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THE SITUATION ROOM
Massive Flooding; New Revelations on Government Spying; Hunt for Jim DiMaggio Continues
Aired August 8, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: deadly flooding and dangerous rescues. We're going to show you dramatic escapes with just seconds to spare.
Plus, a teenager accused of spray-painting graffiti gets chased by police and winds up dead. Did a Taser do that? It's only supposed to stun him, but did it actually kill him?
And a U.S. Navy attack sub is damaged by fire. Now it's being sunk by forced budget cuts. It's a $400 million mess.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
One minute, they were sitting in their cars, or boats, or homes. The next minute, they were trapped by rising floodwaters. Heavy rains have drenched parts of the Central Plains and the South, and some big cities in the Northeast may be next. At least two people have been killed. Dozens have been evacuated or rescued.
CNN's Brian Todd is here with a wrap on what has been going on from this flood damage.
It's pretty extreme.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very extreme, Wolf. You know, over the past couple of days, the South has been absolutely pummeled by very sudden, very heavy, sometimes even violent rain.
We are zigzagging through the region with some of the most dramatic images. The really telling part of this story, in so many places, swiftwater rescues had to take place, responders grabbing people sometimes with just seconds to spare.
TODD (voice-over): In Nashville, first-responders in waist-deep water carry an infant to safety in a car seat. Scenes like this played out all over the Southern U.S., as torrential rains slammed the region, causing flash floods and dozens of swiftwater rescues. These residents in Nashville waited to be picked up on their roofs.
In another area of the city, one survivor's chest deep in the water while another swims past him to get to a car. This girl got a piggyback ride. (on camera): This was a widely traveling set of storm bands, northwest of Nashville. In Hollister, Missouri, a local fire chief says more than a dozen people had to be rescued from a mobile home park, and at least two mobile homes were washed away. North of there, in Waynesville, Missouri, a 4-year-old boy was killed inside a vehicle.
This video shows some of the worst damage from two days of flooding there.
(voice-over): Houses, vehicles were submerged in Waynesville. Clinging to her infant daughter, resident Jennifer Ellis was overwhelmed.
JENNIFER ELLIS, FLOOD VICTIM: I want to cry. That's all I can say is I want to cry. I don't know. I have never had to deal with anything like this. I grabbed clothes and diapers, and that was it.
TODD: In Marietta, Georgia, rescuers struggled to get into their boat so they could rescue Charles Wiginton. They got him and his dogs out of his home, but he says he may never come back.
CHARLES WIGINTON, FLOOD VICTIM: I don't know. I can't live here no more. I mean, I'm through.
TODD (on camera): From Northern Georgia, we take you to the northwest corner of Arkansas, where the towns of Bella Vista and Avoca were blasted with severe, sudden rainfall. As this video shows, the water submerged streets and a golf course in a matter of minutes.
(voice-over): Avoca resident Celina Undernehr says her father woke her up at 5:00 in the morning, told her to get her belongings on her bed. Listen to her description of just how violent the flooding was in her home.
CELINA UNDERNEHR, FLOOD VICTIM: By the time he said we had to get out, we were in the kitchen, and the glass started falling off the walls and the fridge flipped backwards and busted.
TODD: In many areas, people were either caught suddenly in their vehicles or tried to drive on roads that were too deeply flooded.
TODD: Experts say that's a common mistake made by people in so many situations like this. In a flash flood, they are driving, they come across a flooded portion of a roadway, sometimes thinking there's not much more than a large puddle in front of them, and then their car is submerged, Wolf.
I have seen it many, many times in hurricanes and in situations like this.
BLITZER: Speaking of hurricanes, we're getting an update now on the current hurricane season, what we can expect.
TODD: We sure are.
The government's forecasting agency, NOAA, now says there is a 70 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. Now, a normal season might bring six hurricanes with three of them above Category 3 or higher, but NOAA now says this season could bring as many as nine hurricanes and five of them could be major in the Atlantic Corridor here.
BLITZER: The season still under way. We have got a few months to go.
BLITZER: All right, Brian, thanks very much for that report.
Other news we're following, including new revelations right now about government spying on Americans. "The New York Times" reports the NSA is looking at the content of vast amounts of e-mail and text messages coming in and out of the United States, casting a wider net than previously thought.
