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Target Customers Targeted; Fire At Superfund Site; Stuck On Tarmac; Defying Gravity; Changes Coming To NSA Spy Programs?; D.A. Wants Jail For "Affluenza" Teen

Aired December 19, 2013 - 07:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Here are some of the stories making news. Target confirmed a massive credit card hack attack. Forty million credit and debit card accounts may be involved, the breach taking place between November 27th and December 15th.

The Secret Service is now investigating this possible breach. A security researcher says in-store customers were the ones targeted, not web shoppers. He says they gained access to a magnetic strip data from shoppers' cards, potentially allowing them to produce counterfeit versions.

We're now getting more details of what happened inside a Reno doctor's office when a man with a gun opened fired killing a doctor and critically injuring another doctor and a patient before turning the gun on himself. Police say the gunman was car carrying a shotgun and fired five rounds. Police say they think they know who the guy is, but are waiting to confirm that with his family.

Thousands have been evacuated in Tennessee because of a fire burning at a superfund site. It started Wednesday morning at a recycling plant about the 45 miles from Nashville. It sent toxic fumes into the air near homes, schools and businesses. Crews are letting the fire burn itself out over concerns that two large propane tanks at the site could explode.

A frustrating flight for some 300 passengers who boarded a Lufthansa flight to Boston bound for Frankfurt. Five hours later, the plane was still on the Logan Airport tarmac. Airport officials blame heavy snow and a broken plow for grounding the flight. If that wasn't bad enough, when the plane finally returned to the gate, passengers waited another four hours to get their luggage, grrr.

Let's go to the French Alps, shall we? Not a place you'd expect to find tight rope walkers. Defying the odds and gravity, walking on a line between cable cars 1,200 feet above the air and if you're wondering you tight rope walker you, the cable is only 2-1/2 centimeters wide. And there's 135 feet between the cars. What do you think?


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Barefoot, looks cold, too.

BOLDUAN: I'll say, in my brief experience with tight rope walking, I would say that's crazy! But Nik Wallenda is so comfortable. There's no question that he's going to be OK.

PEREIRA: I know. Between cable cars over the Alps in bare feet? I can't watch this guy.

BOLDUAN: That makes my stomach tied in knots watching that.

PEREIRA: A bit much to watch.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk more about tight rope walking, shall we?

CUOMO: Well done.

BOLDUAN: Time for our political gut check. President Obama will review new recommendations made by his own panel of experts to reform the NSA spying program, but in the end what new policies or any changes will the president accept and put in place? CNN's chief national correspondent, John King is here to break it all down. Now you do not get to walk on a tight rope on this segment -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, I want to come back to that video at the end of this segment if you let me, but let's start with this because it's very important. Let's look at the big picture. What we have before us right now is the single biggest turnaround, the change in security policy since 9/11. We're at a turning point. It's a big deal. And remarkably, it is because largely of the actions of one man who the White House says belongs in prison for life, Edward Snowden.

This is the first time you now have since 9/11 the default always was if you have to do more, do more. If you have to do things that maybe feel un-American, infringe on the civil liberties, do it. This report, the president has to announce the specific recommendations he will take but this report leaves no doubt that we're going backwards. We'll restrict the government's ability. Tell the government you cannot do that. Tell foreign leaders we're not going to do this to you.

One of the recommendations is the government can't keep. It should be in private hands, all that metadata, and the phone records. The president will announce the specific recommendations he takes. If we go through this report, the administration deserves some credit, this is a serious report by serious people that does not sugar coat some of the abuses by the intelligence agencies.

BOLDUAN: What he does with it is the big thing. We'll have to wait and see on that one.

CUOMO: This discussion makes me think of Barbara Walters.

BOLDUAN: Really?

CUOMO: Everything does. In her ten most fascinating people she had Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let's take a listen.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It's such a difficult decision and it's one that I am not going to rush into. I haven't made up my mind.

BARBARA WALTERS: You really haven't?

CLINTON: I have not. I will look carefully at what I think I can do and make that decision sometime next year.


CUOMO: Sometime next year also known as in two weeks. When do you think she means in terms of what is the envelope of discovery here?

KING: Well, I think, let's continue the art of segue. If she does run she'll get asked about this, no question about it. One of the things we now know, post-9/11 politics, it was how would you get Bin Laden? In 2016 we'll have a different conversation about the role of the federal government.

Let's get specifically to Secretary Clinton. What's most striking about that? She didn't say much, right. She can wait longer, Chris. She'll want to take a look at what has in the Democratic primaries, the Republican primaries. How much can you say will carry over into 2016? When she stepped away from government service her attitude is I'm not running, I'm done, I'm retiring. Listen to her tone. There's a campaign in waiting for her, fund-raising, superpacs, staff.

