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Curfew in Egypt on Day of Anger; Egypt Making Israelis Nervous; Christie to Decide Today on Pot Bill; NSA Broke Privacy Rules

Aired August 16, 2013 - 14:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Machine gunfire, tear gas, military choppers -- the chaos erupting in Egypt. Protesters calling it a "Friday of Anger" as the government crackdown shows no signs of slowing down.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

A dad begs Chris Christie, don't let my daughter die. Today, the Republican governor reveals his decision on weed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if I told you you were actually swinging right next to this little boy?



BALDWIN: Do missing posters really help? Wait until you see this experiment.

Plus, one of America's biggest secrets no more. The truth behind Area 51.

And --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): If you can't hear what I'm trying to say.


BALDWIN: Does this summer's biggest hit sound a little too similar to a Marvin Gaye song? A new lawsuit takes up that fight.

Top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We begin with the biggest story in the world once again -- Egypt. They are calling it a day of anger. Right now, a military imposed curfew. And today, more bloodshed, bringing the death toll for the week to more than 600 just one day after the Egyptian military threatened to open fire on anyone who attacked them or their buildings.

The Muslim Brotherhood responding, putting out a call to all supporters of Mohamed Morsy, the deposed president, telling them to take their anger to the streets. And they did precisely that. Our own correspondent there, Reza Sayah, witnessing the worst of this so- called day of anger in downtown Cairo. Here he was.


REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's -- let's go - let's go see what's happened.

OK. This is - this is someone who appears to be injured. I see a hole in his side. Come this way, (INAUDIBLE). OK. OK. It looks -- it looks like - it looks like he's been shot. And he looks remarkably calm. I saw what appeared to be a bullet wound in his leg. And as we've seen so often, one of the fellow demonstrators taking him on a motorcycle away.

And then I think we have another person who's injured. We have another person who appears to be injured on the ground here. OK. Let's see if we can -- OK. This is just an awful, awful scene.


BALDWIN: Reza there describing those shot and injured.

And now this. You can guess what this is. One of several makeshift morgues. Bodies one after another after another.

And then there's this. Video showing the moment people are jumping from a bridge, down to the street below because apparently that's the better option in their attempt to avoid gunfire. Reza Sayah joins me now with all of this that you're taking in, that you're witnessing there with your own eyes. And now, Reza, we're hearing reports of tear gas and gunfire. Tell me what you're seeing and hearing right now.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's 8:00 p.m. local time. A curfew has been in effect for about an hour. It seems to have calmed things down in most neighborhoods around Cairo. We're monitoring state TV. It looks like some activity taking place in a few neighborhoods. A building is on fire. So it looks like some protesters are still out.

But this was another bloody and violent day where more Egyptians were injured and more Egyptians were killed. And it's becoming increasingly clear that this country is sliding deeper and deeper into turmoil and uncertainty. And what's even more worrisome is there's absolutely no sign of anyone coming up with a solution to end this conflict. There are conflicting death tolls. Authorities say 17 people have been killed, at least, and 40 people have been injured. But that number seems low based on what we witnessed in only one neighborhood in Cairo. That particular neighborhood earlier today, I counted at least 40 people who were injured. Many had been shot. Many were hurt badly.

Of course, all of this part of a "Day of Anger." What was dubbed by the Muslim Brotherhood. It was supposed to be their response to the bloody government crackdown on Wednesday that killed hundreds of people. This was supposed to be their way of saying, we're not down. We're still standing and we're still fighting. Their plan was to march to a final destination, a major square called Ramses Square. But security forces had blocked off several thoroughfares to that location. And that's where the clashes took place.

What makes reporting so difficult in these situations is that it's virtually impossible to figure out who starts these gunfights. Security forces say it's the protesters firing first. The protesters say it's security forces, Brooke. But whoever starts it, the response from security forces is absolutely ferocious. And we're seeing the results. Many people, most of them apparently unarmed based on what we saw, are injured and some are killed.

