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Hostages Freed In Algeria; Iowa Band To March For Obama Again; Manti Te'o Mystery

Aired January 18, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: One man's story on how he escaped and the bomb that was strapped around his neck.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

Lance Armstrong confesses to doping, deceit and bullying. So what is next for this disgraced cyclist?

And Notre Dame football star player Manti Te'o, his girlfriend never existed. Where did this elaborate lie begin? And who is this alleged mastermind behind such a web of deception?

And guess who's coming to Washington this weekend.


JAMES TAYLOR, MUSICIAN (singing): Can't you see the sunshine.


BALDWIN: Beyonce, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson. The stars set to rock the capital for the 2013 presidential inauguration.

Happy Friday. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We begin with new details on that hostage situation developing in Algeria. Here's what we know right now. Algerian state media reports 650 hostages have been freed. In fact, what you're looking at right here, this is brand-new video we have gotten of some of these -- you can see they're hugging, they're thrilled they're free. But some workers are still hiding out at the desert site. Operations around the plant are reportedly still going on. And while many of the details on this situation still remain unclear, we are hearing from some of these hostages who made it through this incredible ordeal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very, very relieved to be out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously. And we really -- we still don't know really what's happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't see (ph). So it's not just we're glad to be out and our thoughts are with colleagues that are still there at the moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel safe at the moment, but I won't feel 100 percent happy until I'm back in the U.K. and after I see my family and (INAUDIBLE). My heart goes out to the guys that are still there and hopefully everyone comes home safe. Of course, at the end of the day, it's only work and, you know, no one should (INAUDIBLE).


BALDWIN: One of the hostages who managed to escape says the kidnappers strapped these plastic explosives right around his neck. We also heard from the son of one of the men who escaped. Obviously very relieved his father is safe.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just really excited. I just can't wait for him to get home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's the first thing you'll do when you see him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give him a big hug. And I won't let go.


BALDWIN: Oh, tears from a son. You also have Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, here he is in London, giving his thoughts on the situation in Algeria.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Terrorists should be on notice that they will find no sanctuary, no refuge, not in Algeria, not in North Africa, not anywhere.


BALDWIN: Want to bring in Jim Clancy, our veteran journalist, covered conflicts all around the world.

Let's just begin with, we keep saying this situation is so fluid, still so many details. What do we know right now?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Right now, the latest that we've got, Algerian Press Services reporting 12 foreign hostages have been killed since the start of this operation.

BALDWIN: Twelve.

CLANCY: But they say that's a provisional toll. It would be a low number in my estimation. And we have to still wait and see. We know some are still being held. Mauritanian news services reporting that there's been an office to swap hostages, the American hostages, for a couple of hostages that are held right here in U.S. prisons. And that one of them would be Omar Abdul Rahman (ph). He was the so-called blind sheikh who was charged in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He's serving a life sentence. And a woman, Athea Sadiki (ph). Now she was educated in the U.S., Pakistani origin. She was implicated by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in one way or another in the World Trade Center bombings. She fled the country with her children. Well, she was arrested. She showed up in Afghanistan. And she wasn't prosecuted for terrorism or for bombing, she was prosecuted because she tried to kill, tried to -- she shot at two of the men who were interrogating her.

BALDWIN: So they're talking about a possible swap, to go back to one point you made. So there are still American hostages right now in Algeria.

CLANCY: There's still American hostages believed to be there. Foreign hostages. The situation is just so murky, it's frustrating.

BALDWIN: Why is that? It is just because we're talking about Algeria? And initially when we were reporting this a couple of days ago we were talking 40, and now we're saying 650 have been freed. Why the misinformation?

CLANCY: Well, it's a remote site. It's a game of telephone that's going on. The details are coming out. And then we get conflicting details.

Second, you got the Algerian government that is very, very sensitive on the subject of terrorism. It fought a brutal, with a capital b, civil war during the 1990s and 50,000 to 200,000 people were killed. Violence all across the country fighting the armed Islamic group and the theiss (ph), another Islamic group in the country. So it's very sensitive. It doesn't want to negotiate at all. But we understand that it's giving in to Japanese, as well as American pressure, and saying, well, we're trying to talk to them. The Americans, the Japanese are saying, put the lives of the hostages first.

BALDWIN: The real question, which I know you don't have an answer to, is the why. Why did they do this? We talked about the fact that this facility, there were a lot of western -- western people there.

CLANCY: Well, there's your answer too. There's a lot of westerns there. They tracked --

BALDWIN: So, money?

