Return to Transcripts main page
STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
New Search for First "Milk Carton" Boy; Bird Strike, Forces Flight Down; Will Zimmerman Be Released? Date Tracker Uses Spreadsheet; New Search For Etan Patz; Secret Service Prostitution Scandal; Pond Searched For Missing Soldier; Race For White House Tightening; Rubio's Veep Slip-Up; Life Expectancy Slows For Women; Starbucks Dropping Insect Coloring; Possible Break In Etan Patz Case; "Project Forgive"
Aired April 20, 2012 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Welcome to "Starting Point." Our "Starting Point" this morning is a new search for the nation's very first milk carton child. The feds tearing up a concrete floor hoping they're going to find some clues in the case of Etan Patz who disappeared more than three decades ago. New York Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, will be talking with us live this morning.
And just about two hours, Trayvon Martin's parents are going to come face-to-face with the man who killed their son. George Zimmerman will be heading to court asking if he can get out of jail on bail.
And agents ousted. Two secret service supervisors forced out of their jobs over that prostitution scandal, and now, they've been named. This one protected Sarah Palin in 2008. And according to his Facebook post, had more in his eyes just on her security.
Also video inside the plane as birds are sucked right into the engine. The flight was forced to make an emergency landing. It was scary onboard, we know, because we're going to be talking to some of the passengers who shot that video were on the plane. One of them was Ali Velshi.
WILL CAIN, COLUMNIST, THEBLAZE.COM: Our own Ali Velshi on that plane.
O'BRIEN: Yes. The man is very safe and we're happy to report it.
It's Friday, April 20th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.
That's Ali's playlist. Bonnie Tyler, "Holding Out For a Hero." Ali is going to chat with us in just a few minutes to hear his description of what happened on that plane. Really terrifying.
Let me introduce you to the panel, everybody.
Hank Sheinkopf is back joining us.
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thank you. O'BRIEN: He's a Democratic strategist. Nice to have you.
Dr. Alicia Salzer is a psychiatrist, author of a great book which is called "Back to Life."
It's nice to have you.
She was on our Trayvon Martin special the other day.
We appreciate your time.
Will Cain is a columnist for Theblaze.com.
CAIN: Good morning.
O'BRIEN: Nice to see you. I like when they keep playing hero.
CAIN: Yes, I know.
O'BRIEN: In my heart.
CAIN: Reminiscent, right, of the plane that landed on the Hudson.
O'BRIEN: Reminiscent in a terrible way, I'm sure, if you're a passenger on that flight. That's exactly what you're thinking about.
O'BRIEN: And wondering how it's going to end. Luckily after a lot of dramatic moments it ended very safely. We're going to talk about that.
SHEINKOPF: Really hoping that Sully Sullenberger is also running that plane.
O'BRIEN: Right. You're like, so who is our pilot this morning?
SHEINKOPF: You want Sullenberger, you want him right there now.
O'BRIEN: Is it Sullenberger on this flight this morning?
SHEINKOPF: You want to him talking to you.
O'BRIEN: Luckily we can joke about it today because that had to be absolutely terrifying.
This morning we're also talking about the Etan Patz case. New leads have opened a fresh search by the FBI and by the New York Police Department for Etan. The 6-year-old boy disappeared 33 years ago now. Forensic investigators has started scouring the basement of a building in the New York City neighborhood where the little boy disappeared. Concrete floor there was allegedly laid by a handyman who had connections with the boy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL BROWNE, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're looking for human remains, clothing or other personal effects of Etan Patz in a -- in trying to find out where he disappeared, why he disappeared and where.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Susan Candiotti is live for us this morning right outside that building.
Susan, good morning. First, tell me how they decided to focus their attention on this particular building and why and what have they found so far?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Soledad. Well, based on old and new information, according to sources, the FBI was led to a carpenter who was also a handyman who had a workshop in that basement. They brought in a cadaver dog and that cadaver dog picked up a human scent. And while interviewing that man, I am told by sources, and this is new information, that this man, who had befriended the boy and who had given him a dollar and was in the basement with that boy a day before Etan disappeared.
He blurted out to the police very recently, what if the body was moved? That's a quote. What if the body was moved? That's when police really set the wheels in motion and started their excavation work just yesterday. And they also re-interviewed the man. He's here in Brooklyn. He has not been charged and he is not in custody.
So that excavation work, which is well under way, is going to resume today, Soledad, for the next five days. They're going to gather everything up that they find. Literally down to the dirt that they're picking up and send it to the FBI lab at Quantico for more research.
CAIN: Susan, this is Will Cain. How was it that this man they're now focusing on in the basement of the place where he had the connection to has avoided attention for so many years and is just now turning to him?
