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More Details From Snowden Leaks; Another Obamacare Web Setback; Air Strike Hits Northern Gaza; Detained At Montreal Airport; Ellis Island Back Open Today; Lou Reed Dies; Oklahoma Manhunt; Ride Operators Charged; Conrad Murray Leaves Jail; NSA Spying Firestorm; Another Obamacare Website Malfunction

Aired October 28, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday, October 28th, six o'clock in the east.

Coming up in the show, to try to sign up on, have some trouble? It wasn't you. No one could sign up anywhere yesterday. Why? What went wrong? And, is there a chance it could get fixed any time soon? We'll give you all the details on this story coming up.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the latest on that bizarre story out of North Carolina. Five people were injured when a carnival ride malfunctioned. Well now, the ride operator has been arrested accused of tampering with the safety mechanism. Was he deliberately trying to hurt riders? What's going on? We'll get into it.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Also, some breaking news overnight, Dr. Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted in the death of Michael Jackson was released early from prison just overnight -- just after midnight. Big question now, is he going to be able to practice medicine again? We'll have more on that coming up.

CUOMO: Now, to new allegations of the U.S. spying on its allies. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting the U.S. was snooping on dozens of foreign leaders, including German chancellor, Angela Merkel. But the spying recently stopped after the White House became aware. Chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, is in Washington this morning with the story. Good morning, Jim. What do we know?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, a very busy weekend of developments there. The "Wall Street Journal" also reporting that the president was unaware of this surveillance until this summer. A separate report in Germany saying in fact the president was aware of the spying on Germany, going back to 2010. Something the White House vehemently denies.

The White House is scrambling with the series of accusations coming out every day. We did get new details over the weekend and overnight about a review the president has ordered of these surveillance capabilities. The National Security Council telling us that the president has directed us to review our surveillance capabilities including when it comes to our closest foreign partners and allies. They're starting two new groups, a president's review group on communication and technology, a separate review board on civil liberties. The White House in effect acknowledging overreach here, but every day, Chris, that it makes a move, there are new revelations, including about spying on some of our closest allies.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): The newest Edward Snowden documents reveal more spying on America's closest allies. In Spain reports the NSA listened in on 60 million phone calls in a single month. In Germany, the newspaper reports, President Obama was briefed by NSA Chief Keith Alexander about spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's calls back in 2010.

Contradicting White House assurances, the president was not aware of the extent of the surveillance. The NSA quickly denied the report telling CNN General Alexander did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkle, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Merkle.

The NSA's denial is a clear step beyond the White House's willingness up to now only to deny present and future monitoring.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you that the president assured the chancellor that United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor.

SCIUTTO: German intelligence officials are expected to come to the U.S. to challenge their American counterparts on the spying after a German official accused the U.S. of breaking, quote, "German law on German soil." But House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers defended the NSA under surveillance on CNN Sunday saying it was both well regulated and essential to keeping Americans and Europeans safe from terrorism.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS (R), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: I think the bigger news story here would be, Candy, if the United States intelligence services weren't trying to collect information that would protect U.S. interests both home and abroad.


SCIUTTO: The administration still assessing the damage of all of this. The number two, former number two in the CIA, Mike Burrell on "60 Minutes" last night calling this, quote, "the most serious compromise of classified information in the history of the U.S. intelligence community." Kate, we can expect more revelations coming out over the coming days and weeks and more scrambling by the White House and the administration to respond.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It shows no signs of slowing down now. Jim, thank you so much for starting us off. Another big story in Washington this morning, the pressure is mounting against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as yet another setback hits the Obamacare sign up web site.

Its data center, which helps determine eligibility crashed Sunday, stopping enrollment in all 50 states, CNN'S Athena Jones is following the development from the White House for us this morning. So Athena, have they figured out what went wrong here?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Well, it's a web site crash. I can tell you that the man that the president put in charge of fixing, Jeffrey Zients, says that the website would be running smoothly by the end of November. But not before another major meltdown late Sunday because of this web site crash, no one, absolutely no one was able to sign up for health care.


