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Boston Bombs Made with Christmas Lights; Huge Beef Recall Expands Nationwide; Spurs Dominate Thunder, Take 2-0 Series Lead; Six "Happy" Iranians Free; Hard Times at General Motors

Aired May 22, 2014 - 06:30   ET


PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, most of the bombs they put together was from a recipe in "Inspire" magazine, which is a magazine put out by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

There was one bit of the bomb, which was different, a toy car remote detonating mechanism. That's actually something quite tricky to put together. So, there's been some speculation from experts that they may need some sort of tuition to do that.

But it wouldn't be something impossible for them to have done.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Why not? Why wouldn't it be impossible, Paul? You know, from looking at this from the outside in, how could they have pulled this off without at least some kind of training?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, in past cases we've seen homegrown terrorists in North America pull this sort of thing off, remote control detonating mechanisms in Canada in 2006 there was a Toronto case. These guys did not receive training overseas on how to put it together and they succeed in doing this based on a cellphone mechanism and they actually succeeded based on a cell phone and they actually tested it on camera. That was shown in court in Canada.

So, there is some precedent for purely homegrown terrorists putting these sorts of devices together, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Document definitely does suggest though that a terror group of some sort may have had a hand in assisting in planning or directing or even really assisting in the operation. What is the intel community or kind of the terror analyst community, what is their take on that very important question of a group being involved?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, I think the document makes clear that in the days after the Boston bombings, United States counter terrorism services were concern there could be overseas groups involved. That's why they wanted to interview Dzhokhar Tsarnaev so quickly in hospital. Year on, there's no evidence to emerge to suggest they are responsible.

BOLDUAN: It's also important to mention that this is where maybe the FBI and investigators were in the weeks following the attacks, that may be in a very different place at this point now a year on. I want to get your take -- also discuss that when Tsarnaev was in the boat and they were concerned about the writings. And they were really concerned about those writings. I want to get your take on it.

We had heard previously he had written in part, stop killing our innocent people and we will stop. He also wrote, "God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions."

Why was that so concerning?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, in the immediate aftermath of the Boston bombings that was obviously better concerning because it suggested the possibility there may have been others beside the two brothers involved in this terrorist conspiracy. As I've said, since then, a year later, no evidence has been publicly emerged stating there's any overseas terrorist link or any link to other people in the United States. Kate.

BOLDUAN: And still that is why so many people wonder why, oh, why would these two -- even call them boys, young men do something like this. But the focus remains for a lot of people on Boston strong recovering as well one year later.

Paul, it's great to see you. Thank you for your insight.

CRUICSHANK: Thank you.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Coming up on NEW DAY, we told you there is a nationwide beef recall but why won't the government give up the names of where the beef is being served? Something stinks, and it isn't just tainted meat.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: An enormous beef recall has been expanded nationwide this morning, 1.8 million pounds of ground beef being removed from shelves because it could be contaminated with potentially deadly E. coli. Some of it could be in your fridge.

Food inspectors are naming the stores that may have received the tainted meat. They're not naming restaurants that could have sold the beef.

Chris Frates is at Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit, the company behind the recall.

I think that's something that's frustrating a lot of people. Why not just name the restaurants, Chris?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. I tell you, this is something that will frustrate folks going into the Memorial Day cookouts, for sure.


FRATES (voice-over): The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released a list of stores in nine states that may have received shipments of the beef contaminate with E. coli.

E. coli bacteria produces a toxin that causes terrible abdominal pain, kidney damage, and in some cases death. None of the 11 people sickened by this latest outbreak died, officials say. Investigators trace the bad meat back to Wolverine Packing Company in Detroit. Ten out of the 11 people who got sick ate at a restaurants supplied by Wolverine.

But federal officials are not naming the restaurants. This consumer watchdog thinks that's got to change.

TONY CORBO, FOOD & WATER WATCH: This is going to make things a little more dicey in terms of consumers who may get sick and don't know what to do or not following this issue closely enough to make the connection between their illness and where they ate.

