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"Historic" Blizzard Targets Northeast; Manhunt For Alleged Killer Ex-Cop; New Study on Mammograms; Life Possible on Frozen Planets?

Aired February 8, 2013 - 05:30   ET



ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: About to be buried. A monster blizzard bears down on the northeast. And by this time tomorrow, one New England city could be digging out from three feet of snow, if you can believe that.


Armed and dangerous. A suspected cop killer still on the loose. New this morning, a reported sighting that could be a major break in this case, and cops are now rushing to the scene.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans in for John Berman this morning.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us. It is 30 minutes past the hour, and our top story -- it is a blizzard that could actually rewrite the history books. It is bearing down on the northeast right now. There it is. Look at it. It is a beast, and it's about to bury millions of people in the snow, 23 million affected.

You're looking at a live picture from Boston. By this time tomorrow, they could be digging out from three feet of snow. New Yorkers are bracing for a foot or more with long line stretching for blocks yesterday at gas stations across the city. Folks have learned a lesson here. And even before, the first flakes fall, 3,000 flights scheduled for today and tomorrow have already been canceled.

Meteorologist Jennifer Delgado is tracking the storm from the CNN Weather Center, but first, Zain Asher is live from New York's LaGuardia Airport this morning. Do they have just massive flight cancellations?

ZAIN ASHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Zoraida. You know, it's pretty much going to be a tough day for commuters. I mean, what can I say? I wish I had better news for you, guys, but pretty much 3,200 flights canceled, as you mentioned. These flights, by the way, canceled preemptively. So, airlines at this point not wanting to take any chances whatsoever, not giving passengers any false hope.

Now, take a look at this map. I just want to show you what the northeast looks like right now. Those blue dots you can see right there, those actually represent the flights that are in the air right now. So, as you can see, it's pretty much jammed right now as people just try and get out before the storm hits. So, the bottom line is, here's what you need to know. If you have travel plans from one o'clock today through tomorrow, just make sure you call the airlines in advance.

Don't show up simply hoping for the best. Make sure you call the airlines in advance. A lot of the airlines are being very flexible in terms of offering passengers alternative days or times of traveling without charging them extra fees. Now, even though it does look relatively calm here at LaGuardia right now, it is still early.

I did speak to two people who told me they had flights scheduled for later on today or tomorrow, and they were lucky enough to get them rescheduled. Here's what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's actually about 20 minutes from Newark Airport. So, this was about an hour away and a $200 cab drive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really tired, but I'd rather get out on time and safely. So, I had to.


ASHER: And you know, those guys were really lucky enough to get out on time. Now, even though LaGuardia does look relatively calm right now, I can tell you, this airport can get really hectic. On a typical day, 1,000 flights leave and land at LaGuardia every single day. So, even though it is calm right now, when the storm comes and goes, trust me, Zoraida, it is going to be anything but calm. It's going to be pretty much mayhem -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right, Zain. Well, thanks for warning us, and welcome to the CNN family.


SAMBOLIN: Can we put her back up again? There you are.

ROMANS: Welcome. She just joined our money unit this week. So, we're very happy to have her which now covering snow storms, epic snow storms, she'll be covering personal finance.

SAMBOLIN: Well, that becomes a money story, too, right?


ROMANS: Yes, it certainly does.

SAMBOLIN: So, Zain, welcome. Nice to see you. We'll check back in with you.

ROMANS: Let's get right to meteorologist Jennifer Delgado right now. She's tracking the storm from the CNN Center in Atlanta. Good morning.

JENNIFER DELGADO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, guys. I'm sure you're probably bracing for this storm in New York City. And overall we are going to see mainly rain through New York as we go through the morning. As we shift through the afternoon, we'll start to see more snow working in. But right now let's talk about what's happening on the radar.

Here's our low off the coast. You can see it hugging the mid- Atlantic. Look at all those thunderstorms popping up. It is going to merge. It's going to marry with that storm system coming in off the Great Lakes. And as it does, we're talking about an explosion of snow coming down. As we've been saying, we could see three feet of snow out there.

I want to point out to you right now, really just some rain out there for New Jersey, Delaware, but notice, for Northern Virginia right now, we are dealing with some light snow and some snow flurries, but everybody wants to know, how are we going to track this throughout the day? Well, we're going to track it for you.

