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Gunmen Kidnap 8 More Nigerian Girls; Monica Lewinsky's Explosive New Essay

Aired May 7, 2014 - 08:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, May 7th, 8:00 in the East.

Eight more girls have been kidnapped by Islamic extremists, dragged from their homes by gunmen linked to al Qaeda. Now, the United States is getting more involved in the search for them and hundreds of other abducted girls. President Obama is sending in military law enforcement experts to assist the Nigerian government.

Let's get the latest from what's happening, though, on the ground from Vladimir Duthiers. He's joining us from Nigeria's capital city.

Vlad, what's the very latest?


So, we are learning more about what life is like under the reign of terror that Boko Haram has unleashed on northeast Nigeria since 2009. We had a very rare opportunity to speak to two parents who essentially risked their lives to come to talk to us about what they're going through.

Take a listen.


DUTHIERS (voice-over): Fear this morning that Boko Haram's reign of terror may be intensifying with news of another vicious abduction. At least eight girls, ages 12 to 15, snatched from their homes at gunpoint Sunday night from the village of Warabe.

These latest abductions coming amid international outrage over the kidnapping of more than 200 girls from this school in Chibok weeks ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want our girls back now.

DUTHIERS: Families, avoiding talking to the media out of fear for their daughters' lives until now. These parents of two missing girls speaking exclusively to CNN saying they want the world to know about their suffering but have asked that we conceal their identities to maintain their safety and the safety of their daughters.

The father scoffs at the government's statement that the military has been deployed to search for the girls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The federal government or the rulers are playing with we parents. They are looking at us as we are fools.

DUTHIERS: Pure agony is what the parents felt after watching Boko Haram's appalling video.

Its leader taking pride in kidnapping the girls he claims he'll sell.

Translating for his wife.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of the women, we mothers we started crying because we have nobody to help us. Our daughters have been adopted or have been captured as slaves.

DUTHIERS: Helplessly they wait, not knowing where their girls are or if they'll ever see them again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is pleading let them release these girls. They don't know probably one of them are born a president, or a doctor, or a pastor, or a lawyer, who will be helpful to the country. Please let him release them.


DUTHIERS: And, Chris, there's a glimpse into how horrific life is in Chibok. In addition to being under a state of emergency where thousands have been killed in northeastern Nigeria, these abduction that took place three weeks ago, 200 girls, these parents essentially telling us that they can't even sleep in their own beds.

In response today, we just found out, Chris, that the police have come out with 50 million naira, that's a $300,000 reward, for any information leading the whereabouts of these girls. But, so far, even the president admitted he doesn't know where they are.

CUOMO: Or at least the pressure is starting to make some progress on the action fund. That's where you have to start with this situation.

Vladimir, thank you very much for doing the reporting. I mean, just about it, when one child goes missing, very often, it shakes every set of parents, let alone almost 300 are now gone in Nigeria. And as we mentioned, the U.S. is sending a team of experts to help find these missing girls.

So, joining us now from the State Department is Linda Thomas- Greenfield. She's assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, and just fresh back from a trip to the continent, so very familiar with the situation.

Thank you for joining us. Appreciate you being on NEW DAY this morning.

Is the U.S. now in a position where it is actively trying to help and is that help, that offer being received by the Nigerian government?


And, yes, we are reaching out to the Nigerian government to help them address this situation. It didn't just start. I was in Nigeria in December, where we had a series of meetings with Nigerian security services to talk about how we might better assist them in addressing the Boko Haram terrorist organization.

I have also been in Nigeria twice since that December visit. We are sending out a team to work with the Nigerian government on how they can better respond to Boko Haram.

CUOMO: So, is it a fair statement that this isn't about what the U.S. is willing to provide, it's about what the Nigerian government is asking for and willing to accept?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It's about both. We are always ready to assist countries that are dealing with terrorism. We believe terrorism anywhere affects all of us and we are prepared to work with the Nigerian government as well as other governments in the region to address this situation.

CUOMO: Have we been asked for any help, the United States -- has it been asked for any help that it has denied?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We have not denied any help. In fact, yesterday, Secretary Kerry spoke with President Jonathan. President Jonathan asked for assistance and we're in the process of putting together a team that we hope to get out to Nigeria in the next day to work with the Nigerian government.

We also already have people on the ground who are prepared to work with the government.