FRATES: But a top-ranking USDA official says it's against regulations to disclose restaurant names.

DAVID GOLDMAN, ASST. ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH SCIENCE: People who are exposed have already been exposed. So it doesn't help the public to tell them now that a certain restaurant was associated with these illnesses. Our job really is to identify product that may still be available.

FRATES: Goldman said federal officials disclosed names of grocery stores and other retailers because customers could still have meat they bought sitting in the freezers. Restaurant, on the other hand, are not going to serve tainted burgers once the meat is recalled.

For its part, the meat-packing plant said in a statement it's working with the USDA, quote, "we encourage anyone who has concern to be sure to cook all ground beef to a minimum temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit."


FRATES: And while that might be tough advice for the grill masters out there to swallow who love their burgers at medium rare, it's really the only way to make sure your burgers are safe -- Chris.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: I'll take it, Chris, thank you so much. That's the thing, meat thermometer, it doesn't seem sexy but it's important to do so you don't end up sick. Thanks so much.

CUOMO: I've got to tell you, once they tell me there may be meat out there, I may be sick when I get it, there's no chance of me going --

PEREIRA: Do you want to have fish now?

CUOMO: Yes. I'm just not going to do it. I like a burger but not enough to get sick.

BOLDUAN: Don't ask me.

CUOMO: Come on. I might like the burger, but enough to get sick? BOLDUAN: That is about all I'm in to these days. So --

CUOMO: Especially you. You can't have it.

BOLDUAN: I know. Thanks.

CUOMO: Here's a different kind of sickness --

BOLDUAN: Ruin my Memorial Day.

CUOMO: Being a Thunder fan -- I know. All right. So, Kevin Durant, right? He's the MVP, but his Oklahoma City Thunder is getting crushed by the San Antonio Spurs.

Joe Carter has more in the "Bleacher Report".

They got them by a triple and a nickel. That's old school for 35 points. What is going on in this?

JOE CARTER, BLEACHER REPORT: Chris, you're fun, man. I want to hang out with you. The triple and the nickel, the trivia, I like you, you're good.

What's going on is that Oklahoma City has no answer for the Spurs, man. Especially the big three, Duncan, Ginobili, Parker, those guys. I mean, for a quarter and a half also night it was a close game but then the Spurs did what they do best. They went on a huge run.

By the third quarter, up 29 points, it was during that span that Oklahoma City you could see the frustration. Really lost their composure. During a time-out Russell Westbrook.

You know when that happens you've got to take advantage of that and that's what San Antonio did. They gave the ball to Danny Green. He had the hot hand. Made seven three-pointer which absolutely buried the Thunder. It's their worst playoff loss ever, final score, 112-77.

So, now, the Spurs have a two-game series lead.

Trending this morning on, we've learned that Pacer's star Paul George suffered a concussion in game two against the Miami Heat. It happened in this play when he took a knee to the back of the head. Him and Dwyane Wade were wrestling for a loose ball. He said he blacked out for a moment right after he was kneed in the back of the head. His status for game three is questionable. George will have to pass a league mandated concussion test before he can play again.

Well, the Super Bowl champions, Seattle Seahawks, were honored at the White House yesterday. President Obama of course praised the team for winning the big trophy but he also poked fun at Richard Sherman's infamous Super Bowl rant.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I -- I considered letting Sherman up here to the podium today. Giving him the mike, but, yes, we got to go in a little bit. So --


CARTER: Nice. Obama cut quite a few jokes yesterday, guys, but he also gave a lot of props out, especially to Sherman saying he loved the fact he had come from Compton, a neighborhood riddled by drugs and gangs and got out of Compton and went to Stanford and now the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

But he really said yesterday that the Seahawks have so many great stories, so many great comeback stories and he likes to root for those stories.

BOLDUAN: We are debating something and we need your assistance, the wise one.

Who did Russell Wilson play for in college?

CARTER: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: What? You better know.

