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New Al Qaeda Threat; NSA Chief Defends Surveillance; Hayden: Snowden is No Whistle-Blower; Ariel Castro Pleads Not Guilty; Woman, Baby Dodge Runaway Car; Does al Qaeda Have Shoulder-Fired Missiles?

Aired June 12, 2013 - 18:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Brianna, thank you so much for warming them up for me. I appreciate it.


Happening now, the NSA versus the leaker. One of America's top spies says lives are being saved because the government is monitoring phone records.

Plus, the Cleveland house of horrors defendant back in court. Even Ariel Castro's lawyer says some of the charges against him are indisputable.

And new evidence that al Qaeda is training terrorists to use a dangerous weapon that could bring down commercial planes.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

America's most secret intelligence agency is defending surveillance programs exposed by the fugitive leaker, Edward Snowden. The head of the NSA told Congress that dozens of potential terror attacks have been prevented because of those controversial programs. Snowden is waging his own self-defense, giving a new interview to a Hong Kong newspaper, spilling more secrets and vowing to fight prosecution back home.

CNN's Barbara Starr and Miguel Marquez are standing by with the latest on Snowden and his claims.

First to our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.

Dana, it's rare for an NSA chief to testify public like this.

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is. In fact, Jake, the NSA used to be known as no such agency. That's how secretive it is. Those days are over, though. And now in the NSA director's first public comments about this sweeping surveillance, he made clear he believes it is protecting Americans.


BASH (voice-over): It is one of the biggest newly revealed secret program collecting millions of phone records. Has it really stopped terror attacks? The head of one of the most secret spy agencies was ready with an answer.

GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: It's dozens of terrorist events that these have helped prevent.

BASH: National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander told senators he planned to make the number of thwarted plots public soon, an attempt to prove to Americans worried about government snooping, it's worth it.

ALEXANDER: This is not us doing something under the covers. This is what we're doing on behalf of all of us for the good of this country.

BASH: He credited another classified program, looking at classified information of Internet users known as PRISM with unearthing a plot to blow up New York subways and preventing the attack.

ALEXANDER: Not just critical. It was the one that developed the lead on it. I would say it was the one that allowed us to know it was happening.

BASH: Despite his vigorous defense of controversial programs, senators voiced skepticism.

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL), MAJORITY WHIP: It certainly defies logic that you need to collect all of the telephone calls made in the 312 area code on the chance that one of those persons might be on the other end of the phone.

BASH: On display, concern about civil liberties makes for strange political bedfellows, conservatives agreeing with liberals.

SEN. MIKE JOHANNS (R), NEBRASKA: What I worry about is how far do you believe this authority extends?

SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Here I have my Verizon phone, my cell phone.

What authorized investigation gave you the grounds for acquiring my cell phone data?

BASH: To be sure, there is also bipartisan support of sweeping surveillance. Moderate Republican Susan Collins wanted to correct the record on this claim from Edward Snowden.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, LEAKED DETAILS OF U.S. SURVEILLANCE: I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal e-mail.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: True or false?

ALEXANDER: False. I know of no way to do that.

BASH: Pressed by senators about the importance of public debate, Alexander promised to declassify information about these secret programs, but also warned, a lot will remain secret.

ALEXANDER: If we tell the terrorists every way that we're going to track them, they will get through and Americans will die. That's wrong.


BASH: Now the NSA director made clear that there were a lot of things he couldn't answer in terms of senators' questions because it was a public forum. But, Jake, they will get a chance to pepper him in private tomorrow. He's going to come back here to the Hill for a classified briefing with all senators -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Dana Bash, thank you so much.

The NSA leaker is stirring up more controversy. Edward Snowden reportedly says American intelligence agents have been hacking computer networks around the world for years, including thousands of computers in China.

Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is looking into that -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you have to wonder if Edward Snowden's playing just a little bit of the China card, the Hong Kong card, so he can get sympathy and stay there. His latest claim comes in an interview with "The South China Morning Post" newspaper.

