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Yosemite Fire Burning Unchecked; Filner's Last Week as Mayor; Obama Expresses Confidence in NSA; Syria Alleged Poison Gas Attack; Teachers Protest in Mexico; Raising the Costa Concordia; Interview with Friend of Bradley Manning; Bleacher Report

Aired August 24, 2013 - 06:00   ET



BOB FILNER, SAN DIEGO MAYOR: I started my political career facing lynch mobs. And I think we have just faced one hear in San Diego.


IVAN WATSON, CNN ANCHOR: He may be out of a job, but he's going down swinging. We have Mayor Bob Filner's bizarre exit speech and what he got in exchange for his resignation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on! Let's go! Get out!


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The fast-moving wildfire that has consumed 165 square miles has entered Yosemite National Park. And having doubled in size in just one day, it's now bearing down on thousands of structures.

WATSON: Convicted Army Private Bradley Manning says he wants to become a she. So guess who paid for his hormone therapy? You. Why many people say that is right.

KEILAR: Good morning, everyone, I'm Brianna Keilar.

WATSON: And I'm Ivan Watson. It's 6:00. Good morning. This is NEW DAY SATURDAY.

New this morning, a raging wildfire in Yosemite National Park may impact San Francisco 200 miles away. But fire has shut down transition lines, rather, that feed the city.

KEILAR: And that could limit electricity and also water flowing into San Francisco. The fire itself is threatening the small communities of Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake this morning. Fire crews there are struggling.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Let's go! Get out! KEILAR (voice-over): A state of emergency. The massive Rim Fire now burning inside Yosemite National Park. The blaze has more than doubled in size within the past day, exploding into one of California's largest wildfires. Nearly 126,000 acres scorched, 4,500 homes threatened and some vacation plans turned upside down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it's part of the gamble. You know, we're on the biggest corridor to Yosemite National Park and the pros comes cons because we're in an isolated area surrounded by wilderness. So, that's part of the beauty and the charm and part of the downfall as well.

KEILAR: From the air, to the ground, more than 1,800 firefighters are working to get the upper hand. It's an uphill battle. The burn zone is roughly three times the size of San Francisco.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of areas where crews can't even access because of the terrain.

KEILAR: Whipped by canyon winds and dry conditions, the blaze is only 5 percent contained.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just the conditions and everything else. We all thought that this was going to be the year where we're going to get a fire. It's been so dry and it's been so many years since we had one come through that was, you know, really took care of the brush and everything. So, nobody's surprised that lives up here.


KEILAR: So this one is really all about the weather. It can be a firefighter's friend. It can be a firefighter's enemy.

WATSON: And - so let's check in now with meteorologist Alexandra Steele.

Alexandra, which is it right now, is it friend or enemy?

ALEXANDRA STEELE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Foe. Absolutely enemy, no question about it.



STEELE: You know, we've seen it double in size and it's really a function of two factors. Of course, the winds. They have been erratic. They've been strong and they're almost blow in two directions in areas. And also, because of the terrain, those ridges and canyons. And, think, if you ever go to New York City and you walk between those buildings and you kind of seen the very strong winds that blow through as you're walking east or west or whatever the wind is blowing in what direction, you'll notice. So it's those canyon winds that are exacerbating this so.

So here are the current conditions. Right now it's 41. The key aspects of this, right now it's from the north, but that's just kind of erratic. The winds look pretty light. At five, no gusts. Yesterday, we had gusts to 27 miles per hour. That's when it doubles in size. The day before that, gusts to 22.

And here's the forecast. These are sustained winds through the day. You can see, as we head toward the afternoon with the sun, 12-mile- per-hour sustained, 13s, and then gusts in the 20s is what we're expecting again later today.

So, foe, no question about it, on a couple of fronts. One, of course, the winds. They'll be strong, continue to be, although maybe not quite as strong as they've been. But look at this, no chance for rain at all.

And the irony with that is we actually have a tropical storm very close. Tropical Storm Ivo is off this Baja coast. And look what it's going to do, bring flooding rains to areas in the southwest -- Vegas, Palm Springs, Phoenix, flooding rains. So it's so close but it's just not getting as far north and as far west. So we've seen this fire predominantly push eastward, that's why it's gotten into Yosemite. The winds have been from the southwest, blowing eastward.

