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Official: Bergdahl Was Caged, Physically Abused; Susan Rice Calls Bergdahl's Service "Honorable"; Source: Discipline In Bergdahl Platoon Was "Lax"; Heavily Armed Gunman Attacks Georgia Courthouse; Student Hailed a Hero For Tackling Alleged Gunman

Aired June 6, 2014 - 19:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN GUEST HOST: Next, breaking news, what we're just learning about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's time in captivity. A U.S. official tells CNN he was forced to live in a cage.

Plus, CNN's exclusive interview with President Obama's National Security adviser, Susan Rice. She says Sergeant Bergdahl served the U.S. with honor and distinction. Does she stand by that?

And the latest from last night's deadly rampage in Seattle. What we're learning about the hero who brought the alleged gunman down. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. Thank you for joining us. I'm Don Lemon in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and his time in captivity. CNN's Barbara Starr reporting that Bergdahl suffered physical abuse during his five years with the Taliban and was at one point confined to a cage. The punishment for managing to escape for a short period of time. We're going to have more on a live report from a Pentagon in just a moment.

But first, President Barack Obama speaking just moments ago to NBC News, finds himself again defending his decision to trade Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: And I make no apologies for it. It was a unanimous decision among my principles in my government and a view that was shared by the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and this is something that I would do again, and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity if I have a member of our military who is in captivity. We're going to try to get him out.


LEMON: But in an exclusive interview with OUTFRONT, President Obama's former National Security adviser, Jim Jones is criticizing the president's deal.


GENERAL JIM JONES (RETIRED), FORMER OBAMA NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I come down on the side that you don't negotiate with terrorists. I think that's a rock solid principle. And I think once you show that -- there is weakness there, that you open the door for possibly other bad things to happen.


LEMON: Much more on that interview coming up as well.

But first, here is Barbara Starr. She is OUTFRONT tonight with more on Bergdahl's condition and the abuse he suffered.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was physically abused during his five years in Taliban captivity. After an escape attempt, he was held at some point in a very small enclosed space described as a cage or box, a senior U.S. official tells CNN.

One indicator of an injury, a classified video of Bergdahl made by the Taliban last December included scenes where he is cradling his arm. Bergdahl is also suffering from psychological traumas, the official tells CNN. Bergdahl's captivity condition changed over time as the Taliban loosened or tightened security around him.

They also moved him frequently to avoid detection by the U.S. The tough U.S. military commander in Europe told Christiane Amanpour that Bergdahl is not yet formally being questioned.

GENERAL PHILIP BREEDLOVE, U.S. EUROPEAN COMMAND: I wouldn't say he is being debriefed right now. What we're concentrating on right now is his health. He has been in a very tough place for a long time.

STARR: Sources say Bergdahl is psychologically stable enough to speak with his parents, but has not yet done so. With the Army opening a new review into what happened, the Pentagon is getting more cautious in its public statements.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We really have to get a chance to talk to Sergeant Bergdahl before we can start to prejudge or speculate about what the specifics of his captivity was like.

STARR: Since the Vietnam War POWs returned, the military has run a program to evaluate the mental and physical effects of captivity on military personnel, and found generally good news.

JEFFREY MOORE, MITCHELL CENTER FOR POW STUDIES: They need to realize that there is life after being a POW, that most people bounce back, that bouncing back is largely a choice.


LEMON: Barbara Starr joins us now. Barbara, what is next for him?

STARR: Well, Don, what we are hearing is he is likely to stay at that military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany for at least the next few days, perhaps several days before his medical and repatriation team say he is stable enough psychologically, mainly, to travel to San Antonio, Texas, to another military hospital for more long-term repatriation and possibly being reunited there with his parents -- Don.

LEMON: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon on this Friday night. Thank you, Barbara. Roy Hallums is an American contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 and spent 311 days in captivity. And Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Corn, he is a former JAG attorney.

Good evening to both of you, Gentlemen. Roy, you first. You have been there. Is it anything like your experience?

ROY HALLUMS, AMERICAN HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ FOR 10 MONTHS: Well, yes, it sounds like it. I mean, I was in a small little room, maybe four feet high, about six feet wide, about eight feet long. And I was in there with up to ten other people. And I was bound by my hands and feet all day long, every day. So there was very little room in what I had and the mistreatment sounds typical of the gangs in that area.

LEMON: I want to talk to you a little bit more about the mistreatment or abuse. Was it the result of something you said or did, like trying to get away, or was it at times just unwarranted?

