CNN to Premiere War in Space: The Next Battlefield at 9 p.m. on Nov. 29
November 28th, 2016
01:52 PM ET

CNN to Premiere War in Space: The Next Battlefield at 9 p.m. on Nov. 29

CNN TO PREMIERE WAR IN SPACE: THE NEXT BATTLEFIELD AT 9 P.M. EST ON TUESDAY, NOV. 29

ONE-HOUR CNN SPECIAL REPORT HOSTED BY CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT JIM SCIUTTO

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nov. 28, 2016 – CNN will air War in Space: The Next Battlefieldan in-depth CNN Special Report on the arms race in outer space – at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The one-hour documentary explores the belief by many in the military and civilian experts that war in space is inevitable. The American way of life depends on satellites in space, such as daily commutes, to withdrawing money from a bank, to the soldiers and intelligence agencies defending the U.S. abroad and at home. U.S. adversaries, like China and Russia, are pushing an arms race in space, taking aim at America with a dizzying array of weapons seemingly borrowed from science fiction, from lasers to kamikaze and kidnapper satellites.

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May 31st, 2015
04:55 PM ET

EXCLUSIVE: Gen McChrystal on SOTU: "It's an American soldier and so getting him back, to me, is a pretty sacred responsibility"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Gen Stanley McChrystal (USA, ret), joined chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to discuss his perspectives on ‎the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the trade of PFC Bowe Bergdahl for the 'Taliban 5' , and a security risk assessment ‎if their confinement terms for the “Taliban 5” change. Gen. McChrystal also discussed whether he would ever consider running for U.S. president.

Text and video highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

On if the confinement terms for the Taliban 5‎ change, will they “go back to the battlefield”: “The five that are back - presumably, they will go back to the battlefield but they won't change the dynamics. It's not going to change the balance of effort there, five guys, but it's just something we are - watch as we go forward. … I say presume, because you have to assume to worst case in a case like this. We can't have assumed to have changed their thinking in a time they were in our captivity, I mean, anymore than we would want an American who had been held by the enemy to change his thinking.”

On having extended military operations in Afghanistan: “I think it is just a recognition that we can get a balance. Most of the fighting on the ground is being done by Afghan police and military and they are bearing most the casualties. I think America brings some very specific capabilities to do precision operations with Afghan partners in many cases. But I think it goes back to confidence as well. Afghans will do well if they believe they have got the kind of strategic partnership that President Obama offered them in 2009 when he explicitly said, we will be your strategic partner. You can't put a number on that. It's not a specific number of Americans planes or boots on the ground. It's the sense that we are an absolutely committed friend that will help them protect their sovereignty.”

On running for president of the United States: “No, Jim. I really want young people - qualified young people. I'd like to see more young veterans going in but I have zero intent. …I am not going to run for any office, period. ”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

How long will the U.S. mission in Afghanistan last?

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Welcome back. I am Jim Sciutto in Washington. General Stanley McChrystal is four star general and commander of American forces - coalition forces in Afghanistan. He was - he's credited with transforming the U.S. forces into the elite fighting force they are today. He is author of a new book "Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World." And it is certainly a very complex world.
General McChrystal, thanks very much for joining us. Had the pleasure of seeing you when you were commander in Afghanistan. You've been travelling around the country a little bit so it's nice to see you out of the uniform.

GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, U.S. ARMY (RET.): It's great to be here. Thanks.

SCIUTTO: I want to begin with the case of Bowe Bergdahl, Taliban Five because today that deal is expiring and we are still waiting here what the next step will be. But first I want to ask you about Sergeant Bergdahl.

You were commander when he was taken. Were you a deserter?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I've been in command for about a month and when he left his base we didn't know. We had reason to believe he walked off his base but he could have been a confused young man, and that may still be the ruling, I am not sure. So, we made every effort we could like we would for your son or daughter to try to recover him as fast as we could.

SCIUTTO: Now, if it was discovered at the time, and I know that the questions - the details were certainly murky then and to some degree there are still questions today, but if he was a deserter, would that change at all U.S. efforts to rescue him?

MCCHRYSTAL: It's hard to make that kind of judgment because it would have been impossible to know at the moment if he was a deserter. We were trying to prevent him from being taken into Pakistan where we thought he would fall into the hands of Haqqani for two reasons. One, because he's an American citizen and one of ours, a comrade. And second, because he would then become a chip in the power gain there, and we were concerned about both of those.

