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Government Shutdown Continues; U.S. Operatives Captures Wanted Terrorist; U.S. Secret Mission in Somalia Unsuccessful; Indy Car Crash Injures 13, Driver Expected to Recover

Aired October 7, 2013 - 07:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But both sides are digging in. Got a new word for them -- compromise.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: They don't know that word, that's for sure.

Plus, no parents, no ticket, no problem apparently. How did a nine- year-old manage to get through airport security and on to a plane all by himself. Is there a hold in airport security we need to know about? What can they learn from this? We'll have the latest.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, an ESPN analyst getting flagged for sexism. Apparently, he thinks a woman shouldn't help decide which college football teams make the playoffs. Did we misread the calendar? Is it 1950 in here?

CUOMO: But first, two big raids, two big targets, and at least one successful result. U.S. forces have captured one of the men they say help plan the 1998 attacks on the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The second raid took aim at a commander from a separate cell in Somalia. It is still unclear if he was taken down. We have team coverage on this this morning, starting with Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. The terror target in Somalia had ties to attacks that have killed Americans, and that is why Seal Team 6 was called back into action.


STARR: An extraordinary show of force by U.S. commandos in highly risky secret operations in Somalia and Libya. Friday, October 4th, predawn, on Somalia's southern coast, U.S. Navy seals slip off a commercial ship and raid a terrorist stronghold. But within moments, they are forced to abort under heavy gunfire from militants.

Just a day later 6:30 a.m. 3,000 miles away on the streets of Tripoli, Libya, Abu al Libi, a senior Al Qaeda operative, is returning home from morning prayers. He will be grabbed by U.S. army Delta Force commandos. On the streets of Italy, al Libi is confronted with cars by 10 masked men. The U.S. team grabs him before he can reach his gun. They are gone in seconds, not a shot fired.

His wife tells CNN the men she saw were Libyans. Al Libi is taken to a U.S. Navy warship. He is wanted by the U.S. for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president clearly had to approve both of these operations. This is to send U.S. military personnel into foreign countries, and that's a presidential decision.

STARR: In Somalia, it's Seal Team 6 that is sent, the same unit that killed Usama bin Laden. In an eerie coincidence, it's 20 years to the day of the Blackhawk down disaster in Somalia that killed 18 U.S. troops. This time the Seals are hunting an al Shabaab leader. Al Shabaab is the Al Qaeda-linked terror group that claimed responsibility for the shopping mall attack in Kenya two weeks ago. Local Somalis say the seniors in the house come under fire the Seals retreat, not sure if their target is dead. But the al Libi mission was a clear success.


STARR: A success and looking for more down the road. U.S. officials will tell you that this really is the way they will be going after terrorist targets now, small, lethal, lightning raids by U.S. special operations commandos. Kate?

BOLDUAN: A key point. Barbara, thank you so much.

Now that Al Qaeda operative is in custody, so what happens next to him? Joe Johns is following the legal angle from Washington. What do you know, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, Abu al Libi is being held on board a U.S. vessel. He is expected to be interrogated for several weeks from the high value detainee interrogation group. This is made up of FBI acts, intelligence community officials, led by the National Security Council. It's a situation where the target being integrated isn't protected doesn't get read his rights, isn't protected with the civilian protection that you'd see in a civilian court. He's basically pressed for information about any plans for future attacks and names and whereabouts of known associates, details on any past plots or attacks, basically, anything he know, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Joe, there are some big legal questions here going forward. How do they plan on getting information from al Libi?

JOHNS: It's tricky. They're not supposed to use physical force, Kate. They're supposed to use established guidelines of interrogation. And you are right this case will inevitably bring up that controversial issue of, number one, whether they should try them at Gitmo as opposed to a federal court in New York. The U.S. government, both the attorney general and president says their preference is when possible to try these individuals in federal courts using the federal rules of criminal procedure, judges, juries, all the protections that civilian defendants get in order to demonstrate fairness and assist them.

And the question also is how long this person is going to be interrogated before he is turned over to the courts, Kate. BOLDUAN: So they're calling it potentially an intelligence gold mine. We will see what they can get out of that and what we can learn from it. Joe, thank you so much.

CUOMO: So we know that one of the most wanted was taken down. We know Seal Team 6 is back in the place where Blackhawk down happened on the 20th anniversary and once again there was trouble there. Let's break down the significance of these raids from what know with Fran Townsend, CNN's national security analyst and a member of the DHS and CIA external advisory boards. You got some title.


CUOMO: Thank you for joining us as us as. We got targets, timing and tactics all at play here, right? So first with a man captured, why does he matter so much?

FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he was a key player in the African embassy bombings back in 1998. And 15 years later, the U.S. government hadn't forgotten his role in that attack. He was also indicated in the Mombasa attack two years later. So this is a significant player who has continued his role as an operational loader.

CUOMO: If you were going to assess how much valuable he was, what time goes into this, where does he rank? I know it was on the list, but for them.

TOWNSEND: He was an indicted individual here in the southern district of New York in federal court. The people tried in that documents were all convicted. And the U.S. never forgets. And so it's a real message not only to this individual because of his operational importance but to those who would do Americans harm, we don't ever forget. We don't ever stop tracking you, chasing you, and looking for the opportunity.

CUOMO: Realistic that he knows things that the U.S. does not, that he may really be helpful moving forward?

TOWNSEND: Oh, absolutely, Chris. Let's be clear, not just about historically about what happened in 1998 in these fire attacks, the current instruction how they're communicating. Remember, there was information that operational leaders throughout the world and Al Qaeda had communicated secretly. He should know about that, who is in charge and what the plans are.

CUOMO: Quickly there is intrigue, we had the wife saying there were Libyans, does it really matter? Usama bin Laden went into Pakistan the U.S. went in. They didn't want to be compromised. Is that so surprising maybe they knew, maybe they didn't?

TOWNSEND: Yes. And by the way, Chris, even when a government does know in advance, often for domestic political reasons they claim they didn't know. So for U.S. purposes it doesn't really matter.

CUOMO: So it's intrigue, but usually things are done for ways we don't understand here in the civilian world. So now we go to the other attack. There is a lot of emotion around this, North Africa, Somalia, Mogadishu, 20 years ago Blackhawk down. Now we hear the U.S. heroes and special ops are in Seal Team 6. They had to retreat. What do we understand?

TOWNSEND: I tell you, Chris, regardless of what the outcome was, whether they were able to kill or capture this individual they were after, it's a huge success both for the United States and U.S. intelligence. Look, it's taken 10 years and a lot of under surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence collection in order to get the tactical intelligence required to know where he was, when he was there and to be able to support such a raid. So the fact that we 20 years later actually had that sort of tactical intelligence in such a chaotic difficult environment says a lot about the capability of the United States.

CUOMO: Now, is it a coincidence this is going on in North Africa now? We had the Nairobi attack there, but is North Africa the new frontier for the war on terror?

TOWNSEND: Absolutely. And we have seen the intelligence community has been seen, connections between north Africa Al Qaeda affiliates and Al Qaeda and the Arabian peninsula. That's the Yemen group that has gone actually ahead and launched attack against the U.S. In fact, they were looking for connections 2009 Al Qaeda and the Arabian peninsula and the north African groups in the Benghazi attack. So we know these connections, this operational element is of growing concern.

CUOMO: Fran Townsend, thank you very much, as always.


CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. The partial government shutdown now about to enter its second week, and no sign of a budget deal to fund the government. Also, no progress on dealing with an even more critical issue, the nation's debt ceiling, paying the nation's bills. That deadline is now just 10 days away. Brianna Keilar following it all to the bitter end it appears, Brianna, live at the White House this morning. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Kate. And when will that come is really the question. No progress. There aren't even any discussions going on, now the effects of that government, that partial government shutdown currently going on are paling in comparison to the possible defects of a default.


KEILAR: Ten days away from a possible economic disaster, the White House and house Republicans are as far apart as they had been.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We are not going to pass a keep debt limit increase. KEILAR: House Republicans continue to demand concessions as President Obama still refuses to negotiate on the nation's borrowing limit. The United States is set to default on October 17th if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you, on the 17th, we run out of our ability to borrow, and Congress is playing with fire.

KEILAR: In a rare Sunday show interview, House Speaker John Bohner shifted, backing away from defunding Obamacare as an add on to increasing the debt ceiling or fund telling government. Instead, he wants entitlement reform.

BOEHNER: My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things driving the deficit and driving the debt up.

KEILAR: As the government remains partially shut down for a seventh day, the White House wants to fund the government for the strings attached, again rebuffed by the Republicans.

BOEHNER: There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.

KEILAR: But President Obama, bolstered by many objective observers, questioned that assertion in an interview with the Associated Press, saying, quote, "We know that there are enough members in the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans, who are prepared to vote to reopen the government today. The only thing that is keeping that from happening is Speaker Boehner has made a decision that he is going to hold out to see if he can get additional concessions from us."

The stalemate in Washington being good fodder for late night. Saturday night leave featured Miley Cyrus as Michele Bachmann, celebrating the shutdown with Speaker Boehner in this risque parody.


