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Three Children Dead After New York Apartment Fire; Rally Against NSA Spying Scandal Planned; 25 Saudi Women Protest Law By Getting Behind The Wheel; Rob Brown Files Lawsuit Against Macy's And NYPD; GOP Members Calling For Kathleen Sebelius' Resignation
Aired October 26, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. It's 6:00 on the nose here in the east. It is a beautiful evening in New York City. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us. Of course, you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.
We'll start with new allegations in just the past few hours. Could be a new test with U.S. relations with its closest allies. A German magazine said the NSA has been spying on Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone for more than a decade, going all the way back to 2002 during the Bush administration. And "Der Spiegel" says say it was even going on when President Obama was visiting Berlin.
In Washington, today, hundreds of Americans sick and tired of the NSA spying scandal made a show of force at the capitol. They had a simple message for the nation's spy masters, no more ease dropping.
CNN's Erin McPike has more on the protest and the guest who was there in spirit, if not in person.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN GENERAL ASSIGNMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well Don, organizers say that this rally is significant because it's the largest one yet protesting massive surveillance by the NSA and also Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who, of course, opened up the entire controversy earlier this year made a contribution to it by providing statement that a representative at the rally read during the programming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSELYN RADACK, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: The fourth amendment in our bill of rights prohibits government not only from sea searching personal affects without a warrant, but from seizing them in the first place and doing so in secret. Holding to the principle, we declare that mass surveillance has no place in this country. It is time for reform. Elections are coming and we are watching you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCPIKE: Well Don, it's important to note these protesters were engaging over the domestic piece of this and that's the data collection from personal devices of private citizens in the United States. I will also point out that Hillary Clinton said in remarks Friday night, that she understands the frustration over this kind of intrusion. And she thinks there ought to be a bigger conversation about why the United States practices these kinds of techniques.
Now on a broader scale, the White House is facing heat from other countries, especially our allies over the surveillance of foreign leaders. And they have been trying to calm tensions over that. But they say that they understand it's been a problem for our allies -- Don.
LEMON: All right, Erin McPike from Washington. Thank you, Erin.
Tomorrow, on CNN's "STATE OF THE NATION," Candy Crowley is going to talk exclusively to Congressman Mike Rogers about the latest developments on NSA surveillance. Rogers is chairman of the House select committee on intelligence. That's "STATE OF THE UNION" tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. and at noon eastern as well.
The mother of a boy who police say kills his teacher with a box cutter and dumped her body behind the school says she is heartbroken. As a matter of fact, sources say that he used as box cutter. Colleen Ritzer's algebra student, Phillip Chism has been charged with her murder, which took place Tuesday in Danvers, Massachusetts. Until now, Phillip's family has been silent, now a statement from his mother.
Alexandra Field has the latest.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, there are a lot of questions about who Phillip Chism is, the 14-year-old charge with murdering his math teacher, Colleen Ritzer. Now, for the first time his mother, Diana Chism, is breaking her silence. She issued a statement with the help of her attorney. That statement reads in parts. Chism family were unexpectedly and inconceivably changed forever. Mrs. Chism's heart is broken for the Ritzer family and the lost of their daughter and sister, Colleen Ritzer.
It continues, she would like you to know that her son was born in love and is dear to her, very dear. She is struggling to understand this and respectfully asks for some time to process this. And the statement wraps up saying that she cares for the world's hurt over this and greatly hopes for your prayers for the Ritzer family, the Danvers community, for her son and for all those affected by the tragedy.
Diana Chism, again, issuing that statement with the help of her attorney as investigators work to find out more about Phillip Chism, the 14-year-old who transferred to Danvers high school earlier for a fear from a school in Tennessee -- Don.
LEMON: Alexandra Field. Thank you, Alexandra.
President Barack Obama dedicated his weekly address today to defending Obamacare and its enrollment Web site healthcare.gov. His own people just admitted that at various times since this October 1st launch, 70 percent of users couldn't even create an account. But the president said he has people working 24/7 to get the site fully functional. And he also went after Republican critics who say health and human secretary Kathleen Sebelius should lose her job over the enrollment debacle.
