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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Death Toll in Egypt Nears 700; NSA Violated Privacy Rules; Drones Sought for Use by Local Police; Suspected Facebook Murderer Appears In Court; Pilots Warned Moments Before Crash; World's Wealthiest Self-Made Woman Dies; Robin Thicke Sues to Protect "Blurred Lines"
Aired August 16, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, breaking news. Another day of horrific violence in Egypt. The death toll near 700. The lack of a response from the president of the United States because of Israel.
Plus, new revelations about just how far the federal government's spying program crossed the line. There's shocking new reports on the NSA.
And guess what? They could be just the tip of the iceberg. What you don't know about other spying programs at this moment where you are, and we're talking about drones in America.
And an amazing breakthrough about the government's super secret spy property. The truth about Area 51. It is real. This is no joke. A special report from people who know.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone, I'm Erin Burnett, OUTFRONT tonight we begin with breaking news. Dozens more killed in Egypt tonight. Pressure building on the Obama administration.
The death toll this week is nearly 700, almost as many as the number killed during the entire Arab spring revolution in Egypt. There's no sign of calm. Thousands of protesters defied a government- imposed curfew tonight.
So what does the U.S.' closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, have to do with President Obama's decision to keep pumping aid into Cairo?
John King is OUTFRONT tonight. And John, you know, of course, Israel wants the U.S. to keep sending that $1.3 billion a year in aid to Egypt. Throughout history, only Israel has gotten more money from America. Israel believe aid is going to keep radical Islamists from taking control.
But some people are asking, is Israel calling the shots on what President Obama is doing?
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Calling the shots, Erin, the administration would say no, but does Israel get a big voice in this? Of course, they do. They're the biggest U.S. ally in the region. This is part of the conversation now. Leading voices now, Senator McCain even, for example, saying we might have to cut that aid.
People are trying to make these decisions on what happened in the past because nobody can answer the question what does Egypt's future look like.
If you are Israel, this is the devil you know. Since you've had the peace agreement with Israel, it's not perfect, but you don't have -- now since Morsi came to power and since he was ousted, an occasional rocket from the Sinai.
Israel believes, yes, there are problems with the Egyptian military, but it has a relationship of relative trust, a relationship of relative understanding and a relationship of relative security. So, Israel knows this isn't perfect, but its message to the United States is we don't know what will be next and we know these guys and we can work with them most of the time.
BURNETT: And, John, before you go, just this crucial question, the United States has said, look, we're giving this aid because it's important for stability. We get leverage with the Egyptian government by giving this aid.
Obviously leverage, smeverage, at this point, right? They've called and said don't do this, don't burn these churches, don't jail these people, don't do these things and yet it's all happening. So leverage doesn't seem to add up and in terms of stability, obviously the aid has kept flowing unabated and the situation has gotten less and less and less stable as time has passed.
How long can the U.S. government use that argument, though, with a straight face?
KING: Right. Well, that's the hard part because they always say we have this relationship with the military so generals can call generals and colonels can colonels. They've all trained together and it will work. And you're right. People can now say where's the proof? Where's the proof that you have this relationship of trust, that you can have a circuit breaker here?
So that is a huge question. However, the administration's response back is the Egyptian military, while far from perfect, the peace agreement with Israel has held. This Egyptian military has a better relationship with the Palestinians than the Morsy government. So they do see some areas where they say it's better than it would be. It's not good. But it's better than Morsy.
The question is, you raise a good point, if the bloodshed continues, the military is responsible for a lot of that bloodshed, how much pressure will mount for the president? But again, the White House's answer is what's the alternative? (END VIDEOTAPE)
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to you, John King. Pretty interesting.
Our second story OUTFRONT, the Obama administration broke the law, a National Security Agency internal audit says the NSA violated privacy rules gathering phone calls made by Americans without warrants thousands of times a year.
Now, this audit was provided to "The Washington Post" by the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, but this is what's going to amaze you. It was never provided to Congress, which, as you know, has been defending the NSA and all of its actions. But they didn't know the truth.
We're going to have more on that bombshell revelation later on this hour.
But the NSA, you know, as big as it is, is just one little cog in America's spying wheel.
Another that's been under intense fire is drones, and drones are watching you right now as you sit at home watching this show in ways that you don't know.
Chris Lawrence is OUTFRONT.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A thermal camera so sensitive it detects the footprints of someone who just walked across a carpet. New digital systems that may store millions of hours of real time video.
