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NSA Illegally Collected Domestic E-mails; Nuclear Crisis in Japan; Bizarre Twist In Hannah Anderson Kidnapping Case; Dr. Phil's Controversial Tweet

Aired August 21, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, the NSA caught again spying on people it says it wasn't spying on. Plus an investigation. How you can protect your e-mail.

And then we were told the threat was contained, but now Japan admits radiation-leaking Fukushima plant is a, quote, "house of horrors."

And later, why does the family of the man who allegedly kidnapped Hannah Anderson want her to take a DNA test?

Let's go "OUTFRONT."

And good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett.

"OUTFRONT" tonight, the government is illegally watching you. Today we learn that the National Security Agency collected as many as 58,000 e-mails per year over the past three years in the United States, e-mails that had nothing to do with terrorism. And the agency misrepresented the scope of this effort to the secret court that is supposed to oversee and regulate it.

Evan Perez joins us now. He has been breaking this news today. Evan, how did this program work?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the way the program works is that the NSA works with essentially pretty much most of the telecommunication companies in the United States, all the telephone companies, AT&T, Verizon, all of them. It works with them to essentially under these court orders it is supposed to get foreign communications, things that might have something to do with terrorism. What happened apparently despite the fact they had court orders that said you can't look at domestic communications.

What happened was apparently these computers that they used to try to separate the stuff weren't doing the job that they thought it was doing. Essentially what the NSA had come up with was much more complicated than its computers could do.

BURNETT: You know what amazes me about all this, Evan, when I hear it and as the revelations keep happening is that to me incompetence is more frightening than omnipotence, right? I mean, you have first. Now they are collecting e-mails. Last week, it was we were trying to watch Egypt country code 20 and we typed in code 202 and watched Washington, D.C. and didn't realize it. The only thing worse is being incompetent. How is the NSA defending this?

PEREZ: Well, you know, they say that look, none of this was intentional. That is always the defense that they have. They say the volume of data that they are collecting, millions and millions of e- mails and internet traffic that goes through these fiber optic wires that they are monitoring. And they say when you are collecting this volume of data looking for so to speak the needles in the hay stack that there will be mistakes made. That is what their defense is. We screwed up but we didn't intend to. And this is what this judge was so upset about. He said essentially in October 2011 he came down very hard on them and said you have been misrepresenting what you said you were going to be doing.

BURNETT: Evan, quickly before you go, "Wall Street Journal" today says the NSA can reach about 75 percent of domestic internet traffic. To me that's shocking. I mean, before we go, forget whether they should be doing it, technologically shouldn't they be able to watch 100 percent?

PEREZ: Exactly. That does raise the question. This is basically because of the relationships that they built with these companies. These are companies that essentially agree to help the NSA do what its job is. So these are the companies, the AT&T, the Verizons, those are the companies that have agreed to help the NSA.

BURNETT: All right, well, Evan, thank you very much. Evan, covering this and breaking that story for us today.

Now our second story, OUTFRONT, how to stop the government and, say, Google from watching you. Please make no mistake someone is watching you reading every word you type. Tom Foreman has this OUTFRONT investigation.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every day people around the globe send or receive about 180 billion e-mails according to research from (inaudible) group. And much of it in the United States goes through free e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail. But across the ocean in London, information and privacy activist says hold on. Some of these free services may be costing us dearly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you are not paying for the product you're not the customer. You are the product itself.

FOREMAN: What he means is this. For generations Americans thought of letters as private and many of us still see e-mails as kind of like that. But they're actually much more like post cards easily read by anyone or any company between you or the person you are sending the message to. And huge e-mail companies with millions of users do just that.

With powerful computers they scan every word for clues to help them sell precisely targeted ads. If you write kayak in several messages soon you see ads for river trips. Mention cars and you see models burning across the desktop. Have any doubts? In a recent court action, Google attorneys cited a 1979 Supreme Court decision stating that users should have no legitimate expectation of privacy so in terms of mining personal data.

SMARI MCCARTHY, MAILPILE: These services are honey pots. So the first thing we need to do is decentralize it.

FOREMAN: McCarthy argues we should all seek out more obscure e- mail providers, which have fewer users and are less attracted to big marketers or better yet he says use an e-mail program that lives in your computer bypassing the middle man. And he says we should all start looking at encryption software that will garble every message so it can only be read by the person to whom it is sent.

