Today's Situation Room:

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-6:30pm ET on CNN.

Wolf Blitzer delivers the most important breaking news and political, international, and national security stories of the day. Tune to The Situation Room weekdays 5-6:30pm ET on CNN.

5 p.m. Ukraine Twitter chat with #JimInUkraine
May 26th, 2014
03:46 PM ET

5 p.m. Ukraine Twitter chat with #JimInUkraine

A billionaire candy tycoon known as the "Chocolate King" will be Ukraine's next president. A seasoned politician, Petro Poroshenko is known for his pro-European Union views and said Russia needs to participate in bringing peace to eastern Ukraine.

But his promises to work for peace are being overshadowed by a new round of bloody fighting.

CNN's Jim Sciutto is on the ground in Ukraine, where he's been reporting on the elections and ongoing violence there. In the 5 p.m. ET hour, after his live report on the Situation Room, Jim will jump onto Twitter to answer YOUR questions about Ukraine. Please send your questions to @JimSciutto using the hashtag #JimInUkraine.

[View the story "Jim Sciutto in Ukraine" on Storify]
Post by:
Filed under: International affairs • Jim Sciutto • Ukraine
July 12th, 2013
10:58 AM ET

NTSB chief's surprising background

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman is the face of the investigation into the crash of Asiana Flight 214.

She’s a wife, a mother of three and a triathlete. Hersman has also competed in races like the Warrior Dash, a five-kilometer “mud run” complete with an obstacle course designed to test your strength and stamina.

Friends who watch her crisscross the country leading NTSB investigations call her an expert multi-tasker.

“My guess is, when she gets that call, she’s already prepared two to three days of meals,” says former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, who hired Hersman as an intern when she attended Virginia Tech. Hersman than served as a congressional aide to Wise from 1992-1999.

Hersman doesn’t have a pilot’s license, but is the daughter of a former Air Force pilot and she does have prior experience with transportation issues.

After working for Wise, she served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation before joining the NTSB in 2004. Five years later, President Obama appointed her chairman.

She’s been on the scene of more than 20 major transportation accidents including the last commercial plane crash in the U.S, the 2009 Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York.

But she hasn’t avoided criticism. The Airline Pilots Association sounded the alarm saying the NTSB was releasing too much information too soon about the Asiana 214 crash. A firm believer in transparency, Hersman continues to provide information to the public.

RELATED STORY: NTSB: 2 Asiana pilots call for landing to be aborted

6 p.m. special: NSA leaker on the run
June 24th, 2013
02:38 PM ET

6 p.m. special: NSA leaker on the run

It’s a global game of hide and seek for admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden, who is trying to outrun and outsmart U.S. authorities and is stirring up international tensions along the way.

The 30-year-old former government contractor, who has been charged with espionage, left Hong Kong on Sunday for Russia’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. His whereabouts are unknown.

Fair trial impossible in U.S., Snowden tells Ecuador in asylum request

Snowden had been lying low in Hong Kong since his interview with The Guardian, in which he admittedly revealed the existence of secret National Security Agency surveillance programs.

Hong Kong allowed him to leave for Moscow, despite a U.S. request for extradition. Snowden was said to be heading for Cuba on Monday, but it is unclear whether or not be boarded a flight.

He is currently seeking asylum in several countries, including Ecuador and Iceland, and the U.S. is reaching out to a number of countries for help in trying to catch him and prosecute him.

Why would Snowden head for Ecuador?

Tonight at 6 p.m. ET, Wolf Blitzer anchors a special report, “The Situation Room: NSA Leaker on the Run.” CNN correspondents are around the world covering the manhunt and the diplomatic tug of war over his fate, including Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, Jill Dougherty at the State Department, Paula Newton in Ecuador, David McKenzie in Beijing and Jessica Yellin at the White House.

We’ll also bring you CNN’s Elise Labott interview with Secretary of State John Kerry on U.S efforts to bring Snowden back to the United States, and CNN’s Christiana Amanpour, Fareed Zakaria, Tom Fuentes and Jeffrey Toobin join Wolf for full analysis.

Click below to watch Wolf Blitzer preview the show on Instagram

June 4th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Rep.: Steven Seagal helped secure Russia meetings

Steven Seagal's martial arts skills have found a new use beyond taking down bad guys in his action films; they helped U.S. Congressmen secure high level meetings in Russia.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who led a Congressional delegation to Russia, explained how the actor assisted in talks relating to intelligence cooperation in the aftermath of the Boston bombings.

"Because of his black belt and karate and things, he’s gotten to know many of the leaders in Russia, including Putin," Rohrabacher told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "[Seagal] was able to use that influence to make sure that we got to talk to the very top people so that we could try to find ways of expanding our areas of cooperation."

Rohrabacher said he doesn't believe Seagal has political ambition, but said "he has ambition to try to do something good for his country."

Post by:
Filed under: Dana Rohrabacher • Interviews • Russia
Family behind iconic photo talks to CNN
May 24th, 2013
01:48 PM ET

Family behind iconic photo talks to CNN

This iconic photo of the Cobb family was seen around the world and sums up many of the emotions survivors felt in the first minutes and hours after the tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, on Monday. It shows Briarwood Elementary assistant teacher LaDonna Cobb leaving the school while her husband Steve carries their daughter Jordan in his arms. 

