Return to Transcripts main page


Boston Red Sox Wins World Series; Biden Apologizes for Obamacare Web Site Outages; Edward Snowden Gets a Job in Russia; NSA Targeted Google, Yahoo?

Aired October 31, 2013 - 09:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Happening now in the NEWSROOM, breaking overnight. Halloween weather emergency.

MARK JONES, CLINTON, MISSISSIPPI COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER: Thursday afternoon we will make the decision as to whether to cancel the haunting of Old Town.

COSTELLO: A massive storm marching across the Midwest. Hailstorms and high winds. Cities deciding whether to cancel Halloween.


COSTELLO: Also Boston strong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn't happened at Fenway Park for 95 years. The Red Sox are world champions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ortiz hands down MVP.

COSTELLO: Victory at home at last.

DAVID ORTIZ, 2013 WORLD SERIES MVP: First of all, I want to say this is for you, Boston.

COSTELLO: Plus a CNN exclusive.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT: We were under the impression that it was ready to go.

COSTELLO: Vice President Joe Biden and his blunt assessment of the Obamacare rollout.

BIDEN: Neither he and I are technology geeks, and we assumed that it was up and ready to run.

COSTELLO: So queue the apology tour.




COSTELLO: Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Stop apologizing and just get it done.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



COSTELLO: We'll continue on the apology tour in just a little bit but first good morning, everyone. I'm Carol Costello.

On this Halloween, something wicked is haunting the holiday. Oh, hail and strong winds rip across Kansas, floodwaters rush across central Texas, scary weather has already spooked some cities into canceling or rescheduling their plans.

Millions of other kids still in the path of a storm are holding their breath, knowing that their own trick-or-treating plans may be washed away.


ROBERT LATHAM, DIRECTOR, MISSISSIPPI EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: If you're going to have schools letting out, you know, kids getting ready, parents getting ready to take their children, you know, trick-or- treating out on Halloween, so I'm concerned about, you know, the potential for heavy rains, number one.


COSTELLO: So who should be watching out for the storms and how severe is the threat?

Let's talk to the woman who knows.

Indra Petersons, good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Carol. Yes, unfortunately about 53 million Americans today are going to be under the threat for severe weather. We're talking about anywhere from Detroit all the way down through Houston. What are they looking for? Strong winds, as strong as 60 miles per hour, heavy rain and even an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out for Halloween.


PETERSONS (voice-over): Heavy rains fell in central Texas overnight causing flash flooding in Austin. Several counties in the area had to evacuate as surging water engulfed the roadways. A massive storm in the nation's midsection is brewing up a wicked pot of wind, hail and rain, turning Halloween into a ghoulish soaker from Texas to the Midwest and northeast. Golf ball-sized hail fell in Nebraska and Kansas. Meanwhile, blinding rain and howling winds had snapped power lines. Driving was nearly impossible. Further south, three inches of rain fell in just four hours in Livingston, Texas.

Trick-or-treaters in Cincinnati, Memphis and Houston may have to delay or cancel their Halloween plans tonight as strong storms are expected to dump three to five inches of rain.

JONES: Thursday afternoon we will make the decision as to whether to cancel the haunting of Old Town.

PETERSONS: The last-minute costume shoppers are already thinking of alternate plans.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the ladies that we trick-or-treat with is going to have a Halloween party for the kids at her house if it rains.

PETERSONS: If the storms become severe the safest thing to do is stay inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't need anybody getting hurt at a time when it's supposed to be fun.

PETERSONS: The East Coast is no stranger to Halloween soakers. Last year residents in New York and New Jersey were cleaning up from Superstorm Sandy and the year before it was a record-breaking nor'easter that dumped snow across several states.


PETERSONS: So, Carol, this is what we're looking at. The ingredients that are making this such a strong storm this late in the season, typical to what you would see in the springtime is all this moisture coming in from the south. Then you have the jet stream really lining up right around the Ohio Valley. So what is going on? We're talking about heavy rain as it's closer to that moisture source down in the south.

Another three to five inches of rain is possible so flash flooding is in the forecast, lighter rain up to the Ohio Valley but once you get in that region strong winds. We talked about that jet stream gusts anywhere from 50 to even 60 miles per hour. This system makes its way into the northeast tomorrow and even the threat of an isolated tornado is in the forecast so yes, everyone wants to have fun tonight, Carol, but they just have to remember sometimes they just need to stay aware and it just may not be worth it.

