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Spy Game Change?; Pirates Kidnap Two U.S. Citizens; "A Major League Blame Game"; State Fair Accident; School Shooting Survivor Speaking Out; The Hunt For A Bourbon Thief; Classes Resume At Danvers High; Grisly Details of Teacher's Killing; Finger-Pointing Over Obamacare

Aired October 25, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this morning with an international game-changer. Germany and France, demanding a no-spy agreement with the U.S, a White House official offering the administration's take in a U.S. Today op-ed saying President Obama is calling for a review of surveillance practices after reports world leaders, our allies, personally spied on. Joe Johns is in Washington following developments. Good morning, Joe. The no-spy rule, whoever thought we'd hear about this?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fascinating, Chris. This is fallout from the latest revelations from admitted National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The outrage is predictable, even though we know various countries spy on each other pretty regularly. German President Angela Merkel and the French president are calling for closer cooperation among the intelligence gathering services. There are reports now that the U.S. is alerting some foreign intelligence agencies that Snowden has documents about their cooperation with the United States.

We haven't been able to confirm that independently with CNN. It is important to say that over the last few days, the U.S. director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, may have seen some of this coming, issuing a statement saying that French reports that the U.S. intercepted 70 million pieces of communications data from France are false, calling it inaccurate and misleading information.

Clapper said, quote, "While we're not going to discuss the details of our activities, we've repeatedly made it clear the United States gathers intelligence of the type gathered by all nations. The U.S. collects intelligence to protect the nation, its interests and allies from, among other things, threats such as terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." So there's a lot here, Chris, and I imagine we'll be working on this for a few days.

CUOMO: All right, Joe, this is intriguing to say the least, when that which is always kept hidden is now out in the open. What's going to happen? We'll have to follow it. Thank you for the reporting this morning.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you to a troubling mystery this morning. Two U.S. citizens kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Nigeria, the captain and chief engineer on a U.S. owned oil supply ship are the latest victims of violence in West Africa's pirate infested waters.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon this morning. You've been following all the developments, Barbara. What's the latest that we know?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Still no public word on the fate or location of the two Americans captured, not even yet, a public announcement of their names.


STARR (voice-over): The two American Mariners, the captain and chief engineer were kidnapped off this ship named "The Sea Retriever," attacked while traveling off the coast of Nigeria, resupplying oil installations. U.S. officials say here in the Gulf of Guinea, it was another act of piracy on the high seas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are seeking additional information about the incident so we may contribute to safely resolving this situation. Obviously our concern at this point is for the safe return of the two U.S. citizens.

STARR: The Sea Retriever is owned by the Louisiana-based company Edison Chouest Offshore. Attacks against Nigeria's oil facilities, shipping and personnel are rising steadily, 62 last year, an increase from each of the two years before.

CAPT. DAN MARCUS, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL OF MASTERS, MATES AND PILOTS: They're out for anything they can get their hands on. Cargo theft is a large part of it, be it machinery, supplies, be it the actual fuel, be it prisoners that they take ashore and hold at ransom, kidnapping, essentially. They're looking for money.

STARR: The rise in violence off Western Africa is in marked contrast to the decline in attacks off Somalia on the east coast where the world's attention was riveted in 2009 when Navy SEALs rescued Captain Richard Phillips after he was held by pirates, now, a Hollywood thriller starring Tom Hanks.

Since the SEALs sniper team killed Phillips' captors, maritime security has significantly improved off Somalia, but off the coast of Nigeria, a different story. Even now, European warships are off the coast, part of an exercise to improve security in this very unsettled oil-rich area. And the Nigerian Navy has issued a statement saying it will stage a rescue attempt, but U.S. officials are telling us right now they just are not sure where the men are, where they are being held -- Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: First and foremost have to find them and then we can figure out how it happened and how to make sure it doesn't happen again in the future. Barbara, thank you so much.

