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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Osama Bin Laden's Son-In-Law Captured

Aired March 8, 2013 - 05:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A major break in the war on terror. Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law captured and heading to court in New York City. That's controversial.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Caught on tape, a cop winds up and punches a woman in the face. Oh, my goodness! This is right outside of a nightclub. Look at that.

BERMAN: Wow.

SAMBOLIN: Did he go too far to break up a bit of a scuffle there.

BERMAN: Also, Wall Street on a roll. Main Street, how are you doing? The key monthly jobs report just hours away.

SAMBOLIN: So, she's barely old enough to read, but she already knows what diet means. A mom horrified when she finds her seven-year-old daughter's weight loss plan. Incredible, folks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (on-camera): Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is Friday, March 8th. We are very happy you're with us. We have a major development this morning.

Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law in U.S. custody and just hours from being arraigned in federal court here in New York City. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith charged with conspiring to kill Americans. He faces life in prison, and it's been quite a journey for the former al Qaeda spokesman.

In the past month, Abu Ghaith went from house arrest in Iran in Ankara, Turkey where he was arrested and ultimately released. Turkey decided to send him back to his native Kuwait through Jordan. And that's where the CIA nabbed him. More from CNN's Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is charged in an indictment unsealed on Thursday with conspiracy to kill Americans from at least May 2001 to 2002, including the September 11th attacks. He was a face of al Qaeda terror, a known propagandist for the organization and son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden. He appeared in scary video recordings in 2001 and 2002.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Women of the nation, women of the nation, this is all for jihad.

JOHNS: More is known about what he has said than what he has done.

PETER BERGEN, CNN SR. NATL. SECURITY ANALYST: This is a guy who was a high school teacher in Kuwait, who shortly before 9/11, popped up in Afghanistan and started speaking in videotapes alongside Bin Laden, made a number of threatening statements about attacks on the United States in the post-9/11 time period and then disappeared from site, and he's had, as far as I know (ph), absolutely no operational role in al Qaeda in the decade since.

JOHNS: The fact that the suspect has been brought to New York sends a message that the Department of Justice has not abandoned its sometimes controversial attempts to try certain international terror suspects, especially those associated with the 9/11 attacks in civilian court as opposed to military tribunals.

KAREN GREENBERG, CENTER ON NATIONAL SECURITY, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: Although, they defer to the reality of bringing these individuals to trial in the military commissions, they have not given up, the cause of the federal courts.

JOHNS: The question has always been whether military tribunals are better suited for people deemed to be enemies of the United States as opposed to treating them to all the rights afforded to civilian defendants in American courts, a point that was quickly raised by Republicans in the Senate.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Gitmo, there's no substitute for it that Congress will agree upon, that it is the right place to put an enemy combatant for interrogation and when at all possible trial.

JOHNS (on-camera): The justice department said it examined the nature of Abu Ghaith's conduct and determined the best place to bring charges against him was in civilian court. It's unclear whether he's provided any useful information to U.S. authorities.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Thirty-four minutes after the hour right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): A lot of people wondering this, will we see yet another record high for the Dow today? It closed at a new high yesterday of 14,329 when trading ended. The S&P 500 is closing on its own all-time high, just about 1.3 percent away.

We're also awaiting a big report from the labor department in three hours. It issues the first jobs report since the deep across-the- board federal spending cuts began. A CNN Money survey predicts about a 170,000 job gain. Therefore (ph), the unemployment rate did dip slightly to about 7.8 percent. We will bring you those numbers live at 8:30 a.m. eastern time.

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): President Obama says he will not engage in what he calls chess beating over Iran's nuclear program but does plan to issue a clear and direct challenge to Tehran during his upcoming Middle East trip. He made these comments at a White House meeting with Jewish-American leaders.

This was Thursday night. The president said he will still work toward a diplomatic resolution with Iran but repeated that no options are off the table, including military ones.

BERMAN: Police in Elizabeth, New Jersey, launching an investigation into this YouTube video that appears to show one police officer punching a woman in the face. This happened outside a nightclub. The woman appears to possibly grab the officer before he winds up.

The mayor of Elizabeth calls the action unacceptable. The officer involved has not been identified, and we understand is still on active duty.

SAMBOLIN: Michigan Democrat, Carl Levin, is calling it quits after six terms in the Senate. The 78-year-old Levin says he won't run for re-election in 2014. The long-time Armed Services Committee chairman says it was an extremely difficult decision for him. He says he'll be better able to serve his constituents for the next two years without the distraction of a re-election campaign.

