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EARLY START

"Mission's Already Accomplished"; Target Security Breach; A Bethlehem Christmas

Aired December 24, 2013 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. NSA leader, Edward Snowden, on the record in his first in person interview since sharing the government surveillance secret with the world. We are live with his shocking revelations.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And a dreary December for retailers. Revenue falling as weary shoppers, very weary, hold on to their wallets. The silver lining for last-minute shoppers right ahead.

BROWN: And last-minute holiday travel in full force this morning after days of cancelled flights and ice covered highways. So, what can travelers expect today? Indra Petersons is tracking the latest conditions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ (on-camera): And welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Miguel Marquez.

BROWN: (on-camera): I'm Pamela Brown, we think.

MARQUEZ: Barely awake. Yes. It's 31 minutes past the hour.

BROWN: Sure is. Yes. Great to have you along with us. Merry Christmas Eve, everyone.

MARQUEZ: Merry Christmas Eve to you.

BROWN: Yes.

MARQUEZ: Merry Christmas.

(LAUGHTER)

MARQUEZ: Mission accomplished already, that from NSA leaker and American fugitive, Edward Snowden, in an in-person interview with the "Washington Post." It's Snowden's first since being granted temporary asylum in Russia after he revealed the extensive details of global electronic surveillance by the U.S. CNN's Isa Sorez is following those developments for us. She is live in London. How are you?

ISA SORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Miguel. Well, it's the first interview he has since he arrived in Russia in Moscow in June seeking asylum there. He was actually interviewed by "The Washington Post" reporter, Barton Gellman, who himself has received numerous leaks from the former NSA contractor. Now, the interview apparently took some two days and has been described as two days of unbroken conversation fueled by pizza, pasta, burgers, and ice cream.

In that interview, he said, Edward Snowden says he has accomplished what he set out to do. These were his words. "For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission is already accomplished. I already won. As soon as journalists were able to work everything that I've been trying to do was validated because, remember, I didn't want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself."

He went on to say, Miguel, "I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA. I'm still working for the NSA right now," he says. They are the only ones who don't realize it." Now, the interview also gave us some insight really to Edward Snowden. He was described as relaxed and animated. He described himself as a bit of a house cat who doesn't get out much.

He never leaves his house, doesn't have a lot of needs. He lives off ramen noodles. That's how he described it and chips. He gets lots of books to read to pile (ph) them up. He went on to say he has access to the internet, to journalists, and indeed, two lawyers. So, indeed, very revealing first face-to-face interview that we've seen with Edward Snowden since he arrived in Moscow -- Miguel.

MARQUEZ: Yes. Interesting stuff. Sat down for 14 hours with Bart Gellman from the "The Washington Post." I love the house cat thing that he called himself, that he just stays around. Very interesting. Thank you very much, Isa.

BROWN: Some 150 marines on alert to enter South Sudan if needed to help evacuate Americans and secure the U.S. embassy there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN (voice-over): An estimated 100 Americans are believed to be in South Sudan, a country that appears to be on the brink of civil war. Over the weekend, four Navy SEALs were wounded when their aircraft was hit by ground fire as they tried to rescue Americans there.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): U.S. official are stepping back from a hard deadline to strike an Afghan security deal by the end of the year. The Obama administration has tried to pressure President Hamid Karzai to sign the deal which would keep a small American force in the country beyond 2014. Threats to pull all U.S. troops out after that date unless a deal is finalized soon have largely gone unheated.

BROWN: Starting (ph) last minute a heavy demand to beat the Obamacare deadline, the White House has extended it by a day. Americans now have until midnight tonight to sign up for a health insurance plane with coverage that would begin on January 1st. In a purely symbolic mood, the president, himself, enrolled in one. Of course, he doesn't need it, but with military physicians and the White House medical unit on-call 24/7, but important to note, someone else, one of his staffers signed him up, enrolled him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUEZ (on-camera): Well, that's helpful to have. I need a staffer to help me --

BROWN (on-camera): Yes. Wouldn't that be nice?

