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THE SITUATION ROOM
White House Confirms Syrian Regime Has Crossed President's Red Line; Fresh Concerns Emerge That NSA Leaker Could Defect to China; Florida Exposes Murder-For-Hire Scheme Linked to Mexican Drug Cartels; U.S. Military Support for Syrian Rebels; Cancer Charity Rip-of; Woman, Baby Dodge Runaway Car; New Sushi Rage
Aired June 15, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: A game changer in Syria's civil war. New U.S. military support for the rebels. How much help is the president willing to give?
Plus, the search for the NSA leaker. He is vowing to fight prosecution in the U.S. Will he find a safe haven abroad?
And CNN investigates a cancer charity empire run by a single family that appears to be putting profit ahead of patients.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Jim Acosta and you are in the SITUATION ROOM.
The White House said the Syrian regime has crossed the president's red line by using chemical weapons, namely the deadly nerve agent, sarin, killing up to 150 people. President Obama has decided to provide more aid, including military support, to Syria's rebels, but how far is the U.S. willing to go?
We begin with CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, the president has made the decision to act but you're right. The question now, what comes next.
STARR (voice-over): The Obama administration is now confirming what was feared, that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons multiple times.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.
STARR: Pressure is growing on President Obama to act.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: So, I applaud the president's decision and I appreciate it. But, the president of the United States better understand that justifying weapons is not going to change the equation on the ground at the balance of power. STARR: The White House says it will boost military support for the rebels but won't say exactly how. A leading option, arming the rebels, that could include desperately need ammunition for rifles and machine guns as well as new shipments of machine guns, shoulder-fired weapons to attack tanks, artillery, helicopters, and jets and mortars and rockets. The White House does not plan to put U.S. troops on the ground in Russia and is far from ready to commit to a no fly zone.
REP. MAC THORNBERRY (R), TEXAS: The question is, what is going to make a decisive difference now and is the administration willing to do that? Or is this kind of a throw some guns that way and pretend you are doing something when it is not going to make a difference.
STARR: The stakes couldn't be higher.
THORNBERRY: It is important to us because of the tremendous number of chemical weapons that are there. And if these weapons get in the hands of the Al-Qaeda-related terrorist groups, they will certainly be used against Europe and against us.
STARR: The White House announcement comes after word that former president, Bill Clinton, is now signing with McCain calling for tougher action. According to "Politico," Clinton said at a private event was McCain quote "some people say, stay out. I think that's a big mistake."
STARR: As we wait to see what comes next, what President Obama exactly decides to do, one of the key questions is, can you have a limited military involvement or once you're in do you have to go all in? --Jim.
ACOSTA: That is the big question, Barbara Starr. Thank you.
Let's get a closer look at sarin, the deadly nerve agent Syria is accused of using against rebels.
Here is CNN's Tom Foreman with a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sarin was originally developed in the 1930s as a pesticide and soon after the nation started trying to see if it might be a weapon. And we've been hearing for months and months from rebels inside Syria they believe it has in fact been used in many of the conflicts there or some other chemical weapon by the Syrian government. How is this deployed? Well let's flip this over and talk a little about it.
Sarin can be launched in an artillery shell or a missile. It can be dropped from an airplane. It goes out as a liquid but as it spreads out it very quickly and easily turns into a gas. Now, we showed it there but the truth is it is colorless. It is odorless. You would have no idea you were even being attacked by it even though it is much more lethal than cyanide. What does it do to people? Well, it can cause blurred vision, rapid breathing, heavy sweats, confusion, headaches, and the worst case is nausea, convulsion, paralysis, and as it shuts down the ability of the body to breathe, even that and in the worst cases that can come very, very quickly, perhaps within even one minute.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Tom Foreman, thank you.
The Obama administration's decision to boost aid to Syria's rebels follows major gains on the ground by the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
CNN is Fredrik Pleitgen is inside Syria and takes us to a battleground in the capital.
FREDRIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Syrian government forces are almost always action on the front line in Damascus. This Jobar, is the closest the rebels have gotten to the center of the Syrian capital, but now Assad's forces say they believe the tide is turning.
We have gone into Jobar several times and captured many rebel fighters, this soldier says. Things are getting better all the time.
