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Angelina Jolie has Double Mastectomy; U.S. Diplomat Detained in Moscow; Barbed Wire, Chains and a Barbie Bicycle; AP: Justice Dept. Subpoenaed Phone Records; Finding a Long-Lost Sister in the Same Town

Aired May 14, 2013 - 08:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back. I'm Christine Romans.


Our STARTING POINT this morning: the stunning revelation overnight. Superstar Angelina Jolie reveals she had a double mastectomy to prevent breast cancer. We're going to talk about her dramatic decisions in moments.

ROMANS: Then, chains, barbed wire -- the disturbing items found in kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro's backyard paints a vivid picture of a nightmare three women reportedly through for 10 years. We are live this morning in Cleveland.

BERMAN: And growing outrage over the new look for a Disney princess. We're going to talk to the director of "Brave" about why she is not happy with Princess Merida's adult makeover.

It is Tuesday, May 14th, and STARTING POINT begins right now.


ROMANS: And new this morning, a stunning revelation by one of Hollywood's biggest stars. Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie revealing she has had a preventive double mastectomy, because she carries a gene that dramatically increases her risks for breast and ovarian cancers.

She is hoping her journey educates others, saying, quote, "For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options. I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life and to make your own informed choices."

Nischelle Turner is following developments from Los Angeles.

Quite a shocker. She lost her beloved mother to ovarian cancer. Her mother was just 56 years old. This is a woman wants to save her own life for her children, she says. NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And save the lives of others, John and Christine, who have to make the same type of decision. That's why she decided to speak out, actually write out and get very personal in "The New York Times" op-ed piece.

A lot of shock, a lot of support for Angelina Jolie this morning. She's really kind of invited the world into her journey. She called her op-ed piece, "My Medical Choice" and she went into depth about her decision.


TURNER (voice-over): Actress, activist, advocate, mother, Angelina Jolie is many things, and Tuesday the actress added pro-active survivor to the list. In an op-ed piece for "The New York Times," the actress talked about her decision to undergo a preventive double mastectomy after testing passive 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.

TURNER: The Oscar-winner began her preventive 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 died six years ago after a decade-long battle with ovarian cancer. She was 56. Jolie talked about her 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 is. I will 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 am 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, along with "The New York Times" op-ed, she says she's also going to post a regimen on the Web site of the Pink Lotus Breast Center here in southern California. That, of course, is where she was treated. She says that she does hope this is helpful to other women as well -- guys.

ROMANS: She's been noticeably absent from red carpets and big Hollywood events lately.

Tell us about her last public appearance?

TURNER: Yes. Well, her last public appearance was April 4th and at that time, no one knew what she was going through. She appeared at the Women in the World Summit in New York, and there you see her on the red carpet. At the time, I remember people commenting on her dress. It's an olive green, long flowing St. Laurent dress and people say this doesn't look like the Angelina Jolie that we usually see on the red carpet. You see the cape that she also has draped over her.

Well, she said in the op-ed piece that her breast reconstruction happened on April 27th. So, you know, in this picture there, she is right in the middle of the process of having the double mastectomy. It's about a three-month process. Her first procedure was February 22nd. Again, her last procedure, April 27th. So we know in that picture there, she is in the middle of the procedure, guys.

BERMAN: And she talks about her support system, of course, which includes Brad Pitt.

TURNER: Yes, absolutely. Her fiance, Brad Pitt, who, by the way, is on the cover of "Vanity Fair" this month. He didn't talk about this issue, but he did talk about his family.

She said that her kids, number one, would ask about mommy's mommy and she would tell them about her mother and her battle with cancer. But she also went in depth about Brad and his support.

She said in the op-ed piece, "I am fortunate to have a partner, Brad Pitt, who is so loving and supportive. Brad was at the Pink Lotus Breast Center where I was treated for every minute of the surgeries."

I love this part here. 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 and it has."

I love to hear that, especially after going through what she is going through and having to make some really personal decisions to have a partner that would support her every step of the way is so important, because a lot of women don't have that when they have to make those decisions.

BERMAN: It is so important to have that support. It's so important to be able to talk about it to people you love, and also for Angelina Jolie to talk about it publicly.

Nischelle Turner, thank you so much for being with us this morning.


ROMANS: And now, let's bring in Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the American Cancer Society. He joins us this morning live from Atlanta.

So nice to see you.

So, my first big question for you is -- so, in this particular case, a woman who knows that she has the BRCA gene, this faulty gene, is it -- is it standard operating procedure to recommend a double mastectomy, preventative mastectomy?

DR. OTIS BRAWLEY, MD, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER & EXEC. VP, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Well, most people -- first off, we need to know that everyone has BRCA gene, and these are people who have a mutation of the BRCA gene.

ROMANS: Right.

BRAWLEY: Certain mutations actually increase risks considerably. And women need to know, what mutation do I have? What is the risk associated with the mutation and then they make a personal decision. And bilateral mastectomy does increase risk of breast cancer. Removing ovaries does increase risk of ovarian cancer.

ROMANS: Do women usually do both?

