Return to Transcripts main page
WEEKEND EARLY START
Gunman Kills Four; Witness to Shooting; Ricin Case Arrest; Andrea Soaks East Coast; Obama Defends Surveillance; Castro Indicted; Santa Monica Gunman's Name Not Yet Released; Nelson Mandela Rushed to Hospital; Lung Transplant Policy Review; Obama Unapologetic Over Revelations of High-Tech Government Snooping
Aired June 8, 2013 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is EARLY START WEEKEND.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's literally standing behind me, 30 feet away, and just kind of turned, panned - kind of slowly panned his gun over to me and picks it up and shoots at me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A house fire, a hail of bullets and a trail of blood through the streets. Friday's shooting rampage in Santa Monica leaves five dead, five injured and a mystery surrounding the gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Your phones, your e-mails, even your credit card records may be in the hands of the government. What the White House is saying about the secret government programs.
BLACKWELL: This - this is a great, great story and updated (ph). A 10- year-old girl desperate, in need of a lung transplant, had a reason to cheer when a judge stepped in with a ruling that could save her life. The latest efforts to save Sarah. And next week's meetings that could save thousands more.
BROWN: A great story there.
BLACKWELL: It is.
BROWN: Good morning, everybody. It is Saturday, June 8th. Thanks so much for being here with us. I'm Pamela Brown.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is 6:00 a.m. here on the East Coast. Thanks for starting your day with us.
We are starting this morning in California where we're still waiting to learn the name of that man who went on a shooting rampage yesterday in the ocean front city of Santa Monica. Authorities say the suspect killed four people and wounded five others before police killed him. Earlier reports said six victims were shot to death.
BROWN: And police say the shooting spree started at a home near Santa Monica College and then spilled onto campus just 10 minutes from where President Obama was holding a fundraiser. Though we don't know the shooter's name, police say he was between 25 and 35 years old, that he apparently wore a bullet-proof vest and fired a semi-assault assault rifle.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Santa Monica this morning.
Miguel, what's the latest on the investigation? Still lots of questions, but what do we know?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest is they've removed the bodies not only from here, the college behind me, but the other areas where people died, and they are continuing to collect evidence to try to figure out how exactly this person carried this thing off.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): A deadly rampage rolling through the streets of Santa Monica. 11:52 a.m., the first 911 call. A man wearing all black clothing and tactical gear leaves this house. Inside, two victims believed to be the shooter's father and son.
JERRY CUNNINGHAM, NEIGHBOR: He was coming out of the house, the gate of the house across the street. And then I noticed that that house was on fire and thought he'd been firing into the house.
MARQUEZ: The gunmen then jumped into a car, forcing the driver with him. Minutes later, he opened fire on a Santa Monica city bus. No deaths thanks to a quick-thinking bus driver.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened right in front of me. I mean I was in my car and a guy on the left side of the street jumped out of a car with a big black gun and started blasting rounds at all of our cars and the buildings and the bus.
MARQUEZ: Then, just minutes after that, the gunman shot up a building at an intersection in Santa Monica, then forced his driver to take him to Santa Monica College, where the killing spree continued.
BETH TOPPING, WITNESS: I heard a couple of gunshots and someone came running into our office and told us that someone had a gun and to get out and so I instinctively ran into the hallway. And when I got out there, I saw a gentleman dressed in all black.
MARQUEZ: The incident cut a mile long deadly path through the heart of Santa Monica, from the house that was set on fire, to the library at Santa Monica College, packed with students studying for finals. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): He just looked like he was standing there posing for the cover of a ammo magazine or something. It was really bizarre. Very calm. Not running around. Not yelling. Just looking around for targets very casually.
MARQUEZ: Less than 15 minutes after it started, it was over. Four victims and the gunman, dead.
CHIEF JACQUELINE SEABROOKS, SANTA MONICA POLICE: The officers came in and directly engaged the suspect and he was shot and killed on the scene.
MARQUEZ: His body moved from the library and taken to a sidewalk, where he was finally pronounced dead.
MARQUEZ: The most insane thing about all of this, such a horrible day here in Santa Monica. You know, it started only about a mile from where we are. And then literally, 10, 12, maybe 15 minutes later, police say, it ended in a deadly hail of gunfire here at the library. And it may have been campus police with Santa Monica College who actually delivered the fatal shot to him.
