Return to Transcripts main page


Escaped Killers Captured in Florida; Massive Fires in Australia; Hacking at Home

Aired October 21, 2013 - 04:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can tell you that there will be more arrests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They plotted this before. It just wasn't an overnight situation. And somebody on the outside helped them. As I said, it's not -- all alone, they didn't do it all on their own.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Two convicted killers back behind bars after forged documents allowed them to walk out of jail. So how did they do it and who helped them?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plagued with problems since its rollout weeks ago. Today, President Obama expected to answer Obamacare critics but the question is, can he offer any solutions?




GREEN: Couldn't turn back. This is a fire truck -- not a fire truck so we went through it. And it was quite scary.


BROWN: Australia on fire. Hundreds of homes destroyed as more than 50 fires flare across the country. We are live.

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

BROWN: And I'm Pamela Brown. Great to have you along with us on this Monday, October 21st. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: And welcome here, anchor hero, Pamela Brown.


BROWN: Thank you. BERMAN: Let's get right to our lead story right now and the capture of two escaped killers in Florida. These dramatic arrests caught on this cell phone video. The convicted murderers walked right out of the same prison after reportedly forging release documents.

Now as Florida residents breathe an understandable sigh of relief, law enforcement officials are coming in for some tough, tough questioning. How on earth could this happen?

CNN's Nick Valencia reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my god. They have been looking for them. Those are U.S. Marshals.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the two convicted killers this cell phone video shows the moment their manhunt ended. Just 80 miles from where their escape began.

Handcuffed and shackled Joseph Jenkins and Charles Walker said little during their first court appearance after being arrested.

MARTY WEST, U.S. MARSHALL'S FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: We got information that they were here at the Coconut Grove Motor Inn.

VALENCIA: Officials tell CNN the two were waiting for a ride from Atlanta in this Panama City beach motel when they were busted. Unarmed. They were detained without incident.

At a press conference on Sunday, Florida officials address the bureaucratic blunder. The two convicts serving life sentences were accidentally released after showing forged paper work and apparently this had happened twice before. Only the inmates were caught before they got out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is embarrassing. But my concentration at this point is I think everyone else here is making sure that we come up with the process and a procedure that prohibits this from happening in the future.

VALENCIA: Law enforcement has launched an investigation to figure out how Jenkins and Walker duped the system and obtained the fake documents.

JERRY BAILEY, ENFORCEMENT COMMISSIONER, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF LAW: There is speculation, an underlying speculation, that there was a source where, for a certain sum of money, that these documents could be constructed for $8,000. Whether that is true or not is -- will be determined.

VALENCIA: CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara says they must have had help.

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It has to be somebody on the inside. It just has to be. Somebody at the clerk's office, somebody in the courthouse, maybe even somebody in a state attorney's office position, a secretary maybe who can actually get that paper work done.

VALENCIA: Standing at his father's grave, Robert Pugh jokes up. While his killer Charles Walker was on the run he struggled reliving his family's nightmare.

ROSCO PUGH III, VICTIM'S SON: He had no remorse when he killed our father in front of us the first time.

VALENCIA: Police are now promising to hold all who contributed accountable, telling CNN that additional arrests are expected.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Panama City, Florida.


BROWN: Well, the frustration growing over problems with the Obamacare insurance exchange Web site. President Obama today will address the complaints during a White House event.

The administration now says just under 500,000 people have put in applications through the exchanges though it's unclear how many have actually signed up for coverage.

Senator John McCain now joining the chorus saying, enough is enough.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Send Air Force One out to Silicon Valley, load it up with some smart people, bring them back to Washington and then fix this problem. It's ridiculous and everybody knows that.


BROWN: Well, the administration claims it is doing just that, promising that it is going to bring in the, quote, "best and brightest to fix the health care site."

BERMAN: A little bit scary. That is how Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is describing the government shutdown. It was scary for a lot of people, not to mention infuriating. Lawmakers cannot let another one happen, says Jack Lew, or risk hobbling an already fragile U.S. economy.

