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NSA Leaker Back in Shadows; Extreme Weather Plagues the United States; Police Square off with Turkish Protesters

Aired June 11, 2013 - 05:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: On the run. The man responsible for one of the biggest leaks in U.S. history, exposing America's secret spying program, this morning, vanished. So, where did he go?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Waking up after hours of destruction -- tornadoes, floods and a scorching heat wave. Is there relief in sight?

BERMAN: And breaking news overnight. Riots ranging in a crucial hot spot. Police unleashed tear gas and water cannons. We will have a live report from this dramatic sight just ahead.

ROMANS: Lucky to be alive. A base jumper cheats death when her parachute fails to open. How on earth did she survive that?

BERMAN: Oh, my goodness.

ROMANS: All caught on camera. Terrifying, terrifying.

BERMAN: All right. Good morning.

Welcome to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman. Hope you're having a better morning, lately.


And I'm Christie Romans. It's Tuesday, June 11th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: We're going to begin right now, this morning, with new developments in the leak of top secret NSA surveillance programs.

The source of the leak, 29-year-old Edward Snowden, now back in the shadows. He's said to be in Hong Kong. But where exactly is unclear.

The White House now saying it welcomes debate over the electronic surveillance programs that Snowden exposed, and that it's open to changes if the national debate shows the public wants them.

But, a just released survey suggests that most Americans don't have an issue with being tracked.

Joe Johns explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators are scouring the personal and professional life of NSA contractor Edward Snowden to see if anyone helped him gather sensitive documents that he leaked to journalists to expose the agency's top surveillance programs. Snowden's last known whereabouts are traced to this hotel in Hong Kong. But he's no longer there.

A reporter with "The Guardian," the newspaper that broke the story, said on Monday, he will not be the one to reveal his source's location.

GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN: I know where he is, generally. I'm not going to talk about where he is, in general or specifically. He's a source. I'm not going to disclose information about his whereabouts. He's perfectly capable of doing that himself, if he wants to.

JOHNS: And signs Snowden sparks suspicion even before he revealed himself. Investigators visited his Honolulu home asking about his long disappearance from work. But they were too late. He and his girlfriend cleared out.

A new national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that a majority of Americans are OK with the government's surveillance. Fifty-six percent of respondents say they approve of phone tracking. And even more, 62 percent say they are willing to have their privacy intruded upon if it prevents terrorism.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: The public needs to decide whether these programs or polices are right or wrong.

JOHNS: With his videotape confessions, Snowden could face felony charges under the Espionage Act.

DON BORELLI, COO, THE SOUFAN GROUP: If you disclose specified information to unauthorized individual for -- you know, that could lead to the detriment of the United States, then I believe that carries a 10-year penalty.

JOHNS: And if charged, the next question is getting Hong Kong to extradite him.

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The State Department can immediately revoke his U.S. passport and send certified copy of the revocation to the authorities in Hong Kong, basically notifying them this individual is no longer traveling on a valid U.S. passport.

JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: Suspected Santa Monica gunman, John Zawahri, was well-armed and apparently, ready to inflict maximum damage during last week's deadly rampage that killed five people. According to police, he had multiple firearms, about 1,300 rounds of ammunition in a duffel bag, when he allegedly shot and killed his father and his brother, and set their house on fire. After randomly shooting at strangers in cars and on the campus of Santa Monica College, the suspect was shot and killed by police.

BERMAN: The military judge is expected to rule today on a request by Major Nidal Hasan for a three-month delay in his court-martial. Last week, the judge ruled that Hasan can represent himself in the Fort Hood shooting case. The Army psychiatrist is charged with killing 13 people in the shooting rampage back in 2009. If convicted, Hasan faces either life in prison or perhaps the death penalty.

ROMANS: All right. From heat waves out West, to tornadoes and riptides to the East, the extreme weather continues across the country this morning.

Indra Petersons tracking all of it for us.

What's happening out there?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, it's really unbelievable. More tornadoes pummel the Southeast in Kentucky and Maryland, while temperatures rise to sweltering levels in the West. So hot.

We are taking a look at extreme weather across the country.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Check out this frightening amateur video posted on YouTube of a tornado wiping out much in its path.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, that is hit hard there.

PETERSONS: In Franklin, Kentucky, north of Nashville, roofs were lifted, houses are ripped from their foundations and sections of a fence were even found floating in this swimming pool.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) debris in the air. And it started blowing hard.

PETERSONS: Residents like Steve Davenport were found picking up pieces of their countryside homes. Two elderly women were found hunkering down together in their bathtub to ride out the storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's awesome. People in the house are very lucky. Two elderly women had minor injuries. That wall you see right there is the only wall still standing in the house. And that's where they were at.

