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White House Continues to Seek Congressional Support for Syrian Strike; Protestors Organize March against U.S. Strike on Syria; Boy Overcomes Gunshot Wounds and Foster Care; Man Confesses to Killing Someone While Driving Drunk; New Movie Examines Slavery; Convicted American Spy Interviewed
Aired September 7, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew this was going to be a heavy lift.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And after the G-20 Summit, it may have just gotten heavier. As a congressional vote looms on whether to strike Syria, the White House goes into full-court press to win support at home and abroad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't erase what I've done. But you can still be saved. Your victims can still be saved.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: A jaw dropping confession to a crime he may have gotten away with. Why this man admits he killed someone and used the Internet to tell the world.
CHRISTOPHER BOYCE, CONVICTED SPY: I was looking for windmills, and in the process destroyed 25 years of my life.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: He went to prison for 25 years for selling secrets to the Soviets. Now he's sharing some of his own exclusively with CNN. My interview with convicted spy Christopher Boyce in his first on camera interview in 28 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Good morning, everyone. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 10:00 on the east coast, 7:00 on the west coast. You're in the CNN newsroom.
House lawmakers return from vacation Monday with a big decision at the start of the week. It's staring them right in the face. Vote yes or no on a military strike against Syria.
MALVEAUX: So as things stand now the president has a week, maybe two at best to wrangle the votes that he needs. He's going to talk to the nation about Syria on Tuesday evening.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Brian Todd joins us live. Brian, convincing Congress is going to be very difficult. He has an uphill battle to say the least.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Suzanne, it is a huge job, and one that he may not get done at this point, quite frankly. In the Senate the numbers are deceiving at the moment -- 25 senators have indicated they will vote in favor of authorizing the use of force against Syria, 19 say they will vote no, but you have got 56 undecided senators right now, so that's very much in the balance.
In the House, no sugarcoating these numbers -- 24 members have said they'll support the use of force, 119 have said they'll vote now, and there are 270 undecideds, with Democratic leaders giving no guarantees that they can deliver a majority of their members. All this after an extraordinary week where the president decided to have this debate that had mixed success making his case.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States should take military action against Syria regime targets.
TODD: But not right away. The president would first ask Congress. The next day, Sunday, the administration begins to makes its case that Syria's regime launched a poison gas attack killing 1,400 victims and that it's in America's interest to respond. On Monday the president makes his pitch to Senator John McCain, the man he fought for the White House in 2008. McCain sounds supportive.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: We have to bring Bashar Assad down.
TODD: Then on Tuesday at a White House meeting, the president presses top lawmakers to endorse a strike. House leaders say yes.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We're not going to tolerate this type of behavior.
NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: He crossed a line with using chemical weapons.
TODD: But when administration officials faced a Senate panel, there was a mixture of support and skepticism.
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R) KENTUCKY: I don't know that we can say that by attacking them he's not going to launch another chemical attack.
TODD: By Wednesday, the first test vote in a Senate panel. Ten senators support a strike on Syria, seven oppose it. In the House the president's team faces another day of questioning by lawmakers.
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: People should be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL, (D) RANKING MEMBER, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: There should absolutely be no American boots on the ground in Syria.
TODD: The president heads overseas, taking his case abroad.
OBAMA: I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line.
TODD: Thursday, the president arrives in Russia to press foreign leaders at the G-20 summit, but the U.K., China, and Russia oppose military intervention. Back home, polls are now showing initial public opinion leaning against a military strike, and some lawmakers are getting an earful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It's not our fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to stop Bashar Assad at any price.
TODD: On Friday after the summit, the president says he is ready to strike Syria with or without an international consensus.
OBAMA: Fourteen-hundred people were gassed. If we're not acting, what does that say?
TODD: But he declines to say what he will do if Congress voted no.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the week started off very well for the president with support from the congressional leadership, the House leadership in both parties, John McCain, Lindsey Graham. But as it's gone on, it's really underscored the challenge that he faces.
