Return to Transcripts main page
Snowden on His Way to Russia; Ruling Could Change Course of George Zimmerman's Trial; Home of Patriots Tight End Searched in Connection With Killing; NSA Leaker Departs Hong Kong; Look Up to the Sky: It's a "Super Moon"
Aired June 23, 2013 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has learned admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden isn't there anymore. Reports say he is on a plane to Russia and then possibly on to a third country. His exit from Hong Kong comes just after criminal charges were revealed against him. Those charges include theft from the government and two espionage charges.
CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson is live in Hong Kong this morning.
So, Nic, the U.S. had just asked Hong Kong's government to get Snowden so he could be extradited, so why was he allowed to get on this flight?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've got a statement now from the Hong Kong government. They've been absolutely tight-lipped about Edward Snowden ever since he arrived here. Now they've issued quite a lengthy statement.
And what they're saying is that Edward Snowden left freely, legally of his own free will earlier today, believed to be onboard a flight to the united states -- not the United States, Russia, a commercial flight.
But some of the details here that we're getting from the Hong Kong government are very revealing and they sort of hint at the potential for some sort of diplomatic dust-up here between the United States and Hong Kong.
What is the Hong Kong government saying? They're saying that they did get that request to apply an arrest warrant to Edward Snowden because of these charges in the United States. The Hong Kong government is saying that there wasn't enough -- the legal requirements that they needed to issue an arrest warrant here weren't matched by the information they received from the United States.
That's why they didn't issue an arrest warrant, and that appears to have given Edward Snowden the legal window to leave the country freely.
He wasn't wanted, he wasn't on a watch list, but there's a kicker to this note as well, this press release from the Hong Kong government here. They're also saying that they are now going to write to the United States and ask, to President Obama, and ask why, because of the information provided by Edward Snowden, why was the United States hacking computers here in Hong Kong and China? So, this not only letting Edward Snowden go, but you have this other issue brewing as well now, Alison.
KOSIK: So, is this kind of like Hong Kong thumbing its nose at the U.S.?
ROBERTSON: You could apply that analysis and certainly, there is on the face of it, it looks like that. We are talking to other political analysts here, who are saying, look, there's no way that Hong Kong would want to do this without some kind of conversation with U.S. officials, that Hong Kong was caught between a rock and a hard place.
It didn't want to damage its relationship to the United States, because the extradition processes in the past have been relatively good. And it was also caught between a hard place with perhaps political pressure from Beijing.
And so, the overall analysis here, Hong Kong was in a tough spot and that they wouldn't have likely wanted to do this without at least letting the United -- letting some U.S. officials somewhere know that this was about to happen.
But this is analysis. We don't know the facts. And on the surface, it doesn't point to a particularly strong relationship, but we do know that Hong Kong was in a very tough position right now, Alison.
OK, Nic Robertson, thanks.
And we are also getting word that Snowden may have had help getting out of Hong Kong. A tweet from WikiLeaks says they have assisted Mr. Snowden's political asylum in a democratic country, travel papers and safe exit from Hong Kong.
They also say they have legal advisers flying with him to Russia. Let's bring in our Phil Black in Moscow.
Phil, has there been any reaction at this point from the Russian government to this news that Snowden is on his way there?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alison, we have nothing official from the Russian government on this latest development just yet. Russia has always been on a short list of countries that are said to have been an option for Snowden if he was looking to move somewhere that would perhaps be beyond the reach of the United States.
In response to that sort of speculation, the Russian government has always said that if they receive an asylum claim, they would consider it based upon the facts. So, not shutting down the idea, not saying yes to it, either.
But in this case, so far, no, we have no confirmation from Russia as to whether they know that he's coming here, either to transit through here to another country or, perhaps, with the intention of staying, Alison.
KOSIK: OK. Any ideas where he could go next, if he does, in fact, make a first stop? What about a third stop?
BLACK: Well, as I said, we've been talk being the short list of countries now that may be options for Snowden.
In addition to Russia, he also talked about Iceland as perhaps a preferred destination and you're also looking at countries in south America that might be willing to give him some sort of assistance. Ecuador has always been a country that has been mentioned there.
Since the news of Snowden heading through or to Russia, some Russian media is speculating about other countries, perhaps Cuba, perhaps Venezuela; again, just speculation, really, at this point. We don't know for sure.
If he is looking to head through Moscow, then there are some logistical issues I think he has to deal with in terms of getting directly to a country that is willing to help him or transiting through another country that will ultimately allow him to get to his preferred destination.
So, at the moment, we don't know, but if he's looking at traveling through Moscow, then it's a slightly complex journey to get to some of these other preferred destinations that may exist.
KOSIK: Any chance that Russian police would maybe snatch him up at the airport if he arrives there?
BLACK: Well, you can certainly imagine that he would be an attractive figure to Russian intelligence. Russia has a big intelligence operation; a big part of it is focused on the United States. He is a figure that would be of significant interest to them, you would certainly think.
Russia has always shown some interest in helping, to some degree, people who are prepared to turn their back on the West or Western countries, in particular the United States.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks figure, is not someone who received asylum here, but he is someone who Russia assisted in the sense that he was paid to produce a state-funded television show from the United Kingdom while he was under house arrest there.
But within that context, should Snowden seek to stay, should Russian intelligence want to have some contact with him and speak to him, then there is the obvious impact that could potentially have on Russia-U.S. relations and the degree to which Russia is prepared to risk those relations or antagonizing those relations for what possible benefit they could get through speaking to him, Alison.
KOSIK: OK, Phil Black, thanks.
And stay with us for more on this breaking story throughout the morning. In just a few moments, I'm going to be talking with Glenn Greenwald, he's the journalist who broke the NSA story with Snowden as his source.
Supporters of Snowden gave House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi an earful. She was speaking at an event in San Jose, California, yesterday, when she mentioned Snowden and got this reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: As far as Snowden, he did -- I may be in disagreement with you -- he did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents. We don't know -- I understand. I understand. I understand. But he did violate the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: And Pelosi was at Netroots Nation; that's a gathering of liberal activists and bloggers. Before the Snowden comment that you just heard, Pelosi actually got a standing ovation.
Now to other stories making news this morning. In Dayton, Ohio, inspectors are on their way to check out why a stunt plane took a sudden dive into the ground. Spectators at the air show were devastated when the biplane burst into flames.
