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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Testify Before Congress; Obamacare Leading to Cancellation of Some Individual Health Care Plans; U.S. Spying Programs Criticized by Foreign Leaders; Boy Shot Dead by Police; Interview with Harry Houck

Aired October 30, 2013 - 07:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And in California, a funeral for the 13- year-old boy that was shot by police while carrying a toy gun. But the protests are just beginning, some demanding the officer involved be charged with murder. But is that fair? We'll examine this.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: And then a big mystery. We do love a good mystery on NEW DAY. Not one but two secret barges floating off of San Francisco and off Maine. What could they be? We'll tell you why only Google knows.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But first, the blame game over the troubled Obamacare website rollout shifts into high gear this morning when Kathleen Sebelius goes before a congressional committee. This comes as there are new reports of another outage on the site preventing Americans once again from signing up. Let's bring in CNN's Brianna Keilar tracking developments for us at the White House this morning. Good morning, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris, good morning to you. CNN has obtained a confidential report from early September. An agency spokesman says the report is not a dire warning but instead more of a list of things to do. Much of it reads, though, as something that were written in the weeks after the October 1st launch of Obamacare, not before it.


KEILAR: 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: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear the testimony --

KEILAR: 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 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. Chairman Camp, we will have those numbers available mid-November.


KEILAR: Later today, president Obama will be in Boston where he will be promoting Obamacare and also competing for headlines with his Health and Human Services secretary, and, Kate, he'll be at Faneuil Hall, which is where Mitt Romney signed the Massachusetts health care program into law.

BOLDUAN: Brianna, thank you so much for starting us off. As Brianna mentioned, more than a million Americans are receiving notices that their health coverage is being canceled and they can't keep their existing plans, which contradicts what the president has said over and over again.


BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.


BOLDUAN: So then what's behind this? Why can't people keep their plans? Christine Romans is here taking a look at that. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kate. Why are the people losing their plans or why are they being forced to pay more? Most of the time it's because the plans they have now don't meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. They're not legal anymore. The Affordable Care Act says everything should get mental health, maternity care, and medication coverage. And out of pocket expenses are limited to $6,350 a year. That's supposed to stop people from going bankrupt, remember, because of an accident or illness.

Now, with a few exceptions, plans that don't meet the minimum are gone. Plan A, for example, if you don't have all three of those things, it is gone. The new plans that are offered now must follow Obamacare requirements. They're usually a little more expensive or can be more expensive because they have to cover all of those things. They can't pick and choose.

The data so far is mostly anecdotal, right? For example, our Elizabeth Cohen spoke to a 34-year-old man who buys his own coverage. He's now paying $173 a month, $5,000 deductible. His new plan would cost him more, $244 a month with a deductible of more than $6,000. Remember, there are out-of-pocket maximums, about $6,350. So yes that costs more. But his old plan did not cover everything that the law requires -- maternity care, brand name drugs, mental health care, and routine illnesses like hernias or ear infections.

The administration says the expansion of coverage is necessary because you can face an ill necessary or accident at any time. Some people feel they're too healthy to have to pay for coverage they don't use. And some people feel they don't want to change. Remember, this is mostly for people who buy their own coverage right now. The coverage you used to have might, quite frankly, be illegal.

BOLDUAN: The White House says it's really just about five percent of the population. Saying that it's -- obviously the vast majority is going to be able to get what they need and what they want. But it's still five percent of the population going against what the president said over and over again.

CUOMO: Right. But why? The five percent looms large when you're trying to make the example that the law is no good, which is a big part of the political push right now.

BOLDUAN: Christine, thank you.

We'll have live coverage of the Kathleen Sebelius hearing. You'll want to hear about that. That will be starting at 8:55 this morning. That's our coverage right here on CNN.

CUOMO: We heard something very rare in Washington yesterday, the truth. We do it, they do it, everybody does it -- that was the defense top U.S. intelligence officials gave about spying, including spying on American's allies. That said, German officials said to be unsatisfied and are meeting with national security officials at the White House today. What could be on the agenda? Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us from Washington. What do we know, Jim? JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. You know what a challenge it can be getting straight answers out of the intelligence community. So it was incredible to see the heads of the most secretive organizations in the U.S. speaking out publicly and openly, defending surveillance both at home and abroad.

