CNN CNN


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Winds Around Wildfire Could Die Down; Israel Bombs Syrian Missiles; No Burial Site Yet for Suspect's Body; Congress Holds Boston Hearings; The Jodi Arias Murder Trial; Woman's New Life After Face Transplant; Which Web Sites Has Users' Back Online?; Woman Reappears After 11 Years

Aired May 4, 2013 - 13:00   ET

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


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A look at our top stories we're following right here from the CNN NEWSROOM.

New evidence in the Boston bombing investigation is found in the home of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Plus, there are major changes and challenges surrounding his burial. Those stories straight ahead.

And families are desperately trying to get away from a raging wildfire in California. Firefighters have been working around the clock but there could be some relief today.

And Israel carries out an airstrike in Syria. The target, a shipment of missiles bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A look at our top story now. People forced out of their homes in California are nervously watching a raging wildfire. Wind has been whipping up the flames for the past two days now. The fire has threatened as many as 4,000 homes.

And take a look at this, people running down the street as the flames burn right next to them, just feet away.

Stephanie Elam is live in Newbury Park, California.

So, Stephanie, where do things stand right now.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, things are standing looking better than they were yesterday at this point, Fredricka. We can now tell you that the fire is 30 percent contained. They say that 28,000 acres have been burned. But that's the same number we heard last night. So they're definitely making progress.

Behind me they're doing some controlled burning here because they want to make sure that all of this kindle, this dry bush that is just so, so in need of water does not go up in flames by the wildfire. So they're burning it so that fuel can go away.

Also the other thing you may notice is the way the smoke is blowing. That's also a good development because it is blowing back over into the wilderness and away from the homes. The other side of the mountain already burned as that's closer to the Pacific Ocean where we were standing yesterday. So all in all, things are looking much better today -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And what about those folks that you and I talked about in the last hour who have decided to stay in their homes, any new assurances that they're getting about their properties?

ELAM: Overall you can tell people feel better today. There's a lot of folks from the neighborhood are now coming out as the morning wears on. They're coming out to see what the flames look like, to see what's beginning on. But there's laughter, there's not been -- nervousness that we're hearing before. They're feeling more confident that the flames are going to stay away.

The main thing is watching the flames and watching that smoke, making sure it's blowing away from these homes and not coming to light up these trees. That's not happening right now. So people are calmer and feeling better that their homes are probably going to be safe.

And one thing I should point out is that in all the fires that we've been seeing in Southern California over these last few days, no -- only one home was lost, and that was in Riverside County. At this fire here, no homes have been burned down. So that's a really good piece of news there -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Great track record so far. Thanks so much, Stephanie Elam.

All right. Five U.S. troops are dead after a roadside bomb exploded in southern Afghanistan today. The blast happened in Kandahar Province. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for that attack.

And now to Syria where CNN was the first to report that Israeli aircraft bombed a shipment of missiles in Syria. Israel says the weapons were bound for Hezbollah, a militia in Lebanon.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has details now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Two U.S. officials tell me that U.S. and Western intelligence agencies are reviewing classified data showing that Israel conducted an airstrike into Syria. They don't believe that Israeli warplanes entered Syrian air space but perhaps conducted the strike from across the border in the air space of Lebanon.

They don't believe that Israel struck at a Syrian chemical weapons site. Much more likely that Israel conducted a strike against what they have promised to do, strike at any transfer of weapons from the Syrian regime to Hezbollah across the border in Lebanon.

Our own Sara Sidner obtained a statement from the Israelis, saying, quote, "We will do whatever is necessary to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to terrorist organizations. We have done it in the past and we will do it if necessary in the future. Not quite an acknowledgement from Israel, not a denial. Intelligence agencies are telling us they believe it did happen. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: The Israeli attack comes as the Obama administration is considering military options against Syria. The U.S. is still investigating whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people. But the president says he doesn't foresee American boots on the ground in Syria.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a general rule, I don't rule things out as commander-in-chief, because circumstances change and you want to make sure that I always have the full power of the United States at our disposal to meet American national security interests.

