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THE SITUATION ROOM

NSA Illegally Collected U.S. Communications; Interview with Bob Corker; Syrian Rebels Say over One Thousand People Killed by Chemical Agents; Playing Chicken over Obamacare; Dr. Phil Tweet Sparks Internet Firestorm; Hair Thieves Targeting Women; Swearing Nixon Talks Watergate; Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years; Fukushima Power Plant Described As "House Of Horrors"

Aired August 21, 2013 - 17:00   ET

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


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST HOST: Happening now, breaking news -- disturbing new evidence the NSA broadly and illegally collected sweeping Internet communications here in the U.S. and misrepresented the scope of that effort.

Plus, sentencing for the man charged in the largest leak of classified material ever in the history of the Army.

And if you're planning to travel abroad, you like your hair?

Well, beware. We will explain just ahead.

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Brianna Keilar.

And you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin now with breaking news. A disturbing development in the wake of the sweeping surveillance program that came to light following Edward Snowden's leaks to the media. The Obama administration today declassified a secret court's opinion, which revealed the National Security Agency was broadly collecting Americans' Internet communications here in the United States and misrepresenting the scope of that effort.

CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez, has the story.

And he joins us now here with details -- hi, Evan.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.

KEILAR: So what is the latest today?

PEREZ: Well, the latest is that the administration decided today to release three court opinions, as you described them. One of them, the biggest one, is from 2011 -- in October of 2011, when the NSA came forward to the court and admitted that it had been essentially violating the law.

The court ruled that it had -- what it had been doing was unconstitutional. It had been collecting all this Internet traffic data. It has points inside the United States where it can look at and monitor e-mails and other Internet traffic.

And what it was doing was, beyond doing the collecting of foreign intelligence, which is what they're supposed to be doing, and trying to prevent terrorism, they were also incidentally -- mistakenly, they say -- collecting domestic information. And this is a big no-no. This is not what they were supposed to be doing.

The court ruled that not only had they been violating the law, but they had been misrepresenting what they were supposed to be doing for three years.

So the judge was very upset.

KEILAR: And how -- I mean how do they say -- they can't just say, oops, our bad.

I mean how do they explain why this was happening?

PEREZ: Well, you know, essentially, what the NSA had come up with, in their own minds and in their own programs, far, apparently, exceeded what they could do with their computers. They said that their computers just couldn't quite separate the data from Americans, the e- mails from Americans, from that which was supposed to be foreign.

Now, you have to look at it this way. This is very complicated. But, you know, for example, if you -- when you put up on your e-mail, on your Gmail, for instance, and you try to look up your latest e-mails, you get a screen with like five or six or, you know, say, 10 e-mails. If one of those is what NSA was interested in, NSA was getting everything.

KEILAR: I see.

PEREZ: And you have to sort of understand that, you know, the way the NSA computers were set up, apparently, it couldn't quite differentiate, it couldn't quite exclude the stuff it wasn't supposed to be getting.

KEILAR: So if they were getting everything, are they still getting everything?

Have they changed the process?

PEREZ: Well, the NSA still is doing this type of collection. And I think that is what people have a lot of suspicion about. The NSA is basically saying, look, we've gotten a lot better at this. We -- our computers are better. We've been able to set up systems to be able to limit what we can get.

KEILAR: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much for the details on that.

Let's get more now from the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Commitor -- Committee, I should say, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker joining us now on the phone.

I mean, Senator, when you hear about these details and you hear about this new information, what do you think?

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: Well, you know, we had this happen before, several months ago, when the meta data program became -- when we became aware of that. And I wrote a letter to the president and asked for an explanation and a hearing. And that day, thankfully, they did that. And many senators gathered in a room to listen. That same day, details came out about the PRISM program.

So, look, you know, this is an expansive effort by NSA. I have a lot of concerns about whether there's really any capability to oversee these things in an appropriate way.

But at a minimum, I think we should -- as soon as we get back from recess, have a briefing that is detailed, that explains all the programs that are happening, how we do those things, to try to ensure that these kinds of things that have been revealed don't happen.

