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Angelina Jolie Gets Double Mastectomy; Russia Accuses U.S. Man of Spying; New Photos of Castro's Backyard; GOP Hits Obama on Transparency; Prince Harry Tours N.J. Next Hour

Aired May 14, 2013 - 09:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: A "New York Times" op-ed entitled "My Medical Choice." Ahead her tough and bold decision.

Also when will it end?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the pattern becoming one in which this administration is not transparent.

COSTELLO: Busted Benghazi claims, the IRS allegedly targeting conservative groups. Now the Justice Department secretly collecting phone records of reporters. This as the president goes fundraising with Justin Bieber and Jessica Biel.

Plus, a CNN exclusive.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some of these photos I have to tell you are chilling.

COSTELLO: Chains, barbed wire, pulleys, alarming new photos of Ariel Castro's backyard. Our Randi Kaye tracking the story from Cleveland this morning.

And Boston strong. The Bruins coming from behind with a stunning win.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Carol Costello.

We begin with a bombshell announcement out of Hollywood. But one that's rooted in the dark realities and tough choices facing many American women.

Angelina Jolie says she has undergone a double mastectomy to remove both of her breasts and she did it purely as a preventative measure. Jolie's mother died of ovarian cancer six years ago.

This is a tribute to her that Jolie and her brother posted on YouTube. Routine tests show the Academy Award-winning actress carried a mutant gene that put her at a much higher risk of both ovarian and breast cancer. On this morning's op-ed page of "The New York Times," Jolie says she wrestled with the same soul-searching decision as many American families, quote, "I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy with that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer."

Our entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner joins us now from Los Angeles with a closer look.

Good morning, Nischelle.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Carol. You know, she went on to say in that op-ed, and I love when she talks about this. She said on a personal note I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice, that in no way diminishes my femininity, because we know, Carol, we don't like to think that we're being vain or that as women we think about our physical being and how we look. But making the decision to have your breasts removed is such a tough decision.

I love that she put it out there that says, I am still a woman and I am still here. But there's a lot of shock behind it, a lot of support this morning for Angelina Jolie, as well, who basically has invited all us into her journey. She called this piece, "My Medical Choice," and she really did go in-depth about her difficult health decision.


TURNER (voice-over): Actress, activist, advocate, mother. Angelina Jolie is many things and Tuesday the actress added proactive survivor to the list. In an op-ed piece for "The New York Times" the actress talked about her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for BRCA 1, a gene that increases a woman's risk of certain cancers.

Jolie writes, quote, "My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys look awesome tonight, man.

TURNER: The Oscar winner began her preventative process in February at the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills where singer Sheryl Crow was treated for her breast cancer in 2006. Now nine weeks later, she says the final surgery has been completed and her breasts have been reconstructed with implants.

Cancer is something Jolie knows only too well. Her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died six years ago after a decade-long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 56. Jolie talked about Bertrand in a 2011 "60 Minutes" interview.

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: she didn't have much of her own career, her own life, her own experiences. Her own -- you know, everything was for her children. I will never be as good a mother as she was. I would try my best.

TURNER: At 37, Jolie doesn't want the same legacy for her six children, writing, quote, "I can tell my children that they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer." Jolie says she wrote "The New York Times" op-ed to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But, "It is one I'm very happy that I made." Adding she chose not to keep her story private to let other women know they have options if they too are high risk.

It's a bold and public step from a woman who is well known for her privacy.


TURNER: Now she also says that she will post her regimen on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center that's here in Southern California. This is where she was treated. She says, Carol, that she hopes that can also be helpful to other women.

COSTELLO: Good for her. Nischelle Turner reporting live for us this morning.

Jolie's story is hitting close to home, too, this morning. Our friend and colleague Zoraida Sambolin is about to undergo a double mastectomy. And Zoraida joins us now.

First of all, Zoraida, thank you so much for sharing your story.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CO-ANCHOR, CNN's EARLY START: It's my pleasure. I thanks Angelina Jolie for making it easier. I was trying to figure out, Carol, how do I tell the viewers I'm going to be gone for a while, how do I tell them about my breast cancer, how do I talk about a double mastectomy. And, you know, we walked in this morning and I thought well, this is a good entree. So I was grateful for Angelina Jolie this morning.