And he does say that the National Security Agency has been hacking and attacking computers in China and Hong Kong since 2009. An important caveat, the newspaper says they were shown some documents about all of this by Snowden, but could not verify them.

A very interesting quote from Edward Snowden though in the newspaper, and I want to read it to you. He says -- quote -- "We hack network backbones, like huge Internet routers basically, that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one."

Would it be a surprise that the U.S. is interested in getting into Chinese computers? Probably not. A lot of competition between the U.S. and China economically, militarily, but the administration isn't ready to go there. They will not say specifically if this is true or not. The State Department spokesman had this to say today.


VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: There is a difference between, you know, going after economic data and financial information, that is part of these cyber-attacks, or seems to be and an issue which is -- the president has welcomed the debate on, which is -- and the administration has welcomed the debate on, which is surveillance and going after people who mean to do harm. So there is a difference. That would be what I would have to say on that.


STARR: Not very clear, is it? But, you know, what I think she's really headed towards there is an acknowledgement that there's plenty of competitiveness between China and the U.S. and getting into each other's computer systems is one way to attack that problem -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Barbara, I wanted to ask you there have been acknowledgements by the Obama administration and the military that when it comes to cyber-warfare, our capabilities are not just defensive, but also offensive. Last fall, we heard from a general who said that we were doing that in terms of going after our enemies in Afghanistan. There's obviously the Stuxnet virus, the worm to foul up the Iranian nuclear program, and then earlier this year, the head of cyber warfare alluded to offensive programs.

So, as you say, it wouldn't necessarily be a huge surprise if the U.S. was doing this, just as the Chinese are doing to the U.S.

STARR: Oh, absolutely, Jake. But as you're pointing out, this is the crown jewel right now of U.S. military power. Forget the fighter jets, the missiles, all of that. Cyber-warfare, being able to attack the other guy's systems, knowing what they're up to, being able to foul up their systems if you want to, this is some of the most secretive information.

It doesn't even begin to touch on what Snowden is talking about. The crown jewels that the U.S. military really wants to protect is how they're going to get into an enemy's computer systems if they feel they have to do that.

TAPPER: All right, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Right now, Edward Snowden is believed to be holed up in some kind of safe house perhaps in Hong Kong. There are questions about whether his girlfriend might be with him. She's now in hiding as well.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is in Hawaii, where the couple lived together until a few weeks ago -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, both are in hiding. But now family and friends are coming out in support of Edward Snowden and Lindsay Mills.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just wish him good luck and he's got my love.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Luck and love to Edward Snowden from Jonathan Mills, the father of Snowden's girlfriend, Lindsay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's very nice, shy, reserved. He's always had strong convictions of right and wrong, and it kind of makes sense, but I'm still shocked.

MARQUEZ: A family in shock, caught in the middle of an intelligence crisis of global proportions, his daughter now in hiding. QUESTION: How is she holding up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As well as could be expected. And that's all I have to say.

MARQUEZ: Lindsay Mills, an avid dancer, was updating her blog, "Adventures of a world-traveling, pole-dancing super hero," up until Monday, a day after her boyfriend of some five years came out as the source of the explosive documents.

In her last entry, she described herself as lost at sea without a compass.

SNOWDEN: My name is Ed Snowden. I'm 29 years old.

MARQUEZ: Friends of Snowden now coming to his defense.

Mavanee Anderson, writing in "The Chattanooga Times Free Press," called Snowden courageous and expressed fear for him, adding Snowden is "introspective and perhaps a bit prone to brood, the type of person who thinks long and hard before coming to a decision."


MARQUEZ: And it appears when he came to this decision, he came to it over a period of time because the exit from Hawaii, the escape from Hawaii appears seamless for Mr. Snowden and Ms. Mills -- Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you, Miguel Marquez.

Up next, we could see a repeat of a rare kind of storm that packs very dangerous winds. Millions of people may be at risk.

And Colorado wildfires, I will talk to a resident who fled for his life as the flames closed in.


