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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Government Shutdown Continues; U.S. Special Forces Daring Terror Raids; Unrest in Egypt; Inspectors Back on the Job

Aired October 8, 2013 - 04:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reason that Speaker Boehner hasn't called a vote on it is because he doesn't apparently want to see the government shutdown end at the moment.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president had us all down the White House last week, only to remind me that he was not going to negotiate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Groundhog Day? Perhaps Groundhog Day?

Gridlock in Washington. The government still partially shut down as the day when the U.S. won't be able to pay its bills quickly approaching now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New information this morning about a U.S. terror raid in Somalia. How children -- children may have stopped Navy SEALs from capturing a high-level terrorist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rain came extremely hard. Straight down when, wow, look at that. And next thing, almost immediately, everything was just blowing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Streets flooded -- excuse me, trees ripped from the ground. Extreme weather storming the East Coast. We're going to show you the hardest hit areas and what is still on the way. Lots of downed power line. Poor folks.

BERMAN: And you sound like Peter Brady this morning.

SAMBOLIN: I know.

(LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: My favorite (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: I don't know what's going on. You know, I have this little frog in my throat so help me out this morning, will you? BERMAN: All right. I'm here for you. I'm here for you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you. Ah, how sweet.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: We're here for you, too.

BERMAN: Along with Peter Brady. This is EARLY START.

SAMBOLIN: I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It's Tuesday, October 8th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. Let's get started.

BERMAN: So dawn, it will soon rise in Washington to a day of more politics and more ploys. We have new details about a new twist that could come this morning but, first, let's walk down an unhappy memory lane.

It was one week ago that this current mess began. Ah, the memories. The government shutting down, at least partially, because Republicans in the House wanted health care reform defunded or at least delayed. Democrats saying no and demanding a clean vote to keep the government running.

Well, here we are, eight days later.

SAMBOLIN: We have these two little clocks on the right-hand side now.

BERMAN: Fantastic clocks right there. We didn't tell you there would be math but there is. The one at the top is the amount of the time until the U.S. hits that debt ceiling. That's a real problem. The number below, day eight. That is how long we have been in a shutdown. As I said that top number until we default just a few days left to fix that issue before experts say we could see that default and slide towards economic catastrophe.

To stop all this the next gambit comes on the Senate floor in just a few hours.

Our senior White House correspondent Brianna Keilar has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ramping up the pressure on House Republicans, Senate Democrats will introduce a bill today that would increase the debt ceiling for more than a year. The goal, push this hot potato issue beyond the 2014 midterm elections. The bill has no strings attached. No agreement to change Obamacare. No budgetary bartering.

OBAMA: I cannot do that under the threat that if Republicans don't get 100 percent of their way, they're going to either shut down the government or they are going to default on America's debt.

KEILAR: The president still says he won't bargain with the country's ability to pay its bills. BOEHNER: The president's refusal to negotiate is hurting our economy and putting our country at risk.

KEILAR: House Speaker John Boehner insists a debt ceiling increase without some concessions from the White House will never get past his Republicans. He says the same about a government funding bill, though, Democrats question that.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: One surefire way to find out whether the bill would pass is have a vote on it.

KEILAR: Only one thing is for certain, Americans are not impressed, especially with Republicans. In a new CNN/ORC International Poll, 63 percent of those surveyed blame the GOP for the shutdown, 57 point the finger at Democrats, and 53 percent hold President Obama accountable.

Eight days into the partial government shutdown, nine days from breaching the debt ceiling, here are some ways this could all play out. Perhaps a long-term proposal like what the Senate is taking up. If that doesn't fly, there could be a short-term measure to buy time, or both sides could keep talking past each other until the U.S. defaults, and there is bipartisan agreement that would be an economic disaster.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: And a new warning this morning from the Social Security Administration. The agency says Social Security benefits could be at risk if the government fails to raise the debt ceiling by October 17th. But it gave no specifics about what could be cut and how soon it would need to stop paying. Those details apparently are still being worked out.

