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Second General Under Investigation; Antivirus Pioneer Wanted in Belize Killing; U.S. Afghan Cmdr. Being Investigated For E-mails To Petraeus Friend; Cold And Fed Up

Aired November 13, 2012 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news in the national security sex scandal. Another powerful general, the top commander in Afghanistan, now under investigation for his conduct with another woman.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Also, the Pentagon agent who launched the Petraeus probe, how inappropriate picture sent to that same women reportedly got him tossed off the case.

BERMAN: Plus, the original other woman, Paula Broadwell, her home is a subject of a late night FBI raid.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. This thing got a whole lot weirder.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of layers on this story.

I'm Zoraida Sambolin, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SAMBOLIN: We do begin with breaking news.

From Washington to Afghanistan, the David Petraeus sex scandal just keeps on growing.

New this morning, there's word the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation. The Pentagon says the FBI uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of potentially inappropriate e-mails between Allen and Jill Kelley -- the woman who triggered the Petraeus probe after getting threatening e- mails from his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

BERMAN: All right. Meantime, get this -- "The Wall Street Journal" reports the FBI agent who launched the Petraeus investigation was removed from the case after it was discovered he sent a shirtless picture of himself to Jill Kelley. The agent who knew Kelley allegedly sent the pictures before the investigation began. He was later removed from the investigation because supervisors were concerned the agent may have become obsessed with the case.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, and there's more. A team of FBI agents searching Paula Broadwell's home last night. This is in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reports say eight to 10 agents brought cardboard boxes for carrying papers and searched both levels of the house. No word on what they're searching for. The FBI confirmed agents were there but wouldn't say what they were looking for.

BERMAN: Obviously, a lot going on here. We have two reports. CNN's Chris Lawrence of the Pentagon and Brianna Keilar at our Washington bureau.

Let's start with Chris.

Chris, we're talking about two high-level government officials in a scandal, General Allen was set to become the supreme ally commander for NATO. You know, first off, what's the latest on the investigation? Are you hearing anything? And what's going to happen to General Allen?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, right now what I'm hearing is that General Allen is here in Washington, wondering exactly the same thing. He was just 48 hours away from going before that Senate confirmation hearing to take over NATO. Now, that has been postponed. He is here and people are wondering what's going to happen to him next.

From what we've been able to determine from sources at the Pentagon, basically, they are looking at between 20,000 and 30,000 pages, most of them e-mails, sent between General Allen and Jill Kelley down in Florida between 2010 and 2012, so right up until this year. I'm told the e-mails were inappropriate in nature and now, the inspector general here at the Pentagon is looking through those to see what exactly is contained.

Here's what Secretary Leon Panetta said about the future of General John Allen, in a statement while he was traveling to California. He said, "While this matter is under investigation and before the facts are determined, General Allen will remain commander of ISAF. The secretary asked the president and the president has agreed to put his nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined."

What you don't hear in that statement is what followed, in that the Pentagon is asking that his successor in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford, that his nomination be fast tracked and pushed along as quickly as possible.

BERMAN: Chris, you know, amidst the stunning things in this investigation, you mention the 20,000 to 30,000 -- 20,000 to 30,000 pages of e-mails. That's just, as I said, stunning. When we're talking about the Petraeus side of this investigation, the timeline has been very important because adultery is a criminal act in the military. But officials say the relationship between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell began after Petraeus retired.

But what about John Allen? He is the current commander in Afghanistan and he's married. What kind of jeopardy is he in legally?

LAWRENCE: Legally, he could be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as an officer in the United States military.

There's a couple parameters that have to fit there. And the first one being there has to actually be sex. It can't be just in appropriate e-mails or flirting or inappropriate behavior. They have to actually have sex. One or both of the people have to be married. And it has to influence the honor and integrity of the service.

I'm told by a source who's -- you know, has some knowledge of this that that generally is not what happens. He does not expect there to be any criminal charges relating to adultery in this matter.

BERMAN: That's very interesting. I didn't know that.

And again, in the stunning file of this investigation, the shirtless photos sent by the initial FBI investigator to Jill Kelley. What can you tell us about that?

LAWRENCE: Basically, what I'm told and what we're learning is that that photo was sent before this investigation started. Jill Kelly went to this local Tampa field office of the FBI because she knew an FBI agent there. That's how she got the contact and got the ball rolling. That agent then referred the case to a cyber crimes unit and they sort of took over the investigation.

