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Major Credit Card Attack; Judgment Day for NSA; Silence is Golden?

Aired December 19, 2013 - 08:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, December 19th, 8:00 in the East.

And we do begin with breaking news -- a massive cyber attack may have breached as many as 40 million credit and debit accounts. If you shopped at a Target store any time between black Friday and this past weekend, your information may have been stolen.

Let's bring in chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Important distinction you've been drawing all morning -- it's not online shopping, it's in the store. But still, many millions of people.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Up to 40 million accounts we're talking about here.

And this is -- you know, Target is now telling us this is resolved. But this was going on up to four days ago, November 27th to December 15th, if it you shopped in a Target store.

Here's what it is. Somehow hackers got access to all that information on your magnetic strip of your credit card or debit card when you swiped it through that machine. They could potentially make counterfeit cards. They could potentially make a counterfeit card. They could potentially go and get an ATM withdrawal if they were able to capture your PIN number from a debit card transaction at a point of sale at a Target.

Target this morning is telling us if you think that you have been a victim of unauthorized activity, you need to call this number, 866- 852-8680.

And, again, Target is saying it is resolved, but this is something that went on from the 27th basically Black Friday weekend, all the way until just four days ago.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's amazing. How did they pull it off? I don't understand how they can get the magnetic strip information. I understand if you're at a restaurant, someone writes done your number.

ROMANS: This is no fly-by-night operation. This is a sophisticated hack, this is about the software inside the machines where you swipe your cards, somehow these hackers were able to tap in or able to put software into that, into those readers and read the information themselves. Lot of information is on that card, the potential damage is very, very great. You must keep very close tabs on what you have, what's happening in your credit card and your debit card.

This could be, so experts this morning are telling me for a period of months now you need to be watching all those transactions on the card. You could see counterfeit activity going forward. The Secret Service, the banks and Target all working together to try to make sure this gets resolved and as few people hurt as possible.

BOLDUAN: Few people hurt as possible. I mean, we're talking 40 million people.

ROMANS: We're talking about 40 million people. Remember, there was a DSW warehouse a few years ago, a big, big hack there. I think the biggest we've ever had was T.J. Maxx. That was in 2006.

This is a lot in very short period of time, as the timing is so interesting, Black Friday when people are out charging it, charging it.

BOLDUAN: It's not like a coincidence.

ROMANS: No, it's a very sophisticated hack and they're working on it this morning.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Christine.]

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: We keep you updated as we learn more on that one.

Another story we're watching closely, rein in the NSA. That's a recommendation from a group of advisers hand picked by the president to look the at the agency's surveillance programs. The panel's bottom line? Sweeping changes are needed. The big question, though, what will President Obama do with those recommendations?

We have two reports from our top reporters.

Let's got first to Jim Acosta at the White House.

Good morning, Jim.


What is striking about this report from this review group is that some of this panel's recommendations -- and keep in mind, the panel was appointed by the president -- some of those recommendations may not be accepted by the president.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The recommendations issued by a group of national security experts appointed by the president could lead to the most sweeping changes ever proposed for the NSA.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We felt it was important to allow people to see the full report to draw their own conclusions.

ACOSTA: Aimed squarely at the NSA's domestic and foreign surveillance activities revealed by the agency's former contractor and fugitive Edward Snowden, the group's report doesn't hold back, stating, "The government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about U.S. persons."

Among the proposals, end the practice of collecting data on nearly every phone call made, appoint a new public interest advocate to protect personal privacy and new higher standards before any surveillance on foreign leaders -- an obvious nod to the firestorm over U.S. spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among other heads of state.

And a challenge to the culture of the NSA and its director, General Keith Alexander, the group urges the appointment of civilians, not military leaders, to run the agency. The White House says it understands reforms are needed.

CARNEY: We need to make sure that we're not gathering intelligence solely because we can but because we must, because we need it in order to achieve the objective of protecting the United States, protecting the American people, protecting our allies.