CANDIOTTI: Isn't that fascinating, Will? Well, we do have an indication that this man was interviewed way back when. I do know that that basement had been searched, had figured into the investigation, but to what extent he was interviewed, obviously, that's the main question. But when the district attorney here reopened this case back in 2010, federal investigators began looking into the old files and looking for new leads and that's when they decided to take another look at this man and not focus solely on the gentleman you mentioned, Mr. Ramos, who is currently serving time on an unrelated child molestation conviction. He's been in jail for many, many years and might be released actually later this year.
O'BRIEN: Hey, Susan, while you were talking we threw a map up on the screen. I want go revisit that map because it was showing how close the locations are. And you can see where the Patz's home is and very close to that is that current investigation just a few doors down literally from the home, and then back in 2000 there was an investigation, as well. A little bit further away is what it focused on.
You know Will, it's so interesting, you're a Texan, so you didn't grow up in New York and you don't have a sense of what this case meant for New Yorkers.
CAIN: No, I don't. You're right.
O'BRIEN: That the -- it literally was the case that made people fearful that your child could be snatched off the street in broad daylight, even Patz, of course, was allowed to walk to school for the first time as a 6-year-old.
O'BRIEN: And his parents finally let him go the two blocks to the bus. And then --
CAIN: The first day they let him.
O'BRIEN: The first day they let him and so it was a case that really got to the heart. I mean terrifying, right, Alicia?
DR. ALICIA SALZER, PSYCHIATRIST: I was a kid when this happened and Etan was a kid a few years younger than me. So it was really scary. And I remember, you know, our parents would talk to us about this happening and we would think, you know, they're so overprotective, this stuff happened somewhere, that it doesn't really happen often.
But now as a mother of a 6-year-old, you certainly think, because they want to do things like walk a block to the bus or go visit the super in this basement and you won't let them.
O'BRIEN: Right. And you are terrified because you know what happened.
SHEINKOPF: You also have to put it in the context of New York at that time. Streets were racked with crime. The place was absolutely uncontrollable. SoHo was a safe neighborhood except it wasn't anymore and children were no longer safe anywhere.
O'BRIEN: Right. It's such a -- I mean it's really actually hard to articulate for someone who's not from here, kind of what it meant to be a kid living in the tri-state area because it was the case that sort of started all that.
Later we're going to be talking to Ray Kelly, the New York City police commissioner, about some of those details that Susan Candiotti just gave us. It's fascinating. Really, why now? Why this guy, again?
CAIN: Right. O'BRIEN: What did they miss the first time around? That's coming up a little bit later this morning.
Want to get to Mark Klaas. Mark Klaas' daughter was kidnapped and murdered back in 1993. He's now the founder and president of two child safety organizations. One is the KlaasKids Foundation, the other is Beyond Missing Incorporated. And he joins us this morning.
Mark, it's nice to see you. You and I, of course, met years ago when Polly was kidnapped. I was a reporter in San Francisco covering that story at the time. And there were moments where, again, the media and the police would all sort of rush to an area thinking, yes, we found some kind of lead and then, no, not this time and it would happen. Obviously, it was only a few months that went by before they discovered that Polly had been killed.
Talk to me about what is going through the minds of parents when they have these ups and these terrible downs and things like that.
MARK KLAAS, FOUNDER & VOLUNTEER PRESIDENT, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Sure, well, Soledad, it's always a pleasure. I was lucky. I was informed by the authorities early on in the case that anything relevant in Polly's case would come to me from them and not from the media. So, as those reports were starting to roll out, particularly in the later days, and, really, literally, any time somebody found a dog bone there would be a breathless reporter saying that Polly's remains had been discovered. I was able to get through that.
But the emotional roller coaster is absolutely extraordinary. It takes you from the lowest depths, as you might imagine having your child gone and possibly murdered to other places that are still pretty low when you start hearing these reports. And particularly after time.
I know that the Kevin Collins family had to go through this.
KLAAS: So many others have. You get these tantalizing bits of information that might lead you somewhere and, ultimately, they prove to be for not. So I think that ultimately you become cynical, you step back and you take a deep breath and wait until the investigation or that portion of the investigation is resolved. But it's a terrible thing to have to go through.
O'BRIEN: I can only imagine. You know, as we've been talking about a moment ago this particular case was the literal first case, the literal first milk carton type case. Were there things that they learned from the Etan Patz case that ended up being informing Polly Klaas' case for you?
KLAAS: Well, it changed the dynamic. I mean it really pulled the lid off of America's dirty little secret, the fact that children are being victimized in large numbers. It's only after Etan Patz that President Reagan designated the date that he was -- went missing, May 25th, is National Missing Children's Day. It also put the face on the milk carton project.
It's when they started compiling numbers. It was the beginning of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It was just some years after that. So really, it was about the compilation of data so that law enforcement and the public would have a better understanding of this issue and law enforcement would have a better understanding of how to investigate this issue.
For instance, they overlooked this individual who may be responsible in Etan's case. However, statistics take you right to family and individuals who knew the child and then you move out from that point to the stranger scenarios. So it's much more about people that did know the child than it is about the iconic stranger.
O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to see what they're able to find and certainly in the focus that they're looking at now.
