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Inside al-Shabaab; Mall Attack in Kenya; Will U.S. and Iran Meet at U.N.?; Hillary Clinton Thinking about 2016 Plan; Futures Higher on Possible Fiscal Crisis

Aired September 23, 2013 - 05:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We shall hunt down the perpetrators wherever they run. We shall get them. And we shall punish them for this heinous crime.


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Massacre inside the mall. Dozens of people killed, nearly 200 injured. And the standoff with the terrorists entering its third day. Hostages are still being held inside. We're live with the very latest.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Will she or won't she? The new changing, developing, curious response. Hillary Clinton giving her most revealing answer yet on whether she plans to run for president.

SAMBOLIN: Is it a yay or nay?

BERMAN: Stay tuned.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Television's best honored at last night's Emmy Awards. We're bringing you the surprise wins and the shutdown.

BERMAN: Look at that. Lots of dancing. Heard there's lots of shows on TV at night.

SAMBOLIN: Apparently.

BERMAN: I'm told.

SAMBOLIN: While we're sleeping.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. No dancing here as far as you know. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: Not yet, anyway. All right, I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Monday, September 23rd, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: We're going to being with the chaos this morning in Kenya, in a situation developing by the second. Security forces are still engaged with Islamic terrorists after the weekend attacks in an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi. At least 69 people have been killed. The al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility and three of the attackers are said to be Americans.

Kenya's military says there are about 10 hostages still being held. Most of the mall has been secured, but the standoff is not over.

CNN's Arwa Damon will join us live from Nairobi in just a minute but first --

SAMBOLIN: The Somali militant group al-Shabaab has been threatening a major attack on Kenya as retribution for the government sending troops to help Somalia fight the insurgents.

CNN's Nic Robertson has a closer look at the al Qaeda-linked terror group.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside Somalia, al-Shabaab fighters attack Kenyan troops, known by their full name Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, the al Qaeda allied jihadists want control of Somalia. In the Shabaab propaganda video, a wounded Kenyan soldier is captured. He is one of 4,000 Kenyan troops deployed to Somalia in 2011 to counter al-Shabaab incursions into Kenya.

CNN cannot independently verify this video but it is one in many recent years that depict Shabaab Somali battles. At their peak a few years ago they controlled parts of the capital on Mogadishu. But not anymore. Today a multinational African force of about 15,000 soldiers including the Kenyans controls the capital after al-Shabaab was forced out.

Now they loosely control swaths of southern Somalia all way to the Kenyan border and vow attacks inside Kenya. Al-Shabaab's Kenyan ally, the Muslim Youth Center, known as MYC, echoes Shabaab's threats.

SHEIKH AHMAD IMAN AL, LEADER OF MYC (Through Translator): Raise your sword against the enemy that is closes to you. Jihad should now be waged inside Kenya which is legally a warzone.

ROBERTSON: And it's not an idle threat. MYC actively recruits young Kenyans to fight for al-Shabaab. This mother's son, she says, radicalized in a Kenyan mosque.

ASHA MOHAMED, MOTHER OF MYC RECRUIT (Through Translator): Somalia. That's not his war. I don't even know why they are fighting so why should he leave here and go fight in something he doesn't even understand?

ROBERTSON: Perhaps Shabaab's most well recognized recruit is this man, an American. Omar (INAUDIBLE) from Alabama. Known by his (INAUDIBLE) Abu Mansour al-Amriki.

OMAR HAMMAMI, MYC RECRUIT: So the only reason we're staying here, away from our families, away from the cities, away from, you know, ice, candy bars and all these other things is because we're waiting to meet with the enemy. ROBERTSON: Hammami was killed recently in infighting but as al- Shabaab boasts, it has plenty of other American recruits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this first episode of the path to paradise, we will look at the lives of some of the young Muslim men who've traded the comforts of their lives in the United States for the battlefields of jihad.

ROBERTSON: Like the American suicide bomber who blew himself up in an al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu.

(On camera): As far back as 2010, Britain's security chiefs have been working about al-Shabaab's threat beyond Somalia's borders. In September that year, Jonathan Evans, Britain's head of MI5, said it's only a matter of time before They say only a matter of time before we see terrorism on our streets inspired by those now fighting alongside al-Shabaab. The attack on the Nairobi mall will heightened those concerns.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


BERMAN: And our thanks to Nic Robertson in London.

Now CNN's Arwa Damon is in Nairobi where the standoff at the shopping mall is now in its third day.

