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TSA Failures; Cruise Disaster; Interview With Former New York Governor George Pataki; 400+ Missing After Tornado Capsizes Cruise Ship; CNN Poll: Clinton's Favorable Rating Down Seven Points. Aired 18-19:00p ET

Aired June 2, 2015 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, grave concerns about the ability of airport screeners to detect hidden explosives or weapons.

Deadly cruise disaster. Hundreds are missing after a tornado hits and flips a passenger ship. We're following the frantic rescue operation under way right now.

And disturbing video, a car explosion and fire, captured by a police dash camera. Stand by for details.

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

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: The breaking news tonight, stark new evidence that ISIS has its tentacles here in the United States, recruiting and influencing would-be terrorists. Sources tell CNN a man shot and killed today by Boston police was being tracked around the clock as part of a broader terror investigation.

It's believed 26-year-old Usaama Rahim was radicalized by ISIS. Police say he brandished a large military-style knife when he was approached by police officers. Republican presidential candidate former New York Governor George Pataki, he is here. We will talk about the terror threat and much more. And our correspondents and analysts, they're also standing by, as we cover all the news breaking right now.

First, let's go our national correspondent, Deborah Feyerick. She has the very latest on what happened in Boston -- Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, authorities are questioning two men they believe were in contact with the knife-wielding suspect. And the suspect's own brother is disputing the official version of what happened.


FEYERICK (voice-over): The shooting occurred just before 7:00 a.m. in a CVS parking lot in a Boston disturb. Investigators from the Joint Terrorism Task Force approach suspect Usaama Rahim, sources say, to question him about threats he had made against police officers.

WILLIAM EVANS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: The level of alarm brought us to question him today. I don't think anyone expected the reaction we were going to get out of him.

FEYERICK: Authorities say investigators did not have their guns drawn when Rahim pulled out a large military knife and began moving towards the officers.

EVANS: They kept retreating, verbally giving commands to drop the weapon, drop the weapon. And, at some point, the individual, proximity came close that the officers were in danger. Their lives were in danger. And then two officers discharged their weapons.

FEYERICK: The suspect was shot twice, once in the abdomen, once in the torso. He died of gunshot injuries at a nearby hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prophet of Islam is a prophet of mercy, not bombs.

FEYERICK: Rahim's brother, a well-known Boston imam now living in California gave a different version of events. Posting on Facebook, Imam Ibrahim Rahim says his brother was waiting for a bus to go to work when he was confronted by three officers.

He writes his younger brother -- quote -- "was on his cell phone with my dear father during the confrontation, needing a witness. His last words to my father, who heard the shots, were, I can't breathe."

A law enforcement official says Usaama Rahim appears to have been radicalized online by ISIS and other religious extremists. He was recently put on 24/7 surveillance after FBI agents noticed a change in his behavior and decided to question him.

VINCENT LISI, FBI: There was no arrest warrant for him. There was no intention to arrest him at that point.

FEYERICK: Investigators were questioning two of Rahim's associates, the head of Boston's FBI saying the threat appears to be contained.

LISI: We don't think that there is any concern for public safety out there right now.


FEYERICK: And Rahim's brother, the Boston imam, has been a vocal critic of ISIS. He told CNN's Brian Todd back in 2013 that he would not even officiate at Tamerlan Tsarnaev's funeral because the Boston Marathon attack was so contrary to the principles of Islam.

We did reach out to a local mosque, the spokesperson there saying that they're hoping to get a lot of answer to a number of outstanding questions -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I'm sure they have tons of questions. Thanks very much.

Also tonight, Homeland Security officials are investigating new bomb threats against commercial airliners here in the United States. At least four flights were targeted today after a series of threats about a week or so ago, all this coming amid new controversy surrounding the TSA and serious revelations about failures by airport screeners.

Our aviation correspondent, Rene Marsh, has the latest information for us.

Rene, what is going on?

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It's a taxing situation for local law enforcement, this morning alone, multiple airlines dealing with bomb scares, a United flight to Chicago targeted, a Delta plane to Atlanta targeted, a U.S. Airways flight to Philadelphia also targeted, and a fourth plane after it left Portland, Oregon, headed to Mexico, also received a bomb threat. We do not know at this hour the source of these threats, but law enforcement now investigating.


