BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation...some good news overnight on that devastating mudslide in Washington state...some of the latest have turned up alive. We'll get the latest from Washington Governor Jay Inslee. We'll go to Australia for the latest on the missing Malaysian airliner. As Russian troops continue to mass on the border of Ukraine and diplomatic talks resume we'll get analysis from former CIA official Michael Morrell and former NSA chief Michael Hayden. And should college athletes be allowed to unionize and what does that mean for the future of college athletics? We'll talk to Mark Emmert, the head of the NCAA. All that and an all-star panel of analysts. 60 years of news because this is Face the Nation.
Good morning again, we want to start with that devastating mudslide that wiped out the tiny town of Oso, Washington a week ago. Last night authorities raised the death toll to 18, but they've revised the number of missing from 90 to 30. John Blackstone is in nearby Darrington, John?
JOHN BLACKSONE: Good morning, Bob. Well, it was a dramatic change last night when they lowered that number of the missing from 90 to 30. There were some duplicates on the list, and some people thought to be missing were just somewhere else. Now it's a much smaller number. But for those who are waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, it's pf course no less painful. Now, for searchers the work is as challenging as ever. They are slowly making their way through a muddy debris field that stretches across one square mile. It's littered with uprooted trees and the wreckage of homes and cars. National guardsman have been working in waist deep mud and water. More than 100 searches are picking through the mud and debris, shovel by shovel. It turns out the most effective search tool here comes on four legs. Rescue dogs have been an essential part of the hunt for bodies and for possible survivors. But even the dogs -- even for the dogs, working in the mud is proving demanding and difficult
The goods news here came mostly in the first hours after the landslide, when helicopter rescue crews saved those who managed to stay above the mud. Four year old Jacob Spillers was the youngest person who was saved His rescue gave people here a much needed reason to hope. But now, search leaders acknowledge it's unlikely that anyone could still be alive. When they're searching in collapsed buildings, there's a possibility of air pockets, voids where people could survive. But here, Bob, it seems that the mud and the water has filled any sort of air pocket or void.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now Governor Jay Inslee is on the other side of the mudslide in Arlington, Washington. Governor, thank you so much for taking time to talk with us this morning. There are still 30 people missing. Do you think, at this point, there's any chance of finding them alive?
GOV. JAY INSLEE: Look, we are hoping for a miracle. And more importantly, we are working for a miracle. And we're doing everything humanly possible if that opportunity exists. These searchers, both professionals and volunteer, are really performing Herculean tasks right now. They're working beyond the point of exhaustion. And we intend to exhaust every possible avenue to look for that miracle. But we do know that these are going to be heavy days ahead for folks in the Stillaguamish Valley and for the State of Washington and for the nation. And we do feel the nation's compassion for this part of the world right now, which we appreciate.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have any kind of estimate as to how long this search is going to go on?
GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, we don't know exactly the dimensions. But we are going to be in an active rescue mode, as long as there's any possibility of hope for these survivors. But the task before our state is really quite monumental. This has severed an arterial highway to the town of Darrington. We've got sort of a temporary road set up. But we're going to have to restore this highway and restore this town.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you have any need for anything that you're not getting now? Is there any kind of help you would like to have that you're not getting?
GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, no, we're fully resourced on the rescue. But we are appreciative of the state and the nation are pouring out their hearts and their donations to the Red Cross and United Good Way. Those things are welcome. We feel that warmth. And I guess what we'd like for the nation is to recognize the depths of the grief of Darrington and Oso and Arlington.
But also they recognize that these are resilient independent people. And I have seen acts of courage and inspiration from the rescuers to the kids who are serving meals to the rescuers. This is a place of inspiration, as well. And I hope people are proud of what's going on in this area right now.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, back in 1999, I guess the Corps of Engineers issued a report that there was the potential for a large, catastrophic failure out there. Do you feel the state missed the warning signs that something might happen?
GOV. JAY INSLEE: Well, we live in a state that was carved by glaciers. And it's a supremely beautiful state. But it left large hills and mountains of sort of unconsolidated soils on top of clay. So there are quite a number of areas that do present some geological instability. We are going to get to the bottom of the question you asked. It's going to take a lot of works, months of geological research.
But right now, (UNINTEL PHRASE), look we are focused like a laser beam on rescuing anyone who could be subject to a miracle. And also taking care of these families. These families are in great stress right now. We want to wrap them in our arms, make sure we take care of their housing. Things as simple as getting I.D. and driver's license. That's got to be our focus right now. That's what we're going to get done.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, Governor, we're all thinking about you. And we appreciate what you're doing out there. And we wish you the very best in this--
GOV. JAY INSLEE: Thank you. Thanks to your heart, Bob, and the whole country. Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Now to the ongoing mystery of the missing Malaysian jetliner which vanished from radar over three weeks ago. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams is in Perth, Australia. Holly?
