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Obamacare Website Red Flags; Spying On Allies; Immigration Law Settlement; Cirque Du Soleil, MGM Grand Cited; Chris Brown In Rehab; Raid to Capture Benghazi Suspect Benghazi; Suspect Raid Abandoned; Crash at Airport Discovered After 6 Hours; Sebelius to Testify; Spy Chief Fire Back at Congress

Aired October 30, 2013 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your "NEW DAY" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is "NEW DAY" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.




CUOMO: -- but warming it up. Good morning. Welcome to "NEW DAY." Happy Hump Day, Wednesday, October 30th, six o'clock in the east.

Coming up, here's the quote, "Yes, we do." That is essentially what the nation's spy chief said on Capitol Hill yesterday when asked if we spy on other nations, even our allies. They are fiercely defending their practices, and they deny some of the more outrageous allegations.

All of this was going on as the German delegation -- you'll remember, the U.S. is accused of spying on Germany's leader. Well, that delegation heads to the White House today. We'll break what's supposed to happen.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Important day on that. Plus, a story that has aviation experts confused and concerned this morning. A small plane crashes at Nashville's very busy international airport and the pilot dies. What's so stunning, though, is nobody noticed the flaming wreckage for hours. How is that possible? We're going to get into it.

PEREIRA: Plus, you think has problems. Imagine this, you're a high school senior, biggest stress in your life is applying to colleges, right? Then the online application that you're using for all of your schools keeps crashing, midway through. It's happening right now, and the deadline is just days away. We'll discuss.

CUOMO: Up first, more trouble for the website: yet another system outage reported overnight, keeping Americans from signing up. This comes as Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius prepares for a Capitol Hill grilling on the website's rocky roll-out.

CNN has new information this morning about red flags raised well before the Obamacare site went live. CNN's Brianna Keilar is following all of this for us. She's at the White House this morning. What do we know? Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. Well, we've obtained a confidential report with some pretty serious warnings. Now I will tell you that an Obama administration spokesperson says this was not a dire warning, but more of a list of things to do. But when you look at it, Chris, much of it reads like it was actually written in the weeks after the site launched, not before.


KEILAR (voice-over): Almost a full month before went live CGI, the main contractor working on the site highlighted glaring problems, a confidential report obtained by CNN raised red flags like we don't have access to monitoring tools; not enough time in schedule to conduct adequate performance testing; and hub services are intermittently unavailable, meaning the site stops working at times, plainly stated warnings and yet they weren't passed on to President Obama. He didn't know there were problems until after the site launched.

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Well, I think it became clear fairly early on, the first couple of days --

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Not before that, though, not before October 1st.

KEILAR: When embattled Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies before Congress today, she will point a finger at some of the private contractors her agency hired. A subset of those contracts for have not met expectations she says in her prepared remarks, which she will deliver after yet another outage hit the site overnight. Last week, those very contractors pointed the finger at HHS.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have no role in the development of the website.

KEILAR: Tuesday, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services in charge of implementing Obamacare told Americans who have struggled with the website that she's sorry.

MARILYN TAVENNER, CMS ADMINISTRATOR, HHS: I want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should.

KEILAR: Republicans grilled Marilyn Tavenner about Americans on the individual insurance market who have seen their current coverage canceled or modified, more than a million so far by CNN's estimate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have no idea?

KEILAR: As they pressed her for the number of Americans who have been able to enroll in Obamacare, she kept a script.

TAVENNER: We will have those numbers available mid-November, mid- November, mid-November, mid-November. We will have those numbers available mid-November.


KEILAR: Now President Obama will be in Boston later today promoting Obamacare and also competing for headlines with his Health and Human Services secretary. He will be, Kate, at Faneuil Hall, which is where Mitt Romney signed the Massachusetts healthcare reform program into law.

BOLDUAN: Pretty interesting imagery.

KEILAR: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Brianna. Thanks so much.

Now let's move to the spying scandal that is rocking the NSA. Testifying on Capitol Hill, the top intelligence official in the U.S. said tracking foreign leaders, even allies, is a fundamental given. James Clapper said other countries absolutely spy on us. Chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been following all of the developments for us in Washington. Good morning, Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, good morning. It's incredible to see the heads of the most secretive organizations in the U.S. speaking out publicly and openly defending surveillance at home and abroad. They said emphatically that the White House would have known of the spying, but they added the president might not have known of specific targets and they fought back hard against story line that the U.S. is the only country in the business of spying on its allies.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): After enduring weeks of accusations of spying overreach --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our 4th Amendment back.