This will be started off Friday at 5:00 a.m., then we move it ahead to about 8:00, 9:00. We're going to start to see that snow working in for those major cities and New England, like Providence, Boston as well as into Hartford. And then as we go later into the day, for New York City, this is where it's going to stop for you, Christine as well as Zoraida.

Notice, this is really going to start to change into all snow for New York and then of course in the overnight hours when we start to see the storm system merging, it's going to be all snow for areas through Saturday. We really start to see the storm system pulling away Saturday late afternoon, and then, we'll start to recover, but look at these totals out there.

We're talking 34 inches of snow for Portland, 30 for Boston, and for other areas like Providence, 22, but nonetheless, when you add this in and then you add in the winds where we're talking some of these locations, they're going to be hurricane force, but we're going to be dealing with basically a whiteout.

That's why we do have those blizzard warnings in place from New York City all the way up towards Maine. Look at those winds, and then you add in the other part of the story. As we get into late tonight and tomorrow when we have high tide, all those coastal region, even for areas damaged by superstorm Sandy, we are going to look at the threat for coastal flooding there as well as erosion. That's just another part of the story with those winds.

ROMANS: And power outages, right?

DELGADO: Absolutely.

ROMANS: I mean, because if you have heavy, heavy snow and wind, I mean, sometimes those power lines -- I mean, so many of the power lines out in the suburbs, out, you know, -- in the cities, power lines are under the ground in New York City.

DELGADO: Remember superstorm Sandy.

SAMBOLIN: That's right. I was calling yesterday trying to find a generator. And they're virtually out of them. Everybody, at the last minute, is trying to scramble.


DELGADO: Whenever you don't want it or you don't have the money.


DELGADO: Bye, guys.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Jennifer. Appreciate it.

Thirty-six minutes past the hour. A possible development overnight in the manhunt for Christopher Dorner. He's the fired LAPD cop who is accused of murdering three people, and he's vowed to just keep on killing. There is a report that he may have been spotted near the Barona Indian Reservation at some Lakeside, California.

The 33-year-old Dorner promised retribution for his 2008 dismissal in a rambling Facebook manifesto. His burned-out truck was found at a ski resort area about 80 miles from Los Angeles. But, so far, no sign of the suspect.


CINDY BACHMAN, SAN BERNARDINO CITY, SHERIFF'S DEPT.: There was a murder and attempt murder of three law enforcement officers today. And, the person responsible for that is still on the street, and we don't know what he's going to do. We know what he's capable of doing, and we need to find him.


SAMBOLIN: Dorner has reached out to CNN, sending a package to our Anderson Cooper, which contained a DVD and coin wrapped in duct tape.

ROMANS: John Miller is a CBS News correspondent who worked in counterterrorism and criminal intelligence for the LAPD for three years. Last night on "AC 360," he talked about how different this type of manhunt is where the suspect is a homicidal, suicidal, trained sniper who knows how they would be looking for him.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What do you make of this suspect? Given his training, how hard is it to track him down?

JOHN MILLER, CBS NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a pretty unique case. In some ways, you have, you know, the classic manhunt, but you also have something that's quite an anomaly here, which is you have the hunted who is also hunting the hunters. He has obviously fired at police officers. He's turned on them as they've approached him. So, this is not your average manhunt.


ROMANS: And he knows exactly how police officers think who are trying to capture him. That long rambling, haunting letter Dorner allegedly wrote is oozing with information, including the names of his target. At 6:15 Eastern, senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is going to try to get into his head and look at what could made him snap.

SAMBOLIN: Defense Secretary Leon Panetta trying to defend the U.S. response to that deadly September 11th attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Panetta testifying yesterday that the U.S. military moved quickly to respond to the attack by deploying command -- or commando teams from Spain and Central Europe, but they arrived too late to save Ambassador Chris Stevens, and of course, those three other Americans.


LEON PANETTA, DEFENSE SECRETARY: You can't just willy-nilly send F- 16s there and blow the hell out of a place without knowing what's taking place.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Did you ever call him and say, Mr. President, it looks like we don't have anything to get there any time soon?

PANETTA: The event was over before --

GRAHAM: It lasted almost eight hours.


