CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

STARTING POINT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN

New Study Uncovers Markers of Brain Trauma; Hillary Clinton to Testify Before Congress; Nova: Rise of the Drones

Aired January 23, 2013 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": It feels like single digits in Washington D.C., near zero in New York City, and well below zero in Fargo, North Dakota. This arctic blast is reportedly blamed for at least four deaths so far.

So with temperatures down to seven degrees, more than 300 Chicago firefighters had to battle the elements on the city's south side. The flames broke out around 10:00 inside an empty warehouse and then spread to another building on south Ashland. It took crews about two hours to bring the fires under control. The Chicago fire department says it was one of the biggest fires to hit the city in years. And this is what the building looks like this morning covered in ice, amazing.

General John Allen cleared of charges he wrote inappropriate e-mails to Jill Kelley. Jill Kelley is the woman who claimed she was threatened by Paula Broadwell. Kelley says she's upset with both law enforcement and the media's handling of the story. In a "Washington Post" opinion piece she says, quote, "We have experienced how careless handling of our information by law enforcement and irresponsible news headlines endanger citizen's privacy."

Politics now, Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey making his first public comments on Newark Mayor Cory Booker's decision running for his seat. He told the "Philly Inquirer" that "Booker is behaving like a misbehaving child and needs a spanking."

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Lautenberg has not announced he is retiring. In fact he is staying quite busy talking about spanking and also introducing legislation that would make it illegal to manufacture or sell a magazine that contains more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Sports now, Serena Williams upset at the Australian Open, and she was upset about it. Serena was a lot of people's favorite to win it all. She took it out on her racket there. Her opponent took the win in three sets, there is the broken racket again. Serena says it made her feel better after she broke it.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Of course it does.

ROLAND MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was live tweeting that match, Serena had ankle injuries and back spasms. And the girl that beat her is the first American younger than her to beat her. BERMAN: A lot of people think she is the future of American tennis.

MARTIN: She's the top rated junior in the country.

O'BRIEN: Well, the disease that most likely played a role in the death of NFL great Junior Seau and several other players, too, it's called CTE. It's difficult to define because they cannot diagnose it in living people. But there's a new study out from UCLA that could change that. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When he was a backup quarterback in the NFL, Wayne Clark was lucky to throw a pass or call a play.

WAYNE CLARK, RETIRED NFL PLAYER: I didn't take the steady contacts that other players did.

GUPTA: Except for one game, one concussion in 1972.

CLARK: I went down in a slump because I didn't know where I was.

GUPTA: He spent several bleary hours confused.

CLARK: Somewhere over New Mexico I finally came aware of what was going on again.

GUPTA: Clark's brain was rattled, but it only happened once in his fife year career. And that's what makes this picture of Clark's brain so interesting and perplexes. Researchers at UCLA say Clark has an abnormal protein in his brain. If it sounds familiar, it's because it has been found in the brains of several former NFL players. They all had serious emotional and cognitive problems and eventually committed suicide. They were diagnosed with CTE. Clark is cognitively normal.

Here is a normal brain can, and here are two players in this study who had at least one concussion. Keep in mind, CTE in its most severe cases has memory problems, depression, and anger. So they're not looking just whether or not it is present, but whether it's present in parts of the brain that are responsible for those emotions.

Dr. Gary Smalls says he was surprised to find it in the brains of all five players in the study that until now could only be seen by pathologists after death.

DR. GARY SMALL: They have been seeing these little deposits, and we could see the same pattern.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O'BRIEN: Sanjay is with us now. Sanjay, if you're a living person who then they find the marker in, what do you do with that information? GUPTA: It's a good question, and this is in part how medicine moves forward. Sometimes the diagnosis comes faster than the treatment, but you learn more about the disease. This is a small study that needs to be reproduced, but if you learn more about the disease, you may diagnosis it earlier and treat it earlier. We're not there yet, but that's how a lot of diseases are moved forward.

O'BRIEN: Are there any possible therapies that are being worked on that could be on the horizon?

GUPTA: When you talk to guys like Gary Small, he is an Alzheimer researcher, anti-inflammatories, looking at certain medications to slow down progression, could it also be applied to CTE. Again, with Mr. Clark, a PC is cognitively normal, but when you probe his other symptoms, he may have early CTE.