JONES (voice-over): Another major stumble for the problem riddled web site

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: It's better today than it was on October 1st, but it's a long way from perfect.

JONES: Visitors to the site late Sunday couldn't apply for health care coverage. A vendor for Verizon, the company running the web site "Data Services Hub," quote, "experienced a failure in a networking component." That service connects to the IRS and other databases used to determine eligibility. The company says they're working to fix the problem.

VIVEK KUNDRA, VP OF EMERGING MARKETS FOR SALESFORCE.COM: What you are seeing here is a gap in innovation and a gap in execution.

JONES: Plagued with technical issues, ridiculed on late night TV.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The site was only designed to handle six users at a time.

JONES: "Saturday Night Live" mocking Kathleen Sebelius.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consider using our low risk web site with simpler fonts and graphics.

JONES: Responsible for overseeing the web site's implementation and the pressure isn't letting up.

SENATOR JOHN BARRASSO (R), WYOMING: She's already as of "Saturday Night Live," the laughing stock of America. So she's lost considerable credibility.

JONES: New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen urged an extension of the March 31th enrollment deadline.

SENATOR JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: So we can get as many people who want health insurance able to enroll and be able to be covered.

JONES: The administration says that mandate won't change.

CARNEY: We are way still early in the process.

JONES: The president promising --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We got people working overtime 24/7 to boost capacity and address these problems every single day.


JONES: Now, we expect Secretary Sebelius will get a lot of tough questions about this problem and all the others when she testifies before Congress on Wednesday. That's the same day the president heads to Boston to promote Obamacare -- Chris, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Athena, thanks so much, an important week ahead for the administration and the Obamacare web site. Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, let's get to Michaela, leading the headlines, Dr. Conrad Murray out of jail?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, back in the headlines. It seems like it was such a short time ago. Breaking overnight, Michael Jackson's doctor now a free man. Conrad Murray leaving jail a minute after midnight Los Angeles time. Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for giving Jackson a fatal overdose of a powerful anesthetic to help him sleep. He served two years in jail. His lawyer says he will try to get Murray's license, medical license reinstated so he can once again treat patients.

Israel launching an air strike that hit Northern Gaza this morning. Those strikes apparently aimed at launching sites for rockets that have been fired on southern Israel. Both rockets caused no damage or injuries. It's unclear who fired the rockets. But Israel has said it blames Hamas, which controls that Palestinian territory.

A man in his 70s detained at the airport in Montreal, Canada after a suspicious item was found in his luggage bound for L.A. Police say it wasn't an explosive, but rather a part of a potential device. They also say they know the man who was detained not because of anything related to terrorism.

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy tore through New Jersey and New York, parts of a key landmark set to reopen today. Ellis Island has been closed since the storm, decimated much of the ground. Visitors will once again be welcomed back to the halls of the Immigration Station and the American Immigrant Wall of Honor, but the Immigration Museum will remain closed through the spring while a new electrical system is installed.

Remembrances continue to pour in for legendary rock pioneer Lou Reed, dead at the age of 71. He was a founding member of the Velvet Underground and is widely credited with changing the landscape of rock music in the '60s and the '70s. Reed's biggest commercial hit was walk on the wild side, but he wrote and recorded dozens and dozens of songs in his tremendous career.

We'll talk more about that coming up. What a tremendous career when you think of all the influences. We'll get into it.

CUOMO: And he was young, a loss on many levels.

PEREIRA: He's 71. Yes.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela. All right, let's get straight over to Indra Petersons for a check of the forecast this morning. Good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Yes, a little bit milder today, temperatures kind of bounding down to the 60s, I should above average. The average is typically in the upper 50s right now. This is only going to last about one day, though. We have another cold front swinging through the northeast today, which will bring those temperatures back down another 10 degrees for Tuesday and Wednesday.

But we are going to have a pattern shift. There is good news behind it. Eventually, by the end of the week, we are going to see warmer conditions for the eastern half of the country. The cooler air switches. It now goes to the Pacific Northwest. In fact, we are actually watching a very big system now producing snow and lots of snow, a good 18 inches in through Montana today. No blizzard conditions, but strong winds and heavy snow out there extending all the way in through California.