TAPPER: In Colorado right now, wildfires are moving fast. The winds have been picking up and conditions are very unpredictable. It's a dangerous situation, one that has forced several thousand people to evacuate. In just a moment I will talk to a man who fled his home as the flames were closing in.

But first let's go to CNN's Victor Blackwell, who is in Colorado Springs -- Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the wind, as you said, has been picking up all day. But it's part of a trinity of trouble here, the wind, the heat and the humidity. It's very dry, it's very hot and you can see that the wind has been blowing pretty stiff and hard all day.

Listen to Dan Parsons in just a moment. But first I want to show you this. There's been this white cloud over Colorado Springs for most of the day. But you see here on the horizon the dark puffs there? That means that there's something manmade burning, not nature, but maybe paint, maybe chemicals, vinyl, fabrics.

Those are homes, and we're told by the sheriff here that at least 80 homes by his estimate have burned. That he believes will surpass 100 today.

Now let's go to Dan Parsons. He's lived in Black Forest for 25 years. This is the first time he's had to leave as part of a mandatory evacuation. And he's understandably worried. Listen.


DAN PARSONS, RESIDENT OF COLORADO: My neighbors have called me. They're on their phones and they're wondering what's going on with their house, and this is just the people here in our community. You can only imagine what's going on in the timbered area and people wondering. I can't imagine sitting there watching on TV and wondering if my house is gone or it's not.


BLACKWELL: More than 7,000 people out of their homes in either hotels or with friends and family or at shelters that have been opened by the Red Cross wondering if those dark puffs of smoke are their homes. There are more than four dozen helicopters dumping water on this. We have seen a DC-10 Tanker 911 dropping fire retardant. They will continue that through the night.

The evacuation has been expanded as they try to put out this Black Forest fire -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Victor Blackwell in Colorado Springs, thank you so much.

Now joining us on the phone from Colorado Springs is Jared Wandell. He was the last one out of his house as the flames closed in.

Jared, thanks so much for joining us.

You're a father of seven. Tell us about your evacuation. What did the police tell you?


We were actually just finishing shutting off the power and cleaning everything out. We got all of the essential items of our house out. We had probably about 45 minutes, and just as we were getting ready to pull out, some sheriff's deputies pulled in and just told us that we needed to evacuate immediately because the fire was just coming up our block and it was only a few houses down.


TAPPER: And where did you go?

WANDELL: Well, we had some friends who were helping us to pack up. So we went over to our friend's house, about five miles away. And we're actually over there now. And they're actually now under the voluntary evacuation because the fire has turned, and it's starting to go west, and so now their area is threatened. So now they're evacuating.

TAPPER: But just to make sure, everyone in your family is safe?

WANDELL: Yes, we are. We had just enough time.

I was actually petty close to the origin of the fire. I was with some Cub Scouts earlier. And we saw an initial white plume of smoke. And in 20 minutes, it was filling the whole sky. So, that prompted us to send everybody home and go back to our own homes. And luckily my wife and children were already starting to pack up and move.

We kind of prepared for this since last year with all Waldo Canyon fires living in the middle of the forest, that we needed to go through some drills and figure out what we wanted to do. And I'm sure glad we did because it really cut down our prep time quite a bit.

TAPPER: And what do you tell your children? You have seven children, some of them very young. Do you have hopes that your home will survive, your neighborhood?

WANDELL: Well, we are hoping for the best. But I don't think we have any -- any opportunity to be able to have our house saved.

We had some neighbors just only a block away that just saw a wall of flames just coming into their house just as they were pulling out. And I'm not sure if it hit their house, but there was no way that they were going to be able to save their home. And there's a school just next to our next-door neighbor.

And I don't believe that the school was gone, but all the trees around it, a pretty populated -- a pretty densely forested area. So it just -- it jumped quite a bit and the flames, you could actually see them from I-25, which is six miles away. You can still see the flames even now into Black Forest.

TAPPER: And how are your children coping? This must be very traumatic for them.

