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Investigation into Military Security Continues; Federal Government Faces Shutdown; Stocks Up on News of Federal Reserve Action; Winning Powerball Ticket Sold in South Carolina; Abducted Teen Found Alive

Aired September 19, 2013 - 07:00>   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Here's a question for you. How much food do you think you throw out every week just because it's past the expiration date? It turns out those "sell by" and "best by" labels could be misleading. There's a new study about how long your food really lasts. It's an interesting conversation. We'll have that.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Then, are you a fan of the wheel? I know a lot of people are.

BOLDUAN: The wheel as it's known.

PEREIRA: A whole lot of people online angry. A Wheel of Fortune contestant has a chance to win a million bucks. He loses it all when he slightly mispronounced two words. Was the show being fair, unfair, are the rules the rules? We'll talk with the contestant himself Paul Atkinson live here on NEW DAY.

BOLDUAN: First off this hour, the latest in the Washington Navy yard shooting. We're learning about significant damage to building 197 where the rampage took place. And making matters worse, there are questions now surrounding the police response to the shooting. With the latest this morning, let's go to CNN's Pamela Brown live in Washington. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Kate. That's right. There's new information suggesting the rampage could have been contained more quickly if an elite tactical team hadn't been turned away in the moments after that shooting. At this point, as this investigation continues, we still don't have -- officials say they still don't have a mot motive. There's questions as to whether we'll have a clear-cut answer as to what was going through Aaron Alexis's mind during that shooting.


BROWN: As investigators sift through the evidence in the Navy yard killings, odd details are emerging. A federal law enforcement source tells CNN Alexis made unexplained etchings into the shotgun he used in the attack. The etchings read, "Better off this way" and "My elf weapon." Investigators don't know what the sayings are supposed to mean. So questions remain about whether the rampage could have been prevented. Navy officials in Rhode Island never passed along police reports about Alexis' erratic behavior, claiming he was hearing voices.

CHUCK HAGEL, SECURITY OF DEFENSE: Where there are gaps, we will close them. Where there are inadequacies, we will address them. And where there are failures, we will correct them. We owe the victims, their families and all our people nothing less.

BROWN: New details have emerged suggesting authorities might have been able to contain the gunman more quickly. A government official tells CNN when the first radio call came in about a shooting at the Navy yard, highly trained tactical Capitol police officers attempting to help stop the rampage were told by a watch commander to stand down. The Capitol police chief has ordered an independent review of their response and the critical first moments after the shooting was reported.

Investigators still don't know why. Law enforcement sources say nothing points to a specific motive for the rampage even after the seizure of Aaron Alexis's computer and other possessions and interviews with the social contacts for clues. The mother of the gunman apologizing Wednesday to the families of the victims.

CATHLEEN BROWN, AARON ALEXIS' MOTHER: I don't know why he did what he did and I'll never be able to ask him why. Aaron is now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone and for that, I am glad. To the families of the victims, I am so, so very sorry that this has happened. My heart is broken.


BROWN: New details are emerging, painting a picture of the damage inside building 197. As sources told our Barbara Starr, blood everywhere, damage everywhere, damage so extensive the building may not be re-opened for several weeks. Meantime, we are still waiting for autopsy results, toxicology results for Aaron Alexis. The medical examiner's office still hasn't released that information. This Sunday, President Obama is expected to attend a memorial service for the victims of Monday's tragedy. Back to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Pamela, thank you very much.

Obviously the biggest questions go to whether or not this could have been prevented. Joining us now is the Navy's chief of information rear admiral John Kirby. Admiral Kirby, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it this morning.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, NAVY CHIEF OF INFORMATION: Thank you, Chris, thanks for having me.

CUOMO: Let's begin with the main proposition. Do you recognize that this man should not have had military clearance?

KIRBY: That's what we're looking at right now, Chris, to be honest with you. Secretary Mavis ordered three rapid reviews last night. One of the three is to take a very close look at the forensics of Mr. Alexis's naval career to see if there were things we should have picked up on. CUOMO: Well, it seems like an easy question to answer, though, doesn't it, admiral? You know the Rhode Island police reached out recently in August, told the Navy he said he was hearing voices, pumped by men with microwaves. You know he was telling this to co- workers.

KIRBY: Right.

CUOMO: You know he went to the hospital about it. Isn't that enough to say he should have had his clearance pulled pending an investigation?