It is all very technical and a lot of big e-mail providers insist they do protect their user's privacy. But McCarthy is developing "Mailpile," which they hope may offer a consumer friendly, free alternative with lots of protection soon.

MCCARTHY: Over the next month or so technical people will be able to start using it. And by January we are hoping to launch a public release.

FOREMAN: In any event, he believes if we want e-mail security that is the future we must move towards no matter where it is at.


BURNETT: Tom, what amazes me is that Google -- and God bless them. They admit it. You use our stuff and we are watching you. Mailpile isn't ready until next summer. What can you do if you don't want them reading about the private things you're buying, selling or thinking about doing?

FOREMAN: The truth is, Erin, this is mainly being done by computers. It is computers scanning for information. Unless you are a real tech geek, unless you know your way around encryption programs and the idea of running e-mail on your own, it is kind of hard. I would say the best thing you can do is keep your eyes open because there are many companies who see a nation waking up to this and being concerned about it and already I'm starting to see ads trickling in of companies saying I can sell you something that will give you encryption and will get you around the corner. I think we are going to see an awful lot more of that.

BURNETT: Thanks to Tom as his investigation continues for us this week.

Radiation at the Fukushima plant is not contained. Despite what we were told and assured, the alarming admission by officials about a house of horrors next.

Why would the family of a man who allegedly kidnapped Hannah Anderson want her to take a DNA test? And later a question and then it was quickly deleted. Some people think the tweet condoned a horrible act. Jerry Springer is our guest.

And for football fans the way you watch the great American past time may be about to change forever.


BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, a nuclear crisis. Tonight, Japan on the verge of pacifying a toxic water leak at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant, a level three serious incident, that would be the highest warning since the massive melt down following the earthquake and tsunami, those images now so famous around the world.

Our Kyung Lah was the first American broadcaster to report from inside the Fukushima plant right after the meltdown and I want to play a portion of that extraordinary report.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We wore head to toe protected gear, full facial respirators and drove up to the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

This is our first look on the ground at the reactors. This is the heart of the nuclear problem in Japan. What you are seeing over my shoulder are the reactors. There are four of them. The two over my right shoulder are two of the reactors that exploded in the early days of this disaster.


BURNETT: Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT here with me tonight. Kyung, just amazing to watch that courage it would take because it is one of the things that you don't at that moment feel the risks that you are taking and it could have a serious toll two and a half years since the crisis. How serious is this that this is happening now?

LAH: This is very serious for this particular agency, the Nuclear Regulation Authority. They don't take these moves lightly. The fact they are moving it from a level one to a level three is very serious and important. And the global community should take note. They called the nuclear plant a house of horrors. So there is a ton of radioactive water being put into the ocean. It is very, very serious.

BURNETT: You are talking about they are saying house of horrors. They are not prone to hyperbole. That, I mean, an unbelievable thing to say, radioactive water dumping into the Pacific Ocean. I mean, it sounds incredibly frightening. So how scared should people be?

LAH: Well, if you look at how the communities around Japan, the other countries around Japan have reacted. You have seen them ban Japanese products and ban Japanese cars, tea, anything that is Japanese in the immediate after math. And that fear is still there. You talk to Japanese merchants in Hongkong and they say it is hurting our business. One thing for people to keep in mind is the people most at risk are the ones that work at the plant. There is a big ocean between us and Japan.

BURNETT: Which is kind of amazing to see how horrible these things are, the fact there is a resiliency for this thing. On a personal note I want to look at video of you and that suit. That is not going to protect you if something is really wrong. That is something you knew. It took a lot of risks and courage. How worried were you?

LAH: Well, we are journalists. We want to be at the story. You want to go and cover it. You had to watch your clock. It was almost rushed as I was talking. We had to do it so quickly. That was something you had to watch. Had to look at how much radiation your body was taking in because those suits don't protect you. I was breastfeeding at the time. I didn't breast feed my son for about a week after that because I was concerned. When the initial disaster happened I was pregnant. So you had to weigh what is the risk of covering the story versus the benefit for the public. I chose to stay.

BURNETT: A really courageous choice. Kyung Lah, thank you so much. We appreciate your time.

And now our fourth story OUTFRONT, a bizarre turn in the Hannah Anderson kidnapping case, the family of her accused abductor James DiMaggio says the 16 year old and her younger brother could be DiMaggio's children.


ANDREW SPANSWICK, DIMAGGIO FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: We are going to be requesting from the Anderson family to get a DNA sample from Hannah and if we can get one from Ethan. There's been a lot of rumors about whether or not Jim might be the father of either or both children.


