Return to Transcripts main page


Violent Protests Spreading; 2 U.S. Warships Heading to Libyan Coast; Interview with Senator John McCain; Mass Protests At U.S. Embassy In Yemen; Interview with Steny Hoyer; Attack Spark Crisis; "Grossly Misled" About Mohammed Movie; iPhone 5 Unveiled

Aired September 13, 2012 - 08:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

It is September 13th. It is Thursday. And, man oh man, it's been another busy news morning.

We're talking specifically about the Middle East. And you can take a look at some of these pictures as we're now waking up and talking about Yemen, specifically.

Our STARTING POINT: new developments here. Look at these people scaling the walls, setting tires on fire. The U.S. embassy there, that's what you're looking, stormed by protesters this morning. The situation, though, we can tell you is now under control.

BERMAN: And in addition to this, fresh protests outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo -- Cairo, Egypt. And in Libya, U.S. warships are on the move to protect Americans off the coast there.

We're also learning about the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed the American ambassador and three staffers. They're under siege we now understand for four hours and we have word now it could have been a planned attack, planned and coordinated.

It is Thursday, September 13th. STARTING POINT begins right now.


BALDWIN: I want to begin with the violent protests that are spreading right now, and you can take a look here as we have Yemen's president now pretty quickly this morning, apologizing to President Obama and all Americans for this attack here on the U.S. embassy. This is in the capital city of Sana'a.

The situation there appears, despite what you're looking at, appears under control. That's what we're being told. This was earlier this morning. This, after thousands of protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in the capital city.

Some were able to breach the embassies outer wall here. Security forces were firing shots up in the air just to try to disburse these crowds. The government there says there are no casualties at the embassy.

BERMAN: Also Iran semi-official news agency is reporting student protests outside the Swiss embassy in Tehran. The Swiss handle U.S. interest in Iran, which is why the protests are happening outside their embassy.

BALDWIN: And in Cairo, new street battles breaking out near the U.S. embassy with an exchange of Molotov cocktails.

Look at the smoke -- tear gas between police and demonstrators there. U.S. officials say they are convinced the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate, just a country away in Libya, in Benghazi, was well- organized. That is news, was well organized, be pre-planned possibly they're saying by al Qaeda-connected elements. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed.

The Obama administration with a show of military force, sending warships to the coast of Libya.

BERMAN: The Pentagon is flexing its military muscle in response to the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Two Navy warships now headed for the coast there. These destroyers are armed with cruise missiles, tomahawks, that can be programmed to hit specific targets in the country.

Also, Marines are headed there to help bolster security around the country in Tripoli.

Our Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon right now with the latest -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, Brooke, a concern about everything that is unfolding overnight. Here at the Pentagon I can tell you a moment ago, a senior Pentagon official telling me they are monitoring that situation back in Yemen around the clock, as they saw those pictures unfold and the protesters in Yemen climb the embassy gate. Where were the Yemen security forces? Yes, they got it under control.

But this is the issue now -- local security forces able to control the situation. Protesters should not have been allowed to get close enough to that embassy gate in Yemen to be able to climb it. Concern everywhere.

The two warships off the coast of Libya, back in Libya. They are there, equipped with tomahawk missiles, ready to go if -- if -- enough intelligence is collected, of course, and the president orders them into action.

What seems to be emerging in Libya is this issue of belief of growing intelligence that some type of al Qaeda-related affiliate or al Qaeda sympathizing group was responsible for the attack in Benghazi.

What you have? Unmanned drones flying over eastern Libya collecting intelligence. We are told every effort is being made to look at all of the intelligence, intercepts, communications, overhead imagery. See what they can locate, determine who was responsible, and then they have these options now in place quite candidly to present to President Obama.

If there is some type of action, it can be done two ways. It can be done by Libyan security forces, perhaps, but now the piece is in place in case the decision is made to use -- move ahead with U.S. military force.

BERMAN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. U.S. warships off the coast. We expect actions from drones there -- thank you very much for giving us the latest developments. We'll talk to you again in a little bit.

BALDWIN: Sitting with us here at the table -- this is Jim Frederick, the international editor of "TIME" magazine. Out on newsstands today, this is the cover here. "The Agents of Outrage: An Embassy Attacked, Diplomats Murdered, The New Calculus of Violence Against America."

