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WEEKEND EARLY START
California Shooting Suspect Identified; Govt. to Investigate NSA Leak; Obama: Talks with Chinese Pres. "Terrific"
Aired June 9, 2013 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): From CNN world headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN SUNDAY MORNING.
CNN has now learned the name of the suspected gunman who went on a shooting rampage in Santa Monica. Why police think the crimes were carefully planned and the disturbing details about the suspect's mental history.
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What we're focused on doing right now and you've seen this in the DNI statement is frankly doing the assessment of the damage that is being done to U.S. national security by the revelation of this information.
BROWN: The secrets are coming out. So, what is the Obama administration going to do about it? A look at whether security leaks will simply dampen the White House's credibility or sink it.
And a little girl waiting for a lung transplant has taken a turn for the worse. The latest efforts to save Sarah and the meeting tomorrow that could help children like her for years to come.
BROWN: Good morning, everyone. I'm Pamela Brown. It is 8:00 on the East Coast, 5:00 out west. Rise and shine. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.
And we begin this morning with the latest out of Santa Monica, California, on Friday's deadly rampage. We know the name of the suspected gunman who's blamed for killing four people here.
You're looking at the photo here of John Zawahri. This is from 2006. This is year book photo. Police say he began his shooting spree at a house where he killed his father Samir and his brother Chris.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Santa Monica this morning. She's been following the story for us.
And, Stephanie, what more have police said about the gunman?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, we can tell you now that it looks like John Zawahri actually did have a connection to the school. He was attending there as recently as 2010, Santa Monica College this is, along with a family member. Police believe that he first set the house on fire before shooting his brother and father and then carjacking a woman and shooting at a city bus before making his way to the school where he then killed those four people.
Now, as we look at this, police are very interested to know how he was able to amass the massive number of weapons and ammunition that he was able to carry on to the school campus. They do believe that it was also premeditated based upon the fact that he did have body armor on, Pamela.
BROWN: And you mentioned police are trying to figure out how he was trying to amass all these weapons. One of the weapons he had was highly regulated, right? At least one of the weapons?
ELAM: Definitely. There's this one in particular semiautomatic rifle he did have with him, that one in particular they're trying to trace and research how he could have gotten his hands on it because of the fact it is so regulated here in California. It's not like you can just go out and get it. And because of that they want to know a little more about that.
And also, the state of his mental health, that's another issue that they're very concerned at looking at because police have let us know that they did have some contact with him in 2006, but because he was a juvenile at the time, they could not release that information.
We also know that he was enrolled at a high school here in Santa Monica, that's for people who are behind on credits, as recently as 2006 but seems he may have dropped out after his junior year at that school because he was hospitalized. We don't know if it's because of officials or after his family after he had expressed some threatening words about harming a certain individual. We don't know more about that at this time, though, Pamela.
BROWN: And do we know anything more about a possible motive here, Stephanie?
ELAM: There is no word on what the motive could be. They're still trying to figure that out. But one thing they are definitely saying is they do not believe this is linked to international terrorism simply because they're looking at the information they have about this young man that they had known for a long time.
He did this, by the way, the day before his 24th birthday to let you know how old he was. But they do not believe this had anything to do with that. This is just one person who just went on a rampage that was self-motivated at this time, Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Stephanie, let's talk about the victims here. Do you have any updates on them? How the surviving victims are doing and about those deceased from the rampage?
ELAM: We don't have information more about the survivors. About the victims, we do know that there was one man, a man in his 60s who was shot in an SUV. He died. The passenger in his car also hospitalized on life support.
That much we do know. But beyond that we don't have anymore information. And, you know, it's still very early here in Santa Monica. As daybreaks we're hoping to get more information from the police.
BROWN: All right. Yes, you're right. Only 5:00 a.m. out there.
Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for that update. We appreciate it.
BROWN: The crane operator accused of causing the deadly building collapse in Philadelphia is expected to appear in court this morning.
