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The Senate Discusses Immigration Today; More Details About Edward Snowden; Mystery Hotel Deaths Attributed to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Flash Floods in Germany Kill Three; "Skyfall" Island Has Notorious Past

Aired June 11, 2013 - 12:30   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: It's because of a seemingly minor disagreement over who would lead each country's delegation.

There was hope that the talks would revive economic plans and ease the strained relationship that fired after North Korea launched a rocket and performed a nuclear test.

Well, they are talking about immigration in the Senate today. This is so much more than routine political maneuvering. This impacts millions, potentially millions, of people here in this country.

A couple of hours ago the president made his appear and he essentially is talking about the young people who have lived in the United States since they were kids and could finally become citizens. This is under the Dream Act.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I've had chance to meet so many of them who have been willing to give face to the undocumented and have inspired a movement across America.

And with each step they reminded us time and again what this debate is all about. This is not an abstract debate. This is about incredible young people who understand themselves to be Americans and have done everything right, but have still been hampered in achieving their American dream.


MALVEAUX: Want to bring in our Rafael Romo to explain this.

And, Rafael, there's something that's happening, taking place right now as we speak involving a small group that's actually reuniting with their parents across the border.

Tell us how this is even possible.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SENIOR LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: This is emblematic of what's been happening to the "dreamers," Suzanne.

A group of three "dreamers" from Columbia, from Brazil and Mexico are going across the border in Nogales, Arizona, and meeting their mothers in Nogales, Mexico, whom they haven't seen because they were deported.

So part of what the president has been speaking of today and in the past is that the situation of these young people is that the families have been separated in many cases.

And they're doing this not only to see their parents, they're doing this to send a message to Congress, specifically, about how the broken immigration system, which has been broken by both Republicans and Democrats, is creating this situation where you have families on two sides of the border.

MALVEAUX: So normally if these kids went over to Mexico, their parents have been deported, they'd have to stay in Mexico, right? They could not go across the border again and go back into the United States as citizens.

ROMO: That's right. Last year in June, the president announced a plan called (inaudible) deferred action for these kids.

Under this plan, they are now allowed to stay legally in the country for two years. Before that, had they gone across the border, once you're out, you're out. There would not have been any way of coming back to the United States.

MALVEAUX: So is the president basically saying, OK, two years, after the two years is up we still think these kids should be able to stay. Is that what he's pushing for in this legislation?

ROMO: Well, the president, Republicans and Democrats, if you take a little bit of history, this case, the case for immigration reform, especially the Dream Act, has been talked about since 2001 and has failed multiple times in Congress.

And I can talk about, for example, the push that a Republican, John McCain. made a number of years ago. Dick Durbin from Illinois, a Democrat, they worked together on a bill that would have essentially done the same thing that this new bill is doing.

And they're asking for very specific things. Kids who were brought illegally by their parents and who are under the age of 16 -- I'm sorry -- under the age of 30, they entered the country at least before they were 16, went to school, served in the military, no criminal background, all those things and then you qualify.

MALVEAUX: So tomorrow, bring back -- I want to see those kids and they're reunited with their parents and how they're doing. It's going to be very emotional.

ROMO: It sure -- it's probably going to be very emotional, yes.

MALVEAUX: All right, Rafi, thank you. Great to see you, as always.

So how did Edward Snowden get top-secret access to the NSA's most secret information.

Coming up, an insider takes us through this process and shows us what can go wrong.


MALVEAUX: We're learning more about the man who leaked the details of secret government surveillance programs from his former employer. That's right. Government contractor Booz Allen says that Edward Snowden was fired from the company yesterday after less than three months on the job.

And the company says that Snowden's salary was $122,000 a year not the $200,000 that was referred to before.

Also law enforcement officials say that authorities are preparing charges against Snowden. Nothing yet imminent.

Now the national intelligence chief says any person with security clearance should know they are obligated to protect classified information.

So how does somebody like this even get clearance, and can an I.T. guy really get that kind of access?

Chris Lawrence tells us how.


EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: The NSA specifically ...

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Government investigators thought they knew Edward Snowden.

He went through a background check, took a polygraph test and sat through personal interviews and then the government gave him access to some of its biggest secrets.

From your experience at NSA, how deep do they go into your personal background?


LAWRENCE: Retired Colonel Cedric Leighton went through the background check before going to work for the NSA.

LEIGHTON: And the rules for clearances don't change whether you're a government employee or a contract employee.

LAWRENCE: Leighton says Edward Snowden would have started by filling out this form revealing his finances and any foreign contacts.