CUOMO: All right, let's go to John Berman, in for Michaela this morning with the headlines. Hi, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, thanks so much, Chris. Some fireworks to tell you about on Capitol Hill as the contractors who built the Obamacare website testified that the government waited until very close to the launch date to test the system. And they went ahead with enrollments on October 1st despite concerns that there would be problems. A spokeswoman for the Medicare agency is now admitting the site was not tested enough.

Five people injured, two seriously on a carnival ride at the North Carolina State Fair. This accident happening as people were getting off the vortex, which is a pendulum thrill swing ride when suddenly the ride started up again. The injured range in age from 14 to 39 and include the ride's operator. State inspectors are now investigating.

A wounded survivor of that school shooting in Nevada is speaking out this morning. The 12-year-old Mason spoke exclusively to CNN's Stephanie Elam describing the terrifying moments before he was shot in the stomach by his friend, Jose Reyes.


MASON, NEVADA SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I'm like please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me. I looked at him. I saw it. He braced me and shot me in my stomach.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He didn't say anything to you?

MASON: He didn't say anything. I'm like please don't shoot me, please don't shoot me, he raised it, boom, shot me.


BERMAN: Another classmate was wounded and a beloved math teacher was killed before the shooter turned the gun on himself.

Updating you now on the search for the real parents of that girl found in Greece known as Maria, a Bulgarian couple suspected of being here biological parents have been questioned by police and have now provided DNA samples. The woman has said to have admitted giving up the baby in Greece, but she denied reports that she received payment four years ago.

And who ripped off the Van Winkles? See what I did there? Authorities in Kentucky might have a new clue as they try to track down some super expensive and very rare bourbon. They're hoping that this surveillance video will help them identify a person interest. Nearly 200 bottles of this stuff, 200 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle was stolen from a distillery. There are some people who think this might have been an inside job. This will drive the price of Pappy Van Winkle up even more.

BOLDUAN: Notice who is missing today.

BERMAN: Michaela? Wow.

BOLDUAN: Just saying.

BERMAN: Pointing fingers there.

CUOMO: Really.

BOLDUAN: Don't look in my cup.

CUOMO: Don't protest too much.

BOLDUAN: Just don't look in my cup today.

CUOMO: You know who else who hasn't been around for a little while, Indra Petersons, a.k.a., I love that stuff that has been stolen.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I've been hibernating, guys.

CUOMO: The cold scared you. Eventually you remembered you had a job and back you are today.

PETERSONS: Back I am. Temperatures, this chill is spreading farther today, looking for it to go into the southeast, a lot of places under frost and freeze warnings. Look at Chicago right now, only 32 degrees. D.C. not as bad about 40. It looks like New York currently coming in at 41 degrees. Keep in mind, afternoon highs will be about a good 10 degrees below average, for many of you, into the 50s, New York 55, Boston today 51.

It will feel cooler for a big chunk of the day. We also have some gusty winds out there that will make it feel just a little bit cooler than it actually is. Some gusts 20 miles per hour or so. But as a lot of you are waking up getting ready for work, look at the temperatures, 30s in Philly, New York is only going to feel like 41, Boston only feeling like 40. That's the reason, it's these morning hours that are tougher before the sun comes out.

With that, the frost and freeze warnings that are out this morning. Look how expansive this is. We're talking about from the plains all the way into the northeast and today even stretching down into the southeast so big chunk of the country really being affected by all this cold Canadian air. You can see the jet stream today digging even farther south, even more people will be affected by this today.

As far as temperatures you can actually see that, pretty good line here where that cold air is spreading in. It looks like Birmingham coming in about 39 degrees. That's pretty much the story. More people affected. Definitely tough for farmers and everyone else acclimating like myself.

BOLDUAN: Good point. Thanks, Indra.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, new details on the murder of a high school teacher. We're hearing from a tune who the saw her and her accused killer just minutes before she died. CUOMO: And the latest window into what concussions can do in the NFL and otherwise, that's Brett Favre, legendary quarterback, says he's having memory loss. He's only 44 years old. His thought, maybe the results of the hit he suffered in the NFL? We'll tell you his story coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. New information this morning as students return to classes at Danvers High School, witnesses revealing what happened in the moments just leading up to the alleged murder of their beloved math teacher, Colleen Ritzer by one of her students.

