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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

U.N. Climate Change Report; Countdown to Shutdown; U.N. Resolution on Syria; Interpol Alert for "White Widow"

Aired September 27, 2013 - 05:00   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: A major report released from the United Nations. Scientists find global warming has turned dangerous and it's being caused by us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the credit of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president says I'm not going to negotiate. Well, I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So will the government shut down and stop paying its bills? No discussions, no negotiations, no solutions as not one but two crucial deadlines approach.

SAMBOLIN: A lot of tough words there.

A high-speed chase ending with crash. This is really crazy and it was all caught on camera.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Friday, September 27th, 5:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: And we're going to begin with news that is hot off the presses -- the latest word on climate change.

The United Nations report just released in the past hour says it is extremely likely that humans are mostly to blame for temperatures that have been climbing now for decades. How sure are these scientists? They say about 95 percent certain and science 95 percent is pretty darn certain.

Our Indra Petersons is here to break this all down for us.

Indra, it's a big deal. INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, this is a huge deal. I mean, that is the big takeaway what you just said. Now, keep in mind, this panel, it's the intergovernmental panel on climate change is now saying they are 95 percent certain that humans have caused most of the warming since 1950.

Let's put this in perspective. Where was the stance previous? Now, there have been previous reports here. In 2007, it was 90 percent so we definitely made headway here, but look at that jump when you talk about from just 2001 where they were only 66 percent sure.

Now, we always know, most people have that basic understanding. There's a lot of carbon being released in the environment and with that, temperatures are on the rise. What is so key in this particular report? We're going to hear a lot of talk about something called the pause. Let's explain what the pause is and what's this controversy is.

Notice, since 1950, we warned about 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. Notice the steady climb up. But since 1998, we have seen a slower rate in that growth, only 0.09 Fahrenheit per decade.

So, if we are the huge cause, people are saying why are we slowing that rate down? They are saying you need to look at this big picture here. Previous times within this general trend we have seen a slow down and each a decrease, but meanwhile, you've got to pay attention to the big picture. That's what the IPCC wants to say to you. Regardless, that trend is still up that we are continuing to warm.

Now, a lot of people are saying what is this going? What is going on? One of the biggest controversies is if you are taking this model and you're going for it and you're saying what is going to happen in the future? You should be able to take that same weather model and go backwards 15 years and say the result is what we have today.

Well, this is the conflict. We can't do that for the last 15 years. We are not getting that result currently.

So, that is a big controversy. The skeptics on the other side of that are saying, well, you know what, it was an El Nino year. The ocean temperatures were warmer back in the day.

So, with that the atmosphere wasn't able to hold the warmth. It was really warm in 1998. Since 1998, it's an El Nino years, La Nina years, it is cooler so the ocean can absorb the heat and why we are slowing down.

It doesn't have to do with carbon emissions but we are absorbing some of that in the ocean, minor oscillation.

BERMAN: Still, a long-term trend there pointing to one that is potentially dangerous and they're saying that humans are largely to blame for it. So, in theory, human action could slow it down.

PETERSONS: Higher temperatures and higher temperatures during the day and overnight and also things like Sandy occurring more often. That's the big picture they want you to see. SAMBOLIN: I thought it was interesting that it was a group of 800 scientists are that are holed up, trying to figure out the right wording on this before they actually relieved that.

PETERSONS: And how do you agree with --

BECKEL: They are going to get slammed. It is very, very political, no matter what.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Indra.

And now, the showdown -- shutdown showdown in Congress, which is three days from a government shutdown. And today, the Senate will vote to end debate on a bill funding the government temporarily. It will then go back to the House with the clock continuing to tick.

And as CNN's Jim Acosta tells us, it's not the only looming deadline that threatens the nation's fragile economy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days and counting and there was no compromise in sight that could avert a shutdown.

And right behind that September 30th shutdown deadline, the nation could go into default roughly two weeks later, unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

Despite warnings from economists of a disaster, Republicans say they will approve an increase in the debt limit only if the president agrees to their demands, like delaying Obamacare by a year, and more budget cuts.

But President Obama says he won't negotiate over the debt ceiling.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To suggest America not pay its bills, just to try to blackmail a president into giving them some concessions on issues that have nothing to do with the budget. I mean, this is the United States of America. We are not a deadbeat nation.

ACOSTA: The White House is ratcheting up the rhetoric and accusing some Republicans of acting like terrorists.