Mark Klaas, nice to see you as always. Thanks for your time. We appreciate it.
KLAAS: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Delta Airlines says they're waiting for inspection results before they confirm that in fact it was birds that caused that emergency landing that happened yesterday afternoon just after takeoff from New York City's Kennedy Airport.
Video, though, might be all the proof they need. Take a look.
Yes, that was birds zipping by and then you could hear that kind of crunching sound. That was shot by passenger Grant Cardone out of his window. Birds going right into the engine.
One of his fellow passengers sitting not far behind him on the plane was Ali Velshi.
You know what I found interesting, guys, was that once you reached out to your family members you then started tweeting and updating everybody and I can't decide if that's fantastic and heroic and important or if that's just -- that's just weird. So tell me.
O'BRIEN: I mean, really, the first thing of or the second thing you think of is tweeting? What's that about?
GRANT CARDONE, PASSENGER ON DELTA 1063: It's the new day, it's the new day, the new moment.
O'BRIEN: You could tell, obviously, Ali, that there was a problem, right? I mean you could hear the crunch in that video.
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Wow. So I travel a lot as you know, Soledad. Maybe two or three flights a week. Grant travels a lot more than me. I've heard a lot of things. You've heard a lot of things on planes. It sounded like a car had gone into that engine. There was a grinding, a remarkable grinding noise. I think we might have been 1,000 feet above ground. You know, I know -- I keep track of that because at 10,000 feet that bell goes off and you can use your electronics. So that's what I was looking for. And all of a sudden this crunching, gross sound, what -- what do you say, Grant, 45 second or something?
CARDONE: Yes, yes, good. I mean it felt like it was going to be an eternity because I thought the plane was going to literally roll over on its side.
O'BRIEN: My gosh.
CARDONE: Not knowing how long it'll last.
VELSHI: And he's right after this, right after you see these birds. That's when the sound hit.
O'BRIEN: Yes. I mean, really, you hear it clearly on the tape. So let me ask you a question, Grant. You were shooting this with your camera. Was there panicking onboard the flight? Did people, just once they realized, like that sounds like a car hitting our plane in the air, did they freak out?
CARDONE: No. No. There was no panic. It was more of an introversion, I think, introspection for those, you know, few seconds you don't know what's going to happen at that moment. Once the engine devoured the birds, it did sound exactly like eating a car. Like this big 757 engine was consuming an automobile and once it digested that, it got very quiet. We went up and down, lurching in the plane and I thought at that moment it was going to roll over.
I dropped my iPad. I didn't do this on the camera. I actually did it on an iPad and dropped the iPad to text my wife, hey, I'm on 1063 out of JFK, this -- this flight is in trouble because I thought it was going to roll over and crash. And I knew we were high enough, it would have been devastating.
VELSHI: And then the second -- before we tweeted, Soledad, I sent it out to the CNN as well to let them know.
O'BRIEN: Right. Sorry. First, your wife, then CNN, then --
VELSHI: One of the -- one of the differences, Grant was up front which is why he was able to use his iPad because nobody could see him, he didn't get in trouble. I was back in the back, and the difference is, once that crunching sound stopped, the cabin started filling with smoke. And that is when we got really worried --
O'BRIEN: My goodness. VELSHI: Because you're not supposed to have a cabin filled of smoke.
O'BRIEN: That's terrifying.
O'BRIEN: Well, you know, you know that we're all thinking, we're very happy that you're here to talk about it and tell us all about it when the plane was able to land, what, 15 minutes or so later. So we're glad --
O'BRIEN: -- we're not covering this story in any other kind of way.
Gentlemen, I appreciate it this morning.
O'BRIEN: Grant and Ali Velshi joining us.
CARDONE: Thanks a lot, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: You bet. Thank you.
Still ahead this morning, George Zimmerman is going to come face- to-face with Trayvon Martin's parents in court today. Big question is, will he be released on bond? Mark Nejame who knows every legal player in this case is going to join us to talk about it.
Also, a very organized banker. You know, making a spreadsheet to keep track of his business deals, things like that. Also, apparently, keeps tracks of his dates.
O'BRIEN: Poor guy. So -- and then makes a mistake of sending it along to one of the young women who's ranked high on his list.
O'BRIEN: So let me just throw around this question as we go to break. What do you think happened with that? Do you think --
CAIN: What was her response?
O'BRIEN: Do you think she read it and didn't send it to anyone or do you think she sent it out?
SHEINKOPF: It was not the best date he ever had.
CAIN: Was there a ranking or just a list? Because she looked where she was on the list.
O'BRIEN: It was both, ranking and the list.
O'BRIEN: And details and ratings.
CAIN: She went to find her name quite clearly.
O'BRIEN: And then pass it on to the rest of the world.
We're going to leave you with Grant Cardone's playlist. It's Eminem, "Till I Collapse."
You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.