GOP senator Ted Cruz renewed that call speaking in Iowa today. He defended his part in the government shutdown championing the opposition. He and some House Republicans showed against Obamacare in particular. Senator even referenced his marathon filibuster in the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If the house hadn't led, this all would have stopped in its tracks. That was extraordinary and it demonstrated the power of the grass roots. It also elevated the national debate. It elevated the case so the harms from Obamacare are penetrating all over this country as people are realizing, this thing isn't working. And let me be clear, 21 hours is a long time. I mean, that's almost as long as it takes to sign up on the Obamacare Web site.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's why it's also interesting to see Republicans in Congress expressing so much concern that people are having trouble buying health insurance through the new Web site especially considering they spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The next round in the Obamacare battle will take place next week with Kathleen Sebelius when she testifies before Congress. It is far the way from the final round. It is far from the final round, I should say.
And CNN's Joe Johns has a look ahead right now -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The president's management guru, Jeff Zients, who has been brought in to help says the Web site is fixable and he promised healthcare.gov would be running smoothly by the end of November. But they aren't bringing any new government contractors, one of the existing contractors involve in the original design of the Web site, a company known as Quality Services or QSSI, a division of united health care group will manage the project.
Meanwhile, Republicans continue their drumbeat of calls for the secretary of health and human services to step down. Kathleen Sebelius said she didn't foresee the problems but told a panel discussion in San Antonio to sign up, check out Obamacare and not to believe what they have heard. Sebelius and the head of the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services are expected to testify on Capitol Hill next week. But that won't be the end of the investigation. Congressman Darrel Issa, the Republicans top investigators on Capitol Hill has threatened to issue subpoenas if the administrations doesn't turn over documents related to the Web site on Monday. The administration has said it plans to comply with this request, but need more time.
As for the party of the president, a total of ten Democratic senators now calling for an extension of the open enrollment date for Obamacare past the end of next March. Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and Kay Hagen of North Carolina among others join New Hampshire's Senator Gene Shaheen, who has been leading the effort to give people who don't have health insurance more time to get it.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
LEMON: Joe, thank you very much.
Our Doctor Sanjay Gupta spoke with the woman who some blamed for Obamacare's troubled launch. You are going to hear his chat with health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius coming up.
Plus this, students make an incredible escape from a bus engulfed in flames.
LEMON: So, crank up the machine for election 2016. I don't think it's a hint machine especially for possible candidates whose last name with the letter "c." We are talking Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz. Possible 2016 presidential candidates are finding available microphones and cameras and audiences and they are sounding off.
Former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, had harsh words for some Washington politicians yesterday when she spoke at Colgate University.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Now, recently in Washington, we have seen what happens when politicians choose scorched earth over common ground. When they operate in what I like to call an evidence-free zone, with ideology trumping everything else. It's not only how that makes us feel here at home. The entire world watches. How we make our decisions surprisingly closely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Neither Clinton nor Cruz had declared as candidates. But Cruz is talking election strategy on his world wind tour of Iowa. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: You guys pushing for a stand on Obamacare, that's risky. No, no, no. Just keep your head down and we'll win races. That's not how you win races. By the way, it's driven by the old Nixonadage (ph) that the primary you run to the right in the general you run to the left. What complete poppycock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I just turned to Princeton historian and professor Julian Zelizer and you have been here before. And I said did he just say poppycock? I haven't heard that in a long time.
In those sound bites, you think that's opening notes to possible campaigns for Cruz. I don't even think -- I think that Ted Cruz is obviously running for president right now. Hillary Clinton is obviously running for president. I just think they are running.
JULIAN ZELIZER, HISTORIAN, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well Hillary Clinton, obviously, is everything other than announcing. She's been pretty clear on this. She's waiting to make the final calculations.
And Ted Cruz, it certainly seems like it. And he has used the budget battles, the health care battles as a platform to really launch himself within little time into a national, political celebrity.
LEMON: The interesting thing is about -- I mean, we all -- we pretty much knew that Hillary Clinton was running for president. But I think what many people find disingenuous about Ted Cruz is that they think that this whole thing with the debt ceiling, with Obamacare with shutting the government down was really just to elevate his profile so that he can just elevate his profile so he can run for president.