So the photo was sent before this investigation ever started. But at some point, his bosses down at the FBI felt that this initial agent was still too obsessed or too consumed by the case and they ordered him off it this summer.

BERMAN: All right. Chris Lawrence at the Pentagon -- thanks so much for clearing up what we can. I have the sense there will be a lot more to clear up in coming hours and days. Thanks, Chris.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's keep digging.

As for how the White House is responding, let's bring in White House correspondent Brianna Keilar.

Brianna, the president and Congress have been scheduled this week to meet about the fiscal cliff. Might these new details on the FBI investigation be a bit of a distraction for them?

KEILAR: Well, I would say certainly all of the discussion over this scandal takes up a lot of the oxygen in the news cycle, for sure. But the fiscal cliff is going to continue to be a priority, Zoraida, because it has to be. This is very pressing -- something that's coming up here at the end of the year.

I will tell you since this new news about General Allen broke overnight, the White House has not commented on this. It's not really their way to comment on a personnel issue like this. There is obviously the White House briefing today midday and Jay Carney is going to be absolutely peppered with questions over this.

President Obama has a full week focusing on the fiscal cliff. Today, he's meeting with progressive leaders, labor leaders. Tomorrow, he'll be meeting with business leaders. All that leading up to Friday when he's meeting with the top Democrat and Republican from both the House and Senate to work this out.

But I think one of the other question also has to do with how does this affect President Obama's policy when it comes to Afghanistan? Because General Allen, depending on how this plays out, is overseeing things in Afghanistan -- obviously, a very critical time. The president has to figure out how he moves those 68,000 remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan out -- combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The one thing you can point to is that the man replaced -- you know, General Allen was already set to head out and move over to European Command, and General Joseph Dunford, who is also up for a confirmation hearing on Thursday to replace General Allen in Afghanistan, that is going to proceed as scheduled, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: Brianna, I wanted to ask you about "The Washington Post." It has a report speculating who may replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and who may move into the Defense Department. What cam you tell us?

KEILAR: That's right. We're in the phase where we're wondering who moves into what position. "The Washington Post" is reporting that President Obama is considering Senator John Kerry who as you know, he's become very familiar with lately, Senator Kerry actually played Mitt Romney in his debate prep. So they spent a lot of quality time together recently, you could say.

The thing is everyone has known that Senator Kerry had an eye on the role of being the secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton. His name was mentioned back in 2008 for that role as President Obama considered who to put in for the cabinet. But I think right now some of the conventional wisdom says that U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, even though she's embattled over her comments on Benghazi, she may be the favorite for that role.

So you've got some trial balloons kind of floating around here. We know there are a couple deputies to the secretary of defense who are also being considered for the role. We'll have to wait and see exactly how it plays out, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Brianna Keilar, you have a full plate.


SAMBOLIN: Thank you very much.

And next hour, we'll get reaction from Afghanistan to General Allen now being tangled in this scandal. Nick Paton Walsh who is recently on the ground with the troops will join us with some perspective there.

BERMAN: And at 6:30 a.m. Eastern, CNN contributor Tom Fuentes, former assistant director at the FBI, will join us to talk about all this. SAMBOLIN: Then on "STARTING POINT" at 7:00 Eastern, a man whose own sex scandal led to his downfall, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. Also, Congressman Jason Chaffetz will weigh in, along with DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

BERMAN: Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man, there is a lot going on today. You can't got to sleep, you miss something.


BERMAN: All right. You might not know this man, but his software might be on your computer. John McAfee wanted for questioning now in a murder case. We'll have the details.

SAMBOLIN: Another bizarre one.


SAMBOLIN: The creator of McAfee anti-virus software is wanted for questioning in a murder case, if you can believe it.

BERMAN: This is a weird one, too.

Police in Belize say they want to talk to John McAfee in connection with the shooting death of his neighbor. So far, they say McAfee is nowhere to be found.

Richard Roth following the developments from New York.

Richard, there are reports of tension between McAfee and the guy who is dead, McFall. What more do you know about that?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It may come down to dogs, although there could be other reasons.

Look, he's not the main suspect yet. This is John McAfee, the pioneering anti-virus software millionaire, sold it out in the '90s to Intel.