The investigators start by talking to friends and family, but then use what they say to generate more contacts.

LEIGHTON: They will interview neighbors. They will interview friends. And then they'll go for people who you don't put on your form. LAWRENCE: Snowden is one of nearly half a million contractors with top-secret clearance, but few have access to as much information as Snowden, an information security engineer.

Why does an I.T. guy get access to so much information?

LEIGHTON: It's because of where he sits. They have permissions that normal employees don't have.

LAWRENCE: Leighton says, as a system administrator, Snowden could likely see outside the need-to-know boxes that constrain some contractors.

LEIGHTON: They may not understand the background of all the information that they see, but they can see information.

LAWRENCE: A former official tells CNN, the NSA disabled the USB drives on most computers and uses software to detect flash media.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, FORMER ACTING CIA DIRECTOR: And typically in government, there are ways of auditing those kinds of transactions if they're electronic.

LAWRENCE: The former official says the NSA literally could not run without contractors. That's how dependent they are.

And he says because the intel community has moved from a need-to-know to a need-to-share philosophy, one I.T. worker has access to far more information than he would have had even 10 years ago.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, The Pentagon.


MALVEAUX: In the James Bond movie, "Skyfall," this is the home of the bad guy, right? But in real life people used to compare this island to hell.

That's right. We're going to show you why, coming up next.



Right now, a quick check of the markets in New York. Stocks were under some pressure this morning. You can see the Dow at 15,000 or so, down about 13 points.

Quiet trading today and yesterday following weeks of gains that pushed the Dow to an all-time high.

Well, it is a mystery, three deaths all in the same hotel room in a small town. This is North Carolina. First, an elderly couple died in April. Then just this weekend, an 11-year-old boy died and his mother was found barely alive in that same room. Now it looks like the case has been solved. Police say all three died from carbon monoxide poisoning. They suspect that a heater in a maintenance area below that room might have been the cause.

And here's something you don't see every day. A German, World War II Dornier bomber, it's been raised from the bottom of the English Channel. Check it out.

The plane was shot down more than 70 years ago. This was during the Battle of Britain. They think it's the only one of its kind in the world.

Now the bomber is being restored. It's going to be put on display in the Royal Air Force Museum.

Sad news, three people have died in Germany's flash flooding. Four thousand German troops are dropping huge bags of sand from the air. This is the swollen Elba River, breaching the flood defenses. They expect the Danube River also is going to do the same.

I want to bring in Karl Penhaul, live in northern Germany. That is the -- I believe that's Elbe River behind you. Tell us, what do we expect.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's correct, Suzanne. And along its route, the Elbe River has burst its banks in certain places.

And in the area where we are, in fact, there have been two breaches of the dyke and that means that, throughout the course of the day, we see military helicopters fly over with those huge bags of sand that you refer to.

Now, on the one hand, they are dropping them from the air into place in large quantities and on the ground in these small villages and in towns as well, we see a joint effort by the military and firefighters, literally filling tens of thousands of sand bags to help protect homes from the floodwaters.

Now it's been a bit of a mixed blessing, this breach of two dykes. Because on the one hand that has meant that a number of small villages alongside the Elba have been flooded, but what it does mean that towns and cities further down river have been relieved somewhat because the flood waters haven't risen as high as expected. But the danger is not yet over. As you go further north towards the sea, then more towns and cities are expected to be hit in the course of the evening and tomorrow, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right, Karl, we're going to be following those developments there to see just how folks are coping with all of that water. Thanks again, Karl. Appreciate it.

This is some hope, really, in a story that we've been talk about for weeks now. You'll recall Sarah Murnaghan, who has cystic fibrosis, she needs a lung transplant. She's too young to be on the adult donor list. Well, that rule has changed, for now, giving her a better chance at receiving lungs. And Sarah is really not alone. Many children are fighting a disease without a cure. But there is one Nascar driver who is trying to change this. Watch this.


DENNY HAMLIN, NASCAR DRIVER: Hi, I'm Denny Hamlin, and we can make an impact on finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is a respiratory disease that affects breathing. The lungs don't function the way that they should. And eventually you'll need a lung transplant.

My first experience with someone with cystic fibrosis was my cousin. I never understood why he had to take so much medicine every single day until I got a little bit older did I realized that he had a disease that, you know, there was no cure for.

We started the Denny Hamlin Foundation doing different events. We started the Short Track Showdown a couple years after that and really it just has grown the foundation over the last few years and contributed to cystic fibrosis, as well as a lot of children's hospitals in the Richmond area.

