Return to Transcripts main page


Study Forces Drivers' DNA, Blood Samples at Checkpoint; Harvard University Bomb Threat Suspect Eldo Kim Heads to Court; Gunman Opened Fire at Reno Medical Center; Senate Expected to Pass Budget Deal.

Aired December 18, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Something a lot of people dread, being stopped by the police at a checkpoint when you're driving. Often it's just to check your driver's license or insurance and sometimes it's for DUI purposes but there are a couple of people crying foul right now saying that the police pressured them not just to hand over their license but actually submit to having their cheek swabbed and give samples of their breath and even, in certain circumstances, samples of their blood. This happened last week in Pennsylvania and in Texas. Both of these incidents, part of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study. A study. There was a study that was trying to reduce the drunken and drug-impaired drivers out on the road, which you would think is a pretty good thing. But some people are saying it was an abuse of power and violation of our constitutional rights. But was it?

Back with their take, always a good one, our legal analysts, Paul Callan and Danny Cevallos.

People were driving on the road and encouraged to a private parking lot whereby police officers, uniformed, off duty, I don't think they knew that, asked them for cheek swabs, blood samples and breathalyzer. They did say it was voluntary. Does that make a difference, Danny, if they say this is voluntary?

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is an astounding case to me. Everyone, law enforcement knows that the Supreme Court has addressed DUI checkpoints. In Pennsylvania, for stance, there are requirements. They have to be posted. They can only stop if you there's reasonable suspicion and they have to do every end car, every fifth, some arbitrary number.


CEVALLOS: This is an end-run around that. It's scientifically dishonest to say we're only doing this for a survey, because ultimately if the police are present and there's a survey going on and they just smell, they smell the odor of alcohol, glassy eyes, slurred speech, now they have a legal obligation, now they're in a conundrum to initiate a stop and they basically, just on an end run around the Fourth Amendment. I think these are really problematic. I understand the pursuit of science and knowledge but not with flashing squad cars. I don't think that works. BANFIELD: I like that you called it the end run around the Fourth Amendment because they would say -- we asked these people to volunteer these samples, thus the Fourth Amendment was respected.

But Paul, as Danny just said, if you say, sure, I'll give you a sample of my drunk breath, they can't let you go and that's the fruit of the poisonous tree, isn't it?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is. It's really outrageous. This is like the telemarketer is a cop. You get a phone call and it's the New York police department, we have a few questions for you.


It's all voluntary, by the way. And then you find out that they are doing some kind of a survey. This is outrageous. People are pulling into the parking lot, given a swab of their DNA, maybe -- because they think they have to and now they go into some database and we know how badly the U.S. protects its databases. Look at Mr. Snowden. So I think it's outrageous. This is a real violation of privacy rights of the American citizens.

BANFIELD: I don't know if this is from the no-brainer school of wisdom but what kind of survey result are you going to get from people? Are they honestly going to say, I'm loaded, I'm high, and sure you can swab my cheek? It just sounds so ridiculous. Understandably, I don't know all of the data that they were compiling but we'll continue to follow this one.

Danny and Paul, thank you.

CALLAN: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Have a great day. Nice to see you.

So this hour, the president is meeting with a panel appointed to review privacy issues related to the National Security Agency's spy program. The Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology sent him a report last week and that's apparently on the docket for discussion today.

So if you're a fan of Walter White, the character from "Breaking Bad," I've got news for you. There's a real Walter White, a real one, and he lives in Montana and he's a meth dealer, allegedly. Not allegedly anymore. The federal judge sentenced him to more than 12 years for dealing meth out of his home and for a gunfight that he had with his son over a drug debt. His son Brandon shot him in the driveway. There you go, the real Walter White.

And, oh yeah, it's the holidays. Just drink this in, everybody. Uh- huh. It's time for your daily rob Ford fix, the dance party. Toronto's crack-smoking mayor breaking into dance during the council session yesterday. Yes, I did say council session. This is Toronto City Council. Apparently, after an exchange with a councilwoman, was going to have a lawsuit against him. So what do you do? You have a dance party to "Christmas Carol Blues" and "One Love" and then a councilwoman wants to dance with him. I'm not sure. I'm not sure what else to add to this. Rob Ford. Merry Christmas from me to you.

Just ahead, the student accused of a bomb hoax at Harvard. He's going to head into court today. You would think he would be smart if he got into Harvard. Find out where he may spend next semester instead.