Victor, back to you.
BROWN: All right, Miguel Marquez, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Miguel.
When the gunman opened fire, Joe Orcutt thought he was hearing a car backfire. And then he came face-to-face with the man holding that gun. He's a student at Santa Monica College and he joins me now by phone from Los Angeles.
Joe, I thank you for being up with us early. It's 3:00 a.m. out on the West Coast. What did you see yesterday?
JOE ORCUTT, WITNESS TO SANTA MONICA SHOOTING (via telephone): Yes, actually, I work at the university as well. I'm not a student.
BLACKWELL: OK. You're in the bursar's office there?
ORCUTT: Yes, but - yes. The first thing, it was really just a bunch of sounds and wondering what was going on. Did think there was a - it was a car backfire. And then when there was a second shot, it very much sounded like a gunshot. And those first two shots were both in a staff faculty parking lot that was nearby. And apparently it was at either a staff or faculty person who was leaving that parking lot for the day. It was in a red SUV. And he hit the driver. And I heard the -- basically the impact of that car into a brick wall that was across the street. And going down to Pearl Street there to see if everyone was OK and what was going on, just realized that there obviously was some kind of a shooter, gunman or gunmen, multiple people. I did not know at the time, you know, what was going on. But when I was at the end of this long corridor leading to Pearl Street, where this car had gone through the brick wall, I started thinking, well, where is this, you know, gunman at? And when I turned around and looked back to where I had just come from, he was standing 30 feet away right in front of me. By the time the whole area had cleared out and so he's at one end of the corridor, I'm at the other end and we just kind of looked at each other for a second. He spun around fairly slowly and aimed his gun at me. And I - I dove to the left of me and hid behind a building. And he shot. And I could hear like this little whiz go by, like a bee or something. And it all happened really, really fast.
BLACKWELL: And you heard these bullets go by your head. You say that he was - he was calm. Tell us more about his demeanor.
ORCUTT: Yes, I only saw him for, like I said, a couple of seconds. And it was -- when I turned around, it was really the profile of him. He was looking down through like the liberal arts building that would have led him to the library ultimately. So -- but he was standing very still. And then he turned his head and he saw me and then he just panned fairly slowly towards me and lifted up the gun and starts aiming. He seemed very calm, and he wasn't (ph) running or screaming or doing anything erratic other than kind of just hanging around, looking to see, you know, what targets were out there.
BLACKWELL: Well, we are still waiting to get more information on this gunman, including his name, his connection to the people in that house, the people on campus. Joe Orcutt, we, of course, are happy that you're OK. Unfortunately, you had to experience this, but we thank you for speaking with us this morning.
BROWN: Well, we have learned overnight that Nelson Mandela has been rushed to a hospital in Pretoria, South Africa. The 94-year-old former South African president is being treated for a recurring lung infection. He is said to be in serious condition. A presidential spokesperson says he is now breathing on his own. We'll take you live to South Africa in just about 30 minutes from now for the very latest on how Mandela is doing.
BLACKWELL: Back here at home, federal authorities have arrested a pregnant television actress. She's accused of mailing poison letters to President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. CNN's Ed Lavandera is following this story for us.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Pamela, this is a bizarre tale with plot lines that twist and turn. At the center of all of this, a couple, and investigators say it is the wife who tried to frame her husband.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Investigators escorted Shannon Richardson into a federal court building in Texarkana, Texas. FBI officials say Richardson has been charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president of the United States. In her hometown of New Boston, Texas, neighbors know this redhead at Shannon Richardson. But in Hollywood, she's known as Shannon Guess, an actress who's appeared in minor roles on television shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Vampire Diaries."
I appears Shannon Richardson put on quite an act for federal investigators and tried to frame her husband in this real-life drama. According to court documents, Richardson met with authorities to say her husband had mailed three ricin-laced letters to President Obama, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and the head of a gun control advocacy group. The arrest warrant affidavit says Shannon Richardson placed castor beans in the trunk of her husband's car and sprinkled ricin powder around his tools at their house to insure that he would be apprehended.