BERMAN: Been there since 1979.

SAMBOLIN: Wow!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): Thirty-six minutes after the hour.

Should a seven-year-old ever have to worry about going on a diet? An Australian mom was horrified when she found her daughter's handwritten diet and exercise list in the girl's bedroom.

SAMBOLIN: So tragic. Well, the foods she list may seem like reasonable choices. The spelling lets you know just how young this little girl is. On her diet list, D-I-Y-E-T, the girl was allowing herself to eat apples, kiwi, fruits, yogurt. Mom, Amy Chaney (ph) says, her daughter learned about dieting from a seven-year-old friend.

She said she had a long talk about body image with her after finding this letter. Can you believe it? This is very scary, when little girls that young are worrying.

BERMAN: Too young.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up later on "Starting Point," we'll hear from Dara-Lynn Weiss who caused an internet uproar when she put her own seven-year-old on a diet.

BERMAN: Thirty-seven minutes after the hour. We have a big recall to tell you about this morning, and it's likely maybe from your kitchen cabinets. The tuna that you may need to toss soon.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, mixing God and guns. The new ad that has a lot of people riled up this morning.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: So, do you feel any different today? Today, we are a week into those forced spending cuts, the budget battle acts that many people predicted would lead to radical change, eventually. So, the question is, what happened and what didn't?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (voice-over): Friday, March 8th, 2013, a quick review of events that did not happen this week. No Mayan apocalypse, no Jimmy Hoffa discoveries, no sign of spring, and no massive government budget implosion. Remember this?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The sequester will weaken America's economic recovery.

BERMAN: Well, it's been seven days of sequester, the first week of forced spending cuts, our first bite at serious belt tightening, and, sort of nothing really epic, yet. Yes, homeland security says there are longer customs lines at airports. Yellow Stone National Park announced it will delay opening some of its entrances, and members of Congress, no more travel on military aircraft. But not really any of this.

OBAMA: These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts will jeopardize our military readiness.

BERMAN: Not so much of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The American people are going to be less safe.

BERMAN: Doesn't seem to be a wave of this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kids are going to get hurt.

BERMAN: So, is this a case of, shall we say, chicken little?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sky is falling!

BERMAN: It didn't fall, unless, you count the snowstorm that threatened Washington this week and practically shut down government for a day. But just because the sky did not fall, it doesn't mean it didn't grow a little darker. And these crickets could soon turn to groans. With no Congressional White House cooperation cuts are coming, big ones and soon.

Notices are out to thousands and thousands of defense industry employees telling them they'll have an unpaid day off every week starting in April. The Federal Aviation Administration says it will have to start closing air towers at some small and medium-sized airports starting in April and the White House says, no more public tours as of tomorrow.

Of course, in a display of mutual assured maturity, some members of Congress have threatened the president no more tours, no more golf.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They'll be able to get their tour of the White House and all it will cost is one or two golf trips less.

BERMAN: One cut that has already taken effect, the president's poll numbers. He's down four points since February. Maybe one reason he has tempered his dire prophecies some.

OBAMA: We will get through this. This is not going to be an apocalypse, i think, as some people have said.

BERMAN: And one reason, perhaps, he suddenly has a voracious bipartisan appetite, inviting key Republicans to lunch and dinner the last couple of days. So, maybe the skies will brighten, and these will turn to shouts of joy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN (on-camera): So, I mean, the good news is they are talking. And just because no one has felt any changes yet, really, they could be coming as soon as April. A lot of these furlough notices have gone out, and people will start having to miss days of work. People who don't want to miss those days starting fairly soon.

SAMBOLIN: No, absolutely. And I was talking to somebody who was supposed to appear on a panel. And she said, in her office, she is planning for those furloughs, and so, she can't do any travel right now. So, things are changing, we just haven't seen it yet.

BERMAN: Not a sudden thing.

SAMBOLIN: Hopefully, they will solve it before April, right? We'll keep our fingers cross for that.