KOSIK (voice-over): It's a stunt that veteran wingwalker Jane Wicker and her pilot had performed before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch this! Jane Wicker, sitting on top of the world.
KOSIK (voice-over): But this time, something went terribly wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) right for us. I can see something is wrong. I almost was ready to tell everybody to get out of the way.
KOSIK (voice-over): Wicker and her pilot were in the middle of a maneuver when the plane suddenly plunged to the ground and exploded in flames. They both died. Spectators described what they saw.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we seen was the plane rolling over and hit the ground. They were too close to the ground. There was no way they would make that turn. Just flipped straight over and hit the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went to get my friends and I said, I was like, look at this plane, it's so low. And it just looked like the plane started wobbling and they just got way too low and just crashed.
KOSIK (voice-over): The FAA will now try to determine what happened. Officials with the Dayton Air Show suspended the remaining performances as spectators remained in shock.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's terrible. I've never seen that happen before. You never expect to see something like that happen, and it's awful. And it just terrifies you.
KOSIK: And this was the second deadly accident at the Dayton Air Show in the past decade. In 2007, another biplane hit the runway while doing loops. The air show will go on as planned today.
It's a decision that could change the course of the George Zimmerman murder trial. Ahead of Monday's opening statements, the judge ruled testimony from the state's two voice experts who analyze just who was screaming in the background of 9-1-1 calls cannot be used.
In pretrial hearings, one witness testified that screams came from Florida teen Trayvon Martin before he died. The other confirmed those screams were not Zimmerman's. But defense attorney Mark O'Mara said that was all junk science.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We want the 9-1-1 call in. I mean, we just didn't want it analyzed by people who don't know how to analyze it. This type of junk science would only have infected the jury. They never should see anything or hear anything about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Jurors will still be allowed to hear the 9-1-1 calls and witnesses familiar with the voices of Zimmerman and Martin can still be called to testify.
Next hour, CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez is going to be joining me to explain the full impact of this decision.
Now to Canada, where rivers are bursting at their seams, forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate so far. The flooding has devastated Calgary and surrounding areas.
Now the rush of water is targeting more communities. Three people have died in the floodwater. In some neighborhoods, boats are parked like cars and cars are under water.
And look at this. The stadium of the NHL's Calgary Flames flooded up to the eighth row. Calgary's mayor says the flow of water is slowing down and some people can start returning home.
More rain is in the forecast for the Calgary area. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is in our Severe Weather Center with more.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. You know, and if a hockey player, Alison, were to walk through that tunnel at the hockey stadium, they would have been under water. That's how deep it was.
STEELE: So, it's really two rivers that are of concern, the Bow and the Elbow. And I want to show you, here's Western Canada and the two rivers converge on Calgary, and that's what essentially has happened, that the rivers have flooded, and of course, it's pretty low and it all have kind of moved down throughout Calgary.
Now the Bow River's the bigger river and it's really the one of bigger concern. It peaked on Friday and I just want to show you the water levels. Expected to go down about 25 percent in the next day and a half or two days. The Elbow, not so, expected to go down about 60 percent. So, some better news there.
Trouble, more trouble along the Bow River. Right now, 50 degrees. Not expecting any rain there today, but look at the forecast. Some showers on tap for tomorrow. Looks like heavier rain, though, unfortunately, on tap for Tuesday.
And also, Alison, if you saw it this morning, right now is the best time to take a look at the supermoon. It's the closest it's going to be until next August 2014. It's about 221,000 miles away. So it's really a convergence of two things. It's at perigee, meaning it's the closest to the Earth, as well as being a full moon this morning. So right now when it's really low on the horizon is the most beautiful time.
KOSIK: Supermoon looking good. Alexandra Steele, thank you.
We are following breaking news this morning. Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong and is headed to Moscow. Up next, I'm going to have a live interview with Glenn Greenwald, he's the "The Guardian" reporter who broke the story.
KOSIK: Let's get back to our breaking news this morning. We know that admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden has left Hong Kong, and reports say he's on his way to Russia right now, but that's not expected to be his final destination.
Joining me now on the phone is Glenn Greenwald. He's the journalist who interviewed Snowden and broke the NSA story in "The Guardian" newspaper.
Glenn, thanks for joining us.
GLENN GREENWALD, "THE GUARDIAN": Thanks for having me.
KOSIK: So, you tweeted earlier the fact that a person flies to city X does not mean that that is their intended, ultimate destination.
First of all, what do you mean by that?
GREENWALD: Well, there seems to be -- you know, there's ever since Snowden first emerged as the whistleblower, the U.S. government and the media have been doing what they always do to whistleblowers, which is trying to demonize them. And there are suggestions this morning that he must be defecting to Russia, like they were alleging that he was going to defect to China or that he's headed to Cuba, trying to cast some sort of nefarious mood to what it is that he's doing, which is simply trying to stay out of the grasp of the U.S. government, which punishes whistleblowers very severely.
And I would simply issue a warning to media outlets not to reach conclusions about where it is that he intends to stay, based on the cities through which he's flying.
KOSIK: Can you confirm that Snowden is heading to Russia and then possibly on to Cuba?
GREENWALD: Well, there seems to be a lot of media reports that have confirmed that he is on a plane from Hong Kong to Moscow, and that there is another ticket that is in his name from Moscow to Havana, but I'm simply saying that that doesn't mean that Cuba is his final destination.
There are a lot of places in the world that, if he tried to get to from Hong Kong, you would go Moscow, and then Havana and then to that other place.
KOSIK: OK. So, can you at least confirm the one stop to Moscow?
GREENWALD: I can't -- I don't know that he's physically on the plane. There are plenty of news reports that have put him on that plane and seem pretty reliable.
KOSIK: OK. Let me ask you this, did efforts to get him out of Hong Kong, did those efforts intensify when the charges were unveiled?
GREENWALD: I don't know what happened in terms of discussions between his lawyers and Hong Kong and the Hong Kong government.
I think the statement from the government of Hong Kong is very much worth sharing with your viewers, if you haven't already, and looking at, because what it basically says is that the demand by the United States government that he be turned over to the U.S. did not comport with the legal requirements under the law of Hong Kong.
And they also said, and by the way, we are interested, speaking of law, in investigating and understanding how it is that you've been hacking into our civilian infrastructure. So, I think the posture of the Hong Kong government was driven both by legal considerations and by concerns over U.S. hacking into their universities' research facilities (inaudible).