PETERSONS: Much of the nation was gripped by extreme conditions. In Maryland, a water spout and funnel clouds touching down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like it's coming this way.

PETERSONS: The storms damaging buildings at the Baltimore port and causing flash flooding in the city, leaving many in Maryland at a standstill. At the U.S. Open in Pennsylvania, the downpour even dampened hopes on the green. On the first day of practice, officials were forced to close the course for hours.

In Gulf Shores, Alabama, rough seas and dangerous rip currents were to blame for four drownings.

And in the West, a much different picture. Triple-digit temperatures are posing a challenge for firefighters trying to combat the Silver Fire near Kingston, New Mexico. That has pushed many residents to evacuate their homes.


PETERSONS: The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings all across the West, particularly in Colorado and New Mexico, where the increasing temperatures can contribute to wildfires. The Silver Fire near Kingston, New Mexico, has now scorched 1,500 acres of land. That sweltering heat also affecting much of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas.

And a completely different picture all the way on the Eastern Seaboard. We had heavy rains yesterday. You even had some storm reports or tornado reports out there. Much of that severe weather now pushing off to the East, once you zoom in a little bit here, towards up state New York, and also towards northern New England, we're seeing more of that heavy rain kind of kicking out of the area.

Showers still in their forecast, about an inch or two possible. But again, nothing as strong as what we saw yesterday.

In fact, where the severe weather threat is going to be, where the warm air merges with that cooler, drier air, dropping in from Canada. So, today, we're looking really kind of at Montana, all the way through Indiana. Kind of like a sliver where we could see that threat of severe weather. But again, it is just a slight risk today. But again, that doesn't mean you don't need to be vigilant, of course.

The heat is still on all the way to the West Coast. We are talking temperatures really climbing (ph). Look at this, average, 81. Salt Lake City today, 90. But Phoenix, so hot.



PETERSONS: So many people in Arizona complaining, 110 degrees. Yes, I don't know. Definitely too hot for me, guys.

BERMAN: It's a dry heat. Dry cold.


ROMANS: With 110, it's just 110.

PETERSONS: It's just period, right?

BERMAN: All right. Indra, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We've got some breaking news now from Turkey.

Police in riot gear have moved in to Istanbul's Taksim Square, where they've been facing off with protesters using tear gas and water cannons. This marks the 12th day of protest there.

So far, 5,000 people have been injured during these protests, three people have killed.

Nick Paton Walsh right now live for us from Istanbul.

Nick, what's the scene like for us right now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right now, John, we've actually noticed, as the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is speaking, and not in a very conciliatory tune, behind me, substantial numbers of riot police moved in around this protest.

Let me take you back a couple of hours. At about 8:00 this morning, they moved in, slowly walking, then began clashes between protesters. They used police armored vehicles, to ram at them, fire water cannons at them. One of those was disabled by some of the protesters Molotov fire bomb cocktail, actually took one of those armored vehicles out of services. Many rocks thrown. Protesters firing fireworks, hit back by tear gas.

Police are using tear gas, but I think it's fair to say, not with the same relentlessness they have done before. There's less in evidence here than it had been about over a week ago.

But now, we are seeing that central protest, tense in the park, that green space in the heart of Istanbul, the protection at the heart of this protest spiraled into a whole lot of other issues. That is now being left it seems alone. Istanbul governor says police won't be approaching it. But we are seeing interesting pictures of a number of armored police vehicles, four or five, by my count, forming a circle around the front of that protest and many riot police moving in, too.

So, it's quite clear the police have a strategy here. They are clearing away barricades, have bulldozers and they're also beginning to mass in front of that Gezi Park protest -- John.

BERMAN: Nick, it does have the appearance, we're looking at the pictures right now, it has the appearance of a combustible situation. The Turkish prime minister scheduled to meet with protesters tomorrow.

What are we expecting from these meetings?

WALSH: This, behind me is about proving his negotiating position. He's had no real conciliatory tone since this began. He's left out to this deputy prime minister in fact, who even offered the apologies to protesters the police tactics at the very start of it. He called these protesters looters, marginals, in fact those terms being seized on by protesters, the mark of something to be proud about in many ways. He's not sounding particularly conciliatory as he speaks now. And the major concern I think is, unless we see -- I'm sorry, colleague is telling me we are actually seeing a water cannon now being used behind me. I think some mask that would suggest yes, tear gas now being used substantially.

