tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN August 27, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
these are monster waves as a result of hurricane marie and it's pushing huge waves into southern california beaches and depending on who you ask you see the guy here, you know, it could be a serious threat and it could be awesome for some surfers. the national weather service issued a beach hazard and high surf warnings for more than 100 miles north of l.a. i'm brooke baldwin. in the meantime, "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. how quickly being the u.s. role in syria turn from eyes on the sky to bombs on the ground? i'm jake tapper. this is the lead. the world lead, president obama has given the green light to surveillance flights over syria, but the real question is will he authorize strikes against isis and if so, what is he waiting for some also -- >> i ask you to please release my child. >> the desperate plea from a mother of an american journalist to the isis terrorists holding
him hostage. she's begging them not to hold her son accountable for u.s. government actions against isis. and the national lead, a terrible accident or terrible negligence? a 9-year-old girl will have to grow up knowing she killed a man after an uzi was put in her after an uzi was put in her hands. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> good afternoon, everyone. isis has beheaded one american and disgustingly shown it on tape. they're believed to be holding at least three other americans hostage. they've sucked still other americans into their web of sick and twisted ideology. they've been called, quote, beyond anything we've seen before by the defense secretary chuck hagel and now a u.s. official has said that president obama okayed surveillance flights to gather intelligence on isis in syria, but as our pentagon correspondent barbara starr reports, u.s. airstrikes
on isis targets in syria as we've seen in iraq, they are not a sure thing. >> desperate iraqis again on the run from isis. this time minority turkmen in northern iraq under siege for weeks. people desperate for food, water and above all, safety. the u.s. military is prepared to potentially expand operations to air drop humanitarian supplies and bomb isis positions to help break its grip here if president obama orders it. across the border in syria, no decision yet by the white house on whether to begin air strikes against isis strong holds inside syria. >> i would not at this point set up a timeframe for a presidential decision. >> reporter: president obama's critics, as expected, impatient. >> can i just say that with the
secretary of defense and the chairman of joint chiefs talk about how this is a huge threat this is and the biggest we've ever seen, et cetera and then -- and there's nothing to follow that up because there's no strategy. >> for now, pentagon drones continue flying inside iraq looking into syria for possible future targets including isis con voice, weapons, personnel, anything that could be hit to stop the momentum as a capable military force. it's critical military intelligence needed first before the president is expected to make a decision about ordering air strikes. >> and if we could locate insurgent trucks, humvees, armored vehicles, tanks, mort mortars, artillery, air vibing would be most effective eliminating those pieces of the isis arse fall. >> the reality of the air strikes also settling in. >> it's not a panacea to
destroying the group because it will simply melt into the areas it already controls and then comes the much more difficult problem of how to root them out. >> reporter: defense department officials are making the case that air strikes can only do so much. generally, they can break the momentum of an enemy force, but they cannot stop it. jake? >> barbara starr at the pentagon. thank you so much. a follow-up to the story we told you yesterday about the american jihady fighting for isis, douglas macarthur mccain. we are being told it was not just one american killed in syria whale fighting for isis. it was two. according to a group battling isis, that coalition has not named this supposed second american or offered any evidence of its claims, but it did release photos of that first american, douglas macarthur mccain, the california man who has become a part of this disturbing phenomenon of americans joining terrorist groups that want to kill