TODD: The president and his security team will continue pressing this with Congress this weekend, then the president makes an address to the nation on Tuesday evening. Now, coming out of the G-20 summit, we can report one of America's critical allies now coming out on America's side in favor of some kind of response. Germany saying now it is signing onto the global statement issued at the G-20 calling for an international response to Syria's use of chemical weapons. Germany joins 11 other nations, including the U.S., which signed that particular statement. Now, it's important to note, however, that statement does not specifically support military strikes, Suzanne and Victor.
BLACKWELL: Brian Todd in Washington. Thank you.
In his weekly address, the president made it clear to him this is not just about Syria. It's about keeping America safe in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we've seen out of Syria. Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again, that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us. And it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons. All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: People across the country are calling for an end to the president's plan. It's proving to be a tough sell for many Americans with nearly six out of 10 people opposed to an attack against Syria. CNN's Rosa Flores is in New York where Syrian Americans are expected to march later today, and CNN' Emily Schmidt is in Washington where you will see more protests. Rosa, let's start with you. Give us a sense of what people are telling you.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Syrian Americans tell me they are in a tough pickle. They're in a tough situation because they have family members both here in the United States and in Syria.
FLORES: The unrest in Syria is thousands of miles away, but the fear of war is felt right here in the U.S. By Syrian-Americans like Dr. Ghia Moussa, he Skypes with his family in Syria every day.
DR. GHIA MOUSSA, SYRIAN-AMERICAN: She's a physician in a hospital in Damascus.
FLORES: And says American military action in Syria is personal.
MOUSSA: I feel that every second of my day. When I sleep, I'm closing my eyes and saying tomorrow how many am I going to lose? It's not politics. It's human being and human lives on the line.
FLORES: That's why he and thousands of other Americans are demonstrating across the country. They Skype to organize.
MOUSSA: A lot of effort is being put into it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Anything for Syria.
FLORES: Dr. Moussa is on the board of the Syrian-American forum, a group 2,000 strong. When President Obama started talking involvement in Syria, they started speaking against it.
MOUSSA: We're not there to cause any trouble. We're just going to say firmly and peacefully what's our position and where are we going.
FLORES: Their biggest national event is a march on Washington. They're busing thousands of Syrian-American families from states as far as Florida and Michigan.
MOUSSA: It's 7:30, 8:00 at night. I'm guessing it's like that. I know by car it's like seven to eight-hour drive.
FLORES: Other groups are joining in, too, like the International Action Center. They're making signs to gear up.
JOYCE CHEDIAC, INTERNATIONAL ACTION CENTER: When I hold up a sign, the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my government. Hands off Syria, I think I will be reflecting the popular will of this country.
FLORES: They say thousands of groups from around the country are uniting with one common message -- hands off Syria.
FLORES: And their biggest event yet is coming. It's a national event and it's a march on Washington scheduled for Monday. Suzanne, Victor?
MALVEAUX: All right, thank you.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Emily Schmidt joins us from Lafayette Park right next to the White House. Are the protesters there -- typically we see protesters in front of the White House. That's not unusual, but are the protesters specifically on the issue of Syria, are they gathering yet?
EMILY SCHMIDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Suzanne and Victor, good morning to you. They have not gathered yet. But think about where we are. As you said, this is a stretch of right between Lafayette Park on one side of the White House and then the White House over on the other side of me. This is an area where tourists come to see the White House, but it is also an area where protesters come to be seen by the White House. And that's what we're going to have happening here in just a couple of hours.
An anti-war group called The Answer Coalition has slated a protest here that is going to start at noon today. They're going to gather for a couple of hours right outside where the president lives. And he is back, of course, from the G-20 summit, so there is a chance he could look out and know that they are here.
