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NSA Leaker Revealed; Taliban "Targeting Americans"; Senate Immigration Bill; Heat Sizzle in Game 2 of NBA Finals

Aired June 10, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Revealed. One of the biggest security leaks in U.S. history. The man who says your government is spying on you comes forward. He says he had the power to spy on anyone, including the president. The question is, why did he come forward now?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news. A brazen attack overnight. A blast at a key airport. American in the crosshairs, a live report ahead.

BERMAN: And stopped, swatted, rejected, the Heat bounced back. Feeling that is one of the most amazing plays you will ever see on a basketball court. LeBron James with feeling.

ROMANS: Good morning. And welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. It is Monday, June 10th. It is 5:00 in the East.

ROMANS: Let's begin this morning with a man coming out of the shadows.

The NSA leaker reveals his identity. In a gripping 12-minute interview, Edward Snowden, defense contractor who once work undercover for the CIA, opens up about why he decided to come forward, saying the NSA gets intelligence however it possible. It began narrowly focused overseas. But more and more is happening within the U.S.

Barbara Starr unmasks the man at the center of this story.


EDWARD SNOWDEN, EX-CIA EMPLOYEE: When you are in positions of privileged access --

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is 29- year-old Edward Snowden, the high school dropout who worked his way into the most secretive computers of the U.S. intelligence community as a defense contractor and then blew open those secrets by leaking unprecedented details of top secret government surveillance programs.

Now, he risks never living in America as a free man again.

SNOWDEN: I had access to, you know, full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all over the world -- the locations of every station we have.

STARR: Snowden didn't leak that, but in an interview with the British newspaper "The Guardian", Snowden reveals himself as the source of several documents leaked to journalist Glenn Greenwald, outlining a massive effort by the National Security Agency to track cell phone calls and monitor e-mail and Internet traffic of virtually everyone.

SNOWDEN: I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant, to a federal judge to the president, if I had a personal e-mail.

STARR: Snowden says he just wanted Americans to know what the government was doing.

SNOWDEN: Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you are being watched and recorded.

STARR: And he wanted to be up front that he was behind the leaks.

SNOWDEN: I'm just another guy who sits there day-to-day in the office watches what's happening and goes, this is something that's not our place to decide. The public needs to decide whether these programs or policies are right or wrong.

STARR: "The Guardian" says during the interview, Snowden watched CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked a panel who the leaker was.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have any idea who is leaking this information?

STARR: Snowden, watching, did not react.

Snowden fled to Hong Kong three weeks ago after copying a last set of documents and telling his boss he needed to go away for medical care. Before all this, Snowden says he had a comfortable life, working for the NSA in Hawaii with a $200,000 job and a girlfriend.

He told "The Guardian" never got a high school diploma, attending community college, but not completing his computer studies. He joined the Army in 2003 but was discharged after breaking both legs in an accident.

He says he worked as a security guard for the NSA and then moved to the CIA in a computer security job. In 2009, he left the CIA, eventually joining the contractor Booz Allen in Hawaii. He began to see top secret documents on the extent of NSA surveillance, including details that the government also had data on Americans.

President Obama insists his administration is not spying on U.S. citizens, only looking for information on U.S. terrorists.

For now, Snowden believes Hong Kong's climate of free speech will protect him, but there's no guarantee he won't be arrested, taken to mainland China or sent back to the U.S.

It appears to be a risk he's willing to take. SNOWDEN: You are living in Hawaii, a paradise, and making a ton of money. What would it take to make you leave everything behind?

The fear I have regarding the outcome for America of these disclosures is that nothing will change.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: So, the Justice Department is launching an investigation into these unauthorized leaks with intelligence committee leaders both in the House and Senate saying Snowden should be prosecuted. They and the NSA's former chief are also calling for context, saying the leaks do not give an accurate picture of the work the NSA does.

Here is Brianna Keilar.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Edward Snowden stunned the world with his admission, the administration intensified calls to hunt down the leaker of an NSA surveillance program.

Sunday night, the Justice Department formally announced they were launching an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information. President Obama returning from California after a two-day mini-summit with the Chinese president had no comment. But he recently made clear he's upset by the state of high profile leaks.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't welcome leaks, because there's a reason why these programs are classified.

KEILAR: Making the Sunday talk show rounds, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said the leaks don't give a full picture of the NSA program.

REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: I know the reporter that you interviewed, Greenwald says that he's got it all and now is an expert on the program. He doesn't have a clue how this thing works. Neither did the person who released just enough information to literally be dangerous.

KEILAR: Something the former NSA chief agreed with.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER NSA/CIA DIRECTOR: There are no records of abuse under President Bush, under President Obama.

KEILAR: But how the NSA gathers its information and what it does with the data remains a point of contention.

SEN. MARK UDALL (D), COLORADO: I'm not convinced the collection of this vast trove of data has led to disruption of plots.

KEILAR: And on Capitol Hill, the fight is just beginning.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Don't troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional. It invades our privacy. And I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level.

KEILAR: Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: Breaking news from Afghanistan this morning. A fierce battle between Taliban fighters and Afghan security forces near the airport in Kabul. The Taliban claiming the attack was intended to target Americans.