BALDWIN: Reza Sayah, thank you for your reporting, in Cairo for us.

And this unsettling scene that we've been watching in Cairo and also, you know, neighboring cities, it is being watched the world over. No more so than in Egypt's tiny neighbor Israel. CNN's Jim Clancy is there in Jerusalem for us. And the time there, just after 9:00 p.m. The Jewish Sabbath has begun.

Jim, how nervous are the Israelis about what's happening just next door?

JIM CLANCY, ANCHOR CNN INTERNATIONAL: Nervous. You know, you talk to individual Israelis. They're watching this non-stop on CNN and other news channels. They're very concerned what is happening in their neighbor's house. But officially, we talked to a spokesman for the prime minister's office who told us flatly, we're not saying anything on Egypt. They do not believe that would be productive.

At the same time, the Israeli view has been expressed off the record by others who wish to remain anonymous, saying that they believe it's only the military that can maintain order, prevent the country from sliding into chaos.

At the same time, they're concerned about militants in the Sinai desert region. Militants who in the last week have fired and tried to fire missiles into Egypt. They're concerned that as the military is so busy with the Muslim Brotherhood, will they lose some of their focus there on trying to control that situation.

They are also glad that this military, after deposing Mohamed Morsy, made a move against Hamas, an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, destroying many of the tunnels, if not most of the tunnels, that lead into Gaza. That undercuts Hamas's ability to move in cash and arms as well. So the Israelis are looking at a situation tonight that they would like to see settled and settled sooner rather than later.


BALDWIN: We also, Jim, just wanted to point out some historical context. So just taking our viewers back to 1979, it was Egypt's Anwar Sadat makes peace with the Israelis. First Arab leader to do so. Jimmy Carter. Look at this archival video. Jimmy Carter is there. Monica Bagen (ph) is there. Anwar Sadat. Considered today a hero for peace. Which side, flash forward to today, Clancy, would side would Sadat be on in Cairo? The Islamists or the military? CLANCY: Well, that's not a difficult choice at all. He was a military man. He led Egyptian forces into battle in the 1973 war. He would be very much on the side of the military and against the Islamists. Of course, he was assassinated, not by the Muslim Brotherhood directly, but by a group known then as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. That's how he met his end and, therefore, you know, trying to assess where he would stand today. Pretty clear, and a lot of others in the region tonight are also standing with the military, saying that they understand the need to restore order and safety for the Egyptian people, voicing support from Maman (ph) and other places in the Middle East.


BALDWIN: Jim Clancy for us tonight in Jerusalem. Jim Clancy, always appreciate your perspective.

Back here at home, let's talk numbers. Wall Street. Take a look for yourself. Stocks back in the red today. No huge movements up or down. You can see it's down just about 35 points here. Unless there's a late afternoon rally, the Dow will finish in its second straight week of declines.

And, New Jersey. The governor there, Chris Christie, is fast approaching a deadline he set for himself on a bill that one family says means life or death for this two-year-old little girl. Look at her. This is Vivian Wilson. She suffers from a form of epilepsy that responds well to marijuana. And only to marijuana. This is according to her family. The governor says today is the day he will decide if, in fact, he chooses to sign into law New Jersey Senate Bill 2841. The bill would let Vivian consume medical marijuana by eating it or drinking it. So, right now, as a two-year-old, you know, she can't do that. Vivian's father says he got desperate. So, as a last resort, he confronted Chris Christie on a campaign stop.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just wondering if I can have half a minute? I've been trying to get in touch with you and can't get through to you. I was wondering what the holdup is? It's been like two months now and --

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Sir, because these are -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very well documented.

CHRISTIE: Excuse me, these are complicated - these are complicated issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've very simple issues.

