Return to Transcripts main page


Obama Orders Review; World Reacts to NSA Spying; Not Necessarily Able to Keep Your Insurance if You Like It; Crash in China's Tiananmen May Not Be Accident; WHO Says Polio Back in Syria; President's Twitter Hacked

Aired October 29, 2013 - 12:00   ET


REP. BILL PASCRELL (D), NEW JERSEY: And number two, no one was - an outside source was not sitting down and being the third party to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs. So it lost. We lost the policy fight. And what did we do? We went back to our districts and we told our seniors although we voted no, we're -- we personally believe and we'll work with the Bush administration to make it work. That's what we did. And how many of you stood up to do that? None. Zero. Zero.

Let's talk. Let's not water the wine here. Let's say it like it is. You refused to expand many of these governors Medicaid. They refused to set up state marketplaces to - and leaving millions of dollars in outreach on the table in education funding. And what happens?

Well, to those I say this, and to you I say this, who I deeply respect, here and off the floor of the committee and off the floor of the House, what are you going to do about the approximately 17 million children with pre-existing conditions who can no longer be denied health insurance coverage? You want to go back? You want to say you are no longer covered any longer? Are you going to tell the parents of those kids? Which one of you is going to stand up and tell the parents of those children the game is over, sorry, that was just a phase (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the gentleman yield?

PASCRELL: Yes, I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just tell you that --

PASCRELL: Where are you?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You asked a question. I'm going to answer it. There -- it's a false choice to say it's Obamacare or nothing. There are numerous proposals, including the one that I'm a co-sponsor of.

PASCRELL: I yield back. I - let me take back the time, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It deals with pre-existing conditions. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Now on (ph) the president's signature healthcare law.

Welcome to everyone. This is AROUND THE WORLD. And a special welcome to our international viewers joining us all of this week. I'm Michael Holmes.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Hala Gorani. I'm sitting in for Suzanne Malveaux. We'll have a lot more on the Obamacare roll-out and some of the issues they've had with the website, of course.

But for now, let's, as I was saying, moving on there to President Obama's signature healthcare law under fire at a congressional hearing right now.

HOLMES: Yes. And today we actually heard an apology. This from the administrator whose agency oversaw the creation of the enrollment website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Have a listen.


MARILYN TAVENNER, CENTERS FOR MEDICARE & MEDICAID SERVICES: Consumers are eager to purchase this coverage. And to the millions of American who have attempted to use to shop and enroll in healthcare coverage, I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should. We know how desperately you need affordable coverage. I want to assure you that can and will be fixed. And we are working around the clock to deliver the shopping experience that you deserve. We are seeing improvements each week.


GORANI: And there you have it, the Medicare chief apologizing, saying -- and acknowledging there have been major issues with the website. And coming up, we'll have a live report from Washington on today's hearing and new concerns that the president may have potentially misled the public on one aspect of the law.

HOLMES: Yes. Plus, tonight, we're going to have a special report on Obamacare for viewers in the United States. That's at 6:00 Eastern. Now, also in Washington, the ever-growing firestorm over U.S. spying is about to come to a head.

GORANI: Right. And it's not just in Washington; it's around the world. This has been making big news abroad. The directors of national intelligence and the NSA will testify on Capitol Hill today about U.S. surveillance at home and around the world.

HOLMES: Yes, meanwhile, President Obama has ordered a review of intelligence gathering outside of the country where, as Hala says, this has been big news. He's trying to calm what has become an international, diplomatic storm. Here's his take. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that's why I'm initiating now a review to make sure that what they're able to do doesn't necessarily mean what they should be doing.


GORANI: Let's bring in Elise Labott at the State Department.

So, here's the question that not just in the United States but outside of the United States people have. What can you tell us about President Obama possibly ordering the NSA to stop spy on leaders of allied states and did he know that this spying was going on when it was indeed happening?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, in terms of what he knew and when he knew it, no one -- none of us really know, Hala. The White House is saying that President Obama knew this summer when an internal review that was started revealed that this was happening at about -- on about 35 world leaders. And at that time, the administration kind of intensified this review. They're saying the president didn't know up until then.

But officials are telling us, you know, when President Obama took office, he was briefed on these programs. And if he didn't know specifically which countries, he knew that, you know, generally that this program existed.

Now, what is he going to do about it? The White House says that the administration is taking this review not only about whether the U.S. can have this surveillance on world leaders, but should they. Does this really fall in line with the policy goals? And then these are the questions that are going to be talked about in the next (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: And the thing that's interesting here too, Elise, I mean having some -- you talk about Spain and France and particularly Germany upset about their leaders perhaps being listened in on, but a no spying agreement, a club if you like, already exists. The U.S. has that no spy deal with Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It's called the Five Eyes deal, actually, where it came up after World War II. So, you know, what's wrong with Germany and France saying can we join, please?

LABOTT: Well, and certainly these are two of the U.S.' closest allies. There has been a reluctance for the U.S. to kind of add to this. This was set up a very long time ago and whether Germany and France could be added to this, unclear because they want to have maybe the EU be involved. And those are 28 members.