The Cobb family described their experience in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Thursday. 

LaDonna, who had the afternoon off, got an alert on her cell phone about the tornado, so she and Steve went to go pick up their daughters from school. By the time they arrived, it was too late to leave, so they rode out the storm in their daughter Erin's classroom.

"We all got down on our knees and covered our heads," says Steve. "My wife was on top of Erin, my youngest daughter, covering her. There was, like, 12 or 13 other kids, and another teacher was in there with us. And so we just waited for it to hit. When it hit, it was like the walls came in, everything that was in the classroom was on top of us basically."

"They were screaming. And crying," LaDonna describes, "and we were just saying, 'It's okay, it's okay. You're going to be okay. We're here... We love you,' and they were just screaming the worst screams... We didn't think we were going to make it." 

LaDonna and Steve suffered facial injuries, but the family is otherwise okay.

Post by:
Filed under: Interviews • Oklahoma • Tornado
Mother of 10 saves school children, loses home
May 22nd, 2013
04:39 PM ET

Mother of 10 saves school children, loses home

Maylene Sorrels is a single mom of 10 children, eight of whom still live with her. She is also a teacher's aide at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Oklahoma. As the tornado hit, Sorrels says she covered her bodies over several children and sang as loudly as she could in their ears as debris flew all around them, including a car. She stayed with the children until their parents came to pick them up, then went to the hospital to get treated for a concussion.

Sorrels' house was destroyed and she has been staying with relatives. If you could like to help Maylene Sorrels and her children, a donation page has been set up for them at fundrazr.com.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke with her in an emotional interview. (Video)

Post by:
Filed under: Interviews • Oklahoma • Situation Room • Tornado
May 21st, 2013
01:36 PM ET

Oklahoma tornado aftermath on Instagram

CNN anchors and reporters are on the ground in Oklahoma, reporting on the devastation caused by the deadly tornado Monday and the search and rescue efforts under way.

CNN's John King and Anderson Cooper, who are both visiting areas hit by the tornado, have been sharing powerful images of the catastrophic damage on Instagram.


andersoncooper: Crushed truck Moore, OK (via Instagram)


johnkingcnn: Renee Meyers found some old jewelry but not her beloved dog, "Boo". #oklahoma #moore (via Instagram)
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: John King • Oklahoma • Social media • Tornado
May 20th, 2013
06:57 PM ET

Vine videos show Oklahoma tornado devastation

Oklahoma resident David Massey posted several powerful videos of Oklahoma tornado damage to the video sharing app Vine.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he describes the catastrophic tornado damage and rescue efforts underway.


FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Interviews • must-see video • Situation Room • Tornado • Vine • Weather
May 16th, 2013
07:27 PM ET

The battle to force feed Gitmo detainees

(CNN) - CNN's Chris Lawrence traveled to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to get a rare, first-hand look at the drastic measures being taken inside the U.S. detention facility to keep dozens of inmates on hunger strikes alive.

The inmates' hunger strike marks its 100th day Friday, and shows no signs of stopping. Some of the 100 hunger-strikers will drink supplements if ordered to, but 30 detainees who refuse to eat are force fed through tubes put up their nose, down their throat and into their stomach.

"It's kind of a tough mission, this is kind of an ugly place sometimes," says a senior medical officer at Guantanamo Bay who has to remain anonymous for security reasons.

As a doctor he stands by the methods used at Guantanamo Bay. When asked if he's concerned the American Medical Association has come out against this practice, the officer responded that "there's a lot of politics involved. And I'm sure there's lots of politics that they need to answer to as well."

CNN obtained handwritten letters from one of the detainees. One reads 'Be tortured and stay detained.' Another quotes a French writer about how "your very existence becomes an act of rebellion." He sounds hopeless when he writes, "The commissions are a joke. If you lose you go to prison for life. If you win, you're held indefinitely for life."

"We don't have a goal to quote 'break the hunger strike.' We do have a mission to preserve life by lawful means," says Gitmo Spokesman, Capt. Robert Durand.

Gitmo officials showed CNN the numbing gel they offer, and say the tubes are thin and lubricated. "Nobody's expressed to me that this hurts," says the senior medical officer, but defense attorneys say shackling a detainee and snaking a tube into his stomach is inhumane.

Cori Crider, defense attorney for detainee Samir Moqbel says her client told her that "he had never felt so much pain like that in his life."

March 21st, 2013
06:44 PM ET

Who is Jonathan Pollard?

A heckler interrupted President Barack Obama's speech in Jerusalem Thursday, calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel. Pollard has served nearly 3 decades in a U.S. prison. CNN's Wolf Blitzer reports on the Jonathan Pollard case and the shadow it casts on US-Israeli ties.

RELATED STORY: Ex-Obama aide speaks candidly on Israeli cause to free jailed spy

Post by:
Filed under: Israel • Wolf Blitzer
« older posts