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Manhunt in California; Suspect in Manhunt has Military Past; Teenager Found Handcuffed in Home; Benghazi in the Spotlight Again; Obama Speaks at Prayer Breakfast; More than 2000 have Died in Afghanistan; Winter Storm Headed to East Coast; New Developments in Arias Trial

Aired February 7, 2013 - 11:00   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Police officers at this hour are themselves in need of protection.

We are not being given a lot of details right now on exactly where they are looking for this man.

But make no mistake he has a history, not only in law enforcement but in military, and it is very difficult to find someone when he knows the tricks of the trade. This is no ordinary manhunt.

Right now, the L.A. cops at their peak.

Our Paul Vercammen has been watching this story and he's been following just what we can get in terms of the public information on this.

Paul, where do we stand right now with how they're trying to track this man?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, basically, it is an all out manhunt for a man that they believe is extremely dangerous, who they believe is now involved in three, separate shooting incidents.

If you just look over my right shoulder, you can see how serious they are, police in the background there with their fingers on their trigger guards, guns pointed in the air.

This is just one of a couple areas that have been sealed of in downtown Riverside.

Let me tell you what happened in Riverside at about 1:30 this morning. Police told us that two officers on routine patrol, Riverside police officers, were ambushed by the suspect, Dorner.

Now, separate from that, earlier this evening, in Corona, California or earlier last evening, I should say, an LAPD officer on patrol, apparently leaving the freeway -- this is according to the LAPD -- was shot, grazed in the head.

If you look at the manifesto from Dorner, we can call this a hit list of LAPD officers who he was upset with. Basically, it is believed that he is now trying to exact a measure of revenge against all of the people who somehow angered him, and in reading the manifesto, he alluded to being fired. And he said terminating me for telling the truth about a Caucasian officer kicking a mentally-ill person is disgusting -- a mentally-ill man.

A lot of other clues in that manifesto, as well. He was talking about some of his military background, and he said that, "You are aware that I was always the top shot and the highest scorer and expert in rifle qualifications in every unit."

And then he goes on to say, "I will utilize every bit of small arms training, demolition, ordnance and survival training." So, he has a Navy, a military background, does Dorner.

Bone chilling at the end, he said in this manifesto, he say that -- in this manifesto -- that he would exact revenge on the family members of these officers he's upset with. And he has said, "I have the strength and the benefits of being unpredictable."

So, right now, an all-out manhunt for Dorner here in about nine California counties. They're trying to basically locate him, and they are very frustrated because they told us when we arrived here they just don't know if he's going to come after any of the officers now on scene.

Back to you.

BANFIELD: Oh, Paul, the threats are unbelievable. And just to see those officers almost like sitting ducks out there, nine counties.

Paul, stand by, if you will, for a moment. Our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon also has some remarkable information about this suspect's past in the military.

Barbara, this man knows how to use a rifle. He has been awarded for his marksmanship.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Ashleigh. The U.S. Navy quickly assembling what records it has on this man, and telling us he was a navy reservist.

In fact, just until a few days ago, he separated from the naval service. We don't know when the last time is he showed up, but he has shooting expertise. Let's go through it.

According to Navy records, he has been awarded the rifle-marksman ribbon and the pistol-expert medal. An official, military official, tells us that these are awarded for achieving a certain level of shooting accuracy at various distances.

Let's be very clear. The man is not a Navy commando. He's not a Navy SEAL. He held a number of jobs as a reservist in Navy security operations. In fact, he went to Iraq, we are told, and had a job providing military security on Iraqi oil platforms. To have that job, it is most likely, we're told, he did receive some advanced weapons training. You'll remember back in those days, those oil platforms, a lot of concern about small boat attacks, sniper attacks, that sort of thing.

So, he clearly has a certain level, a very worrisome level of weapons expertise. The police know this. They know what they're dealing with.

What he has on-hand now in terms of weapons, of course, is the major concern.


BANFIELD: And, Barbara, I'm reading here his last day of affiliation with the Navy as a reservist was just February 1st of this year. We're talking about -- and my -- what's astounding here ...

STARR: Let me just talk about that for a minute.

BANFIELD: I was just going to say he's got eight awards and -- you know, eight different awards, including the ones you mentioned.

But any idea about his mental illness or his mental health or anything that the military might have on him?

STARR: Well, let me talk about that for a second. We asked about that because it was astounding, when you look at the record -- you and I are looking at the same document -- February 1st, 2013 is listed -- February 1st -- as his last day of service in the reservists.