So, we're going to talk about that this morning, and many points you make, from this film.


BALDWIN: From some American to this sort of collective -- I don't know if I want to say the perfect storm that led to some of what's happening the past couple of days. So, please jump in this conversation.

FREDERICK: We call it the industry of outrage. I mean, on the Internet, there's a million and one blasphemous things that Muslims worldwide could get inflamed about. So, to choose this particular 13- minute video, there's millions of things that are almost even worse out there. So, there has to be some sort of mechanism by which party or parties -- and it's not a global conspiracy, but there are interested parties in whipping up a kind of outrage in a fraught into a toxic mix of these protests worldwide.

I think that's what we're seeing here. I think that's one of the reasons we call it a new calculus of American danger, because these things are so asymmetric, are not planned by states or dictators, the way that they were even before the Arab Spring.

So, we're seeing really an almost new genre of threat from the Middle East, and it's really pretty troubling, because it is so asymmetrical and asynchronous. I mean, the people in Yemen are not actually talking to the people ion Egypt and vice versa. But through the global mind of the internet and communication between some of these parties, you do have this global eruption of anger.

BERMAN: Jim Frederick, hang on for a second right now because we want to go to Libya to find out the latest developments on the ground there.

Our Jomana Karadsheh is in Libya right now.

And, Jomana, what is the situation there this morning? JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN REPORTER: Well, here in the capital Tripoli, John, there does seem to be stepped up security, beefed-up security around the capital. Driving around this morning, we did see more security around even government installations, government buildings. There seems to be concern about these attacks that took place in Benghazi. Yesterday, we did hear from Libyan authorities that they are stepping security up around foreign missions, around embassies here in Tripoli and also in Benghazi.

But is this enough? They have already promised to step up security. In the past, they were already providing security for the foreign missions. But we still saw that attack take place at the consulate in Benghazi and previous attacks targeting foreign missions in that eastern city.

The big thing here is what will the government do next? Are we going to see some sort of action taken against these growing extremists groups in the eastern part of the country?

BERMAN: Jomana, we've seen pictures all morning and overnight of people in Libya actually with signs of support for the United States. Is that something that's actually visible to you on the streets?

KARADSHEH: John, in the city of Benghazi and even here in Tripoli, people took to the streets against what happened, saying that this is not representative of the sentiment of the Libyan people. Many Libyans saying they are very grateful for the role that the United States and Western powers played here last year, militarily supporting Libya's revolutionaries in their efforts to oust Moammar Gadhafi. They say it would not have been possible without the support they got.

They say this is not representative of Libya as a whole. These are small groups. But they are also demanding that their government here really take action against these groups and confront them.

BERMAN: All right. Jomana Karadsheh joining us right now live from Tripoli, in Libya -- thank you.

BALDWIN: We have Senator John McCain joining us live this morning from Capitol Hill.

Senator McCain, welcome. Good morning.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Good morning.

BALDWIN: I know you considered Ambassador Stevens a very, very close friend. You had been to Libya twice -- most recently, correct me if I'm wrong, since last July, right?

MCCAIN: Yes, last July and a couple of times before that. And also I was with him in Benghazi. He is a truly great American.

BALDWIN: He is a great American. Clearly his passions for Libya was clear, and I want to ask you to share a story with me, if you will, in a moment. But we have to begin, sir, with Yemen. I'm sure you've been watching these pictures playing out, chaos. So, first, we had Egypt, then Libya. Now this morning, Yemen. We're looking at it now.

How do you interpret what's happening there?

MCCAIN: Well, I interpret it as an effort to stir up sentiment against the United States, using this bogus, quote, "film". Yemen is basically a failed state. It is more disturbing that in Cairo, we have been unable to have the Egyptian government exert control. The host nation's responsibility is to protect an embassy, but at the same time, Egypt is of vital importance to us, to the Middle East, to peace there, to everything. It's the cultural and historic center of the Arab world.

I was glad to hear President Morsi condemn these attacks. But these are very difficult times. And this virus is probably going to spread to other countries in the Arab world.

BALDWIN: But, Senator McCain, in your opinion, did it take President Morsi a little too long to do so?