It is 44 minutes past the hour. Let's get you up to date. Here's Christine Romans with our top stories.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And good morning again to both of you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS (voice-over): In just over four hours, Osama Bin Laden's son- in-law is scheduled to appear in federal court in New York. Suleiman Abu Ghaith facing arraignment on charges he conspired to kill Americans. The former al Qaeda spokesman and the wife of Bin Laden's daughter, Fatima, was captured in Jordan last week and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. Police in Wheat Ridge, Colorado asking for help searching for a missing woman. Friends and family last heard from 51-year-old Leanne Annie Meyer (ph) on February 23rd. two days later, her boss received a text sent from Meyer's home. Police searched her home yesterday and found no evidence of a crime scene. But Meyer and her two vehicles, a Toyota pick-up truck and a Rav 4 are both missing.

Several Florida beaches open again this morning after thousands of sharks prompted lifeguards to close them. But, you know, come on, let's be honest, you're going to dip your toe in first, right? The schools of sharks are migrating up the coast as the water starts to warm for the summer. Something that happens every year but, boy, those pictures really give you pause, don't they?

A big tuna recall to tell you about this morning. The Food and Drug Administration says the makers of Bumblebee and Chicken of the Sea are voluntarily recalling five-ounce cans sold under those and the brands with brand. Its recall prompt by concerns that a loose seal on the cans could cause spoilage or contamination. Two words, above all to remember this weekend, spring --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, no!

ROMANS (on-camera): Yes. Daylight savings time officially arrives at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, meaning, we all lose one hour's sleep.

BERMAN: That is the bad news, especially on this shift. That's terrible news --

SAMBOLIN: What's the good news?

BERMAN: The good news is you're going to get an extra hour of daylight.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: You know, in the afternoon and evening, which is really nice.

SAMBOLIN: Forget you.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMANS: It's a sign that winter is almost over.

BERMAN: Just look at it outside. Winter's over.

(LAUGHTER)

SAMBOLIN: Glass half full, both of you, this morning.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: Forty-five minutes after the hour.

Mixing guns and God and causing an uproar this morning. Texas attorney general, Greg Abbott, posted an ad on his Facebook page that shows a gun and a bible and reads, two things every American should know how to use, neither of which are taught in schools. So, reaction from Abbott's Facebook followers ranging from, quote, "can I get an amen" to, quote, "have you ever read the constitution?"

You may recall that Abbott caused a stir a couple of months ago with another online ad inviting New Yorkers to move to Texas where they can keep their guns.

SAMBOLIN: Lots of controversy.

All right. New twist on a classic. We'll take an inside look at the new movie that is out today, "Oz The Great and Powerful." Will the big, and I mean, big gamble pay off?

BERMAN: And you know, we first told you this story a few months ago, a baby born with her heart outside her body. We will have an update on how this little girl is doing now at 4 1/2 months old. That is coming up. Look at her.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. And Zoraida, we are not in Kansas anymore. "Oz The Great and Powerful," Disney's big budget prequel hits the theaters today. Sort of a new twist on the classic --

SAMBOLIN: Big new twist. The reviews have been lukewarm, but it's expected -- it has high expectations, I should say. CNN's Nischelle Turner takes a closer look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no place like home.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Classic lines, classic footwear. "The Wizard of Oz" is beloved. According to the Library of Congress, more people have seen the 1939 musical than any other film. Now, 74 years after Dorothy left Oz, Disney's revisiting the Yellow Brick Road with "Oz The Great and Powerful," billing it as a prequel.

SAM RAIMI, DIRECTOR, "OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL: It sets up a lot of things that happen in the famous story we're also familiar with.

TURNER: This new Oz is not a musical. What it lacks in show tunes it makes up for in modern 3D and computer generated effects. Disney's betting heavily on this all spending an estimated $200 million just to produce the movie.

What's at stake for the studio? PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, PRESIDENT, HOLLYWOOD.COM BOX OFFICE: For them, this is a big deal. Not only is it iconic property that they're being entrusted with, they've got a lot of money on the line.

TURNER: Major money and creative hurdles. While the Oz books by L. Frank Baum are in the public domain, Warner Brothers. owns the rights to the "Wizard of Oz" film and so several story elements in that movie like Dorothy's iconic "Ruby Slippers" are off limits to Disney.

DERGARABEDIAN: I think the Disney lawyers had to be on set to say, hey, you're going a little bit too close to what the ownership of Warner Brothers is part of, and so, we have to be careful of that.

TURNER: So, will this misinterpretation of (ph) "The Land of Oz" alienate fans of the Hollywood classic? Not according to James Franco who plays Oz.

JAMES FRANCO, "OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL": We pay respect to a lot of the aspects that people expect and love about the world of Oz. And that's, you know, mainly taken from the books.

