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STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN
Proposed Bill Punishes Those Leaving U.S. For Tax Avoidance; Negotiations Break Down in Prisoner Exchange with Taliban; New Documents Released in George Zimmerman Case; Arrest In Mississippi Highway Murders; Justice Breyer Robbed Again; FAA: No Evidence Of Denver UFO; Countdown To Space X Launch; "Payback" On World Peace?; Al Qaeda's Money Trail; Jay Bashing; From Refugee To Rescuer
Aired May 18, 2012 - 06:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN GUEST HOST: Hey, guys, good morning. I know Ali walks in the make-up (ph) at 4:00 a.m. He's like good morning! Good morning. Happy Friday to all of you. I'm Brooke in for Soledad. My final day here. It's been a pleasure. In for Soledad O'Brien.
And our "Starting Point" this morning, ticker symbol FB, it is Facebook Friday, the day the social network becomes a publicly traded company. Millions hoping the price is right for them to get in on it.
Also, did he take the money and run? Senator is saying Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, cheating the U.S. out of (INAUDIBLE) like a hundred million dollars in taxes. We're digging deeper on that one.
Plus, his head bleeding, his nose busted up, getting a first look as to what George Zimmerman really appeared like after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and Martin's surprising autopsy report.
Also this morning, new details into the fight to get back the only American soldier ever to be taken alive by the Taliban, including the terror group saying it's been waiting years to, quote, "hunt down such an important bird." That's how they describe Bowe Bergdahl.
Good morning. It is Friday, May 18. STARTING POINT begins right now.
Our STARTING POINT, today is the day in a matter of hours the ticker symbol FB will appear on the NASDAQ and Facebook will be a publicly traded company. Price $38 a share, valuing Facebook for $100 billion. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg expected to make something like $20.3 billion, co-founder Eduardo Saverin $2.6 billion. Here is a clip from "The Social Network."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You signed the papers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You set me up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to blame me because you were the business head of the company and you made a bad business deal with your own party?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be like I'm not a part of Facebook.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It won't be like. You're not part of Facebook.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: A lot of controversy surrounding Eduardo Saverin, this morning. He recently renounced his U.S. citizenship, moved to Singapore, a country with no taxes on capital gains. This move estimated to reduce his tax Bill by a cool $67 million, and that has two senators so, so peeved, so upset they want legislation to make people like Saverin pay.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: Saverin has turned his back on the country that welcomed him and kept him safe, educated and helped him become a billionaire. This is a great American success story gone horribly wrong. Eduardo Saverin wants to defriend the United States of America just to avoid paying taxes, and we aren't going to let him get away with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Democratic senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is one of two senators who introduced the Ex-Patriot Act. Senator, good morning.
SEN. BOB CASEY, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning.
BALDWIN: I know we're talking a lot about Eduardo Saverin in particular but if there was one catalyst for you all to draft this legislation, this ex-patriot act, what was it?
CASEY: Well, certainly, this is the most egregious example that we know of, but there are more than 1,700 other people who have done the same thing, and the basic thrust of this legislation says that if you expatriate yourself, in other words leave the country, renounce your citizenship, the legislation would provide a 30 percent tax on the gains that would you get, any kind of future investment gains if, and this is the key thing, if the IRS were to determine that the reason you left was for a substantial tax purpose. If they make that finding, and it has to be an objective finding, then the tax would apply.
BALDWIN: And you can never return to U.S. soil, that's the other part of the end of that legislation. But so what I'm hearing is really it was Saverin's story that caused you to draft the legislation. I just want to make sure I'm hearing you correctly, it was his story, that he's w that's why? Correct?
CASEY: Sure, and that's surely the case with me. We know some people have to leave the country for legitimate reasons. If we allow people the benefit of living in the United States, in this case someone who was educated here and then allow them to go without any consequence when the reason they're leaving is because of taxes to avoid the payment of taxes, in this case tens of millions of dollars just for one individual, I think we've got to be much tougher and hold them much more accountable.