George Zimmerman will come face-to-face with Trayvon Martin's family for the first time today. All are expected in that -- California, I mean, Florida courtroom. It's going to happen less than two hours from now. It's for Zimmerman's bond hearing. And Zimmerman's family is expected to testify by phone.
Excuse me, the hearing is also going to be the first time that we see the new judge. Justice Kenneth Lester Jr. is presiding in the case. Ben Crump, the attorney for Martin's family, told Anderson Cooper that the judge should keep Zimmerman in jail, in other words, no bond. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: He has a right to a bond hearing, the judge after listening to both sides will make a decision. This is a non-bondable offense. I have -- the judge has discretion. But this is a serious charge, Anderson. It's a situation where on moral grounds, public safety grounds we think it's best that he be kept without bond and until these matters have concluded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Mark Nejame is a criminal defense attorney. He's also CNN legal analyst.
Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for joining us.
O'BRIEN: So you heard Ben Crump say, I don't want to see bond, I don't think bond is appropriate. Do you think bond is appropriate in this case? Think he's likely to get it? MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do think it's appropriate and I think there's a decent chance he'll get it. Of course one can't read a judge's mind, but I think legally he's entitled from all that I am aware of right now. Now if new facts or evidence come out during the hearing, my opinion could change. But there's basically three things that are going to be looked at.
One, you look at risk of flight. I don't think there is any risk of flight here. As I understand it and Mr. Zimmerman was in touch with law enforcement throughout when he was awaiting to see if a warrant was going to be issued. When it issued, he ended up turning himself in voluntarily. Before that time, he could have gone to any part of the world without any legal restrictions on him. So I think that pretty much establishes that he's not a risk of flight.
Then you have danger to the community. Well, are there a set of bond conditions that could be established that shows that, in fact, he would not be a danger. Well, keeping guns away, keeping him on house arrest, electronic monitoring would seemingly satisfy that.
Now then there's a legal standard, if I could. And that is, is the proof evident and the presumption great that he is guilty of this second-degree murder charge? So I think there is a great national debate and in fact the Sanford Police Department said that they weren't even going to arrest him.
So I think the question is clearly anything but clear, absolute, I should say, that the proof is evident, the presumption is great. So I think in light of all those standards, he should be entitled to a bond.
CAIN: Hey, Mark, Will Cain. On this standard you're talking about, proof evident, presumption great. I've read it's greater than reasonable doubt. So the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, much beyond that, that they could actually get a conviction in this case.
Here's my question, do you even expect the prosecution to -- to attempt to prove that? In which case, I would assume they'd have to put a lot of evidence out right now.
NEJAME: Very good point. I think they would have to tip their hand from what we have seen with the public right now. They don't have a whole lot there. If they want to bring out more, then they're going to have bring it out in the hearing because, as you indicate, the -- the burden is there. It's not the defense's. They have to establish it and they're going to have to do it by evidence and putting on witnesses and testimony and additional documents.
That's going to be a big risk for them to do at this point and they might end up telling their (INAUDIBLE) battle plan and still have a bond set.
SHEINKOPF: Why is this a moral discussion? I note that the defense counsel -- the family's lawyer talks about this as a moral need to keep this guy in jail on -- and supposed to (INAUDIBLE) bail. What would be the moral reason? What is that about?
NEJAME: Well, I think you hit a great point. I mean, Mr. Crump was saying that, I like Mr. Crump personally, and think he's an excellent lawyer but the moral issue has really has nothing to do with this. It's a legal issue. We are in a court of law. And the law should be followed. And if, in fact, we let this be passions and emotions, then we've really lost sight of what our criminal justice system is supposed to be about.
I understand the desire and the passions but if we allow the judges to be dictated by passions and emotions rather than a law, then we really lost the essence of what our legal system stands for.
O'BRIEN: So Ben Crump also went on to say that he -- that the family was not going to meet with Zimmerman. He had offered or suggested a meeting with the family members before this bond hearing and Ben Crump said, listen, that's not going to happen.
Do you think that that was a smart maneuver? Does it matter ultimately in the court of law or do you think that they should have, in fact, taken that meeting?
NEJAME: I think that a meeting at some point will take place between the attorneys and discuss things more deeply. I think it's a bit early, but I think there's nothing wrong with the overture. You don't get anywhere without communicating whether it's a personal relationship, a political relationship or otherwise.
If you don't communicate, you're at war and you fight. When you communicate, you have a better chance of resolving your differences. I think there will be a time that simply that Mr. Crump, not inappropriately, said the time is not now and I think Mr. O'Mara appropriately made an overture.
So I think that they're both in positions where they're jockeying or they're doing what they think is best for their particular side. There will be a time they'll be talking. We may not necessarily know about it but there will be a time.
O'BRIEN: Mark Nejame, nice to see you, thanks for your time this morning. We appreciate it.
NEJAME: My pleasure.
O'BRIEN: Alicia, quick question for you.