MCCAIN: Yes. And, more importantly, they have a pretty big army. And they could have protected our embassy. And it's understandable why colleagues and friends of mine, and Americans, are very upset.

But I would also like to point out again that Egypt is critical. And we have to be very careful and measured in our response.

BERMAN: Well, let's talk about the response from the U.S. right now --


BERMAN: -- because President Obama gave an interview last night to Telemundo where he described our relationship with Egypt and the new government there, Mohamed Morsi, using language I hadn't heard before, Senator McCain. So, let's listen to this.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy. They are a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected.

I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. I think it's still a work in progress. But certainly in this situation what we're going to expect is that they are responsive to our assistance that our embassy is protected, that our personnel is protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So, not an enemy and not an ally. Especially considering that Egypt is the second largest recipient of foreign aid from us right now, what do you make, sir, of the president's statement?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, I think the president is basically right. I hate to get into these word parsings but they have gone from a staunch ally under Mubarak to one which is obviously seeking its -- a country that's seeking its own way. But we have to have a good relationship with them or we should make every effort to have a good relationship with them. But we also have the right to demand certain things, as we've already talked about -- protection of our embassy, not sheltering terrorist groups, preventing the kinds of incidents that just took place from happening in the future.

But there's no doubt that Egypt is going through a significant transformation and we have -- it is in our interest -- I'm not talking about Egypt's interest, but it's in our interest to have a working relationship with them, given their position in the Arab world.

BALDWIN: Senator McCain, be let's move the conversation to Libya.

MCCAIN: Sure. Yes.

BALDWIN: And with regard to Libya, you were very much a strong advocate about intervening and what was happening there. We now know your friend, Ambassador Stevens, I read how he arrived on a Greek cargo ship to take part in help spreading that democracy. He truly was a hero.

I want to ask you about where we stand in Libya in a moment. But if we could just pause, this is a personal loss for you, is it not?

MCCAIN: Well, he's such a wonderful man. He came to Benghazi on a cargo ship, lived in a hotel in Benghazi. His life was under threat every hour, every single day.

He loved the Libyans. He loved the country. The last thing that Chris Stevens would want is for us to cut off relations with that country.

It's a weak government. There is al Qaeda that came in. There's thousands of weapons all over that country.

But as you noticed also, the Libyan people want us. They're grateful for us. He and I were in the square in Tripoli on election night, and they recognized him and they recognized me and they said, "Thank you, America. Thank you."

So, it's not as if we are facing a hostile population there. In fact, we are -- the majority of the Libyan people proved in the election, they rejected Islamist candidates and voted for moderate candidates.


MCCAIN: Go ahead. BALDWIN: Even though they rejected that, you're absolutely right, they rejected the Islamist candidate, there are still pockets. And I don't know how large the pockets are, but as we've been talking Eastern Libya, where you talk about, you know, the sophisticated weaponry, you know, these jihadists are able to sneak into this country because the borders are not protected.

We saw the pictures play out of this, you know, Arab spring and this revolution, and Gadhafi being taken down, but now, we're left wondering, was the Arab spring worth it? What have we left behind?

MCCAIN: Well, I think it's very clear that it was worth it in many respects. They do have coarse boarders. They've never had a government before. They need our assistance, not our money. They got plenty of money, but they need our technical assistance. They need to enforce their boarders.

BALDWIN: Are we helping them?

MCCAIN: Yes, we are. We need to train their police and military. Again, it's not expenditure of American tax dollars. It's providing the kind of assistance that any country that is forming up after being the subject of a brutal dictatorship for so many years. So -- go ahead.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Senator McCain, over the last 24 hours, 30 hours, politics has become a big part of the discussion about what's going on in the Middle East. The Candidate for president, Mitt Romney, whom you support came out strongly against how the president has handled this crisis over the last couple of days.

I want to play a sound bite of what he said yesterday morning which was reinforcing statements he made the night before. So, let's listen to that.


MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's a -- a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values. That instead when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation, and apology for America's values is never the right course.


BERMAN: We now know that Governor McCain had the timing -- Governor Romney, rather, sorry senator. We now know that Governor Romney had the timing incorrect with his statement right there. Of course, the statement that came from the embassy in Cairo happened well before the breach inside the walls of the embassy right there, but what do you make of the statement overall?

