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Monster Blizzard to Hit Northeast; State of Emergency in MA, RI, CT; Cops: Manhunt Tip Likely Fake; Bush Family E-Mail Hacked; Thousands Mourn Opposition Leader in Tunisia

Aired February 8, 2013 - 12:00   ET

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


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

We are following two major stories right now.

First of course a major blizzard closing in on New York and New England. Could be a record breaking event. We could see more than two feet of snow in some areas. We are talking about huge drifts, high winds, flooding along the East Coast, as well. Live coverage of the (INAUDIBLE) storm just moments away.

We are also following this big story. This is out of California. First of all, a false alert today in this massive manhunt for former cop Christopher Dorner. Police say a tip of a possible sighting of this accused killer in San Diego was likely just a hoax. Hundreds of officers they are searching for this guy.

He's a former navy lieutenant. They say he's an expert sharp shooter who is now seeking revenge on the LAPD for firing him. Dorner is accused of killing already three people including a police officer and retired officer's daughter. He declared war on the police officers and we're going to have a press conference regarding that just moments away.

And of course also covering the major storm from all angles. We're going to begin with the city that is going to get hit first, that is New York.

Alison Kosik, do we understand if they're prepared? Okay. Lost her.

We're going to go to Susan Candiotti in Boston, another place the storm is going to be hitting. And we know that there will be a lot, a lot, a lot of snow. Are they ready?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To put it bluntly, I think they are, we certainly hope they are. The city hopes Bostonians are. Certainly they and New Englanders are used to huge nor'easters and blizzards like this.

Thirty-five years ago, you had the storm of '78, when they had more than 27 inches. This could rival those record amounts. That's the prediction. We'll have to see what happens.

But as of now, noontime is zero hour. A snow emergency has gone into effect and now people are being told that's it, get off the streets. If your car is there, it's going to get towed. Only emergency vehicles are supposed to be out there now.

So by now and certainly if take you a look at the store shelves, they are empty. It is clear that people have been going out within the last 24, 48 hours since these warnings began. Buying all kinds of essential supplies, including non-perishable foods, water, batteries flashlight, maybe portable radios, making sure their batteries are charged, making sure that they have cash on hand, making sure that they have their tanks filled up with gas.

And of course all kinds of snow equipment also is at the ready. They have more than 43,000 tons of salt ready to hit the road. So Suzanne, people here are bracing for that big storm and as you can see, the snow is not too bad right now. It's not expected to pick up until the sun goes down.

MALVEAUX: You and I we've covered Boston many years. They're used to this kind of weather. But this could actually break the record back in 1978, is that right?

CANDIOTTI: It's entirely possible. They're saying more than two feet, could be up to three feet in some areas and really powerful winds. Thirty miles an hour and gusts of possibly 40, 50, 60. It's hard to predict at this stage. But again, they're telling everyone to be prepared for the worst.

MALVEAUX: All right. Thanks. Want to bring in Alison Kosik.

Alison, tell us how New York looks.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know what, what's interesting, I've been out here since 6:00 a.m. this morning and we got a pretty good amount of snow this morning. Then there was a lull. And now it feels like something is coming in again.

We're still getting the wet slushy snow, the kind that makes you fall on the sidewalks. That's why there are a lot of folks out here salting this sidewalk.

The wind is certainly picking up at this point. Clearly there's not a coating of snow though but so the forecasts or any indication, this area should be covered in about 24 hours with snow, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: Are they ready? You know New Yorkers. They're indoor creatures. You got to tell me are they ready for a lot of snow?

I mean the last time super storm Sandy really did a lot of damage for folks. And some are still, in Long Island, they are still trying to put their lives back together.

All right. Alison Kosik. We lost her here.

I understand that there is a press conference out of Connecticut. This is the -- I believe the governor Dan Malloy is going to be speaking to reporters. Let's get that. (BEGIN LIVE FEED)

GOV. DAN MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: ...information. But with the amount that is possible, it is very important that we keep the roads open. If there are any elderly people who live next to you in the state of Connecticut, we ask that you check in on them, make sure that they're OK.