So I think it's very pervasive. And candidly, as I mentioned already, you know, there's so much happening, you wonder whether there's any way to have appropriate oversight of these programs.

KEILAR: Well, speaking of which, that's one of the roles of Congress.

Do you think that Congress is aware -- were you aware and were other members of Congress, including Intelligence Committee members, aware of this?

CORKER: Yes. Well, I think, you know, members of the committees, some are more active than others. I'm not on the Intelligence Committee, but it was very apparent to me, in sitting into this -- in this briefing that there were some senators on the Intelligence Committee that acted as if they were unaware of the meta data program, again, which was the first one revealed.

So I don't know. My guess is there may be a handful of folks that know a lot of details about this program. Again, it's very difficult, at this point, to know. But this is out there now in the public sphere. People are reading about it. They're hearing about it on CNN and other places.

And whether, you know, a lot of times these programs are left only for a few to know about because of the way these things operate, especially on the Intelligence Committee.

But with all this out there now, I think it's imperative that we have a walk-through, detail by detail, of all of these programs and an understanding of how we can keep these things under control so that Americans' privacy is not impacted.

KEILAR: Certainly. And I imagine all of your constituents and a lot of Americans will be asking their representatives about that.

Senator Bob Corker, thank you for joining us. CORKER: Thank you so much.

KEILAR: Now, to Syria now, where we want to warn you, the pictures you are about to see are extremely disturbing. These are graphic images released by a Syrian opposition news network. They show the bodies of children and adults allegedly killed today in a toxic gas attack. Opposition groups are claiming hundreds, potentially even more than 1,000 people, were killed when the government used chemical agents in rebel strongholds.

Now, CNN cannot independently verify those numbers or those reports.

The White House says it can't officially confirm the attack, but it's "deeply concerned" -- that's a quote -- by the reports.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Arwa Damon, is joining us from Beirut, Lebanon, with the latest -- Arwa?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.

And one leading opposition member put the death toll at 1,300 just from that attack alone. And so many of the victims were children. As you were saying there, these images are incredibly difficult to look at, as this tragedy in Syria just continues to unfold.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAMON (voice-over): The videos, even by Syrian standards, are among the most disturbing of this three year conflict -- bodies with no apparent wounds, many children, some limp, other listless or gasping for air. The voice narrating this clip in Arabic cracks as he repeats, "Only God can bring us justice."

Those who survived, helpless. Doctors said that among the symptoms were constricted pupils, rapid pulse and difficulty breathing.

One activist we spoke to said that his vision blurred, he lost control of his limbs and collapsed to the floor, gradually recovering hours later.

So what caused these symptoms?

Rebels blame the Syrian government for using chemical weapons, some saying the symptoms were consistent with sarin gas.

The Syrian government flatly denied involvement.

The incident came while a U.N. inspection team was on the ground examining evidence of prior alleged chemical weapon attacks. The inspectors are guests of the Syrian government, believed to be staying not far from where one of the attacks took place. It's not yet clear whether they will be able to investigate this incident.

With no way to protect themselves, people tried to wash off with water. One doctor told CNN that his field clinic ran out of atropine within an hour. And as the victims kept arriving, all they could do was provide oxygen.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

DAMON: And so right now, we're waiting for the outcome of that emergency Security Council meeting, to see if they do decide to request that their team, currently on the ground in Syria, do try to investigate this latest incident -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Unbelievable pictures.

Arwa Damon for us there.

Thank you so much.

And we also have more breaking news just coming into CNN. We are just getting new amateur video from that school shooting just outside of Atlanta. And in it, you can actually hear the sound of the gunshot going off yesterday. We're going to play that for you right now.

(VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Now, we've learned from police the suspect in custody had about 500 rounds of ammunition and was carrying an AK-47 at the time. Amazingly, no one was hurt in this incident. We'll have much more on all of this at the top of our next hour.