The Treasury secretary also waded into another fiscal fight calling an end to the across-the-board spending cuts set for March 1st -- that went into place on March 1st, I should say. Another shutdown battle could come on January 15th when funding for the government runs out once again.

BROWN: A tentative settlement between the Obama administration and one of the country's biggest banks. An official familiar with the negotiation tells CNN JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $13 billion as settlement to investigations into its mortgage securities business. The financial firm has been accused of misleading investors including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about the quality of mortgaged-backed securities during the housing boom.

BERMAN: It's a colossal deal.


BERMAN: Meanwhile a bribery scandal rocking the U.S. Navy. Federal investigators have arrested at least two high-ranking Navy officers accused of giving sensitive information about ship locations to a Defense contractor. The contract in exchange is accused of giving the officers prostitutes and other kinds of kickbacks.

"The Washington Post" says the contractor used that information to land lucrative deals to service ships and ports and may have overbilled the Navy to the tune of $1 -- or $2 millions.

BROWN: A new warning from a top official in Iran over international nuclear negotiations. A parliament speaker there says the country may actually increase its atomic work if the West pushes too hard for concessions. It was less than a week ago that Iranian negotiators met with international officials in Geneva to talk about that country's nuclear program. And this latest statement could point to internal distrusts within the government over those talks.

BERMAN: And after that Syria's civil war now set for the end of November. The Arab League plans on an international conference in Geneva for November 23rd and 24th. The goal is to try to convince the Assad regime and opposition groups to stop fighting and agree to some kind of transitional government. Not clear if any of those opposition groups might actually attend this meeting.

More than 100,000 people are believed to have been killed since the war began there some two and a half years ago.

BROWN: And meanwhile more than 30 people were killed Sunday in a massive suicide attack right outside the Syrian city of Hama. The culprit setting off a truck filled with propane tanks at a busy military checkpoint. The smoke said to be visible for miles around the (INAUDIBLE) in that video. And according to reports, an al Qaeda- linked militant group is taking responsibility and most of the dead were civilians.

BERMAN: In Egypt weekend protests led to clashes between backers of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and anti-riot police. The protest taking place inside the campus of a major university there where a march turned violent as demonstrators hurled stones and broke windows. They then made their way into the streets where they encountered police who were shooting tear gas.

Meanwhile, there had been more attacks on Coptic Christian Churches on Sunday night in Cairo. Mass gunmen killed a man and a woman and wounded an 8-year-old girl. That was during a wedding.

BROWN: And staying overseas, Libya's prime minister is speaking out more than a week after being kidnapped by militiamen. The prime minister told reporters it is difficult to run the government with so many militias holding essentially fired around the country. Fight teams rather. He also blamed two lawmakers for orchestrating his capture and detention saying someone to, quote, "hijack" the state for their own purposes.

BERMAN: Winter. That's right. Winter now officially on in some parts of the Minnesota. Check this out. That's snow, folks, falling for the first time in areas around that state. This was a scene not far from Fargo. Not in fact in Minnesota but not far from Minnesota. Residents saw a little over an inch or so on Sunday.

The snowfall coming before most of the trees in the area had a chance to drop their leaves. Not unusual to get snow in Minnesota or North Dakota in October, but, typically, it doesn't happen until like November, after Halloween.


BERMAN: That's fair.


BERMAN: Before Halloween, not fair.


BROWN: I remember when I lived in D.C. and it snowed in October. We called it snow-tober.

BERMAN: That's like --

BROWN: Big event.

BERMAN: Major.


BERMAN: And in D.C. that's like cancel a year, you know.

BROWN: Yes. Exactly. Exactly.


All right. On that note, talking about the winter weather, let's get an early look at our weather with Karen Maginnis -- Karen.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And good morning. We are expecting some breezy weather conditions in Boston and New York City. But here comes the big shot of that not just cool air but it's really going to be cold in some portions of the Midwest. It's clipper systems, they reinforce that cold air. Very common this time of year.

They're called clippers because they move through fairly quickly and for North Dakota, Grand Forks, and into International Falls, Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Two to four inches of snowfall expected there.