O'BRIEN: How long before anybody who potentially could have a concussion could get that kind of scan, because obviously right now you say is a small study and it's limited to a small number of people.

GUPTA: The technology is already there, these types of scans, and they basically inject a particular marker into the body to mark for this protein. It can be done now, but the question is what does it really mean, and what do you do with it? People will want to know the answers before it is offered wide scale. And how young? I have seen this in players as young as 17 years old.

O'BRIEN: What do you do with it is the big question, right? Thanks, Sanjay.

GUPTA: You got it.

O'BRIEN: Ahead, Hillary Clinton is in the hot seat, what we can expect from the Secretary of State's testimony from Capitol Hill which begins in just about 20 minutes. Wolf Blitzer will join us next to talk about that.

We also know drones are fighting the war on terror, but did you know real estate agents use them too and police officer too? We're going to talk to a filmmaker that got unprecedented access to robotic planes. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Just about 15 minutes away from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifying before committees in both the House and Senate talking about what happened in that dead assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Wolf Blitzer is the host of CNN's "THE SITUATION ROOM." He's going to have special coverage of the hearings that begin right at the top of the hour.

Dana Bash is our chief Congressional correspondent with us as well. Wolf, I'll start with you. Give me a sense of what you think the tone will be. I've been sitting here with former Congressman Connie Mack and he says he thinks Hillary Clinton has a ton of respect on the Hill and no one will be playing gotcha with her. WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I think it will be respectful. I think substantive, serious, important questions will be asked. It's only supposed to go on for 90 minutes starting at the top of the hour, and later this afternoon, 90 minutes before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. So it will be limited in time. She's highly respected, and she's coming after a very serious illness, a concussion followed by a blood clot in her head. She's wrapping up her tenure as the Secretary of State. So there are serious question that's will be reviewed.

O'BRIEN: She's done that before, right?

BLITZER: She'll do it again today.

O'BRIEN: So to some degree, because she has done it before, what else do you think they need to or want to hear from her?

BLITZER: She didn't herself testify before that accountability review board. They're going to want to hear her side of the story. Where was she, why didn't she go on the Sunday talk shows, why did she delegate Susan Rice who really has no responsibility for diplomatic security around the world, why did she go out?

O'BRIEN: Dana, you know we talked to Jason Chaffetz earlier this morning, and he said about that accountability review board that he had questions about their findings. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) UTAH: I thought it was interesting that an internal review board did not even interview Secretary Clinton. Why is it that the person in charge was not even asked a question by this board?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: How much of this conversation is going to center on some of those findings in the accountability review board in their findings didn't really point the finger, at the end of the day, at an individual level.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think there will be a lot of discussion on that, some Democrats and Republicans want to know if it was a sufficient review. They did have some recommendations for changes. This is going to start in about 15 minutes, and there are already 20 photographers in the room waiting for Hillary Clinton. And this is a room generally reserved for big events, Supreme Court nominations and things like that. So it gives you a sense of how these Senators are really greeting and viewing this, what is effectively, an important hearing on an issue, but also an exit interview for someone who is the Secretary of State and a former Senator herself.

BERMAN: Dana, this is John here. This is the last time we will see Mrs. Clinton in public for a long time probably. She said she's going to be quiet for a while. how do you think it affects the delicacy of the situation for her?

BASH: I think it very much does. This is the lasting content of what people will remember. I found out from a House Republican source, not from this committee hearing but the one this afternoon, that the chairman who you interviewed, Soledad, Ed Royce, he told Republican members of the committee that they have to be respectful. It's something he explicitly told them.

O'BRIEN: Interesting.

BASH: Now for the most part they don't have to be told because they genuinely on both sides of the aisle really do respect Hillary Clinton, but you've seen these hearings. That there are especially as you sort of go down the line to the newer members they like to sort of show their stuff, strut their stuff --

O'BRIEN: You think, you think?

BASH: -- to get on -- to get on television.

O'BRIEN: Let me ask the question to Wolf then Dana. It was interesting in talking to Congress Chaffetz who will not be part of the questioning today, but he said something about well you know she talked in her -- when she was running for presidency about the phone rings at 3:00 in the morning.

