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Petraeus Testifies On Benghazi; GOP Senators Skip Benghazi Briefing; Israel-Gaza Attacks Intensifying; Defining An Honorary Consul; Two People Visit Broadwell's Home; Train Crashes Into Parade Truck; Obama Meeting On Fiscal Cliff; New Attacks In Israel; Flying Through The Fiscal Cliff; Hostess Announces It Will Close; FBI Logo Used in New Computer Scam; Preventing Power Outages

Aired November 16, 2012 - 10:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Stories we're watching right now in the NEWSROOM, the former director of the CIA gets grilled by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. What exactly did Petraeus know about that deadly attack in Benghazi and when did he know it?

A group of veterans, some wounded in Iraq, are hit by a train during a parade to honor them. Now the feds are jumping in to investigate.

It is all a scam, a new virus hitting computers right now may have you thinking the FBI is after you and all you have to do is pay to make those agents go away.

Bad news for the lovers of the iconic Twinkie and other Hostess goodies: the company is shutting down. We'll tell you what it means for you and your sweet tooth. NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning, happy Friday to you. I am Carol Costello. David Petraeus is on Capitol Hill right now answering questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee on the attacks in Benghazi specifically what the CIA knew and when.

Petraeus testified in front of a House committee earlier this morning. Republican Congressman Peter King was there. He came out of that committee meeting and here is what he said.


REP. PETER KING, (R) NEW YORK: General Petraeus' testimony today was from the start he had told us this was a terrorist attack or terrorist-involved from the start.

I told him my questions had a different recollection of that and the clear impression given was that the overwhelming matter of evidence is that it was arose out of a spontaneous demonstration and was not a terrorist attack.

And it pointed out the following week when Matt Olsen said it was a terrorist attack and made headlines because until then the administration was saying it was not terrorists. It was very cordial if you will.

General Petraeus is now standing patriot. We shook hands before and afterwards. We all thanked him for his service, but he I think has a different impression of the impression he left on September 14th.


COSTELLO: Different impressions than the impressions he left. Senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash joins me now from Capitol Hill. The bottom line here is, if Petraeus knew the attacks in Benghazi were terrorist related almost immediately, why didn't the American people know that?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That really is the question. It seems trying to piece together what these lawmakers coming out are saying is that it's the difference between what was classified at the time and what was allowed to be declassified and allowed to be spoken about bio officials in public.

Just moments ago the Democratic vice chair of the House Intelligence Committee came out and he said pretty much the opposite of what Peter King said. I asked him about King saying that he remembers Petraeus' initial testimony quite differently.

He remembers Petraeus downplaying the idea of it being this extremist group and Ruppersberger said that's not how I remember it. I remember him telling us about everything. So talk about impressions, it is a good study in people hearing different things at different times.

The bottom line, Democrats still believe when you talk about the politics of this because it matters a lot here is that Susan Rice who is a U.N. ambassador that went on all the talk shows the Sunday after the attack was right based on the testimony that I heard yesterday and what they just heard from David Petraeus. Listen to Democrat Adam Schiff.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: The assessment that we were given, the unclassified assessment was there best assessment and that could be provided publicly without compromising sources and methods.

And the ambassador's statement tracked that unclassified assessment very precisely. So the ambassador's statement represented the best available intelligence that could be provided to the public without compromising classified information.


BASH: Now, I should tell you, Carol, that David Petraeus is still on Capitol Hill as far as we know. He went from this House meeting here right across this visitors' center where we are now underneath the Capitol to the Senate side where he is testifying.

And I say we believe because we don't know for sure. They're making every effort to keep him away from the public. No one has seen him. This is kind of cavernous down here. There are a lot of ways to get around without us seeing. The people who invited him here, his protection, they are making very, very sure, at least trying, that we don't see him and this isn't a media spectacle as one source told me.

COSTELLO: Interesting. Did anyone in those committee hearings this morning ask Petraeus about his affair?

BASH: The answer is yes. It was asked about by the chairman of the Intelligence Committee right at the beginning to get it out of the way. I asked Peter King about that. Listen to what he said.