MARQUEZ: All right. Calling all procrastinators and you know who you are. Just one day actually --

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: No excuses. It's done. You have to get out there and to shop and help out this sluggish holiday season. Our chief procrastinating correspondent is here, Alison Kosik.

(LAUGHTER)

MARQUEZ: What's going on?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What better way to get great deals, right?

(CROSSTALK)

KOSIK: Wait until the last minute. It does. Retailers problems work in consumer's favors. So, yes, retailers actually have high hopes each and every December, but this year has really been disappointing, because you look at sales at U.S. stores. They've been down each of the first three weeks of December if you compare it to how last year did. That's according to Shopper Track.

And if you look, from December 2nd to the 8th, they were down 0.8 percent, from the 9th to the 15th, down 2.9 percent, and from December 16th to the 23rd, sales were down 3.1 percent. All is not lost for the retailers. November sales were pretty strong. We saw good momentum there. It's estimated to be up, sales overall, about -- up about two percent from last year.

Now, the reason November and December sales figures are so important to retailers is because that's when they generate 40 percent of their annual revenue in the last two months of the year. So, it's really, really important. Hey, you never know.

The last push may do it for them. The news not much better, though, when it comes to online sales this holiday season which haven't measured up to expectations. Between November 1st and December 15th, experts predicted internet sales will be up 14 percent, but look at the reality, they rose just nine percent.

Analysts say online sales, though, could still pick up and meet expectations. The final figures are due in January. Those sales could do really well if they offer all those free shipping offers that are sitting in my e-mailbox this morning. With Christmas just hours away, retailers are pulling out all of the stops. Hey, that's a silver lining for last minute bargain hunters. You could find sales for as much as 70 percent off on some items. Hey, that's just the way the procrastinators like it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that the best deals are right now. And maybe right after Christmas. I don't go shopping right after Christmas. I do all of my shopping right before. And, I was telling my cousin that there is no point in buying things that are full price because almost everything is on sale.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOSIK: Everything is on sale so you can scurry around like ants and try to find these bargains. Meantime, Target is still reeling from the data security breach that saw the theft of credit card and debit card information for some 40 million customers. It says the government is now investigating and people are lining up to sue the big box retailer.

There are already 15 lawsuits that have been filed. Since disclosing the breach, Target shares have dropped almost three percent. So, if you're taking score, that amounts to about a billion dollars in market value. So, you know, the Target mishap scaring away a lot of customers, hasn't scared away me.

BROWN: Yes. You were taking advantage of that discount, weren't you?

KOSIK: Ten percent over the weekend.

MARQUEZ: Interesting to see how consumer demand is going down as we get closer to Christmas.

KOSIK: Yes. Well, it may go up in the final hours before everybody closes up shop.

MARQUEZ: And you only have a few hours left.

KOSIK: That's right.

BROWN: That's right. I will be one of those last-minute shoppers.

MARQUEZ: Although the internet is always open as I've discovered.

KOSIK: That's true. You'll be one of the little ants running around.

BROWN: Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: And it is -- I mean, you know, you have Amazon actually has the next day service and eBay.

(CROSSTALK) MARQUEZ: Chief CNN procrastinating correspondent, thank you very much for being here. Now, get out there and shop!

KOSIK: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

MARQUEZ: Thank you very much.

BROWN: So, apparently, the lines are forming outside some of these stores according to our floor director, Phil, lines outside Toys "R" Us. We (INAUDIBLE) whether people are having to combat out there and also what kind of weather travelers are dealing with. Indra, good news?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Not as shopping in your house (ph), right? I mean, it's totally fine to stay indoor. It's actually not even that bad. This is good news. The bulk of our weather was really over the weekend for people that were trying to get out ahead of the storm. Another reason to procrastinate, right? So much better right now. Let's take a look what we're actually seeing.

We're noticing the system we saw yesterday and that is making its way offshore in the east coast, but we are watching some tiny little wave here over the lakes, but really, the clipper that's about to make its way across that is everyone's tiny little hope for a White Christmas. So, let's walk you through this, guys.

