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tv   CNN Tonight  CNN  February 22, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PST

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is the vibe and it is certainly a tense situation. >> thank you for you and your team who have been there giving us a very unique perspective on what is going on. and stay with cnn for the latest from ukraine. the news continues and let's hand it over to wolf blitzer and cnn tonight. >> thank you very much. >> closer and closer to ukraine's border along with the construction of the new field hospital. dozens of tents have appeared recently according to images taking over belarus 25 miles from the ukrainian border. the area was completely vacant just a few weeks ago and it is only heightening concerns about vladimir putin's intentions the
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world is now watching and waiting after the west slapped russia with a coordinated series of consequences today. consequences for what president biden refers to as the start of an invasion of ukraine. >> this is is the beginning of a russian invasion of ukraine. who in the lord's name does putin think gives him right to declare new so-called country on territory belonging to his neighbors. this is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community. >> the firm response came in the form of numerous economic sanctions for putin's moves for russian troops into two breakaway areas for ukraine including sanctions from the u.s. on two big russian financial constitutions with close ties to the kremlin, cuts off russia from western
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financing and inflicting economic pain on the country's elites and their families warning of more to come the further russia goes and on top of that the u.k. is sanctioning russian banks and germany halted certification of a key natural gas pipeline. it would have increased reliance on energy from russia dramatically but is no longer in play for now. nato secretary general calls this moment the most dangerous for european security in a generation. tensions are only building with a large amount of russian military vehicles drawing closer to ukraine's border earlier. president biden is going straight after putin with his words calling him out for his twisted rewrite of history to try to justify taking more territory by force, a rant full of grievances to try to lay the
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ground work to annex former soviet territories, but the president is still signaling hope there is a way to get putin to pull back. >> we still believe russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against ukraine. there is still time to avert the worst case scenario. i am hoping diplomacy is still available. how is russia responding to the wave of new sanctions from the u.s. and western european nations? the russians are brushing off the sanctions. i think what russian officials are saying essentially is that look, the idea that there is
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going to be sanctions because of our actions was already factored into the decision-making process. a revealing process came from the kremlin today when the spokesman for vladimir putin was asked what vladimir putin's reaction was to president biden's recent remarks. he said i'm sorry. didn't even watch them. he was busy in a working meeting. there have been comments from the former president of russia and the russian prime minister in response to the german sanctions which have been particularly stinging, the suspension of the nord stream 2 gas pipeline from russia to germany that would individual dramatically increased the amount of natural gas russia exports to the european union.
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that now has been suspended and the approval on that by the german government, a tough issue implemented by them. the close putin ally tweeting out welcome to a brave new world where europeans are paying thousands of dollars for their gas. there is already a gas shortage in the european union that led to a massive spike in prices and this is just, you know, a reminder from the powerful russian official that sanctions when it comes to russia can cut both ways. look, the russians have had sanctions upon sanctions imposed upon them in the past over the past ten years for various russian misdeeds. meddling in the presidential election in 2016 in the united states or attacks against opposition figures and opponents and dissidents but none of those
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sanctions had a discernible impact on russian policy and it looks like the current sanctions will not have much impact at the moment either. >> we shall see about that. what more can you tell us about russian troop movements on the ground? >> reporter: well, the troops are, as you mentioned at the start of the show, moving closer all of the time and growing in number, close to ukraine's borders. we have seen that. there are more satellite images coming out showing there are medical facilities, other infrastructure, military infrastructure, you know, things being put in to place all indicating that more preparations are being made for a eventual potential invasion into ukraine. the russians say they have got no intention of invading in the