And then, there's, you know, a fresh take on some of the characters. So, you're getting, you know, enough of the old and enough of the new.

TURNER: So, while you won't see a tin man or scare crow in this Oz, the Yellow Brick Road is still in place, along with the witches. And Disney is hoping the land of Oz can once again turn movie magic into box office gold.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, Hollywood.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Pay no (ph) attention to the men behind the curtain.

Fifty-two minutes after the hour. Bill Gates says the education system in the United States is failing our kids. The Microsoft founder talking, itself, by southwest. He says tablet computers, smartphones, e-readers, and digital textbooks are the key to turning around the country and bridging the gap between teachers and technology.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: Even at the college level, our dropout rates are the highest in the world. With this wave of software that's being created that personalizes to the student, it goes at their speed, it understands which concepts they don't understand, helps them, you know, maybe go back and look at a lecture about the material, there's a real promise here that the kids can be engaged in a way that hasn't been possible before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Gates says he thinks that right now, America's education system is at a technological tipping point. SAMBOLIN: It's a joyful day in Houston as a baby who was born with her heart outside her body was released from the hospital. Audrina Cardenas (ph) is now 4 1/2 months old. Is she adorable? She was born in October with one-third of her heart beating outside of her chest. The next day, surgeons at Texas Children's Hospital spent six hours rebuilding Audrina's chest, placing her heart inside where it belongs. We are so happy to see that little girl doing well.

BERMAN: Just amazing.

Fifty-three minutes after the hour. We have some more major movie news just ahead. The boys are back for "Hangover 3." We have the first sneak peek coming up.

Plus, another gang back in full force. Han, Leia, and Luke and the new "Star Wars"? Calm down. Calm down, Berman.

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. The top CNN Trends online this morning. We're getting our first look at "The Hangover part 3" with the release of the first teaser trailer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone needs to burn this place to the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whooo! I like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Berman predicts it's going to get academy award. The boys are back in Vegas for the final movie in the franchise, and this time, there's no wedding, no bachelor party, but no worries, Berman. All the booze-soaked decision-making remains intact. "Hangover 3" hits theaters Memorial Day weekend.

BERMAN: It's art -- it's an art house film, really.

So, there's a news from a galaxy far, far away. Frankly, in some way, this may be the biggest news of the day, Han, Leia and Luke, that would be Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill are all in talks to be part of the new "Star Wars" films.

SAMBOLIN: I read about this. How do you feel about that?

BERMAN: I have mixed feelings. Let's just say -- they're not getting any younger. I mean, neither am i. These films were announced after Disney purchased the George Lucas film company and Lucas, basically, let the secret slip of these three stars are in talks to return, confirming the story to Bloomberg business week.

He did try to backtrack, but it's out there now earlier this week. Carrie Fisher also said she was in talks -- SAMBOLIN: Yes. That's how I read it.

BERMAN: "Star Wars" fans who were fans of the episodes 4, 5 and 6, people my age, basically, were horrified by what happened, you know, when Lucas released the first three films. We want these next three to be good. That's all we want. I'm speaking on behalf of all of us out there. And I think you would all agree with me. Please, tweet us, if you agree with me. Only if you agree with me.

SAMBOLIN: Only.

BERMAN: To check out other top CNN trends, head to CNN.com/Trends.

SAMBOLIN: You're such a nerd.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: EARLY START continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN (voice-over): A major development, Osama Bin Laden's son-in- law caught, now in U.S custody, and you won't believe where he was hiding.

BERMAN (voice-over): New details in the lion attack that killed a 24- year-old lover of big cats. Turns out there was no blood at the scene. So, what did happen? Her father reacts this morning.

SAMBOLIN: The Dow's history-making winning streak continues as the focus flips now to jobs and today's key report just hours from now, what you can expect. That's coming up.

BERMAN: And here we go again.

SAMBOLIN: This is scary.

BERMAN: Another asteroid set to zip past Earth. Are all these near misses making you a little bit nervous?

SAMBOLIN: Yes. Yes. A big, resounding yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN (on-camera): Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN (on-camera): And I'm Zoraida Sambolin, Friday, March 8th, 6:00 a.m. in the east. And up first here, it is a major development in the war on terror. The son-in-law of Osama Bin Laden captured and is now in U.S. custody. And in just hours, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith is scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom right here in New York City to be arraigned on charges he conspired to kill Americans.