BALDWIN: Sure, and I'm sure a lot of people agree with you. I want to get Saverin's perspective. He says, quote, "I am obligated to and will pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the United States government. It is unfortunate that my personal choice has led to a public debate, based not on the facts, but entirely on speculation and misinformation." I could see the counterargument that the way this legislation is written, one could perceive it as really you're seen as guilty until proven innocent.
CASEY: Well, I don't agree with that assessment, but I would expect him to say what he did say. But here's the key thing. This legislation is focused on future investment earnings. So if when he has a substantial gain because of the success of Facebook in the future, then we'll see what he does with that. And if he pays all his taxes, he doesn't have to be concerned about this legislation. But if he is going to try to avoid paying taxes, I think we've got to have measures in place to hold him accountable.
BALDWIN: "Wall Street Journal" op-ed, quote, "The way we continue to be a magnet for the best and brightest, is not to impose soviet-style exit taxes to punish people who want to leave the country. That is what oppressive and demagogic regimes do. And it's humiliating to see U.S. senators posture in such a fashion." Are we hurting ourselves as a country by imposing such rules, such legislation? We want people to be here.
CASEY: Not at all. Not at all. I completely disagree with the "Wall Street Journal" and that probably wouldn't surprise them, for this reason. We have lots of people who come into this country and make a lot of money, and they pay their taxes. It's very simple. When you're an American citizen, when you benefit from the United States, the bounty of this country, you ought to pay your taxes and if you leave, this isn't just taking a trip around the world. He's renounced his citizenship. He should pay for that. And we should have the benefit of some measure of support for the priorities here in the United States.
So this will not be a disincentive. We have people moving into the United States all the time trying to make money. We're happy about that and we want to welcome them, but when you live in this country for a period of time, make a lot of money and then renounce your citizenship and go to Singapore to take advantage of their tax laws, I think there should be a consequence for that.
BALDWIN: Sure, Singapore, no capital gains.
CASEY: We're trying to make ends meet in a tough economy.
BALDWIN: He says he's not alluding the taxes. We'll see if he pays the $67 million. We'll follow it and I know will you as well. Thank you, sir, appreciate it. Dramatic new details revealed in the Trayvon Martin shooting as the evidence is now being released in the public. Police photos of George Zimmerman clearly showing an injury to his nose as well as see this here, very bloody scalp in the hours after his deadly encounter with Martin, and the official autopsy on Martin showing traces of marijuana in his system. Let's go to John Zarrella, following the story for us. Walk me through a little bit more about this evidence. What are we to glean from this?
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, about 200 pages released and I think a lot of what we're seeing validates things that were leaked out, things that we had heard since the February 26th shooting. Other things that are coming out, including the 7-Eleven video that was released, showing the last moments that Trayvon Martin was alive, when he was in that 7-eleven buying the skittles and the iced tea before he walks back to the neighborhood, where ultimately he's confronted by the neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, and is shot.
Now, we also have an image taken from a cell phone camera, by a police officer at the scene, after the shooting. It's the only image taken of George Zimmerman at the scene. The photo that you just showed a moment ago was one of several that were taken later when Zimmerman was at the police station that shows the bloody back of his head, his nose that appeared to police officers to have been broken as well.
Now, one of the interesting things we heard and read in some of these documents, witness statements. In the witness statements, Brooke, that I read, all of them indicated that they heard the cries for help. All of them indicated that they heard what they thought was a gunshot. But none of them saw exactly what happened. In fact, one of the witnesses says that he or she saw a man on top of another man punching the man. The witness then runs upstairs to get a better view out of the upstairs window, on the way up, hears the gunshot, looks out and sees the other man, the man who was doing the hitting, on the ground, and that's the man that's dead. So lots of new information that we're still poring over.
BALDWIN: Lots of information, 200 pages, and it's a matter of was this self-defense, was it not? John Zarrella, appreciate it.
We go to Christine Romans to see what else is happening on this Friday.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A lot happening on this Friday, Brooke. World leaders arrive at Camp David for the start of the g-8 summit, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and the European financial crisis all on the table. There will be a few new faces including newly elected French President Hollande, Japanese Prime Minister Noda.
