Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Battles Back; Wild Mid-Air Scare; Afghan Security Handover; Women in Combat; High Flying Rescue; Feds Bust 7-Elevens in NY and VA; Dad Rescued from Burning Car

Aired June 18, 2013 - 06:00   ET



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have to sacrifice our freedom in order to achieve security.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, the president pushes back on his critics, defending the NSA surveillance program, his administration's shift on SYRIA, and why he is no Dick Cheney.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Air fear. The dramatic audio and picture from inside that flight where one out of control passenger said he was poisoned. His fellow fliers had to tie him down.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And an amazing rescue. Look at this. Two teams stranded on a cliff. The daring airlift that brought them to safety.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, good morning, good morning, and welcome again to NEW DAY, day two. Thank you for joining us. I'm Kate Bolduan.

CUOMO: And I'm Chris Cuomo. It is June 18th, 6:00 in the East.

And this morning, we're going to begin with President Barack Obama on his heels but fighting back. A day after his approval rating took an eight-point plunge, the president is insisting anyone who's outraged by his administration's top secret surveillance programs just doesn't get it.

Brianna Keilar is in Slidell, Ireland, traveling with the president for the G-8 Summit. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. This was an interview that President Obama gave a 50-minute interview, extraordinarily long, before heading to Europe. He discussed Syria, which is certainly the top of his agenda here at the G-8 Summit, but he also talked about those NSA programs that have garnered his administration so much criticism.


KEILAR (voice-over): In a candid and unusually long interview with PBS's Charlie Rose, President Obama revealed how defending the homeland weighs on him, even as he discussed his goal of helping the middle class.

OBAMA: And that is the thing that I'm going to be focused on for the remainder of my presidency, along with the basics like making sure nobody blows us up.

KEILAR: Obama stood by newly revealed NSA programs that gather vast amounts of phone and online data from millions of Americans.

CHARLIE ROSE, PBS NEWS HOST: Should this be transparent in some way?

OBAMA: It is transparent. That's why we set up the FISA Court.

KEILAR: That's the secret court that rules on warrants for surveillance. At suggestions his administration has been heavy handed Obama bristled.

OBAMA: Some people say, well, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he's Dick Cheney. My concern has always been not that we shouldn't do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?

KEILAR: Obama discussed the bloody civil war in Syria where his administration recently said the government had crossed a red line by using chemical weapons against rebels. Some the U.S. support long overdue said Republicans like Senator John McCain.

OBAMA: These aren't professional fighters, the notion that there was some professional military inside of Syria for us to immediately support.

KEILAR: In Northern Ireland Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin whose government is supplying arms to Syria. No breakthrough, though Obama and Putin said they will push both sides to negotiate a peace.


KEILAR: And the Obama administration has also announced new aid to Syria, $300 million more in humanitarian aid bringing the total to $800 million -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, so Brianna, what is the word from there, his team on the ground there, do you feel this is fair criticism? Do they think that the president is being made a victim of a larger administration issue? What's their word?

KEILAR: On the NSA, no, I don't think that's the case. I think that certainly the administration is actually buoyed in a way when it comes to the issues of the NSA because they feel like they have some backup from Democrats and from Republicans, certainly in Congress and also top Democrats and Republicans on very key committees.

So when I think when it comes to this issue of the NSA and personal privacy, I think they actually feel like they have some good backup. The interesting thing, though, Chris, is that Europeans are really not in favor of this. This is something that raises a lot of red flags for them.

And the next stop for President Obama will be Berlin, Germany where German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that she is going to raise this issue with him. That's really what we'll be looking for there and it could be kind of interesting.

CUOMO: Good point. We'll have to stay tuned for that. Brianna Keilar, thank you very much -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It was interesting, a 50-minute interview he did. That's a very long interview. The president doesn't have a lot of extra time on his hands.

CUOMO: True but this is important.

BOLDUAN: It is an important issue and good to hear him actually speaking out on it.