KOSIK: Glenn, how closely in contact are you with Snowden?
GREENWALD: I've had -- you know, he's my source for the stories that we've been writing, so I've had fairly regular contact with him over the last several weeks.
KOSIK: So, this is -- does this come as a surprise, his movement today?
GREENWALD: You know, I think in this case, nothing really comes as a surprise.
I think, you know, the question that we ought to be asking is why is an American citizen, who joined the U.S. military to fight in the war in Iraq, who has worked for the CIA and NSA, why does he feel compelled to flee his own country simply because he informs his fellow citizens about this giant spying apparatus that's being built in the dark and about lies being told by U.S. officials?
So, if I were a whistleblower looking at the Obama administration's record, I, too, would want to stay out of the grasp of the U.S. government. Daniel Ellsberg said the same thing on CNN the other night. So, it doesn't come as a surprise to me, no, that he's trying to avoid falling into the clutches of the U.S. government.
KOSIK: So, WikiLeaks is saying this morning that they are helping Snowden leave. Were you aware that this is in the works?
GREENWALD: Well, WikiLeaks have made public statements over the past several days that they are attempting to help him either seek asylum or attain asylum in third-party countries, meaning not Hong Kong and not the United States.
So, I think that WikiLeaks has been pretty up front about their support for Snowden consistent with their values of transparency. They have contacts around the world, and I don't know what the extent exactly is of their involvement, but it doesn't surprise me that they're supportive of what he's doing.
KOSIK: So, let me hear what you think. Do you think that Hong Kong allowing Snowden to leave is going to strain their relations with the U.S.?
GREENWALD: Oh, definitely. I mean, in U.S. political culture, the worth of a country is generally measured by the extent to which they adhere to U.S. dictates.
And so, had they simply turned him over and disregarded all legal constraints, I think U.S. political and media circles would have celebrated Hong Kong as some sort of beacon of the rule of law.
Now that they've issued a fairly defiant statement to the U.S., refusing to submit to their dictates, I think you're going to see all sorts of combinations of Hong Kong and certainly recriminations from the U.S. government toward Hong Kong. That's what the U.S. does, it punishes other governments for refusing to comply with U.S. demands.
KOSIK: OK, Glenn Greenwald, thanks for joining us this morning.
And we're going to be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KOSIK: The Chicago Blackhawks took a giant step forward, winning a second Stanley Cup in four seasons with a win on their home ice last night. Joe Carter joins me now with this morning's "Bleacher Report."
JOE CARTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, good morning.
You know, big-time players come out in the biggest games. Six years ago yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks drafted a big player, Patrick Kane, number one overall, and boy, has he made the difference and did once again last night, not scoring just one, but two goals; 17 minutes into the first period, he gave Chicago the 1-0 lead.
And then again in the second period, yet another putback opportunity, and he converted. Blackhawks would go on to win that game last night 3-1. Another Stanley Cup is in reach for this team. They can close it out with a win in Boston on Monday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK KANE, CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS: This is what you work for, you know, all year, all summer, when you're training, throughout the year at training camp, whatever it may be. This is what you work for, this opportunity. So, we've got to seize the moment and take advantage of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: We'll see when they go at it Monday night. That's your "Bleacher Report" update. Back to you, Alison.
KOSIK: OK, Joe Carter, thank you.
And tonight, daredevil Nik Wallenda, he's going to try to become the first man to tightrope walk -- try to say that three times -- tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon without a safety harness. Last summer he crossed the Niagara Falls wearing a tether.
Wallenda is the great grandson of Carl Wallenda, a famous acrobat who plunged to his death. Four other family members have died while performing. Wallenda says they're his inspiration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIK WALLENDA, TIGHTROPE WALKER: When you're walking at a height greater than the Empire State Building, it can play tricks on your mind, so it's important that I'm always in control of those thoughts. And one of the challenges leading up to a big walk like this is all the media that wants to talk about the doom and gloom.
This is real. This is untethered. This isn't like Niagara Falls, where my network partner came in and said I had to wear a tether. This is with the Discovery Channel and they believe in me and they're allowing me to do this with no tether.
So, this is life-or-death, this crossing. And it's important that I'm mentally in control of everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Want to watch it? "Skywire Live" with Nik Wallenda airs tonight on the Discovery Channel at 8:00 pm Eastern.
There is plenty still ahead, including the latest on Edward Snowden. He's out of Hong Kong, but where is he headed?
Murky floodwater eight rows deep in the Calgary Flames' stadium. Now more misery could be on the way for this hockey-loving city.
Plus it was the vacation of a lifetime. Now it's nothing short of a nightmare. Last Sunday, Father's Day, a high school teen vanished in the mountains of Ecuador. The trip was the young valedictorian's graduation present. More on the search-and-rescue efforts coming up.
KOSIK: Good morning. Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik. Here are five things you need to know this morning.
Number one is what the whereabouts are of Edward Snowden. The admitted NSA leaker left Hong Kong earlier this morning. Reports say he's on the way to Russia. In fact, a tweet from Wikileaks says that Snowden is in Russian air space right now traveling with legal advisers of Wikileaks. We're going to update you with new information as we get it.
A decision that could change the course of the George Zimmerman murder trial ahead of Monday's opening statements. The judge ruled testimony from the state's witnesses who analyzed just who was screaming on 911 calls cannot be used. Jurors will still be allowed to hear the 911 call.
Number three, the home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez searched again this weekend as police investigate the killing of a friend of his who was found shot to death a half mile away from his home. Police dogs and officers in latex gloves could be seen entering the home and leaving with brown paper evidence bags, but Hernandez has not been named a suspect and it's not clear what investigators were looking for.
Number four, Secretary of State John Kerry casting doubt on the future of U.S. talks with the Taliban, saying they need to "get back on track in order to push forward." Talks were supposed to happen this week in Doha, but the U.S. is waiting for a Taliban response on a date. Secretary Kerry is in Qatar for those talks.