Having said that, I do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in Syria, American boots on the ground in Syria would not only be good for America but also would be good for Syria.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: President Obama made those comments while in Costa Rica. It's the last stop on his Central American tour where earlier this week he visited Mexico as well.

And these are live pictures right now from Costa Rica. You get to see it right now. The president has delivered remarks and take questions at an economic forum and visit a business school and then he'd be heading back to Washington.

All right. Back in this country, the NRA says it's in the middle of a culture war, one that goes beyond the national debate over gun control. It's annual convention in Houston is being held under the banner "Stand and Fight." And it comes as the group helps defeat a bill that would have expanded background checks.

Sarah Palin went on the attack accusing the administration of exploiting recent mass shootings to advance its gun control agenda.

All right. Let's turn now to the controversy surrounding the burial for Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. So far, no cemeteries are offering a gravesite and there are also issues with Tsarnaev's funeral service.

Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti joining us live now from Boston.

So, Susan, tell us about those things.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. And we're joining you now from the Boston memorial of course where a number of people continue to come here to pay their respects to the dead and those who were injured in the bombing. The funeral director in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Tamerlan's body now is, says that he has contacted at least three cemeteries, the ones in that area that normally would be handling the burial, and they have all refused to allow Tamerlan to be buried there.

The funeral director says, look, a body is a body and he needs to be buried somewhere. But some people are saying that Tamerlan's remains should be sent back to Russia, where he is a citizen, that he should not be buried here.

Now even the imam at the mosque where Tamerlan and his younger brother were members in the Boston area, so that he would not preside over any service. He said he doesn't want to give the impression that they are condoning violence and explains the controversy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

IMAM IBRAHIM RAHIM, YUSUF MOSQUE: Addressing his issue over addressing the -- his concerns over the concerns of the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts it just doesn't balance out. So we don't touch it to be respectful in regard for all the sentiments that are out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: And Fred, even a member of the Tsarnaev family is calling for an independent autopsy because they don't trust the results from the medical examiner's office. However, Fred, there's no indication that that kind of thing will happen.

WHITFIELD: All right. And Susan, what about the physical evidence that's being located in TamerlanTsarnaev's home, physical evidence and also residue of bomb-making materials? What more do we know about those items?

CANDIOTTI: Exactly. Well, you know, that came up after Dzhokhar, according to our sources, said that the bomb was built right there in the apartment. Naturally investigators simply didn't take his word for it.

The physical evidence that you mentioned includes, according to our sources, residue found on the kitchen sink, on the kitchen table and in the bathtub. Now we're still waiting to hear for more information about the fingerprint match on the bomb itself, that pressure cooker bomb and other pipe bombs that were made as well. But there's certainly a wealth of material they're looking at, including, of course, but not -- they have a number of laptops they're looking at including one that belonged to Dzhokhar, who is now charged and is now in prison -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Susan Candiotti, thanks so much in Boston.

So the bombings there have changed the way we plan for major events nationwide. Churchill Downs racetrack added 100 more police and security officers for today's running of the Kentucky derby. Everything from coolers and backpacks to large purses and laser pointers all banned. And the track is asking people to report anything that looks suspicious. Police and security will also use electronic wands, as you see there, checking everybody entering that track.

On Capitol Hill, the Boston bombings are about to take center stage. Congress is set to hold hearings.

Coming up, we'll talk with two House members who will be asking some of the questions and trying to connect the dots.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Next week, Congress will hold hearings on the Boston bombings. Lawmakers want to know more about communication between federal investigative agencies.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is a Democratic member of the Homeland Security Committee and represents Houston, Texas, in the House.

Good to see you.

And her colleague, Scott Perry, sits on the committee as well. He is a Pennsylvania Republican and joins from us Harrisburg.