There are a lot of snipers and they get weapons through tunnels, this one adds, but we are doing our best to stop them.
Syrian soldiers don't usually talk to media, but bolstered by recent advances, these men were willing to speak openly.
Government troops believe they have rebels cornered in pockets around Damascus. In Jobar, the army uses heavy artillery on a daily basis to keep the opposition in check and to pound them ahead of a possible assault on the district. Soldiers check everyone trying to enter the no man's land around Jobar.
(On-camera): This is as far as the military is going to let us go because it is too dangerous to go down that direction. The front line is only say about a hundred yards down that way and that area is full of snipers.
(Voice-over): Another reason for the new found confidence among Assad's forces recent gains the army has made in central and northern Syria. After the military backed by Hezbollah fighters took the strategically important town of El Quseir and seems to be moving on the largest city Aleppo, many in Damascus feel the government is winning.
We have very high spirits, he says. We know we are ready to fight the Islamists until the end. We will fight night and day to end this our way.
But Jobar has been in rebel hands for months now. The Syrian army has had a hard time taking back other districts and suburbs in the capital. Even with confidence and momentum at a high, it's clear opposition forces will not give up the territory they hold without a major fight.
Fredrik Pleitgen, CNN Damascus.
ACOSTA: When we come back, could NSA leaker Edward Snowden defect abroad? Details on new concerns emerging.
Plus, it has been called the most secretive agency in the country. Find out what really goes on inside the NSA, just ahead.
ACOSTA: There are fresh concerns that NSA leaker Edward Snowden could defect to China. That comes after he told a Hong Kong newspaper that the United States has long been hacking Chinese computers and after he vowed to stay in Hong Kong and fight any U.S. extradition attempt.
CNN's Brian Todd joins us live with that.
Brian, good to see you.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Jim.
Given the information he allegedly gave to "the Guardian" about NSA monitoring, plus the information he says he had access to and the fact his exact whereabouts are a mystery, there is growing concern here in Washington that Edward Snowden may fall into a rival's hands.
TODD (voice-over): Top U.S. officials are now openly worried. Will Edward Snowden defect?
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Does he have a relationship with a foreign government and is there more to this story?
Clearly, there is. We are going to make sure there is a thorough scrub of what his China connections are.
TODD: A former senior NSA official and a former CIA officer told me the Chinese government has likely at least made contact with Edward Snowden. One analyst says over the past few days, it has looked more and more like someone is shaping Snowden's behavior, possibly "the Guardian" newspaper, maybe the Chinese.
So, what kind of information does he have to hear him brag about it to "the Guardian" besides the NSA's telephone surveillance and internet monitoring programs?
EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: I had access to, you know, 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, what their missions are and so forth.
TODD: Senior U.S. officials say they doubt Snowden really has all that information. Snowden has said his intent was not to harm the U.S. But former CIA officer, Robert Bear, says there is no doubt he is being closely watch.
ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: You and I cannot hide in Hong Kong. It is impossible. Chinese intelligence has that place riddled, resources, cooperative police. The rest of it, it is impossible to hide in Hong Kong.
TODD: Baer says because of that, there is little chance the CIA could capture Snowden through some secret rendition or other method even if they wanted to. Snowden told the Hong Kong newspaper that the U.S. government has been hacking into computers in China for years. If he Snowden were to detect, what would the Chinese want most from him?
JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: What the Chinese don't have is they don't have knowledge of where we have been successful, whose phone has been hacked, whose computer has been hacked? They don't know that. And so, if he can tell them places, specific places, that have been hacked, they can go and close off the source.
TODD: We called and e-mailed the Chinese embassy in Washington asking if their government has made contact with Snowden and if he wanted asylum, would they grant it? They didn't respond.
TODD: And again, growing concerns about what Edward Snowden may have the kind of information that he may be able to give the Chinese on double agents, military systems that were targeted, U.S. officials very concerned about that right now, Jim.
ACOSTA: And Brian, what would the process be like if he were to try to ask for asylum in China, if he were to try to seek some sort of permission from the Chinese government to stay in their country? What would happen next?
TODD: Well, I mean, there was certainly, Jim, there would be back channel discussions between the Chinese and the Americans if that were to happen. The Americans would certainly find out about it through some method or another. The Chinese, according to experts we talked to as we mentioned in the piece, have likely made contact with him. I asked about, what would it be like if they were going to either take him into custody and question him? They said it probably be a fairly, you know, polite process for lack of a better word. They would ask him if they could meet with him, bring him in, question him.
