Return to Transcripts main page


Protests in Egypt; Inside the Bin Laden Raid; Husband Wants Answers on Wife's Death; Two Killed, 120 Hurt in Texas Pile-Up; Boehner: U.S. Can't Afford Obamacare; Obama Fashion Rakes in Big Bucks; Rubio Sparks Creationism Debate; New Details: What Happened to Bin Laden; Protests Turn Ugly in Cairo; Sandy's Mess May Be a Health Hazard; Changing Times: A Bisexual Congresswoman

Aired November 23, 2012 - 16:00   ET


JOE JOHNS CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: Police fire tear gas as demonstrations in Egypt turn violent. Angry protesters accuse Egypt's president of betraying the revolution and, in the word of one critic, making himself a pharaoh.

Newly declassified e-mails fill in important gaps about what happened before and after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden.

And in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a disturbing rise in the potential for chronic medical problems.

Wolf Blitzer's off today. I'm Joe Johns. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with today's astonishing show of fury in Egypt. Within the past hour, Egyptian authorities tear gassed protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Angry demonstrators packed the square today denouncing Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi as a dictator and accusing him of a power grab.

CNN's Reza Sayah is in Cairo.

Reza, what's it look like right now?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joe, it is 11:00 p.m. Cairo time. These demonstrators started gathering around in Tahrir Square about 1:00 p.m. local time. That means they have been going strong for about 10 hours.

Many thought maybe Egyptians were worn out, tired of demonstrating after the 2011 revolution, but if you look at Tahrir Square today, if you look at Cairo today, it doesn't seem like it. The demonstrations are continuing. So are clashes, about an hour-and-a-half ago, clashes taking place right where we are behind us at the hotel we're staying at. Security forces clashing with protesters.

A number of protesters ambushed a police vehicle carrying riot police. The police took off. The protesters got ahold of this truck, set it on fire. More security forces came in, shot tear gas and dispersed the protesters. We have seen similar clashes throughout the day. All these demonstrators angry after President Morsi declared some controversial decrees that temporarily give him sweeping powers, making him the most powerful man in Egypt.

One of the decrees bans anyone even the judiciary from overturning -- questioning any decision he's made since he took office in June. That order is to stay in place for the next several months until a parliament is in place. He says this is an effort to push through a new parliament, to push through the draft of the constitution, but his opponents who are gathered at Tahrir Square and don't seem to be going anywhere say this is an undemocratic power grab, Joe.

JOHNS: And what is he doing to explain or rationalize the reason for making these changes?

SAYAH: Well, he's defending himself. Keep in mind, he has a lot of supporters too. His supporters, of course, the faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that backs him. He had a speech today to his gathering saying he is one of the people. He's a protector of the revolution.

And he says he wants the process of drafting a constitution, of putting in place a new parliament to go through. He doesn't want that process to be bogged down. And he says these particular decrees are designed to do that. Of course, his opponents vehemently disagree. They're calling the new dictator. According to Mohamed ElBarade, the Egyptian diplomat, he is Egypt's new pharaoh -- Joe.

JOHNS: His critics are obviously denouncing all this. What are the people who are supporting him saying?

SAYAH: Well, look, the political landscape is in their favor. It's in the favor of the Muslim Brotherhood. Of course, with these decrees, Mohammed Morsi is the most powerful person in Egypt at this moment. There is no legislative body in this constitutional assembly that's to draft the constitution.

That's dominated by the Islamist. So certainly his supporters are pleased with these developments. But this is a revolution that took place in 2011 and was spearheaded by a number of other factions, liberals, youth movements, women's movements. They believe they're being sidelined. What you have here is an intensifying face-off between the president and his opponents.

JOHNS: Reza Sayah, an intense situation there in Cairo. Appreciate your reporting.

This afternoon, the Obama administration weighed in on the situation in Egypt raising a number of concerns.

Let's go to CNN White House correspondent Dan Lothian -- Dan.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Joe, one of those concerns is about too much power in the hands of one person.