And I think the U.S. wants to keep its prerogative on its surveillance activities, but clearly there are going to be some very intense discussions with the Germans and the French about the boundaries of intelligence and what it really means to be that close ally that you say you are. You can't do that on world leaders, I think that's the message that they're sending HOLMES: Yes, exactly. Keeping a close eye on friends. Elise, good to see you. Elise Labott there at the State Department.

GORANI: Well, what about Republican leaders? That's an embarrassment for the Obama administration. But they say that they're also calling for a review of the nation's spy programs. It's perhaps one of the only things that the White House and the GOP leadership can agree on these days.

HOLMES: Yes. Just have a listen now to House Speaker John Boehner. He was talking just moments ago.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't think there's any question that there needs to be a review. There ought to be a review, and it ought to be thorough. We've got obligations to the American people to keep them safe. We've got obligations to our allies around the world. But having said that, we've got to find the right balance here. And clearly there's -- we're imbalanced as we stand here.


GORANI: And John Boehner there, seeming to echo President Obama there though. Interesting to note this is coming out, all this condemnation and these calls for reviews, after it was revealed that foreign leaders were potentially spied on, not the millions of Spanish -

HOLMES: Yes. Civilians, yes.

GORANI: Or civilian, ordinary citizens, the gathering of their metadata.


GORANI: So it's going to be -- it's interesting that this was the impetus and not what was revealed before.

HOLMES: Angela Merkel a bit annoyed.


HOLMES: Yes, but as you say, you point out, 60 million Spanish phone calls listened into in one month. So a lot of people upset about that.

Now, the whale of criticism the White House is hearing from all around the world, of course, is the reaction over the leaders and the NSA spying there. Al Goodman is in Spain where there has been a lot of blowback. As we said, 60 million phone calls there monitored by the NSA in one month.



Publicly, Madrid says it doesn't have proof that U.S. espionage targeted Spain. But out of concern, it called in the U.S. ambassador to Spain to explain what was going on. And Spain's foreign minister warned that if the spying is confirmed, it would rupture the climate of confidence between Madrid and Washington. Spanish prosecutors announced they are opening a preliminary investigation into the spying allegations.


GORANI: Well, as you know, the U.S. spying allegations stemmed from leaks made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. He describes himself as a whistle-blower, but others say he's a traitor.

HOLMES: Yes, Christiane Amanpour has spoken with the journalist who worked very closely with Edward Snowden to expose these secrets and she joins you now from London.

I'm curious, you had that interview with Glenn Greenwald. What struck you most about him? He is one very determined man on a bit of a mission really.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, what struck me most is that he continues to insist that despite the vociferous criticism that U.S. and U.K. and other officials have leveled at the Snowden leaks and at him and at the press for publishing them, that it is not all about terrorism. He keeps saying, look, they want us to believe that everything that's being leaked is just about life and death terrorism, but it's not.

There are a lot of other revelations. There's a lot of revelations about economic and commercial and industrial espionage. There are a lot of revelations obviously which started this firestorm of protests around the world about spying and collection -- collecting metadata from ordinary citizens. That is what really drives Glenn Greenwald really, really crazy. And let me play you just a little bit of what he told me on this regard.


GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST: Let's just use common sense. Every terrorist who's capable of tying their own shoes has long known that the U.S. government and the U.K. government are trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can. That isn't new. We didn't reveal anything to the terrorists they didn't already know. What we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted, not to terrorists, but is directed at innocence people around the world.


AMANPOUR: So that is what he and Snowden really want to get their message out. That is their message to the world. And when I asked him about, you know, what about terrorists and others, so-called the bad guys, knowing how the U.S. figures out what they're saying and how they're meeting and what they're planning, you know, he says they're being very careful about what they put out. He told me that they have many, many, many thousands of pages of documents and that he estimated they've published about 200 to 250 pages. But you know, Michael, if there is some kind of review of all of this and if it's a meaningful review, it will certainly be claimed as a victory by Snowden and Greenwald.

HOLMES: Yes, indeed. Christiane, thanks so much. A fascinating interview.

And for our international viewers, of course, Christiane's show comes up about three hours or so from now.

GORANI: Coming up, Obamacare. Reports show President Obama may have misled the American people or said something wrong when he said this --


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the reform we're proposing, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.


HOLMES: And then the numbers of terrorist attacks around the world are on the rise. How there was an 89 percent jump in fatalities since 2011.

GORANI: You're watching AROUND THE WORLD. We will be right back.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

The White House facing more tough questions on Obamacare today. You're looking at live pictures there of the House hearing on the enrollment website problems. And there have been a few.

GORANI: And there's new concern not about access to the Website itself, but insurance policies.

President Obama has given repeated assurances about Americans being able to keep current plans if they're happy with those plans under the Affordable Health Care Act in speeches going back as far as four years ago.



BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor under the reform proposals that we put forward.

If you like your private health insurance plan, you can keep it.

If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. We will keep this promise to the American people. If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.

If you like your doctor, you'll be able to keep your doctor. If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan.

If you've got health insurance, you like your doctor, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.


HOLMES: Well, it hasn't really worked out like that, not exactly anyway.