JOHN LEIPPER, TECHNOLOGIES: I mean, you can start to build up a wealth of information.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): But as Americans worry about the federal government's secret surveillance program, there's a wave of local capability just on the horizon, from cameras to drones.
GRETCHEN WEST: There's a lot of law enforcement agencies and firefighting agencies that are looking to use this technology.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Well over 1,000 local agencies have applied for drone permits across the country, from police departments in Miami-Dade and Houston, Texas, to the Ohio Department of Transportation.
JAY STANLEY, ACLU: We're looking at a future where, you know, police departments could deploy dozens of even hundreds of these flying robotic video cameras over an entire neighborhood or city.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Gigapixel cameras can already do constant surveillance on 25 square mile areas. Those could be soon married to drones so inexpensive even small towns could afford them. LAWRENCE: How's this any different from a police car following behind me or an officer standing outside my house?
STANLEY: There's a police officer who can see you. You can see them, right?
What you don't know is if there's a camera up in the clouds following you everywhere you go.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Even those who support the technology say there have to be ways for the public to hold their local government accountable.
GREG MCNEAL, PEPPERDINE LAW SCHOOL: Which police officer was operating the system? Where was the camera pointed when the drone was flying? What was it looking at? Where was it located?
LAWRENCE: Money and budgets used to be a natural limit to local surveillance. Towns could only afford so many cops and helicopters. But that may not matter as much with this new technology.
Right now the FAA is writing the rules on which domestic drones can fly and where. But some towns are already getting a jump. Charlottesville, Virginia, passed the first anti-drone law earlier this year, and similar legislation is under review in 13 other states. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Chris, thank you very much.
And coming up, the man who allegedly admitted he killed his wife and posted a picture of her dead body on Facebook is in court for the first time. We saw him today. He says he's not guilty. This is Florida. And he's pleading self-defense. We have that story.
Plus, the first information in tonight on what caused the crash of a cargo plane in Alabama. That coming out just a few moments ago.
And it turns out the truth really was out there. The stunning revelation about the government's supersecret property Area 51. It was not a conspiracy theory. It was real.
And later in the show, why you should never mess with Border Patrol. We're going to tell you what made them do this in tonight's shout-out.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, the suspected Facebook murderer. Today we saw 31-year-old Derek Medina for the first time in court. Medina has been charged with killing his wife, 26-year-old Jennifer Alfonso, and then posting a graphic photo of her dead body on Facebook.
I warn you, this is a disturbing photo but it's important to tell this story to understand what he did.
This is what many Facebook users saw on August 8th. It took five hours before Facebook took this picture down and in an alleged online confession Medina claimed he shot his wife because he could no longer stand the abuse.
Now today his lawyers asked the judge to take pictures of bruises that were still visible apparently on Medina's body, they say this is going to preserve evidence. He's pleaded not guilty but they likely say will claim self-defense. Does it add up?
OUTFRONT tonight our legal analyst Paul Callan. Here we go, self-defense again here in Florida. Lawyers say there's visible bruising on him. Part of the confession he allegedly wrote, quote, "My wife was punching me and I'm not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did. I hope you understand me."
Bruises, is that self-defense for shooting someone?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is the battered husband defense. We usually hear it in terms of battered wives and there's some believability that attaches because the guy's usually a lot bigger and can hurt the woman.
The fact pattern here, this guy says the wife punched him. He wouldn't take it anymore. He went upstairs, got his gun and he came back down stairs and then she grabbed a knife to defend herself, then he shot her. But, you know, so the self-defense thing goes right out the window, you know, on that.
BURNETT: Let me ask you. There's a picture of the family at dinner, just hours before the murder. They're all smiling, they're sitting there together.
But according to our affiliate WFOR in the police report they do say the couple got into a heated argument where Alfonso threatened to leave him and then this is exactly what you are saying. He allegedly pulled a gun, she left the room, he followed her into the kitchen then she got a knife Which he then took from her and shot her. But obviously he went and prepared himself to have a gun. So to your point, how is that self defense? He is in his own house, it's not like it's sitting in a holster and he's in law enforcement.
CALLAN: We've all become experts in Florida self-defense law because of the Zimmerman case. You revisit what's called the initial aggressor doctrine here. When he goes upstairs to get the gun he's the initial aggressor because the prior fight has stopped.
And now she can pull a knife in self-defense. He doesn't get the benefit of self-defense when he shoots her, so he loses the right to self-defense because he's the initial aggressor with the gun. That's not going to work and, of course, you know, the final thing is the picture, posting the picture on Facebook.