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full-scale way. there are growing concerns tonight, wolf, that with the recognition of the rebel republics in the east of the country by russia, the problem is they only control a tiny amount of the area they claim as their territory. vladimir putin, the russian president recognized their claim to the entirety of the ter territories and the big concern now is the rebels emboldened with recognition will use this as an opportunity, backed by russian tanks gathered near the borders to push outwards and restart the war and grab more land. it is why the recognition of the republics could be the start of a broader invasion by russia ands it proxies into ukrainian territory. >> stay safe over there and be careful. excellent, excellent reporting. i want to turn to a democratic
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senator who sits on the foreign relations committee. senator, thanks so much for joining us. you know president biden is warning, and i am quoting him now. russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against ukraine and the latest satellite images showing russian troops are closer and closer to the ukrainian border and it seems to back it up. what are you bracing for in the coming hours and days? >> wolf, it is good to be with you and it may be a fact that putin is determined to fully invade ukraine no matter what the cost. we have to, together with our allies, raise the cost to the highest levels and president biden's actions today with swift
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and severe sanctions combined with the other actions from the allies was a very important first step as well. it is also important that president biden indicated that there is a lot more to come in terms of punishing economic sanctions. again, we don't know what is in putin's mind. there is time for him to pull back from the brink but we need to be clear there will be more punishing sanctions to come. >> president biden announce the first wave of sanctions but some republicans including kevin mccarthy and nikki haley say this is too little, too late. do the sanctions, senator, do they go far enough? >> well, the sanctions are appropriate and are severe sanctions as you reported early on. you know, it makes no sense to
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fire off all of your economic ammo at one time and leave nothing in reserve. that means putin has nothing to lose from further advancements and invasion deeper into ukraine. now it is very possible he will do that no matter what but using all of your economic sanctions at once will not stop him and letting him know further action will be met by higher costs to him at least has a chance of doing it. >> the second of state anthony blinken announced he will no longer meet with russia's foreign minister late this week. was that the right decision? >> at this point it is clear putin rejected the dip plo mattic path.
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secretary state blinken made the right decision not meeting right after putin took the action that he did today, including sending forces into the newly recognized territories. recognized by putin and nobody else. >> did you ever think you would see a threat like this with putin attempting to redraw the map of europe by force? what do you think he could be doing next? >> it is our job to make sure it is seen in history as an epic miscalculation by raising the price to putin. what we can control is what we do next. that is why it was really important to work with our nato allies and other partners around the world and to act in unison. now that is what we discussed
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over the weekend at the munich conference. addition to the sanctions on russian banks, and there will be a lot more to come. we can cut off russia's supply of critical technologies like semiconductors like to japan and taiwan and singapore, big suppliers. bringing them in as well. this has to be a concerted action against a thug, now bullying and launching an invasion against a democratically elected government. >> all of those sanctions can be painful to putin and his country and the oligarchs and their families. so what is vladimir putin's next
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move and how far could he go in trying to redraw ukraine's borders and how far might nato go to stop him. we will get special insight from the retired general james clapper. we will discuss when we come back. and it's easy to get a quote at so you only pay for what you need. isn't that right limu? limu? sorry, one sec. doug blows a whistle [a vulture squawks.] oh boy. only pay for what you need. ♪liberty, liberty, liberty, berty♪ andy, justin tested positive. let's do a cue test. okay. ♪ (whispers) whoa, what is that? ♪ who is this new device? i'm cue and i'm here to protect the family. hey, that's my job.
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>> so, how will vladimir putin react now? that is the big question in the wake of the actions taken by the u.s. and western european nations. remember, when the obama administration imposed sanctions on russia for invading ukraine in 2014, it created just a modest drag on russia's economy. putin was able to hold on and learned how to insulate russia from financial penalties. what will the new sanctions mean this time around?
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the former director of intelligence under president obama, james clapper. there is a lot of uncertainty over how the moment will unfold. do you believe the sanctions imposed today by the u.s. and western europe will impact putin's calculations? >> not right away. one of the frustrations people have with the imposition sanctions, it does not result in instant gratification. what you are looking for it is a change in behavior. we are not going to see that right away. the other thing, the administration is trying to parse out sanctions in anticipation of further action by putin. so, the sanctions won't, i don't think, directly affect anything right away. but their impact will be felt over time.