We already knew that the government could look at the communications of Americans sending messages to a foreign target under surveillance overseas, but "The New York Times" reports Americans who merely make a reference to a foreign target may have their messages monitored, even if they're not directly communicating with that target.
Let's bring in our CNN national security analyst, Fran Townsend. She's the former Bush homeland security adviser. She's also a member of the CIA's External Advisory Board.
So, does this so-called wider net mean that the government really is spying on a large number of Americans, Fran?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: You know, Wolf, this is a highly technical program, and so it's difficult.
Many of us are constrained about what we can say about it. But I will tell you, reading "The New York Times" story, I think what you have got to remember, and the president has talked about this, the White House and the director of national intelligence , the rules that govern the administration, the executive branch and intelligence community's ability to do this program, the rules that sort of set forth kind of what you can look at and when and how are reviewed by this secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, even when there is not a specific warrant that may be required.
You know, people go to great pains to make the point that if you're targeting an American citizen, you need a warrant for that, and if you inadvertently collect an American's communications that are not relevant, they have got to be erased. There are what's called minimization procedures to protect American communications.
And, so, Wolf, there's a lot of infrastructure and rules and procedures around this. I will tell you, the NSA for years has been really very disciplined about not wanting to inadvertently or inappropriately collect the communications of Americans.
BLITZER: The argument on the other side, though, Fran, and you have heard it, is that this FISA court system that has to approve this kind of surveillance is merely a rubber stamp for the NSA, for the federal government, because they almost always -- they rarely reject any request and then it has become for all practical purposes, the critics claim, a rubber stamp. What say you?
TOWNSEND: Well, Wolf, I will tell you, I ran that unit in the Justice Department for several years, and I just think that that statistic, that they rarely deny one is a red herring.
Those of us who have worked inside this system can tell you that when a judge reviews an application and he has a question, he or she has a question about it, they will return it and they will tell the government what more they want to see in there if it's available, and they won't approve it if they're not satisfied.
Frequently, then, what happens is the government will take it back, will add additional information as requested by the court and then return it to the court, and there's no way of capturing that statistic, because, ultimately, that appears in the statistics as an approval, but there's an awful lot of give and take.
The affiant, the FBI agent, for example, may be asked to go back and collect or see if there is additional information that can be added to strengthen the application, and that give-and-take is actually more frequent than I think people understand.
BLITZER: Fran Townsend, thanks very much. Fran Townsend's our national security analyst.
A teenager's family is demanding answers about his death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFIR HERNANDEZ, SISTER: He was an amazing artist, a very passionate person, very passionate artist, and that it's unfair to end his life for something he loved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Up next, a young man, a wall of graffiti and a police Taser. His family believes that's what killed him.
And a police chief gets suspended for shooting off guns and his mouth in an angry video rant. Scared residents say he needs to go for good.
BLITZER: There are questions and a lot of controversy right now swirling around the death of a Florida teenager who died after being Tasered by police in Miami.
Officials are saying little about the case, but the teen's family is speaking out to CNN.
Adriana Hauser of CNN en Espanol is working the story for us in Miami.
Adriana is joining us now. What are you finding out?
ADRIANA HAUSER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf.
Well, Israel Hernandez was known as an artist. I visited his family this morning, and as you can imagine, they are very, very shaken up. Their home was covered in Israel's art, and that is exactly what his family says he was doing when he died.
HAUSER (voice-over): Israel Hernandez's family is devastated. They left Colombia about six years ago, hoping to live in a country that they consider safer than theirs. Now one of their loved ones is dead, and the family is asking for justice.
ISRAEL HERNANDEZ, FATHER (through translator): I find the strength in my hope for justice. We are in a country that defends human rights, a country that sets an example and dares to ask other countries that use excessive force. That is my son's case, excessive force.
O. HERNANDEZ: He was an amazing artist, a very passionate person, very passionate artist, and that it's unfair to end his life for something he loved.
HAUSER: According to a Miami-Dade police report, 18-year-old Israel Hernandez was chased by officers around 5:00 a.m. Tuesday after he was seen spray-painting graffiti on a private property.
Police say he disobeyed commands to stop, and the agents used a Taser on him. Shortly after, the report says the teen's physical condition showed signs of stress. He was taken to a local hospital and was later pronounced dead. Police say the use of a Taser gun should not be fatal. Israel's sister says that her brother was perfectly healthy, and his case proves that argument wrong.