In all of these cases, passengers were deplaned, and the aircraft checked. Nothing was found. Of course, this comes on the heels of multiple threats to New York-bound planes during the Memorial Day weekend. That also included an Air France flight. Coincidentally, the series of bomb scares come as we are learning more about TSA failures in detecting prohibited items like weapons at airport checkpoints, and now a major shakeup at the top of the agency.


MARSH (voice-over): Acting TSA Administrator Melvin Carraway out after embarrassing news. An undercover operation designed to test TSA's ability to detect explosives and weapons at airport security checkpoints yielded a 95 percent failure rate.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: If in a test the TSA is failing 95 percent of the time, they're failing the American people.

MARSH: CNN has learned undercover teams who smuggled weapons and fake explosives past security were not weapons experts, security or law enforcement. They were regular staff with the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office.

They performed 70 tests. TSA officers failed 67 times, a poor performance not even recently retired TSA head John Pistole can defend.

JOHN PISTOLE, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: This is very disconcerting, completely unacceptable to have a high rate of failures like that.

MARSH: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson now wants screening procedures revised, more training for TSA officers and screening equipment reevaluated.

CHAFFETZ: They have invested over the years billions of dollars in stuff that doesn't work. Remember the puffers, those whole body imaging machines? Those things don't work.

MARSH: TSA has a work force of 46,000 screeners. Billions have been spent on training and equipment. The agency has been dogged by controversy for years from backlash against revealing full body scanners to pat-downs many find intrusive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're harassing a kid?


MARSH: The focus now, preventing terrorists from exploiting vulnerabilities undercover teams exposed.

PISTOLE: TSA has failed in terms of its ability to detect in this particular circumstance. The good news is that millions of prohibited items have been found over the years, I mean, thousands of guns, tens of thousands of knives and other stun guns and things like that.


MARSH: Well, today, we heard the president's thoughts on all of these -- all of this. He believes the American people should feel confident traveling because he says there are multiple layers of security, but, Wolf, he is urging Congress to confirm his nominee for TSA head. Of course, TSA has been without a permanent leader for the last five months. So that's a pretty long time and counting.

BLITZER: Yes, Jeh Johnson, the secretary of homeland security, which oversees the TSA, he has got to make sure that it works. A lot of passengers out there are hearing this, and they're going to be nervous.

MARSH: Exactly.

BLITZER: Rene, thanks very much.

We have more breaking news we're following now in the fight against terrorism. Just a little while ago, the U.S. Senate approved a bill to reform domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency. The measure now heads to the president's desk, almost two days after at least some NSA powers expired, and after weeks of political wrangling.

Our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, is up on Capitol Hill.

Dana, after all the debate, the vote to approve was overwhelming in the Senate, as it was earlier in the House. It now goes to the president for his signature, right?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. It wasn't even close, Wolf, but 67 senators voted to approve it.

And the president actually just released a statement moments ago tweaking the Congress, saying, after needless delay and inexcusable lapse, he is gratified that he is finally going to get this bill.

The bottom line of what happened is that you had this very unlikely alliance of the president of the United States, House Republicans, who are usually his chief opponents on so many issues, supporting him in passing this Patriot Act with these controversial programs, but with reforms. Many in the Senate agreed. The person who disagreed was the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who you're hearing right now.

He thought these reforms weakened the program, made this country less safe. That's why he was trying to change it. And, at the end of the day, he did not prevail. Having said all that, Wolf, this all could have and should have been done a long time ago. It went right up to the wire, even over the wire. At the end of the day, that was primarily because his junior colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul, as we all know, launched a filibuster, or waged a filibuster.

And he kind of bested the majority leader on tactics and on the politics of this. And he certainly has been effectively running on this issue on the campaign trail for president.


BLITZER: All right, Dana, thanks very much, Dana Bash up on Capitol Hill.

Let's talk a little bit more about homeland security, the threat of terrorism to the United States.

Joining us now, the Republican presidential candidate George Pataki. He was the New York State governor, including during and after 9/11.

Governor, thanks very much for joining us.

GEORGE PATAKI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good evening, Wolf. Nice being with you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

You have said that now is probably the most dangerous time for Americans since September 11. Why do you say that?

PATAKI: Well, that's right.