But they're not going to end here. Somewhat symbolically they will be marching about a mile or so up to Capitol Hill. That's important because you think of where this legislation is going, the president's proposal not starting and ending here. Instead, he said I want Congress to take a look at it. So clearly folks who are protesting who have strong opinions about this believe they also need to be heard on Capitol Hill.
And as we see this situation continue, they're getting more time to organize. We saw this same group here in front of the White House last Saturday, and now they are back today. As Rosa said, there's another protest that is scheduled for Monday. So clearly they are hoping to add their voices to this conversation that is getting more complex by the day. Victor and Suzanne?
MALVEAUX: CNN's Emily Schmidt in Washington. Thank you. In front of the White House there, and the cameras are there as well. You can always hear the protesters when they come out. So it's not unlikely the president and first family would hear them as well.
MALVEAUX: A scary moment at a high school football game last night in Ohio. Just take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Whoa. Students cheering on their team, the bleachers collapsing there, slamming dozens of young fans to the ground. Five students were actually hurt, but thankfully none of those injuries were serious. You can imagine a scary moment there.
BLACKWELL: So it is Saturday morning. Everybody is looking forward to a sunny sky this weekend, but not everybody is going to enjoy one. In Oregon showers and thunderstorms brought down trees, power lines near Portland. Look at this. In Idaho nasty rains caused flooding, mudslides, huge mess there.
So what can you expect for the rest of the weekend where you are? CNN's Alexandra Steele joins us live now. Hopefully it's good news for most people.
ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, Victor. A lot of sunshine and a lot of very warm temperature, places like Denver, Colorado yesterday. About six schools had to be cancelled and kids left early because of the heat and there was no air conditioning. We're going to see incredible heat this weekend. But by Tuesday Denver will only be in the 60s. So they're going to need coats by that time. And that's kind of what happens this time of year, these major undulations of temperatures. In the plains and upper Midwest temperatures between 95 and 100. In the southeast, really very comfortable, maybe a degree or two above average.
There's a front though tonight that will move through and bring some rain to Albany, New York, maybe Syracuse, Rochester, and northern New England. And then by tomorrow that part clears out, temperatures drop down about five to seven degrees, so not a lot of wet weather tonight but just enough to called it a frontal passage, and that moves through.
There's all that rain that Victor was talking about in showing you that video. By Sunday, by tomorrow it moves eastward, and with some showers and thunderstorms in toward the intermountain west. But again the heat is the huge story. Here is what happens. You can see this maroon color showing you where the heat is. There's Denver. We're going to see 94 today, 93 tomorrow, 95 is the record today, so certainly palpable. Monday is 80, then it's 69 on Tuesday. Wichita you can see 95. So here's the heat. It continues in the northeast as well. Temperatures are just about where we should be, maybe a little bit cooler in the last couple of days, but we're going to watch things warm up.
MALVEAUX: We like that warm weather. Thank you very much, Alexandra.
Still ahead in the Newsroom, a man confesses to drinking, driving, and killing a man. Now he says that he is ready to go to jail.
Plus, 12 years as a slave. Brad Pitt's latest movie has critics raving. We'll talk to the star about his emotional new film.
MALVEAUX: "I killed a man." That is the stunning confession posted online this week by a 22-year-old man who says he wants to come clean about what he's done and face the consequences that come with his crime. Jason Carroll has got this amazing story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CORDLE: I killed a man.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It begins with a man concealed speaking sobering words.
CORDLE: I was trying to have a good time and I lost control.
CARROLL: Then his face and a chilling confession are revealed.
CORDLE: My name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani. I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I have done to Vincent and his family.
CARROLL: The video came as a shock to Vincent Canzani's family.
CARRIE OLCOTT, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW: It brings up a lot of emotion as far as, you know, Vince is gone. He'll never be back, and this video is just kind of a reminder that, you know, this man is going to have to live with that for the rest of his life.
CORDLE: If I took a different route maybe I would get a reduced sentence and maybe I would get off, but I won't dishonor Vincent's memory by lying about what happened.