MCCAIN: Well, I do think it was a very weak statement. That's why the embassy withdrew it later on. I think that the role of the Egyptian government, as we agree, must protect our embassy, and we should very strongly condemn that failure. The whole tick-tock back and forth is not something that I'm totally aware of or care too much about in light of the sacrifice of Chris Stevens and three other great Americans.

BERMAN: I don't want to read too much in your demeanor right now, senator, but it does appear that Governor Romney's response makes you a little bit uncomfortable. At least it looks like that to me right now. I want to read you a quote from Mark Salter who I know is a friend of your, your former chief of staff. He co-wrote books with you.

He said, of Governor Romney's statement, he said, "In the wake of the violence, the rush by Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and scores of other conservative critics to condemn him," meaning the president, "for policies they claim help precipitate the attacks is, quote, "as tortured in its reasoning as it is unseemly in its timing." You feel it's as unseemly as Mark Salter seems to?

MCCAIN: I love Mark Salter. We disagree from time to time. The fact is that statement was taken down by the embassy, because it was clearly not strong enough concerning what was happening at the embassy.

Now, the tick-tock back and forth is something, frankly, I didn't pay attention to, but I do know this, that Americans are outraged when our embassy is attacked and the Egyptian government does not take the proper measures to protect it.

How much that affects our relationship with Egypt? I think is something we have to carefully calibrate, recognizing how important a role Egypt is in the entire Middle East.

BALDWIN: But how much of this tick-tock, really, sir, should Mitt Romney really play a part in? I mean, he's being accused of not seeming very presidential. I mean, in moments like this, as you point out, losing an American hero, should he not have remained above the political fray?

MCCAIN: Look, I believe that there are so many things that the Obama administration is not doing, including my outrage that President Obama has not spoken up for the 20,000 people that have been massacred in Syria that we sit by and watch torture, murder, rape, gang rapes in Syria. The fact that Iraq is unraveling because of our residual force in Afghanistan.

They all know we're leaving, and Karzai becomes more and more erratic in his behavior. This latest showdown between the president and the prime minister of Israel is all -- much more troubling to me than whether Mitt Romney said the right thing or the wrong thing.

BERMAN: Would you advice --


BERMAN: Senator, I'm sorry, --

MCCAIN: I don't -- listen -- listen, the one thing I don't do, because I'm the loser --


BALDWIN: Senator McCain!

MCCAIN: -- is advise people. You don't want a loser to advise --

BERMAN: Senator McCain you are a winner for coming on the show with us this morning. It was very nice to see you. Thank you for coming in and joining us to talk about this.

MCCAIN: Could I just say, this conversation needs to continue, not only about this incident but the entire Middle East. And could I just say again, I believe the Libyan people are grateful to America and I believe that we need to continue to be involved in that very difficult situation. Thanks for having me on.

BALDWIN: Thank you, Senator McCain. I think a lot of people would agree with you. We'll keep that conversation going, but we do have to take a quick break. So, John Berman and myself will be back after this.


BERMAN: New information this morning about a scare at the U.S. consulate in Berlin. We've been talking about it. An American worker fell ill there suddenly. Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from the scene with an update in Berlin. Fred, it does not appear to be the scare that we thought it was.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I just got off the phone with the Berlin Police Department, John. And they tell me that it was a false alarm, that they say there was a special chemicals unit of the Berlin police right here and they have not found any traces of chemicals in that department.

As you said, this morning, a man came to a visa counter, handed over his documents. After that, an employee fell ill, saying she was feeling dizzy, saying she was feeling ill. We'd originally said that she was taken to a hospital. That's what Berlin police told us. They now said that she'd actually never been taken to hospital.

She was treated in an ambulance and evaluated there. Right now, what's going on here is that the decontamination units of the Berlin fire departments are leaving the scene as are all the other firefighters and police. And it seems as though things are getting back to normal here at the consulate in Berlin -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Fred Pleitgen in Berlin, thank you very much. It is that kind of morning where we're following every little development. Glad this turned out to be nothing.

BALDWIN: Back, though, to the U.S. embassies overseas very much so on alert this morning as outrage grows over anti-Islam -- over this anti- Islam movie. In fact, our Miguel Marquez spoke to one of the actresses in this film. Why she says she was misled? Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: And welcome back to STARTING POINT.