americans. let's bring in justice correspondent pamela brown. what are you learning about mccain's life before he became radicalized? >> well, jake, we've been speaking to law enforcement officials and authorities became aware of douglas mccain back in the early 2000s because he was associated with someone who authorities were interested in at that time, but we learned back then that the authorities telling us that there was nothing linking mccain to anything me fairius and we also learned, jake, that it wasn't until after mccain traveled to turkey that he was put on authorities' radar most recently just in the past few months. >> it was just months ago that douglas macarthur mccain began to attract the attention of u.s. intelligence. u.s. law enforcement tells cnn the government was investigating his overseas connection to the brutal isis terror group, but the extent of his radical side was not evident to his american
family. the 33-year-old american told them just last week that he was in turkey. >> last time i communicated with him was on facebook last friday. on a picture i posted and he commented about my boys growing up. >> within days of his facebook post, mccain was killed in a battle between rival extremist groups near aleppo, syria. after his death a rival opposition group released photos of mccain's body and his u.s. passport seen here. >> this is so outlandish. that's not who he was. for him to be in syria fighting for a terrorist group. that doesn't make sense. >> mccain converted from christianity to islam a decade ago. sources tell cnn it appears he radicalized gradually. his religion was very important to him, but those people -- the isis people, they don't -- they don't represent what my cousin's beliefs are or were. >> his family tells cnn they weren't alarmed by his
conversion, but his recent posts on social media caught their attention. on a twitter account reported to be mccain's he wrote on june 9th. i will be joining you guys soon. i'm with the brothers now. on june 26th he re-tweeted this post which says it takes a warrior to understand a warrior. pray for isis. it's not clear if mccain was in syria when he tweeted. mccain grew up near minneapolis and later moved to san diego where he attended college. between 2000 and 2008 he was arrested six times all for minor offenses. mccain's radicalization and death in syria stunned loved ones back home. >> that's what hurts the most is he was a good person. >> reporter: and jake, we learned that after officials learned of his travel to turkey that he was put on a list of americans believed to have joined militant groups and therefore if he had tried to travel back to the u.s. he would have been subject to additional scrutiny and also, jake, in
speaking to law enforcement officials we learned that mccain had been associated with a number of todays over the past few years, one of whom he knew from minnesota who was killed back in time apparently by committing jihad. >> pamela brown, thank you so much. let's join to rear admiral john kirby. good to see you as always. >> thank you. >> this coalition group of opposition groups fighting isis now claims that douglas was one of two americans that that group killed in syria. do we have any information about the supposed second american? any con pirmatifirmation that i? >> no. no con pirmation here at the the pentagon. >> the american people know that the american government and the nsa conducts so much surveillance and so much study and research and intrusion into our emails and our phone calls and our travel and other personal information. i guess a lot of people knowing about this nsa story are
confused as to why so many of these individuals like douglas macarthur mccain, like the jihady from florida who did a suicide bombing in syria earlier this year, why they're able to slip through the cracks. do we even have a number of americans that we know who have joined these terrorist groups? >> i don't know that we have a precise number, jake. i certainly have seen a number of upward of a hundred and certainly we believe several dozens are involved in this kind of activity and prankly, there could be more. these kinds of people with these kinds of intention, they're not going to make them well known and they could be pretty good at hiding them. it is the foreign fighter threat that concerns us here in the pentagon and when we talk about the immediacy of the threat that isil poses this is one of the factors that we're talking about, and it's not just the united states government. we were inoff the raustralia ane
concerned about people going over there and fighting for these guys and potentially coming back to their homeland to conduct attacks. >> is there a process in place that these individuals would be stopped before they got on an airplane before they got to the united states. >> that's a law enforcement issue, and i'm not qualified to talk about that. i know law enforcement agencies are taking this very seriously and the attorney general is talking about this, and i know they're working hard on exactly that issue. >> there's been criticism that there's not a strategy to defeat isis. the will daily beast reports that president obama has said he wants a plan by the end of this week, a plan finalized to attack isis in syria. is that correct? is the pentagon drafting a plan right now to give to president obama by the end of the week? >> we're a planning organization, jake. you know that. our job is to be ready for all options and to execute all orders of the commander in chief and without getting into specifics and certainly timelines and details, i can tell you we're putting a lot of
