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NSA Leaker Revealed; Fierce Battle at Kabul Airport; Nelson Mandela's Condition "Unchanged"; Senate Immigration Bill; Philadelphia Building Collapse; Heat Wins Game Two of NBA Finals; George Zimmerman Trial Begins

Aired June 10, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Stunning admission. The man behind one of the biggest security leaks in U.S. history comes forward. He says he had the power to spy on anyone, even the president. Why he told the world about America's cyber spying secrets?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. An all-night battle against terrorists near a crucial airport. Americans the clear target. We're live with the latest.

ROMANS: One of the most amazing plays you will ever see on a basketball court. Lebron James and the Heat stuff the Spurs and even up the series.

BERMAN: Look at this, I can't do this. Can you do that?


BERMAN: That is one of the most amazing blocks --

ROMANS: But I can watch it and I can enjoy it.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's Monday, June 10th, 6:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: We begin this morning with the NSA leaker. Edward Snowden is coming out of the shadows, talking about why he gave a British newspaper information about NSA programs that, he says, spy on Americans.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now from the Pentagon. A lot of new information, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely right. Leaker? Idealist? You're about to meet the man who set the U.S. intelligence community on its ear.


EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: When you're in positions of privileged access -- STARR (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 the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around 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 in my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal e-mail.

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

SNOWDEN: Even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're 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 and policies are right or wrong.

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

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": Do you have any idea who's leaking this information?

STARR: Snowden, who's 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 salary and a girlfriend.

He told "The Guardian" he 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 from 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 main land China, or sent back to the U.S. It appears to be a risk he's willing to take.

GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: You're living in Hawaii in paradise and making a ton of money. What would it take to make you leave everything behind?

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


STARR: Now let's just review a couple of facts here. These programs were notified to the relevant members of Congress, these surveillance programs. They were not a secret to those in the know. Snowden says he's got the names of all U.S. operatives. That may be something that puts him at serious risk with the Chinese because, of course, they might decide that they want to talk to him. A full blown U.S. Justice Department investigation is now under way -- John.

BERMAN: This man could be in a lot of trouble. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us this morning. Thanks so much, Barbara.

ROMANS: The Obama administration is looking into the leaks now with the Justice Department officially launching a probe. Top lawmakers in the House and Senate say Snowden should be prosecuted. They and the NSA's former chief also insist the leaks do not give an accurate picture of the work the NSA does.

Brianna Keilar has that part of the story for us this morning. Good morning.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine. The White House is not commenting since we've heard the identity of Snowden revealed. Obviously, the administration is considering its options right now for prosecuting Snowden and for extraditing him, but above all, this has forced President Obama off message.

This comes on top of three other recent controversies. So President Obama is talking about this instead of his priorities in these key early months of his second term.


KEILAR (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 spate 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 (D) MICHIGAN: I know your reporter that you interviewed, Greenwald, says that he's got it all and now he's 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, not under President Bush, not 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 with the collection of this vast trove of data has led to the disruption of plots.

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

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Don't trawl through billions of phone records every day. That is constitutional. It invades our privacy, and I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level.


KEILAR: Now Christine, I had heard the argument earlier from some observers that some of the controversies President Obama has been facing allows some of the scrutiny on, say, Congress to sort of be taken off the table as they tackle a really high stakes issue, immigration reform, and there is actually a very important key test vote tomorrow on immigration.

But the problem for President Obama here is that this is just another issue that runs smack up against that narrative that his administration has so carefully crafted, that they're very transparent, and that obviously was something that he wanted for his legacy.

ROMANS: That's so interesting. The last time they were discussing immigration reform, by the way, there was much more scrutiny on every single issue. So that's been kind of flying a little bit under the radar. On this issue in the past, Congress has voted to expand surveillance powers and it's voted against requiring transparency, against requiring transparency from the administration. Is there a sense the tide is turning and that Congress might have to act differently on these issues? KEILAR: I think it's a little early to tell at this point, but you do notice that you're making strange bedfellows, I would say, from the administration's point of view, in terms of those opposed to this, some Republicans and some Democrats raising serious concerns about this. We'll be seeing how the debate takes shape and exactly how big the debate on this issue becomes. There's certainly a lot of scrutiny coming from Democrats and Republicans raising questions on this -- Christine.

ROMANS: I think you're right. Brianna Keilar from Washington. Thanks, Brianna.

BERMAN: Breaking news from Afghanistan this morning, seven militants are dead after a bloody battle between Afghan security forces and Taliban fighters at the airport in Kabul. It looks like Americans were the target there.

"Times of London" reporter Jeremy Kelly is on the phone live from Kabul. Jeremy, what's the latest from there?

JEREMY KELLY, "TIMES OF LONDON" REPORTER (via telephone): John, I can tell you this is some six hours after this rather fierce battle ended, and the Afghan security forces that pretty much could have handled this matter on their own have been receiving a fair deal of praise from President Karzai to the U.S.-led military coalition, and probably most appropriately from the Afghan public, they're being applauded from the battle that went on for four hours with only two civilians receiving minor injuries.