Richardson also claimed to have found ricin research on the family's computer and suspicious materials in the house. Investigators dissented on the couples' home in this quiet neighborhood in New Boston last week in the far northeast corner of Texas. From the beginning, though, investigators were suspicious of her story and now believe it was Shannon Richardson, not her husband, who mailed the letters which contained an ominous threat, "you will have to kill me and my family before you get my guns. The right to bear arms is my constitutional God-given right. What's in this letter is nothing compared to what I've got planned for you."
Last week, Mayor Bloomberg shrugged off the threat.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: I've got more danger from lightning than from anything else, and I'll go about my business. And we're certainly going to keep working on getting guns off the streets from -- out of the hands of criminals and people with mental problems.
LAVANDERA: Shannon Richardson is now in custody for mailing the ricin letters and her husband filed for divorce on Thursday. Court documents cite, quote, "discord or conflict of personalities" as the reason for the breakup.
LAVANDERA: In these court documents, investigators say that Shannon Richardson admitted to mailing the letters, but that she also goes on to say that it was her husband who typed the letter and then forced her to mail them. And to make matters even more complicated here, Shannon Richardson is five months pregnant, expected to give birth to the couple's first child in October.
Victor and Pamela.
BROWN: Andrea, creeping up the East Coast. It's a post tropical cyclone now. Hey, but that doesn't mean it can't pack a punch. Flash flood watches reach up the East Coast. The storm is moving into the North Atlantic. And the National Hurricane Center reporting maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour. Rain and storm surges could also cause problems especially in coastal areas. And on that note, if you're flying today, well, good luck. Airports are warning about delays and cancelations as Andrea moves up the coast all day long. So anyone flying should check with their airline to make sure their flight is on time.
And, of course, the big question, what's in store for the Northeast?
BLACKWELL: Yes. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is here to tell us. Everybody wants this storm to just scoot on off and get out of the way.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, it is moving. Forget scooting, it is speeding like a bullet northeast at 35 miles per hour. So that is the good news. But despite its fast pace, it still has left behind record rain and flooding. So it's moving quickly. Maximum sustained winds, 45 miles per hour. Predominantly those, though, are off the coast where the heaviest rain is at this point.
So, here's a look at the rain we've seen. Record rain in New York and LaGuardia, 3.3. Kennedy, 4 inches. So, on the whole, between three and five inches of rain. Maybe another inch or so in coastal New England today.
Here's a look at the rain. Boston still has some more. New York, Connecticut, southwestern Connecticut, Fairfield County all getting out of it. That all pushing to the north and east. But another batch, a lot of moisture here in the atmosphere, heading toward Washington, D.C. You can see where it is now, in West Virginia and southwest Virginia. Areas that had an awful lot of rain yesterday with Andrea.
But, you guys, we have another severe weather threat today. I'll tell you where it is. The potential for tornados exit once again. That's coming up in just a bit.
Back to you.
BLACKWELL: Yes, we've heard that word far too often in May.
BLACKWELL: I hope we don't start June off that way.
Thank you, Alexandra.
BROWN: Can't catch a break, it seems.
BROWN: Is the government snooping on your personal e-mails, pictures and videos?
BLACKWELL: President Obama says there's no reason to be alarmed, but some are asking, what happened to Candidate Obama who promised complete transparency?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Is your security more important than your privacy? That's the question, right?
BLACKWELL: Yes, the White House is fiercely defending surveillance programs that are putting your phone records, your e-mails, online pictures and videos, everything in between, right into the hands of the government. CNN's Brian Todd is in Washington.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pamela and Victor, the president is under fire from his liberal supporters who say he's betrayed them on civil liberties. Republicans say he should thank George W. Bush and apologize to him for slamming his tactics. However you look at it, the president is certainly behaving far differently from Candidate Barack Obama.
TODD (voice-over): Coming off seven plus years of warrantless wiretapping, sweeping surveillance and enhanced interrogation, he was the candidate who said, enough.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (August 1, 2007): This administration acts like violating civil liberties is the way to enhancing our security. It is not. There are no shortcuts to protecting America.
TODD: He promised full transparency, which he said would also be a departure.