Parts of Chicago being shut down this morning as security will be very tight when President Obama and 50 heads of state arrive in the windy city Sunday for a NATO summit. Today F-16 war planes and other military aircraft will buzz the city as part of a defense exercise ahead of the summit. Police expect large anti-NATO protests. John Edwards' fate is in the hands of a jury. They'll determine whether the former North Carolina senator is guilty six counts of campaign fraud and conspiracy. Edwards is accused of using campaign cash to cover up an affair. His lawyer's closing argument urging the jury to separate sin from criminal behavior.
Embattled JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon agreeing to testify before Congress in the wake of the bank's massive $2 billion trading loss. It has ignited a political debate over whether large U.S. banks should be reined in by regulators or we need new laws. It's not exactly clear when Dimon will appear before the Senate banking committee.
Celebrating the life and legacy of Donna Summer who died yesterday after a battle with cancer. She was 63. Summer was the queen of disco. She had 19 number one hits. Her music was the soundtrack of a generation. Fellow artists say she will be missed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEGEND, SINGER: We really lost somebody who was great and such an important artist of her time, of a particular type of music that was so important to America's pop cultural history.
LISA MARIE PRESLEY, SINGER: I admire her so much. She's one of the people who I admired growing up. Her voice when she'd hit a certain tone, it would just get into your gut and sort of in your heart and just rattle it to make you feel all these different ways. She has that -- she had that ability and that gift.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Donna summer's family says she was a woman of many gifts and her greatest gift was her faith, Brooke.
BALDWIN: She was 63, too young, too young. Christine, thanks.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, new developments while you were sleeping, police make an arrest after they say a fake cop killed two people on the highway.
Plus, trading Gitmo detainees for our guy, inside the secret talks to save the only American soldier taken alive by the Taliban, and what the Taliban sources are actually saying about his capture. We'll leave with you a little bit of Donna Summer "Love to Love You, Baby." You're watching STARTING POINT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOWE BERGDAHL, TALIBAN HOSTAGE: I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be able to go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: That was Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. That was back in 2009. Keep in mind, he is the only American soldier ever to be taken alive and held by the Taliban ever since the U.S. war began in Afghanistan in October of 2001. Now, we learned recently from Bergdahl's parents in Idaho these secret negotiations were going on between the U.S. and the Taliban to release their son. The deal would have included releasing five men being held at Gitmo, returning them back to the Taliban but those negotiations have now stalled and there are all these details in this new story detailed in this week's "TIME" magazine, and "TIME" international's editor Jim Frederick edited the story. Good morning to you and welcome.
JIM FREDERICK, "TIME" INTERNATIONAL EDITOR: Good morning.
BALDWIN: It's quite an article.
BALDWIN: In the fact that they came, it seems, so close.
BALDWIN: To getting their son back.
BALDWIN: How close did they get?
FREDERICK: Very close. The deal broke down within a couple of days of the release and I think the most interesting part of why the deal broke down, there's a big split.
BALDWIN: The factions.
FREDERICK: The factions.
BALDWIN: The older and the younger.
FREDERICK: There's a generational split.
FREDERICK: Most interesting about it is, after ten years of war with the United States, the younger generation of the Taliban, the up and coming leadership is more radical than the older leadership so the current leaders of the Taliban or this particular unit of the Taliban wanted to do the deal, and the younger leadership who have been radicalized by ten years of war say no deal, threat on it walk out and split the Taliban further than it already is and that's why the deal broke down.
BALDWIN: Let me quote part of this to your point about conflicting views, Taliban members talking to your reporter there is to the magazine, "We told them we are willing to announce a cease-fire but you should start pulling out all the foreign forces and tell the world invading Afghanistan was your mistake, but they did not agree. The U.S. saw it differently, told you all, quote, "The Taliban refused to agree to the terms to require for a transfer so they walked away." It was a matter of days.
FREDERICK: It was a matter of days, and there were points at which the United States did not agree with the Taliban demands. And there is a certain aspect of at poll gee the United States was not going to agree to. This is the first time we've learned it's the younger generation that's more radical.
BALDWIN: And also the Taliban sees the value in having this Bowe Bergdahl in their captivity and custody.