KIRBY: It's certainly enough to get us to take a hard look at this. That's what we're going to do. We don't have indications that the reports from the Newport police went any higher than the local-based security officers there at Newport. And we're taking a hard look at that as well to see why that report didn't go any higher and what should have been done better to make authorities at a higher level than base security aware of it.

CUOMO: And it's just that when you say taking a hard look, it suggests a process rather than conclusion. But wouldn't you agree, the information, if true, should have been enough to have the clearance pulled?

KIRBY: I think it's very easy to do this in hindsight, when you look back and the aggregate of this young man's naval career, trouble with the law, it's easy to draw the conclusion yes, probably something should have been done or said differently. But when you look at it in time as it happened, none of these incidents on their own individually would lead anybody to indicate that he was going to be a threat to himself or others.

CUOMO: Well, the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, says something went wrong. There were red flags. Is he right?

KIRBY: Absolutely he's right. Clearly something went wrong and there were red flags. We have to take it in the aggregate. Looking back on it, it's easy to see that now. It's a little harder when you're in the moment, at the time. And again, we'll do a very, very careful review. Nobody is more transparent or more accountable than the United States Navy. We take great pride in that. And to the degree we missed things, we'll take account for that.

CUOMO: You know that suspicion goes beyond this particular shooter. You have the audit that says whether it was cost cutting or whatever that people of suspicious backgrounds got access. There's concern as to whether or not there could be more people like this shooter within the ranks of the Navy or getting clearance to sensitive areas. How do you deal with that?

KIRBY: We're looking at that DOD I.G. report very closely right now. I would say the system it studied is not the same system that Mr. Alexis was registered in. Sadly it would not have prevented the tragedy on Monday. But we are taking a very hard look at that I.G. report. We're grateful for the I.G. for taking a look at that. We're going to implement whatever recommendations we deem appropriate.

CUOMO: Fair point. The interest is obviously preventing future attacks. Do you know anything about this tactical team being pulled off the scene and why that would have happened?

KIRBY: I don't, Chris. That's really a law enforcement issue.

CUOMO: And then we get to the curiosity about the building in play, 197. We understand that it is obviously a terrible scene inside. What are the plans of going forward? Is there an idea of preparing something for those who were hurt and lost their lives there?

KIRBY: There's a lot to your question. First of all, we have two emergency family assistance centers set up. One is at the Navy yard, one is at Joint Base Bowling across the Anacostia River. There are counselors, chaplains, mental health providers there standing by. And there are people being seen.

Number two, the building is, as you describe, Chris, still a crime scene. The FBI still has purview over that building. So it is not open for business. The Navy yard is beginning to open. I think you've covered that. But 197 will stay closed for at least a few more days.

And then there will probably be some time even after that before the building is really ready to get back into business. Nobody's going to be rushed back to work here. We're going to make sure that the people that work there certainly the people that witnessed this tragic attack get all the care and attention they need. And if they need more time before they come back to work, we'll certainly give them that.

CUOMO: On the primary objective, as you know, we'll stay on this because people need to have confidence that the people who get clearance for sensitive areas are stable, obviously. So we look forward to checking in with you, admiral, on this.

KIRBY: I'm happy to do that, Chris. Thanks very much.

CUOMO: Thank you for joining us, sir. Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Chris, thanks so much.

If you have a 401(k), chances are it's looking better this morning. And you can thank Ben Bernanke for that. The Fed chairman's decision to keep pumping money into the economy triggered record closes for the Dow and the S&P 500. Christine Romans is here with us this morning to take a look at what this means not only now but going forward. It's good news. But how long can it last?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: It's good news and it can't last forever. The big question is the Fed has a lot of cash. It can keep pumping it in there. But there may come a time when too much cash becomes a problem. That day hasn't come yet, at least not yesterday.


ROMANS: Stocks surged to record highs Wednesday, a sizzling rally set off by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doing, well, nothing.

BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Well, I don't recall stating that we would do any particular thing in this meeting.

ROMANS: Investors thought the Federal Reserve might pull back on the $85 billion a month in bond purchases it had been making since last September. But in a statement, the federal open market committee said it is waiting for evidence that, quote, "Progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of its purchases."

