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CNN NEWSROOM

Markets Poised to Open Higher; Snowden to Media; CIA Documents Admit to Area 51; Meet the Olinguito; Kiss is LA's New Arena Football Team; Paralyzed Swimmer Controversy

Aired August 16, 2013 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: NEWSROOM starts now.

Good morning. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Carol Costello. Checking our top stories at 30 minutes past the hour.

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy are calling for mass protests to mark a day of anger. Demonstrations would defy an emergency ordered declared after clashes Wednesday left at least 580 people dead. Egyptian state news reports the army is trying to thwart protests by blocking public spaces with armored vehicles and barbed wire.

To southern California where kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson was spotted in public for the first time since her harrowing rescue in the Idaho woods. The 16-year-old was seen arriving at a fund-raiser for her and her family. Hannah did not talk to reporters. Her father, though, thanked the community for helping his daughter heal.

Another sign of recovery in Boston. A restaurant just steps from the site of the marathon attack reopens today. CNN affiliate WCVV reports that the Forum (ph) restaurant is the last business on Boylston Street to reopen since the April bombings. Its security cameras caught the alleged bombers on tape and its staff is credited with helping many who were injured.

Opening bell, yes, ringing on Wall Street. Right now, markets are poised to head higher. And that's a good thing, taking back some of those big losses we've seen in the last couple of days. Alison Kosik is following the (INAUDIBLE) from the New York Stock Exchange.

Good morning.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

And stocks are not heading higher, actually. Stocks are extending their losses. The Dow, over the past two days, has tumbled more than 300 points. Gosh, you know, August has really been a rough one for stocks. But putting it in perspective, it's after six weeks in a row of gains for the Dow.

One analyst puts it this way, there's this eerie calm settling over the markets at this point that we could be in for a bit of a slowdown. It's not normal to see in August, but here's the thing, some of the economic data that we've been getting are concerning, too, especially with manufacturing and the job's market. There's also the worry hanging over investors when the Fed will pull back on that stimulus money that it's been pumping into the economy and that if it's taken away too soon, it could cause a setback for the economy.

We watch the big names like Wal-Mart and Cisco say the economy is challenging for their business. So, with so much up in the air, no big reason to buy into stocks today. The reason you are seeing stocks head lower in the early minutes of the trading day.

Carol.

COSTELLO: All right, Alison Kosik, we'll get back to you.

Also new this morning, the latest bombshell from Edward Snowden claiming the NSA has violated privacy rules thousands of times a year, every year, since 2008. This was reported in "The Washington Post." The article says Snowden leaked an audit from May 2012 outlining nearly 3,000 violations. They show the NSA collected surveillance on Americans without court authorization, accessed legally protected communications.

But "The Post" says these incidents may have been unintended, accidents, like the one time in 2008 when the NSA intercepted phone calls from Washington after a programming error confused the 202 area code for 20, which is the international call for calling Egypt. The NSA responded to the latest leak saying, quote, "NSA's foreign intelligence collection activities are continually audited and overseen internally and externally. When NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal overseers and aggressively gets to the bottom of it." There you have it.

In the meantime, Edward Snowden is speaking out from his hiding spot in Russia and he has a message telling the media, quit exploiting his father for the sake of tabloid news. Snowden's dad has been outspoken and critical and sometimes speculative but now Snowden says, the younger Snowden that is, he says his dad does not speak for him. CNN's Phil Black has more for you.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since Edward Snowden fled the United States, one person has assumed the role of his public champion, his father.

LON SNOWDEN, EDWARD SNOWDEN'S FATHER: I know my son. I know he loves his country.

BLACK: But Lon Snowden has also often strayed into commentary about his son's legal options and recently his own legal team expressed concern about the advice Edward is receiving from WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the NSA leak stories. Edward Snowden didn't like those comments. From his secret location somewhere in Russia, he smacked them down in a statement to "The Huffington Post" "Neither my father, his lawyer, Bruce Fein, nor his wife, Mattie Fein, represent me in any way. I ask journalists to understand that they do not possess any special knowledge regarding my situation or future plans, and not to exploit the tragic vacuum of my father's emotional compromise for the sake of tabloid news."