WANDELL: Well, it is pretty traumatic.

And I just -- I had lost my mother unexpectedly about three weeks ago, so we were still kind of reeling from that when this hit. So it's been a pretty traumatic few weeks. There -- this is -- this is everything we have. We were able to save some things. But I don't think the rest of the stuff, especially some of those mementos we just hadn't thought about taking or certain sentimental items that just couldn't fit, were able to be taken in time. So it's pretty, pretty painful.

TAPPER: All right, James, well, our deepest condolences on the loss of your mother. And best of luck to your family.

WANDELL: Thank you very much. TAPPER: Coming up, an unusually long line of nasty weather is forming in the Upper Midwest. It's so bad, it has a special name. And we will have more details next.


TAPPER: We're watching out for a new outbreak of ferocious storms. Tens of millions of people in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions may be at risk. But, more immediately, we have reports of a tornado on the ground.


TAPPER: Coming up, a former head of the CIA and the NSA tells me whether insiders from the George W. Bush feel vindicated by President Obama's decision to keep and in some cases even expand domestic surveillance to prevent terrorism.


TAPPER: Happening now: a new plea to horrendous charges, the defense strategy in the Ohio kidnapping case that's appalled the nation.

A dangerous weapon, new reasons to worry that al Qaeda is training terrorists to shoot down planes.

And terrifying video -- a woman with a baby dodges a runaway car.

Wolf Blitzer is off today, I'm Jake Tapper and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Back to our lead story. The head of the National Security Agency says dozens of potential terror attacks were prevented because of the secret surveillance of phone records. Current and former government officials are coming forward to defend the NSA's tactics leaked to the world by the former contractor Edward Snowden.

I spoke a short while ago with the former NSA director and former CIA Director and retired General Michael Hayden.


TAPPER: General Hayden, thanks so much for joining me.


TAPPER: So, I want to play some sound. I spoke with Senator Rand Paul just a little while ago and asked him how Edward Snowden should be handled, and this is what he said.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I think he was divulging a program that I think clearly, there are constitutional questions about and for which the director of intelligence frankly lied to the U.S. Senate and said, we're not collecting any data on any Americans, when, in fact, they're doing a billion pieces of data every day.


TAPPER: So he says there are constitutional questions about the surveillance programs and that there are serious credibility problems with the intelligence apparatus in this country. Do you agree?

HAYDEN: No, I don't.

TAPPER: With either one of those?

HAYDEN: No, with neither.

Let me assume that I do for a moment, all right? To be a true whistle-blower, you need to raise your hand inside the institution. You need to go to your supervisor. You need to go to the inspector general. You need to go to members of Congress. And all of these things are laid out.

And so, if you think something's wrong, raise your hand and tell people that something's wrong.

TAPPER: How is this not a violation of the Fourth Amendment and illegal search and seizure? There are very specific -- there's very specific language about needing a specific warrant for a specific individual in the Constitution. This is mining millions of data and sticking it in a room and being able to go in and get it later.

HAYDEN: You're talking for example about the so-called Verizon program --

TAPPER: Right.

HAYDEN: -- the meta data of U.S. phone calls? Well, first of all the Supreme Court has ruled that meta data, the kind of stuff we're talking about here is not covered by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Smith v. Merida, 1979. So this is not a Constitutional issue. No. I understand it could still be a privacy issue. It could even be a legal issue. But it's not a Constitutional issue.

TAPPER: 1979, this is before the Internet. This is before cell phones. Don't you think these things have to be revisited?

HAYDEN: Well, I mean, I'd be happy to revisit them. But there's a process to revisit them. Right now we've got a 5-3 decision from the Supreme Court that says that meta data is not Constitutionally protected.

TAPPER: There's a whistleblower named William Vinnie. He was the former National Security Agency analyst. And he told "The Daily Caller" recently that the NSA could be recording the calls on the target list. That's the smaller list of 500,000 to a million individuals that are being watched by the government. Is there -- is there any possibility that's true, that the calls are being recorded?