That's the big story today. The reason this is so important, this is the system that will make it across the country, eventually bringing rain to the northeast on Halloween. The highs today, Rapid City 31, Billings 30, Aston about 57. The reason this matters, we have warm conditions down to the south, temperatures there above normal.

And temperatures are 15 to 20 degrees below normal in the Pacific Northwest. You put those two together. Of course, you have that severe weather threat. In Kansas, we are looking for a threat of an isolated tornado, mainly strong winds and large hail out there. But again, the bigger story, the system does make its way across the country. We are talking about making the Halloween costumes, rain and wind it looks like for Halloween here.

BOLDUAN: Modifying the costume. Thanks, so much, Indra.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, a frantic search is on, four men, they crawled out -- their way out of an Oklahoma jail. How they did it, it sure sounds like something out of a movie. We're going to have that ahead.

CUOMO: Another dangerous carnival incident, this time at the North Carolina State Fair, but also this time an arrest. What police learned about tampering with safety equipment that may shed light on this accident and others coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CUOMO: There is an intense manhunt going on in Oklahoma right now. Four inmates made a daring escape early Sunday morning from a county jail. They slipped out through a trap door above the shower. It sounds like the "Shaw Shank Redemption," right? But this is all too real. George Howell is live in Oklahoma with the very latest.

George, what do we know?

GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. So these inmates, we know that they were being kept here at this detention center to be shipped off to a state prison here in Oklahoma. But, clearly, they had plans of their own, a secret plan and literally slipped through the cracks.


HOWELL (voice-over): A desperate search is under way this morning for four inmates after their bold escape Sunday morning from this detention center in Anadarko, Oklahoma about an hour outside Oklahoma City. Their names Dylan Three Irons, Prime Brown, Anthony Mendonca, Triston Cheadle, all considered armed and dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any time say break out of prison, they are armed. You think they might be. We don't know what they picked up after.

HOWELL: Each man was sentenced on criminal charges ranging from burglary to meth possession and parole violation the details of their spectacular jail break read like a film script, a real life "Shaw Shank Redemption." Officials say the men busted through a maintenance hatch above the shower in the jail. They crawled through a pipe space beneath the roof where the air-conditioning and plumbing are located. Then they knocked out a cement block to get them to another room. That took them to an unlocked side door, which they simply pushed opened to their freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have officers checking abandoned vehicles, checking the residence where they might have relatives living. We're doing that right now.

HOWELL: Sheriff Gene Cain says the authorities only realized the escape after they were tipped off by someone who saw the inmates walking near the courthouse still wearing their orange jump suits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We immediately started a headcount on our prisoners and we did find that we had four missing.

HOWELL: The men later ditched the jumpsuits which officers found. But there is still no sign of the escapees and that has residents here worried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hope they're not at my house when I get back. So, I hope. You prepare yourself. I'm a gun owner. I have been all my life.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOWELL: So this detention center, we know it was built two years ago and according to officials, the maintenance doors, they were supposed to be sealed shut. Clearly, they weren't.

At this point, investigators say they have no new leads to where these men are. They are asking for help. You see these pictures. If you have any information, they are asking you contact them to help track them down -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All right, George, thank you so much for that this morning.

A terrifying ride, five people injured at a state fair in North Carolina. Well, now a carnival operator is facing charges that he tampered with the safety mechanisms.

CNN's Alina Machado is in Raleigh for us this morning with much more.

Good morning, Alina.


Authorities here say the 46-year-old ride operator was one of the people hurt here. But they also believe he did something to the ride's safety devices that caused it to malfunction.


CALLER: We're at the state fair and the ride came upside-down and dumped people out. There's people who are bleeding really bad.

MACHADO (voice-over): A terrifying scene on a state fair ride. This morning, the operator Timothy Tutterrow is behind bars charged with three counts of felony assault with a deadly weapon.

SHERIFF DONNIE HARRISON, WAKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: This ride was tampered with after the inspection and that critical safety devices were tampered with and compromised.