You can see people beginning to run. That's what we have seen quite frequently when this gas -- I have experienced it myself. Very hard to breathe, significant effect on your eyes. A lot now being used, clearing away the square.

What you are seeing in that cloud of gas, it's about 50 to 100 meters away of the park. The steps to the left of what you're seeing, and they head out towards those green area where (INAUDIBLE). But these people running away now. The police, it seems, massing absolutely clear they want control of the square and, of course, showing no real signs at this point of negotiations are afoot.

You did mention Prime Minister Erdogan will be meeting protest leaders tomorrow. This protest movement, it is divided. It doesn't have a clear, coherent leader or iconic figure. It's simply in many ways, an expression of a whole load of grievances with the Erdogan administration and its decade in power, John.

BERMAN: Nick, really remarkable pictures from behind you. We are seeing people disperse. We saw those water cannons, apparently the tear gas canisters explode there. We see that giant cloud of smoke.

Let me just ask, are you safe where you are? Is that smoke or is that tear gas coming anywhere near you?

WALSH: We are fine. And I will tell you, John, if it comes here, I will have to reach for a gas mask. My colleague is (INAUDIBLE) to me now, in fact.

I mean, this is very safe. This is the most I have seen used. The net effect is to clear people out of the square.

You know, I have to say, the tone and pace of how they are walking, we are not seeing an angry response at all. People are moving down the side streets. The police, obviously masked, ahead of dispatching this tear gas.

I think it's fair to say that their goal is to push people up into the park, up those particular areas.

And I think the main issue, John, I'm having some audio difficulties here, the main issue will be to hold that particular part of the square, which is the commercial heart of the city.

Back to you, John.

BERMAN: Thank you so much, Nick.

Nick, hopefully you can hear me, because again, as you pointed out, it doesn't seem like the demonstrators are fighting back against the use of the water cannons and tear gas that was just unleashed. It did have the effect of dispersing immediately. We saw that crowd evaporate right before our eyes and those pictures behind you.

Nick, explain to us the role that Turkey plays in its relationship with the U.S. the key NATO ally -- all right, Nick, we have lost Nick Paton Walsh. They're having some audio problems, communication with nick. He's just feet away right now from that demonstration in Istanbul, the heart of Istanbul, where police just used water cannons and tear gas right as we were speaking with Nick, to disperse a rather large crowd and the demonstrations there.

ROMANS: And why this is so important, this is a major American ally, right? So, when you see unrest in the square, you want to see how the protesters and how the security forces are handling it because this is such a strategic ally for the U.S., John.

BERMAN: A key NATO ally and, of course, right across the border from Syria and the mass civil war there, where we have seen so many problems.

The United States needs a stable Turkey to help promote civility in that region.

Our thanks to Nick Paton Walsh. We'll check back in with him as soon as we can, and that site of that demonstration.

ROMANS: All right. Let's come back here. Check out this heart- stopping video of a base jumper Maria Steinmayr, finding out the hard way, that those who seek thrills often find pain. The Austrian daredevil was attempting to leap nearly 700 feet from a 52-story hotel in Spain last week, when her parachute malfunctioned. That sent her crashing into the side of the building over and over.

The 22-year-old thrill seeker somehow cheating death when her chute miraculous got stuck on a corner of a balcony. Steinmayr dangled, ten stories up, until a British couple heard her banging on their door and came to her rescue. She suffered a broken nose and few bumps and bruises, but she is going to be OK.

BERMAN: Coming up, it is the most closely watched case in the nation. On trial for the death of Trayvon Martin. This morning, there is new twist in finding the jury.

ROMANS: And teammates are time bound. The league's most controversial player joins (INAUDIBLE). Can Tim Tebow survive New England and can the Patriots survive him?


ROMANS: Dominique Strauss-Kahn is apparently escaping prosecution in France. Government lawyers are asking that prostitution-related charges against the former IMF head be dropped. They say there wasn't enough evidence to move forward.

BERMAN: Jury selection resumes later today in the George Zimmerman murder trial. So far, 100 perspective jurors have filled out a questionnaire about the racially charged case. Zimmerman is facing secondary murder charges in the death of Trayvon Martin. The unarmed 17-year-old was shot to death during a confrontation in February of last year. Of course, the incident is sparking protest nationwide.

ROMANS: The FBI says agents didn't find explosives on a Southwest Airline plane. The flight was headed from L.A. to Austin, Texas, when someone phoned in a bomb threat. The pilot made a 180 degree turn over Arizona and landed in Phoenix. Passengers were put on another plane after authorities interviewed them and re-screened their bags. The FBI now is trying to find out who made that threatening call.