Forty-two-year-old Sean Benschop covered his face, as you right here, as he was taken into custody yesterday. He faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of reckless endangerment charges for Wednesday's collapse that left six dead and 13 injured.
A law enforcement source tells CNN Benschop had traces of marijuana and pain medication in his blood after the collapse. But his attorney says he was not high.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAINE GREY, ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED CRANE OPERATOR: He and his family are extremely sympathetic and remorseful with respect to what happened. This was an accident, but Mr. Benschop is not responsible and we believe that in time, the facts will show that he is not responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: We've also learned Benschop had a cast on his right arm while operating a crane to tear down a vacant building when a wall collapsed onto an adjacent Salvation Army thrift store.
Keeping secrets is essential to the government. But in the Obama administration, though, secrets keep getting out, like the NSA data mining program, which came to light this past week because of a leak.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't -- I don't welcome leaks because there's a reason why these programs are classified. You know, I think -- I think that there is a suggestion that somehow any classified program is a, quote/unquote, "secret program" which means it's somehow suspicious. But the fact of the matter is, in our modern history there are a whole range of programs that have been classified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Well, just a reminder the NSA's phone tracking program had been going on for several years and Congress knew about it. It's not the biggest, just the latest leak to hamstring the Obama administration. The White House is launching an investigation to find out how that secret got out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN RHODES, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What we're focused on doing right now, and you see this in the DNI statement., is frankly doing an assessment to the damage that's being done to the U.S. national security by the revelation of this information, which is necessarily secret because the United States needs to be able to conduct intelligence activities without those methods being revealed to the world.
So, currently, there's a review underway to understand what potential damage may be done. As it relates to any potential investigations, we're still in the early stages of this. Obviously, the Justice Department would have to be involved in that. So, this is something that I think will be addressed in the coming days by the Justice Department of the intelligence community in consultation with, you know, the full inner agency that's been effected by these very disturbing leaks of national security information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Of course, leaks are nothing new for the administration. Just a couple weeks ago, the administration was getting heat over their search of the phone records of some "Associated Press" reporters. That was part of an investigation, looking into details of how a foiled terror plot were revealed. Attorney General Eric Holder said the information getting out put the American people at risk.
And then there's that Jim Rosen case. He's the journalist who reported on a failed plot targeting the Iranian government. That information was leaked from a CIA source.
And just this past week, we saw the start of the court-martial of Private Bradley Manning. Manning is accused of leaking thousands of documents to WikiLeaks.
All are more troubling to the administration, and that's why, as the "USA Today" reported, that the Justice Department has launched more leak-related criminal cases than all of the other administrations combined. But has that hurt the president in the eyes of the American people? You be the judge of this.
When asked if he was honest and trustworthy, 58 percent said yes. Though when we asked about the "Associated Press" affair, the majority of people said the Justice Department was out of line.
But here's the real test of whether the leaks are hurting the president. They don't seem to be with 53 percent of people approving how President Obama is handling his job.
The Northeast hopes to dry out today after the drenching rains from Andrea. The post-tropical cyclone is gone, but far from forgotten. It brought flooding to several areas. Roads were closed, streams and creeks overflowed their banks as we see here.
And let's not forget the hurricane season is just nine days old. We're still very much in the beginning of the hurricane season.
What's in store for the Northeast and the rest of the country today?
Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is here with your forecast.
We seem to be drying out in parts of the country, right, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, and hurricane season, Pamela, doesn't end until November 1st. So, we've got a lot of season left.
Hi, everyone. I hope you're waking up in a nice Sunday morning, wherever you are. Got a lot of rain around, if you're trying to get to the airport of Dallas, DFW has a ground stop because of storms that have been moving through until about another 45 minutes or so and you can see what's happening here in Dallas.
Kind of a big Sunday scan for you, showing radar pockets of rain around from Minneapolis to Des Moines, west of St. Louis, St. Louis actually under the gun today. Could see some strong gusty winds and some hail.