BALDWIN: This is the quote that jumped out at me, quote, "We had been waiting for years and years and years to hunt down such an important bird, once he fell into our hands, then we knew how to keep him safe and sound."
Talk a little bit more about the details of the captivity. We were talking during break, I was fascinated by the sense of Pashtun hospitality. They want to keep him alive because he's valuable.
FREDERICK: He's more than a trophy. He's one of their most important bargaining chips which is one of its reasons that this whole episode has become so important is, if you think back to the Iraq war, it's sort of interesting, soldiers were captured every once in a while, most of them wound up dead within days. Taliban is far smarter than Al Qaeda in Iraq or any of the Sunni insurgencies in Iraq and they realize that these guys are way more valuable alive than they are dead, so they've kept him alive for more than three years.
BALDWIN: And part of this hospitality is that Bowe Bergdahl is eating exactly what his captors are giving themselves.
FREDERICK: They've also released several proof of life videos. And he is a captive. He's a prisoner of war. Any American wants him back. At the same time, all things considered, he's being treated fairly well. He is being given the same food that his captors eat and as we were talking about, there's this notion of guest friendship and hospitality.
BALDWIN: Guest friendship and hospitality with the Taliban.
FREDERICK: How strange.
BALDWIN: You have to be kidding me.
FREDERICK: How strange that is, yes.
BALDWIN: Interesting in the article, too, talks about the father, Bob Bergdahl living in the mountains, the mountains in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and also the fact that he's learning Pashtu. Why?
FREDERICK: He's grown out his beard, too. He's trying to give indication, it's his son, trying to give any indication whatsoever he's sympathetic to the Taliban's plight. Not that he necessarily agrees with them but trying to appeal to their humanity. One of the first lessons of hostage training is that you try to identify with your captor on a very personal level, because you don't want them to kill. It's clear Bowe is doing that and his father is, too.
BALDWIN: The question now is where does this stands? It's an election year. Bob Bergdahl is cognizant of the fact. Saying this, quote, "We have a window of opportunity in Afghanistan, and that window is not going to wait for a national election to come to an end. I don't think we can count on the dynamics on the ground in Afghanistan to be the same in November as they necessarily are now. This is a war, and war doesn't wait on politics. We know the administration maintains they don't negotiate with terrorists." Where does this go next? These people want their son back.
FREDERICK: They've clearly been negotiating with terrorists. That's one of the great -- not misperceptions, but one of the things the United States government says and then something the United States government goes. They've been negotiating with the Taliban for months, if not years. And Mr. Bergdahl, we have to have sympathy because he has been waiting for three years and only become public recently. And "TIME" has been sitting on this story for three years, we've been in negotiations with state and Pentagon and only because of a small paper in Idaho decided to break this self-imposed --
FREDERICK: -- embargo. It wasn't a secret but hasn't been a major media story until now and Mr. Bergdahl is frustrated and desperate.
BALDWIN: Wouldn't you be?
FREDERICK: Of course.
BALDWIN: Wouldn't you be? Jim Frederick, "TIME" international editor.
FREDERICK: Good to be here.
BALDWIN: Appreciate it.
FREDERICK: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Still ahead here on STARTING POINT, Will Cain's eye in today's news. Bombshell spy, Anna Chapman, we'll look inside her $3,000 Chanel bag, really, will, talking about Chanel bags this morning and other goodies you can apparently check out with the rest of our panel.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's right.
BALDWIN: The lovely Margaret Hoover and John Avalon. "Time Marches On." It's Friday, perfect.
BALDWIN: Love these guys out of Akron, Ohio, the black peas. This is off the last album. You're digging this John?
JOHN AVALON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I dig black peas and Ohio.
BALDWIN: That's where my grandmother is.
AVALON: There you go.
BALDWIN: John Avalon, CNN contributor, senior political columnist, "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast," and your other half, we're outing you folks, they are married.
AVALON: Better half.
BALDWIN: The better half, Margaret Hoover, CNN contributor, author, "American Individualism," former Bush White House inner governmental affairs associate director.
BALDWIN: First time on a CNN panel together on CNN. And Will Cain columnist TheBlaze.com. Good morning.