KEILAR: Now, White House officials have started to worry that this we are not negotiating tact that the president has taken is starting to make him look a little intransigent, which, of course, he accuses Republicans often of being. But the thought here, Chris and Kate, from the White House, if they do run out the clock, ultimately because of the divisions in the Republican conference in the House, that really gives them the advantage, certainly not giving on Obamacare, which they didn't want to do, but also being able to get tear way on the debt ceiling as well as the shutdown.

BOLDUAN: Brianna, thank you so much, live from the White House this morning.

CUOMO: All right, a lot of news this morning. Let's go right to Michaela.

PEREIRA: Here we go. Here are your headlines. A dismantling of Syrian weapons is under way. A Syrian team under international supervision is using blow torches and saws to destroy mixing equipment and other materials. This is just the first phase. The whole process is expected to take several months.

Egypt erupts, state run media reporting 51 people have been killed and more than 260 injured in renewed violence between government security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, these clashes breaking out as Muslim Brotherhood protestors marched in Cairo neighborhoods and across the nation Sunday.

A new school will be built on the site of last year's Connecticut school shooting massacre. Residents in Newtown voted overwhelmingly to accept $50 million in state money for the project. The town plans to demolish the current Sandy Hook Elementary School and start from crash. You will recall 20 children and six adults were killed last December.

Six days in and the federal government is now admitting for the first time the need to fix design and software problems that have crippled the website. Initially the Obama administration blamed the glitches on a surge of high traffic which they said indicated high demand by people seeking coverage.

And one giant leap for "Gravity." Did you see it? The Sandra Bullock, George Clooney space thriller scored the biggest weekend opening ever for a film in October. It made $65.6 million, and 20 percent of the box office came from iMax screenings. "Gravity" is already getting rave reviews for its special effects, and rumor has it, it's an early Oscar contender. I didn't get to see a movie this weekend. Did you?

BOLDUAN: I was watching football.

PEREIRA: That will be on top of your list?

CUOMO: I wasn't going to see it. I was seeing space --

PEREIRA: You are over now, you want over?

CUOMO: Now everybody says it's great. So now it's on the list, back on date night list, just like that.


BOLDUAN: Just like. All it took was a big opening weekend.

CUOMO: Let's get right over to Karen Maginnis in for Indra Petersons with today's forecast. Hey, Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hey, Chris and Kate, we are looking at two new elements associated with the frontal system that sweeping across the eastern seaboard and affecting that I-95 corridor. Now it looks like interior sections of the northeast will see a wind advisory this afternoon, where the wind could gust as high as 50 miles-an-hour.

Also, southern Connecticut, southeastern New York, there is going to be minor coastal flooding because we could see one or two inches of rainfall. But that, along with what could be a high astronomical tide later on this afternoon, could cause those coastal areas to see about a one foot rise. So watch out for that. There could be some minor beach erosion.

Here comes the front, especially right around noon until around 3:00 this afternoon, those will be the critical times, we'll expect the thunderstorms to kind of kick up. You could see some high winds, some damaging winds and the possibility of an isolated tornado. It looks like for the most part, this is going to be a wind and rain event with some lightning, but we can't rule out the other possibility.

Temperatures taking a dramatic turn downward with readings that have been well into the upper 70s and '80s. Now we're looking at places like New York City 66. Kate, Chris. It looks like a taste of fall coming up mid-week.

BOLDUAN: It had to happen sometime. Coming up next on NEW DAY, the last lap of the Grand Prix of Houston's Indy race ending in a terrifying crash. The driver miraculously surviving, though, injured with treatable injuries. This is as good as you will get, when you see this video. We will talk with one of the spectators injured in this. Caught up in the middle of this horrifying ordeal as he caught it all on camera.

CUOMO: And an Oklahoma zoo worker loses her arm when a tiger attacks her, but that's only the beginning of the story. That zookeeper's actions as are examined, so is the safety record of the zoo. We have the zoo's owner joining us live.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. What a crash in an Indy race this weekend. Check this out. A dozen spectators were injured when the wreckage of an Indy car rained debris on them. Look at that. Champion race drive Dario Franchitti was also hospitalized, but he's expected to be okay, which is amazing when you see what happened.

In a moment, we will talk with a fan that caught all this on tape. First, here's the story from CNN's Mark McKay.


MARK MCKAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last lap horror in Houston. Three-time Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti attempting to make a high speed pass instead goes airborne, cartwheeling and destroying the catch fence, as his car virtually disintegrates around him.

Franchitti's car hits the back of Takuma Sato's, forcing his car to slam into the trackside fencing too. Debris rained into the spectator stands, injuring at least 13.

Carl Daniel shot this unbelievable video of the crash from the stands.

Franchitti is hospitalized with injuries ranging from a concussion, a broken right ankle, and a spinal fracture that doctors say won't require surgery. The 40-year-old was married to actress Ashley Judd, but the couple announced they were separating earlier this year.