And number five in Colorado, the town of South Fork has been evacuated. Crews are working to make sure a wildfire doesn't get any closer to the popular vacation spot. Officials say the (inaudible) fire has burned 76 acres, which is smaller than originally believed and is 80 percent contained. We want to focus our coverage on our number one story, Edward Snowden. The NSA leaker is reportedly over Russian air space right now and traveling with legal advisers from Wikileaks. Dan Lothian is following this story from Washington. Good morning, Dan. How was he allowed to leave Hong Kong in the first place?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, he simply left, because according to Hong Kong officials, they did not have a legal basis to hold him. Hong Kong officials have been relatively silent throughout this whole process, not really giving a lot of information about where he might be, but they put out a lengthy statement saying that, yes, in fact, they did receive the request from U.S. officials for an arrest warrant but that the information they received from the U.S. did not meet all of their legal guidelines. They needed additional information. They say that they have requested that information, but in the meantime, again, had no legal basis to keep Snowden in the country, and so, therefore, he was allowed to leave. And according to reports, on his way to Moscow. Unclear whether that's his final destination, whether he's going elsewhere, perhaps two or three additional stops, but he has left Hong Kong. This further complicates this delicate diplomatic situation between the U.S. and Hong Kong.
As you know, U.S. officials formally requested that Hong Kong extradite Snowden back to the U.S. There was some degree of confidence from U.S. officials that, in fact, that would take place. In a strongly worded statement from a senior administration official yesterday, saying that if Hong Kong doesn't act soon that it will only complicate their bilateral relations. So, this certainly seems like it would complicate that bilateral relation. So far, no comment yet from the White House, though we expect they will be saying something later today.
KOSIK: Now, Wikileaks says their advisers are actually traveling with Snowden. What does that tell us about what Snowden may be planning to do?
LOTHIAN: Well, you know, you look at Wikileaks co-founder, Julian Assange. He's been hiding out, if you will, taking shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London now for about a year. So, perhaps what you're seeing here is they are laying the groundwork, assisting Snowden in trying to find some kind of permanent location where he, too, can hide out. They certainly have been thinking about this, officials at Wikileaks, as Assange told Anderson Cooper earlier this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: Advise him to go to Latin America. Latin America has shown in the past ten years that it is really pushing forward in human rights. There's a long tradition of asylum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: So, again, according to a Wikileaks tweet, Snowden is over Russian air space. He does have Wikileaks legal advisers traveling with him. But unclear whether Moscow will be the final destination or whether he's headed to additional countries to find someone who will take him in. Alison?
KOSIK: So, let's say that he does land in Moscow. What does that mean for the effort to extradite him?
LOTHIAN: Well, you know, I think it further complicates the situation. I mean, first of all, I think what U.S. officials are doing is waiting to find out where the final destination is. Again, they were fairly confident that this agreement that they have with Hong Kong to extradite a fugitive, if you will, they felt that, in fact, Hong Kong would have gone along with that. So, I think the fact that he's headed to another country, perhaps Moscow or elsewhere, it further complicates this delicate diplomatic situation.
KOSIK: OK, Dan Lothian in Washington. Thanks.
KOSIK: Floodwaters have forced 100,000 people to evacuate in Calgary are now headed downstream and threatening more communities. People are packing up and searching for higher ground. The historic floods have already claimed three lives. CNN's Paula Newton is live in Calgary. Paula, we're hearing that more rain could hit the area. I mean, is there any relief coming?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is relief coming in the sense that the rivers have crested, at least here near downtown Calgary, and the water is beginning ever so slightly, Alison, to recede. But you know, behind me, Calgary should really be quite lit up right now. This is the downtown core. Powerless. The lights you do see behind me are from power generators. And it just gets more dire than that. You know, this entire downtown has really been flooded out. The evacuations continue, we saw them even into yesterday. The Saddle Dome, the actual stadium where they have a lot of different events, including the NHL team, the Calgary Flames. Can you imagine, Alison, water now still remains at the eighth row. You're talking about weeks and weeks of cleanup in there. The Calgary stampede, huge attraction here in Calgary. That's supposed to get under way in about ten days. Flooded out again. People here really want to return to a state of normalcy, but in speaking to the mayor of this city yesterday, Alison, Ii can tell you, he's saying, look, we've turned a corner, but this isn't over by a long shot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR NAHEED NENSHI, CALGARY, ALBERTA: I can't control Mother Nature. God is pouring from its teapot and we've only got a tea cup to catch it, but what we can do is make sure that when that teacup overflows, people are safe and we protect them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NEWTON: Having said that, Alison, yesterday we still saw a lot of people along these river banks, rescues still under way. And you mentioned down river, Medicine Hat, about 150 miles from here, they are seriously sandbagging. Waters there are expected to crest sometime late today or early tomorrow. Again, more devastating floods approaching there. People just hoping now that they can keep people safe and then worry about recovery. Alison?
KOSIK: Just incredible pictures. Paula Newton, thank you.
America's only known POW from the war in Afghanistan is the key part in possible negotiations with the Taliban. Bowe Bergdahl was taken prisoner in 2009, and now the Taliban says they'll let him go if the U.S. releases high-profile prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl's friends and family see it as a positive sign. We get more from our Ed Lavandera in Bergdahl's hometown.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been nearly four years since Bowe Bergdahl was captured in Afghanistan, but with news that the U.S. is about to engage in peace talks with the Taliban and talk of a prisoner exchange, there is a renewed sense of hope here in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho, that Bowe Bergdahl could soon finally be coming home. Nearly 2,000 people attended a weekend rally in Bowe's honor where Robert Bergdahl, Bowe's father gave an impassioned speech for his son's return. Since his son was captured four years ago, Robert Bergdahl has grown out his beard as a symbol of solidarity with his son's confinement but he spoke directly to his son's captors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: The people of Afghanistan -- [speaking Arabic] may the peace of God and the blessings that come from God be upon you. May we somehow after 12 long years find peace in Afghanistan so that our soldiers and our American personnel can come home. A father does not leave his son alone on the battlefield. I do not live here. I live in Afghanistan. My cell phone is set on Afghan time. My weather is Afghan weather. I might be standing here, but I am living vicariously through my son. I will not leave you on the battlefield, Bowe. These people here will not leave you on the battlefield. Your country will not leave you on the battlefield. You are not forgotten.
LAVANDERA: Bowe Bergdahl's parents are hopeful that this weekend's rally and their message will make its way around the world to their son, a reminder to him that he has not been forgotten and that his hometown is anxious to have him back. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Hailey, Idaho.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Vanished in Ecuador. An 18-year-old high school valedictorian missing now for a week after disappearing on a hike with his family. Words from his father about the search which so far has come up empty.