This is the fun part you get to hold up your papers and tell me what you love. Mr. Avalon?
AVALON: I'm kind of into this fallout from the Joe Rickett story in the "The New York Times" the Fred Davis famed Republican ad-man pitching how they take out Barack Hussein Obama by bringing back Jeremiah Wright.
BALDWIN: Did they have in mind some radio --
AVALON: Larry Elder. And people thought they were electing a metro sexual black Abe Lincoln but instead got a late '60s radical. The fallout is fascinating.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hold on honey, I have one more thought.
BALDWIN: Take it away.
AVALON: The fallout all of a sudden, Rick, a hard core libertarian Republican and interesting guy, successful self-made man is asking the city of Chicago for $300 million to help rebuild Wrigley because he owns the cubs. I'm a big baseball fan but I got to tell you there will aba lot of interesting fallout because this presentation really pulled the curtain back on this sleazy sub culture we'll see in the super PAC.
HOOVER: You would think Republicans have access to the best polling out there, swaying independents, women and minorities not going to win them over.
BALDWIN: Margaret Hoover what do you have?
HOOVER: One of the great honors was to serve George W. Bush in the White House and he has an op. Ed in the "Wall Street Journal" about the Arab spring reminding people in the Middle East, difficult times as people build new democracies we need as the United States to do things to help them strengthen their civil institutions, civic institutions and create societies of pluralism.
BALDWIN: Good reminder, op-ed. You're shaking your head.
CAIN: What is wrong with these people? What got your attention in ten seconds looking through the newspaper? JP Morgan got my attention, but you pick up the "New York Post" now that got my attention.
BALDWIN: Leather pants on Ana Chapman.
CAIN: Real live super spy, Russian spy.
BALDWIN: You know they make a doll after her.
CAIN: Bond girl, a Chanel bag as you talked about earlier, $2,500 Chanel bag with spy gear intact, super computer going to be on display at the discovery Times Square museum and this, my friends is something that gets your attention.
BALDWIN: Let me put my job off the table. That is amazing, the discovery museum.
CAIN: If she had been here another six months according to H. Keith Melton, she would have been the most dangerous spy in American history.
BALDWIN: And she has her own Barbie doll.
BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, financing a terror attack, who exactly is financing Al Qaeda and how Congress plans to cut off the cash.
Also, a basket-brawl, James Harden elbows Metta World Peace during a playoff game. Revenge, look at it again, revenge, boom or an accident? You're watching STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: Good morning and welcome back. Christine Romans talk to me about some headlines this morning.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. Breaking news this morning in those deadly highway shootings in Mississippi, police arrested 28-year-old James Willy and they intend to charge him with murder.
They say Willy had a gun, which matched the one used in the two separate shootings that left a man and woman dead and terrified drivers across the state. Authorities have suggested that the shooter was impersonating a police officer.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer robbed for the second time this year. Officials say his home in Washington was broken into and burglarized earlier this month. No one was home at the time. Back in February, Breyer was robbed by a man carrying a machete at his vacation home in the Caribbean.
The plot thickens on the possible UFO sighting in Denver. The FAA says it has found no evidence of an unidentified aircraft or any other objects flying over the city.
Earlier this week, a jet pilot radioed a control tower in Denver claiming he almost crashed into a mystery object, possibly a remote controlled aircraft. The FAA says it didn't show up on radar and no other pilot reported seeing it.
Counting down to the launch of the first commercial rocket on a voyage to the International Space Station, the Space Falcon 9 Rocket with its unmanned space aircraft set to lift off at 4:55 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow morning from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It's a major first step in NASA's plan to turn over space station missions to commercial enterprises.
"Minding Your Business" this morning, U.S. stock markets are poised to open higher this morning, something else is going on, I wonder what -- Facebook, that's right, the IPO, a little bit of buzz about that.
There's still some concern though on Wall Street about the sovereign debt problems in Europe and those worries are pushing European markets lower today.
Getting a little payback on World Peace, Oklahoma City's James Harden snuck in an elbow on Metta World Peace as the Thunder beat the Lakers in game two of their playoff series.