BURNETT: That was just sick. CALLAN: That's where he really shoots himself by shooting that picture because, you know, he's bragging about the killing.
CALLAN: By posting it on Facebook.
BURNETT: And then it continues on Facebook when he posted the picture his alleged confession which he wrote on Facebook said, "I'm going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife. Love you guys. Miss you guys. Take care, Facebook people. You will see me in the news," which is sick on many levels.
CALLAN: Yes. It really is. And, you know, it's just --
BURNETT: That's not remorseful or I was forced to do it. There's none of that. None of it.
CALLAN: No. It's bragging about the killing and saying good-bye to your friends. Why are you saying good-bye because you've committed a crime and you'll be convicted of the crime. So I think frankly a jury will think a battered husband defense here is laughable, given the evidence that we know at this point.
BURNETT: All right. Paul Callan, thank you very much.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT, some new clues tonight into a deadly plane crash, we are just learning tonight what took place inside the cockpit seconds before that UPS cargo plane crashed Wednesday as it approached the Birmingham, Alabama, airport, two pilots in the plane, the only people on board were both killed.
Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT, and, Rene, when there was that press conference today and obviously, it took time, this was a horrific fire then there was smoldering; they weren't able to get the so-called black boxes. Now they have those data recorders.
What have they heard?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Those flight recorders are so critical in gaining that valuable information about the final moments before the crash and they appeared to be badly damaged, but we just learned some good news tonight.
There is data on those recorders. We do know that they were able to pull data off of those recorders there. And we know that the recorders captured the entire accident, the entire flight accident.
Now an initial review suggests there were no signs anything was wrong until the final 15 seconds. Then three things happened in a rapid succession. An automated warning system can be heard alerting pilots, "sink rate, sink rate," indicating that the plane was descending too quickly. And right after that one pilot is heard telling the other the runway was in sight and then sounds of impact.
Now, we know that the plane clipped trees before landing short of the runway. Both pilots died.
Erin, one additional detail we just learned. This was the end of the pilot's workday. Now this will spark some interest among cargo pilots because the FAA issued new work hour rules for commercial airline pilots to give them more rest. But they exempted cargo pilots. And we know that the NTSB will be looking into whether fatigue played a role, Erin.
Both pilots were experienced.
BURNETT: And certainly, Rene, when you look at it, the stats we've seen, cargo planes eight times more likely to crash than passenger jets, when you talk about that warning light coming on or the warning alert, right, saying you're going down too fast, of course, people I'm sure are thinking to Asiana and what happened, and we don't know what happened there. But obviously a lot of signs thus far have pointed to pilot error.
Do you think, from what you understand, that that may be where this is headed?
MARSH: Well, the NTSB even saying it today, it is still extremely early. They're just beginning this investigation. but I will tell you this, 24 hours ago, there was a real fear that those recorders may have been destroyed. But now that they have the data from those recorders, this means they will be able to piece this all together. And one important note: these crashes, they're rarely attributed to just one thing. It's usually a series of events. So they're on the right track now that they at least have data to rely on.
BURNETT: All right, Rene, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
And now tonight's "Money and Power," the world's wealthiest self- made woman has passed away. Rosalia Mara died yesterday at the age of 69. When she was 11, she dropped out of school to work as a seamstress. In 1975, she opened a store in Spain called Zara.
Zara now is one of the world's biggest fashion retailers with more than 1,700 stores around the globe. You've certainly seen one. It has become the place to shop for fashion without paying designer prices. Forbes estimates Mara's net worth at $6.1 billion. Sure, that's a lot of money, but what's amazing is that she built it, earned it, every dollar of it, totally, herself.
Still to come, disturbing new revelations about the Obama administration's spy program. We'll tell you exactly how many times they crossed the line and what they spied on that you were doing.
Plus, a Romanian princess accused of operating a cockfighting ring in America. Yes, you heard that right, I didn't just suddenly lose my mind and have strange words come out of my mouth.
And did Robin Thicke blur the creative line with his new song? Some are saying, guess what, it may be the hit of the summer, but it's not original.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, "Blurred Lines," talk about blurred lines, got a big lawsuit tonight. Robin Thicke's single is the hottest hit of the summer. Not my favorite song, but you cannot avoid it on the radio. Anyway, was it influenced by Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up"?
According to a lawsuit filed in California, Thicke says "Blurred Lines" was created without copying anyone else and that there are no similarities to Gaye's song. Now Thicke filed this suit to protect his hit because he heard that Gaye's estate may actually sue him for a heck of a lot of money, so he sued first.