HAYDEN: I can't conceive of it being true. No. 1. Think it's technologically beyond the capacity of any surveillance agency to do that. And No. 2, it doesn't make sense with what it is we know about this program.

I mean, the agency gathers from American telecom providers what are essentially business records. They don't collect it. They don't put alligator clips on some wires somewhere. These are records that the company creates for their own purposes, then under this court order, shares with the National Security Agency.

TAPPER: The NSA director was in front of Congress today. And he said that dozens, in his view, of terrorist events have been prevented, in part because of information gathered by these surveillance programs. Is that true from your experience?

HAYDEN: I have no reason to challenge that. Of course.

TAPPER: What about during your tenure?

HAYDEN: During my tenure, what is now the Verizon program was part of what we now call, for that period back then, the Terrorist Surveillance Program. And we did have a whole series of intelligence reports that came out of that program, that would not otherwise have been available, yes.

TAPPER: Do you not understand the concern that people have, not so much that the program in and of itself or that you, General Hayden, are at issue.

But that if history has taught us anything, programs like these are abused. These are not always just 100 percent good actors. You know the Federalist Papers and these, you know we are not angels. And the idea that you look at the IRS scandal, you look at the abuses, the wiretapping that went onto Martin Luther King Jr. that started national security concerns --

HAYDEN: Right.

TAPPER: -- became something else --

HAYDEN: Right.

TAPPER: -- do you not understand why people are really worried about this?

HAYDEN: No, of course I understand it. I'm an American, too. I come from the same blood line of those folks who are very much concerned about this program. But I probably know a little bit more about the program. A little bit more about the people who are conducting the program. And at least I'm taking the time, Jake, to look at how the program is overseen.

Now I get it. Our Constitution was designed to prevent the abuse of power. So you set up three competing branches of government, which frankly leads to gridlock every now and again, as we've recently seen.

But the idea was you create these natural tensions within the federal government to prevent these kinds of abuses. In this case, you have two successive presidents. The two chambers of Congress and the American court system all aware of the program and all, through our political processes, agreeing with the program.

TAPPER: Richard Clark, the former national coordinator for security and counterterrorism in the Bush White House wrote an op-ed in "The New York Daily News" today, where he wrote, quote, "The law under which George W. Bush and now President Obama have acted was not intended to give the government records of all telephone calls. If that had been the intent, the law would have said that. It didn't. Rather the law envisioned the administration coming to a special court on a case-by-case basis to explain why it needed to have specific records."

So he is saying that this went, these programs go beyond the intent of the law.

HAYDEN: Yes. And a bipartisan majority in both houses of Congress apparently disagree with Richard, because they have authorized this program and continued to authorize this program.

And frankly, the Obama administration was more transparent about this effort than we were in the Bush administration. I mean, they made this meta data collection activity available to all the members of Congress. Not just all the members of the intelligence committees.

TAPPER: Last question for you: as a former Bush administration official, do you ever find it odd, given how quiet the Obama administration has been in defending these programs? Clapper gave one interview and then disappeared. Obama spoke once and then disappeared.

Meanwhile all of these Republicans, Republican chairman in the House key committees -- Peter King, Mike Rogers, former Bush administration officials -- you guys are the ones coming forward, defending these programs after listening to President Obama and before that, Senator Obama say some not-so-nice things about these surveillance programs. How does that feel?

HAYDEN: There was a concern, all right? There was a concern among us in the Bush administration. We felt comfortable with these programs. Jake, we thought they were necessary. We believed that they were lawful, they were appropriate and they were effective. And there was great concern on our part that the way candidate Obama had spoken, that some of these programs would be stopped.

The fact of the matter is, most of them have not. Some of them have been expanded. That's actually really good news. That's not something we, the former administration need to spike the football about and say, "I told you so." We should just take a sense of satisfaction that what we were doing, once candidate Obama became President Obama, he saw that these were of great value and frankly, were being very carefully done.

The shorthand version about this, Jake, is national security looks a little different from the Oval Office than it does from a hotel room in Iowa.