So here's a look at the big picture, of course. There's the storms there. A lot of weather, though, happening around the country, guys. We'll get to that. Minneapolis, how about some record heat this weekend. And we'll talk about what's happening in the northeast with really pleasant conditions and this soggy mess we've seen in the south and how that's abating a little bit. So, lots to get to. We'll get to it all morning.

KEILAR: Well, maybe that is the sort of good news, abating in the south. Alexandria Steele, we'll be checking back with you. Thanks.


WATSON: Now, check this out. No, that's not summer snow for Denver. That's hail. A blanket of ice chunks coating parts of the city. The hail choked some streets with so much hail, snowplows had to be called in in August. Here's the view from above. The hailstorm came with torrents of rain, prompting flash flooding in some neighborhoods. One driver says water came up very fast and covered the hood of his car.

KEILAR: Those are just wild pictures there.

Now also new this morning, San Diego's mayor, Bob Filner, is going out with a bang. He sealed the deal with San Diego City Council yesterday agreeing to resign in the middle of a huge sexual harassment scandal.

WATSON: But he isn't going quietly. CNN's Kyung Lah has more on his parting shot to the council.

Good morning, Kyung.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Ivan, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will no longer be mayor in one week. The embattled city mayor submitted his resignation to the city council. The city did accept. But he added another twisted tale in the seven-week saga. Filner, who has been publicly accused by 18 women of sexual harassment, apologized in front of the city council, but not to the women. Here's what he said.


MAYOR BOB FILNER, SAN DIEGO: I have never sexually harassed anyone. But the hysteria that has been created, and many of you helped to feed, is the hysteria of a lynch mob. Now, as I said, I faced lynch mobs many times when I was younger. No evidence was need. And mom knew who was guilty. Who needed due process? Well, ladies and gentlemen, democracy needs due process. San Diego needs due process. Those of you in the media and in politics who fed this hysteria, I think, need to look at what you helped create, because you have unleashed a monster that I think will be paying for this affront to democracy for a long time.


LAH: A source in city hall says people were looking at each other as Filner was speaking. They were shocked. There was swift reaction from California's attorney general's office confirming that a criminal investigation is underway. In a separate reaction, a source close to the investigation says this is certainly not over. A criminal investigation is underway. Mr. Filner's resignation does not change that. Filner still does face a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Brianna. Ivan.

WATSON: CNN's Kyung Lah, thanks. He is actually quoted calling this a coup against a Democratically elected mayor. It's astounding.

KEILAR: I know it's - it's almost as he - as he -- a lot of people would say that he is delusional, you know? Hmm.


KEILAR: Time will tell.

Now, Filner's first accuser, Irene Jackson, who started this -- not really started this scandal, because you could say that he did, but she's the one who really brought this to light. She released a statement. She said, "I'm relieved the city has rid itself of Bob Filner so that he will not be in a position to prey on any more women. My thoughts are with the courageous women who, because they spoke out, galvanized the residents of this great city and its elected leaders to rise up against a serial sexual harasser and a gross abuser of power. Bye bye, Bob. You will not be missed."

WATSON: All right. Well, police in Washington State are hunting for one of two teenagers accused of beating a World War II veteran to death. Eighty-eight-year-old Delbert Belton was mugged Wednesday night. Police described him as a distinguished veteran who was injured in the fighting on Okinawa. One suspect, a 16-year-old, is in custody and both have arrest records. But while the two suspects are black, family members say this is about justice, not race.


BARBARA BELTON, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: You have to look at them as kids, not black kids or Hispanic kids or white kids. They were just kids and they did something horrific.

DIANA BELTON, VICTIM'S GRANDDAUGHTER: I'm glad it makes people aware. But they need to not look at the color.


WATSON: Police say they don't care what the motive is, they won't tolerate these kind of crimes.