BASH: Can you tell us whether or not his affair or the security surrounding his affair came up at all?

KING: Only -- one question he was asked at the start did that have any impact on his testimony and he said no.


BASH: He said no. The other thing that we later heard is that there was no connection, he insisted, between his resignation and the whole controversy about what happened and what didn't happen in Benghazi.

We're told it was very quick, done at the beginning, and it was made very clear by the chairman that this is the one and only time this issue of his personal transgressions, of his resignation and what led to it would be addressed and that's it.

COSTELLO: Dana Bash reporting live from Capitol Hill this morning.

CNN has learned many of the Republicans senators who have been demanding answers in the Benghazi attacks skipped an important top secret briefing at the White House by the White House officials yesterday.

That includes one of the most vocal critics, Senator John McCain. At the time of the briefing, McCain was holding a press conference to demand a Watergate style investigation into, you guessed it, Benghazi.

A CNN producer asked him why he missed that meeting, and McCain went off.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I have no comments about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media.


MCCAIN: No further comment.

BARRETT: Is there a legitimate --

MCCAIN: I have no further comment. How many times do I have to comment? Why can't I? Because I have the right as a senator I have to comment and who the hell are you to tell me --


COSTELLO: Last night on CNN, Senator McCain explained that outburst to Piers Morgan.


MCCAIN: The thing that was amusing about it is it is not a big deal and he said -- I said I have no comment and he said you can't have no comment. I said what? I can't have no comment since when?

Look, these back and forth things happen. These guys follow you around. Reporters follow you around and they have their job to do and sometimes I am nice to them and sometimes I tell them to take a hike.


COSTELLO: McCain also explained it was a scheduling error and said he attended a different briefing later. He also point out that he is on three or four committees that are investigating Benghazi.

Breaking news to tell you about coming out of Jerusalem, just moments ago some kind of rocket fire occurred there and we saw smoke coming from the city of Jerusalem. As you know, rocket fire has been exchanged between Gaza City and Israel for the past two days.

There was supposed to be a cease-fire in place for two hours today because Egyptian officials were visiting Gaza City. Apparently that did not happen. The violence has continued in earnest. When we figure out where the smoke is coming from in the holy city of Jerusalem, of course, we'll pass it along to you.

All right, back to the Petraeus scandal and Jill Kelley, she is coming under fire not just for her role in the sex scandal that ended the CIA career of David Petraeus, what exactly did she do for South Korea as an honorary console? And how did she get the position? Paula Hancocks has more from Seoul, South Korea.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jill Kelley has only been an honorary consul of South Korea for the past three months and the foreign ministry here in Seoul says they're watching the situation very closely and if necessary her position will be reviewed.

The basic job does not have any diplomatic privileges. What it entails is trying to enhance the relationship between South Korea and the United States and we're told by the foreign ministry that Kelley's role was to enhance the free trade agreement and promote this FTA, which came into effect back in March.

It is an unpaid job although expenses of up to $3,000 a year can be claimed and as for how Jill Kelley got this position, the foreign ministry says that she was recommended by the former South Korean ambassador to the United States and that was then approved by the foreign ministry.

They insist that this is protocol and everything was done by the book. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


COSTELLO: In the meantime, the other woman in the sex scandal, Petraeus' former mistress, Paula Broadwell, has not been seen in public since the scandal broke. But yesterday at her home in Charlotte, North Carolina, well, it was visited by an unidentified man and woman.

They didn't speak to reporters camped out in front of the home as you can see. This visit comes just days after Broadwell allowed her home to be searched by the FBI.

A tragic ending to a parade meant to honor U.S. service members, wounded service members, a freight train crashed into a flatbed truck that was carrying wounded veterans through a parade route.

Four U.S. Army sergeants were killed and 17 people were hurt and six of them are still in the hospital. Witnesses describe the scene as horrific.


ESERVANDO WISLER, WITNESS: I just saw people under the train like dead. There was blood all over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is pretty sad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is very sad. I have said prayers for several people.