O. HERNANDEZ: It was very unnecessary, and they went beyond the point. I don't know exactly what happened, but if he died, they obviously went off the point.
HAUSER: Thiago Souza, a friend of Hernandez, says he was watching from a distance on the night of the incident. He describes the scene after his friend had been caught.
THIAGO SOUZA, FRIEND: And then they were all congratulating each other and all that. They were all clapping over his body, like giving high-fives and laughing and all that. It was almost like they were proud, like, of what they did.
HAUSER: We contacted the police for comment about Souza's account of what happened, but have not heard back yet. But Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez told "The Miami Herald" that when the officers cornered Hernandez, the teen ran at them. He said the officers were forced to use the Taser to avoid a physical incident. Martinez went on to say: "This incident is an open and ongoing investigation. The City of Miami Beach would like to extend their condolences to the family of Israel Hernandez."
HAUSER: Wolf, so, an autopsy and a toxicology exam are still pending, and, hopefully, that will bring some answers to this family who believed Israel had a bright future ahead of him -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Adriana Hauser, of our sister network CNN en Espanol in Miami.
His daughter has been kidnapped. His son is feared dead. The suspect is a close family friend. Coming up, this father talks to CNN in a very emotional interview about his living nightmare.
And a U.S. nuclear submarine left high and dry -- why the Navy can't afford to fix it.
BLITZER: You're looking at a United States nuclear attack submarine going up in smoke. More than a year after that fire, the USS Miami is being mothballed because the Navy cannot pay the $400 million to repair the ship.
A top admiral is blaming the federal government's forced budget cuts.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us now.
Barbara, tell us what's going on here.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you know, Wolf, this is not the way the U.S. Navy would want to lose any ship. That ship went up in -- that submarine went up in flames in May 2012 in port. A disgruntled worker set a fire on the submarine, causing $400 million in damage. Several workers were hurt. Thankfully, no one was killed.
He's gone to federal prison for 17 years, ordered to repay $400 million in damages. The Navy's not really going to see that money from this guy. And so the Navy had to make the decision, we're told, Wolf, that this submarine will be scrapped. They don't have the money under the forced federal budget cuts in Washington to pay the money to fix this submarine, so this is going to go, basically, to scrap heap, the end of the USS Miami.
The Navy not happy about it at all. It's one of 42 missile- equipped submarines that they say they need for national security -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, what does a submarine like that cost?
STARR: Oh, that's in the billions. It's like an aircraft carrier. We're talking multiple billions, but the Navy says that the $400 million in damage is something like four times as much damage as they have ever incurred on a submarine.
Many members of Congress, in fact, are very upset that it's going to be scrapped. Nobody's really got a solution to the money problem, of course, but, you know, it would have been some shipyard jobs to get it fixed. It was something that the Navy says they need. Now they will do without it.
BLITZER: Well, are they going to buy a new one for $1 billion or $2 billion?
STARR: Yes, I don't think any time soon. You know, there's a replacement program for the submarines as submarines age. Down the road, submarines are replaced, but it looks like right now they're just going to do with one less.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, well, thanks for that information, our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.
BLITZER: Up next: His wife is dead. His son may be as well. His daughter appears to have been kidnapped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF MISSING CHILDREN: I believe the hardest thing emotionally is still to come when I have to go and start cleaning out their apartments and rooms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A California man speaking out about his missing children and his wife's murder and the friend who's suspected of being behind it all.
BLITZER: Happening now: a new warning that a suspected killer and kidnapper on the run may have explosives that could go off at any time.
Plus, some people think he's the funniest lottery jackpot winner. You're going to hear him describe what it's like to have his dreams come true.
And Beyonce has stirred up some controversy before, but this one may beat them all by a hair.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We have some breaking news that we're following this hour. There is new information on that Amber Alert suspect, James DiMaggio, suspected of murder and kidnapping. Law enforcement officials now say he may have explosives with him and that his vehicle may be booby- trapped.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is in San Diego. He's joining us now with the latest.
What are you hearing, Paul?
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just a short time ago, San Diego County authorities telling me that they do believe that Jim DiMaggio may be armed with homemade bombs.
I'm going to bring in Jan Caldwell from the sheriff's office right now.
And, Jan, go ahead and tell us, you know, what your fears are and what your suspicions are about DiMaggio and homemade bombs.
JAN CALDWELL, SAN DIEGO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Well, our investigation to date has brought to light the possibility that he has explosives on his person.