OBAMA: The only way you can hold us accountable is if you know what we're doing.
TODD: Fast forward to this week when it's revealed that Barack Obama's administration has conducted secret programs allowing the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of Americans and to monitor the online activities of people overseas. Add that to the fact that he's expanded George W. Bush's drone strike program, is unable to close Guantanamo and goes after leakers with unprecedented zeal, and you've got the inspiration for comparisons like "The Huffington Post's," calling him George W. Obama, with an eerie looking morphed photo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, this has to be one of the most surprising aspects of the Barack Obama presidency.
TODD: You've even got the conservative "Wall Street Journal" praising the surveillance program, while the editorial page of "The New York Times," a traditional backer of President Obama's, writes, "the administration has now lost all creditability on this issue." Analysts say previous political expectations for Barack Obama are in disarray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: : When he was a candidate, the left was expecting an ardent (ph) civil libertarian, the right was expecting kind of a woolly headed professor of constitutional law. TODD: But should either side be surprised? As a senator in 2008, Obama voted in favor of the FISA Act, the legal guideline for the government's wiretapping program. But why would he have pivoted so far toward Bush? President Obama explains it himself.
OBAMA: I came in with a healthy skepticism about these programs. My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards. But my assessment, and my team's assessment, was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks.
TODD: But one civil libertarian says there's a more cynical reason.
PROF. JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: I think many of his political advisors felt that if he really did carry out those promises, he could be blamed for an attack. He could be blamed for anything that occurred. So if you're always continuing the same program as your predecessor and expanding them and accepting these policies, you are less vulnerable to criticism.
TODD: When we asked the White House to respond to the idea that he's became George W. Obama, officials there were quick to point out the differences. Don't forget that the president ended the war in Iraq, they said, banned enhanced interrogations, and placed more oversight on the same surveillance programs we're now talking about.
Pamela and Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Brian, thanks.
This is something that resonates. And a lot of these national security topics don't. But the guys are talking about this in the barbershop and the people I meet at the supermarket are talking about this, that the government has some kind of information about their cell phones, although up to this point they didn't know what.
BROWN: But you know what's interesting, I mean, here we go with the debate protection versus privacy. After Boston, for example, there was all this talk about why didn't - why weren't the dots connected.
BROWN: There should be more done. But then you see here, now we're talking about, well, this is an overreach of our privacy.
BLACKWELL: The backlash.
BROWN: A violation. So where do you draw the line and that's --
BLACKWELL: The president makes a good point that I think a lot of people knew but just had never heard the point articulated. There's no such thing as 100 percent security and no such thing as 100 percent privacy.
BROWN: Exactly. And there's also a big difference between the candidate on the campaign trail -
BROWN: And the president. And it seems like from hearing him talk, once he took office, you kind of get a reality check.
BLACKWELL: That's true. And this continues. This story is still developing.
BLACKWELL: So we'll follow it.
BROWN: Yes. Another story that's developing, accused Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro slammed with 329 charges. Coming up, we'll break down the charges against the man accused of holding three women captive for a decade.
BLACKWELL: Cleveland kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro has been indicted on 329 charges.
BROWN: That's an astounding number there. He is accused of holding Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in his home for 10 years. The indictment describes years of brutal assaults, from chaining the victims to polls and cars, to tying vacuum cords around their neck. One charge accuses of 52-year-old Castro of aggravated murder for purposely causing the end of one pregnancy.
BLACKWELL: All right, here's the breakdown of the indictment. One hundred and thirty-nine counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping, seven counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of felonious assault, and a count of possession of criminal tools.
Pamela, you actually spend some time there. You were there. You've been there three times -
BROWN: Three times, yes.
BLACKWELL: Since the women were released. Let's start with the 329 counts. I mean is that what everyone expected?
BROWN: We knew they were going to go after him.
BROWN: And I was at that press conference with Prosecutor Tim McGinty when he said, look, we're serious. We're going to - we're looking into murder charges and a whole slew of charges. This guy needs to be - you know, pay the price for what he allegedly did.
But 329? That is astounding. I think most of us were shocked to hear that. And let's keep in mind, this was - this is just half the time that these women were in captivity.