We'll have to kind of take a look at the surroundings throughout the evening and just judge for themselves.

COSTELLO: We will be careful. Thank you, Indra, we appreciate it.

Boston strongest. After rallying the city in the wake of the marathon bombings, the Boston Red Sox rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, down 2-1, the Sox won three straight games to take their third title in a decade.

The banner on this morning's "Boston Herald" -- "one for all." The Sox clinched the World Series at home for the first time in 95 years. Some celebrations got a little out of hand a car, though. A car was flipped near Fenway Park, bottles were thrown, Boston Police arrested nine people for unruly behavior.

Police in riot gear responded to a post-game disturbance at u mass. Amherst, 14 students arrested, two of them charged with assault and battery on a police officer.

But there was pure unadulterated joy in the Red Sox clubhouse. Series MVP, David Ortiz, Big Papi sprayed teammates from a humongous gold bottle of champagne. There's nothing better than baseball celebrations, I must say.

CNN's John Berman, a big Red Sox fan, was at last night's game. He's at Fenway Park this morning, just from a Tigers fan, congratulations, Red Sox and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, CNN'S EARLY START: Thank you so much, Carol. And greetings to you from Fenway Park, the home of the world champion Boston Red Sox. And behind me you can see some traces of the celebration here. There are still beer cans and cups strewn about the immaculate infield here. This place, it erupted when the Red Sox won last night, 38,000 fans screaming with joy along with 25 players who were falling all -- over each other with joy.

And as you said, not just here in the park but on the streets. When we left here last night, it was way high fives and hugs, every block there'd be more and more coming to give you a high-five that you never met before.

You mentioned the fact this is the first time the Red Sox had clinched the World Series at Fenway Park since 1918. But that's not the date that's been in everyone's mind here in Boston. It's April, April of this year, for the Boston marathon bombings and that was an event that moved this city and moved the Boston Red Sox as well. And the journey from then until now has been something incredibly poignant to see.


BERMAN (voice-over): Victory at home, at last. Absolute jubilation flooding the streets. Red Sox nation celebrating their team's World Series win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what Boston strong means.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing defines Boston than this moment right here.

BERMAN: The excitement reaching a fever pitch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely amazing game. Red Sox three times in nine years doesn't get better than that.

BERMAN: Down on the diamond, it was run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes Gomes. He is safe.

BERMAN: After run.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's gone. Red Sox.

BERMAN: After run.


BERMAN: An absolutely blowout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It hasn't happened at Fenway Park for 95 years. The Red Sox are world champions.

BERMAN: The Red Sox winning it and winning it at home.

The last time the Sox won in the shadow of the green monster was 1918, back when Babe Ruth played for the team. Winning is even stunted by World War 1.

This is the third Red Sox title in nine years. But this one is different. This isn't about breaking a curse like in 2004. This isn't even just about baseball.

This team that finished dead last in the American League East last year came to symbolize resilience in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings. It was this team that hung the shirt in their dugout and last night emblazing the same slogan on to their field, Boston strong.

It was this team that broke into small groups and quietly visited the victims of the attack. It was this team that played ball at Fenway Park the day after the city was shutdown in the final manhunt for the bombers. They opened the doors, filled the seats, came from behind and declared with no ambiguity.

ORTIZ: This is our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) city.

BERMAN: His team, this bearded brawny group of bashers, this worst- to-first, tragic to magic, a collection of men proved there was prophecy in that profanity from David Ortiz. Now the people of Boston can say in unison, this is our city, this is our team, this is our championship.


BERMAN: This was the biggest turnaround in baseball history from last place last season: The World Series champs now. And now people all across the city, all across the state, all across this region are bleary eyed in school and at their jobs today. -- Carol.


COSTELLO: I bet they are. And I bet all of the Sox's wives are saying, honey, it's time to shave the beard now. (LAUGHTER)

BERMAN: No doubt.

COSTELLO: John Berman, thanks.

Another day another rude greeting for Americans trying to learn more about Obamacare. Until just a few minutes ago the government's Web site was still shut down by the technical problems that have plagued it since its launch one month ago tomorrow. And the administration says it could be another month before the Web site is running smoothly.

And just in case you thought it might be a little easier logging on to the Obamacare Web site if you happen to be the president of the United States, you'd be wrong.