BERMAN: To other big news. We're finding out more this morning about the terror raids in Africa that netted a man authorities call an important al Qaeda operative, but as chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto reports, one of the raids does not seem to have gone as planned. It may have been thwarted by the presence of children.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya left dozens dead, a luxury mall destroyed, and a country terrorized.

It is attacks like this -- bold, sophisticated and beyond Somalia's borders -- that helped lead the U.S. to target al-Shabaab on its home territory.

It was a daring operation. Late Friday night, SEAL Team 6, the same team that killed Osama bin Laden, launched from a commercial ship, aiming to capture the al-Shabaab leader known as Ikrima. But as the assault team approached the shore side villa, they're met by a hail of gunfire, heavier resistance than they expected.

With the element of surprise lost and seeing children in the compound, the SEAL team withdrew without their man.

GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: There was a firefight. Absolutely. And they took every step to avoid civilian casualties in this case. And that's what our military personnel do.

SCIUTTO: Military sources say the SEALs were never pinned down and had rescue teams nearby by at all times.

Just hours later and 3,000 miles away, in Libya, another daring operation. This one in broad daylight in downtown Tripoli. The target? Abu Anas al-Libi picked up by members of the elite U.S. Army Delta Force. His family said he just returned from morning prayers when U.S. forces, many in masks, surrounded his car, smashed the driver's side window, and rushed al-Libi away, as his wife watched in terror from their home.

She spoke exclusively with CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.

UMM ABDUL RAHMAN, WIFE OF ABU ANAS AL-LIBI (Through Translator): Everything happened rapidly. They grabbed him and shoved him in the car. I saw them doing this and saying get in, but wasn't sure that was my husband. The car sped off like a rocket.

SCIUTTO: Al-Libi, a senior al Qaeda operative wanted for the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa, is now on a U.S. Navy ship in the Mediterranean. Ikrima, the target of the Somalia raid, remains at large.

(On camera): These two raids show that even surgical strikes can be risky and difficult. One team got its target, the other did not. A U.S. official told me emphatically the U.S. does not see the Somalia operation as a failure. Rather this official said it shows terrorists that they can, quote, "knock on their door anywhere in the world."

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Jim.

And this morning, there is optimistic from the Obama administration about those ongoing talks over a long-term security agreement with Afghanistan. U.S. and Afghan leaders held the latest round of talks yesterday. They were focusing on two unresolved key points. Afghanistan wants guarantees against future terrorism from Pakistan, while the U.S. wants troops to remain in the country beyond 2014.

Despite the impasse, U.S. officials say they are confident an agreement can be made in the next few weeks.

BERMAN: NSA officials uncertain about the cause of recent meltdowns at the agency's new data center. The "Wall Street Journal" says 10 electrical surges at the facility have destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machinery and caused at least a year's delay in opening that data center.

This is a fascinating article. The facility in Utah is slated to be the spy agency's largest data storage center.

SAMBOLIN: And fresh violence in Egypt is leaving that country on edge. Separate attacks across the country have left at least 10 people dead. That a day after dozens died in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Ian Lee is live in Cairo for us this morning.

Ian, what can you tell us?

IAN LEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Zoraida, what we're witnessing right now in Egypt is a low-level insurgency with really daily attacks against security forces and government buildings. And typically these attacks happen in northern Sinai. What we witnessed yesterday was a bit unusual. We had an attack in south Sinai close to tourist destinations, also in Ismailia which along the Suez Canal. And also here in Cairo.

And these attacks are starting to spread across the country. And while they typically target security forces and government buildings, there is fear that they could go after tourists on destination and tourism sites. And that this all comes after last Sunday's incident where you had security forces and protesters clashing on the streets of Cairo. Over 50 people killed in that -- in that incident.

And there's this fear that when there isn't any dialogue between the two sides, those who support the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies and the interim government, there hasn't been any compromise or hasn't been any negotiations. There is fear that this insurgency and this violence could continue.