The stimulus has pumped cash into the mortgage and bond markets, keeping mortgage rates and borrowing costs low. That's fueled the red hot housing market and spurred stocks to a 20 percent gain over the past year. Many investors expect stocks to go even higher this year. Great news for those with 401(k)s, but only half the country is invested in stocks. The Fed's bigger problem has been slow job growth.

RANDALL KROSZNER, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE GOVERNOR: There are actually fewer people working but even fewer people who are looking for work, and so that meant that the unemployment rate came down but for the wrong reasons.

ROMANS: Companies are used to getting by with fewer workers since the recession. That and slow economic growth put Ben Bernanke and whoever succeeds him in a tough spot.


ROMANS: Goldman Sachs said this morning it expects the next window of opportunity for the Fed to be the December meeting. The Fed wants to see more data before it makes a decision to begin turning off that spigot of money. And it is a spigot of money. Think of Ben Bernanke with a fire hose spewing $85 billion a month into the economy. That continues full blast for now.

BOLDUAN: Talk about unsustainable when you describe it that way.

In the piece you talk about the red hot housing market. Mortgages are something that everyone can relate to, even if they're not necessarily in the market, in Wall Street. What does this mean for mortgage rates?

ROMANS: Yesterday I would have told you you'll see mortgage rates at five percent, six percent next year because the Fed will be pulling back. The Fed is not pulling back yet. So 4.57 is the 30-year fixed rate right now. A lot of people are saying it's a new window of opportunity for home buyers and refinancers here. You might not see the spike up many people have thought. That's good news for home owners. It really is.

BOLDUAN: Christine, thanks.

CUOMO: By way of segue we have the government on the one hand juicing the markets and putting as much money in as they can to keep things stable, and on the other side, we have lawmakers thinking about shutting it all down.

ROMANS: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Christine was telling me that Ben Bernanke was slamming Congress because of just that.

ROMANS: Ben Bernanke is the only one working in Congress some would say -- in Washington rather. Congress is not working. The Fed is doing all the work.

CUOMO: You keep juicing the markets. But we have a solution. We're going to shut government down. Yes, lawmakers are considering doing it again. Why? Because they can't find a way to compromise. Whom did they decide to punish? You.

The latest twist, not even Republicans can agree amongst themselves on what to do and why. The White House is accusing them of engaging in their own civil war. The question is, will the White House have a bet every solution? Let's go live to CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House. What a mess and it's barely started.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Only in Washington. That's right, Chris. President Obama says he is taking a stand against what he calls an apocalypse every three months. So check the battery in your Washington crisis countdown clock, because here they go again.


ACOSTA: It's 11 days to a possible government shutdown, and this latest budget battle pitting Republicans in Congress against President Obama is becoming the stomach-turning sequel to the sequel.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What I will not do is to create a habit, a pattern, whereby the full faith and credit of the United States ends up being a bargaining chip to set policy.

ACOSTA: This time, the threat is all too real. Not only does the government run out of money October 1st, the nation is set to hit the debt ceiling and go into default mid-October, teeing up a Washington dysfunction double whammy the likes of which American has never seen before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we looking at a gridlock-nado?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If Congress fails to act, yes, it's possible. I'm not sure about the "nado" part of it.

ACOSTA: For now, Republicans in Congress say they will only vote on a spending Bill that defunds Obamacare.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We are going to do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health care law.

ACOSTA: But that's not expected to go anywhere in the Democratic controlled Senate, ramping up the likelihood of a shutdown at the end of the month. We've been here before. A government shutdown has loomed four times since 2011, but each time a deal was struck to avert disaster. Some Republicans say this is one rerun they don't want to watch.

REP. PETE KING, (R) NEW YORK: We can't let the government shut down. We can't be kamikazes and we can't be General Custer.


ACOSTA: And the White House may be watching some of this battle from the sidelines. That's because House Republicans are furious with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who said yesterday that the Senate may not have the votes on the Republican side to defund Obamacare. One House Republican Shawn Duffy of Wisconsin accused Cruz of waving the white flag of surrender. But Republicans may be getting on the same page later today. Just this morning, House Speaker John Boehner released a new web video attacking the president for being willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin but not with them.

BOLDUAN: It is already getting nasty.

ACOSTA: That's right.

CUOMO: Thank you very much for the reporting. Appreciate it. Jim's getting it right but nobody else is down there. Carney said the nado part, I don't know about, obviously a reference to "Sharknado." But I think it fits. What's "Sharknado"? Something absurd where people, where things have no business being where they are come down and inflict unusual damage on the innocent. I think that's exactly how I would describe the situation.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I think that's exactly how I would describe the situation.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, John McCain did tell us he's seen the movie before. Maybe he was referencing "Sharknado".