BURNETT: DiMaggio is accused of killing Hannah's mother and brother. FBI agents track DiMaggio to Idaho last week. He was killed in the shootout. So could the biological connection be real?

Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT in Boulevard, California outside what remains of the home where Hannah's mother and brother were murdered.

I mean, Stephanie, this is just a bizarre allegation. I know you spent time with Hannah's grandparents today. What did they have to say about these latest assertions that he could have been her father?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPODENT: It's a very bizarre twist, Erin. It is a story that started out where it seemed like we knew what would happen, it was clear cut and done. And then these weirder angles started to come in now.

One thing I want you to hear, though, is from David Braun. He is the brother of Hannah's grandmother. So, her mother, Christina, Christina's uncle. He had some very fiery words today for the DiMaggio sister who is laying claim to the fact that he could be the father of Hannah and Ethan. Take a listen to this.


DAVID BRAUN, HANNAH ANDERSON'S GREAT UNCLE: Not only has this DiMaggio terrorist brutally murdered parts of my family, but now the other part of the family is insinuating that Tina was unfaithful and that my niece -- my grand niece and nephew were not Brett's children. And that alone is like a knife to the heart.


ELAM: And that's exactly what he is upset about. The memorial for Ethan and for Tina is going to be on Saturday. He's like, what right does this woman to bring this up beforehand? As far as Hannah's grandparents, they say the whole claim is ridiculous. That's what they told me today. They didn't want to go on camera, but they are saying right now if you take a look at Brett Anderson, Hannah and Ethan's father, and you take a look at those two children there is no doubt that he is in fact their father, Erin.

BURNETT: And Stephanie, before you go, what would the implications be if Hannah is DiMaggio's daughter? What would it mean?

ELAM: Well, first of all, just because they asked for this doesn't mean they are going to get the DNA-related material to do the testing. But from what I understand, if there is a case and they do find out he is in fact the father, they could make claim to try to get this insurance policy, which many believe is the issue here. That Jim DiMaggio left to the mother of Brett Anderson.

Now, we do know he lived with her for a couple of years at one point. So, it could be a thank you. It could be related to something else. We don't know. And so whether or not they try to go after that, we could wait and see. But anyone can try to go after a claim; doesn't mean they are going to get it.

BURNETT: Stephanie, thank you very much, reporting there as we said from outside that burned home.

"Money and Power" tonight: a big win for Yahoo!. For the first time in more than two years, Yahoo! sites were the most visited in the country. According to (INAUDIBLE) scores July report, Yahoo's site attracted 196.6 million visitors, compared to 192 million that visited Google's properties.

Now, Google might have some tricks up its sleeve, though, because representatives from Google and the National Football League have met to discuss possibly airing NFL games on YouTube. That is huge, people. According to All Things D, one of the topics discussed was the Sunday ticket package, which is the one that gives you access to all Sunday football. Currently, Direct TV has the rights to the Sunday ticket package, but that deal expires at the end of the 2014 season. All right, so this is early, but an NFL spokesman only confirmed the meeting did take place; Google wouldn't comment. If a deal were made, it would be huge. Direct TV currently pays the NFL a billion dollars a year for the package. But if you get this kind of distribution all of a sudden, you know, it's like what happened to Fox: you are there. That could be totally transformative for the media industry, for Google.

OUTFRONT next, the cops say three Oklahoma teens killed a stranger for the fun of it. This horrific story, now we are actually seeing what the teens posted online. We are going to talk about that and whether there was a trail here that could have been followed.

Plus, a child fighting a brain-eating amoeba. A huge development tonight.

And our "Shout Out." Sun, fun and a military hover craft.


BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: killing for the fun of it. Social media posts, including this video of 15-year-old James Edward Jr. brandishing a gun, smiling while he is doing it, are shedding new light on the teens accused of murdering an Australian baseball player out of the blue in Oklahoma. Two of the three teens face first-degree murder charges, a third is charged with accessory. They told police that 22-year-old Christopher Lane was chosen at random when he was gunned down in the street last week. Ran by the house where they were, saw him, decided they were going to go kill him, and then followed him and went and shot him in the back.

OUTFRONT tonight, clinical psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere.

Now, you see the pictures and we are limited in what we can show. We have one picture of one of them brandishing the gun and smiling. We have another picture of one kind of sitting there going like this, which we'll be able to show our vieweres. What do these kinds of social media posts say? Is there anyway there could have been a trail here?