CLANCY: Well, money could have been -- it may have been planned for monetary purposes because a lot of people think that this wasn't just put up in the last week. This was well planned over a period of time. But it was executed over the last week.


CLANCY: And there's a lot of security forces in the area. There were people there to protect those workers. But, obviously, not enough. Talk of a really fierce fire fight to touch all of this off. Once again, Brooke, we have to just wait to find out what actually happened. We'll get it from the hostages, I think.

BALDWIN: We will. Jim Clancy, thank you once again today.

CLANCY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And now to the confession that really the world has stopped to watch here. Lance Armstrong calling himself arrogant, calling himself a bully and a jerk as he finally admitted he had taken banned substances before all seven of his Tour de France wins. So, for 13 years Armstrong has been looking smack dab into that camera and into the eyes of his prosecutors, his critics, his own teammates, fans, cancer survivors, and lying. Here's a reminder.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, FORMER PROFESSIONAL CYCLIST: Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike.

Regardless of whether or not people accuse Lance Armstrong of doing something, regardless of whether or not they're questioning a relationship with a doctor, we have to look at the facts. We have to.

The questions have continued. The suspicion has continued. But the only other thing that's really continued, and I think is the most alarming thing, is the performance. I've not gone away.

To the cynics and the skeptics, I'm sorry for you. I'm sorry you can't dream big. And I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles.

I've said it for longer than seven years, I have never doped.

How could that have happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was my point. You're not -- it's not just something you don't recall? Just --

ARMSTRONG: How many times do I have to say it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just trying to make sure your testimony's clear.

ARMSTRONG: Well, it can't be any clearer than I've never taken drugs.


BALDWIN: Well, now we know the facts, we know the truth in this celebrity version of a confessional. Lance Armstrong sat down with Oprah Winfrey and straight out of the gate he admitted to everything you just heard him brazenly deny. Watch.


OPRAH WINFREY: Let's start with the questions that people around the world have been waiting for you to answer. And for now I'd just like a yes or a no.


WINFREY: OK. This whole conversation, we have a lot of time, will be about the details.

Yes or no, did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Yes or no, was one of those banned substances EPO?


WINFREY: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


WINFREY: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortizone or human growth hormone?


WINFREY: Yes or no, in all seven of your Tour de France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


WINFREY: In your opinion, was it humanly possible to win the Tour de France without doping, seven times in a row?

ARMSTRONG: Not in my opinion.


BALDWIN: One big lie that lasted 13 years. Watch what Armstrong said when he was asked why he did it.


ARMSTRONG: And I was used to controlling everything in my life. I controlled every outcome in my life.

WINFREY: You've been doing that forever.

ARMSTRONG: Yes. Especially when it comes to sport. But just the last thing I'll say is that now we -- now this story is so bad and so toxic, and a lot of it's true.


BALDWIN: I want you to stay with me because next hour we are looking at this confession, the psychology behind it, the legal consequences, the effects of Armstrong's so-called drug cocktail and we will speak to a former teammate. It is one hour. This is a special on the crash of an American icon. Don't miss it. 3:00 Eastern.

Coming up, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, again, coming to the defense of the president, lashing out at the NRA.

Plus, he is the man Deadspin says perpetrated this Manti Te'o alleged girlfriend hoax. Now CNN is talking to the father of the former high school football player.


BALDWIN: New Jersey's Chris Christie is taking aim at the NRA for that ad that drags the president's two children into this gun control debate. I know you've probably seen it. Here is just 10 seconds worth.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE, TELEVISION AD: Are the president's kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his --


BALDWIN: So that's just part of the ad. It came out this past Wednesday. Republican Chris Christie says it hits below the belt.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Don't be dragging people's children into this. It's wrong. And I think it demeans them. And it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues.

And to talk about the president's children or any public officer's children who have, not by their own choice, but by requirement, to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point I think is reprehensible.


BALDWIN: So that's Chris Christie.

But let's talk quickly about Michael Bloomberg. As you probably know, the New York mayor founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns and he spoke last night with CNN's Anderson Cooper about the guns package that the president announced just this week. Tough question here. Take a listen.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: There is a school of thought of why go for -- trying to go for so much. Why not go for something, which you just said, has more support like more sensitive background checks rather than trying to throw in assault weapons as well.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: Look, there are lives involved here. And if you can stop -- if you can save one life, isn't that worth trying? And I always thought that you should address issues when they're on the public's conscience, when they're being covered by the press, and you should try to do a complete job so you don't have to come back again and again and again for the same thing.