Just listen to the news you just had on about the Joint Task Force killing someone they had been -- believe had been radicalized by ISIS here in the United States. We had the incident a couple of weeks ago in Garland, Texas, where American citizens who had been radicalized, they -- ISIS says by them -- were about to conduct a mass attack against American citizens, and but for what Texas cop, that would have happened. (CROSSTALK)

PATAKI: Let me just give you one other point, Wolf.

BLITZER: Go ahead.

PATAKI: After that attack in Garland, Texas, the FBI director said there are hundreds of people out there like these attackers, probably thousands. We don't know who they are. We don't know where they are.

We have a weakened intelligence law now, sadly. And we have no strategy against ISIS. This has got to change.

BLITZER: Had you been in the Senate today, how would you have voted on this compromise legislation?

PATAKI: I would have voted for this law, but I think it would have been better if it had been amended so that the phone companies were required to keep phone records, so that in appropriate cases NSA could access them.

Look at Boston today. If in fact the person who was killed by the task force had been radicalized, had been communicating with others about attacking Americans, I would like our intelligence to be able to go get a court order and find out who he was talking to here in the United States who might want to carry out attacks.

I'm not sure that could happen now.

BLITZER: Because, under the new law, the compromise version of the -- that was passed today by the Senate, earlier passed by the House, phone companies like AT&T, Verizon, they're supposed to keep all these records that could be accessed. But it's unclear how long they have to keep them for.

PATAKI: That's right. And they're not required to keep them for any period of time. And that's an amendment to the USA Freedom Act that, if it hadn't been for this filibuster, I believe the Senate would have passed and the House would have ultimately agreed to.

And I think it's just unfortunate, in these very dangerous times, we have weakened intelligence, at a time when we need enhanced intelligence. And, as I was saying, all of these incidents point back to ISIS. And instead of degrading and destroying ISIS, they grow stronger because we do not have an effective strategy. And that has got to change.

BLITZER: So, if you were commander in chief, president of the United States right now, give me two or three things you would try to do immediately.

PATAKI: Right.

Immediately, I would begin providing arms and training directly to the on-the-ground troops fighting ISIS, the Kurdish, Peshmerga, Sunni sheiks who are anti-ISIS. I would put American advisers with them. Right now, three out of four of our Air Force launches, our air sorties result in us not dropping any bombs because they can't tell the good guys from the bad guys. We need observers to provide that.

I would ramp up the bombing attack. And, if necessary, I would do what we did two weeks ago, launch a quick strike, destroy their training and recruitment centers, and then get out. That's against ISIS. Here, I would look to strengthen the USA Freedom Act. I would require those utility phone companies to keep the records for some time. I think it's hasn't that NSA have the ability to access those records.

BLITZER: How worried, how concerned are you that the -- this conference that is going on in Paris right now by the coalition, all these countries fighting ISIS, that the central Iraqi government, the prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is there, but he didn't invite any representatives from Kurdistan, from Northern Iraq, from the Kurds to come participate?

And, as you know, the Peshmerga that you want the U.S. to arm directly, they're fighters.

PATAKI: Right.

BLITZER: They're fighting ISIS. But they're not even represented there.

PATAKI: Absolutely. I'm very concerned about that. But that has been the problem.

One of the problems is our administration insists that all military assistance go through the Baghdad government. The Baghdad government is not getting that to the Peshmerga, to the Kurds. They're not getting it in Anbar to the Sunni sheiks who are anti-ISIS.

So, we have got to provide that directly, stop doing it through the Baghdad government, have more observers and advisers on the grounds -- on the ground, working with them, so that, instead of having Iranians telling the Baghdadi forces what to do, we will have Americans having them act to actually take out ISIS' ability to attack us here.

BLITZER: All right, Governor, I want you to stand by. We have more to discuss, the war against ISIS, your options, some other issues coming up in the presidential campaign.

Much more with Governor George Pataki when we come back.



BLITZER: We're back with Republican presidential candidate, the former New York Governor George Pataki.

And we're following a breaking story, new bomb threats against at least four commercial airliners.

Governor, these bomb threats have been made against these planes today, over the past several days. ISIS sympathizers may have been behind more than a dozen threats, in fact, over the past week or so.


None have materialized. But they are very, very disruptive, all this coming, as you know, the TSA under increasing scrutiny right now because of the failure that they had. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general tested them 70 times, trying to get explosives through or weapons or ammunition; 67 times, they got through these screeners.

What would you do to fix the TSA?