COSTELLO: Federal authorities say they will investigate the crash.

In just a few minutes President Obama will meet with four of the most important leaders of Congress at the White House. They will talk about his plan to avoid going over that so-called fiscal cliff.

Mr. Obama has been working for three days to build support for his plan and our foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty is at the White House. Good morning, Jill.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Well, you're right, this is about to begin and we saw the motorcade of Vice President Biden come by. He is here and of course, the four leaders of Congress, two Democrats, two Republicans, and they're going to be meeting with the President trying to figure this out.

I think he would have to say that on the President's side the focus and for everybody, really, is to get more revenue and how do you do that? That's really the nub of the question. If you look at the President's side, there are three objectives, three important things for him to do.

Number one, if you want to get that more revenue, he says you have to protect the middle class. That means that those Bush tax cuts should not expire for people, families that earn less than $250,000. Then the next thing would be the wealthy must pay more.

Finally, he wants a deal. He wants a deal, Mr. Obama wants a deal, because after all he was re-elected, his legacy is now on the line, and also this is something that must be solved.

Otherwise everybody, Carol, at the end of the day, at the end of the year, will begin paying more taxes. Those are the stakes.

COSTELLO: OK, well, we'll find out what happens later. Jill Dougherty live at the White House this morning.

Let's go back to the Middle East right now because it may be inching closer to war as the crisis intensifies between Israel and Gaza. I told you moments ago there was smoke coming from the holy city of Jerusalem. We're trying to figure out where it was coming from.

Let's talk with Ben Wedeman. He is in the area. Ben, can you tell us more?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Actually I am in Tel Aviv down on the coast and we understand from our bureau in Jerusalem that the air raid sirens went off for quite some time now.

The Israeli Channel 2 is reporting that more than one missile landed north of Jerusalem and we don't have any information at this point about injuries or any damage that may have taken place. We were able to speak on the phone with a spokesman for the Hamas movement who said that they indeed were the ones who fired that missile.

This is significant because in the 2008 and 2009 war between Hamas and Israel no missiles reached that far, nothing in the area of Jerusalem which is 80 kilometers or about 50 miles from Gaza.

Now, here in Tel Aviv earlier in the day, in fact, there were also a missile landed just off the coast on the beach and of course, there were still people out here. Many of the people in this area rushed into the kitchen of a nearby cafe, but this is significant.

Certainly if Israel is planning a ground incursion into Gaza, these sorts of events, missiles hitting the area of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv provide something of an impetus, justification, for a ground operation into Gaza -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So Ben, you say that these Palestinian missiles have never gone this far. I understand that the Palestinians got some weaponry from Iran. Might that factor into this?

WEDEMAN: That could factor into it. We don't really know if these are Iranian-made missiles or not. I have been in workshops in Gaza where they were making missiles and they were fairly crude compared to obviously missiles with a much, much longer range.

Keep in mind also that a lot of the weaponry, particularly shoulder- held antiaircraft rockets made their way from Libya through Egypt into Gaza as well. So in terms of weaponry, it is clear that there is a significant upgrade of the weaponry available from whatever source to Hamas in Gaza and they're using it now.

COSTELLO: And of course one of the most frightening images we saw was Israel preparing for that ground war, getting tanks into place, so what will not tipping point? Is it going to be firing upon Jerusalem?

WEDEMAN: That's really sort of the question only senior officials in the Israeli government could answer, but certainly if you just the significance of the fact that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, two cities that until now had never come under rocket fire from Gaza are now within range will obviously play a major role in any decision by the Israeli military and political leadership to launch an offensive into Gaza -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Ben Wedeman reporting live from Tel Aviv. Again, we saw smoke rising from near the city of Jerusalem. Apparently the result of some rocket fired in or near the city. We're going to take a quick break and back with more after this.


COSTELLO: All right, some disturbing breaking news out of Jerusalem and Israel. There were smoke coming from near the city of Jerusalem. That is the first time that has happened in the long conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Normally a rocket fired from the Palestinian territories couldn't get that far. This time apparently maybe it did. That would have Israel on extra high alert.