And more news just ahead, including a frightening scene this afternoon for a school bus loaded with kids. We'll have the latest on that.

And it's probably the most passionate speech ever about a future in engineering. The speech that just might make you want to attend Georgia Tech.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: The simmering war over Obamacare is about to heat up dramatically. And fallout from the next big battle could impact all of us in the form of a government shutdown.

CNN national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, has the latest on this -- Jim, what's going on with Obamacare?

JIM ACOSTA, HOST: Well, Brianna, I can tell you that when members of Congress return to Washington next month, they won't have much time to avert a government shut down. And as opponents of the president's health care law see it, that is the time to strike to, what they call, get into a game of chicken to shut down the president's health care law once and for all.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views.

ACOSTA (voice-over): This town hall featuring Texas GOP senator, Ted Cruz, was practically a pep rally, with conservatives shouting down a few liberal protesters.

(VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: And cheering on the Tea Party darling's plan to defund Obamacare.

CRUZ: Number one, I agree with them. They should have health care. And Obamacare is causing more and more people struggling to climb the economic ladder to lose their health care.

ACOSTA: Cruz and his allies are eyeing two dates looming on the calendar -- September 30th, when the government runs out of money, and the next day, October 1st, when online, new Obamacare insurance marketplaces open for business. Conservative groups say that's the time to force Congress and the White House to choose -- defund the health care law or shut down the government.

DAN HOLLER, HERITAGE ACTION SPOKESMAN: So there's a game of chicken going on on both sides. And I'm fairly confident that if the Republican Party and Republican lawmakers go out and make the case to the American people that Obamacare is hurting them, that it's costing them jobs, it's having hours cut back at their work, we can go out and win this fight.

ACOSTA: But not all Republicans are on board with the plan.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I think it's the dumbest idea I've ever heard of.

ACOSTA: Even Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who's in a touch reelection fight, has raised doubts.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: The problem is, it's a bill that would shut down the government, it wouldn't shut down Obamacare. Most of it is a permanent law not affected by that.

ACOSTA: Which is why the message war has begun with conservative groups targeting Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sen. McConnell, conservatives don't need a chicken when it comes to Obamacare.

ACOSTA: Just as the White House and states supporting the health care law are encouraging Americans to sign up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Minnesota, land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little help.

ACOSTA: Other House Republicans are raising the stakes even higher with talk of impeachment.

REP. KERRY BENTIVOLIO, (R) MICHIGAN: If I had been writing that bill -- excuse me -- it would be a dream come true. ACOSTA: Former house speaker and co-host of CNNs "Crossfire," Newt Gingrich, has a better idea, but the shutdown ball in the president's court.

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: No, I would pass a bill that funded everything in the government except Obamacare.

ACOSTA: Wouldn't that shut down the government?

GINGRICH: Only if Obama decided he wanted to shut it down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (on-camera): White House officials have said there is no way the president would ever sign a bill that defunds the health care law, and one top GOP aide said it's likely both sides will decide to continue funding the government until the end of the year. Still, getting to a compromise could make September one wild ride --Brianna.

KEILAR: And we'll hold on to our hats and our glasses. Jim Acosta, thank you for that.

Let's get more now on this with CNN chief political correspondent and anchor of "State of the Union," Candy Crowley. So, Candy, you sat down with Ted Cruz. You were at this rally, what seem kind of like a rally, a town hall. What did he tell you in the interview?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we talked about a lot of things, but among them, we talked about this effort to defund Obamacare, and he admits this is a huge uphill battle for the Senate. They need 41 Republican senators. I should have closed (ph) this or we're not close it all.