Again, we remind people, if you do switch to generator power, make sure that generator is vented outside of the house. And likewise if we get large accumulations stacking up against house and your heating system vents to the side of the house as opposed to the roof, you need to keep the vent clear, as well.

We will convene another meeting of state officials at 5:00 p.m., a meeting of local officials at 5:30. And we will be available to you all again at 6:00. With that, I'll take some questions.

REPORTER: Talking about road closures, you can explain what that will mean when and if it happens some for instance you have people probably went to work this morning, nothing was really happening. And they need to get home. (INAUDIBLE)

MALLOY: And that is exactly the reason that over two hours ago, we noticed people through you all that the roads could be closed at any point after 12:00 p.m. today.

We're not doing that at the moment because we're not at the point where that's required. And we do want to coordinate or activities with Massachusetts and New York. And we're constantly conferencing on this issue.

If you're not already on the road to get home, you should be. We certainly have warned everybody enough. And these things are not hard. We don't park a car at every entrance and exit and stop every vehicle. But the message has to be clear that emergency personnel are those people who are completing travel, for instance, if they just started, are the only people who should be on the highway.

If you're leaving your house to get on the highway to go buy milk...

(END LIVE FEED)

MALVEAUX: And the Los Angeles Police Department is about it hold a news conference here. This is in searching for Christopher Dorner, this is the cop who has gone on a shooting rampage allegedly. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN LIVE FEED)

JOHN MCMAHON, SAN BERNARDINO SHERIFF: We're going to continue searching until either we discover that he left the mountain or we find him. One of the two.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We don't have any evidence to suggest that he is or is not. We're continuing to search.

REPORTER: Is it a matter of playing it safe? Because there's been plenty of time to get out of here.

MCMAHON: Certainly there has been time to get out of here, but we're not sure if he has in fact left. There are a number of places up on the mountain that we haven't got to yet that we're continuing to search.

REPORTER: How hard it is (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We have some great partners. San Bernardino County Fire as well as ourselves. We have a snow cat. We put our S.W.A.T. guys in the snow cat as well as our armored personnel carriers. We put chains on. We're up on the mountain, on those mountain roads with those pieces of equipment.

REPORTER: How many homes have you searched so far (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We have searched the entire area that's within this close proximity. I can't tell you the number of homes that we've searched.

REPORTER: Because schools are open...?

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We have no evidence at this point. We've had a couple reported sightings, but we've ran those leads down and couldn't prove them. So we have no information that he's come down into the community at all.

REPORTER: Because schools are open and the ski resort, does that show a certain level of confidence?

MCMAHON: The schools are closed today. We were prepared to put police officers at each school, but the school district chose to close the schools today due to the weather and I'm not sure what else.

REPORTER: What you can tell us about the car? Have you had any evidence or anything new after looking over it, the truck?

MCMAHON: We're continuing to process the car with our partners with Irvine, Los Angeles and Riverside. We're all partnered together and the car is being - or the truck is being processed in Riverside.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: Nothing yet. We're still inventorying all of it. We'll get that out in a little bit once we determine what all is inside the vehicle.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) see him face to face.

MCMAHON: Certainly. And I had the conversation with our folks right before they went out in our briefing this morning, it's extremely dangerous. I explained to them to be very careful but our folks are highly trained.

We have the right equipment here. And we have the support of the board of supervisors. I just got off the phone with Congressman Paul Cook, he's willing to do anything he can. But I will tell you that our partnerships are great.

The FBI, everybody is working with us. We're working side by side to help solve this.

REPORTER: Did the search go throughout the night last night or did you stop (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: Yes. We continued driving around the neighborhoods, we didn't go door to door after midnight, but we continued driving around in the neighborhoods.

