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Angelina Jolie Has Double Mastectomy; Disturbing New Photos; AP: Justice Dept. Subpoenaed Phone Records; President Obama Taking Heat

Aired May 14, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning: an off-screen shocker. One of Hollywood's biggest stars, actress Angelina Jolie, making a stunning revelation. She's had both of her breasts removed.

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Chains, barbed wire and a Barbie bicycle -- disturbing and revealing new images from kidnap and rape suspect Ariel Castro's backyard.

BERMAN: And devastating developments in the stabbing death of 8-year- old Leila Fowler. New information about her brother's troubled past as he faces a homicide charge.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning you to. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Tuesday, May 14th. It is 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And new this morning, we're talking about the stunning revelation by one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie revealing that she's had a preventative double mastectomy because she carries a gene that dramatically increases her risk for breast and ovarian cancer.

Now, this is really about a lot more than just Hollywood and celebrity. It's also about medical decisions faced by millions of women.

Nischelle Turner is following developments for us from Los Angeles this morning.

And, Nischelle, this really surprised a lot of people overnight.


You know, Angelina decided to write this op-ed for "The New York Times", talking about her procedure and talking about her journey to enlighten other women. Now, she said that her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer in 2007 when she was just 56 years old. She said that she battled it for 10 years.

Now, Angelina says she was screened. She found out that she carries a faulty gene. This gene called the BCRA-1. She said after her diagnosis, her doctors estimated that she was at a very high risk of getting cancer.

Here's what she wrote in the op-ed. She said, "My doctors estimated that I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer. I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much as I could. I made a decision to have a preventative double mastectomy."

Now, she says she had the first procedure on February 2nd. It was called a nipple delay. It rules out the disease behind -- the disease in the area behind the nipple and also draws more blood flow to the area.

She said this is painful. She said it causes bruising, but it also increases the chance to save the nipple. Two weeks later, Angelina said she had the major surgery where the breast tissue is removed and then temporary fillers are put into place.

And then on April 27th, she said she had the final surgery, and that was reconstruction of the breasts and also adding an implant.

Now, John, she was really descriptive. She opened up when she was talking about this. And, basically, she said like I was mentioning, she wants other women to know about their options when they have to make a decision like this.

BERMAN: (AUDIO GAP) out there in a very personal way, Nischelle. Obviously, as you said, Angelina's mother died of ovarian cancer back in 2007.


BERMAN: That had to be an influence here.

TURNER: You know, Angelina always talks very openly about how close of a relationship she had with her mother. You know, her -- also her father is Jon Voight, not as close with him. But she also -- she always talked about how strong her mother was and how much she loved her and how great of a relationship there was.

In fact, she talked a little bit about it back in 2011 after her mother -- a few years after her mother passed. Here's what she had to say about her mother, Marcheline Bertrand.


ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: My mother was a full time mother. 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'll never be as good a mother as she was. I would try my best. I don't think I could ever be.

She was -- she was just grace incarnate. She was the most generous, loving -- she's better than me. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TURNER: An emotional Angelina Jolie, also something we don't see very often.

Now, John, I also wanted to mention, Angelina is getting very personal here. She's not the first celebrity to make this decision. Christina Applegate did the same thing back in 2008. She also found out she had this faulty gene. And so, she decided to have a preventative double mastectomy as well.

BERMAN: You know, Nischelle, I mention this is a decision faced by millions of women in this country. But it's not just women, it's families also. Of course, Angelina Jolie's family includes Brad Pitt.

TURNER: Yes. Yes, her fiance, Brad Pitt. She talked about him in this op-ed piece. And what she said was that she's fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who so loving and supportive.

She said that he was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center where she was treated every minute of the surgery. She said, "We managed to find moments to laugh together. We knew this was the right thing to do for our family and that it would bring us closer." That, again, was Angelina Jolie in "The New York Times" op-ed piece this morning.

BERMAN: All right. Nischelle Turner, a lot of people talking about this, this morning. Thank you so much for that report.

SAMBOLIN: You know, one of the things that I love that she does is brings attention to the BRCA genetic test, that genetic testing. It costs $3,000 in order to have that genetic testing done. It's not always covered by insurance companies.

So, hopefully, something will come out of that.

BERMAN: That's right. This is the key part of the health care debate that's going.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is.

It is five minutes past the hour.

We're getting a chilling new look into the backyard of Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. Photographs taken by a neighbor and obtained by CNN revealing a pink Barbie bicycle in the midst of some very disturbing evidence.

Pam Brown live from Cleveland this morning.

What else is there, Pam?

PAM BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, right now, Ariel Castro's house is all boarded up. It's a crime scene.

But one of the neighbors was able to say pictures that he exclusively gave to CNN. These pictures give possible insight into what went on in the house of horrors and how Castro was able to keep an eye out for unexpected visitors.