World Peace really sold it, but it wasn't that serious. You're going to remember a few weeks ago, Metta World Peace threw an elbow that knocked out Harden and sent him to the sidelines with a concussion.
World Peace had missed six playoff games as punishment. Game three tonight, I think the refs will be watching. I don't know what the style book says about that, Metta World Peace.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That is not retribution. That is accident and we're going to have on the show James Lipton. I'm going to go over Metta World Peace's reaction because that, my friends, is acting.
BALDWIN: I can't wait for that conversation, by the way. We have so much to talk to him about.
Meantime though we want to talk to a member of Congress because Congress is focusing today specifically on the finances of al Qaeda, two hours from now the House is holding this hearing looking exactly at where it stands as far as financing from these terrorist organizations, trying to choke off that financing, cutting them off from that cash flow.
So Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Meehan is the chairman of the subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. Congressman, good morning to you.
REP. PATRICK MEEHAN (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning, Brooke, great to be with you.
BALDWIN: Let's just talk about where we are today, the status of the financing. Are they crippled by these sanctions? How does that stand?
MEEHAN: Well, no, they aren't crippled, but what has happened is it's made it very much more difficult for the terrorist networks to move the money so they've become much more creative.
In the essence of our hearing, is to talk to the experts, the folks that designed the programs in the first place from treasury and FBI, who found the ways to choke off the money in the first place.
To learn how they've changed their tactics and to see what we can do to prevent the money flowing not just to the terrorists, but you also use it to identify who the networks are.
BALDWIN: To your point, sir, on creativity, let's look back, 2001, obviously that was 9/11, that cost $400,000 to execute, 2005 London attacks $15,000, totally self-funded.
But then you go to 2010, the cargo plots that were thwarted, that cost all of $4,200. In fact, Al Qaeda and the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, bragged about how cheap that was, given the fact that with the smaller bits of money.
I imagine it's tougher for you all to try to track. How does that change how we track the terrorist groups and then of course, stop them?
MEEHAN: Well, the use of the small sums makes it much more difficult to be sure, and what they're trying to do is get to us spend large sums to protect against it. We're trying to follow the schemes that are being used, much like organized criminals.
You're seeing a lot of laundering that takes place, things that happen in the trade of goods, that we're seeing a lot of activity of money moving through the illegal narcotics trades. So the schemes that are being used are what we need to be able to identify as they have changed their tactics.
BALDWIN: Go ahead, John.
JOHN AVLON, SENIOR POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "NEWSWEEK" AND "THE DAILY BEAST": Congressman, how has the death of Bin Laden affected the flow of money to al Qaeda? And secondarily, what foreign governments are still most involved in getting money to terrorist organizations in your estimation?
MEEHAN: Well, the most critical organization of course is Iran, and it's the support of its proxies like Hezbollah. And there is evidence that the sanctions are making it much more difficult for Iran to have that excess cash to send around to folks.
And Bin Laden, al Qaeda, I think the days of his being a financier were early on, but the ability as was identified to move small sums of money or to be able to now place, pre-place individuals in positions.
And then have them use things like debit cards that now make it much more difficult to see financial transactions are the kinds of things that allow them to have boots on the ground so to speak and make it much more difficult for us to identify who they might be.
BALDWIN: You mentioned the debit cards. They're using unregulated cash couriers in and out of this Persian Gulf country, the value cards, debit cards, but they're issued anonymously.
If it's harder to track larger sums of money and you mentioned they are getting creative then I imagine that is part of the biggest challenge, how do you stop them, if money isn't the obvious way to do so?
MEEHAN: I think the experts will tell you you're never going to completely stop them, but you can make it much more difficult and that's one of the first objectives.
The second thing is to make it so there are not quite the resources for them to be able to move and that's part of the Iranian sanctions and the third place when they move it to follow the schemes so we can identify who they are.
Oftentimes that's the critical thing to know who may be potentially participating in a plot following the stream of those not just communications, but following the kinds of support that may be part of that conspiracy. It gives us a chance to break it apart before it happens.
BALDWIN: Congressman Meehan, good luck with the hearing happening two hours from now.