A lot of news developing at this hour, so let's get straight to Michaela for the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN HOST: Good morning, you guys. A check on things happening in Colorado; 200 people remain unaccounted for after last week's historic flooding in Colorado.

Boulder saw 9 inches of rain last Thursday. That's almost half its annual rainfall. Communities are now faced with the question of how to provide emergency services and repairs. The concern is now expanding to Nebraska, where runoff water is posing a threat of flooding into the weekend.

Meanwhile, flash flooding being blamed for the death of a sewer worker in Chicago. A fire department spokesman says contractors were doing maintenance when a surge of water swept one of the workers away. Helicopter and Marine units, even robotic cameras were used in the effort to find the man. Police say he had just removed a harness to access a confined space. A blistering op-ed by Republican Senator John McCain accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of bigotry, self-serving rule and cozying up to tyrants like Syria's Bashar al-Assad, writing, "Putin is not enhancing Russia's global reputation; he is destroying it." He goes on to say, "He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world."

I want to show you some video.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Residents of Washington Township in Toledo, Ohio, say Officer Eric Hart went too far when he pulled over Cassandra Meyers (ph) for a routine license plate violation. Wound up ordering her entire family, including her 14-year-old son, to lay on the ground at gunpoint.

A neighbor videotaped part of the encounter. After it went viral, Officer Hart was placed on paid administrative leave.


PEREIRA: Police say, though, he is not currently facing any trouble.

The BBC reporting that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's daughter was held at gunpoint, during an attempted robbery Wednesday night in central London; 25-year-old Kathryn Blair (ph) was threatened by two suspects with a gun while she was walking down the street with her boyfriend and a group of friends.

Police say the firearm was seen but it was not used. Nobody was injured and nothing was stolen. So far, no arrests have been made in that case.

A Tennessee appeals court ruling in favor of parents who wanted to name their baby Messiah. You'll recall we brought you this story here on NEW DAY. At a child support hearing last month, Jalisa Martin (ph) was told "Messiah" was a title reserved for Jesus Christ, and she was ordered to change her baby's name to Martin.

A judge Wednesday overturned that decision, saying the lower court had acted unconstitutionally.

Look at that little face.


BALDWIN: (Inaudible) but we all certainly agree on where we stand on that name fight. Cutest baby in the world. I was -- remember I said I was completely distracted when you --

PEREIRA: It's hard to focus.

BALDWIN: Because he was the cutest little monkey -- oh, so cute. CUOMO: He was gorgeous and very well behaved.

BALDWIN: He was.

CUOMO: And now at least they can start to move forward.

BALDWIN: Let's move forward as well. Let's get to Indra and get the forecast, what you should be looking at when you head out the door this morning.

Good morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. It's a little bit misleading. It looks like it's good. We're warming up, we're going towards the weekend. We're loving this and then you find out, wait, wait, there is rain coming our way.

What is going on? Well, the little teasers we saw in Chicago yesterday, that warm front cruised through. Let's start with the warm front and the fact that temperatures are really going to be warming up.

Look at this, about 10, 15 degrees above normal, St. Louis today seeing 90s, Kansas City, 90s and notice the cold front. We remember cold front brings cold air. Look at the difference as this slides through first, into the Midwest overnight tonight. We'll talk about temperatures really dropping from above normal to below normal tomorrow.

Same trouble maker continues to make its way east, and we're going to be talking about temperatures dropping in the Northeast. First, though, today, as it starts to slide through the region, we are looking for severe weather, anywhere from Wisconsin down through Kansas.

Even a tornado is possible. That's what happens when you get really warm air right next to the cold air. So we're looking for that threat. Here we go again. Still the same cold front making its way towards the Northeast for the weekend. And with that we will be talking about the beautiful pressure that we have disappearing and temperatures going back down. And why not just throw in a little rain, right?

BOLDUAN: So a little one-two punch.

CUOMO: Were you watching the Powerball action? Turns out we have a winner. Yes, one person will take home $400 million. No splits, no multiple winners, nothing to muck it up. One person.

