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Three American Hospital Workers Killed in Kabul; Bluefin-21 Mission Over 90 Percent Complete; Ferry Disaster: 171 Dead, 131 Missing; Interview with Congressman Swalwell; Crisis Escalates in Ukraine

Aired April 24, 2014 - 08:00   ET


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us with what this means for America's health.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY.

We do have breaking news, though, overnight. Three American hospital workers have been killed in a shooting attack outside a children's hospital in Kabul. Another American was also shot, but survived. We're told the shooter was a hospital security guard.

Let's get the very latest in this developing situation from Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr who has more -- Barbara.


The latest attack against Americans trying to help in Afghanistan. This is a major hospital run by a non-profit organization in Kabul. They have a number of hospitals around the world, actually. This is a 100-bed hospital. They see 37,000 patients annually in Afghanistan, especially focusing on women and children.

These American hospital workers were there to help, and today they say that someone who was a security officer, an Afghan at the hospital grounds opened fire, killing three, wounding one. It is believed some other personnel there also were wounded in the attack.

Afghanistan right now is at a critical crossroads for the United States, 33,000 U.S. troops still there, gone by the end of the year unless there's a new security agreement, and that all depends on in the next several days who might be announced as the next president of Afghanistan. They have had elections there. They're going to have a run-off. It looks like it may be a man named Abdullah Abdullah, the former foreign minister, someone who may sign that security agreement and that will pave the way for the future of U.S. troops in that very troubled country -- Chris.

CUOMO: Barbara, thank you for staying that on us.

The president is saying he's ready to drop heavy economic sanctions on Russia if they don't back off in Ukraine. The threat has Russia saying if that happens, they may use force.

CNN's Arwa Damon is in Ukraine, but let's start with Michelle Kosinski traveling with the president, joining us from Tokyo with the latest -- Michelle.


We heard it directly from President Obama that expanded U.S. sanctions against Russia are teed up, ready to go and apparently imminent. He says we're looking at days, not weeks of this watching and waiting to see if Russia will live up to what it said it would do, when it signed an agreement in Geneva one week ago, saying that it would take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation.

It would appear that has not happened in any regard. President Obama has said he is not overly optimistic, not hopeful that that would happen. He even said it wouldn't take much at this point for Russia to change course, even if it was just to stand up and commit to that agreement that it signed or called on militants to disarm and give up those buildings they seized inside Ukraine. The president acknowledged as Russia continues to blame Ukraine for the situation that sanctions might not work, that they might not change the calculus at this point of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Michelle. So, it seems that in the Ukraine, measures to de-escalate seem to be doing the opposite. Ukrainians are now on the offensive trying to retake buildings occupied by separatists.

So, let's get there. CNN's Arwa Damon has more from eastern Ukraine.

Arwa, what's the situation on the ground?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, early in the morning, there was a move by pro-Russian militants to try to storm a military base that is either the largest arms depot in the country or one of them at the very least. That attack was repelled.

At the same time the Ukrainian military seems to be on the offensive for the first time, taking what seems to be a fairly significant measure and trying to take down some of those pro-Russian checkpoints that are around the city of Slaviansk. At least three of them have been destroyed, video images posted on social media and on some various other outlets showing them up in flames. Not quite moving into the center of the city where the pro-Russian protesters have been holed up in various governments and military buildings. This very much the Ukrainian government trying to make good on its pledge on what it calls an anti-terrorism operation, bearing in mind that they failed miserably at this when they tried to launch it the first time around.

Of great concern, of course, what is Russia going to do next. Russian President Vladimir Putin saying that if Ukrainians are, in fact, moving against their own people, that is a very serious crime that could have grave consequences -- Kate.

BOLDAUN: Arwa, thank you so much. Arwa Damon on the ground for us in Ukraine.

We could be now just hours from entering the next phase of the search for Flight 370. The Bluefin-21 has scanned 90 percent of the underwater search area that focused area they said was their best chance and there's been no sign of wreckage. Also, officials now confirm that this metal object of interest found on the Australian coast is not from the missing plane as they had hoped.

For more, let's discuss all the developments and bring in David Soucie, CNN safety analyst, author of "Why Planes Crash", and Major General James "Spider" Marks, CNN military analyst and former commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

Good morning once again to both of you.

David, we talk basically every day at this point about where we are and where we're going. Now that they have about 90 percent of this area scanned, are you, as someone who has seen these searches unfold before, are you losing confidence in this search area?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Not quite yet. There's two directions I see this going. One is if they give up on the search area where the pings are located and they simply say we've got to re- evaluate. What that tells me is that the pings they have, they have no confidence on whether those pings were coming from the aircraft or not.

