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Government Reopens; President Faces Battle Over Appointments, Immigration Reform; NSA Leaker States Russia Does Not Have American Secret Files; Bullying Awareness Month; Two Teens Arrested in Cyber- Bullying Case; Kampala, Uganda on High Alert

Aired October 18, 2013 - 07:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: NSA leaker Edward Snowden finally talking about what he did with all those secret files he stole. Did he bring them into Russia with him?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you need to know --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It made me mad. She should have told somebody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: what you just have to see --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some little kid was ready to walk down here and die and Glenn saved his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Friday, October 18, 7:00 in the east.

So much for the new normal. The government is getting back to business. That's good. Members of both parties say they're going to get along. That's better. But are they just saying all the right things because it looks like bruising fights just around the corner? One of them President Obama is expected to nominate a new homeland security secretary. Lawmakers already lining up to knock them down. We will tell you why.

BOLDUAN: We also have an update on this really terrible story, the story of the two girls accused of bullying another girl to death. They've been arrested and charged. But what about the parents? We'll talk to a prosecutor who is drafting a law that would hold parents accountable in cyber-bullying cases. You'll never guess who's behind it.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And these fellows might regret filming themselves toppling a 200 million year-old rock formation. Why they say they did it, coming up.

CUOMO: But first back to work in in Washington, maybe a question mark. The federal government is up and running, the debt ceiling has been raised. But it looks like that was the easy part. The shutdown may be over but there are plenty of showdowns ahead. CNN's Jim Acosta is at the White House this morning. Good morning, Jim.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. You know, just about everybody here in Washington expected the president to strike a bipartisan tone in the hours after the shutdown ended, but instead the Republicans got a stern lecture. That's an indication while the shutdown may be over, the White House anticipates there are more battles to come.


ACOSTA: Listening to President Obama chatting with the Italian prime minister it sounded as if he was ready for a vacation in Tuscany.

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He will not have to twist my arm to get me to come to Tuscany again sometime in the near future.

ACOSTA: But the president has no room on his plate for pasta, not when he set his sights on passing a new budget, immigration reform, and a new farm Bill within the next 90 days.

OBAMA: And we can get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what's good for the American people.

ACOSTA: A task the president may have made more difficult for himself after railing against Republicans over the shutdown.

OBAMA: You don't like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position, go out there and win an election.

ACOSTA: But he may get help from Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell who told "The Hill" newspaper there will not be a government shutdown. "I think we have fully acquainted new members with what a losing strategy is." Former GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan called for bipartisanship in upcoming budget negotiations.

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: We want to look for ways to find a common ground and get a budget agreement.

ACOSTA: Tell that to Texas Senator Ted Cruz whose office tells CNN he's not ruling out another shutdown. And that's not all. The administration still has to fix those health care website glitches.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Nobody is more insistent that that work be done and the experience be improved than the president.


ACOSTA: Now the next Republican battle cry that can be heard here in Washington is the fire, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. But asked earlier about whether or not Sebelius has the full faith and confidence of the president, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, yes, she does. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Jim, thank you so much. At the White House, President Obama has been looking for someone to replace Janet Napolitano as Homeland Security Secretary since she left the office in August. Now he has found his man. The president today will announce that he's nominating former Pentagon lawyer Jay Johnson. But with most everything in Washington this doesn't come without controversy. Our Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon with more details. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Jay Johnson, very well known here at the Pentagon where as the top lawyer he oversaw a staff of 10,000 Pentagon attorneys around the world, very much a legal expert with a back ground in terrorism issues. He has spoken extensively about -- he believes the American people need to change the way they think about the war on terrorism, that it's becoming much less about military operations and much more about law enforcement and intelligence, very much in line with President Obama's thinking.

He's very much a supporter of using drones overseas for those targeted, very specific killing of suspected terrorists. He's even talked about the circumstances in which he supports the killing of Americans overseas involved in terrorism operations. So when it comes to his confirmation hearing, expect to see a lot of questions maybe about the use of drones here in the United States for border security, by local law enforcement and issues related to how to keep America safe here at home. That's a lot of what his focus has been about, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That will be the focus of the confirmation hearings. It's obviously a focus of some of the challenges he will be facing if he were confirmed and does take over the office. But how does his job, his decision-making on the job, how would that impact Americans? Why should Americans be caring about the next homeland security secretary?

STARR: What a great question. You know, why do we care about this? It's one of the biggest bureaucracies in the federal government. But when there is a hurricane, an earthquake, Katrina, hurricane Sandy, when there is perhaps a large domestic terrorism incident, it is the department of homeland security, of course, that gets that federal assistance moving to state and local governments. It's the assistance that people look for so immediately when there is a tragedy or a disaster.

So when the critics talk about the department of homeland security as being an unmanageable bureaucracy, Jay Johnson will have to bring it under control and make sure he can deliver that assistance when it's need. Kate?