And when that came to light this morning, we thought it important to get it out to the public right away. And so, we want to emphasize again to the public, and also law enforcement officers, do not approach that car if you see it. There's a possibility that it is rigged with explosives.
VERCAMMEN: And when you say that, you also mean that if for some reason he abandons and seeks out another vehicle or flees on foot, you very believe that he may indeed try to booby-trap the car?
CALDWELL: That is absolutely correct. That is a distinct possibility, that we -- because we don't know where he is, we have to work under a lot of different theories, and not speculation, but good, working theories, and this is one of them.
He could still be in that car. It's not that we don't want people to still look for that Versa, but he also could have abandoned it. So, we just want to make sure in an abundance of caution we put the word out about these explosives.
VERCAMMEN: And linked to all this, talk that DiMaggio has survival-type skills as a camper-type person. Can you tell us what your concerns are about him being out there, especially considering the Western United States, with so many people who on a given day are outdoors in national parks, et cetera?
CALDWELL: I don't want to go to the extreme and say survivalist. What I will say is that the investigation has determined that he enjoyed the outdoors, camping and hiking.
So, that being said, there is that possibility, again, that he has hunkered down somewhere, anywhere in the wilderness. He could be in a rural area right now in a tent or a cabin or in the woods somewhere. And so, we want people that are hiking, fishing, enjoying the outdoors to memorize the car, the license plate, the faces.
And, again, if you see something, don't take any action on your own. Use your cell phone and call 911.
VERCAMMEN: Now, we had two reports that he may have been seen in such rural areas where people would be camping, hiking. That would be Modoc County, California, yesterday, Lake County across the border yesterday in Oregon. Tell us how credible those reports are and what you're actively doing to chase those leads.
CALDWELL: Law enforcement has been great.
And we did have a cluster of callers yesterday in Northern California, Southern Oregon, and I believe those are still being panned out. It doesn't look like they are going to turn into anything, but they have been great.
What I have said is that there is no law enforcement officer in this country that's not going to drop anything and everything they're doing to find these two missing at-risk children and find this man who is believed to have committed this crime. This is the most important thing that law enforcement officers do, and they're determined to find him and them and reunite the children with their father.
VERCAMMEN: Let's go back to this talk of homemade bombs. Can you give us a sense for size, scope, how many, how powerful?
CALDWELL: I really can't give that to you. There are a lot of elements in this investigation that are ongoing I can't speak to. We are putting this out so that people know there is a possibility. We're not saying it's a definite, but it's a possibility that this man has bombs on him or some sort of incendiary devices.
VERCAMMEN: When we talk about incendiary devices, we saw that his home burned down. Do you believe he used an incendiary device or accelerant to expedite the burning down of his house?
CALDWELL: Those are great questions and all part of the investigation that's ongoing on the second floor and all over this county right now, but I just can't speak to it.
VERCAMMEN: OK, Jan Caldwell, we appreciate what you did tell us. Thank you so much. There you have it, Wolf, the big concern here in San Diego County that this fugitive, Mr. DiMaggio, might be armed with homemade bombs. Back to you.
BLITZER: Yes, very worrisome development indeed. Paul Vercammen, thanks very much.
The father of Ethan and Hannah Anderson talked to Chris Cuomo in a very emotional interview earlier today on CNN's "NEW DAY" and told them how he first learned his world was about to turn upside down.
BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF MISSING CHILDREN: My cousin called me and said, did you hear about Jim's house? And so, I just Googled it and found, you know, the pictures, and they said there was one body, which at the point I thought was Jim. And so, I was very upset for Jim. And then things just downward spiraled from there.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: Tell me about your kids, Mr. Anderson. Tell me about Hannah. Tell me about Ethan.
ANDERSON: Give me a second.
CUOMO: I know this is difficult. I cannot imagine talking about my kids in this kind of situation, but we want people to feel connected to what's at stake here and who may be lost, so, please, if you can, tell us about what made these kids so special to you.
ANDERSON: Ethan wore his heart on his sleeve. He would give, do anything for anybody, loved everybody. He was just my buddy. We spoke quite often since I've been in Nashville, and he would tell me his daily routines. He was just getting back into football for a second year. And Hannah was just a beautiful, beautiful girl, very, very good student, hundreds and hundreds of friends, and there is nothing bad to say about my kids. They never did anything to anybody. They were always wonderful. We were pretty tight, even though I was a couple thousand miles away. I don't know what to say. It's surreal to me right now.