But the father and son relationship remains strong. For the first time since Edward fled the U.S., the Snowdens have been in direct contact using an encrypted Internet chat service. Their lawyers didn't want them to do it. Investigators haven't finished digging into Edward Snowden's past. Reuters reports they're now looking at the three plus years he worked at the Dell computer company. The news agency says Snowden left an electronic footprint which shows he began accessing information on NSA surveillance programs as early as April 2012.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Phil Black reporting there. Edward Snowden, as you know, was charges with espionage and other crimes in the United States, but he has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.

Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, Area 51. Yes, it does exist. But are the remains of alien spaceships kept there? We'll explore that issue when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: UFOs, aliens, little green men. We've been fascinated by it all for years.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL SMITH, ACTOR, "INDEPENDENCE DAY": Welcome to Earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: So much of our search for all things extraterrestrial has been focused on a small section of the Nevada desert, better known as Area 51. But the U.S. government has always refused to acknowledge Area 51's existence, until now. Newly released CIA documents say Area 51 was nothing more than a testing site for the government's aerial surveillance programs. No alien autopsy rooms or spaceship parking lots there, they say. Michael Shermer is the publisher of "Skeptic" magazine. He joins us now live.

Good morning.

MICHAEL SHERMER, PUBLISHER, SKEPTIC MAGAZINE: Good morning.

COSTELLO: So, first of all, explain your magazine. Do you believe that there's something out there and you want to put it in scientific terms? What is it?

SHERMER: Yes. So, "Skeptic" is a science magazine. We investigate claims of paranormal and sudo-science (ph) and, you know, any of the claims in science that are kind of on the fringes or margins that people fill in with their imagination. So UFOs and conspiracy theories, aliens, those are - that's one of our biggest, most popular topics because, first of all, we don't know if there's alien life out there somewhere. And have they come here is the second question. But the, have they come here is fraught with all kinds of, you know, human psychology more than extraterrestrial intelligence. And so whenever there is a gap in our knowledge, we fill it in with our imagination. So the government, obviously, doesn't tell us, you know, national secrets for obvious reasons during the Cold War. So people have, for decades, filled in that gap in the Nevada desert with the imagination of their (INAUDIBLE).

COSTELLO: Well, you've got it exactly right, apparently, because now, you know, these documents have been released. The government acknowledges there is an Area 51. What, it's about 83 miles northwest of Las Vegas. And they used to, back in the day, I think in the 1950s, they used to test U-2 spy planes -

SHERMER: Yes.

COSTELLO: Which flew at 60,000 feet, right, and not very many planes flew that high at that time, so people just figured, you're right, they probably filled in with their imagination what those strange things way up high in the sky meant.

SHERMER: Sure. Also, people just imagined things that aren't there at all. Flocks of birds. Not just possibly real experimental aircraft, but flocks of birds and balloons and, you know, just regular airplanes. And when you go out there -- I've been out to the desert. When you go out there at dusk, it's kind of spooky and you can see a long ways and things reflect high up in the atmosphere, like birds, for example. And it's hard to tell what's going on at dusk. And so you can imagine all the experimental test flights that are going on out there and people seeing things, but what are they seeing? So, again, the way our brains work is that if it's not clear what it is, we're not comfortable with just saying, I don't know and leave it at that. We've got to fill it in with something. And the mythology of our culture is aliens, UFOs.

COSTELLO: Yes. And some of the things that people thought were stored in Area 51, a storage crash area for alien spacecraft, that was one conspiracy theory. They thought that secret development for time travel was kept in some laboratory there. They also thought there was a secret engineering, you know, for spacecraft based on alien technology. None of this was (INAUDIBLE).

SHERMER: Right. So, yes, that's my favorite because the idea of back engineering alien technology, it means that these aliens have managed get diverse (ph) the best interstellar (ph) space, get to earth, land and then crash. And then their technology is about five years ahead of ours. That's it? Because we were that close anyway after World War II.