ZELIZER: Well, yes. I mean, Hillary Clinton can use her experience as a way to promote what she's about. What she's done in government is a reason to be excited about her. I think many people feel with Senator Cruz, that what he's done in government might be exactly why he shouldn't be president. That he's kind of used the process as a way to just make a name for himself.
Let's move on. Let's talk about Sarah Palin now because she is on the comeback trail after keeping a low profile for months. Her adviser tells CNN that the recent government shutdown energized her. The shutdown highlighted the GOP battle, of course, between conservative tea party groups and establishment Republicans. That battle is right in Palin's wheelhouse. A former vice presidential candidate will soon launch a national book tour and a trip to Iowa. And her aid say Palin may get involved in campaigns to unseat long time Republican senator Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham.
So again, Julian Zelizer, do you think she still has political juice, the impact she had a few years back?
ZELIZER: No, certainly not. I mean, her clout has diminished and the tea party right now is suffering. We have to remember that even though they are energized, they are not a very popular part of the party. She's still in the political mix, but she has fallen from where she was when she ran for vice president. And it's unclear how much her endorsement counts now. Certainly, I don't think we are thinking of her as a national figure for presidential race at this point.
LEMON: No. You don't think -- but do you think she can be influential? Because here is why I ask because the tea party's national brand took a really big hit during this stalemate. And I'm just wondering if she has any -- if her sway with Republicans are limited because of that.
ZELIZER: They are. I mean, I think right now, all national tea party figures are a little suspect for national Republican leaders. And Palin is not just Ted Cruz recent person. She's someone who historically now has had a lot of trouble nationally. So, I think a lot of Republicans are nervous and skeptical about her as someone who could really deliver votes and deliver a national ticket.
LEMON: And even with her though -- I mean, a lot of people liked her, even if you didn't agree with her politically, for her sort of tell it as it is style. But, you know, run its course?
ZELIZER: No, I think it's run its course. And I think she needs to do a lot more to reestablish herself if she wants to have that national persona.
LEMON: How would she do that?
ZELIZER: She has to endorse people at a really successful level in terms of their winning and raise money.
LEMON: Or have a political job as governor.
ZELIZER: Right. At this point, she's on TV a lot. But she's not really doing much in the political field.
LEMON: She's a good pundit though.
ZELIZER: She is a very good pundit for what she does.
LEMON: All right, stand by. We are going to talk more.
Next, that conversation that we promised you between our Dr. Sanjay Gupta and health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, talking of course, about Obamacare and -- or the Affordable Care Act, as many of you like to call it.
A tragedy in New York leaves three young children dead.
LEMON: Republicans are blaming Obamacare's troubled web launch on health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In an exclusive interview, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta sat down with Sebelius.
Princeton University historian and professor, Julian Zelizer is here and I want to get your reaction to this. Let's listen to it. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: The concern is, if there's this idea people have a hard time signing up, they didn't get signed up for whatever reason on time, can they still be penalized? Can you penalize them if it was so cumbersome to get signed up in the first place?
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, I think that the reality is, people, as I just said, can sign up any of three ways. And more are being able to do it every day.
GUPTA: Does that mean the Web site is not that important, then?
SEBELIUS: It is certainly a tool. And we think it can be an easy tool for people who are tech savvy and want to use a Web site. And we are determined that it would be a lot easier than it is now.
What I know though, and is that lots of people and people I talk to every day are not tech savvy, want a live human being to sit and answer questions, want to talk to someone over the phone, want to talk to friends and neighbors about health care providers in the network then go back and ask questions.
So, we anticipated everyone would never use the Web site. That needs to be part of the opportunity. The market is, at the end of the day, what it is. This isn't the Web site. It is about health care and about affordable plans.
GUPTA: Yes or no, is there any way the individual mandate would be delayed?
SEBELIUS: Well, I don't think that really is the question right now.
GUPTA: Did you try signing on the site yourself?
SEBELIUS: I have created an account on the site. I have not tried signing up because I have insurance.
GUPTA: Did you find it challenging? What did you think of it?