SCIUTTO: Do you have any concerns about the deal that was made a year ago to trade these five senior Taliban leaders for his freedom?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think if you look going forward getting back an American soldier was important particularly until he is adjudicated it impossible to say what was the cause. So, it was important to get him back. I think now we've got to move forward. We got to decide what we deal with. The five that are back - presumably, they will go back to the battlefield but they won't change the dynamics. It's not going to change the balance of effort there, five guys, but it's just something we are - watch as we go forward.

SCIUTTO: But that's an enormous concern. You say presumably they will go back to the fight, first of all that's an alarming assumption. And yes, there are a number of members of Taliban who won't change but they are quite senior in the organization. Would that not be a loss? Would that not put U.S. forces in danger there?

MCCHRYSTAL: I wouldn't make it too important. They were in captivity quite awhile. They're not going to go back, I think, to a key operational role. I say presume, because you have to assume to worst case in a case like this. We can't have assumed to have changed their thinking in a time they were in our captivity, I mean, anymore than we would want an American who had been held by the enemy to change his thinking. So, I think we have to presume that their bonds with their old organization are probably going to be pretty strong and just go from there.

SCIUTTO: And if they do go back, that deal you still think was a good deal to gain his freedom?

MCCHRYSTAL: It's hard to make a judgment on a deal like that. It's an American soldier and so getting him back to me is a pretty sacred responsibility.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about Iraq. The fight against ISIS is not going well. The map really immutable for the last several months despite a massive U.S.-led air campaign and a massive advantage among the Iraqi and Kurdish forces aligned against the forces of ISIS. You have been very public in saying you need U.S. forces - boots on the ground to fight this fight and win. Is that what is necessary to turn this around?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, what I have actually said is we first need a very clear strategy to deal with ISIS and to establish a framework for the region. Because if we don't have a direction of where we are going, where the instate will be, the just defeating ISIS will just be a sort of a meaningless act.

Second, we have got to recognize what ISIS is, and it's a phenomenon of the 21st century. It's based on some age-old ideas but as you and I both know is they are operating in a way that is disorienting to organizations of the region. They've got this incredible tactical ability to combine suicide bombers with pretty flexible tactics on the ground and this superb information warfare campaign. It's very decentralized. It makes us all worry about what they are doing.

I think we are going to have to show leadership in the region. I think American presence and leadership is going to be critical to build a team of teams against ISIS.

SCIUTTO: To demonstrate leadership do you have to commit American forces on the ground?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think you have got to demonstrate American revolve and leadership. In some cases it could be Americans on the ground with Iraqi forces helping leverage as you know one (INAUDIBLE) army in a difficult time like the Iraqi army is needs that feel of the cloth of comrades. And I think Americans can be a big part of that, but I don't think thousands and thousands of American forces on the ground to be ground forces (INAUDIBLE) would do that is probably the right move right now.

SCIUTTO: So, you mean - and this is something that General Dempsey and others have raised, the idea of forward deployed advisers. So, in other words military advisers instead of back in the base, they are on the forward lines or forward ground controllers. Is that what you're talking about?

MCCHRYSTAL: Yes, it is. Because war is about confidence.

If you know when the Iraqis pulled out of Ramadi, it was a military calculus, but in reality it was much more a loss of confidence. Sometimes just the presence of American advisers with their connection to air power and whatnot can bolster the confidence of leaders and provide additional advice as well.

SCIUTTO: And confidence seems to be key because you here this - the words of Secretary Ash Carter saying, they didn't have the will to fight.

MCCHRYSTAL: Confidence is everything at every level. It starts having confidence in your leaders all the way up to your national leaders and then in yourselves. And I think that's something we could potentially help with.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about Afghanistan because this was meant to be the year of the end of the U.S. Military presence in Afghanistan.

The president has extended the smaller force that is there for a bit of a longer period of time. But the reporting on the ground is that those forces are doing more kinetic activity than the president had described. Initially he said, well, they will protect U.S. forces for its protection et cetera but there is evidence that they are doing offensive operations, going after Taliban leaders. Is this a stealth extension of the U.S. war in Afghanistan?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think it is just a recognition that we can get a balance.