And his neighbor Gregory Fall had reportedly complained about the barking of McAfee's dogs and that they come on to his property. He turns up face up in a pull of blood, gunshot victim. McAfee in hiding, the police are saying they want to question him.

He wasn't exactly living a suit and tie life down there, goatee, eccentric, entrepreneur type, allegedly had hidden in a cardboard box when police came looking for him in April in Belize, according to a police spokesman in Belize, Central American nation. This is an island situation, off the coast in Belize. He had hidden in a box, put sand on top of him, so they couldn't find him. They found a lot of drugs, a lot of guns on his property.

SAMBOLIN: And some questionable dealings there as well in Belize. What do we know about that?

ROTH: Well, he may be linked to people who the police want to question. He really had a lot of hobbies. He liked to fly in low altitude open cockpit planes. He was very into yoga. He had a mansion in Colorado. He had a lot of different interests.

But one reporter or friend who talked to reporters back here and someone who talked to said they thought he was very likely to possibly end up dead within the year. They didn't get guy vibe from him, McAfee.


ROTH: But again, no charges yet.

BERMAN: A strange, complicated life of his own, no doubt.

Richard Roth, thanks for being here with us this morning.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: It is 15 minutes after the hour.

A lot of news going on this morning, Christine Romans here with that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: A lot of news, indeed. Thanks, you guys.

A new twist this morning to the David Petraeus sex scandal. The Pentagon says General John Allen, the top American commander in Afghanistan, he's under investigation for sending potentially inappropriate e-mails to a woman named Jill Kelly. Jill Kelly is the woman in the Petraeus case who said to have received threatening e- mails from Petraeus' biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell.

A massive and deadly explosion in Indianapolis remains a mystery. There are new pictures of the neighborhood homes that were destroyed in that blast over the weekend -- simply devastating. Dozens of other homes were damaged. Two people were killed, seven others injured. A bomb has been ruled out. And authorities say there were no reports of a gas leak prior to that explosion.

The puppeteer behind Elmo on "Sesame Street" taking a leave of absence over allegations he had an inappropriate relationship with a teenage boy. Kevin Clash, his accuser, who is now 23, claims he had, quote, "a relationship" with Clash started when he was 16. Clash issued a statement saying they did have a relationship but it was between two consenting adults.

Monday night football, the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 16-13. The Chiefs tied the game in a field goal at the end of regulation. But a Matt Cassel interception sent the Steelers up -- set them up for the game winning three pointer in OT. The win could be costly. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger left the game with a shoulder injury after being sacked in the third quarter.

BERMAN: Yes, Pittsburgh holding its breath on the wellbeing of Ben Roethlisberger shoulder, no doubt. SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Christine.

It's 16 minutes past the hour. It is time for your "Early Reads", your local news that is making national headlines.

First, eyes wide shut. Vernon Loeb, "The Washington Post" reporter who co-wrote Paula Broadwell's book about General Petraeus, says he was dumbfounded by their affair. Loeb who spent 16 months working on the book with Broadwell wrote an op-ed that was posted last night, saying, quote, "On rare occasions, her good looks and close access would prompt a colleague to raise an eyebrow about their relationship. But I never took it seriously."

BERMAN: It feels like there are 1,000 more shoes to drop on this story. Man.

"The Seattle Times," rescuers will continue their search for two stranded snowboarders on Mt. Rainier. That's the Washington state. They say they spotted the men last night but because of darkness and bad weather, they were forced away. Derek Tyndall and Thomas Dale had to spend the second night on the mountain. They call 911 on Sunday to report they were trapped in a blizzard.

Here's hoping they're OK.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, indeed.

And for an expanded look at our top stories, head to our blog

BERMAN: All right. How about this -- no gas? No problem. Coming up: a first for Motor Trend's Car of the Year Award.


BERMAN: We're minding your business this morning. First, a quick check on the market. U.S. stock futures for the Dow, NASDAQ and S&P 500 all down this morning.

SAMBOLIN: And we're going to be seeing continued volatility in the markets until the fiscal cliff is resolved.


ROMANS: I'm going to make a bold prediction and say fiscal cliff and Europe are going to be the two big things that are going to dominate through the end of the year quite frankly. Every little fit and start in progress is something the markets are going to be watching. I think you're either going to see volatility or you're going to see just nothing. You're going to see just a real absence of movement on the street unless you get some action.