Jeremy Kelly, a reporter with "The Times of London" is on the phone for us this morning, live from Kabul.

Jeremy, what can you tell us?

JEREMY KELLY, THE TIMES OF LONDON (via telephone): Well, I can tell you about 4:30 local time this morning, seven insurgents made their way to two (INAUDIBLE) build houses just on the perimeter of the Kabul airport, both commercial and military airlines. They donated at least one suicide bomb, and they engaged Afghan security forces, as you say, at least a four-hour battle before all seven were eventually killed.

ROMANS: Do we know if any of their intended targets were wounded or killed? Anything about injuries?

KELLY: Well, the only reports of injuries that we had are two civilians, and their condition is unknown. However, the NATO admission here indicated early that none of its personnel had been wounded.

ROMANS: Are we seeing, Jeremy, an increase on attacks on Americans or attempts on Americans in Afghanistan as the U.S. prepares to pull out?

KELLY: Well, on the contrary, we are seeing less. It's been a continuation of Taliban for some time where they are preferring to target Afghan security forces. They are a softer target and easier to attack.

ROMANS: All right. Jeremy Kelly, reporter for "The Times of London", live for us this morning on the phone from Kabul -- thank you.

We're just getting word now from South Africa, that the condition of former President Nelson Mandela remains unchanged. The 94-year-old Mandela was hospitalized this weekend in Pretoria, with a recurring lung infection. It is his fourth trip to the hospital since December. The ailing Mandela is said to be in serious, but stable condition.

BERMAN: And the current president of South Africa is calling on his country to pray for Nelson Mandela.

Meanwhile, Turkey's prime minister warning that the government is running out of patience as protests enter an 11th day there. The demonstrators claimed the Erdogan government is getting more like a dictatorship and they're demanding that he step down. More than 4,300 people have been reported hurt over the past week as riot police move in and crack down on these demonstrations.

Erdogan challenged the protesters to make their voices heard in the country's elections in a few months.

ROMANS: A few hours from now, Republican Jeffrey Chiesa will be sworn in as an interim U.S. senator from New York. He was New Jersey's attorney general. Governor Chris Christie named him to replace the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. He will serve until a special election is held in October. He will not be running in the special election.

One person who will be running is Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, a Democrat, announced his decision to run on Saturday.

BERNAN: No surprise there.

A big name Republican is coming on in favor of the new Senate immigration bill. Speaking Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte called the bill a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem. She says it provides a tough but fair way for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. to earn citizenship.

Tomorrow, that immigration bill will face it's big hurdle, a cloture vote that will determine whether the Senate debate will continue.

ROMANS: The crane operator charged in a deadly building collapse in Philadelphia is being held without bail this morning. Forty-two-year- old Sean Benschop faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter. A judge has denied him bail.

Law enforcement sources tell CNN that Benschop had marijuana and pain medication in his system following that collapse. Prosecutors say he was operating the crane used to tear down the building that collapsed on a Salvation Army thrift store. Six people died, more than a dozen were injured.

BERMAN: All right. This was something to see. The Heat getting even in a game they desperately needed. Miami went to a 33-5 run.

But the amazing thing was this, this ridiculous block. LeBron James, Tiago Splitter from Brazil, James just dashed Splitter who is going up for a dunk there. The Heat won 103-84, evens the series at one a piece. The series goes back to San Antonio for the next three games.

ROMANS: Whoa, you enjoyed that game.

BERMAN: I enjoyed the block. I don't like the outcome. I don't mind saying I'm rooting for the Spurs here.

But that was phenomenal basketball. You just don't see that. A guy going up for a dunk, on his way down, and LeBron James so strong, so incredibly strong, it can stop this dunk seconds before it goes through. That's crazy.

ROMANS: Wow. All right.

BERMAN: James didn't have a great game, he only like 17 points, but he had that block.

ROMANS: More to come in the series, no question.

Coming up, new deaths in the California shooting spree, what authorities are saying about the motive.

BERMAN: And snooping at the store. A convicted sex offender accused of following a 6-year-old around, taking pictures. It was shoppers who stopped him.

ROMANS: And Malkovich to the rescue. What a famous actor did to save this man's life.

BERMAN: It's like a movie.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Investigators are still searching for a motive in Friday's mass shooting in Santa Monica, California. A fifth victim died this weekend. Twenty-six-year-old Marcela Franco was a student at Santa Monica College. Her father, Carlos, was killed in the rampage. The grief-stricken family spoke to reporters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The biggest decision today, after 48 hours, was that Marcela, we took her off life support. She took her last breath this morning. And we spent the last 48 hours like a cocoon. We wouldn't let anybody in there. It was just us.

We were loving her and telling her how much we loved her and that we're going to miss her. We are going to miss her. And this world is going to miss the Marcela Franco and Carlos Franco of the world, who are decent, loving, committed people.


ROMANS: Senseless. Police say the suspected gunman murdered his father and his brother and setting their house on fire.

CNN's Kyung Lah spoke with a woman who was wounded risking her life to save another.