SCIUTTO: And even some more in the hearing room.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to say for the last time that the gentleman all the way on the left would be removed.

SCUITTO: U.S. intelligence chiefs pushed back arguing that allies spy on allies.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Have the allies of the United States ever during the course of that time engaged in anything you would qualify as an espionage act targeted at the United States of America?


ROGERS: That would be consistent with most of our allies, let's just pick a place, the European Union?

ALEXANDER: Yes, it would, Chairman.

ROGERS: And this is ongoing today, this didn't stop two years ago or last year or maybe last week to the best of your knowledge?

ALEXANDER: To the best of my knowledge.

SCIUTTO: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper granted that no one's hands are clean, admitting the U.S. spies on its allies as well including their leaders.

JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It's one of the first things I learned in intel school in 1963 that this is a fundamental given in the intelligence business is leadership intentions no matter what level you're talking about. That can be military leaders as well.

SCIUTTO: Still, that argument didn't satisfy some on the committee who questioned the value of angering America's closest friends for minimal intelligence gain.

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D) HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It's a policy decision ultimately for us to make, is it worth the risk? Is it worth the risk of that blow-back in light of the information that we gather?

SCIUTTO: The intel chiefs emphatically denied reports of NSA surveillance of millions of calls in France and Spain, stories they call, quote, "completely false."

ALEXANDER: To be perfectly clear, this is not information that we collected on European citizens. It represents information that we and our NATO allies have collected in defense of our countries and in support of military operations.


SCIUTTO: Our European allies still not satisfied with this defense. I met last night with the vice president of the European parliament who said a serious trust deficit remains and that deficit is likely to have consequences including on a major trade agreement the two sides are discussing right now.

You know, Kate and Chris, you have this German delegation visiting the White House. The issue that really seems to spark the most anger for the European side is not just that spying takes place, but it went right up to the leaders such as Angela Merkel. That's the issue that really sparks the most anger.

BOLDUAN: All right, Jim, thank you so much. Interesting, though, Mike Rogers always says, that's why the president has to have an encrypted Blackberry and cell phone because everyone is trying to spy on President Obama as well.

CUOMO: Right. We don't know how much the politics is masking the practicalities these days, but we'll keep following the story and see where it goes.

Now another storm, not of the political nature, a real one is brewing and could cause problems across the Midwest today and impact your Halloween. So let's bring in Indra Petersons who's tracking the forecast for us. Indra, what do we know? Have you stopped the storm?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I have not stopped the storm. What we're looking at is a big -- it almost looks like a big bulls eye on the weather map. You can actually see and track it as it makes its way across. So this is how we know. It's a big major storm that going to impact a huge chunk of the country again for the next several days.

What are the ingredients here? Well, remember, it brought heavy snow through Montana, Wyoming, even today, some dustings in through Colorado. That cold and dry air is going to clash with that warm and moist air as the system makes its way east. Every time you see this, you get those perfect ingredients for severe weather.

So today we're talking about anywhere from Kansas City down through Central Texas. We're looking for strong thunderstorms to fire up especially as we go in through the afternoon. Yes, even some isolated hail, but especially the threat for isolated tornadoes. That is something we're going to be monitoring.

This threat spreads in through tomorrow. So the same system as it makes its way east for Halloween. We're looking at Ohio Valley now and still extending all the way down through Texas to about Houston. We'll be looking for that severe weather threat.

So this system will remains with us here for the next several days. Another one of the ingredients will be the strong winds accompanying those thunderstorms. Notice the winds here gusting up to about 29 miles per hour in Oklahoma, Dallas also looking for strong winds even as you go into the Midwest, winds as strong as about 40 miles per hour.

All this wind spreads tomorrow in through Halloween as the system makes its way eastward. So we're looking at winds going to 50 miles per hour, even through upstate New York. This is going to be the big concern here. Heavy rain, strong winds and of course, all this is really going to be the story in Halloween. Michaela talked about a big dust storm we saw. That will be a big concern as it makes its way eastward.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

CUOMO: All right, big news morning. Let's get to Michaela with the headlines.