Here's a look at the bigger picture. You can see, there's Dallas, dropping down towards San Antonio. Also, we've got this area of low pressure. So these storms dropping south, and then east of that, those are all moving north.
Here's the severe weather threat. Memphis to Little Rock, St. Louis, even Chicago could see some hail or damaging winds today and then east of that, all this tropical moisture here in the Southeast.
A little bit soupy out there. Showers and thunderstorms, Birmingham, Atlanta today. The Northeast, beautiful day for you. D.C., partly sunny, 84. We're going to see 81 with sunny skies in New York. But that will change. All this wet weather moving into the Northeast, Pamela, tomorrow.
So, Philadelphia, New York, Washington, Boston, all finds this wet weather for kind of a rough Monday commute. But pretty nice Sunday shaping up.
BROWN: Yes, not getting a very long break here of drying out.
BROWN: All right. Alexandra Steele, thank you so much.
Talking cyber security, the economy and so much more. Just ahead, what came out of the meeting between President Obama and his Chinese counterpart as they try to forge a closer relationship? Plus, we're working to find out the latest on Nelson Mandela's health the day after the antiapartheid icon was rushed to the hospital.
BROWN: Libyan authorities are pleading for calm after yesterday's rioting in Benghazi left 28 people dead. The state news agency says the violence began with protesters attacked the headquarters of a militia group linked to the government. Many in Benghazi are furious that former rebel fighters are still overseeing security there. Despite the fact that former leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted nearly two years ago. Demonstrators want security turned over to the military.
This morning, South Africans are praying for their beloved former President Nelson Mandela. The 94-year-old anti-apartheid icon was rushed to the hospital yesterday for a recurring lung condition. Well-wishers hoping to learn more about his condition have crashed the Web site of the president's office. Mandela was last listed in serious but stable and breathing on his own, but there have been no new updates today.
And back here at home President Obama is summing up his meeting with China's president in one word: terrific. The two leaders have now parted ways after their two-day summit in southern California. They met for a total of eight hours and discussed a wide range of pressing issues.
Chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin has more on the informal meeting and its unusual desert backdrop.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDEN (voice-over): President Obama and Chinese President Xi wrapped up their Sunnylands summit in the California desert.
President Obama declared the visit.
YELLIN: Over two days, the leaders met for a total of eight hours.
OBAMA: I'm very much looking forward to this being a strong foundation for the kind of new model of cooperation that we can establish for years to come.
YELLIN: The summit held just four months after Xi took office, meant to launch a close new relationship with the new Chinese leader.
PRESIDENT XI JINPING, CHINA (through translator): And at present, the China-U.S. relationship has reached a new historical starting point.
YELLIN: The backdrop was unusual, and not just because temperatures soared above 110 degrees.
They met at Sunnylands, a private estate of the Annenberg family, better known for hosting Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack and Ronald Reagan for New Year's Eve 18 times.
Aides say it offered them a quiet space to work through a range of issues. Among them, North Korea. The leaders agreed to keep up pressure to rein in its nuclear ambitions.
TOM DONILON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think we had quite a bit of alignment on the Korean issue, the North Korean issue, and absolute agreement we would continue to work together.
YELLIN: Cyber attacks -- according to the White House, the Chinese acknowledged they're a problem, agreed to investigate and work out rules of the road.
OBAMA: I believe we can work together on this rather than at cross-purposes.
YELLIN: And climate change, for the first time, China agreed to work with the U.S. to limit the production of greenhouse gases.
President Obama gave the Chinese leader a parting gift, this bench made of California wood.
RHODES: The bench was made out of a redwood. The two leaders were able to take a walk and, you know, were able to sit on what became the bench that the Chinese will be taking with them.
YELLIN: Throughout the summit, the president and his aides were peppered with questions about new revelations involving government surveillance programs. White House officials had strong words about the consequences of these leaks.