(voice-over): You can't help but react to the holes in Debra Fine's bloody shirt where four bullets ripped into her body. She was in her silver sedan when she found in the middle of a shooting spree. Fine saw the gunman, 23-year-old John Zawahri, stopped a woman in the car right in front of her.

DEBRA FINE, SHOOTING VICTIM: I was so angry that he was pointing the gun at her and she was scared. I just wanted to stand-up for her.

LAH (on camera): Debra Fine saw the gunman standing on this side of the street. She saw him raise his rifle at a woman on this side of the street.

She hit the gas and put her car in between the gunman and the woman.

FINE: I'll never forget his eyes. They were so intense and so cold.

LAH (voice-over): First shot went right into the center of her driver's side window.

FINE: He's walking across. My front window was exploding, and then I was -- I was falling into the passenger seat to try to stay down. That's when I kept feeling bullets hitting my other shoulder.

LAH: She struck both bullets, her arms, shrapnel lunging two inches beneath her skin. A bullet even struck her right ear where he says the ringing won't stop.

FINE: I laid down just thinking, please stop, please stop shooting, thinking that if I just acted like I was dead, he might go away.

LAH: Zawahri did leave, carjacking the woman Fine tried to save. But Zawahri did not kill that woman. Neighbors rushed to help Fine. They also called 911, an early alert to the police about the heavily armed gunman making his way through Santa Monica.

FINE: I'm glad I did what I did. But, thank God I'm alive. And my children need me.

LAH: Just like a young woman who Debra Fine didn't know, but needed to save.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Santa Monica, California.


BERMAN: A famous activist once played by Julia Roberts on the big screen is facing charges this morning. Anti-pollution crusader and legal advocate Erin Brockovich Ellis was arrested near Las Vegas Friday for allegedly drinking while boating. Wildlife officials say they noticed she was having trouble docking her boat. Her blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. Brockovich Ellis was released on $1,000 bond.

ROMANS: A convicted child rapist is in police custody after he was caught secretly snapping pictures of children at two stores in Washington state. Police near Olympia say 54-year-old Randy Smith was taking photos of a 6-year-old girl she tried on a bathing suit in the dressing room. That's when the girl's father, along with another customer spotted him and wrestled him to the ground until police arrived. Smith was convicted of first degree rape in 1990 for assaulting a 3-year-old child. He spent nearly 18 years in prison.

BERMAN: So, being John Malkovich apparently means being a real life hero. The Oscar-nominee coming to the rescue when an Ohio man completing a cross Canada trip with his wife last week tripped on the Toronto sidewalk and slashed his throat in some scaffolding. That sounds like a horrifying incident.

Jim Walpole says he started bleeding profusely, but John Malkovich, who was there, took off his scarf and used it to stop the bleeding.


JIM WALPOLE, SAVED BY JOHN MALKOVICH: I was face down and I don't know whether I turned over or the guys turned me over to see where all the blood was coming from. And they just were marvelous. They put pressure on the wound and wouldn't let me move until the rescue squad got in.


BERMAN: How lucky John was there and how lucky John Malkovich was wearing a scarf. The actor was in Toronto. He's in some kind of theater production up there.

Crazy, right?

ROMANS: Very crazy.

Coming up, get ready to ride the rollercoaster. What could spook the markets this week and maybe end the Wall Street rally?

BERMAN: Besides you.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START: minding your business this morning.

Wall Street finally gets a win. Stocks ended the week higher after two straight weeks of declines. A news that the labor market is moving ahead, albeit slowly, circling the globe now, sending Japan's Nikkei up 5 percent. Dow up 20 points right now. But trade data from China are limiting those gains.

The NSA leaker reveals his identity, and we are learning more about him, including the company he works for. Edward Snowden was a government contractor working for one of the most profitable companies around, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Virginia-based technology contractor is nearly 100 years old and specializes in selling expertise to the U.S. government. Booz Allen made $240 million last year. A big chunk of its money comes from doing intelligence work. About half of the company's workers hold top security clearances. That's according to the -- (CROSSTALK)

ROMANS: As for Booz Allen, it says Snowden had worked there three months. The company finds reports of the leak shocking and that, quote, "If accurate, his action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

But clearly, a lot of people will be looking into how much contractor business big companies do for the government here.

When it come to retirement, a new study says most senior citizens fall short. says seniors are living off a median household income of about $35,000. Rule of thumb, retirees should save enough to replace at least 70 percent of what they made while working. But seniors in two states do that, Nevada and Hawaii. Hawaii because most people there rely on pension checks, which is something a lot of companies, most companies are moving away from.

Target is going organic. The big box retail is now selling a store brand called Simply Balanced as a way to cash in on the growing popularity of organic foods. The first products will be drinks and chips. But Target intended to eventually include about 250 offerings in its organic line.

Last year, groceries and pet supplies made up 20 percent of Target's overall sales. So, Target, you think, is a discount retailer. It's also a grocery chain.

BERMAN: It's a big organic box, apparently.

Coming up, self-defense or was it murder? Both sides in court today for a case that captivated the nation. We are live in Sanford, Florida.