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Fort Hood Shooting Examined; GM CEO Testifies Before Congress on Delayed Car Recall; Australian PM: Search for Flight 370 Most Difficult in Human History

Aired April 3, 2014 - 07:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We've learned he may have been battling post-traumatic stress disorder, and that he and his family just arrived in February at Fort Hood in February transferring from another base. Neighbors say they were with Lopez's wife when she found out that her husband was the shooter. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The news when they repeated the name, everybody just broke down in tears. From what I can see, it seems like it was disbelief and, you know, it was a lot of hurt at the same time.


PEREIRA: Let's bring in Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Give us an indication of what else we're finding out about Lopez, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. Specialist Ivan Lopez, we have some facts, but of course investigators still now digging into everything they can find out about him. He did serve a four-month tour of duty in Iraq back in 2011. That, of course, as the war was winding down.

In addition, yes, he was being evaluated, the Army says, at Fort Hood for possible post-traumatic stress. He was undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression. And he had recently purchased the handgun. The army says this soldier was also undergoing treatment for a variety of other psychological and psychiatric issues. So certainly, this is going to bring up multiple questions now in the investigation. Was security at Fort Hood sufficient, did it meet standards after the 2009 tragedy? And what was going on with this soldier and how come nobody noticed? Michaela

PEREIRA: Good question. Did anybody notice, did anybody say anything, should they have? Barbara Starr, thank you so much for that.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And obviously on the military side, they did notice, they were treating him. He was under evaluation. So the picture is cloudy. That's why we're trying to pick our way through it. Joining us now from Washington is CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Mr. Tom Fuentes. Tom, good to have you. Let's start checking boxes here, what we know, what we don't know. The obvious concern because of what happened in 2009 that this is someone self-radicalized, that there is a terrorism element to this. So far I have no information on that. Do you have any?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Chris, good morning. No, there's no indication yet. You can't rule it out until they complete the investigation, but as of now, it does not appear to be terrorist motivated.

CUOMO: The situation is a little confusing because early reports are it was soldier-on soldier as a beef gone bad, but that kind of cuts against him shooting multiple people in different places. Do you think the mental health issue is going to play into this?

FUENTES: I think absolutely it will. You have the base commander saying he had mental and behavioral problems, receiving psychiatric treatment and medication while he was under evaluation to determine, had not been determined that he had post-traumatic stress syndrome. At least he had other problems that were well-known.

But this is -- this is yet another story, a person with psychiatric problems walking into a gun shop and being able to obtain and weapon and ammunition and go shoot who he wants. I think that's nothing new. We've seen that in our society. That's not going to change. There's no indication of any political will to change that situation, so we'll just have to deal with it as it comes.

Secondly, all this talk of base security, this is not a U.S. penitentiary. It's like a small city. You have 90,000 people that live and work there. They're not going to search every car, every trunk, pat down every person going through there. It's a city. It's a working city. And the -- and it's a place where people are trained and deployed as war fighters. So you have an extra percentage of the population that are trained to kill, if you will. So this is to be expected. We don't want it to happen and we say we're going to do everything from stop it from happening, but we're just fooling ourselves. It's not going to be completely eliminated. There's not everything you can do to completely stop this on military bases or in any other city for that matter.

CUOMO: So you're checking an important box. You look at military bases in general since 1995, you've had several, maybe five shootings. So by percentage it's not like they're hot spots for violence. But coming off of 2009, there were supposed to be changing made. Many were made. And you're saying the issue of whether or not Fort Hood knows how to secure the fighting men and women is not an issue, to be clear, yes?

FUENTES: I didn't say it wasn't an issue. I just said, what are you going to do? We can pontificate that they're going to do some exotic security measure that's going to keep 90,000 people safe and everybody that comes and goes from that base checked, but that's not going to happen. It's not a practical solution for that to happen.

CUOMO: Sure.

FUENTES: As I said, you're training war fighters. So what's to stop someone on the firing line with a live weapon exercise from just turning on the instructors and fellow people that are undergoing firearm training?