ACOSTA: The question is, what the president will decide. In a recent interview, he suggested the NSA could better police itself.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be proposing some self-restraint on the NSA, and to initiate some reforms that can give people more confidence.

ACOSTA: According to a source familiar with this week's meeting between top tech executives and the president, Mr. Obama repeated his goal of self-restraint but indicated he may allow the collection of phone data to continue but with more oversight and transparency.

That may not be enough for members of Congress across the political spectrum.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: NSA, you've gone too far. The bulk collection of Americans' data by the U.S. government has to end.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: We do have a right to privacy and we'll continue to fight this.


ACOSTA: Now, we're already getting wind of what this White House is planning to do with at least one of these recommendations from this NSA review board.

We're hearing in just the last few minutes, Kate and Chris, that the White House has decided that the NSA will stay under military command. That is because they are not in favor of splitting the NSA from the Military Cyber Command.

So that means the agency will remain under military command as it is right now, with retiring General Keith Alexander. He's going to step aside but they are going to replace him it appears now with another military commander. The rest of the president's proposals for reforming the NSA are expected next month -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: So there's one of the 40-some boxes checked with a no to the accepting of the recommendation. Appreciate that.

What changes can we expect if any? There are going to have to be some. Let's be honest.

CNN's Jim Sciutto is looking into that.

So, Jim, we just saw the first box checked, stays under military rule, not a surprise.

What else do we see going forward?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, let's look at the biggest box on this list and that is will this collection of phone metadata continue?

Now, this panel as Jim mentions that it recommends that it not continue, that that phone data be transferred from the NSA to private companies. They said that in their view of the panel, quote, "It's not essential to preventing terror attacks and there are other means readily available through court order to get this kind of information when necessary."

But the administration has signaled they want it to continue though under greater scrutiny and transparency and, you know, that's an issue going forward.

So let's look at some of the other recommendations that are on that list and how workable are they. To put a privacy advocate, for instance, inside the court process, you know, that is something that is largely workable, to have a special assistant to the president for privacy, one of the other recommendations there, that's a workable measure, easy to do. That said, there are about 1,000 special assistants to the president it seems.

Now, looking at the bigger picture recommendations the panel recommended that Congress pass new legislation to move that data from phone companies, from the NSA to phone companies, one the administration doesn't look like it wants to do that. Two, it takes a long time to get that through Congress. And another thing the White House has already rejected is splitting the NSA from the Cyber Command, in addition to rejecting putting it under civilian leadership.

That said, the administration has signaled to me that there are some of those recommendations they want to do, some in respect to foreigners, for instance, they do want to have highest level approval for monitoring of the communications of foreign leaders like Angela Merkel, the German leader who caused so much outrage when it was found out she was being listen to. Also, to agreements with our allies like France and Germany, that they come to agreement on what's acceptable in terms of spying on friends and what's not.

So those are a couple of things on the list that they will move forward on, as you note a lot they're not going to move forward on.

CUOMO: Well, because it's so difficult, unlike any other division of government, they are balancing, making things more acceptable to people with protecting against the biggest national fear, which is, of course, terrorism.

Jim, thank you. We'll check in with you later on. Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: Hold the phone. Two major airlines say they are going to refuse to lift a ban on cell phone use during flights, even if the FCC decides to allow it. Both Delta and JetBlue claim their customers are making this call.

Chris Lawrence is live at Reagan National airport outside of Washington with much more.

So, what's behind this decision?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the customers, Kate. It's you, me, they're all telling these airlines, Southwest as well, they don't want it. So Southwest, JetBlue, Delta all saying even if the FCC lifts this ban, they're not going to allow those calls on board the plane.

Basically what's at issue here, there is now technology that's available to the airlines that would allow people to make cellular calls without disrupting ground communication. So the FCC, some members of the FCC say, look, it's not a safety issue anymore, so the government needs to get out of the way, let the market work, let the airlines work with their customers to come up with a solution.