Pamela Brown is in Danvers this morning with much more on this. You've been following this from the very beginning, Pamela. What's the latest?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the mystery surrounding the death of Colleen Ritzer has left students, parents, faculty left desperately seeking for answers. In fact, last night we spoke to one of Colleen Ritzer's former math students. She actually sat only two desks away from Philip Chism in that math class on Tuesday and actually heard Ms. Ritzer ask Philip to stay after class. She was the last person to see the two together on Tuesday.


BROWN (voice-over): Cambria says last period at Colleen Ritzer's math class Tuesday seemed normal. She didn't think anything of it when Ritzer asked 14-year-old Philip Chism to stay behind when the bell rang at 1:55 p.m.

CAMBRIA CLOUTIER, CHISM'S CLASSMATE IN RITZER'S MATH CLASS: He was a little bit more quiet than usual. He had his ear buds on. He wasn't drawing. He wasn't doing math. He wasn't paying attention. She said if he could stay after to do what he had missed that day.

BROWN: Nearly an hour and a half later, Cluotier vividly remembers seeing the two together into Ritzer's classroom.

CLOUTIER: I saw Ms. Ritzer standing at her desk computer, smiling at me and then I saw Philip slouching in his chair staring at me when I'd walk by.

BROWN: Fifteen minutes later, Chism allegedly followed Ritzer to a second floor girl's bathroom and launched a brutal assault, punching her and slashing her with a box cutter, according to a source close to the investigation.

CLOUTIER: If I had walked by there 15 minutes later, what could have happened? If I witnessed that, like what could I have done?

BROWN: The source tells CNN Chism allegedly stuffed her body in a recycling bin, rolled it out of the school and dumped her body about 20 feet into the woods behind the athletic fields. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know why someone could do this to someone so nice.

BROWN: Afterwards Chism allegedly changed clothes, went to a local Wendy's and on to a Hollywood hits movie theater according to a source. Those who knew Chism, a star junior varsity soccer player, say it doesn't add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure any of his teammates would say the same thing that he was just the nicest kid on the team probably.

CAIO SILVA, CHISM'S FRIEND AND TEAMMATE: He didn't demonstrate any signs. You know what I mean? Any signs of aggression, any signs towards any teachers.

BROWN: Ritzer's best friend, Jen Berger says she never made any mention of feeling threatened at school.

(on camera): Did she ever talk about concern about one of her students or anything like that?


BROWN (voice-over): Gone but not forgotten. Ritzer's legacy as an enthusiastic math teacher lives on. One of her inspiring quotes posted on the school's welcome sign. Her loss deeply felt as her students head back to class without her.


BROWN: We have reached out to Chism's attorney several times but haven't heard back. As mentioned before, classes do resume today. Parents were told last night at a meeting there will be one entrance open and there will be several security guards, police officers there on hand to help students feel safe as they return.

But this is certainly still a grieving community -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: Pamela, there's still a lot of open questions in the days and weeks to follow. We'll learn more about this boy and why this happened.

But let's bring in CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, former New York City prosecutor, criminal defense attorney.

Paul, thank you for being here.

One of the immediate concerns for families is going to be -- boy, our schools aren't safe. If it's not the guns, it's the box cutter. It's just too dangerous. We keep hearing about the events.

What's the reality of safety in schools?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, this is such a terrifying, horrifying incident. But I was quite surprised actually because I went to the statistics and looked. Going back as far as 1927, there have only been 70 acts of random violence in middle, elementary and high schools in America that have resulted in fatalities.

To put that in perspective, today there are 50 million students attending schools in America. Statistically, your kids are probably pretty safe. This is an anomaly and as terrifying as it is. Statistically, it's very rare.

CUOMO: So, it eases anxiety in the general. In the specific, this case still so troubling. Let's unpack it.

The kid who did it, whatever the reasons, still a kid. People say, wow, tried as an adult.

When is juvenile tried as an adult? What circumstances, specifically in Massachusetts?