RON O'BRIEN, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It is a compelling piece of evidence as well as I think a compelling statement by the offender.
CARROLL: Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien viewed the video several times. O'Brien says despite that apparently conscientious confession, his office will consult with the victim's family and recommend a lengthy sentence.
O'BRIEN: Obviously would it be a prison sentence, and I presumed based on the facts apart from the video we would probably be on the high end.
CARROLL: And what does the victim's family say about what sort of punishment is due?
OLCOTT: That's a tough question because he made a decision that took a man's life. I honestly can't answer that. I don't know how to feel.
CORDLE: I'll give the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time.
CARROLL: The person who Cordle first contacted about wanting to publicly confess was Alex Sheen. Sheen runs a website called "Because I Said I Would," a site where people make public commitments.
ALEX SHEEN, BECAUSEISAIDIWOULD.COM: I believe he should be treated fairly like everybody would in the legal system. I can say he feels guilty. I know this much. The intent of this video is never to get him a lighter sentence.
CARROLL: Ultimately Sheen says Cordle's goal is to help stop others from drinking and driving.
CORDLE: Your victims can still be saved, so, please.
CARROLL: The prosecution plans to charge Cordle with aggravated vehicular homicide as well as driving under the influence which carries a maximum sentence of up to eight-and-a-half years in prison. And now that the prosecution has this confession in hand, they could present their case to the grand jury as early as next week.
MALVEAUX: Jason Carroll, thank you. Cordle's lawyer said he was not aware that that video had been released, but he called it a testament to the integrity and character of his client.
BLACKWELL: Still to come on Newsroom, it's one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, the Yankees and the red sox. Highlights from the big game after the break.
BLACKWELL: If you like rivalries, this weekend has plenty of good ones, especially today in college football. Joe Carter is here with this morning's bleacher report. We had a good one last week, and now it's like the horn of plenty.
JOE CARTER, CNN'S BLEACHER REPORT: We're lucky. Last week Georgia was on the docket, they're back on the docket again. It's kind of a must win game. But then they play South Carolina. Really people are expecting the winner of this game to go on to win that division and play obviously Alabama, we think, in the SEC championship game. But that game is going to be this afternoon.
But later tonight a lot of people talking about number 13 Notre Dame taking on number 17 Michigan. That game is in the big house. And you know, Victor, this rivalry dates back to 1887. We know the last four games they've gone down to the wire, less than a touchdown between these two. There's a lot of history here, but fans have got to enjoy this one because they're planning to suspend this series after next year's game.
And then you can't talk about rivalries without talking about one of the greatest in all of sports. Of course, that's the Yankees-Red Sox. These two have been going at it since 1901, More than 2,100 times. Last night Boston ended up winning the game. They actually hit a grand slam homerun in the seventh which actually in any other stadium would have been out. And then a two-run shot in the eighth gave them a lead for good. The Yankees still lurking just two-and-a-half games out of that wildcard.
And then you have to talk about the NFL. Tomorrow New Orleans head coach Sean Payton returns after sitting out all of last season for his role in the bounty-gate scandal. And there's no love-lost against the Atlanta Falcons who they play tomorrow. Remember last season the Saints beat the Falcons in week 10, then the Saints came here to Atlanta, and when they got off the plane and got on the team bus, they got egged. They got egged by some airport workers, who no longer have jobs, by the way. So there's definitely a long-standing rivalry, but perhaps maybe a little more incentive for the Saints since they were sort of egged or embarrassed by the Atlanta fans. But you know all about rivalries. You had some Michigan and Ohio state fans in the house.
BLACKWELL: I had Michigan fans, Ohio fans, friends from Detroit and friends from Youngstown. It was like keeping dogs apart in the living room.
CARTER: You said all we're trying to do was play --
BLACKWELL: Taboo. We just want to play taboo. Stop talking college football. Joe Carter, thank you.