PATAKI: You know, it's just incredible, a 95 percent failure rate at something that is so important as providing for the safety of people on a plane or our national security if those planes are hijacked.

And we just have to, as has begun, throw out the top administrators, put in people who know what they're doing, professionalize it to the extent necessary. It certainly is not from the lack of resources. The resources are there.

But, Wolf, beyond that, it's one thing to screen Americans as they're getting on planes. We have to -- if we're doing it, we have to do it right. But we have to go after the radicalization of Americans and others at its root cause. And it's ISIS, and it's things like using the Internet to radicalize Americans here.

And we have got to stop that. And let me just give you one other thing I would do. I'm a great believer in the First Amendment. But you can't shout fire in a crowded theater. We cannot sit back and allow people to try to radicalize Americans, encourage them to attack their fellow Americans or hijack an airplane and think that that is freedom of speech. It's not. It's crying fire in a crowded theater, and we should shut that down and prosecute those engaged in it.

BLITZER: Let's talk about your effort to become the Republican presidential nominee. And correct me if I'm wrong. I believe you support gun control. You support a woman's right to have an abortion. You don't oppose same-sex marriage.

Here is a question. Is there room for a moderate Republican like you to capture the Republican nomination, given what it takes in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, these other states?

PATAKI: You know, Wolf, what I would say to that is I'm a great believer in the Constitution and the 10th Amendment. And that leaves issues that aren't directly given the authority for Congress to the states.

So I would leave issues like marriage to the states. I would uphold the Constitution when a Supreme Court makes a ruling, whether I agree with it or not. And, by the way, Wolf, I think most Americans and most Americans are concerned about our national security and our safety. We're not doing enough to provide for our safety. They're concerned about the economy.

We have had a very weak recovery. And the first quarter, we actually had negative growth. We need greater job growth and economic growth. And I also think they're concerned about the fact that Washington is really separate, has really become almost like an island unto itself, and not a part or reflecting the wishes of the American people.

And we need to reform how Washington operates. Just one example, over 400 former members of Congress are registered lobbyists in Washington. I would pass a law, you serve one day in Congress either House, there is a lifetime ban on your ever being a lobbyist. Take back Washington. Grow the economy. Provide or our national security. That's what Republicans and Democrats and independents understand we have to do in the next four years.

BLITZER: I want to get your reaction to something controversial that emerged today involving one of your colleagues who is seeking the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor.

He actually said this back in February. But the story in a video is now only surfacing, referring to transgender children in schools, sort of -- sort of making fun of the fact that some of these kids want to go into the girls locker room, as opposed to the boys locker room.

I want you listen precisely to what he said, this emerging right after Caitlyn Jenner's announcement yesterday. Watch this.


MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Now, I wish someone had told me when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in P.E. I'm pretty sure I would have found my feminine side, and said, coach, I think I would rather shower with the girls today.



BLITZER: All right, so what is your reaction? It's getting a lot of buzz out there. Are his comments appropriate?

PATAKI: Well, I think it was meant in humor. Obviously, he didn't mean it seriously.

But I think the more important point is, we should give people their dignity and let them make their own decisions. People often make decisions that I don't agree with, but in a government where it's supposed to be of the people, if someone chooses a path that is different from mine, we should respect that, as opposed to mocking it or in any way trying to prevent that.

BLITZER: Governor Pataki, thanks very much for joining us.

PATAKI: Thank you, Wolf. Nice being on with you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

And please be sure to join us later tonight for a SITUATION ROOM special report, "ISIS: What Should the U.S. Do Now?" Top military minds convene in our SITUATION ROOM to discuss strategy, 9:00 p.m. Eastern later tonight, only here on CNN.


Just ahead, we're getting in some more breaking news in that mansion murder case here in Washington. Critical new evidence has been discovered. Stand by. We also have some very disturbing video we will share with you.

And a car explosion and fire, the shocking images captured by a police dash camera, we will tell you what we're learning about this case.


[18:30:16] BLITZER: There's breaking news in the case of a Washington, D.C., family found slain inside their burning mansion along with their housekeeper. We're now getting some new information about evidence implicating the suspect in police custody. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is here with new information.

What are you hearing from your source, Pamela?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're learning that traces of blood from one of the victims in that quadruple homicide inside the D.C. mansion were found on Daron Wint's shoes after he was arrested. So these are the shoes he was wearing when he was arrested. This is according to law enforcement officials who spoke to me and my colleague, Evan Perez.