Good to see you as well.

REP. SCOTT PERRY (R), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: So when asked about it, the president defended the FBI's actions in this case. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What we also know is that the Russian intelligence services had alerted U.S. intelligence about the older brother as well as the mother indicating that they might be sympathizers to extremists. The FBI investigated that older brother. It's not as if the FBI did nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Congresswoman, let me begin with you. Do you think the FBI or the CIA knew enough to have helped prevent this tragedy?

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, I'm glad to be with you this afternoon. And here's my perspective on it. As a backdrop of someone who's been on the Homeland Security Committee since the dust was gathering after the aftermath and heinous tragedy of 9/11 and the whole idea of the Homeland Security Department was to be an intervener, preventer of those kinds of tragedies, hoping again. We're never 100 percent.

But what I will say without condemnation because there certainly is great work to acknowledge after the tragedy occurred, the key element missing in 9/11 was connecting the dots, communications, continuing to review documentation. And in this instance, after suspect number one went to Russia in 2012, I believe that there should have been a ramping up.

Yes, there are many leads that the FBI gets, many leads, I understand that and certainly communications with the CIA are probably constant. But the whole idea is that we establish joint terrorism centers, fusion centers. Those are regionalized. And they deal with communication. They deal with transfer of intelligence and communication between law enforcement.

I think the hearing next week must ask the question, why wasn't this particular older brother, suspect number one, under surveillance? What kept us from connecting the dots? That's a very important question because our duty is to intervene and do as much as we can to thwart future potential acts of terrorism in the homeland.

WHITFIELD: So, Congressman Perry, do you see real parallels that there was a disconnecting of the dots before 9/11 and it seems as though there may be a disconnect of the dots just prior to this bombing at the Boston marathon? Do you see parallels? And if so, how is it that similar mistakes can be made?

PERRY: Well, I do see at least preliminarily some parallels. And it seems that similar mistakes can be made because the world is a big place and there are a lot of folks in it and it's hard for the FBI, the CIA or any of these agencies to pin down one particular individual. That having been said, Homeland Security was designed and set up strictly so that we didn't have the stove piping of information.

And it concerns every American greatly that this person was allegedly, as we understand it now, on several or at least one watch list. We hear that the Russians reached out to agencies, one of our agencies.

WHITFIELD: So we -- sorry to interrupt. So what would the question be --

PERRY: And yet --

WHITFIELD: -- next week as hearings get under way? What is it you want to know to either rectify the problem or underscore where the gaps are?

PERRY: Well, I want to know kind of the linkage between the different agencies, how does the reporting happen? We don't necessarily look at individual FBI agents or CIA agents. They're working with the system that we've given them. Have we given them the correct system? So can we draw that thread between agencies where we get a report to one? Does it make it to the other? And what does that surveillance mean, and when does it end? Why does it end? Does it ever start back up again?

We understand this guy began posting on Facebook and kind of led us right into this thing but yet we did nothing about it when it was right in front of us. So that's very concerning to Americans.

WHITFIELD: So, Congresswoman, how do you keep this issue from becoming a partisan one?

LEE: Well, first of all, I think that all of us will start the hearing, including our chairman and ranking member, with a major applause for all of the law enforcement agents, both federal, state and local, and we will have some of that leadership from Massachusetts in front of us and I will, myself, personally applaud and congratulate them.

I think that will be a unified voice. However, I think it is also important that we have a unified calm questioning that raises these questions. And I say this again, after 9/11 we established centers such as fusion center. That center is supposed to provide intelligence products and provide a means of communication between federal, state and local.

Joint terrorism centers in our regions, they meet with all of the principal agencies that are in the particular area. That means that although we cannot be -- expect 100 percent or 1,000 percent of every surveillance, in this instance, I think there were enough red flags that we must ask the question, what was the tracking of suspect number one? Why did there be or seem to be a gap in the tracking? And particularly after the visit in 2012.

