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Search Continues for Missing Malaysian Plane; Russia Annexes Crimea; Questions Over Malaysia's Missteps; NSA's Vast Surveillance Program; Valor Has No Color

Aired March 19, 2014 - 07:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Take a listen to what Kyung experienced and our cameras caught today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?





BOLDUAN: It is truly difficult to listen to you were right there, Kyung. We saw you being crushed by cameras. What do we -- what more are you learning about what happened?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these women clearly showed up there because they wanted to share their stories. They spoke directly to the cameras. They came to the press conference room and they were speaking. They said that they did not trust the Malaysian government, that they wanted help from the media to put pressure on the government to help find this plane, that they didn't believe that the government was telling them everything.

And then as they were talking, you saw the military move in and start to pull them out. You saw the woman crying, being dragged out of there. And it's a lot of grief, it's lot of anguish, it's lot of frustration. We also see that the Maine government is really having a hard time trying to control all of this. They have to deal with the families. They have to deal with intense focus by the press. And what you're seeing here, this crush, this mess, this really gives you a snapshot of the government that's leading this investigation.

BOLDUAN: Do we have any idea what happened to the woman afterwards?

LAH: Yes.

BOLDUAN: They were taken to a room across the way, but what happened? LAH: You saw the woman disappear. She went into the double doors of that room right at the bottom. And then we waited outside about 15, 20 minutes. The military, we kept asking them what are you doing to this them? What are you doing? What's going on? They wouldn't answer our questions. Some lied boldfaced right to me, said there were no women in here. I saw them go in. Of course, they are in there. And then they came out. They were, again, led out by members of the military, and, you know, nothing.

BOLDUAN: They are speaking for many more people than themselves because we know that many, many families share their anguish and also know that in the press conference today they can did announce that they are putting together a high level team is how they described it to send officials to Beijing to do hopefully maybe a better job of briefing the families there who are desperate for answers. We know that some of them are threatening a hunger strike because they feel that the government is not revealing enough to them. Kyung, thank you very much for bringing that to us. Let's get back to Chris in New York for more.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's bring in Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation expert and former inspector general of the department of transportation, now an aviation attorney as well, and Mr. Jeffrey Beatty, adjunct professor national security studies at the University of New Haven. He's also a former FBI, CIA, and Delta Force terrorism expert. The credentials could not be better. Now let's test the insight as we vet information coming out of this. Thanks to both of you for being here.

The big headlines today, first about the pilot. He has a flight simulator, not unusual. They say that he was deleting data from that simulator as opposed to from his home computer. We have an expert who is in the flight simulator business. He says he doesn't understand why would you do that. Insight, Mary?

MARY SCHIAVO, AVIATION ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, I certainly don't have one that's probably as sophisticated as his, but on the flight simulators that you have on your desktop, it saves lot of your flights and so you can see what you've flown before and how you're doing if you're a desktop pilot, if you're getting better. There really isn't any need to delete that data, and it does look interesting why it was deleted, but it was deleted some time before the flight. Hopefully they can recover it, and lots of times, it's very recoverable.

CUOMO: They say it is almost impossible to delete anything these days unless you take the hard drive and throw it into the garbage itself. So we will follow up on that. But right now it's still just an open issue.

The other big headline, and again this is about the Malaysian authorities and how they are processing data as opposed to getting new data. Not only did the co-pilot say "All right, good night" but 12 minutes before he said "All right, good night," he input data for an additional waypoint that was not part of the flight plan. He didn't change course, but he gave himself the ability to do so. What does it mean to you, Mary? SCHIAVO: Well, because of the delay if the delay is right it certainly signals that you're intending to delay course and you didn't call any Mayday, you didn't indicate that you had any problems. So, it's a change in course with without a readily apparent reason and a 12-minute time in which could you were have expressed the reason for the change in the course.

CUOMO: Jeff Beatty, can you give a me a good reason or a benign reason or an innocent reason that this waypoint would have been put in and not communicated?