TAPPER: General Hayden, thank you so much for being here.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, the man charged with 329 specific crimes -- kidnappings, rapes, even murder -- goes to court to enter a plea.

Plus the story behind a horrifying moment captured by a surveillance camera.


TAPPER: We're following today's court action in the horrific kidnapping rape and murder case that came to light in Cleveland, Ohio.

Defendant Ariel Castro did not say a word. His attorneys entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to a staggering 329 counts, including some that carry the death penalty.

CNN's Pamela Brown is in Cleveland -- Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Ariel Castro walked into court making his second appearance before a judge. He walked in, devoid of emotion, with his head down the entire time. In fact, he didn't make eye contact with anyone.

As expected, he pleaded not guilty to the 329 charges against him. But what his attorney said after the arraignment came as a bit of a surprise.


BROWN (voice-over): With his head hanging down, accused kidnapper, rapist and murderer Ariel Castro looked despondent as his attorneys pleaded not guilty on his behalf.

CRAIG WEINTRAUB, CASTRO'S ATTORNEY: We'd like to enter a plea of not guilty.

BROWN: After the brief arraignment, Castro's attorney, Craig Weintraub, spoke to reporters in the courtroom and admitted for the first time that some of the 329 charges are horrendous and indisputable. That's quite a shift from just a few weeks ago when he said Castro was not a monster.

WEINTRAUB: The initial portrayal by the media has been one of a, quote, "monster," and that's not the impression that I got when I talked to him for three hours.

BROWN: In court today, Weintraub not only sympathized with the victims, but he showed a willingness to work out a plea deal, as long as prosecutors take the aggravated murder charges off the table, essentially eliminating the death penalty.

WEINTRAUB: And it is our hope that we can continue to work toward a resolution to avoid having an unnecessary trial about aggravated murder and the death penalty.

BROWN: Both sides have a vested interest in not going to trial. The defense wants to avoid the death penalty. Prosecutors don't want to re-victimize the three women. But it's a delicate balance.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What makes this case unusual is that, as much as prosecutors want to throw the book at Castro, they also have to consider the needs of the victims, who may not want to testify, who may not want to relive this experience. And that could open the door to some sort of plea bargain, at least one that doesn't involve the death penalty.

BROWN: This as the prosecution prepares for trial, with FBI agents back at Castro's home, analyzing evidence and recreating a scene that includes a disco ball and silver garland hanging in the front room, shown here in this video.

The attorney representing Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry tell the CNN the women "continue to have confidence in the prosecutor's office and sincerely hope for a swift and just result."


BROWN: And the courage fund set up for the women has actually ballooned to nearly $1 million. We spoke to a family friend of one of the victims, and we're told that the women are enjoying their new- found freedom, that they're as happy as you can be after going through such a traumatic ordeal, that they've actually been able to leave their home, go to the nail salon, go to the park, and they're just enjoying a sense of relief, as well. That the man who is charged with locking them up for so long now faces a similar punishment for the rest of his life or even worse. Jake, the big question remains, whether or not Ariel Castro will face the death penalty.

TAPPER: All right. Pamela Brown in Cleveland, thank you so much.

A woman and her baby were not doing anything wrong. They were on a sidewalk, not in the street. But events beyond their control put their lives at risk, and a security camera saw it all.

CNN's Mary Snow has the story behind the frightening video -- Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Jake, you know, when you see this video and know that both mother and baby were not seriously hurt, it's nothing short of amazing.

A teen mother heading to an exam at her high school Monday afternoon suddenly found herself racing to save her baby's life.


SNOW (voice-over): It's terrifying to watch, a young mother and her baby walking on the sidewalk. Then in a split-second, a car careens out of control and hits them both.

Seventeen-year-old Alondra Gervacio is grateful for what is, that she's now safe at home with her daughter, Perla. But it's the nightmare of what could have been that keeps playing over and over in her mind.