I'm going to be particularly interested in that because I think our role is, above all, to thwart, to stop what might be a terrible heinous act. We have four dead and we have hundreds injured. And I simply cannot be comfortable with not knowing how we can help our law enforcement. What can we do more? Can we, for example, in sequestration right now, make sure that we have the resources they need.

These are questions that we need to ask in a non-partisan manner and they should be answered in a bipartisan manner because if they say more resources were necessary or could be necessary or going forward we are having these challenges, that by the way include a domestic self-radicalization which we've talked about.

I just don't want to label groups of people to say it's one religion or another. But we do know that people have that capacity.

WHITFIELD: Yes.

LEE: Those are the hard questions that have to be asked. Because I'm in the business of preventing this. I'm in the business of making sure that both the department remains relevant, which it is, and all those hard-working people and of course the committee's oversight is relevant to the American people. That's our task and I'm not going to run away from it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Perry, you've got about 10 seconds, you know, to kind of punctuate this.

PERRY: Well, we -- I think that this committee has shown itself to be bipartisan in the past. I have a bill, I'm working with a member from New York delegation to get to the end of Benghazi. But we -- both have to be willing to answer the tough questions and it's not about being confrontational. But we need to get the answers and we have a limited time to do that. So you have to be ready to answer those questions and not filibuster, not obfuscate. Get to the point the American people want to know.

WHITFIELD: All right. Congressman Scott Perry, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thanks to both of you for joining us. Appreciate it.

PERRY: Thank you.

LEE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. The Jodi Arias trial almost over. The defense has presented its closing arguments as has the prosecution. Now the case is in the hands of the jurors. All that, straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Closing arguments in the Jodi Arias trial are over. The prosecutor is trying to paint her as a liar who carefully planned the killing of Travis Alexander while the defense says she killed the victim in self-defense.

Our Ted Rowlands has details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For two days with her life on the line, Jodi Arias sat and watched as both sides argued over how they believe she killed her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, she's a liar.

ROWLANDS: Prosecutor Juan Martinez told jurors that Arias planned Alexander's 2008 murder driving from northern California to Arizona, armed with a knife and a stolen gun. He says after having sex with Alexander she attacked him when his guard was down, while he was posing for these photos in the shower.

MARTINEZ: She knew. She absolutely knew and had already planned it. She knew. She was going to kill him.

ROWLANDS: Family members of Travis Alexander broke down while Martinez showed crime scene photos showing the brutality of the killing in which Alexander was shot in the head and stabbed nearly 30 times.

MARTINEZ: He was killed in three different ways. A stab wound to the heart would have killed him. The obvious thing, the slitting of the throat would have killed him and the shot to the face would have killed him.

ROWLANDS: Martinez warned jurors not to believe a word of what Jodi Arias told them during her 18 days on the witness stand when she claimed that she killed Alexander in self-defense and can't remember the details because of PTSD. JUDGE SHERRY STEPHENS, MARICOPA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: Why is it that you have no memory of stabbing Travis?

JODI ARIAS, DEFENDANT: I can't really explain why my mind did what it did.

MARTINEZ: She's acting the part. And she's lying. She's making it all up. She has lied to everybody.

KIRK NURMI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It doesn't make any sense. None of it makes any sense as it relates to premeditation.

ROWLANDS: Defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi argued that the idea that Jodi Arias went to see Alexander to kill him doesn't make any sense, saying if she planned to kill him she would have done it right away when she got there instead of spending the day with him having sex and taking photos.

NURMI: She could have just shot him right there if that was her plan. She didn't. Doesn't make any sense that this is a premeditated murder.

ROWLANDS: Nurmi also attacked the victim, Travis Alexander, saying he not only abused Arias but was a pedophile. He played a portion of a phone sex tape when Alexander compares Arias to a 12-year-old girl.

NURMI: Who says that? You cannot write that off to the heat of the moment. That is sick. And that is wrong. You can't put any spin on that.