SEBELIUS: well, I think there are certainly are some challenges. It could be smoother, it could be easier to access. And that is really what we are working on. I mean, nobody says the site is working the way we want it to. Certainly, the president acknowledged that yesterday. No one could be more frustrated than I am and the president that this isn't smooth. People are signing up every day. People have available coverage and no one, I think it is important to say Sanjay, is losing coverage now. The earliest the plans start is January 1st. If you sign up by the 15th of December, you will have coverage on day one.
LEMON: So Republicans are calling for her job, Julian. So how -- did she help or hurt her case in the interview? ZELIZER: I don't think she's helped her case in this interview and others. I think the answer is to fix this and the administration has to be very aggressive in showing they are fixing the Web site. It is an important delivery mechanism. And I think it's the wrong time to say, well, not a lot of people are going to use it anyway. So, I think that posture is not what works.
LEMON: Not a lot of people are going to use the internet to sign up? I do most everything on the internet including bills, mortgage, I bought my car on the internet.
ZELIZER: And the administration ha (INAUDIBLE). And they have compared it constantly to, you know, travel sites and everything like that. So, at this point, you don't back off.
LEMON: It's interesting you said that. Because the last car I bought, I saw it on the Internet. I contacted the dealership on the Internet. They said apply for, you know, thing on the Internet for loan. What is that mean? That is a very good point. I just thought about that.
I want to talk more about this troubled plague, Obamacare Web site. It got slammed on Capitol Hill this week. But I want you to listen to this and we will talk. This House lawmakers quiz government contractors on what they knew about testing the Web site before it went live.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LEONARD LANCE (R), NEW JERSEY: So, you knew at that time there was no end-to-end testing as of that date?
CHERYL CAMPBELL, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, CGI FEDERAL: It was not our area of responsibility for end-to-end testing.
LANCE: Do you believe you have a responsibility to tell the subcommittee that at that time there was no end-to-end testing?
CAMPBELL: I don't believe that question came up, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, there was a lot of passing the buck. The contractor to contractor to contractor for the Web site's performance. I didn't hear anybody -- I listened to a lot of it, I was actually on breaking news last week. But I listened to a lot of it. I didn't hear anybody say I'm sorry, the site is not working like it should.
ZELIZER: Right. In some ways, it's simple. I think people, the contractors, the administration is defensive. They feel these political attacks. The political attacks are up. They are trying to find a scandal where it's about incompetence.
LEMON: Listen, just say hey, it's not working like we want it to work. Sorry, we really screwed up. We are going to try to make it work. Because I heard someone last night, I think it was politically correct. And I think it was actually Reverend Al Sharpton who made a very good point. The goal of this was not to have to this bang wiz Web site. It was to have Affordable Health Care which is what it is called, the Affordable Care Act. That's the goal of it. Now, the Web site, yes, they should take personal responsibility. It's terrible.
ZELIZER: No, absolutely. And this is one of the portals to get the promised health care for a lot of younger people.
LEMON: And the thing is, right, it is dependent upon young people because young people are going to thank their older people. For them to say hey, listen, you know, not a lot of people are going to do it this way. This is how young people do things now, correct?
ZELIZER: No, absolutely. So, the key is to get this repaired and get the conversation back to what the health care program is going to do before it runs into problems. They still have time.
LEMON: OK. So, let's talk about the political price of the less than perfect Obamacare launch, right? This is his signature achievement for the administration so far. What is the political fallout from this and legacy, you know, of course, if this doesn't work out, if enough people don't sign up, then the whole thing got falls apart, doesn't it?
ZELIZER: Look. If they fix it now and the subsidies, for most people, the costs and premiums are going down and people are insured, I think, this won't be a story we talk about 50 years from now. But if it has some kind of domino effect and it creates less political support for the program, it could be part of a broader story of like a complex health care program that never came together.
LEMON: I think both sides have a point here. If here is the thing, then I will say this and I will let you react. I have often been told, don't give your enemies ammunition, correct? They gave the Republicans ammunition, right, because this doesn't really talk about how. Republicans are using this to say well, this doesn't work then Obamacare doesn't work which is not necessarily true. But there are a few months until you have to -- you are mandated to have this. So, there is time.
ZELIZER: No. I think you are right on both points. If someone is attacking you, you certainly don't give them the ammunition. At the same time, they still need to do this. They have a couple months to repair it and to entice people into this. So, they need to do this and move it a good speed.