First, I'll take the system or the little wave over the lakes most likely just about six inches. I mean, good amount of snow possible off the lake South Buffalo, but maybe a tiny, I love this, tiny day (ph), right? Tiny little chance that we could see some flurries in through New York City overnight. Very minimal. The bigger system we're all really going to be watching again is the clipper making its way across.

So, with that, I mean, good amount, two to four inches of snow really around the lakes, kind of starting around the Dakotas going through Minnesota, eventually kind of ending in through Michigan. So, that's our bigger system there with the heavier amounts of snow expected perfect timing overnight tonight in through tomorrow morning. You can see the timing right there.

And for everyone else, I think the bigger story is just the cooler temperatures. Definitely milder temperatures going on. You're talking 40 --

(CROSSTALK)

PETERSONS: Talking about a difference like 30 degrees cooler this morning than yesterday morning. I didn't like it so much.

(LAUGHTER)

BROWN: I had to grab the jacket this morning. I wasn't too happy. We've been spoiled the last two days. PETERSONS: Right. I want to know the other west coaster has to say about this morning.

MARQUEZ: Oh, please, you guys! I'll be texting you from California on Friday.

PETERSONS: Enjoy that when you walk out in the morning.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWN: Seriously. All right. Thanks, Indra.

And coming up right here on EARLY START, recovering from a struggling economy and a disastrous snowstorm, the Christmas pilgrimage to Bethlehem is in full force this morning. We are live right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Well, people from around the world are making the annual pilgrimage to Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity in the west bank. As they prepare to celebrate this Christmas, the ancient city is in recovery mode beset by a monster storm and a stormy economy. CNNs Ian Lee is live in Bethlehem for us this morning. So, Ian, tell us what it's like there.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, it is pretty festive. We've had Christmas carols all morning and people streaming in. They're expecting 90,000 people to come in over the course of the next two days. So, a lot of people coming here to celebrate the Christmas season. And like you said, there was a massive snowstorm earlier this month. They had almost two feet of snow and that damaged the trees, damaged the lights.

They were able to quickly recover and get all of the decorations back up, but it really hit the economy. They had about a week there where they really weren't having any tourists come in and it has been a real time of struggle for the Palestinian Christians here in this area. Israel has that separation barrier that makes it difficult for people to go from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

And despite that, they say that they've had about two million people visit Bethlehem this year. But when they do visit, they don't stay long, for roughly three hours they'll be here and then they go back to Jerusalem. The Palestinian government here says that it really doesn't bring in the money that they need. They have high unemployment. And for that reason, they're seeing an exodus, some Christians leaving this area to find employment elsewhere.

There is a concern, though, that this exits will lead to the Christian community eventually disappearing and so that you have all of these sites that Christians come to but none of the local people to keep them going and really keep that community thriving here.

BROWN: Ian Lee, thank you for that. live for us in Bethlehem. Chilling 911 calls from last week's deadly shooting in a medical office in Reno, Nevada. The gunman, 51-year-old Allen Oliver Frazier, killed a doctor and wounded two other people before taking his own life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you see it happen or did you just hear it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's coming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's coming? Can you hide yourself? Can put yourself under a cabinet or something in case something -- a shot gets fired your way?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are behind a table.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: You can just hear the fear in her voice. Police believe Frazier was focused on the physicians at the Reno office, because of an earlier botched vasectomy.

MARQUEZ: And another emergency court hearing today in the tragic case of the California girl declared brain dead while her family refuses to believe that diagnosis. A judge Monday ordered an independent physician to examine 13-year-old Jahi McGrath (ph). She was declared brain dead after surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids at a children's hospital in Oakland.

Her parents do not accept that she is dead and went to the court to prevent the hospital from removing Jahi from life support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAILAH WINKFIELD, MOTHER: I feel like my daughter is on death row because I don't know when they're going to pull the plug or make that decision.

DOUGLAS STRAUSS, ATTORNEY FOR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OAKLAND: This is, obviously, a tragic situation. A young lady has died and no one takes that in a callus or uncaring manner, but she is dead.

WINKFIELD: I cannot imagine my daughter in the freezer on Christmas. That is heart wrenching.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Oh, dear, it is heart wrenching. The independent doctor is due back in court today to deliver the results of the examination of Jahi. Meanwhile, the court has extended a restraining order prohibiting the hospital from making any moves until next Monday.