CUOMO: That's a hypothetical. That's not what happened here. I want to take one step back to something you mentioned earlier before we quit on it, is he is undergoing mental health treatment and evaluation. He is yet still able to walk into a private store and get this semi-automatic handgun that he winds up using, not a military issued weapon, his own. Don't you think that's something that needs to be addressed in terms of who's abled to get these conceal carry permits and weapons?

FUENTES: That scenario has happened over and over, and our country has shown it has no political will to change that situation. So if a massacre of children doesn't change situations like that, this certainly won't.

CUOMO: But, as somebody in the business of stopping crime, when you see this pattern, is it something that is relevant to address in your opinion?

FUENTES: In my opinion, yes, it's relevant to address. But in my opinion also, it won't be.

CUOMO: Why not?

FUENTES: That's a political question. That's a political question, Chris. Law enforcement executives across the country have asked our leaders to do something about the situation of people with mental problems being able to obtain a weapon and the lack of background checks and on and on. And, you know, we've seen where that's gone over the last how many years. That's not going to change, I don't think.

CUOMO: You're right. It's a discussion for a different day, but obviously a factor here, because, again, if you want to talk about Fort Hood security, this is not a military-issued weapon, it's his own weapon. How he got it on base is a legitimate issue, but as you say, if you use a magnetometer on everybody who comes through, it's going to stop all business in what is basically its own city.

Another question on the military side is you're the one treating him, you're the one evaluating him -- should there have been a red flag on this guy that he should get extra attention security-wise. What do you think of that?

FUENTES: That's a question for the military. On the outside it's easy for us to say yes, that should be, but we don't know all of their procedures internally right now. And I think that is yet to be evaluated.

I will say this, that there have been enough of these, not just the major incidents you've described. But there's been enough frequency during the last 13 years of the U.S. army war for the United States that the army and FBI execute a memorandum of understanding where the army said, you know, this happens a lot, we'll do this, because normally the FBI would have primary jurisdiction of a capital crime on a U.S. military base. But the Army has had enough experience with this, they said, you know what, please support us and provide forensic assistance, investigative assistance. But we'll go ahead, the army's criminal investigation division will go ahead and take the lead on these cases. And that was based on how often these things have been happening for more than a decade.

CUOMO: What does it mean to you that after shooting multiple randoms he winds up taking his own life when confronted by the brave female MP who came at him?

FUENTES: We've seen that before as well where individuals at the end of the shooting spree go ahead and take their life whether it was the shooter at Virginia tech or others. Hasan didn't do that and was wounded and neutralized, but many individuals like that go ahead and take their own life.

CUOMO: When you look at the situation, the most important question is the hardest to answer. How do you stop it the next time? It's not an easy solution is what you're saying?

FUENTES: No, it's not.

CUOMO: It's basically just fighting human nature and a predilection for violence.

FUENTES: That's part it, but there's a lot of issues like that. And again, as I said, making Fort Hood or any other military base the equivalent of a U.S. penitentiary is not going to happen.

CUOMO: Understood. Tom Fuentes, thank you very much for the perspective. We're going to keep you up to date on what we learned about the shooter at Fort Hood. A lot of other news as well. Let's get right to Christine for that.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris, a sobering analysis there of the Fort Hood Shooting.

Breaking overnight as well, Chile rattled by a powerful aftershock measuring 7.6. This is a day after an 8.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the country's northern coast. At least six people killed, and almost 1 million people forced from their home. No word on damage or injuries from the latest big tremor.

Some scary moments last night for passengers on a flight from Atlanta to New York. It was diverted to JFK for an emergency landing after signs of trouble with the hydraulic system. That controls the brakes. The plane landed safely but rolled into a grassy area while taxiing. No major injuries to the 118 passengers and five crew members on that flight.