We look back a few months ago it was unclear whether Egypt was an ally of the U.S. Now a senior administration official saying a relationship of trust has developed between President Obama and President Morsi. But as we know in any relationship, things can get complicated.


LOTHIAN (voice-over): At the White House, a sense of calm, kicking off the holiday season with the arrival of a 19-foot Christmas tree.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: It is perfect. It's exactly what we needed.

LOTHIAN: While the president headed to the golf course at Joint Base Andrews. But the White House is closely watching developments in Egypt, protests, violent at times, and anger over what some see as President Morsi's power grab, as declarations preventing any court from overturning his decisions.

STUART HOLLIDAY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It appears the timing is curious. He's gotten this support and this bump particularly for his role in mediating the cease-fire from the United States and from others. He's really seen as emerging stronger from this.

LOTHIAN: But now concern from the Obama administration. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland saying -- quote -- "The decisions and declarations announced on November 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community," adding in the statement, "One of the revelations was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution."

While President Obama was on his Southeast Asia trip this week, he spoke frequently by phone with President Morsi in a successful attempt to seal an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire. They developed what one administration official characterized as a relationship of trust. It's too early to tell if this latest move will change that.

ROBIN WRIGHT, SENIOR FELLOW, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Let's wait and see how Morsi uses these powers. Up until now he's done pretty well in terms of from the Western perspective in working with Israel. He has a lot to prove to the outside world and his own people.


LOTHIAN: Now, the Obama administration is calling for calm in Egypt, pushing the leadership there to work together to resolve their differences peacefully and through -- quote -- "democratic dialogue" -- Joe.

JOHNS: Everybody I think is a little bit stunned about the timing of all of this, Dan. Is the White House saying anything about whether there's some type of linkage between the timing of the Gaza agreement and this move by Mohammed Morsi?

LOTHIAN: They're not at all.

In fact, the White House has been really pushing a lot of the comment on this through the State Department which, of course, as I mentioned a short time ago did release that statement. I think it's really too early to tell. They are watching carefully what the developments are there and will have more comment I suspect as they get more information.

JOHNS: Thanks so much for that, Dan Lothian at the White House.

We're just over two days into the Israeli/Hamas cease-fire along the Gaza border and already both sides are accusing the other of breaking the truce. Israel says three rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel on Thursday. And a shooting incident at the border today has both sides on edge.

Joining me now is Sara Sidner in Jerusalem.

Sara, Hamas is saying right now that some Israeli troops opened fire on Palestinian citizens. What can you tell us?

SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have very differing story from what the Israeli military's saying.

Here's what the Hamas Health Ministry has said. They said that one person was killed and that 24 people were injured. They say that they were farmers, they were in east Khan Younis on the Gaza side of the border and that the Israeli military opened fire on them. However, in talking to the Israeli military, they say that there were several groups of men who were protesting, they had come up to the fence, some of them trying to enter Israel, and that the soldiers fired in the air warning shots. When those warnings were not heeded, they began firing toward their legs.

The Israeli military has not confirmed yet that there's been a death or any injuries. They are investigating. But what makes it significant is that this is happening 48 hours after a very fragile cease-fire was agreed upon between Israel and Gaza.

And there's a lot of concern that this might be something that would be considered breaking this cease-fire, whether it was from one side or another. A lot of people here concerned about that very thing, especially the civilians who have gone through so much over the past several days -- Joe.

JOHNS: Now, going into the cease-fire, I have to say a lot of people expected there would be a certain number of skirmishes. Do you think this is something outside the ordinary?

SIDNER: It really isn't outside the ordinary.

You know, if you look back just a couple of months ago, there were lots of things going on, on that border, whether it was tunnels that were exploding on Israeli soldiers, whether it was -- there was a child that was shot that witnesses said shot by Israeli soldiers, there was return fire.

So there have been a lot of things that have gone on, on this border, as you might imagine, with a lot of different people saying that one side is to blame or another side is to blame. But it's just the timing of all this that has people concerned, although I think as a whole even though we're hearing from the Palestinian Authority, which is saying that they believe this is breaking the cease-fire, that Israel has broken the cease-fire, when you look at it as a whole, I think most people think, look, I think the cease-fire will stick for some time.