As you know, rockets have been going back and forth between Israel and Gaza City for two days now. Israel says it is girding for some kind of ground war.

We'll continue following the situation and take a quick break and go back to our people on the ground in the Middle East. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: All right, there is a lot going on this morning. You're taking a look at the capital right now where the hearings with David Petraeus are going on right now to find out what happened in benghazi, Libya, to find out if Petraeus knew almost immediately that it was a terrorist attack that it was terrorists who carried out the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Also, at the White House, President Obama is now meeting with congressional leaders from both parties trying to avoid the fiscal cliff. The Vice President also inside the meetings and they're hoping to come to some sort of agreement today. The President has been working for three days to push his plan.

The biggest picture you see, those are the bright lights of Jerusalem. Not so long ago there was a plume of smoke coming from near the city of Jerusalem. That has Israelis on high alert because rocket fire has never gone so far from the Palestinian territories into the city of Jerusalem.

We're still trying to ferret out some more information on this. When we get some, of course, we'll pass it along to you.

All right, let's turn our attention to other news this morning. Traveling over the holidays, never fun, but it may be a piece of cake compared to what happens if we go over the fiscal cliff. The financial impact could devastate many of the nation's airports. Here's Sandra Endo.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is air travel now. Cut that by a billion dollars and it could ground millions of travelers.

MARION BLAKEY, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION: In the 56 years of the FAA's history, there has not been anything that has been as threatening as sequestration.

ENDO: The automatic spending cuts, which may kick in after the first of the year would run deep for the FAA. The aerospace industries association paints a doomsday scenario, 250 small airports may have to close and 1500 air traffic controllers laid off. A former FAA administrator heads the lobby group.

BLAKEY: FAA is not one of those places that if you are looking for smart cuts, you would go. It is an operational agency, a safety agency, and you sure don't want to see cuts made there. It really does force us to look at the fact that we can see our system become a much diminished system operating on the schedules you're used to in the third world, not here in the country.

ENDO: She says 9,000 TSA screeners could also get pink slips.

JOHN PISTOLE, TSA ADMINISTRATOR: We have made a number of plans in the event that sequestration does go into effect.

ENDO: The head of the TSA, John Pistole, says they could handle the potential cuts.

PISTOLE: The bottom line is keep the front line security operations in full force and keep the movement of people and goods moving smoothly.

ENDO: The airlines we talked with wouldn't share their doomsday plans referring us to a lobby group, which said no one knows what might happen should sequestration occur, small comfort for the public looking to buy tickets.

(on camera): What do you think that's going to do for the airline industry and airports and security here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gosh, make everything a little more difficult.

ENDO: Are you worried about that in terms of travel for yourself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, of course. Travel and travel costs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I travel a lot, so anything that messes with it is a problem.

ENDO: So what's your message for Congress?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get together and figure this out.


COSTELLO: Wouldn't that be nice? Sandra Endo joins us now. These cuts could start happening just as flyers return home from trips over the New Year holiday. Please say that is not true.

ENDO: Yes, unfortunately, if the worst case scenario happens that will be true, but right now industry leaders are taking a wait and see approach. Congress, the lame duck Congress, really has six weeks to figure out where that budget ax will fall -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Sandra Endo reporting live for us from Washington. Remember Twinkies good old days? Well, Twinkie town could be no more. Hostess, the company behind the classic treats like Twinkies and Hohos say it is winding down operations and selling off its best known brands.

Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange. So are you hoarding Twinkies yet?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Don't tell. I don't want anyone to get the ones I am getting out of the vending machine at this point. There is a serious side to this.

This is kind of a saga unfolding all week, Carol, the CEO of Hostess made it clear that the company didn't have the money to survive a strike that the bakers started last week.

The company said, look, we can't become profitable under the current cost structure mostly because the benefits and the pensions were costing too much and they couldn't reach a deal with the bakers union.

Guess what, this deadline of 5 p.m. yesterday came and went and now the company is asking permission to shut down all of its facilities and auction off its assets and that includes the iconic brands like Twinkies, Wonder Bread, Drakes, which makes the ring dings.