MEEHAN: Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: Still ahead this morning here on STARTING POINT, he was rescued at sea as a little boy, 6 years old, coming to the U.S. from Haiti.
Talk about this full circle story here because this little boy not so little anymore, he is a young man, just graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy this week. His story is coming up. Don't miss this.
Plus, he is the late night host they love to hate, Conan O'Brien and David Letterman talking smack about Jay Leno. You're watching STARTING POINT on this Friday morning.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: "Son of A Gun" thanks to Margaret Hoover's playlist, rocking out on this Friday. Let's talk about late night TV, Conan O'Brien a guest actually last night on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
For the first time, did you realize 13 years he's been on the show? It turned out a bit of a bash fest on Jay Leno. Letterman's long-time rival the man who reclaimed "The Tonight Show" firing Conan in the process. Here they were.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, HOST, "CONAN": You know Jay is watching right now. You know, he's getting a live feed in a satellite truck right now. He is watching every second.
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": Forgive me for making this all about me, but that's kind of what I do. I was delighted by everything that happened except you losing your job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Except for that that little thing.
AVLON: Kind of --
BALDWIN: Do you guys watch late night TV, what do you think about that?
CAIN: No, we get up early for this show.
BALDWIN: Come on you're up all the time. Sleep is for the dead.
CAIN: Two possible takeaways here. One, you're looking at two guys who are sore losers, consider that as a possibility. I don't know Jay Leno. I don't know his personality, but you have to consider that's a possibility.
Or two, Jay Leno really is the unlikeable guy that he's painted as by Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, Howard Stern, one of those two are true I guess.
BALDWIN: Hang on, we got one more sound bite. Let's roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LETTERMAN: Jay was always the guy, the funniest guy, he was the guy. He was the guy you'd go to see the guy you wished could you be more like. He was funny. He was also a bit of a brat. A bit of a brat, and so then when this came along, I said, yes, this is the Jay I know. And I kind of, you know, I refer to that period as the golden age of television.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Do you even think Jay Leno was watching?
MARGARET HOOVER, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN INDIVIDUALISM": If he didn't see it live it's been replayed so many times and that's part of the joke. I think we're bonding over it. Frankly, they've all triumphed and done much better, moved on, done other things.
AVLON: It's just fascinating the way this resentment. Leno is like the Mariah Carey or Celine Dion of comedy. He's usually financially successful, but I think, you know, Conan and Letterman are more like U2 and R&M, they're going to be respected by their peers and probably last longer.
BALDWIN: I love Conan. I think the man is hilarious. His tweets are fantastic as well.
Still ahead this morning on STARTING POINT, this is quite a story, rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Florida. He was 6 years old, trying to leave his home country of Haiti. He is 24 now.
Orlando Morale celebrating another massive moment in his life in full regalia, graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. His amazing and inspiring journey coming up next.
Good morning. Hi, nice to meet you. Playlist going to break, "If I had a Boat". You're watching STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: He was rescued at sea and now he'll be the one doing the rescuing here. Just about 20 years ago, a 6-year-old Haitian refugee was rescued from a packed boat by the U.S. Coast Guard.
And this past Wednesday, now 24 years old, he's graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. He is soon going to be serving out of Florida whose mission will include, of all things, rescuing Haitian refugees just like himself.
Congratulations, grad. Rocking the bling on the hand from the big graduation, very nice. Take me back if you can to remember as much as you possibly can when you were six. You were on a boat. Do you have memories of that time at all?
ORLANDO MOREL, HAITIAN REFUGEE RESCUED BY COAST GUARD WHEN 6 YEARS OLD: Yes, I do have a few memories. I remember being on the boat with my mom and being scared and alone even though I had my mom. It's crowded so just sheer capacity of it all was overwhelming. And then I also remember being hungry and thirsty.
CAIN: How long were you on that boat?
MOREL: We have no idea.
BALDWIN: So you end up ultimately rescued by the Coast Guard and end up in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Your mother is at Bethesda Naval Hospital. She has cancer. Ultimately, the woman who takes care of her winds up being your adoptive mother. Explain.