BOLDUAN: First up he needs to make it through confirmation hearings. Barbara, thank you so much for that.

CUOMO: NSA leaker Edward Snowden back in the news, asking you to trust him. He says there is zero chance Russia or China has any of his top secret files. Of course he is presently in Russia and wanted in the U.S. on espionage charges. The question, can you take him at his word? CNN's Phil Black is in Moscow covering the story. Good morning. PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Chris. Yes, in an interview with the "New York Times" carried out over an encrypted line service, Edward Snowden said he has enhanced America's national security. He believes by informing the public and triggering a debate on electronic surveillance and privacy, America will be ultimately safer to continue operating in secrecy and in ways he believes cross the boundaries of the law.

He's also responded to what has been a persistent criticism of his decision to come to Russia, that by coming here, seeking asylum, he has become a Russian intelligence asset, that inevitably, whatever information he brought with him has to be in the hands of the Russian government. He said that is not true because he said all his classified documents were left behind in Hong Kong with journalists. He says there were no copies. There was no reason to bring copies with him.

He's also confident the Chinese spy agencies are unable to access that information because he knew their technical capabilities. He was able to secure that information from them. It all matches what Edward Snowden's father said to me here in Moscow earlier this week when he was visiting, that is that he believes his son, his son has assured him he has not been debriefed by any spy agency from any country since he fled the United States. Back to you.

BOLDUAN: That being said, U.S. authorities and the U.S. government still would like to have a talk with him, no matter if he didn't have the secrets with him still. Thanks so much, Phil Black.

Let's go to Michaela for the latest.

PEREIRA: Good morning to you at home. New charges against four former U.S. security contractors in Iraq. The former Blackwater Guards are accused of using machine guns and grenades in an unprovoked attack that killed 17 Iraqi civilians. They were guarding U.S. diplomats at the time. All four face multiple charges, including manslaughter.

Police are hoping a mother's voice will help them locate a missing teen who has autism. And 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo vanished more than two weeks ago after walking out of school. He cannot communicate verbally. So a van with flashing lights is cruising around his New York neighborhood blaring a recording from his mother that says, hi, Avonte, it's mom. Come to the flashing light. A $70,000 reward is also being offered for any information about this young boy's whereabouts.

Dozens of people arrested when an anti-fracking protest in Canada turned violent. Police cars were torched, officers had to use pepper spray against demonstrators. The tribe is trying to stop a shale gas project they say will irreparably damage their land.

To the Philippines now. Frightening video capturing a 450-year-old church toppling during Tuesday's powerful earthquake. The landmark bell tower toppling to the streets below, people running for their lives. Dozens of churches and thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. The death toll currently stands at over 160 and there are at least 20 people still missing.

Talk about the one that got away, a nine-foot tiger shark gave a Florida fisherman a run for his money. Paul Colbert of St. Petersburg struggled for 20 minutes trying to reel in that big fish. The shark dove deep, snapping his pole in half. Afterwards Colbert said it felt like he was pulling a semi-truck. Familiar, Cuomo?

CUOMO: Nope.

PEREIRA: That is huge. My goodness.

CUOMO: No interest in that.

PEREIRA: That's not the kind of fishing you like to do?

CUOMO: No way. I only catch what I'm going to eat. Some sharks you can eat. Not for me. It stinks that he lost his pole.

BOLDUAN: The risk you take on.

Let's get over to Indra Petersons with the latest forecast for us this morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Points for the shark. That's all I'm saying on that one.

We're definitely looking at the same front that moved through overnight last night over the northeast, still the remnants of it moving through New England. Look at the unbelievable temperatures we saw yesterday if you were in D.C., Philly, or New York, 70s and even some upper 70s out towards D.C. We are going to see the temperatures back off thanks to the cooler air that will move through. But still pretty mild, still talking about upper 60s in the area the real story will be we have a series of those cold fronts continuing to make their way through.

Here's the first one that kind of moves through, tail end of it around the gulf around Texas, the next one in the northeast Saturday through Sunday. It's the third one we'll start watching. It's this one way up here that's bringing cold air from even farther way up there. Canada, all that cold air starts to dive down. We are going to see a change by the end of the weekend. If you're in through Minnesota, the northeast, that cool air will make its way in through next week.

Look at the difference. These are yesterday's highs. Pay attention up here around Minneapolis. Notice how cold this air is. By the beginning of next week, they are down through the 40s. All that cold air eventually pushes into the northeast by next week. So pretty big change. We'll start to see the cooler air be the next pattern. As far as today, here's what you're looking at Memphis 72, Atlanta 73 and D.C. at 68. Yesterday was not that bad, cloudy, drizzle, same thing for the weekend.