Now after, if he does seek asylum, that would be probably the subject of some very tense back channel talks between the U.S. and China, some complaints from the United States, but probably not a whole lot that the United States could do about it at that point.
ACOSTA: Certainly would test U.S.-China relations. Brian Todd, thank you very much.
Edward Snowden's leaks have focused attention on an agency of the U.S. government that has long kept a low profile. The national security agency or NSA.
Let's get a closer look from CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence -- Chris.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Jim, the jokes have been that it stands for no such agency or never say anything. There is a lot of mystery that surrounds this agency. But, one thing is becoming very clear. For all of the information that the NSA has already collected, it's nothing compared to what it's about to be able to do.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): CIA spies have their secrets. So, to do the men in special ops. But they can't compare to the National Security Agency.
JAMES BAMFORD, AUTHOR, THE SHADOW FACTORY: The NSA is the most secret agency in the country. It's far more secret than the CIA.
LAWRENCE: The NSA is headquartered in a highly secure section of Fort Meade army base in Maryland and is building a new surveillance center in the middle of a Utah desert. There, spread out over a million square feet of cables and computers, the NSA will capture everything from e-mails to internet searches, phone calls, and personal data.
BAMFORD: It's designed to hold an enormous amount of communications.
LAWRENCE: Author James Bamford estimates the center will be able to store enough data to equal 500 quintillion pages. For the record, that is a five with 20 zeros behind it. And if you printed those pages, stacked them one on top of the other, it would be long enough to stretch all the way to the moon and back 66 million times.
A former official who spoke on background to CNN described the NSA as incredibly aggressive. But he says, I can't emphasize how fanatical they are about Americans' privacy. There's a sign in the center of a room that reads, "what constitutes a U.S. person" and then lists a dozen points to consider.
GE. KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR, NSA: I think it's absolutely important for people to understand we're not asking for content but for information about threats.
LAWRENCE: The NSA's 35,000 employees are an even mix of military and civilians. The former official says the troops are younger and give the agency its energy. The civilians mostly mathematicians provide, quote, "adult supervision and tend to be more socially introverted." The former official says an inside joke at NSA goes something like, how do you spot an extrovert at NSA? When he's talking to you he looks down at your shoes instead of his own.
LAWRENCE: In other words the former official says this is not the CIA where they're recruiting agents in coffee shops all over the world. He says the NSA is set up to be secretive. Its people rarely talk, they never write books, and the NSA has certain protections built in that even some other intelligence organizations don't have -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Chris Lawrence, very interesting stuff. Thank you very much.
And when we come back, a potentially stunning break in a cold case that exposed a murder for hire scheme linked to Mexican drug cartels.
You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
ACOSTA: We now turn to a break in a cold case in Florida that exposed a murder for hire scheme linked to Mexican drug cartels. It involves an alleged hit man who claims he's killed at least 30 people and how he has decided to open up.
CNN's John Zarrella has the details.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Their bodies were left in the back seat of a truck on a rural section of road in central Florida, shell casings scattered around. Javier Huerta and Gustav Arimus (ph) had been shot to death. For more than half a dozen years, the 2006 killings had gone unsolved.
DET. T.J. WATTS, MARION COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: It was a cold case.
ZARRELLA: No leads.
WATTS: No leads until we picked it up and started going back through the case.
ZARRELLA: That was a year and a half ago when Marion County detective T.J. Watts began taking a fresh look at the evidence. A cigarette butt was the gotcha moment.
WATTS: It was inside of a mountain dew can in city council.
ZARRELLA: DNA was tested and linked the cigarette to this man, Jose Manuel Martinez. Watts caught up with Martinez in an Alabama jail where he was awaiting trial for a murder there. He had been captured in Arizona crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico.
(On-camera): Watts says Martinez confessed to the Florida killings right away, and there was more. Detective Watts says Martinez told him he had killed more than 30 people since he was 16 years old. Why? It was, he told Watts, his job.