LEMON: They better get to work now.
LEMON: Because it does not look good. Perception can be reality sometimes. Thank you. It is always a pleasure to have you.
ZELIZER: Thank you.
LEMON: After the break, two big retailers, Barney's and Macy's hit by racial discrimination suits and one involves a Hollywood star.
And look at that fire right there. Students escape a bus engulfed in flames.
LEMON: A fire inside a New York apartment started with a lit candle and ended in death, the deaths of three young children. They were brothers, the oldest just five. The youngest 4-months-old. The fire spread just a day after the power company Con-Ed cut electricity of the apartment. A neighbor says she could hear them screaming.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because the door was stock so I keep the high up and I fell back in the door opening, all the fire came out. All I could hear is them hollering. And I tried to go in. I couldn't go in. So much smoke and fire. It was the big flame. The whole front kitchen and everything was on fire. I couldn't get them. I couldn't get the kids out. I heard them crying and I couldn't get them. I couldn't get them out. I tried.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, the boys' mother and their two sisters were taken to the hospital along with three other people.
A close call for a group of high school students from Kentucky and this video really tells the story there. Look at this. Students got out of this bus just before it was engulfed in flames on i-75 in Tennessee. They were on a field trip to the Great Smoky Mountains when someone noticed smoke at the back of the bus.
First, it was Barney's New York, now Macy's Herald Square, the target of a racial discrimination suit. And this complaint involves a Hollywood actor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB BROWN, ACTOR: This card isn't fake. It's my card. I have so much ID on me. This is my card. It's not a fake card. I just bought this watch. They were not hearing me. All I kept hearing was it's a fake card, you are going to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: HBO series Treme star, Rob Brown says he was racially profiled in Macy's Herald Square last June. He was buying his mother's graduation gift, a $1,000 Movado watch when undercover police officers arrested him and accused him of credit card fraud. Brown announced yesterday that he is suing both Macy's and the New York city police department.
Macy's says it is investigating the allegations. The NYPD says, it is investigating Rob Brown's incident as well as recent complaints at Barney's. Two shoppers there said that they were also accused of police officers of buying expensive items with fake credit cards. We will certainly keep you updated on that.
The Nigerian Navy coming up empty in the search for two Americans kidnapped off the coast. Pirates attacked the ship this capturing the captain and chief engineer. The U.S. citizens were taken from an oil supply ship like this one. American officials aren't giving a motive for the attack. It's not uncommon for pirates to take crew members for ransom.
Saudi Arabia now, an effort today to help women get a common privilege here in the United States, the ability to drive a car. Today, advocate say at least 25 Saudi women protested by getting behind the wheel. It was a small outcry if you go by the number, but demonstrators say the defiance sends a big message to Saudi government.
And CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom has been tracking the protest.
BUTHAINA AL-NASR, SAUDI JOURNALIST: It's not about driving. It's about control. To remind the men that we are controlling.
MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Women like Buthaina Al-Nasr aren't just emboldened lately, they are more driven than ever to change their society, even though they still aren't allowed to drive in their country.
AL-NASR: There's nothing wrong with women are driving.
JAMJOOM (voice-over): A simple statement the world over, but a rallying cry in Saudi Arabia. The last country on earth where females are prohibited from getting behind the wheel which is Buthaina, a prominent journalist moved to Lebanon.
This morning, she takes us along while dropping her 8-year-old son, Sham, off at school. She could be arrested for running such an errand in Iran (ph). A new movement, the October 26th the women's driving campaign aims to change all that by urging women to defy the driving ban. It's supported by a growing number of female and male voices.
ABDULLAH AL-ALAMI, AUTHOR: There is a group of ultraconservatives here who will try to do anything and everything to prevent women from exercising their rights, be it driving, going to school, working, many, many men that I know, we feel that it is crucial for us to support woman who do this.
JAMJOOM (voice-over): Despite the pressure, the government has not indicated it is going to review the position. So, numerous women have already taken to the streets and posted videos of themselves driving. Some, even receiving signs of support from men in their cars. In 2011, Manal Al-Sharif was jailed for more than a week for doing the same. She's as determined now as she was then.