RHODES: It's frankly doing an assessment of the damage that's being done to U.S. national security by the revelation of this information, which is necessarily secret because the United States needs to be able to conduct intelligence activities without those methods being revealed to the world.
YELLIN (on camera): During the summit, President Xi publicly invited President Obama to visit China. White House officials say the president agreed to come. And they're looking at holding a similar informal summit outside of Beijing in the not too distant future -- Pamela.
BROWN: Jessica Yellin, thank you.
Up next, the man who's book led to the popular movie about how Facebook came to be.
Author Ben Mezrich joins me to discuss his latest work, it's a true story about a group of college kids who rise and fall over a billion-dollar poker empire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That looks really good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want to go on the Internet and check out their friends. That's what the Facebook is going to be about. I'm talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Recognize that? That was the clip from "The Social Network," the Oscar winning movie that told the story of how Facebook came to be. Harvard kids behind the social networking site that arguably made a fundamental change of how we interact with each other.
It's all based on a book by Ben Mezrich. Well, it's turned out, Ben is at it. His new book, "Straight Flush", the story of six college friends who dealt their way to a billion-dollar poker empire and how it all came crashing down.
Ben joins me now live from Boston.
Good morning, Ben. Great to have you with us.
So, you're new book --
BEN MEZRICH, AUTHOR: Oh, thank you for having me.
BROWN: Your new book follows a bit of the same theme -- these university friends become wildly successful. But have these guys -- they have a little bit of a different outcome, safe to say than Mark Zuckerberg. Tell us about that.
MEZRICH: Yes, these are six paternity brothers from the University of Montana, and they would play poker in an underground bar and they tried to put poker online. They built one of the biggest online poker sites in the world and then it became illegal and now they're all fugitives on the run.
It's a crazy story. It all takes place in Costa Rica and it's wild.
BROWN: Wow. So why tell the story of this particular group of guys?
MEZRICH: Well, you know, these guys were your regular fraternity guys come from poor backgrounds. One was so poor he sold a cow to buy his first car. And they essentially moved their fraternity to Costa Rica.
There was a huge cheating scandal in the middle of their story. They were caught up in this whole kind of crazy world where it's very lawless and they built a million-dollar-a-day poker empire. And when it became legal they stayed in the business. So, they were one of the sites that continued even though it had become much more dangerous for them.
And then there was something called Black Friday where the government raided all these sites and shut them down and they ended up facing indictments.
BROWN: All right. So, Ben, we've done a little bit of research on you and we've found that you've had run-ins with the Japanese mafia, you've walked through airport security with $250,000 taped to your body. This is all while researching and writing your books.
My question to you, if you're writing stories about real people, real events, why take such risks?
MEZRICH: You know, I like to be like a method writer. I've always considered myself to be Hunter S. Thompson without the drugs or alcohol and guns. I want to get inside the story. I want to live in the story and sometimes I get too caught up in it and I start liking my main characters too much. But I want to be like them.
So, when I wrote "Bringing Down the House," about the MIT kid, I would put money on my body and fly to Vegas. When I wrote about "The Social Network", I tried to become like Mark Zuckerberg. And now, I'm writing about, you know, guys in Antigua who launched the poker empire.
And so, I try to get inside the story as much as I can.
BROWN: I guess it's not that unusual, you hear about actors doing that all the time. So, Ben, what's your absolute limit then when it comes to researching your books?
MEZRICH: You know, the truth is I'm scared of just about everything. I'm very neurotic. So, I try and put myself in the room, but I hide in the back. So I won't go anywhere that I really feel like I'm in danger, but I've definitely had to run from places.
So I have a very good flight reflex. I think that's my thing.
BROWN: Sounds like it for sure. Ben, your book, "Accidental Billionaires" went on to be a very successful movie. Who in Hollywood would you want to play some of the guys in "Straight Flush"?