COOPER: What do you think of the NRA, of how they have been fighting this, just recently, since the Newtown?

BLOOMBERG: I don't think that strategy makes any sense at all. They, the other day, to bring in the president's kids was just bad PR. It was also an outrage. It really was. You don't do that.


BALDWIN: Michael Bloomberg also taking issue with the NRA for the ad that released on Wednesday that we showed you just a portion of. The NRA really at the fore of opposition to the president's gun violence package. NRA President David Keene says the group doesn't quibble with the president's daughters having Secret Service protection. He says the ads points out that the girl's private school has top notch security, which the group wants for schools all around the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people expected to head to Washington, D.C., to watch the presidential inauguration. But only a handful of them can make the president and first lady do this. We will introduce you to some young Iowans practicing for an encore performance in the inaugural parade.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Breaking news here. We are getting word that former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has been indicted on federal charges. You know he is the former mayor who was at the helm of the city when Hurricane Katrina absolutely devastated New Orleans. This federal grand jury handed down the indictment today. Want to let you know, we are working on getting through the details, going through the details on exactly what these indictments are for.

But here's what I can tell you. This is what we're getting from our CNN affiliate WWL in New Orleans. They're reporting that there are 21 federal corruption counts in this indictment. That includes fraud. I do want to read a statement for you from the current mayor of New Orleans, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, after finding out about this indictment with regard to Ray Nagin. Quote, "this is a sad day for the city of New Orleans. Today's indictment of former Mayor Ray Nagin alleges serious violations of the public's trust." And it goes on, "public corruption cannot and will not be tolerated."

As soon as we get more details, you know we're working on it here at CNN, we will pass them along to you live.

Meantime, President Obama set to join a very exclusive club next week, with members including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt, when he is inaugurated as the president of the United States for the second time. Massive preparations are well underway here in the nation's capital. The whole thing kicks of tomorrow with a national day of service. Chelsea Clinton will be the honorary chair for that. And because January 20th, inauguration day, actually falls on a Sunday this year, the official swearing in of President Obama will take place in a private ceremony at the White House, as it has to on a Sunday.

But then Monday's the big day, folks. This all kicks off with a church service at St. John's Church, just across the street from the White House. Then on to the public. The swearing in here where hundreds of thousands are expected to turn out on what will be, I'm sure, a chilly Washington day. From Capitol Hill to the National Mall, Pennsylvania Avenue, for the inaugural parade.

I will be there. I'm so excited. I'll be there in the thick of things. Of course, many, many -- many, many of our CNN crews will be there as well. You can catch it all right here on CNN through the weekend and, of course, on Monday.

And much like the halftime show at the Super Bowl, the opportunity to perform at a presidential inauguration really is the chance of a lifetime. And come Monday, you have Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, James Taylor, all performing in front of the president. No pressure. So will the 50 children and teenagers in the marching band from Iowa, they'll be feeling a little bit of the pressure too. This will be their second time performing for the president at the inaugural parade. And, by the way, let me add this. This is at the president's request. Emily Schmidt has their story.


EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In first hours of Barack Obama's presidency, these Iowa kids gave marching orders even the new commander in chief couldn't resist. A cadence so catchy, it swept up the first family. They met the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Crop while courting Iowans during the caucuses. Four years later, it's time for an encore. The Isiserettes are coming back for Monday's inaugural parade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is like a pretty big opportunity to do this stuff.

SCHMIDT: The 50 members who range in age from seven to 18 are about to have a once in a lifetime experience again.

SYMPHANEE FISHER, 14 YEARS OLD: To be able to do it a second time, that means that he understood us on a personal, like, way. And it's just mesmerizing.

SCHMIDT: It's 1,000 miles from Des Moines to the nation's capital. For this nonprofit group, the road looked much longer.

SCHMIDT (on camera): What does it take to get from where you are to where I am?

CORY WILLIAMS, BAND LEADER: It's extremely difficult for us.

SCHMIDT (voice-over): Cory Williams leads the Isiserettes. WILLIAMS: We don't have boosters. We basically have the state of Iowa, our community, our local churches, families and friends.

SCHMIDT: They have raised about two-thirds of the trip's $12,500 cost so far. The price tag would be four times greater, almost insurmountable, without help from one of Washington's most exclusive schools.

TOM FARQUHAR, SIDWELL FRIENDS : They'll roll in here on Saturday night and they'll set up camp in here. And they'll have a ball.