If she makes a decision about 2016 she'd be stopping a campaign or saying, OK, you're in third gear, shift it into fourth and fifth. One more quick point, in Iowa last night, former Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana, a liberal, not known nationally took a shot at her, criticized her vote for the Iraq war when she was in the Senate.

So there's the earliest test we've seen of 2016, 2008. Can you run to the left of Hillary Clinton with the Iraq war vote that Barack Obama used brilliantly to become the nominee and the president of the United States? Can you do it again? Somebody is out there testing that.

BOLDUAN: I had not thought of that, obviously because you're a political genius.

KING: Right. That's the trap door. Go ahead. Now I'm on the wire.

BOLDUAN: It's actually -- she almost has to work harder to stop the campaign than actually start it. She knows she's going to get these questions. She has the answer prepared. But additionally you have Schweitzer taking a hit at her, which means it will be harder for her to not run than actually run.

KING: You cannot look at the possibility, the portfolio of Democratic candidates and come to somebody, at this point, at this point, I underline that, as you view as a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton. You see her out there, she'll watch the Democrats, like Schweitzer, check the environment. Think about her mindset. She was inevitable before. In 2007 she was inevitable, unbeatable, impossible. That nice kid, Barack Obama, look at himself testing himself on a national stage. Look what happened.

So if you're Hillary Clinton and you remember 2008, to lose is painful. To lose is painful especially to fall from so high and lose is painful. You have to think about that.

BOLDUAN: She's also a very quick learner. You know she's not going to make that mistake or let that happen twice.

KING: Can I sneak a quick question in?

CUOMO: Sure.

KING: Remember when you guys started the show, you had those team building exercises, the barbecue at the Cuomos and all that?


KING: How about the three of you on the high wire between the cable cars.

CUOMO: We're on it every day.

BOLDUAN: John, only if you join us.

KING: Sure. Let's go.

CUOMO: He'd join us with the net.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. He'll be the only one with a harness.

KING: I'll buy the beer at the end.

CUOMO: I'll take it. I'll need it before.

Coming up on NEW DAY, prosecutors in the teen "affluenza" case aren't giving up on trying to lock up Ethan Couch. We are going to tell you more about their creative push for jail time.

BOLDUAN: Ahead, One Direction, wildly popular, but also now accused of being copy cats. Take a listen to their new song. Does it sound familiar?


CUOMO: Loaded conversation, people are on both sides of this story. It's time to weigh in. Prosecutors are trying anything that they can to put a certain 16-year-old behind bars. His name is Ethan Couch. You remember, he drove drunk, he killed four people. He left a fifth in a vegetative state. His attorney said that he was spoiled, that his upbringing was so corrupted that he did not know wrong from right.

A psychologist used the term affluenza for this. A judge in sentencing agreed on leniency and ten-year probation. Now the Texas D.A. who asked for 20 years is trying to look at two other assault charges stemming from the crash and now say let's put him in jail for those. Will it work?

CNN legal analyst, former prosecutor, Sunny Hostin is here. Let's try and keep it out of the weeds. Fundamentally what's the argument being made right now?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the argument is listen, this kid pled guilty not only to the four murders or killings, he also pled guilty to these other two charges, the maiming of these other two people and the judge sentenced him as to the four killings, not to assault. I think the prosecutor's argument is very creative and they're saying every single plea deserves a verdict, deserves a sentence. And he should be sentenced on this.

I have to tell you, Chris, I think this is a gift to this judge. People are outraged by the leniency she showed to this kid. You don't kill four people without consequences, without spending some time in prison. That is the cure for affluenza. It is prison time. I think this judge now has the opportunity to right the wrong because it was just so inappropriate to sentence him to ten-year probation.

She can cure this defect, really, without the embarrassment of an appeal, without the prosecutors taking her to another court and saying, you did something inappropriate. And so, I hope she accepts the gift and sentences him to at least three years, which is the exposure. It's not significant enough but it's something. He would be in a juvenile detention facility for at least three years until he's 19, perhaps more than that.

And he can get rehab there. And I think when they show this kid there are consequences to his actions. They will be saving his life. I've had people that I have put in prison they've come out and said you saved my life. And so I know that the juvenile justice system certainly, you know, is supposed to rehabilitate but it has to punish as well, especially in a case like this.

BOLDUAN: You called it a creative argument.


BOLDUAN: Does creative mean it's going to stick? Do you think the likelihood is that he will now face jail time?