This is what happened yesterday. The S&P 500 up a little bit. But it was the second lightest trading volume because of Veterans Day holiday. And we're going to be watching the president, the White House meetings he'll be having this week, what kind of progress will we see.

I think they're going to be very careful, you guys, about setting up markers publicly. And John is nodding his head energetically. Because any kind -- if it looks like we're not meeting those markers, it could be tough for negotiations and for the markets.

So, another thing I want to talk about here is something that's faster and cooler than Congress, a Motor Trend Car of the Year. This is really cool story. It is the first plug in electric luxury car ever to make -- the first time an electric car has ever been selected out of a very strong field of 11, we're told, including the Ford Fusion, the Porsche 911, Hyundai Azera.

The editor of "Motor Trend", you guys, said at its core, the Tesla Model S is simply a damned good car you happen to plug in to refuel. It's one of the most fuel efficient cars the magazine has ever tested.

How fuel efficient? Seventy-four and a half miles per gallon ordinary street driving. So, it's all electric plug in. It seats seven. It doesn't have an engine really, right? It doesn't have this humongous, big, fuel, you know, like gas combustion engine.

So, it sets seven, 74.5 miles per gallon, 50 grand to 100 grand.


ROMANS: You know, it is a luxury car. Do you think it weigh more than, by the way, 74.5 miles per gallon if you're out in the highway. There's all kinds of like cool, expensive add-ins you can put in to make it even more energy efficient.

It brings me to another energy efficiency story front page of "The Journal" today, all over yesterday. The International Energy Agency said by the year 2020, the U.S. is going to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's largest oil producer.

BERMAN: That jumped off the page.

ROMANS: I know. It's really fascinating. We're finding shale gas, gas -- we're getting shale oil. The ways we're finding, the technology advances of this country, h the ways we're finding energy are new and they are really working at this point. And that would take the United States above -- a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia by 2020.

That's oil and gas production. That is the forecast. Gas is the light blue. Oil is the dark blue.

SAMBOLIN: Very cool.

ROMANS: Anyway, there you go. So speaking of energy --

BERMAN: Thanks very much.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Next on EARLY START: bombshell new details on the General Petraeus scandal. Could it lead to the downfall of another general, the current top commander in Afghanistan as he tries to end a war? We're going to be live at the Pentagon.

And if you are leaving the house right now, you can watch us any time on your desktop or your mobile phone. Just go to


SAMBOLIN: Breaking news. Another four-star general gets tangled in the Petraeus scandal. Details from the Pentagon in just moments.

BERMAN: Plus, the other other woman. Jill Kelley turns out she could be linked to two very powerful men at the Pentagon.

SAMBOLIN: Also, FBI agents raiding the home of Paula Broadwell. That is the woman who cost the CIA director his job, well, the affair -- the alleged affair cost him his job.

Welcome back to EARLY START. We're happy you're with us this morning. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman. It is 28 minutes past the hour now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Another big shoe dropping in the sex scandal that cost retried General David Petraeus' job as CIA director. The man who succeeded him as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is now under investigation for alleged inappropriate communications with Jill Kelley. The general denied any wrongdoing.

SAMBOLIN: And the Pentagon says Allen will continue his role in Afghanistan while the matter is being investigated. Jill Kelley is described as an unpaid social liaison at a military base in Tampa. She is a Petraeus family friend who triggered the FBI investigation after receiving anonymous threatening e-mails from the woman at the center of the scandal.

BERMAN: That would be Petraeus' biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell. Their extramarital affair began after Petraeus retired and became CIA director in September of last year.

A team of FBI agents were searching Broadwell's home in Charlotte, North Carolina, overnight.

SAMBOLIN: And we have two reports, Chris Lawrence is at the Pentagon. Brianna Keilar is in our Washington bureau.

Let's start with you, Chris.

We're talking about two high level government officials ensnared in this scandal. General Allen was set to become the supreme allied commander for NATO. So now what's going to happen to him?

LAWRENCE: That hearing is on hold. It was scheduled, Zoraida, to begin in just 48 hours. General Allen was here in Washington ready to go. It's not going to happen now, or at least it's going to be postponed. You know, but these latest revelations do begin to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together.