MEZRICH: I mean, "Straight Flush is a great story for guys and they're sort of late 20s. I think the guy in "Star Trek" is awesome. Chris Pine would be amazing. I think Robert Pattinson, if he could lose the British accent, would be really good in it.
There's a lot of young guys I think would be Zach Ephron, he'd be awesome, I think. I don't know, I get to cast it. As the author, I just sit in the back, next to the caterer. But there's a bunch of people I'd like to see in it. So, we'll see.
BROWN: You've had so many successful books, give us a sneak peek. What are you working on for your next project?
MEZRICH: I just sold a big movie project with Bret Ratner, the director. It's about the seven wonders of the world, and It's a thriller kind of thing. I'm also working on another big nonfiction story, but that's still kind of secret.
And I have a children's book next summer about young math science geniuses who take down carnival game. So, it's bringing down the house for younger audiences.
Yes, I'm always working. I've always got a lot in the works. But "Straight Flush" I think will be a movie, so I think that's going to be the next movie project.
BROWN: All right. Sounds like you've been a pretty busy man lately.
Ben Mezrich, thank you so much for being here with us this morning.
MEZRICH: Thank you for having me. Good morning.
BROWN: Again, his new book is called "Straight Flush."
Well, new revelations about the government looking through phone and Internet records have the White House on the defense. We'll tell you what Congress is saying in response, right after this break.
BROWN: Welcome back to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I'm Pamela Brown. Great to have you here with us. Bottom of the hour now and here are some of the stories we're watching this hour.
We are learning more about the suspected gunman behind Friday's rampage in Santa Monica. His name is John Zawahri. This picture right here is from his 2006 yearbook photo at Santa Monica High School. Authorities say he carried out his massacre on the day before his 24th birthday.
Police had contact with the gunman in 2006, but because he was a juvenile then they've been unable to release more information. We also know the gunman and a family member were enrolled at Santa Monica College as recently as 2010.
And in Florida George Zimmerman's attorney says he does not plan to put his client on the stand. Jury selection in the murder trial is set to start tomorrow. The defense also says it will not ask for a change of venue unless they can't pick a fair jury. Zimmerman claims he acted in self defense when he shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
And in New Orleans the coroner will perform an autopsy tomorrow on a body presumed to belong to 26-year-old Terrilynn Monette. The missing teacher's car was pulled from a bayou yesterday 98 days after she first disappeared. The car was found by a volunteer using his own boat and sonar device in an area previously searched by police.
Massachusetts is mourning Paul Cellucci the politician who rose from select men in his hometown to become governor. He lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's disease yesterday. After stepping down as governor in 2001, Cellucci served as U.S. Ambassador to Canada under President George W. Bush. He was 65 years old.
Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has officially thrown his hat into the ring. He announced yesterday that he'll run for Senate in his home state. He's trying to fill the seat vacated by the late- senator Frank Lautenberg. The special election is set for October, but the primary is just a couple of months away in August.
Well the White House is facing criticism over secret surveillance programs aimed at tracking phone calls and the Internet. Friday, President Obama was adamant when he said that no one is listening to your calls. He also went on to say he quote, "Modest encroachments on privacy are worth doing."
Candy Crowley, host of "STATE OF THE UNION" joins me now. Candy nice to have you with us, there have been a rash of leaks in the Obama administration over the last couple of weeks, the NSA situation being the latest one here. How might this effect the administration's credibility?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": We'll see. I think that this is a tricky subject matter because in general if you say to people do you want to give up a little bit of your privacy in order to protect the country from terrorist acts? That sounds ok. But when you get sort of specific and you say let's suppose for instance the NSA is taking in information about every phone call -- the number, not the name -- that is made, how long it went on and where it was made, does that bother you?