So the phone did ring and it was interesting because I thought he was really alluding to 2016, right? And if in fact she -- she decides to run for the presidency that what she's going to say today could be obviously very important down the road, right?

BLITZER: I think it will be important down the road how she handles herself today before the Senate later before the House of Representatives will be significant. We don't know if she's going to run once again in 2016. My own personal sense is I think she still would like to be after a long period of rest that she's going to go through maybe write another book, do some speaking, do some good deeds, if you will

I think she's still is interested in being the first woman President of the United States and if she decides to run she presumably will have a good chance. Unless she really you know doesn't do a very good job today in this final, as Dana said, exit interview if you will between -- before the Senate and the House. And these 90 minutes before the Senate, 90 minutes before the House will be very important because really it will be her last official substantive responsibility as a Secretary of State.

John Kerry, who is recusing himself. He is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But he has his own confirmation hearings tomorrow. He's not going to be participating today. He will be grilled tomorrow, grilled, he will be questioned tomorrow.

Bob Menendez the number two Democrat is the acting chairman today and tomorrow of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So this will be an opportunity for her to leave on a high note, if you will. And knowing Hillary as I have for 20 years watching her over these many years, I think she'll do a very impressive job.

MARTIN: Hey Wolf -- Wolf, your fellow bearded brother here, isn't it also important that she establish clarity? Because the last thing the administration wants is there to be more questions. Did she answer everything. She must be as clear as possible on everything that happened.

BLITZER: Yes, she is a lawyer, she's a former Senator, she's a former First Lady, she's the Secretary of State, she is extremely smart. She always goes into something like this so well prepared. I am sure she's rehearsed all the substantive questions that are likely to be asked. She's got her answers.

I don't think she's going to be -- she's going to be surprised. I think she'll -- she'll probably be very impressive and -- and given the health problems she's had in recent week which were very serious I think that she will leave the office on a high note. And that's just my sense.

O'BRIEN: It will be interesting to watch this testimony. Wolf and Dana, thanks. I appreciate it guys. Wolf is back in about now 13 minutes right after STARTING POINT finishes. He's got special live coverage of the Secretary's testimony. Jake Tapper will be joining him as well for that.

Up next, a rare look at the technology behind unmanned planes or drones. Now we know they have been used by the military, also by the police and also by real estate agents. We'll talk about that straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody. A Nova special takes a look at the evolution and the power behind drones. Not only are they changing how we fight wars abroad, they're also increasingly being used as a surveillance tool here in the United States. Here's a short clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But a revolution is under way as manned planes are replaced by drones. Are we approaching a time when movies like "The Terminator" become a reality?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on it's on the streets. They're starting to take over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A time when machines fly, think, and even kill on their own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: That's a clip from a special tonight. That's on PBS it's called, "Nova: Rise of the Drones". Filmmaker Peter Yost joins us to talk about it. When we think of drones we usually think international conflict. A drone is able to sort of keep American servicemen and women out of harm's way in a lot of ways. How long have we been using drones in that capacity?

PETER YOST, FILMMAKER, "NOVA: RISE OF THE DRONES": Well, we've been using them actually in different ways for many decades. Actually as early as World War II, we were flying via remote control from one plane to another. And in fact pilots would sometimes bailout with parachutes so they would kind of be toggling these things and then jump out with parachutes. There is footage of this in the film that is pretty rare and amazing.

O'BRIEN: But the domestic surveillance, I think is what -- it's a little -- I won't say scary but kind of unnerving.

FMR. REP. CONNIE MACK, (R) FLORIDA: I would say scary. I mean --

O'BRIEN: You say scary.

MACK: This is a privacy -- for me it's the idea that you're going to have this drone flying overhead watching you, taping you, following you, I mean -- you know this is -- I think this goes to the larger issue of privacy.

O'BRIEN: What's the use of domestic drones?

YOST: Absolutely. Well, right now it's playing out as we speak. The technology somebody in the film mentions is essentially where it was with manned planes right after World War I. So we're really on the ground floor of this technology and it's going to be changing. So even what we say or what I'm about to say will have very little to no relevance three, five, ten years in the future.

So where we are right now is it's playing out. There are small quad- rotors (ph) which are four weather drones which can be purchased at a department store really by hobbyists or anyone can build these things in their backyard and mount a camera on them and fly even miles away and stream back through their iPhone if they like.