BROWN: So this is only - this is only half and there will likely be more charges to come.
But I think the message this sends is that they're serious. That they want to make sure that this guy is behind bars for the rest of his life or potentially faces the death penalty. We'll have to see if that happens.
BLACKWELL: I'd imagine there were some pretty intense interviews with these women to come up with precise numbers of 139 counts of rape, 177 counts of kidnapping.
BROWN: Yes. Looking through the indictment, I was shocked by how much detail was in that indictment. And it had the dates throughout the years. And I'm thinking to myself, wow, these women really, you know, obviously, this is something that scarred them for life, but also that they were able to remember those details. Being tied up with a vacuum cord. One of the -- in the indictment it says one of the victims said that she was woken up by Castro and was sexually assaulted. It's just amazing to read that detail that allegedly occurred over the past 10 year.
BLACKWELL: And you had a conversation with a friend while you were in Cleveland. Tell me about that conversation.
BROWN: I did. So, you know, I have been there, as you said, three times and I've talked to friends of the victims, of the families. And I spoke to one of the friends last night and basically he was at the home of one of the victims and said it was like a party after the indictment was released and they found out about the 329 charges. And they were just - they were elated because I think more than anything it's a relief for these victims to know that he's not going to be able to come back and get them.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and -
BROWN: That they're safe, they're protected and they were just --
BLACKWELL: Potentially, more charges to come.
BROWN: Right. Exactly. As we said, this only covers half of the time they were in captivity.
BLACKWELL: All right. We will continue to follow that, of course.
A mile-long rampage in Santa Monica shattered the calm in that ocean side city. We'll go live to Santa Monica for the latest next. Stay with us.
BROWN: It's about 31 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. I am Pamela Brown.
BLACKWELL: I am Victor Blackwell. Thanks for starting your day with us. Here are five stories we are watching this morning.
First to Philadelphia and that building collapse that killed six people this week. Did you watch this one? OK, well, listen to this: City Hall sources tell CNN the crane operator working to demolish the building had marijuana and pain medication in his blood. And he could face manslaughter charges. During the demolition, a four-story wall fell on a Salvation Army thrift store. Six people died, 13 people were hurt.
Second story here in St. Petersburg, Florida, a critical hearing in the George Zimmerman murder trial will pick up where it ended yesterday. Now, this is the last hearing before jury selection starts on Monday. The judge has to decide whether voice analysis of the 911 calls will be allowed at trial. And two experts said the voice heard screaming for help is likely Trayvon Martin's voice and not George Zimmerman's. But audio samples are shorter than what's required to make a definite conclusion. Zimmerman claims he shot Martin in self defense. The attorneys are back in court in about three hours.
BROWN: The third story, an update in Nelson Mandela's condition. The South African presidential spokesperson tells CNN that Mandela is now able to breathe on his own. The 94-year old former president was rushed to a hospital in Pretoria overnight because of a reoccurring lung infection. We will take you live to South Africa in just a few minutes.
And number four, authorities in Texas arrested a TV actress accusing her of mailing poison letters to President Obama and New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The FBI said Shannon Richardson admitted sending the letters, but said that her husband forced her to do it. Her husband says she was lying to the FBI and has now filed for divorce. Shannon Richardson is pregnant and faces ten years in prison if convicted.
BLACKWELL: Five now. A big story this morning. We are waiting to learn the name of the man who opened fire at Santa Monica College yesterday. By the time police had him in their sight, he had killed four people already and wounded five more. He died in the shoot-out with those officers.
Authorities say the gunman was a white male between the ages of 25 and 30 years old. And he was armed with pistols and an R-15 rifle with extra clips and the police say, the shooting spree started at a home near Santa Monica College, the gunman than reportedly fired into a car, then carjacked another vehicle and then headed on to campus.
Now, it all finally ended outside the library where police shot the suspect. He, of course, died at that point and it all went down just ten minutes from where President Obama was holding a fundraiser.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Santa Monica this morning. Miguel, what are police saying about the investigation?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are not saying a lot at the moment, they don't want to give away too much because they want to figure out exactly who this guy is and what his background is. I can't tell you that law enforcement sources that we talked to said they have in fact identified the shooter even though they are not making a public identification, and they are starting to collect data about him and trying to figure out exactly what led him to this and what the motive could have been.