KEILAR: Well, jurors took less than seven hours to find Army Major Nidal Hasan guilty of 13 counts of murder in the mass killings of military personnel at Ft. Hood, Texas, nearly four years ago. Now the jury will deliberate his fate and that begins on Monday. In documents leaked to the media, Hasan has indicated the death penalty would make him a, quote, "martyr." The husband of one of Hasan's victims says death would be too lenient.

WATSON: U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales will spend the rest of life in prison without the possibility of parole. A military jury decided Bales' fate Friday in the killing of 16 Afghan civilians last year. Bales was spared from the death sentence after pleading guilty to the murders. Nine children were among those killed in the shooting spree in Afghanistan's Kandahar province.

KEILAR: Well, this morning, it appears a federal lawsuit against southern cooking queen Paula Deen has been resolved. Lawyers signed a deal to dismiss the final part of the discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit against her, but it's unclear if money will change hands. The celebrity cook said, quote, "while this has been a difficult time for both my family and myself, I am pleased that the judge dismissed the race claims and I am looking forward to getting this behind me now that the remaining claims have been resolved." So what remains to be seen here is whether Deen can make a comeback after admitting in a deposition that she used the "n" word a, quote, "very long time ago."


MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I have a dream, that freedom reigns.


KEILAR: A big day today. Thousands of people are gathering in the nation's capital.

WATSON: That's right, they are marking the 50th anniversary of a defining moment for U.S. civil rights, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington for jobs and freedom. On August 28th, 1963, King electrified the nation with his "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. A march and rally will start at the memorial on the National Mall in two hours. KEILAR: So marchers will be heading to the MLK Memorial. And Dr. Martin Luther King's eldest son, Martin Luther King III, Al Sharpton and civil rights leaders will all be at today's march. President Obama headlines another rally on Wednesday.

And up next, CNN sits down with President Obama for an exclusive one- on-one interview. You can hear what he has to say on NSA snooping concerns and also growing skepticism surrounding the agency's surveillance programs.

WATSON: Plus, it's total panda-monium at the National Zoo. I can't believe that. We'll give you a sneak peek at this panda cub who finally made a big entrance.


WATSON: Welcome back.

In Washington, a very special new addition. It's hard not to smile at this one. A baby panda was born last night at the National Zoo.

KEILAR: This is a very big deal for panda watchers, you know. So now zookeepers are waiting to see if perhaps a twin might be on the way. You never know, another one could come along. So --

WATSON: Really?

KEILAR: I know. Yes, they're waiting to see, isn't that crazy?


KEILAR: Yes, could have a friend. We'll see. So yesterday's delivery was caught on the very popular panda cam.

WATSON: And the new cub is roughly the size of a stick of butter.

KEILAR: It kind of looks like one.

WATSON: I tried to check this out last night and it looks like a salamander. I mean it's hairless. It was kind of - it's black and white footage but -


WATSON: But according to Chinese tradition, it won't be named for at least 100 days.

KEILAR: Yes. And we think that, over time, little baby panda will get cuter, because, right now, --

WATSON: Yes, yes, it looks like a lizard.

KEILAR: He's a - he's a plain little dude right now.

Well, you know, President Obama is defending the NSA after a report this week that the agency broke its own privacy rules thousands and thousands of times.

WATSON: That's right. And the violations include unauthorized snooping on American's e-mails. "The Washington Post" got the report from NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

KEILAR: CNN's Chris Cuomo just sat down for an exclusive interview with President Obama and he asked him about growing skepticism about the NSA.

Good morning, Chris.


The president says the American people can trust the surveillance that's done by the NSA. He says there are checks in place, but he is also open to making this situation more transparent.


CUOMO: There's been a lot of discussion about what the NSA does.


CUOMO: In the surveillance programs. You have said it is not the business of the U.S. government to spy on its own people.

OBAMA: Right.

CUOMO: But the more that seems to come out, the more questions seem to be raised. Are you confident that you know everything that's going on within that agency and that you can say to the American people, it's all done the right way?

OBAMA: Yes. But what I've also said is that it can only work if the American people trust what's going on. And what's been clear since the disclosures that were made by Mr. Snowden is that people don't have enough information and aren't confident enough that between all the safeguards and checks that we've put in place within the executive branch, and the federal court oversight that takes place on the program, and congressional oversight, people are still concerned as to whether their e-mails are being read or their phone calls are being listened to.