CARTER: Wisconsin.

BOLDUAN: Wisconsin? OK.


CUOMO: Somebody type that in your pretty head?


BOLDUAN: This is the game we play with Joe. We play trivia at 6:00 in the morning just to see if we can stump him.

CARTER: Thank you. I was thinking, wait a second, it's got to be -- no, it's Wisconsin.

BOLDUAN: All right. That's why I like him.

CARTER: You got me for just a second.

BOLDUAN: Just a second. It's all right. We still love you. You're still good.

CUOMO: He didn't like his answer. They just took him out of the box on the TV like that. That's how they punish you on the TV world. They don't like being revealed in the TV world, either.

BOLDUAN: They're going to do it for us next.

CUOMO: Just me. It will be go black.

Coming up on NEW DAY, six people arrested in Iran. You heard this part of the story, right? Remember they dancing to Pharrell's "Happy." the dancers have been set free but not the director, OK? So a lot of people are wondering about Tehran's next move. Christiane Amanpour will weigh in.

BOLDUAN: Plus, the G.M. recall nightmare continues. The car company is recalled almost 14 million cars. That's more cars than they've sold in the United States in the last five years. What?

The recalls are hitting the consumers but what about the company's bottom line? Are more recalls on the way? Lots to discuss.


CUOMO: Six Iranians are free this morning a day after being arrested for dancing in a YouTube video to the song "Happy". Authorities in Tehran called the homemade video vulgar and an affront to public chastity. The director of the video is still in custody, hasn't been released.

But the president of Iran is giving a contradictory message. He's tweeting, saying he believes in free expression and that happiness is the right of all Iranians. What's going on here?

Let's bring in chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour joining us from London. Help me understand this contradiction.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHEIF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, how can you not groove to that beat? Seriously, Chris, and of course, Iranians are just like all of us. They want to their music, their freedoms, and their fun. Their president supports them.

But basically what this is is young people caught in a struggle between the hard liners and the moderates. The moderate president who told me in an interview that he actually wants to have more internet freedom and more social freedoms, but he hasn't been able to implement that while he is negotiating this deadly serious nuclear deal with the United States and the West.

The hard liners are in control of the police and the morals police and judiciary, and they're just trying to tweak the president at every opportunity they can and hang on to their own kind of little bit of social control.

CUOMO: So is this an example of the president of Iran not having control of his government?

AMANPOUR: No, it's not. What happens in Iran is that it's a multi- pronged hydra. (ph) You have a lot of different areas of power, centers of power. What's happening is that the president was overwhelmingly elected. Now, that surprised the hard liners. They didn't think this man was going to be elected. They thought their guy, the hard liner, was going to be elected last year.

Now the president has done something very, very difficult and new, and that is entered into these very serious nuclear negotiations with the United States and the West. There is a group of hard liners who said that they don't want this to happen.

Now, they can't directly full-frontally attack the president because right now he has the support of the supreme leader. So they're trying to attack in other ways.

So as I say, the social part of Iran, the judicial part of Iran is unfortunately being run by the hard liners right now while the president tries to secure this deal and, if he does, it be bolster his position in Iran, and he will be able to tackle some of the other issues, the social issues and political issues that he's promised.

CUOMO: Was this a little bit of an example of #diplomacy that the international community -- you know, the international community, social media, kind of getting behind what happened to these individuals, do you think it helped their situation?

AMANPOUR: You know, it probably, did but let's face it, Iran is -- Iran is meant to have no Twitter, no Facebook, no internet. But of course, everybody does. The Ayatollahs are watching, and the world is watching. And the fact that the president tweeted and many people all over the world tweeted, it did bring a huge amount of pressure.

But again, here's what they've done. They've released these wonderful looking young people who look like all of us, they've released them now having forced them to make a public confession. They've released them, and they've probably given them a strict warning. And they say they released them on bail. There may be future legal ramifications. We don't know yet.