The real concern here though especially on the part of civilians and the governments frankly is whether or not they can come to a permanent solution. And that seems less likely in the near future.

JOHNS: And it certainly appears that it will take quite a while to get to that permanent solution. This is not something that's going to happen overnight.

SIDNER: No. There's a lot of things that are sticking parts, Joe, a lot of things that both sides say that they want, but they're absolutely not going to be able to agree on them. And they haven't been able to agree on them for many, many years since Hamas took over in 2007.

So these are sticking points that I think they will try -- they will talk through them, they will try to get through them, but we may be waiting a very long time for a permanent solution in this particular situation, Joe.

JOHNS: Sara Sidner reporting from Jerusalem, thank you for that.

A couple and their unborn child run up against their country's new restrictions on abortion. Only now, one of them is alive and he wants a full public inquiry into a tragic chain of events.


JOHNS: A grieving widower fears the truth behind his wife's death may be lost forever.

The 31-year-old woman died in an Irish hospital after she miscarried. She was denied an abortion because of Ireland's strict anti-abortion laws.

Now her husband's speaking out to CNN's Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has lost his wife and now fears the truth behind her tragic death may be lost too.

PRAVEEN HALAPPANAVAR, HUSBAND: We have seen some tampering of the (INAUDIBLE) so basically some key information in the medical (INAUDIBLE) is missing.

ROBERTSON: Praveen and Savita Halappanavar met in India, married, then set up home in Ireland four years ago. He is an engineer. She was a dentist. They were happy here.

HALAPPANAVAR: She loved dancing. She forced me to dance with her a couple of times on the stage. We gave a performance and that would be the fondest memory, never have I gone on stage or I never had. I always had stage fear to go to speak out and the belief she gave me. It was unbelievable.

ROBERTSON: Together, they had dreams of a beautiful future, of children, their children, of having a family.

HALAPPANAVAR: She was looking forward basically. In a way, she found that she is at the right place. That's the reason why.

She knew and she was very well-organized as well, you know? She knew what she wanted in life. So that's the reason why she had decided to settle here on the long-term.

ROBERTSON: When Savita became pregnant, they were overjoyed. Then their ordeal began.

Savita got back pain. Here at the Galway University Hospital, doctors told her she was miscarrying. Her baby would likely die. Savita's husband says they asked for a termination and were told this is a Catholic country, not while the fetus is alive.

HALAPPANAVAR: So we requested for a termination. We wanted to go back, you know, go home and think about the next pregnancy because it was a planned pregnancy. We were so happy. We wanted to have babies.

ROBERTSON: Three days after the request, the fetus died, was removed. Four days later, Savita was dead from a blood infection.

Ireland has been outraged. Protests in support of her not just here but across the world have urged the country's politician to update abortion laws, prevent similar tragedies.

There has been political fallout too. Abortion is a hot button issue in Ireland. The prime minister is under pressure to get a health service inquiry.

(on camera): Government steps so far have done little to inspire Halappanavar not just he says because they took weeks before announcing an inquiry, but when they did, three of the seven medical professionals on the investigation team were from the same hospital here where his wife died. Although they've now been replaced, other issues remain.

(voice-over): Not the least of which the missing medical records. Records the hospital declined our request to comment on.

HALAPPANAVAR: Basically made a request for termination and there is no notes of the request at all, any of the medical notes. And also, the response from the doctor is not in the medical records either.

ROBERTSON (on camera): What do you think has happened to it?

HALAPPANAVAR: We don't know. It's just strange that all other information is in there, you know, (INAUDIBLE) when requested for a cup of tea and toast and, you know, things like, you know, an extra blanket was given, all that is in the medical notes.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He says he will settle for nothing less than a full public inquiry, where the health service, not just his wife's death, is investigated.