CUOMO: Is there any sense right now of where these kids are?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We don't know where they are. That's part of the problem and we want to try to assist the government in identifying where they may be found and returned safely to their parents.

CUOMO: Now, unfortunately, the selling of humans, let alone children is not uncommon. There are known networks in that part of the world and beyond. Is the United States using its intelligence to tap into those networks and see if there's any chatter about these kids?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We certainly are looking and working with governments throughout the region to see if there's any information that we can provide to governments. Trafficking in children and trafficking in people is a high priority for us to work against. This is something that not just has caught our attention today. It's something we work on on a daily basis.

CUOMO: Your knowledge of the government and the situation on the ground there in Nigeria, any explanation for why the government has seemingly been so slow to react to this?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think that's a question that we have to pose to the Nigerians. I know that the Nigerians are concerned about the situation and I know that they want to address the situation. I think that the assistance from the international community, from the U.S. and other countries in the world will help them move forward more rapidly in trying to find these girls and others who have been kidnapped.

CUOMO: Are we naive here in the U.S. in our response to this situation? It just seems that, yes, we know there's been thousands killed, bloodshed there in many other African countries, there's civil strife all over the world. We're aware of that everyday, more and more.

But there's something about this situation that seems to go beyond what we're used to hearing about.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think Boko Haram has shown that they have no regard for human life, even the lives of young children and young girls. So, this is much more serious than some of the other incidents that we have seen, and I call upon all governments to express their horror against what this organization is doing and not to provide any safe haven to them anywhere in the world.

CUOMO: What can be done to Boko Haram to destroy them that is not being done right now?

THOMAS: As you know, back in November, we designated Boko Haram and were encouraging an additional designation at the level of the U.N. But it's going to take concerted work and actions and activities around the world to ensure that Boko Haram does not take root beyond where they already exist and that we work together to ensure that we bring their terror to an end.

CUOMO: I say destroy. In truth, the reality will be this solution will probably find itself in reaching out to Boko Haram and negotiating some type of organization, as opposed to outright warfare.

I know you don't negotiate with terrorists. I understand. But in situations like this, there's no recourse.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, thank you very much. It's good to know you're on this. Please keep us in the loop. We'll do whatever we can to keep attention on this story.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: And thank you for paying attention to this story.

CUOMO: Yes, ma'am.

Mick, over to you.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Bottom line, as you said, Chris -- get those girls home.

Let's take a look at more of our headlines at this hour. Eleven minutes after the top of the hour.

The NATO chief is telling the situation in Ukraine the gravest crisis to European security since the Cold War. Overnight, Ukrainian forces killed five separatists and briefly retook a key city council building before rebels regained control. Now, Russia's foreign minister is calling the timing of Ukraine's upcoming election unusual, raising concerned that Russia could challenge the results.

An FBI agent is being detained in Pakistan. Authorities there say he had ammunition and a pistol magazine on him when he tried to board a domestic flight from Karachi to Islamabad. Officials at the U.S. embassy say they are working to resolve this situation. The agent reportedly is there in Pakistan to help with an anti-corruption program.

We're seeing the first images of a teenage stowaway as he emerges. You can see it right there from the wheel well of a Boeing 767. The security video shows him climbing down, walking shakily on the tarmac after the jet landed. We're still wondering how he managed to survive that five-hour flight from San Francisco, California, all the way to Hawaii in a wheel well.

The teen told investigators he was trying to get to Somalia to see his mother. He could face criminal trespassing charges.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is speaking out about rehab from rehab. For the first time this morning, speaking with "The Toronto Sun". Ford says he will be out of treatment and on the ballot for the fall election. He also says he feels great and wishes he received help sooner before checking himself in after the latest of a series of videos showed odd behavior. He declined to say where the treatment facility is located.

I was going to ask you, it's unusual for people to speak from rehab when they're undergoing a 30-day treatment, is it not?

CUOMO: Yes, especially when in the first phase of critical analysis. That's why it was unusual for Dennis Rodman. Unfortunately, if you're speaking -- this is a bad sign. This is a sign of not taking treatment and recovery seriously.

PEREIRA: You have to be committed for the cause.

CUOMO: That's right. If you don't look forward that way, you have to admit you have a problem and deal with it right now.

PEREIRA: And humble yourself a fair amount, too.