Just a shocking, shocking day here across Santa Monica to have that house fire start at 11:52, and then minutes later a carjacking, and then literally five or six different locations that this person went to within a mile of the school here, finally getting to the school, being -- having a shoot-out with police. Witnesses say that he was -- it sounds as though he was looking for it, because he was engaging police verbally, say witnesses. They told him to drop the gun, he didn't.
And it's not clear how many weapons he had on him. Police being a little coy about that, at the moment saying he had this AR-15 type assault rifle on him, which is the semiautomatic version of the fully automatic M16 military weapon, he also had at least one handgun.
But it sounds like he had a bag with him as well, which had both ammunition and it sounds like other weapons on him, so police are trying to go through that and figure out, whether or not he owned all of those weapons legally, and then there was the shoot-out with police and it sounds like it may have been campus police that delivered the fatal blow.
But at this point investigators being fairly quiet about what they know. They have at this point taken all the bodies out of here at Santa Monica College, including the shooters in other locations, and they are continuing to go through the college which will remain closed through much of the day today. They may allow people to get back in there whose bags, keys, cars, all that sort of stuff are in the college, because there are hundreds if not thousands of them, they may allow them to get back in there today to collect those things, but for the most part, the campus is closed, they continue to process the information there hoping to figure out how this thing all kicked off. We do know that the -- that the house, that where all of this started, that people inside that house were related to the shooter. So, whatever kicked it off started there and ended here. Victor and Pamela?
BLACKWELL: All right, Miguel Marquez, we are hoping to get the answer, who, soon, and then the more important question --
BLACKWELL: Miguel, thanks. We will be checking back in with you in about 20 minutes or so.
Well, two very sick children are a step closer today to getting the new lungs they need to survive.
BROWN: We will have the latest on the ongoing battle over the nation's transplant policies. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLACKWELL: South Africa's president is urging his country to pray for Nelson Mandela, he is 94 years old, of course, a legend and icon. He was rushed to the hospital overnight when a persistent lung infection flared again. Let's go to CNN's Robyn Curnow in Johannesburg and South Africa. Robin, how was Mr. Mandela doing this morning?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know. We don't get a lot of information from the government here. We are relying on one statement that was issued just a few hours ago saying that at 1:50 A.M. South African time, earlier on Saturday morning, Mandela's condition deteriorated significantly enough for him to be rushed to hospital. Again, suffering from that reoccurring lung infection, which essentially is pneumonia. So, that's really all we are getting, and the doctors are saying that he is in a serious, but stable condition.
BLACKWELL: And we have some new pictures -- you have some pictures from April. Let's see some of those and tell us about these photographs.
CURNOW: Well, as you know, Mandela has not been seen in public since 2010. Now, these recent photographs from just a few months ago show a very weak-looking Nelson Mandela. He is surrounded by the South African president, some of his doctors, some of his grandchildren, and if you look at those pictures, he looks confused, doesn't he? Slightly bewildered. And we know that in recent years, according to sources I've spoken to close to Mandela, that he has not spoken a lot, that in many ways he is kind of retreating into himself and from those pictures you can see a man who is very, very old.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and we have not seen him on camera in these videos for a birthday party a year ago and these pictures, not speaking in any of this video. This is at least the third time in the last year or so, maybe the fourth that he has been in the hospital and his health has been deteriorating over the time.
CURNOW: Absolutely. And I think this is why this is so key, which is why people are perhaps so worried. This is I think the fourth time that he has been in the hospital in the last six months. And remember, he spent Christmas and Easter, you know, in the last six months in hospital, again focusing on his lungs, doctors are very concerned about managing his infections that keep on coming up within his lungs, so his health has definitely been quite dramatically deteriorating over the last few months, and I think many people here very much keeping him in their thought, his wife, we understand, Graca Machel, is with him by his bedside now.
BLACKWELL: There in Johannesburg and all around the world. Robert Curnow, thank you so much.