CARTER: Thank you.
MALVEAUX: All right. Still ahead, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? Hard to tell when you're talking about Syria's rebel fighters. Just in a few moments our guest breaks down the complicated battlefield.
MALVEAUX: Bottom of the hour now. Welcome back, everyone. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Here are five stories making headline this is morning.
MALVEAUX: Number one, Secretary of State John Kerry pressing European leaders to back a U.S. strike on Syria. He is talking today with more than a dozen European Union foreign ministers in Lithuania. Kerry then flies to Paris. Now France is the only country that's pledged to take part in U.S. military action against Syria.
Number two, Johnson & Johnson is recalling 200,000 bottles of infant Motrin. The concentrated drops could be contaminated with a tiny plastic particle mixed in. The recall covers only half ounce bottles of berry flavored infant Motrin drops.
MALVEAUX: Number three, New Mexico's Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that would decide whether same-sex marriage is legal in that state. Several counties have issued marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples which led to a court challenge. Now, both sides say they welcome a final ruling. Same-sex marriage is legal in 13 states and the District of Columbia.
BLACKWELL: Four now, authorities in Britain are reviewing security measures at Buckingham Palace because a man scaled the fence and got into a locked area this week. The intruder was arrested for trespassing, burglary, criminal damage. Another man was arrested for conspiracy. No members of the royal family were at home during that break-in.
MALVEAUX: And number five, America's unlikely diplomat, Dennis Rodman, is now in Beijing after his trip to North Korea. It's still not clear what the eccentric former NBA star was up to on his second basketball diplomacy tour. He did not help free an American man who is doing 15 years hard labor there. The worm reportedly met again with his friend, the reclusive dictator Kim Jong-un.
This is of course a brutal image. "The New York Times" carried a front page photo this week of the moment before Syrian rebels executed seven Syrian soldiers. The image from video shot in 2012, though "The Times" originally reported it as 2013. Americans may see that picture as proof that the Syrian rebels are as vicious as the regime that they are trying to oust.
But is that an accurate conclusion? We want to bring in Farid Ghadry of the Syrian reform party. His Washington-based group is working for regime change inside Syria. Farid, thank you for joining this morning. And first of all, explain to us what we saw on that cover there because obviously the president is making the case that we need to -- the U.S., rather, needs to assist the rebels, and yet we see this kind of outright execution, if you will, that they are carrying out against the soldiers.
FARID GHADRY, SYRIAN REFORM PARTY: Well, as you said, this is an old picture, and I think it's been somehow planted back into the psyche of the American people to stop what is right for the president to do here in this case. Remember that most of the Syrian opposition are officers who have defected from the Syrian army. These are vetted officers. These are officers and conscripts who the Assad regime would have never hired them or had them into their system had they been jihadists.
MALVEAUX: I'm sorry. I think the point is you have many different groups that are a part of the opposition, so there's not just one particular group. And there clearly are some people in the opposition that are capable of carrying out these kinds of acts. So how do you explain how the American people should support the opposition when there are so many different groups, including members of Al Qaeda elements, and these kinds of fringe groups that you see carrying out those kinds of executions?
GHADRY: You need to -- first of all, the Al Qaeda group are all foreigners, and they'll leave Syria one day and we will chase them out. You need to rely on advisers, secular Syrian oppositionists and liberal oppositionists, to kind of highlight the difference, highlight who is on the ground doing good work and who is on the ground doing the Islamists' work, which we all oppose.
So I think it's very important to extend a hand to the elements within the Syrian opposition who are able to distinguish between the two groups. And as well, many people within the NEA department, Ambassador Feldman and others, who are very privy to such information, are able to gauge the Syrian opposition and able to provide the proper information, and there are other people as well you can extend a hand to.
MALVEAUX: So, you know, assuming that that might be possible, that people will be able to figure out and sort it all out on the ground who is who, the president is not calling for regime change as your organization is advocating for. Do you think this is the wise course of action for a limited military strike?