Now, a couple big headlines from here. First they said emphatically that the White House would have known of the spying on the U.S. allies, thought they added the president might not have known specific targets. And they also fought back hard against the story line that the U.S. is the only country in the business of spying on its allies.


SCIUTTO: After enduring weeks of accusations of spying overreach --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want our Fourth 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.


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

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


ROGERS: And 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 could 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.

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

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

ALEXANDER: To be perfectly clear, this is not information 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 that is likely to have real consequences, including on a major trade agreement the two sides are discussing right now. Chris and Kate, I know there's skepticism about that European argument. But what they tell me is the thing they really felt was over the top was going after the personal cell phone of a leader like Angela Merkel, the other stuff, everybody knows agencies spy on agencies. But when it goes to the leaders, that's the one they said was a step too far.

BOLDUAN: Jim, thank you so much for that.

Let's get over to Indra Petersons now, keeping track of the latest forecast and a big storm causing a whole lot of trouble in the Midwest today, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're talking about a mini storm and a big one. Up in Canada, the mini storm could bring light showers into New Hampshire and Vermont. And easy to see the big bull's-eye on the map. I wanted to highlight it. It's the one that brought the heavy snow the last several days through Montana and Wyoming. Montana got over a foot of snow. This is key. It has a good amount of energy with it. This exact same system will move from the cold and dry air and make its way into the warm and moist air. We're seeing two different air masses clashing as the system makes its way east.

With that we had a severe weather threat both today and tomorrow, today from Kansas City right down through central Texas. Severe thunderstorms especially as we go through the afternoon. Even an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Tomorrow, Ohio valley pretty much down through Houston. We'll have to keep our eye on this system. This is going to be one of the biggest things we'll see, strong winds. Gusts through Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, anywhere from 20 to 40 miles per hour. Tomorrow those winds even get stronger. We're talking about gusts close to 50 miles per hour through upstate New York. Also a heavy rainmaker day, three to five inches through Texas. Also in the quad cities, one to two inches of rain. A lot to think about for Halloween and also if you have travel plans.

BOLDUAN: Indra, thanks so much for they up date. Michaela?

PEREIRA: Let's take a look at the headlines. Making news, U.S. officials telling CNN that special ops forces had to abort a plan to capture a suspect in last year's consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya. The target was Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a leading figure in the Ansar al Sharia militia. The mission, however, was scrapped largely because the attention caused by a raid in Tripoli just hours before that captured Al Qaeda operative Abu Anas al Libi.

A small plane crashing at Nashville International Airport. No one noticed, however, for six hours. A pilot and taxiing plane spotted the wreck Tuesday at 9:00 in the morning. Officials say the single engine Cessna crashed on the side of the runway around 3:00 a.m., killing the pilot. This morning the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the crash and why no one discovered it sooner.

A deal has been reached between Alabama and civil rights leaders over the state's controversial immigration crackdown. The deal permanently blocks major portions of a law passed in 2011 requiring students to declare their parents immigration status at the time of enrollment, and also a provision that banned unauthorized immigrants from soliciting work. The agreement still has to be approved by a federal judge.

NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly's planned lecture at Brown University did not go quite as planned. Sorry. We thought we had sound there for you. Protesters apparently interrupted his speech, shouting the disapproval of New York's stop and frisk law. They say it discriminates against blacks and Muslims. Kelly apparently gave up and left after 20 minutes.

David Beckham will not be returning to the soccer field as a player. However, he may soon be occupying the owner's box. The retired soccer star is reportedly eyeing Miami as the destination for his Major League Soccer franchise. Beckham is still putting together a team of investors. His representatives have been seen in the area looking at sites for a future soccer stadium. Have you noticed something, they were in L.A. and then Miami? I think he and his wife want to be in the warmer climates.

CUOMO: Also known as the gratuitous, topless photo.

PEREIRA: Our producers chose that shot.