MACHADO: Authorities aren't releasing specific details about the alleged tampering, but they say this is a criminal investigation.

Tutterrow's attorney tells CNN his client is distraught and devastated by what happened. Witnesses say the Vortex ride had stopped and people were getting off it Thursday when it suddenly restarted.

CALLER: The ride broke loose and five people fell straight from the sky. Twenty feet drop.

MACHADO: Five people were injured, three remain in the hospital. The victims include family members between the ages of 14 and 39.

STEVE TROXLER, NORTH CAROLINA AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER: It makes me mad to think that anybody would put people's safety in danger leak they have. And I'm not mad. I'm furious. MACHADO: The company that owns the ride released a statement saying, in part, it has never before experienced an incident with any of its rides like this one. The company purchased the Vortex earlier this year. The spokesperson says Tutterrow has been operating it since then.


MACHADO: Now, Tutterrow is being held on a $225,000 bond. He is scheduled to go before a judge in just a few hours. Authorities here say their investigation is ongoing. They also have not ruled out the possibility of more arrests -- Chris, Kate.

CUOMO: All right. Much more follow up on this. The question I think is intent. Did he intend to do? Was he really tampering with it? Lots of questions. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, startling new reports on the scale of the national security agency's spy programs. How far did they go and when did the president find out about them? Our political gut check is coming up.

CUOMO: And controversy at the World Series. Two games in a row settled by bizarre plays. One of them a call by the umpire may never have been made in a World Series before. The controversy when we come back.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Time now for our political gut check of the morning.

New this morning, government officials tell "The Wall Street Journal" the NSA was tapping the phones of 35 world leaders. Officials say the White House ordered an end to the program once it became known and also that the president wasn't briefed. The president didn't know about these taps.

CNN senior political analyst and editorial director of "The National Journal" Ron Brownstein is here to break it all down for us.

Ron, it seems another day, another intelligence leak continues to come out. It's really plaguing the administration at this point. More and more of these intelligence leaks.

What do you think the fallout is? Maybe it's hard to say at this point because we're in the middle of it.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. No, look, it's a mess. I think that's clear. It's going to continue to be a mess as it goes forward.

First of all, Edward Snowden is probably passing Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers as the consequential leak of classified information in modern American history. But, look, this is something, you know, you don't know whether the story is worse if it's true, if they're telling the truth or not telling the truth. You don't know if it's worth it for the president if he is not aware this was going on or he was aware and allowed it to continue.

Right now, they are saying, of course, he was not briefed. But, you know, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has been furious, you know, growing up in a society where there was a tremendous amount of under surveillance, obviously, a personal issue for her as well.

Look, it's going to be a diplomatic -- I talked to someone last night in the administration. It is a mess everywhere this is arising.

BOLDUAN: Does the administration think at some point. The president needs to speak out about this inherently? I mean, it's inherently a difficult thing to do because we're talking about things that would be kept secret. But with so much coming out publicly, I don't know, is it reaching a tipping point?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, they have -- as "The Wall Street Journal" story notes this morning, they have an extensive review process of the NSA procedures under way. Obviously, we have a domestic issue as well as a foreign issue in the wake of the Snowden revelation.

So, I think at some point, the president has talked about a rebalancing between security and personal liberty, you know, trying to move away from a permanent war time footing post-9/11. I think at some point he's going to have to address this more directly both -- for both audiences, both the domestic and the international. But certainly, this review they have under way seems like the venue to do that.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's a good point, Ron.

And back here at home this week, Secretary Sebelius will be testifying on Capitol Hill about the fiasco and the roll-out of Obamacare. We now have information from the administration that they don't think it's gong to be fully fixed, the Web site, until the end of November, and another crash last night.

What kind of week is this going to be for them?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, it is -- look, this is just astonishing a failure. I mean, you know, the president understood in his second term he was unlikely to get much done legislatively with the Republican Congress and the key to his legacy was making this work, probably the most consequential expansion of their safety net since Medicare and Medicaid. By all indication, he was monitoring this process and yet we have had just this spectacular failure.

