious or transmitting the virus. And I think the fact that, you know, they fall into a category that some states are suggesting those people be quarantined, and instead some of them are here with the president. I think it was a strong message they were trying to send.

BLITZER: And what did you think about that message, Seema? What did you think about bringing people who were fighting Ebola in West Africa into the White House, even though they hadn't been out of Africa for more than -- for 21 days?

YASMIN: Well, it speaks to the science, Wolf. We know that if somebody does not have symptoms, then they're not capable of transmitting the disease. We can't say that enough.

And it's so important to see that these heroes, really, are being welcomed back to the U.S., as they should be. They've made very big personal sacrifices, and their families have made a sacrifice. And as the president said, it's not just charitable work overseas. They're actually protecting all of us who live right here in America.

BLITZER: Let me follow up on your friend, Kaci Hickox, Seema. The Maine governor, Paul LePage, he says today he'll explore all options -- his words, "all options" if Kaci decides to not abide by the quarantine order. And we do know that the Maine CDC and the department of health, they are in the process of filing a court order for Hickox, the state quarantine in Maine.

Kaci's lawyer says she will not observe that mandatory 21-day quarantine. So is she getting ready for a legal showdown with the state of Maine?

YASMIN: I can't speak to that. I'm not a lawyer. But I know we have heard from her legal counsel that that could happen, pending this kind of communication from Maine. I can't comment much further. I don't know the legal details of the case.

BLITZER: So Sanjay, let me ask you, because you were there in Africa earlier this year, this spring. We all saw your reporting from there. It was powerful reporting. You wore all the protective gear.

When you came back at that time and we're showing our viewers some pictures of you in Africa, Sanjay. Did you think about some 21-day, self-quarantine? What was it like when you came back?

GUPTA: I talked to experts, infectious disease experts, both in the country over there in Guinea, as well as experts on the ground here. There was no -- first of all, was there no screening when I left. There was no screening, I should say, when I arrived.

When I left Guinea there was a -- one of the handheld thermometers to take my temperature. And when I arrived there was no further screening.

When I talked to the folks from Doctors Without Borders they said continue to take your temperature, but no -- no need for any kind of quarantine. So I never got sick. I felt fine the entire time and never had any symptoms.

So I -- the guidance that was given by the Centers for Disease Control as well as Doctors Without Borders was very clear, and it's what I followed. I did not go into a quarantine.

BLITZER: Did you take your temperature twice a day?

GUPTA: I took my temperature, yes. We have a thermometer, the same type of thermometer they use at airports. I used that twice a day and never had any problems.

BLITZER: We're all thrilled about that, obviously. Sanjay, thanks very much.

Sanjay Gupta is over at the White House.

Seema Yasmin, thanks to you, as well. Appreciate both of you joining us.

Up next, a scathing new reports on human rights and an appalling double standard in North Korea. Even though its supreme leader enjoys Disney characters from western culture, South Korean officials now say he's tortured and killed others in North Korea for simply watching soap operas.

Also, new details from insiders who know the man accused of kidnapping the University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham.


BLITZER: North Korea's hardline regime has been working hard in recent days to show a bit of a softer image and may have a very good reason to do so. Stunning new revelations about its human rights abuses. Let's got some more from our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott. She's working this story -- Elise.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that U.N. investigator also said that it's time to refer the regime of Kim Jong- Il to the International Criminal Court, saying it's time to take the North Korean's actions to a higher level. And the North Korean leader is desperate to avoid that. And that's why, for the first time, the so-called hermit kingdom is coming out of its shell.


LABOTT (voice-over): The drama in South Korean soap operas like these look harmless enough, but if you believe South Korean officials, Kim Jong-un executed North Korean party officials merely for watching them.

VICTOR CHA, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They can try to purge officials here and there as a deterrent, but the one thing we've learned throughout human history is that human beings, they want information.

LABOTT: And so does Kim Jong-un, himself a fan of western culture.

Here's the North Korean leader watching a performance by Disney characters. And who can forget his fascination with American basketball star Dennis Rodman? But Kim's brutality against his own people has the United Nations

moving toward hauling his regime in front of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. A scathing report on North Korea's human rights record released Tuesday details brainwashing, torture, starvation and imprisonment of citizens for offenses such as questioning the system, practicing Christianity, or trying to escape the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The international community must send an incontrovertible (ph) signal it is determined to follow up the findings and recommendations of the commission.

LABOTT: The fear of being tried before the world court has sent North Korea on a global charm offensive to help bolster its image: releasing American prisoner Jeffrey Fowle, fanning out diplomats across the globe, and the meeting with the United Nations.

The regime has also released photos of a kinder, gentler Kim Jong-un, inspecting an orphanage and checking out the kids' pool and playing with their Hello Kitty toys. Images also meant to portray Kim as healthy and firmly in power after a mysterious six-week disappearance in which South Korea says a European doctor performed surgery on Kim's ankle.


LABOTT: Now, there was a lot of speculation during Kim's absence about a possible coup. Officials said they have no indication of anything like that, but they do note that a referral to the ICC could be a major blow for the regime. And that's why North Korea is taking the rare move of engaging its critics to address its well-documented human rights violations.

You know, Wolf, the North Koreans never like to talk about any criticism that they're facing on the world stage but they're really proactive right now.