In the next few days some 175 marines will begin deploying to Romania. The Pentagon says it's a long planned action but it serves to increase the U.S. military presence in the region just as tensions rise over Russia's troop buildup along Ukraine's border. Because of the situation in Ukraine, NASA is suspending contacts with Russian officials except where it relates to the international space station, so it still could be business as usual there. Attacking what one called a culture of corruption. Senators grilled General Motors CE Mary Barra Wednesday over a decade long delay in recalling 2.6 million vehicles for a defect now tied to 13 deaths. Barra unable to explain why GM failed to change a critical part number after a 2006 redesign possibly hindering investigators trying to find a problem. Barra says an internal review will reveal what happened there. Guys, that was quite a grilling for two days.

CUOMO: Should be just the beginning.

ROMANS: It is just the beginning.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a little break here, shall we? When we come back on NEW DAY, the search for flight 370 has a ticking clock. We have to find the black box before the batteries go off that operate the pinger. Will it happen? Will we get the resources we need? Will we find it before it stops? If not, then what?

Also INSIDE POLITICS, the Supreme Court opens the door to even more private money in politics. Why would they do this? They say the constitution tells them to.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. The Australian prime minister today called the hunt for flight 370 the most difficult search in human history. And it just got more difficult. The ship that officials hope will help detect the flight's black box is delayed as the search grid is adjusted yet again. Paula Newton is live in Perth with the latest. Paula, why are they shifting the search?

NEWTON: such a moving target, it is, Chris. When we asked them a straight answer about whether or not that search zone has been narrowed, Chris, they're refusing to tell us if it has or his hasn't, but it doesn't sound good.

What they've said is the other areas that they've searched, that they aren't finding anything new. They're not sighting anything new there, which is why they're searching the adjoining waters.

At the same time today, Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister, hosted the Malaysian prime minister. And both of them had very sobering words saying, you know, basically this mystery may never be solved.

The same time, they're sure that, even despite the 12-hour delay from the Ocean Shield, that all the assets are in play. What they need, of course, what everyone needs is a trace of that flight 370, and then they will be able to backtrack, take it from there and look for those black boxes.

I think, though, Chris, that many here are wondering how much confidence they have that this is the right search area. And it's a certainly a question that continues to nag family members. Is this really where flight 370 went down?

PEREIRA: All right, Paula. Thank you.

Now, we should point, you should remember, this was all coming as time runs out on the battery life of the flight data recorder's pinger, which could certainly complicate finding the plane's location.

Let's bring in David Soucie. He is a CNN safety analyst and the author of a book called "Why Planes Crash," also a former FAA inspector.

Good to have you. We know you're there in D.C. working on some stories. Let's talk about this shift in the search zone again. Does it make sense in your estimation to shift the search zone and rule out certain areas given that what we know of the currents and the winds constantly moving items in the ocean?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You know, I think it really does make sense that it's shifting. As Michael Kay said earlier, though, I'd like to see more towards staying on the arc and moving up to the north. I'm not certain as to why they're not doing that. It would make sense that they would. But -- which indicates to me that perhaps the assumptions they made on that arc are a little off or that they're readjusting or recalibrating those assumptions.

PEREIRA: And that's the tough part, right, that we're basing all of this on assumptions. We don't have a lot of hard data to focus on.

So let's talk about the hard data that we have, the limited amounts. It's being recalculated and recalculated, but it's also netting sort of these wildly differing conclusions. That is frustrating to some people. And I imagine from your point of view, too, that sort of seems like we're just sort of casting a wide net.

SOUCIE: Well, we are. And something that happened yesterday that's very interesting to me, and that's that the -- we had the suggestion that -- that we recreate it. Why don't we send a 777 out there with similar equipment, start the pinging, turn off the ACARs and attach it to the STATCOM, get some pinging that could be compared? Actually fly the -- fly the routes that we think it may be.

Compare that to the l-bands on the satellite information, and let's see if we can narrow this down to a very close period of time. So I've contacted Boeing through some sources, and we're going to talk about that today hopefully.

