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U.S. Closes Embassies Across Middle East and North Africa; Man Runs Down Pedestrians on Venice Boardwalk; Alex Rodriguez Facing Possible Suspension; Time Warner Cable and CBS Battle Over Fees

Aired August 5, 2013 - 07:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an effort to terrorize us to drive us out of the Mid-East. We have to show resolve, but we have to be smart.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Terror plot. The most specific since 9/11. The U.S. shutting down embassies across the Middle East and North Africa for a week. New details on the al Qaeda intercepts that prompted the unprecedented action.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Blackout. One major cable company takes the nuclear option, pulling all CBS channels from its lineup. Millions affected and this battle could impact your cable bill.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Was he robbed or just a sore loser? The debate raging over this kid's jeopardy contestant who says Alex Trebek and company were way too hard on him.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: What you need to know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bodies were scattering and bodies were flying through the air and people were screaming. It was absolute mayhem.

ANNOUNCER: What you just have to see.

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


CUOMO: Good morning, everybody. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Monday, August 5th, 7:00 in the East. I'm Chris Cuomo.

BOLDUAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We're joined by news anchor, Michaela Pereira.

Welcome up in this hour, including a man is in custody this morning believed to be the driver behind the wheel in the shocking hit and run caught on video. One woman was killed, 11 others on injured. And witnesses say it looks like the driver was going out of his way to hit people. We have the developing details for you. CUOMO: And some video that we're just starting to see too often around here. Three teens dealing out a savage beating to another student on a school bus. Everyone is asking, why didn't the driver step in to help? But is that a fair question? We're going to hear his side this morning. We're also going to ask about parental responsibility when these things happen.

PEREIRA: And lucky, lucky Kate. She gets to sit down with Matt Damon and talk all about his new sci-fi thriller "Elysium," explain what it took to get in shape for the film, and we will find out what -- great conversation, I'm sure.

BOLDUAN: Great conversation. A lot going on with him and it was a really fun interview, actually. So, we're going to have that coming up.

But first up, the big headline this morning. Concerns over a possible al Qaeda attack as U.S. embassies and consulates in the Middle East and Northern Africa closing their doors through Saturday. And the U.S., not alone, British, French and German governments are also shutting down embassies in Yemen for security reasons.

Let's go live to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for the latest on this security threat. It's not over, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely not, Kate. You know, it did begin over the weekend with 22 U.S. embassies and consulates around the world being shut down as we now learn more details here at CNN. Those details are chilling.


STARR (voice-over): The CIA and the National Security Agency had been secretly monitoring intelligence tips for weeks. There were indications of a possible terrorist attack in Yemen, a strong hold of one of al Qaeda's deadliest affiliates. Alarm bells went off across Washington when a crucial message was intercepted involving communications in the last several days amongst senior al Qaeda operatives.

REP. PETER KING, (R-NY) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: And this is your wake-up call. Al Qaeda is in many ways stronger than it was before 9/11.

STARR: Final planning for an attack may be complete. Dozens of U.S. intelligence analysts are urgently scouring databases, telephone intercepts, and websites for clues. The U.S. response, going beyond a worldwide travel warning and closing embassies across the Middle East and North Africa.

After meeting with commanders, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered U.S. forces in Spain and Italy on to a higher state of alert. 1500 marines on board three Navy warships in the red sea will now remain off the coast of Yemen ready to react.

CNN has agreed to an administration official's request to withhold details of the intercept that helped trigger the response because the information is so sensitive. But the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee confirms it's the controversial NSA electronic surveillance program that picked up the alarming terrorist chatter.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS, (R-GA) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What we have heard is some specifics on what's intended to be done and some individuals who are making plans such as we saw before 9/11.


STARR: So how serious this morning is all of this? We learned that late Saturday night, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel telephoned Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the latest intelligence. Chris

CUOMO: All right, Barbara, thank you very much.

So let's assess how serious are these threats? Let's bring in Fran Townsend, CNN's national security analyst. She's a member of the CIA external advisory board. Great to have you back, Fran. Now, one of the frustrations that we're getting from people is what is the threat? Where is it going to happen? What is it? Obviously there is more that is known than is being told. Help us through it.

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Sure. What we know is there's been a lot of activity overseas. So we've seen Zawahiri's video challenging the imprisonment of Muslims. We have the jail breaks across the Middle East, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, more than 2,000. You've got the announcement by Zawahiri of the head of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen group, becoming the operational leader of their group. And we've seen increased drone strikes in Yemen.