WATTS: It is how he fed his family. It's how he explained it. And if he didn't do the job someone else would do it. ZARRELLA: Martinez' story. He was a debt collector for the Mexican drug cartels. He would pocket 25 percent of what he collected from the overdue dealers. Then he'd kill them. He told police he made $210,000 just from the Florida hits.
WATTS: Throughout my career, I've never sat across from a guy like Martinez. He's definitely a cold hearted killer.
ZARRELLA: In the Florida case, authorities say Revis (ph) was just a friend and may have tragically been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Besides the Florida killings, authorities have linked Martinez to at least 11 killings in California, one in Alabama, and possibly one in Chicago. There may be more. According to Watts, Martinez is still talking.
John Zarrella, CNN, St. Petersburg, Florida.
ACOSTA: Up next your privacy online. After the NSA leaked bombshell what can be done to protect Americans from snooping?
And Governor Christie's late night slow jam.
ACOSTA: Joining me to talk about the politics of the week are CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein who is editorial director of "the National Journal" and CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley the anchor of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION."
Ron, your latest article in national journal takes a look at this issue of privacy and the whole controversy over the leak of Edward Snowden over at the national security agency and we've seen some polls come out this week, Ron, indicating that Americans are pretty ambivalent about this, you know, they do tend to trust the government in the sense that perhaps some of these programs at the NSA are necessary for national security reasons but there was the one Gallup poll that indicated people thought that maybe Edward Snowden had done kind of a good thing here in releasing that information. What do you make of where Americans stand right now about their privacy and these programs?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Jim, ambivalence is really the right word. On the one hand, if you ask narrowly, I think the polls have shown that most Americans, however grudgingly, are willing to accept programs like these that's usually not always been the reaction since 9/11, it's not a blank check for anything, but generally they have been willing to accept what -- those on the civil libertarian side would view as intrusions of privacy as a trade-off for security.
On the other hand, as our heart land monitor poll showed very clearly, both in terms of national security and government on the one hand, and commercial providers on the other, cell phone providers, Internet, social media sites, there is an undeniable sense that people feel their privacy is eroding. They have less privacy than previous generations, 90 percent said so. And over 90 percent expect the next generation to have less privacy still.
ACOSTA: And Candy, what did you make about some of the talk up on Capitol Hill? There were plenty of lawmakers coming out of the woodwork saying hey, I didn't know about these programs. And you know, it is sort of striking how little oversight apparently the Congress had over these programs. What do you think is the next step? Are they going to be trying to ratchet some of this down?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think not. I think the one thing there will be is a new legislation which will concern who gets access to these information. I think it will be a reaction to Snowden rather than any kind of reaction to this program. I think one of the things we've learned when we listened to lawmakers coming out of a briefing this week is that by and large except for the left and for libertarians more the right, it is OK with them.
ACOSTA: And Candy, let's talk about Syria because obviously, the White House made a very big move this week saying Syria has crossed President Obama's red line, has used chemical weapons against rebels in Syria. But you know, one of the issues that came up in the briefing that Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser had with reporters is, you know, what kind of military assistance is the United States going to provide to those rebels and how far is this administration willing to go? There are sort of a pickle here, aren't they?
CROWLEY: I think they haven't decided how far they're willing to go because the question is once the president gives an inch, and remember this is not a man who wanted to militarily supply the rebels. We've been sending them humanitarian aid but not military aid. So the question is if the president gives an inch is he going to be pressured to give a mile? And the answer is yes, he will be.
We've already heard it saying look, great to send them weapons, great to send them ammunition but here's what they need. They need you to bomb those Syrian airports that allow Iranian planes to come in and bring Bashar al-Assad the ammunition and the weapons and sometimes the troops he needs. We need someone to enforce a fly over. We need a protective zone in northern Syria.
So it's -- the critics will not be satisfied and the president is in a box. And if you're in for a little do you then allow it to go on and maybe your side lose because right now on the ground we are told that Bashar al-Assad is winning. So if you get in, how far do you want to get in?
CROWLEY: And that's going to be the pressure on the president.
ACOSTA: That's right, Candy. And Ron Brownstein, I mean I have to ask you, you know, once the president starts moving in this direction, is there really any exit strategy for President Obama for the United States?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think --
ACOSTA: Without Bashar al-Assad leaving power?