BOLDUAN: OK, thank you.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, what do we have? BOLDUAN: There are concerns a U.S. diplomatic post in Uganda could be the target of a terror attack similar to the one on that mall in Kenya. We're going to have a live report just ahead.

CUOMO: Plus, this is bullying awareness month. And we have a story in the news that shows just how bad bullying can get. There's also a law that may be coming that could change everything. We'll tell you all about it.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Did you know that October is national bullying awareness month? Well, it is. That's one of the reasons we're keeping you aware of this particular story. You're looking at Rebecca Sedwick, 12-year-old girl. She committed suicide after months of relentless bullying. Two teen girls have been charged with a felony in connection with her death.

CNN is now identifying them because authorities are putting out their names as well. The more we learn about what happened here, the more senseless it gets. It may have started out being all about a boy. And he has decided to speak out. Take a look.


JOHN BORGEN, FORMER BOYFRIEND OF REBECCA SEDWICK: This shocked me, made me mad, you know. She should have told somebody.

CUOMO: Rebecca Sedwick's ex-boyfriend, John Borgen, also dated one of the girls arrested for bullying her to death. His relationship with Sedwick may have been why the bullying started.

BORGEN: Just say something. That's all I got to say. Just do what you got to do. Just say something.

CUOMO: This is the girl who reportedly also dated Borgen, 14-year-old Guadalupe Shaw. She and 12-year-old Kaitlyn Roman were arrested and charged with aggravated stalking. When I interviewed Guadalupe's parents, Jose and Vivian, they said they didn't know about the boy trouble or the bullying.

CUOMO: Did your daughter ever tell you that other kids were Rebecca a hard time?

VIVIAN, MOTHER OF ALLEGED BULLY: Well, there was a time one girl was bullying Rebecca, but Rebecca always came to her for comfort and you know, my daughter was always there for her when Rebecca needed her.

JOSE, FATHER OF ALLEGED BULLY: They were friends at the beginning and then for whatever reason, you know, they stopped being friends.

GRADY JUDD, SHERIFF: Unfortunately they're just in absolute total denial.

CUOMO: Sheriff Grady Judd told NEW DAY, if he determines he can hold the girl's criminally responsible, he will. JUDD: This bullying has gone on since last November, both in person at school and over the cyberworld. There's a significant problem, and it started at home.

CUOMO: Meanwhile, some lawmakers are pushing for a provision in an education bill that would deal specifically with bullying.

SEN. BILL NELSON, (D) FLORIDA: The measure calls on schools to report incidents of bullying to parents and others, so that we can try and prevent such conduct in the future.


CUOMO: Families all across the country have called out for more laws, better ways to hold people accountable in these situations to help the problem stop. There may be a solution. Let's bring in criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Mr. Mark O'Mara. He's on the vanguard of this. He's drafting a new law that would hold parents accountable for cyber-bullying and he's joining us now. Mark, thank you very much for joining us. It's good to have you on NEW DAY, especially for this reason.


CUOMO: Let's take one step sideways and use some legal analysis. Give us an idea of the legal landscape nationally, specifically in Florida where this happened. When are parents criminally responsible for the actions of their children?

O'MARA: We know for example in Florida they're criminally responsible if a child gets to a gun and uses the gun, we hold the parents responsible. There are statutes that have been interpreted to say if the child gets to a car and uses the car, the parents can be criminally responsible for that. It's other ways we look to the parents for the acts of the children. In this case, I think there's a good reason to.

CUOMO: Why? Make the case. You know the other side is kids will be kids, you can't control them. Nature versus nurture, you lose when they get outside in the world. You can't hold parents responsible. What's the other side?

O'MARA: The other side is we make sure that parents get their kids to school. Parents can be held liable for that. We have other responsibilities that the parents have to do on behalf of their children. The reality is, that the internet is a wonderful thing but it's like a knife. It can be a scalpel, it can be a deadly weapon.

When we look at a case like this, we look back and say this wasn't an isolated event. If the parents were not aware of what this child was doing, they should be and they should be held responsible. We now have an opportunity, an obligation to look at what our children are doing online and make sure they're doing it responsibly. Parents have the responsibility for their children that now extends to a brand new landscape, the internet.

CUOMO: So what would the law be? What would the punishment be?

O'MARA: I think we have to be realistic and like you say, kids will be kids and we have to look those cases where the parents have acted, sort of, in a grossly negligent way, where we can look at the facts of bullying and say if the parent's didn't know, it's their responsibility. It's their fault.

Parents, I think, have a responsibility to be aware of their children's online presence. If it's a one isolated event, certainly that can't be held responsible. In a case like this where it happened for 11 months on various different landscapes or platforms of social media, the parents have to take on the responsibility. They can't just sit back and say, I'll close the desktop or take off the cell phone away from them. They have to look at it and be realistic that this can be a very dangerous tool. This truly is an example of how it can be. This child did not have to die.