CUOMO: When you found out that they found your wife in the house and that she's gone, could you believe it?
ANDERSON: No, I could not believe it. I can't fathom what happened in Jim's head, what happened. He obviously just lost it.
CUOMO: Tell us about her. Tell us about your wife.
ANDERSON: My wife and I, you know, we had been together for many years. We got, you know, we have been married for about the last, going on 11 years, and I had taken a job in Nashville. My job here in San Diego went under. And we still spoke on, you know, at least a couple of times a week and were working things out. She was a very lovely lady, very friendly to everybody. She has good friends, loved by her family. And she wouldn't hurt a fly. And for this to happen to her was just uncalled for.
CUOMO: And this guy, DiMaggio, was one of the people you thought you could depend on in your absence to make sure that your wife and your kids were OK, is that true?
ANDERSON: Absolutely. You know, I spoke to him often, and you know, and he would help get my son to football practice on days that Hannah had dance or whatever, and he was constantly there for me.
CUOMO: They are going through this very difficult forensic analysis of what happened inside the house. They know they found your wife there. There is another body they are trying to figure out. Is not knowing, the most difficult part for you right now?
ANDERSON: I know that they are looking for DNA and everything. But I, you know, I wish that, you know, I hope that's not my boy, but I have to kind of think that it is. That's kind of my mindset right now. So, right now a lot of focus is on trying to get my daughter back alive.
CUOMO: 16-years-old, she is smart, she is strong, but she is with an adult male. Do you have any idea where he would think he could go, what he would think he could do in a situation like this?
ANDERSON: I have no idea. He is into camping. He could be anywhere. That's why people that are going out to different camp spots, please keep your eyes open. I don't care where it is. I just have no clue. Like I said, it's surreal to me. I can't imagine this even happening and just kind of taking it day by day and hoping for the best.
CUOMO: What is the hardest thing for you emotionally in this, dealing with having your wife, your daughter and your son all in some type of not being with you anymore? What's the hardest thing for you emotionally in dealing with this?
ANDERSON: I believe the hardest thing emotionally is still to come, when I have to go and start cleaning out their apartments and rooms. But I have a lot of support here with me and we'll try to get through it.
CUOMO: We are here for you as well. We want to get the word out that everybody is looking for DiMaggio, that they're looking for Hannah, and yes, that we have Ethan's face out there, just in case. What do you want to say to this man, if he's monitoring the news?
ANDERSON: Like I said before, you've taken everything. The damage is done. Just let my daughter go. Let her go home safe. Let her be with me and try to mend things from there.
BLITZER: Sad, sad story. Let's hope for the very, very best. Let's thank, also, Chris Cuomo for that very important interview. Best wishes to this dad.
Other news we are following when we come back, a police chief's profanity-laced rant about guns goes viral. Will it cost him his job?
Plus, courtroom drama. Defense attorneys for the accused Ft. Hood massacre shooter try to drop out of the case.
BLITZER: Many residents of a small Pennsylvania town say they're scared of their police chief and they want him to be fired right now. And here's why.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
BLITZER: Chief Mark Kessler posted You Tube videos shooting weapons and spewing profanity in an angry rant about gun rights, and that unleashed a huge controversy that extends far beyond the tiny coal mining community of Gilberton, as I should call it, Gilberton.
Our crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns went there.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, harshly worded rants against liberal politicians using firearms as visual aids. The police chief in this little town in coal country has an unusual way of attracting attention, and he's taking heat for it.
JOHNS (voice-over): Gilberton, Pennsylvania, Police Chief Mark Kessler is the only officer in a small town of about 1,000 people, but some are calling on him to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kessler is a detriment to this borough. So, my wife is afraid of him, so I am afraid of him, too.
MARK KESSLER, POLICE CHIEF, GILBERTON, PENNSYLVANIA: Come and take it, mother (bleep)
JOHNS: The calls for Kessler's ouster started after he posted profanity-laced videos of himself shooting fully automatic weapons.
KESSLER: (Bleep) yourself again!
JOHNS: The borough council met on July 31st to suspend Kessler for 30 days. Kessler posted about the meeting on his facebook page, saying "I am expecting a large crowd of anti-gunners and anti- constitutionalists to show up." A couple dozen or more armed men showed up.