And here is the serious side, 18,500 people, Carol, they are out of jobs. They worked at facilities across the country, specifically 33 bakeries in 22 states.

They are even protests going on outside in Oakland, California facility. This is certainly boiling the blood of a lot of people, those Hostess cakes.

COSTELLO: OK, so the company makes this announcement today. Walk me through what happens next.

KOSIK: OK, so what Hostess has done is asked for access to $75 million to fund this wind down and that includes money to pay off its employees, it needs for liquidation. Now it will keep the distribution lines open long enough to get the last remaining product out to the stores.

So you still have your shot of getting those Twinkies and keeping them on your shelf for a while. The brands by the way could survive because you have to believe that some big food maker will sort of ride in and go ahead and take over and go ahead and buy these brands at auction if they could be interested in them.

But consumers are bracing for the end of the Twinkie. Would you believe it, carol, I already saw some boxes of Twinkies show up on eBay, but you know the good thing is with this stuff, they have a 20- year shelf life. If you catch a few boxes, you can hold them for quite a while.

COSTELLO: I don't think I have eaten a Twinkie since I was 10 years old.

KOSIK: I know. I wonder -- everybody loves these, but I know it is true. When was the last time I actually ate a Twinkie?

COSTELLO: I mean, truly, I was asking around the newsroom to see if anyone still eats Twinkies and everybody said, no, but we would miss them.

KOSIK: But if you had them way back when, still probably in one way or another sitting in your stomach.

COSTELLO: Still digesting. Alison Kosik, thanks so much.

Keeping a close eye on the White House where right now President Obama is meeting with congressional leaders about that fiscal cliff. We're awaiting details of that meeting.


COSTELLO: All right, we want to head to the White House where the President is now meeting with the lawmakers from different parties including the House Speaker John Boehner, actually the President, you can see him sitting there right beside John Boehner.

Let's listen to the President.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- and thank them for their time and I think we're all aware that we have some urgent business to do. We've got to make sure that taxes don't go up on middle class families, that our economy remains strong, that we're creating jobs and that's an agenda -- that Democrats and Republicans and Independents and people all across the country share.

So our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together, find some common ground and make some tough compromises and build some consensus to do the people's business. And what the folks are looking for and I think all of us agree on this is action, they want to see that we are focused on them and not focused on our politics here in Washington.

So my hope is that this is going to be the beginning of a fruitful process where we're able to come to a agreement that will reduce our deficit in a balanced way that we will deal with to some of these long term impediments to growth. And we're also are going to be focusing on making sure that middle class families are able to get ahead.

So I want to thank all the leadership for coming and with that we're going to get to work. Thank you very much, everybody. I appreciate it.

Oh wait, wait, excuse me, there is actually one other point that I wanted to make. And that is that my understanding is tomorrow is Speaker Boehner's birthday, so for those of you who want to wish him a happy birthday, we will -- we're not going to embarrass him with a cake because we didn't know how many candles were needed.


OBAMA: But -- but we do want to wish him a happy birthday.

BOEHNER: Thank you. Thank you.

OBAMA: All right, thank you everybody.


COSTELLO: Oh it's a pretty nice moment between the House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican and the President of the United States Barack Obama. You can see Joe Biden is also sitting around the table along with Senator Harry Reid and a couple of others.

Let's head to Capitol Hill and check in with Dana Bash who's actually covering the -- the hearings on Benghazi. But Dana I just wanted to ask you a question. Are you surprised the President you know spoke before the big meeting today at the White House to avoid that fiscal cliff?

BASH: No, I am not surprised at all. Because one of the main reasons they're having this meeting is for the imagery of it, to show people that they are sitting down that they are trying to get this work down -- work done and you know behind closed doors it's probably best to assume that this is really just going to be the opening gambit, the opening bid, that they're going to have to -- this is really their chance to be eyeball to eyeball and discuss the things that they've said publicly for the past week and a half since the election.