COSTELLO: Doctors have already -- detected cancer in one breast. Why did you decide to have both breasts removed?

SAMBOLIN: It's a really long and complicated story. But the bottom line is that, you know, there is one area that was diagnosed on the left and when I had an MRI, they found another area and then they found that my right breast also, you know, had some issues and they were uncertain exactly what it was. And they wanted to go in and do a bunch of biopsies and I've been through this a lot recently.

And I said, look, at the end of the day, I need to have peace of mind. I need to sleep at night. I have two kids that, you know, are my world. Like any woman, right? And it's what you think about. And so I thought that for me this would be the best decision moving forward so that I could feel confident that it's something that I'm not going to have to deal with that much more in the future.

COSTELLO: So your kids. Angelina Jolie did this for her children, and I'm sure you are doing this for your children, too, in part. So how did you tell them? SAMBOLIN: That's my son that you're looking at there, Nicco, and I got to tell you, Carol, I mean, there were a couple of things that were really difficult for me. That's Sophia you're looking at there. And this was the major one is how do you tell your children what you're going through? So I bought a book and it's breast cancer for dummies.


And it's really a great book. I read it through myself, and I sat down with my son and I asked him, I said, Nicco, when you think of breast cancer, what do you think of? And the words out of his mouth to me were incredible. He said I think of a fight. And I felt well, this is good. This is a good beginning, because now I can explain to you what I'm going through. And I took that book and I walked him through what my journey was going to be like.

And at the end of the day, it allowed me to explain something that is a little complicated for a 14-year-old to understand, but it allowed him to understand that, you know, I -- my choice is to live. My choice is to be there for them. And at the end of the day, that was the best decision for me. Every woman has to make her own decision based on all the information that she gets from her doctors and all the research that she does. And talking to other women is very important.

My daughter, on the other hand, is 9 years old, Carol, and I had no idea how I would talk to her about this. So I read a lot. And I sat down with Sophia and I asked her about breast cancer. I said, what do you think of, and she said I think of, you know, losing hair and I think about, you know, being really sick. And I said, well, I'm not going to lose my hair and I'm not going to be really sick.

And I so explained to her that I had breast cancer. And her next question to me, Carol, was, why did you want that picture that you asked me for a week ago? She moved on. And it was the greatest gift because, you know, you've got to think about who you're talking to. And for a 9-year-old, that's all she needed to hear and she was done with it.

COSTELLO: Well, thank you so much for sharing, Zoraida. We so appreciate it. We do.

SAMBOLIN: Carol, can I say one more thing?


SAMBOLIN: Because this is really important and we talked this morning with Elizabeth Cohen and, you know, we have our Web site here at CNN that has been a valuable resource for me, and I want to make sure that women are empowered and that the men in their lives are empowered to get information. And so if you go to you will get as much information as you possibly can.

And the other thing is for women to be vigilant and dedicated to their care. Because I have been, I have been very, very vigilant with this issue, and the good news is that, you know, my prognosis is really good because of that.

COSTELLO: And we'll be praying for you. Thank you, Zoraida. Thank you so much.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: And this news comes out of Moscow. Russia's FSB counterintelligence agency says it has caught a U.S. spy red handed. They detained this man identified as Ryan Fogle, a U.S. diplomat Russia claims is a CIA agent.

And check this out. FSB photos show this man caught with all kinds of gear, knives, wigs, sun glasses, and large sums of money.

CNN's Phil Black is live in Moscow.

Tell us more, Phil.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol, the FSB has made this announcement. They said that they picked up this man, Ryan Fogle, overnight here Moscow time. They say that officially his job at the U.S. embassy is as third secretary in the Political Department, but they say that he really works for the CIA. And they said they caught him in the act of trying to recruit a member of Russia's Special Services.

