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Malaysian Airlines Flight Disappears; Terrorism Possible Factor in Disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight; Russia Troops Continue to Occupy Crimea; Father of Sandy Hook Shooter Speaks; A Look into Mental Illness with Dr. Michael Welner

Aired March 10, 2014 - 07:00   ET

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


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And for the second year in a row, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky won the CPAC dime straw poll. It's an annual poll that was held over this weekend and gauges (ph) who attendees favor the win the Republican nomination in the next presidential election. Paul won with 31 percent of the vote. If you're curious, Senator Ted Cruz finished second in the straw poll with 11 percent of that vote.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The desperate search continues for Malaysia airlines flight 370. It vanished without a trace. This morning search teams from eight different nations are looking for any sign of that Boeing 777. There were reports of debris spotted in the ocean, but this morning aviation officials in Malaysia say there has not been a single confirmed sighting. The FBI is now joining the case. Their focus, two apparently shadowy passengers who somehow boarded flight 370 Saturday morning with stolen passports.

We are tapping the global resources of CNN to cover this story like no one else can. We'll begin with Jim Clancy in Kuala Lumpur. Jim?

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. The mystery deepens here, and so do the frustrations. As you noted, a massive search, eight, nine nations involved, 40 surface ships, 34 aircraft, and they came up with exactly nothing. Now, that search is going to continue, there's no doubt about that. So, too, is the investigation of those two men who had stolen passports that got on that plane. But they got on the plane. They died with the other passengers. No clear link to terrorism here either.

There's a lot of frustration on the part of the families. Many of them are beginning to come here to Kuala Lumpur, perhaps to feel closer to where their relatives were last seen. But at the same time, tonight we know that the investigation, the search is going to shut down here in about an hour's time. That does not mean it isn't going to start anew first thing in the morning. Back to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jim, thank you very much.

Now, here's one of the questions we're pursuing here. If the disappearance of Malaysia airline flight 370 was the work of terrorists, why haven't any groups stepped forward yet? In fact so far federal officials say they've heard no significant chatter about the incident. Now they're zeroing in on two shadowy figures who boarded that 777 Saturday morning using stolen passports. What could that mean? Let's bring in CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown live from Washington. Good morning, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Chris. All it would have taken was a quick search of Interpol database to see if the passports of these two passengers had been stolen. In fact, Interpol says the two stolen passports hadn't been checked at all since they were checked into the system last year and in 2012, leaving open the possibility they might have been used before.

So how often does this happen? Last year alone passengers were able to board planes without having their passports screened against Interpol's database more than 1 billion times. U.S. searches of Interpol's database, more than 250 million times a year. So that's a look at the numbers there. It's up to each country's government to check the database, not the airline, important to note there. Right now Interpol is helping to identify who those passengers who boarded the flight with the stolen passports were and working to figure out if they could have been terrorists, though officials say people use stolen passports for a variety of reasons, such as drug smuggling and human trafficking. At this point they just don't know who these two people were.

CUOMO: Pamela, thank you for the reporting, especially on that last point. Let's dig in a little deeper with what may be relevant and what may not be relevant. Richard Quest is CNN's international business correspondent. He also covers airlines and air travel extensively. And Fran Townsend, she's the CNN national security analyst and a former Bush homeland security adviser. Thanks to both of you.

Fran, I'll start with you. Let's deal with the passports. Could be a little bit of a red herring, something that sounds really relevant to people like me who aren't as clued in, but to someone like you, you're not impressed to hear that they were bogus passports?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I am worried about it. I'm worried about that they were bogus passports. But the thing that causes me concern is the fact that these two tickets from both of the bogus passports come out of the same travel agent. Kuala Lumpur, people forget going back to 9/11, Kuala Lumpur was a hub. So in 2000 -- in 1995, going back, Al Qaeda used to use it as a place for meeting. They planned, they met there for the USS Cole attack in 2000. They were on American Airlines 77 that slammed into the Pentagon. So Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia had a history for terrorism and as a support network there.

And so we don't know that now. That's many years ago. But to counterterrorism officials, the FBI is now involved. This will be very relevant. They're going to look at that travel agency. They're going to look at the airport and at the passports. There's a lot of leads to be run down. Could be a red herring, we don't know, but lots of investigating to do.