He talks about a tsunami gathering up a tsunami of people to pound Washington Capitol Hill offices with phone calls and messages, and that's what he was doing at this defund Obamacare event last night. And again, it's going to be so much about the message, who's to blame for shutting down the government? I don't think they'll shut down the government. Anybody? But the truth is that they are working with the same kind of message that you just heard from Newt Gingrich. Here's what Ted Cruz told me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If President Obama makes the decision to shut down the federal government because he's so committed to Obamacare, that's a point where we've got to win the argument. I'll tell you what. If we're successful mobilizing millions of Americans to reach out to their elected officials and say do the right thing, spare us from this train wreck, get the economy going, get jobs back, that will move Republicans. But ultimately, it's going to move Democrats also.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: So it's all -- his idea is that you say we're going to fund absolutely everything in the government, so here's that. And along with it, here's a bill that defunds Obamacare and send it to the White House. And they're going to say, well, the president's the one -- we wanted to fund the government. But you know, the president's the one that decided not to. So, this will be a message game most of September and probably into October, because you know how this works.

KEILAR: Yes, and speaking of that, that's where hecklers get involved, too. We saw them in Jim's piece. Let's take a listen to the scene at Ted Cruz's event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: There is a new paradigm.

(HECKLERS SHOUTING)

CRUZ: Gentlemen, thank you for sharing your views. You know, part of the First Amendment is about respecting the views of others.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: All right. So they got into it a little bit there. You spoke with some of the folks who helped them get into that event.

CROWLEY: Yes, I mean, what's happened with these town hall meetings ever since the first summer of the town hall meeting and the rise of the Tea Party is, they have become on both sides a lot about theater. I mean, this is reality politics, if you will.

And so, yes, we did talk to people afterwards who had helped facilitate getting these protesters in. The stories they say were true. We had a woman that said look, I've lost my job, I can't afford my diabetes medicine, I have to go to Mexico for it. In fact, the senator quieted the crowd and said, let her tell her story. So, he handled them very deftly; there were three interruptions.

But honestly there were a couple thousand people that showed up for this event, so they were sort of a minimal part of it, but this has become part of the standard. If you're a Democrat, the Tea Party is going to show up. And if you're a Republican, you're going to get this sort of protest.

KEILAR: And the vocal minority gets so much attention, especially in these town hall meetings, which used to be boring, and now really aren't. So, Senator Cruz is out there. He's becoming this prominent voice. How is he going to play in 2014?

CROWLEY: I asked him specifically. I said, because Jim DeMint, who is sponsoring -- the Heritage Foundation is sponsoring these town halls across the country, and Senator Cruz just showed up to speak at it. It's actually the Heritage that's putting them out there in nine cities.

And Jim DeMint has said anybody that gets in the way -- any Republican that gets in the way of defunding this needs to be replaced. So I asked Senator Cruz whether he will -- whether he thought that, too. And he sort of dodged.

And I said so, what happens if Mitch McConnell meets a Tea Party conservative, which he will, or Lindsey Graham, which he will, or at this point, Lamar Alexander? Will you go out and support, the person, the primary challenging incumbent Republican who's already seated? He said it was unlikely.

Didn't flat-out say no, but he said, look, it's really unlikely I would do that. I mentioned the three senators by name. He said really unlikely. Said what I will do, is when there are open primaries, and if somebody makes their case, I will go and help them.

KEILAR: Maybe he likes the theater, but not that much theater. That would be a whole lot --

CROWLEY: You know, I will say he didn't rule it out. But I mean, he said it's unlikely.

KEILAR: All right, Candy Crowley, thank you so much.

CROWLEY: Thanks.

KEILAR: And coming up, changing views on medical marijuana. Will they reach all the way to the White House? CNN is in the briefing room pressing for answers on that.

And a school bus overturns with dozens of kids on board. We're learning new information about this accident.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Let's take a look now at some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM. We're monitoring a frightening scene in Kansas. This afternoon, a school bus overturned with 36 girls on board. Kansas Highway Patrol says the bus slipped down a hill as it came around a curve, ultimately landing on its side.

Now, some of the girls are injured. We don't know, though, how many or how severe the injuries are. We'll be keeping you posted as we do learn more on that.

And Vice President Joe Biden is giving new details about his son, Beau. He's just released the statement saying the 44-year-old Delaware attorney general has undergone a successful procedure at a Houston cancer hospital, but Biden doesn't say what the procedure was or why it was performed.