If you're traveling to the West Coast, it looks like pretty much sunshine will dominate the weather picture. Tail end of a frontal system swings across Florida so in the vicinity of those showers. If you're traveling, some of the airports there, maybe a few minor delays expected.

For Chicago, 48. But guess what? Tuesday, only in the low 40s. So definitely the colder air is going to be in place there. Dallas 72, Los Angeles expecting 71 for a high.

Back to you.

BERMAN: All right. And our thanks for that look at the weather right now.

So the streak is over. The Denver Broncos not undefeated. This was a serious grudge match. Peyton Manning was back in Indianapolis for the first time since he left the Colts. He brought his team, the undefeated -- once undefeated Broncos but it was Andrew Luck, the new quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts, who had something to prove and prove it he did.

He threw some three touchdown passes, ran for another. Look at this right there. Virtually untouched into the end zone. They knocked off the Broncos and Peyton Manning 39-33.

Manning, you know, he threw for a lot of yards and some touchdown but he looked pretty human in the game. Some wobbly passes. People say he was also sat four times. Hard to throw when you're on the ground there. He also threw a pick.

The Broncos looked poised to tie the game when he threw that interception. This ends Denver's 17-game regular season winning streak. There is that -- there is a touchdown pass he got right there. That went well for Peyton Manning. The rest of the game, not so much.

BROWN: Did not. Humbling experience to say the least.

BERMAN: Yes, you know, he's still got a Super Bowl ring and he's still Peyton Manning.


BERMAN: So he doesn't have to work on being in humble too much.

BROWN: I don't really feel that sorry for him, to be honest.

BERMAN: No. Exactly.

BROWN: All right. Well, coming up right here on EARLY START.


GREEN: My wife started saying, gun it, gun it. Speed it up. That means speed up, speed up. Because she could feel the heat -- kind of intense heat coming through the windows.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Inside a string of deadly fires burning across Australia. Hundreds of homes destroyed so far. We are live.

BERMAN: And back here, more than 20 people engulfed in flames on purpose? We will tell you the story behind this bizarre video. That's just ahead.



BERMAN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

A state of emergency now in Australia where severe fires racing through the eastern part of the country not far from Sydney. Sydney is now enveloped in smoke and there are concerns this morning that these fires are really only about to get worse.

Robyn Curnow live in Australia just outside Sydney for us.

Robyn, give us a sense of the situation right now.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there. Well, night is about to fall here. We can see some of the fighters coming back from there, suit covered from head-to-toe in dark ash. They say mostly they've been trying to back burn, stay ahead of the fire. Today they are going to continue that through the night. But indeed these are very serious fires. In terms of the amounts of land already burned, about roughly the size of New York City.

BERMAN: What's driving these fires this morning, Robyn? Any sense of what started it?

CURNOW: Well, a combination of factors. Weather, of course. Unseasonably hot weather. Dry. Not a lot of rain. We're also seeing erratic winds also, helping to fuel some of the fires. So there is this concern that the various uncontrolled active fires that we're seeing around these locations might join up to create this sort of mega fire.

That is also partly caused by arson. Some young teenagers have been charged with acts of vandalism of arson. We also know that there is also an investigation into whether a military exercise perhaps sparked off one of the fires. All in all, a combination that is being really a perfect recipe for some of the worst fires we've seen in this area in decades.

BERMAN: Wow. So military exercise, perhaps arson. You don't like to hear that. Other words you don't like to hear are uncontrolled and about to get worse. Any sense of how long the fire crews there might get the upper hand?

CURNOW: Well, I think people are looking at the weather report and, you know, what they're seeing is Wednesday being a real -- a real worry for them. They know that the temperatures are going to get hotter. The winds are going to become more erratic, more stronger. And I think people here, and as you can see, the firefighters behind me, they really are planning ahead for Wednesday.

Of course, as night falls, the temperatures have dropped so they really got to push ahead to try and contain the fire. As they move out here from the push control -- push fire controlled area, they're going to be going out and really trying to stay ahead of the fire by back burning but Wednesday is the day that everyone is worried about.