OUTFRONT tonight, CNN contributor and lawyer Dean Obeidallah. OK, so let's start with this. The allegation is that "Blurred Lines" was heavily influenced -- therefore stolen from -- Marvin Gaye's "got to give it up" and that there's also similarities between "Blurred Lines" and a song by Funkadelic's called "Sexy Ways". Two songs. So let's play them. First let's play Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up".
BURNETT: OK. Now, here's Robin Thicke, "Blurred Lines".
BURNETT: I don't think it's looking very good there for Robin Thicke.
All right. Let me just play funkadelic's "sexy ways" -- this is the other one, and then Dean's going to weigh in on who's cheating who.
BURNETT: All right, I'm not a musician so I don't know where that one would come from, but I got to say, Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," yes.
There seems to be a problem.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: It does. And the legal standing --
BURNETT: To the lay ear.
OBEIDALLAH: No. And that's part of it, though, to be honest. But the standard is substantial similarity, not just similar and it can't just be the same genre or conjure up the same song, it really has to be so close that you have not changed anything to make it an original work. And if it's not an original work then it is copyright infringement. So the more you change it, even subtly, the more it becomes an original work and you have the copyright, you own it. Because our copyright laws are not to stifle freedom of expression.
BURNETT: So you are saying I can basically steal and change a note and I'm a thief and I can't be busted for it? That sounds like what you're saying.
OBEIDALLAH: You will likely be ,sued but you might win. I'm not saying it's not as clear as it sounds when you hear it. There's going to be experts testifying about music composition.
BURNETT: So I lose my pride and my credibility and you win the case.
OBEIDALLAH: And you probably feel good about it.
OBEIDALLAH: (Inaudible) on Facebook and (inaudible).
BURNETT: So Thicke filed this against the Marvin Gaye estate. Plaintiffs who have the utmost respect for and admiration of Marvin Gaye, Funkadelic and their musical legacies reluctantly filed this action in the face of multiple adverse claims from alleged successors to those artists, defendants continue to insist plaintiff's massively successful composition "Blurred Lines" copies their composition.
So basically he's worried they're going to sue against him. He's got the number one song, (inaudible), so he went ahead and sued first because, why?
OBEIDALLAH: Well, it's probably counterintuitive, so people get the idea, you are filing a lawsuit to prevent a bigger lawsuit, that's what he's doing. It almost makes no sense. It's like Honey Boo-Boo, I mean, some things don't make sense. But that's what they are. And so he's not -- right now, so (inaudible) Robin Thicke is not suing Marvin Gaye's estate for money. He does not want damages. He wants a declaration by the court that it's his copyright, it's his song.
BURNETT: So Marvin Gaye can't get money off him.
OBEIDALLAH: So Marvin Gaye doesn't turn around and sue him for much bigger. The copyright infringement suit? Much bigger.
BURNETT: This could be worth a lot of money? Right?
OBEIDALLAH: All the profits less expenses and an injunction not allowing you to sell the song to anybody else, license to any movies or legal fees, yes, it could be millions of dollars, frankly, it's a lot of money. So if you are successful, you get sued, Lady Gaga's sued, Kanye West, Madonna sued. Guys are playing (inaudible).
If you are successful, you get sued. I'm hoping you get sued.
BURNETT: (Inaudible) heard of all of them, all of what they got sued for, so maybe I would also think that they also stole, but this to me sounds like -- it sounds wrong.
OBEIDALLAH: You ruled. Judge Burnett.
BURNETT: Judge Burnett has ruled! (Inaudible). All right, thank you very much, Dean Obeidallah.
All right. Still to come, Chris Christie finally makes a decision about marijuana, or does he?
Plus, surprising revelations about a place that you probably thought, unless you were a conspiracy theorist that others made fun of, was a place of science fiction. Well, you are proven right tonight, what we now know for real about the mysterious Area 51, we have a special report from people who know.
And then, rise of the giant babies.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories where we focus on our reporting from the front lines on a Friday.
Well, a trial date has not been set for Oscar Pistorius, the Olympian accused of murdering his girlfriend in South Africa. This is according to a family spokeswoman who tells us there still may be no date after he appears in court on Monday. That will be a significant day. But when he finally does stand trial, the defense said the trial could last a year and after all that time, the question is, is there a chance that the Blade Runner as you know him could make a comeback?