But no it's not surprising, it's also not surprising that the President went out of his way to say something personal and nice to the House Speaker because that is definitely the posturing that each side is doing. And when looking it up, I think the Speaker is going to be 62 tomorrow -- 63; 63 tomorrow.

COSTELLO: Sixty-three, I am sure Mr. Boehner appreciates that, Dana.

BASH: I'm sure.

COSTELLO: You know and just looking at their body language sitting around that table, they're all kind of smiling awkwardly and trying to get along, so hopefully as the morning progresses, you know, the talks will be cordial and they'll arrive at some sort of conclusion.

I mean, do you have any hopes that an actual plan to avoid the fiscal cliff will be developed from this meeting?

BASH: An actual plan probably not, the -- the framework of one maybe or more importantly the -- the bright lines over which neither side will cross will likely be established. The players have been very careful not to draw those bright lines in public, for example, the President now twice publicly at least has made clear that yes, he promised during the campaign to raise those rates for those families making $250,000 or more but he is also in the next sentence said I am open if anybody has any other ideas to figuring out how to raise other tax revenue in order to achieve his goal which ultimately he says is to -- this deficit reduction, about a $1 trillion in deficit reduction.

So you know, those kinds of -- of lines and parameters no question are going to be set in this initial meeting.

COSTELLO: All right, Dana bash, thank you so much. I know you're busy today. But we appreciate you giving your insight. Because you know, you spend a lot of time in Congress and we value your insights.

BASH: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Dana Bash reporting live from Washington.

All right, we would like to have a political discussion right now. Is Jason Johnson around here? Was he back there, ok he's over there and we're going to talk about this main GOP guy. But I think we should switch topics and talk about what's happening now in the City of Washington.

Ron Bonjean is with us, he's a Republican strategist; our friend Jason Johnson from Hiram. And you're part of also Politics 365, a political blog.

So I don't know, Jason, have you caught what's happened this morning? General Petraeus he's being sort of protected, the media can't get a picture of him walking into these hearings and Peter King, even as he came out and talked about the hearings that took place this morning said Petraeus was a good guy, a good friend and admired him.

JASON JOHNSON, HIRAM COLLEGE: Look, I mean, I don't think anyone is saying that that Petraeus is a bad person. He is just an unfaithful husband and irresponsible. And I think that's the main issue here. I think we got caught up in this sort of salacious nature of all the -- the cheating and the scandals and the beautiful women and the exotic stories.

But the core issue here was just a man who is irresponsible and cheated on his wife but we really just want to hear about Benghazi. So I'm not surprised that his testimony is well received and he's still well respected.

COSTELLO: Well Ron, are you surprised that the General testified this morning according to Congressman Peter King that he knew pretty much right away that the attacks in Benghazi were terrorist related and not related to that cheesy anti-Muslim film?

RON BONJEAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Right, no I'm not surprised that General Petraeus testified. He is you know, he's well known as a -- has been an honorable man and so honorable. You know he resigned his position because he had an extra marital affair so it was expected that he would testify he did and you know what that -- what's that's doing is -- is opening up questions here.

Why was there 20 report -- intelligence reports based upon this video while General Petraeus believed that you know terrorist groups were involved and he first -- when he -- you know when he first heard about it he knew that.

So there is a definite disconnect there and I think that's what these hearings are trying to do is get to the bottom of it.

COSTELLO: So Jason, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has taken a lot of heat of this because she went on national television on all of the Sunday talk shows and she told the nation that these attacks in Benghazi were likely caused by this anti-Muslim film.


COSTELLO: She was given talking points. We don't know by whom. I mean where did those talking points come from if the CIA Director knew almost immediately that the attacks in Benghazi were terrorist related?

JOHNSON: Look this is obviously an instance where the left hand and the right hand and the foot and the knee don't really know who is connecting to where. And you know it's amazing and I don't know why Eric Cantor didn't sort of push of these issues further the Republicans try to push it further.