Arwa, what is the latest?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The shopping mall and office just around the corner. There are security forces spanned out all over really trying to navigate this very delicate situation and that is of getting those remaining hostages out alive.

Just to set the scene a bit for our viewers, this is an upscale shopping mall. It's where people go to meet and where a lot of kids have their birthday parties. The day that this hostage taking took place, a cooking show, a radio cooking show that was being hosted specifically for children, so the entire rooftop of the shopping mall itself was packed with kids with their families.

We're hearing stories of utter heroism, too, with people really disregarding their own security in trying to protect the children, many of them being killed in that effort. And also -- those who survived were coming out telling so many of them in total shock over what has taken place because even though this threat (INAUDIBLE) existed for quite some time now, people were not expecting this type of a hostage taking, a situation they were expecting maybe a bombing or something like that. But really -- the nation was also brought it together in an unprecedented way.

BERMAN: All right. Arwa, we'll come back to you in a little bit.

Arwa Damon for us in Nairobi again where the standoff is in its third day where there do appear to be some hostages still being held. Other news right now six minutes after the hour. This is the potential that it could be a historic week in U.S. foreign policy. In just a few hours, the United Nations General Assembly convenes here in New York. President Obama will attend the meeting as well as the new president of Iran who has raised eyebrows all around the world with conciliatory tweets and signals that his country is ready to negotiate over its nuclear program.

Now the very real question is, will the two leaders meet face-to-face?

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has that story.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Perhaps the biggest question ahead of the United Nations General Assembly is, will Barack Obama meet with new calmer Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani?

Now the White House is clear no meeting has been scheduled but Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said clearly the two men have been exchanging letters. And since he was elected, Barack Obama has held out the possibility of diplomacy being his preferred route with Iran.

This is all about trying to stop Iran's nuclear program critics saying they in fact want to build a nuclear bomb.

Hassan Rouhani himself has sent lots of friendly messages by Twitter which suggest the softening in Tehran's very hard lined tone in the past few years saying that Israel must be eliminated in regular railing against the United States. The most recently message -- on Sunday he said quit simply the dialogue was possible with the West so almost the ones preconditioned.

So the stage is potentially set but it's a high stakes gamble for Barack Obama, just a year ago Rouhani's predecessor Ahmadinejad used the U.N. General Assembly to rail against Israel and many will being if Barack Obama gets something concrete out of this, and his critics will simply say that Iran's friendlier tone is all about gaining time and that time is what they need if they continue on that path towards building a nuclear weapon.


SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Nick there.

In the meantime, Russia's foreign minister accusing the U.S. of trying to blackmail his country into supporting the threat of military force against Syria. In a Russian TV interview Sergei Lavrov says the Americans are, quote, "interested in proving their superiority."

A senior State Department official says the U.S. wants the strongest possible enforcement mechanism to ensure Syria keeps to the agreement to give up its chemical weapons arsenal. The Assad regime took the first step over the weekend delivering an inventory of its poison gas stock pile. BERMAN: We are just seven days now from a possible government shutdown. Actually not to be too pessimistic but it really seems an almost inevitable government shutdown. For now the issue is with the Senate after House Republicans passed a bill to fund the government, but eliminate funding for the health care reform law known by everyone now as Obamacare.

The measure, as it stands, really has no chance of passing in the Senate. Congress must reach a budget deal before October 1st to avoid a shutdown.

SAMBOLIN: And new questions being raised about the independent panel chosen by President Obama to investigate NSA surveillance program. The "Washington Post" reports the review panel has effectively been operating as an arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence which oversees the NSA. The group is scheduled to issue its report to the White House in just a few weeks from now.

BERMAN: President Obama honoring the 12 victims of last week's massacre at the Washington Navy Yard. The president spoke at a memorial service on Sunday. He noted this was the fifth mass shooting since he's been president and he expressed concern about the gun violence being seen as some kind of a new normal.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't accept this. As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work.


BERMAN: The president called for tougher gun laws saying that change the country needs will not come from Washington. He says it will come from the American people.

So the weekend didn't turn out to be that bad weather-wise, right? It rained but it rained overnight on Saturday.

SAMBOLIN: I didn't think it was bad at all.

BERMAN: No, so --

SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: So many thanks to Indra Petersons. Bring us more good stuff here.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're going to have rain taken in the overnight while you're sleeping.

BERMAN: Absolutely.