REPORTER: Is the suspect familiar with this area at all, whether he's been to the ski resort, whether he had a cabin (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We're not sure of that yet, but we're still working with our partners in L.A. and Irvine on that information.

REPORTER: Any evidence before he came he prepared for the weather, did he go to any store (INAUDIBLE) evidence that maybe buy (INAUDIBLE) or a tent or whatever?

MCMAHON: We don't have any information that that happened yet.

REPORTER: Does it feel like a dead end (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: I can't tell at this point. We're going to continue to search primarily up in the mountain area to make sure. There are a lot of cabins up there that are abandoned.

We want to make sure he didn't find a place to hide out for the night. Once we exhaust that we'll continue to re-evaluate what we're going to do next.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) is that true?

MCMAHON: We're continuing to search in the area where the truck was located and up on the mountain up above that.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) area?

MCMAHON: That is completely unrelated.

REPORTER: No truth to that at all?

MCMAHON: No truth that he was in the white Lexus in Barstow.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: Currently we're not because of the weather. We're unable to use our helicopters because of the (INAUDBLE) of ice right now.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: We're continuing to search just like we did yesterday. Our folks just have different clothes and boots on, but we'll continue regardless of the weather. We have the equipment we need to get up on top of the mountain and our folks have the clothing they need to get through this weather.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: The equipment is what I talked about before. We have snow cats forget us up there, our armored personnel carriers have chains on them and that's how we're getting our folks up on top of the hill.

REPORTER: What can you tell us about tracks leading away from his truck, how long it you see these, et cetera?

MCMAHON: We saw the tracks as I indicated last night. We followed those tracks around through the forest. We haven't found any new information to suggest the tracks are going any specific area.

REPORTER: Did you believe those were his, though?

MCMAHON: It would indicate that they are.

REPORTER: And how long did you follow these tracks for, half mile?

MCMAHON: Until we lost them.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: They did lead around in that wooded area where the truck was found. We continued to follow them until we lost them where the ground got frozen. We couldn't continue to track.

As it relates to the people in this community, I told you once before our primary concern is to make sure that these folks in this community are safe. We brought additional resources from other areas in the county to help patrol this area.

We're doing everything we possibly can to make these folks feel safe and do what we can to catch this guy.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) you had about 125 personnel yesterday?

MCMAHON: Yes, we have over 100 again today.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: (INAUDIBLE) amongst our folks?

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: Our people are trained to deal with incidents like this. We're doing the best we can and our folks are out there doing everything they can to catch the guy and it's their primary mission as well number one to be safe, but number two to catch this guy. REPORTER: What's the estimated cost so far in the search?

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) so to speak (INAUDIBLE)?

MCMAHON: Well, certainly it creates tension, but this business is not always safe. Our folks are highly trained. And this is what we trained for. Thank you guys.

(END LIVE FEED)

MALVEAUX: That was the sheriff there, John McMahon. And of course he is giving us an update on that massive manhunt for Charles (sic) Dorner.

He is saying that they're in Big Bear area. That's about a two hour drive away from L.A., that you can see that there is a lot of snow, heavy snow, that they were actually able to follow some tracks from his vehicle at some point overnight, but they lost those tracks because of the frozen conditions on the ground.

But he is reassuring folks there who are asking questions, reporters and others who are very concerned in that community, that they are trying to search for him, that they have the manpower and the equipment to go up those mountains, even in those snowy conditions to try to look for him.

Some of the things specifically that they are going through abandoned cabins where they think he could possibly be hiding. But as you can imagine, it continues to snow there. He says that they have the clothing and that they have some of the vehicles that are required to get up in that kind of mountainous terrain under those weather conditions to continue this manhunt.

Schools are closed because of the weather he says and (INAUDIBLE) because of the weather. There is still a ski resort that is out there that is apparently open, but he says that Christopher Dorner is extremely dangerous, that he suggests people to stay inside.

They will continue this manhunt until they find him. And of course we are following another breaking news story. And this is going to impact so many people. Potentially millions of folks on the East Coast.