Other members say, look, if we lift this ban, they see that it won't be too long before the airlines start to create a quiet cabin on board and charge customers more. They don't want to see that.

Delta, for its part, says right now a strong no, but if the FCC were to release the ban, they would allow text messages, e-mails, things like that, anything that's silent -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: This is one of those stories, Chris, that everyone has an opinion on. Whenever we talk about it, I leave the studio, everyone is like yes, or no, everyone has a opinion on it.

Thanks so much.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Ten minutes after the hour. Let's look at your headlines. And we start with breaking news, a mixed verdict in the case that rocked the world. Two men, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale have just been found guilty of murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, they were found not guilty, though, of the attempted murder of a police officer. One of the men kissing his Koran as he left court. You may remember the shocking video of Rigby's murder and its aftermath going viral last summer.

Adebolajo shown saying Rigby's murder was revenge because, quote, "Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers." Those two men will be sentenced in January.

A Nevada man who received asylum in the U.S. is under arrest being accused of plotting terror strikes in India. The 39-year-old Balwinder Singh was arrested in Reno. Prosecutors say Singh was supporting two interest groups that are fighting to establish an independent Sikh state in the Punjab region near the Pakistan border.

Quite terrifying scene at a football stadium in India captured on video. During half-time a performance, one side of the stadium collapses, seemingly devouring fans who were sitting there. More than 100 people were injured, at least six are said to be in serious condition. Police have opened a criminal investigation into the builder of that stadium.

We have a deal. The Senate passed a compromise budget Wednesday with nine Republicans joining the Democrats to approve it. This bipartisan bill keeps the government operating through next year and it eases automatic cuts and allows some extra spending on domestic programs, but does cut some military pensions.

President Obama is expected to sign the spending plan into law.

How about this for a merry Christmas for teachers at a Texas high school? Students scaring their teachers. Yes. Teachers thought they were recording a Christmas greeting and then wham, the tree comes alive. The prank was held by the high school media department and they uploaded the reactions to YouTube.

BOLDUAN: Principal's office!

PEREIRA: Most of the people that grade your paper.

CUOMO: Interesting lab experience of fight or flight. They all take off. But then again who was really going to think I need to fight this tree right now. It's the tree or me.

Not today, tree.


CUOMO: Not today, Frazier fir.


PEREIRA: Frazier fir. CUOMO: Yes, I just bought a trip. I was going to go for the balsam but then I went for the Frazier fir. It's more expensive. I don't know, what do you think, Indra Petersons?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Really on this topic of all things? Not sure what tree I like guys.

Let's talk about temperatures, going up -- what's that?

CUOMO: Hitting tree? Everybody likes Christmas trees.

PETERSONS: I like Christmas trees. I don't know which one, I like them all. Yes, yes, doesn't count for you guys.

All right. Temperatures going up. We have some good news, temperatures will be pretty warm as we go through the weekend. Don't let it fool you, although it is warming up, significantly and close to the 70s in many places, D.C. actually to 71 by Sunday it means there will be storms in the area. Let's talk about how and why.

Here's what we're talking about Today first, this is the storm out in the west making its way into the Midwest overnight tonight, if you're anywhere from Wisconsin, back to Missouri, even some icing conditions with the storm, making its way into the northeast by tomorrow, pretty much dissipating, very weak storm.

It's the one behind it that we're watching here, moves into the south, where the temperatures are so warm so now you have the system with some cold air to the north of it, warm, moist air to the south, on top of it, yes, we are throwing the jet stream in the same place, by now hopefully you know there is a severe weather threat with this system.

So, if you are in the southeast look for severe weather. If you're on the Ohio Valley, back to the Mississippi, chances for very heavy rain and flooding concerns. But that's not the only story. Same system here, but look at the temperature contrast. We're talking about just 20s around Burlington, maybe close to 70s farther down to the South.