We know that some of the e-mails that Paula Broadwell sent to Jill Kelley involve warning Jill Kelley to stay away from some of the generals that she was socializing with. So, when this broke, it was hard to understand how General Allen fit into this.

But now that secretary Panetta has come out and say that they are reviewing, you know, tens of thousands of e-mails between General Allen and Jill Kelley, now some of those pieces start to fit together. Here's Pentagon spokesman, George Little, talking about what's next for General Allen.


GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: General Allen is entitled to due process in this matter. In the meantime, the secretary has asked the president, and the president has agreed to put his nomination on hold until the relevant facts are determined.


LAWRENCE: At the same time, they have asked Congress to please push through General Allen's replacement in Afghanistan to get somebody else in that job as soon as possible.

SAMBOLIN: So, Chris, we don't have any details on those e-mails, what's in them?

LAWRENCE: No. They're just starting to look through them right now. I mean, you're talking 20,000 to 30,000 pages. And for what we know of the timeline, this bombshell just got dropped in the Pentagon's lap some time on Sunday by the FBI.

SAMBOLIN: So, let's talk a little bit about that. Yesterday, we were talking about the importance of the timeline, of the Petraeus affair. Adultery is a criminal act in the military, but officials say the relationship between Petraeus and Broadwell began after he retired. What about Allen? He is a current commander who is married, and these e-mails reveal evidence of adultery. Could he efface criminal charges?

LAWRENCE: If there is actual adultery, yes. Under the uniform code of military justice, if there's sex between an officer who was married or if the other person was married, in this case, they're both married, yes, it's possible he could be prosecuted.

But I spoke with an official earlier this morning who said even if there was sexual contact involved, he does not believe that charges of adultery, criminal charges would be brought in this matter.

SAMBOLIN: All right. There's another bizarre twist here. We're finding out that the FBI agent who actually launched this investigation was banned from working on the case after he sent topless photos of himself to Kelly. Do you know anything about that?

LAWRENCE: Apparently, Zoraida, that photo was sent before the investigation began. Remember, Paula -- Jill Kelley, I should say, started this by going to her local FBI field office. She knew an FBI agent personally in that office. She went to him, told him what was happening with these e-mails. From what we understand, that photo was sent to her, you know, before this investigation started.

It's just that in the course of the investigation, his bosses felt that he had become somewhat consumed by the case, too involved even after referring it to the FBI's cyber crimes unit. And so, some time this summer, his bosses took him off the case.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Chris Lawrence, so many moving parts, live at the Pentagon for us. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Chris doing a great job of keeping track all of this for us, because it's a mess. All right. How about the White House reaction to all this? We want to bring in White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar. Brianna, so, this week was supposed to be about the fiscal cliff in Washington. I get the sense this might be a distraction now.

KEILAR: Well, certainly, I mean, a sex scandal really sucks up the oxygen of the news cycle no doubt. I will tell you, John, the White House has not commented, obviously, on the new development involving General Allen. They don't tend to. These are personnel matters.

But we will have the briefing today midday, 12:30 eastern, and Jay Carney is going to be peppered with questions about this, no doubt. I think you'll be seen the fiscal cliff continuing to be a priority. President Obama kicks off a series of meetings today. He's meeting with liberal and labor leaders tomorrow.

He meets with business leaders. All of that ahead a meeting with the top Democrat and the top Republican from both the House and the Senate on Friday. So, he'll still be focused on that. But there's also this question of how, perhaps, this affects the president's Afghanistan policy.

General Allen is set to depart as the top commander, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan at a very critical time as President Obama decides how to wind down those 68,000 American combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

The thing is, though, General Joseph Dunford who has been selected to replace Allen, he will continue to have his confirmation hearing on Thursday as Allen was supposed to. So, that is going to go ahead as planned, at least, for Dunford.

BERMAN: All right. Another one of the favorite parlor games in Washington, D.C., figuring out who will be part of President Obama's next cabinet. "The Washington Post" has an interesting speculation overnight about the succession that who will succeed Hillary Clinton at the state department. A little bit of a surprise here, and we have a little defense department twist, too.

KEILAR: That's right. Well, a lot of people thought oh, maybe, you know, John Kerry, Senator John Kerry, we know he has his eyes on the state department. That's right in his wheel house. But, "The Washington Post" is suggesting that President Obama is considering him to actually go over to the Department of Defense.