Kessler, who also heads a group whose stated aim is to uphold the constitution, says the men with guns at the meeting were just supporters of his.
KESSLER: Some of my supporters showed up, and as you well know, for those who don't know, Pennsylvania's an open carry state, so some people showed up with firearms. And I encourage that.
JOHNS: And Kessler offers no apologies for the videos. He broke no laws and says he was expressing his constitutional rights of free speech and to bear arms.
KESSLER: Come and get it!
JOHNS: Does your firing the weapon and using profanity or whatever, does it reflect badly on the town?
KESSLER: Well, you know, everybody's entitled to their opinion, and I would hope everybody would express their opinion under the constitution, the first amendment, just like I have in my videos.
JOHNS: Mark Kessler is on the county school board here. At a Wednesday night meeting, no one uttered a word of criticism about him or his videos -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Joe Johns in Gilberton, Pennsylvania, with that report.
Meanwhile, defense attorneys in the court-martial of accused Ft. Hood massacre shooter major Nidal Hasan have been ordered to stay on the case, despite telling the judge it violates professional ethics. Hasan is representing himself. The attorneys are on standby, but they say he's trying to get a death sentence, and by staying on the case, they would be helping him try to commit suicide. The judge rejected that and ordered them to stay on the case.
Up next, millions of Americans wish they were in his shoes right now, one of three Powerball jackpot winners describes his astounding fortune.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is too surreal at this point. I mean, I don't think you guys can understand how it's just, it's just amazing to me, it's just amazing. No worries anymore. It's crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, you probably know by now you didn't win last night's giant Powerball jackpot. There are three winning tickets that will split the $448 million prize. The first winner came forward today in Minnesota. His name is Paul White, and he had plenty to say about his good fortune.
PAUL WHITE, POWERBALL WINNER; And Kim called me at like 8:30. She said, are you a millionaire yet? And I said, I don't know. I'm so busy, I don't have time to look. And she said, well, I think the Powerball was 32. Well, I always pay attention to my Powerball, and I had two 32s out of the five numbers, and I thought, was the next number 59? And she said, I think it was. She didn't have it up in front of her at this point. And then she said I think five was in there, too. And I said, oh, my God, I have five, too, but I'm really busy. We have to do this later. I have work to do. I can't deal with this right now. She's like, no, we already know you have three numbers. We have to go through them now.
So, we went through them, and sure enough, they were right, and I said I'll have to call you back later, and I went. Ran around the office and everybody's like, oh, my God, what happened, what happened? So, I think I had ten people verify the ticket before I left the office. They all got to hold it, so.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Take pictures of it.
WHITE: Yes, very cool. I would guess there might be a party or some vacation in there. I just spent my whole life trying to figure out what it was I wanted to do when I grew up. Now, I get the opportunity to do whatever I want. I know I can't, I'm not going to be one of those people that says I'm going to keep working, because I'm not working for anybody else anymore. Not going to happen.
I don't think I could wake up every day without having to go somewhere, so what that ends up being, I'm not sure. It might be -- I don't know. Honestly, at this point I don't know. This is too surreal at this point. I mean, I don't think you guys can understand how it's just, it's just amazing to me. It's just amazing. No worries anymore. It's crazy.
WHITE: No, I think I can get by. We'll see. But you do think of it, of course. It was $450 million or something? It's a big deal. But you I don't think I would have ended up with much more.
I have gotten phone calls, media outlets have called me already. I'm not sure how that happens because you think it's secret with the cell phone thing. But I have had buddies who have seen it on the internet call me already. And Piers Morgan's show called me and wants many to do an interview.
What I'm hoping is, this is the big story of the day and I will tell you anything you want to know. And then let's move on to the next thing. That's what I'm hoping happens. There's two more winners out there, too. So, you know, there's still two more people that have to go through this. And what I'm hoping is, like I said, I'm yesterday's news as soon as possible so I can go back to my quiet life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you a private guy?
WHITE: I wouldn't say. You just don't want all this attention. Do you know what I mean? It's kind of daunting. You think about the safety of your family, your kids. There's crazy people out there. We have all seen the jerk -- remember "the jerk"?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You are the funniest winner.
BLITZER: He may be funniest winner.
By the way, Paul White will be on "Piers Morgan Live" Monday night 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN. We look forward to Piers' interview with Paul White. By the way, the other two winning tickets were sold, once again, in New Jersey. Let's see who collects the cash.