Most of the fighting on the ground is being done by Afghan police and military and they are bearing most the casualties. I think America brings some very specific capabilities to do precision operations with Afghan partners in many cases. But I think it goes back to confidence as well.

Afghans will do well if they believe they have got the kind of strategic partnership that President Obama offered them in 2009 when he explicitly said, we will be your strategic partner. You can't put a number on that. It's not a specific number of Americans planes or boots on the ground. It's the sense that we are an absolutely committed friend that will help them protect their sovereignty.

SCIUTTO: But that sounds like a long commitment. And I'm harkening back a number of years.

I remember you said to me when we were in Kabul, and this is a good five years ago, you made the comparison to U.S. troops in Germany and Korea, they of course been there for decades. That that kind of commitment is not unusual when you are facing an enemy, in this case like the Taliban. Are you saying that you need an American force presence in Afghanistan for years and years to come to give that confidence?

MCCHRYSTAL: Well, I think you make that calculus. I think both Japan and Germany turned out pretty well and they could have turned out very differently. And so, I think, that if you look in the long sweep, wars don't have a set beginning and set end. As you know, all the things you do that lead up to a war and of course more importantly after a war prevents the next one.

So I think, if we look at our policy as a long continuum, and not being in a hurry and say, we may have people there for a long time. But in reality it's cheaper than doing spasmodic moves of big forces into (INAUDIBLE).

SCIUTTO: Finally, as you write this book about leadership, you have got a very strong reputation, of course, from your commands in Afghanistan. There are some who talk about you as a future political candidate. Do you plan or have any ideas or thoughts or ambitions to run for office?

MCCHRYSTAL: No, Jim. I really want young people - qualified young people. I'd like to see more young veterans going in but I have zero intent.

SCIUTTO: A lot of politicians who've said that and then changed their minds.

MCCHRYSTAL: No, let me be - let me be. I am not going to run for any office, period.

SCIUTTO: OK. General McChrystal, thanks very much for joining us today.

MCCHRYSTAL: Jim, thanks so much.

END INTERVIEW


Topics: CNN • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
May 31st, 2015
02:54 PM ET

Gov Pataki on SOTU: "I think he [Rand Paul] is wrong... I don't understand why if it's going to happen on Wednesday or Thursday he doesn't allow it to happen today..."

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, 2016 presidential candidate, former Gov. George Pataki (R-NY), joined chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to discuss the Congressional reauthorization of the USA Freedom Act, Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster of the reauthorization of key provisions, sending US troops to fight against ISIS, Pataki’s candidacy for the 2016 presidential race and presidential debate rules.

Text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Former Gov. Pataki on the late negotiations of the USA Freedom Act – and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster: “… it's just to me totally wrong that a filibuster would be used to create this void in our security at a time when we are at risk. And I honestly think, Jim, we are at as great a risk today as we have been at any time since September 11th of another terrorist attack. So, I hope they can get it done today.  By the way, I think they should reauthorize the Patriot Act. I think Senator King's comments about how the alternative - the House pass doesn't require the private sector to hold those phone records and without them we are at greater risk than we are today.”

Former Gov. Pataki on debate rules being the debate rules:  “Now Jim, the rules are what the rules are. Whether it's fair or not, you abide by the rules. And I'm not going to let it bother me one way or the other. It's August of 2015, whether I'm in the debate, not in the debate, I'm going to continue to make the case to the American people that my whole life has prepared me for this moment. I know I can lead this country. I know I have the vision. I know I have the background and experience. And if I'm in the debate, great. If I'm not in the debate, great. It's not where you start. It's where you finish.”

Former Gov. Pataki responds to former Gov. Martin O’Malley’s comment about the presidency not being “passed back and forth by you between two royal families”: “Well, sure. Obviously you don't pass it on to a family. You have to go earn it. And I'm a fan of Jeb Bush. I know if he decides to run he's not going to run because it a legacy thing but because he has a record of his own and he's fighting to get there. … I know I'm starting close if not at the bottom now but you fight the fight. You have a vision that Americans can believe in. You work harder than others. You talk about a record which I'm very proud of. And at the end that's what it matters where you are at the end.”

FULL POST


Topics: CNN • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
May 31st, 2015
01:49 PM ET

Governor Jack Markell on Beau Biden: "...he was also just an incredibly good, real, genuine guy... And it's just an unbelievable loss"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor Jack Markell (D-DE), joined chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to briefly discuss the loss of Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Delaware’s Attorney General, Beau Biden.