Now, this is interesting. The two men has spent a lot of time together recently. You remember Senator Kerry was President Obama's debate prep partner. He played Mitt Romney in all of that debate prep. And that was hours and hours of time that they spent together.

I think, at this point, some people think that maybe Susan Rice, rice, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., embattled that she is, that she may be the top pick for state department. So, perhaps, this is another big position for Senator Kerry. But this is the time, as you know, John, of speculation and trial balloons.

So, you never really know. Sometimes, these are things that are just being floated out there, and we'll have to wait and see exactly what happens.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks so much, Brianna Keilar. It is a little bit of a silly season when it comes to that type of thing.

Thirty-six minutes after the hour. Next hour, we will get reaction from Afghanistan, to General Allen now being tangled up in this scandal. Nick Payton Walsh, he was recently on the ground with troops. He'll join us to talk about that.

SAMBOLIN: And at 6:30 eastern, CNN contributor, Tom Fuentes, former assistant director at the FBI will join us.

BERMAN: And then, on "Starting Point" at 7:00 eastern, a man whose own sex scandal led to his down fall, former New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevey, also Congressman Jason Chaffetz will weigh in, along with DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. A lot going on here.

Republican congressman, Paul Ryan, says losing in last week's election was a foreign experience, but in his first interview since his failed vice-presidential bid, he said he is not dwelling on it.


REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) FMR. VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I really have no regrets at all. It was an honor to be on this ticket. It's an honor that comes to very few people. It was a well-run campaign. We made this campaign about big ideas and big issues which is the kind of campaign we wanted to run.

So, we've ran the kind of campaign we wanted to run. It just wasn't enough at the end of the day. And we just have to accept that.


BERMAN: Ryan says President Obama's re-election campaign did a better job of getting the voters to the polls and won fair and square.

SAMBOLIN: Paying for road rage. Four-time NASCAR champion, Jeff Gordon (ph), has been fined $100,000 and docked 25 points for intentionally wrecking Clint Boyer (ph) at Phoenix Sunday. That move sparked that right there, a crazy brawl between crews moments later. That's in the garage area. Gordon avoided suspension and will be able to compete in the final race and the chase for the Sprint Cup.

BERMAN: All right. Thirty-seven minutes after the hour right now. Cold, hungry, and just fed up. People in the shadow of the bright lights of midtown begging for power and losing patience more than two weeks after Sandy. We'll go live in the disaster zone in Queens, New York, coming up next.


SAMBOLIN: It is 41 minutes past the hour. Welcome back to EARLY START.

Thousands of people in New York City and Long Island now entering week three without power after the superstorm hurricane Sandy, and there is anger. It is boiling over, especially at LIPA. That is a power company that serves Long Island and the hard-hit far rockaway in Queens over a lack of power and answers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't get light or anything for my kid. I can't get a power, heat, garbage pickup, nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All we need is help. I'm a taxpayer. I don't get this! I pay my mortgage. I do the right thing. I don't take from the government. But I need the government to help me now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go to bed at night shivering, wearing tons of clothes every single night. We have not seen one LIPA truck come down my block. Not one. I have not seen any on any of these blocks.


SAMBOLIN: Wow. CNN's Victor Blackwell is live in Belle Harbor, Queens where they are trying to clean up from one disaster while remembering another. I got to tell you, I kind of understand the level of frustration there.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, after being hit twice, Zoraida. It's going to be a very cold and rainy day. So, the physical cleanup is unlikely to happen today as the rain is forecast through the day. But, there are scenes like this one up and down this block. This is beach 130th in the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Queens. There are about a dozen homes that were burned after superstorm Sandy hit.

You can see the cars melted. Homes burned to the foundation. But, this is something that this community, unfortunately, has seen before. Yesterday was the 11th anniversary of the flight 587 disaster, that plane, a commercial jet crashed into this same neighborhood just a block away in the month of November, a few months after the September 11th attacks. 260 people on the plane all killed, five people in this community killed. SAMBOLIN: Wow.

BLACKWELL: A community full of firefighters, cops, many of them retired. And the consequences of both disasters are not lost on this community. Listen to what they told us.


TOM CANN, BELLE HARBOR RESIDENT: You don't find this type of tragedy happening twice, you know, in a lifetime, nonetheless, twice in the neighborhood. A couple people said that they think it might be cursed a little bit.