And apparently, these traces of blood were found following a forensic analysis of all of his belongings. This is in addition to what authorities say they found on the piece of pizza crust inside the home, Daron Wint's DNA on that pizza crust.

We spoke to his attorney, who just visited him behind bars a few days ago, and Wint tells us through his attorney that he is innocent, that he was not part of this crime, that this was an inside job, and he wasn't part of it. We know he worked for the Savopoulos family company more than ten years ago.

And Wolf, police do not believe that he acted alone. They believe there are more suspects, but so far he is the only one that's been named in this case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Pamela, stand by. I want to bring in the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes. He's our CNN law enforcement analyst. Your reaction to what Pamela is now reporting? TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think it's one

more piece of forensic that, you know, makes it more compelling that he was involved in the homicide. You know, that attorney said that, well, you know, he couldn't possibly have left DNA on the pizza crust, because he doesn't like pizza. I suppose he doesn't like shoes either?

BLITZER: So what are you saying, there's evidence of the DNA on the pizza crust. The lawyer says he doesn't eat pizza, doesn't like pizza, so it couldn't be his DNA. And now there's apparently a blood sample that matches.

FUENTES: Does he wear shoes? That's my point.

BLITZER: All right. Stand by. I want to get more on what's going on.

We're also following more breaking news, sources telling CNN a man shot and killed by Boston Police was believed to have been radicalized by ISIS and had been under 24-hour surveillance in a terror investigation.

Let's dig deeper on this very disturbing story with our CNN national security commentator, the former congressman, Mike Rogers. He was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. And former CIA counterterrorism official Philip Mudd. He's our CNN counterterrorism analyst.

Phil, this terror suspect, Usaama Rahim, he had been under surveillance by the U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force for some time. What do you make of what is going on? At least a couple of years, they had been watching him looking for a change of behavior, looking at what he's doing on social media. It's unclear what prompted them to move in today, though.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There's a couple of things you need to note here, Wolf, that differentiates this. Recently, you recollect a few weeks ago we had the Garland case. You need to bookend the Garland case with what we saw in Boston today, because it gives you a snapshot of different types of counterterrorism investigations.

If you're running these investigations, you've got to tier them. You're going to have to decide which ones deserve a lot of resources, which ones, like the Garland case, where they didn't know those guys were traveling to that cartoon event, that case is a relatively low tier, because you don't have surveillance.

In this case, we're learning some clues. No. 1, as you mentioned, you've got physical surveillance on the target. In my world, that means it's a pretty high-tiered case. They have something on this guy that we don't know about yet. You don't go up against somebody like that with people on the street without pretty good information.

In the second, the FBI was talking about a level of alarm when they went to talk to the subject. They weren't just interested in what he was up to. They weren't just curious. They had something that triggered them to say, "We want to talk to this guy."

So the amount of surveillance coupled with the fact that they're talking openly about a level of alarm tells me that there is more to this story we don't know.

BLITZER: Mike Rogers, you -- before you became a congressman, you served in the FBI. You understand that mentality. Is there now some sort of more aggressive effort by the FBI in the aftermath, for example, what happened outside of Dallas in Garland, Texas?

MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, this is the biggest challenge they have. And there are cases now against ISIS in every single FBI field office that we have across the country. So they're going to have to make these priority choices.

So what we think happened in this particular case, there has been some discussion that he did make statements about killing police. He kind of crossed the line. They saw behavioral changes that put him under 24-hour surveillance. Any time you commit the resources to a 24-hour surveillance, that is a very intense, likely high-priority case.

And I think that's the decision matrix they have to go through. They're not going to get all of these right. This is one that they got exactly.

BLITZER: You were the assistant director of the FBI, Tom. What's your analysis?

FUENTES: I think the same way. You know, you have the situation where they have to tier the cases, as Phil Mudd said. And you know, when somebody looks like they're going operational, and this guy takes a knife, a gigantic knife out with him, you know, it looks like they were right. He was going to do something. And they can't just wait until half a second later, he plunges that knife into somebody.

[18:35:18] Or if I could add one more thing, that knife looks an awful lot like the knife being held by Jihadi John being held in the videos right before they beheaded people.

So ISIS has been asking people to do that. They asked it in the Australia case. Get a hold of an innocent hostage, behead them. Put it on video. We'll put it out around the world. That could have been, you know, what this guy was up to, as well.