time and energy in the pentagon and central command. >> is there a strategy to go after isis? >> we're executing a strategy and you don't have to look at anything more than the press releases out of central command to see the strikes we're conducting, doing them every day and we did conduct humanitarian mission on mount sinjar. more importantly, we are there in support of the iraqi security forces and we've upped our naval presence in the gulf and we intensified the number of surveillance flights in iraq and we've been engaged for quite some time and the engagement will continue. >> what's the engagement in iraq, what about in syria? >> i'm not going to get into decisions the president hasn't made and as secretary dempsey said and secretary hagel said we have to take a regional approach on this, and we have to look at the sanctuary they have in syria and we have to consider the free reign they have over a non-existent border right now, but just as importantly as what
they said, no military solution will be enough and you have to look at the whole situation, politically, economically, diplomatically. this is a group that's trying to create funding streams and revenue. they're trying to grab ground and hold it. they want infrastructure. this had is not just a normal terrorist group. one of the things that's important is good governance and one of the things zee we have ty to get issa eliminating and to exacerbate the tensions in the reg sxon that comes from good governance. that's a healthy thing. the assad regime is doing nothing, but causing deprivations on their own people and allowing groups like isil to persist on their territory. >> so what is the political solution? a year ago you guys were drafting a plan to bomb assad's forces and now you're talking about drafting up plans to bomb forces fighting assad. how can there possibly be a political solution in syria? >> there could be a political solution in syria when the assad regime steps down and you have a
government in syria that's representative of all syrians and can respond to the needs of the people living there. we are seeing a similar approach in iraq with the unity government being formed. it's important to have partners in the region and partners you can rely on, and not just willing partners, but partners you can rely on. >> thank you very much. we appreciate it. coming up, they killed one american journalist and said her son will be next and now a mother is making a direct appeal to isis to let him go. and she's just 9 years old and someone thought it would be a good idea to let her shoot an uzi. a tragedy on an arizona gun range. [ male announcer ] it's one of the most amazing things we build and it doesn't even fly. we build it in classrooms and exhibit halls, mentoring tomorrow's innovators. we build it raising roofs, preserving habitats and serving america's veterans.
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mercy from what until now has proven to be a merciless terror group, isis. >> i ask you to please release my child. as a mother, i ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no con roll over. >> steven sotloff is the american journalist who appears at the end of that horrific video that isis released of the heads of another journalist they had taken hostage, james foley. sotloff went missing last summer after entering to northern syria from turkey after reporting on the violent civil war. the family ried to keep his abduction quiet in hopes that that would keep him alive and now that the world has seen images of him in the hands of isis. sotloff's mother is asking abu bakr al baghdadi, the leader of the ruthless terrorist group himself to spare her son. if you can imagine the kind of pain the sotloffs are going through or the hell that steven himself is likely enduring in
captivity except my next guest, is an exception. david rode was kidnapped by the taliban and held prisoner for seven months before escaping. there are other americans being held by isis. we're not going to release their names because we hope that that will help secure their safety a little bit more. "the new york times," for instance, tried to keep your capture quiet. is it it a mistake, do you think, for sotloff's morgue to be putting this plea out well or is the genie out of the bottle after he appeared out there. >> i applaud her to somehow communicate with his captors and maybe save his life. i've been home for five years and i've talked to different families, and not the sof layoffs, but the foleys and others and there is a community and they try to each other and they figure outdo you stay quiet? do you go public some in the