JEFFREY BEATTY, SECURITY CONSULTANT: Well, Chris, there's sadly not a really good reason for that at all. You know, the problem is they put the waypoint in, they had multiple opportunities to indicate duress, through putting duress into a transponder code, or even within aviation there's a way when you verbally communicate to people that you give a verbal duress call, so if someone had a gun on your head in the cockpit because they had gotten into it, you would still be able to subtly inform your headquarters or any of the air traffic controllers that, in fact, you were under duress, and that didn't happen.

CUOMO: All right, and this fact if it is a fact, and the coordinating additional information about turning off the transponder, which they believe may have been done manually, the ACARS system being disabled, which is very difficult to do if it's not done intentionally, that steers you toward pilots.

However, and we have about discussing this earlier, and Jeff, you're on this, so, let's get to this point, we still don't know what was in the cargo manifest of this airplane. You think that's relevant. Why?

BEATTY: Well, it is certainly something we want to eliminate. People have talked about simply a heist. The airplane itself is going to be hard to get rid of a hot airplane. But what about the cargo? Was there some incredibly high-value cargo? But now we are seeing -- we watch want to eliminate that, but we're also seeing information that may have indicated that this operation was planned months in advance. You're not going to necessarily know months in advance what's in the cargo manifest. So it's one of those things we want to check off and say, OK, probably was not about the cargo but we don't know yet what that cargo might have been.

CUOMO: And so it's a noting in something that necessarily -- we don't know what it, the unknown is troubling here. You want to know as much as possible.

SCHIAVO: It could have been hazardous cargo. It could be something that gave off fumes, not necessarily high-value cargo. It could have been something that wasn't good cargo.

CUOMO: I was hearing that from U.S. sources here, they were concerned about the cargo, a mass decompression event, an explosion. They moved away from that. When you start hearing the additional suggestions of circumstances, like with this 12-minute delay, moving you away from accident and more toward this was intentional? SCHIAVO: Well it is because before when we had the timeline, there wasn't time, it was boom, boom, boom, the system started going down and they made the turn, it could have been to an alternative airport. But here 12 minutes, particularly if you have a problem, 12 minutes is a pretty good chunk of time, and you always want someone to know if you have a problem.

CUOMO: Even built into the paradigm of aviate, navigate, communicate, this window is big enough you could have said something and this is the kind of thing you would talk about. Jeff Beatty, how much stock do you put in the idea of this plane having landed somewhere being intact? We know that U.S. authorities guiding the search into the Indian Ocean, that Australia's coordinating the search, moving it into the southwest portion of Australia seems to suggest the theory the believe it ditched into the water. What about balancing that out with what we know that leads us to believe it may have flown north maybe somewhere? Do you buy that at all?

BEATTY: Well, I certainly think it's still on the table, Chris, until we can eliminate that possibility. But you know, we are going to get some indication of that when we look for the rehearsal information. Any act like this that's an intentional act whether it is a criminal act or terrorist act there is always information and activities that happen before it, proceed it. There's casing activity, rehearsal activity before the actual act. And so what we need to find out is where did this pilot bid in previous months? Did he fly other places that, why did he pick those trips? Was he senior enough to pick a better trip than the trip that he particularly went on?

So, rehearsal information may be in the simulator that if they can recover it, that's great. It could also be that he flew to some other places in the previous months as part of his rehearsal to plan for this operation. So we have got to lack for those rehearsal items that might help us lead in this search and narrow the search down a little bit, not just on what happened that fateful night.

CUOMO: You know, one of the big problems here is that this is a very sophisticated investigation. You have all these different countries, you don't know what they are telling and why they are not telling it because there are a lot of sovereign rules and a lot of spy games going on. You have a lot of data to wrangle, a lot of questions to ask. And the Malaysians, while being well-intentioned, don't have a lot of experience with this and until very recently weren't looking to share. And when you put all that together, you get a lot of unknown of and time running out. Fair point, Mary?