CHRISTIE: And I know there's a - no, I know you think it's simple and it's not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had this discussion -

CHRISTIE: I know - listen, I know you think it's simple. And it's not. It's simple to you. It's not simple for me. My --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had our experts reach out to you. Have you heard from our doctors?

CHRISTIE: I have read everything that's been put in front of me and I'll have a decision by Friday. I wish for the best for you, your daughter and your family and I'm going to do what I think is best for the people of the state. All the people of the state. And that's (INAUDIBLE) --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's best for the governor to come between the doctors and their patients?

CHRISTIE: Sir, no -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a nanny state?

CHRISTIE: Guess what, sir, I'm making -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just curious because -

CHRISTIE: I'm elected to make these decisions. I'll make the decisions and I'll make it in time for Friday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our elected representatives have spoken to us and told you that they wanted to. Please don't let my daughter die, governor. Don't let my daughter die.


BALDWIN: So we're going to actually talk to Sanjay Gupta about this in just a minute here in studio, but you first you see our Rosa Flores. She's covering this story for us from New York.

You just got back from a Chris Christie event. Any word as we await the final decision from the governor?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, you know, the outspoken governor was tight lipped about the medical marijuana bill that has been sitting on his desk for about two months now. Now, I asked him plain out, are you going to sign this bill? Well, no word from him yet. No response. But that, of course, was not the case on Wednesday. You saw the video when we went face to face with the father of a two- year-old girl who confronted him at another event. Now, I've got to warn you, some of the video that you're about to watch is a little difficult to watch.

Brian Wilson -- here's the back story. Brian Wilson's two-year-old daughter, Vivian, suffers from Dravet syndrome. It's a rare form of epilepsy. Her father tells us that she gets 20 to 70 minor seizures a day, averaging one major seizure every four days.

Now, this is where the video gets a little difficult to watch. You know, she wears an eye patch, Brooke, because patterns in the environment trigger more seizures for her. The Wilsons found out that medical marijuana had helped other children suffering from seizures, so that's why they wanted to explore this option, so they lobbied legislators to get a medical marijuana bill passed that would make the medical marijuana that little Vivian needs available to her in New Jersey.

Now, we should add, the American Academy of Pediatrics opposes cannabis. But we are waiting to hear from Governor Chris Christie's office about this decision sometime today. I just got off the phone with one of his PR people and no word yet.

And, Brooke, I should add that the Wilsons do say that if the governor vetoes this bill, they would consider moving to another state. They say like Colorado, which they say is more compassionate to children.

And here's the wrench in all of this. So little Vivian, if they do move, would not be able to visit, they tell me, their family in New Jersey because she would have to travel with her medical marijuana and it would be illegal in New Jersey.


FLORES: It's a very difficult, emotional story.

BALDWIN: Yes, it's tough to look at her seizing on the ground. Rosa Flores, thank you very much.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta here with me, because I have a lot of questions about this and I know you've been doing a lot of research for your documentary that's re-airing. But let me just ask you this, because we need to be crystal clear with the viewers that medicinal marijuana is legal in New Jersey, right? It's the conditions of how you intake the marijuana. And so that's what you - I want you to explain to me.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's two major issues, I think, that are part of this legislation. One is exactly that, you can't imagine a two-year-old, obviously, smoking this -

BALDWIN: Smoking marijuana, no,

GUPTA: Or even vaporizing it. They do have lozenges, potentially, but the lozenges are hard for a two year old to take.

BALDWIN: She could choke.

GUPTA: They could potentially choke on it. So I saw a girl in Colorado who got it as an oil.

BALDWIN: Charlotte.

GUPTA: Yes, Charlotte. So they actually create this tincture (ph). They can put it in food or they can squirt it underneath the tongue. And that was an easier way for the child to take it. So they want to make it so it can be given in that form.

And the other issue is this idea that, you know, marijuana is a generic term for lots of different strains of cannabis. What we're talking about here is something that is high in CBD, which is the medical part, but lower in --

BALDWIN: But lower in THC, which is what gets you high.