BROWN (voice-over): Chilling new photos give us a glimpse of Ariel Castro's backyard taken over the weekend by a neighbor. The backyard resembling a junk yard, spools of barb wire and probably the most unnerving, chains. The neighbor said he saw hundreds of thick, heavy chains in the yard.

And then this mirror hanging on Castro's become door that may have allowed him to see if someone was coming up his driveway, possibly using it to prevent any surprise visitors.

And finally, a pink Barbie bicycle for a little girl. A bicycle that may have belonged to Amanda Berry's daughter, fathered by Ariel Castro.

And moments after this cell phone video was shot of Amanda berry's rescue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got Onil Castro and Ariel Castro in custody down here at McDonald's.

BROWN: Just released police dispatch reporting that revealed the arrest of Ariel Castro. And we're now learning more about him, from six different police reports filed about Castro since 1989, when he had an argument with his wife in which he allegedly, quote, "slapped her across the face several times, grabbed her and slammed her against the wall."

In 1994, a neighbor claimed Castro attempted to hit him with a shovel and threatened he was going to take care of him in arguing over a chain link fence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bond is set at $5 million.

BROWN: Castro remains jailed on suicide precaution, being monitored every 10 minutes by guards. Locked up in solitude, receiving no visitors, no friends, no family, no mail, a life in those respect not unlike what DeJesus, Knight, Berry and her daughter endured for years.


BROWN: And Castro has only received professional visits from his attorneys. That's according to the sheriff's office. He remains on restriction which is reserved only for high profile inmates.

Meantime, evidence is still being collected in this investigation. The medical examiner's office was out at his house yesterday, taking panoramic pictures inside the rooms. And then once all the evidence is collected, a grand jury will look at that evidence and decide what other charges Castro should face.

SAMBOLIN: I got to tell you, Pam, the more we learn, the more we wonder whether something was missed along the way.

Pam Brown reporting live from Cleveland, thank you.


BERMAN: New this morning: big questions, is the government, our government, trying to intimidate reporters, infringing on the freedom of the press?

"The Associated Press" is threatening legal action for what it calls a massive and unprecedented intrusion by the Justice Department, the claim that the government was snooping on the news organization's editors and reporters.

Our Brian Todd is following the story for us.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "The Associated Press" says the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records, of reporters and editors for "The A.P.", records listed incoming and outgoing calls, the duration of each call for the work and personal phone numbers of "A.P." employees, according to that news agency.

"A.P." says the seizure recovered numbers for its employees in its New York, Washington and Hartford, Connecticut, offices, and the main number for "A.P." reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.

"A.P." says the Justice Department notified them of the seizure on Friday, the 10th. Now, there is nothing to suggest actual phone conversations were monitored.

The CEO of "A.P." is furious and he let the Justice Department know it. Gary Pruitt in a letter to Eric Holder says, "These records reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the news gathering activities undertaken by 'The A.P.' during a two-month period, provide a rod map to the news gathering operations and disclose information about 'A.P.'s' activities and operation that the government has no conceivable right to know."

Now, Pruitt wants justice to return all of those records and destroy the copies.

On Monday afternoon, we got this response from the U.S. attorney's office, quote, "Regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media."

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the move as did Congressman Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: They had an obligation to look for every other way to get it before they, in fact, intruded on the freedom of press. TODD: So what is this specifically about and why would the Justice Department have sought those phone records? "A.P." says government officials have said in public testimony that the U.S. attorneys office is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information obtained in an ap story from a year ago this month about a foiled terror plot. That story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Brian there.

And new details emerging this morning about the 12-year-old brother of Leila Fowler who is under the arrest for the fatal stabbing of his sister.

A fellow student in a school administration source say the boy was suspended from his middle school for five days earlier this year after he brought a small pocket knife to school. The boy is not being named because he is a minor. He is now being held at a juvenile detention center, and legal experts say because of his age, he cannot be tried as an adult in California.

BERMAN: A suspect identified in the Mother's Day parade shooting in New Orleans. Now, police are trying to find him. They're search for 19-year-old Akein Scott. Nineteen people were wounded, three critically in these shootings, and it is still not clear if there was more than one shooter.

Authorities are offering a $10,000 reward in this case.

SAMBOLIN: And new this morning, three boats carrying up to 150 Muslim refugees capsizing off the coast of Myanmar. They were evacuating people ahead of a cyclone that is expected to hit that area a little later this week. Search and rescue operations are under way at this hour and a U.N. spokeswoman says the boats may have hit some rocks.

BERMAN: Also last night, the Bruins won game seven.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, gosh.

BERMAN: Just throwing that out there.

Coming up on EARLY START: Much more on the developing news overnight on Angelina Jolie's decision to have a double mastectomy. Why are more women choosing this preventative surgery.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, the IRS targeting conservative groups. The president says he will not tolerate it. But Republicans want more transparency.

Details from Washington, coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Fifteen minutes past the hour.

And we're following new developments and a Hollywood stunner. Oscar winner, U.N. ambassador, mother of six, Angelina Jolie, revealing that she has removed both of her breasts after discovering that she carries a cancer gene.