But they've kept the director. And this is what they do frequently. They say, OK, we'll release these people; the world will shut up, but we've kept the director and that is our warning to you. It's a very ugly game that they play.

CUOMO: So the message to those out there who care about this is, don't forget because there's still somebody who is being held, and there may be a case going forward.

Let me get your take quickly on what's going on in Nigeria with the U.S.. They're sending in intelligence people, personnel, and military personnel to neighboring Chad because they have a better relationship with them. Do you think this is the right move by the U.S. to get more involved in the situation going on there?

AMANPOUR: Well, I think the United States has to. It's already pledged to do so publicly. The president -- the first lady has been involved in this, bring back our girls campaign. And the world is truly outraged, and so are many in Africa.

But let's not overblow what's going on. The U.S. and the rest of many -- many western countries, including China in some way, are trying to help. There's surveillance; there's overflights. The troops that have gone to Chad, the U.S., the Pentagon, said these are not actually ground troops of the type that are going to go rush into Nigeria with arms drawn. This is logistical support. These are ground support staff that will do security, that will do logistics, maintenance of the surveillance and other aircraft that are being used in the search over Nigeria.

CUOMO: All right, Christiane, thank you so much. We know that you bring attention to situations like this happening in Africa and every where else all the time. And right now there's a lot of focus on this one. So it'll be interesting to see what happens next. Thank you for being on the show as always.

Michaela, over to you.

PEREIRA: All right, Chris, thanks so much. Thank to Christiane, as well.

Let's talk about the hard time of General Motors; 29 recalls so far this year covering nearly 14 million vehicles. The once proud auto giant reeling from safety problems, eight figure fines and cover-up charges. In fact, since 2009 when G.M. filed for bankruptcy the company has recalled more cars than it actually sold. Wow.

We bring in our chief business correspondent Christine Romans. And I got to tell you, we seem to be talking about new recalls all the time. What are we at now?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CHEIF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, 29 recalls, separate recalls just this year. And you're right. They have now recalled more cars this year than they have made in the past five years is just mind boggling.

They're recalling for a lot of different things though, everything from faulty tail lamp wiring to little clamps inside the fender to the really important recall, 2.6 million recalled because of a faulty ignition switch.

PEREIRA: Next question, why now? Why -- what's going on to just sort of cue all of these recalls all of a sudden?

ROMANS: It's a more aggressive, more pro-active G.M.

PERERIA: The new G.M.

ROMANS: The new G.M., and here's why. Because it has been revealed that G.M. knew, the engineers knew about the ignition switch problem years before they issued a recall. There were 13 deaths linked to accidents with that ignition switch recall problem, and that is why the new CEO Mary Barra is now really pushing ahead and they're doing recalls. I would say, and most analysts say, more aggressively than they otherwise.

PEREIRA: Getting out ahead of the story.

ROMANS: Right.

PEREIRA: OK, so you hear recall as a consumer, it sets off all sorts of red flags. It makes one wonder are these cars as safe as other automakers?

ROMANS: So you're going to get one of these letters from the auto dealer. You're going to get a letter saying that this is a model that you need to recall, what to do, how to bring it back in. But mostly, these cars are safe. I mean, G.M. has a safety rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 for NHTSA. I mean, it's got four models on top the international -- you know, the insurance highway safety list. I mean, they've got a lot of safe cars. Some of these things are just technical problems, and in some cases they have led to accidents in the ignition switch case, but by and large, your car is probably still safe.

PEREIRA: Those two things are not going to line up with consumers though. Because if you're out shopping nor a car and vaguely remember a news story about a recall, even though the safety numbers are there, how do they get the message across?

ROMANS: If you want to buy a corvette, you're still going to buy a corvette.

PEREIRA: Good point.

ROMANS: If you want to buy a Terrain, you're still going to buy a Terrain. If you want to buy a Chevy Spark, you're still going to buy the Spark. Some of these cars I just mentioned are among the best -- highest rated models out there.