foley case and prior to steven sotloff appearing in this video, the isis captors were telling the foleys and sotloffs to not go public that if they did go public about the kidnap they would kill both of these captives, so again, i feel so badly for her and these families in these situations. >> it's impossible for me to even try to understand what she's going through. what do you see behind this last-ditch effort as we describe it that has a chance of winning? is it possible that somebody like al baghdadi who, by all accounts, appears to be a monster that he might be subject to the whims of some sort of public pressure? >> no. i think for these kidnappers it's really -- it's great street cred, if you will, to have an american hostage and so having this video released, having him addressed as the khalif, the head of this islamic state that
they declared is a good thing for him publicly to boost his standing among other jihad is and the wording was very intelligent and it's exactly the right thing to do. i have no idea if it will work and it's a credit that she's made this effort. >> it's interesting, the idea that giving him deference might work. peter curtis is a writer that spent merely two years as a h t hostage to militants in syria. he got to go back home. what is he going through right now? you have actually been there. >> he's e lated and wondering why me? why did i survive? i still don't on know why i was lucky enough to escape with the help of this one afghan journalist and the broader point i want to make, jake, is there is a roll problem. the united states is not paying rans ransom. there was a french, danish and they were ransomed by their
governments and they're home and safe and james foley is safe and who knows what will happen to steven. this international approach is not working and there needs to be a unified approach and it's spreading. a colleague of mine wrote about a new japanese captive, a mentally disturbed man who was homeless at some point and went on sort of an independent, humanitarian mission to syria. he has now been taken captive by militants there. >> james foley's brothers that the u.s. government did not do enough to save him. is he right? >> well, it's a difficult situation. the only way you can save an american hostage now is that is to, you know, to pay a very large ransom and the problem with these european payments there are millions of dollars is that they skew the market. the american policies that the government won't pay, but if a family or organization can pay a ransom the u.s. government will turn away, but when millions upon millions are being paid by france and other countries it it puts the united states on an
impossible situation. they should put pressureston the paymenters on there should be a unified approach. it's not going to be easy, but the captors are the killers and the actions of american allies by ransoming these european hostages may have contributed to the death of james foley. >> i do recommend, if you haven't read the book that david co-wrote with his wife called "a rope and a prayer," a kidnapping from two sides, i highly recommend it. thank you very much. >> thank you. from one pleading if are their son's return to another praying that they can can find their son alive. aaron sofer disappeared while hiking in the jerusalem forest. . israeli police and volunteers. hundreds of them have scoured the area, but the frantic searching has not turned up anything, only confusion and fading hope. i spoke with sofer's brother joel yesterday and he said the police have no evidence about where aaron might be or whether he was even abducted. sofer's parents rushed from the
new jersey home and they released this emotional plea for his safe return. >> i beg of you, beg you, please, has anyone seen the whereabouts of aaron, please call the police immediately. >> because sofer is an american citizen, the u.s. state department is helping israeli authorities in the search. >> coming up in the politics lead, he's in a heated battle to hang on to the senate seat he's held for decades so why with so much at stake is mitch mcconnell extending an olive branch to president obama? >> plus a 9-year-old girl accidentally kills her shooting instructor with an uzy and why it's perfectly legal for kids to get their hands on high-powered weapons. well, unlimited talk and text, and ten gigs of data for the five of you would be... one-seventy-five a month. good calculating kyle. good job kyle. you just made partner.