BLITZER: Phil Mudd, what's your analysis of all these threats that are going on right now, these bomb threats against airlines coming into the United States, flying around the United States? So far they're all hoaxes. But do you suspect this is some sort of sophisticated ISIS plot to try to disrupt U.S. airline traffic? Because it is very disruptive.

MUDD: I think we've got to differentiate between an ISIS plot and people who are simply sympathetic with ISIS and decide "If I don't have the capability to go operational, the easiest thing to do is to make idle threats."

The most interesting piece of this, Wolf, to me is when you've got the cat-and-mouse game of the feds chasing ISIS sympathizers, typically, when you're looking at electronic surveillance, that is people up on the Internet, the feds win.

In the 21st century, sometimes people, potentially like the people who are committing these threats, have access to over-the- counter Internet tools that make it very difficult to follow them. We may be seeing in this case the next generation of threats. That is people who are looking around and have some technical capability, and can stay out of the clutches of the feds because they're anonymizing their activity, the threats they're making over the Internet.

BLITZER: All right. I want you guys to stand by for a moment.

I want to also share with our viewers an important note. Later tonight, THE SITUATION ROOM special report, "ISIS: What Should the U.S. Do Now?" That airs, once again, 9 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

We have more breaking news we're following. Hundreds of people very, very worried right now, looking for loved ones. A ship goes down as a result of a tornado. We'll update you on what's going on.


BLITZER: Tonight police in Texas are investigating a shocking car explosion and fire. The incident was captured on a police dash camera. We want to warn you, the images are graphic and disturbing.

According to CNN affiliate KXAN, officers approached the driver earlier this morning when he jumped back into the vehicle and said, "I think I'm going to set the car on fire." One of the officers reportedly saw the driver with a lighter in his hand. Investigators believe the vehicle had fuel in it.

The driver and two officers were hospitalized. Authorities are investigating whether it was a suicide attempt.

There's an urgent meeting about ISIS happening in Paris right now. Representatives of 24 companies fighting ISIS are discussing strategy in the wake of some shocking gains by the terrorist forces.

Our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is joining us with more on what's going on. What are you learning, Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, an urgent meeting but no urgent change of strategy, despite rapid ISIS gains in recent weeks, and that is sparking disappointment from the Iraqi leader, Haider al-Abadi, who said he hears a lot of talk of support but sees very little on the ground.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): When a few thousand lightly-armed ISIS fighters swept through Iraq a year ago, they caught Baghdad, the U.S. and the world off-guard. Since then, the terror group has grown into an international threat with an alarming capacity for brutality: executions meant to shock and horrify.

MOHAMMED "JIHADI JOHN" EMWAZI, ISIS SPOKESMAN: Our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.

SCIUTTO: Spurred into action by ISIS's alarming advance, less than two years after he withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq, President Obama launched an ambitious air campaign...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to start by...

SCIUTTO: ... deployed some 3,000 U.S. military advisers and trainers, and vowed to wipe out the group.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our objective is clear. We will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They should know we will follow them to the gates of hell.

SCIUTTO: But nine months after the campaign began, ISIS still controls hundreds of square miles of Syria and Iraq. Its map of control and influence virtually unchanged in the last several months, and marked by new ISIS victories in Ramadi and around the crucial Baiji oil refinery.

All this in the face of an international anti-ISIS coalition, comprising some 60 nations, and Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: ISIL continues to commit serious, vicious crimes, and it still controls more territory than al Qaeda ever did.

SCIUTTO: Crucially, ISIS has already achieved the goal contained in its name, establishing an Islamic state. It runs hospitals, schools, and a business empire with an estimated daily income in the millions of dollars.

And ISIS fighters and supporters appear to be true believers: devout to the point that they would sacrifice anything for a terrorist group some compare to a cult.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: They believe that they are, you know, the true army of Islam that is coming to save Islam.

[18:45:04] That also kind of explains their violence and their brutality as well. Anybody who stands in our way, this is what we will do to you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN SECURITY NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Driven by that intense commitment, ISIS has shown a remarkable ability to innovate, to break through Iraqi defenses, it built giant suicide truck bombs on the hulks of U.S.-made and U.S.-supplied armored vehicles. Beyond Iraq and Syria, ISIS is now expanding its influence with armed affiliates in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, and signs of new support in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

And ISIS has attracted more than 22,000 foreign fighters from 100 countries, some 4,000 of them Westerners, including approximately 180 Americans.