SAMBOLIN: Panetta testified that he received no reports of imminent threats to the mission in Benghazi in the hours before the attack.

ROMANS: Another legal hurdle now for disgraced cycling legend Lance Armstrong. A Texas promotions company is suing him for more than $12 million for what it calls the most outrageous, cold-hearted and elaborate lie in the history of sports. They want Armstrong to return bonus money he received for winning the Tour de France in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

But there's more than money at stake here. This lawsuit may force Armstrong to testify, which could expose him to criminal charges if he lies under oath.

SAMBOLIN: Well, the proof is in the briefs. Forget the hem line index. Experts have found another indicator of economic growth. Pay attention, Christine. Fashion observers at a U.K. underwear and swimwear site find that men buy more colorful undergarments when the economy is booming, but they return to their fail safe white, black, and grey when things aren't going so great. The smiley one is when the economy is doing really well.

ROMANS: The American flag with the smiley face. All right. Very serious news this morning. SAMBOLIN: Yes. Well, a little bit of everything for you this morning. Our national debate over mammograms and how often to get them, it's back in the headlines. And the new study that could change your doctor's mind is coming up.

ROMANS: But first, the chilling manifesto left by accused cop killer, Christopher Dorner. CNN's Richard - CNN's Anderson Cooper, who received a package from Dorner, takes a closer look next.


ROMANS: Good morning. Welcome back to EARLY START. A reported sighting overnight of Christopher Dorner, the fired LAPD officer who has declared a revenge war on the LAPD and their families. Police are converging on a California Indian Reservation this morning where Dorner may have been spotted. Authorities say he's already killed three people, including a cop. His chilling message delivered in a rambling online manifesto.

CNN's Anderson Cooper has a closer look at that.


COOPER (voice-over): The subject line reads "Last Resort." It's, perhaps, the only explanation we'll ever hear from the alleged shooter, Christopher Dorner. Over 11,000 words posted on his Facebook page earlier today address simply "To America." It's pages and pages of threats, confessions, and rambling opinions, and it is chilling to read.

He writes, quote, "I know I'll be vilified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The question is, what would you do to clear your name?"

Dorner clearly wants vindication from the LAPD, which terminated him in 2008 for making false statements to a superior officer.

"The attacks will stop when the department states the truth about my innocence publicly," he writes. "I will not accept any type of currency, goods in exchange for the attacks to stop, nor do I want it. I want my name back, period. There is no negotiation."

The alleged shooter details evidence he says shows he was telling the truth and he urges the media to investigate his case.

He writes, quote, "With the discovery and evidence available, you will see the truth. Unfortunately, I will not be alive to see my name cleared." Dorner writes repeatedly about his own death. At one point he writes, "Self-preservation is no longer important to me. I do not fear death." He also writes, "I have nothing to lose. You cannot prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death."

Dorner wants to make sure he's not branded a liar but seems to have no concerns about being a killer. He promises the violence of action will be high. And he lists members of the LAPD by name in his manifesto, writing, "In essence, I've lost everything because the LAPD took my name and knew I was innocent. Your day has come."

Later, he writes, "You destroyed my life and name because of your actions, time is up." Dorner doesn't stop there. He writes, "Suppressing the truth will lead to deadly consequences for you and your family. I never have the opportunity to have a family of my own. I'm terminating yours."


SAMBOLIN: That was Anderson Cooper. Some very chilling words there. Anderson also talked to James Usera, a friend and former university classmate of Dorner. Usera said he last heard from Dorner four years ago and said, at the time, Dorner had some sort of grievance with the Los Angeles Police Department.


JAMES USERA, FRIEND & FORMER CLASSMATE OF CHRISTOPHER DORNER: He did mention to me that there was some issue that he was dealing with. In any event, he did not seem to me to be particularly aggravated about it. He certainly didn't express, you know, any indication that he had violent tendencies or was out for retribution or anything of that nature.

So, you know, needless to say, the events of the past couple of days come as a very great shock to me.


SAMBOLIN: He also had advice for Dorner if he was watching.


USERA: Turn yourself in. No good is coming of this. You know, you're not going to clear your name by killing people or by hurting people or by going on the run. There's absolutely, again, no good can come out of this. Turn yourself in and put an end to it.