CUOMO: So there are fake passports that are used. This isn't the first time we've heard of that. But having them both come out of the same travel office, that will be important. They'll look at that.

Now we go to the forensics so far, Richard. The initial word it there was an oil slick that must be related. Now they're not so sure.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, and for good reason. These are very heavily trafficked waters, the Gulf of Thailand, the South China Sea. There's an enormous amount of ship traffic going through there. For example, the piece of debris that they thought was overnight might have been part of the door of the aircraft now turns out was just part of a cable reel that was floating. It's very difficult to actually find things in the water when you're looking for a small piece of debris. You have to break the ocean up into blocks and crisscross it very methodically so that you can check it very carefully. It's extraordinarily difficult.

CUOMO: Now, to the paranoia of the passenger. They'll say I wonder if it's the plane. This particular aircraft is known for safety, true?

QUEST: Absolutely. The 777 is the workhorse of the medium to long haul fleet in the world today. It has an exemplary safety record. There have only been two serious, major incidents, the Asiana one in San Francisco and the British Airways one at Heathrow. So what investigators will -- they can't get much further until they know what happened to the plane and where the plane is, because the plane will give up its own secrets.

CUOMO: If they can find the transponder, the black box and --

QUEST: Oh, they will. They will. It's not if. It's not if. It is not an if, it's a when. And the reason it's a when Chris is because they have to know what happened, in the same way with 447. You cannot have a plane where there's over 1,100 of them in the fleet worldwide fall out of the sky and not understand what happened.

CUOMO: So they do have to find --

QUEST: They will.

CUOMO: You're not nearly as certain about I'm asking you about as Richard is. So I'm going to ask you what it's hard to be certain about.

TOWNSEND: Sure.

CUOMO: We don't know what happened here right now. Terrorism is in the mix because of the randomness and because of the silence from the plane about the activities most, not because of what we've learned about it. So if we were going to go down that road and we haven't heard from a group, it then becomes subjective as to which groups could be involved? That is a more active part of the world than many in the U.S. may be aware of, right, when it comes to terrorism?

TOWNSEND: That's right. So we know that Al Qaeda has a history there. Jemaah Islamia, which is a more regional group with affiliations with Al Qaeda, they share the same sort of goals and aspirations and techniques. And so it is a part of the world that we worry about. We know that Ramzi Yousef coming out of there back in the 90s launched a test run. But they didn't sacrifice anybody on that test run, and that's significant here. It relates back to the two stolen passports. Maybe this wasn't. Maybe that is a red herring, but they have got to look at that, right? If it was a test run, you wouldn't claim responsibility because it was the precursor to a larger plot.

CUOMO: That's the point of the test.

TOWNSEND: Right, exactly.

CUOMO: But here, again, usually when terrorists take over a plane they want it known when they take it over because that's the point of it is the fear of the control of the groups come forward. So the unknown here is still what's haunting. But we'll follow the investigation as it comes. Richard Quest, thank you very much. It's not if but when they find the black box and certainly the information there will become pivotal in this. Fran, thank you as well.

TOWNSEND: Great to be here.

BOLDUAN: And then it's the families who have no idea where their loved ones are. Chris, thank you very much. We'll take you back to that story momentarily.

But let's talk about Ukraine, because the Russians are doing what they can to really mark territory in Crimea. This pro-Ukrainian rally was interrupted by Russian supporters who attacked Ukrainians over the weekend. Washington is preparing to host one of Ukraine's new leaders after weekend diplomacy really did little to sway Russia president Vladimir Putin. CNN's Anna Coren is in Crimea thank you very much with the very latest. Good morning.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brooke. Yes, less than a week before that referendum which the people here of Crimea will decide whether or not they want to become part of Russia. The military buildup of Russian forces certainly intensifies. We're getting reports that they were creating a new border, if you like, between Crimea and Ukraine. We drove up to this area. We were stopped at a check point by pro-Russian forces. Our car was searched, our media equipment was searched. One of our cameras was taken and turned off. And they did not want us filming around. Around us were tents filled with Russian soldiers. They were dug in. Barbed wire was being rolled out, trenches were being built. And what was really disturbing is that there were landmine signs that were being placed in front of these defensive positions. One of the locals actually told us that a dog had been blown up there just a few days ago. So definitely this military intensification is growing as we did get closer to that date, Michaela.