Yemen's president now apologizing to President Obama and, really, all Americans for the attack this morning on the U.S. embassy in the capital city of Sana'a. Yemen becoming just the latest flashpoint in this wave of anti-American violence spreading across the Muslim world.

BERMAN: But the most intense clashes there seem to be over, for now, anyway. They seem to be over, I should say, for now, anyway. Hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in the capital of Sana'a overnight. The crowd scaled the embassy wall, smashing windows, and setting fires.

Yemen's embassy in Washington now says the situation at the embassy is finally under control. Elise Labott is live for us at the state department this morning. And Elise, what are you hearing out of Yemen?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, well, we do understand that this situation is under control. The Yemeni forces have really been helping U.S. security at the embassy in getting the protesters to disperse and helping -- there are a lot of protesters that breached the gate, and so, helping them disperse.

We understand all U.S. embassy personnel are safe and accounted for. No injuries but are in different locations. If you se what happened at the U.S. consulate in Libya, I think right now, the state department is trying to make sure that not everybody is in one location.

And the embassy didn't know these protests would happen, but had a feeling, sent out an emergency message to all U.S. citizens in Yemen warning them that these protests could be coming, could get violent and stay away from the embassy. And you see the president of Yemen issuing that statement, condemning these protests and saying these are rogue elements that are trying to derail the relationship.

BALDWIN: So, let's take this a step further, Elise, beyond simply the Middle East. The protests are percolating. What about worldwide, is the state department reviewing security worldwide now?

LABOTT: I think right now they're focused on the Middle East. When you're looking at what's happening, and then we just had that scare in berlin right now, Berlin, Germany, the State Department really reeling right now, trying to get all posts. What they do is have these emergency committees that are ordered to review their security posture and see what additional reinforcements might be needed, either from the U.S. as Barbara Starr has been reporting. U.S. marines are on the ready to perhaps help reinforce any embassy that might need some help around the world, but also the host government. One of the big problems that the U.S. had with the Libyans is that they weren't able to help secure the U.S. consulate.

So right now the U.S. is looking at these difficult posts, not just in the Middle East but also in other Muslim countries right now in so- called hot spots, certainly Afghanistan, which is heavily reinforced but also in other countries, to try to see what needs to be done, because it's really shocking as to what's been happening at these U.S. embassies. They just seem to keep proliferating, if you will.

BALDWIN: They certainly do. Elise, thank you.

BERMAN: Let's bring in Congressman Steny Hoyer from Maryland. He is the House Democratic whip, a powerful man in Washington and in Congress. Like all of us this morning, congressman, you woke up to these pictures from Yemen, yet another U.S. embassy in the Middle East being stormed, the walls breached by protesters there. What do you make of these protests this morning, and have you heard anything of how they started?

REP. STENY HOYER, (D) MARYLAND: I have not yet been briefed wholly. I think all of us are dramatically reminded of the violent nature of societies that are contending to establish democracy or to establish autocratic leaderships in their countries. We know that there were some very violence elements. We've been the subject of attack from those elements. We are reminded of the danger that our men and women, who are sent abroad to represent the United States of America to promote democracy and freedom around the world, we know the danger to which they're exposed. The tragic death of Ambassador Stevens, of Sean Smith and others in Libya point out how dangerous the daily lives are in these areas of the world.

We express our deep sympathy. But I'm sure that every embassy in the world has been put on high alert, particularly in areas where we know there are violent proclivities but also around the world, to make sure our embassies are on guard, Americans are on guard, and that we keep our people safe.

BERMAN: Congressman, we all express our sympathies. I think all Americans around the country do to the loss of life in Libya overnight. Politics has become a big discussion over the past 24 hour hours. Democrats have been extremely critical of how Mitt Romney has handled the situation. But he hasn't been the only one talking about politics. I want to play you a clip of an interview President Obama did with CBS last night, talking about Governor Romney and the politics of this.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's a broader lesson to be learned here. Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president one of the things I've learned is you can't do that, that it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you thought through the ramifications before you make them.