SCHIAVO: Fair point. And also you have got two different investigations going on. You have the civil aviation investigation, what happened to the plane, you know, lake an NTSB investigation, and you have the criminal investigation, a major international criminal investigation, like what the FBI would do. And then those two have to coordinate as well.

CUOMO: All right, head guys on the U.S. side saying don't say they are expanding the search because we've learned something. It's expanding because time keeps going and things are moving. This is bad that it's expanding. It's not showing more information. Jeff Beatty, thank you very much for the insight, appreciate it needed it. Mary, good staying with us. Michaela?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Another concern, Chris, is that the batteries on that black box or the flight recorder only last 30 days, so time is certainly running out.

Much more on the mystery of the missing flight 370, but right now we want to take you to Crimea where overnight pro-Russia demonstrators stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in Sebastopol, raising Russian flags. The situation there is dangerously close to a breaking point now that Russia's claimed Crimea as its own. The U.S. is condemning Russia's annexation of Crimea as a land grab and a violation of international law. Vice President Joe Biden is meeting with leaders of Latvia and Lithuania today, working to reassure them of American support.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski live at the White House. Michelle.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi Michaela. Clearly the administration doesn't need a sort of war of words with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and so it's been extremely measured in its language, using the same phrases every day to describe the situation and its response, the U.S.-imposed sanctions, while in Russia, those sanctioned describe them as hilarious, an honor. Putin said the west is the one that overstepped the line and that Crimea is now a part of Russia.

Well, in response the White House said the U.S. and the international community will not recognize what it called an attempted annexation and that there will be cost. Well, we have been hearing now, we saw sanctions, but the administration has been pressed on this over the last few days. What are costs really and what should the response be at this point since it seems nothing has changed Russia's course?

Well, what we do know is that there will be further sanctions, more support of allies in that region. Next week, the G-7 nations will meet on this subject and that excludes Russia. Also, it seems extremely unlikely that the G-8 summit to be hosted by Russia in June will happen. Michaela?

PEREIRA: Other neighboring European countries concerned and watching this situation, knowing what it means for their fail. Michelle Kosinski at the White House, thanks so much. Obviously a lot of other news going on today. John Berman is here with the rest of our headlines.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Michaela. The FBI looking into allegations that U.S. senators hacked CIA computers. The spy agency says senators gained unauthorized access to classified documents about its now defunct post-9/11 interrogation program. Senators insist the documents just appeared on their computer either by a whistleblower or by error.

Now, last week Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of hacking her intelligence committee's computers. The FBI now evaluating whether a full-scale investigation is needed.

Court adjourns in the Oscar Pistorius murder trial until Monday, the judge granting the prosecutor's request to consult with four or five remaining witnesses through the weekend. Earlier this morning, gruesome testimony, blood spatter and ballistic experts testifying about Riva Steenkamp's wounds. At one point, Pistorius was seen covering his ears. The ballistic experts testified Pistorius was likely not wearing his prosthetic legs when he pulled the trigger.

New details expected today about the $1 billion settlement between the Justice Department and Toyota. The agreement should spare the automaker criminal charges for allegedly misleading authorities over complaints about unintended acceleration. Some 10 million vehicles were recalled over this problem. And last year the company paid out over $1.5 billion to car owners.

The New Jersey teen who sued her parents for financial support and tuition is now dropping the case. Rachel Canning moved back in with her parents lack week. She moved out in October, her parents say, because she couldn't follow the rules. Last week, Canning also filed new court papers alleging abuse but Tuesday she appeared in a family court to say she was dropping the suit voluntarily. Her parents say they are happy that she's home.

CUOMO: That is good news. That case needed to go away. We have been covering it from the beginning. The system sometimes overtakes it. There were all these weird backstory factors there, who was this family who was helping her? Who was pressuring this kid into this situation? Hopefully, they can figure it out.

BERMAN: Interesting to know whether there were costs associated with this to the state, legal costs that every-to cover white family worked out.

CUOMO: Judge's time, court time, absolutely.