SAMBOLIN: And, Ian, I know that there's been an effort to disband the Muslim Brotherhood. What is the latest on that?

LEE: Well, it looks like that's going to go through that the Muslim Brotherhood will be banned and this is something that really doesn't come as a surprise for anyone. The government has been going after the Brotherhood, calling them -- blaming them for the violence that Egypt is seeing right now, saying that these are people who are terrorists and that they are fighting a war on terror.

So there's no surprise that the Brotherhood will be banned, but I have to say the Brotherhood has seen the sort of crackdown before in their history where they were rounded up, they were arrested, they were even executed. So this isn't likely to be the nail in the Brotherhood's coffin. They are a group that knows how to operate in these sort of circumstances -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: No, they have vowed to continue protesting.

Ian Lee live for us in Cairo, thank you very much.

BERMAN: Staying in that region right now. The head of the United Nations is calling for an unprecedented team of 100 experts to dismantle and destroy Syria's chemical weapons. Under this plan, the U.N. would provide security and coordination with the Syrian government and rebel forces with an international weapons group taking the lead on inspections and verification.

In a letter written by Ban Ki-Moon, the U.N. secretary-general concedes achieving the goal by the middle of next year is something that has never been tried before.

SAMBOLIN: Iranians are taking to Twitter to mock Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last weekend Netanyahu told the BBC if the Iranian people had freedom, they would wear jeans, listen to Western music and have free elections. He also mistakenly said blue jeans are banned in Iran.

So you guessed it. Every day Iranian citizens are lighting up Twitter, posting photos of themselves in all sorts of locations and they are wearing their favorite blue jeans.

BERMAN: This has been going on for a few days. It's really interesting actually.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

BERMAN: All right. Looking for your next getaway? Why not the ski resort in North Korea?

SAMBOLIN: Yes -- no.

BERMAN: The country is racing to finish a lavish new facility said to open later this week. It's complete with two huge hotels. The problem here, no one seems willing to sell the country's ski lifts which are sort of necessary for a ski resort. The roads are not yet finished so you can't get there and the hotels, not done either so you can sleep on the street near the roads where you can't get to the ski list.

SAMBOLIN: I see many problems there.

BERMAN: Lots of problems there.

One North Korean official tells the Associated Press there are only about 5,000 skiers in North Korea or two-tenths of 1 percent of the population. It's hard to ski when you can't eat. But maybe Denise Rodman wants to go skiing.

SAMBOLIN: Right. Right.

BERMAN: He's got a serious (INAUDIBLE).

SAMBOLIN: I thought of that. A bit of a head-scratcher there, don't you think?

BERMAN: A little bit.

SAMBOLIN: OK. Coming up. Violent wind wreaking havoc on neighborhoods along the East Coast. Trees were knocked down, power lines snapped and unfortunately homes severely damaged. The communities that were hardest hit, coming up next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very scary because this can happen again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: A store clerk fighting off an armed robber with a weapon of his own. Look at that. You will see this again and we will show you the whole thing.

SAMBOLIN: I want to (INAUDIBLE) this guy.

BERMAN: The machete wheeling store clerk when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Welcome back to EARLY START. Severe storms across the northeast. It's brought power -- brought to down trees, here we go, and power lines. In the nation's capital, the rain rah brief, but it was torrential. Take a look at these pictures, one driver managed to escape after a large tree came crashing down on his car.

BERMAN: In the area --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a cloud of green leaves and then that was the tree came down. And I tried to stop in time but, you know, with the wind and weather like it is, the visibility is bad. So it's hard to judge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: But he is OK, right? Wow. That is incredible.

BERMAN: It looked like the apocalypse around here.

And in Albany, New York, yesterday storms dropped heavy rain and brought down some trees right into electric lines. A few hundred customers lost power but the area was mostly spared from serious damage.