HALAPPANAVAR: Every single family person asked me how could this happen in a country like Ireland in the 21st century? Because it was just so simple. They knew that the baby's not going to survive, why wait? Think about the bigger life, which was the mother, my wife Savita, and didn't.

ROBERTSON: All he wants is the truth.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Galway, Ireland.


JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: As a result of this, Irish health officials today announced a second inquiry dealing specifically with the care of critically ill patients.

Thanksgiving Day turned into a nightmare along a stretch of highway in Texas, a son who wasn't on a trip with his parents talks about what happened when fog and sunlight caused a chain-reaction pile-up.

Also ahead, an island of the size of Manhattan that really isn't there. We'll explain.


JOHNS: A Texas deputy sheriff calls it the Thanksgiving Day nightmare. At least 100 vehicles were involved in a horrendous pile- up on fog-bound Interstate 10 in southeast Texas. And as many as 120 people were injured and a husband and wife were killed.

Jessica Willey of CNN affiliate KHOU tells us the couple's family is stunned and grief-stricken.


JESSICA WILLEY, KHOU REPORTER (voice-over): We now have a face to the couple killed in the massive pile-up on Thanksgiving morning.

V.J. LEGGIO JR., PARENTS KILLED IN PILE-UP: We miss them. We love them. It's terrible.

WILLEY: He could barely get the words out because V.J. Leggio Jr. is their oldest son. Mom Debbie was just 60 years old, dad Vincent Leggio was 64. All of their time and effort went here, Vinco Electric in Pearland. They owned it for 30 years.

V.J. LEGGIO: My dad and I worked together. We had a good relationship. We got to spend time together golfing and fishing. I'm so thankful for that now.

WILLEY: Richard Leggio, their youngest, just finished watching the Texans game when he got that call.

RICHARD LEGGIO, PARENTS KILLED IN PILE-UP: They were actually going on a gambling trip.

WILLEY (on camera): Where?

R. LEGGIO: To Mississippi. So --

WILLEY: They want to take a little trip away on Thanksgiving.

R. LEGGIO: Yes. It was our first Thanksgiving away from each other.

WILLEY (voice-over): The couple made it all the way to I-10 near Beaumont when the fog was unbearable. Then the sun came up. Witnesses say they couldn't see a thing in front of them. Then this pile-up involving at least 100 vehicles killing the Leggios instantly and sending at least 50 others to the hospital. The Leggios were in their white SUV when they were crushed between a big rig and a car.

V.J. LEGGIO: My parents are wonderful loving people, all you knew them knew that. They'll be sorely missed. Sorely missed.


JOHNS: That was Jessica Willey of CNN affiliate KHOU. The wreckage scene was more than a mile long with cars twisted on top of each other. Police say they're still looking into what caused the fog obviously. And that played into the whole thing, including the crashes.

Is war-ravaged Syria forming a tighter alliance with Iran?

Lisa Sylvester's monitoring that and some other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Lisa.


Well, for the first time in two weeks, Syrian state television is airing new video of President Bashar al-Assad, he's seen meeting with the chairman of the Iranian parliament in Syria's capital of Damascus today. This comes as fighting continues to rage in Syria's civil war and the death toll continues to mount. One day after 151 people were killed across the country, opposition activists say at least 43 people have died in Syria today.

And we want to warn you what you are about to see next is graphic. And it may be disturbing for some of our viewers. A 16-year-old girl was walking down the street in east London last week when suddenly a man came up behind her -- oh, and brutally knocked her to the ground.

The attack was captured on closed circuit TV. A suspect is under arrest. And the teen, we are happy to say, that she is now recovering.

Blackberry maker Research in Motion is riding a wave of investor optimism. Its stock surged more than 13.5 percent today, this after an industry analyst predicted strong sales for the company's new Blackberry 10, the long-awaited smartphone will finally debut on January 30th. That is a year later than originally planned.

And get this, a south Pacific island that shows up on Google earth and other world maps, apparently it just doesn't exist. Yes. That's right. Scientists, they went looking for Sandy Island believed to be as big as Manhattan shows up right here on Google earth. But the scientist's ship sailed right through the spot in the sea where the island should have been.