PEREIRA: Let's talk about that dust storm right now, making news, three people were killed in that incident, at least a dozen injured after a dust storm triggered multiple pileups on an Arizona highway. You're looking at the result there, blowing dust, causing low visibility on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson. Nineteen vehicles were involved, 10 commercial trucks, seven passenger cars, a tanker and an RV.

The State of Alabama will not enforce parts of its tough immigration law, reaching a settlement with civil rights groups that permanently blocks various provisions including one that directed public schools to ask the immigration status of students at enrollment time. That state also acknowledging police cannot stop someone just to check their immigration status.

Cirque Du Soleil and MGM Grand in Las Vegas both facing fines and being cited for not protecting performers' safety. This decision coming four months after aerialist, Sarah Guyard fell to her death at the end of a show. Investigators say her wire came off its pulley because she rose too fast during a climactic battle scene. Her line snapped after scraping a sharp edge. The MGM Grand and Cirque Du Soleil reportedly planned to appeal those citations.

Could Facebook rescue Blackberry? The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Blackberry executives visited Facebook headquarters in California last week potentially discussing a potential bid for the struggling phone maker. Not clear just how serious Mark Zuckerberg is about acquiring Blackberry, but Zuckerberg has expressed interest in getting Facebook as many phones as possible.

Singer Chris Brown has entered a rehab facility one day after he appeared before a judge on an assault charge in Washington, D.C., one of his reps said in a statement that Brown's goal is to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behavior. His latest arrest could have implications for his probation.

That all stemmed from a 2009 conviction in his assault against his former girlfriend, singer, Rihanna. It almost seems textbook. You get into trouble, apologize or go into rehab. I don't mean to sound jaded, but you sort to see this happen time and time again.

CUOMO: Rehab for what in this case?

BOLDUAN: Past behavior, I hope.

CUOMO: Insight rehab.

Coming up on NEW DAY, Special Forces were apparently ready to go to catch the only named suspect in the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. The operation never happened though, this morning we're digging into why.

And a mystery out of Tennessee, a plane crashes at a very busy airport, no one notices for hours. How could they miss it? That story, coming up.


CUOMO: Welcome back. Well, they apparently had him in their sights in Libya. A top terror suspect charged with last year's deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi. A raid was planned but then scraped. The big question, why? CNN's Barbara Starr is at the Pentagon. Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Chris. We've been looking into all of this. You know, earlier this month, U.S. forces went into Tripoli, the capital of Libya and grabbed an Al Qaida suspect name Al Libi, someone they wanted to get very badly. That however set off a firestorm of political turmoil inside Libya.

And what happened is, they could not then execute the second more dangerous, even more secret mission not for Al Libi but for a man named Abu Khattalah. Abu Khattalah lives openly in the city of Benghazi in Eastern Libya where that attacked happened. He is under sealed federal indictment for his role in all of that. Someone they want to get even more than Al Libi possibly.

But when all of the turmoil happened, the concern, Chris, became that the U.S. activity might be so destabilizing it could collapse the fragile Libyan government and they had to pull back. The mission didn't happen -- Chris.

CUOMO: OK, I hear you on that part, Barbara. Let's take a half step backwards and help give us some perspective. Why not reprioritize then instead of al Libi, going after Khattalah if he is arguably a more high-profile target?

STARR: Exactly. You know, in the end, did they make the wrong decision -- did they go after the wrong person first and not be able to do the second one? Some officials tell us behind the scenes, those very questions are being asked.

But other officials I've spoken to say, well, look, they went after the one they could get, al Libi. The guy they got was very much wanted for his role in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in East Africa. It's said to be a very key Al Qaida operative in years past. Someone they wanted.

But, look, make no mistake, President Obama under significant political pressure to get the suspects in the Benghazi attack. This might have been their closest chance and they weren't able to carry it off -- Chris, Kate.

CUOMO: All right. I -- thank you for the reporting, Barbara.

BOLDUAN: Let's go to a mystery out of Tennessee. Fascinating.

How could a small plane crash next to a runway at Nashville's International Airport killing the pilot and go unnoticed for six hours?

CNN's Christine Romans is here with more on this.

Talk about a mystery.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Fascinating. A lot of questions this morning: why did this plane crash? It erupted into flames after of runway 2-C at Nashville International Airport at 3:00 a.m. and wasn't noticed until 9:00 a.m. The pilot was dead, the debris on the side of the runway and many people asking exactly what happened and how did it go so long without anybody noticing this plane was there?