NEJAME: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: You sort of could see a family saying, like, I cannot have this meeting but Mark sort of sets it up as, listen, this is a court of law. It's also a negotiation, right, at some point, you know, the family has to communicate. That's going to be the basis of any kind of moving forward.
At the same time, you know, their son is dead. As a psychiatrist, how do you advise people to navigate something like that that's just so impossible?
SALZER: Well, I think what the family wants more than anything, what they need psychologically more than anything is the fact of what happened that day. And that's not stuff they're going to get from George Zimmerman. Any amount of meeting that's going to happen. So I think that right now they're entitled to feel exactly how they feel and that they should proceed by letting the courts get the evidence.
O'BRIEN: All right. Thanks, Alicia.
And we've got to take a break.
Ahead this morning -- I love this guy. This is a nice, young man who was just trying to keep all the girls straight. Active dating life, kind of busted, though, for his very detailed dating spreadsheet. We'll tell you why organization worked against him in today's "Get Real."
Here's Hank's playlist. It's Jefferson Airplane, "Somebody to Love."
You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: This is off of Alicia's playlist. It's Joss Stone, "Fell in Love with a Boy."
It's our time for "Get Real" this morning. One of my favorite stories in the history of all time. An investment banker, a guy who feels that life can only be better if you use your spreadsheets and organize your work and your personal life, decided to do that, but what he did was he started using spreadsheets to track the girls that he was dating.
His name is David Mercer. Kept an elaborate spreadsheet including ratings of his dates, photos on Match.com. Details of the meetings, the conversations, even details of the text messages that had been sent back and forth. Girls fell into categories of monitor closely, monitor casually. They were in alphabetical order with the source of their meeting, how they met, their age, notes, comments and a rating. By the way, went from 10 and never dipped below 7.5 for any of the young ladies. So I think that --
CAIN: Well, he has a standards.
O'BRIEN: I think it's quite impressive. In fact what he did, one of the young women he was dating, was teasing him about it, and said, oh, please, send me the spreadsheet and so he did, she sent it on and the rest, as they say, is history. He became suddenly world famous for his detailed spreadsheet, which you guys should throw back up again. He says this after getting a lot of crap from people about this process, he said, listen -- he says, "I work with spreadsheets a lot. It's a great additional tool. I work long days, go to the gym, go out on a couple of mid-week dates or whatnot. Get home late. How am I going to remember them? I'm not."
You know what, Alicia, I'm going to put my children on spreadsheets. I'm going to work next -- how much I love them that day, what I felt about their behavior. It's a great tracking tool for people you're emotionally supposed to be connecting with.
CAIN: She must have been --
SALZER: I'm just relieved that there weren't more graphic categories.
O'BRIEN: And he was quite nice, really.
O'BRIEN: I mean he didn't really --
CAIN: Well, she must have been one of the 7.5 obviously because if she was one of the 10s, she wouldn't have put it up.
O'BRIEN: She was a 9.5, 9.5, model.
O'BRIEN: Mode. Model.
CAIN: I did this once in fifth grade with my buddies. We ranked college girls. Let me tell you something, you make more enemies than friends with this thing.
SALZER: Did you share yours?
SHEINKOPF: Why would you -- why would you put it on a computer? Why would you digitize it?
O'BRIEN: Wow. Wow. Will Cain, we're going to do that as a story one of these days.
All right. Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT. The November election could be more interesting than anybody expects with some new polling insight into just how tight that presidential race could be.
And you remember, we told you this story, Starbucks, using crunched up red beetles to color some of its drinks. I know. Well, now Starbucks is responding and not going to be doing that much longer. Here's Zoraida's playlist. It's Shakira. "She Wolf."
You're watching STARTING POINT.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We now know the names of two of the Secret Service agents that are involved in the Colombia prostitution scandal. Both are senior supervisors and both have now lost their jobs.
One is 48-year-old David Chaney standing behind Sarah Palin in this photo. He posted this picture on his Facebook page and in the comments section. He said I was really checking her out if you know what I mean. He is married with an adult son, a fact that didn't escape the attention of the former Alaska governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: This agent who was kind of ridiculous there in posting pictures and comments about checking someone out. Well, check this out, body guard, you're fired and I hope his wife send him to the doghouse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Chaney retired under pressure this week and the other agent ousted is Greg Stokes who was in charge of the canine division. More firings are expected at the Secret Service as early as today.
I want to get to Christopher Falkenberg. He's a former Secret Service agent who served on President Clinton's presidential detail team and also the founder and president of Insight Security. It's nice to see you.
One of the first things I thought, I was surprised that Secret Service agents were allowed to have Facebook pages that would include pictures of people they were guarding. That seemed very strange to me. Is it typical?
CHRISTOPHER FALKENBERG, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: I think it's as typical as the changing nature of social media. Secret Service agents have regular lives and, certainly, as with younger agents, difficult to deny them the opportunity to participate in social media.