KOSIK: It was a vacation of a lifetime. Now it's nothing short of a nightmare. Last Sunday, when it was Father's Day, August Reiger, a high school teen, vanished while hiking with his family in the mountains of Ecuador. The trip was the young valedictorian's graduation present. CNN's Nick Valencia has more on the bizarre disappearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was supposed to be an epic trip to Ecuador, a graduation present for high school valedictorian August Reiger. Instead, the family vacation has turned into a family's nightmare. 18-year-old Reiger has been missing since going on a Father's Day hike with his parents. His dad says he's vanished without a trace.
CHRIS REIGER: And nothing makes sense to me. Everybody's baffled, because it's not a dangerous place. It's not like, you know, there's no rebels or something like that to kidnap people. We just can't- I can't count for the scenario that, kind of, you know, OK, that could make sense.
VALENCIA: Located 100 miles south of the capital, Banos is a tourist center, known for its scenic views and hiking trails. With a passion for Spanish language and Latin America, it was the teen's idea to make the trip before heading off to the University of Oklahoma in the fall, where he had been admitted on a full scholarship. His family says that thought that the 18-year-old may have wandered off by himself is out of the question.
CHRIS REIGER: The next day we were supposed to leave. We had booked a tour to go in the jungle three nights with a guide, and it was really because of him that we booked that, you know? He's the one who is, as I said, was particularly interested in the indigenous cultures and so forth, and we were supposed to leave on that the next day. And you know, he was real excited about it. He didn't have anything with him. He didn't have any money, he didn't have phone, he didn't have anything.
VALENCIA: It's estimated there are more than 150 search-and-rescue volunteers that have combed the mountain where Reiger was last seen. Also involved, the U.S. State Department. But with no sign of Reiger so far, his family is hoping the teen's trip of a lifetime didn't cost him his life. Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.
KOSIK: Testimony from a former hit man, photos of bullet-riddled cars. Sounds like a crime novel, right? It's just another day in the Whitey Bulger trial, and we're going to tell you who came to testify against the reputed mob boss after so many years.
KOSIK: A quick update now on breaking news out of Hong Kong and Russia. NSA leaker Edward Snowden is on the move. He left Hong Kong on a commercial flight this morning, reportedly headed for Russia. Where he goes after that, it's not known just yet. And we're going to take you live to Hong Hong, to Moscow and the White House at the top of the hour. All right, it's been a really busy Sunday morning already, but I want to get you ready for the week ahead. Come along with me. Monday's going to be a busy day. Before the Supreme Court wraps up for the summer, the high court is expected to rule on some very controversial issues, including affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage. Also on Monday, opening statements for the George Zimmerman trial get under way. The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with fatally shooting teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman says he shot the 17-year-old in self-defense.
As of Tuesday, you drink coffee? Well, get ready, your latte is going to cost a little more. Starbucks is set to raise prices on Tuesday on some drinks in the U.S. by an average of one percent, but there is some good news if you're counting calories. The coffee giant is going to begin displaying menu boards with drink calorie counts.
On Wednesday, President Obama is going to be in the news. He and the first family are going to be leaving on a trip to Africa. They're going to be visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. Obama is set to meet with leaders to discuss expanding trade and investment.
On Friday, go to the movies if you're a comedy fan especially. The new buddy cop film "The Heat" opens in theaters. It stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. There it goes.
Former bookies, a hired hit man and pictures of bullet-riddled cars, that's what the prosecution introduced this week in the trial against Whitey Bulger. Despite the drama, the former crime boss barely budged in court. Deb Feyerick was watching the case this week. She has more.
DEB FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alison, Whitey Bulger came face to face with his past this week as a hit man and two bookies who have been part of his criminal enterprise took the witness stand against him. Now, the bookies testified about extortion, how they would have to pay Bulger thousands of dollars every month in so-called red money in order to stay in the gambling business. The hit man, John Martorano, he connected Bulger to at least 13 murders, 11 of which he testified the two men were both involved in together. Now, prosecutors introduced pictures of some of the victims including cars that were just riddled with bullet holes. Bulger had not seen his criminal associates in more than two decades and the body language in that courtroom really spoke volumes. One of the bookies who actually changed his name after entering witness protection, he barely made eye contact with Bulger, trying once in a while to sneak peeks at the former crime boss. Another bookie, though, actually got a laugh from Bulger when he described a story where they were shaking down an agent and Bulger said we've got a business besides bookmaking, and that's killing people like you. Now, the hit man, John Martorano, Bulger barely acknowledged he even existed, even though he was just six feet away testifying. It was only when the hit man described Bulger as an informant, or a Judas, a rat, the worst of the worst that Bulger actually turned his head and looked at his former friend.
Now, families of some of the 19 victims that Bulger's accused of killing also took the stand. One woman testified that she was in the car the night machine gunfire simply riddled the vehicle with bullets, killing one friend and paralyzing another friend.
(BEGINV VIDEO CLIP)
DIANNE SUSSMAN DE TENNEN, BULGER VICTIM: It changed my life. And Luis had to live like this, you know. He had to have my children sitting on his wheelchair, you know, never holding them. These gangsters changed everyone's life. It's everyone who lives whose life has been destroyed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: The government may call as many as 80 witnesses to the stand, including more criminal associates. Alison?
KOSIK: That was Deb Feyerick. Thanks.
After the Boston bombing, this memorial became a place to pay homage to victims. We're going to tell you what they plan to do with the memorial.
KOSIK: Good morning, New York City. Ah, how pretty it is. That's the Horst (ph) Tower you see right in the middle. It's a live look at Manhattan right now. It looks like it's going to be a gorgeous day today. Sunny and 70 degrees right now, perfect if you want to go strolling in the city, but some clouds are coming in. Looking at a high of about, ooh, 90.
An iconic image from the Boston marathon bombing is going away. The memorial at Copley Square will be fully disassembled by Tuesday. A spokesperson for the mayor's office says the items from the makeshift shrine have been slowly removed. They also said they've been in contact with the families of the victims to let them know the city plans to preserve the items in a city archive.
OK, this wedding singer won it all. Listen to this. All right, so, you recognize the music. That's Mohammed Assaf winning the finale of "Arab Idol" yesterday. The Palestinian won the hearts of viewers and judges on the show. He was the talk of the town back home in Gaza. People were cheering, as you can see, going crazy. Oh, my. They were cheering in the streets, celebrating his victory. He was also presented with two Goodwill Ambassador awards.