PEREIRA: Just six days away. Anna Coren, thank you so much for that.

New this morning, Kim Jong-un not surprisingly has been elected to North Korea's highest legislative body. State media reports the supreme leader ran unopposed and won with 100 percent voter turnout in his district. The only question is whether Kim will replace older aides with younger, more loyal ones.

CUOMO: The Senate is expected to pass Claire McCaskill's bills on sexual assault in the military. The Missouri Democrats proposal does remove the so-called "good soldier" defense that considers the service record of the accused. Last Friday the Senate shot down a bill from New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. That bill would have stripped military commanders of authority in prosecuting sex assault cases.

BOLDUAN: A potential game changer in the fight against Alzheimer's. Researchers announcing they have developed a blood test that can predict whether a health person will get the disease years in advance with over 90 percent accuracy, they say. Hundreds of people over the age of 70 were studied and the ones who environment developed Alzheimer's all had low levels of certain lipids. Doctors say the tests still need some refining.

PEREIRA: Let's take a look what is in the papers this morning. We start with the "New York Times." The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton declaring there is no guarantee that a nuclear agreement will be reached with Iran. Ashton in Iran trying to temper expectations, calling the process difficult and challenging. The next round of talks start next week in Vienna. The U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany on the one side of the table, Iran on the other.

In the "Wall Street Journal," Senator Marco Rubio getting set for a big policy speech today. The likely 2016 presidential candidate will focus on the economy. He'll also discuss streamlining federal regulations, expanding wireless access, and coordinating public- private research. Rubio is looking to regain momentum after the unraveling of his immigration overhaul.

And in the "Washington Post," first lady Michelle Obama expected to steer clear of controversy as she prepares to travel to China next week, making no mention of the Chinese government's human rights record. This as Obama is planning to visit two high schools and a university and see China's cultural and historical sites. Her mother and daughters Sasha and Malia will travel with the first lady.

BOLDUAN: William Garnier, maybe you know him as "Wild Bill," a World War II veteran who was portrayed in the TV series "Band of Brothers," he died Saturday in Philadelphia. Garnier passed away from a ruptured aneurism. His combat exploits earned him his nickname "Wild Bill," and he earned a number of honors as a combat soldier, including two purple hearts. William Garnier was 90 years old.

More than 70 revelers arrested in a St. Patrick's party in Massachusetts over the weekend. It was the so-called "blarney blowout." Mobs of college aged partiers in multiple locations threw snowballs, bottles, and beer cans at police near the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. School officials warned of possible suspensions or expulsions.

BOLDUAN: You would have done nothing of the sort.

CUOMO: The Irish. BOLDUAN: NSA leaker Edward Snowden is set to appear by live video stream at the South by Southwest film festival in a couple of hours. But Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas is demanding he be cut out of that event. Snowden is not the festivals only controversial guest. Guess who else. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He told the crowd everyone in the world will be monitored soon, at least digitally.

CUOMO: All right, the blarney blowout, I don't know that it was news, but this is certainly news -- 34 and, oh, my goodness, Wichita State completing its improbable perfect season, also captured the first Missouri Valley Conference championship in 27 years. They beat Indiana State 83 to 69, becoming the first team since 1991. Those were the UNLV running rebels. Greg Anthony on that team. They headed into the NCAA tournament unbeaten as well.

But check out the team's conference title t-shirts. Is this a hedge? What's going on with this? The front of the shirt --

BALDWIN: Where's the T-shirt?

CUOMO: Show the shirt, man. Show the shirt. The front of the shirt says Wichita State's the Champ. On the back, though, the bracket, though, has Indiana State winning. Can you believe that, 23 years to get it right and they blow it on the T-shirt? Was it a hedge or is it an asterisk on the perfect season? That's the question.

BALDWIN: That's wrong, wrong!

CUOMO: Can't get the T-shirt right, don't deserve the perfect season.

REPORTER: Speaking of perfection, Indra.

CUOMO: Oh, wow. This is something I would I would never have said.

(LAUGHTER)

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We have so much love.

CUOMO: My mouth just went dry.

PETERSONS: Oh, I love this. Thank you, Brooke. Back at you.

BALDWIN: You're welcome.