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think just looking at the post themselves may tell us these kids are doing what a lot of kids do. A lot of it is bravado, being belligerent and so on. So, we see somewhat of a violent streak. If I were the parent of one of these children holding a rifle, certainly, I would be very, very concerned.

But I think you have to look at what we call the triangulation. Look at other things going on in their lives. School records. Did they have criminal records? And I believe the information will come out that there were some juvenile records. One of them had a father allegedly who is in jail. So, when you put it all together, then we see that these posts are, in fact, red flags for what could be really bad behavior.

BURNETT: What about the fact that there were three of them? It seems like this is one of those things where each had a role to play. It happened because there were three, because there was a group that would not have happened if were one.

GARDERE: So, in that case, you look at the mob mentality. Yes, just three but a mob mentality where the individual conscience is no longer there, and therefore you are not thinking of repercussions. Now it is about the adrenalin, supporting one another in inappropriate behaviors, egging each other on, doing something you normally wouldn't do just by yourself. But now you have that false courage.

BURNETT: Bottom line, have you ever seen anything like this? Horrific as this?

GARDERE: I have seen things like this, but what surprises me was the killing was so random. For that aggression they seem to have, you would think they would go after someone who may have crossed them or did something to hurt them. But to just pick someone just like that with absolutely no emotion, one of them was allegedly singing and dancing, that is very, very disturbing.

BURNETT: All right. Jeff Gardere, thank you.

GARDERE: Pleasure.

BURNETT: Still to come, the Fort Hood shooter rests his case without calling a single witness. He faces the death penalty. Would giving him that give him what he wants?

Plus, Dr. Phil under fire about a tweet he sent. Fellow talk show host Jerry Springer is OUTFRONT.

And then what allegedly drove a man to open fire with an AK-47 in a Georgia school? We have new details on that near (INAUDIBLE).


BURNETT: Welcome to the second half of OUTFRONT. We start with stories where we focus on reporting from the front lines.

U.S. Army private Bradley Manning was sentenced today to 35 years in prison for the biggest leak of classified documents in American history. Manning showed little reaction, but his attorney said acted out of love for his country and will seek a presidential pardon. Will be interesting to see if that happens at the end of this term for the president.

But the sentence is less than the 60 years prosecutors wanted and far less than the 90 Manning could have received. Former JAG attorney Craig Linkey believes the judge got it right because Manning was acquitted of course, of the most serious charge: treason. If Manning isn't pardoned and doesn't make parole, he will be out of jail when he is 57 years old. He's actually pretty young.

New details tonight about the suspected gunman who stormed a Georgia school. This is amateur video that's just coming in. And you just heard that single gun shot in the background. Police say Michael Brandon Hill walked into the school with about 500 rounds of ammunition. He was met by Antoinette Tuff who was able to convince him to surrender, helped him unpacked his ammo before officers arrive.

Hill also indicted to Tuff that he's not taken his medication. That could be a major factor should he face trial. Obviously, a heroic act, though, by Antoinette.

CNN legal analyst Paul Callan tells us Georgia is one of a minority of states which predicts a verdict or a plea of guilty but mentally ill.

Well, an OUTFRONT update on the 12-year-old Arkansas girl who is infected with that rare and deadly brain-eating amoeba. Kali Hardig is now actually able to say a few words and has walked a few steps with assistance for the first time.

This is hugely significant because almost nobody survives this. There are only two survivors out of 128 cases of this amoeba. The fatality rate is greater than 99 percent. The parasite is found naturally in warm enclosed bodies of water.

It has been 746 days since the United States lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Well, interest rates are rising. Mortgage rates up, up, up. Average rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, 4.68 percent this year. The low of this year was in January.

That is one incredible surge higher -- the reason for the rise, the Feds soon to come cutback of easy money.

And now, our sixth story OUTFRONT: death wish.

Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter -- so, he admits he killed 13 people in a rampage nearly three years ago. He didn't call a single witness in his own defense which rested today. Now, if Hasan is convicted, he faces the death penalty. Here's the thing -- that may be exactly what he wants.

OUTFRONT tonight, Ed Lavandera, at Fort Hood.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, Nidal Hasan had his chance to put on his defense today. He passed.

(voice-over): Nidal Hasan is on a self-glorified march to the execution chamber. There hasn't been a military execution in more than 50 years. Hasan appears determined to change that.