So we haven't seen the sales decline yet. We've seen the company take a huge -- put a bunch of money aside to pay for what they're going to have to pay out eventually, but we haven't seen sales fall.

PEREIRA: This has got to take a toll on the business, and it's got to take a toll on its new G.M. Mary Barra who has been on the job a very short amount of time and this is what she's dealing with. Although she's sort of behind it because it's the new plan.

ROMANS: Look, she has done a pretty good job of getting two outside entities to do a big internal investigation. We're going to get the results of that next month. She has done these aggressive recalls. She's appeared before Congress.

And she's getting high marks for how she's leading this company. And she keeps talking about the new G.M. and the new safety culture at G.M. even as there's a lot of criticism of the old safety culture. One thing to remember, though, she has been at the company 30 years, her entire career. So some people are saying she's doing a great job talking about the new G.M., but she's also part of the old G.M.

PERERIA: Well, and talking about the old G.M., they've got to look at what was the cause of these mistakes, these safety issues. Was with it a culture? Was it oversight, lack of regulation? That's something they're going to be looking at.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Was it -- many years of record numbers of car production where safety took a backseat? What was it that caused that kind of a safety culture that now G.M. says it is changing.

PEREIRA: Rushing to get the production out, who knows. Christine, thanks for crunching down the numbers. You see it and you think, oh, no. Oh no. It's good to chat with you about it. Thanks so much. Chris?

CUOMO: All right, Mick, here are some of the stories to start your new day. The president promising to respond to the V.A. scandal, but how? How do we make good to promise to support our troops?

Then a kidnapped woman found and freed after ten years and one daughter. We're going to talk to Elizabeth Smart about the case.

And ahead of your holiday weekend, where is the beef? Why won't the government tell us which restaurants served tainted meat? Let's get after all of it right now.


BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; Mr. President, we need urgency. We need you to roll up our sleeves and get into these hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 80 more service members on the ground set to aid in the hunt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Searching for the girls operating an unmanned, unarmed predator drone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They traced 11 illnesses in four states back to this ground beef coming out of Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People who were exposed have already been exposed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The girl reportedly telling police she ended up marrying and having a baby with her alleged kidnapper.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Thursday, May 22nd. Now 7:00 in the east.

CNN has uncovered explosive new allegations against the V.A. health system in Phoenix. I hope you're paying attention to this story because we now have wounded veterans, American heroes, who saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan forced to wait months for medical, care even though they were supposed to receive priority treatment. A doctor at the Phoenix V.A. makes these shocking revelations, and they make them to CNN's Drew Griffin. He's been cover this story from the start. Take a listen.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are telling me that our troops coming back from war, now separated from active service --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who should have priority for scheduling do not.

GRIFFIN: -- who are coming to the Phoenix V.A. for follow-up care for war injuries --


GRIFFIN: -- are being put on a waiting list and made to wait six to ten months?



CUOMO: President Obama is now promising someone will be held accountable. It doesn't look like it's going to be the V.A. secretary, at least for now. Eric Shinseki still has the job and the president's support. So what is he going to do? Because these allegations, while they're new, the problem are not.

White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski has the latest. What do we know?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi Chris. Well, there's a lot going on, even today. Three top V.A. officials have been called to the Hill to meet with the House V.A. Committee. The White House's top advisor is at the Phoenix V.A. where of course this scandal broke. And now we have heard directly from President Obama using an angry voice saying people will be held accountable. He's not going to stand for these kinds of allegations.

The thing is this administration, as well as the one before it, did stand it for years because the V.A. itself made it very clear that these things like scheduling issues and delays were ongoing problems. Also on the subject of accountability, the president didn't really get into how the V.A. secretary is being or will be held accountable even if only because this happened on his watch for years.

Now, this has all prompted some strong words even from some Democratic lawmakers and the American Legion called the decision not to fire V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki unfortunate. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Michelle, thank you very much for that update.

Let's discuss more with Congressman Jeff Miller, Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, someone who has been focusing clearly very much on this issue.

Mr. Chairman, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.