It also doesn't split easily along party lines because basically what we have are progressive Democrats joining with libertarians on the conservative side saying this is too much government. So you have kind of a look of bipartisan opposition from some. In the middle you have lots of Republicans supporting the President. And you also have the -- the threat of terrorism, which tends to make Americans look at it and say, well, I think this is worth it and I think it isn't. I don't think this is played out yet. We'll see.
BROWN: Yes. You have a lot of Americans saying, look, if this is helping keep us safe then we're all for it, but such a mix of opinions here on this one. And Candy, historically what other administrations have faced similar leaks in such a short period of time like we're seeing here?
CROWLEY: Oh I think they would all -- honestly, if we -- if we could poll all living and deceased presidents, they would be united in their absolute hatred of leaks. Some of them are just embarrassing. Some of them they -- and certainly with this one, the Obama administration is saying we think this may have done some harm and we're looking into it because now we've got this program out there and that alerts terrorists who are playbook. On the other hand, sometimes administrations sort of overstate the case because they don't like leaks. And you get it. You don't want someone working for you at the NSA that's going to leak to the media. That's -- that's a security risk. And so you get it. But what kind of danger it's done -- or damage it's done is a whole other subject.
BROWN: Yes. It's yet to be seen. And Candy, you were speaking with two senators today who have been passionate about the Patriot Act and its program since 2001. One for it, one against it, but this is not a typical -- this isn't a typical debate. Tell us what they're saying in response to all this.
CROWLEY: You know one of our guests, Senator Mark Udall, has -- is on the intelligence committee, so he knew about this program. And yet because it was classified, he didn't feel that he could speak out about it and say I think this is too broad, I think the federal government is bringing in too much information that the balance is off. Now he's a little freer to speak. He still thinks that the breadth of this is just way too out of balance.
Senator John McCain -- and we'll see his exact response here -- but by and large as long as they're lawful and as long as the court has ok'd some of this, he has gone along with it like a number of Republicans that we talked to this week.
BROWN: All right. Candy Crowley, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
BROWN: And be sure to stay here for "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley which starts at the top of the hour 9:00 a.m. Eastern, 6:00 a.m. Pacific right here on CNN.
One mom's fight to save her daughter has turned into a national debate over organ transplant rules. We'll talk with the congressman who's also a surgeon about his involvement in the case and why he's suggesting that one of President Obama's cabinet members could be responsible if the young girl dies.
BROWN: Some discouraging news to pass along now. Ten-year-old Sarah Murnaghan has taken a turn for the worse we've learned. She's a little girl with cystic fibrosis whose fight to survive has sparked a national debate over transplant rules. Her mom posted on Facebook early this morning that doctors have put a tube down Sarah's throat to help her breath. She wrote quote, "It's been unimaginably awful here."
Our thoughts and prayers with Sarah and her family; and this all comes ahead of tomorrow's emergency meeting of the group that sets national rules for lung transplants. Members could change the policy that puts kids at the very end of the waiting list for adult organs no matter how sick they are. Earlier this week a federal judge gave Sarah and another child Javier Acosta equal access to adult organs. The rulings came on the heels of the hearing on Capitol Hill that put health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the hot seat. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHLEEN SELELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: The worst of all worlds in my mind is to have some individual pick and choose who lives and who dies. I think you want to process where it's guided by medical science and medical experts. What I've also done is look very carefully at the history of the rules around lung transplant and organ transplant --
REP. TOM PRICE (R), GEORGIA: With all due respect, Madam Secretary, it simply--
SEBELIUS: Doctor Price --
PRICE: It simply -- I'm going to reclaim my time -- it simply takes your signature. It simply takes your signature. A study I know you have ordered and I appreciate that but a study will take over a year. This young lady will be dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: That right there, that's Congressman Tom Price of Georgia who is also an orthopedic surgeon. Earlier he sat down with me and shared his thoughts on the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRICE: All of the doctors involved, all of the surgeons involve, the hospital said they could technologically do a transplant if a donor became available. The family wanted it, the patient wants it. The only thing that stopped it was a waiver from Secretary Sebelius. So that's why I was -- I gave the presentation that I did because again we want patients and families and doctors making these decisions not Washington D.C.