We also have new details this morning and new pictures on that midair scare we've been talking about. A passenger has been hospitalized after he started screaming nine hours into a 15-hour flight, just think if you were on that flight. CNN's Rene Marsh is in Washington now and has been tracking the latest on this. So what are you learning, Rene?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. You know, can you imagine? Well, this is what we know as far as the latest goes, the FBI tells us no charges have been filed against this man who created that raucous mid flight, not only did passengers jump in, but they recorded part of the drama on board, too. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm dead. I'm dead. I'm dead.

MARSH (voice-over): Dramatic cell phone audio captures a man screaming after he claims he was poisoned on board United Flight 116 from Hongkong to Newark, New Jersey, stunned passengers forced to step in.

JACQUES ROIZEN, HELPED SUBDUE UNRULY AIRLINE PASSENGER: I got up along with a few other passengers and at one point, he reached out for something in his pocket, in his jacket and that's when about three or four of us basically tackled him to the ground.

MARSH: Jacques Roizen was one of the passengers who held him down while flight attendants supplied plastic cuffs to restrain him. Roizen snapped these photos of the unruly passenger who was described as paranoid and claimed to have information about NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. PETER JONES, UNITED AIRLINES PASSENGER: He said he worked with the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and he was being detained by the CIA and being transferred and his life was in danger and so he repeated that over and over and over again.

MARSH: This mid flight drama is just the latest in a string of midair scares. Man on board a Frontier Airlines flight from Knoxville to Denver claimed he had a bomb in his bag. No bomb found, the man taken into custody. And a passenger on board an Egypt Air flight from Cairo to New York's JFK Airport found a note inside the bathroom saying "I'll set this plane on fire."


MARSH: All right, so Kate, the good news in this latest incident, the plane landed safely and passengers were deplaned at the gate -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Rene Marsh, thanks so much.

CUOMO: Three passengers in about three days, same story. We'll go a little bit deeper into the story for you later on in the show.

But something else new this morning, Afghan forces now completely in control of their own security. President Hamid Karzai making an announcement at an official handover ceremony with NATO officials in Kabul this morning. At about the same time a roadside bomb killed three people and injured 30 others just a short distance away.

Reza Sayah live from Kabul this morning. Reza, what is the best reason to believe the Afghans are ready to control their own security?

REZA SAYAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, if you listen to coalition officials they say they've made leaps and bounds. They've made a lot of improvements over the past few years, but critics say there's no way that this Afghan National Army is ready to take on the Taliban. But ready or not they're leading the charge in a ceremony in Kabul coalition officials transferred over the lead role for security in Afghanistan to Afghan Security Forces.

That means the coming 18 months coalition forces, American forces will still be here but only in a support role. In the driver's seat will be Afghan Security Forces, and we got a glimpse this morning of some of the challenges ahead, when we saw another suicide attack in the city of Kabul. A politician was targeted, he was unhurt but three people killed, again, the big story today, a milestone day, Afghan Security Forces now in the driver's seat in the months and years ahead -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Reza, thank you very much. Stay safe over there -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Some 65,000 U.S. troops still there obviously. Their combat levels are going down and will be done, the combat mission in 2014.

CUOMO: That's the hope. BOLDUAN: That's right. We'll be watching that closely. Another big story for the Pentagon, in just a few hours, the Pentagon will unveil its own plan for moving women into the front lines of combat roles.

Our Barbara Starr has been tracking this. Really from the beginning, Barbara, you and I have talked about this many times since the announcement was being made. So what are the details that you're learning this morning?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kate. You know, if you're a young woman and you want to become an Army Ranger or a Navy SEAL, another barrier lifted, you're going to be able to compete for those jobs, according to the Pentagon. They are going to announce today the how, the when, the precise details of how this last effort is going to be made to open all front line combat jobs to women, armor, artillery, special forces, the most dangerous, hazardous intensive combat job.