CUOMO: It's not easy, especially for a politician perhaps. Really for anybody. From the beginning I've been very sideways in the coverage of Rob Ford. I feel like you don't lampoon addiction. You don't make this man a joke because he's suffering something that attacks so many families. I know the antics are amusing. It's not amusing to the people who love him and care about him. It's not amusing where addiction winds up when it's not treated.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that's right.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Monica Lewinsky speaking out after a decade of silence. Who she blames for her affair with President Clinton and how she says the humiliation she suffered nearly cost her, her life.

CUOMO: Plus a controversial question. Should they stop looking for Flight 370? We'll tell you what people just like you are saying in response to that in a new CNN poll. The results are surprising and straight ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY."

Monica Lewinsky is breaking ten years of silence in a new essay for "Vanity Fair." The former White House intern opens up about her affair with Bill Clinton, taking responsibility for what she calls a conceptual relationship. But she also reveals 16 years of pain marked by the stigma of the scandal.

So what now?

We're joined now by CNN commentator and legal analyst Mel Robbins, and from Washington, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro.

Good morning, guys.



BOLDUAN: Ana, we clearly haven't seen the full essay. Everyone waits to see that. What's your initial thoughts? What stood out to you?

NAVARRO: Look, we heard more about Monica Lewinsky in the last six months than we probably have in the last ten years. I think a lot of it has to do with her turning 40. I know you're like a teenager, Kate, but 40 is a big number for a lot of women. It was for me. You take stock of your life. It's about anticipating an upcoming Hillary Clinton campaign. Maybe it's about wanting to get it out of the way and own the narrative as opposed to having the narrative be told and be brought. I take she may want to do that.

And I take her at her word when she says she wants to move on and get it over with. If she needs this for some sort of closure to move on, I hope she uses it for that because I think Bill Clinton has moved on. I think it's been a painful chapter for Hillary Clinton, but I think she's moved on. I think the country for the most part has moved on. I do hope Monica Lewinsky does as well.

BOLDUAN: There's a million questions I want to ask you. Mel, you wrote an opinion piece for calling it "Stop Judging Monica Lewinsky," essentially saying good for her.

ROBBINS: Absolutely. If you really think about it, this all broke 16 years ago. She's the first example, Kate, of somebody humiliated on a global scale thanks to the Internet. There's a lot of people that cashed in on her. Matthew Drudge, he basically launched his Web site breaking the scandal. He's making millions every year still publishing those kinds of stories.

You also saw Barbara Walters interview her with 70 million people tuning in. A lot of people have been speculating why no and why is she doing this? Is it political? Is it monetary?

BOLDUAN: Does it matter to you?

ROBBINS: Does it matter to me?

BOLDUAN: Yes. Why now?

ROBBINS: I don't really care. I think after 16 years of being dragged through the mud, not being able to get a job, having suicidal thoughts, not being able to escape this, being reduced to a line in a song partitioned with Beyonce that equates her with that sexual act, the only way you deal with the pain in your life is facing it head on. I say bravo, Monica.

BOLDUAN: And she does talk about being maybe the first victim of humiliation on the internet. Let's read you one of the excerpts, and we can talk about it. In this she says, sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point. It was a conventional relationship.

Any abuse came in the aftermath when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position. She then says I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the internet. She was a victim of cyber bullying.

ROBBINS: One hundred percent, yes.

BOLDUAN: I do wonder, that was 16 years ago. What about today? How is the internet going to portray her today?

ROBBINS: I don't think it matters because she's now the one controlling the story. What is different is she's got out in front of the story, and in life, if you have something that's going on that other people are talking about, for example, Donald Sterling, this is going to be a story that everybody talks about, speculates about until he actually makes a statement and he takes control of the narrative.

What she's doing right now -- and Ana is exactly right, you have the 2016 elections coming up. We know Hillary is going to put her hat in the ring. She's 40 years old. And I think the thing that's really different is, 16 years ago, nobody had a cell phone with a camera on it. Sixteen years ago, Monica was hiding.

Contrast that with V. Stiviano from the Donald Sterling, she's parading around the grove in L.A. with bodyguards that have her name emblazoned on the lid. She's milking it.

Monica Lewinsky did not want the attention. BOLDUAN: And she didn't capitalize on it, she talked about turning down multimillion dollar offers to tell her story.

The point you're both making, Ana, and you also, you made this a second, "The Washington Post" columnist said today that her putting this out and releasing this now could actually be a huge favor to Hillary Clinton, defusing this issue if it would become an issue if Hillary Clinton decides to run.