And as you mentioned, they released a series of photos, which show the arrest and show what they have caught him with. And as you mentioned, they show what they describe as special technical devices, written instructions to the man he was trying to recruit. That large sum of cash as well as items which they say could be used to disguise someone's identity.

And if you look at those photos in secrets, the before and after photos of the arrest show that the man they picked up seems to have been wearing a wig beforehand and they've got him locked up in a room later on. He is not wearing a wig.

We're told that he has since been released and returned to the U.S. embassy, but the Russian FSB, its federal security service, says that in recent times it has been monitoring and tracking numerous attempts by the CIA to recruit members of its own special services -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So Russia returned this guy to the U.S. embassy? So what happens now?

BLACK: Well, because he -- appears to have diplomatic status and presumably he has diplomatic immunity from prosecution. Also I guess the question is whether or not he will be allowed to stay in the country. Presumably you would think not. And in terms of what the U.S. reaction to that will be we still don't know. We had no response from the U.S. embassy itself just yet. No response from the U.S. government either -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Phil Black reporting live for us this morning.

We're also getting a new look at photos taken inside the backyard of kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. The pictures were obtained exclusively by CNN's "AC 360." A neighbor who did not want to be identified snapped the pictures.

And you can see the conditions at what's being called Cleveland's house of horror. Barbed wire, chains, even a small bicycle. Everything hidden from the outside world by big tarps.

Randi Kaye has more on these new photos.


KAYE: Take a look this wide shot. This is a wide shot at the backyard at Ariel Castro's home. It's a mess. You can see it really looks like a junkyard. You can see there's a car off to the right that may be a child would ride in. Also to the left, you can see a kid's basketball net there and that's the garage, of course, in the distance. But quite a mess.

This next photo is really telling. There were spools and spools of barbed wire all over the yard. Thick rolls of it like you see in these photos. We know, of course, the three women were held for years against their will. So this may have been used to keep his captives inside in case they made a run for it perhaps. And very likely to keep anyone from the outside from getting in. That stuff, as you know, can do some real damage to someone.

Also we want to show this next picture of a chain. Now it's around a tree. You can see it there. But -- and Castro, of course, did have puppies. But our guy who took these photos says that hundreds of chains, not just a couple of little yard chains, were found but hundreds of very thick heavy chains were there in the yard.

And remember, the police report said that he had kept the girls chained up in the basement and originally then chained up elsewhere in the home. Also you can see in this one photo, there's a pulley there in the grass so he did have some type of pulley system, but it's unclear as to why.

If you look, we found some bicycles in the backyard in the photos. There are a couple of red bikes that are leaning against the house. Clearly these are bicycles that children would use. Castro did have grandkids so these bikes may belong to them but I want you to look at this other bike that certainly caught our attention. It's a Barbie bike, it's pink and as you can there it's clearly made for a little girl.

We know, of course, as you said, the daughter Amanda Berry had with Ariel Castro lived in that house. So maybe it was for her to use. We don't know for sure but certainly this is a picture of innocence there in the backyard behind what many are calling a house of horrors. So it's incredibly creepy to see it there.

And also one other thing, speaking of creepy. Look at this photo. There is a mirror hanging up at the -- at Castro's backdoor, which is now boarded up. Police had boarded that up. But this is critical because it also -- it allowed him to stand at his backdoor and see whoever was coming up his driveway, even though the driveway was completely out of view for him.

Possibly this was used to prevent any surprise visitors. In fact, one neighbor told the guy who actually took this photo that when he would go visit Castro at his home, before he could even get halfway up the driveway, Castro would pop out his front door as if he was expecting him or knew he was coming, and clearly now we know why.

Also we want to show the back of the house. This photo shows how far Ariel Castro went to shield himself and his victims from others. You can take a look at the gray wood that's in the windows. The guy who took these photos says that Castro removed his windows and actually we saw them scattered in the yard in some other photos.

He then replaced them with this wood paneling all over the house. This is from the backyard as I said. Nobody then could see what or who was in that house. And finally, another way to shield himself, take a look at this last photo. That's the garage, but to the left you can see this blue tarp, apparently Ariel Castro had tarped over the whole backyard. He used blue tarp and green tarp and some gray tarp, according to our photographer, but tons of piping were also found in the yard and some other rolls of tarp on the ground.