PEREIRA: Has it been done in the past to recreate a situation to figure out what could have happened?

SOUCIE: Yes, absolutely. The 737 that crashed in Colorado Springs, we did extensive testing to try to duplicate that issue of the -- the rudder pedals. There was a shuttle valve that was half-way through and got stuck at that point. So we did thousands of hours flying that 737 through the same area trying to duplicate the winds and the position and the throttle position and rudder position from information we got from the black box, the flight data recorder. PEREIRA: Let's get back to some of the resources and assets that are being used right now in the investigation -- in the search, rather. We know that the Japanese pulled back one of their assets. There was a Gulf stream that was in the area. They turned it around about 45 minutes into that search.

Do you get a sense that countries are going to start pulling back assets? Are we going to see in the next weeks or days a bit of search fatigue?

SOUCIE: Well, absolutely. And every investigation, especially when you're not getting results, you're going to lose a lot of motivation, a lot of push.

You know, the prime minister talked a lot last night about saying we're going to do this -- we're gonna do everything we can humanly possible to continue this investigation and to find this airplane.

But as I said last night, humanly possible has its limits. There's a point at which, this winter, it won't be humanly possible to do this.

PEREIRA: Sure, and to that end, you talk about winter. The Australian ambassador to the U.S. said they're going to search until hell freezes over. It's a pretty bold statement and a pretty big commitment.

SOUCIE: Yeah, and it will feel like that up there, I'll tell ya, when it gets cold. So -- but, yeah, Michaela. One other thing I wanted to just mention real quickly is, it's time I think to shift our efforts from -- if we just took a fragment of the amount of money that we're spending in a reactive way to find this airplane and spent just a fragment of that doing proactive things --

PEREIRA: Like what, David?

SOUCIE: Like funding the Nextgen program.

PEREIRA: OK, talk about this.

SOUCIE: Well, Nextgen is an air traffic system. It's updating the system that we've had in plates since the '50s. And it needs to be done -- it needs to very much be done because of the fact that the air spaces are getting more and more crowded. You can see it at airports, airport delays, all that.

In addition, the amount of fuel, billions and billions of dollars are being spent unnecessarily routing around aircraft around to these waypoints that we talked about earlier. Under Nextgen, that doesn't have to happen. And it gives information to other airplanes, so in this scenario -- now, I'm just -- Nextgen is only for the United States air space, but it should propagate into other air spaces eventually.

But once we put it in place and prove it, it would be, in this scenario, all the other airplanes around there would be receiving radar data as though they were the radar controller, and they would be able to tell us exactly where that airplane was the entire time without expensive satellite connections or anything else. It's right through the ADS-B.

PEREIRA: So the FAA might be looking into it for America and for American air space. How does it then get adopted by international entities and how do you make sure that that kind of thing is available the world over?

SOUCIE: Well, literally, every single aviation authority that I've worked with internationally has adopted at least a version of what the FAA does. The FAA is the world leader in safety. And it's followed by almost every other country, including Australia, including Malaysia, including everybody else.

You'll notice that those regulations are almost cut and paste and put into them and then adopted to their particular culture. So it wouldn't be a stretch to have the ICAO support this. And once the International Civil Organization accepts it, and the European Aviation Organization, the EASO, once those are accepted by those two, other countries would definitely fall in line.

PEREIRA: We certainly can expect there will be changes. That's one thing we can almost be certain of, David.

David Soucie, contributing again with us on our coverage of the missing air flight 370. Thanks so much for being with us today. Chris?

SOUCIE: Thank you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thanks, Mich.

Let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, another shooting spree at Ft. Hood; 16 injured, three critically. We're going to speak with the trauma surgeon who operated on some of the victims and focus on what's going on with them.

Plus, we're going to go inside politics where a new poll shows who has the most 2016 buzz. I don't think it's who you think it is. Let's make a little bet. Tweet.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY and CNN's breaking news coverage of the deadly shooting at Ft. Hood.