GEOFFREY CORN, SOUTH TEXAS COLLEGE OF LAW: I think Major Hasan may be the first military defendant in a long time to be put to death.

LAVANDERA: The army psychiatrist has passively watched prosecutors persuade a military jury to sentence him to death. He's had little to say during more than two weeks of testimony and refused to call any witnesses to tell his story. Hasan shows little interest in sparing his own life.

The reason could very well be found in these medical documents Hasan released to "The New York Times," documents reviewing whether he was fit to stand trial. In January 2011, he told psychiatric evaluators, quote, "I don't think what I did was wrong because it was for the greater cause of helping my Muslim brothers." Hasan also said if he is executed, "I would still be a martyr."

Terrorism expert Seth Jones says Hasan wants extreme radical Muslims around the world to view him as a hero.

SETH JONES, TERRORISM EXPERT: There is no question that Nidal Hasan has a somewhat jaded view of where he sits. He thinks he is going to be a martyr and he may have a very small following. But it's not that big.

LAVANDERA: From the start, Nidal Hasan admitted he was the shooter who walked into a Fort Hood medical processing building and started firing on unarmed fellow soldiers, testimony from roughly 90 witnesses and survivors was graphic, describing the chaos and mayhem inside the room that was overcome with the smell of blood and smoke as lasers from Hasan's handgun crisscrossed the room, targeting victims.

Many of the soldiers described how Hasan specifically targeted uniformed soldiers like Christopher Royal who was shot twice in the back.

REPORTER: In your eyes, is he a terrorist?

CHRISTOPHER ROYAL, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: In my eyes, he is. When I looked at his eyes when he came in and I looked at his terror that he posed that day -- yes, absolutely.

LAVANDERA (on camera): It's clear Nidal Hasan will be convicted in this case. So then this trial will then move on to the punishment phase and prosecutors are expected to call one family member from each of the victims killed in the Fort Hood massacre.

Erin, back to you.


BURNETT: Our seventh story OUTFRONT, Dr. Phil's drunk girl tweet.

Now, the talk show host -- obviously, you know his name, you know his face. He's under fire tonight after posting a controversial tweet which said, I want to quote it, "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to @DrPhil, #teensaccused."

According to show representative, the tweet was deleted the minute Dr. Phil saw it. But the damage was done. Dr. Phil declined to be interviewed by this program but he issued a statement saying, "This tweet was intended to evoke discussion leading into a very serious show topic based upon a news story, hence the #teensaccused label. It was a poll question, not a statement or a joke."

OUTFRONT tonight, talk show host Jerry Springer.

And, Jerry, thanks so much for taking the time. Now, you say that this tweet is appropriate for a talk show. How so?

JERRY SPRINGER, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, first of all, in fairness to Dr. Phil, he does a serious talk show. I mean, I do a circus. So, it would be different on my show and maybe not appropriate, because it would be taken as a joke.

But in his show, it is a serious issue. I mean, we can't be blind to the fact that young people do drink. There are a lot of young people that do have sex. How many times have we heard on any show that, you know, oh, she was -- you know, I'm sorry what I did but we were drinking, et cetera? It is more common than we want to believe.

And so, for them to raise it as a subject on their show, I don't see what the problem is. It should be discussed. I don't know -- I don't know why they took it down.

BURNETT: Maybe it's the fact that they took it down that might have caused the problem. But, you know, obviously, you can't delete a tweet because people could have retweeted it, which happened in this case and it was retweeted a lot of times. I mean, and people were outraged.

I mean, Jerry, one of the responses came from Sarah H., and she wrote, "Dr. Phil, here is a hint. If you wouldn't want it done to yourself, your child or your loved ones, capitals, it is not OK. Also, you're a moron."

That, of course -- that's what it's like to be on Twitter. Yes?

SPRINGER: But she answered the question. So she did exactly what the tweet was supposed to do to raise the issue. If there is ever going to be an appropriate age of sex, it always has to be consensual. And so, the issue is, when someone is drinking, they aren't of a mind to give their consent.

BURNETT: You talk about, you know, you said, look, he does a serious show. He talked about your show, you do a circus how. He does market himself, right? I mean, all of these shows have to entertain people to survive. That's television.


BURNETT: He markets himself as a self help expert, a mental health professional. I mean, that's part of his M.O., and that's part of the reason why he's been so successful. Should he be held to a higher standard, though? This whole -- I mean, you have a lot of tweets out there that, all right, fit with the tone of your show.