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they could have the affect of changing behavior. but initially no. >> initially they didn't call it an invasion and still have not confirmed if russian former military troops crossed into eastern ukraine. you studied putin over a long career. is the ambiguity all part of putin's playbook? >> sure. the political act of essentially annexy two phony republics in the ukraine, the area the opposition controls as you noted is only part of the area of the two states there. so, this is his way of inching in. but he is not, i don't believe, going to allow the 190,000 troops on three sides of the
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ukraine to sit idle or not use them. he is going to do more. that is when he gets in to the zone of unintended consequences. right now he is controlling the script. when you start to pull triggers and drop bombs, things can go bad and he won't be in such control. i think we need to anticipate that. >> i think you are right. the biden administration revealed plans of putin's plans every step of the way. >> i am all for it. now, there is a down side of course when you reveal particularly on such a timely basis intelligence, you can bet the russians are going to back engineer and figure out where we got it. it is the right thing to do in an information warfare context.
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i think it has been disruptive and distract to putin and i hope it continues. >> president biden said further russian assault in ukraine remains a severe threat in the days ahead. what will you be watching for specifically director clapper as this unfolds? >> well, what i would look for of course is moving out in eastern ukraine where the part is controlled by the opposition. russian troops will be welcome. they established their foot hold or beach head if you will. i look for a move from belarus towards kyiv and the attempt by the russians to neutralize other significant targets. i think putin overall is
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interested in rolling back history by 30 years this grievance of his has been eating at him for that long. he decided to right this tremendous wrong to russia and i don't think ukraine will be the last of it. >> i want to get to that because that is really worrisome. is his goal to get rid of the current ukrainian government of zelenskyy and take over in kyiv and move on top poland and othe nato allies? >> i think he has talked himself into believing that he can get away with this. he thinks we won't react, the west won't react.
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putin is not getting much push back for the meetings he has been conducting. he does not have anybody telling him what he is doing is dumb or not the smart thing to do. he is surrounded by basically yes men that are not going to push back. >> we are out of time director clapper. but how worried should the u.s. be that russia will retaliate against the united states by launching cyber warfare against the highly vulnerable u.s. industries and others? >> we should be concerned about it. that is a great question. we need to do all we can to shore up our defenses because i expect that if there is pain
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caused by the sanctions, putin will not sit by and let it go. i keep hearing from the u.s. officials that is one of their gravest concerns right now. remarkable reaction to russia's moves from the former president of the united states. ♪ ♪ ♪a little bit of chicken fried♪ ♪cold beer on a friday night♪ ♪a pair of jeans that fit just right♪ ♪and ththe radio up well i've seen the sunrise...♪ geget 5 boneless wings for $1 with any handcrafted burger. only at applebee's (music) ♪ i think to myself ♪ what a wonderful world ♪
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republicans are blasting president biden for being too weak on russia but the de facto leader of the party is spending his time praising vladimir putin. former president trump going so far as to call putin's moves the former president once again he said putin's moves genius. here is more of his complementary tone. >> so putin is now saying it is independent, a large section of ukraine. i said how smart is that. he is going to go in and be a peacekeeper. that is the strongest peace force. we could use that on the southern border.
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more army tanks than i ever have seen. they are go to keep peace. i know him very well. very, very well. >> the former president's comments come as the house republican leadership call putin's actions reprehensible and taking a dig at the same time at the current commander in chief. sadly president biden consistently chose appeasement and his tough talk on russia was never followed by strong action. lethal aid was slow-walked, anti-air and anti-ship capabilities were never directly provided, pre-invasion sanctions were never imposed and sanctions on nord stream 2 were waived. political ramifications. john, can republicans really hit president biden for being too soft on putin? when you look at the comments from the former president trump.