GHADRY: Well, I think the limited military strike will have a psychological impact on the regime. Remember that the United States has never attacked Syria -- I'm sorry, the Assad regime. So any attack against that regime will have a great impact.
What I would recommend if I was advising the president is to -- once the attack happens, is not to evacuate the U.S. Navy. Just keep them in place so that Assad knows that any claims of victory after a small strike, after a limited strike, will be hollow because as long as the U.S. Navy is in place, Assad will behave. And I think it will send a strong message to everybody, that our allies in the region, that the United States is serious, and I think it will strengthen the position of the president, something we all need to rally around today.
So Syrian regime change is the goal. How do we accomplish that is the difficult question that we all face. I think that an internal coup is the ultimate and the best way to do this. And in order for us to do the coup, we have to separate Assad, peel Assad away from the minorities that support him. And unfortunately, we did not do a good job early on by outsourcing the Syrian opposition work to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. So what we need to do is redevelop, reconstruct the opposition and help the minorities in Syria to understand that the alternative to Assad is one of them, is part of them, and we all are going to share in that.
MALVEAUX: All right, Farid Gaudry, thank you so much for your insights here from the Syrian reform party out of Washington.
GHADRY: Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: He went to prison for 25 years for selling secrets to the Soviets. Now he's sharing some of his own exclusively with CNN. Up next, my interview with convicted spy Christopher Boyce. It's his first on-camera interview in 28 years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOYCE: Looking for windmills, and in the process destroyed 25 years of my life. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Stiff handshakes, forced smiles, brief words. They're all signatures of tense exchanges this week between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. It's no secret the two leaders have a chilly relationship and it is not improving. One likely reason, Russia is harboring wanted NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But before Edward Snowden was even born, there was another NSA intelligence contractor who made headlines. He was part of one of the most infamous spy teams of the cold war era.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had no idea the extent of the lie, the level of deception.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who did you receive your instructions from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to be partners. I'm offering you a partnership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: That was a clip from the movie "The Falcon and the Snowman." The 1985 film starring Timothy Hutton that helped launch convicted spy Christopher Boyce into infamy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. And for what?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Boyce's real life story began in 1974. The clean cut son of a former FBI agent was working at a defense firm in California when he intercepted a CIA cable that allegedly discussed the plan to destabilize the Australian government. He teamed up with childhood friend Andrew Dalton Lee to, quote, "do as much damage to the American intelligence community as he could." To Boyce, that meant selling NSA codes to the Soviet Union. He later said his prime motivation was to punish the U.S. for allegedly being in cahoots to overthrow the government of its ally.
After two years on the run, Boyce was caught outside the Soviet embassy in Mexico and was promptly handed other to the FBI. He knew it was coming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOYCE: It's to make your life miserable. It's to wake up in the morning with a fear in your stomach and you're always wondering if you're going to get caught. And you've made yourself into chattel to a foreign bureaucracy that doesn't care about you and only wants to exploit you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Boyce was tried, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. His accomplice Lee received a life sentence, though he was released after 20 years.
But Boyce's adventures were not over. He escaped in 1980 followed by 19 months on the run robbing banks. After being caught and serving more time, he was paroled in 2003. He had served only 25 years of his sentence.
Boyce credits a paralegal, Kate Mills, with his release. They fell in love and married while he was still in prison. This summer they went public with what happened after Boyce's conviction in a memoir, "The Falcon and the Snowman -- American Sons."
And Christopher Boyce and his wife Kate sat down with me for an exclusive interview. It's his first on camera in 28 years. I asked why he sold secrets to the Soviet Union and if it was worth it. I also asked Boyce if he thinks Edward Snowden did the right thing, and of course why he's releasing this new book now.
BOYCE: To be sentenced to prison, you need to be able to at least exist and not, you know, be murdered. People were being murdered all around me. And it was a regular gladiator school where I was. So I escaped to save my life, and it's a story that I wanted to tell.