GUPTA: Which is the psychoactive part. Yes. And so not all marijuana strains are the same. So right now they want to make - they want to increase the number of strains that would be available to kids like Vivian.

BALDWIN: So, obviously, we can't crawl into Chris Christie's brain to understand what he's grappling with. You know, I've read some comments, he's reluctant, talking about the slippery slope maybe with kids and this. But so what they're hoping for, I listened to you and the dad last night on "Anderson" saying, you know, listen, we just want it to be something that she can ingest, maybe an oil, a butter. But if it's already legal to smoke, what do you think he is wrestling with?

GUPTA: Well, I mean part of this, I think you're absolutely right, it's just the fact that this is a two-year-old kid and I think it gives everybody pause. It gives people pause in Colorado, where it's already legalized and where children do get treated. And it gives pause in New Jersey. And I think that, you know, part of this is that, you know, you'd love to have more science on this. I can tell you that it's tough to get science on adults, let alone kids, because at the heart of this you're dealing with a federally illegal substance.


GUPTA: But there is science, there is some science, you know, more than 40 patients, all children, who have Dravet, the same thing that Vivian has, the same thing Charlotte has, have received, you know, variance of medical marijuana, variance of these strains that I'm talking about and had improvement. Many of them, including Charlotte, off of all of her other medications. Now just on these tinctures of marijuana.

So there is some evidence of this. And as, you know, you just heard from Rosa, we're talking about compassionate care here.


GUPTA: This is a compassionate care clause. And, you know, Vivian is at real risk here not only of continuing to seize but at real risk of death. So it's got to be a tough thing for him to grapple with.

BALDWIN: He is grappling perhaps at this very moment. And we will have some sort of answer, according to him, by the end of the day today.

GUPTA: I'm curious to see what happens.

BALDWIN: We'll talk next hour.


BALDWIN: Dr. Gupta, thank you very much.

GUPTA: You got it.

BALDWIN: And do not forget to watch Sanjay's special called "Weed." He will take an in-depth look at whether marijuana is harmful, just to what we're talking about -

GUPTA: Right.

BALDWIN: Harmful or helpful. "Weed," tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN.

GUPTA: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up, as Hannah Anderson returns to her life after being kidnapped, you will see a real life experiment in which parents are tested to see if they would actually recognize a missing kid. Wait until you see what happens.

Plus, once again, the NSA under fire. This time for reportedly breaking privacy rules concerning your e-mails and your phone calls. Stay right here. A fiery debate over your privacy, next.


BALDWIN: The NSA may have seized your e-mails and your phone calls by mistake. This is what "The Washington Post" here, it's a pretty stunning report in the paper this morning. The NSA, they say, broke privacy rules, quoting them, thousands of times every year since 2008. Some blunders were accidental. Apparently the NSA once intercepted a bunch of phone calls from Washington, D.C., instead of Egypt.

So they give this one example. They say a programming error confused the DC area code 202 for 20. That's the international dialing code for Egypt. This is one example "The Post" cites. Another, other NSA flubs were intentional, like scooping up e-mail data from 3,000 Americans. That apparently happened back in 2011. Mistakes were listed in an NSA internal audit that only covers the Washington, D.C., area and in top secret documents from NSA leaker Edward Snowden himself. These new revelations today may contradict President Obama's recent assurances, remember he talked last Friday, about NSA surveillance programs.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And a general impression has, I think, taken hold, not only among the American public but also around the world, that somehow we're out there willy-nilly just sucking in information on everybody and doing what we please with it. Now that's not the case.


BALDWIN: Let me bring in three opinionated voices here. We have CNN political commentators Ben Ferguson and Errol Louis and also David Sirota, a columnist and radio host.

Gentlemen, excellent seeing you.