So this clearly is focused, the threat as we understand it, overseas. Has local law enforcement been briefed? Absolutely. And you may see here at home just as a precaution additional steps and security measures.

BOLDUAN: And you mentioned the prison breaks. It's been really, especially over the last month, a rash of prison breaks that they're link to go Al Qaeda. Is there a clear link between the prison breaks and this current threat?

TOWNSEND: You know, Kate, what we heard in the wake of 9/11 was the inability of the government to connect the dots. Do we know for sure that these things are related? No. But they're the kinds of dots that the government is looking at and saying we've got presume a certain connection and look at the threat coupled with what we know now are the intercepted classified communications.

CUOMO: Now, are we looking at specific sensitive dates? Last night, this is the month of Ramadan. It's a high holy month, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Last night was a night of power, a big night for them. And it's I believe something that we were looking at to see if there would be action around it. So far, so good, except for this train explosion we've heard about in Pakistan. TOWNSEND: That's right. So there was a train traveling from Lahore in the north of Pakistan down to Karachi, the major southern port of Pakistan, and there was a train explosion. We're not aware of any casualties yet. We don't know if it's linked. But the interesting thing in the counterterrorism community of course, is that Al Qaeda has been known to target transportation. During 9/11, it was planes. But London has seen train bombings and bus bombings. Madrid, there was a bombing by Al Qaeda. So the counterterrorism community is looking at this to try and figure out whether or not this is linked in any way.

BOLDUAN: And you've mentioned it's not just for obvious security reasons that the government has announced publicly and been looking at the closure of these embassies and there is a real threat out there. You also say there's a strategic reason in announcing it publicly. What do you mean by that?

TOWNSEND: So when you announce this, you put the bad guys on notice that you have a level of awareness of their coming activity, and more likely than not, it delays them. Every delay is an advantage for the good guys who are trying to capture and disrupt this plot. So you are looking to buy time so you can do things like drone strikes in Yemen, and you can do sort of the intelligence collection that may allow you to slow them down and thwart the thick.

CUOMO: Informing of all this stuff is always part of a calculus. How much do you tell? What do you let them think you know? So obviously there's a game afoot. Hopefully the good guys win it. Fran, thank you very much.

TOWNSEND: Thanks a lot, great to be with you.

BOLDUAN: To California now where police say a suspect is in custody in that horrific hit and run in Venice Beach that happened over the weekend. A car plowing into a crowd on the iconic Venice Boardwalk, killing one person and injuring 11 more. Now witnesses are saying that it looked like the driver was trying to hit them on purpose. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles with the very latest. Good morning, Paul.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And good morning, Kate. The suspect now being held in a downtown Los Angeles jail on a $1 million bond after this rampage in a car.


VERCAMMEN: Surveillance video taken from a nearby restaurant shows the suspect's car plowing into people on the crowded Venice Boardwalk and swerving around barriers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just drove and took that left turn down the center of the boardwalk and just started driving and bodies were scattering and bodies were flying in the air and people were screaming, and it was absolute mayhem.

VERCAMMEN: A second camera angle shows the driver getting outs of his car, apparently casing the popular boardwalk. He gets back into the sedan and floors it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had to have pressed his foot to the gas -- you know, pedal to the metal, because the tires started screeching and he was looking for blood. He was looking for blood. That guy's intention was to kill people.

VERCAMMEN: An Italian tourist on her honeymoon was killed and 11 others injured in a scene a quarter mile long. The suspect is 38- year-old Nathan Campbell of Los Angeles. Just two hours after this horrifying hit and run, Campbell surrendered to police in neighboring Santa Monica. Authorities say he told them, I think you're looking for me.

The woman killed is Alice Gruppioni, 32 years old from Italy. The Italian consulate Gruppioni and her husband were married July 20 and that the new groom was by her side at the time of the accident and tried to pull his wife away from the speeding car. If there is a motive in this carnage, police aren't saying right now. But they did say Campbell was bent on evil.


VERCAMMEN: And a little more on the victim and her husband. He is said to be physically fine, but not mentally. We understand from talking to people here at the Italian consulate in Los Angeles, you can hear this woman, she was weeping. She said they were wrapping up the Los Angeles leg of their honeymoon and were next headed Tahiti.

CUOMO: Terrible. Paul, thank you.

Let's move on now to Major League Baseball. We hear they're expected to suspend Alex Rodriguez this afternoon, but he still insists he'll be on the field for the Yankees tonight. A-Rod's suspension will likely be for the rest of the season and all of 2014 for his alleged involvement with performance enhancing drugs. Rachel Nichols is here with the latest. Great to have you back. Question -- do you believe A-Rod's resistance is making his situation better or worse?