Beau Biden sought treatment after feeling weak and disoriented on a family vacation last week. The vice president says his son, the attorney general of Delaware, will be discharged and will return to his home state tomorrow.

Well, Chris Christie's lead in the New Jersey governor's race is shrinking, but he is still up by 20 points. A new Monmouth University/Asbury Park press poll shows Christie beating his Democratic challenger 56 percent to 36 percent among likely viewers -- or should say voters. He was up by a whopping 30 points in mid-June. A big win for Christie could be his launching point for a 2016 presidential run.

Potentially big news. Could be coming soon for NFL fans. The website all things D is reporting that Google recently met with NFL commissioner, Roge Goodell, to discuss broadcasting live NFL games on YouTube. So, neither Google nor the NFL would comment on the story. DirecTV currently has the exclusive broadcast rights for a package that let fans watch any NFL game they want on Sundays, but only for two more years.

And you never know. Apple has nearly $150 billion in profit that it could be looking to spend as well.

And a Georgia tech sophomore may go down in history for giving the best welcome speech to incoming freshmen in history. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK SELBY, GEORGIA TECH STUDENT: If you want to change the world, you're at Georgia Tech. You can do that! If you want to build the ironman suit, you're at Georgia Tech! You can do that! If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) we're at Georgia Tech! We can do that! I am doing that!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Well, I don't know. If that doesn't make you want to go to Georgia Tech, I don't know what else would.

And up next, a disturbing new development in an ongoing nuclear nightmare, officials are now considering a new warning.

Plus, details on a bizarre crime wave, women targeted by hair thieves.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Happening now, Bradley Manning is sentenced for the biggest classified leak in Army history. And he explains why he did it.

Also, tons the radioactive water leaks for a crippled nuclear power plant. We're learning it may be more serious than realized.

Plus, thieves targeting women not for purses or their cell phone, but for their hair.

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar, and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Army private Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison and ordered dishonorably discharged for what prosecutors consider to be the largest leak of classified material in the Army's history. Manning's attorney now says his client will seek a pardon from President Obama, and CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence has been working the story. He's joining us now from Fort Meade with the very latest. Chris? CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, I was in the courtroom when the judge handed down that sentence. Almost immediately, Bradley Manning's family, seated right behind me - behind him -- broke out into tears, openly crying. Manning himself didn't react very much at all. In fact, within seconds his attorneys were pushing him out of room. And from the back of the room, his supporters were screaming "We love you, Bradley. We're still going to fight for you, Bradley." And just hours later, his attorney was making that statement, saying he would seek the presidential pardon.

Here's the bottom line. Bradley Manning will serve his time, likely at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is required to serve a minimum of a third of that sentence, and his lawyer says with some time served credit, he could be in eligible for parole in as little as seven years. The attorney didn't say Bradley Manning was a winner in this case by any shot. But he said the public was a winner because the information got out there and sparked a national discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID COOMBS, ATTORNEY FOR PFC. BRADLEY MANNING: The loser is anyone who hopes you'll have whistleblowers in the future willing to come forward. Because as I said before, this does send a message, and it's a chilling one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE: On the other hand, prosecutors had argued this damaged diplomatic relations, put lives at risk. And this sentence needed to send a message to potential whistle blowers that this is illegal and not the way to go about it. Brianna?

KEILAR: Chris Lawrence, live for us from Fort Meade, thank you for the report.

And the Army psychiatrist defending himself against charges that he killed 13 people in that 2009 shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, has rested his case. Major Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted, admits to being the shooter, and in recent weeks, has leaked documents to news organizations that appear to offer his justification for the attack. "The New York Times" reports on e-mails that Hasan apparently sent supervisors days before the shooting happened, expressing concerns about the actions of some soldiers that he was evaluating, including one case, according to the Times report where a soldier reported to Hasan that American troops had poured 50 gallons of fuel into the Iraqi water supply as revenge.

Closing arguments are set to begin tomorrow.