PEREIRA: I know it was setting a precedent, but I'm so glad that these cases aren't, like, our lives, that our lives, we weren't living them out. We I was a teenager I wouldn't want my behavior to be broadcast to the world. Everybody knows this girl's backstory.

CUOMO: By all rights this family was solid, typical teen/parent dynamics.

PEREIRA: Angst at that time.

CUOMO: At least now hopefully they are back home and figure it out. A good one.

PEREIRA: We will send good thought theirs way.

CUOMO: They need it.

Coming up on NEW DAY, breaking details about the search for flight 370. Could a crack in international cooperation be hampering the search? We will tell you ahead. BOLDUAN: Also ahead, we are going to see what Hillary Clinton has to say about Vladimir Putin and whether she thinks a new cold war is brewing with Russia.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Even as the world joins forces to find the missing Malaysian jet -- you have two dozen different countries now. The questions is, are they being urgent and honest enough? Is this mystery being fueled in part by Malaysia's missteps? Malaysia's been criticized as being slow, disorganized, and the country has had to reach out to other countries to help lead the search.

Now, one of the countries, Indonesia is apparently slowing the search with red tape, keeping search planes on the ground. How much of this is politics? How much of the practicalities just doing something so complicated?

We're joined by John Negroponte. He's the former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines and to the United Nations, among other places. He was also former director of national intelligence.

Mr. Negroponte, a pleasure. Thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.


CUOMO: So put this in perspective for us, if you could, in terms of how much criticism is warranted of the investigation itself, building in the factors of some 26 countries, many of whom don't have the best relationships with each other. In a situation where there is so much unknown, how much criticism is warranted? How difficult is it?

NEGROPONTE: Yeah, well, first of all, I think the spotlight is really on Malaysia as a result of this event. And, of course, they don't have much experience dealing with these kinds of crises.

And it's not unusual, certainly for countries like Malaysia -- I can recall past crises of this kind where at first they had difficulty coping with multiple offers of international assistance, channeling aid and so forth because the local authorities themselves are overwhelmed.

Having said that, I think as time goes by the country is obviously getting better at coordinating the different efforts. I think perhaps one of the turning points was went prime minister himself stepped into the situation and had the press conference he did the other day, showing that they now have that -- that the issue had risen to a very serious level within their government.

And I'm sure, with regard to a country like Indonesia or any other country in the region, if they had information that had a direct bearing on the whereabouts or what happened to this aircraft, they would have certainly shared it with the government of Malaysia already. CUOMO; You're confident in it? Because that's a big part of the speculation is how could this airplane have flown almost certainly through India and/or Pakistan's airspace and then did not have cited it? How could all this sophistication radar and surveillance not have picked up the plane if it landed?

NEGROPONTE: Well, that's good question. But what I'm saying is I'm confident that any government in the region, if it had that kind of information, I'm certain that it would have shared with it with the Malaysian authorities, because all these countries also have their own national airlines. And in addition to their obvious obligation to report on these kinds of things, they would expect reciprocal treatment if the same thing happened to them.

CUOMO: U.S. sources are getting a little bit louder on the issue believing that they think the plane is in the water. And they're obviously working under Australia in the region of the Indian Ocean. You can see the search zone is shifting, a little bit coordinated to the information that came from the Thai government. Are you hearing the same thing in terms of what the suspicions are?

NEGROPONTE: Here is the great difficulty with this situation. I don't think we have seen any fact yet that turns us in an absolutely decisive direction.

I think that's what we're all waiting for. We are waiting for some revelation that sheds significantly more light on what happened than what we have seen so far. Maybe it'll be in some recorded flight path that got deleted from a simulator. I don't know. But all I'm saying is at the moment, we're still, in a way, just practically where we started in terms of the scarceness of facts in this situation.

CUOMO: And when you say you're confident the government would turn over information, U.S. authorities, when they got a call from the head of transportation and defense in Malaysia, whose been doing all -- most of the press conferences, they said, "Wow this is unusual. Malaysia doesn't usually reach out for help."