Here is the latest for you. Four people are dead, including the gunman; 16 others wounded following the second soldier-on-soldier massacre at the Texas Army base in less than five years.

The gunman committed suicide when he was confronted by a female military police officer. The Army is confirming that the gunman spent four months serving in Iraq in 2011. He and his family had just arrived at the base in February.

He was being treated for depression and anxiety and was also being evaluated for PTSD. It is a developing story there. We're learning more about what the mental health treatment may have played into in terms of motive. And as the information comes, we're bringing it to you.

There's also going to be the perspective on the victims, some of them are critically wound. We're going to talk to a surgeon who is treating them. A lot of other stories as well this morning that we're following, so let's get to Christine Romans for that.

ROMANS: That's right, thanks, Chris.

New this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry says Israel and the Palestinians made progress over night addressing issues that arose over the last few days during peace talks. Kerry says gaps remain and will have to be closed quickly, of course. And the U.S. is urging both sides to compromise -- all sides to compromise. Kerry has spent a lot of time in the region but canceled his latest trip after Palestinian leaders sought more international recognition.

A closely watched vote expected today over releasing details of the CIA's torture programs. The Senate Intelligence Committee's vote on declassifying part of a 6,000-page report will likely happen behind closed doors. Democrats will likely vote to declassify. Most Republicans expected to vote against releasing it. The investigation reportedly found the CIA misled the government and the public about torture after 9/11 in order to justify using it.

Meantime in the House, former deputy CIA director Mike Morell will get grilled about who changed the talking points and why after the deadly consulate attack in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. Morell telling the Intelligence Committee that he deleted references to terror warnings to avoid the appearance of gloating at the expense of the State Department. He said politics had nothing to do with it. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in that attack.

OK, women, listen up. An intriguing study shows overall women who take fertility drugs do not increase their risk of getting breast cancer compared to those who forego treatment, even over 30 years of follow-up. But women who were not able to become pregnant after taking fertility drugs had nearly twice the risk of women who never took the medication at all.

Back in 2009, a different group of researchers showed fertility drugs did not appear to raise the risk of ovarian cancer. But, as you know, more and more women are taking these drugs to get pregnant, delaying childbirth, quite frankly. A lot of people concerned about what these reports are saying, Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, Christine, thank you for that.

Now, let's get to Inside Politics on NEW DAY with Mr. John King looking at polling for us today.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, back to you in just a few moments. Good morning to everybody. We're going to start with good news and then some not so good news for the governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. The Republican, a potential 2016 presidential prospect, on the good news front, he wants to say, hey, Bridgegate is not affecting my viability and my importance on the national stage.

Look at these new numbers out. He's the chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. They announced late last night they raised $33 million in the last four and a half months while Chris Christie's been chairman of the Republican Governor's Association. But he's trying to say, hey look, I can still do my job even if I have this cloud over my head.

With me this morning to share the reporting and their insights, former AP colleagues -- this is an AP reunion here. Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier, now of "National Journal", my old friend from my AP days.

Let's start there, Ron. He can raise a lot of money, but that doesn't mean there's not still a cloud over Chris Christie.

RON FOURNIER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Yeah, he can raise a lot of money for fellow governors. I could probably raise a lot of money for Republican governors right now given the stakes in this election.

I still think it's a hard road for him. He's supposed to be someone who was bipartisan. He's not anymore. He's supposed to be somebody who's efficient as a leader and a truth-teller. He can't be both of those with this scandal. And we don't know what DOJ, what the Department of Justice is going to do with this investigation.

KING: This is a brand new Quinnipiac poll out this morning. We can show people. This is not an approval rating. It's more of a thermometer. How do you feel about a candidate? Do you view this person is hot or cold?

Chris Christie was number one in January. He was the hottest politician in America when he had 55.5 degrees on this survey. He's fallen to ninth now. That tells you one thing. We just note for context, Elizabeth Warren is now the -- the new Senator from Massachusetts, a liberal favorite, is now number one.