BLACKWELL: You said in a phone interview on CNN that if you had to do it all over again, you wouldn't do it. What changed your mind?
BOYCE: The greatest thing that you have in this world is your own life, and my actions caused me to lose a quarter century of my life. Many, many years of that was in solitary confinement, and it was tough. And I don't believe that I could again destroy my own life or such a large segment of it like I did. And that's why I feel so sorry for Manning and Snowden, if they ever get him, because their life is going to be a living hell. They'll have years and years of solitary confinement, and I just don't believe that I could do that to myself again.
BLACKWELL: You said that you thought you were aiding your country. Bradley Manning said he was aiding his country, as well as Edward Snowden. What would you say now to someone who has access to that sensitive information and they're on the threshold of deciding whether to release it with the thought that they would be aiding their country? What would you tell that person about your own life experience?
BOYCE: I would tell them that they ought to go where they're going to stay. Snowden should have went to Venezuela or to Ecuador, not, you know, start off on a junket around the world.
BLACKWELL: Do you support Edward Snowden's actions about releasing the information about the NSA's surveillance program? BOYCE: Absolutely. I'm glad he did it. I just wish he had not gone to Russia, that he had gone anywhere else but there, because Russia is America's traditional bogeyman, and by going to Russia he detracts from the message that he was trying to deliver.
BLACKWELL: Kate, you successfully helped Dalton and Chris get out of federal prison. What would your defense be for Edward Snowden?
KATE MILLS: I don't know. I wish I could answer that. I'd actually have to sit down and have a long talk with Edward Snowden. I believe there has not been enough evidence of damage in either Manning's case or in Snowden's case, and I think that the NSA and the United States government can make up their own stories about damage as much as they want to. I think it's up to the American people to decide that. I happen to support Snowden. I really support Manning, and I don't know what their damages estimate is. I don't think any of us do at this point.
BLACKWELL: I read the book, and you write in the forward, you call yourself a Don Quixote looking for a windmill, that you were destined to have great enemies. Was that the real motivation for selling the secrets to Russia about the surveillance program in Australia, that you were, to mix metaphors once again, a David looking for a Goliath, and you decided it would be the U.S. government?
BOYCE: I must confess that you have -- you probably hit the nail squarely on the head there. I was probably looking for any excuse to tilt windmills, and that's a personal flaw I have. I have certainly burned my fingers doing it. But I was certainly moved to do it by what I watched on the encrypted communications about our intervention in Australian domestic politics. But I think you're right. I was looking for windmills, and in the process destroyed 25 years of my life.
BLACKWELL: It's really a fascinating conversation.
MALVEAUX: It's amazing.
BLACKWELL: There is so much more.
MALVEAUX: That discovery that you peeled back and he revealed.
BLACKWELL: When I read the book, "The Falcon and the Snowman -- American Sons," it was the first page, and he identified that he was standing there at the last stand, and he said "I will one day be a man who will have great enemies. I will be a man who fights off Goliath," so to speak. And as I read the book, I kept thinking about that sentence, and there it was at the beginning.
MALVEAUX: And that was ultimately his motivation.
BLACKWELL: That was the motivation. It could have been anything, but he chose the American government as his enemy. And whatever the government was doing at the time, he would have used that to create an enemy.
Again, there's so much more. Tomorrow on "NEW DAY SUNDAY," more of the interview with Christopher Boyce, including the tension that developed between Boyce and his partner in crime, Andrew Dalton Lee. The men did time together. They're both free now, but they don't talk anymore. Here's why. Just a hint -- there's a love triangle involved. That's coming up tomorrow, 7:15 a.m. eastern on "NEW DAY SUNDAY."
MALVEAUX: It just gets more interesting. It's amazing.
Still to come, Brad Pitt speaks to CNN. Hear what he says he learned about slavery while making his latest film.