Louis Johnson (ph), Olympic commentator, tells it's not likely because even if he's acquitted, Johnson says Pistorius may well be blacklisted by the world's track and field event organizers.
Well, this is some story. And it's a Friday. In Oregon, a Romanian princess, yes, a Romanian princess appeared in court, after she was arrested for being part of a cockfighting ring. Princess Irina Walker was the third daughter of Romania's exiled King Michael I. Her husband, her, and several others face a dozen charges, including operating an illegal gambling business and conspiracy to violate the Animal Welfare Act.
Cockfighting is illegal in all states and according to PETA, it can spread disease. At least eight cases of bird flu had been tied to cockfighting. By the way, she also apparently was 95th in line to the British throne. Hmm.
It might surprise you that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins stands to make -- oh, my gosh, are you serious? -- $56 million if the company is sold and he has to leave. That's according to a proxy filing the details first reported by Bloomberg News. It may surprise you because BlackBerry, of course, has been struggling. Its share of the smartphone market has fallen to 3 percent from 50.5 percent a year ago. On Tuesday, we told you about American Airlines CEO Tom Hornten who is going to get a $20 million severance if the deal is made with U.S. Airways. So, basically, if the companies merge and he leaves the company, he gets $20 million.
If BlackBerry, under this guy's leadership, which has been plunging in market share gets sold, he gets $56 million. That's a joke, people.
Major League Baseball on the merge of making history, thanks to instant replay technology. A new proposal is going to allow team managers to challenge calls they think an ump missed. If it's passed in November, managers will be allowed one challenge during the first six innings and two the rest of the game. This means fewer missed calls, which is really important in big games.
But guess what? It means longer games, too.
A recent "Wall Street Journal" study, it's pretty interesting, it says 90 percent of games are spent standing around. They actually only play for 17:58 of actual ball playing. Maybe they should learn for cricket, went from longer to 2020, shorter. You are getting it backwards.
It's been 741 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating, what are we doing to go it back? Well, stocks fell today, making it the worse week for the Dow in 14 months. But despite two down weeks for the markets, they're still up for the year between 15 percent and 20 percent. And that is the more important headline for now.
And now our sixth story OUTFRONT: Chris Christie's marijuana controversy.
Today, the New Jersey governor decided no to decide on a medical marijuana bill and this bill would have made it easier for children to qualify for New Jersey's existing marijuana program, because he sent the bill back to the state legislature, said, look, if you make some changes, I'll sign it.
Rosa Flores is OUTFRONT.
Rosa, I have to say, it's unusual. You don't usually hear Chris Christie deciding not to decide. He's usually decided before he needed to decide, right?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. He's usually outspoken about these things, we asked him today and he didn't say much.
But we should start with what the law actually says. Doctors have to sign off, this is current law, they would have to sign off, before a patient would get a medical marijuana -- miracle -- I'm saying miracle -- medical marijuana.
BURNETT: It could be a miracle.
FLORES: It could be! But it would be available in a form that could be smoked or lozenges. So, the bill that has been on Chris Christie's desk for now two months since the legislature passed it two months ago would change that. So, it would lift some of the burdens and make an edible version available to all potential patients.
So, what changes did Chris Christie make to this? So, here are these, and there's three that we can highlight.
So, first of all -- minors would need approval from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist if one of those physicians is registered with the marijuana medical program that they have there. And then they also eliminate the limits on the strains of marijuana available in New Jersey. And it allows medical marijuana in edible form for minors only.
Now, that's the key. It's for minors only.
FLORES: Before it would be available for all potential patients.
But this allows children to be able to use a version. So, you're not going to give children something to smoke or a lozenge because it's a choking hazard, so this is more an oil or an extract.
BURNETT: And it's interesting from what you say, because, you know, obviously in some ways he's making this much more restrictive, right, edible only for minors. So he's being more conservative about it, but yet he's allowing it for children.
The reason this bill is getting national attention isn't just because so many of you out are interested in this issue, it's because a father of an epileptic 2-year-old child confronted Christie yesterday. It was a very emotional moment. A video of it went viral. He said if his daughter got this drug, it could save her life.
And here's what happened with Chris Christie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILSON, FATHER: I was wondering what the holdup is, it's been two months now. It's very well-documented.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Sir, because -- these are complicated issues.
WILSON: Please, don't let my daughter die, Governor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And that was the moment. "Please don't let my daughter die, Governor."