Certainly it wasn't in short supply. Maybe he was planning to do more tarp work, but he certainly wanted to make sure nobody could see what was going on in the yard or anywhere else around that house.


COSTELLO: Wow. Randi Kaye reporting.

The neighbor who took those photos says he did it to let people know it was there. He said he can't believe no one knew what was going on and that he doesn't want it to happen again.

On to Washington, where a new day is bringing a new controversy for the Obama administration. This time, the spotlight is on the Justice Department, which is getting slammed at the moment by "The Associated Press" for secretly collecting telephone records of news service's reporters and editors.

Now, this comes amid news that the House will hold hearings this Friday on the IRS' revelation that it targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

Joining me now, White House correspondent Briana Keilar and CNN crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns.

Brianna, let's start with you.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. The White House has had a tough week with no signs of it letting, buffeted by controversies involving that terrorist attack in September in Benghazi, the IRS, and now, news that the Justice Department seized records from reporters.


KEILAR (voice-over): As a series of controversies boiled over in Washington, President Obama left town.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because I sure want to do some governing. I want to get some stuff done.

KEILAR: Headlining New York City fundraisers with Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel, amid news that Justice Department seized phone records of "Associated Press" reporters in an investigation of leaks, accusations the administration downplayed terrorist involvement in September's deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, and claims the IRS targeted conservative groups looking for tax-exempt status.

OBAMA: I will not tolerate it.

KEILAR: Just hours before, Obama addressed the IRS scandal.

OBAMA: If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that's outrageous. And there's no place for it.

KEILAR: The agency's watchdog is expected to release a report this week that will show the IRS targeted applicants who made statements that, quote, "criticize how the country is run." This as e-mails became public showing the administration changed CIA talking points on terrorist involvement in the Libya attack just before the presidential election.

OBAMA: The whole issue of this -- of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow. Suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. There's no there there.

KEILAR: But Republicans see opportunity, and they're accusing the president of hiding the truth.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Where is the outrage all along as things like this keep happening? And the patterns becoming one in which this administration is not transparent and they don't seem to care if the right things are done.


KEILAR: Politically, these are gift that keep on giving for Republicans. The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says, as far as this latest controversy involving the seizure of records from "Associated Press" reporters and editors, he will fully investigate that and, Carol, tomorrow, Attorney General Eric Holder already set to testify at a previously scheduled hearing before that committee. He will definitely be asked about this. So, we should be expecting fireworks on Wednesday, as well as the hearing on Friday.

COSTELLO: Yes, that seat just got hotter.

Brianna Keilar reporting.

We want to know more on those shocking allegations leveled by "The Associated Press" against the Justice Department. Joe Johns is tracking all the developments for us.

So, Joe, "The A.P." says this is, quote, "a massive and unprecedented intrusion."

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Carol, it sounds like a sweeping search for information. And there are legal experts saying this is an unusual case. "The Associated Press" says the government subpoenas this information, two months of telephone records for five reporters, and an editor we know of at "The A.P." from bureaus in D.C., and New York, Connecticut.

The government hasn't said why it needed information, but it's apparently the latest controversial attempt to investigate unauthorized disclosure of classified information, leaks. An investigation was promised after a story surfaced in May of 2012 about an alleged bomb plot that failed a U.S.-bound plane.

Members of Congress from both parties asking about this, including the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Carol.

COSTELLO: So, how did this come to light? How did "The A.P." find out that the Justice Department was collecting information?

JOHNS: Well, from what we can tell, they got a letter from a man named Ronald Machen who is the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. He apparently sent a letter to them telling them about this, and those are about all of the details.

We do have a statement from the United States attorney's office in the District of Columbia, essentially, he said that they take seriously their obligations to follow all laws, federal regulations, Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas of media organizations and the regs, he says, require to us make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means.