How did it finally get noticed? Another plane taxiing for takeoff noticed an engine cover on the side of 2-C and called into the tower and said, hey, you've got debris on the field. That's when they noticed this thing.

Now, federal officials are investigating this, of course. We know the plane came from the Windsor Flying Club in Canada. We know that sometime around 3:00 a.m., it tried to land at this airport. We don't know if it talked to the tower. We know the tower was staffed and we just don't know why it took so long to notice this debris.

We do know -- this is very, very key, (INAUDIBLE) low visibility, a lot of fog. Once that fog started to lift, that's when you could really see what happened?

BOLDUAN: But here's the thing once again. We're not talking about a small regional airport that's not staffed 24 hours a day. This is Nashville -- Nashville is a very busy airport.

ROMANS: And we don't know if he called in. We don't know if he was scheduled to land. We don't know if he ran into troublesome where else and decided to land there. We do know the visibility would have been very, very low.

They're not releasing the name of this pilot yet. We know from Canadian media sources that it is -- he's a man in his 30s, again, took that plane from the Windsor Flying Club.

Why it took so long? Still, a very small plane. The Cessna 172 is the most popular small plane. So, it is a four-seater --

BOLDUAN: No matter how small it is --

ROMANS: We know that a fire erupted sometime after the crash. We don't know if he landed on the runway and went off the runway, landed -- crash landed outside the runway, just don't know what happened. But six hours in the fog that plane was there with a pilot dead before someone noticed at Nashville International.

BOLDUAN: You can be sure they'll be investigating this one.

ROMANS: We'll wait for more updates today from federal officials investigating this.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, we're just hours away from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifying on Capitol Hill about the Obamacare website fiasco. What should you expect?

Well, John King is here to take a little in our political gut check of the day.

CUOMO: And hold on to that bottle.


CUOMO: It turns out wine is in short supply. We'll tell you why when we come back, Kate Bolduan. What? Who said that? Kate Bolduan?

BOLDUAN: Breaking news banner.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

It's time now for the political gut check of the morning.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is in the hot seat today, going before Congress to answer for the problems with the Obamacare website and the new controversy over some Americans being told their health coverage is being canceled.

CNN's chief national correspondent John King is here with a look ahead at what is to be expected today. I think it might be an understatement of how high the stakes are for Kathleen Sebelius today.

What does she need to do in this hearing?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, what she needs to do is project confidence they figured out the problems and are going to get it right. What's going to happen to the secretary, though, is she is going to face mostly from Republicans but watch the tone of the Democrats. That will be important today, questions about her credibility and questions about her confidence.

And in those questions then, a gateway into questions about -- this will come from Republicans -- about whether Obamacare is doomed to fail, whether it is too big, too complicated, too much regulations, too much government imposed on people's lives?

Now, there's a ton of politics in this but there also will be serious policy questions including the last part she just alluded to. Remember, the president said, don't worry, if you like your health plan, you'll get to keep it.

Well, learning every day more and more, that for many Americans, that's not true. And so, that is another opening. The website was the first opening for Republicans. This much more personal factor now that some people who like their plan won't get to keep it. Watch for a lot of questioning on that front. And again, not only on her credibility but the president's credibility, whether he misled the American people.

BOLDUAN: And do you think, when talking about those two things, you've got the website, that's going to be a big issue in the hearing? And then, you have this controversy of -- if you want -- if you like your health care, you can keep it or not? Do you think that threatens to be the longer lasting impact and the lingering problem for the administration, and specifically the president on this issue?

KING: Well, that's more personal. If you do like your plan, if this becomes a bureaucratic hassle for Americans out there, as it is implemented over the next several months and into next year, then it becomes much more difficult, which is why you have two different challenges today. It's actually interesting. While she's on the hot seat on Capitol Hill, the president is actually going to Boston.

Remember the Massachusetts health care plan? Remember Mitt Romney? The president's message in Boston is going to be lift your head, folks, try to look over the horizon. When they implemented the plan here in Massachusetts, there were bumps, some bruises, some political controversies. And years later, most people in Massachusetts are happy and 95 percent, 96 percent of state residents have coverage.