BERMAN: Well, let's hope they get things in hand by then.

Robyn Curnow, for us, outside Sydney, thanks so much for being with us.

BROWN: And back here closer to home the FBI's anti-terrorism task force is now investigating a frightening series of incidents that have the potential for seriously hurting a lot of people. At issue here, lasers being shined at commercial airline flights often as they're taking off or landing.

It's happening with increasing frequency especially around New York's three major airports. The FBI says incidents there have increased 17 percent since last year.


STEVE WALLACE, AVIATION SAFETY EXPERT: The lasers are not going to physically hurt the airplane but the laser can blind the pilot, at least temporarily blind the pilot. And also just the effect of this startling burst of light into the airplane cockpit. The worst case scenario is that in a critical phase of a flight a pilot loses control of the airplane. Potentially a tragic accident.


BROWN: At this point there's no apparent link to terrorism and it may just be a serious pranks being pulled off by those who have easy access to laser equipment but authorities do say that it is be dangerous and could be deadly, and if the people behind the lacers are caught, they could face jail time.

BERMAN: Cyanide is what killed an alleged victim of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger. Fifty-nine-year-old Stephen Rakes who wanted to testify at Bulger's trial was found dead in July but his death apparently not related to Bulger who was found guilty in August to murder and racketeering. A business associate of Rakes' is charged with lacing his coffee with poison.

Some questionable friends that man had.

BROWN: I would think that's safe to assume, John.

All right. Well, a man arrested at New York's Kennedy Airport after security officials discovered a shocking number of knives and blades in his carry-on luggage. Timothy Schiavo, Jr. was charged Saturday with two counts of criminal possession of a weapons. Police say the 29-year-old man from Long Island was also carrying several scissors, lighters, and matches. BERMAN: All right. I have a story you're going to love right now. A very emotional homecoming for a second grader in Macon, Georgia, and her mother. Seven-year-old Kambria Foster was in school last week when she went to the library with her classmate. That's when she got this. A surprise visitor fresh from spending six months overseas.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long has it been since you've seen mommy?

KAMBRIA FOSTER, DAUGHTER OF AIR FORCE MOM: She put these on her computer where I could Skype her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy to see you, honey.

FOSTER: You said the 17th.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel right now?

FOSTER: Happy and kind of surprised.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And kind of surprised?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're mad about?

FOSTER: You freaked me.



BERMAN: You said the 17.

BROWN: I love that. Calling her out.

BERMAN: But did you see the smile on that face when she saw her mother?

BROWN: Speechless. She's speechless.

BERMAN: Man, I love that. Jocelyn Foster, Kambria's mother, she's in the Air Force. She'd been Southeast Asia. And her daughter said she has one plan now that mom is home, that is to have fun with her. Look at that hug. She could not squeeze her mother any tighter there.

BROWN: I'm sure they can take care of having fun. Right? I'm pretty sure they will. That is what you call a feel-good story.

All right. Coming up right here on EARLY START.


AARON CAVANAGH, INFORMATION SYSTEMS SECURITY CONSULTANT: You're looking at vendors that are putting these products to market without doing a lot of thorough research to security.


BROWN: Criminals finding a new way to target their victims. How they could get inside your home without you ever even knowing it. That's up next.


BERMAN: The Police.

BROWN: I know.


BROWN: Right. It's just one way to get your Monday morning started, right?

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone.

We have a disturbing story to share with you now and it's about your computer and hackers. As CNN Money's Laurie Segall tells us there's new evidence that those who want to spy on you are finding new ways to do it using the electronics around your home.


LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY TECH CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cyber attacks hitting close to home. Just recently a baby monitor was hacked. Security researchers showed us how they can take control of a television connected to the Internet. Watching us while we watch TV.

In a world where we're all online all the time, can you really ever flip the switch?

KYLE LOVETT, SECURITY RESEARCHER: We're looking actually at a live shot of a friend's house. It's not an individual we don't know but it is a live shot of somebody's home. And there are many others out there.