These are the jobs, Kate, that are all bluntly about killing the enemy so this announcement has been waited for a long time by the military. It's going to be something that young women will be looking forward to. Many of them who want to join the military -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Barbara. But also, I mean, some will look at this and say there are good elements and bad elements of this plan. It's certainly a victory for women when Leon Panetta announced their full integration into combat roles. Is there frustration that it's taking too long to implement this plan?

STARR: Well, you know, it might be another two years before all those jobs are open and there is some frustration. Think of it this way, more than 100 American women have been killed in the combat zone in the last decade or so. So for military women they believe very strongly, of course, they are already in combat. They want the reality to catch up with what's been going on in their lives.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, they're many of the same wounds and facing the same dangers out there. Good to see this move happening even if it is a little slowly. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thanks so much, Barbara.

Very busy news morning so let's get to Michaela for other big stories developing this hour.

PEREIRA: Good morning, Kate and Chris. Making news, a brand new CNN/ORC poll shows a growing number of Americans think the White House had a direct hand in targeting conservative group's tax exempt applications. The 10-point jump over the last month makes it an even split, 49 percent believed IRS agents acted on their own without direct orders from Washington.

A single solitary man defies police in Turkey simply by standing still. He becomes a new symbol for the movement. For more than five hours that man now identified as Erdom Gunduz stood in front of portrait of the founder of the modern Turkey state in Istanbul. Police moved in to arrest many of the people who joined him. We don't know here at CNN if he is in custody at this hour.

To the trial of reputed mob boss, James "Whitey" Bulger where a friend turned foe returns to the stand today. Star government witness, John Martorano, yesterday on the stand casually describing murders he committed claiming Bulger joined him for several. And he testified about the moment he learned Bulger was an FBI informant, saying, quote, "it broke my heart. It broke all loyalties." Now among the charges he faces, Bulger is charged in the deaths of 19 people.

A 15-year-old boy bitten in the leg by a shark beat that animal with his bare hands in order to get loose. It happened at surfside beach along the Texas Gulf Coast as he fought the shark off, one of his hands was bitten. A police officer who was there as well as kids from his church group came to his aid. That young man flown to a Houston hospital, we're told his injuries are not life threatening.

This is my favorite story, a 50-foot-wide, 15-ton magnet, will soon be on the move, going five miles an hour, it's going to traveling down the east coast on a barge and truck tour from Long Island down the east coast of Florida and then back up north to its destination, Department of Energy facility in Chicago. Scientists there hope to use it to measure the properties of subatomic particles that last just 2.2 millionths of a second. Nerd alert, this kind of stuff geeks me out.

BOLDUAN: It's way over my head.

CUOMO: I respect it I totally, but why is everything getting smaller except magnets?

BOLDUAN: You can never have too much magnets.

PEREIRA: Incredible power and quite a feat to even move that thing.

BOLDUAN: I'm sure it's safe, but I would be a little nervous if I was the car driving past the truck.

CUOMO: I'm hoping they turned it off otherwise all kinds of stuff --

BOLDUAN: That would be funny. What does this switch do?

CUOMO: Did you turn the magnet off?

PEREIRA: I knew I was forgetting something.

CUOMO: It's time to turn away from the toothbrush for this next story, a terrifying rescue caught on tape, in California, two teens stuck on a cliff's narrow shelf, 8,600 feet up, 30-mile-an-hour gusts swirling around them. The situation seemed ill fated, but Miguel Marquez has the story of how they made it home.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A rescue like none other, 8,600 feet up, two boys trapped on the rocky spine of a ridge only a few feet wide. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we went up there, we made decisions to get up that ended up making it so we couldn't get back.

MARQUEZ: Bad decisions, 16-year-old Austin Dresler and a friend on a family camping trip will never forget, in gorgeous but unforgiving nature biting off more than one can chew all too easy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought we could walk across the ridge. When we saw the other side it was heartbreaking that's when we realized we were in trouble.