BANFIELD: Everybody knows you have to be pretty darn smart to get into Harvard. One student sure found a stupid way to get out of a final exam. The buildings at Harvard University were evacuated, the bomb squad was called in, FBI, hundreds of authorities. And now they say that this sophomore, Eldo Kim, seen in this photo from Harvard University, was allegedly the one and only one who did it. The one behind Monday's bogus bomb threat on campus. All to avoid an exam that his friends say he probably would have done pretty well at anyway. Kim is accused of sending an e-mail, a phony e-mail with threats, and now Kim is facing federal charges, and they are not phony and they are very serious.

Jean Casarez joins me now.

Before I get to how serious the charges are, the e-mail, what did it say?

JEAN CASAREZ, HLN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: It is amazing. He's going to be in court in minutes in federal court in Boston.

Picture this. You're with the Harvard University Police Department. You get an e-mail with the subject line, "Bombs placed around campus." That was the subject line of the e-mail that was sent and went on to say, "Shrapnel bombs placed in science center, Sever Hall, Emerson Hall, Thayer Hall, two, slash, four, guess correctly, be quick or they will go off soon." He was given his Miranda rights and said, I used very specific language. I used 'shrapnel' because I wanted to elevate it to be something very serious and I listed all of these different places and I said, guess correctly, because I wanted it to take time. And he also said that at 8:30 in the morning is when he sent that e- mail. He went to where his exam was supposed to take place at 9:00 and then suddenly they said "fire alarm, evacuation," and then he said I knew my plan had worked.

BANFIELD: Quickly, what is he facing for this?

CASAREZ: Five years in prison and it goes beyond that. But this is a federal law based on the atomic energy legislation from 1954, federal hoaxes. And the two elements to the crime are, you must intend to perpetrate a hoax and it also must be reasonably accepted as true.

BANFIELD: Yikes. There's a confession. That does not spell well, certainly for his immediate future and long-term future. That's the kind of thing that stays with you for a long time.


BANFIELD: Jean Casarez, thank you for that.

CASAREZ: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Appreciate it.

Every day, people overcome odds to achieve their passion and that's what Derek Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks has done.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story this morning in "The Human Factor".


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Derek Coleman is living a boy's dream, playing in the NFL for the top team in the league, the Seattle Seahawks. He didn't start playing football until the seventh grade because his mom didn't want him to.

DEREK COLEMAN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: I was a normal kid trying to play football.

GUPTA: And the dream to make it to the pros happened in high school. He was ranked number two in the nation by ESPN.

COLEMAN: I wasn't thinking about it so much until maybe my senior year and I was going out there and playing hard.

GUPTA: Next up, UCLA, where he was a running back for four years. His college career ended with a degree in political science and now the 23-year-old is showing his versatility as a full back for the Seattle Seahawks, scoring his first touchdown in the pros earlier this month.

He's gotten this far by hard work and by overcoming something that only two other players in the entire NFL have. He is legally deaf, the result of a rare genetic disorder.

COLEMAN: I lost my hearing when I was 3 and have had hearing aids ever since.

GUPTA: How does he do this? First of all, he makes no excuses.

COLEMAN: No matter your issue, that shouldn't stop you from doing what you want to do.

GUPTA: His ball cap keeps his hearing aids in place. And --

COLEMAN: I can read lips, so what I do when I can't hear something, I always make sure I'm looking at the person, the person who I know, the quarterback or whoever, they look at me. I was basically like all of you guys.

GUPTA: Off the field, he tries to make time to speak with deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and especially for those who may be struggling.

COLEMAN: Don't let your hearing be an excuse for not wanting to go for your dream, whatever your dream is. You can find a way. You have to find a way. GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporting.


BANFIELD: Frightening scene as armed police officers go room-to-room inside a medical office building. Police say this time this was not a random shooting. But they are trying to find out exactly what happened. That's next.


BANFIELD: You know, it seems like these are just becoming so regular it seems on the news. Now this morning, police are looking for answers in yet another shooting, this one at a Nevada hospital. A gunman opened fire at Reno Medical Center, killing one person, critically wounding two other people and ultimately then taking his own life.