CUOMO: Especially when they hear that they are, then mistakes are made -

OBAMA: Well -

CUOMO: You know, it shakes your confidence.

OBAMA: What was learned was, that NSA had inadvertently, accidentally, pulled the e-mails of some Americans in violation of their own rules because of technical problems that they didn't realize. They presented those problems to the court. The court said, this isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to improve the safe guards given these technical problems. That's exactly what happened. All these safe guards, checks, audits, oversight, worked.

Now, I think there are legitimate concerns that people have, that the technology is moving so quick that, you know, at some point, does the technology outpace the laws that are in place and the protections that are in place. And do some of these systems end up being like a loaded gun out there, that somebody, at some future point, could abuse, because there are no allegations and I am very confident, knowing the NSA and how they operate, that purposely somebody's out there trying to abuse this program or listen in on phone e-mail - or phone calls.

CUOMO: You're confident in that?

OBAMA: I am confident in that. But what I recognize is that we're going to have to continue to improve the safeguards. And as technology moves forward, that means that we may be able to build technologies to give people more assurance. And we do have to do a better job of giving people confidence in how these programs work. So what I've said is that I am open to working with Congress to figure out, can we get more transparency in terms of how the oversight court works. Can -- do we need a public advocate in there who people have confidence in? But we've also got to do it in a way that recognizes that we've got some hostile folks out there that potentially are trying do us harm.


CUOMO: Now, a lot of the curiosity surrounds this "Washington Post" report that there have been, quote, "thousands of mistakes made." Now the president says the keyword is "mistake." That these are not intentional abridgements of rights. That's a key decision. And he says as technology goes faster, as you heard in the sound bite, that we'll have to make changes. But the key for the president is that the NSA is not in the business of intentionally spying on American citizens.

WATSON: Chris Cuomo, thanks very much.

KEILAR: Well, the Pentagon has a lot of ideas on how to hit Syria where it hurts. And they're facing a growing crisis. Because of this, the White House has a big choice to make.

Plus, a 114,000 ton cruise ship has been half submerged off of Italy's coast for more than a year now. But that's about to change. We'll explain, next.


WATSON: Welcome back.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants to know if Syria definitely used chemical weapons. And he wants to know now. Hagel warned that if Syria's government used those weapons once, it might do it again. At the same time, the Pentagon is preparing a list of options for the White House if it decides to intervene in Syria. That could mean potential air strikes at a variety of targets. The president earlier said the regime would cross a, quote, "red line," if chemical weapons were used. KEILAR: Now, we're staying in Syria as we take you around the world on CNN NEW DAY. U.N. inspector are trying to get to the site of that alleged chemical weapons attack. And CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in Damascus.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the evidence is mounting that there was some sort of chemical attack here in the suburbs of Damascus. However, it's unclear whether there were actually poisonous gases used and who might have used them if they were used. There are, of course, more and more photos and videos coming out with gruesome and very graphic details. That's why the U.S. is calling for an investigation to start as soon as possible.

As all of this is going off, it seems as though the Syrian government is continuing a large-scale offensive on the suburbs where these chemical attacks allegedly happened. We're hearing a lot of artillery fire and we're also seeing a lot of plumes of smoke coming out of these neighborhoods.


KEILAR: Fred, thank you very much.

And now to Mexico City, where thousands of teachers are protesting the government. CNN's Nick Parker is in the Mexican capital.


NICK PARKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the scene outside Mexico's senate where teachers are trying to block legislation that would reform the country's education system. Mexico has the lowest standards of education of any major country and critics blame the unions who they accuse of selling teaching positions. The government is trying to impose greater standards into the system, but the unions say the changes are too broad. This week, more than 1 million children were left without teachers.


KEILAR: Thanks, Nick.