Alondra says when the car headed towards them, she tried frantically to get her baby out of the way, but the stroller was swept under the car. With no time to think, Alondra pulls herself up and rushes to get far enough underneath the car to bring her 8-month-old baby to safety.

(on camera): When you look at that videotape, what do you think?

ALONDRA GERVACIO, MOTHER: God help us. I said, "God help us."

SNOW (voice-over): Alondra says she screamed for help, that everything happened so fast, she had already rescued her daughter by the time people ran to her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard a big bang and all of a sudden I'm hearing a baby, a baby and then the car hit in front of our store.

SNOW: The driver of the livery cab that hit them, police say, suffered a heart attack and lost consciousness behind the wheel. He later died.

(on camera): Does this all feel like a bad dream?

GERVACIO: Normally, I don't want to remember it. But it keeps going around my head. So I'm scared now to go outside by myself.

SNOW: You're scared to go outside by yourself?


SNOW (voice-over): Both mother and daughter escaped serious injury. But baby Perla was kept in the hospital overnight for observation. Relatives like cousin Vanessa Sanchez are just grateful they're alive.

VANESSA SANCHEZ, ALONDRA'S COUSIN: It was just crazy. And we -- my mom were like, she reacted so fast. And we would have been so scared. And we wouldn't have known what to do. It looked like the stroller got completely crushed by the car, and it was just a miracle that Perla didn't get hurt.


SNOW: Now baby Perla was released from the hospital earlier today. Alondra Gervacio says before returning home with her daughter she headed straight to church to say prayers of thanks -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Mary Snow, that was a miracle they survived that.

Coming up, every air traveler's nightmare. Al Qaeda terrorists with surface-to-air missiles. We'll tell you why there's new reason to worry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: There's new evidence that al Qaeda now has a very dangerous weapon, capable of shooting down commercial jets.

A how-to manual for using portable surface-to-air missiles has been found in one of the terror group's hideouts. U.S. officials have been worried for years that this would happen. CNN's Brian Todd has more on this chilling discovery -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the numbers bear out why the U.S. officials are so worried about this. The U.S. government says, since the mid-'70s, more than 800 people on commercial flights have been killed after being hit by heat-seeking shoulder-fired missiles. Now, with this discovery by the Associated Press, there's a strong indication that al Qaeda is sharpening its skills with those weapons.


TODD (voice-over): It streaks towards the target, striking it in seconds. Fire and fuel spill out of the plane's wing. The aircraft loses hydraulics, but the crew is able to land safely. The instrument of this attack on a DHL cargo jet near Baghdad in November of 2003, a portable surface-to-air missile.

A year earlier the only known incident where al Qaeda fired one of those missiles at a passenger set. Two missiles fired at an Israeli plane killed civilians near Mombasa, Kenya, missed their target.

Now a discovery that will stir more concern among U.S. officials. The Associated Press reports it's recovered a how-to manual for the use of portable surface-to-air missile inside a building formerly occupied by the al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the African nation of Mali.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: For them, commercial aviation is kind of the most important target, because of its big media effects, large effects on the global economy, business travels.

TODD: CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen points out the discovery of that manual doesn't prove that branch of al Qaeda actually has many of those missiles, but he says for years the group has been obsessively looking for them.

This al Qaeda video obtained by CNN 12 years ago provided militants with step-by-step instructions on how to use a U.S.-made surface-to- air missile.

(on camera): This will give you a visual of why western officials are so concerned about this threat. At so many airports like here at Reagan National, planes take off and land very close to areas where surface-to-air missiles can be fired.

I'm with Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council. He was an advisor to U.S. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Africa.

Peter, how easy is it for terrorists to launch those missiles?

PETER PHAM, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, they're not high-tech weapons. They're weapons developed by the Soviets in the early 1960s. They weigh about 30 pounds. A single individual, they're about the size of a large poster tube. Someone would put it on their shoulder and launch it. It takes a bit of training.

TODD (voice-over): Another tactical advantage for terrorists: while military planes are equipped with counter measures for these heat- seeking missiles, commercial planes are not.