ROWLANDS: Combined both sides argued for more than seven hours, prosecutor Juan Martinez had the last word.

MARTINEZ: In this case, Travis Victor Alexander was slaughtered by this woman. Slashed his throat. She stabbed him in the heart and then she shot him in the face and all of that, thinking about it in advance. Thank you.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And for more on the Jodi Arias trial, don't the miss the Anderson Cooper special, "SEX, LIES AND AUDIO TAPE." That's tonight at 8:00 Eastern.

And new information today on how Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died. Plus how that tragedy has influenced security at other large crowd events. All that straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. This is what we're following here in the NEWSROOM.

Firefighters battling a huge wildfire in California could get a break today. Winds that have been whipping up those flames are now dying down. And crews have contained at least 30 percent of the fire. But at least 4,000 homes are still being threatened by the fire. And many families have evacuated.

In Pennsylvania, the FBI is now assisting the investigation into the death of a Pittsburgh doctor. Local authorities think Autumn Klein died from cyanide poisoning. The District Attorney's Office says Klein's death is being investigated as a potential homicide or suicide. We'll have more on this story in the 3:00 p.m. Eastern hour of the CNN NEWSROOM.

And now the latest on the Boston bombing investigation. The death certificate for suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev says he died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to the head and torso. That's according to the owner of the funeral home where Tsarnaev's body is being held.

And today's Kentucky derby is the first big public sporting event since the attacks in Boston. And polls show that we're feeling less safe than we did before the bombings.

CNN's political editor Paul Steinhauser explains.

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Hey, Fred. Our CNN/TIME/ORC poll suggests more people are worried about terrorism now than before the Boston bombings. Four in 10 say they're concerned someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism. That's a slight edging up of six percentage points from the last time we asked, back in 2011. But the survey indicates that's not stopping most of you from attending large public events like the Boston marathon.

Only 27 percent of people we question this week say they are less likely to go to such an event due to fears of terrorism. Separately only four in 10 tell us they're willing to give up some civil liberties to battle terrorists.

The biggest concerns are over government eavesdropping of your cell phones and reading your e-mails -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: So here's a look at what's trending right now.

NBA star Kobe Bryant is in a court battle to try and keep his mom from selling off his memorabilia. Bryant's mom wants to sell some of the memorabilia that he left at home after going to the pros. Well, Kobe is fighting back saying she doesn't have that right.

And cocaine was seen washing ashore at a Florida beach. Police found packages of the drugs across 40 miles of the coastline from Crescent Beach to South Point Verda. Well, beaches closed while police investigated the situation.

And in California, take a look at what a man found sitting behind the wheel of his own pickup truck in his driveway. Yes. That's a bear. Instead of running for his life, the man broke out his cell phone and he started recording the whole thing right there, because he knew nobody would believe him if he told them about it. He eventually did call police. However, when anyone were to look into his vehicle, they certainly would have believed that something like a bear was in that vehicle.

And we're going to be actually talking to the owner of that vehicle and the one who is rolling that tape tomorrow. So you need to join us for that.

All right. Still ahead, a mother of two badly disfigured in an attack shows her new face to the world just months after transplant surgery. We'll have her remarkable story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: The death of slayer guitarist Jeff Hahnemann has some fans speculating about what may have really killed him. The band said that Hahnemann died of liver failure but an earlier statement noted that Hahnemann had been in bad shape since getting a spider bite last year. A medical professional contacted CNN saying that spider bites do not typically result in organ failure. But again still unclear.

The CDC reports food and skin allergies in children are becoming more common these days. In fact, they've been rising steadily for more than a decade now. Scientists don't know why. But here are the facts. One in every 20 children will develop a food allergy, one in every eight a skin allergy.