In a "New York Times" op-ed, she describes in detail the treatments that she has been through. She says she wants to avoid the same fate as her mother who battled cancer for a decade before succumbing in 2007 at the age of 56.

BERMAN: President Obama says he will hold the IRS accountable if reports that agency targeted Tea Party groups turn out to be true. Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller is set to testify this Friday before the House Ways and Means Committee as Republican lawmakers demand more transparency from the Obama administration.

CNN's Brianna Keilar has more now from Washington.


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

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

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.

ISSA: 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: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Brianna.

Seventeen minutes past the hour.

A Saudi man arrested over the weekend at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for traveling with a pressure cooker and allegedly lying to federal agents about why he had that pressure cooker. Pressure cookers were used in Boston marathon bombings as you are very well aware of.

Hussain Al Khawahir says he was visiting his nephew and was bringing him the pressure cooker as a gift because the ones sold in America don't work as well as the ones made in Saudi Arabia. That's what he claims.

BERMAN: A Philadelphia abortion provider, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, could get the death penalty after a jury found him guilty of killing three babies during illegal late term abortions. The 72-year-old Gosnell was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the death of a patient in the botched procedure at the clinic. The sentencing phase of this trial begins next week.

SAMBOLIN: Minnesotans saying it loud and proud, we are number 12. Minnesota's governor will sign a bill into law a little later today that's legalizing same-sex marriage after the state Senate approved it. Minnesota is the 12th state in the nation to do so and the first in the Midwest. The new law takes effect August 1st.

BERMAN: Coming up, the S&P 500 will open today at an all time high. We're minding your business and it's looking good. Next.

SAMBOLIN: Plus, the Boston bombing suspect has a fan club. The women who are pledging their love and affection for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, coming up.



BERMAN: We're minding your business today. Another record high for stocks. The gain yesterday not so big but it was enough for the S&P 500 to reach an all time high.

Today, however, at least for now, stocks pointing lower. SAMBOLIN: And another big business story that we're following, fallout after that massive building collapse in Bangladesh. Now, several major retailers are joining forces to increase safety standards.

Christine Romans has the story.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, I'm not going to give them that much credit, as a matter of fact. I'm going to say they're starting to talk about what they're going to do to join forces to have some better safety standards in Bangladesh in particular. They're names we know and they're names we shop.

We start with H&M, that retailer has signed a new safety pact. And very quickly, others follow, Zara, the Dutch retailer C&A, British retailer Primark, the only American brand, PVH, the company that owns Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Izod.

This is a five-year plan. It calls for independent safety inspections and for companies to make the reports public. Right now, companies typically hire their own inspectors and the results aren't usually publicized.

The pact also requires have to stop doing business with any factory that refuses to make safety upgrades. Other companies like Disney have completely pulled out of Bangladesh. But experts say it's better to stay in the country and make a commitment to improve things.

Think of this -- these companies, these brands have been squeezing profit out of the companies on the backs of these women who are working to make our clothes. This is absolutely the wrong time to just run away now that there's bad press and dangerous conditions. Bangladesh's textile industry is huge. Jobs are important, especially the women who worked in these factories.

CNN spoke to the Bangladesh minister of foreign affairs about that very point.


DIPU MONI, BANGLADESH MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: The quality of life that they he have now because of these jobs is much better than what it would have been if they didn't have this job. But still, we need to do much better and the government is doing its best.


ROMANS: CNN Money has reached out to other American retailers. Walmart says he doesn't have anything to announce just yet. Joe Fresh and Sears are reviewing the plan. No response from JCPenney and Benetton.

But I want to be clear here. The world is watching these companies. This isn't just a PR move, all signing up together insisting on better conditions. There need to be better conditions, better safety conditions. We should remind people, again, the pictures of that rubble were more than 1,100 people were killed when that building collapsed, the direct connection from that rubble to the hanger in your closet is very, very real. That's what those brands are worried about that American consumers are conscious.

SAMBOLIN: Can I do anything about pay? Yesterday, you mentioned that if they double the pay, or just raise it, you double the pay that they get, it only raises our prices by some cents.

ROMANS: Yes, a few cents. That's right. There is a wage board that government has put in place in Bangladesh right now.

And I should last night, yesterday morning, so last night there, a bunch of these factories were shut down. They were closed by the government because there's unrest. People who work in these factories are very upset about what happened. They want better rights, too.

So there's a lot happening in Bangladesh right now and the world is really watching.

And again, a lot of the experts say don't just rush out of there, retailers, to India. You're hearing a lot of people say India might be a better place for them to do business.

It's not right to just run away. It's right to fix it.

SAMBOLIN: To do the right thing. Exactly. Thank you so much, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SAMBOLIN: And still ahead, Angelina Jolie's shocking revelation that she has had a double mastectomy. How her mother's health battles shaped her very bold decision.

BERMAN: Plus, O.J. Simpson back in court, pleading for a new trial. Why his personal testimony may be the key to this case.