BROWNSTEIN: And that is very difficult and the threat of regional disruption is something that is kind of a gravitational pull here. But I would say the domestic politics I think are very different on this than they were on humanitarian interventions earlier. The difference is Afghanistan and Iraq. We, I don't think, are seeing anything like we saw, for example, with Bosnia or Kosovo in the '90s.
I think the dominant perspective of the public is more skepticism after those two obviously much greater interventions than any kind of push to be involved here. And I think they will have more leeway to calibrate what they want to do rather than this kind of overwhelming, I think, drumbeat to get deeper and deeper involved. I think it's going to be a very mixed reaction both on the hill and certainly from the public.
CROWLEY: And the president is going to have to explain it, Jim. I mean, this is -- this is something that's going to require.
CROWLEY: If indeed he does get in deeper in terms of, you know, a -- a no fly zone, whatever it happens to be because what he has to keep pressing is no troops on the ground and there is absolutely no hunger for that in America nor in this administration so it's really up to the president to kind of lead this if he is going to move further and further toward helping and being on the side of the rebels.
ACOSTA: You know, and speaking of the president let's talk just a little bit about 2016. You saw Hillary Clinton come out and give her big speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. Jeb Bush made some headlines on Friday when he talked about immigration and how in his view immigrants into this country are more fertile and that would be a reason in his mind to have immigration reform.
Ron, what did you make of this week? This thing whole --
ACOSTA: This whole thing got jumpstarted a couple of notches, I think.
BROWNSTEIN: It sure did. It sure felt that way. Look, first, on the Jeb Bush point, this was -- this week we saw an historic milestone in American history. The Census reported that for the first time ever that among whites deaths exceeded births. It was a reminder that the population growth in this country is overwhelmingly being driven by minorities not only immigrants but native born.
The under five population in that same report is projected to be majority nonwhite in this -- possibly within this year, certainly in this decade. It's where all the future growth in the work force is coming from. It's a real issue for the education system, for the economy, for everyone and also politically.
Mitt Romney still got 90 percent of his votes from whites in a country that is 37 percent nonwhite now. So Jeb Bush I think is ringing a gong that his party needs to hear.
On the other front, you know, any time you see a Hillary Clinton sighting it just feels like we're heading to Iowa very soon.
ACOSTA: And Candy, that brings us to "STATE OF THE UNION" this Sunday. I'm assuming that some of these topics will be coming up.
CROWLEY: Yes. We'll be talking -- sorry -- to Mike Rogers, head of the Intelligence Committee on the House side. Will be among our guests. We'll talk about Syria and what needs to be done there.
Also NSA and where we think this is all going. And immigration, which by the way is on the floor of the Senate. And they didn't do much this week.
CROWLEY: It looks a little bit like a hot mess right now. But we'll try to figure out what the future of that bill is.
ACOSTA: All right. Candy Crowley, we will be watching this Sunday. Thank you very much for your time. Ron Brownstein, thanks to you as well. Appreciate it.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is following in President Obama's footsteps. The possible GOP presidential contender went on the Jimmy Fallon show this week to "Slow Jam" the news. The popular segment poked fun at speculation about Christie's future as well as his decision to hold a special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Special election is not about playing politics. It's about doing the right thing.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON": You ain't lying, CC. Now look at you sounding all presidential like. You got something you want to announce on the show right now?
CHRISTIE: Come on, Jimmy. Do you really think I'd come on this show to announce a presidential run?
FALLON: Say whatever you want but we all know in 2016 --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And as you'll recall President Obama joined Fallon to slow jam the news during the 2012 campaign. It seems like we'll be seeing more of those to come. When we come back some of the country's worst cancer charities exposed. Details from a special CNN investigation with the "Tampa Bay Times" and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Stay with us.
ACOSTA: A yearlong investigation CNN has partnered in with the "Tampa Bay Times" and the Center for Investigative Reporting is exposing some of the country's worst charities. What we've learned is that a small but aggressive segment of the charity world seems to care little about helping others. Instead it generates six-figure salaries for charity operators and feeds a multi-billion dollar solicitation industry that only cares about profit.