PETERSONS: Right? You wake up, though, what a big difference yesterday but we thought Saturday. And there is today, our first full day of fall and yes, we're of course seeing that huge change. We're talking about frost and freeze warnings, especially in the northeast as we're waking up this morning. Why? Because it's chilly out there.

We were talking about temperatures in the 40s in many places, Scranton 49, Albany 45, Atlantic City, 43 degrees, so yes, we know we're going to be cool as we go throughout the afternoon. Dome of high pressure bringing in that cold Arctic air from Canada. Look at these temperatures. New York going from 69 to 68. Boston, the higher up you are, you're talking about these very cool temperatures. Down to 64 today, even though you thought it was so nice yesterday at 73.

Now don't worry, it feels cool, it's not going to stay that way. Want to let you know quickly that we are going to be rebounding. We're going to see those the temperatures go up to 70s and even a few 80s out there just a couple of days. So hang on tight.

BERMAN: We're hanging on.


SAMBOLIN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks, Indra.

SAMBOLIN: So it is 11 minutes past the hour. On Emmy night, "Breaking Bad." Guess what? It's finally broke through. The acclaimed TV series winning the award for Outstanding Drama Series after being nominated three previous times.

"Breaking Bad" has its series finale next week. And the show took home another top award with Anna Gunn winning her first Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Skyler White.

The other major award went to Claire Danes for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for "Homeland." Jeff Daniels won for Lead Actor in a Drama Series for "Newsroom."

BERMAN: That's fiction, by the way.

SAMBOLIN: And on the comedy side, well, "Modern Family" named best series for the fourth straight year. Jim Parsons from the "Big Bang Theory" won for Outstanding Actor and Julia Louis Dreyfus won Outstanding Actress for "Veep."

BERMAN: She's freaking hilarious.


And -- freaking hilarious. And first -- the first ever Emmy for the Netflix series "House of Cards". It won for Best Directing Award for a Drama Series in an episode directed by David Fincher.

One other notable win, "The Colbert Report" breaking the longest winning streak in Emmy history, beating "The Daily Show" which dominated the Best Variety Series competition for the past decade. BERMAN: Making note of all of these shows they're talking about and I will watch many of them once my kids grow up.



BERMAN: Once I can watch TV again, I fully intend to watch some of these shows.

SAMBOLIN: Have you ever watched "Modern Family"? I really -- I want to see --

BERMAN: I live modern family.


BERMAN: I don't need to watch it.

All right.


SAMBOLIN: I ought to come to your house.


BERMAN: Coming up, new signs emerging that Hillary Clinton is, in fact, eyeing a run for the White House. What did she say? We'll let you know.

SAMBOLIN: And you could soon be allowed to use some, just some of your electronic devices on planes. Which ones are expected to make the big safety cut? Find out coming up next.

BERMAN: My Atari?



What is wrong with you?


BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, folks.

Here it is. Big news on the Hillary Clinton watch. In a constant question of, will she or won't she run for president? Now, for the very first time, former secretary of state says she is absolutely, positively, unequivocally thinking about it.

SAMBOLIN: That's not fair.


BERMAN: It's true, though. And no joke. This is a serious shift.

SAMBOLIN: You set -- I never should set this up like --


BERMAN: This is a serious shift. This is a big deal. And I'm telling you. Tongues everywhere are wagging over what she said.

Let's get more now from CNN's Erin McPike.


ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Denials no more. Hillary Clinton admits it, she's thinking about running for president in 2016.

JOE HAGAN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: She's come out for the first time here and said, you know, I'm thinking about it. So she's weighing it.

MCPIKE: She said as much to Joe Hagan in a wide ranging interview featured in next week's "New York" magazine. Here she is in her own words about whether she wrestles with the idea of jumping into the ring again.

"I do, but I'm both pragmatic and realistic. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or another."

It's a far cry from what she said every time she's been asked the last three years. Including in January by CNN.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I have absolutely no plans to run.

MCPIKE: Her inner circle is making different plans.

HAGAN: The most fascinating part of the experience for me was talking to many of her former staffers from the State Department and some of her closer friends, and they are much more open about here's why she's qualified, here's what happened at the State Department that gives her the experience, here's how she learned from the mistakes of 2008.

MCPIKE: Because of that role, she is more popular than ever.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: It was the first time the country had ever gotten to see her as somebody who just what you see is what you get, she shows up for work every day and gets stuff done. And is very strong about it.

MCPIKE: And she is getting some encouragement to run from another glass ceiling cracker, the first female speaker of the House.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: I know that if she does, she will win.