A transcript of the discussion is below

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Joining us now as well is Governor Jack Markell of Delaware. He worked with Beau Biden when he took office in 2009. Biden, of course, was attorney general.

Governor Markell, thank you for joining us.

We know you are close to the Biden family. Have you been in touch with them? How are they doing?

GOV. JACK MARKELL (D-DE): Well, I have not spoken to them.

I would say everybody in Delaware is close to the Biden family. Their impact here has just been tremendous. And Beau was an extraordinary human being. I mean, he was a great attorney general. He took his job very seriously. But he was also just an incredibly good, real, genuine guy. And he was the most popular politician in the state.

And he earned that. And he worked for it. And it's just an unbelievable loss.

SCIUTTO: He was a veteran himself as well of Iraq.

This is a loss, clearly, primarily for the Biden family. It's also a loss for the Democratic Party, is it not, in the state of Delaware?

MARKELL: Well, it is.

And it - this goes so well beyond politics. I mean, I have heard from plenty of Republicans in the last 12 hours who are feeling the loss deeply. You know, it's just - just deeper than any - than partisanship. He was well-respected in every part of the state.

And I spent a lot of time with him on some of the campaigns and then working with him. And this is a guy who was just really well- respected. He was a kind person. He was good-hearted. He was hardworking. He was the whole package.

SCIUTTO: This was a long battle, first dealing with it in 2013. Then he had a recovery and then a recurrence this year.

Did you have any sense of just how grave the situation was in recent days and weeks before his loss last night?

MARKELL: Not really.

You know, I spoke to Beau the last time in February, and I had invited him down to Washington to meet some of the other governors, because we all expected that Beau was going to run for governor next year. And had he wanted to run, he would have won and he would have served very capably.

And so we spoke back in February. It did not work on his schedule. And so I just, frankly, had no idea it was - that he - that this would happen.

SCIUTTO: Well, Governor Markell, we appreciate you joining us today. Our thoughts certainly with the family, with the Biden family, but also with the people of Delaware and all the people who knew him. So, thank you for taking the time.

MARKELL: Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

END INTERVIEW


Topics: CNN • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
May 31st, 2015
12:59 PM ET

Sen Mike Lee on SOTU: "I think the question is not really about whether we will get this passed, but when.‎"

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Angus King (I-ME), joined chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto to discuss this past weekend's Senate negotiations to renew the USA Freedom Act and the possible consequences to the current powers in the act if it is allowed to lapse during the Chamber's recess.

Text and video highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

Sen. Mike Lee on having the votes to pass the USA Freedom Act:  “I do believe we have the votes… I think the question is not really about whether we will get this passed, but when. It will happen either tonight or it will happen on Wednesday or some time in between then, but really within that 72-hour window, we are going to pass the House- passed USA Freedom Act, which passed the House with a bipartisan supermajority of 338 votes.”

Sen. Angus King on his concerns with the USA Freedom Act: “I think it's important that people understand, we are not talking about the content of phone calls. My concern - and I support the concept of moving the data out of the government. I think that's a good idea from a privacy point of view. My concern is that, if you move it out of the government, leave it with the phone companies, and the phone companies say, well, we're deciding we're only going to hold that data for a week or a month or six months, then the program loses its functionality altogether, and you have in effect repealed it without really saying so.”

Sen. Mike Lee on how the bad habits of both parties slowed the process of passing this bill: “…we proposed this bill last year, so that it could be introduced and passed well in advance of this deadline. Unfortunately, this sort of thing has become all too common. It's been a trend and a bad habit adopted by both parties. Bad habits, old habits sometimes die hard. But this is an idea and a habit whose idea has - whose time has finally come. I think it's time for us to move forward and to stop governing by cliff.”

Sen. Angus King on creating a balance between the Fourth Amendment and providing “common defense”: “…what we are doing here, Jim, is trying to balance the fundamental responsibility that the Constitution assigns to us of national security, to provide for the common defense and ensure domestic tranquility…with the Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. But the Fourth Amendment isn't absolute. It said people shall be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. We are always trying to strike the balance between those two principles, in light of risks and in light of technology.”