SCHMIDT: Tom Farquhar is Sidwell Friends head of school. He met the Isiserettes in 2009 and this year he's making the gymnasium their weekend home. It saves about $50,000 in hotel costs and pays priceless dividends.

FARQUHAR: It's a privilege for us to show hospitality to a group coming a long way and making the sacrifice to be part of this national event.

SCHMIDT: The Isiserettes says they feel like they'll be playing for friends on Monday.

WILLIAMS: We've always had that kind of kinship with the first family. We work hard. We're dedicated to what we do. And I think they recognize that in our kids.

SCHMIDT: Getting a second term off on a right foot which can't help but move to the beat.

Emily Schmidt, CNN, Washington.


BALDWIN: Pretty good, huh? Don't miss CNN's special coverage of the presidential inauguration Sunday and Monday beginning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on CNN.

For more than 10 years, Lance Armstrong denied using those performance enhancing drugs or blood doping. But in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, he confessed to just about everything. So the question is, why is he doing it right now? We're asking the man who represented the great home run hitter and admitted steroid user Mark McGwire, next.


BALDWIN: We have just gotten a peek, and a quick one, at Notre Dame's Manti Te'o. Take a look with me. Here he is, Manti Te'o. This is late this morning in Bradenton, Florida, where he is there. He's preparing for the NFL's scouting combine (ph), driving by here in a golf cart and then he's gone.

Manti Te'o, two days now since this shocking revelation that the girlfriend he lost never existed in the first place. Two days later, the anatomy of this complex hoax is still a mystery, as is Te'o's role in the whole thing. Here is CNN's Brian Todd. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a hoax made all the more believable by his hushed mournful interviews, like the one he gave ESPN.

MANTI TE'O, NOTRE DAME LINEBACKER: I cried. I yelled. Never felt that way before. This is six hours ago I just found out my grandmother passed away and you take, you know, the love of my life. The last thing she said to me was, "I love you."

TODD: But Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, who'd reportedly died of leukemia, never existed. Te'o and Notre Dame say he was the victim of this hoax.

Who perpetrated it?, the sports investigative website that broke the story, points to a young man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. CNN obtained a yearbook photo of him from 2008 when he was a senior in Paraclete High School in Lancaster, California. Deadspin, citing friends and relatives of Tuiasosopo, says he created the girlfriend and spread the myth online.

TIMOTHY BURKE, EDITOR, DEADSPIN.COM: They told us that he has been doing the Lennay Kekua fake online profile for several years and that he's caught other people in its trap. But that they caught on way earlier than Manti Te'o did.

TODD: CNN cannot confirm Tuiasosopo's involvement. We went to addresses, called numbers in southern California listed for Ronaiah Tuiasosopo and could not reach him. We caught up with Tuiasosopo's father, Titus (ph), a former football player at USC, now a pastor at a place called the Oasis Christian Church of the Antelope. He's seen here on FaceBook. He wouldn't speak on camera, but told us the truth will all come out. God knows our character. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo's uncle, who gave us these pictures of him as a child, tells us Tuiasosopo is religious and plays in a band at his father's church.

VINCENT AMITUANAI, RONAIAH TUIASOSOPO'S UNCLE: It's hard for me because I know the kid all his life, and this first time I heard something like that.

TODD: Deadspin says Tuiasosopo and Manti Te'o know each other. Notre Dame's athletic director, who hired investigators in this case, was asked if they're cousins or family friends.

JACK SWARBRICK, NOTRE DAME ATHLETIC DIRECTOR: That characterization does not square with my information. But I'll let the Te'os address it.

TODD: We could not reach Manti Te'o, his parents or his agent for comment. Tuiasosopo is a former player himself, seen here as a quarterback at Antelope Valley High School. He's got relatives who played college and pro football.

TODD (on camera): I spoke on the phone with Marcus Tuiasosopo, a former quarterback for the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets. Marcus said he's a distant cousin of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Marcus didn't want to tape an interview. He said he can't say anything about this story, doesn't know Ronaiah well, but Marcus did say that he and his family know the Te'o family.

TODD (voice-over): Who was the woman depicted in social media photos as Manti Te'o's girlfriend? A woman we contacted, whose name we're not airing, says she realized her picture had been used for a fake FaceBook page for Te'o's girlfriend. The woman told CNN she knows Ronaiah Tuiasosopo through church, but says she is shocked to know he might be involved. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.