Looks like kryptonite hits Superman. Two new films are expected to top it at the box office this weekend. Look by how much. At number three, the "Men of Steel" is expected to make $13 million in ticket sales. Next, we have "World War Z" starring Brad Pitt, expected to rake in $25 million. And finally, the latest animated film "Monsters University," expected to make $31 million. Now, we won't know the final numbers until tomorrow morning.
Thanks for starting your morning with us. We've got much more coming up ahead on "New Day Sunday" which continues right now.
Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. And while you were sleeping, NSA leaker Edward Snowden was getting on an airplane. After weeks of hiding in Hong Kong, he got out of the city on a commercial flight. He's on his way to Russia right now. Now, we're covering this breaking news from all angles. We begin with CNN's senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, in Hong Kong. Nic, let me start with you. Why was he allowed to get on this flight in the first place?
NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Hong Kong authorities say that despite that request that came in here Friday flight from the United States saying that there were charges in the United States, including theft of government property, espionage, the Hong Kong authorities say they didn't have enough legal information for the requirement to issue a provisional arrest warrant as the United States asked. So, there was no arrest warrant, he wasn't on a watch list, and therefore, they say he was free to leave. I've talked to one lawyer here who's been following this case closely. He says he's shocked, because he says all the Hong Kong authorities actually needed was to know that Edward Snowden was wanted in the United States, charged in the United States, and that he was in Hong Kong. Both of those things were very clear. That legal analyst is surprised that Hong Kong actually allowed this window of opportunity for Edward Snowden to make a run for it, and he did, Alison.
KOSIK: So, was this a way of Honk Kong maybe thumbing its nose at the U.S.?
ROBERTSON: There does seem to be a little bit of a diplomatic dust-up here. And in Hong Kong, it is felt, we're told, between a rock and a hard place between the United States and between China. Of course, Snowden revealed -- or it was revealed to have told a local newspaper here this morning that the United States and NSA have been hacking into potentially over 900 billion text messages sent by Chinese mobile phones as well as hacking into the computer network.
There's an element here that feels that in Beijing, at least, that this issue of cyber security is a big issue and it should be handled in a responsible way without emotion, and therefore, allowing Edward Snowden to move on and get away from Hong Kong was one way to allow that to happen. But it is a surprise to people in Hong Kong, lawyers, who have been following the legal aspects of this closely. They think perhaps the Hong Kong authorities really kind of opened the door and helped push him out in a way -- Alison.
KOSIK: Nic Robertson in Hong Kong, thanks.
Now, let's go to Phil Black. He's live in Moscow.
Media reports there are saying that Snowden is going to go on from Russia to Venezuela.
Phil, has there been any reaction at this point from the Russian government?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, so far, all we're hearing from the Russian government is they are aware of these media reports, Alison. They're not talking specifically about what they know about Snowden's intentions or what the Russian government reaction will be to those actions, if and when he does get here. Russia has always been on the short list of countries that is said to have been an option for Snowden, if he was looking to place himself somewhere beyond the reach of the United States.
And the response from the Russian government to this speculation has always been that if they receive an asylum claim, they would consider it on its merits based upon the facts. So, not closing the door on it entirely, but at the same time, not willing to say that, yes, Russia is prepared to assist this man -- Alison.
KOSIK: OK. So, Snowden is clearly high interest for anybody in the intelligence community. Any chance the Russians will, let's say, force an extended stopover so they can maybe talk with him?
BLACK: Certainly think they could, or it's perhaps something they would be interested in doing. He's certainly someone they would be interested in spending a degree of time talking to, but I think it's a question of whether or not Russia is prepared to do that. Because if Russia does take advantage of his presence here or assists him in any significant way, there would be, you would think, diplomatic consequences.
So, I think it's a question of whether or not Russia is prepared to aggravate its relationship with the United States in return for whatever possible benefit it believes it can get from assisting or speaking to or debriefing Snowden in any way -- Alison.
KOSIK: OK, Phil Black in Moscow -- thank you.
The departure of Edward Snowden changes the U.S.'s plan for extradition, and for that, I want to bring in White House correspondent Dan Lothian.
Dan, what happens now that he's gone?
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think it all depends on where he ultimately ends up. This is certainly not the way that this administration wanted this all to play out. Administration officials seem somewhat confident in their request to Hong Kong to have Snowden extradited back here to this country. In that request, they were saying that it was based on the charges, the complaint that we saw on Friday.
And in addition to that, they said that it was in accordance with this agreement between the U.S. and Hong Kong for the surrender of fugitive offenders. There was a strongly worded statement from a senior administration official, essentially urging Hong Kong to act quickly. This official saying that if they did not act soon, that it would complicate the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Hong Kong and that it would raise questions about Hong Kong's, quote, "commitment" to the rule of law.
So, again, the United States fully expected that Hong Kong would extradite Snowden back here to this country, and now this further complicates that. KOSIK: Yes, it seems like the U.S. is slowly losing control of this situation. Are you expecting any response from the White House?
LOTHIAN: So far, no response. I've reached out to administration officials. No response yet, but we fully expect that later today we will hear something from the White House.
And also, you know, you look at that statement from Hong Kong, concerns there about the surveillance of Hong Kong and China, and they have requested clarification, they said, based on news reports. They've requested clarification of U.S. officials. So, that's something as well that we expect perhaps U.S. officials will be responding to.
But so far, no reaction yet from the White House or any other U.S. official.
KOSIK: OK, Dan Lothian. Thanks.
All right, our breaking news this morning, the flight of Edward Snowden.
On the phone with us now is Glenn Greenwald. He's the journalist who interviewed Snowden and broke the NSA story in "The Guardian" newspaper.
Glenn, thanks for joining us.
GLENN GREENWALD, THE GUARDIAN (via telephone): Thanks for having me.
KOSIK: Let me start by showing your tweet, where you said that the fact that a person who flies to city X does not mean that it is their intended, ultimate destination. Tell me the latest and what do you mean by that as well?
GREENWALD: The typical response of the U.S. government and various supporters in the media wherever somebody comes forward and shines light on what the U.S. government is doing is to try to demonize them. Some Americans focus on the messenger and not what it is that's being revealed. So, part of that tactic this morning is to try to claim he is no longer a Chinese spy or defected to China, but is instead defecting to Russia or to Cuba.