MICHAEL STEINBACH, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION: If I were to say that we had it under control, I would say I knew of every single individual traveling. I don't. And I don't every person there and I don't know everyone coming back. So, it's not even close to being under control.


SCIUTTO: From his hospital bed in Boston, Secretary of State John Kerry said that a first shipment of anti-tank a missiles from the U.S. will arrive in Iraq as soon as this week. But on weapon shipments as well, there is disappointment from the Iraqi leader who told reporters today at that conference that he hasn't seen much.

And, Wolf, that's a consistent theme. You're hearing that from the Iraqis as well, on that assault from Ramadi. They said that they didn't have the air support from the U.S.-led coalition that they wanted that complaint not sparking any change to strategy in this conference in Europe.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jim Sciutto, thanks very much for that report.

An important note once again to our viewers: we'll be back later tonight with a SITUATION ROOM special report: "ISIS: What Should the U.S. Do Now?", 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Just ahead, hundreds of people missing after a cruise ship is hit by a tornado and capsizes. We're following the desperate search for survivors.


[18:51:17] BLITZER: We're following breaking news. A desperate search for survivors of a cruise ship disaster. The vessel capsized on China's Yangtze River during a severe storm that spawned a tornado. Survivors say they had only seconds to escape.

Brian Todd is with us once again. He's working the story.

What's the latest, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight, we're being told the ship might have been hit by a small tornado, and it happened so fast, the captain didn't have time to send a distress signal. The ship called the Eastern Star had been making several stops on its journey up the coast from the coastal cities to the city of Chongqing, hundreds of miles inland.

Now, the Yangtze River is the third longest river in the world. It stretches about 4,000 miles from the coast into Tibet.

What are these rescuers up to? Now we have spoken with veteran rescue divers who say the good news is the water here is shallow. It's only about 50 feet deep at this point and it's warm. But they say everything else is working against these divers.

We're going to show you the overturned hull of the ship. There's a view from above. Now, the water here has a lot of swirling current. The visibility here, this is the real problem, the visibility in the Yangtze River here is near zero, with all the sediment. You can see how dirty the water is, with all of the sediment and pollution.

One rescue specialist told us the visibility is in centimeters. He says, quote, "It's like diving in soup" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And, Brian, this passenger ship is tougher to pull people out of than, let's say, a ferry.

TODD: That's right. We're going to show you a picture of the Eastern Star, obviously before the disaster happened. This illustrates that.

Veteran rescue divers said that unlike a ferry which has bigger rooms. More open spaces, this is a passenger ship with smaller cabins. They tell us divers have to search cabin by cabin by cabin, and going inside a wreck is one of the most dangerous things that divers can do, with the tight spaces, the lack of visibility, the disorientation, everything being upside down. It is easy for divers to get caught on something, get trapped inside the ship.

These guys taking huge risks tonight to try to find some survivors, more than 400 people, Wolf, remain missing, and these guys are up against it tonight. They also got to watch for the weather coming in because it's very unpredictable.

BLITZER: Very interesting indeed. All right. Brian, we'll stay on top of the story. Thank you.

Other news we're following, political news here in the United States. Some troubling numbers for Hillary Clinton in an exclusive brand new CNN/ORC poll. It shows the ratings falling in some key areas as she makes her second bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Let's get some more from our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar, and our CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, who are all with us.

Brianna, Hillary Clinton's favorables have dropped to 46 percent, down from 53 percent in March. Her lowest favorable numbers since 2001.

Is this just a reality of being a candidate? What's going on?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is partly the reality of being a candidate. When you say it's down as far as it was in 2001, that's when she got back into the -- really entered the political fray going into the Senate. So, that's certainly part of it.

But if I'm Hillary Clinton, what I'm looking at and what I'm concerned about is a dip in certain areas. Does Hillary Clinton inspire confidence? Down 9 percent since March. Is she honest and trustworthy? Down 8 percent since the same time.

Does she care about people like me? That's what Democrats and independents who lean Democratic were asked. That's down 6 percent. That's very concerning.

Maybe the good news for Hillary Clinton is when people were asked or Democrats were asked, is she a candidate of the future, does she represent the past or the future, more than half said she is a candidate of the future. That's been holding steady since before she declared her candidacy.