You have a contrast like that, the same system farther to the north means icing concerns. So, if you're in Upstate New York, Maine, Vermont. You're talking about the threat for icing. Here in New York, a lot of big metropolitan areas, just some light rain. But either way, from top to bottom, huge rain from what we're getting from the same system.

BOLDUAN: Big changes almost every day.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Indra.

So --

CUOMO: I'm done with the fir.

BOLDUAN: You're done with the fir? CUOMO: Yes, thank you, though.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's move to a miracle surgery in Miami. A 3- year-old boy is recovering this morning from what's being called the first ever, get this, five organ transplant. It was an extraordinarily rare and risky procedure but doctors say it was his only hope.

Nick Valencia is live at the CNN Center with much more.

Good morning, Nick.


I just spoke to the mother this morning and to say that the family has been through a lot, that would be an understatement but now she knows her son is going to be OK, this is the best Christmas gift ever.


VALENCIA (voice-over): Three-year-old Adonis Ortiz is a survivor, defying all odds after enduring much more than his age should have to. At four months pregnant, Aracelis Ortiz learned Adonis was developing a rare condition that caused his intestines to form outside of his body.

ARACELIS ORTIZ, MOTHER OF ADONIS: Everything that they always kept telling was that he has a 50/50.

VALENCIA: Faced with the decision whether to terminate the pregnancy, she chose the baby who underwent surgery just after his birth. But his condition worse, surgery after surgery caused complications.

A. ORTIZ: He's really strong. After all his surgeries, he comes out with a smile.

VALENCIA: Two months ago, doctors found a potentially life-saving solution, telling his parents, the only hope for Adonis was a never before attempted surgery, a five-organ transplant.

EMIR ORTIZ, FATHER OF ADONIS: I just got on my knees, I was like God, just, please, just do what you have to do.

VALENCIA: After a six-hour procedure, Adonis now has a new liver, pancreas, stomach, and small and large intestine. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery. And with the worst of it said to be over, Adonis' family in Tampa, Florida, eagerly await his return.

E. ORTIZ: This is Adonis' room.

VALENCIA: They say he's a budding baseball player. His family has high hopes for his future but for now are grateful for what they're calling a holiday miracle.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VALENCIA: And Little Adonis is expected to be back home sometime between January and February. His mother says once he's well enough they plan on going to a New York Yankees game to celebrate.

Chris and Kate, back to you.

BOLDUAN: We will take him to that game. We will pay for the tickets, what an amazing story.

PEREIRA: What a Christmas gift, happy little, baby, too.

CUOMO: Right.

PEREIRA: How about that?

CUOMO: What a life.

PEREIRA: Happy little baby, too. A handsome fella.

CUOMO: That's why so many families are praying for that same miracle, never give up hope. So, it's good that those hopes are realized. It sends a message to everybody.

Coming up on NEW DAY, international outrage after an Indian diplomat is arrested and strip searched in New York. Does the president need to get involved?

Christiane Amanpour has an answer.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, he helped put "Duck Dynasty" on the map. Now, now one of the stars of the hit TV reality show has been suspended for anti-gay remarks he made. Is the show now in jeopardy?


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

The White House is trying hard to defuse escalating tensions between India and the U.S. this morning, following the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat here in New York.

Secretary of State John Kerry is calling his counterpart today to mend the growing rift between the two countries. So how serious is this? What kind of fallout could we be talking about here?

Let's talk more with Christiane Amanpour joining us from London, CNN's chief international correspondent and anchor of CNN International's "AMANPOUR".

So Christiane, I've opinion struck on this issue -- how quickly it seemed to escalate from arrest and charging to now it's turning into an international incident.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is and you could imagine this is not surprising by the very nationalistic press in India. This happens quite a lot, when anything the United States does against citizens of certain countries, it is always blown into a major diplomatic incident, as is happening.