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>> they can try. it is not persuasive. look, donald trump is somebody who always has been entirely transactional. he does not value right or wrong, true or false, he values people that help him. russia helped his finances and his campaign. he helped russia as president. did the opposite of all of the things that joe biden is trying to do now. donald trump weakened nato. he is squeezed ukraine for personal advantage getting him impeached the first time and cozied up to vladimir putin. vladimir putin is somebody, wolf, who wants to recreate a modern version of what ronald reagan once called the evil empire. ronald reagan would not recognize the republican party that followed trump increasingly into a warm relationship with vladimir putin. they are more interested in criticizing joe biden than they are standing up to vladimir
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putin. >> i was at that trump/putin summit when trump sided with putin and not his own intelligence community. a very embarrassing moment indeed. democrats are more likely than republicans to see russia as the biggest threat. have the two sides done a flip flop on russia? >> i think they have. democrats are soured on russia because of putin's role in the 2016 election. many democrats blame putin for trump being president frankly. trump's coziness with putin is one of the main reasons why some republicans but not all. some republicans are echoing trump's comments and also questioning the u.s. stake in the crisis between ukraine and russell. you mentioned, wolf, the summit
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between putin and trump in helsinki. i was at the g20 in germany. their interactions in the first meeting were warm. this is a president who has for a long time admired putin for his ruthlessness and now you have predictably a republican party that follows trump in lock step. just basically following suit. it does not have much to do with policy but more frankly to do with what trump wants. >> the white house struggled initially with how to respond to the latest moves from putin. what do you make of the change in tone with the president now calling it an invasion? >> i think there are two things going on there, wolf. one was ascertaining last night what exactly was happening with russia. you know, they put out the initial mild symbolic sanctions last night.
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the senior officials describe it as an invasion. they also need to see how united they could keep the alliance, nato and european democracies behind the sanctions they want to impose. what we saw this morning, once they figured it out when you woke up this morning to the german chancellor announcing the certification of nord stream 2 was halted and the u.s. government described what happened at the beginning of the invasion and saw the tougher sanctions from joe biden. it was a case of the administration trying to make sure they had their ducks in a row diplomatically and so far they have. >> that is a good point. president biden laid out what he calls the first sanctions saying he has no intention of fighting in russia. you called it the most significant test facing biden
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and his presidency. what is your take on how he is handling this extremely and delicate balance. >> it is a real balancing act for biden. he knows the american public does not have any appetite for obviously for any sort of conflict involving american troops in that part of the world, but also he has to regain the trust of the american people that he is complement enough to manage the global crisis and even while americans may not care too much about what is going on in ukraine, this goes far beyond this moment and i think that biden knows that. he knows russia is testing the west. if he fails to contain russia in the moment, the consequences could be severe in the long run for the country. biden is trying to balance a public focused inward and focused on what is going on at
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home but needs to see an american president and america on the front lines of the crisis leading and not falling behind. i mean biden is coping with the consequences of afghanistan and the damage that did to how people felt about him as commander in chief. this is his opportunity now to turn that around. so that is one of the main reasons the stakes are so high for him right now, wolf. >> good point indeed. guys, thank you very much. we will stay on top of this ukraine story. but there is another important story we are following tonight. the debate over a fourth covid vaccine shot for many americans, a second booster. dr. sanjay gupta joins me at how likely that moment will come and if so when. this is information that you need to know and that is next.
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the fda is now considering whether americans will need a second booster shot of the covid vaccine, in other words a fourth dose. some countries are already
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rolling them out. the "new york times" cites several studies suggesting one covid booster does provide lengthy protection from the virus but how long does it last and how many boosters might we all need? let's bring in dr. sanjay gupta. sanjay, why would we need a fourth booster considering the studies showing the third shot provides strong protection? >> yeah. that is a good question, wolf. the data is still coming in on this. we know people started to get the boosters in the fall of last year and they found with time the effectiveness of the booster starts to wane. let me show you the numbers and we can compare what people look like with the the two shots and then what happens with the third. what you find is that hospitalization protection goes from 91% to 78% after four months. so you can see that is really the concern there, the right side of the screen.