This is what Vice President Joe Biden told HLN's Christi Paul.


CHRISTI PAUL, HLN ANCHOR: Have you tried to get online yourself?

BIDEN: No. Actually the president tried to get online and my daughter tried to get online. I did not because it was clear that I wasn't getting online.


COSTELLO: Christi Paul joins us now to tell more of what the vice president had to say.

PAUL: You know, no matter what side of this political aisle you sit on you can count on Joe Biden to tell it like it is. Can't you? And he does -- I think there's a lot of respect and appreciation for that. And that's what he did yesterday when I asked him about the problems, he just flat-out apologized.


BIDEN: We're under the impression that it was ready to go. We had the president, to his credit, almost seven weeks out was saying, are we ready? And to be told by the pros yes, this looks like it's all ready to go online and, neither he nor I are technology geeks, and we assume that it was up and ready to run but the good news is, although it's not and we apologize for that, we're confident that by the end of November it will be and there'll still be plenty of time for people to register and get online.


COSTELLO: And you know, Christi, what struck me about that interview, he said, you know, we're not tech geeks, the president and I, but the president ran one of the most tech-savvy campaigns in the history of the United States. PAUL: He did but they probably had pros to handle that as well, you know, when you think about it. I mean, I don't know what it's like to be in the middle of a campaign, but the reason that we were talking to him about that as well is because we were at the National Domestic Violence Hotline which is -- I hate to say celebrating but they are celebrating in a sense their three millionth call which just shows how prolific this domestic violence issue and how close it is, and dear it is to the vice president because he -- it would not be in existence had it not been for Joe Biden's founding the -- or writing, I should say, authorizing the Violence Again Women Act.

And, you know, there is a connection between health care and domestic violence. Verizon commissioned this new study that showed that women who have asthma and who have diabetes and some other chronic illnesses are involved in domestic violence situations so it's a -- it's a health issue. It's a physical issue. It's an emotional issue. It's a money issue in many standpoints.

And Joe Biden says listen, this is the most important work of my life. This is something he's really serious about. He went by and talked to all of his people. He believes in making a difference in this cause and changing the way we see things, not blaming the victim. I was so glad he brought that up.

COSTELLO: And really that's the reason you were talking to the vice president.

PAUL: It was.

COSTELLO: Because he wrote a book on domestic violence. It's an important issue in your life, too.

PAUL: Thank you. I did. I had my own experience. It's called "Love isn't Supposed to Hurt" and in all transparency the book came out a year ago and proceeds of that book do go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. So just to be very transparent and real, that was part of it as well.

COSTELLO: OK. Christi, thank you so much for sharing, We appreciate it.

PAUL: Thank you.


COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a kidnapping and a 911 call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have been kidnapped and we are being followed.

COSTELLO: A Florida woman, her abductor, her ex-boyfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have enough ammunition to kill her and myself.

COSTELLO: We hear from Elizabeth Hamilton for the first time this morning.

Plus the security of your Yahoo! and Google accounts.

CLAUDE MORAES, EU PARLIAMENT CIVIL LIBERTIES COMMITTEE DELEGATION: We want to get to the truth of why there was mass surveillance.

COSTELLO: Reports of the NSA tapping into the massive search engines and how a cartoon with a smiley face is becoming a bigger part of the story.

NEWSROOM is back after a break.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

COSTELLO: It's a bit of breaking news to pass along to you this morning. The man behind the NSA leaks has found a job in Russia. I'm talk about Edward Snowden and guess what he's going to do? Guess what his job is? Well, I'll give you a hint. He's working, it involves computers, I'll give you that hint. I'll let CNN's Diana Magnay tell you the rest. She's live in Moscow.

So what job did he find in Russia?

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Well, I wish I could give you the name of the company that he's working for but we've just got off the phone from his lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, and I can't give you name. He hasn't given a name. But he says it's a major Russian Web site and that he starts working tomorrow, November 1st.

So it seems, you know, the lawyer has been consistently saying ever since he was granted asylum here at the beginning of August, you know, he wants to lead a normal life. There were some photos which came out quite recently of a man looking like Edward Snowden doing his grocery shopping and now it seems that he's got himself a normal job. But it's likely given the fact that he's an I.T. specialist he's not going to be sitting in some big room with a whole load of other techies, he's probably going to be doing it remotely.