In other health news, we have a truly amazing story of survival and spirit. A woman whose face was destroyed by her ex-husband six years ago now has a new face and a new life. Three months after her surgery Carmen Tarleton spoke to reporters about her full face transplant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMEN TARLETON, FACE TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: There is a lot to learn and take from horrific events that happen. I want others to know that they need not give up on healing themselves when tragedy strikes. But instead, they can make a choice to find the good and allow that to help them heal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen visited Tarleton and her new boyfriend.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Carmen Tarleton loved her husband but when their marriage fell apart, he attacked her, dousing her with industrial industrial-strength lye. Her beautiful face destroyed, deep burns on over 80 percent of her body. More than 50 surgeries saved her life but doctors couldn't erase the scars.

(On camera): You're the head of a major burn unit. Have you ever seen a burn injury like this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. Never seen anything like this. COHEN (voice-over): Then doctors at Brigham Woman's Hospital in Boston came up with an idea. How about taking a face from a woman who died and giving it to Carmen? In a 15-hour surgery, doctors replaced Carmen's skin, muscles, tendons and nerves with those from the donor. Now for the first time, Carmen is revealing her new face three months after her surgery.

(On camera): How does it feel from going to having this horribly scarred face to having a face without scars?

TARLETON: It's -- well, it's just -- I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled with what I've got.

COHEN (voice-over): And she doesn't just have a new face, she also has a new man in her life. Her piano teacher, Sheldon Stein.

(On camera): So you walked in for a piano lesson.

TARLETON: Right.

COHEN: And you got --

TARLETON: I got the love of my life. How lucky was that.

COHEN (voice-over): Sheldon fell in love with Carmen a few weeks before she got her new face.

(On camera): What about Sheldon touched your heart?

TARLETON: That he was able to see me through my scars at the time.

COHEN: I'll be honest with you, a lot of men couldn't handle all this.

TARLETON: Oh, I definitely know that.

(LAUGHTER)

COHEN: But Sheldon?

TARLETON: Sheldon's different.

COHEN: Sheldon, when you look at Carmen, what do you see?

SHELDON STEIN, CARMEN TARLETON'S BOYFRIEND: I see an incredible woman. I see a woman with a lot of strength, inner beauty and outer beauty.

COHEN (voice-over): Right now Carmen doesn't have much control over her face.

(On camera): Can you smile? That's great.

TARLETON: Yes. A little bit. Yes.

COHEN (voice-over): Doctors tell her it will keep getting better and better.

TARLETON: He kisses me.

(LAUGHTER)

I can't -- I can't pucker and feel yet. But I am looking forward to that day. Because I know that day will come.

COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Thetford, Vermont.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Wow. Extraordinary. And inspiring.

All right. So you have accounts for Twitter and Facebook. You search on Google and you buy stuff from Amazon. Do you ever wonder what happens to all your information that's out there? We have the inside scoop on which companies get a gold star for protecting your data and which ones don't.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right, everybody does it. So when you make a purchase online or sign up for service online, you likely provide a whole lot of personal information. Right? But do you ever worry about where that information might end up?

There's a new report out that gives you the inside scoop on how well certain websites protect your data.

CNN Money tech correspondent Laurie Segall joins me now.

So, Laurie, what does this watchdog group look at to determine how your information is protected or not?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNNMONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT: Essentially -- or not. Right. That's the big question. Essentially they're called the Electronic Frontier Foundation and they published this report called "Whose Got Your Back." I love the name of this report. And they asked big tech companies, 18 companies that you've heard of -- Facebook, Google, Yahoo! -- six things.

And let me go through the criteria with you. They asked them, do you require a warrant for content? That's something they ask these companies. They say, do you tell users about government data requests? So if Twitter wanted -- you know, wanted some information, are you transparent with the user? Are you also publishing transparency reports?

Fredricka, this is a big thing. They actually put out these reports now that say, hey, the government wanted this information and we gave it to people. They make that information public. They also -- they asked these companies, are they publishing law enforcement guidelines. And -- and the next two kind of go hand in hand. Are they putting their money where their mouth is? Are they going to fight for users' privacy rights in courts? Are they fighting for those rights in Congress?