MANAL AL-SHARIF, SAUDI WOMEN'S RIGHT ACTIVIST: For me, I wouldn't stop until the first driver's license is issued to a Saudi woman.
JAMJOOM (voice-over): Manal lives in the United Arab Emirates now, but insists things back home are getting better.
AL-SHARIF: When I shipped my car from Saudi Arabia to Dubai, I didn't change the plates because I'm planning to take this car and drive it myself back home to Saudi Arabia.
JAMJOOM (voice-over): It would be a fitting end to a long journey, but one that has to wait awhile longer. This road trip isn't over just yet.
LEMON: That was Mohammed Jamjoom and the Saudi police colonel tells CNN that five woman were spotted driving today. He says they were not arrested, but sent home with their male guardians after signing a pledge not to drive again.
The author of a new book argues that Abraham Lincoln's killer was not killed in a rage just days after the president's death. HE says John Wilkes Booth lived for 40 more years and that he has got a letter written by Booth to prove it. That's next.
LEMON: For as long as history has been reported, there have always been alternate version as we call them, conspiracies, shadow government, secret assassins, even aliens. Those arte Florida's who has written a book about conspiracies and he knows a lot about them, right? He is a character.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my God, he was absolutely phenomenal. Talk about conspiracies. I mean, you talk about brad, you probably know him as the host of the "Decoded" on the history channel. Now, he just released this book about the world's biggest conspiracy theories. And while there are new details in the book about these conspiracies, I asked Brad what makes this book different. Take a listen.
BRAD MELTZER, HOST, BRAD MELTZER'S DECODED: I just want to countdown the top ten conspiracies throughout history that want to give people the evidence. So, a number of years ago, I got contacted by John Wilkes Booth family through their lawyer who killed Abraham Lincoln. And they come to me and they say, you know, our relative John Wiles Booth, supposedly after 12 days after he shot Lincoln, he did in the Maryland barn. But they tell me he didn't die. They say we have a story to tell you. It's a family secret. And that he didn't die. He has escaped. He's not the one buried in the coffin. And Brad, do you want to hear the story? Yes, I want to hear the story, right. What we did is, so when you get to that chapter, and it's really important to see how the book works. When you get to that chapter, you open it. Every chapter has a secret compartment and then you pull out. This is the letter that John Wilkes Booth wrote right after and left behind after he shot Abraham Lincoln. So, chapter by chapter, you get to see the evidence and examine it yourself.
FLORES: Admit it, there's a thrill to that.
MELTZER: Well, you know, if the goal was to make history come alive for people, to me, that is what is history really is. The history is not just a bunch of dates and facts to memorize. History is a selection process. And it chooses every single one of us every single. And the only question is, do you hear the call.
FLORES: And before we get into the conspiracies, you know, some of these conspiracies, I have to ask you about what's going on today because we are living history. In Washington, so many things going on with the shutdown and the debt ceiling.
MELTZER: Listen, when you have crazy, you are going to have a conspiracy theory, right? They always go hand in hand. And there's nothing crazier right now than our government. And I think the truth is, is that conspiracies come about when we are scared at a people. When America gets scared, we start pointing fingers, we start fighting and that why conspiracies are born.
FLORES: And you want an answer.
MELTZER: We want an answer. We want to explain why is this chaos here? I mean, you feel like the world is about to end. And wouldn't it be easier to blame it on something. And that to me is worth conspiracy is really get born.
FLORES: So, let's start with the Kennedy assassination because for some reason, that fascinates everybody.
MELTZER: Yes. And you know why it fascinates us? Because John F. Kennedy isn't the only thing that died that day. Because also, what we lost was the American dream that day. A part of the American dream died. Here was the man with the perfect life and the perfect wife and family and the big and the big beautiful White House and gone, undone in one day by a high school dropout.
And so, it lingers with us. But to me, if you want to know who killed Kennedy, it's interesting. Historically in the 1960s, you know who we thought killed Kennedy, we thought it was a communist, it was the Russians, it was the Cubans, out great enemy at the height of the cold war.
If you look in the '70s, it is time of Watergate in Vietnam. So, who killed Kennedy? Now, it was our own government. That there was the CIA that did it.
But if you look in the '80s, the height of the godfather, Maris (ph), and giving away the scar face, who killed Kennedy? Now it is the mafia, it was the mob.