And it was simply a warning to media outlets not to draw conclusions about what his ultimate intended final destination is simply because he's flying through Moscow and then eventually, according to reports, on to Havana. But that that doesn't necessarily mean that either Russia or Cuba are the countries he intends to go to.
KOSIK: Yes, but everybody speculating where he could be headed to. Could it be Caracas, could it be Cuba, could it be -- you know, where do you think he is headed to? You're in close contact with him, aren't you?
GREENWALD: I have been, but I think, you know, I think rather than sit around playing the game of speculation as though he's driving a white Bronco and we're all chasing him, I think there's a much more serious question which we ought to be asking, especially as journalists, which is, why is an American citizen who has served his government and his country for the last decade, why does he feel compelled to flee when he comes forward and informs the American public about what the U.S. government is doing in the dark, exposing unconstitutional spying on the American people, deceitful statements from high U.S. government officials?
And the answer lies in a "McClatchy" article today that I hope everybody Googles and reads that describes how the Obama administration is waging an unprecedented war on whistleblowers and leakers inside the government, equating them with enemies of the United States and has prosecuted them more aggressively than any prior president in history.
And I think that's what we ought to be asking is why a whistle whistleblower's been treated so perniciously, such persecution, and why does he feel a need to flee the United States.
KOSIK: Glenn, let me ask you this. We see Edward Snowden referred to as a whistleblower in some reports, a leaker in another. What's the difference?
GREENWALD: Well, I think a whistleblower is somebody who exposes things that ought to be exposed in terms of what the most powerful political officials in the country are doing, either wrongdoing on their part, illegality or just deceit.
And if you read "The New York Times" this morning which summarizes what it is that we learned from our reports in "The Guardian" thus far, what you'll see is that he has exposed the fact that James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, lied to congress when he denied that the NSA is spying on millions of people in bulk. That's what he told the Senate.
That turned out to be a lie. As we reported, they're collecting the phone records of millions of Americans all the time.
And then also reported that their spying is probably illegal. It exceeds even the boundaries of the patriot act as understood by its prime sponsor, and the FISA court in 2011 ruled that much of this spying is unconstitutional and illegal, although that opinion remains secret. And so, I think it's classic whistle-blowing, to come forward and say there are things that your government is doing to you that they're lying about and they're keeping from you that you ought to know in a democracy.
KOSIK: Glenn, you don't think that these leaks are putting U.S. national security at risk?
GREENWALD: No, that's ridiculous. Every single time the U.S. government has light shined on what it is they're doing, that's the claim that they make. That's what they've been doing go back to the pentagon papers that showed that the U.S. government was lying to the public about the Vietnam War. They said you're endangering national security. Look at all the reports in "The Guardian." There is nothing in them that revealed anything to the terrorists or the Russian and Chinese governments that they didn't already know. Everyone knows that the U.S. government is trying to spy on the conversations of terrorists. What we revealed is that there are things that the American people didn't know, mainly, that the spying apparatus is directed at them. And the only thing that's been damaged is not U.S. national security but the credibility and reputation of American political officials.
KOSIK: When is the last time you spoke with Edward Snowden and how scared is he?
GREENWALD: I think I spoke with him about 24 to 36 hours ago, and what's remarkable to me and has been remarkable to me the whole time is that although he's very rational and understands exactly the consequences that he has prompted for himself, he has never had any sort of regret or remorse or even fear. He's not scared at all. He feels he absolutely did the right thing in shining the light on the government and in informing his fellow citizens, and he's more than prepared to accept whatever consequences come from that.
KOSIK: All right, so, in that conversation that you had with him, what did he tell you is his next step?
GREENWALD: Well, he's my source. He's continuing to work with me on the stories that we've been writing.
And so, I am not going to divulge the conversations I've had with him about his plans or intentions, but he's been clear from the start that his goal is to remain part of this debate, to be able to defend himself, to participate in the ongoing debate about surveillance policies.
And he knows that if he ends up in the clutches of the U.S. government, they're going to put him in a cage and silence him and prevent him from being heard, like they've done to Bradley Manning and to other whistleblowers. So, he definitely intends to remain free for as long as he can, as any person would.
KOSIK: One last question for you: how is Edward Snowden paying for all this? Where is he getting the money to move about, to remain free?
GREENWALD: Well, he has been working at some fairly lucrative jobs for the last three years. He worked for Booz Allen Hamilton. Prior to that, he worked for Dell. He was making $150,000 to $200,000 a year, with bonuses up to $200,000.
So, as far as I know, he's been financing it himself all with his own money, on his credit cards. I don't know how he's financing it now. I haven't asked him, but it's very possible he has financed it himself. He's far from impoverished.
KOSIK: But he's traveling with WikiLeaks legal advisers at this moment. So, I'm sure that's not free, or maybe is WikiLeaks funding him? GREENWALD: He is not impoverished. He's been very gainfully employed over the last several years, and purchasing a plane ticket is hardly beyond the ability of somebody who has earned the salaries that he's earned.
KOSIK: OK. Glenn Greenwald, thanks so much for your time this morning.
GREENWALD: My pleasure. Thank you.
KOSIK: Supporters of Snowden gave House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi an earful. She was speaking at an event in San Jose, California, yesterday, when she mentioned Snowden and got this reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: As far as Snowden, he did -- and I may be in disagreement with you -- he did violate the law in terms of releasing those documents. We don't know --
PELOSI: I understand. I understand. I understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Pelosi was at Netroots Nation. That's a gathering of liberal activists and bloggers. And before the Snowden comments that she made, Pelosi actually got a standing ovation.
KOSIK: Want to see something cool? Go outside and look at the sky. Really, do it, but come back and watch me.
This weekend, the world is getting a chance to see a rare sight known as a super moon -- the time when the moon is full and at its closest point to the Earth. In fact, this year's magic moment occurs in just a few minutes around 7:32 Eastern Time. According to that, a super moon can appear upwards of 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons.
Now, earlier, I spoke with astronomer Phil Platt about this rare feat of lunar synchronicity.
PHL PLATT, ASTRONOMER: We get a full moon once a month. The moon orbits the earth once a month. And so, every time the moon and the sun line up just right, we're seeing the full moon, the entire surface of the moon lit up by the sun, at least, the entire surface that we can see, the half that faces us.