So, we're waiting to find out just what they did, did they follow procedures, and what people on Capitol Hill are saying, Carol?

COSTELLO: All right. We're going to talk more about this later on in THE NEWSROOM. Joe Johns reporting live from Washington.

Also ahead in THE NEWSOOM: Prince Harry getting ready to tour the Jersey shore and meet with those rebuilding their lives after superstorm Sandy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: At 23 minutes past the hour. Time to check our top stories.

New Orleans police have named of a suspect in the Mother Day's parade shooting that injured 19 people. Police are calling for Aiken Scott to turn himself in. The 19-year-old arrested in March and believed to be out on bond. Police are crediting tipsters with helping to ID Scott.

The Chicago Teachers Union plans to launch a three-day march against school closings. The march comes before the city's board of education votes on 54 schools slated to be shut down. The teachers union says thousands of people are expected for the 30-mile march, which will go through many neighborhoods marked for school closings.

Three space travelers back on Earth. The Soyuz capsule landed in Kazakhstan this morning, bringing the three men back from the International Space Station. Among those returning, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who as you know, an Internet sensation this week with his "Space Oddity" music video.

British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Boston to offer his condolences following last month's marathon bombings, just a short time ago, he visited a makeshift memorial in the city's Copley Square, along with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Cameron met with President Obama at the White House yesterday.

And next hour, Prince Harry will tour the Jersey shore. He wanted to get a first-hand look at the devastation left behind by superstorm Sandy and meet survivors before his trip ends tomorrow. Governor Chris Christie will be his tour guide.

The mayor of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, spoke to our Poppy Harlow just moments ago.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it shows people across the country that this town was hit relatively hard, considering what happened and his presence alone should --

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is it important that Prince Harry is coming here today?

MAYOR WILLIAM AKERS (R), SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NEW JERSEY: Absolutely. I think any time you can get any positive story on the rebuilding of what we're doing here in Seaside Heights, let the people get a visual aid of what's going on here and they know that Seaside Heights will be opened for Memorial Day weekend.

HARLOW: It has been seven months since Sandy and, you know, I have seen it around here. A lot of progress has been made, but a lot of work to be done. Does this help a lot in putting New Jersey, the coast, back on the map in terms of the aid that many argue is needed here? AKERS: I would hope it does. Not just for Seaside Heights, I like the way you put it. Aid not only here but for the coast. There's a lot of towns that were hurt. Seaside Heights was hurt. Some towns are much worse than Seaside Heights.

I would hope that everybody is getting the help that they need to rebuild because if Jersey shore is only going to be better if we all come back together.

HARLOW: You know, interestingly, there is this royal frenzy, whenever the royals come to the United States, and you told me that the frenzy about Prince Harry's visit is even larger when Vice President Joe Biden was here.

AKERS: I had to say that to be perfectly honest, and not taking anything from the vice president, but I think as Americans, we are used to seeing the vice president. He has a more exposure on the daily basis.

We're seeing the prince actually come here, and being here in person is something that Seaside Heights has never had. And this is our 100 years in existence.

HARLOW: What can you tell me about what you and Governor Christie going to show Prince Harry today.

AKERS: I think we're showing each other different things.

First, the prince is coming here and I know one thing very important to him coming into the visit. He wanted to meet the first responders. I think that's something near and dear to him, and very grateful for that.

Everyone forgets while we're rebuilding, we didn't have loss of life, they are responsible for that. So, we are grateful for that.

What we do want to show not only the prince, but we want to show everybody that Seaside Heights is doing it. We said we were going to be ready and we're going to give you the visual aid to let you know that we are going to be ready for that holiday weekend.

HARLOW: All right. Mayor Bill Akers, thank you so much. Have a great time today.

AKERS: Thank you very much for having me.


COSTELLO: That was Poppy Harlow with Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers.

In the next hour, Prince Harry will be arriving in Seaside Heights. Of course, we'll bring his visit live.

Still ahead, the IRS under fire for targeting conservatives. Now, the agency prepares for a hearing on Capitol Hill. I'll talk to one congressman about what he wants to hear, and what should happen next.