Here is Drew Griffin of CNN's Special Investigations Unit.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drive down these country roads outside Knoxville, Tennessee, and into this small industrial park, and you'll find the headquarters of a family conglomerate of cancer charities that return lavish salaries to their owners but according to their own tax records donate very little to dying cancer patients. And the last thing the people running this charity want to do is answer questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't -- don't turn your camera on me. OK?
GRIFFIN: Across the country in Mesa, Arizona, another outpost of the conglomerate. It's called the Breast Cancer Society. Its CEO and executive director, the man escaping in the truck, James Reynolds, Jr.
(On camera): Excuse me, sir. Mr. Reynolds? Hey, excuse me. Mr. Reynolds, right here, buddy. Mr. Reynolds? Hi. Hi, can you stop for a second? No, where are you going, Mr. Reynolds? Mr. Reynolds?
(Voice-over): Back in Knoxville there is another cancer charity, the Children's Cancer Fund of America. And this one run by yet another member of the family, Rose Perkins.
(On camera): Hi, is Rose Perkins in?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not available and she's not doing any interviews.
GRIFFIN: OK. Why won't she do us any interviews? She's running a charity here for kids with cancer, right? That seems like a good idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's -- and that's why I've just been told to tell you she's not doing interviews.
GRIFFIN: Can you tell us what you guys do? Any positive things you do with the money you collect?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can send your questions to her e-mail. GRIFFIN: OK. What's that e-mail?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we'll answer it.
GRIFFIN: If you're asking us for money, what would you say you did with our money?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We help children with cancer.
GRIFFIN: How do you do that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you mean how do we do that? We help children with cancer.
GRIFFIN: Yes, how? In what way?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We provide them a financial assistance.
GRIFFIN: Financial assistance and do you have any idea how many --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I -- if you have any other question, please send them to her e-mail.
GRIFFIN: OK. My question --
(Voice-over): Rose Perkins did e-mail us and tells us her charity "has a clear conscience because we feel we are making a good difference in people's lives." But also told us an interview is "not something we can consider." That may be because of the questions we'd like to ask her and the other members of her extended family who are essentially making a living on your donations.
Rose Perkins, the CEO of the Children's Cancer Fund, is paid $227,442 a year. Her ex-husband, James Reynolds, Sr., is president and CEO of Cancer Fund of America. He gets paid $236,815. And James Reynolds, Jr., president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Society, has a salary of $261,609.
It's money that comes from donors like you who in 2011 sent these three charities $26 million in cash. How much of those donations actually went to helping cancer patients? According to the charities' own tax records, about 2 percent in cash. Example, the Cancer Fund of America raised $6 million through its fundraising campaign in 2011 and gave away just $14,940 in cash.
But that is not what you would hear from the telemarketers hired by the Cancer Fund of America run by James Reynolds, Sr.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, how much of my $10 would go -- who is this to?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cancer Fund of America Support Services.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cancer --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One hundred percent. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of your donation goes into the fund where we purchase medical supplies for these cancer patients. We also do the hospice care for the terminally ill and we supply over 600 hospice offices with medical supplies all over the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But how much of my $10 will go --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It goes 100 percent toward the charity itself. I'm calling directly from the charity and that is not a telemarketing agency.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that's great then.
GRIFFIN: According to the Iowa Attorney General's Office which gave us these recordings, those phone call statements are one great big lie. The callers were telemarketers being paid to make the call. The state of Iowa fined the telemarketing company $35,000 for making false representations. As for donations to other charities, the Cancer Fund of America claimed on its 2011 tax filings it sent $761,000 in so- called gifts in kind, not actually cash, to churches, some hospitals, and other programs around the country.
When we called or e-mailed those other charities to check, many of them said they did get something, things like these supplies. But several of the groups told us they never heard of the Cancer Fund of America or don't remember getting a thing. The Cancer Fund also takes credit for serving as a middle man, brokering transfer of another $16 million worth of gifts in kind to individuals and other charities, many of them overseas. Those contributions double up both as revenue and donations on the same tax forms.
Back at the Cancer Fund of America's corporate office, even the chief financial officer who, by the way, has a salary of $121,000, couldn't explain what was happening.
(On camera): We just have all these North Mississippi Medical Center. Never heard of you. Yolanda Barko, Oncology Institute, nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if that's one of the ones that we looked up but again you would have to talk to him.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): The him is James Reynolds, Sr., the founder who finally told us in an e-mail his board thought it unwise to talk to CNN. Even though in a different e-mail he called the news of phantom donations, quote, "most disturbing." As for his son, James Reynolds, Jr. and his charity in Arizona --
(On camera): Hey, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. The camera needs to stay outside.