You have two storms colliding to create one huge blizzard in the Northeast. We have live coverage on this massive winter storm with reporters throughout. We are talking about New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, (INAUDIBLE) all that after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Listen to the directions from emergency personnel. If instructed to stay off the roads during the height of the storm or to evacuate your home ahead of flooding conditions, do it and do it quickly. Make sure you have basic food supplies and medications on hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: That was governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, warning folks in his state at least to take precautions ahead of this massive blizzard.

We also want to bring in General Russell Honore. General, you're a go-to guy when it comes to disaster preps and recovery, as well. First of all, what have we learned, do you think, from Superstorm Sandy for folks in that region who already got hit once?

LT. GENERAL RUSSELL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, the impact of the storm in this case is snow and a blizzard, but the second and third order of effects, Suzanne, this thing will turn the power out. And when the power goes out, it sets back the way we live 80 years, no electricity, no running water, and no heat. And that is the thing people need to be prepared for.

MALVEAUX: So what do you do if you're in the path of this blizzard?

HONORE: Well, you right now, while you have time, prepare. Make sure you have food and water. Make sure you can connect with your neighbors. Make sure you have a way that you can fight hypothermia with blankets and with some alternate heating system.

And be aware of carbon monoxide poisoning. We lose people every year because they turn heaters on without proper ventilation and they die from carbon monoxide poisoning, so the absence of power will create a lot of problems.

Remember "snow-ageddon" a couple of years ago when we were without power for seven days after a snowstorm. That's the big problem.

MALVEAUX: So, General, what should we be doing? Should you be powering your cell phone? Should you be buying batteries? Should you make sure you have some sort of radio as a backup system? Because I think that's the thing that most people are really worried about is losing communication. That seemed to be the most disturbing thing about Superstorm Sandy. People no longer were even able to talk to each other for days.

HONORE: Right. You've stated it well. And then check on your neighbors and collaborate your resources. You may not have a radio, but you might have a neighbor that has a radio. How do you collaborate your resources? How do you look out for the most vulnerable population that are our neighbors or people on your street?

And prepare now and get those resources and start managing them, particularly water. Make sure you've stored water because if the power go out, you may not be able forget water into your home or for the apartment where you're living.

So, be prepared right now is key as well as have a few days supply of medicine on hand. Remember, the worst case scenario, the power will go out and you could be days with the roads closed and no access to those key medications that you need.

And if you're traveling in the car, make sure you have a blanket, a capability to charge your phone, and you hurry up and get off the road and stay off the road if at all possible.

MALVEAUX: And, General, how much of that stuff do you really need? People, they don't run to the store and, people, sometimes they laugh. They think we're all panicking because you're buying milk and bread and that kind of thing.

But, specifically, like how much water should you have, bottled water? How much food should you have? What should you have right now to prepare for possibility the worst?

HONORE: Well, for a long time. We said three days supply. What we've come to learn is three-to-five days supply, particularly if you're in a congested area like in the New York area, when the roads close and the power go out in the large population people, it may take days to get those supply chains back open, as well as making sure you have gasoline in your car so when the road's open, you can leave.

So, that preparation will pay off in the long run. And you know what, if it doesn't get bad, if doesn't happen, no problem. But being prepared can save your life and the life of a neighbor or a family member if you are prepared.

MALVEAUX: All right, General Russell Honore, thanks, General, as always.

Travelers across the country, they're watching those -- actually watching the schedules. They look at the boards and they see canceled for a lot of those flights. We've got more than 3,000 now who've already been canceled. You've got dozens of airports across the country.

I want to bring in Zain Asher in New York out of LaGuardia. Zain, I just made it out of LaGuardia, just in time last night. What do the flights, what does that big board look like now?

ZAIN ASHER, AMS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, a lot of flights simply canceled. Individual airlines are planning to cancel all their flights right now.