SAMBOLIN: These big trees taken down by storms in New Jersey. This is the scene a few miles west of New York City. There were some injuries reported from the falling tree branches. The trees smacking into power lines as well causing sparks and fires. The flames quickly put out. Once power was shut off in that area, winds in that part of New Jersey were clocked at nearly 60 miles an hour in some areas.

BERMAN: Let's take a look at what is in store for today. More weather like this. Chad Myers has the forecast.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And good morning. What a change in the weather in the northeast. Temperatures this morning, 20 degrees cooler than yesterday. Highs yesterday, 75, 80 degrees in the morning, now we're in the 50s.

Charlotte, some showers. Maybe some wind delays in New York City today but maybe only 20 minutes or so. Portland a couple of showers here. But the rest of the country looks really good. Airport should be really good this afternoon. Mostly sunny Chicago, sunny in Memphis, and even sunny out into Dallas.

Temperatures, though, quite a bit different than we've been. A high today of less than 70 in New York City, 72 in D.C. and 68 in Atlanta this afternoon. In fact, the way this cold front has worked out, Atlanta is nine degrees cooler today than Minneapolis. So a kind of an up and down forecast for you.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: It could be a major day for money and politics at the Supreme Court. The high court hearing a challenge that limits on how much individuals can give candidates, political parties and political action committees in a two-year election cycle.

We're talking about the total amount you can give to a series of candidates or parties. Limits have been in places since the 70s or been limits that have been rising slowly . Since then, when opponents argue that the rules limit First Amendment right to political speech and this Supreme Court has struck down or modified a lot of the campaign finance rules. This could be another pivotal case.

SAMBOLIN: A school district employee in Steubenville, Ohio, is now facing charges in connection with a notorious rape case. A grand jury indicted William Rhinaman, an I.T. worker for allegedly tampering with evidence and perjury. It is the first charge brought by this grand jury. Investigating whether adults in the district covered up or ignored information about the rape of a teenager by two Steubenville high school football players.

BERMAN: Another swing in a heartbreaking seesaw legal battle in Ohio. An Appeals Court ruling that a hospital can force a 10-year-old Amish girl to resume chemotherapy. Her parents stopped her lymphoma treatment saying it made her extremely ill but doctors say she will die without it. The ruling overturns an earlier decision that sided with the parents.

SAMBOLIN: It is arrest number four in that bizarre New York biker beating case. Police charge a 29-year-old Brooklyn man with gang assault for allegedly punching and kicking the SUV driver while he was on the ground. Those actions reportedly were caught on tape. Now police say at least two off-duty officers were at the scene but did absolutely nothing. More arrests are expected.

BERMAN: We now know the name of a zoo worker mauled by a tiger at an Oklahoma animal park. The tiger's owner tells CNN affiliate KFOR the worker's name is Kelci Saffery. She is 27 years old and from Honolulu. Doctors say she lost the tip of a ring finger but they were able to save her arm. A statement put out by the owner claims Saffery said she broke protocol by sticking her hand into the tiger's cage.

SAMBOLIN: Wow.

So here's one way to stop a robbery. It happened in New York's Long Island.

BERMAN: Strong island.

SAMBOLIN: I love this. Where police say a man wearing a mask walked into a convenience store with a gun in his hand. He demanded money but the clerk wanted none of it. He pulled out -- can we see it again? There it is. There it comes. The machete. And chased the would-be robber out of the store and across the parking lot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELENA ALVARADO, STORE OWNER: It was a fake gun. That's why it was a joke.

DETECTIVE LT. KEVIN REYRER, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE: Certainly the clerk got very, very lucky in this situation. If anyone is confronted with a similar situation like that, we would advise they comply with this person and give up any money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: A machete versus a gun? Police are looking for the suspect who was armed with a very real ..22-caliber pistol.

BERMAN: It's pretty stunning picture but it reminds me of "The Raiders of the Lost Ark." You know any Indiana Jones in the streets of Cairo. And the guy pulls out a sword and everything else. And Indiana Jones just shoots him. So I would be careful if I were a store clerk.