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, look, there is definitely people who were not happy with him over the weekend after hearing his scorched earth press conference Friday night. But the truth is it doesn't really matter. If they couldn't reach an agreement on the suspension and an agreement for him not to appeal, the process is going to go how it's going to go.

The question is, how are they going to suspend him? If they do it under the regular drug policy, he can play what while he's appealing. He's entitled to. And you'll see the Yankees, because they can't legally keep him off the field, you'll see them say all the right things about how he is their teammate and they're welcoming him back.

Now, if the commissioner uses his special powers to see what's best for the best interest of the game is that he's off the field, well, he's appealing and then you could get a legal fight. A-Rod's lawyers could file an injunction, and baseball has to decide do they want to courts involved in this? BOLDUAN: It's not just A-Rod. He's arguably the biggest name, but there are other players. But this is a huge moment for Major League Baseball. They could be mission a lot of players.

NICHOLS: This could be the largest performance enhancing drugs scandal in U.S. sports history. We're expecting around a dozen players to be suspended today and stars like the tiger's Johnny Peralta, or the tm Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz. And the big question is, what are those guys going to do? Are they going to accept their suspensions like Ryan Braun, or are they going to say the Alex Rodriguez route and fight it? And for a guy like Nelson Cruz, whose team is headed for the playoffs, do you take a suspension now, not play the next 50 games but be back for the playoffs, but maybe your team doesn't make it there without you, or do you fight and you can play while you're appealing? But then maybe if this whole gets pushed back and your appeal is upheld, then maybe you miss the playoffs? It's a sticky situation.

CUOMO: And then under the categories of why A-Rod, is anybody facing what he's facing in terms of severity?

NICHOLS: No. There is no question he is their biggest target. He will tell you that's personal. They will tell you ta that is because he is a multiple offender in their eyes. No, he's never been gotten under the drug policy before, but they feel that he not only violated the drug policy, he then tried to go around and buy up evidence against him. And they say that he also lied to them, and for them it makes him maybe a two or three-time offender in their eyes. We'll have to see if an arbitrator holds all that up and where this goes from here. It's going to get ugly.

BOLDUAN: It's gotten personal on both sides. A-Rod clearly thinks it's a personal attack against him and it almost seems like Bud Selig thinks it's a permanent attack against him at this point.

NICHOLS: Absolutely. You've got Alex Rodriguez looking into cameras and saying, hey, they're plotting against me. If you're the guy on the other end, you're going to take that personally.

CUOMO: It's $34 million in salary if he's gone this year. That can change the bottom line for a team, even the Yankees.

BOLDUAN: Rachel, thank you so much. We'll see how it goes this morning.

There's a lot of news developing at this hour. Let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: Good morning, guys. Good morning to you at home. Making news, Iran may be trying a new way to build a nuclear bomb. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting Tehran could begin producing weapons grade plutonium within a year. Until now the White House has been focused primarily on Iran's uranium enrichment program. Plutonium is produced in heavy water reactors that are much easier targets than Iran's underground uranium facilities, and that is raising new security fears in Washington. A potential lethal chemical leak forcing the evacuation of about 100 homes in central Louisiana after a trail derails. Sodium hydroxide, which could be deadly if inhaled or touched, is reportedly leaking from one train car that jumped the tracks. A second car is leaking lubricant oil. But the leaks have been contained. The amounts were reportedly quite small. A total of 20 cars jumped those tracks.

Closing arguments today in James Whitey Bulger's murder and racketeering trial. Bulger is accused of 19 murders and 13 counts of extortion and money laundering. On Friday, Bulger said he would not testify, calling the trial "a sham."

San Diego's mayor Bob Filner begins two weeks of threat today as he face a sexual harassment lawsuit. Over the weekend, a tenth woman came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct. She claims he tried to make a move on her a couple months ago in church. His other accusers include a university dean, a retired Navy officer, and his former communications director.

All right, here we go, a little adorable video for you. Adorable pugs, an emotional reaction while watching a movie about another dog. It's at the end of "Homeward Bound, The Incredible Journey." It looks like the dog character has hurt himself and dies, but the dog comes back. And the dog named Pugsley, very happy to see it. Happy may not actually be the word. But he, like, reacts.

CUOMO: Is that dog TV he's watching?

PEREIRA: This is a precursor to dog TV.

CUOMO: What was the other pug in the corner? Was that a stuff pug?

PEREIRA: I think it's a picture of Pugsly.

PEREIRA: I was trying to look closely to say is that dog breathing?