So the technology is accessible to virtually anyone right now. But it's becoming ever more sophisticated by the day.

MARTIN: Peter, who will be governing the use of this because that's critical. You talk about police departments and others. And also you have air traffic. I mean all of a sudden, if you look up and you have private and governmental folks using drones, who is determining what's happening in the air?

YOST: Again, this is going to be playing out, it's going to be an FAA regulation, and I think there currently is a distinction between people who use these things for just kind of fun, hobbyists in the backyard, you take it to the park with your kid. That's on the one side and currently that's essentially unregulated for the most part with some exceptions.

And then there is a question if you want to use it for commercial purposes, larger things, flying higher, doing -- you know for money, then that's going to be FAA regulation, and that's coming online in the coming years. They've already kicked the can down the road a little bit. They're supposed to do that in the very near future. And it looks like instead it's just going to be the near future.

O'BRIEN: Real estate -- I want to ask real estate agents. Because there have been cases where real estate agents have used drones. Why, I guess, and is that legal?

YOST: Well, it's of marginal legality. I think again, you move into a regulated zone when you're doing it for Congress. So if you're doing it and selling the property, it becomes very sketchy. And certainly localities --

O'BRIEN: So they do see the parameters of the property.

YOST: Absolutely. If you think about it, it's essentially like having a free or cheap -- much, much cheaper -- helicopter at your disposal with the aerial imaging. So that for journalist, it's a godsend potentially but they're also for paparazzi -- a quite robust tool, if you wish.

Or if you want to see your neighbor in the backyard in a bikini. That's a possibility.

(CROSSTALK)

YOST: Or we have a quick story in our film that I actually found to be quite a condensed and robust example of frozen cons with these things. There are some extreme animal activists who travel the country with cameras trying to draw attention to what they consider to be nefarious practices of people abusing animals.

Well, in Pennsylvania last year, there were some people on a pigeon hunt and they didn't like this very much. So they built quad-rotor drones -- again these four-rotor drones but so they made drones that streamed live footage back to their recording device. They flew over the property where these hunters were. And of course, hunters who see things they don't like, and what do they do? They're holding guns. And so of course they shot down the drone.

(CROSSTALK)

YOST: There you go. So the hunters -- and we actually in the film have footage, and I think it's quite substantiated, it was the first ever domestic shoot down of a drone.

O'BRIEN: Wow, it really brings us into all those policy issues, right. I mean exactly that. At the end of the day, do you have the right to shoot down a drone that's flying over your property.

(CROSSTALK)

MACK: Do you have the right to fly that drone over my property?

O'BRIEN: I don't know. I don't know.

CHRIS FRATES, REPORTER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": It's the next frontier on privacy rights.

YOST: I think it is definitely a frontier on privacy. There are a number of experts point out that everyone who has a cell phone, is currently carrying a tracking device. So relax. And if you would walk through a city and you look up, you're being photographed all the time.

O'BRIEN: Peter Yost, the film is called "Nova: The Rise of the Drones"; nice to have you this morning, we appreciate it.

MARTIN: My (inaudible) Lisa is going to have that drone on dates.

O'BRIEN: We're just a couple minutes away from the start of the Benghazi hearings with Hillary Clinton. We'll talk about that. "End Point" is up next.

Thanks Peter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O'BRIEN: Welcome back, everybody.

We start with some live pictures from Capitol Hill. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be testifying in just a couple minutes about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. CNN has complete coverage of that. Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper will be joining us for that in just a little bit.

Only a couple of seconds left. Let's get right to our "End Point", Connie Mack, I'm going to give it to you.

MACK: Well, you know, the story about the drones and domestically using them, law enforcement, real estate agents. This is an infringement I think on our privacy and on our rights as individuals. And so the technology might be awesome, and we might enjoy that technology, but I think it's something that we have to be very, very careful with. If it's in the wrong hands, what they use that technology for, invading someone's personal privacy is something to worry about.

O'BRIEN: Yes. It will be interesting to see where it actually ends up going.

Thanks for being with us guys. I certainly appreciate.

"CNN NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello begins right now. They've got the special coverage of the Benghazi hearings.

Hey Carol, good morning.