O'BRIEN: You could, really. I am not allowed to have a personal Facebook page that is different than my work Facebook page, right? So there is a sort of rule that says you exist here at work --
FALKENBERG: I don't think we'll have work Facebook pages in the Secret Service.
CAIN: The point is well taken. I think we think of the Secret Service different than other employees. It's surprising to see that he has a Facebook page, which is kind of carry work over. To think honestly, a lot of guys might say, it that inappropriate for us to think that the Secret Service is different than other employees?
FALKENBERG: Well, Secret Service agents have an enormous amount of responsibility and they carry that responsibility 24 hours a day. And they do have a very focused mission on protecting the Secret Service protectees. So it's very different from another position in which you turn it on and turn it off.
O'BRIEN: OK, let's talk about the resignations. Here's what Peter King said as he was talking about expecting that more Secret Service agents will be leaving. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: You will have more employees leaving either today or tomorrow. Exact number I don't know. I do expect more employees to leave the Secret Service.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Can you talk to me a little bit about the process? Why are we getting these resignations or sometimes ousting sort of one or two at a time, as opposed to at the end of an investigation, they determined X number of people are now out?
FALKENBERG: I think the story here is really this is really an unprecedented focus for the Secret Service that immediately when these issues arose, the Secret Service jumped on this investigation devoted an enormous amount of resources.
Believe me, there is nothing more important at Secret Service headquarters than getting to the bottom of this and resolving this. I think that is the type of approach that you've seen since the beginning of the revelations of these events.
O'BRIEN: Ted Nugent has been interviewed by the Secret Service now. He wrote an op-ed. He's probably one of the rare people who had his Secret Service interview and then went right to write the op-ed, I'll read a little bit for you of it.
It says, "I have personally never been prouder. If my daily activities and simple statements of truth and logic could cause a bizarre overreaction by so many, I need no more evidence that I am on the right track.
When doing God's work the devils go banzo. So be it, I stand by my statements. The line is drawn in the American sand. I stand with patriots who love this country. We wake up early every day to put our hearts and souls into being assets for America, our fellow Americans, the people of the world and the good earth."
And it goes on and on. Do you think his visits merited a visit by the Secret Service? FALKENBERG: Without a doubt, the Secret Service since the Warren Commission has taken incredibly seriously the statement of anyone who has made a threat or potential threat against the president.
Now being interviewed by the Secret Service doesn't mean you're being harassed. It doesn't mean you're being arrested. It doesn't mean that you're going under surveillance.
All it means that if someone is coming by and trying to understand the nature of the things that you said. Considering how incredibly important the mission of the Secret Service is, that's a very valuable function and this comment like hundreds of others, and every day people are calling --
CAIN: It's the one comment, right, if President Obama is re- elected I will either be dead or in jail. That's what --
O'BRIEN: By this time next year.
CAIN: What is the threshold? What is the threshold that attracts your attention?
O'BRIEN: Difference between threat and free speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When does it become a crime?
FALKENBERG: Well, threatening a Secret Service protectee falls outside the first amendment. So when is it a crime? It is a crime if it becomes legitimate. It's a crime when it puts the recipient in fear of their life.
And it also falls into a gray area of where conduct may not be criminal, but may be give rise to mental health intervention because so many people historically who tried to assassinate the president mentally ill.
O'BRIEN: Were you threatening assassination or just, you know, talking about something might happen and you're being vague. What literally would they ask?
FALKENBERG: Well, Secret Service agents are highly trained to illicit helpful information from people who made interviews. So they are conducting interview to determine was this a real threat? What is the mental status of the person who's making it? Does this person have the capability of making a threat?
Say you got a threat from someone who is so mentally ill that they're just not able to leave their home or leave the institution they're in.
DR. ALICIA SALZER, PSYCHIATRIST: -- psychiatric emergency room that I worked in where the bar is very little. If there's any suggestion of any threat, the Secret Service is in there, even if the person is so disorganized they couldn't execute something anyway.
O'BRIEN: I still think the Facebook page is weird, but we'll talk about that later. We have to get to Zoraida. She's got a look at some of the headlines for us. Hi, Z.
ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Soledad. Police in North Carolina say they will continue to question witnesses as they search for a missing soldier from Fort Bragg.
Police divers completed their search of a pond in North Carolina without finding any evidence. Army Private Kelli Bordeaux was last seen leaving a local bar early Saturday. Police interviewed the man who gave her a ride home who says she asked to be left out a short distance from her home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICHOLAS HOLBERT, GAVE MISSING SOLDIER A RIDE HOME: Around 1:00, 1:30 she said, I'm tired, I want to go home. I said, OK. So we got in the car and as soon as I pulled into Meadowbrook, she said you can stop right here and let me out, I'll walk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Bordeaux's husband is believed to have been out of town when she disappeared.
The race for the White House, in a matchup between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is tightening up. Check out the new CNN poll of polls. It combines six major national polls conducted after Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, President Obama holding a very slim three-point lead with 47 percent of the vote.