As a Republican strategist, what is your sage advice to fellow Republicans who would take this on?

NAVARRO: This is toxic. Don't touch it.

But, look, Kate, as political people, we just cannot resist the temptation of over-thinking and politicizing absolutely everything. Now, the conversation is going to be, is it good for Hillary, is it bad for Hillary?

Frankly, it shouldn't be an issue. You know, we're three women talking amongst ourselves right now and talking to the national public, does any woman want to see it judged or have it be made an issue what her husband did 16, 17 years ago?

BOLDUAN: I agree.

NAVARRO: Look, you know, Hillary Clinton has a very deep record to be scrutinized. Her record as first lady, her record as senator, her record as secretary of state, her record in the private sector -- that we need to scrutinize, that we need to look over, that we need to debate, that needs to be gone through with a fine-tooth comb.

But this chapter, what more salacious details could we possibly learn that we didn't learn 16 years ago. I think there needs to be a statute of limitations on sexual scandals, particularly involving two presidents. Two presidents removed does it for me.

BOLDUAN: OK, I'm making that law. So, I'm glad the statute of limitations applies here. So, we can all agree with that.

And I agree with you, Ana. I think that any woman can agree, we should not have to answer for anyone else's indiscretions.


NAVARRO: Or men, or vice versa, you know?

BOLDUAN: Right, exactly. Right. My husband would say the same thing, I'm not answering for what they did. No, for that's darn sure.

NAVARRO: We're an equal opportunity society, Kate. We're, you know?

BOLDUAN: When it comes to you and I, we're definitely the one always in the doghouse. Mel, you're much better than us.

Let's talk about the what now? Ana, I want to get your take because you think it's important what she is doing and how she is? We've talked about. She says she wants to take control of the narrative. She now wants to use her pain, her story to help others who are victims of cyber bullying.

ROBBINS: Well, you know, Kate, I think one of the things that people will find when they dig into this essay is they'll be forced to confront what it was like to be Monica Lewinsky, what it was like to have your mother by your bedside for three months straight because she was afraid you were going to commit suicide, because people don't think about that.


ROBBINS: They don't think about the psychological impact that happens when somebody becomes the focus of the global --

BOLDUAN: Does it make it hard for you to burn the beret and bury the blue dress, though, if what you want to do with it now is essentially embody cyber-bullying and use your story to help victims of cyber- bullying? Can she put it away?

ROBBINS: I think she absolutely can. And what's interesting is this is no longer a story about the beret, the dress, the cigar, the Oval Office. It's a story about what happens to somebody when the world attacks.

And what she says in this article which I found to be very moving is that it was Tyler Clementi's suicide after he experienced the cyber- bullying when he was taped kissing another male at his college that made her -- wow, maybe I could do something since I've lived through this and I've survived it to make a difference. And so, she alludes to the fact that she wants to go out on the circuit and talk about it.

And so, yes, there's the background, but at least now she's using it not to talk about the sex act, but to talk about how bullying impacts somebody psychologically.

NAVARRO: Kate, she needs to literally -- I tell you, she needs to literally bury that beret and literally burn that dress. Pour gasoline on it and light a match, take a shovel --


NAVARRO: And, you know, if that's what she needs to move on, then go ahead and get it done because everybody else has moved on, including I think most of the country.

I don't know about you guys, but the idea of being on national TV in 2014 talking about the dress, the cigar, the beret, it's cringe- inducing.

ROBBINS: Yes. But what's really important, Ana, is that it allows us to examine what the impact is when somebody is bullied online, which she was. And that is a topic we see every day in this country. We see it as mothers with our kids. And I think she's an important voice that could do a lot of help. NAVARRO: Well, if she can help others, great. More importantly, she needs to help herself and move on.

BOLDUAN: And she seems very aware, she wants to take back this narrative. This is the line that stuck out, and we'll leave it at this.

She wants to take back my narrative and give purpose to my past. She says in parentheses, what this will cost me, I will soon find out.

She is very aware that everyone is going to eat this up and make their own judgments. It seems at this point she doesn't care. Maybe that's a good thing. She's taking control.

Ana Navarro, Mel Robbins, it's great to talk to you, guys. Let's talk about something else next time.


CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, is Flight 370 safe on the ground? Are the passengers still alive? Will either ever be found? Those are some of the controversial questions that revolve around this story. They were the focus of a new CNN poll.

You answered questions and you'll be surprised by the answers. They're coming up next.