Are you a talented pole girl and want to be on the Jerry Springer show? Call Stephanie.

Do you work at a strip club and has some drama and want to be on the show? Call Stephanie.

SPRINGER: Oh, that was a great. That was a great one.

BURNETT: Right. Dr. Phil can't get away with that. It looked like he was taking a page from your play book, maybe when you are talking about something serious the way you phrased and did that tweet is what was wrong.

SPRINGER: Yes. But on a serious note I don't think it is a joke. I mean, I took it like, wow, that is because I can't tell you how many people. You know, we get a lot of young people on our show. I mean, our audience is young. So, we get a lot of those kids and I can't tell you how many come on the show and say, well, I'm sorry, Jerry, but I was drinking and all of that.

We've have all heard it and know that's the truth. If we know that is going on and if we have teenagers, we certainly want to be educating them. And good Lord, you have a daughter or you have a son. You teach your son. You don't ever, ever, ever mess around if a young woman is drinking, you just don't do it.

BURNETT: You know, let me ask you this, because back to the topic about talk shows, right. Your talk show and obviously, you know, you are tongue and cheek about it when you describe it. But, you know, are you work at a talent, a pole girl, do you work at a strip club? I mean, these are topics you talk about.

Where do you draw the line when it comes to topics of discussion? Is there anything in your head where you say, look, I know I'm out to entertain, I know I'm out to do this circus, but I also want to do something good and help people, or no?

SPRINGER: We do a show about people that do things that are a little over the line. That's what the show has to be. If you call us with a warm uplifting story, we're not allowed to run it. We are required to send it to one of the other shows based on what the subject matter is.

So, I know going in they are going to have me something which is crazy, outrageous, et cetera.


SPRINGER: Obviously, if you are doing, do you like to dance on the strip pole, we obviously know that the person that's going to show up is going to be someone who wants to be a stripper or something. That is outside the social norm. Therefore, it qualifies for the show. We are in the business to show inappropriate behavior. And that's -- that's what we do.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Jerry Springer, thank you.

SPRINGER: Thanks, Erin. Nice talking with you.

BURNETT: An honest man.

All right. Mark Zuckerberg wants to give you the Internet. The Facebook CEO announced today that he is teaming up with tech companies, Samsung, Nokia and Ericsson, to bring the web to every single person on earth. Sounds really charitable, right? The group is called, hopes to give everyone the same ability to share their opinions and speak freely.

Of the 7 billion people on this planet, less than half currently has access to the web, which brings me to tonight's number, 1.15 billion. That is the number of people currently on Facebook. Stratospheric, right? Well, it's only about 15 percent of the people on the planet that can actually click on Facebook ads, buy Facebook games and send Facebook gifts. Sure, it would be nice to change that and make more money, Mark Zuckerberg, huh?

So, in the video promoting this new push Zuckerberg appears in an African village. That is no coincidence. Look at this map of places in the world where people don't have the Internet? Africa stands out.

But helping Africa is not about charity. Contrary to what you may have heard or read, Africa is on fire with growth. It is the second largest and fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. Africa leapfrogged traditional land lines and went directly to mobile phones. And so far, the billion people living in Africa, only 84 of them have Internet-enabled cell phones. That is stunning. Just imagine the money that could be made if a group of tech companies could get their ads and games on to hundreds of millions of more phones.

You just know the Facebook CEO likes that.

Still to come, did the Syrian President Assad use chemical weapons? We're going to show the dramatic video that may prove it.

Plus, a secret database of America's gun owners. Only it's not the government who has it. Now, you can't blame the NSA for this one.

And President Obama's latest decision sparking massive controversy. This is an issue dividing America. It is a serious issue and we have a very important report.

And tonight's shout out, another video out of Russia. Can you imagine these people hanging out? They don't seem to be looking. I mean, holy! I mean, this is the world's largest military hovercraft landing on a packed beach along the Baltic Sea.

According to state run broadcaster, no one was injured. It was an incident. I mean, this wasn't supposed to happen. The defense official told a local newspaper the ship was performing a drill on a beach owned by the military. The shout out, I guess, goes to the beachgoers who are on a beach owned by the military and they've come and were lucky not to be killed, when they probably shouldn't have been there to begin with.

We'll be back.


BURNETT: And we're back with our "Outer Circle" where we reach out to sources around the world.