So, that happens all the time, and it's always very pretty, quite beautiful. You can go out and see that. But the moon orbits the earth on an ellipse, so sometimes it's a little bit closer than the earth and sometimes it's a little bit farther away. And if you get a full moon when it's a little bit closer, the moon is going to look a little bit bigger in the sky. That's what's happening on June 23rd. The moon is going to be in the part of its orbit where it's closer to the earth, and so it's going to look bigger in the sky.
But the question is, how much bigger? And the answer is not very much. So, if you were to go out, say last month and look at the moon and this month and look at the moon, it's only going to be 1 percent bigger, 1 percent, not even.
So, you're not going to see any difference with your own eye. On the other hand, the full moon is really pretty. So I would absolutely encourage people to go out and take a look anyway, because it's nice to look at.
KOSIK: You say one of the first things that you happen to do every day is you actually look up into the sky every day. So, what's so cool about the moon?
PLATT: Well, everything! First of all, it's the nearest object in the universe to us, the moon and then Venus, Mars, Mercury, the sun. But the moon is very close and it's orbiting the earth. So, it's easiest for us to study. And we can learn, historically, we learned about gravity, we learned about geometry because of the moon. We could figure out its distance even before the telescope was invented.
But if you go out and look at the moon every day, it's different. It rises at a different time, it's in a different part of the sky, it's showing a different phase. If it's in one part of the sky, the sun is lighting it up and it looks full. It's in another part of the sky, it's only half full, so you only see a quarter moon.
There are a lot of different phases, a lot of different features on it, too. It's a giant airless rock, it's been slammed by asteroid impacts for the past 4 billion years by rock, so you can see features that change every day with the eye and if you have binoculars or even a small telescope, it's fantastic, it's beautiful. You can see craters, mountains, shadows that change all the time. It's really a tremendous thing to go out and take a look at it.
KOSIK: And just ahead, tragedy at an air show this weekend. Two people were killed, including a skilled stunt woman.
Plus, police say he's not a suspect, but investigators searched the home of an NFL star for a second time. We're going to have details on the Massachusetts murder investigation.
KOSIK: An air show will go on today in Dayton, even though it ended tragically yesterday with the crash of a stunt plane. The biplane slammed into the ground just after it rolled over with a wing walker on board. The stunt woman and the pilot were both killed. Federal investigators are expected to take a closer look to determine what exactly went wrong.
The home of New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez searched again this weekend as police investigate the killing of a friend of his who was found shot to death a half mile away. Police dogs and officers in latex gloves could be seen entering the home and leaving with brown paper evidence bags. But Hernandez has not been named a suspect and it's not clear what investigators were looking for.
Now to Canada, where rivers are bursting at their seams, forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate so far. The flooding has devastated Calgary and surrounding areas. Now the rush of water is targeting more communities. Three people have died in the floodwater.
And look at this. The state-up of the NHL's Calgary Flames is flooded up to the eighth row. Calgary's mayor says the flow of water is slowing down and some people can start to return home.
Coming up, his great grandfather died after falling off a tight rope. Now, Nik Wallenda attempts a death-defying stunt over the Grand canyon.
KOSIK: OK, let's get you caught up with some breaking news this morning.
Admitted NSA leaker Edward Snowden is on his way to Russia right now, apparently with help from WikiLeaks. He left on a flight from Hong Kong earlier this morning. Formal charges from the U.S. government were revealed late Friday. We're going to go ahead and keep you updated on this breaking news story throughout the morning.
Tonight, daredevil Nik Wallenda is going to try to become the first man to tight rope walk across the Grand Canyon with no safety harness. Last summer, he crossed the Niagara Falls wearing a tether. Wallenda is the great grandson of Karl Wallenda, a famous acrobat who plunged to his death. Four other family members have died while performing. Wallenda says they're his inspiration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIK WALLENDA, ACTROBAT AND AERILIST: When you're walking at a height greater than the Empire State Building, it can play tricks on your mind. So it's important that I'm always in charge of those thoughts. One of the big challenges leading up to a walk like this is all the media that wants to talk about the doom and gloom.
This is real, this is untethered. This is not like Niagara Falls where my network said you have to wear a tether. This is with the Discovery Channel and they believe in me and they're allowing me no tether.
So this is life or death, this crossing, and it's important that I'm mentally in control of everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KOSIK: Want to see it? "Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda" airs tonight on the Discovery Channel.
LeBron James is on top of the world this week, winning his second NBA championship Thursday night in Miami, but the king took time off from celebrating to speak with CNN's very own Rachel Nichols, his only big TV interview since the win. Check out this quick taste of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: My youngest son, Bryce Maximus, I asked him, I was like, hey, what do I need to do to win tonight? And he said play hard. That's exactly what he said. I said, that's it? He's like, yep, just play hard.
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: He's 5 years old?
JAMES: Just turned 6 on the 14th. So, he's like, "just play hard," and I was like, wow, OK. I guess there it is.
NICHOLS: Sometimes it's that simple.
JAMES: It's sometimes that simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: I know you want more. Catch "NEW DAY" tomorrow for the full one-on-one interview.
Bigger, brighter, closer. If you've looked up in the sky recently, you may have noticed just how big the moon looks, and the super moon is about to reach its peak any moment now.
Meteorologist Alexandra Steele in our weather center with more.
Alexandra, what is it about the moon that's so special? I'm talking about the super moon?
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's actually a super super moon. You know, what's happening, if you've got a couple seconds when I'm done kind of explaining, go outside, put your coffee down and just take a look out. What it is is two full. It's when the moon is at perigee, which is on its elliptical rotation around the earth, it's at its closest point, check.
Ad then in addition to that, it's also a full moon. So, it is bigger and it is brighter than we typically see, about 14 percent bigger. And it's much brighter. When you look out there, too, you can kind of see the dark undulations on it. It's pretty spectacular.
And what's most spectacular, and when it's most spectacular is right now, because it's just setting and it's at the horizon line, Alison. So, it's really quite beautiful. So, a few things coming together to make this a super moon, the brightest, the biggest, and that's what you're seeing in there.
KOSIK: Full moon looking fabulous. Alexandra, thank you.
KOSIK: And I'm going to see you back here at the top of the hour, 8:00 Eastern. But first, the bully at home -- when does sibling aggression cross the line?
"SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." starts now.