Well, the White House says as of now, President Obama isn't looking to change government law placing marijuana in the same category of drugs as heroin and ecstasy despite its use for medical reasons. CNN's chief White House correspondent Jessica Yellin asked deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest about the controversial issue today in the context of a recent documentary done by our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. government currently classifies marijuana in the category of most dangerous drugs, no medical benefit. Same category as heroin, and more harmful than cocaine or meth.

Sanjay Gupta, as you may know -

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: Your distinguished colleague.

YELLIN: Yes, my distinguished colleague, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has just called for a reconsideration by the government. So given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider this classification?

EARNEST: Well, Jessica, I can tell you the administration's position on this has been clear and consistent for some time now: that while the prosecution of drug traffickers remains an important priority, the president and administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources.

YELLIN: Is he willing to take steps to make it easier to conduct research on marijuana's medical benefits?

EARNEST: I'm not exactly sure what steps are required or what changes could be implemented into the law to have an impact on marijuana research.

YELLIN: Maybe you could (INAUDIBLE)

EARNEST: For some reason, I have the sneaking suspicion that this is going to draw me all kinds of traffic on Twitter.

(LAUGHTER)

EARNEST: I'm predicting that now. And maybe I'll have an update for you later.

YELLIN: (INAUDIBLE) maybe some Doritos later.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: All right. Jessica is joining us now. So, Jessica, a little funny there at the end, but are they avoiding a larger question here about medical marijuana?

YELLIN: They are, Brianna. There are a host of ways that the answer skirts some basic questions. Twenty states have medical marijuana laws, at least 16 have decriminalized possession, two have legalized it. So for the White House to say they're not going to order a crackdown on pot smokers is basically just bowing to reality and avoiding a major federal-state conflict on this issue.

The harder questions for the White House to address are why is weed still listed as a more serious drug than meth or cocaine? And even in states where it's legal, why are some suppliers targeted and put out of business? How does the federal government propose dealing with issues like that?

Well, the Drug Enforcement Agency is modern enough to helpfully offer the American public a document that lists two dozen different ways to say weed. That includes Aunt Mary, chronic, ganga, and the old classic reefer. But there's still stuck with a law that's written in the 1970s.

So now we have the White House says the president doesn't yet see a need to loosen the nation's marijuana laws. Bottom line, maybe he'll evolve on the issue. But for now, by sticking with the current law and avoiding a crackdown on pot smokers, it seems like he's trying to have it both ways and split the difference. Brianna?

KEILAR: Definitely splitting the difference there. Jessica Yellin for us at the White House. Thank you so much.

Now just ahead, we have details of a very unusual crime wave. Who is stealing women's hair? And why?

And also, the tweet that has Dr. Phil in some pretty hot water.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: It's like that nuclear nightmare that just won't end. Tons of radioactive water leaked from that Japanese power plant that was so badly damaged in the tsunami disaster. And this latest incident may be more serious than first thought.

CNN Paula Hancocks is in Tokyo. So, Paula, how bad is this?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, it's being described as the house of horrors at an amusement park. Mishaps just keep on happening time and time again.

This is the way Japan's nuclear watchdog is describing the Fukushima power plant. But as you say, this particular incident is the most serious since 2011. It's been upgraded from a level 1 on Monday to a level 3. This is the proposal Japan is making, claiming it is a serious incident.

Now, what has happened is 300 tons of highly radioactive water have leaked from one of the water tanks. The plant operator at TEPCO claims that they have stemmed this flow. They claim that they have made that water secure and that it hasn't reached the ocean. But there are concerns that if one water tank can leak, surely others can as well. There's hundreds of these huge water tanks with highly radioactive water inside.

And just to give you an idea of how radioactive that water is, TEPCO says if you stand too close to it, you will get a five-year dose of radiation in just one hour. Brianna?

KEILAR: That is unbelievable, Paula. And I wonder, because the Japanese people had already lost so much confidence in TELCO, what does this latest incident do?