[18:55:02] BLITZER: But, Jeff, if you take a look, the honesty and trustworthy rating going from 52 percent to 42 percent right now. Are you honest and trustworthy? That's not a good number.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's not a good number and it's not all that surprising. Just -- if we think back to what's been happening over the last . There's been a steady drum beat of stories about her private e-mail server, about the Benghazi testimony, about the Clinton Foundation first and foremost.

So, her campaign is actually not that surprised by this and they say it's not a worrisome sign yet. I'm not sure I totally believe them about but one of the things is, one of the worrisome signs is the independents. If you look at independents in this, if you dig deeper, 52 percent in March had a favorable view of her, only 41 percent now. Those are those voters she needs, of course.

But overall here, many politicians are not viewed very well. She's being thrown into the barrel. She's not being viewed as a new type figure, as a fresh face, if you will. And that's her challenge.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: She's still strikingly dominant in the Democratic field.

ZELENY: In her field, sure. This is a general election problem.

BORGER: Right, it is general. Not primary.

BLITZER: As you saw in the numbers. Hypothetical, matchups between various Republicans, it gets close among several of those Republicans and her.

BORGER: Yes, it's very close, and that's interesting, too, if you look at independent voters in those matchups because lots of those independent voters are looking at these Republicans.

That's why you have so many Republican candidates getting into this race, because they believe that history is with them, that after two terms of a Democrat, it's difficult to get a third term of a Democrat. They believe she is completely beatable one-on-one. The question is, who they nominate?

BLITZER: There's no Republican front runner, but in our new poll, Marco Rubio is doing well.

BORGER: Right. He's probably a little high from where he wants to be. They're happy over there because they like being everybody's second choice, right? And he is in the top tier of candidates, which means he'll get into the first FOX News poll.

But Marco Rubio is somebody who generationally also has an advantage because Brianna was talking about the past and the future. When you look at Jeb Bush, and you ask voters generally, does he represent the past or the future? Sixty-two percent of them say Jeb Bush is the past. So in his case, his family name, the brand, is not helping him.

BLITZER: That's a disturbing number for Bush.

KEILAR: That certainly is a disturbing number for Bush. I would say on the Rubio front, though, this is something I find intriguing because I think we've -- I remember writing a story over a year ago about likely a Republican worst case scenario for Hillary Clinton running in agest sort of message.

Now, it hasn't worked before, but when you look at someone like Marco Rubio, who if he were to be the nominee, if he were to win, would be the first Hispanic president. He's significantly younger than her. And I think if you compare perhaps energy levels, that becomes evident when you see someone his age compared to her age.

BLITZER: She's 67. He's what, 44? Something like that.

Let's talk a little bit about these hypothetical matchups, Jeff. Statistical dead heat, Hillary Clinton versus Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, but against Jeb Bush in our new poll, she wins 51 percent to 43 percent for Jeb Bush. More bad news for him.

ZELENY: It is. This is hypothetical in every way at this point, but it shows for her, she had a double digit lead. She was leading some 18 points, some 16 points over all these people. So, she's kind of come back down to earth, because as Brianna said, she's a politician now again.

But for Jeb Bush, you're right. He's not getting the benefit of the Bush family name. It was 16 years ago this month, next week, actually, when George W. Bush got into the race, the first big rally in Iowa. Boy, how times have changed to be a governor named Bush right now, so much different, as we are been talking about throughout the day.

BORGER: And back then, when the poll question was asked about the Bush family name, 42 percent said they would be more likely to vote for W. because of his connection to his dad and the Bush family. And now that's totally flipped on Jeb. Now, the brand, right, doesn't really work for him any more. And

the reason Hillary Clinton, who also has a brand, can be seen as more of the future is because of her gender.

BLITZER: Let's see what happens after he formally announces, Jeb Bush. He still hasn't formally announced he's a candidate. Yes, a couple of weeks, let's see if he gets a bump out of that. See what's going on.

Guys, thanks very much.

Remember, later tonight, don't forget, we'll take a closer look at the stunning and brutal rise of the terrorist force sweeping the Middle East, "ISIS: What Should the U.S. Do Now?" A SITUATION ROOM special report, it airs tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Please tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitroom. We'll be back later tonight, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, and, of course, tomorrow. Thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.