CALLAN: Laws change radically in this era. You know, you look, in the '60s and '70s, if you were 14 years old, into the juvenile system. It wasn't considered to be criminal activity. Now, when there's a violent crime we treat juveniles as adults.

Massachusetts has a strict law, if you're 14 and you commit a crime that would constitute murder as an adult, you will be tried as an adult. That's what's happening now in Massachusetts.

CUOMO: So the discussion about discretion is somewhat taken out. The law is there. There's a definition, the judge had to follow it. We'll see what happens with charges for premeditation and what not that may charge it down the line.

The secondary concern is here why? Why this happened? Safe to assume we're going to start hearing about this kid's mental state or lack thereof, emotional problems. The call will be mental illness once again, goes neglected, goes untreated, deals with a stigma and we get these horrible outcomes. We must make change.

How easy is it to change how we deal with mentally ill?

CALLAN: It's incredibly difficult, because I was looking at this trying to figure out how could we have warded this off? You know, this kid leading scorer on soccer team, describe by teammates as warm, articulate, seemingly nothing abnormal about him, moved from Tennessee to Massachusetts.

How would you know if there had been a history of odd behavior? Well, you'd have to require that his medical records be attached to his school records. If there was a history of mental illness he would be stigmatized for the rest of his school career by teachers who would know he had been labeled mentally ill in another state.

So, you have privacy rights being balanced against the need for safety in American schools and frankly there's no easy answer to this. I think ultimately privacy probably will prevail in terms of we're not going to require medical records of our kids to follow them from school to school, particularly psychiatric records. CUOMO: But it's going to be a topic of discussion here because of policy and also because of the applicability of law. His motive is going to be very important in terms of what charges stick.

Fair point?

CALLAN: Absolutely. But when you look at this fact pattern, you know, there was blood on second floor of the elementary school, this wonderful, wonderful teacher killed with a box cutter and then the body was found in the woods. So, it sounds like a really -- it sounds like a planned killing and then the body being taken to another site. There are descriptions of multiple sites in the woods around Danvers.

I'm -- there's a lot of premeditation evidence available already for the police here.

CUOMO: And again, happening at 3:30 in the afternoon in a place he knew he would be discovered. You know, what was going through his head, we don't know, because obviously of who's life was taken and where it was done, there's such sensitivity. We have to know more. And that's why we're following it so closely.

Thank you for the analysis. Always appreciate it.

CALLAN: Always nice being with you.

CUOMO: We'll have you back on this for sure.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the fallout continues over the Obamacare website. Contractors placing blame squarely on the administration for the mess. So, what happens now? John King is here in our political gut check.

Also ahead, a daughter on the stand testifying against her father. He's accused of killing his wife, her mother. What she had to say, coming up.


CUOMO: You remember how the politicians pledged to end the blame game? Well, it seems that was only about the shutdown, because Obamacare's roll-out -- fair game. Developers of the sign-up website were in the congressional crosshairs but they're pointing the finger back at the Obama administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in particular.

Let's bring in Joe Johns. He's following the developments for us from Washington.

Joe, how do we think it goes?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, plenty of blame to go around. CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the secretary of health and human services have had a rough week so far. But the secretary for her part is not backing down. Well, Congress is calling for heads to roll.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The face of the controversy, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, was defiant Thursday as 32 Republican lawmakers signed a letter calling for her to step down.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HHS SECRETARY: Well, the majority of people calling me for me to resign I would say are people who I don't work for, and who don't want this program to work in the first place.

JOHNS: Meanwhile on Capitol Hill a firing squad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield?

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: No, I will not yield to this monkey court, or whatever this thing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a monkey court.

JOHNS: Government contractors involved in the roll-out of the Obamacare website pointed fingers at each other and the Obama administration for a last minute demand requiring consumers to register before browsing for insurance.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R), LOUISIANA: How late in the game did they make that decision to change a drastic system like this?

CHERYL CAMPBELL, CGI: For CGI, they asked us to turn that flag off or functionality off two weeks before we go live.