BROWN: A federal judge denies a request to halt same-sex marriages in Utah. The judge refusing to stay his surprise ruling last week that overturned Utah's voter approved ban on same-sex weddings. As a result, a flooded (ph) gay couples have been tying the knot there in Utah and they're enjoying being legal in Utah.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never thought I would see this in my lifetime. I'm so grateful to finally have the protection of the state to protect our relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thrilled that the judge decided to notch a rule on the stay and allow marriages to continue because it's a great day. There are so many people here who would have been so sad to have people be denied. So, it's wonderful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is really, really a wonderful Christmas present.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Some 700 marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples in Utah ever since the judge's initial ruling. State officials claim the ruling has resulted in, quote, "chaos."

All right. Let's take a look now at what's coming up on "New Day."

MARQUEZ: (INAUDIBLE)

(LAUGHTER)

MARQUEZ: Chris, Kate, what's going on?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, guys.

BROWN: Hey there.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Miguel and I kind of match there.

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUEZ: Look at us.

BOLDUAN: Pamela, they left us out.

MARQUEZ: I was going with the newsman number three. I thought you were newsman number one today.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: Obviously, I'm number 17.

(LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: But I'll tell you what we're doing this morning that's interesting. We got our eyes on the sky. There's a spacewalk that's going to be taking place on our watch. Important mission trying to fix the International Space Station's cooling system. They had issues with the suits. They had problems with the walk. So, this is one worth watching. We're going to have live coverage. An astronaut is going to join us to talk us through. He's done doing space walks himself. There are challenges we do not know, but you will when you watch us.

BOLDUAN: It's always amazing to see that.

We're also going to be a following a story that we are tracking very closely here. What is next for Shezanne Cassim? The American jailed in United Arab Emirates for making what he said was just a comedic joke. His sentence, one year in prison. But, when might he actually be coming home? That seems to be still unclear even though he was sentenced yesterday very early morning.

We're going to talk to his mother, his brother, and his sister. And this is the first time his mother is going to be speaking out since the sentence and we're going to be talking of what this means for their family and how they're continuing their fight to get him back.

MARQUEZ: That's right.

BROWN: That should be interesting.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BROWN: All right. Kate and Chris, thank you much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

BROWN: We'll see you soon.

MARQUEZ: Now, coming up, the big stock market rally. Good news for some Wall Streeters expecting bonuses for the New Year. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: This will get you in the Christmas spirit, won't it? Merry Christmas Eve, everyone. Welcome back to EARLY START. It's "Money Time." Alison Kosik joins us now. So, what's going on, Alison?

KOSIK: Taking stock of the year for stocks, you know, and you look at the biggest nine percent. Now, there's a good chance after Santa Claus rally will continue to bring joy to investors. In fact, in the final days of the year and to the very start of January, the average gain for the market is 1.5 percent and futures are higher this morning.

A new record -- the 48th of the year actually was hit on Monday for the Dow Industrials. Blue chip stocks gained 73 points and the NASDAQ and S&P 500 followed suit.

Some standout stocks on Monday. Apple, Apple rallied on news that it signed a deal with China Mobile to sell iPhones in a market twice the size of America's population. Facebook also rallied on optimism that social media advertising is just beginning to come into its own. Twitter went along for the ride as well hitting a new record close and roll it altogether and here is where the major indices standard for the year.

The Dow is up 24 percent, NASDAQ up 37 percent, the S&P 500, whew, up 28 percent. Just to give you perspective, the -- put normal for the S&P 500 is usually around eight or nine percent. And the big rally in stocks likely to show up in Wall Street bonuses at least at two big firms. JPMorgan plans to boost bonuses for investment bankers by about six to 10 percent. That's according to the "Wall Street Journal."

Morgan Stanley will, for its part, will give out a bigger share of bonuses in cash instead of different pay. Now, Wall Street firms are feeling the need to reward stock traders and investment bankers who helped boost the bottom line in the big stock rally. But if you're a bond trader, no such luck. Total pay this year is likely to be down by 10 percent.