BERMAN: This is a fairly brazen attack on an installation right by the airport, a very public area. Are we seeing an increase of attacks targeted on American as the U.S. military really prepares to pull out?

KELLY: Well, since March, 17 U.S. soldiers have died, including one who died in an unrelated bomb attack in the east of the country. However, it bucks the trend of what we've been seeing since 2003, which is the Taliban preferring to target Afghan security forces who they concede as being softer and easier to hit.

BERMAN: Jeremy Kelly for us on the ground for us in Kabul, again, where there was this all night gun fight with explosions on the ground there. Apparently, Afghan security forces killing seven Taliban terrorists. Thanks, Jeremy.

ROMANS: There is growing concern this morning about former South African president Nelson Mandela. Right now his condition is said to remain unchanged. The 94-year-old was rushed to the hospital over the weekend, suffering from a recurring lung infection. This is the fourth time he has been hospitalized since December.

BERMAN: Turkey's prime minister is warning the government is running out of patience as protests enter an 11th day there. Demonstrators complain the 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 the demonstration. Erdogan challenged the protesters to make their voices heard in the country's elections in a few months, not in the protests they're now staging.

ROMANS: Republican Jeffrey Chiesa will be sworn in later this morning as the new U.S. senator from New Jersey. He's New Jersey's attorney general right now. He was elected to serve as interim senator last week by Governor Chris Christie following the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. He will serve in the Senate until a special election in October. Chiesa will not run in that special election, one person who will be running, Newark Mayor Cory Booker. Booker, a Democrat, announced his position to run on Saturday.

BERMAN: Republican Kelly Ayotte says she is getting behind the new set of immigration bill. Speaking Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," a senator from New Hampshire called the bill a thoughtful bipartisan solution to a tough problem. Ayotte says by the tough but fair way for undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. to earn citizenship. A big day tomorrow on the immigration bill, it faces its first hurdle of culture vote in the Senate that will determine whether debate will continue.

ROMANS: No bail for a crane operator charged in last week's deadly building collapse in Philadelphia. The 42-year-old Sean Benshop faces six counts of involuntary manslaughter. Law enforcement sources tell CNN that Benschop had marijuana and pain medication in his system following the collapse. Prosecutors say he was operating the crane used to tear down the building that collapsed onto a Salvation Army thrift store. Six people were killed, more than a dozen injured.

BERMAN: The Miami Heat are hot. They have evened the NBA finals at one game apiece. Miami went on a 35-point run in the second half. Lebron James struggled from the floor. He finished with just 17 points. But look at this. We'll show you again and actually show you the whole play. Lebron James with one of the most amazing blocks you will ever see on Thiago Splitter.

Look at that, my head will stop you. Look at the strength it takes for Lebron James to stop a dunk in mid-dunkenness, sends it back, and sent San Antonio back to Texas, for game three tomorrow night.

ROMANS: It's one of the most watched cases of the year, George Zimmerman in court facing murder charges. We're going to have the latest from Sanford, Florida.

BERMAN: And how is this for scary? Trapped on a rock in the middle of a roaring river, what authorities did to set this family free coming up next.


BERMAN: It is the case that has so captivated the nation, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing a teenager. George Zimmerman says it was self defense, prosecutors say it was murder, and today, at long last jury selection begins.

CNN's George Howell live in Sanford, Florida, for us this morning. Good morning, George.


So, it will take a panel, a pool rather of 500 potential jurors, narrowing that down to at least six jurors and at least two alternates. The goal in all this is to find a group of people who have not been heavily influenced by more than a year of intense coverage of this controversial case here in Florida.


HOWELL (voice-over): Was it a case of murder or self-defense? Those are the questions jurors will face in the case against George Zimmerman. February 6th, 2012, the then-neighborhood watch captain called police to report a teenager who he described as suspicious. What's in question is whether Zimmerman pursued after a dispatcher told him not to.

The one thing that is clear, there was a confrontation. 911 calls record someone in the background screaming for help. Then, you hear the fatal shot.

CALLER: I don't know why I think they're yelling help, but I don't know.


OPERATOR: So you think he's yelling help?


OPERATOR: All right. What is your --


HOWELL: The victim was 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman, his admitted killer, was taken into custody for questioning but then released because investigators accepted his claim that he fired his gun in self defense.

The days that followed left this community in an uproar.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: We don't understand why he's not arrested. Investigations can go on forever, and the family worries, I worry, the more time that passes, this is going to be swept under the rug.

HOWELL: State attorney Angela Corey charged Zimmerman with second degree murder. Defense attorney Mark O'Meara eventually got a judge to grant Zimmerman $1 million bond, releasing him to house confinement with a curfew as he awaits trial.

Zimmerman has been in and out of court several times for pretrial hearings. In one case, taking the stand himself to speak directly to Martin's family. GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: I want to say I'm sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little younger than I am, and I did not know if he was armed or not.