DAN PFEIFFER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are for cutting spending. We are for reforming out tax code. We are reforming our entitlements. What we are not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest.

VOICE: American people -- this is the GOP. We have your economy!

ACOSTA: The Democratic Party is echoing that message, releasing this fake debt ceiling ransom call from the GOP.

VOICE: Clock is ticking. We hope you don't make us do this! ACOSTA: Republicans say that kind of talk is an outrage.

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R). WASHINGTON: It's completely unrealistic for the president to say that we're not going to negotiate over the debt ceiling, that he thinks somehow that we should just be giving him another blank check to continue these record deficits?

ACOSTA: GOP leaders point to new polls showing Americans want the president to negotiate, trading budget cuts for an increase to the debt ceiling.

BOEHNER: The president says, "I'm not going to negotiate." Well, I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We call on the president now to sit down with us, Harry Reid, to sit down with us, and let's solve the problem!

ACOSTA: Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: So, the government is announcing new delays in the rollout of the new healthcare law. Officials say small business and Spanish language insurance enrollment services will not begin as planned on October 1st. These folks will not be able to enroll online until November. Instead they have to use old-fashioned faxes or paper forms in the mail. This, of course, is designed to get as many on the health rolls as possible but the delay really only adds the perception of a clunky fallout.

SAMBOLIN: Meantime at the United Nations, there's agreement among the major players on a Security Council resolution on Syria. It would impose legally finding obligations on the Syrian government to eliminate chemical weapons. The council could vote later today to improve that draft to a resolution.

A State Department official called it breakthrough resulting from hard-fought diplomacy. The official also says the Syria resolution makes it clear there will be consequences if the Assad regime fails to comply.

BERMAN: Secretary of State John Kerry expressing cautious optimism after meeting with Iran's foreign minister to discuss Iran's nuclear program. Mohammad Zarif sat down with representatives of the world's major powers including Secretary Kerry at the U.N.

The secretary of state called the first productive, but said there is a lot of work to be done. He praised Iran's new tone in discussing its nuclear program.

Senior negotiators will meet again next month.

SAMBOLIN: Newly declassified documents reveal some surprising targets of a secret NSA surveillance program. It's dating back to the Vietnam War. The document shows the government had some 1,600 war critics on a watch list, as they called it, including Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali. The spy program called Minaret was created in 1967 at the request of then-President Lyndon Johnson. It was shut down in 1973.

BERMAN: Meantime, the current head of the NSA is defending the agency at a Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing. This is the first public forum since Edward Snowden's revelations began. NSA Director Keith Alexander said sensational headlines have fooled the public into believing the agency invades Americans' privacy. And he suggested the Snowden leaks have led the NSA to change the way it operates.

SAMBOLIN: Eight minutes passed the hour.

Some stunning police dash cam video to show you. This is out of Florida. A crash during a really high-speed chase.

Police were pursuing a fleeing DUI suspect who was going over a hundred miles an hour when he crashed another into the car and then he went careening across the road right toward an oncoming police cruiser.

The car caught fire with the passenger trapped inside. Police sprung into action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over here!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's inside?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Try to get him out. Get the fire extinguisher.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: A lot of stress there. They managed to rescue the 18-year- old passenger from the fiery wreck. In all, four people were injured in that crash. The driver, James Maddox, is now facing a slew of felony charges as you might expect. Police also say he's also been involved in other similar crashes.

BERMAN: It's crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it is.

And we have a little programming note for you.

BERMAN: We sure do.

SAMBOLIN: Do you like us? Do you enjoy us in the morning? Beginning Monday, we will be working an extra hour! Just for you right here on EARLY START, so you can join us from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.

BERMAN: So, change your plans! Set the alarm earlier! Hopefully, we will remember to do the same. That's a big issue right there. SAMBOLIN: I have a really obnoxious annoying alarm that is going off on Monday.

BERMAN: No, but it's going to be great. Tweet us and tell us what you want to do. We have this whole extra hour. Right now, we're just going to improv the whole thing. But tell us what you want to see and we will deliver. Promise.

All right. Ten minutes after the hour right now.

SAMBOLIN: Uh-oh.

BERMAN: Coming up, searching for the terrorists who massacred the mall in Kenya. Why one woman, a British woman has become the center of this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to let my son die in vain. I'm going to make sure that parents know and the kids know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Oh, boy. A teenage boy dies playing a dangerous high- thrilled game. The warning that his parents want you to hear, that is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START.