This is clearly an example of the White House not communicating perfectly but as we saw from Barack Obama's press conference earlier this week. He is going to defend Susan Rice. Susan Rice is clearly somebody he wants to protect, clearly somebody he wants to push forward and so no matter what kind of inconsistencies there are in her story or the White House story or the CIA, Barack Obama is still pushing her for the position. So this -- this story is not going to end any time soon. COSTELLO: Ok and by the position you mean Secretary of State. So Ron, let he me ask you this. If these hearings and there will be three of them, determine that Susan Rice was given these talking points by a credible source and the White House didn't edit them in any way and she is exonerated from all blame, will Republicans be amenable to her maybe being a Secretary of State?

BONJEAN: Well, that's going to be up to the Senate Republicans and right now as the currently stands I doubt that she would end up getting confirmed. You know you have Senator McCain and Senator Graham who are very concerned about the comments that she made and I think we need to get answers before -- you know before we move forward.

Susan Rice was -- you look at the context. We're in a presidential election and Susan Rice was using talking points altered potentially by the White House that took the words, you know, that took the terrorist group attacks out of those talking points meaning that that there could have been a cover up and we're trying to get to the bottom of it.

You know if she took out those talking -- if she took out that phrase, that would be a huge problem for a confirmation.

COSTELLO: So Jason, what do you think it's like to be Susan Rice these days?

JOHNSON: I think it is very difficult. Look, I mean, you know Barack Obama has not always had an easy time pushing his nominees through, but I mean think about it. Not only is she in the middle of this Benghazi scandal where people are going to be questioning whether she was honest, whether if she was being sort of a shield for the White House but you're following Hillary Clinton who had been one of the most popular and well-respected secretaries of state that we've had in the last 20 years.

So I think Susan Rice is in a very difficult position, I'm pretty sure John Kerry is thinking this is my chance to grab a job so I think it's going to be a rough couple of days for her and we really may not know the answer until sometime later on in December.

COSTELLO: And we'll see Ron Bonjean and Jason Johnson thank you so much for joining us this morning.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

BONJEAN: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Of course we're following that breaking news. We're monitoring Jerusalem where armed -- where the armed military wing of Hamas says it launched rockets in an area south of the city. Do we have those pictures up now? We don't. Ok. We're going to gather the latest details from Jerusalem in just a minute. We'll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: Computer users, be on the lookout. There's a new scam that pretends to be a message from the FBI and then demands money from you. The virus freezes your computer and tells you that it's linked to child pornography. If that's not scary enough, the virus may also be tracking every single move you make online.

Joining us now is Hemu Nigam, he's an Internet security analyst, CEO of his own online security firm and former U.S. Prosecutor. Wow.


COSTELLO: Thank you for being here. This sounds like a really nasty virus.

NIGAM: Yes it is actually nasty. But I have to tell you, if this was actually true, that you are getting an FBI warning saying pay $200 and get out of jail it would be a criminal's dream come true.

Here is the reality. It is what we're calling in our industry "ransomware". So essentially you get this FBI logo pop up on your and freezes everything and says, hey, give us $200 or $100 and it all changes over time and you will get out of jail and you won't get prosecuted. And unfortunately thousands of people are actually falling for it and sending money in to get out of jail even if they didn't do anything wrong.

COSTELLO: I mean under no circumstances would the FBI ever say, oh, pay us money and you can get off.

NIGAM: If they were doing that, they would be coming in through your front door and basically taking you to jail. They wouldn't reach out through the computer screen and say, here, give us money and we'll be on our way.

COSTELLO: The child pornography thing.

NIGAM: Right. Right. And there are great ways to protect yourself.

COSTELLO: Oh, yes. Tell me how -- how can people protect themselves?

NIGAM: One of the things that folks need to think about is you have to stop clicking on links that look suspicious. Think like the real world. If it doesn't seem right, don't fall for it. Even more important, run the latest antivirus and anti-phishing and anti-spyware software on your system and update, update, update constantly.