We hope that, you know, CF is something that people recognize as cystic fibrosis, but eventually we hope CF means "cure found."

Join the movement. Impact your world at




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do hope that wasn't for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, but that is.


MALVEAUX: Wow, James Bond goes to the villain's island hideaway. This is the film, "Skyfall," you might recall. Well, that island, it does actually exist. It has a notorious past. Diana Magnay takes us to Hashima Island, Japan. This is just off Nagasaki.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ruins of abandoned apartment blocks loom out of the mist. We're speeding toward Hashima Island, 17 kilometers off the coast of Nagasaki.

MAGNAY (on camera): It looks so eerie and so sort of desolate.

MAGNAY: We're not traveling in quite the style James Bond did, but some you may recognize the island from the latest Bond movie "Skyfall." The inspiration for the villain's home, and place where the Bond girl meets her end, built in Pinewood Studios but modeled on Hashima. In reality, this was once a bustling metropolis. Nearly 60 years ago, one of the most densely populated places on earth. Built above a rich coal (ph) seam (ph), the mines here fueled Japan's wartime efforts and its post war industrial growth. At its peak in 1959, more than 5,000 people housed in crowded apartment blocks on this tiny 16 acre patch of rock.

Tomoji Kobata shows us where he lived in 1961. "It reminded me of Hong Kong," he says. Cooking hours were quite noisy. Wives borrowing seasoning and exchanging food they couldn't eat. No one needed to lock the door.

X-rays in the hospital, the faded imprints of lungs still visible. Miners here regularly screened for lung disease. "The temperature was about 35 degrees Celsius down in the mine," he tells me. The humidity was over 95 percent. It was like doing hard labor in a sauna.

The lure of easy money brought Kobata here, but after a year he left. Conditions on the island, too unforgiving.

MAGNAY (on camera): These steps were known as the steps to hell. And although many people describe life on the island as like one big happy family and many people said they didn't want to leave, to the Koreans and the Chinese prisoners of war who were brought here to work in the mines during World War II, this was a form of hell.

MAGNAY (voice-over): In the Peace Museum in nearby Nagasaki, testimonies from some of the forced labors brought to Hashima during the days of Japan's empire. "The common stories I would hear from Korean and Chinese laborers was that they were enormously hungry," the director says. "They said you'd feed animals more. Many tried to escape, but if they were discovered, they were taken back and tortured almost to death."

A very limbed part of the island, far away from the precarious ruins, is now open to visitors. In the last three years, some 300,000 have come here and Nagasaki wants to make Hashima a world heritage site. But Korea objects. While Japan has offered a general apology for the damage and suffering caused by its colonial rule and wartime aggression, Hashima remains an eerie symbol of wartime wounds that will not heal.

Diane Magnay, CNN, Hashima Island, Japan.


MALVEAUX: A lot of football players smack each other on the back side down the field, but it is frowned on in the courtroom. That's right. Former NFL star Chad Johnson was on the receiving end of a plea deal on a domestic violence charge. Well, the judge told him he should thank his attorney. So Johnson patted him on the rear. Well, everybody was kind of amused by it, but not so much the judge.


JUDGE KATHLEEN MCHUGH, BROWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: He's an excellent attorney and he did a great job for you, sir. Do you have any questions, Mr. (INAUDIBLE)? This isn't a joke.

CHAD JOHNSON, FORMER NFL PLAYER: I didn't do it as a joke.

MCHUGH: Everybody in the courtroom was laughing. I'm not accepting these plea negotiations.


MALVEAUX: Well, that momentary lapse cost Johnson 30 days in jail, extra year of probation. Coming up in the next hour, CNN NEWSROOM Judge Hatchett (ph) is going to join us to talk about whether or not that punishment is fair.


MALVEAUX: A singing astronaut hanging up his space suit.


MALVEAUX: I love this guy. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, known for his videos as the commander of the International Space Station, says he is now retiring. Hadfield hasn't decided what's next for him, but after 20 years of living in Houston to be near the space center, he says he's promised his wife that they would live in Canada.

And an extreme stunt goes wrong in Spain. This woman jumped off the roof of a hotel in a base jumping extreme world championship. Well, it went horribly wrong. Her parachute opened the wrong way. The Austrian jumper slammed into the building a few times before the shoot actually caught a snag. Whoa, you see it there. She amazingly, amazingly walked away with just a few bruises and a broken nose. Very, very lucky she was indeed. Don't do that at home.

That's it for AROUND THE WORLD. But CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.