COSTELLO: OK, so could the government have better handled this? I mean this - they've not really talked about this since, what, the 1950s, this area? They've never acknowledged this existed. So -

SHERMER: Well, snippets have come out. Yes, snippets have come out here and there accidentally by people that work there. Could they have handled it better? Well, OK, so this is a -- the issue of freedom versus - in knowledge, information versus national security and secrets. And, obviously, they probably could have released it maybe a decade ago since the Cold War has been over long enough now. But, you know, still, whatever.

The thing is, there may be other things that they're testing now that we won't know about for another 10 or 20 years. And, frankly, I'd rather just not know and not have our enemies know than have everybody know. Because that's still the world we live in, unfortunately. It would be great if we lived in this open world of science, knowledge for everyone on the planet, but we're not there yet. So our government has to keep some secrets and, you know, so -- and the desert's a great place to do it.

COSTELLO: You got that right. Although I'm opposite of you because I want to know everything.

Michael Shermer, thanks so much.

SHERMER: Well, I want to know everything, too.

COSTELLO: I know. Thank you, Michael. We appreciate it.

SHERMER: You're welcome.

COSTELLO: Could be the trip of a lifetime. Tens of thousands of people have already signed up for a one-way trip to Mars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will be staying. The search for life on Mars begins on Earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: A Dutch non-profit is looking for people who would leave Earth and create a new colony on Mars. The Mars 1 Project could cost $6 billion. Part of it could be funded by a reality show created to help pick the members of the program. You know those people willing to go to Mars on a one-way ticket. Applications are being accepted until the end of the month.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, what's two feet long and adorable all over? Well, the world's newest animal discovery. The Olinguito, of course. We're going to talk to Jeff Corwin about this landmark discovery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: There's a new animal in town and he's an olinguito, say what? Yes he's a member of a new species and the little guy is primed for a starring role in a Disney flick. He's so cute. The olinguito is two pounds of adorable, was found living in the Andean rain forest in South America. The Smithsonian describes him as a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear -- teddy cat.

Jeff Corwin is a wild life expert and host of ABC's "Ocean Mysteries". Good morning Jeff. JEFF CORWIN, NATURE AND ANIMAL CONSERVATIONIST: Good morning Carol.

COSTELLO: So it's just weird to me that all of a sudden animal experts like you say "Wow, we have a new animal to show you and he's the olinguito." How does that happen?

CORWIN: I know, it's really exciting. You know what's amazing, Carol, we have only identified about 10 percent of all life on earth. And of that, we only know about one percent beyond their scientific name. So when we come up with a new creature, especially something as charismatic as a big olinguito it gets pretty exciting.

COSTELLO: How did the olinguito come to be?

CORWIN: Well I think it's a process of rediscovering something that may have been previously misidentified in a museum or zoological institution. The truth is they have been right under our noses this entire time. They belong to a group of mammals that includes the raccoon.

Basically it's the raccoon family. Other groups include the equally adorable kinkiju (ph) and a close cousin of the olinguito, the olingo. It's an animal that lives high up in the Andean rainforest, in the cloud forest and is just a mystery that's been revealed and it's just wonderfully exciting for science.

COSTELLO: Is it a cross between two animals that are known?

CORWIN: Actually not. It's its own distinct species. Just like raccoon is a distinct species of mammal, the olinguito is a distinct species of creature. It's arboreal most of its life is spend up in the treetops. It likes cold, high altitude places. It's primarily eating fruit, nectar and insects and really it tells a powerful story of the challenge of science which is to identify animals before they become extinct because the truth is every half an hour we lose a species of life on our planet.

COSTELLO: Oh that's really sad. In talking about species that you have yet to discover, how many, how many could there be?

CORWIN: Well that's what's so exciting. In places like rain forests or in the deep recesses of the (inaudible) areas of planet's oceans exists many creatures waiting to be revealed.