JOHNS: The administration isn't conceding that this last-minute decision caused all of the problems, but contractors said the scramble left the site under-tested before its roll-out.

Lawmakers said Americans got a raw deal.

REP. TIM MURPHY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: $500 million later, we find the American public have been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers.

JOHNS: Meanwhile, as the contractors rush to fix the site, even some Democrats are questioning the requirement for everyone to buy health insurance.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and Congressman John Barrow are leading an effort to delay the mandate by one year.

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen wants to keep the mandate in place, but she and several others want the deadline to have insurance extended past the end of next March.


JOHNS: Congress is just getting started with the botched roll-out of the Obamacare exchanges. There are two more hearings scheduled for next week, including one with Sebelius and the other with the head of CMS, which is the government agency supposed to be quarterbacking all of this -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: One big takeaway from the hearings yesterday, the pressure is on Kathleen Sebelius when she testifies next week. Joe, thank you so much.

Let's go right from there to -- let's talk about the political gut check of the morning. The blame game continues as Joe laid out over the botched Obamacare roll-out with the Web site contractors testifying at a congressional hearing, putting the blame on the administration.

Chief national correspondent John King is here with more on that.

A tough day for the administration. It was pretty clear they said it wasn't our fault, we were doing our jobs. This goes to the people who are supposed to be overseeing this whole ship. What's the task then now that we know Kathleen Sebelius is going to be testifying next week? What's the task and challenge for her?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, she faces a very high credibility bar and she's not speaking just for herself, she's speaking for the president, obviously. The task is she says it's not just a website. OK.

But she also says it's getting better every day. She needs to be able to prove that.

One of the ways you turn the volume down when you're in the middle of a controversy like this is stop giving your critics new information. So, they need to be transparent, get out everything they can about why this happened and prove they learned a lesson and things are getting better.

If you continue to see problems with the website, if as Republicans say the website is a gateway to more problems with the program, then the secretary will keep feeling the heat.

BOLDUAN: So the -- there's some Democrats saying now pushing for a delay in the mandate, a delay in the penalty or an extension of the enrollment period at the very least. Is that gaining any more steam this morning?

KING: Yes. The administration is digging in its heels saying it's not ready to do that just yet, especially a delay in the enrollment period I think is a likely outcome, especially if they can't prove a week from now, a month from now, they've cleared up almost all of the problems in terms of getting consumers into the system, getting consumers through the application and enrollment process, extending the deadline, is sort of an easy option, if you will. The administration has been reluctant to drop or extend the mandate because it's the heart of the program.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. That's really what funds a lot of the program, essentially when you look at how it's all laid out.

But is there a tipping point on this? Where they're going to have to do something if these problems continue to plague this program?

KING: The tipping point is congressional math. If you have enough Democrats, Joe just laid it out quite nicely. You have some Democrats, with be a few conservative Democrats saying let's just essentially push the program back a year. That's what they're saying when they say let's extend the deadline, give it another year. They're essentially saying put the program on pause, Obamacare, the heart of it, on pause for a year. There's not enough support among the Democrats for that just yet.

So, the administration will be counting the votes in the Senate right now, because obviously the Republicans control the House, trying to make sure it has a Democratic firewall in the United States Senate. If it starts to see the math turning against it, then it will look for some sort of a compromise like extending the enrollment deadline, maybe something else.

BOLDUAN: Does the calendar play into this as well? I was reminding myself where they are in their congressional calendar. I think there are only five weeks from here until Christmas that the house will be in session. Does that play on any side favor in this? The more Congress is away, the better it is for the administration or vice versa?

KING: I think you just hit the nail on the head. Better for the administration if they start to show some progress, then Congress goes home. What those members of Congress here at home will decide what kind of a mood they're in when they come back. If the administration can show some progress, show that it's learned the lessons, this mess, chaos of the roll-out with the website and other problems, if you can show it's building every day, then Congress goes home, the volume is turned down and we start the New Year, a very contentious election year which will be defined by the implementation of Obamacare.