HANCOCKS: I think the fact that the nuclear watchdog calls it the house of horrors really sums it up. The Japanese people are constantly hearing about what is happening with TEPCO, and very little of it is positive. Now, of course you have to remember this was a huge disaster. It is a very complicated situation, and a very difficult situation for TEPCO to try to fix.

But at this point, the prime minister Shinzo Abe says the government will get more involved. They will come up with a different strategy to try and help with this situation. They haven't given any clues as to what that strategy would look like.

But this isn't the first leak we have seen. We know that 300 tons of radioactive water every single day are going into the Pacific Ocean. At this point the plant, they don't know where that leak is happening. So certainly it is a catalog of errors, and it is continuing at this point. Brianna?

KEILAR: Paula Hancocks in Tokyo. Thank you.

And when we come back, Richard Nixon forced to address the American people in the heat of the Watergate scandal. The last of his White House tapes have just been released, and you're going to find out what was going on behind the scenes.

Plus, celebrity therapist Dr. Phil is taking flack after a controversial tweet backfires. We have the details, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Celebrity therapist Dr. Phil McGraw is in a bit of hot water over this -- tweet, I should say, asking, quote, "If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no to Dr. Phil with the #teamsaccused.

Well, this tweet has since been deleted and Dr. Phil's show tells CNN it was intended to evoke discussion about a serious show topic, but it ended up doing something very different as you can imagine.

So let's go ahead now and bring in CNN's Tory Dunnan with the details.

Tory, I mean, this is very upsetting to a lot of people.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, I mean, this is a clear case of be careful what you tweet because this was quickly deleted from Dr. Phil's official Twitter account, but the storm of reaction had already started.

We did get a statement from the "Dr. Phil Show" clarifying that this was not a personal post from Dr. Phil. We are told that he is upset and deleted it the second that he saw it. Now the show apologized saying the question was ill-advised. It goes on to say, quote, "Dr. Phil believes that the position of those incapacitated in any fashion, be it drugs, alcohol, age or mental illness, cannot and do not have the capacity to give their consent to anything, especially sex."

And, Brianna, we know that this controversial tweet really reached a lot of people. The reason behind that is that he has more than a million followers on Twitter.

KEILAR: And was he -- can you tell us, Tory, what really was the point -- I guess if it was a member of his staff tweeting this, did they kind of explain what they were really trying to discuss here?

DUNNAN: Well, one of the things that we have heard is that they are really trying to gather all this information and put it into a poll of sorts for an upcoming show about something having to do with this. Now we did reach out to the show's reps and they say they're not going to release more information about that. Just that it's going to be airing in September.

But Brianna, I can tell you that this definitely struck a nerve. In fact there's now a petition that's circulating on change.org and so far it has more than 1,000 signatures.

Now take a listen to what the woman who is behind this has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARMEN RIOS, CHANGE.ORG PETITIONER: So the idea of sort of sort of, like, collecting people's opinions on whether or not something is rape is a super invalidating way to talk about the problem of date rape and acquaintance rape, and substance assisted rape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DUNNAN: So, Brianna, the goal with the petition is to get Dr. Phil to have a substantive show about sexual assault and at minimum it seems that this controversy has really started to spark that discussion.

KEILAR: At minimum certainly. Tory Dunnan, for us, thank you so much.

Well, many people take extra precautions when they're traveling. Don't you? Maybe you hide your wallet? Have you ever thought to hide your hair?

CNN senior Latin American Affairs editor Rafael Romo has details of a bizarre crime wave in at least two South American countries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AMERICAN AFFAIRS EDITOR (voice-over): Letting your hair down in the Venezuela coastal city of Maracaibo can make you a target for criminals. EGMARI VILLAREAL, MARACAIBO RESIDENT (Through Translator): You have to see it to believe it. We're not going to be able to have long hair anymore. As a woman this is something traumatic.

ROMO: Authorities have recently noticed an increase in the number of attacks against women, the common denominator, all of the victims had long hair.