Again, we've only identified 10 percent and most of that identification is just their names. We don't know about their ecology, how they fit in the environment, their value to human kind. And in a place like a rain forest where the olinguito lives, we lose 3,000 acres of rain forest every hour.

So it's critically important that we protect habitat because in a rain forest not only are there olinguitos there may be a cure for cancer or AIDs or the next food source to help in starvation.

COSTELLO: It's really fascinating. Jeff Corwin, thanks for sharing. We appreciate it. CORWIN: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: We'll be right back.

Here's what's all new in the next hour of NEWSROOM.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor Filner I am a mother, a grandmother and great-grandmother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Another Bob Filner accuser comes forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another day he came up to me without any warning and hugged me and kissed me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Her attorney Gloria Allred joins us live.

Plus --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama -- hey I know I'm a clown. He's just running around acting like one. Doesn't know he is one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: The rodeo clown with the Obama mask. Has the outrage gone too far?

And --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait, wait, wait. Have you tried the knob?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Part recruitment video, part comedy act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're really looking for is you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: $9,000 of public money for this? You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COSTELLO: I'm Carol Costello. This is CNN.

COSTELLO: The band Kiss is famous for its over the top concerts and, of course, that trademark white face paint.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Now all that rock 'n' roll energy is hitting the gridiron. The Arena Football League announced its naming its newest expansion team after the legendary rock group. The LA Kiss will debut next year in Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENE SIMMONS, KISS: Faster than a speeding bullet more powerful than a locomotive there's nothing like AFL and that's what we're going to promote. We're part of this but we want you to know that we are proud to be part of the entire AFL family, Amen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Kiss, the band, will perform at the Arena football championship later this month.

A glimmer of hope is actually crushing the dreams of one 18-year-old USA swimmer. Victoria Arlen has been paralyzed from the waist down since she was 11. She had a back pack for the Paralympic World championship in Montreal and now she's being told to stay home.

Andy Scholes is here with "Bleacher Report" and why? Good morning.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hi good morning Carol the International Paralympic Committee has banned Arlen from competing because they say since she has a glimmer of hope to one day walk again she is not eligible to participate in their event.

Now this is not the first time this has happened to Arlen. Right before the London Paralympic game the ITC ruled her ineligible to compete but an arbitrator overruled that ban, Arlen went on to win four medals while setting a world record in the 100 meter freestyle but now she has been banned once again because she can't prove that her condition is permanent. On her Facebook page, Arlen says that she is heart broken by the ruling.

Well soon Major League Baseball teams won't have to worry about losing games because of bad calls by the umpire. Commissioner Bud Selig announced yesterday that baseball will have an expanded replay system in place next season. Managers will now be allowed to challenge plays just like coaches do in football. They get one challenge in the first six innings and two from the seventh inning on. All video reviews will be handled by MLB headquarters in New York.

The Tampa Bay Rays had lost six in seven coming into last night's game with (inaudible). What does manager Joe Madden do to help the team get out of the slump? Brings a 20-foot python into the clubhouse -- several players held the giant snake while other players were scared and ran away. Madden has done some off the wall things like this before to get the team motivated like having a magician and a DJ. This one seemed to have worked. The Rays beat the Mariners last night 7-1.

All right, Carol. Take a look at this video. You see number 24 --

COSTELLO: Yes.

SCHOLES: That's not this little league team's coach. That's 12-year- old Chad Warkowsky (ph), he's 6'3", 219 pounds, he wears a size 15 shoe, he throws 75 miles per hour. He's going to be on the mound today for the Michigan all-stars. They open up playing the little league world series.

COSTELLO: That just seems unfair.

SCHOLES: Yes. Good luck to the poor kids who have to face this guy. 6'3", 219 pounds -- some major league pitchers aren't even that big.

COSTELLO: What -- is he going to grow into an eight-foot adult? That's amazing.

SCHOLES: He might want to try football as well.

COSTELLO: Yes, maybe so.

Andy Scholes, thank you.

The next show on CNN after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COSTELLO: Happening now in the NEWSROOM, Bob Filner's newest accuser.