CUOMO: Absolutely true. Let's push on the facts here. The parents say, one, their daughter didn't do any of this, this Facebook message that showed this gross indifference to the kid dying. Allegedly, the teenage girl who's been charged, put a Facebook post out that says what you read on the screen. They say she didn't send it, she was hacked, they say they checked her Facebook almost nightly, which is somewhat remarkable. They say the school never said anything to them about any bullying. If they're telling the truth, do you think they fit under the idea of culpability?

O'MARA: If they are truly telling the truth that they were in fact diligent in keeping track of what their daughter was doing, then maybe they're not responsible, and they shouldn't be. I'm not sitting here saying we have a death, we have to have a responsibility. What I do know is that this case seems to be the poster child for a situation where this girl was able to get away with cyber-bullying for 11 months and we have to look at those who are responsible.

If it was happening in a classroom we would say to the teacher, how can you not know? If it was happening from the gymnasium, we talk to the gym teacher. If it's happening at home or those areas where the parents have specific responsibility.

Let's not forget, the parents probably set up the Facebook account for this child. We have to know the parents can be responsible for it. It's new and we understand there's going to be a learning curve, but that learning curve should not have victims like it did have in this case.

CUOMO: And by the way, the sheriff says this happened in the real world as well. It happened at school, the kid had to be moved from school, they had to switch classes around. A lot of heavy allegations here. Last question for you, Mark. Why are you getting involved in this? What pushed you to do this?

O'MARA: A couple things, real quickly. I had started a justice outreach program to try and get to kids in the juvenile justice system. I know if you can get to kids at 10 and 12 years-old, we'll be able to change their direction or trajectory. But having said that, so that was sort of a sensitivity. In this particular case, I think I was most incensed, I've had a bunch of cyber-bullying cases. I think I was incensed by the fact this child, 14-year-old Guadalupe, after the death would be so desensitized that she would put something on Facebook. What that told me was that this whole internet presence and the children's exposure to it is not just parents' responsibility for not watching their kids but we seem to be growing a generation of kids that are completely desensitized to the reality of causing death. There is not a reset button in Rebecca's case.

CUOMO: As we know, with this bullying, it's not going to change until the culture changes. That requires changes at all levels. We have to be intelligent about it. - we don't want to swing the pendulum too far the other way, especially when kids are involved but we have to do things differently. Mark O'Mara, thanks for coming on the show, as always, and thank you for taking this step. We'll see how the case goes.

You can read more about what Mark's proposed law is. You just go to Let us know what you think. This is a very controversial case. We deal with them all the time. Take a look at it. Use the hashtag #newday.

Kate? Over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Coming up next on NEW DAY, an embassy on alert. U.S. officials warning of the possibility of another attack similar to the Kenyan mall massacre much more on that threat, ahead.

Plus, a giant the prehistoric boulder pushed over in a national park pap high fives all around. But now these guys, the guys who did it, they are in pretty hot legal water right now. The details, coming up.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. It is Friday, thank goodness, October 18th. Coming up in the show, Ted Cruz is the Texan who led the Republican charge against Obamacare in the shutdown fight. So, is he finished, or is he only getting started? We're going to take a look at what is next for him.

CUOMO: Plus we keep telling you about bullying. This is bullying awareness month. Case after case keep coming, so it's a good time for Facebook to loosen its limits on what teens can do? Is this the time? Is this a good move for the company? We'll tell you about the policy and why they say they're doing it.

First this morning, the U.S. embassy in Kampala, Uganda, on high alert this morning. Officials there are concerned about a possible attack similar to the Kenyan massacre. CNN's Nima Elbagir is live in Nairobi with the latest. Nima? NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Chris, we've got a little bit of breaking news for you today. We understand from Kenyan counterterrorism sources that the intercepts of the phone calls that we saw on our CCTV footage being received and made by the Westgate Mall attackers, that some of them were coming from Uganda. It is that feeding into the broader fears that have now spurred this terror alert from the U.S. embassy in Kampala. Take a look, Chris.


ELBAGIR: The alert is stark; the U.S. embassy in Uganda continues to assess reports that a Westgate-style attack may soon occur in Kampala. At this time, they say there is no further information on timing and/or location on this attack.

This nearly a month after the deadly attack at Kenya's Westage Mall that left 67 people dead.

As you can see in this dramatic surveillance video, first obtained by CNN, the attackers are relentless. Watch as unaware shoppers suddenly run for their lives. A wounded man tries crawling to safety, but the gunman returns.

Outside, helicopters circle and you can hear the gunfire that's coming from al Shabaab attackers combing the hallways. Civilians run and crawl to wherever they think they can to survive.

In the supermarket, the massacre continues. Surveillance video shows the hostage roundup has begun. A mother and her two children push an injured child in a shopping cart. A bloody teenage girl follows.