So it's a little bit of a mystery, Joe. What happened to the island? It's not like islands just disappear every day. But --

JOHNS: Well, that's pretty amazing. You would think by now they have pictures from outer space.

SYLVESTER: Well, you know, I mean, they kind of -- they narrow in, they zoom in, it looks like it's there, looks like it's real but, yes, apparently something happened.

JOHNS: That's amazing.

SYLVESTER: One of the mysteries of the world.

JOHNS: You bet. Thanks.

When you think of President Obama, you might not think of designer clothes and accessories, but his campaign staff did. How they made tens of millions of dollars off of it.


JOHNS: House Speaker John Boehner says the country can't afford Obamacare. Joining me for today's "Strategy Session" our CNN contributor and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile and CNN contributor and editor-in-chief of, Erick Erickson.

Thanks so much to you and glad for you to come in especially on the day after Thanksgiving. Erick, I want to begin with you. House Speaker John Boehner wrote this in the "Cincinnati Inquirer," just want to put it up on the screen.

"We can't afford to leave the president's health care law intact. That's why I've been clear that the law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt challenge."

Where after this election does the House speaker if you will get the political capital to take this tact?

ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, at first, I have to point out, it's not just the day after Thanksgiving. This is during the LSU game that Donna and I are here.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Go Tigers. ERICKSON: Arkansas. Yes, the big game. Now as to John Boehner, the issue here is many of the states are opting out of state exchanges. There was a quirk when they passed the law, you know, Nancy Pelosi said you have to pass the law to find out what was in it.

What wasn't in it is a funding mechanism for federal exchanges. Many of the states are skipping state exchanges paid for by an employer mandate to either fund health care insurance for employees 50 or more or to pay a fine in effect into a state exchange.

The language for funding state exchanges isn't there for the federal exchanges. Something like 15 to 20 states now are opting for the federal exchange so there's no funding mechanism.

So the House has to revisit this. Taxing legislation has to come through the House of Representatives. So there's John Boehner's mandate.

JOHNS: Now, Donna, there's another quote from that article in the "Cincinnati Inquirer," I want to show and ask you about. He said in it there are essentially three major routes to repeal the president's law, the court of congressional oversight process, with those routes coming up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever. Do you think that's the message of the last election to try to essentially repeal Obama care by investigation?

BRAZILE: No. That's not the message. I understand that Speaker Boehner is still trying to pander to those who lost the election, but the truth is, is that two-thirds of this law is already being implemented across the country.

Some of the most important provisions are about to be implemented in 2013 and of course 2014, when the state exchanges come into play. I think it's important to focus on implementing this law to ensure that we get the kind of quality care, you know, that all Americans deserve.

And the fact we're trying to insure millions of American citizens that should be the priority of Speaker Boehner and of course, Majority Leader Harry Reid. It's time to put aside all of these election year gripes and start focusing on how we get the American people back on their feet, healthy, strong and back to work.

JOHNS: I hate to keep talking about the last election because, you know, we've got to look ahead. Nonetheless, there's some very interesting little nuggets out there including one about the fashion line, if you will, that was put out by the Obama campaign as a fundraising tool.

Now, Jim Messina, the campaign manager, actually said this, the Obama campaign's fashion line ended upbringing him just north of $40 million, raise money, register voters, persuade voters, everything has to feed into those three things.

Now, a lot of people laughed about this, you know -- there you go. Look at that. These are things from Vera Wang, Marc Jacobs, and it was something of a joke, but $40 million, who's laughing now? What do you think? Is this a new tactic for campaigns to use in the future?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. Look, if you can raise north of $40 million putting a logo on a t-shirt or pocketbook or purse, why not? I mean, the American people -- some people like to walk around with various emblems from campaigns.

We call it chum. And I have to tell you when I managed a campaign, I still have people who want to know if they can get one of those -- you know, some of the paper clips and various items that we had with Al Gore's name on it.