BLACKWELL: And also, you mentioned at the top, LIPA. We checked the numbers this morning just a few minutes ago. There are still more than 19,000 customers in this community across three counties who do not have power, a few thousand here on the Rockaway Peninsula. And there will be another cold night.

It has definitely been a cold morning, but the temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s. And it is a cold, rainy day here in Queens -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: So, we started out here with three weeks. They're going on three weeks here without power. Do we know what the problem is and when they will get their power back?

BLACKWELL: Well, LIPA has said several times, and we heard this also from the local and state officials that there is a problem between the customers and the company. There are some technical problems, some logistical problems that the homes may not be able to get power back to them because there are problems with the grid.

There are problems with the meters at the homes. So, there may not be able to restore power because things have to be repaired at the homes, at the apartment buildings before they are allowed to kind of give them power back.

SAMBOLIN: Those poor folks. That's, you know, not a good answer for them. Victor Blackwell, live for us in Queens. Thank you very much for that -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Thanks, Z. A shake-up at Microsoft. Coming up, a top leader quits on the heels of Windows 8.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Forty-eight minutes after the hour. Let's get you up to date with all the top news. Christine Romans here --

ROMANS: And it is a busy Tuesday morning. I will tell you that. Thanks, John.


ROMANS (voice-over): General John Allen, the man who succeeded David Petraeus as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, he is now being investigated in connection with the Petraeus sex scandal. The Pentagon says the investigation concerns alleged inappropriate e-mails between Allen and a woman named Jill Kelley

She's the woman who triggered the FBI probe of Petraeus. Kelly says she got threatening e-mails from Petraeus' mistress, Paula Broadwell.

An executive shake-up at Microsoft. Steven Sinofsky, head of the Windows and Windows Live Operations has left the company. His departure comes just after the launch of Windows 8. Sinofsky has been at Microsoft since way back in 1989 and was considered heir apparent to CEO, Steve Ballmer (ph).

Hostess (ph) the company behind Twinkies and Wonder Bread has shut down three striking factories and fired more than 600 workers. The company's chief executive says workers have repealed they've been told. They close factories if work stoppages kept those factories idle. He also said they will close the entire company if widespread strikes cripple business. Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January.

Kids are all right. National's outfielder, Brice Harper (ph), is your 2012 National League Rookie of the Year. He was one of the most hyped rookies of all time. He was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" at 16, four years ago. In the American league, Angels outfielder, Michael Trout (ph), was the unanimous pick.

He has 326, 326 with 30 homers and 49 steals and scaled walls to make plays. He's also the MVP -- he's also, wait, roll that back. This is like -- this is sports verbiage (ph). You can't go too fast. He's also an MVP hunt, but Triple Crown winner on Miguel Cabrera probably has that locked up.


BERMAN: He's really, really good. In other words, he's really, really good. The best infusion of young talent in baseball in generations.

ROMANS (on-camera): Whether I do sports stories, John is like --


ROMANS: Don't mess it up.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: Fifty minutes past the hour. Cold rain moving into the northeast, and it could affect your travel plans. Our most valuable player --



BERMAN: Rob Marciano just got a ridiculously phenomenal job. He'll be going to "Entertainment Tonight." We are so proud of him. Congratulations, Rob.

SAMBOLIN: I just found out this morning. I'm totally depressed, Rob.

MARCIANO: I'm sad as well. The hours -- I won't miss those, but you guys and the rest of the team, for sure. That's next month. Yes. I'll be hosting "Entertainment Tonight" alongside Nancy O'Dell. Anyway, you don't want to know for --


MARCIANO: The numbers, the colors, right? Yes. Temperatures are going to be in the 40s after you had temps in the 60s across the storms on the past couple of days. Now, they're going back down. So, back close to freezing mark in many spots into the 30s, certainly, in New York City. A little bit chillier as you go to Syracuse.

Here's your cool front. It's going to be a nasty cool, they got up and down the I-95 corridor. It's just getting over the Appalachians right now. Backside of it, a little bit in the way of some snow upstate New York, and we'll see some lake effect and snow coming through as well. But this is more of a gentle rain.