BERMAN: So, this really should have been our lead. I fought for it, but it didn't make it. Tim Tebow has landed. The 25-year-old quarterback is reportedly set to sign with the New England Patriots, the most important team in football.

ROMANS: Oh, please.

BERMAN: The most important by far.

Coach Belichick, the most important coach in football, is expected to announce the move at a news conference later this morning. Tim Tebow, you will remember, was on the New York Jets last season. To say he played for the Jets would be a misnomer since he mostly just sat on the bench and watched the Jets' quarterback's mess unfold before his very eyes.

In New England, Tebow will reunite with Josh McDaniel, who runs the Patriot offense. He was the head coach in Denver when the Broncos drafted him and maybe McDaniel can turn his career around. You know, you can rule out any quarterback controversy in New England because Tom Brady lives there and plays there. No one is going to supplant Tom Brady.

Tebow will be in the three-day meeting camp today. He's no lock to make the team. This is Bill Belichick just seeing if Tebow can help them. He'll show. If he makes it, he makes it. If he doesn't, he doesn't. But Tom Brady doesn't have anything to worry about, in a lot of ways.

ROMANS: Most important team in football?

BERMAN: Most important story of the day. Like I said, we should have started with this, if it were to me.

ROMANS: All right. Coming up, we're going to get to the bottom of something here.


ROMANS: The yoga gear is a hit for fans or at least it was until a recent controversy. Why is Lululemon CEO leaving the job?

BERMAN: Oh, my goodness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: Welcome back to EARLY START. Minding your business this morning.

Nervousness on Wall Street. Dow future is down about 40 points, adding to yesterday's, I would call them, modest losses yesterday. Trading has been choppy lately. Wall Street wants clear direction on the Federal Reserve and when it will end its stimulus program.

And, hey, you're not getting some clear direction. So, that's what you're seeing in markets.

Sprint shares this morning are rising. Japanese telecom Softbank is now offering $22 billion for Sprint up from $20 billion. So, that stock is up.

Lululemon chairs are plunging 13 percent this morning. The company's CEO Christine Day is stepping down. This comes after months, just months after Lululemon pulled some yoga pants from store shelves because they were see through. See-through yoga pants apparently a problem for customers.

Lululemon says Day's departure has nothing to do with that. Still, it follows a string of problems after the see-through pant debacle. Lululemon said it would cost millions of dollars. Its stock price temporarily drooped. And it got rid of the top products executive.

Despite all the upheaval, the company still managed to report higher quarterly profits and revenue.

BERMAN: Here's the one company in America looking for less transparency.

ROMANS: Absolutely. You're right. Less corporate transparency there.

Apple is launching what it calls its biggest change to its operating system since the introduction of the iPhone. CEO Tim Cook unveiled iOS 7 at the company's developers conference in California, iOS is redesigned, has new upgrades like the photo app, will have filters like Instagram and you can choose a male voice for Siri, the digital assistance. Well, that is earth shattering.

BERMAN: Thank you, Christine.

ROMANS: Apple also rolled out iTunes radio and refreshed line of MacBook Airs. Still, some analysts are disappointed, saying it wasn't a blockbuster launch. There wasn't a big surprise.

BERMAN: Except for the male voice.

ROMANS: Except for the male voice. Are you going to audition for that?

BERMAN: Hello. I'm Siri. How can I help you, Christine?

ROMANS: That is creepy. Over at another conference. The biggest video game makers are rolling out their new consoles. An already, there's a pricing battle. Sony unveiled its PlayStation 4 at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles. Price tag, $399, $100 less than Microsoft's new Xbox which retails for $499. Both will hit store shelves later this year.

The video game market has been hit hard because more people are using smartphones and tablets for games. I mean, think of how much you can do with your smartphone now and what that means for both PC and with also videogame.

BERMAN: Hey, you don't need consoles anymore.

All right. Coming up, the wicked weather. Heat in the West, deadly rip currents on the Gulf Coast, and tornadoes tearing up parts of Maryland and Kentucky. We will have the latest.

ROMANS: And Twitter tease. Hillary Clinton hits the Internet with all the answers about her future, maybe. And what does it all mean?


ROMANS: Breaking news: riots raging in a crucial hot spot. Police unleash tear gas and water cannons. A live report, ahead.

BERMAN: To be determined. The tweet that rocked the political universe. Hillary Clinton on Twitter this morning going letter by letter to solve the riddle -- is she running?

ROMANS: The butt slap straight to the slammer -- just or just plain offensive. The drama that sent a football legend straight to prison.

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this morning.

BERMAN: First, we want to get back to breaking news straight from Turkey. Some very dramatic pictures there.