And Florida Senator Marco Rubio finds himself, again, trying to kill the political buzz and he could be tapped to become Mitt Romney's running mate.
The popular Republican added fuel to the fire himself yesterday when he made this verbal slip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Three, four, five, six, seven years from now if I do a good job as vice president. I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys all got that, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAMBOLIN: Oops. Rubio later said that Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman would make a, quote, "phenomenal choice for vice president."
Today's "A.M. House Call," a measles outbreak hitting the United States with new cases hitting a 15-year high. The CDC says there were more than 200 cases of measles in the United States last year.
That is more than triple usual numbers. Health officials claimed 90 percent of those cases are coming into the United States from foreign countries with low immunization rates. No one has died from the measles in the United States since 2008.
Life expectancy dropping for women across the United States. A new study reveals some girls will now live shorter life spans than their mothers. The study says huge parts of Oklahoma, Tennessee and Georgia saw a decline in life expectancy between 1989 and 2009, including 84 percent of counties in Oklahoma.
Researchers say women are less likely to be treated for high blood pressure or high cholesterol there. But, overall, life expectancy improved for American women, but at a slower pace than men. Women gained 2.7 years between 1989 and 2009 while men gained 4.6.
And Starbucks is a dropping a not so secret ingredient from its menu that really bugged some customers. By the end of June, it will no longer use an insect for coloring.
Instead a tomato extract will be used in drinks such as the strawberry and cream Frappuccino and the red velvet (inaudible). The coffee chain is making the change after a number of complaints. Where was I? I didn't know this.
O'BRIEN: Ewww. That's all I can think. I support the change, let me say that.
SAMBOLIN: I do, too. My kid loves the Frappuccino. Wait until he finds out what is in it.
O'BRIEN: What are they putting in it now?
SAMBOLIN: A tomato juice.
O'BRIEN: All right, Zoraida, thanks.
SAMBOLIN: You're welcome.
O'BRIEN: Still ahead on STARTING POINT, a violent confrontation caught on tape. We'll tell you why an officer got physical with this woman.
Plus, New York's top cop has the very latest on the renewed search for information about Etan Patz who vanished more than three decades ago. Commissioner Ray Kelly is going to join us live up next. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. We've been talking this morning about a possible break in the case of the disappearance of Etan Patz, a story that captured the nation's attention 33 years ago.
The 6-year-old boy vanished without a trace from his home in New York City on May 25th, 1979 and it happened without a single shred of physical evidence. The case had gone cold.
But on Thursday, an FBI dog picked up the trail of possible human remains just yards from where Patz lived. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is with us this morning. Walk me through exactly how this information came to kick of this sort of new search?
COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, the district attorney, Sy Vance opened up this case in 2010. He went to the FBI. They went and spoke to people who had had some information and it directed them back to this scene.
They used what they call cadaver dogs. They put pads down in this location and took the pads and showed a positive sign and then took the dog to the location.
O'BRIEN: So was this location -- it sounded to me when Susan Candiotti did her report for us that it had been searched before or at least part of a search.
KELLY: Well, it had been searched. Obviously, it was looked at a long time ago, 33 years ago. I think what is significant now is new technologies involved, new chemicals and just new techniques that can be used. So, I think law enforcement certainly FBI and NYPD are hopeful that we can give some comfort to the parents.
O'BRIEN: That would be so great.
KELLY: Terribly anguished about this.
CAIN: So, Commissioner, for a good 20 years, I believe focus was on this man who had been a convicted pedophile. Never was charged, but focusing to look at him.
O'BRIEN: He's in prison now.
CAIN: Now we see a shift in the case and, as you said, district attorney opened a reinvestigation in 2010 and you suggested there were conversations that led you to a new direction. What was that? We're now focused on a new individual and a new location. What happened in the last two years?
KELLY: I'm not going to talk about possible suspects in this case. I don't think it's helpful to me in my position to do this at this time. The investigation is going forward and hopefully come forward with physical evidence that is going to be significant.
O'BRIEN: One of the things that Susan Candiotti was telling us in her report was that a gentleman who worked as a handyman. This was a location where his, I guess workshop was and this is the place where they're now searching.
Her sources tell her that he blurted out, what if the body was moved while the cadaver dogs were doing their search. How much of that information is something you're going to focus on? We did these interviews before.
I can't talk specifically. But she's been a reporter for a long time. So her sources are usually great on these things. It sounds to me. Is it something like that comment that could bring everybody's focus back around to this particular individual who is certainly not been named as a suspect in this case. KELLY: Well, sure. But, again, I don't want to get into the specifics of it. This is an active investigation and it's not helpful for the investigators. Not helpful for any future prosecution for me at this juncture to make statements in this regard.
O'BRIEN: Talk about this case when you were starting out as a cop because this case happened and you had had been on the force and a huge case.
KELLY: I was a lieutenant in the Organized Crime Controlled Bureau and I think it changed the way the country thought about missing children. As we know, Etan's picture was the first one to go on a milk carton.