PETERSONS: All right, speaking of perfection, another level. Let's talk about temperatures. Look at this, beautiful out there. Talking about temperatures a good 20 degrees above normal today and it gets better than that.

By tomorrow, look at this. New York City talking about 60 degrees. D.C. tomorrow will be seeing temperatures into the 70s.

And then of course I'm going to burst your bubble. Because look at the difference, by Wednesday dropping significantly in the Midwest. By Thursday, look at the drop, we're talking about 70s going down to 30s as your highs in D.C. New York City will go from the 60s down to the 20s.

So yes, there's obviously a system out there. You can see it kind of making its way in. It's going to be in the upper planes, maybe the upper Midwest by tomorrow, starting some snow showers that will make its way across the Ohio Valley.

And through Tuesday, Tuesday night, though Wednesday and through Thursday, it does mean more snow headed to the northeast.

But there is a nice but on the end of this. Right now, looks like not seeing a lot of snow out of this, the bulk of the snow, at least for the northeast, staying well to the north. But of course, up in the Midwest, so anywhere from five to eight inches as it kind of makes its way through.

Overall, things are going to be looking a lot better right now, as long as the storm stays where it is right now to the north.

BALDWIN: And who cares? Look at today. Twenty-five degrees above normal.

PETERSONS: Beautiful.

CUOMO: Live in the present.

BALDWIN: I love it. I'm in.

CUOMO: Very zen. I dig it.

PETERSONS: He's in.

BALDWIN: OK. Here we go.

Coming up next here on NEW DAY, a pretty stunning interview here. Adam Lanza's father speaking up for the very first time since his son Adam opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School two Decembers ago. He says he believes his son would have killed him if he had the chance.

Also, if you think that's shocking, wait until you hear what else Peter Lanza had to say here.

CUOMO: And under the heading of shocking, we have a live report from the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, graphic testimony going on right now. So intense, the judge asked for a break. We'll tell you why.

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CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. For the first time we're hearing from the father of Sandy Hook Elementary shooter. And his words are stunning. Peter Lanza is telling the "New Yorker" something I don't think I've ever heard from a parent, even in a situation like this. He says, "I wish my son had never been born."

National correspondent Susan Candiotti is here with the very latest this morning. Susan? SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.

In a revealing interview, Adam Lanza's father, Peter, wishes he had pushed harder to see his son who refused to meet with him for two years before the rampage at Sandy Hook.

Peter Lanza saying he doesn't think the shooting could have been predicted and adds this, "You can't get any more evil."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (voice-over): Peter Lanza, the father of Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has broken his silence saying, "With hindsight I know Adam would have killed me in a heart beat if he had the chance."

In his first interview since the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut nearly 15 months ago, Lanza tells the "New Yorker" magazine he has met with two families of his son's victim saying, "A victim's family member told me that they forgave Adam after we spent three hours talking. I didn't even know how to respond."

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Twenty little children, six adults.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Unimaginable horror grips the nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police have now identified the school shooter as Adam Lanza.

CANDIOTTI: Lanza says when he realized what happened, he called his wife at work, telling her over and over, "I think it's Adam. It's Adam."

Lanza says he knew his son had problems but he was difficult to treat. In his words, "He did not want to talk about problem and didn't even admit he had Aspergers."

Lanza also describes changes he saw in his son. "It was crystal clear something was wrong. Aspergers makes people unusual, but it doesn't make people like this."

Authorities later found that Adam had holed up in his room, windows covered by black garbage bags seen in these photos.

Peter Lanza says as things got worse with his son, Adam's mother, Lanza's ex-wife Nancy, cared for him primarily. In his words, "She wanted everyone to think everything was OK." He adds, "She didn't fear her son. She slept with her bedroom door unlocked, and she kept guns in the house, which she would not have done if she were frightened."

These photos released late last year by the Connecticut state police show an open gun locker, several firearms, and lots of ammunition inside the home.

Peter Lanza says he is haunted by his son, dreaming about him nightly, detailing one nightmare, being hunted like one of his son's victims. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CANDIOTTI (on-camera): Lanza chose to tell his story with writer Andrew Solomon, who has written extensively about mental illness. They met a half dozen times since last fall. Peter Lanza plans to make no other statements about his interview and through a spokesman adds, he never intends to speak about it on camera. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, thank you very much, Susan. It helps the picture a little bit.