MARQUEZ: Serious trouble, high winds, gusts up to 30 miles per hour buffeting the helicopter's California Highway Patrol made four passes before with the precision of the surgeon plucking the boys to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the most challenging that I've ever done in the 12 years I've been in air operations.

MARQUEZ: The challenge lowering the harnesses the boys themselves had to put on and coming back around to have them hook up to be safely carried to a landing zone miles away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We lowered the hook a couple of times, but the wind would blow us out of our position and we'd have to go back to try again.

MARQUEZ: The harnesses must be worn correctly otherwise it's a long fall. For a nervous father watching all of this from below, heart stopping.

RICHARD DESCHLER, FATHER: It's my oldest son and that doesn't come back, right? You don't recover from something like that.

MARQUEZ: Thankfully only a frightening lesson learned. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.


BOLDUAN: That's the best point, right. I mean, it's clearly terrifying for this boy, but think about his father.

PEREIRA: I'm always impressed by the helicopter pilots and the rescue crews. They were battling those winds right up against the cliff. These are two kids, families worried about them. They are heroes as far as I'm concerned.

CUOMO: The picture of the kid being suspended up there -- I mean, I can't imagine what was going through his mind. But it's interesting, when you talk to rescuers like that, you know, you'd think they'd be like, I can't believe these kids are up there, they know they shouldn't have been -- they are never that way.

PEREIRA: They're never judgmental.

BOLDUAN: They are never judgmental.

CUOMO: They say you can't control people's choices. We just do our job and that's why we heroize them because they're the best.

BOLDUAN: Amazing. Amazing, amazing, amazing. Thank goodness it all ended OK.

Lots coming up still on NEW DAY. Lucky seven, how seven heroes helped the father of seven escape a brush with death on Father's Day.

CUOMO: More heroes and then one not so much. The power of an apology, though. NFL star Chad Johnson out of jail and dare we say humbled this morning.



CUOMO: It is all about the money. Welcome to NEW DAY.

It is "Money Time". That means Christine Romans is here with all the business news that we need to know.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Quick quiz, who is the most person for your money this week?

BOLDUAN: My husband. Certainly not me.


ROMANS: Ben Bernanke, a guy named Ben Bernanke.

CUOMO: My answer is the same as Kate's?

BOLDUAN: Your husband?

CUOMO: Yes. No, her husband.


ROMANS: Look, Ben Bernanke, the Fed meets today and tomorrow and Bernanke is going to need to outline how he intends to pull back on the stimulus giving the economy. That guy right there, your 401(k) and your money this week depend on him. Dow futures are up 45 point. Stay tuned, I'll tell you what he says.

Chrysler has until midnight to decide whether it will recall 2.7 million Jeeps. Remember the story? The government asked Chrysler to recall certain model years because of problems in the fuel tank. That could cause a fire in rear end crashes. Chrysler said, oh, yes, we see you want us to recall these, we're not going to. Tonight is the deadline.

If Chrysler does not agree to the recall the government then has to have public hearings and they can try this involuntary recall route and eventually has to take Chrysler to court.

BOLDUAN: Can you explain that to me briefly. Why is that a good PR move? Is it a financial move? It sounds bad. ROMANS: It's interesting because some watchdogs say it would be millions of dollars for them to have to recall all of these things. Some of these model years are a little bit older. But Chrysler is determined not to recall these Jeeps. They say that if there's a crash it's because the speed of the crash, not the design of the fuel tank. The government disagrees.

CUOMO: That's the key. Christine just told you they don't believe the --

BOLDUAN: They don't believe it.

ROMANS: When you have the U.S. government saying to a company that was bailed out by the U.S. government, no, we're not going to do, you know --

BOLDUAN: The U.S. government has a very big mouthpiece. You know what I mean?

ROMANS: It's true.