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also, you know, keep in mind the first people to get boosters are for people that are older and at high risk for developing serious disease and people in nursing homes. that may be the people that may be recommended the fourth shot. we will see. the data is incoming. one more graph comparing what it looks like between people getting two shots versus a single booster and possibly another booster. what you find is that people who get the booster shot are at the lowest risk of hospitalization. at the bottom right of the screen you can see disparity between the people getting the two versus the three. clearly people unvaccinated at the highest risk but the right lower part of the screen tells the story. if the gap will widen and widens in people beyond who are elderly or high risk it might make the
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recommendation for people to get another shot. >> get vaccinated and the booster shot as well. how encouraged, sanjay, are you by the pretty dramatic drop in cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks and deaths dropped from about 2,500 to 1,800. still a lot of americans dying from covid-19, most unvaccinated. what is your assessment? >> yeah, wolf. the good trend lines, below 100,000 per day. deaths are going down as you mentioned. still, really unfathomably high. 19% lower than last week. hospitalizations, wolf, still high. if the patient a high fever
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before the patient has a high fever but it has dropped and now will it go down to a level more acceptable? i think it is optimistic. two times last year, wolf, i think that we were surprised. you know we thought july 4 was going to be a signal we were looking at it in the rearview mirror and then delta and as we went in to thanksgiving and the holidays, omicron. i mean we have got to pay attention to the cautionary tales. i would like to deliver good news saying it is time to basically lift mitigation strategies but i think we have to learn from lessons that are pretty recent lessons in the middle of the pandemic. fingers crossed. looks good but patients in the hospital and we have to keep a close eye. >> how worried should we be about new variant?
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>> it appears it is more transmissible than the omicron circulating but it seems to be similar enough in terms of the virus itself that it should get the same protections that we get with omicron. if you are vaccinated. if you have protection. if you have immunity. you should feel comfortable with that. if you don't it is a more transmissible virus that will be more forgiving. could there be something out there lurking? the antennas have to stay out. >> that worries me. our viewers are grateful. thank you so much for joining us. another potential health threat may be closer than already feared. the so-called havana syndrome after years of worries that it i mabe an attack on diplomats and service members there are newly
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reached claims it reached the white house grounds. a former trump administration official is getting ready to tell us what happened to her. very, very worrisome developments. steps from the oval office. we will discuss when we come back. certified from headlamp to tailpipe. that's certified head turnsn. and it's all backed by y our unlimited mileage warranty. that means unlimited peace of mind. mercedes-benz certified pre-owned. translation: the mercedes of your dreams is closer than you think. ♪ ♪ ♪a little bit of chicken fried♪ ♪cold beer on a friday night♪ ♪a pair of jeans that fit just righ♪ ♪anthe radio up well i've seen the sunrise...♪ t 5 boneless wings for $1 with any handcrafted burger. only at applebee's why do people who live with generalized
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a full augmented reality experience. very cool. they won the pitch, and sml became bigger than ever. get the card built for business. by american express. one minute everything is fine, the next debilitating syndromes, vertigo, nausea, brain trauma and there is no good explanation. it has been happening over and over again to dozens of american government officials. it is called havana din droem but nobody knows who or what is behind it. the cia, the fbi, the state department are all investigating but so far they don't think most reported cases were caused by a foreign adversary. but those that experienced it fear the worst, and this may not
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necessarily just be happening in foreign countries. there are now firsthand reports, very disturbing reports of the syndrome happening here at home as one former official shared with 60 minutes. listen. that line being crossed into the united states takes this in some ways just shy of the realm of warfare. >> joining us now to discuss her personal story of what happened to her, olivia troy, she served as homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser to then vice president mike pence. olivia, thanks for joining us. i know you experienced havana syndrome in the summer of 2019 again in 2020. tell us what happened to you. how did it feel? >> hi, wolf. thanks for having me on.