Tonight, we go to Syria. Opposition groups say the Assad government has used chemical weapons killing more than a thousand people. The regime denies. I asked Arwa Damon about it. And I want to warn you, we do have video here of what happened that is disturbing.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, the images emerging out of Syria are truly horrific and heartbreaking, following what opposition activists are saying was a chemical attack carried out by the Assad regime, targeting areas to the east and southwest of the capital, Damascus.

Doctors quite simply unable to cope, one that we spoke to said he ran out of atropine within an hour and ended up just administering oxygen to the victims that kept coming in, and amongst them so many children. It is truly devastating to see them trying to gasp for breath.

The timing of all of this is raising a lot of questions. There is a U.N. inspection team on the ground already in Syria. They were originally tasked with investigating previous allegations of the use of chemical weapons. And it's unclear at this point if they will be able to access the site of these most recent attacks.

The Syrian government for its part denying any sort of involvement -- Erin.


BURNETT: Thanks to Arwa.

Tonight, questions are being asked about whether there is a secret database of gun owners. The NRA, according to the Web site BuzzFeed has compiled a list of current, former and perspective gun owners. Note this is the same organization that is opposed to the government's effort to create a national gun registry. I guess it's different when you're doing it yourself, right?

Sinister move by the NRA or smart business?

OUTFRONT, radio show host Stephanie Miller, political commentator Ben Ferguson, and Joe Concha of Mediaite. All right. Stephanie, I thought the NSA was the one collecting and spying and, you know, doing these things to us. I guess the NRA is also guilty.

STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: Can you say wheel of right wing hypocrites, Erin? Yes. This is the one that fear-mongered to get reasonable gun control that most Americans were for to not pass because of fear mongering about this.

And this is exactly what they are doing. It is a national database. It is exactly what they fear monger -- by the way, I would like a list of all the people in New Jersey that have guns that can shoot planes down courtesy of Chris Christie for my next flight into Newark, if, you know, we're going to be going list out. I mean, this is the worst kind of hypocrisy, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Let me -- Ben, you are a member of the NRA. How is this not a major breach of privacy? I mean, to this point, right? They don't want the government to get a database, but they went out and got their own database. Not just the people like you who are a member, who chose to find out, but people who aren't members, you know, who have a right to privacy?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, one, they don't know what gun I have, when I bought it, the serial number that comes with it. This is the same thing as Googling something which I'm sure Stephanie is a big fan of and then getting a couple popup ads and maybe, even an e-mail about the product that she Googled.

This is what every magazine does in America. When I got "TIME" magazine, guess what? I got a lot of solicitations for "Newsweek", "Wall Street Journal" and any type of magazines like that they thought might fit in that wheelhouse. The same way if you order "Golf" magazine, you probably are going to start getting literature on golf courses or clothes or other type of things like buying golf clubs.

This is not a database where it is the gun you have, what type it is and how many bullets you have, which is what a government database is. This is normal marking that Facebook, Google and any other company does every single day.

And to me, it's laughable that I should somehow be afraid of the NRA now because they do the same thing --

MILLER: Excuse me --

BURNETT: Hold on, Stephanie, let me just bring Joe in for --


MILLER: The government specifically put a clause in the gun bill they could not have a database of this kind, and the NRA lied about it to get it to not pass. So what you're saying is complete non-sense.

BURNETT: Joe, what do you think? I mean, is it a complete non- sense, or does Ben have a point that this is a list of gun owners, not necessarily the kind and type and make and serial number.

JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: Right. It's smart business. It's -- you know, I was at J Crew today admittedly and they asked me for my e-mail address, right? Or at RadioShack, and they did the same thing.

BURNETT: Did you tell them, as you should have, sorry?

CONCHA: No, I told them my fake e-mail address, which is, that separates all my regular emails from my retail email.

FERGUSON: You're a wise man.

CONCHA: They never catch on to it, Ben. That's the funny thing about it.

But here's the thing -- the NRA does it the same way because it's good business. They want to raise money. They want to expand their membership base. And most importantly, they want to get the word out against pro-gun control types of messages out there. So, it advocates, hey, guys, let's rally around this.

Here is the problem that I have. Most of these lists are compiled without the knowledge of these gun owners, of these people that otherwise went to gun safety shows, filled out forms and now, they're on a list they didn't even know about. So there is where I see hypocrisy, Erin.

BURNETT: Stephanie, what about the final to respond to Ben? I mean, isn't that this what Google does every day? I mean, you're fine getting an ad because they saw a keyword in your email saying kayak, now, you're getting kayaking adds, you know, how is this different?