You know, Carol, there is of course still security concerns around him, so he's probably not going to be very clear or very public about where he's working from.

COSTELLO: It sounds like he's going to stay in Russia, forever I mean. It's starting to sound more like that at least.

MAGNAY: Well, his father, Lawrence Snowden, came to visit him a few weeks back and said that he was doing very well in Russia, that he was very grateful to the Russian authorities for having granted him asylum that he felt that he could lead a normal life here and that he was able to find a job here, and there have been a lot of companies who have been public about the fact that they've been looking to recruit Edward Snowden. He's obviously a name that you would want to have up there on your tech specialist roll and we know that the sort of Russian version of Facebook, which is called VKontakte, tried to recruit him earlier on. They haven't commented on whether it's them who've given him the job this time round. It's also possible that he could be working for the Russian version of Google, which is called, Yandex, but it certainly seems as though he has found a bit of a home here in Russia.

And it's interesting, Carol, I've just come from Germany, which is obviously in the midst of outcry over the latest NSA revelations that Angela Merkel, the chancellor's phone might have been spied on. There's quite a lot of calls there to get Edward Snowden back and to get him to testify before a parliamentary commission, so that he can give more evidence about that particular scenario.

But it seems unlikely that he'll do that. He will then be much more in the hands of possible sort of being sent back to the states. So it seems pretty likely that for now at least Edward Snowden's here to stay -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Diana Magnay reporting live from Moscow this morning, thank you.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, a teenager found dead rolled up in a gym mat in his high school but there's never been a formal investigation into how he died. Well, that could change soon.


COSTELLO: Next time you click your mouse on Google or Yahoo, you'll have a new reason to wonder if someone is watching you. "The Washington Post" says the National Security Agency, the NSA, has secretly tapped into those company's servers overseas. Though the NSA denies the report, it's the latest reason for Americans to question their privacy and the broad reach of our intelligence community.

We'll get more now from CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Explained in this simple hand-sketched drawing, complete with a smiley face, maybe a newly disclosed way the NSA is monitoring the Internet. "The Washington Post" citing documents stolen and released by Edward Snowden reports the intelligence agency has tapped into the communications link such as undersea cables connecting Yahoo! and Google data centers around the world.

And because those links are overseas, they can do so without any oversight from the U.S. government. The NSA chief delivered a partial denial.

GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY: This is not NSA breaking into any databases. It would be illegal for us to do that. SCIUTTO: As did a written statement from NSA to CNN saying, "The assertion that we collect vast quantities of U.S. persons' data from this type of collection is not true." But the NSA did not deny it accesses links between the servers or communications of foreigners carried on those links.

Reaction from Google and Yahoo! was swift and angry. "We have long been concerned about the possibility of this kind of snooping," said Google. "Which is why we have continue to extend encryption across more and more Google services and links."

Yahoo! said, "We have not given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency."

Two European delegations upset at allegations of NSA surveillance in their countries met face-to-face with the White House and the NSA chief, who told them all NSA intel gathering in Europe is done in collaboration with European intel agencies.

So I asked them, does that make the Europeans hypocritical for criticizing the U.S.?

MORAES: We want to get to the truth of why there was mass surveillance. We have a set of allegations that talks about mass surveillance of our citizens.

SCIUTTO (on camera): By Americans and Europeans or just by Americans?

MORAES: Whoever it was, whatever partnerships there may have been, whoever it was, we're going to get to the truth of it.


SCIUTTO: So more on the NSA's access to Google and Yahoo! To be clear the NSA is saying they do not go after Americans' traffic, so they're not targeting our G-mail and Yahoo! mail accounts, our Google and Yahoo! searches. To do that they would need a warrant. This access appears to affect only foreigner's use of these sites and the overseas communications links to those sites servers.

Of course there is a danger that as the NSA taps into those links, they will also inadvertently tap into Americans' communications. And that's something that the intel agencies say they try to avoid and to correct, Carol, when it happens.

COSTELLO: We'll see. Jim Sciutto reporting for us this morning.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, the Obamacare Web site down again this morning. It's back up now but why did it crash yet again? And how can we be sure your information on this site is secure?

CNN's Laurie Segall joins us next to explain.


COSTELLO: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, are you kidding me? after being down all day yesterday it's back up this morning, but it was down for a time earlier.