BERMAN: This was a bit striking to me, sir. Mitt Romney did receive criticism for, quote, unquote, politicizing the events in the Middle East. Yet President Obama seeks out this interview with CBS to make this statement about Governor Romney. Isn't he just as guilty as politicizing the events in the Middle East?

HOYER: Not at all. You're asking me the question, and the questions arose because, in my opinion, Mitt Romney from a political perspective made some reckless statements without the facts. And as a result reporters started asking questions about that, to which President Obama and myself just now and others are responding to.

I thought Condoleezza Rice's response, who was the foreign policy spokesperson at their convention, was the proper response. She expressed deep sympathy and she expressed a view that we need to keep our personnel safe and we ought to remember our personnel who are abroad. She didn't get into politics. She didn't get into criticism. We all need to know the facts of what happened here.

It is clear, however, that Mr. Romney responded not to a statement of the administration, not a statement of policy, but of a statement made at the embassy in Benghazi in an attempt to quiet trouble.

It is ironic that Mr. Romney, who in his response at the convention to his nomination said one of the first things he was going to do was defense of religion, to make sure our first amendment and respect for all religions was paid attention to and was honored. Frankly, it would seem that the statement of the personnel at the embassy in trying to quiet, was expressing that very American principle that Mr. Romney said was so important.

So I think the president's response was measured, very frankly, last night. But I think this is a time for Americans to come together, to understand that our personnel abroad arrayed abroad are in harm's way and are presenting our values and are trying to stabilize some very unstable areas of the world for the benefit of this country, its safety, and for the benefit of the entire world.

BALDWIN: Congressman, I want to move away from politics and sort of more to your point of where we stand today. Just as an American looking at pictures playing out on the streets, I'm left wondering at what point this will all stop. In addition to that, talking to the international editor of "TIME" magazine, speaking of the post era, Arab spring, the new genre in the Middle East, if you will.

And we just talked to John McCain. Let me just read you something that the senator said to us in asking about the situation in Libya. He said "We need to train their police and military. It's not expenditure of American tax dollars but providing the assistance on any country that is forming up after being the subject of a brutal dictatorship for so many years." So Congressmen, where do we, as a nation going forward, how do we help in doing that? How much, though, does Libya really need to step up and push these radical groups out?

HOYER: I agree with John McCain. I think he's absolutely right. It is not a time to retreat or to turn and run. It is a time. And, of course, America has no intention of doing that. America, in a bipartisan way, has been very resolute in confronting those that would terrorize our people but terrorize their own countries as well. The Libyans have apologized and the Libyan leadership has said it would make great efforts and we need to give great assistance to those efforts, to make their country stable and secure. No country has been free of not having terrorist acts perpetrated in its own country.

But clearly we need to ensure that the Libyans and other host governments do everything they can to keep our personnel secure, as it is our obligation to keep their personnel safe here in the United States.

BERMAN: Congressman Steny Hoyer, thank you very much for joining us this morning.

HOYER: Thank you very much.

BALDWIN: Jim Frederick, we've been talking about this article here, "Agents of Outrage." I just want to quote to your point about the Arab spring, this writer said "The Arab spring replaced the harsh order of hated dictators with a flowering of fresh democracies. But these government, weak mandates, poor security forces, have made the region more chaotic and unstable place." That leaves me a little worried.

FREDERICK: That's really the heart of the matter, isn't it? That's why we've been talking about this new genre of Middle East crisis, a- synchronized attacks. The state departments in these countries themselves are unable to stop them or seem to be, or in some cases even seem to be condoning them.

So while I do think this particular crisis we all hope will blow over soon enough, I think it introduces a new danger where if there are elements that can whip up a crowd any time they want based on something as ridiculous as an amateurish, 12-minute video, then we're in for a really long road to hoe because if the outrage machine can be turned on that quickly and that easily, then we're losing a much broader info war if the United States informational apparatus is not able to stand up immediately and say, come on, this is ridiculous.

BERMAN: I want to talk more about the message we're sending to the countries, the regimes around this region, because the president's statement on Tele-Mundo saying Egypt is not an ally or an enemy seems like a major policy statement to me, a message he has never sent before.