CUOMO: That would have been the mystery clue on today's edition of NEW DAY. Where was the other dog in the picture?

PEREIRA: A cutout of himself. That's hilarious.

BOLDUAN: Don't we all?

PEREIRA: Maybe. Maybe I do.

BOLDUAN: Let's get a check of the weather and what your week will look like. Let's get straight over to Indra Petersons in the Weather Center.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, I've got some great video for you guys. We all know to stay off the beach during a thunderstorm because of lightning. But how about a gustnado? Look at this. We'r talking 40-50 mile per hour winds out there literally picking up everyone's umbrellas and throwing them around. Actually, a teenage boy unfortunately got injured in this incident. So what is a gustando? Well, we're talking about a strong down-draft out of a thunderstorm. You can almost see like the backwards-shaped C here. The front leading edge of those straight line (ph) winds out of the down-drop, that can cause that little gustnado and that's what they saw yesterday. So once again in Florida, getting its wild, wacky weather throughout the summer.

Now we still have severe weather out there. We have Tropical Depression Gil, that's the good news, you can barely see the remnants here continuing to weaken. So that's the good news, 30 mile per hour wind. But what is behind Gil is the next storm. And yes, we remain so active so early on. We have our next storm already. 50 per hour winds is our steady wind.

Now Henriette is expected to strengthen. It's moving quite slow to the west at 7 miles per hour, but as it does so, we're expecting it strengthen now into a Category 1 hurricane. Reason for that, we have warm waters in this vicinity; eventually it'll get to cooler waters so it will weaken to a Tropical Storm. But there you go again with the path, heading towards Hawaii. It's something we will be monitoring here as we go throughout the week.

As far as severe weather, we're on this trend, right? Severe weather today, we're looking for thunderstorms and even an isolated tornado not out of the question - anywhere from Montana down through Kansas today. So strong winds and hail also there.

And then of course you can't eliminate the southeast because, yes, it is summer and apparently that just means rain for the southeast. One to 3 inches still in the forecast for you. And then I love the northeast because I love to end on the yay, the good note. Beautiful for us, temperatures like 5 degrees below normal, 70s. All good. We like.

CUOMO: You had me a gustnado.

PETERSONS: Yes, right? Not Sharknado, gustnado.

CUOMO: Gustnado, when combined with a Sharknado, one of the deadliest things known.

BOLDUAN: It's epic. It's the only thing we can say about.

CUOMO: Happened only twice in American history, the combination of gust and Sharknado.

BOLDUAN: We have -- we couldn't even start the week out without a Sharknado reference.

CUOMO: Just want you to be informed and aware, that's all.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thank you for setting him off on the Sharknado.

PETERSONS: Yep, any time.

CUOMO: As we go to break, check outside your window to make sure there is no gustnado nor Sharknado. And then if you make it back, on the show after the break we will have the latest on these two massive companies that are getting down and dirty. Guess who loses? You. That's for sure. We'll give you the details. Three million viewers, eight of the biggest cities, caught in the crossfire between Time Warner Cable -- different than CNN's parent company -- and CBS. Your question is obvious. When are our shows coming back on? We'll get you the answer.

BOLDUAN: Plus, also ahead, a horrific beating on the school bus. A camera caught it all. Well, so did the bus driver. So why didn't he stop it? That's one of the questions being asked this morning.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everybody. It is Money Time.

Remember the rabbit ears, the antennas that you had on top of your TV that you threw out long ago because you'd never need them again? Three million people in eight cities need to put rabbit ears on their TV to watch their favorite CBS. And if you subscribe to Time Warner Cable, this is what you're seeing right now where CBS, you know, the morning shows, whatever you want to watch, it's a cartoon.


CUOMO: And that's what you'll keep seeing until Time Warner Cable and CBS iron out their differences.

Alison Kosik is here. Now, cartoons in the summer with kids home from school, maybe not a bad play, but obviously not what's intended.

KOSIK: Yes, but Chris, come on. The clock is ticking on this one because football season is right around the corner so it's time for them to get their act together. And just to show you how contentious is getting, Time Warner Cable and CBS, they can't even agree if talks are still ongoing. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal". And you know what the real rub here is? As they duke it out, it's the viewers who caught in the middle.


KOSIK (voice-over): The message from Time Warner Cable to CBS is clear, but it's subscribers who aren't getting the picture. The cable provider failing to reach an agreement with CBS over the fees to rebroadcast its programming, implementing a blackout of all CBS-owned channels on Friday afternoon.

ANNOUNCER: All the Showtime channels you chose and paid for, gone.