Authorities in Kenya have a man suspected of taking part in the mall massacre in custody. They say he tried to pass himself off as one of the shoppers that was evacuating that mall but was found out when machine gun ammunition fell out of his pockets.

Meantime, the FBI is in Nairobi, assisting with this ongoing investigation. There is growing concern that some of the perpetrators were able to escape alongside all of the fleeing victims.

At least 67 people died in the attack by al-Shabaab terrorists and dozens more still unaccounted for at this hour. And there has been speculation that one of the mall attackers was a woman, possibly a British national dubbed the "White Widow".

And as CNN's Brian Todd tells us, she is now a target of a global police search.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's been photographed as a British school girl with a soft-faced innocent smile. She is now called the "White Widow", is believed to be a committed jihadist.

And Interpol has just issued a worldwide red notice trying to track down Samantha Lewthwaite. That's at the request of Kenyan authorities who have implied but presented no evidence that she may have been involved in the Nairobi mall attack.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Al-Shabaab, the terrorist group, on a Twitter handle which appears to belong to them, have denied that any women were involved in this attack.

TODD: But a senior Kenyan official says a woman was there. And Kenyan leaders clearly believed Samantha Lewthwaite has had bad intentions.

Born in Buckinghamshire, England, she had by all accounts a normal, even innocent upbringing. As a teenager, she married Germaine Lindsay. She was pregnant when Lindsay blew himself up in the 2005 London bus and train attacks that killed more than 50 people.

It's not clear if that event radicalized her. She initially condemned those bombings.

CRUICKSHANK: But subsequently she is thought to have traveled to East Africa and connected with militants linked to the group al-Shabaab.

TODD: Authorities say Lewthwaite has raised money and run logistics for terrorist cells. She's also been elusive, known to travel on a fake South African passport under the name Natalie Webb. In 2011, Kenyan authorities raided three homes in Mombasa, including one allegedly used by Lewthwaite. There, they found similar bomb-making material to those used in the London bombings.

They arrested people for plotting to bomb tourist areas but they were too late to catch Samantha Lewthwaite.

Do those pieces add up to her potential involvement in the Westgate Mall attack with al-Shabaab?

CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen doesn't think so.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That doesn't fit with how these groups operate. They are real misogynists. They think women should be at home, you know, in a body veil.

TODD: But Samantha Lewthwaite wouldn't be the first Western woman to be involved in a well known terrorist plot.

(on camera): In November 2005, Muriel Degauque, a Belgian who joined al Qaeda, blew herself up and injured a U.S. soldier in a suicide bombing in Iraq. And in 2011, Colleen LaRose from Pennsylvania who had called herself "Jihad Pane" pleaded guilty to plotting the murder of a Swedish cartoonist who had drawn an insulting image of the Prophet Muhammad.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Our thanks to Brian for that report.

A massive counseling effort is underway for everyone who works at the Washington Navy Yard. It's been 11 days since the former reservist Aaron Alexis opened fire inside Building 197, killing 12 people. The Navy says counselors have already interacted with more than 6,000 workers at the site. A special trauma team from Virginia has been deployed to the facility with counselors roaming the hall ways, just in case anyone needs to talk.

SAMBOLIN: A not guilty plea from the owners of a Colorado cantaloupe farm that was linked to a Listeria outbreak that killed 33 people. Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen of the now bankrupt Jensen Farms were arrested yesterday. They're charged with six misdemeanor counts of introducing adulterated food into the interstate commerce. So, they face up to six years of prison and $1.5 million in fine. They're going to go on trial in December.

BERMAN: A Florida family dealing with unimaginable grief this morning -- this is just an awful story -- after the death of their son 13- year-old Eddie DeJesus. He was found hanging in his closet at home. His parents say he didn't commit suicide. He was playing a secret and dangerous game involving autoerotic asphyxiation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED DEJESUS, SR. EDDIES FATHER: There is this thing called a thrill hanging where, you know, kids get -- I guess a high off of not having enough oxygen. This is something that people don't want to talk about and when it happens to you, you know, you feel sad, you feel ashamed, you feel angry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And his father says he is angry that he didn't know about this and he couldn't warn his son about the deadly risks. Now, he, obviously, wants to get that message out.

SAMBOLIN: That is very brave of him to talk about that, right? Very brave.

BERMAN: Absolutely. Our heart goes out to that family.

Coming up, a government shutdown just days away. This will have a lot of effect on you and your wallet. Christine Romans will break down what it all means. "Money Time" is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Yes, dance "Money Time"!