Now, you know, whether this ultimately -- how much this ultimately affects the long term viability of the program, it's unclear. The experience in Massachusetts, which is the model is sign-up was very much back-loaded towards the end toward the deadline. So if they get this together, eventually, they can put it back on track.

But, you know, the real risk here is when the website doesn't work, the people who will find their way through it, sit there for hours and hours are people who are sick who need insurance badly. The problem is the system needs a lot of young healthy people for whom this may be kind of less urgent to sit and fight your way through.

And if you don't get those young healthy people to sign up, the risk pool becomes unbalanced. Premiums goes up -- premiums go next year and the whole thing downward spirals.

So, they really do have to get this done. It's not just a political problem. It is a substantive problem eventually to the core working of the program.

BOLDUAN: It does make you wonder, with all that you laid out, what kind of good, what kind of health can Secretary Sebelius offer when she testify today, because you know, a lot of it is political theater and people just wanting to roast her.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. Very little. You know, look, I mean, you would say in a different political environment someone is going to have to take the blame for this and the secretary would be the most likely person.

The problem is, if the president replaced her in this environment, how difficult would it be to get anyone confirmed through the Senate, virtual certainty of Republican filibuster, an opportunity to use this as kind of a way to leverage more concessions from the administration.

So, I think that's probably in the back of their mind. But, you know, what you are seeing is understandably a lot of Democrats nervous about the sign-up period, in particular, and whether it has to be extended. If people can't get through the Web site to buy the insurance, the idea of finding them, even though it's a fairly individual find for not having it becomes kind of absurd.

BOLDUAN: Ron Brownstein, great to see you. Thanks so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All eyes will be on Wednesday when the secretary does testify. That's for sure.

All right. Let's get over to Michaela for all the stories making headlines right now.

PEREIRA: All right. Kate, thanks so much. Good morning to you at home.

A somber day in Massachusetts, a funeral mass will be held later this morning for Colleen Ritzer, the Massachusetts teacher allegedly killed by a student. Hundreds lining the streets in Andover Sunday to attend the wake for the 24 hour-year-old teacher. Police say she was killed inside a school bathroom before her body was dumped in the woods behind the school on Tuesday. Fourteen-year-old Phillip Chism is charged with her murder and has pleaded not guilty.

A wave of attacks leading dozens dead in Iraq. Last hitting areas all over Baghdad Sunday, in a separate car bombing targeting soldiers in the northern city of Mosul. All told, at least 66 people have been killed.

A mother and her children stabbed to death with a kitchen knife in their Brooklyn apartment. The children range in age from 1 to 9- years-old. Police have arrested the cousin of the children's father for the killings. The 25-year-old suspect is an immigrant from China. Police say he had been staying with the victims.

More trouble for singer Chris Brown. He and his body guard charged with felony assault in Washington for allegedly trying to punch a man who tried to take a picture with the singer. Brown is already, as you might recall, on probation for domestic violence against Rihanna in 2009. Any arrest could be considered a violation, which could mean jail time. The victim was treated for a bruised jaw and swollen face.

A food recall to tell you about this morning, all because of a possible listeria contamination. It involves Taylor Farms broccoli salad and slaw is. The kits contained dressing in pockets that are the subject of an FDA recall. They were sold in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Vermont. So far, for the reports of anyone getting sick.

I was just thinking about making some broccoli slaw, revising my plan.


BOLDUAN: Different vegetable for dinner tonight.

PEREIRA: I think so. A different dressing is the key, I guess.

CUOMO: Right. Until we find out more. We always put this news out.

PEREIRA: Better to be safe than sorry.

CUOMO: Absolutely. We'll tell you when they figure out the recall as well.

Coming up on NEW DAY: the call -- obstruction was the call. What is that? Was it he right call? Because it costs the Sox the game Saturday night. So, we'll tell you about it.

BOLDUAN: Nice accents.

CUOMO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, remembering Lou Reed, the legendary rocker and founding member of the Velvet Underground. How did his songs change music forever? Lots to talk about.