HOLLY WILLIAMS: Good morning Bob, we are now eleven days into this search in the southern Indian Ocean for the wreckage of flight 370 and so far nothing has been found. For the first time yesterday ships were able to retrieve objects sighted from the air but everything they dragged up was just flotsam and jetsam, just ordinary garbage you'd find in any ocean. Now we flew yesterday on an Australian OrionP3 search craft and saw how difficult the crew's job is. They flew as low as 250 feet over the water and they were able to spot fishing buoys, ropes and even a pot of dolphins but again no wreckage. The fact that no debris has been found really adds to the frustration felt by the families of the 239 people who were on board. Around two thirds of the passengers were from China and some of their families arrived in Kuala Lumpur today to press Malaysia Airlines to give them more and clearer information about the investigation. Now what the search teams here are racing to find are the planes black boxes or flight recorders because they could finally explain what went wrong and perhaps also offer some comfort to the family members. The US Navy has flown in a black box locator which can find flight recorders in waters up to 20,000 feet deep. Now I was loaded onto a ship here today and should reach the search area in the next 48 hours but, Bob ,the batteries on those black boxes may only have around 8 days of life left.
BOB SCHIEFFER: The United States, of course, is one of six countries involved in the search and rescue. Commander William Marks is the spokesman for the Seventh Fleet of our Navy and he joins us by phone this morning from the Seventh Fleet's command ship, the USS Blue Ridge. Commander, anything new at all from overnight?
COMMANDER MARKS: We have our P8 Poseidon just landed from it's mission today. No reports of any debris associated with an aircraft. And although, that's somewhat discouraging not to find debris, it does bring up a good point in that the satellite imagery that we have seen - it is helpful, however, we've got to have conclusive visual evidence of debris. and that is the most important thing. So we have to keep flying these missions out of Perth...And until we can determine that original location, we can't get our pinger locator out there, and we can't use our Side-Scan sonar to search.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Commander, some are saying that this search may well go on for year. Can we continue at the level we're now operating?
COMMANDER MARKS: ...If we don't get a location on that pinger, we then have to very slowly use sonar to get an image, a digital image of the bottom of the ocean and that is incredibly, a long process to go through. But It is possible, but yes it could take quite a while
BOB SCHIEFFER: Commander, is there anything that could be done that is not being done at this point?
COMMANDER MARKS: ...We have about as many assets out there as we can. The last count was about 60 or so between the ships and the aircraft. You know, you have to wonder if the debris is even out there...if we fly over something, we will see it.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Alright, well Commander, thank you so much and all the best of luck to you
COMMANDER MARKS: You're welcome. Thank you.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And now to the situation in Ukraine. Russian troops continue to amass along the border of Ukraine. U.S. officials now say there are close to 50,000 of them there. They say those troops show all the elements of combat power. On Friday, Russian President Putin called President Obama and said he wanted to work to reduce tensions. Yesterday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that the Russians had, in his words, "no intention of invading Ukraine."
But he and Secretary of State Kerry are going to meet later today in Paris. David Ignatius of The Washington Post is with us this morning. David, I can't remember a Sunday morning when we started out covering so many different stories, such different stories, but all of them of great significance. Let me ask you first, what do you make of this phone call that Putin-- he called the president on Friday and said he (UNINTEL) wanted to talk about this situation in Ukraine? I know you've been on this story all weekend. What do U.S. officials make of this?
DAVID IGNATIUS: It's tempting to see this as a blink on Putin's part. Putin is poised on the border of Eastern Ukraine. But the idea of actually attacking is pretty risky for Putin. He would encounter resistance from Ukrainian troops this time, which he did not in Crimea. There's the prospect of having to fight a long, partisan battle against Ukrainians, who feel strongly about their nation.
So it appears, from what Putin has said, that he (UNINTEL) a time to at least begin a round of diplomatic talks to see if there's some balanced, middle-ground solution. President Obama has a very delicate task here. He wants to invite that conversation, but maintain the position that what Russia has done in seizing Crimea is unacceptable, is a violation of the international order.
There are formulas that have been floated the last three days about what the talks later today in Paris between Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov might involve. There are things like federalization of Ukraine. There are things like perhaps implicit promises from Ukraine, maybe explicit, that it doesn't seek to join NATO. And if the U.S. would like to keep the door open for Ukraine joining the European Union, but maybe not NATO.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you think he's dialing back a little or wants to dial back a little?
DAVID IGNATIUS: You can't say that he's dialing back as long as all those troops are on the border threatening to come across and really destabilize this situation. But Putin's come right up to the edge of a very volatile conflict in Europe. And I think he's wondering whether it's time to step back a little bit and see if he can gain diplomatically enough that he can deescalate the crisis.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, Scott Pelley had what I thought was a very interesting interview with the president when he was in Rome. And the president speculated on what he thought was motivating Putin. Here's part of what he said.