FERGUSON: Every day.

MILLER: Well, I don't know. People can tell me what they think and not the real Erin Burnett at, my other e-mail address.

But, Erin, you know, come on. This is the rankest hypocrisy. I mean, this is exactly what the NRA fear mongered about.

FERGUSON: But it's not. That's the thing.

MILLER: Yes, it is. It's exactly -


MILLER: They did not agree to this.

BURNETT: All right.

MILLER: They have a database --

BURNETT: I have to leave it there.

MILLER: The NRA's only concern about selling more guns, that's all they are interested in.

BURNETT: I hope our viewers are as passionate as the three of you are about this issue. Please let us know what you think at, what is it?

CONCHA: It's at

BURNETT: It's at, along with our Twitter.

CONCHA: It's not apparently accurate.

BURNETT: All right. Every night, we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we call the OUTFRONT "Outtake."

Now, there is a major story of controversy at the White House. Earlier this week, everyone was owing and awing at the footage of Bo and Sunny happily running around together, ramping. It seems like a terrific decision by the president to get another dog -- but maybe not.

I'm referring to cat people. Cat owners are up in arms that President Obama did not choose a cat. The cat lobby thinks with 39 percent of American household owning at least one cat, the president is cutting out a huge group of American voters.

Now, in the president's defense, he was just following the lead of past U.S. leaders because ever since Americans stopped using horses for transportation, the dog has become the go-to pet. Republicans and Democrats agree the dog allows the commander-in-chief to appear both courageous and compassionate at the same time. Even the presidents with a cat, always have a dog for a balance.

Other world leaders have followed suit, prime ministers and princess around the world use a dog or a horse to seem powerful and populist. But there are exceptions. British Prime Minister David Cameron has Larry the Cat, and you'd be hard pressed to find a photo of the Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that does not have a cat in it because he fosters cats. Yes.

And since Britain and Canada are our greatest allies, maybe it is time for President Obama to follow the lead of our allies for once.

What do you think? Look, see, David Cameron trying to give him a cat. He looks scared as you know what. Maybe he's allergic.

Does the president need a cat or something other than another Portuguese water dog? Let us know on Twitter. All right?

And still to come, a significant day in Beetle's history. Tribute to one of the men responsible for the biggest moments in American musical history.


BURNETT: The man behind one of the biggest moments in American history died today, Sid Bernstein was 95. The music promoter who brought the Beetles to America for the first time, setting up shows at Carnegie Hall and Shea Stadium.

Now, while they were here, of course, they played a legendary set on Ed Sullivan, has become a powerful part of history. Even for those who weren't alive when it happened, which is a pretty amazing accomplishment, which is why tonight, we want to celebrate Sid Bernstein and all of the people in the background who makes these amazing moments and these shows possible every day. Jackson Brown's song said it perfectly.

Coming up later on CNN, a Jake Tapper special, "An Unlikely Hero." This airs at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, here is a sneak peak.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hours into the battle, the soldiers of Black Knight Troop are fighting back. But two of them, Ty Carter and Brad Larson, are pinned down in a Humvee.

(on camera): You're in this Humvee and you're just like sitting ducks.


TAPPER: You can't leave, but you can't stay. Then, what happened?

CARTER: It got to a point where a sniper knew where I was at. I would open the window and fire across the river at insurgent and then I remember closing the window and as soon as I closed it, sparks shot out. The two-inch gap that I had in my rifle out there, the sniper has zeroed in on and was trying to put a bullet inside the vehicle to get either myself or Sergeant Larson.

TAPPER (voice-over): To make matters worse, Taliban fighters are now inside Combat Outpost Keating.

CARTER: We were low on ammo. Everyone around us that was friendly was either wounded or dead.

TAPPER: Specialist Steven Mays was severely wounded outside the Humvee, exposed to the enemy.

CARTER: He says, help me, please.


BURNETT: Unlikely hero airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

And we want to share a programming note about our series tomorrow on the government and big companies spying on you. As you know, Tom Foreman has been filing these reports. Tonight, you learned a little bit about how to find a way around Google spying on you.

Tomorrow, foreign governments. Everyone has been picking on the United States, but you know what? They may have nothing compared to other countries spying on you right now. We have a special report on that, an OUTFRONT investigation tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern.

Thanks so much for watching.

"A.C. 360" starts now.