And I think parents sort of rethought their willingness to let kids do lots of things. It was just a national focus on the case and we talked about it many, many times up until this juncture.
So, it changed, I think it just changed national thinking and national conversation about missing children.
O'BRIEN: They had hounds, we talk -- the literature I read went in to do searches. What is difference between hounds and a cadaver dog today? Is that different technology informing the dogs?
KELLY: Well, you know, actually cadaver dogs, I don't believe we had cadaver dogs in the late '70s now specifically trained for a scent, dead body scent, quite frankly.
And the FBI has them. They're well trained, but we also have chemicals such as luminol that we didn't have. X-ray machines. They can look through walls, which we didn't have then. A lot of technology that we brought to bear here.
O'BRIEN: Ray Kelly, New York City Police Department. Nice to see you, Commissioner. We appreciate your time this morning. This is such a sad and tragic case for this family.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT. Do you forgive? I don't. I'm not a forgiving person. Will Cain knows this. A Michigan man is going to talk with us this morning about how he's been able to do it after his wife and his two young sons were killed by a drunk driver.
We have their incredible story coming up next. You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.
O'BRIEN: Six-time Emmy-Award winning producer, Sean Deperen, is working on a powerful new documentary about forgiveness. It tells the story of two neighbors, Gary Weinstein and Tom Willinger, both lived in Farmington Hills in Michigan.
Their homes are about a mile apart from each other. The kids went to the same school. Here's where their worlds intersected. Tom Willinger was driving drunk and killed Gary's wife and children. Unforgivable, but not for Gary. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I knew that this happening to me was for me an opportunity.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of those opportunities was to meet Tom, the man who took his family, the man Gary was already forgiving.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom asked if I could forgive him. I replied can you forgive yourself?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: The focus of a documentary called "Project Forgive" and Gary joins us along with the producer. Nice to have you. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
You originally wanted more time. You didn't think the time was offering for your neighbor and former family friend, Tom Willinger, was enough. You were mad about the amount of time. I think he was given three counts of second-degree murder. Something like 19 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 19 to 30.
O'BRIEN: You thought not enough. Now you say you want to forgive him.
GARY WEINSTEIN, WIFE AND TWO SONS KILLED BY DRUNK DRIVER: To think that you only get 19 years behind bars for killing three people does seem to be a little less than what I think might be deserving but they explained to me that's the statute, that's the law.
When you plead the way he pleaded and got what he got, those are the perimeters that the law has been set down as a precedence before. But now and even shortly after just noticing that, that that was the time period that's allowed, what was there for me was I need to move on.
O'BRIEN: So forgiveness was really more about you than about Tom?
WEINSTEIN: Yes. I think so.
O'BRIEN: Why did you think this would be a great documentary? You knew both men. You were friendly with both families and thought it was a big story.
SHAWNE DUPERON, DOCUMENTARY PRODUCER, "PROJECT FORGIVE": Yes, it was a big deal because Judy, my family's business coach, my children baby sat Gary's children. We've known each other for 15 years. We did a landmark education course about creating your life and learning about forgiveness.
And that's how we met and then to find out about the accident when it happened and two hours later to find out it was Tom who created this crash. And also in the same moment we know him as a family friend, he's a loving, kind, gracious man. And that's when a movie and a dilemma was born.
O'BRIEN: You said you think sometimes the word forgiveness is a misnomer. What do you mean?
SALZER: You know, I work in the field of trauma. My bread and butter is helping people overcome traumatic life events like this. At the end of the day what I have observed is you could have been justified in spending your life hating this guy and what would it have gained?
I think it's important to distinguish between the trauma and take-home trauma. What's done is done. Now you have a choice about what you do with your thoughts. What we call forgiveness, I think what you do with your thoughts.
When you say to yourself, I can stew and I can hate. It's not going to do anything. I can use that to change legislation. I can use that to change the world or I can focus on something else.
O'BRIEN: How long did it take you to get there? How long -- you must go from I would like to wring that man's neck to forgive and move on with my own life.
WEINSTEIN: In my memory, it went very quick. I have to move forward. Yes, the time that he got behind bars might not have been justified in my eyes originally. But right away I saw that my community, my children's friends, needed me to be strong to explain to them why their best friend wasn't back at school.
O'BRIEN: We're out of time so we can't talk about it. We'll talk on the commercial break and post video online. It's called "Project Forgive."
I know you are a Kickstarter. You are close to get to full funding, which is a documentary. Nice to have you join us this morning. We appreciate it. Thanks for being here.
Still ahead on STARTING POINT, just about an hour away from George Zimmerman's court appearance where he's going to see Trayvon Martin's parents for the very first time. Will he be released from jail on bond? We're going to be live at that courthouse.
Plus, have you seen this pictures? A little boy runs out on the field of dreams until security or an outfielder grabbed him and handed him off to security. A little boy over the wall or was there more to it than that? You're watching STARTING POINT. We're back in a moment.