And we're keeping our eye on Italy, where engineers hope to raise the ill-fated Costa Concordia cruise ship from its half-submerged resting place. So let's find out just how they plan to do that. CNN's Erin McLaughlin is covering that for us.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it's a massive feat of maritime engineering. For months, hundreds of people have worked around the clock to get to this point. Now with the help of 36 pulleys and enormous flotation devices, they're set to pull the Costa Concordia from its side in September. The hope is that eventually they'll be able to float the vessel to a mainland port to be dismantled and engineers say they only have one shot to get this right or risk environmental disaster.


KEILAR: Thank you, Erin.

Ivan, over to you.

WATSON: Thanks, Brianna.

Still to come, we're keeping an eye on wildfires in Yosemite National Park. And, the pocketbook. Wildfires cost governments a pretty penny at a time when they don't have money to burn.

Plus, the man who gave away U.S. secrets wants to serve his time as a woman. Bradley Manning says call him Chelsea. We'll talk with his friend live.


KEILAR: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Brianna Keilar.

WATSON: And I'm Ivan Watson. Here are five things you need to know for your new day.

KEILAR: Number one, thousands are gathering in the nation's capital today. A march and rally getting under way in less than two hours. This is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington and that iconic "I Have a Dream" speech. Two of Dr. King's children will be speaking at today's event.

WATSON: Number two, authorities in Washington State are searching for a second teenager suspected of beating a World War II veteran to death. Police are calling Kenan Adams-Kinard a danger to the public. Another 16-year old is in custody charged with murder. Police say 88- year-old Delbert Belton was waiting for a ride Wednesday when he was robbed and assaulted.

KEILAR: Number three, San Diego's Mayor has agreed to resign as of next Friday. Bob Filner has ignored calls to step aside for weeks now as 18 women accused him of sexual harassment. Speaking to the city council yesterday, Filner said a lynch mob mentality led to his resignation and he also denied ever sexually harassing anyone.

WATSON: Number four, if you've got an old Powerball ticket you might want to check it now. Officials in New York say a year-old ticket worth $1 million is set to expire tomorrow. If no one comes forward, the money goes to future jackpots. The winning numbers drawn last August, 25th, are one, six, seven, 20, 49 and Powerball number 23.

KEILAR: Man, I wish that were me. Now, number five, a wildfire that has spread into California's Yosemite National Park has doubled in size in just a day. Flames threatened 4500 buildings around the communities of Groveland and Pine Mountain Lake. These fires cut some transmission lines that feed electricity and water to San Francisco, so that may impact supplies there. WATSON: And now, a quick look at how weather may help or hinder the firefighters. Meteorologist Alexandra Steele is here.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, good morning, guys. You know, well, the wind and the weather is certainly not helping this fire. It's doubled in size in the last day, it's a function of two factors, the winds and also the terrain, and they work together. The winds they have been, for the most part, blowing in one direction, but at times they've been very strong, and even blowing in disparate directions. And also, the terrain - of course, we've got this ridges and canyons. And it's called the canyon effect, so they are working together to exacerbate this fire. But what happens when if you're up in New York City and there's that narrow space between the buildings and you walk through and you notice your hat is blowing off and the winds get really strong. What happens is when air moves through a canyon, what happens is the air gets squeezed and it accelerates. And we call that the canyon effect. So, with this canyon, we're seeing that. So, here's a look at where we stand now. It's really pretty benign, so good conditions right now, but that won't last. 41 degrees, of course, the wind is key, it's pretty light.

For the most part, the winds have been coming from the south- southwest. And we talk about winds from the direction, from which they come. So a southwest wind is coming from the southwest, blowing east. So that's what's blowing this fire now into Yosemite. It's blown eastwards. So, here's today's prognosis in turn what we're going to see and how strong these winds will be. You can see kind of 12 miles per hour, gusts low in the 20s expected. And we have had gusts between 20 and 30 miles per hour yesterday as well. Another calm, weather-wise, no rain in sight. You can see very dry conditions. Dew points, the measure of the moisture in the air incredibly low as well. But, you know, the irony is, there's a tropical storm off the Baja. And with that flooding rains coming to places like Phoenix and Vegas and Palm Springs. So, so close, but all that moisture's not going to get as far north as where this fire is, this rim fire in California.