BROWN: The group that sets national rules for lung transplants will hold an emergency meeting Monday to review and possibly change its policy on child organ recipients. Meeting comes out after a federal judge this week granted two very sick children in Philadelphia priority access to transplants from adult donors. CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll has the very latest.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDNET: Javier Acosta's family is hoping he has a better chance at surviving. The 11-year-old has cystic fibrosis and needs a lung transplant, so too, does ten-year old Sarah Murnaghan. She suffers from the same disease, both are at the same hospital in Philadelphia. Each family praying a lung donor will come in time now thanks to a federal judge's decision.
JANET MURNAGHAN, DAUGHTER NEEDS LUNG TRANSPLANT: We sat down and we explained the system a little bit in a way that she could understand. She had a lot of hope last night when I explained that to her.
CARROLL: Earlier this week judge Michael Baylson ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to temporarily suspend policy in Sarah and Javier's case, which have prevented all children under the age of 12 from receiving priority in the adult pool of patients waiting for transplants. Lung donations from children are rare, but children can use a modified lung from an adult, and since there are more lung donations from adults, the Murnaghan say what should happen now is clear.
MURNAGHAN: The system needs to be changed. It needs to be fair for everyone, for adults and for children. I don't want Sarah in front of anyone who is sicker. This should be the sickest person first.
CARROLL: Javier's family knows the pain of waiting all too well. In 2009, his brother who also had cystic fibrosis died while waiting for a transplant. The Murnaghans initiated the lawsuit against HHS and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to change the so-called under 12 rule. Sebelius was questioned about it during a budget hearing.
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: The worst of all worlds in my mind is to have some individual pick and choose and who lives and who dies. I think you want the process where it's guided by medical science and medical experts.
CARROLL: The HHS has declined to comment on the ongoing legal matter, on Monday, the United Network for organ sharing, that's the organization that manages the list and works with HHS will hold an emergency meeting to review its lung allocation policy. The lawyer representing both families says the organization should do more than just review it.
STEPHEN HARVEY, ATTORNEY, PEPPER HAMILTON LLP: And I don't think that the prudent thing to do would be to suspend the policy (inaudible) pending for other review.
CARROLL: And suspending the policy is not entirely out of the question. In a copy of a letter from the United Network for organ sharing, written to Secretary Sebelius earlier this week, it says if their committee finds the available data suggests a change is warranted, the committee would be able to approve it. Pamela, Victor.
BROWN: All right, it's been a national correspondent Jason Carroll, thank you for that. We -- I guess we will have to wait until Monday to see what comes out of that meeting --
BROWN: -- whether there is going to be an injunction or not.
BLACKWELL: But at least we saw that video of Sarah with her "woo-hoo" (inaudible)
BROWN: I know. Don't you love to see that?
BLACKWELL: You know, I think that this is hopefully a great (inaudible) for the two kids, but it exposes a conversation -- it starts a conversation that's certainly the medical community, the government, they need to have.
BROWN: Absolutely. And now we see not only Sarah, but the other child as well who is going to be put on that list priority. So.
BLACKWELL: And we're going to have a conversation in a little more than an hour. We will talk with Sarah Murnaghan's mom, Janet, about the judge's ruling and her daughter's fight. So stay with us for that.
President Obama is defending the NSA's phone and surveillance program arguing that keeping details on millions of phone calls keeps us safe. But critics say the government has gone too far this time and it needs to stop. We will break down the debate after this.
BLACKWELL: Well, it is the city that never sleeps, so I don't know if you say good morning to New York, but we are going to do it anyway, good morning, New York, 57 degrees there, showers later, but we are not expecting the weather to be too bad there, you know what we are expecting? Next door, New Jersey, a major political announcement at around 11:00 A.M. Eastern today. Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is expected to announce that he will be running for the U.S. Senate. Now, this is the seat left vacant by the death of long-time senator Frank Lautenberg who died earlier this week.
BROWN: And earlier this year, before Lautenberg announced his retirement, Booker said he was thinking about running in for the Senate in 2014. After Lautenberg's passing, you know, Chris Christie announced that there would be a special election in October to fill that seat.
Well, freedom versus safety, that is the debate taking a place not only in Washington, but across the country. President Obama now fighting critics for a controversial government surveillance program.
BLACKWELL: The National Security Agency has been keeping track of millions of phone calls in the United States and they have been doing it for seven years.