I still have them by the way. Erick, if you want a few items including some cuff links, I also have some Bill Clinton cuff links, Erick, I'll give it to you at a discount because I like you.

JOHNS: What do you think, Erick?

ERICKSON: Well, you know, I want that under my Christmas tree, Donna. You're on notice now.


ERICKSON: Anyway, I got to tell you, I was one of the people who was laughing at this originally, but it caught on. And I would be cautious for campaigns. You know, the president's campaign really was wrapped up in the image of the president.

I don't necessarily know that it would have worked has Mitt Romney done it. I wouldn't have bought any of Mitt Romney's stuff. I'm not sure for particular politicians that it works, but for the president it worked. And $40 million isn't something really to laugh at. They laughed all the way to the bank with it.

JOHNS: Erick, I want to ask you something about what you wrote recently on This is on the topic of Marco Rubio and his sort of tipping the hat to the issue of creationism.

You said Marco Rubio's getting beaten up by the press for not decisively saying billions of years old the issue has become the new litmus test in the media for conservative politicians believing what was believed to be literally true for thousands of years is now nutty. Do you think there's a growing hostility to this notion of creationism even now?

ERICKSON: Yes, I actually think there is. Let's be clear though what we're talking about. I think Marco Rubio and I think the world was created billions of years ago. But we're seeing this even going back to 2008 the debate, it was also raised.

And we've gone from asking which I think we'll still see candidates on the right being asked about rape and abortion to being asked about creation and creationism. Largely it's a dodge.

They don't want to get into whether or not you believe a man was resurrected from the grave. They'll ask that question. Once everybody says billions of years, they'll move to Adam and Eve and keep going.

JOHNS: Quickly, Donna, do you think Marco Rubio is sort of extending an olive branch to Evangelicals in case he runs for president?

BRAZILE: You know, he was born a Catholic, Mormonism, Evangelical Christian, you know, this is an issue of scientific evidence. I don't know why he didn't just answer the question and say 4.5 billion years and go on with whatever else he wanted to talk about.

Look, if he is the new standard bearer for the Republican Party, we're going to have a lot of jokes at his expense over the next three and a half years as we prepare for the 2016 election. But honestly, I really do believe that we need to talk about some other issues right now.

JOHNS: Donna, Erick, thanks so much. Again, thanks for coming in. We appreciate you taking a little bit --

BRAZILE: Go Tigers.

ERICKSON: Go Tigers.


JOHNS: You bet, guys. CNN obtained some newly declassified e-mails about the Osama Bin Laden raid that contained new details about what happened to Bin Laden's body after being taken to a U.S. aircraft carrier.

Also ahead, complaints and worries about medical problems in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.


JOHNS: Some fascinating new information from the Pentagon contains details we never knew before about the killing of Osama Bin Laden. CNN's Brian Todd has been reading newly released e-mails that fill in some of the gaps in the story of what happened.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tense and very secretive transmissions as the aircraft carrier, "Carl Vincent" waits for the body of Osama Bin Laden. It's May 2, 2011. The al Qaeda leader has just been killed by Navy SEALs.

In e-mails, two U.S. Navy admirals use code words to describe Bin Laden. The commander of the carrier strike group says FedEx delivered the package. Both trucks are safely on route home base.

The e-mails heavily redacted have just been released by the Defense Department responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the group, "Judicial Watch."

A few days earlier that strike group commander had asked another officer, do I need any special religious ceremonial preparations? After Bin Laden's buried at sea, an admiral describes the scene. Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed, the deceased body was washed then placed in a white sheet.

The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up whereupon the deceased body slid into the sea.

According to the e-mails, there aren't many witnesses. In response to the question, any sailors watch the burial, the heading of one e-mail says, burial, no sailors watched. And another says only a small group of the leadership was informed, less than a dozen total.

And another indication of the secrecy of that part of the mission, an e-mail from a top admiral to Joint Chiefs Chairman Michael Mullen, the paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed upon operational security.


TODD: Later on May 2nd, the deputy commander of that fleet tells the commander of his carrier group, quote, "thank you and your magnificent strike group for what you did for your country today" -- Joe.