What they're trying to figure out right now is did he -- was he on some sort of, if you will, leave, vacation time, separation? Had he basically stopped serving as a reservist some weeks or months before that, and this was simply the day he was officially taken off the rolls?

We're trying to figure that out right now. The military's trying to obviously figure that out right now.

I think it's very safe to assume the military trying to share whatever information they are able to with law enforcement out in California.

And, of course, if you look at the pictures that Paul is showing out in Riverside County, this is all my hometown. The freeways, the distances there, he can get on the freeway, disappear pretty quick. It's going to be tough to catch this guy.

BANFIELD: Multiple counties now under this kind of surveillance and watch, and they are at the ready.

Barbara, stand by, if you will. I also want to bring in Steve Kardian, who is on the phone from Valhalla, New York. He's a former police detective and also criminal investigator.

Listen, Steve, you heard how we introduced what kind of a suspect we're dealing with here. He's a former Navy lieutenant. Barbara Starr has reported that he did military security on Iraqi oil platforms. He's got the rifle-marksmanship ribbon and he's a former LAPD officer. This is one hell of a manhunt.

STEVE KARDIAN, FORMER POLICE DETECTIVE: Yes, it is, Ashleigh. And the most dangerous thing about this man is his mindset.

He knows what law enforcement's plan is. He knows their game plan. He knows their tactics. He knows their strengths and their weaknesses.

So, he'll know when to strike. And with that marksmanship ability, he could take out police officers from hundreds of yards away. And this is like a chess game, only with deadly consequences.

BANFIELD: But doesn't this go both ways? Yes, he knows their tactics, but they also -- they know his, as well.

KARDIAN: Yeah. There is no human being more dangerous than a police officer that has military background, that has weaponry -- the experience in weaponry that he has.

It's very difficult because they're hunting him, but he's also hunting them. And they'll never know where he's going to show up, so he has that advantage over law enforcement in uniform.

BANFIELD: In the "code of blue," isn't this considered the ultimate betrayal? I mean, it goes without saying, but take me inside the force in terms of the level of betrayal that this is.

KARDIAN: We rely on each other. We're brothers and sisters in blue. We depend on one another every day, every minute we wear that uniform, so this is the ultimate act of betrayal, a police officer, a former police officer, turning against his own.

There is no more dangerous person on earth that would kill like this, police officers, one of his own at the time. So, he's one of the most dangerous individuals right now in the United States.

BANFIELD: We're just looking at these live pictures -- I hope at the same time you can see them in Riverside, California -- of officers who are literally at the ready with their weapons. And you can see them every so often, literally turning 360.

I can only imagine no matter where they are in the nine counties where officers are now sitting ducks because he's opened this manifesto to anyone in the uniform at work or at play, how do they prosecute their work? And how do they protect their lives at the same time?

KARDIAN: They've got to be highly diligent, highly alert. They've got to be aware of everything, so they're going to be super vigilant. They can't drop their guard for a minute. They have to approach every single call, every single stop sign that they stop at as a potential threat. And it could be a deadly threat.

BANFIELD: All right, Steve Kardian, if you wouldn't mind standing by. We're going to keep our eyes on this story and update it throughout the hour, as well as that manhunt in Riverside, California and elsewhere around the L.A.-area continues for Christopher Jordan Dorner, 33-years-old, ex-military, ex-cop and vowing in a manifesto to kill anyone in an LAPD uniform and their families. Unbelievable.

Also another story that we're following today, a community in shock after a 17-year-old boy is found handcuffed in the basement of his own family's home.

And get this. Police say he had been there for months. We're going to hear about his ordeal coming up in a live report from Kansas City, Missouri.

Benghazi in the spotlight again. Right now, a Senate panel on the Pentagon's response to the attack on U.S. facilities there. The senators also asking questions about an internal review following that attack.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta responded to criticism regarding the response time.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We were not dealing with a prolonged or continuous assault, which could have been brought to an end by a U.S. military response.

Very simply, although we had forces deployed to the region, time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.


BANFIELD: After a lunch today, President Obama's pick for CIA director is going to have to answer for the death-by-drone overseas.

John Brennan is going to go before the Senate intelligence committee after four years as the president's counterterrorism aide during which he championed the use of drones or unmanned aircraft to take out perceived threats to the homeland, even perceived threats who may be U.S. citizens.