SAMBOLIN: Soledad will speak with Usera coming up on "STARTING POINT." She'll also speak with forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner, founder and chairman of a forensic science practice called the Forensic Tunnel, as well as retired FBI profiler and former prosecutor, Jim Clementi.

ROMANS: So, how often is too often for a mammogram? Coming up, the brand new study that could lead to new guidelines this time.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, a discount for well-behaved kids?


SAMBOLIN: Pay attention. The story behind this restaurant receipt. ROMANS: Whoa!


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. It is 51 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date on this morning's top stories.

Forecasters say it could be a blizzard for the record books, and it's bearing down right now on the northeast this morning. By tomorrow, Boston could be buried under three feet of snow. Twenty-three million people from Maine to New Jersey are under a blizzard warning right now.

ROMANS: First Lady Michelle Obama will be at today's funeral for 15- year-old Hadiya Pendleton. She's the Chicago honor student and band majorette who was gunned down one week after performing during President Obama's inauguration festivities. Police told our affiliate Pendleton had no gang affiliation and likely was not the intended target. But a week after the inauguration, she died of gun violence in Chicago.

A new study from the National Cancer Institute shows women who get mammograms yearly instead of every two years do not reduce their risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. Researchers examined the records of about 140,000 women and found no benefit in having the more frequent exams.

They did find harm, however. The more times women were screened, the greater their odds of getting a false positive.

SAMBOLIN: I would love to talk to Elizabeth Cohen about that.


SAMBOLIN: All right. Possible evidence that there may be life on other planets, and it's coming from this planet. Take a look. This is what scientists believe to be the first living bacteria or life form found in Antarctica a half mile below the surface. But it's fascinating about this discovery is if cells can survive here, in theory, they can survive on a frozen planet somewhere in outer space.


ROMANS: All right. Next on EARLY START, which one of these guys woke up with a tiger in his hotel room?


ROMANS: Uh-huh. The answer might surprise you.


SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifty-six minutes past the hour. I'm Zoraida Sambolin along with Miss Christine Romans, and we're taking a looking at the top CNN trends on the web this morning. ROMANS: And no, this is not the cast of "Hangover 3." Check this out. Joe Biden's office tweeted a picture of him meeting with actor Bradley Cooper. Don't fall off your bikes, people. Cooper who --

SAMBOLIN: You. You're talking to you.


ROMANS: -- who played a man struggling to overcome mental illness in "Silver Linings Playbook." He met with Biden to talk about mental health issues and gun violence.

SAMBOLIN: You're a big fan, aren't you?

ROMANS: Of Joe Biden.


ROMANS: Yes, I'm a Bradley Cooper fan.

SAMBOLIN: Taking your kids out to eat, a recipe for disaster? Well, not if your this family. A family in Washington State was shocked to see that a local restaurant knocked $4 off their bill because their kids were so well-behaved. Can you believe that?

ROMANS: That's awesome.

SAMBOLIN: The mom, Laura King, posted the receipt on Reddit, and it exploded, sparking a debate about parents and how to keep your kids in line. So, she followed up with some tips for other parents on not --


ROMANS: So, you're writing this down.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Take your kids out to eat at least a couple of times a month. Give them a snack before you head out. Be sure that they are rested and healthy. And notice the people, art, music, and food in the room and talk to your children about it. Do you do those things, Christine?

ROMANS: I love those people.


ROMANS: I do those things for myself. I don't do those things for my children. I get a babysitter for my children.

SAMBOLIN: And that's a very smart idea.


ROMANS: Late night laughs now, Jimmy Fallon proving that old habits die hard.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": President Obama's chief speechwriter is leaving the White House to pursue a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. yes. We actually got a clip of his first movie, but to be honest, it still seems like he's in speechwriting mode. Take a look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great to be here in Columbus, Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look, over the past two years, I've signed into law $1.4 trillion in spending cuts and closed tax loopholes to make sure the top-earning Americans begin to pay their fair share.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is, though, we can't finish the job of deficit reduction through spending cuts alone. We can't.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God bless you and God bless the United States of America.



FALLON: So, that's what I'm talking about right there.



SAMBOLIN: A little something light hearted for you this morning. EARLY START continues right now.