Now, if, on the other hand, they start searching in the area of ping number one, which I'm surprised they didn't do in the first place if they really thought these pings were coming from the aircraft. Ping number one was the longest and most sustained period of time. What I would think is they would go there. The only reason they would don't that is because of the depth and equipment they have on board.

So, that's the two directions I would see it go. They either stay with the pings because they have confidence with the pings, or if they retract it, it tells me they have no confidence in those pings and, therefore, I would lose confidence as well.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about both of those avenues in just a second. But, Spider, talking about where they are right now, 90 percent of the search area has been covered. What is the impact on the people involved in the search as this drags on? I know hopefully they're inoculated from all the talk outside and all the outside pressure, but this has got to not only be exhausting, but also be frustrating.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it is, on a very personal level, certainly very frustrating. You want to be able to have a successful outcome. You want to be a part of something. You want to be able to see that your efforts are going to bear fruit, that there's going to be some motion moving forward and you can have some sort of resolution because there's such a personal face to this effort entirely.

But there are really two efforts here. One is, really two things to consider. One is what's called the personnel tempo to your very point, Kate. The purse tempo, how much can the individuals continue to stay on the job and not lose the edge? How do you sustain that over the course of time? It's been demonstrated for the last almost 50 days and how much can they do going forward?

And the other piece of that is what's known as the operational tempo or the op tempo. That involves the equipment, the kit, what does the maintenance posture look like of all the efforts that are involved. So, balancing both the purse tempo and the op tempo is what needs to be measured going forward before decisions are made in terms of what the sustained presence is going to look like which is really a collection, an intelligence collection effort which is ongoing.

BOLDUAN: Obviously we need to see what direction they decide to take in this next phase before you can fully answer this question, Spider. But from the perspective of the nations, do you put more assets at it or do you start thinking now about pulling back or doing things in a more cost effective way?

It seems harsh to think that way but nations at some point are going to have to.

MARKS: Oh, they are. Those calculations are taking place right now. There are three elements we're talking about. One is cost, the other -- which really is -- you can objectively lay this out, you can be very agnostic about it, what is the actual cost of committing to these resources, these personnel and these incredible technological enablers.

The second thing is competing priorities. These are intelligence collectors that the United States uses. Those assets should be used to populate intelligence and collection back into our national intelligence requirements and how those are taking place are not being done right now.

And the third certainly is the calculation, the human calculation and our ability to be a good partner in all this which clearly we are, how can we sustain this presence moving forward?

BOLDUAN: Yes, all good questions. David, when you were talking about those two different avenues, where they need to go next if this search doesn't pan out, if they lose faith in the pings, you -- I assume you mean they need to go back and challenge all the assumptions and calculations that they made to this point.

What major assumption do you challenge first? Which one do you think is the most questionable?

SOUCIE: Well, right now, they're in the tactical mode of operations. They're saying there's our strategy, we're looking at this. Whenever the strategy is challenged, whenever those tactical methods have failed and you give up on that, it's two different strategies.

One is you can go back to the previous decision, the previous assumption that was made within the chain which is let's go back and look at the Inmarsat data and see if we can refine that. Now, remember, they've already done that several time. So, that adjustment has been done.

I would think since they've already gone back to that step and done that from a strategic perspective, the next thing to do is challenge the next assumption in line which is the Malaysian radar data. So, the next thing I would challenge would be the Malaysian radar data. Barring that, if that turns out to be questionable at any level, which it is in my mind because they don't know it was that aircraft. They know an aircraft took that route.

So, that's where I would challenge. Even before that, going all the way back to what I call white sheet strategy, white sheet planning which is where you start from the beginning and you just go with the facts, ma'am. That's all you use and go forward with that.

And I hope that that's happening right now. There's more to this operation than just being out there and doing. Investigation is 80 percent strategy, 10 percent in my mind -- 20 percent tactics. Do the math right.

BOLDUAN: You do the math. Don't ask me to do it. Something we could be learning from the preliminary report but they have not released that. That's where we could get some of those facts.

David, Spider, thank you very much as always.

MARKS: Thank you, Kate.

SOUCIE: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Michaela?

PEREIRA: All right. Thanks so much, Kate.

Let's take a look at another development. The FDA is taking another stab at cracking down on e-cigarettes. The agency is proposing the first regulations on the product, age restriction, greater transparency among the priorities.

Our chief medical correspondent taking a look at this for us, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joining us from CNN Center in Atlanta.

Good morning, my dear.


PEREIRA: Let's run through some of the proposals first off. What are the new guidelines?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, you'd think that the FDA already had some regulatory authority over e-cigs. They've tried in the past, but couldn't get it. This is what they're proposing.