SAMBOLIN: That is not a good idea. And I also want to know why he was keeping a machete there.

BERMAN: For something just --

SAMBOLIN: How bizarre.

BERMAN: For something just like this.

SAMBOLIN: I suppose but you typically use a gun in an armed robbery. Unreal.

BERMAN: But you do not bring a knife for a gun fight, as they say.

SAMBOLIN: No. No. No.

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: But it worked here.

BERMAN: It did work. Congratulations to him. I'm glad he made out of it OK, right?

SAMBOLIN: Wow. All right.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, the government shutdown causing big safety concerns at the airport. But this morning, we have good news.

SAMBOLIN: Really?

BERMAN: We have good news to report. Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. It is "Money Time" which means Maribel Aber is here to tell us what's going on this morning.

MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What's going on besides my granddaughter's birthday? Well, I've got something going on here. Relief for some in the partial government shutdown. Hundreds of furloughed airline and aircraft inspectors will be back on the job.

Bloomberg News says the FAA is calling more than 800 workers back to their jobs this week when the partial government shutdown started, these positions, well, they were called nonessential for safety. All 3,000 of the FAA's aviation safety inspectors were placed on unpaid leave. So to put this all in -- to perspective, about three-quarters of the workers being recalled oversee major airline operations.

And who will be buying all or part of BlackBerry? Well, two weeks ago the struggling company received a preliminary $4.7 billion buyout offer from Fairfax Financial. And a new report lists some other big possible buyers out there. The list includes Google, CISCO, Intel, Samsung and private equity firm Cerberus Capital.

BlackBerry would only say this. It is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives. And really, what makes BlackBerry really attractive? Well, some company may actually be interested in BlackBerry's patents. That where the real value is. They're valued about $2 billion to $3 billion.

And LG is entering the market for phones with curved screens. LG announced that its ready to start mass production of what it calls the world's first flexible OLED panel for smartphones. So OLED, what it stands for is organic light emitting diode. LG reportedly says it hopes to start selling the first handsets to feature the technology next year. Samsung already said it intended to launch its first curved screen phone later this month. Both companies already use the technology to offer curbed OLED television sets.

BERMAN: Why would you want that for a phone?

ABER: That's the question. Would consumers want that? I could see it for a television screen because this is -- you know, it focuses the light towards the audience for theaters so it makes things reduce optical distortions. But on my wrist or on my -- holding my phone, how distorted? BERMAN: Yes. I don't know if I need that but maybe I do. Maybe they need --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: I need something. I need something.

ABER: Yes.

BERMAN: So we want to tell you about a new EARLY START tradition which is people bringing us snacks. Maribel Aber brought us wonderful cookies and not only that, she gift-wrapped them in these nice boxes with cards here. Setting the bar high.

SAMBOLIN: You are a multi-tasking woman. ABER: They thought I was kidding about making my own gift wrap and starting my Christmas shopping and -- I'm a crafty person.

SAMBOLIN: No, no, no. We -- no, no. We've seen, we've seen evidence on Twitter. But this is in honor, as you mentioned earlier, of your granddaughter's birthday. We want -- do you have any more grandchildren whose birthday is coming up?

ABER: I do -- not, not -- no. Just past. So Olivia and Nicholas, my two grandkids. Happy birthday, Olivia.

SAMBOLIN: How sweet.

BERMAN: Thank you. Well done.

SAMBOLIN: We'll take it any time. Thank you.

BERMAN: Any time you want.

SAMBOLIN: All right. And coming up day eight of the partial government shutdown with a big spending deadline fast approaching but this morning new clues that the president and Congress may be ready to make a deal? Coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: A dangerous deadline fast approaching. Analysts call it economic nuclear destruction. But now a little new hope that the president and Congress might actually do something. Really actually do something. What? We'll tell you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the worst single event in terms of a snowstorm that I've seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely nuts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's water in my car. Everything. It's just done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Wow, water in her car.