BERGEN: If you bring down a commercial jet with a surface-to-air missile you basically have to retrofit all these commercial jets with counter measures. And the reason that hasn't happened right now is that it is expensive to do.


TODD: So if al Qaeda has got a significant stock of portable surface- to-air missiles, where do they get them? Most likely from Libya during or right after the civil war there. Peter Pharm says Moammar Gadhafi is estimated to have had about 20,000 of these weapons, but he says when western security forces went in and tried to recover them, they only got about 5,000; that experts say Gadhafi's stocks were in fairly poor shape, Jake. So that is one thing we have going for us.

TAPPER: Right. A few years ago, when I flew to Iraq; when I -- we flew down and touched down at the Baghdad Airport, it was a corkscrew landing, because pilots -- and these are commercial flights -- were so afraid of surface-to-air missiles they didn't want to get out above anywhere other than just the airport.

TODD: Exactly right. You have to do that in Baghdad and French forces, in fact, in Mali have had to resort to those tactics, a corkscrew type landing.

And to attack rebels on the ground, the French have had to go to high altitude aircraft to tour the rebels, rather than attack helicopters because these missiles have been such a threat to the attack helicopters. And these high altitude planes are not as effective in attacking -- as attack helicopters -- when attacking these rebels on the ground. So it's taken away from the French capabilities there.

TAPPER: All right. Excellent report. Brian Todd, thank you so much.

We're going to switch gears pretty drastically in a minute. Next Jeanne Moos takes us to a restaurant where the food arrives by remote control.


TAPPER: Here is a look at this hour's "Hot Shots."

In Switzerland a biker is among the first to ride the freshly cleared mountain road to Italy.

In Sri Lanka school girls hang out by the waterfront after a long day in the classroom.

In Cuba, an Australian swimmer dives in and begins her attempt to swim to Florida.

And in Bali, conservationists prepare a sea turtle hatchling, born in captivity, for release.

"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world.

A visit to a new sushi restaurant in London might make your head spin. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Think of it as a magic carpet ride for your dinner. Maybe the teriyaki burger better fasten its seat belt. Here at Yo! Sushi in London, this waitress has four propellers and tends to drop food upon liftoff.

The flying tray is equipped with cameras so the controller can steer it using an iPad. Don't be surprised if dinner lands in your lap.

ROBIN ROWLAND, CEO, YO! SUSHI: Well, it's in test mode. So we're working on something which is pushing boundaries. Instead of a conveyor belt, it's going to bring dinner to the whole place.

MOOS: The conveyer belt, an idea borrowed from the Japanese, is Yo! Sushi's original claim to fame. The flying tray seemed to test reporters' skills in snatching food off hovering plates.

The CEO says the flying tray service may be in place by late summer, but we're not holding our breath.

What's next? Delivering room service via drone?

No, wait. Domino's Pizza in the U.K. is already experimenting with a delivering-pizza-by-drone publicity stunt.

(on camera): What is it with all these food gimmicks lately? Did you see what Oscar Mayer is doing with bacon?

(voice-over): It's billed as the perfect Father's Day present.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When words just aren't enough, say it with bacon.

MOOS: Oscar Mayer is selling bacon collection. The Commander. The Matador. The Woodsman. Which includes boxed bacon and a utility tool. The Matador features bacon cufflinks, and the set sells for 28 bucks. Select a card with a meaty message: "You're the second best reason to wake up in the morning."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give a gift from the Oscar Mayer original collection.

MOOS: From frying to flying. Maybe it's OK for R. Kelly to think he can fly.

R. KELLY, SINGER (singing): I believe I can fly. MOOS: But a rice bun and teriyaki chicken burger?

KELLY: Spread my wings and fly away.

MOOS: Now that's a crash diet.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.



TAPPER: The CEO of Yo! Sushi says the flying tray is part of the restaurant's theater that his customers like.

Remember, you can follow us and what's going on in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. Just tweet the show, @CNNSitRoom.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.