So decade by decade, if you want to know who killed JFK, it's always whoever America is most afraid of at that moment in time. And to me, that's the great legacy of JFK in a strange way is this president who showed so many of us our highest hopes.
Also, in his death, reveal our greatest fears.
FLORES: Then we move on to D.B. Cooper, jumped from an airplane over the pacific northwest with bags of stolen cash. What are we going to find in your book?
MELTZER: So here, one of the greats story. The only American unsolved sky jacking in history. This guy gets on a plane, says he has a bomb, says give me $200,000 and four parachutes, I'm exploding this plane. And they give them the money, they land the plane, he gets his money and his parachutes, and when they think he's going for the getaway, he opens the back of the plane and jumps out, disappears in thin air. The perfect crime.
You tell me someone commit the perfect crime (INAUDIBLE). So, what you see in here is (INAUDIBLE) who really is. And we find a northwest pilot who not only matches the description of D.B. Cooper and used to wear a toupee so that he could, you know, in a sense that he was bald, he is wearing a toupee. So, it is amazing when you see side by side pictures. We show you the pictures. We show you his bank accounts. And here is a northwest pallet where at one point he is digging ditches and somehow, magically, over $150,000 is in his bank account.
FLORES: There has been reports of someone that confessed on his death bed that he was --?
MELTZER: Yes, one of my favorite part. Listen. I don't believe many confessions. I don't believe most people when they say, you know, people will always lie about certain things. But you what I believe, I believe death bed confessions. There are very few people who on their death bed, at the moment when they are leaving this planet would decide, you know what, I'm going to tell a lie now. That, to me, is when the truth comes out. And it his brother who actually said Kenny Christianson, is the person we have in the book, who said, you know what, I think my brother was D.B. Cooper.
We actually went to his house and we did thermal imaging. And what we found above his bedroom, and no one have been up there, and we found a secret hiding spot underneath the insulation that could perfectly hold an attache case.
Now, I don't know about your bedroom and what's above it, but mine does not have secret compartments above in to it. And to men, that is one of the signs that we stop and you go, oh, my God, this is fitting together here. So, you will see our theory in the book.
FLORES: Have there always been conspiracy theories like in the Roman times?
MELTZER: Well, you know, listen, there's a group that thinks -- I mean let's go forget Roman times, let's go biblical, right? They will say, there's one group we found that is neo-Nazi group would thinks that God is the bad guy in the story and the devil is the good one.
As far as I'm concerned, that's a pretty good first conspiracy theory, right? I mean, there it is right from the start. As long as we tell stories as a people, you are always going to have people who want to tell a different story.
LEMON: Different perspective.
FLORES: Definitely, Don. My favorite was when I asked about what was going on right now in Washington. And he said when you have crazy, you always have a good conspiracy theory.
LEMON: "History Decode," it came out Tuesday. And Brad Meltzer is always fun and so is Rosa Flores. Thank you.
LEMON: A big attraction at SeaWorld has a dark secret, next.
LEMON: In the real world, a person with his reputation might be considered a serial killer. But at SeaWorld, he's a big attraction. I'm talking Tillicum, the trained orca whale performing tricks for adoring crowd but hiding a dark history. This whale is responsible for three deaths.
Here is CNN's Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colin Baird grew up on the southern tip of Vancouver island. As a teenager, he started working as a local marine park called Sealand of the pacific.
COLIN BAIRD, FORMER KILLER WHALE TRAINER: Would go after school, weekends as, you know, growing up. And just thought that's how everybody grew up.
SAVIDGE (on camera): Sealand of the pacific used to be here where this marina is now. There's nothing left of the old place. It was an oceanarium. That's an aquarium that was actually built in the ocean and there were nets that separated the animals, the seals, the sea lions and the stars, the killer whales.
Baird eventually became a trainer working with the three killer whales. His favorite, a small whale named Tillicum.
BAIRD: He was very easy to work with. He was very easy doing. He learned quickly. He learned well. SAVIDGE (voice-over): Among the other trainers, 20-year-old marine biologist student, (INAUDIBLE). On February 20th of 1991, she had just finished a show with the killer whales when she slipped and fell into their enclosure. Baird arrived minutes later.