So, there's a look at where we stand. There's where all that tropical moisture is, staying south of the fire. Big picture, you can see what we'll talk about weather-wise today. The heat is on, guys, in the upper Midwest. Beautiful conditions in New York City today and through the weekend. And finally, what's happening in the southeast, all the rain we're seeing moving to the Gulf Coast. So a lot drier than we've been, but temperatures a little bit cooler.

WATSON: Meteorologist Alexandra Steele, thank you very much. And it sounds like these firemen really have the dangerous work cut out for them in Yosemite and around there, yes?

KEILAR: They sure do. The weather just is not good news for them. And in addition to that terrain, that Alexandra just told us about firefighters are also battling against their own resources.

WATSON: That's right, Tom Foreman is here to break down the massive price tags of all those fires raging along the West Coast. Good morning, Tom. TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna, hey, Ivan. Two words to think about when you think about the western fire season. Time and money. Because the time is marching on too slowly, while the money is burning up too fast. Take a look at the numbers here and it will give you an idea of what I'm talking about. So far, they've dealt with about 33,000 fires out there. 3 million acres burned. The budget for all of this, $1.7 billion from the feds, cut back by sequestration. The number of firefighters, about 10,000. They had about 10,500 last year. Why is the money burning ought? Well simply because we've had changes in our fire environment. Over the years, we've built more houses into the interface between the wild lands and the cities. That has put more pressure on firefighters to fight these blazes. There's some indication that global warming has made the forests more tinderbox-like. They will burn more easily, and, frankly, because we've fought fires so effectively for so long, many people say that we've allowed, brush, brush, brush and trees to build up in areas so now when we have these fires, they're explosive and they're dangerous. And we have to go in and engage them and that costs a lot.

Look back to 1985, back then if you took all the fires in this country and put them together, it would be about the size of the state of Connecticut. The cost for fighting it back then, well, we can bring that in right over here. That's going to be about $240 million. We come forward to last year, and we had about three Connecticuts worth of fire that we had to fight. For all those reasons I mentioned before. Was the cost three times as much? No, it was not. Three times as much would have put it right about here. Even with inflation, it would be about up to here. But watch the line as we go through the years. And we come up to the actual amount. Now, it's way up here, almost $2 billion worth to fight those fires. The cost of fighting fires per acre is steadily rising. And this is a problem that is not going to go away this year, or next year or maybe the next until some of these conditions are changed. Brianna, Ivan.

WATSON: Tom Foreman, thanks very much.

KEILAR: 35 years behind bars. That certainly was not the only bombshell this week in the case of Bradley Manning, the Army private convicted of leaking thousands of U.S. documents to WikiLeaks.

WATSON: Well, now, Manning says he wants to live as a woman. Up next. We'll talk to a friend of his.


KEILAR: Hey, Boston, good morning to you. The sun coming up there. And you have a beautiful day in store. Sunny skies. 75 degrees. You can't argue with that. And thank you so much for starting your new day with ?NN.

Well, now eavesdropping on love interests has its own spy label. According to "The Wall Street Journal," several officers with the NSA - pardon me, NSA have used the agency's sweeping surveillance capabilities to spy on love interests. It's dubbed "Love Int" as in "Love Intelligence." Now, the report says the violations involved overseas communications usually on a partner or a spouse. The NSA, as you know, has been under fire after it was revealed the agency violated its own privacy regulations almost 3,000 times between 2011 and 2012.

WATSON: Thanks, Brianna. Now suddenly the espionage conviction against Bradley Manning seems almost secondary. In a bombshell announcement the Army private who leaked nearly a million classified documents and videos disclosed his latest secret to the world that he wants to be a woman. Quote, "As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me. I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. The issue of Manning's gender identity surfaced during the court-martial. And this widely-circulated picture released by the military showed Manning wearing a blond wig. But a new complex legal battle is brewing over this. Manning wants hormone therapy to actually change his gender while he serves his 35-year sentence. His friends say he needs it, that it's a medical necessity. But the Army, says not a chance. Lauren McNamara is Manning's friend and a defense witness in this trial. She also transitioned from male to female.

Thanks for joining us, Laura from Orlando. Now, why is hormone therapy a medical necessity for Manning?