HOSTIN: You know, I've been thinking about it. I think, again, it's a gift for this judge. I think it's unlikely, unfortunately, that she may take them up on their offer and sentence him, because if you don't give someone a significant sentence for killing four people, are you then going to give someone, you know, a couple years in prison for assault?

But there's the argument that I think makes a lot of sense. Listen, you killed four people, but you maimed these other two people that are going to live the rest of their lives as paraplegics, people that are in a vegetative state. Definitely that deserves jail time, right? PEREIRA: Point of clarification. If he gets the three years, it's the three years plus the ten-year probation? Would they be in conjunction?

HOSTIN: The sentence can be fashioned that way. That, again, sends the message not only to this kid but to everyone --

PEREIRA: To others.

HOSTIN: Everyone in our community, there are consequences to your actions. You don't drink and drive, you don't kill four people and walk away and walk away with rehab. And there's been this, you know, this discussion that this judge sentenced a black kid for punching someone who then fell, hit his head and died to ten years in a juvenile facility.

Why does this kid, Ethan Couch get the break? Why does this kid get probation? My good friend Mark Geragos said perhaps this kid wouldn't survive in prison. Who cares if he's not going to survive in prison. Bottom line, there has to be consequences to his action. People have been tweeting me. People are outraged by this notion that someone that's rich doesn't get the same justice that someone who suffers from Poorenza, like I suffered from in the South Bronx. You're quiet today, Chris Cuomo.

CUOMO: I don't have time to get into it. This conversation is not over because this isn't going to work, their strategy. There will be another round of conversation.

HOSTIN: You don't think it's going to work?

CUOMO: I don't. I think they're going to argue double jeopardy and I don't think they have a right to appeal to the sentence. That's all legal. You arguing a lot of policy and I think it makes a lot of sense, deserves discussion, we'll get to it.

HOSTIN: I'm going to disagree with you on the law.

CUOMO: I know.

HOSTIN: There's a debate there.

CUOMO: They're divided in Texas right now so I think there's more to be had. You make a lot of strong points.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Sunny.

HOSTIN: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, some say One Direction's new hit sounds a little bit like a Def Leppard classic. Is the boy band copying?


PEREIRA: You heard that song, it's "Midnight Memories" from One Direction's hot new album. The question is, does it sound like this Def Leppard classic "Pour Some Sugar On Me."

CUOMO: Get your head going.

PEREIRA: The boy band being accused of plagiarism. Is it controversy or knob-troversy. CNN entertainment correspondent, Nischelle Turner, sounds an awful lot like it.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: It's controversy not a non-troversy. We don't know if it's plagiarism or coincidence. There are a couple of things that we do. One Direction didn't credit Def Leppard on their album.

BOLDUAN: Would that have gotten them off?

TURNER: An artist may forgive if you give credit them if you don't and sounds so much alike. When there's money involved, Chris is giving me the -- an attorney. That's another good question. This isn't the first time One Direction has been accused of plagiarism. Their "Best Song Ever," their biggest hit song was accused of ripping off The Who's "Baba O'Riley". Pete Townsend said they used the three basic chords I used but these are the same basic chords all pop songs use and so I'm not really upset about it.

PEREIRA: Let's hear them again. Now that you've said that we can listen to see the chord progression.

BOLDUAN: Listen to this.

TURNER: Come on guys. Come on.

PEREIRA: The melody is --

BOLDUAN: They might go up when Def Leppard would go down but the undertone.

TURNER: We were talking about this earlier, and Vanilla Ice tried to, a long time ago he was accused of "under pressure" this is what he said when he was trying to explain the differences in those two songs.


VANILLA ICE: We sampled them from him, but it's not the same bass note, like the, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding that's the way theirs goes. This is the way ours goes. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding --

CUOMO: He's ding, kick it. Did he pay damages by the way?

TURNER: I don't think he ever did. I'll find out.

CUOMO: A little turmoil. We'll take a break so Nischelle can do that coming up. I'll take whatever I got.

Forty million shoppers may be at risk after a massive credit and debit card breach at Target stores. Are you one of them? We'll tell you the details so you can keep your money safe. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Breaking news, Target hacked; 40 million credit card accounts attacked by hackers. Now the Secret Service is investigating. Is your information at risk?

BOLDUAN: Foul language, one of the stars of the hit show, "Duck Dynasty" suspended indefinitely for making anti-gay remarks. So what does them mean to the show?

PEREIRA: A new report out this hour, just how dangerous is the chicken we eat in America? Get this, 97 percent of the chicken we buy is contaminated with bacteria. So what do you need to know?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning, welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, December 19th, eight o'clock in the East.