Joe Johns, joining us from Washington, but like a lot of things, it's nuanced. Some of those plans didn't fit in, did they, with the new rules under Obamacare?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's the bottom line, Michael.

This is about those people getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies. It's true. You heard it. The president said it again and again. People can keep their insurance.

And what the White House is saying today is that it's true that the vast majority of people who get insurance through their employers or through the government can keep their insurance.

But this issue is about Americans getting insurance through private individual markets, and now have gotten notices that the company's canceling the policies, for example because they don't comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Marilyn Tavenner, who was testifying today, recited the administration position that these are people who got insurance in the private market.

They may have gotten it after the Obamacare law passed or because the policy changed after the law was passed, which means they were not grandfathered in and they have to get new insurance.

Sometimes it turns out to be more expensive if those consumers don't qualify for tax breaks or government subsidies.

And Tavenner also pointed out that some of the insurance companies are changing policies and doing it on their own volition, Michael.

GORANI: And this is Hala, Joe. So how many people are we talking about here in terms of people who might have to -- whose insurance plan might be dropped and who might have to make changes this he might not want to make?

JOHNS: We've heard there could be right now as many as a couple million people who have actually gotten these kinds of notices, but the sum total of people who could get them could be anywhere, we're told, between 11 million and 15 million.

So you're talking about a lot of people in the situation, Hala.

GORANI: All right, Joe Johns in Washington, thanks very much.

HOLMES: Well, was it an attack or just an accident? That's the question that's being asked after a jeep crashes into Tiananmen Square in Beijing, this as China censors CNN's coverage of this story. They'll be switching us off right about now.

You're watching AROUND THE WORLD.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Chinese officials, acting as if that deadly jeep crash in the middle of Tiananmen Square was no accident.

Five people, you may remember, died. Dozens were injured when the Jeep burst into flames. This is, of course, in a very crowded tourist area.

Well, the government is now the censoring information about the crash, and authorities say they are looking for several people, largely from the Muslim-minority Uyghur provinces where tensions have turned violent in the past.

Here's David McKenzie in Beijing.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New details have emerged that Monday's dramatic events in downtown Beijing could have been an orchestrated attack.

As authorities investigate the deadly jeep crash at Tiananmen Square, a Beijing hotel manager, who did not wish to be named, tells CNN that local police alerted hotels city-wide, asking for help in finding suspects who appear to be from the ethnic Uyghur minority.

The police listed vehicles and I.D. numbers and said the suspects may have stayed in the capital from October 1st, leading to speculation of an orchestrated political statement.

If it was an attack, it would be both audacious and highly symbolic. At noon Monday, a jeep plowed through tourists and burst into flames right under the portrait of Chairman Mao. Amateur video of the incident was posted on YouTube.

The crash site itself was quickly scrubbed clean, and as pictures emerged on social media, authorities quickly censored them and blocked Internet searches on the subject. CNN's own reporting has been blacked out in China.

The largely Muslim Uyghur minority is centered in China's restive Xinxiang Province in the far west. There's a history of tension, sometimes violent, between Uyghurs and Han Chinese.

People have grown to expect unrest in that region, but not in the very heart of the capital. This incident at Tiananmen Square, infamous for the brutal crackdown on student demonstrators in 1989, will be deeply embarrassing for Chinese leadership.

David McKenzie, CNN, Beijing.


HOLMES: And as David points out, every time we mention that story here on CNN, our signal in China goes to black.


GORANI: Interesting that before cell phone cameras, we probably wouldn't have had a single frame of that video. Very interesting.

Now, in the midst of the firestorm over the NSA spying on world leaders, President Obama hasn't escaped the world of hi-tech hacking. His Twitter account was targeted.

A pair of tweets sent by the president's political campaign group, Organizing for Action, redirected users to YouTube videos supporting the regime of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

Alison Kosik joins us from New York. So who's behind this? How did they break into the president's Twitter account?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All good questions, Hala, and this was pretty bold.

The group that has claimed responsibility is known as the Syrian Electronic Army, and what they told CNN in a statement is that OFA, meaning President Obama's Organizing for Action campaign, that OFA links that were posted on Twitter and Facebook were hacked and redirected to a video showing the truth about Syria.

Now, the group claims that it also got access to a bunch of other e- mail accounts in addition to the and websites.

Now, the two manipulated tweets, those where is actually retweeted hundreds of times on Monday before Web detectives could actually get the links directed back to their intended targets.

And the hackers broke in by somehow getting a hold of the president's campaign account credentials.


GORANI: All right, Alison Kosik, thanks very much, in New York.

Speaking of Syria, the bad news continues for that country. The World Health Organization now says that is polio is back, polio.

They've confirmed the first outbreak of polio in Syria since 1999. Ten cases have been confirmed with many more feared in the future.


HOLMES: A bit hard to vaccinate when there's a war on, that's for sure.

Coming up here on AROUND THE WORLD, Germany and France want a no- spying agreement with the United States. The U.S. does have one, as we mentioned earlier with a few other select countries.

So will the U.S. set up a new spy policy with say, Chancellor Angela Merkel? We'll discuss that next on AROUND THE WORLD.