BALDWIN: It does. There a lot of details in this "New Yorker" piece. Let's talk about a little bit more with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner.

And doctor, good morning.

DR. MICHAEL WELNER, FORENSIC PYSCHIATRIST: Good morning.

BALDWIN: I think the first thing, just reading this whole piece by Andrew Solomon is the fact that he opens this whole piece with a picture of the Lanza home, not a single photograph of Adam Lanza, of his other son, but not Adam Lanza. And the point that he is saying that he wishes his son had never been born. To quote him, "I'm not dealing with it. You can't mourn for the little boy he once was. You can't fool yourself." Just inside the father's brain, your reaction?

WELNER: Well, I think it's refreshing to see the father of a killer and someone who's so destructive to be so frank and so candid and to own the depravity of what his son has done.

In my experience, parents grieve for the children and for the victims that their loved one has killed. But at the same time, in the whole climate of let's blame this person or let's say it's this and let's say it's that, they'll walk away from the idea of just saying, "My son did an unacceptable mistake. There's really no explanation. There's really even no apology that can give.

And as he did, "No, I'm not going to change my name. I'm going to live with this. I'm going to live with this burden.

It's important for us as a society so that people who are so self- absorbed that they think about being this destructive, they can consider the impact on the father that they are a little closer with or the mother that they are -- on the siblings and on the legacy that they really want to saddle other people with their products of their anger.

CUOMO: Too objective, though, Dr.? I mean, he didn't see his kid for two years. He knew his kid was troubled, puts it on Aspergers. But we don't really believe that Aspergers is connected --

BALDWIN: No.

CUOMO: -- to violent actions like this. So how do you see it in terms of the window of insight into the continuing problem of how we manage people with profound mental illness?

WELNER: Well, look, it's a great question you're asking. In a way, it's the question, although it's two questions.

The first one is, is it too objective? Nobody has come up with a delusion or a hallucination driving this. So even though paranoia is always some quality that's present in people who carry out mass killings, it's not here. And yet what the police department has told us is that he was so identified with the pantheon of mass killers and -- and -- for those who become invested in the idea of mass killing, and we know that he was functioning so poorly, the fantasy and the plan becomes the one thing that person can organize themselves around.

And this is someone -- he couldn't even pass a class, notwithstanding how bright he was, how capable he was. His function was limited, but he was able to do this.

Now, the last thing is, why did it happen that day? That's the mystery. Nobody has come up with a psychotic explanation. The only triggers that we're aware of historically is that the mother was contemplating a move to Washington, which would have turned his world upside down.

But we also know for a crime in which people billboard themselves, "Look at me. Here's what I wrote. Here's a picture of me with a gun." What did he do? He destroyed his computer.

BALDWIN: Right.

WELNER: The evidence is in what was destroyed. Is this -- for someone who was fantasizing or was writing about pedophelia, is this a child pornography that was discovered? Is there something on the computer that triggered his acting that day?

BALDWIN: I -- we only have a little bit of time left. I think, though, the mother relation is fascinating, the fact that -- communicated in the home on e-mail. But he's frustrated. And this is why, you know, he is speaking out. He said the mental health professionals who saw him, his son, did not see anything that would have predicted his future behavior. Here we are near New York, one of the best locations for mental health care, and nobody saw this.

I mean, the takeaway for this man who wanted to speak out and keep his last name is the fact that I want to help you other families so that this never happens again.

WELNER: The takeaway for us mental health professionals is, are you asking your patients, "Hey, how do you react to these mass casualty events? Hey, do you ever think about killing strangers? Hey, what's your relationship to guns? Hey, do you have homicidal feelings?"

You'd be surprised how often those questions get overlooked. And if you don't ask them, you're not going to hear about it.

CUOMO: So there's an instruction for the doctors, but also one of the parents. They were estranged as a couple, but parents know best. And you have to watch your kids. And when you don't and they're planning something like this, you would know before anybody else.

Dr. Welner, thank you for the perspective, as always. Important on these stories.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

CUOMO: We're gonna take a break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back, breaking this morning, a new glimpse into how Americans view President Obama's handling of the crisis in Ukraine. John King goes inside politics with a new poll next.

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