BRAWLEY: Ultimately yes. Usually the mastectomy occurs earlier as it has here, and usually we wait until a woman is about 40 -- early 40s to do the oophorectomy, the removal of the ovaries, and that's because removal of the ovaries will put the woman in menopause, and actually increase the risk of things like osteoporosis later in life.

ROMANS: You know, a big goal is this preventing cancer, promoting the prevention of cancer. Someone like Angelina Jolie, a mega star, a beautiful, feminine, mega star, coming forward with her story -- how important is that to your cause?

BRAWLEY: This helps a lot. Awareness is incredibly important. But I also have to stress wise awareness.

There's a bunch of people will be helped because of concerns about image and she's a wonderful lady who has chosen to have double mastectomies. That's going to help people get over that problem, but there is also a group of people who are going to panic.

So, we're going to have to stress wise awareness, know everything you can possibly know about this. Don't go out and run and demand the test. People talk to their doctor. Actually, I prefer they talk to a genetic counselor.

Many women who think they get the test actually just need to have a simple conversation with a genetic counselor and it's going to allay a lot of fears.

BERMAN: Well, the other part about this is that this test is not really available or affordable to everyone. It costs, what, $3,000. And a lot of insurance doesn't cover it. An issue a lot of people face. BRAWLEY: That is absolutely correct. We actually see a lot of people getting the test who actually should not get the test and they end up with information that they just don't know who to deal with. It's more confusion.

I can't overstress the fact that women who have a considerable history of breast cancer, usually two or three first-degree relatives, sisters, mothers, that sort of thing, ought to have a conversation about getting this test and ought to consider it, but are you absolutely correct. It costs $3,000. It's very expensive and a lot of people can't afford it.

ROMANS: Dr. Otis Brawley, thank you so much for joining us today with some of your insight to one of the very, very big story this morning. Thank you, sir.

BRAWLEY: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT: the Obama administration accused of spying on journalists. The Obama administration spying on journalists, is this kind of privacy intrusion legal?

BERMAN: Then, an amazing story to tell you about. Sisters living in the same city, playing the same high school sport, but strangers to each other. Complete strangers until four months ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My team was like, she looks exactly like you.


BERMAN: The sisters, there they are live. Hey, guys. Met for the first time in 17 years, just a little while ago. They're going to be here talking to us live.

You're watching STARTING POINT.


ROMANS: This just in. CNN has learned that an American diplomat is now being detained in Moscow. Russia security agency FSB is calling him a spy for the CIA.

In a statement issued to CNN, FSB says this American was trying to recruit a staff member at one of the Russian special services. The Russian foreign ministry says it has summoned U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul for an explanation. The U.S. embassy says it will issue a statement later today.

BERMAN: It's going to be complicated when we are trying to deal with intelligence surrounding the Boston marathon bombing as well.


BERMAN: All right. Fourteen minutes after the hour. Getting a disturbing new look into the backyard of Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro. Photographs taken last weekend by a neighbor and obtained by CNN revealing horrifying evidence of torture and abuse.

Pamela Brown is live from Cleveland this morning.

Good morning, Pamela.


These pictures are pretty telling. They show spools of barbed wire, chains, many other items that give us clues into what possibly went on inside the house of horrors.


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 back 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 set 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 that he was going to take care of him when arguing over a chain-link fence. Castro remains jailed on suicide precaution, being monitored every ten minutes by guards, locked up in solitude, receiving no visitors, no friends, no family, no mail. A life in those respects, not unlike what Dejesus, Knight, Berry, and her daughter endured for years.


BROWN (on-camera): And according to our local affiliate here in Cleveland, WOIO, Castro has been exhibiting some bizarre behavior since he's been in jail. Apparently, according to the log inside the jail, he's been walking around in his cell naked at times, using loose strings from his mat to floss his teeth. So, really, just bizarre.

The only visits he's had, we're told, by the sheriff's department is from his attorneys. Evidence is still being collected in this investigation and a grand jury will decide what other charges he should face.

BERMAN: All right. Pamela Brown in Cleveland for us this morning. Strange behavior, indeed. Appreciate it.

ROMANS: The Associated Press this morning threatening legal action after it was revealed the justice department secretly obtained phone records of AP staff. It believes government lawyers were after the source of news leaks in the terrorism case, but the AP calls it a massive and unprecedented intrusion.

CNN's Joe Johns following this story for us this morning. He's in our Washington Bureau. Good morning, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. The Associated Press says the government subpoenaed this information, two months of telephone records that we know about for five reporters and an editor at the AP.

The government hasn't said why it needed this information, but it's apparently an attempt to investigate unauthorized disclosure of classified information and investigation was promised after a story surfaced in May of 2012 about an alleged bomb plot that failed against a U.S.-bound plane. Members of Congress from both parties are asking about this, probably, the strongest reaction from Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, a Republican.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA: The sneak and peak kind of approach was done. You can imagine if Congress wanted to know about leaks that, obviously, came out of the administration that ended up in the press. They would be outraged if we tried to get that information, but that's exactly what they are doing is they're looking at what is considered to be confidential.