FREDERICK: I think people in policy, government, journalism were astonished by this statement. I think it was a very powerful statement. Not only specifically to Egypt because, yes, Egypt always under Mubarak, was a bulwark of American foreign policy and Middle East security. So for President Obama to say you don't automatically get that status just by being Egypt, it matters what government is in Egypt, I think that sent a very powerful message to President Morsi, because President Morsi who had been called to task that he hadn't really said anything, let alone condemning the attacks within 24 hours of president Obama's very publicly delivered message. It appears they had a conversation afterward. Morsi did come forward with a statement against the attacks. Again, because he is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, it may not have been as powerful as they wanted.

BERMAN: Jim Frederick from "TIME" magazine, hang on, because right now into CNN, now confirming the man in this photo is Sean Smith, a State Department computer expert, one of the men killed outside the embassy in Benghazi, Libya. Also killed in the attack, Ambassador Chris Stevens and two others whose names have yet to be released.

Husband and father of two.

BALDWIN: Many of those protests began as a result, as we've been talking about, this film, amateur film considered anti-Islam. The actors and actresses in the movie say they were duped.

BERMAN: We spoke to one of the actresses in the film. What she says really happened is coming up next.


BERMAN: Welcome back to STARTING POINT, everyone.

The protests we've been showing over the last two days sparked by a movie many people call anti-Islam from mocking of course, the prophet Mohammed. But the casting crew of that film say they were grossly misled about the film's intent and purpose.

BALDWIN, CNN: In fact one actress in this movie, who asked not to be identified, says the original script didn't actually include a prophet Mohammed character. She talked to our Miguel Marquez.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine this woman who does not want to be identified says that she is horrified by what has happened. And says that she was straight out lied to by the writer/producer.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): She responded to a generic casting call for what was billed as an action/adventure film set 2,000 years ago, a low-budget affair called at the time "Desert Warrior".

(on camera): And you find yourself in a middle of a sort of an international --

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Nightmare. That's what I find myself in the middle of -- of a world that I prayed for -- for God to help. Killing is never right.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In her portion of the script, the Prophet Mohammed character was called George, who was referred to during filming as either "Master George" or "Father Master" never "Mohammed". She was paid $5,000 for a few days' work but she says the writer/producer Sam Bacile lied about the film's content.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I think it's very unfair. And I'm very sorry for his -- that man and his family and everybody else that was hurt.

MARQUEZ: She even phoned Bacile whom she says remains defiant.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: He said tell the media that I'm tired of the Muslims killing innocent people.

MARQUEZ: Steve Klein consulted on the film.

(on camera): The motivation was to spark some change within Islam.

STEVE KLEIN, FILM CONSULTANT: Only these few fraction you know a fraction of the fraction of these very dangerous men, if we could somehow open up the eyes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The actress doesn't want her name used because her family is fearful. But she isn't.

(on camera): What's your overriding emotion right now? Is it fear? Is it anger?

UNIDENTIFIED ACRESS: Anger. It hurt. I'm not afraid. My husband is afraid for me. But I'm not. I'm pretty pissed.

MARQUEZ: This actress also apologized to Muslims.


BALDWIN: How about that? I would be, too, if I were duped into this film and to see the word "George" and then George was duped over into Mohammed?

Jim Frederick, "Time" magazine. What do we know about this --

BERMAN: I don't know. What do you make of this?

FREDERICK: Yes it's a -- for a story of such international impart, it's one of the most bizarre aspects. It would be absolutely hilarious and ridiculous if it hadn't turned so deadly serious and it's clearly is impacting people's lives and the people who are in it.

The fact is we know precious little about this movie. There is a 13- minute trailer posted in June or July.

BERMAN: We don't even know if there's a full movie.

FREDERICK: There might be all it is. This producer Sam Bacile, "The Wall Street Journal" had an interview with him where he claimed to be Israeli-American and had 100 Jewish backers and $500 million budget.

BALDWIN: But there is no Sam Bacile.

FREDERICK: That is all completely bogus. The AP is doing the best work right now in trying to figure out who Bacile -- whatever Bacile is -- who that is, how this thing was made. Hollywood. You know this clearly was, you know even if there was a casting call, this clearly was a wildcat production.

Because Hollywood doesn't have any place in California, it doesn't have any registers or permits. Usually to make a film you need to have a permit for street filming or whatnot. There's none of that.