JOHNS: No pictures yet released, but still a lot more information actually that the Pentagon decided to sort of sit on.

TODD: Yes. They're going to sit on this. Who knows when it will get out? In a letter to that group, "Judicial Watch," a top Pentagon official says basically all their information on their plans, weapons, intelligence and sources is going to stay in top secret files.

There's a lot about this mission we're not going to know. They were criticized for releasing too much information, but there's just a lot about this mission we're never going to know probably.

JOHNS: Great. All right, thanks so much for that, Brian Todd.

TODD: Sure.

JOHNS: Going to go now to reporter, Mohamed Fahmy in Cairo. He is out in the middle of the crowd. Mohamed, can you hear me? What's going on?

MOHAMED FAHMY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, basically there's a new front of clashing that is happening outside of Tahrir Square very closely here. The U.S. embassy is not the target, but it happens to be about 100 meters away from the embassy.

The police are firing tear gas and warning gunshots in the air. Several hundred protesters are throwing Molotov cocktails and rocks at the police. The situation seems to be escalating as I speak right now. I'm seeing a lot of tear gas being fired. One protester has been hit directly in the chest with a gas canister. An ambulance just hauled him away and this seems to be a new front. Most of the clashes have been happening around side streets in Tahrir Square close to the administrative interior and the -- council building -- Joe.

JOHNS: First question, because you mentioned the embassy there, I think the question is whether the crowd seems to be moving toward the United States Embassy or does it happen incidentally that they're in the area of the embassy?

FAHMY: No, they are not moving towards the embassy. They just happen to be in the area. I just witnessed a police truck ambushed by protesters and burned engulfed with flames. And basically the police officers were able to escape.

And the hotels in the area are shut down. The neighborhood seems to be very tense. No residents on the streets. And the protesters are now clashing outside the square with police forces determined to push them away from the embassy. There are other embassies also in the area. And we are following the situation as the story develops -- Joe.

JOHNS: Thank you so much, Mohamed Fahmy, reporter on the ground in Cairo talking about the crowds that have continued in Egypt tonight.

As if Hurricane Sandy's victims didn't have enough problems, the mess left behind may be hazardous to their health.

Also ahead, a garage that wasn't just used for parking cars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They opened the garage and there is up to the ceiling worth of bags of pot. It was crazy.



JOHNS: Monday marks four weeks since Hurricane Sandy slammed into the New York and Jersey coastlines. Now some homeowners are worried the mess the storm left behind may be hazardous to their health. Our Mary Snow is looking into their concerns -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Joe, we're in Long Beach, New York. This is a town that was so devastated that a mandatory evacuation order was only lifted last week. And it was just in the last two days that the Long Beach Medical Center was able to get up emergency medical tents up and running.

You may see them behind me because the storm has hit down the hospital, but the doctors here know from federal medical teams on the ground that there has been a steady stream of medical complaints from people living here.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SNOW (voice-over): Lurking in the devastation from Sandy is yet another worry for homeowners, exposure to toxins, mold and dust and in some places sewage. Long Beach homeowner, Fred Morello will only enter his house wearing a protective suit and mask as he clears out areas that were submerged in several feet of water.

FRED MORELLO, LONG BEACH HOMEOWNER: I am concerned about mold, sure. But at this particular point, I don't have the time for it. I have things to get done and they got to get done. So I protect myself as best I can.

SNOW: While Morello says he has no time to get checked for the cough he now has, others have been showing up to mash like tents set up by federal disaster medical assistance teams.

(on camera): You've been to other disaster areas.


SNOW (voice-over): Commander Kevin Mcgillicuddy says besides people seeking psychological treatment, they've mostly come in complaining of coughs, bronchitis and asthma since the base was set up November 13th.

KEVIN MCGILLICUDDY, FLORIDA 5, DMAT: We've been treating 70 to 80 patients a day.

SNOW (on camera): A day?

MCGILLICUDDY: A day. And since we've started this base we've treated over 1,000 patients.