The age limit thing, as you mentioned, that's a big one. They don't want this to be sold to people under the age of 18.

Also, they have warning labels, and specifically would be about the concern of nicotine addiction. That's what the warning label would say.

And also, the third one is a big one. The companies would have to register with the FDA. The FDA would have to approve these products before they go to market. That's obviously something that would be a big deal for them.

Look at the bottom one. They will no longer be able to distribute free samples. I think that's generally a pretty good idea no matter how you look at this.

PEREIRA: Also controlling some marketing plans as well. Why don't you talk about how these things work. Interesting, Mr. Cuomo is getting heat from people online saying they're safer, they're safer. They're better for you.

Break it down for us.

GUPTA: You know, part of this -- we don't know. This needs to be studied more. And I think that's a laudable thing to do.

But this is it. This is what an e-cigarette is. You know, you've got a battery pack and a heating coil. This is the liquid nicotine. It comes with these cartridges.

Basically, once it's screwed in, once someone takes a puff, it activates the battery and the heating coil and you get this vapor which is essentially a heated nicotine. So, you're getting the nicotine for sure. No one doubts that. The question is, are there other chemicals you're inhaling as part of this and what do the chemicals do?

This is a little bit of uncharted territory. They don't know the answers to that and that's what they want to sort of be able to figure out.

PEREIRA: So, clearly, there are some concerns about the addictive nature of it, I guess there's also concerns that it could be -- I don't know -- could potentially lead you to smoke a real cigarette or is it the idea that people are using them to stop smoking real cigarettes?

GUPTA: Well, one of the claims made by the makers is that this can be a smoking cessation device. They can help you stop smoking, because you use it like a nicotine patch, you're just getting the nicotine and maybe you can wean yourself off cigarettes altogether. They've made the claim, I don't think they've proven that yet. That's also part of the regulation. If you make the claim, you to be able to substantiate the claim, although you can't make it, and that's what the FDA do as well.

PEREIRA: This also is going to set some guidelines for pipes and cigars and also hookahs, which -- that's the whole college thing.

Anyway, thanks so much, Sanjay, for breaking this down for us. We're obviously going to be hearing more about the regulation of this and hopefully more studies.

Don't forget to tune to in Dr. Sanjay Gupta M.D., it airs, yes, that's redundant, doctor and M.D., "SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." is the name of your program. It airs weekends right here on CNN, Saturday 4:30 p.m., again, Sunday at 7:30 a.m. Eastern.

Sanjay, always good to have you with us.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next on NEW DAY, Malaysian officials confirm they've completed a preliminary report on the disappearance of Flight 370. But why then do they refuse to release it publicly?


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

The search for Flight 370 has been marked by a lack of information and silence. Why? Malaysian authorities reportedly have data they're keeping from the public and there's growing outcry from the family members involved and others to release it.

To discuss this, U.S. Congressman Eric Swalwell. He's a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

It's good to have you, Congressman.

Now, look, the idea of government not being open is nothing new. We deal with it with you guys and in Washington all the time. But this does seem worthy of distinction. What do you make of the reluctance to answer the questions of the family, to release the preliminary report? What do you make of this?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Time to open it up. Sometimes, there are very good reasons to keeping this information close to the vest. But as we approach month two with very few ideas about what happened, I think it's time to open this up. And we can crowd-source this information, bring in third parties to analyze the date and the try to give the families the best chance possible to know what truly happened to Flight 370.

CUOMO: Interesting point, Congressman, because as someone who's dealing with homeland security down there, they have this Inmarsat data. Who knows that there aren't better minds out there that could be applied to this situation and come up with something, right? We don't know if we don't release it. SWALWELL: In our area of Silicon Valley, crowd sourcing is used to solve so many of the world's problems. I think here, take out whatever is sensitive, but I don't think much is sensitive at this point. So, release as much cockpit data as possible and let's have as many hands on deck to try to find the location of this plane, and bring some closure to these families.

CUOMO: You think we'd be having the same conversation if you all were in control of the information, if God forbid this were an American flight that we were dealing. You think you'd release the data?

SWALWELL: Well, we don't ever want to be in that position. I would hope that NTSB would be more receptive if we went this deep into a search with literally very few clues. And so, I think the Malaysian government owes to it the families to release this date tax open it up to the rest of the world.

Let's get the best and brightest minds on it and let's move forward to try to narrow this search area.

CUOMO: Now, there's bigger concerns here. Obviously, we want closure for the families. But there's security concerns if we look all the way back. People who got on with bad passports, the idea that you can't track something like a plane that was used as a weapon against us in the United States. We still have to figure out how to fix the second one.