When you get that little button that pops up when you're working on an e-mail or something that says "update now" or "remind me later", I know we all do it. I know do you it Carol and I do it. We hit "remind me later" but we never, ever, ever should hit "remind me later" because it is opening the front door to your house and saying criminal come in and do what you want and that's what this virus is preying on, people who hit that button and don't lock down their systems and then they end up giving away money because they thought they would get away. COSTELLO: So that's the best prevention to keep this stuff out of your e-mail box altogether. You should press that button. Press that button.

NIGAM: Exactly.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much for joining us this morning. We appreciate it.

NIGAM: Thanks.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: So much going on this morning. Breaking news for you. We are monitoring Jerusalem where the armed military wing of Hamas says that it launched rockets in an area south of Jerusalem. We're going to get latest details on that in just a minute.

Also talks are under way on the budget crisis in Washington. The President is talking with lawmakers about the fiscal cliff. He's meeting with top party members from the house and senate. He spoke about the meeting just moments ago.


OBAMA: We have to make sure taxes don't go up on middle class families, that our economy remains strong, that we're creating jobs and that's an agenda that democrats and Republicans and Independents -- people all across the country share. Our challenge is to make sure that we are able to cooperate together, work together, find common ground and make some tough compromises and build some consensus to do the people's business.


COSTELLO: President Obama speaking earlier this morning. The meeting is under way right now by the way.

Superstorm Sandy's damage didn't have to be so bad. We'll look at why so many people lost power and what could be done to prevent such a crisis again.


COSTELLO: It's been more than two weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit and tens of thousands of homes are still without power. Why did so many people lose electricity? What might be done to prevent a similar crisis in the future? Here's Tom Foreman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want? When do we want it?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For all the angry people still without power after sandy, there may be few more frustrated than a man who lives hundreds of miles away with the American Society of Civil Engineers. His name is Otto Lynch and he is certain the storm's impact did not have to be so bad.

OTTO LYNCH, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS: You know, the damage did not have to be this bad at all. With a little bit better planning we could have certainly eliminated much of the damage.

FOREMAN: What he is talking about is the subject of some highly advanced research at Georgia Tech, a lowly but critical part of the electrical grid, the power pole.

REGINALD DESROCHES, GEORGIA TECH PROFESSOR: It is focused on trying to get a better understanding of the vulnerability of some of these wood poles as they are exposed to in this case extreme wind loads.

FOREMAN: Specifically researchers are studying what makes a power pole break? Its age, the stress from wind, water, ice, or flying debris and combine all of that with weather patterns and they're creating a comprehensive map of tens of millions of poles so utility companies can replace vulnerable ones before big storms hit.

MIROSLAV BEGOVIC, GEORGIA TECH PROFESSOR: It is important to identify which ones are the most compromised and how to direct those funds without wasting huge sums of unnecessary treatments and unnecessary replacements.

FOREMAN: Others believe the national electrical safety code should also be rewritten to require more robust poles, especially where powerful storms are likely. Lynch insists that would cost less than $100 per pole and says if such measures had been put into place years before Sandy came calling, he estimates power losses might have been half as bad.

LYNCH: You know, even if it is just 25 percent, that's 25 percent less people that didn't lose power.

FOREMAN: And in a tough economy, building up America begins with keeping the lights on.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.



COSTELLO: Sadly, parenting doesn't come with a manual. For many moms and dads the challenge of trial and error is the way to go. In this "Daily Dose" TV's Dr. Phil shows parents how to make their job a little easier.


PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR PHIL": You know, interestingly enough, the lazy parents are the busy parents because what we're really after is we want children to internalize our discipline. We want it to become self discipline. When I see a parent that has a well-behaved child, I know that that parent can kick back and take it easy. And they don't need to be so busy because they did their work early.

If a parent has not set boundaries, if a parent has not tout a child to self-control, they're the ones that will be running through the restaurant, eating off other people's plates, yelling and screaming and knocking into things and everybody is going to be staring at them.

Those parents that didn't do it right to begin with are the ones that are going to wear themselves out by the time the child is five years old. If do you it early on, it gets easier later.

COSTELLO: Thank you, Dr. Phil.

I'm Carol Costello. Thank you for joining me today.

CNN NEWSROOM continues right now with Ashleigh Banfield.