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killed her instructor and no charges filed. >> how someone so young and not strong could be allowed how to use such a powerful weapon in the first place. >> tom foreman. this is a different type of gun altogether. most of the guns we're talking about most of the time, around las vegas there are plenty of places that are called machine gun tourism which means for a p fee, you can fire all kinds of weapons and this is in the south side and that is where this young girl from new jersey was handed this gun. >> give me one shot. >> all right! >> at the bulletin burger's gun range. instructor charlie vacca is leaning over the 9-year-old girl telling her how to handle the uzi as she squeezes off a shot. then moments later she pulls the trigger for a burst of fire and the 9 millimeter sub machine gun
jumps toward vacca's head and he is mortally wounded. >> we don't know what happened. our guys are trained to basically hover over people when they're shooting. and if they're shooting right-handed we have our right hand behind them and if they're left-handed the same thing. >> reporter: developed in the 1950s the uzi can fire ten rounds per second at close to 900 miles an hour and in the hand of a skilled marksman it can be highly effective and they've long argued that guns in the hands of young people bring inher haddent risks. 28 states plus washington, d.c., have laws to prosecute adults to allow children unsupervised access to guns, but they point out such laws don't apply to supervised use. >> this might not bea i law in the books, but where this is one of the situations where common sense should dictate the behaviors and it doesn't seem to make a lot of sense access to
very powerful automatic weapons. ? still, it's helped before. in 2008, an 8-year-old boy at a gun show in massachusetts shot himself in the head with an uzi and the former police chief who organized that show could have gone to prison for 20 years, but he was acquitted and local authorities say so far in this latest incident charges will not be fired against anyone, calling the death the result of an industrial accident. >> there are still other investigations that have go on there by osha and other folks. maybe should charges may come out of it. we reached out from the nra and we haven't heard from them, jake. had is one of the weird issues where it falls between the gun control debate and the question of adults and kids. what should kids have access to? you're teaching a kid to drive a car, you don't start in a per ary. you start with something that has less horsepower to it. an uzi, that is a big gun and a very, very serious gun even in
the world of guns. >> tragic story. thank you so much. >> coming up, mitch mcconnell told republicans it was their sole mission to make president obama a one-term president and they're making news for saying that the commander in chief has his full support. what could make these two put their political differences aside? that's coming up next. but your erectile dysfunction - it could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision,
>> welcome back to "the lead." now it's time for the politics lead in the middle of what might be the most bruising election battle of his three decades in office and likely the most expensive race in the history of the united states senate. minority leader mitch mcconnell did something today that the senator from kentucky very rarely dares to do.
he agreed with president obama. dana bash just spoke exclusively with mcconnell who remained quick to have the president's foreign policy and he is in agreement with the way the white house is handling the threat of isis now and he would support for strikes inside their safe haven of syria if president obama obama asks for it first from congress. >> you are here in a tough place. a lot of your colleagues are, as well. is there any trepidation about having a politically explosive debate on authorizing use of force right before an election. >> look, i think the security of the nation comes first. i believe and others believe that isis can hit us here at home, and that really trumps all other considerations and i'm anxious to hear what the president has in mind and i think he's very likely to get support. >> dana bash joins us live from louisville, kentucky, and i am joined by jonathan martin whose new piece is called, quote,
mitch mcconnell is headed down the trech. the democrat allison grimes has been keeping obama at arm's length. do you think there's any rick for mcconnell some. >> well, it's certainly not a risk when it comes to obama because, i mean, you cannot stand with him for more than five seconds and here he -- and not hear him criticize the proz everything else. i mean, everything else, and i've been with him now for two days here in kentucky. i think ironically, the bigger risk is the supporting or at least, tentative supporting of military action and of a congressional authorization to do that because he is in such a tight race here and this is a war-weary country, and i was with him with a speech, and he seemed to almost be preparing the voters here for it. i get that we've had two prolonged wars. it hasn't been easy, but sometimes especially when the