People wanted the Pentagon papers, too, but it didn't mean you could look behind the doors broadly the way they're doing.


JOHNS: Both Democrats and Republicans saying the justice department needs to explain itself and needs to show that it followed all procedures that were in place before taking a step like this. A U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. was appointed to investigate how this story made its way into the public.

He issued a statement through his spokesman, Bill Miller, saying, "we take seriously our obligations to follow all laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations. Those regs require us make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means even before considering a subpoena like this for phone records of members of the media."

The tone, though, is measured on all sides right now, Christine, because we just don't know a whole lot about it.

ROMANS: All right. Joe Johns, we'll continue to follow it, I'm sure. Thanks, Joe.

BERMAN: Ahead on STARTING POINT, they're sisters living in the same city, playing the same high school sport, but they didn't know that the other existed for 17 years. They will join us live. The sisters who just met for the first time a few months ago. They are here. Great to see you, guys. We'll get to them when we come back.


ROMANS: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Now, to a story of sisterhood interrupted. Two girls, one given up for adoption, living separate lives, reunited in high school, and it was their track teammates who first made this connection.


ROMANS (voice-over): Imagine finding your long lost sister after 17 years and living in the same town. That's exactly what happened to Robin Jeter and Jordan Dickerson, two sisters born nine months apart, separated as infant, and living only ten miles away.

JORDAN DICKERSON, FOUND HER SISTER: At first, I didn't know I had any siblings. I only thought I had one sibling. I didn't know I had any up more.

ROBIN JETER, REUNITED WITH SISTER AFTER 17 YRS: You know, I had already known about my adoption and I knew that my last name is Jeter.

ROMANS: After 17 years, the two found each other at a high school track meet when teammates alerted Jordan of their striking physical similarities.

JETER: My team was like, she looks exactly like you.

ROMANS: Somehow, their paths had never crossed. They're now making up for lost time and in search of other siblings separated from them.


BERMAN: Robin Jeter and Jordan Dickerson join us now from Washington, D.C. Guys, it is so great to see you. I have to tell you, I have identical twins and you look as alike as my identical twin sons do. My question, Jordan, you know, you look at your sister, what was it like to just sort of look in the mirror, all of a sudden?

DICKERSON: It was pretty -- pretty surprising, really. I couldn't believe it for the first time. And, you know, it was -- it was like -- it was really looking in the mirror. It was kind of scary at first. I have to say, I was kind of scary.

ROMANS (on-camera): Robin, how much sleuthing did you, two, have to do to figure out -- I mean, I know at the track meet, you exchanged numbers, then you talked later. How long did it take you guys to put it together that we really are sisters?

JETER: It didn't take long. As soon as we got home, we called each other and I called my brother, and I told him, and he just started like trying to interrogate her, but it all came together, and we found out that we were sisters.

BERMAN: In looking at pictures of you, guys, over the last four months, getting a chance to talk to you this morning, guys, like, speak the same words at the exact same time.


BERMAN: Talk to me about the emotions of discovering, all of a sudden, that you have this sister. What it's like to, all of a sudden, you have this other person out there, Jordan?

DICKERSON: I mean, it's -- it's always good to know that you have someone, you know, to talk to and, you know, to relate to really, and, you know, it's been really emotional these past four months. But, you know, we're just getting through it one step at a time.

ROMANS: Robin, do you agree that -- I mean, you have brothers. You and I have brothers. I also have a sister. You have a sister. Sisters are special, aren't they?

JETER: Yes. Very special.

ROMANS: Do you, guys, share clothes? Have you raided each other's closets? Are you joined at the --




BERMAN: You talked about -- you know, we've seen how well you're getting along right now. I've seen you guys talk about the fact this is sort of the honeymoon period and there could be some tough times. Is there any difficult about, all of a sudden, learning you have a sibling?

JETER: No. I don't think -- I don't think it's, you know, difficult or anything. You know, ever since, you know, four months, people have expected us, you know, to get in a fight or anything. But, really, we haven't had one, you know, argument, one disagreement and that's just, you know, almost a miracle.

ROMANS: Can I ask you, guys, your biological mother knows that you found each other. What does she say about all this? JETER: You know, all I can say is that, you know, I think she likes that we have, you know, found each other, and you know, got to spend time with each other.

ROMANS: We certainly hope that you have now a lifetime of fun memories and sisterly things together. Really nice to meet both of you. So glad you're teammates. They didn't have to do -- really, didn't take much to see those two girls in the same track and you say, wow, you guys look like sisters. That's incredible. Nice to meet both of you.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, guys.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on STARTING POINT, one of Hollywood's biggest stars making blockbuster medical news this morning. Angelina Jolie revealing she had surgery to prevent breast cancer. We'll ask senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, about a mutated gene that put Jolie in the high-risk category.

BERMAN: And, she's not sexy, she's just drawn that way. Controversy over a Disney princess, her new look, the creator and co-director of "Brave" will join us. You're watching STARTING POINT.