BROWN: The government also has access to some emails, texts, and video chats of millions overseas. Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin has more on the high-tech debate. JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Pamela. President Obama said he is pleased the U.S. is having a grown up discussion about domestic surveillance, but the criticism won't keep him from using these programs.
YELLIN: President Obama unapologetic about revelations of high-tech government snooping.
OBAMA: My assessment and my team's assessment was that they help us prevent terrorists attacks.
YELLIN: He says the government is just gathering phone numbers and duration of calls and insists the program to capture Internet messages as they flow through the U.S targets only foreigners, but it's opened him up to criticism and jokes President Bush faced when the surveillance programs first came to light in 2006. Remember this?
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: If anybody needs anything else at their tables, just speak slowly and clearly into your table numbers, somebody from the NSA will be right over with a cocktail.
YELLIN: There are similarities: Bush then --
GEORGE W. BUSH: We do not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval.
YELLING: Obama now.
OBAMA: If the intelligence community then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they've got to go back to a federal judge.
YELLIN: No wonder the left leaning "Huffington Post" mocked him as President George W. Obama. In a 14-minute Q&A, President Obama repeated 20 times that his surveillance program is subject to oversight by Congress and the courts.
OBAMA: These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. That's also why we set up congressional oversight. We have got congressional overnight and judicial oversight.
YELLIN: But all that is discussed behind closed doors, never subject to public debate until now.
JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV.: It's a chilling thought to rely on Congress to protect our civil liberties.
YELLIN: It should come as no surprise that President Obama supports this surveillance programs, even though he said this during the 2008 campaign --
OBAMA: There should always be somebody who's watching the watchers.
YELLIN: He voted to reauthorize government eavesdropping in 2008 and signed an update to it last year. It's more than a little ironic, all this is coming to light just as the president prepares to meet with the leader of China, and press him on that country's Internet attacks.
OBAMA: It's critical as two largest economies and military powers in the world that China and the United States arrives at a firm understanding of how we work together on these issues.
YELLIN: Already, the two countries have agreed to discuss rules of the road for cyber security going forward. The two presidents will meet again for several hours today on an estate in the California desert.
BROWN: Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: A lot more news ahead for you this morning, including an interview with Pam Misir.
BROWN: An eyewitness who saw the Santa Monica shooter up close, this will be her first time speaking to the press about the tragedy. You won't want to miss it. We'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: Coming up at the top of the hour, spectators got to see a pretty unusual procedure at Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday. This is crazy. This is Padi (ph), a 2,500-year-old mummy who calls the hospital home. Beautiful white teeth, though. Yesterday, was restoration day. Doctors have also been taking new X-rays and some body scans.
BROWN: All right, Padi is getting a little bit of a makeover there --
BROWN: It looks like. And Padi was a gift given to the city of Boston back in the 1800s. Padi will go back on display at the hospital in a new custom built case.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I just don't know if I'm going to a hospital to feel better that that is what I want to see when I go in.
BLACKWELL: That like hey, we've got a mummy, though.
BROWN: Yes. Just in case you were wondering.
BROWN: I love this story.
BLACKWELL: OK. All right.
BROWN: Just next story. I'm a pizza fanatic.
BLACKWELL: -- a good topic?
BROWN: I actually just like the basic, just cheese pizza.
BROWN: Have you ever been waiting for your pizza, though, and you're like, come on.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes.
BROWN: Well, that maybe a solution here. All right. Forget about attack drones. What about pizza drones? And you've seen this, a Domino's franchise in the U.K. released this video of an unmanned drone delivering two pizzas. The Domicopter was actually operated by a delivery guy and get this -- apparently, it only takes ten minutes, according to Domino's for your pizza to go on the Domicopter to your front door.
BLACKWELL: The Domicopter, and here's the thing: I believe that there will be people who will snatch pizzas out of the air.
BROWN: Absolutely. They'll shoot it down, all right?
BLACKWELL: Of course, they will.
BROWN: Yes. I might be one of those people.
BLACKWELL: Thanks for watching EARLY START WEEKEND with thus us this morning, we've got much more ahead on "CNN SATURDAY MORNING" starts right now.