That single winning Powerball lottery ticket was sold in Lexington, South Carolina. The jackpot is the fifth largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The question is, when do we get to meet the winner? The answer: maybe never. CNN's Sara Ganim is live in Lexington, South Carolina.

That's true, right, Sara? SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Chris, it is. Somebody -- we don't know who -- but somebody walked into this Murphy Express yesterday afternoon and bought a winning Powerball ticket.

If you walk in there today, a clerk will ask you, did you buy a Lotto ticket here? If you did, double check the numbers. It is a majorly big jackpot, $400 million and you're right, all to one single ticket.

Here's the thing, though, one single ticket doesn't necessarily mean it was one person. We've seen in the past where people pooled together, office pools, they buy a ticket and share that money. But it is one single winning ticket. And I got to tell you, Lexington, South Carolina, we are about 100 yards from a highway that goes east and west across the entire United States.

This gas station does get a lot of local customers here, but they also get a lot of people who are from out of town.

The good news is the person who won, they have 180 days to come back here and claim their prize. But they have to come back to South Carolina to get it. Now, the catch, like you said, we may never know who this person is. South Carolina law allows for them to remain anonymous. We may never know that winner.


CUOMO: It's a good law.

BOLDUAN: The mystery continues.

CUOMO: It's a good law. Too many bad stories when people become public after these as we've all heard before.

Sara Ganim, thank you very much for the reporting. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a 14-year-old Georgia girl finally back with her family after being abducted during a violent home invasion. The police are looking for more suspects in this case. We'll bring you the story.

CUOMO: And a report we brought to you exclusively on Wednesday, lighting up the nation. The Starbucks CEO asking you to keep your guns at home. Simple request? Not to many of you. We'll tell you about it.




CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. You do not hear endings like this too often. Tears of joy as a Georgia teen abducted at gunpoint reunited with her family Wednesday. The 14-year-old was kidnapped from her own house during a violent home invasion. Now, two suspects are in custody. Police say more are on the run. Martin Savidge is at the CNN Center with the very latest.

Good morning, Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Yes, you're absolutely right. A happy ending like this is seldom. So we really do embrace it. But you're also right that there were suspects at least that are out there; they're considered armed and dangerous. Now we're learning more about a potential motive and the news is troubling.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): There were two signs Ayvani Perez (ph) was safely back where she belonged, the police cars guarding the street where she lives and big bunch of welcome home balloons. Neighbors caught a quick glimpse and briefly heard from the young victim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She looked pretty good to me. She didn't look scared or having gone through that ordeal, shaken. She came out and was very good, very pleasant.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Officials say Perez was found safe in a residence 25 miles from her home and that she had never left the metro Atlanta area. She was kidnapped during a violent home invasion early Tuesday and found 34 hours later after an intense law enforcement effort involving 150 local, state and federal officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a good day.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Authorities had good news but few details about what led to the teen's freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We currently have two suspects in custody. We're looking at some other suspects.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Among those still at large, the man thought to have carried out the brazen kidnapping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe those two suspects in the drawings are still at large.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): According to authorities, the men burst into the home, terrorizing the mother and her two children; they demanded money and jewelry and when they didn't get it, they stole something far more precious, 14-year-old Ayvani (ph). But the additional suspects suggests something more than a random break-in. Is it possible that there is some link between the victim's family and the suspects?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not determined the relationship between those individuals at this particular point in time.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The ordeal of a young girl may be over but the investigation into why she was taken seems far from it.


SAVIDGE: Now and in fact there is new information that's coming to light now. The mother of that 14-year-old was actually arrested as part of a drug raid last year in Georgia. Another person that was also arrested is one of those suspects, now in custody in connection with her daughter's kidnapping.

There does appear to be a link here and that would mean this crime apparently was not so random, Chris and Kate.

BOLDUAN: So horrible no matter what that that young girl got caught up in the middle of all of this.


BOLDUAN: All right, Martin, thank you so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the head of Starbucks, making headlines with his new stance on guns in his stores. It's getting, probably not surprisingly, some very strong reaction from both sides of the gun debate. We'll have the details on that ahead.

CUOMO: Listen to this one. Many a time I have regretted throwing out food that looked good but was past the expiration date, (inaudible) kitties (ph), (inaudible) my wife calling me cheap again. But turns out I was right.

BOLDUAN: Or maybe.

CUOMO: Billions of pounds of food each year may be wasted. New news about expiration dates when we come back. And vindication for some.