So they asked all of these companies these questions. They went in and they found out information on their own. And depending on whether or not they said yes, they got that gold star and they could get awarded up to six stars -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: My goodness. So what did they find? And which sites are doing well? Which ones not so good?

SEGALL: Well, eventually some of these companies have our backs more than other ones. But I'll start with the most trustworthy would be Twitter. And I was a little shocked by this.

WHITFIELD: Wow.

SEGALL: Twitter isn't as old as some of these other companies. Twitter got six stars.

WHITFIELD: Yes. The newest of those companies.

SEGALL: I know. And so Twitter is doing a really good job. They answered yes on these questions. Google got five stars. They lost that star because they don't tell users about the government data request which is kind of important. Facebook, I'm not giving them an A-plus but they did better than some of the other sites. They don't tell users like Google about the data requests or they don't publish transparency reports.

But I will say this, Fredricka, they are doing better than the other ones that do not have our backs as much. MySpace only got two stars. I think the ones to note, Apple and Yahoo! I mean, think about how much we use Apple. Essentially they got one star and then at the bottom if you look is Verizon. They got absolutely no stars.

WHITFIELD: Zero.

SEGALL: Zero stars. So you've to look at this information and say, all right, you know, is this kind of watchdog report, is it going to affect change? Who knows? But the idea is they put it out there and they want this to be transparent. And a lot of these companies they've done this for the last couple of years and they do a little bit better year after year -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: OK. So now we have this information. What can people do to be proactive, protect their information when online?

SEGALL: You know, look, I always say, just know what you're putting online. I think sometimes we don't understand the digital imprint we leave. I think that's so important for people to know that when you sign up for Twitter, when you sign up for Facebook, and you're putting over this information, that it can get into the hands of the government, but, you know, I think trust yourself, don't trust other companies. And I think you just need to be educated and now what you're putting online -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Good advice. OK. Thanks so much. Laurie Segall, appreciate that.

SEGALL: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: So for more high tech ideas and reviews just go to CNN.com/tech and click on the gaming and gadgets tab.

And this programming note on the next Anthony Bourdain head north for a hearty adventure. Two of the funniest and most brilliant chefs in Canada take us on a tour of their country by rail. Watch "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN" tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

All right. Still head, she was missing for 11 years, even declared dead, but now she has been found alive. And the reception from her children and family, not quite what she may have expected. What's next for Brenda Heist?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: A woman who was lost, given up for dead, is suddenly found. Brenda Heist disappeared from her home in Pennsylvania 11 years ago. But she suddenly reappeared in Florida, looking very different from the last time her husband and two children saw her.

Gary Tuchman reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is what Brenda Heist looked like when she mysteriously disappeared in 2002. A Pennsylvania mother of two with a steady job. From the outside looking in, everything seemed normal enough. But things were about to get, well, strange.

Brenda Heist was about to walk on her life, to simply vanish.

This is Brenda Heist today 11 years later after she resurfaced suddenly, completely without warning. Her family thought she was dead. She was, in fact, declared legally dead. So how did this person transform so dramatically to this?

It started in February 2002. Brenda and her husband Lee were preparing to divorce and she was upset about how she was going to make ends meet.

(On camera): Sitting in a park crying, Brenda Heist was approached by some people who invited her to go on a trip. On a whim, she accepted, ended up hitchhiking to south Florida, where it's believed she spent the last 11 years. For much of that time, she lived with a man in a camper and worked odd jobs. But for the rest of her time in Florida, she was homeless, living under bridges, scavenging for restaurant food all under an assumed name.

(Voice-over): We know all of this because since Brenda resurfaced, she's talking. Detective John Schofield of the Lititz Borough, Pennsylvania, Police Department has been working the case for all 11 years.