The Chris Christie who can be so aggressive and assertive, that Chris Christie went away and that seems to have really influenced this choice today. FLORES: If you think about it, it's father to father, a plea that's father to father, and I got off the phone with Brian Wilson, the gentleman that confronted Chris Christie, he said, you know, this is a small victory in the big scheme of things because it doesn't give us everything that we wanted.
FLORES: But it could save my daughter's life.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Rosa Flores reporting.
And I want to bring in a Republican strategist Hogan Gidley now OUTFRONT who, of course, was the top adviser for Rick Santorum.
Now, obviously, Hogan, when you look at this, you are talking about the social issues that are so important to social independents and Chris Christie 2016 isn't going to win without independent votes. He's well aware of that.
The Republican Party has a rocky relationship with marijuana. Medical marijuana, Republicans approve overwhelmingly, but they do not support the legalization of marijuana overall, not even close. Half Democrats do, only a quarter of Republicans do.
So, is he taking a risk?
HOGAN GIDLEY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think so at this point. Look, let's put the politics aside for just a moment. This is a horrible disease.
And it appears from everything I've read that this, you know, medical marijuana could actually help this little child. And I think what Chris Christie is doing here, and I'm going to give him some praise here. He talked to that father head-on. He said, look, it's not simple.
But what he should have said and I wish he would have told the guy, I understand, this is a very difficult issue and my heart goes out to your little girl, because there are countless victims of this disease all across the country that could be helped by this drug. And it appears from what I've read so far that Chris Christie's actually doing what governors do, and that's make the tough decisions. He put it back to the legislature with some restrictions said, if you do what I've asked, I will sign this bill and we can provide some relief to some of these children -- keeping the safeguards in place.
This isn't like the House or the Senate where you can just put a bill up that's never going to see the light of day and then go back to your district and say you are championing a cause and nothing ever gets accomplished. He's a governor. He's on the front lines all the time, and this is what governors do and have to do if they're going to govern effectively. He's doing it on this, I think.
BURNETT: So, you're giving him praise. But, you know, he's in a similar position to Mitt Romney. He's a Republican governor of a Democratic state and, obviously, he's up for reelection. He seems like he'll sail back into re-election. But Romney, you know, got crushed during the primaries because he used to be more pro-choice when he was the governor of Massachusetts because that's what the people there wanted. And all of a sudden, he's running for president and he becomes incredibly pro-life.
This -- could this kind of thing come back and dog Chris Christie? It's not just marijuana, it's also going to be gay marriage and guns.
GIDLEY: Right, look, we're talking about the fundamental issue of life that's protected by our Creator or protected by our Constitution. That's a little different and to take a 180 like Mitt Romney had done in countless elections, that's a bit different than someone having conversations with doctors and fathers and trying to figure out the best way to allow these children who suffer from this illness some relief that could potentially save their life.
I think is a completely different issue and it depends on how -- quite frankly it depends on how Chris Christie decides to sell it. If he goes out there and is a little too bawdy and a little aggressive and a little too bullying in people who are attacking him on this, it's not going to play well.
But if he comes out and says, listen, I'm a father, can you imagine if your child had this illness or disease and the only thing that could help them would be a prescription drug like this? I mean, look, we use the co plant for codeine and things like that and heroin derivatives help people with bad backs. I mean, it's not like this is he's not out there passing out joints on the corner. What he's doing is trying to govern a state and provide relief to children who really do need it. And if he couches it that way, I think it's a win/win for you.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to you, Hogan.
And now, our seventh story OUTFRONT: Area 51, this is real.
Conspiracy theorists, you have been justified after all these years of probably being mocked. Just released CIA documents confirmed the existence of the secretive government site long rumored to be located somewhere in the Nevada desert. For decades, Area 51 has been the subject of Hollywood lore and countless of conspiracy theories.
But is there any truth to the legends of crash spaceships and alien autopsies? Guess what, some people are in the know and Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hollywood has long showed an obsession with Area 51.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to earth. SIMON: From aliens to UFOs, it helped fuel a perception that the government has been holding on to top secret information about this remote facility in the Nevada desert. Until now, it had only really existed in places like "The X-Files" on television. But newly released CIA documents officially acknowledge the site for the first time.
Andy Jacobson spent several years researching Area 51, publishing her findings in a book.
ANNIE JACOBSEN, AUTHOR, "AREA 51": This has kind of become a national pastime and a great debate, you know, about aliens and the locus of this is Area 51.