Just to give you an example, United Airlines, JetBlue, stopping all flights in and out of New York City at 3:00, American Airlines stopping all flights out of New York city at 4:00, bringing the total to 3,600 flights canceled.

I'm just going to give you a breakdown just so you know what's going on at each individual airport in the area. LaGuardia, right here where I am, 300 flights canceled. JFK, 400 flights canceled. Newark, by far topping the list, with 700 flights canceled.

So, if you are planning on leaving the New York City area this weekend, you are slowly beginning to run out of travel options. Let me just show you the board right behind me. On the left, those are the arrivals. Pretty much every single arrival flight completely canceled, and departures pretty much the same thing, apart from a couple of flights into Cleveland and into Raleigh, North Carolina.

I spoke with some people who didn't want for take any chances, so what they did is they called the airlines yesterday and they were able to make travel arrangements to leave New York City early this morning.

For those of who haven't been so lucky, you know, just make sure you call the airline in advance if you are planning on traveling today. A lot of these airlines are being very generous and very flexible with people in terms of allowing them to make alternative travel arrangements without charging them extra fees.

Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: Zain, do we know what they're doing with those who are stranded at the airport?

ASHER: I mean, there are some people here I've spoke to who are stranded. They don't even know what they're going to do, but a lot of people are trying to make other travel arrangements. But I'm just going to let you know that, right now, in terms of trains, there are problems, as well, a lot of trains, especially with Amtrak canceling. At 1:00, Amtrak is going to cancel all trains leaving Penn Station heading north. So, pretty much a dismal day for travelers in the New York City area.

MALVEAUX: Yeah, looks like you're stuck, out of luck, if you're in there. Thank you. Appreciate it, Zain.

Now, we're following another story, somebody hacking into the private e-mails of the Bush family. The Secret Service wants to know, of course, who did this. Investigators, they're not saying much yet, but a bunch of private family messages, photo, phone numbers, popped up on a gossip website. That happened last night. One of the private family pictures actually shows former president George H. W. Bush in a hospital bed where he recently spent several weeks.

And in Chicago, a funeral is taking place tomorrow for a teenager who became a symbol of the fight against gun violence. The first lady, Michelle Obama, she is going to be attending. Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down in a park. This was just a week after performing with her school band at the president's inauguration. The majorette and honor student was apparently caught in the crossfire. The first lady described as heartbroken over her death.

And we are also watching of course winds gusting close to hurricane strength. Could be blowing blinding through the northeast. More live coverage of the monster storm straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: It's the official goodbye for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The Pentagon sends the boss off with a formal ceremony. That's happening today, even though he is likely to be on the job for at least another couple of weeks.

Panetta spoke yesterday before Congress, said there will always a debate over how much military power to put around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The United States military, as I've said, is not and frankly should not be a 911 service capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every possible contingency around the world. The U.S. military has neither the resources nor the responsibility to have a firehouse next to every U.S. facility in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Former Senator Chuck Hagel, he's been nominated to replace Panetta. That confirmation vote continues and has been postponed.

And a look at this massive crowd that filled the streets in Tunis, Tunisia. This was a public funeral of an opposition leader who was shot dead outside his home Wednesday. Thousands of grieving and angry folks marching with his coffin to a cemetery in Tunis. Many believe it was a political assassination. Riot police have violently put down several public demonstrations since that shooting.

And, of course, getting back to California, one of our main stories here, the hunt for the former cop now a murder suspect, Christopher Dorner accused of killing three people around L.A. and declaring war on the entire LAPD in a rampage seeking revenge for being fired.

Casey Wian is with us from Los Angeles. Paul Vercammen is about a hundred miles away in Big Bear, California. That is where we found, the cops found, Dorner's torched pickup truck.

And, Paul, so, I want to start off with you because we heard from the sheriff there and they continue this search even though the weather is pretty bad in Big Bear.

They lost his tracks because the ground is frozen, so how are they pursuing this?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, they're continuing their search in this area. A number of law enforcement officers are also going in and around on snow cats.