SAMBOLIN: You know what? Why doesn't Christine dance?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Maybe tomorrow. Oh, tomorrow is Saturday!

BERMAN: Hey, welcome back to EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: Monday, I'm going to hold you to it. We have to talk money, money, money. ROMANS: I'm going to go a shutdown dance on Monday and debt ceiling dance and it's going to be ugly.

SAMBOLIN: Debt ceiling dancing.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Wow, slam dancing.

ROMANS: The preparations are under way. I mean, I hate to laugh about it because it is so serious, but listen, this affects everyone. Federal furlough notices going out the next 24 to 36 hours. If you're a federal employee, you could be getting a furlough notice. The government must, by law, starts to prepare for the shutdown next week.

Many, if not most federal offices and programs would be shut down if Congress doesn't get its act together. National parks and museums closed. Federal contractors who rely on government, department issued paperwork, thousands of them, tens of thousands of them, excuse me, could see their federal projects stalled.

Parts of the government that provide critical services, this would remain open. So, many of you are asking me this. Air traffic control stays open, border protection, and maintenance of the power grid, disaster assistance, anything essential to the banking system stays open.

The government would still issue bonds. Yes, you still need to pay your taxes so all of that still goes out and that is critical, essential kinds of economic functioning in a shutdown.

The postal service would deliver mail. The government would pay out benefits. It would pay out Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. Those benefits are considered mandatory in a shutdown. They are not affected.

Implementation of Obamacare is considered mandatory. If the government shuts down, Obamacare goes forward. Are you listening?

The president, his appointees, members of Congress, would get their paycheck but many staff members would not --

BERMAN: The people who do the work, no.

SAMBOLIN: Exactly.

ROMANS: And furloughed workers are paid after the government starts up again. It's a very good point. But in the meantime, you're not. It's not guaranteed.

SAMBOLIN: It's not something you budget for, either, right?

ROMANS: No, it's not guarantee.

BERMAN: That's the good news. What's the bad news? ROMANS: That's the shutdown. It runs up against something called the ex-state (ph). That is the Treasury, the bank accounts of Treasury run out of money. The ex-state (ph) is October 17th. Unless we borrow more money and only Congress can approve that, the U.S. will not have enough money to pay its bills.

BERMAN: This is coming. This is October 17. It's a date earlier than we thought.

ROMANS: Much earlier. On October 1st. Here are the bills in October 1st. We have to pay $42 billion to Medicare and military and civil service. That's October 1st.

Look at this calendar. October 3rd, $25 billion for Social Security. October 23rd, $12 billion for more Social Security. October 31st, $6 billion on treasury securities.

You have to pay your bankers. You have to pay your lenders. The U.S. must do that.

But if we run out of money on October 17th, the x-state, there's a risk we won't be able to do that. There will be no more money for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We won't have funds to pay interest on the loans for our lenders like China. That puts the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy, something that has never happened and could send interest rates sharply higher and stocks sharply lower. Super, super ugly.

Look, the Treasury Department does not want to be in that position. Some Republicans have said they are prioritize their bills and pay some and don't pay others. What are you going to do? You say we are going to pay China and not pay seniors? We're going to pay the military, we'll pay seniors, but we're not going to pay China.

Oh, wait, we're going to pay -- you can't do that. That is ridiculous. It just causes all kind of unrest. So the White House says it's not even entertaining this idea of prioritization. Some people in Congress say they can prioritize the bills. They say no.

BERMAN: And how much progress is being made to solve this problem?

ROMANS: You tell me.

BERMAN: Zero in about two weeks to go.

ROMANS: One last point, if there is a shutdown, you will get your Social Security check. Main Street might not feel something right away, federal workers would. If we go over the debt ceiling, if we don't raise the debt ceiling, you would not get a Social Security check and Main Street would feel it immediately but by then it's too late. By then you've defaulted on your obligations and sent a signal to the world that the U.S. is a big mess.

BERMAN: And it will have years of impact and lingering effect.

Christine Romans, thank you for that cheery news but important. Pay attention, guys, because it is coming.

SAMBOLIN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Breaking overnight. A new report revealing troubling new findings about global warming, why scientists say you should be concerned. Our Indra Petersons breaks it all down.

SAMBOLIN: And five months of emotional testimony comes to a close. The case now in the hands of the jury. The question -- who is responsible for Michael Jackson's death?