Rescuers in Illinois are looking for a priest they say appeared out of nowhere while they were trying to pry on accident victim out of the car. The trapped woman has just asked rescue crew to pray with her when a priest walked up even though the road had been blocked. After he prayed with them, then new equipment arrived and they were able the to save the woman, but the priest was nowhere to be found.
Straight ahead, Beyonce shocks her fans with a drastic change to her look. Jeanne Moos will show us.
BLITZER: Long and luxurious no more. Beyonce has a new' do. Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not since Michelle Obama sprouted bangs has hair style cause so many to flip out. Beyonce before, Beyonce after.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did she do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She looks horrible. Like a boy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's always gorgeous.
MOOS: Put out an all points bulletin. Issue an amber alert .
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where has Beyonce's long voluminous looks gone ?
MOOS: Some folks didn't even recognize here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rihanna?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shakira?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rihanna?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Miley Cyrus?
MOOS: Now Beyonce will find out what it's like to walk a mile in Miley Cyrus' hair do.
The news raised existential hair questions. Did Beyonce actually have hair to cut? After all, she's known for wearing wigs and weaves. So, her short hair cut was dubbed weavepocalypse. A poster on Jezebel declared it's unbeweaveable.
But despite all the weaves, Boyonce's long-time stylist told "People" magazine, she had great, thick, long hair. Everyone wondered if Beyonce's hair getting tangled in a fan during a concert last month pushed her over the edge. But she managed to sing right through that and she managed to sing in short hair when she played Etta James in "Cadillac records." Men in particular seem blindsided by the short hair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't have the same sexy appeal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too short. Women should have long hair. MOOS: A colorist said she colored Beyonce's hair after the cut and told "USA Today" the deed was done at a salon in Brooklyn after Beyonce had a moment. In a tribute to her former hair, (INAUDIBLE) will assemble 25 hair raising gifts in which she flipped the mane and toed it, lifted it, whipped it around and let it blow. Beyonce's hair has split the nation, 49 percent said love it, 51 percent said, leave it. These kids changed their mind.
Beyonce with long hair or short hair.
CROWD: Long hair.
MOOS: Two minutes later, thumbs up or thumbs down on the new hair?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like it.
MOOS: No more Beyonce on hands and knees flinging her hair. We are a nation parted by Beyonce's hair.
Jeanne Moos, CNN.
You know her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is married to Jay-Z.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyonce? Wow.
MOOS: New York.
BLITZER: Good for her.
President Obama, by the way, today named 16 recipients of the presidential medal of freedom. The president said the nation's highest civilian honor goes to those who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours and to sharing their talent with the world.
The latest honorees include former president Bill Clinton, the late astronaut Sally Ride, former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradley. Also, broadcaster and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, Women's equality activist Gloria Steinem and country music legend Loretta Lynn along with jazz musician and composer Arturo Sandoval, baseball hall of famer Ernie Banks and Dean Smith, the legendary former basketball coach at the University of North Carolina, among others. Congratulations to all of these recipients.
Happening now, the SITUATION ROOM is celebrating eight years on the air.
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BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in the SITUATION ROOM where news and information arrive at one place simultaneously.
You're in the SITUATION ROOM.
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BLITZER: That's how it all began exactly eight years ago today, August 8, 2005. We all looked a little bit different then when we introduced our urgent hard news format, our innovative video wall that's now a staple on TV news as all of you know. It's been a great eight years.
I want to thank the entire staff. All of our viewers here in the United States and around the world. We are looking forward to many, many more years bringing the stories that matter most right here in the SITUATION ROOM.
Thanks very much for all of the great, great eight years. Many more to come.
Remember, you can always follow what's going on here in the SITUATION ROOM. You can follow me on twitter. Just tweet me @Wolfblitzer, you can tweet the show @CNN. We're happy to get your tweets -- the good, bad and the ugly.
Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room.
Erin Burnett "OUTFRONT" starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: "OUTFRONT" next, breaking news in the manhunt for a suspect cops say has a 16-year-old girl with him. Now explosives may be involved.
And yesterday, we heard about a so-called conference call held by al-Qaeda. That didn't quite add up. But tonight, a Special Report. How the terrorist group actually communicates explained "OUTFRONT."
And Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains why he totally and utterly changed his mind on weed.
Let's go "OUTFRONT."