MCPIKE: But if you're champing at the bit for campaign season to begin, hold your horses. Her warning, "I'm not in any hurry. I think it's a serious decision, not to be made lightly but it's also not one that has to be made soon."

Eric McPike, CNN, Washington.


SAMBOLIN: So all this time, she has been?

BERMAN: You know, look, all along, I think everyone who's been watching has known she is thinking about it.


BERMAN: But she said, oh, no, I'm not running right now. It's not something that's on my mind right now.

SAMBOLIN: Well, because right now it wasn't an option.

BERMAN: Everything she's done since she left the State Department has allowed her at least to be in the running should she want to. This is very carefully orchestrated.

SAMBOLIN: The fact that she said maybe, right?

BERMAN: No. I think it's a giant deal. I think this is a giant deal now. This is basically an announcement that she's thinking about it, folks.


Stay tuned.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Nineteen minutes past the hour. An advisory panel is said to be close to finalizing recommendations to relax most of the FAA's restrictions on the use of all those electronic devices on the airplanes. According to the "New York Times," the new guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and you can also continue watching videos.

There is a ban on cell phones, you know, e-mails and text messages and using Wi-Fi. That's expected to remain in place.

I don't know. I think they're going to ease up those restrictions soon.


SAMBOLIN: Yes. All right, so coming up, is LinkedIn hacking your e- mail accounts and stalking your contacts?


SAMBOLIN: Yes. The new lawsuit in "Money Time." We're going to tell you all about it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It's "Money Time." Zoraida is not dancing this morning but by later in the week she will be. Nevertheless, Alison Kosik is here with the news.

Good morning, Alison.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Not dancing but giving you the news.

Futures are higher this morning after a big sell-off on Wall Street Friday on jitters about a fiscal crisis in Washington. But despite that more than 1 percent sell-off. The Dow Industrials actually finished higher with a win. The Dow was up 75 points and choked up a third straight week of gains. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 also finished last week in the win column.

And beginning this morning for the first time in two years investors will have a new lineup of Dow stocks to handicap. Today Goldman Sachs, Nike and Visa, they begin trading in the Dow Industrials and they replace Alcoa, Hewlett-Packard and Bank of America.

OK, this is nuts. LinkedIn denied over the weekend charges that the company breaks into e-mail accounts to harvest the addresses of its members' contacts without their permission. Four users have filed a class action suit saying that LinkedIn then spammed the contacts with invitations to join the service.

Now LinkedIn says on its blog, "We do not access your e-mail accounts without your permission. Claims that we hack or break into members' account are false. We never deceive you by pretending to be you in order to access your e-mail account."

Now the lawsuit is seeking damages on behalf of all LinkedIn users.

And maybe the third time really is a charm for billionaire investor George Soros. Over the weekend the 83-year-old financier married 42- year-old health care consultant Tamika Fulton.

BERMAN: Is that them dancing? They look very adorable.

KOSIK: That's it.

BERMAN: Somewhere in there is the adorable couple.

KOSIK: Do you think it would look better, though, he's a billionaire, that the video would be better --

BERMAN: He's going to -- yes, you know, for the videographer.

KOSIK: So, yes, looks like this was the reception. Five hundred people attended this reception including House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan attended that reception. Soros, as you know, is considered one of the richest men in the world. He's best known for his big bet against the British pound in 1992. That one trade netted him $1 billion. So yes, Soros has been divorced twice. Maybe he's in love?

BERMAN: Our best luck to that couple.

SAMBOLIN: You know I --

BERMAN: I think they're going to make it.

BERMAN: I wanted to see more video.

KOSIK: I want to look at the prenup.

SAMBOLIN: We keep seeing the same video over and over and over again. I wanted to see more of the lovely couple.

KOSIK: Want to know about the prenup.

BERMAN: Yes. Exactly. Always interesting with a billionaire.


SAMBOLIN: This is third marriage, right?

KOSIK: Soros, yes.

BERMAN: Good luck. Good luck, guys.


Marriage is a wonderful thing.

SAMBOLIN: Third time is a charm.

Coming up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next thing we know, we heard some shots and people rushing. They sounded like AK-47.


SAMBOLIN: Terrorists storm a Kenyan mall. Dozens murdered, nearly 200 injured. The standoff with terrorists continuing this morning with hostages still being held inside. Arwa Damon is live with very latest for us right after the break.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm OK. I'm very grateful.


BERMAN: A shopping mall under siege. Dozens killed. Nearly 200 injured. The latest from the scene this morning at this ongoing standoff.