So, the president is going to try to say, if you look on the horizon, this will get better despite the problems right now. But the secretary is going to be a bit of a pinata today because those problems at the moment, there seem to be more and not fewer as we go through each day.

BOLDUAN: How do -- what's the best outcome that Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration can hope for coming out of this hearing? Because you know she's going to take a beating.

KING: The best outcome coming out of this hearing given the big political dynamic right now is to not lose any more Democrats.

The Republicans are gone. The Republicans are going to beat up the program. They're going to beat up her credibility. They're going to beat up the president's credibility. And they're going to challenge almost everything she says.

The key point for them in terms of the politics so that a month from now, two months and three months from now, this conversation is very different, is to instill some confidence in the Democrats that they're going to figure it out and the things are going to get better, because as we head into the election year, if they start losing more Democrats -- watch out.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and I do want to ask you before I let you go -- keeping the focus on Capitol Hill, the top intel guys, top national security guys on the Hill yesterday obviously, making a very forceful defense of NSA spying programs, very unapologetic. So, you have that. They answered a lot of the questions that were out there.

But what happens next in this other controversy and scandal that the White House is dealing with?

KING: Again, you have both a policy track and the political track. On the policy track, Congress doesn't believe it's gotten straight answers all the time, when it has asked what has happened. It was interesting yesterday to watch the House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers essentially tongue lashed other members of the committee who were trying to say that the intelligence community never told Congress they were monitoring the communications of allied leaders around the world. He said that's not true. If you came and did your home work, you would know this.

So there was some politics in play there. You have the oversight, which there is no question. And even the NSA officials saying they'll declassify more information. There is no question there will be more oversight and the goal of push for more transparency.

On the politics side, again, though, you get the credibility questions, though, why wasn't the president told if he didn't know this? The Republicans see an opening there, you'll watch that one play out as well as, Kate, we're in this interesting moment for the administration, with so many of these controversies, and so often the answer has been, we didn't know or we weren't told.

Not only are we going to have individual questions about intelligence, individual questions about healthcare, but much like George W. Bush faced around the same time in his presidency, questions about the administration's credibility and its competence to get things done.

BOLDUAN: And even though it might be the answer, we didn't know, we weren't told -- it does not seem that it's a good enough at this point, for at least for Capitol Hill and many people in the country as well. So --


KING: That's a big question, the culture, the management culture of the administration, pick any program when they say these things. If the boss didn't know, why didn't boss know? Why didn't somebody kick the door in and tell the boss on something so important, we had a problem?

BOLDUAN: That's a good point. John King, great to see you, John. We'll talk soon.

KING: Good morning.


We'll have to talk about, clearly, a lot of politics. We're covering Capitol Hill very closely today but many other stories making news this morning.

Let's start with Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Here are your headlines at half past the hour.

Iraq's prime minister paying the U.S. a visit and meeting with Vice President Joe Biden today. Nouri al Maliki will meet with members of the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees. He is expected to ask the U.S. for military supplies to fight an upsurge in sectarian violence spilling over from the Syrian border. He will meet with President Obama Friday.

Six people, including two children have been found dead inside a South Carolina home. It would appear it's an apparent murder/suicide. The Greenwood County sheriff says the victims range in age from nine into their 50s. All of them had been shot.

Police went to the house after receiving a 911 call from a man inside the home who said he was intent on hurting himself.

Expect more emotional testimony today at the Utah murder trial of Martin MacNeill. Three more of the defendant's daughters will testify against him. MacNeill is charged with killing his wife, their mother, so he could be with his mistress, a woman named Gypsy Willis. She took the stand Tuesday, along with her mother, who claims MacNeill told her he never loved his wife.

New details on a hacking attack on software join the Adobe. The company revealing some 38 million user names and passwords were stolen, not the nearly 3 million records originally thought. Adobe said it's notified all of the affected users and has reset their passwords and revealed the hackers took part of the source code for PhotoShop.

And some troubling news for wine lovers. There is a global wine shortage. It's reportedly only going to get worse. Our newsroom is abuzz with this.

Can I tell you, the production -- I know, Chris is having a hard time himself.

According to a new report from Morgan Stanley there's not enough production to keep up with the demand. It's supply and demand issue here, Chris.

Global wine production fell more than 5 percent last year, primarily due to bad weather in Argentina and in France.