KOSIK: In a letter to viewers, Time Warner Cable called CBS's demands outrageous and the actions taken crucial. Last night, popular shows like "60 minutes" on the CBS network, "Dexter" and "Ray Donovan" on Showtime, off the air for Time Warner Cable customers. Will shows like "The Late Show" and "Under the Dome" be back on tonight?

BRIAN STELTER, MEDIA REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: Time Warner Cable definitely risks losing subscribers by having this blackout going on for days and days. All weekend, call centers were overwhelmed. In some cases, Time Warner Cable will probably give some angry customers some discounts. It wouldn't hurt to call.

KOSIK: Time Warner Cable is even suggesting subscribers go back to the days of antennas or subscribe to a service like Aereo, which streams live broadcast online for $8 a month. But that option adds more fuel to the fire.

STELTER: CBS is trying to sue to Aereo out of existence. But right now, it's losing in the courts in New York and it says if it continues to lose in the courts, it may take CBS off the broadcast airwaves entirely. It may convert CBS into a cable channel. The broadcast networks are at a disadvantage when they allow their signals to be broadcast for free when they're trying to get higher and higher fees for programming.


KOSIK (on camera): And so it's a big, fat question mark when this is going to be resolved. And if you're a Time Warner subscriber and you think you can get around this blackout by going online to watch anything, think again. CBS has blocked you from accessing its shows there until this battle is over.

Now I also have to mention that Time Warner Cable is not a part of Time Warner, which is the owner of CNN.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk more about this. Joining us to tale more about this dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS is CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar. Great to see you.

So contract disputes like this between content creators, content distributors, not new. But why has this one gone so far?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, I think the stakes are big because the players are so big. CBS is in a very usual position, frankly, amongst major broadcasters. It's had an incredibly successful few years; it has some of the top shows in the country. It's number one amongst large broadcasters in the 18 to 49 category, which is topped for advertisers. So it can afford to act like it's still in the 1990s when TV was much more flush, frankly, and when advertising dollars were bigger. I think it has a once in a five-year chance now to renegotiate and to really use that muscle.

KOSIK: But who's pushing the envelope too far this far at this point?

FOROOHAR: Well, that's the big question and I think that viewers are furious with both sides. Both sides are taking to the press. They're advertising their case. CBS is telling viewers to call Time Warner Cable and complain. I think ultimately viewers tend to sympathize more with the content producers, the people that make their top shows that they enjoy, versus the people that own the pipes.

But at the end of the day, what you may see is viewers starting to go look to the Internet, starting to change their viewing habits, which is already happening. I mean, shows like, for example, "Orange is the New Black," which is produced by Netflix, you can stream that right away. That is where all this is going and that may be the bigger fight to come.

PEREIRA: It strikes me as a dangerous fight for them to have because we have a whole new generation of people who are not used to going to their televisions to watch content. They're looking at it on iPads and other digital providers.

FOROOHAR: That's right. And if you think about the way we all -- or at least I like watch television, sometimes you want to binge watch. You want to sit down and watch 12 episodes in a row. Not saying I ever do that, but --

CUOMO: The timing (ph) here is relevant also, right? Even though it seems very urgent, we're making it very urgent, this is the time to do it, let's be honest. Football is coming, but it's preseason. Those games don't rate. This isn't the fall schedule when all your big shows are on. So it's a little bit of gamesmanship here, also, right?

FOROOHAR: There is. Timing is everything. I think that everyone agrees this is going to get resolved within the next six weeks because nobody wants to not have viewers for the NFL season.

KOSIK: Six weeks, wow.

BOLDUAN: But in the end, is it the consumer that's going to pay no matter what? They're paying -- they're the ones losing right now because they're not seeing the programs that they want to see on CBS, but are they also going to pay in the end because is this just going to end up meaning a higher cable bill?

FOROOHAR: Absolutely. And I think that's why you're seeing local politicians, you know, in New York, there have been calls for hearings about this because local government actually regulates cable fees. People do feel that they're paying too much right now and they're probably going to have to pay more in the end.

BOLDUAN: All right, Rana, great to see you. Alison, thanks so much. Not over yet, that's for sure.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, disturbing video from the school bus. We've been looking at this this morning. Three teenagers punching and stomping a younger boy. Why didn't the bus driver step in? That's what some are asking. We're going to hear from him in just a moment.

CUOMO: And later, I'll take Jeopardy! controversies for a hundred. One tiny mistake cost a kid contestant a small fortoon (sic). But was the show being fair or not? We'll talk about it.