BAIRD: The three orcas were little surprised that one of the trainers had seemingly jumped into the pool, although fallen, and they were sort of excited about that. It was something completely out of the norm.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Witnesses say the whales, including Tillicum kept her from reaching the sides, repeatedly pulling her under the frigid water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They couldn't get her. And finally, Burn didn't come up anymore.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Baird, the trained diver, volunteered to go and retrieve Burn's body.
(on camera): A co-worker just suffered, drown in some way related to the animals in the tank you are about to go in with.
BAIRD: Yes. This wasn't a malicious attack. I mean, it was an accident.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The coroner's inquest is in Burn's death as drowning due to or consequence of the forced submersion by orca or killer whales. She was the first trainer ever killed.
ANNA MARINE ZOOLOGIST: Oh, my goodness. It was awful. It was awful for everybody. People in general couldn't believe what had happened right here in our own backyard.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Not long after, Sealand shut down. Tillicum was sold to SeaWorld in Orlando. But residents would hear about Tillicum again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A sheriff deputy have identified this 27-year- old man found dead in a killer whale's tank.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): In 1999, a man's body was found draped naked on Tillicum's back one morning. How the man got there, SeaWorld couldn't say. Then in 2010, Tillicum pulled Dawn Brancheau into the water to her death.
First met Tillicum, Colin Baird had no problem with captivity and killer whales. Now, three decades and three deaths later, he definitely does. Do you blame him?
BAIRD: I don't blame him. This would -- these never would have happened if he was left in the north Atlantic.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Martin Savidge, CNN. Victoria, British Columbia.
CNN films follows a history of killer whales in captivity leading up to the death of the SeaWorld trainer in 2010. "Black fish," see it again tomorrow night, 9:00 eastern on CNN. It is really incredible. One of the best films I have seen us do here on CNN. Make sure you tune in tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern time.
The mystery surrounding who this little Greek girl is has finally been solved. That story is next.
LEMON: Well, the mystery surrounding this little Greek girl solved. She was found living with a family that looked nothing like her. And now, we know where she is from.
Here is CNN's Karl Penhaul.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks to positive DNA match. The mystery of little Maria has been solved in part, at least. Authorities say that birth parents come from this village in central Bulgaria. In fact, at this mud-brick one-room home is the house where Sasha (INAUDIBLE) and her husband (INAUDIBLE) live. They have nine other children.
We came to the door today and found it padlocked. We have since learned that the mother has been offered a paid interview in the capital Sofia and so has left the village for now. That being said, we also know that we have seen two of her children that have been left to run wild here in the village. And in the course of the afternoon, police and child protective services have come here to try to take those children into care.
Now, although we have a positive DNA match, what hasn't been cleared up is exactly why blue-eyed, blond Maria was left in a Roma camp in Greece. The mother, who was a Roma herself said she was working in Greece at the time and was simply too poor to raise Maria. But police and child protection services are not buying that idea. They think a crime may have been committed. And they believe the birth mother may have sold her own baby for profit.
So, those issues are still under investigation. And, of course, back in Greece, we still have the Greek Roma couple in custody accused of kidnapping. Their defense lawyer, however, believe that finding the birth mother is going to be key and he believes his clients in Greece may be free over the next few days.
Karl Penhaul, CNN, (INAUDIBLE), Bulgaria.
LEMON: All right, Karl, thank you.
Darrel Wallace Senior crossed the finish line fist at a NASCAR truck race today in Martinsville speedway and put his name in the record books as a matter of fact. Wallace became the first African-American to win a national NASCAR race in nearly 50 years. In a statement, car owner, Joe Gibbs, says Wallace quote "has tremendous talent and we really believe he can have a huge impact on our sport." The last black NASCAR winner was Wendall Scott, back in 1963.
Congratulations to him.
And finally, with Halloween just around the corner, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sent two of her staffers to a walking dead attraction at Universal studios in Hollywood. Watch.
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LEMON: All right, so the man is hiding behind the woman is the show's executive producer. That poor woman was left fending for herself is one of Ellen's writer. Very funny.
I'm Don Lemon in New York. Thanks for watching.
CNN Films' "BLACKFISH" begins right now.