And the pinstripe prize fight continues. Joseph A. Bank says it's rejecting a $1.5 billion bid from rival suit seller, Men's Wearhouse, but Men's Wearhouse says it may look for seats on the board of its target in an effort to get its way. The takeover battle started soon after Men's Wearhouse ousted the former you're going to like the way you look chairman. I know I can't do it. Anyway, ousted him.

Joseph A. Bank launched a takeover bid only to have Men's Wearhouse turn the tables and launches its own takeover offer for Joseph A. Bank. What a soap opera? I'm sure we're not hearing the end of it yet.

BROWN: We're going to see the drama play out right before our eyes. All right. Alison Kosik, thank you much. We appreciate it.

And coming up right here on EARLY START, a tragic scene playing out in Texas. A husband in a bitter battle with a hospital to take his wife who is brain dead off life support. Why they're refusing? Just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A Texas man wants his wife taken off life support, but the hospital won't do it. The reason? She's pregnant. Thirty-three- year-old Marlise Munoz (ph) was found unconscious in late November and has been on a ventilator since then. Her husband, Erick, says, she didn't want the machine keeping her alive made that very clear to him, but state law says if she's pregnant, the plug can't be pulled regardless of her wishes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERICK MUNOZ, HUSBAND: We talked about it. We are both paramedics. We've seen things out in the field. We both knew that we didn't want to be on life support.

J.R. LABBE, HOSPITAL SPOKESWOMAN: We have a responsibility of making sure that we follow the laws, whether they are state or federal, when it comes to providing care to patients and that's what we're doing in this case. MUNOZ: We have reached the point where, you know, you wish that your wife's body would stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Marlise is about 18 weeks pregnant. It could be several more weeks before doctors can make a decision about taking the fetus out.

And coming up on "New Day," Chris and Kate will talk with medical -- Dr. Arthur Kaplan in the seven o'clock hour about this story. "New Day" starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will be a miracle. I got the hinch pin (ph) on the first try.

CUOMO: Dangerous mission. This morning, two American astronauts step out into the void. A critical spacewalk five plus hours exposed to conditions you will not believe. We're covering it live.

BOLDUAN: Mission accomplished so says Edward Snowden speaking out overnight. What he now says about his warnings to the NSA before he went public.

CUOMO: The two popes. A historic meeting. Two living popes exchanging Christmas greetings as Pope Francis readies for his first Christmas celebrations. We're live in the Vatican.

Your "New Day" starts right now.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

ANNOUNCER: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to "New Day." It's Tuesday, December 24th, Christmas Eve, 6:00 a.m. in the east.

New this morning, high stakes in space. NASA astronauts are getting ready for a spacewalk. This is going to be a big deal. Why? There are urgent repairs to the international Space Station's cooling system that need to be made. And, if everything goes well, they will have a primo look at Santa's flight. Alina Machado is following the mission from CNN Center in Atlanta. What do we know?

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Chris, no doubt the two flight engineers scheduled to do the spacewalk today will have the best seat in the house for Santa's flight as they finish up the work they started on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome. Thank you. Good job. MACHADO (voice-over): Today, astronauts will venture back out of the orbiting International Space Station. Their mission, to replace a pump needed to cool the vessel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if you guys believe in miracles, but I got the hitch pin on the first try.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's awesome, Rick.

MACHADO: Over the weekend, astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins removed the faulty cooling pump, which is the size of a refrigerator. They now must install the new one. Their task is a delicate one. The equipment contains a noxious cooling fluid, ammonia.

CHRIS HADFIELD, RETIRED ASTRONAUT: Some of the danger is hooking up the big heavy ammonia lines there that are really thick and massive. And hooking those up, of course, if you were to leak ammonia, it's not a really pleasant chemical. You couldn't bring it inside. So, there's definite risk out there.

MACHADO: Mastracchio will be wearing a newly tailored spacesuit on today's mission, a replacement after a cooling issue with his previous suit during the last walk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only issue that I personally am having is it's very, very cold. I have very, very good air flow in my boots, but my toes are quite cold.