The White House agreed only yesterday to give some lawmakers a 50- page, legal rationale written out by the Justice Department in 2010 outlining their policy on U.S. citizens abroad who are threats to us and the right to take them out.

We're going to talk more about drones and the law in our legal segment later this hour, specifically how it relates to you here at home.

And speaking of drones, you know that they can and do fire missiles, but they are mainly armed with cameras.

What you're seeing right now is footage that came supposedly from a U.S. drone that ultimately went down in Iran 14 months ago. Iran is now saying that some of the newly decoded video is from Afghanistan. None of this has been verified.


BANFIELD: You know they argue and they back-bite on a daily basis, but at least once a year, the most powerful people in Washington have breakfast together. And they also pray.

And today was President Obama's fifth appearance at the National Prayer breakfast. He says it's a wonderful event, but one in his experience wears off all too quickly.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Then I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it's like we didn't pray.


BANFIELD: I hope he was watching us.

The president says his hope is for humility that carries over every day. Maybe he should hope for a prayer breakfast every day.

In about 24 hours, we are really in for a rude awakening here in the northeast and it's coming in the form of a very powerful nor'easter. And it's stirring up a lot of bad memories because it's expected to hit on the 35th anniversary of that. On your screen is the 1978 blizzard. And if you weren't alive, or you were too young to remember, it was awful. Or so I'm told.

Let's get straight to meteorologist Chad Myers, who's standing by in the Severe Weather Center. I am very, very confused by what I have been hearing about this big nor'easter coming in because, depending what models you're looking at, we're either going to get three inches of snow or three and a half feet. And I don't understand how it could be so widely diverging.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, let me tell you. Let me describe the issue that we have. And people are saying how come it's so wrong? How come you're so widely scattered?

Because 15 years ago, we would never have started talking about computer model forecast numbers 48 hours before the storm. Wouldn't have talked about it. We would have said, wait, we don't know yet. Wait until we know more. And then 12 hours before the storm started, we would have given you a number.

Well, we've looked at all these models and here's the deal. This is the quarterback. Let's go back to the Super Bowl. This is the wide receiver. The quarterback is going to try to throw a ball here. The wide receiver is going to try to catch it. If they both cross at the exact same time, this storm doubles in intensity. You get the moisture and the cold and it comes together, and it does what we call a Fujiwara effect. They actually spin around each other and that makes more snow than what we would get if just that rolled across, which would be about maybe six or eight inches. Or if this rolled across, which would be two to three inches.

So you multiply them together -- it's like Superstorm Sandy, when we had the cold on one side, the warm on the other, and one plus one equaled three. Well, that's what we have here. Rain moving up the East Coast, snow coming across parts of the northern plains here, and then the winter storm advisories. We have warnings, watches, blizzard warnings for Boston into Hartford, Providence.

I could easily see New York City between 6 and 12 inches. Yesterday I was thinking probably three, because it was going to be warmer. Now it seems colder. This model right there is 12.8 for New York, and then for New York City on the next one here -- models are coming in -- we have 11.3.

So that's why we're at that 6 to 12 for the city. But look at the numbers east. That's three feet for Boston.

BANFIELD: I've only got a few seconds left. But in 1978, I was looking through some of the data, and it looks like $500 million in damage, back then, which was a lot. And I think over 100 people dead. Are we looking at something this lethal? Or are we now in a better place because we can at least forecast a bit better?

MYERS: If you are on the highway and it's snowing and you're stuck, you are putting yourself in danger. It will be that bad. People will perish from this storm. So, yes, I hope it's not 100. But I-95 is going to get stopped. If you're one of those cars that's stopped and you're in there, wind chill is zero, you can't see, there's going to be trouble.

BANFIELD: All right, well, I'm glad you said, because I think a lot of people think of a big snowstorm and don't think of a lethal snowstorm like that. Keep on that for us, and when you find whether that quarterback's going to make the pass, please let us know where it's going to happen. Chad Myers for us in the Severe Weather Center. Thank you.

Something special I want to tell you about right now. More than 2,000 U.S. troops have died during the war in Afghanistan, some of them during one of the deadliest attacks of this war at this combat outpost.

CNN's anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper is now bringing us their harrowing story, told through the eyes of one of the bravest soldiers.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Throughout all of this, did you ever think, "This is it. I'm not going to get out of here."