So clearly this was made under the cover of night almost. The entire cast and crew is completely disavowing it. If you watch the 12 or 11 minute -- or 11 or 12, 13 minutes you can see that it's clearly dubbed and the name Mohammed -- all the most inflammatory dialogue. I mean, I believe this cast and crew absolutely. It is utterly bizarre.

BERMAN: And as far as where the film picked up steam being passed around in the United States it seemed to happen within the Egyptian Coptic community?

FREDERICK: Yes again, the AP is doing the best work in trying to figure out who this Sam Bacile pseudonym is. And they traced his phone number to somebody who appears to be an Egyptian Copt in the Arab world. This video really went viral when it was translated in the Arabic by an Egyptian Copt blogger who has a long history of anti- Muslimism.

Again, when this is in English, it was -- it had been on YouTube for several months.

BERMAN: Copts are Christian for people -- Copts are Christians in Egypt; it's about 10 percent or so of the population there?

FREDERICK: Right, yes.

BALDWIN: There is no -- just to be clear, because I think people waking up kind of wondering what's the connection to everything that's happening in the Middle East. So you have this film that winds up being shown in Egypt, that then leads to the riots at the U.S. embassy a couple of days ago, also leads to the riots at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Separate from that according to our reporting there was -- perhaps even uses of diversion, perhaps this franchise of al Qaeda at the same time in Benghazi --


FREDERICK: Right, yes.

BALDWIN: -- they then attack with RPGs the consulate, thus ultimately killing the Ambassador.

FREDERICK: Right. In a -- in a fast-moving story, that is a great encapsulation. Where things stand right now --

BERMAN: Way to go.

BALDWIN: Thanks.

BERMAN: -- there's so many question. It's so complicated. All we do know is that there is a lot of unrest in the Middle East this morning. A lot to follow; we will bring you here all morning.

STARTING POINT is back in a moment.


BALDWIN: We've got five minutes until the top of the hour. A question for you, "Will the Federal Reserve fund more stimulus?" We will find out today when fed chief Ben Bernanke hold a news conference this afternoon. Of course when he speaks we listen.

He also will announce what the Fed plans to do with interest rates. This the last big fed meeting before the election, so a lot -- a lot of political weight on the event today.

BERMAN: That is big news. And so is this. Are you lining up yet? Pre-orders start tomorrow on the new iPhone 5 in stores next Friday.

BALDWIN: It's gotten taller. It's lost a little weight. Siri -- thank goodness -- Siri is a little smarter, too. She also cooks for you. No, we all wish she would. It's supposed to be a lot faster as well. Dan Simon got his hands on the iPhone 5.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Coming to you from the product area outside of the Apple event. I got my hands on the new iPhone 5.

The first thing you'll notice when you put it in your hands is the screen is taller. It's a four-inch screen diagonally versus the old iPhone, which is three and a half inches. Just to compare here, we'll put the old phone next to it and you can see, yes, it's taller. And that makes a big difference. You can get an extra row of icons here.

The other thing is, it's much lighter. It's 20 percent lighter than the previous iPhone as we've seen with all these iterations. They're always thinner, lighter, and faster. Of course, no exception here. Some of the other features include the ability for it to run on the LTE Networks, meaning you get a much faster data connection.

It also has a smaller dot connector. There's no wrong way to put it in. It's a new digital dot connector. Headphone jack also on the bottom.

And one of the new features is a new camera. You now have the ability to take panorama photos.

PHIL SCHILLER, APPLE MARKETING DIRECTOR: A typical legendary app is of use. You just tap and say I want to take a panorama photo. You hold your phone vertical to get the maximum area and then you just sweep your scene. And a software tells you what pace to sweep it at to get the perfect image.

SIMON: Some of the other highlights featured today include a newly designed iTunes store. We also got to see some of the new apps in action including the new mapping application which has voice turn-by- turn directions. Also Passbook which allows you to store things like store cards, coupons and airline tickets.

The new iPhone 5 will begin shipping on September 21st.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: I could get a panoramic photo of John Berman's head. "STARTING POINT" is back in a moment.


BERMAN: It has been a very busy morning this morning. A lot of breaking news. Thank you so much for joining us.

BALDWIN: Thank you. We will be back here tomorrow morning.

But for now let's go to "CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. Carol good morning.