SIMON: But if you are looking to gain insight into aliens or spaceships, you might be disappointed. The report makes no mention of those things. Instead it says that Area 51 was a testing site for the government's aerial surveillance programs during the cold war. Not that sensational. But it's likely to cause more fascination about this mythical place.
JACOBSEN: I think any document that comes out about Area 51 stirs up the pot of intrigue. People are inherently fascinated with Area 51. It says so much about national security secrets. So, I think any new release makes people even more interested.
SIMON: The documents obtained through a public records request by an academic researcher may put an end to questions about the site's existence. But experts like former CIA officer Bob Baer who calls it one of the agency's biggest secrets says the debate will rage on about whether we're really alone.
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Now, this isn't going to go away. The myths about area 51 will always be out there. I don't even know what went on there and I was in the CIA a very long time and people that worked out there have told me recently they didn't know all that was going on there.
So, there's sort of, you know, secrets within secrets and it will always remain a mystery. And always remain a place of fascination.
SIMON: For OUTFRONT, Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.
BURNETT: Pretty awesome.
And now, giant babies -- you've seen them for years in newspapers and magazines, you know, they put them out sort of like a freak of nature. And now, they're in our homes. The number of oversized births is surging. That's a newborn you're looking at, king size, 15 pounds, seven ounces, oh, my God, can you even imagine?
There has been a 15 percent to 25 percent increase in oversized babies in the developed countries in the past three decades, which has led to a rise of C-sections and all kinds of health problems for the baby later in life, because bigger, guess what, is not always better.
Doctors say the increase in big babies is the result of the obesity epidemic, bigger mothers, bigger babies -- which brings us to tonight's number: 8 pounds, 13 ounces, that is a weight at which a newborn is considered too fat. These days, that might not seem that big. I know a lot of babies who were born that big or bigger. And yet, that is giant baby cutoff. So, we want to know, was your baby a giant? Let us know on Twitter @ErinBurnett and @OutFrontCNN.
Still to come, it turns out the NSA was looking into phone calls and searches not approved by the courts. No warrants. But they said this was just a little mistake.
Plus, Washington has been trying to find places to make cuts for years. Well, they say they have. But the first lady, literally, she just came up with a few off the top of her head.
And the shout-out tonight, don't mess with Customs and Border Protection. This Land Rover defender was seized at the Baltimore Seaport. It was deemed to be an illegal and unsafe import so it was destroyed. The shout-out tonight goes to the person operating the grab crane for a vehicle that fetches as much as $150,000 in the States. I'm betting the crane operator had a lot of fun with this one.
BURNETT: Tonight, new revelations that the NSA, the biggest spy agency in the United States, has been routinely breaking privacy rules. An internal audit and other top secret documents obtained by "The Washington Post" found the spy agency racked up thousands of violations last year alone. According to "The Post", the NSA audit dated May of 2012 counted 2,776 incidents in the proceeding 12 months of unauthorized collection or access to or distribution of legally protected communications -- read: they took stuff that you were doing and people you were calling without a warrant and looked at it.
This news comes just days after President Obama assured the public that the NSA isn't spying on regular people.
OUTFRONT tonight: radio show host Michael Medved, Stephanie Miller and James Bamford, author of "The Shadow Factory: The Ultra Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America".
OK. Thanks to all of you.
James, let me start with you -- 2,776 incidents over a one-year period. Estimated billions of calls were made every day. And you essentially on phone calls. So, obviously, you got to look at a quantum mechanic level here to figure out what percent of calls were spied on without a warrant. It's not very many.
So, I ask you this, is it a serious problem or is it just the principle that if it's one little bit now, it could get a lot bigger?
JAMES BAMFORD, AUTHOR, "THE SHADOW FACTORY": Actually, this is sort of deceptive. It says incidents, it doesn't say people. Each one of the 2,000 to 3,000 incidents can be 1,000 or more people.
In addition to that, it's only one year and it's only the Fort Mead area, which is a rather small area compared to NSA worldwide. They have 4,000 people in Georgia, for example, that are --
BAMFORD: -- listening to conversations and so forth.
So, if you spread it all over the total area that NSA covers, it could be tens of thousands of people and I don't think it's a minor problem. I think for those tens of thousands of people, who are now in the NSA's database, it is a big problem.
BURNETT: And let me ask you, Michael, what do you think? I mean, tens of thousands, even against, statistically, versus how many calls are made, it's still going to be statistically insignificant. But James a very fair point -- to those tens of thousands of people, this might really matter.