GRIFFIN: OK. Can he stay right there? Is Mr. Reynolds here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am sorry. He's not in right now. GRIFFIN (voice-over): The public relations officer for the Breast Cancer Society, Kristina Hixson, who by the way is married to James Reynolds, Jr. sent us e-mails telling us the Breast Cancer Society's guiding mission is to provide relief to those who suffer from the effects of breast cancer and that we've made a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of men and women, but declined our request for an on-camera interview.
And when our camera found James Reynolds, Jr., he made sure we got the message with a single finger salute.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Knoxville, Tennessee.
ACOSTA: And this programming note. Monday morning is a new day here at CNN. And you won't want to miss it. Here is a sneak preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CUOMO, HOST, CNN'S NEW DAY: We have new information for you. We'll tell you all of it. A very desperate situation.
KATE BOLDUAN, HOST, CNN'S NEW DAY: Why is this lake so close?
MICHAELA PEREIRA, HOST, CNN'S NEW DAY: This story had to get out, folks.
CUOMO: Still dealing with the aftermath.
BOLDUAN: We've been granted rare access.
PEREIRA: It's making history right here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: But coming up next for us the story behind a horrifying moment captured by a surveillance camera.
ACOSTA: A woman and her baby weren't doing anything wrong. They were on a sidewalk down on 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 this frightening video.
Mary, this is just unbelievable to watch.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Jim. And when you see this video and you know that both mother and baby were not seriously hurt it's nothing short of amazing. The teen mother heading to an exam at her high school suddenly found herself racing to save her daughter's life.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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 is now safe at home with her daughter Pearla 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 she pulls herself up and rushes to get far enough under 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, SAVED BABY DAUGHTER: I think God helped us.
SNOW (voice-over): She says she screamed for help but 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 hits in front of our store.
SNOW: The driver of the delivery 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. Yes. If I -- I also don't -- I don't want her to remember it, but it keeps going on my mind so I'm scared now to go outside by myself.
SNOW: You're scared to go outside again.
SNOW (voice-over): Both mother and daughter escaped serious injury but baby Pearla 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 me and 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 a car and it was just a miracle Pearla didn't get hurt.
SNOW: It's really amazing. When Alondra Gervacio left the hospital she said she headed straight to a church before heading home to say prayers of thanks -- Jim.
ACOSTA: It is a miracle that that baby survived, Mary. Thank you so much for that. When we come back it's a new way to have your sushi delivered via remote control. You won't believe your eyes on this one either. Jeanne Moos is next.
ACOSTA: A visit to a new sushi restaurant in London might make your head spin.
Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Think of it as a magic carpet ride for your dinner. And maybe the teriyaki burger better fasten its seatbelt.
Here at Yo's Sushi in London this waitress has four propellers and tends to drop food upon lift off. The flying tray is equipped with cameras so the controller can steer it using an iPad. But don't be surprised if dinner lands in your lap.
ROBIN ROWLAND, CEO, YO! SUSHI: Well, it's in test flight. So we're working on something which is pushing boundaries (INAUDIBLE) conveyor belt to bring dinner to place is going to work.
MOOS: The conveyor belt, an idea borrowed from the Japanese, is Yo Sushi's original claim to fame. The flying trays 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? The way Domino's Pizza in the UK is already experimenting with the delivering pizza by drone publicity stunt.
(On camera): What is it with all these food gimmicks lately? Did you see what Oscar Meyer 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 Meyer is selling bacon collections. The Commander. The Matador. The Woodsman, which includes boxed bacon and a utility tool. The matador features bacon cuff links 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 Meyer original collection.
MOOS: From frying to flying, maybe it's OK for R. Kelly to think he can fly.
But a rice bun and teriyaki chicken burger?
Now that's a crash diet.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
ACOSTA: I'm suddenly hungry but maybe not that hungry. Remember you can follow us going on in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. Just tweet the show at CNN sit-room and like us on Facebook.
I'm Jim Acosta in THE SITUATION ROOM. The news continues next on CNN.