SNOW: Majority of them would you say pulmonary problems?

MCGILLICUDDY: Pulmonary would probably be the best, yes.

SNOW (voice-over): The commander stresses it's unclear how many cases are linked to people with chronic conditions being worsened combined with the fact that access to their regular medication has been tough.

Some of those questions are in the hands of the Long Beach Medical Center, which is taking over now that it's been able to set up a makeshift emergency room in its parking lot. The hospital is still closed because of the storm. Dr. Robert Canter heads the ER Unit and says it's the unknowns that concern him.

DR. ROBERT CANTER, LONG BEACH MEDICAL CENTER: It's sort of like 9/11, at this point who knows. Down the road I'm sure we're going to find a lot of problems.


SNOW: But doctors' stress it is still too early to know whether some of these ailments are just short-term or part of something more serious. And one worry now, Joe, is the weather and dropping temperatures. Officials say damp and cold weather could be to blame for some of these respiratory problems being reported -- Joe. JOHNS: And I would imagine some of the questions being raised are not just about New York and New Jersey, but that storm came all the way up the coast. So people in other areas might have concerns as well.

SNOW: Absolutely. And this is just one microcosm of all those places that were so hard hit.

JOHNS: You bet. Thanks so much, Mary Snow.

This month's election caused dramatic changes in the U.S. political landscape. Not only here in Washington, but in some places you'd least expect.

Arizona, for example, is sending the nation's first openly bisexual congresswoman to Capitol Hill. CNN's Miguel Marquez has more on who she is and the changing state she's coming from. Hi, Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that state certainly is changing. There are now nine members of Congress from Arizona, five of them Democratic, four of them Republican. That's the first time that's happened since 2000. We caught up with that new member to see who exactly she is.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Krysten Sinema, a politician, social worker and professor now congresswoman-elect of Arizona's new Ninth District in Metropolitan Phoenix.

(on camera): Your life is about to change big, isn't it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm going to be a little busier.

MARQUEZ: A Democrat in a state known for its red meat Republican politics. Policies on illegal immigration so tough many Latinos called them discriminatory. Hard as nails on crime too unconstitutional claim many offenders.

(on camera): Another example of just how conservative things are, the gun laws in Arizona some of the most permissive in the country.

(voice-over): No permit needed even to carry a concealed weapon here at Shooters World in Phoenix. There's even a ladies night. Home to Senator John McCain, Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Kyrsten Sinema's rise all the more surprising the first openly bisexual member of the U.S. Congress raised Mormon, but has been called an atheist.

(on camera): Do you believe in God?

KYRSTEN SINEMA (D), ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN ELECT: You know, I'm not a member of any faith community. And I think that faith is a deeply personal issue that individuals should deal with in their private lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet radical left wing activist, Kyrsten Sinema.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her opponents labeled her everything from a communist to a witch in one of the most hard-fought and expensive House races in the country.

SINEMA: Outside groups came in and spent a lot of money trying to tell a story about me that wasn't true.

MARQUEZ: One of four kids growing up her family homeless for two years, her resume all the more impressive, a masters in law degree and a PhD. She even runs marathons and triathlons, tough, competitive, ambitious, a new voice in a state that may be changing. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Phoenix.


MARQUEZ: She's an impressive new member of Congress out there. Though things are changing, do keep in mind that the Latinos and young people hoped to unseat Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County.

They hoped to put in a Democratic senator out there. Neither of those things happened. Mitt Romney won the state by about ten points. So Arizona does have a bit farther to go -- Joe.

JOHNS: Miguel, Kyrsten Sinema is pretty well known here in Washington, D.C. and there in Arizona, how much do you think this is a known of her name brand and personality as opposed to something happening with the Democratic Party in Arizona?

MARQUEZ: Yes. She was well-known in Arizona. She served many, many years in the state legislature. So it was mainly her well-known name in that district that got her in.

JOHNS: Miguel Marquez, thanks so much for that.

One of the most famous bands in history had its first audition tape rejected. The long lost Beatles demo tape ahead.