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this is something that obvious will you very personal to me. it's been hard for me to make the decision to talk about this publicly. i think it's really important because it is impacting a number of intelligence officers. and so for me, it was something that happened completely struck me just completely out of the blue. i happened to be walking out of the eisenhower executive office building on the west side which faced the west wing of the white house. it was late in the day after work. i remember vividly the feeling of when it happened, i remember striking pain on the right side of my head. the feeling i was going to fall. i felt dizziness and vertigo symptoms. i was very insteady and just tried to make my way down the stairs and tried to take deep
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breaths and breathe through it. i remember the fear of thinking what is happening to me right now? i didn't understand. i thought maybe i'm having a stroke. i don't know what it is happening to me. i kept walking towards my car. and i remember vividly and in 2020 i never had any symptoms like this ever. i never experienced vertigo. i don't have any previous -- pre-existing conditions. and in 2020 i was walking on the ellipse after work again to my car and this happened again. and it was exactly the same type of sensation of overwhelming something pounding on the suide of my head, a piercing pain in my ear. i remember thinking when it happened again i thought whatever this is, it's back again. it is happening to me again. >> yeah. i think that's exactly the symptoms i keep hearing over the past several years from u.s. government officials. most of whom were working
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overseas. but you were right here in washington, d.c. as you know, the cia just released what they're calling an interim security report. they released it last month. it says, and i'm quoting now, "we assess it is unlikely that a foreign actor including russia is conducting a sustained worldwide campaign harming u.s. personnel with a weapon or mechanism." this report was met with a lot of frustration from people who say they experienced havana syndrome. what was your reaction? >> look, i think, you know, it's one thing to say it's inconclusive. they are still doing the on going investigation which is my understanding. and when you listen to director burns, i was grateful he came forward and said they're taking this very seriously. because this is a significant national security concern. and whoever suit is, we have to get to the bottom of it. there are numerous victims now. i can tell you, you know, there are guesses on foreign
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adversaries on what this is. i think they're still looking into that. but i can tell you that just in the time that i've come forward, i've had other officers reach out to me that i have worked with in the past and my career who have said to me, you know, i am in the cohort. i have the symptoms. and it happened to me here domestically. so this is not something that is just happening overseas. i think this is happening on american soil and that is important to take a look at this very seriously and also get these officers who are experiencing this treated medically and examined and followed up on for this exact thing. >> you're right. you say, olivia, you did not report the episodes initially because you were worried how it could affect your security clearance, how it could affect your career. do you think others feel similarly? is there a culture, in other
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words, of not reporting? >> i certainly think there is some shame and also just you second guess yourself when it happens. and you wonder well is this really what it is? i think there are a number of people that experienced that. certainly myself, you know, i had to come to terms with it and after sort of piecing it together that others have experienced similar symptoms and sum similar locations and it's a very similar event and pattern. that is what makes this so distinct. for me, yeah, you worry about that. you worry about the implications for your future, your career and health and you also, i mean it's a harsh thing when there are so many people out there who are either doubt there is or nonbelievers. and you spent your entire career in national security serving your country and whether they're going to doubt you. and for me, i'll tell when you i
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read the articles and i connected with others, you just -- you know that this is different. >> yeah. i heard stortthe story from you colleagues. olivia troy, thank you so much for sharing your story, with our viewers. appreciate it very much. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i see trees of green ♪ ♪ red roses too ♪ ♪ i see them bloom for me and you ♪ (music) ♪ so i think to myself ♪ ♪ oh what a wonderful world ♪
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i'm wolf blitzer, thank you very much for joining us. i'll be back tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. eastern "the situation room." and once again here on cnn tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern. and now, here's don lemon tonight. don? >> all right. wolf, we'll see you tomorrow night. thank you very much. straight to the breaking news. i'm don lemon. our breaking news, danger ratcheting up in ukraine. it's just about 5:00 a.m. there. russian troops surrounding the country on three sides. . putin not just recognizing two breakaway republics but there are fears that he is laying the groundwork to take even more territory the world is waiting for president biden to call it what it is and now he is. this the beginning of a russian


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