Here's our Miguel Marquez with details from Reno.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ashleigh, here we go again. A little after 2:00 p.m., a man with a gun walked into a waiting room at a busy hospital, it told everybody to get out. They did. He then went behind the area where the nurse's station was to an area where surgery was going on. Two people were shot, one killed, among them a doctor.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Yet another shooting, this time a state-of-the- art medical center targeted. One person killed, two more injured before the shooter took his own life.

TOM ROBINSON, DEPUTY CHIEF, RENO POLICE: We had a lone suspect enter the medical facility here with at least one firearm.

MARQUEZ: The shooting contained to the third floor of Reno's renowned medical center. A male gunman opened fire killing one person. The shooting in a building next to the main hospital campus. Inside this walkway between the two workers told to stay put, the entire complex on lockdown, an all too familiar scenario.

This video shot while SWAT teams secured the building room by room.


MARQUEZ: A systemic search by police.

ROBINSON: On the third floor of the building, they located two people down. And they located a couple of injuries.

MARQUEZ: Amazingly, operations at the medical center resumed within an hour of police clearing it.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MARQUEZ: It should be noted the police response was incredibly fast. It's a very large hospital complex. There's a lot of buildings here. This was on the third floor, and they got here within five minutes. By that time, the damage was done. The gunman had taken his own life -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Miguel Marquez reporting for us from Nevada.

The Senate is expected to pass a budget today, and that's great news. Or is it? Will it instead open the door to even more ugly bipartisanship on Capitol Hill? Right before the holidays? Going you live to D.C. next.


BANFIELD: Any time now, the Senate is due to pass a two-year budget plan with nary a fiscal cliff or crisis in sight. Surprisingly enough. Not a lot of drama either. After yesterday's vote, quashed a Republican filibuster and get this, it wasn't a squeaker. It wasn't a squeaker. There were seven votes to the spare. So on the surface, this really looks like a victory for bipartisan decision making on Capitol Hill. Kumbaya. A rebuke to the partisan paralysis that's been plaguing us.

But I want to look beneath the surface with our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger.

Because I was excited this it was a holiday gift to all of us, Gloria.


BANFIELD: It's not. It was the easier way out because the tough stuff was left on the table coming down the pike.

BORGER: Yeah, I don't want to be the Grinch, about but it is. It is the easy stuff. It's not a huge package. There's some controversy around it. And looking down the road towards the big fight that's coming, which is over raising the debt ceiling, there are Republicans, including the House speaker, the chairman of the Budget Committee who did this deal, saying we expect to get something when we raise the debt ceiling. Republicans have actually public opinion on their side on that one because the public believes if you're going to raise the debt, you got to cut the budget. So I think that's going to be a huge fight as we head into the winter sort of around February.

BANFIELD: And do they have some oomph in that argument as well, conservatives, who say we've been dealing with the sequester and nobody's dying out there. These things work. We can handle it. We might be able to handle more.

BORGER: They do have some oomph in that argument, particularly since there's a lot of entitlement spending they needs to get under control. The public is not opposed to tax reform. The public is very interested in tax reform. And so I think they do have some really good arguments to make. The question is, particularly in terms of the Tea Party, which is how relevant will these Tea Party members be as you head into the 2014 election. That's the big issue, Ashleigh. There are some Republicans I talked to who hope that this vote that you were just talking about, this sort of bipartisan vote makes them a little less relevant. However, when you head into a midterm election, the base of each party, the intensity of the base becomes really important because those are the people who turn out to vote.

BANFIELD: Fascinating stuff as always.

Gloria Borger, nice to see you. Thank you.

BORGER: Thank you.

BANFIELD: Thank you, as well, everyone, for watching. I'm flat out of time. I'm going to turn things over to AROUND THE WORLD which starts right now. Have a lovely day.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: A diplomatic uproar after this Indian woman is strip-searched and arrested in New York. Now the country, India, retaliating against the United States.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. sending gay athletes as part of its delegation to Russia's Winter Olympics, including the tennis legend, Billie Jean King. A bit of a jab at Russia's anti-gay laws?

MALVEAUX: And could this be the day that the Federal Reserve starts rolling back its stimulus program? Some economists say yes. We're going to take a look what that could do to the economy.

Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

The arrest strip-search and locking up of an Indian diplomat in New York is escalating on several fronts. Let's start in India. They're now retaliating against U.S. officials in New Delhi.

MALVEAUX: The fact this high-ranking Indian woman was strip-searched is what is most disturbing to the people of India.