SGT. CLINTON ROMESHA, FMR. U.S. ARMY STAFF SERGEANT: It's like a fighter going into the boxing ring, you know. If you think you're going to lose before you even step into the ring, you've already lost. You're there to win, you're there to fight, AND you're there to, you know -- your brothers to your left and right are depending on you, so you don't have that in you.


COSTELLO: "AN AMERICAN HERO: THE UNCOMMON VALOR OF CLINT ROMESHA". It airs tonight 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


BANFIELD: In one of the most closely watched trials since Casey Anthony, Jodi Arias has an Arizona courtroom transfixed. She's on the stand for a third day now claiming self defense in the 2008 murder of her ex-boyfriend. Frankly what is coming from the stand is nothing short of disgusting.

We want to warn you there are very graphic sexual descriptions, but here's the issue. That testimony just happens to be critical to her case.


BANFIELD (voice-over): Jodi Arias fessed up to sordid details of a racy sex life with a man she now says she had to kill to save herself, a man with whom intimate and graphic sex encounters seemed commonplace but now form the cornerstone of her defense, no matter how embarrassing when detailed out loud.

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: He unzipped his pants. He began to have anal sex with me.

ATTORNEY: Given that it was painful, why didn't you tell him no?

ARIAS: I knew that is what he wanted for a while and I just trusted him.

BANFIELD: Travis Alexander was an elder in the Mormon church, risking ex-communication for engaging in premarital sex. So he demanded anal sex instead, convinced, she said, it did not violate a vow of chastity.

"He was forceful and overbearing," she testified, saying she felt like a prostitute with him. And when explicit photos started showed up in court, so did Jodi's tears.

ATTORNEY: What are those pictures of?

ARIAS: Those are pictures of Travis's erection.

ATTORNEY: How did you come into possession of these photos?

ARIAS: They were sent to me.


ARIAS: Via his phone.

BANFIELD: Despite the tears, Arias admitted on the stand the pictures didn't scare her away. Quite the opposite, her feelings for him got stronger. She even joined him in the Mormon church.

ARIAS: The more that I discovered about the church, the more I realized it did not conflict with my beliefs and it was in alignment with a lot of the values I had.

BANFIELD: There's been a river of sexually graphic details coming from the stand. One thing is for sure. There's a prosecutor just waiting in the wings for a cross-examination that is bound to get ugly and draw tears from the stand yet again.

After all, this is literally the fight of Jodi's life.


BANFIELD (on-camera): Following this trial from Phoenix is Beth Karas from our "IN SESSION" sister network on truTV.

Beth, the detail in this trial is unlike almost any other that you and I have covered together. And that's the problem here. The devil is in these details; these dirty details are what her defense is all about.

BETH KARAS, TRUTV ANCHOR: Yes, indeed. In fact, the defense plans to call two experts following Jodi Arias' testimony, one in domestic violence and the other a psychologist. And they relied on her history, her childhood, abuse allegations she has made there, but, more importantly, her relationships with men and, significantly, her relationship with Travis Alexander.

The defense says Jodi Arias was his dirty little secret and that he was demeaning to her, degrading. And basically, they'll try to get inside her mind at the time she was killing him, because she has to explain why this overkill. She killed him three different ways and it seems to be far more than necessary to ward off any threat of deadly force being used against her.

BANFIELD: Yes, and, Beth, we've had her now on the stand three days and counting. And this is what I call the friendly fire. This is her lawyer asking and eliciting friendly questions to get her story. And we just showed that prosecutor; he is just chomping at the bit. What's going to happen when he takes over on cross?

KARAS: You are right about that. Juan Martinez is an extremely skilled litigator. He's tried over 300 cases; he's been in the office for more than two decades. He's one of the top prosecutors in the office. And he sits there like a statue. You think he might be lost in thought; he's not. He will object strategically. He is taking in everything. He is making notes. He will be going after her on cross- examination.

I'm sure he will dismantle what he can of her story, because he does not believe, I'm sure, everything that she is saying. She's known to be a liar and he's going to have to show what she's lying about. The question, Ashleigh, is will Jodi be able to give the kind of detail she's been giving to date about the killing itself? BANFIELD: And you with your wonderful former prosecutorial temperament, you used the word "dismantle". I use the word "tear to shreds," because that's -- she's lied so many times. He's just going to read those lies one after the other.

So listen, Beth. Stay on the story for us. It's great work. Thank you. Beth Karas joining us live.

And you can follow all of the developments in the Jodi Arias case. And truly, it is a riveting case. Dirty details, yes, but incredible legal questions. TruTV and, the source for the info.