DET. JOHN SCHOFIELD, LITITZ BOROUGH POLICE: She said she thought of her family and children every day and her parents. However, she never acted on that and never made any phone calls. Not one. She's pretty much at the end of her rope down there, living on the streets. I mean I think she just had -- has had it. Her health wasn't good and she was just tired of running.

TUCHMAN: Her husband is remarried. This picture shows Lee Heist and his new wife along with the two children that he and Brenda Heist had together now all grown up.

Lee Heist told us on the phone about how stunned he was when he found out Brenda was alive.

LEE HEIST, EX-WIFE DISAPPEARED FOR 11 YEARS: We felt that perhaps she had been carjacked because of where the car was found. We never knew for sure. But I really did think that she had died and, unfortunately, probably in not a very pleasant way. This was a terrific shock.

TUCHMAN: Lee Heist had been questioned by police about the disappearance and he wrongly lived under the shadow of suspicion for a long time.

HEIST: There were people in the neighborhood who would not allow their children to play with my children because of what they perceived I might be.

TUCHMAN: The Heists' daughter is now in college, the older son is a college graduate, seeking work in the law enforcement field. As far as charges against Brenda Heist, it appears there won't be any. Police say there's nothing illegal about walking away from your family.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: Brenda Heist's family members are speaking out, as you saw, in that piece. Her daughter talked with Piers Morgan again this time about her feelings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN HEIST, MOTHER TURNED UP AFTER 11 YEARS: I think when I was 8, I didn't really know what to feel. I mean I was -- I thought -- I think -- I thought she would come home because that year I made her a Mother's card -- Mother's Day card. So obviously I thought in the back of my mind she was coming back. And now -- I mean, now I have a lot of different emotions. I'm mad. So.

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S PIERS MORGAN LIVE: I mean, do -- do you want to see her? M. HEIST: As of right now, I don't. I don't think she deserves to see me. So I don't really -- I don't really have any plans on going to see her.

MORGAN: One of your tweets said that you hope that she rots in hell, and I can understand why you feel so angry, but do you think your anger may calm enough to be more rational about this? Or do you really think that it's just beyond any redemption or apology?

M. HEIST: I hope to eventually forgive her one day for myself, not for her, but I eventually hope to forgive her and move on with my life.

L. HEIST: No. At this point, I don't see where it would do any good for either of us to see her again. I think that letting it go where it is -- now the kids are different, but as far as me, I don't think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. All right. It's now illegal in Colorado to grow your own marijuana. And that's creating a boom for the gardening industry. Coming up in the 3:00 Eastern hour of the NEWSROOM, I'll introduce you to some of these new backyard growers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: There's been another insider attack in Afghanistan. An Afghan soldier shot and killed two members of the International Security Force. ISAF commanders have not released the nationalities of the two service members. The incident is under investigation.

And we have new information today on how Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev died. The death certificate says he died of gunshot wounds and blunt trauma to the head and torso. That's according to the owner of the funeral home where Tsarnaev's body is being held.

And investigators are finding more evidence in that case. A source tells CNN explosive residue has been found at Tamerlan's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

And Churchill Downs racetrack is stepping up security for today's running of the Kentucky derby. Everything from coolers and backpacks to large purses and laser pointers all banned. And the track is asking people to report anything that looks suspicious, and so far it's still a little drizzly there, but as we understand, the race is still scheduled to go on as planned.

And saving the best for last, just want to give out a big thanks to my new friends at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee. I want to say a big thanks to them. They invited me to help celebrate commencement for the class of 2013, and in so doing, I was really taken great care of by my new friend Richard Dannell and Bobby Cunningham. While there they also showed me the best barbecue in Memphis at the Rendezvous.

And I got honored with an honorary doctorate. So call me doctor from this point on. Thanks to you, Lane College.

And thanks so much for you for joining us in the NEWSROOM. I'll be back at an hour from now, 3:00 Eastern Time. "YOUR MONEY" with Christine Romans starts right now.