SARAI MADRID, MARACAIBO RESIDENT (Through Translator): It's happening downtown, at the beach or the mall, where you find a lot of young women. The thieves grab them by the hair, pull out some scissors and they cut it. They then sell it at beauty or hair salons.

ROMO (on camera): In Venezuela they call these thieves piranhas. Yes, piranhas just like the meat-eating fish found in South American rivers. It's a crime of opportunity. Just like piranhas, the thieves are fast, ferocious, and seemed to have very little compassion for their unsuspecting long-haired victims.

(Voice-over): It's also happening in neighboring Colombia. Arlen Luna was victimized last year. Luna says that by the time she realized what had happened to her the thieves had already fled and a chunk of her braid was missing.

ARLEN LUNA, BARRANQUILLA RESIDENT (Through Translator): She lost eight inches of hair. From the robbers' perspective it's quick and relatively easy money.

This hairstylist says synthetic hair costs anywhere from $40 to $160, depending on its quality. But natural hair can cost well over $500. All the more to guard your tresses.

Rafael Romo, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: So when we come back, Richard Nixon cursing up a storm as he talks about Watergate. We will hear newly released White House tapes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Richard Nixon talking candidly and profanely about Watergate as the scandal was exploding around him. That's just some of the fascinating content in the last of his White House tapes to be released.

CNN Athena Jones has been listening to them for us.

I think hundreds of hours, Athena. So what were you able to hear?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. Well, 40 years after these conversations took place we're finally able to listen to them and we're getting a window into some of the key moments of the Nixon presidency, including what was going on behind-the-scenes on the night of his first speech about what he called the Watergate affair.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope I didn't let you down.

JONES (voice-over): President Richard Nixon speaking on the telephone to his chief of staff H.R. Bob Haldeman about the scandal that would end his presidency a year later. Watergate.

On this night in April 1973, Nixon had just delivered his first speech addressing the charges.

RICHARD NIXON, U.S. PRESIDENT: Good evening. I want to talk to you tonight from my heart.

JONES: And accepting the resignations of Haldeman and other key aides, John Ehrlichman. Listen to the frustrated president's colorful language.

NIXON: Well, it's a tough thing, Bob, for you, for John, the rest, but goddammit, I'm never going to discuss this son of a bitch Watergate thing again. Never, never, never, never.

JONES: Nixon heeds praise on Haldeman who would later spend 18 months in prison for his role in Watergate.

NIXON: Let me say you're a strong man, goddammit, and I love you. And I -- you know, I love John and all the rest, and by god, keep the faith. Keep the faith. You're going to win this son of a bitch.

JONES: It's just one revealing moment in more than 300 hours of crackling, sometimes unintelligible audio recording just released by the Nixon Presidential Library and the National Archives.

In another then California governor and future president, Ronald Reagan, called to offer his support that same night.

RONALD REAGAN, U.S. PRESIDENT: For whatever it's worth I'm still -- you can count on us. We're still behind you out here and I wanted you to know that you're in our prayers.

NIXON: How nice of you to say that. Well, let me tell you this. Each much us has a different religion, you know? But goddammit, Ron, we have got to build peace in the world and that's what I'm working on and you, (INAUDIBLE), and all the rest, I just want you to know I so appreciate your calling and give my greatest love to Nancy.

How did you ever marry such a pretty girl? Good God.

JONES: Then Republican Party chair George H.W. Bush, also a future president, does the same half an hour later.

GEORGE H. W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: I really was proud of you. By golly, I know it was tough. And I -- I just want to tell you that. NIXON: Well, good for you, George.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: Now this final installment of -- of the Nixon tapes covers April to July of 1973. Capturing nearly 3,000 conversations. And not just about Watergate but about a wide range of topics from Redskins football to the most serious subjects of the day -- prisoners of war and troops missing in action in Vietnam -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Fascinating stuff. Thank you for wading through as much of it as you possibly could in such a short amount of time.

Athena Jones, thank you.

JONES: Thanks.

KEILAR: And that's it for me. The next hour of THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with my colleague, Jake Tapper.