This is your classic fall, raw, cold rain. And I guess, we're due. Boston, you'll probably see some delays from this, but the New York metros will as well because the low ceiling, certainly. A little bit in the way of wind. But rain and low clouds across parts of Philly. Behind that's pretty nice. Mild across the midsection of the country, warm across SoCal, across the northwest.

We're looking at some rain. It is the season for that as well. And here are your temperatures, 41 degrees in Chicago, 47, I mentioned the miserable conditions in New York City, and 58 degrees, a bit of a chill in the air in Atlanta, and Los Angeles, 80 degrees. Boy!

BERMAN: Looks nice, doesn't it, man?

MARCIANO: That's nice.


BERMAN: But, seriously, thank you, Rob and congratulations. It's great news for you.

MARCIANO: Thank you, guys. See you in a bit.

SAMBOLIN: All righty. Fifty-two minutes past the hour. Coming up, return of the Jedi. A navy reservist surprises his little boy Star Wars style. It's going to bring a tear to your eye. come back.


BERMAN: Welcome back, everyone. Fifty-five minutes after the hour. I'm John Berman along with Zoraida Sambolin. And we're taking a look at the top CNN trends on the internet this morning.

SAMBOLIN: President Obama channeling his inner Beyonce. A video just posted by a couple on YouTube of the time the president asked to hear the story about how they got engaged. This happened at a stop President Obama made at one of his campaign offices back in August. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just got engaged yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was to someone who works in analytics.

OBAMA: So, I'm responsible?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're responsible. We met at the --

OBAMA: Where is he?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's probably over at analytics.

OBAMA: What's his name?


OBAMA: Matt? Where's matt?


OBAMA: Hey, Matt, come over.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I really need to take care of this.



OBAMA: I'm stressing here a little bit.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like put a ring on it.

OBAMA: Put a ring on it.


SAMBOLIN: I love that. That's universal now, right?

BERMAN: Pretty cool. Pretty cool.

All right. I am your father. Another extremely touching video on YouTube. This is what happened. A little boy in Witchita, Kansas, thought he was having a light saber battle with his cousin at his fifth birthday party, but it was really his navy reservist dad dressed as Darth Vader. Check it out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get him. You got him! You got him. Take his mask off.



BERMAN: That's awesome. The father had been in training, apparently, in California. That is awesome. All right. If you like our other top CNN trend, go to

SAMBOLIN: Late night laughs time now, and General Petraeus giving the boys some post-election material.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN": How about that CIA director, General Petraeus?




LETTERMAN: Yes. How about that?


LETTERMAN: Well, allegedly had an affair with his biographer which means from now on, he'll only be having sex with his autobiographer.


LETTERMAN: Thank you very much.

Jay leno, host, "the tonight show with jay leno": I hope everybody went out today and hugged a veteran unless your name is Paula Broadwell, then you shouldn't be hugging anybody.


LENO: This Broadwell woman met Petraeus in Afghanistan in 2006 when she was embedded with his unit, and then, later --


LENO: Don't get ahead of me on these.


CRAIG FERGUSON, HOST, "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH CRAIG FERGUSON": -- civilians on the government dime General Petraeus.


FERGUSON: You work for the CIA not the TSA.




BERMAN: All right. EARLY START continues right now.


SAMBOLIN (voice-over): Breaking news in the national security sex scandal. Another powerful general, the top commander in Afghanistan now under investigation for his conduct.

BERMAN (voice-over): And the FBI agent who launched the Petraeus probe, he's now under investigation over inappropriate pictures sent to a woman involved in the scandal.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, the original other woman, Paula Broadwell, her home, the subject of a late night FBI raid. So many layers to this story, folks. We got them all for you.


SAMBOLIN (on-camera): Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. I' Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Great to see you. It is 6:00 a.m. in the east.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: Another four-star bombshell in the David Petraeus sex scandal. This morning, there's word that the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation. The Pentagon says the FBI has uncovered between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of potentially inappropriate e-mails and other correspondence between Allen and Jill Kelley.

She is the Florida woman who triggered the original Petraeus probe after getting threatening e-mails from Petraeus' mistress, Paula Broadwell. SAMBOLIN: "The Wall Street Journal" reports the FBI agent who launched to the Petraeus investigation is, himself, under investigation in part because he had sent shirtless pictures of himself to Jill Kelley. The agent who knew Kelley allegedly sent the pictures before that investigation even began.