BROWN: Well on that note now people are saying this is really sparked an interesting debate just what you're talking about.
BROWN: And also the big question does this create you now a new scenario of winners and losers? If these children are now put on the adult donor list does that mean that someone else is going to lose out so then another patient does get along?
PRICE: All that we ask for and all that the family was asking for is to have Sarah have the opportunity to get on the list. Now six, eight, 10 years ago when the rules formulated the technology wasn't there to be able to make it so a child of Sarah's size would be able to technologically receive an adult lung. That's changed and that's why the doctors and the scientists and the senate surgeons and transplant surgeons involved said yes this was a good opportunity for -- for Sarah if a donor became available. We didn't ask for her to go the front of the line, we just ask for the opportunity for her to be considered with all the other individuals on the list.
BROWN: And it's important to note that it's much more rare to receive a child's lung.
BROWN: It's much more common to have an adult lung available.
PRICE: Absolutely because -- because the donor, the children, the donors who are eligible especially in the child -- in children under the age of 12 most of those individuals died because of some other disease so they aren't even eligible to be a donor.
BROWN: What do you have to say to someone, Congressman Price, who is on that adult donor list and now has to compete with you know children like Javier and Sarah. What do you say to that person?
PRICE: Well everybody from a clinical status depending on how -- how severe their illness is, everybody ought to be treated equally, and this is only fair. If -- if again, if the physician is involve that the surgeons involve, that the transplant surgeons involved, the family and the institution and the hospital that's capable of doing this and they all believe that the patient would be eligible for it if they were an adult then there isn't any reason not to treat everybody equally.
BROWN: Just looking at the numbers right now almost 1,700 people are on the waiting list for new lungs. 162 of them are in the Philadelphia area where Sarah and Javier are.
BROWN: Does that mean the judge's ruling really (inaudible) them a better shot at transplant.
BROWN: In light of how dire the situation is for Sarah as we just heard.
PRICE: No because again there's an objective criteria that's utilized to determine the clinical status. How sick is the potential recipient who would be receiving the donor lung and Sarah just gets on that list, Javier just gets on that list. In fact we learned yesterday that Sarah moved to the top of the list because of her -- the severity of her illness and Javier is somewhere down on the list because he isn't as ill right now.
So there's a -- there's a process that they go through. Again it's scientist and physicians and transplants surgeons who were involved in all of this. It ought not be Washington, D.C., that's the point we were trying to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Again, our thoughts and prayers are with Sarah Murnaghan. We've learned that she's been intubated -- that means there's a tube down her throat to help her breath and she only had three to five weeks to live without a lung transplant.
Up next a soldier in Iraq turned to faith on the battlefield. And that gave him the courage to come out as gay. He joins us next to talk about the challenge of Christian and gay.
BROWN: For today's "Faces of Faith" we're talking about the challenge of being Christian and gay. It's a challenge Daniel Dobson is very familiar with. He's a 28-year-old Iraq war vet and came out as gay after "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed. He's also the son of a prominent pastor from a nondenominational church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When he needed the courage to come out, he turned to his faith and says he's blessed to have the support from his friends, family and the army.
Daniel Dobson joins me now from Grand Rapids, Michigan; Daniel, thank you for being here with us and sharing your story. I know it takes a lot of courage to do this. And tell me what the hardest part for you has been being both gay and Christian. And how do you reconcile that conflict?
DANIEL DOBSON, IRAQ WAR VET: Well, thank you so much for having me on. As far as the most difficult part of reconciling the two, for me it was going through the bible and really going on a serious interpretive journey with the text.
There are seven passages in the scripture that speak about what we know today as homosexuality. But for those seven passages they're written for several different audiences by five different writers over nearly a 2,000-year-period. So to take them all as a single text and say that this is the way it is and really beat that message home, I think is a misnomer and it's misguided.