Sen. Mike Lee on collecting phone record data, even under this new bill proposal: “…the phone companies will hold the records, because they are the phone companies. They have a record of who calls whom. …the NSA will be able to query and reach out to the phone companies to get that calling data that is relevant to an actual national security investigation. But we don't think it's a good idea for the government to just be collecting all this data in bulk just because it's there. This data, when aggregated and when put into a database that covers a five-year period of time, potentially 300 million Americans, it reveals a lot about a person, about how they spend their time. And we don't think it's appropriate for the government to just collect this information simply because it exists.”

Sen. Angus King on if the potential 72-hour window once the bill is passed, concerns him: “It does concern me.  …it now does look like the votes are there. So, the only question is when. And I would hope that those who are making a big deal of standing in the way and objecting and blocking realize that all they are really doing is slowing something down for two or three days, that there is a risk created. …we could get it over with tonight if people will cede back time, if you will, pass the bill, and it could be on the president's desk tomorrow morning, with no lapse in the protections for the public. …And I don't want to exaggerate the risk, but it created a risk that we won't have a tool in our national security toolkit.”

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

GOP Senator: NSA reform bill will pass

Senator: U.S. threat level has never been higher

FULL POST


Topics: CNN • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
May 20th, 2015
06:18 PM ET

Chinese military confronts U.S. spy plane

CNN's Jim Sciutto was given exclusive access to fly onboard the P8-A Poseidon, America's most advanced surveillance and submarine-hunting aircraft, as it flew over man-made islands located in the South China Sea.

May 10th, 2015
01:48 PM ET

Sen. Johnson "We're certainly vulnerable" to ISIS

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, guest anchor Jim Scuitto spoke to Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, about the ISIS terror threat.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

On the threat ISIS poses domestically: Well, we're certainly vulnerable. And this is all part of ISIS' strategy of conveying a winner's message to try and inspire more types of acts of violence, as we saw in Texas last Sunday…These individuals who might be drawn to jihad don't perceive ISIS as a losing organization, they will be perceived as winning and they will continue to inspire this type of jihadist activity and extreme violence, even here in America.”

On congressional legislation & electronic intelligence collection: “we need to take a very careful look at the way we write these, quite honestly, very complex laws, and always keep in mind that these threats are real.  And let me repeat, our best line of defense, trying to keep this nation safe and secure, is an effective intelligence-gathering capability, with robust congressional oversight. And this is what should give people comfort. Protecting civil liberties is not a partisan issue. From the extreme right to the extreme left and everywhere in between, we all want to guard and protect American civil liberties. But we also have to keep this nation safe and secure.”

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. FULL POST


Topics: Iraq • ISIS • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
May 10th, 2015
01:26 PM ET

McGurk "It’s going to take years" to defeat ISIS

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Brett McGurk, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs  (President Barack Obama Administration) , discussed ISIS threats to the U.S. and its military bases.

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

McGurk on the size of the threat: “The threat of the challenge is enormous. And it's really something we have never seen before.  I will give you some numbers. We have 22,000 foreign terrorists fighters have gone into Syria and Iraq to fight with ISIS and affiliated groups. About 3,700 of those are from Western nations. We have had - about 180 Americans have tried to travel to Iraq and Syria. And just in the last few weeks, 15 Americans, the Justice Department has filed charges for supporting ISIS. So, this is a multifaceted, international, federal, state, local challenge. And that's why we have put together really a multifaceted, multilayered approach to combat it. Since September, we built the global coalition to combat ISIS. And myself and General Allen, as the president's envoys on this challenge, we have been to about 25 capitals over the last six months.”

McGurk on training troops to fight ISIS: “But we have about 3,400 volunteers now that we are in the process of vetting. We hope to have 3,000 trained by the end of the year, 5,000 trained 12 months from now….we are going to train up the moderate opposition forces. We hope to have about 3,000 by the end of the year. “

TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FULL POST


Topics: Iraq • ISIS • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union • Syria
April 19th, 2015
01:24 PM ET

Webb: “looking hard” at White House run

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Jim Sciutto spoke to former Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) in an exclusive interview covering his potential presidential bid and his views on the Iran deal.

FULL POST


Topics: CNN • Iran • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
April 19th, 2015
11:52 AM ET

Cardin on Iran deal

The ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), spoke to CNN's Jim Sciutto on State of the Union regarding the Iran nuclear negotiations. FULL POST


Topics: Iran • Jim Sciutto • State of the Union
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