PEREIRA: I had nothing to do with it.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a 13-year-old laid to rest after being shot and killed by police. The police call it a tragedy for everyone involved, but many protesters aren't convinced. Will there be charges for the officer involved? Would that be the right call? We'll examine it and you decide. BOLDUAN: And you cannot Google the answer to this one. Why is there a mystery barge floating in San Francisco's Bay? We'll tell you about it, ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Can you tell what I'm holding right now? Can you tell if it's real or fake? Bring the camera in closer. Now tell if you can. What am I pointing at you? What do you think? if your life was at risk and this was pointed at you, what would you think? Would you think your life is at risk?

Now, I remove this. It's a toy. They have to have this colored thing on it. What if it didn't? What if it didn't have it on? It would be basically the exact same thing that 13-year-old Andy Lopez was carrying when his was killed by police. His did not have the orange tip at the end of the barrel. It's important to know. In a moment we'll talk about the case with former NYPD detective Harry Halk (ph), but first, we're going to remind you what this story is all about. Dan Simon will do that.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Classmates and friends of 13-year-old Andy Lopez carried his casket into the Santa Rosa church for his funeral. His distraught parents seen here entering the service which was filled to capacity. Classmates remember Lopez fondly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMA;E: Andy was a nice person. He would always make you smile and laugh anytime you were sad. He was loved.

SIMON: But with the grief, there is outrage.



SIMON: Hundreds of protesters took to the streets Tuesday, many of them teenagers skipping school. Demanding justice for Lopez, gunned down by a sheriff's deputy last week who apparently thought the teenager posed a deadly threat holding what turned out to be a toy gun, an AK-47 replica.

But some think the deputy and his partner showed poor judgment, or worse, deliberately targeted a Hispanic youth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to say a badge is not a license to kill. We demand that the cops be jailed. We have no confidence in the police or politicians.

SIMON: Investigators from another police department are still reviewing the case. But thus far, seem to be defending the deputy. Eric Gelhaus (ph), a 24-year veteran, saying that he had to quickly act based on the perceived threat.

LT. PAUL HENRY, SANTA ROSA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: If the weapon appeared real, that the subject appeared to be turning toward them, and the barrel of the weapon appeared to be rising in their general direction.

SIMON: Complicating matters, the replica, called an air soft rifle, did not have an orange cap on the end of the barrel, required by law to be put on toys. But protesters say this is the case of an overzealous deputy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want this Eric Gelhaus jailed and charged with murder, and we're going to keep marching and keep walking out of school until this happens.

SIMON: The how and why surrounding the shooting may be open to question. What's undeniable, though, is that a 13-year-old is dead, his mom and dad filled with sorrow.

Dan Simon, CNN, Santa Rosa, California.


CUOMO: As Dan points out when a child is killed by anybody, let alone a police officer, it raises questions. We have to also do careful analysis. Let's do that right now. We're going to bring in Harry Houck (ph). He's a former NYPD and he understands these situations, lived through one yourself.


CUOMO: Let's go through the punch points of this. The first one, this all happened in ten seconds. To the uninitiated it sounds like why didn't officer wait? Why couldn't it be a more deliberate process? Tell me about the thinking that happens in a situation like this.

HOUCK: First let me say I think this is a terrible tragedy. It's terrible when something like this happens, but any police officer might have to deal with this situation at any time. All right?

What's going through a police officer at the time when he sees somebody with a weapon is not only his own safety but the safety of the people around him. That officer might have saw this kid with this weapon which of course looks exactly like an AK-47. All right? He's got -- he's former military, he has 27 years experience. He knows what this weapon can do. That's going on in his mind.

The whole thing for him, he needs to eliminate that threat, all right? At any moment, you know, let's say this kid's walking by like a school ground. He's afraid this kid is going to open up on that school ground and start killing those children or killing other people on the street. He's got to hurry up, get out and get his weapon out and tell the guy to drop his weapon. Okay?

Apparently what we've learned is that when he did that, the kid somehow turned around, the police officer then thought that his life was in danger, and he fired eight shots, killing him.

CUOMO: Sounds like a plausible scenario to you.

HOUCK: Yes, it does. CUOMO: Ten seconds sounds short to me but in that situation, how long is ten seconds?

HOUCK: It goes like that. You know, it's really, really quick. Ten seconds - I mean what's going through your mind, it's like your mind is like a computer. All different scenarios are going out in that short ten-second period. If you don't react quickly, you might be dead, your partner might be dead, or somebody else on the street might be dead.