But in the journey of coming to terms with both my faith and my sexuality, the first step was really coming to terms with my own identity.
BROWN: And Daniel, you talk about the journey for you, I know that part of this journey began when you were serving in Iraq. And also when you came out there was one Bible verse in particular that really helped you through both of these experiences. And this is what the Bible verse says. "The Lord has said never will I leave you, never will I forsake you, so we say with confidence the lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
So Daniel, explain what that means to you. How that helps you in Iraq and coming out? DOBSON: Well that verse was -- let me back up. My dad was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease about ten years ago. And when he was first diagnosed, he says that he found it hard to take biblical truths or pray. So he wrote down on these 3-by-5 cards this verse and put them all around the house. And when he started feeling overcome with the feelings of depression, he would go back to that and just repeat that verse over and over until it gave him that sense of peace.
And when I first deployed to Iraq, my dad gave me the first card that he had ever written down. So when I would go out on missions, I would tuck that card right in the windshield and it would serve as a reminder for me when the days got long and we got tired and the war happened. It would stand as a reminder for me that no matter what happens in that conflict, my body may not be totally safe, but my soul is completely secure. And that idea has absolutely stuck with me since then.
BROWN: Daniel, as you know many Christians strongly oppose homosexuality, like this pastor in North Carolina. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. SEAN HARRIS, SENIOR PASTOR, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH: Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist -- man-up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You're not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you're going to be a male.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Listening to that, how does that make you feel?
DOBSON: Well, let me tell you this, it's been my experience as a soldier that folks that bully usually have some serious issues of their own. And being a soldier, it's always been enforced to me from my first day of basic training through my two tours in Iraq and into when I was training soldiers to go over to Iraq that our job as soldiers is to stand up against bullies.
And that whole idea that you got to beat your kids is obscene to me. It's absolutely obscene. You know, I go back to the scripture. And when Christ is confronted about what the most important commandment is, he says that it's to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and all your soul and with all your strength. And then second to love your neighbor as yourself.
And, you know, we see the fallout from parents being abusive towards their children especially in conservative Christian communities. And a significant number of teen suicides today are from gay kids from conservative Christian homes.
DOBSON: And I think this whole idea of just beating the bible in the kids, they lose sight of the love of Christ in that moment. And we have to look at the fruit of this sort of violence.
BROWN: Daniel Dobson, thank you. Thank you for sharing that --
DOBSON: Yes, absolutely.
BROWN: -- important insight. And thank you for sharing your story and for serving our country. We really appreciate you being on here with us.
DOBSON: Thank you. Thank you.
BROWN: For more stories on faith, be sure to check out our belief blog, that's at CNN.com/belief.
We continue to monitor developments from the California shooting rampage. A live report from Santa Monica up next.
BROWN: Before we leave, we want to get you caught up on the latest on the Friday's deadly rampage in California. Right here you're looking at a photo of John Zawahri from 2006. Police say he began his shooting spree at a house where he killed his father and his brother.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Santa Monica this morning. Stephanie, we now know the gunman's name. Have police said anything more about him?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have learned Pamela, that there was a connection between John Zawahri and Santa Monica College. He apparently was a student there along with another family member as recently as 2010. Before that he was going to a high school here in Santa Monica that was for people behind on credits. That was the last we know he was there in 2006.
We also know in the year -- in that same year police did have contact with him. What the issue was, was harmful words he said about somebody else -- words that he was going to harm somebody. That led to his hospitalization. We don't know if that's because of the family putting him into care or if that's because of officials. But we do know that they had contact. The reason why his name was not released was because he was a juvenile at the time. We can also tell you that when he went on the shooting rampage, it was a day before his 24th birthday -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for the update there. We appreciate your insight and your reporting.
Well, thank you so much for being here with us today. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Candy Crowley starts now.
Have a great day.