But you're seeing that the Thai government turned something over, but not right away. They said they didn't discover it right away. Now you have Indonesia, keeping the U.S. search plane on the ground.

While you believe that they would turn over information, it doesn't necessarily mean they will make it easy. You think we are seeing signs of that also?

NEGROPONTE: Well, no I -- I -- I would just say that if they had specific information, they would turn it over. Coordination efforts are difficult. And I think we're seeing better coordination as time goes on, like for example, the Malaysians decided on how to divide various quadrants of the ocean, so they could be searched by various different countries and not have an overlap of effort.

So I think they are getting organized for this, but regrettably, sometimes these things take time, and as I said earlier, especially in the case of a country that has not had much if any prior experience with this kind of situation. I think under the circumstances, they are doing the best -- the best they can.

CUOMO: And it's about as difficult set of circumstances as you could imagine.

NEGROPONTE: Absolutely. We will know better when we find out what actually happened.

CUOMO: And that will be a good day for sure, especially for the families and loved ones involved.

Let me take advantage of having you to ask you a quick question about the situation in Crimea and Ukraine. The headline that seems to be bubbling up is Putin won. He got exactly what wanted. The U.S. can't do anything to stop him. And by the way, it's going to get worse because you have Syria and Iran, and now you have Vladimir Putin who feels he doesn't have to help with you any of your foreign objectives, West and United States. Do you see it that way?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I mean, he is certainly created facts (ph) on the ground in Crimea. Whether he is going to go beyond that I think remains to be seen, and I think there's reasons for some hope in that regard. He, himself in his speech yesterday, said they had no interest in going beyond Crimea. We'll see how that plays out.

But this is a dynamic situation. History doesn't stop. I think in response, we have got show strong support now for Ukraine and for the other European countries that are concerned that Russia might try to repeat this kind of behavior in the -- those nations where there are Russian minorities also living there, such as in the Baltic states and elsewhere.

So this is a time when we have to close ranks with our western European friends and allies, both NATO and the European Union, to really forge a common policy towards this situation.

CUOMO: It is a situation that begs the question, what happens next? Mr. Negroponte, thank you very much. John Negroponte, it's great to have you on NEW DAY.

NEGORPONTE: Thank you.

CUOMO: Mich?

PERERIA: All right, Chris, next up on NEW DAY could, it have been a flight 370 sighting? A fisherman in a remote village claims to seen a low-lying plane right around the time that Malaysian Airlines jet vanished. We spoke to him, what he said, just ahead.

Also, next on inside politics, we will check up on Republican efforts to crush tea party challengers.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY, a lot of news, get to you John Berman for the headlines, John?

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Chris.

Investigators trying to recover data deleted from a flight simulator belonging to the pilot of Malaysia flight 370. Officials said this morning that some data was wiped off, but they couldn't say what it was or even who took it off. Forensic experts are now investigating.

Meantime, a source says the prevailing thought among U.S. officials is the plane flew deep into the southern Indian Ocean. Australian officials have narrowed their focus there. CNN has also confirmed that someone in the cockpit likely input a new route on the flight's computer about 12 minutes before the plane's last verbal contact.

The NSA has a surveillance operation that is so vast it can record 100 percent of a foreign country's phone calls and play each one of them back up to a month later. That's according to new documents given to the "Washington Post" by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The "Post" acknowledging it has withheld information about which countries may have been targeted at the request of U.S. officials.

An investigation underway this morning into the deadly crash of a news helicopter in Seattle. Two people on board died, another on the ground seriously hurt when this chopper slammed into the street and burst into flames. Witnesses say they did hear strange noises when the helicopter took off after refueling.

Valor has no color. That was the message Tuesday as President Obama awarded 24 minority war veterans their long-delayed Medals of Honor. Vietnam war vet Melvin Morris, one of only three honorees who's still alive was shot in the chest, arm, and left ring finger as he carried casualties out of the line of fire back in 1969.