David Sirota, I want to begin with you. And I'm going to go through all three of you here off the top. My first question, when we look at Edward Snowden, you hear it from different camps right? You hear traitor. You hear patriot. Here we are, we are still clearly talking about this and debating this. Is what Snowden did in the long run good for Americans?


DAVID SIROTA, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, RADIO HOST: Absolutely. I think he's a hero. I think today's story is vindication of the fact that he is a whistle blower. This story that was in "The Washington Post" today about the government breaking the law thousands of times a year in just one part of the NSA, not the whole NSA, just one part, breaking the law thousands of times per year vindicates the idea that Edward Snowden was blowing the whistle on very real crimes. And the question is, where are the prosecutions?

BALDWIN: We're going to get to that.

Ben Ferguson, go.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he's a traitor. And if you're a patriot and a hero, you don't go to a communist country like Russia to hide out and beg for your existence to be able to stay there for a year. So I don't think he's a hero. But, more importantly, there needs to be some oversight, yes. But a lot of these quote/unquote crimes that were committed, that we found out about this morning, were actually committed by computers. So I don't know if you can give a computer 10 years to life in prison or can you give a computer the death penalty? I'm not sure you can. So this was not always human error as much as this was there were issues with the computer and how they were pulling information and data and phone calls from Americans. And I think that's very important to point out.

BALDWIN: OK. Errol, I want to get to you, but let me just -- let me just jump to this because, you know, the chief judge in this foreign intelligence surveillance court, it's an acronym, lots of acronyms in the government, this is the FISC, which has the authority over some NSA operations says that his court doesn't have the proper tools to monitor all these NSA surveillance programs and must rely on the government. So then you also have the president. Listen to this.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, part of the reason they're not abused is because these checks are in place. And those abuses would be against the law and would be against the orders of the FISC.


BALDWIN: Errol, where does that leave Americans?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not good enough I think is where it leaves us. The president, you know, reverting to his original job as a constitutional scholar seems to think that, well, it's all perfectly balanced. We'll have a court do the oversight and everything will be fine. But now, as you said, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said they don't have the independent means to verify whether what they are told is true or not. And he compared it to other court orders. He said the court is always dependent on the government to follow its orders. The thing is, there's no contempt that can be cited. You know what happens is, in secret, the intelligence agency might get sort of a reprimand months after the fact and even that is secret.

So the president's policy, I think, is -- and what he talked about seven days ago, I think is pretty much done. And he's now going to go through - this administration's going to go through something akin to the stages of grief after death. You know, you've got denial. You've got anger. You've got bargaining. And as soon as --

BALDWIN: Where are we now? What stage are we in now?

LOUIS: I think we're - I think bargaining is going to end and we're going to get closer to acceptance.

BALDWIN: Go ahead, Ben, jump in.

FERGUSON: Yes, look, I think what we found out and what really stands out to me in this new information is, there is two issues here. One, Congress either just is not paying enough attention to these issues, because they are the ones that have been briefed on most of this and were allowing it to happen. And so there should be a lot of Americans who are saying to your congressmen on both sides of the aisle, where were you guys since '08, '09, '10, '11, '12? Why weren't you paying attention to this information? Because they seem to completely have no clue what the NSA's doing or how they're acting and they're just saying, OK, well -

SIROTA: Except one thing. You said - hold on here.

BALDWIN: Well, hey -

SIROTA: Remember what the - remember what "The Washington Post" said. And I'm not disagreeing with you that Congress didn't do its job. One of the key nuggets in "The Washington Post" story today is that the NSA has been withholding this information from Congress. That is even the people in the Congress who are the most pro-surveillance, Dianne Feinstein, for instance, has said, and the Intelligence Committee members have said, and "The Washington Post" reported that the NSA, the Obama administration, has been withholding this. And the question is, why would the president go out on Friday and insist there's been no abuses? Is that a lie? Did he see this audit data and then simply lie? Or does he have no idea what his own government is doing?