threat is as big as i think it is here we might have to act and i think that maybe is a bigger threat to him than saying at least on this small thing that he supports the president rid n right now. >> what's your take, john? you were with mitch mcconnell. >> i don't think isis is a political risk in kentucky especially after what happened to mr. foley, the journalist. so, look, it's not a safe place for him to be, but he'll change the topic back pretty fast to national security to what he wants it on which is trying to link his opponent to president obama. that's his whole campaign, jake, traying to make the election about obama rather than himself. >> and rather than about allison grimes, the democratic opponent. >> dane arc the democrats hyperventilating over the audio obtained by the nation magazine it's mcconnell saying the republican party will be attaching riders on spending bills to force the president's hand on everything from obamacare to funding for the epa. he made the comments two months
ago to a group of donors includinging the infamous coke brothers. take a listen. the infamous cok brothers. take a listen. >> the record ring apparently made with the two tin cans and a piece of string. his op on bonent, allison grimes reacted in an exclusive interview with you. what did she have to say? >> she was very eager to jump on this. listen to what she said and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> i think mitch mcconnell got caught in his 47% mitt romney moment. i think it shows the extent and the lengths he will go to to pander to his party, millionaires and billionaires at the expense of hurting
kentuckyans. >> i don't think it's a 47% moment, right? because he made very similar comments to politico on the record. >> well, there's that, but i think if you sort of take it back a couple of steps and look at the context of this, jake, you know that democrats have been sort of, you know, foaming at the mouth when it comes to the coke brothers because they have polling across the board in all of these races that shows that they do well when they make it about republicans being in the pocket of millionaires and billionaires. that wasn't an accident that combriem grimes used those words and it's us against them and that's why you see the coke brothers on so many ads in campaigns and also why you see democrats trying to use this as a narrative. however, you are absolutely right that mitch mcconnell has said a lot of this publicly and almost all of this public and i asked him about that today and
here's what he said. >> i didn't say anything if the private meeting and i haven't side publicly. he basically said give me a break and the other things he said was in this secret audio was that he doesn't support the minimum wage increase, that he doesn't support the democrats on student loans. that he doesn't support unemployment insurance extensions and that's all stuff that he supported publicly or voted on or against. the concept of democrats having this and having the ability to hang it on him as a coke brothers moment is something that's not great for mcconnell, but it might not have the legs and certainly doesn't have the impact that the 47% moment. i agree with you. >> democrats do point out that the one thing he didn't say to politico, jonathan, that he did say in his private meeting was attaching riders on financial services and that feeds into how much is any republican in their pocket of wall street.
one thing, the rodney dangerfield moment, he keeps on saying every time he sees you that he is 8 and 0 and has never lost an election. he feels like he hasn't been given enough credit. >> you think of mitch mcconnell and you think of a lot of things and it's sort of needy and looking for a validation. >> at age 72 to 30 years in the sen is thea not part of it. part of it it is shtick and he likes to cultivate this outsider image even though he's at the pinnacle of washington power, he's fighting the liberal elite. so it's partly that, but i think there is something authentic there. he really does care about history. he's immersed in it. he deeply cares about his place in the state's history and the country's history, and i believe he does not believe he's been afforded the respect he deserve over the long political career because people don't like the way he runs the campaigns and
the way he conducts his polit s politics. when alexander told me this had, he's won because he's run campaigns. he's not wrun positive, happy camp qaas. he's won ugly. he's won, but it hasn't been pretty. >> and i think seven of the eight people he defeated have never run for office again. jonathan, and dana thank you so much. their job is to serve and protect so why isn't anyone tracking the number of playoffs killed in the line of duty my next guest has that. we'll get the latest on hurricane marie. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked.
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the shooting death of michael brown shot and killed by a police officer sparked a national conversation about issues of police brutality and excessive force. brown is one of several hig high-profile police killings john crawford, the ohio man killed while holding a bb gun and darren taylor shot outside a 7-eleven while police responded to reports of a man carrying a gun. for anyone inspired by these cases to seek out information on just how often police killings happen, there is a good chance you discovered the same thing we did the numbers are not out well and it's not because we're searching the wrong search engine. there is though database that tracks police killings unlike what exists for police officers killed in the line of duty which we reported on last week. one journalist has dieded to take matters into his own hands. he's compiling his own database of officer-involved killings on