CUOMO: The reality is something you know very well. It's not theoretical for you.

HOUCK: Sure, exactly.

CUOMO: You were in a situation where there was kid with a gun, was a known criminal.

HOUCK: Right.

CUOMO: But for two things you might have wound up pulling the trigger the same way. What was different?

HOUCK: Exactly. Well, what happened in my instance, is he was a 16- year-old boy running down the street with a .357 magnum in his hand. I spotted it, I pulled my weapon, I pulled my hammer back. I told the kid to drop the gun. He turned around and looked at me. As he started to bring the gun towards me, I saw his left hand grab the barrel which stopped me from firing on him and told me it's fake.

I ran over to the kid. All right. Put him in handcuffs. He dropped the weapon. I opened the gun. There was no shells in it. I'm an expert on handguns. No shells. I go back to the station house, looking at the weapon, I go, my God, it's a counterfeit gun. I thought it was still real in the street.

CUOMO: Because in the moment of crisis you don't make calculations the same way.

HOUCK: You can't do that. You don't have the time to think.

CUOMO: If not for him grabbing it, if not for him saying it's fake --

HOUCK: He would have been dead.

CUOMO: Would have been a different way. The officer involved here, you said he has a lot of training, experience, he's been on the job a long time, never used his weapon in the line of duty. Which gives a window into his disposition.

He wrote an article back in 2008 where he was training about how to deal with an ambush. One of the things he talks about in here is, you think you're safe behind a car door. He was behind a car door when he shot this kid. He says you're not. He shows ones riddled with bullets. Is that a reasonable perspective for an officer that yeah, I'm behind a door, that's better but it's not good enough against something that looks like this?

HOUCK: Right. It's providing cover, okay? It's providing cover where somebody can't get a good shot at you. That's all it's going to do. A weapon like this is going to go through the door and through my vest into my chest. Remember several years ago where the police -- those bank robbers with automatic weapons, several cops were shooting at them and they caused a lot of problems out there. A machine gun like this you can kill dozens of people within seconds.

CUOMO: I guess the important point is, we hear about shootings all the time that seem like they didn't have to happen. The concern is that the training is there and that we're teaching sensitivities. As far as you know, depends on the department, but that's an awareness the departments have as well.

HOUCK: I tell you what, the reason for you to shoot is your own. All right? It's in your head. All right? I might not shoot the same exact instance another officer might not shoot at. It all depends on what I feel comfortable doing. How I perceive the threat. The only person that can perceive that threat is the officer who faces that situation.

CUOMO: All right. Listen, thank you very much, detective.

HOUCK: Thanks for having me.

CUOMO: What do you think? I know it's controversial. I know it hurts because a child was killed, so let's keep the conversation going, use the #Newday. Appreciate it.

And as we get more thoughts, obviously we'll report it on you. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thank you so much.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, allegations of racial profiling against two famous New York City retailers. It's bringing rapper Jay Z into the fray. Well now, the state's attorney general is investigating. We'll have the details.

Plus, he caught a massive wave off the coast of Portugal, believed to be around 100 feet tall. Just look at it. It may be a record. We'll be talking to the surfer who did it.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's give you a look at some of the stories making news. It has happened again. Another outage stopping anyone from submitting new applications on the Obamacare website. System maintenance is blamed, and the site is expected to be back online when that is done. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius meanwhile testifying on Capitol Hill in about an hour and a half. We'll bring you those comments live. She is expected to say that private contractors who built are at fault for the site's many, many problems.

NSA spying also a hot topic on Capitol Hill. The head of the agency defending their electronic surveillance telling lawmakers they're focused on keeping Americans safe at home. General Keith Alexander denied reports the NSA has collected tens of millions of phone calls from citizens of U.S. allies. President Obama has ordered a review of their data collection program.

Cirque du Soleil and MGM Grand in Las Vegas both facing fines and being cited for not protecting performer's safety. This decision comes four months after aerialist Sarah Guillot-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, and then her line snapped after scraping a sharp edge. The MGM Grand and Cirque du Soleil reportedly plan to appeal those citations.