Judd tweeted her thanks for the prayers and said she and her dogs were on the way to Houston.

The Franchitti crash came just 10 days shy of two-year anniversary of a spectacular Indy car crash in Las Vegas that took the life of driver Dan Weldon. In the wake of that tragedy came calls for changes to protective fencing at oval tracks.

Sunday's race was held on a street circuit, in the shadow of the Houston Astrodome. It serves as another example of the dangers associated with a sport that thrives on speed.

Mark McKay, CNN, Atlanta.


BOLDUAN: All right. Mark, thanks so much. That amazing video that you're seeing there was captured by spectator Carl Daniel. He was on the sidelines of that crash, injured by some of the debris, and he's joining us now from Houston.

Carl it's great to see you, and it's really hard to believe in the video that you filmed that you were injured, what kind of injuries were you dealing with or are you dealing with this morning?

CARL DANIEL, WITNESSED INDY CAR CRASH: Primarily, it was being struck by fragments from the vehicle when it disintegrated striking the fence, primarily superficial injuries, nothing that I won't recover from. Mostly it was a lot of what I would call shock and awe.

BOLDUAN: And that is understandable. How close were you to when this crash took place?

DANIEL: Suffice it to say, I don't believe there was anyone closer. There is the initial retaining barrier and then there is a crowd control fence. I would estimate I was less than 10 feet from the actual impact. The fact I'm still here light now is still amazing to me.

BOLDUAN: No kidding. So tell me, we see the video that you - obviously allowed us to show our viewers. Tell me what you saw from your perspective, and when did you know this crash, crashes are not unusual in Indy car racing, but when did you know something was unusually wrong here?

DANIEL: Well, they were working on the last lap. I knew to start filming then, because I thought this would be the most intently fought lap of the race. So, when they were coming out of the corner of the last turn, I noticed that one of the drivers was attempting to pass the other driver and his right front tire actually drove up onto the left rear tire of the driver he was attempting to pass. The car went into the air and it started coming towards the fence.

This all happened in less than a second. There was no time to move. There was no time to run away. The thought in my mind was that these were going to be the last moments that we're going to be experiencing on Earth. It was truly shocking.

The car struck the fence and literally people say they heard a bomb. It sounded like there was a bomb that went off and the car turned into debris. It was once an entire car, then nothing but particles rained upon us. The fence exploded in on us. It was truly shocking, but at the same to bring myself to move, stop filming, it didn't occur. I kept filming. I stayed there and I think it was because the last thing that was in my mind prior to the accident was I really want to catch this accident. I want to see what's going on in the last lap.

BOLDUAN: What did you see right after the accident? What did you see around you after this you know, after you kind of got your wits about you once again?

DANIEL: To say that it looked like there was nothing but chaos, it was for a moment. When he struck the fence, the fence in front of me, if you can tell in the video, literally imploded in front of me. It was only by luck that the cement barrier, which is below the fence and actually holds the fencing, acted like a ramp and through the fence up above my head and to my left and landed in the grandstands.

So the people that were actually a little bit further away from me were actually injured more because the fence went into the air. I noticed that the car, the Indy car, went further down the track and then finally came to a halt. My thought was that, truly, this driver did not survive this incident. I thought, there's no way he's going to come from it. I think it's just a testament to the design of the cars they have today.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that he's suffered injuries, fractures, a broken ankle, but Dario Franchitti is expected to recover. Amazing that we're even able to speak with you after looking at this, this truly heart stopping video that you captured. I am sure you will be approaching attendance of another Indy car race different next time. It is great to speak with you this morning. A scary Sunday for you and many others, Carl, thank you so much.

DANIEL: Yes, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

Let us know what you think of this amazing video and what you saw right there.. Tweet us with the hashtag #newday. Chris?

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a zoo under fire after a worker nearly loses an arm. We'll tell you how the tiger got at her, and we'll talk to the zoo's owner about the safety for workers and customers after the break.

Plus, hardball on The Hill. Republicans say they won't budge on that partial shutdown, or the debt ceiling until the White House makes some concessions. We will ask a former Republican Congressman about the strategy coming up.


ANNOUNCER: You are watching new day with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Queen is good, but tragically attached to what's going on down in Washington, D.C.

Sorry, fellas. Welcome back to NEW DAY, it's Monday, October 7th. Coming up in the show, week two of the partial government shutdown. It seems the situation may be getting worse. Why? The battle lines are the same, but the consequence for you may be severe as the politicians play with the deadline for the debt ceiling. We have key players coming up on the show to talk strategy for both sides.

BOLDUAN: Plus, comments on ESPN that many thinking are a little sexist.