Clearly you can see, though, both the United States and the Indian government don't want this to spin out of control, and therefore, there are these talks scheduled between India's external minister and John Kerry. So we'll see what happens.

But beyond that, let's face it. Apparently this lady was not covered by full diplomatic immunity for this particular allegation, this particular crime that she's accused of. And it's very important to know that, in India, people of that level, it's a very class-based society. Nobody ever sees somebody of that level being arrested or being treated in any which way. So that's probably also what has ticked off the Indians.

But if indeed the allegations are true, these are indeed crimes against a person of this domestic worker who has been employed.

BOLDUAN: It does seem and I think you make a good point -- clearly a culture clash that is playing into this in part. What's at risk here, do you think?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, India and the United States have a very important relationship. India is the world's largest democracy. It's an emerging economy, an emerging market. It's very important and plays a very important role in the world, and with the U.S. And in fact, President Obama has had very good relations with the prime minister, Manmohan Singh.

Now, beyond that, though, in India, there is a cultural misogyny against there, I'm repeating myself -- misogyny exists in India. And we saw that with the gang rape of the poor woman last year, just about the one-year anniversary of that, and we see that in many instances right down to girls being forced into marriage and girls and women being, you know, burned and all of that stuff for made-up so-called crimes.

It is truly a terrible situation. One thing that has happened which is good is since this outrage in India over the gang rape last year of this young woman just coming back after watching a film, there's been a lot of movement towards really stopping these kinds of crimes and making them go through the court system much quicker, sensitizing the police and the people and the various different villages and cultural centers about these kinds of crimes.

So you know, it's a very serious cultural situation going on.

BOLDUAN: I do want to turn, if I may, to the Sochi Olympics and specifically the U.S. delegation that the White House announced will be sent over there, clearly sending a message to Russia to Vladimir Putin, including two openly gay athletes, Billie Jean King, one of them. How do you think that message is being received in Russia?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think it's going to be very interesting.

You know, the White House didn't necessarily say that this was about human rights or anything. They used the word diversity, and it's very important, because Billie Jean King is obviously one of the world's leading and most famous not just athlete, which she is of course but also activists, not just for women but for LGBT issues, and it's a major big deal that she will be we understand walking in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. We're going to interview her about an hour from now, the first time she's been interviewed regarding this announcement and being part of this delegation.

But beyond that, you know that for the last year or more, Vladimir Putin has been successively doing things that are fundamentally against human rights, whether it is this anti-gay propaganda law, as they call it, whether it's political activism that has cracked down, whether it's, you know, foreign NGOs -- a whole number of things that have really gone against the international human rights and NGO community and also against the United States and western political sensitivities.

So this is very, very important that this is happening. Putin has just had his annual press conference, on and on rambling affair, about 1,000 journalists were attending. But he's made very important announcements including releasing the very renowned business leader Mikhail Khodorkovsky, very important, and also talking about amnesty for people like the Pussy Riot who were sentenced for two years in jail for singing in a cathedral and also the Greenpeace activists.

So, clearly, he's trying to clean up Russia's image before the Sochi Olympics.

BOLDUAN: May be -- a good argument to be made that there's more work to be done in that regard --

AMANPOUR: Certainly, certainly.


BOLDUAN: I want to make sure watch us tonight, Christiane mentioned it, Christiane, thank you so much. But make sure you watch CNN and CNNi throughout the day, we'll see more of Christiane's interview with Billie Jean King, as she's heading over to Sochi very soon.

Great to see you, Christiane. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Of course.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, is there a problem with the chicken in your refrigerator? A new report says an astonishing amount of raw poultry has bacteria, 97 percent. Why are we telling you the number? Because the number isn't the most shocking part.

Plus, he's not one to hold his tongue but Phil Robertson's anti-gay remarks got the "Duck Dynasty"" star suspended from the show. How could that impact the show's future?