This has been called modern day plantation system. Federal authorities seized 14 7-Eleven stores in New York and Virginia, nine owners and managers are charged with stealing the identities of their workers and exploiting more than 15 illegal immigrants. Store managers allegedly pocketed the majority of their pay after forcing them to work 100 hours a week, this went on for more than 13 years, mostly Pakistani immigrants who the government says was exploited by the 7-Eleven.

CUOMO: All right. Christine, thank you very much. It seems like a random story but attached to the larger debate about immigration.

ROMANS: Absolutely, absolutely.

CUOMO: That's why we're covering it so intensely this morning. Lots of stories people will be talking about. I'll start it off. Ready?

PEREIRA: You start it off.

CUOMO: This is something out of an action movie. A father of seven -- I'm setting a scene -- almost didn't make it home to Father's Day after his car went up in flames with him trapped inside.

Check out the scary images. The blaze started when a Tampa Bay man crashed into another car. Neighbors say they heard what sounded like an explosion so loud it shook windows. It took seven police officers to pull the unconscious man out of the car.

Here's the good news: he escaped with only minor injuries because of their heroism. They're calling them the magnificent seven, these officers because of what they did pulling him out. They said they were so afraid it was going to go up in flames, they said we would all burn before we let him burn.

BOLDUAN: Oh, my God! And I'm also -- you're always struck because there are these amazing stories of heroism, people are able to lift up moments to get --

PEREIRA: And it's first instinct, they quickly do it.

BOLDUAN: I know.

PEREIRA: It clearly wasn't this man's time. His number was not up.

CUOMO: The hand of fate in the sets of seven of very strong and capable officers.

PEREIRA: Absolutely, talking about them being in the right place at the right time.

CUOMO: What else we got?

BOLDUAN: OK. I got a good on one for you. Here we go.

The NFL may be close to getting its first permanent woman on an officiating crew.

PEREIRA: Go ahead, girl.

BOLDUAN: Sarah Thomas with Conference USA spent three days at the Colts -- yes, go Colts -- official development program. That's an official term.

She could be eligible for a full time spot as soon as 2014. I would say -- about time, people!

PEREIRA: I love it. One of the interviews I wanted to do is with Violet Palmer, the female referee in the NBA. I think it's fascinating that a woman would be in a role that is completely male and she keeps up with them.

BOLDUAN: I think that one is harder because it's a more intimate relationship that the players and the refs have, I believe, like in basketball it seems like, it's much more of an intimate relationship, always talking and yelling to each other. In football there's a little bit more of a distance.

PEREIRA: No comment, Cuomo, what's up?

CUOMO: I think it's a no brainer. This is one of the things you're sad there has to be a first. You think it would have happened already. We didn't have a woman in the league last year when they were hiring --


BOLDUAN: Shannon Eastin. Yes, she was one of the replacement refs.

CUOMO: Kate (INAUDIBLE) and I didn't. You look so very good about yourself --

BOLDUAN: I do. Go, Colt.

CUOMO: Moving on then.

BOLDUAN: Moving on. Indra, save us quickly.

What's going on in weather?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you literally told, you know, if I don't bring good news, it's bad. Unfortunately, we know, it's established, if it rains, nobody likes me. So, a lot of the country not going to like me.

Look, the next 48 hours, a big huge chunk of the country going to be talking about wet weather and unfortunately where they want the rain they're not getting it, still dry again so we have the drought conditions obviously on the West Coast. And, unfortunately for that reason, we're still worried about the fire threat today. In fact, temperatures are expected to soar in by tomorrow. We're going to be looking at not only temperatures going up, but winds going up and the fire danger increasing as well. Remember, local weather?

BOLDUAN: I can't even make that noise that you do but I'm going to try. Very good. Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: Appreciate the weather.

Take a quick break here. Coming up on NEW DAY: digging up the past. Where is Jimmy Hoffa's body? Why authorities say a new tip could be the one that finally cracks the case?

BOLDUAN: And what did Chad Johnson it to get out of jail early? You might be surprised to hear the former NFL great told the judge who jailed him. Why he now calls her a blessing in disguise.