SEGALL: It turns out the Web cams inside your house can be turned on even when you're not home.

(On camera): How rampant is this?

LOVETT: I would say many, if not more than half of the IP cameras at least have an issue where it doesn't prompt the user to change the default username and password or it has a vulnerability where you can bypass security and good range of the camera.

SEGALL (voice-over): It's not just your Web cam. Any camera connected to the Internet could be vulnerable. Here we're looking at a traffic camera.

LOVETT: It will automatically --

SEGALL: Kyle is a security researcher. His goal is to call attention to these problems.

LOVETT: Many times, you can actually manipulate the camera themselves if you can actually get into the code where you can turn the camera, you can turn the LEDs on, you can turn the LEDs off.

SEGALL: Even children's laptops have been compromised.

CAVANAGH: You are looking at vendors putting these products to market without doing a lot of thorough research into security.

SEGALL: Sometimes the issue is the camera itself. Other times it's the router connected to the camera that has a flaw. The exploits Kyle was using haven't been fixed by the manufacturer.

JAMES YOUNGER, CYBER SECURITY INSTRUCTOR, TRAINACE: Many of these newer techs now can be done from anywhere around the world.

SEGALL (on camera): I certainly don't want somebody turning on my Web cam at home. What can I do to protect myself?

YOUNGER: First and foremost, change the default. Change the default username, change the default password.

SEGALL (voice-over): If you want to be careful always turn off remote access to your camera.

YOUNGER: By default, we can set them up so that we can remote into these cameras from other locations. So let's say that I'm at work and I want to see what's going on at home. Now that's one of the main benefits of having these cameras but it's also one of the main vulnerabilities.

Because usually if I can remote in from my -- from my, let's say, work back into my home, then potentially anyone can remote in from anywhere in the world back into my home.

SEGALL: Laurie Segall, CNN Money, New York.


BERMAN: How creepy is that? I mean, so many people have these baby cameras now that run in your kid's crib. And somebody could be hacking into that and watching your baby.

BROWN: Baby. I mean, it's one thing, you know, we knew that someone could hack into your computer on your Web cam on your computer but baby cams?

BERMAN: Creepy.

BROWN: And you are saying parents are now taking --


BERMAN: So many people have like the baby monitors.

BROWN: Right.

BERMAN: It used to be just audio. Now there is a camera. You can have the camera fixed on the kid and then people are hacking into that.


BERMAN: That's just plain creepy.

Speaking of a little creepy. We have a bizarre story now from Cleveland. We should tell you everyone here is OK. Believe it or not, that's crazy. This was all planned. Twenty-one people set themselves on fire over the weekend, breaking a Guinness World Record.

There is a record for this apparently. This is for wearing fireproof suits which is great news considering they're all on fire here. And the fire department was nearby, ready to put out the flames if anything went wrong.

Looks like "Thriller" or something. Looks like a bizarre video. This is part of a promotion by a local printing company. It raised money for a food bank there, a charity that helps women and children in Africa. A great cause.


BERMAN: A bizarre record but a great cause.

BROWN: So they chose to do this?

BERMAN: They chose to do it.

BROWN: They chose to set themselves -- they're pacing back and forth.

BERMAN: Speaking of records that must be kept by Guinness.

BROWN: I know.


BERMAN: This is a record for a number of people.

BROWN: There's a record for this, and now this.

BERMAN: Who set themselves on fire as part of a harmless joke.

BROWN: We should do a story in all the random --

BERMAN: I was nervous you're going to say we should do that. I'm like, I don't know. Let's exchange. I'm not setting myself on fire.


BROWN: Yes. Exactly.

BLITZER: It's not going to happen. BROWN: Exactly. There's got to be an extraordinary circumstance for that.

BERMAN: Exactly.

BROWN: All right. Coming up on this Monday morning, a young girl living in squalor. The people who claim to be her parents are accused of kidnapping. And now police are asking who is this girl and where did she come from?

Erin McLaughlin is live with the mounting questions in this mysterious case right after this break. Stay with us.