HOWELL: In the days leading up to trial, prosecutors asked that certain evidence, like these pictures of Trayvon Martin, not be added as evidence released. The focus now is on jury selection.


HOWELL: So the latest update that we know is from defense attorney Mark O'Mara. You remember just over a week ago, he publicly announced he was running out of money to represent George Zimmerman. But we know now that he's raised at least $85,000 to move forward with this trial.

BERMAN: George, you mentioned the difficulty in the jury selection, how hard it will be to find an impartial jury here. What's the process? How will this unfold?

HOWELL: Well, we do know that at least 200 jurors will be called today, then 100 on Tuesday, 100 Wednesday, and then 100 Thursday. The plan right now, John, is to basically wrap up jury selection this week.

Keep this in mind, though, we're not exactly sure of the process. Will the jurors come in and fill out the questionnaire today and then come back another day? That's not clear.

We also know, over the weekend, there were some pretrial motions the judge hoped to wrap up before today. They didn't end up doing that. So that will continue today, along with jury selection.

BERMAN: Just the beginning.

All right. George Howell, always great to see you, in Sanford, Florida, this morning. Thanks, George.

The man accused of holding three women inside his Cleveland home for over a decade is getting ready to plead not guilty to hundreds of criminal charges. Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry were rescued from Ariel Castro's case on May 6th. On Friday, Castro was indicted on 329 counts in the case, including rape and aggravated murder.

Castro is being held on $8 million bail and is set to be arraigned this week.

ROMANS: A convicted child rapist busted after he was caught secretly snapping photos of children at two stores in Washington state. Police near Olympia say 54-year-old Randy Smith was taking pictures of a 6- year-old girl as she tried on a bathing suit in a 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 served nearly 18 years in prison for raping a 3-year-old child more than two decades ago. BERMAN: Stuck on a rock. Rescue teams in California had to battle fierce currents to save a Sacramento family who found themselves stranded in the American river. A mother, her two daughters and a nephew had to retreat to the rock Saturday when a release of water upstream caused water levels to suddenly rise.

Two bystanders who tried to help, they got stuck themselves, along with the rushing waters. Fire fighters had to contend with 108 degree temperatures.


BATTALION CHIEF MIKE WEBB, CAL FIRE: The fatigue of the rescuers and folks helping out was definitely a big factor.

REPORTER: How did it feel to be rescued?

ANNA NOLESNIKOV, RESCUED: Fields great. Very grateful. I'm glad my kids are fine.


BERMAN: So the family and their two would-be rescuers, the first ones out, were stuck on the rocks for four hours before firefighters were able to jump in and bring them back to shore.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, Apple used to be the coolest company around, but competition means maybe it's not as hot as it used to be. What Apple's got to do to get back on top.


ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START this morning.

Minding your business this Monday morning. We're shaping up to have a rally, perhaps. Dow futures are up 50 points this morning. This follows the first gain in two weeks in a nearly 5 percent rally in Japan's main stock index overnight. Analysts are hoping Friday's ho hum jobs report means the Federal Reserve will keep propping up the economy.

But this is a big day for Apple. The company kicks off its annual worldwide developers conference in San Francisco today. It's Apple's first major product event in more than nine months. For Apple, that's an eternity.

Apple has said it will unveil an update to its iOS mobile operating system, its iRadio streaming service and an update to MacBook lineup and maybe an update on Apple TV. For any other company, that would be an awful lot, right? But this is Apple, so the bar is really high.

Many analysts are starting to wonder if Apple can come up with innovative products on a regular basis. Apple shares down 20 percent over the past year. Android phones have topped Apple in market share. Intel's Ultrabooks are pressuring the Mac lineup.

But at least one analyst, Andy Hargreaves, he is still hopeful.


ANDY HARGREAVES, ANALYST: This is still an incredibly innovative company in my mind. It's got a massive engine of internal software and hardware development and really loyal customers. Yes, they could do it again.


ROMANS: Apple's conference is all week. The big thing, Tim Cook's keynote speech, that is today.

BERMAN: Everyone's watching. Everyone cares about Apple because Apple touches so many people's lives.

ROMANS: Yes, but it's Samsung. And the buzz has been around Samsung, and Samsung briefly topping Apple in terms of device sales.

BERMAN: A little competition maybe good for everyone.

What's the thing we need to know about our money?

ROMANS: Look, senior citizens have not saved enough for retirement. I hate to be a downer here but this is really important stuff. The rule of thumb, retirees should have saved enough to replace at least 70 percent of what they made while they were working. Seniors in only two states do that, Nevada and Hawaii.

One thing we know, John, is retirement is lasting much longer than the money these days. We are retiring. We are healthy longer. We need to save more money.

BERMAN: Good advice.

All right. Coming up, a deadly rampage claims another life. What authorities are saying about a man's shooting spree in Santa Monica.