But on the passports, you're looking the pass registration right now. How are you going to do it?

SWALWELL: That's right. I am calling on the Homeland Security Committee and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the billion passengers each year who are not having their passports checked against the national lost and stolen passport database, that they do so.

Right now, only three countries check 100 percent of the passports. That's unacceptable, especially with so many countries around the United States who have planes flying around our borders. We want to make sure for our own national security that there are only screened passengers who have had their passports checked against the lost and stolen database on that flight.

CUOMO: Do we check them?

SWALWELL: The United States does. We do, the U.K. does and the United Arab Emirates does. Beyond that, there's not 100 percent checking going on.

So, we need to bring the rest of the world up to speed. I'm calling on ways to incentivize other countries to do it as soon as possible.

CUOMO: So, in a category of when you point a finger at somebody else, you have four fingers pointing back at you, let's move from Malaysia to the United States. You've got a 15-year-old who hops a fence, hangs out on the tarmac for seven hours, sneaks his way on a plane and makes it all the way to Hawaii, billions spent. You created an agency for this.

Homeland Security is supposed to be all about this. How does this happen?

SWALWELL: We focus so much on terminal security and employee entrance security. We seem to have not put as much emphasis on perimeter security. These airports are over 1,000 acres long. The vast land that we cover, 99 percent of the airport is its perimeter, not the gate area we all know as passengers.

And so, this case has highlighted that we need to do a better job of protecting airport perimeters. This is the fifth perimeter breach over the last five years. So, it's not a coincidence. It's a problem.

I'm calling on TSA to have a nationwide assessment of all of our nation's airports as far as what perimeter security looks like and what we can do to beef it up. And again, use technologies. This occurred in Silicon Valley. S Silicon Valley very well may have a technology solution for this. I'm challenging them to step up, too, and give us some ideas on how we can better do this.

CUOMO: San Jose is the airport we're talking about, obviously Silicon Valley. However, you don't have to be a big brain to figure out how to secure a fence. This keeps happening. Where is the failure of operation or priority?

SWALWELL: Well, again, we're protecting an area that is approximately 800 football fields. So to have an airtight perimeter is really a challenge.

But I do believe that in addition to fences with barbed wire and vehicle barriers, there is technology out there that can supplement the security that we have with eyes and ears around the perimeter. We can't put personnel every ten feet around a thousand-acre airport.

CUOMO: That's true. That's fair point. But you may be leaning too heavily on the acreage because he jumps the fence, OK, I'll give you the acreage on that. But now, he hangs out for seven hours. You have nothing but personnel on the ground. You've got security all over the place. And they still didn't catch him.

So, he went through layers of what should have been protection here. So it goes beyond just watching fence, you know?

SWALWELL: And that may be the biggest problem, because the personnel on the ground are trained to look at anyone in a secured area. Their first priority is to look and see if anyone in a secured area is wearing visible ID. They do these trainings all the time across our nation's airports. Part of the training is they'll have somebody walk through who does not have visible ID and they'll test the employees to see how long it takes to spot and identify that person.

So, this is something that should have been caught, and we had the opportunity. This person didn't just jump a fence and board the plane. He was there for six hours. That was a lost opportunity. CUOMO: Hopefully, we don't also lose the opportunity to get accountability on it and some change. Hopefully, that also applies to how we mandate equipment on jets to make sure they can be tracked just like our cars can, congressman. That's another lesson that takes us back to the original story of Flight 370.

Congressman, thank you very much. Let us know how the efforts with the passports go --

SWALWELL: Thank you.

CUOMO: -- and the efforts to increase security that we're discussing here this morning. We're happy to keep the story going.

SWALWELL: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right. Thank you, Congressman.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, there is some amazing technology ready to go, if needed, and requested in the search for Flight 370. So, what is it and could it bring them any closer to finding the plane?


PEREIRA: Time now for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one: three American hospital workers were killed during a shooting attack outside a children's hospital in Kabul after a security guard reportedly opened fire. Another American was shot but survived.

The Bluefin-21 underwater drone has now scanned over 90 percent of the Flight 370 search zone. Still no sign of the missing plane.

Investigators are looking at weather renovations to the South Korean ferry last year raised the ship's center of gravity and made it more likely to capsize. One hundred seventy-one bodies have been recovered in the disaster, 131 people are still unaccounted for.

President Obama says new sanctions are ready to go against Russia. This comes as Russian troops go on the offensive against pro-Russian separatists. Russian President Vladimir Putin says such actions will have consequences.

New this morning, General Motors has announced its latest recall cost the company $1.3 billion.