BLITZER: Yes. I understand the so-called charm offensive which is why they released Jeffrey Fowle a few days ago as well.

LABOTT: Right.

BLITZER: The American who left a Bible in his hotel room. And that was the alleged crime.

Thanks very much for that.

Up next, we have details never heard before about the suspect in the kidnapping of the University of Virginia student, Hannah Graham.


BLITZER: As the suspect in the kidnapping of the University of Virginia student Hannah Graham prepares for his next appearance before a judge, people who know Jesse Matthew are opening up and revealing new details about his personal life. Let's bring in the investigative journalist Coy Barefoot, who's

joining us from Charlottesville, along with CNN law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.

Coy, Jesse Matthew, as you know, is going to be in court this Friday for the first time facing rape and attempted capital murder charges from an alleged 2005 sexual assault in northern Virginia in Fairfax not far from Washington, D.C. You just spoke with the lawyer representing Matthew in the Hannah Graham case. What can you tell us about that?

COY BAREFOOT, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: That's right, Wolf. Earlier today I was on the phone with Jim Camblos who is Jesse Matthew's attorney, and I asked Jim what we could expect on Friday morning. Will this be a full arraignment, exactly what's going to happen? And he said to me, quote, "Well, we'll see."


BAREFOOT: I'm not sure Jim Camblos knows exactly what to expect on Friday morning. He did say that at the very least, the court will confirm Mr. Matthew's court appointed attorney. That we can expect that. Mr. Camblos has requested that he be the court appointed attorney.

Does that mean that we'll see a full arraignment after that? I'm not sure Mr. Camblos even knows that -- answer to that question.

BLITZER: So this same lawyer, Tom, Jim Camblos, Represents Jesse Matthew in the Charlottesville case and the Fairfax case, what does that signal?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it signals that the cases may not go consecutively. You know, they won't go concurrently. I mean, they'll go consecutively. And he might be able to handle the load that he would have trying to defend him. So another words, if he has the Fairfax trial first, you know, because they're ready to go, we'll see what happens with the other ones because they're not quite ready to prosecute in Morgan Harrington's case or in Hannah Graham.

And they may never. We don't know all the evidence they have or how much more they think they need.

BLITZER: And his appearance Friday, as you know, Tom, it will be via videoconference. He won't physically be in the courtroom in Fairfax County.

All right. Coy, you had a chance to speak exclusively with a friend of Matthew's from high school. What did he have to say about his former classmate?

BAREFOOT: There is much, Wolf, that we have yet to learn about Jesse Matthew. I had an extended conversation with a close friend of his from high school who described L.J. They all knew him as L.J. That was the name by which he went with his friends. They described Jesse Matthew as very outgoing, very friendly, very

popular, with boys and girls. He was -- he was an athlete. He was on the wrestling team. He was on the football team. And he was described as being very polite. Other parents of other students loved Jesse Matthew. And he always had his books with him.

He was always studying, even during lunchtime in the cafeteria. He always had his books open in front of him. When he won the state wrestling championship his senior year, he had the flu and a 102 temperature, be he won anyway.

And that's why all of the people that I have talked to, Wolf, who are close to Jesse Matthew, they remain shocked, absolutely shocked that he could have anything to do with these charges, and they tell me, to a person, they say we saw absolutely no indication that the Jesse Matthew, the L.J. we knew, could possibly be a serial killer or a serial rapist.

BLITZER: Interesting.

You know, Tom, we know that they've wrapped up the search where they found the remains of Hannah Graham. But they have a lot of evidence presumably that the investigators are going through right now. What are they looking for?

FUENTES: They still have the evidence, too, that they've received from his apartment and from the car they searched weeks ago. They're looking for some indication of how Hannah Graham died, and the ability to link him to being the one that murdered her. Just the fact that they've been together, they find his hair or fibers on her isn't enough, because they already knew they were together and walking around downtown Charlottesville.

BLITZER: Coy, you want to add to that?

BAREFOOT: That's right. I mean, we have videotape, we have eyewitnesses that say Jesse Matthew was with Hannah Graham the night she disappeared. So Tom is absolutely correct, that if they find his DNA with her remains that only substantiates the eyewitness accounts and the videos we've all seen. It doesn't mean that he killed her. The police, the investigators have to be looking for evidence of a murder in the case of Hannah Graham.

BLITZER: Very quickly, any new developments, Coy, in another case that they're looking at, the Morgan Harrington case? Apparently there's some suspicion he's linked to that, as well.

BAREFOOT: That's right, Wolf. We know that Morgan Harrington, who is a 20-year-old Virginia Tech student, she went missing in Charlottesville on October 17th, 2009. She was abducted, she murdered. Her remains were found about eight miles south of Charlottesville. And we know that her case is linked by DNA evidence to the case in Fairfax, the same case for which Jesse Matthew is charged.

So I do know and sources tell me that the commonwealth's attorney in Albemarle County is looking very closely at all the evidence and is weighing very seriously some charges in that case, as well.

BLITZER: All right. Coy, thanks very much.

Coy Barefoot, Tom Fuentes, we'll stay on top of this story for our viewers.

Coming up, ISIS slaughters dozens of Iraqis after a U.S. air drop to their tribe. I'll ask about that and a lot more. My exclusive interview with U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno is standing by.