FERGUSON: Well, and I think -

BALDWIN: Let me - let me - let me just jump in to David Sirota's point, just for our viewers, if you haven't read this article, to the point about Dianne Feinstein. Here they specifically talk to -- she is the Senate Intelligence Committee chair, who did not receive a copy of the 2012 audit till "The Post" asked her staff about it, right? So then she said in a statement that the committee, quote, "can and should do more to independently verify the NSA's operations are appropriate. You know, yadda, yadda, yadda. Point being, clearly, you know, she hadn't seen it. I mean it's impossible, I would imagine, to see every single teeny tiny audit. But my question, I guess, if you have, you know, Congress and courts sort of doing this, my question, I guess, is about a watchdog. Do we need to watch the watchdog? And who's the watchdog here?

FERGUSON: But, see, I think the watchdog was supposed to be Congress. And either there's some incompetence by members of Congress, and that's probably pretty easy to agree that there are at least some incompetence, but I also think a lot of this is total lack of transparency by the Obama administration to purposely keep this information from getting to TV like it is right now because it does not look good for the Obama administration. The administration who ran on more transparency and on limiting NSA and limiting wiretapping and limiting all these programs.

SIROTA: But then let me ask you a question, Ben. Ben, then I've got a question for you. A very simple question.


SIROTA: If that's true, if there hasn't been enough transparency, and I agree with you there hasn't been enough transparency, how can you then call Edward Snowden a traitor? Edward Snowden is the one who brought this transparency, who has forced the information into the public sphere.

FERGUSON: Because - just because - well, let me answer that. Two wrongs don't make a right. And just because you have an issue with something that's happening doesn't mean that you then break the law yourself and then go give these secrets to countries all over the world.

SIROTA: But I thought the idea was if you see something, say something. If you see something, you say something.

FERGUSON: Well, but do you -


FERGUSON: Here's a question.


BALDWIN: Go ahead, Errol. Go ahead and jump in, Errol.

LOUIS: The only reliable -- the only reliable watchdog is the four of us and our colleagues in the media. And that involves doing all the digging you can and cultivating sources and, yes, some of them are unsavory and, yes, some of them are lawbreakers and one of them might be named Edward Snowden. That's not what's important. What's important is that we get the policy -- enough transparency that we have at least the possibility of looking over the shoulder of both the court and the Congress and the NSA because, obviously, government is not doing the job the way the president had promised.

BALDWIN: Let me make sure we get in, because this is what, again, I go back to this "Post" reporting. This is what this NSA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, speaking with White House permission, this is what he or she said. "We are a human run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes. So at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line."

Final thought, Ben Ferguson.

FERGUSON: Yes. They do find themselves on the wrong side of this one. And part of it is because I think they knew many times they were on the wrong side of it on purpose. And that is where the president should come out and say, we were wrong on this. We're going to fix it. But he seems to still be helping cover for the NSA and their abuses the way he did on Friday. And many, I would think, especially many liberal Democrats who don't like these programs in general, should be all over this issue. And they seem to be a lot of them, including Feinstein, quiet.

SIROTA: I completely agree.

BALDWIN: Agree, whoa, David Sirota.

SIROTA: I completely - I completely agree. My final - my final thought is simple.


SIROTA: Edward Snowden is bringing the transparency to this. We didn't - we don't know about this law breaking except for whistle blowers. And that's why you see the Obama administration trying to prosecute whistle blowers at a record level to say to other whistle blowers, if you see illegal activity, you better shut up or you're going to face the worst kind of punishment.

BALDWIN: So it sounds like you all disagree upon the way in which perhaps we describe Edward Snowden. But bottom line, you are all agreeing that we need more government transparency.

LOUIS (ph): Absolutely.

BALDWIN: Ben Ferguson, Errol Louis, David Sirota, thank you all three of you.

LOUIS: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Breaking now on CNN, word of possible bombs in the Denver area after police take down a shooter. We are talking grenades, propane tanks, explosives. Stay right here.