LAUREN MCNAMARA, MANNING TRIAL DEFENSE WITNESS: Well, hormone therapy is part of the recommended standards of care for treating gender dysphoria, which is a symptom of being transgendered. And this is endorsed by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association. This is an established treatment and it is known to be medically necessary, without it, untreated gender dysphoria can become morbid with depression, anxiety, self-hard, suicide and suicide rates for trans- people are staggering. In the United States alone, 41 percent of trans-people have attempted suicide at least once.

WATSON: Wow. Now, Laura, I know that you reached out to -- that Manning reached out, rather, online to you back in 2009, long before WikiLeaks. And I was reading some of that correspondence. At that time, did you get any sense that he was questioning or wrestling with his gender identity?

MCNAMARA: No, she never mentioned anything of the sort. And it never came up at the time.

WATSON: OK. So, why now? Why is this a medical necessity now? Why is he asking for this assistance now in his mid-20s. And that he says now that he's felt like a woman ever since childhood?

MCNAMARA: Well, I would say that trans-people come out about this at their own pace. We come to this realization at our own pace. It can be early on in our lives. It can be in our mid-20s. It can be later in our lives. It does take time to come to terms with something so personal and so significant. And have the courage as Chelsea does to come out about this and seek treatment.

WATSON: Now, a spokesman for Ft. Leavenworth where Bradley will be held, he says that Manning will have access, like all inmates to mental health professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers and behavioral experts. Are you saying that this treatment is not enough for him?

MCNAMARA: No, that is absolutely not sufficient. The standard of care for trans-people for treating gender dysphoria does include counseling, but it also includes hormone therapy and, potentially, surgery. This is a normal part of transitioning and it's very important to relieving gender dysphoria. And to deny this is simply unwarranted. Many civilian prisons in the United States already provide hormone therapy and, yes, paid for by taxpayers. After all, trans-people are taxpayers just as well. And there is no reason why this medically necessary treatment should not be provided just as any other medical treatment would be in prisons.

WATSON: Well, a major sticking point here, Lauren, is some people are going to think that their tax dollars should not be used to pay for hormone therapy, rather. And certainly for somebody that some people consider to be a traitor. The therapy costs about $100 a month. $1200 a year. And the treatment has to continue for life. So how do you respond to those critics?

MCNAMARA: Well, first of all, speaking solely from my experience as a consumer of these medications paying out of pocket, rather than a government entity, these can cost less than $25 a month. And we sentence people to incarceration. We do not sentence them to untreated medical conditions. We don't sentence them to untreated gender dysphoria. Just as we don't sentence them to untreated kidney failure, untreated infections or anything else of the sorts. When the government takes on inmates and incarcerates them, it becomes responsible for their medical care. And this condition from a medical and scientific perspective is no different from any other medical condition that requires treatment. And increasingly from a legal perspective as well. Civilian courts have found in almost all cases that prisons are required to provide hormone therapy and increasingly surgery as well. Not to do so is considered cruel and unusual punishment under the eighth amendment.

WATSON: That's the view from Lauren McNamara, thank you for joining us, a writer, and blogger and friend and a former defense witness for Bradley who would like to be called Chelsea Manning.

KEILAR: Well, coming up, we will be talking about coming back. Wait until you here how Connecticut earned its way into today's U.S. championship game at the Little League World Series.

And we'll also tell you about an Army major who has come back home after a very, very long time away. His long and winding road makes for one amazing story.


WATSON: Welcome back to "NEW DAY." It's time for a Mike Tyson update. More than eight years after walking away from the sport he dominated like no other, Tyson is giving boxing another chance.

KEILAR: Yeah, but Iron Mike is not fighting, to be clear. He is back as a boxing promoter. And this is just one of the many new jobs that Tyson has these days. A Joe Carter has more on this "Bleacher Report" update. He has a lot of different jobs, I wasn't aware of that.