MALVEAUX: Growing up in Washington, Thomas McRae was shuffled from home to home, 22 in all, half of them in foster care. Well, he's overcome a lot, as CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us in today's "Human Factor."
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And 20-year-old Thomas McRae knows what it's like to have people walk out of his life.
THOMAS MCRAE, SURVIVED GUNSHOT WOUND: My dad took me away from my mom at birth.
GUPTA: But his father was ill and had difficulty caring for him.
MCRAE: I was in 11 homes.
GUPTA: He was 10 when his life changed dramatically.
MCRAE: I was shot.
GUPTA: By a 14-year-old who was living in the home where he had been taken in at the time.
MCRAE: I had to learn how to walk again.
GUPTA: Fortunately, the paralysis was temporary, but McRae was still suffering from a different kind of pain.
MCRAE: There was anger, rage, aggression.
GUPTA: And then the nightmares began.
MCRAE: When I close myself I remember seeing myself being shot.
GUPTA: After the shooting the sixth grader was moved into foster care and was promptly diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, ADHD.
MCRAE: I was finally able to get the proper treatment I need. GUPTA: He went on to live in 11 different foster homes. As a senior in high school McRae asked his best friend's mother, whom he had known since sixth grade, if she would adopt him, and she did.
MCRAE: It was the greatest day.
GUPTA: McRae just completed an internship with Maryland senator Ben Cardin, where he talked to legislators about aging out of the foster system. He's back at school now studying psychology at Cheney University.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.
BLACKWELL: The Toronto film festival is underway right now, and already one film is standing out above the rest.
MALVEAUX: So here is a hint. Brad Pitt has a lot to do with it. CNN's Nischelle Turner is Toronto with more. Nischelle?
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Suzanne and Victor, have you heard about the film "12 Years a Slave"? If you haven't, get ready to, because there's major award show buzz around this movie. It debuted at the Telluride film festival to rave reviews, and now it is here at the Toronto film festival, the premiere tonight. And if you look all the way around here, you see that there's 50 people deep for media on this red carpet. This film is going to be a big one.
One of the producers on this film is Brad Pitt. He was here tonight. He talked to me about the movie, how hard it was to make this movie. But he also said that this is a movie that everyone, no matter who you are, should see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRAD PITT, ACTOR/PRODUCER: I did not really understand the systematic institution of slavery. You go down there, and it's laid out like factories. And you're looking at like crime scenes in some way, and what it really means, what it really, really means to take someone, deny them their freedom, their dignity, to tear them apart from their families. As a father, it's a nightmare. And this film does that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TURNER: Along with being a producer on the film, Brad Pitt also has a small role. He plays an abolitionist. But the star of the movie is Chiwetel Ejiofor. He plays Solomon Northrup, the free black man who was sold back into slavery. And the movie documents his journey back to freedom. He told me yes, this was a tough movie to be made. It's raw. It's unflinching, and at time it's hard to watch. But he also says there was a lesson that everyone can take away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHIWETEL EJIOFOR, ACTOR: I was aware that it was going to be an intense film. It did require going there a little bit. And so, you know, I got down there a little early, down to Louisiana, and started to try to put myself in the mindset to really wrestle with this thing.
I think ultimately for me it's always been a story about human respect, you know, and if people even -- if an audience contemplates that for a second afterwards and just how we're all involved in that challenge and continuity of human respect. And I think, you know, then we've done something good.
TURNER: The movie also stars Michael Fastbender. It's directed by Steve Mcqueen who always makes queens that go there. He's edgy and raw, but he's a director to be watched. Suzanne, Victor, back to you.
MALVEAUX: Sounds amazing.
That will do it for us today. Thanks for watching. It's a pleasure, Victor, to be with you today.
BLACKWELL: Likewise, enjoyed it. But stay right here because there's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. We turn it over to our colleague Fredricka Whitfield.