MOREL: Well, when my mom was in Bethesda, she told my adopted mom about me and where I was and so my mom was in the Navy at the time and is now retired 20 years. She pulled a little something-something and was able to send for me.
BALDWIN: She was able to reunite you before your biological mother passed away.
MOREL: Yes, and she passed away roughly two months after I came in.
HOOVER: How old were you then?
MOREL: I was 6-1/2. When I came to the states, I turned 7 a week after I came.
AVLON: Mr. Morel, it is such an inspiring story, such an only in America story. And you've said the reason you love the Coast Guard is that they specialize in saving people's lives. What does it mean to you that you're going to be patrolling the waters around Haiti and rescuing people potentially just like yourself in another part of your life?
MOREL: That means a lot to me. You know, because one, I can see where I was so many years ago. I can empathize with them. They are trying so hard to escape Haiti to come here.
And even though we have to send them back, we're still rescuing them instead of leaving them out there to die. So I think that's what keeps me going, you know, and motivated.
BALDWIN: It was your adopted mother who you call mom, Louise Jackson, who also is from Haiti. She ultimately got you involved and got you interested and ignited a passion for the Coast Guard.
MOREL: Yes. And that was my sophomore year of high school. She reminded me because at 6-1/2 I don't really remember who rescued me. And then so I went to cliffs weekend which is a weekend where minorities come and see the Coast Guard and that's when I truly fell in love with it. No other research mattered. I experienced it firsthand.
BALDWIN: Have you ever had an opportunity to meet the people who rescued you so many years ago to say thank you or look where I'm headed now?
MOREL: Sadly, no. We tried.
BALDWIN: You have tried?
MOREL: Yes, we have tried. We don't know which boat I was rescued in. I know it was white.
BALDWIN: It was white and you were hungry and that's all you remember. MOREL: Yes.
BALDWIN: As you go back now as a graduate headed back around Haiti, what exactly will you be doing?
MOREL: We'll mainly be doing search and rescue, drug interdiction, migrant interdiction, primary missions.
CAIN: How hard was the Coast Guard training?
MOREL: It was brutal. It was mentally challenging because even though you're going for academics, there's a lot of military aspect of it and you have to do a sport. And so you also part of the military aspect of it you can choose to do stuff within the company.
CAIN: I asked you during the break how true to life was the Coast Guard movie. You said pretty close.
BALDWIN: Pretty true to life.
HOOVER: It's legit.
MOREL: It's legit.
BALDWIN: Orlando Morel, it's a pleasure. Only in America. I love how you say that.
HOOVER: Thank you for your service.
MOREL: Thank you very much for having me. Appreciate it.
BALDWIN: Good luck, sir.
Still ahead this morning, we're talking IPO, initial public offerings. Wonder what we're talking about, FB, Facebook, first day of trading here. We're going to take you live to the Nasdaq.
Plus, inside the studio, any fans? Definitely myself. This guy host James Lipton is getting political. He is actually offering advice on how to act human to Mitt Romney. We'll see what he's talking about.
We're also going to talk about the process. Interviewing the celebrities and actors for hours and hours and how did he get to the blue cards? That's what I want to know.
Plus don't miss the iconic David Cassidy is here. You are watching STARTING POINT.
BALDWIN: Good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin in for Soledad O'Brien. She is back on Monday. Happy Friday. Our ticker symbol, we're talking about this morning, FB as in Facebook. In just a couple hours, Facebook becomes a publicly traded company. Millions hoping the price is right for them to get in on it and make a little money. Also, how to act human. Advice for Mitt romney from all people inside the actor's studio. This is going to be good. James Lipton joining us in studio live.
We know we love him. Heartthrob David Cassidy is here. It is Friday, May 18th. That song has been stuck in my head all morning long. STARTING POINT begins right now.
Finally she says. Christine Romans finally gets her Steely Dan in the playlist this morning. You are a classic music lover, my friend. I love that about you. We're going to talk to Christine in just a moment here.
But first, our panel this morning, hello. Good morning. You have John Avlon here, senior political columnist at "Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast." His wife, Margaret Hoover, works in the Bush White House and author of "American Individualism." Hi, guys.