JOE CARTER, "BLEACHER REPORT": Yes, and most of them have nothing to do with boxing except for this one. And now Mike Tyson of today, guys, he bears little resemblance to the one that was addicted to drugs and considering suicide just five years ago. Tyson is clean, he's a vegan and he's a businessman. His latest venture, Iron Mike Productions, were kicked off last night with the nationally televised fight. In addition to promoting boxing, Tyson will soon continue his one-man traveling stage show. He has a six-part documentary also airing soon on Fox.

Now trending this morning on, the Little Leaguers from Westport, Connecticut, they're playing in the U.S. championship game today after a thrilling come from behind win yesterday. At one point, Connecticut was trailing by seven runs. In the fifth, they tied the game with a beautiful home run from Chad Knight. And then in the seventh, it's Chad Knight again. A walk-off hit from (inaudible) in Westport, Connecticut will play Chula Vista, California, today. The winner advances to the Little League World Series title game on Sunday. And a great story to end on, Cody Clark, he is a 31-year-old rookie finally made it to the big leagues last night for the Houston Astros. Clark's been playing in the minor leagues for 11 years. Now, he did strike out in his only at-bat, but said, strikeout or not, it was a dream come true. Mom and dad were there, his wife was there. So, he's hoping for more chances at that - but we're not sure he's going to get that. He maybe send down to the minors pretty soon. But you never know, maybe he caught the eye of somebody, guys.

KEILAR: But that was a dream come true, indeed. Joe Carter, thank you.

CARTER: Thank you.

WATSON: It's time now for "The good Stuff." This morning's edition, a soldier comes home. Army Major Bill Ray's family waited for him in the Milwaukee airport where he was about to return from Afghanistan. They made signs, they had stickers. The whole family turned out.


UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I put some stickers on to - for the Army and I did "Welcome" and yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's such a good guy that he was able to be in the Army for that long and get to serve the country for a while.


WATSON: So what makes this the good stuff? The person we just heard from, that's not Bill Ray's daughter. That's his granddaughter. And by vile, she means more than 50 years.

KEILAR: That's right. Major Ray first enlisted back in 1959. And since then, he's seen just about everything including three tours in Iraq. After that, he retired, but the Army asked him to bring his experience and wisdom to Afghanistan. So, of course, he said yes. So, what's going to make his retirement finally stick this time? Turns out it's his honey-do list.


MAJ. BILL RAY, U.S. ARMY RETIRED: The last time I got bored, I tried this. So, I think this time, they've done everything, so I'll never get bored.


RAY: Yeah, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll volunteer him for everything.

RAY: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've heard that this is a long list.

RAY: Yes, well. We work 12 hours a day in Afghanistan, I think I'll be doing about four more when I get home.


KEILAR: Oh, yeah, I think they'll keep him to that schedule.

WATSON: Good looking family.

KEILAR: Yes, definitely. And, you know, it's been a half century since a quarter million people marched on Washington for civil rights. Today, thousands are gathering again to mark Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.

WATSON: Plus, an incredible sight at the beach. When you'd never expect. A military vessel stuns sun worshippers.


KEILAR: OK. Time now for our "Must See" moment. And we're not lying. This is really a must see moment. And it's a beach experience that these folks will never forget.

WATSON: Yeah, the video from Russia shows a military hovercraft plowing towards the sandy beach as hundreds of sunbathers look on in shock. The Russian Defense Ministry says the hovercraft was on a tactical mission and that the area is owned by the military. No one was injured, but they'll probably never return to that beach. And just a little piece of trivia - that's Kaliningrad, it's a weird Cold- war leftover enclave in the middle of Europe controlled by Russia.

KEILAR: And I asked you, what is the Russian phrase for "holy cow," and you said it's probably not TV friendly.

WATSON: No, I can't say it ...


WATSON: ... because it is a very bad word that Russians use a lot. They probably used ...

KEILAR: But I think that's what they are using it right there.

WATSON: So, moving on now, here's a viral video that will make you smile. She may just be a baby. But that doesn't mean she can't help out with the chores like cleaning windows, evidently with her tongue and teeth. It's an interesting approach, but it may take a while. She may want to try a squeegee next time.

KEILAR: I don't know - it might not be as cute, though. Well, thank you so much for starting your morning with us.

WATSON: That's right. The next hour of your "NEW DAY" starts right now.