a website called fatal encounters. brian burkhart is the editor of the reno news and review who came up with this website. what made you decide to start tracking police killings? >> well, i discovered there was no database. there was a lease killing in reno, nevada, and i tried to look and see how frequently that happened, and it wasn't available. so it it seemed insane that this kind of data is not available to the american public, so i decided i was going to make it. >> while putting this database together over the last pew years, what have you deseriscov about the prevalence of police killings. >> i discovered that the numbers provided by the fiber less than half what the real numbers are. forring, they generally claim that the numbers 400 people a year killed by police and according to -- well, several sources, killed by police on facebook in the last 365 days
it's 1,080. >> you say that the fact that this database does not exist, you don't think it's an accident or oversight. you think it's by design. explain what you mean. >> well, there is a law -- there was a law passed on 1994 requiring the justice department to keep this data and the fact that they've been ignoring that law for 20 years suggests to me that they don't want to do it. it's clear evidence. >> because they do, in fact, of course, keep a database on how many police officers are killed in the line of duty. we reported on that last week, but you can't get the other figures. >> you just mentioned a facebook group. you have been relying heavily on crowd source information. are you concerned about how reliable that is? >> oh, absolutely. since most of the crowd sourced information comes from journalists, it's not perfectly accurate. what i started with, the original intent on this was to do public records requests of all 17,985 state and local law
enforcement agencies, but that -- with roadblocks that was taking a very long time, so i did manage to foil all of the state and local in nevada, but now it's growing and actually we may be able to go to primary documents for many cases. >> ultimate ultimately, what d will come out of the work you're doing? >> ultimately, i want the u.s. department of justice to collect this information in the uniform crime report the same place where they keep the police killings, the police who are killed by criminals. >> right. in 2013 that number was 27. 27 police killed in the line of duty. brian burkhart, thank you very much for your time. we really appreciate it. >> my pleasure. thanks for having me. >> coming up on "the lead." we have a live look on how nature has set the stage for a
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and get the fastest wifi included. comcast business. built for business. welcome back to the lead and other national news. . you can hang ten with the best of them and you've conquered your fair share of humpbacks, you are salivating at the gnarly action going down off the california coast. hurricane marie is kicking off giant waves in the pacific ocean and it's got surfers flocking to places like malibu beach in droves, but as far out as it it all looks, a wipeout in these waters could be potentially deadly and cnn's akiko fujita is live. what size waves are we talking about? >> reporter: we're talking 10 to 15-foot waves and that's about double any i'm worried the waves will splash on to the rock.
nature putting on a show for all of the surfers here at surf riders beach. it's the biggest waves to hit the coast in decades and it is drawing quite the crowd, just take a look. you can see all of the waves crashing in and the surfers out here are really taking advantage of this. you can imagine these waves are heaven for these avid surfers in cal will cal. these waters have been absolutely packed all day. among them, big wave surfer blair hamilton. we had a chance to catch up with him earlier today, and he called this a surfer's dream. >> we're just thankful that we get to ride these waves and everybody just needs to be head's up right now. this is not a game. this is some serious stuff and, you know, somebody passed away last night down here and some people have been hurt and it's something that you just have to have your respect for the ocean. >> reporter: now that fatality that laird is referring to,
officials out here say they found a surfer who was unconscious last night in malibu. they don't know if this is directly related to this or whether that surfer had a medical condition, but lifeguards stress conditions are dangerous for inexperienced surfers here. they've carried out more than a hundred rescues in the last 24 hours and they're saying it's not just the innimagnitude of t surge, but the consistency at which it's coming. at malibu pier, they've had to close down the pier because they've lost six pilons. surfers coming out here all day and they'll stick around for the next few days as well, jake? >> very quickly, akiko is there a concern about flooding? >> reporter: well is. we're talking about 10, 15-foot waves and down south we're looking at 25-foot waves and we've seen the homes flood near the seal beach area in orange county and this -- the surge is expected to last for the next few days.
so they'll be keeping a close eye on that. akiko fujita thank you so much. check out the page on cnn.com/the the lead for video blogs and extras. that is it for "the lead." i am jake tapper and i turn you over to wolf blitzer in the situation room. wolf? thanks very much, jake. happening now, syria air strikes. u.s. drones already scouting targets as president obama weighs his options for expanding the attacks on isis. jihadists on the border and it spills over into israeli-held territory as al qaeda allies seize a key crossing point. and a mother's plea. after the brutal murder of one american, the mother of another american hostage begs isis to release her son. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> we are tracking major developm t