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: Well, I don't think it will, frankly because it's inadvertent and that's very, very clear. About 10 percent of these incidents through topographical errors, a lot of them had to do with foreign nationals. For instance, people from China who we were monitoring appropriately while they were abroad but they're not allowed to monitor them when they come and visit the United States, but they continued.
The basic point that's lacking here is what is it that people think the NSA is trying to do? I think most Americans acknowledge, they are trying, very hard and for the most part effectively to keep us safe from terror attacks and very serious threats to American life and liberty, and I don't believe that the fact that they themselves inspected and discovered these mistakes is some kind of indication of horrible wrongdoing.
BURNETT: All right. Stephanie, let me ask you this, the president recently talked about this very issue, you know. And he assured the American people when he came out and finally addressed the NSA issue, which he'd been quite on for a while. He said if you look at the reports, the stories written, what you're not reading about is a government actually abusing these programs, you know, listening in on people's phone calls or inappropriately reading emails. What you're hearing about is the prospect these could be abused.
What we found out today, Stephanie, was that indeed they were being abused.
So, did he know about this, or was he being selective with the truth?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, I think honestly, Erin, you know, the president -- it doesn't matter what he does. He's criticized by one side or the other on this and I think you have to point out he's on record in May giving a speech foreshadowing looking at these programs. This is before the Snowden leaks. So what he said I think was true when he talked about the Snowden matter. He said, you know, he was already reviewing this.
Did it get accelerated? Yes. Did it also probably hurt national security what Snowden did? Yes.
But I think he's also the first president ever that offered to give up executive power, Erin, and he is -- talked about two significant things, narrowing the Patriot Act and not taking the FISA court such a rubber stamp anymore. So, I do think he's concerned with the balance of privacy and security.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to all three of you.
And I just leave on this one note. I mean, one of the things they did was typed in area code 202 instead of 20, i.e., they started spying on people in Washington, D.C., instead of people in Cairo. Now, what's worse the ineptitude of that or the fact they were spying on people in Washington? That's also something you really think about here. The NSA might not be as all mighty as we think and that could be something to be even more afraid about.
Well, every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we called the OUTFROTN Outtake.
Sad news out of Washington today, apparently, as the White House confirms something we've been suspecting -- Michelle Obama's bangs are no more. The first lady's hair style swept into our lives last year, captivating magazine editors who seemed to forget how horrific bangs are to maintain. President Obama called them the most significant event of the inauguration and he was right. It seemed like they were here for good.
But the first lady grew tired of trying to make speeches with hair in her face and in April began growing them out. I have to say, I knew this was coming. Bangs are not good move at any age and growing them out is an absolutely horrific process. Poor Michelle.
But now, we have official confirmation the bangs watched around the world are gone. I'm sure you're as emotional as we are now. We've been through this before. As a reminder of the American people's strength in the face of adversity, tonight, we take a look at all the first lady hair styles we've lost along the way.
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BURNETT: Ends on one of my favorites.
Still to come, the most poignant event of the day.
BURNETT: I remember being in Cairo covering the revolution on the street during the day, I met people who were euphoric, they were freed. It was unforgettable and wonderful time. Since then, Egypt has been in a spiral of protest, unemployment, poverty and anger. But with all the headlines about its downfall, I saw two pictures today that made me stop in my tracks.
First, this one. This is a drawing by an 8-year-old Coptic Christian girl in Egypt, which was tweeted by a PhD student in Alexandria named Amiro Ali (ph).
With at least 30 churches and maybe twice that burnt and defaced by Muslim extremist this week, you see the church crying, but you see the mosque crying and reaching out, leaning over trying to comfort the church because an 8-year-old understands that all religion is supposed to be about peace and empathy. The poignancy of her drawing reminded me of a book called "I Never Saw Another Butterfly." It's a book that I cherished, a collection of art and poetry written by a group of children living in the concentration camp during the Holocaust.
The other photo I saw today was this one. This was taken yesterday near the Mediterranean city of Matrouh. Egyptians at the beach with their families.
You see the beach. It's totally packed. They are trying to continue with life as the city behind them is burning with protest and fighting.
Only a small fraction of the 84 million people in Egypt support religious extremism and violence. It's worth remembering that many, many, many millions more hope for a mosque and a church that can stand side by side, whether they are conservative or liberal. They hope for a day on the beach. They hope for their great country not to fall into the abyss. And tonight we're rooting for them.
Thank you so much for watching and have a wonderful weekend.
"A.C. 360" with Wolf Blitzer starts right now.