HALLUMS: No, it was just any time they felt like it. You know, you know, when you were around them, you never knew what they were going to do or if they just wanted to hit an American or whatever. It could be anything that they just felt like doing.

LEMON: You said you were in the room with ten other people. You mean ten other people who were held captive or were your captors in there watching you?

HALLUMS: No, I meant ten other hostages. The gang that had me was catching other hostages and holding them in the room with me. Now, the guards were just outside the room, maybe 10 or 12 guards at all times.

LEMON: And I'm sure do you relive this when you hear stories about Bowe Bergdahl coming out like he possibly lived in a cage or they had him in a box, in a confined area? And when you see him on television learning that he has been released, does this all go right -- does it come right back?

HALLUMS: Sure. I mean, whenever I see that, I saw him walking to the helicopter in the video. And I did it practically the same thing when I was walking out, the video. And I hear about him being in a cage, and I was held in a tiny little room with no lighting, no ventilation. And so, yes, it all comes back to me when I see it or hear about it.

LEMON: Do you talk about it? Because I ask you that because I got a text from a friend who said that she had been watching the coverage closely. She said as the wife of someone who had been held captive, she was watching it closely, I'm better off than most people, but somewhat worried about my husband, who holds everything inside, and his parents who are likely reliving this ordeal. Do you hold it inside or do you talk about it with your family?

HALLUMS: I have talked about it with them. You know, not in great detail, because to me, you know, it happened and I'm over it, and we're moving on, you know. I don't mind talking about it because I do go out sometimes and do training with military, and I tell the people in the audience, you can ask anything you want, it doesn't bother me to talk about it.

LEMON: Stand by. Jeffrey, when you hear about the types of abuse that he suffered, is it consistent with how the Taliban treats its captives and I'm talking about Bowe Bergdahl here.

LT. COL. GEOFFREY CORN (RETIRED), FORMER ARMY JAG ATTORNEY: Well, I think that's one of the really unfortunate aspects of this whole discussion. If this treatment was inflicted upon him, it was absolutely a violation of the most basic rules of war that are found in the Geneva Convention. But we all seem to assume that that's what is expected when an American or coalition service member falls into the hands of the Taliban.

And I think -- I think it's shameful that he was treated this way. There are rules of war even in an unconventional war that require your captives to be treated like human beings, to be treated humanely. And what happened to your other guest is intolerable and we should be condemning that very strenuously.

LEMON: Geoffrey, everything we're hearing about Bergdahl, whether it be the circumstances leading up to his capture or his treatment by the Taliban, you know, it all plays into one of two sides. Either he is a hero or he is a deserter. How does the military welcome this guy back when there are essentially two-story lines out there? Can they?

CORN: Well, I think we -- I think we see it happening. They follow the process that has been established. Listen, the commanders and the military lawyers that are advising them in this process are absolutely devoted to complying with constitutional rights, to complying with the uniform code of military justice and regulations. And I don't think that these two issues are necessarily incompatible.

He was an American soldier held by the enemy. We got him out, and we have an obligation to make sure that he is healthy and he is safe, and he can recover from this. If it turns out that he committed misconduct, there is a process for addressing that. They can both operate consistently. They're not exclusive.

LEMON: Yes. Geoffrey, thank you for your service. And Roy, we're glad you're OK, and we thank both of you for joining us here on CNN this evening. Thank you very much.

OUTFRONT next, National Security adviser, Susan Rice in another political firestorm, this time over Bowe Bergdahl. Her response coming up in an Exclusive interview with CNN.

Plus, the latest from last night's deadly rampage in Seattle. What we're just learning about the man who risked his life to bring the gunman down. And a man armed with guns and explosives tries to storm a courthouse in Georgia. We're going to show you what one heroic deputy did to avoid a major catastrophe.


LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Don Lemon in for Erin Burnett tonight. No apologies. The president's National Security adviser, Susan Rice, is under fire for defending the administration's prisoner swap, and in particular for saying Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl served with honor and distinction. Rice spoke exclusively with our Jim Acosta.


SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We're very concerned about the well-being of Bowe Bergdahl. He had been in captivity for five years. We had indications that his health may be fragile and so there was a real sense of urgency to obtaining his freedom.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In our exclusive interview with Susan Rice, we asked the White House National Security adviser about reports that the administration kept secret the mission to free Bowe Bergdahl out of fear that leaks to the public could have gotten him killed.

(on camera): Was that the reason why you didn't notify Congress because there was this threat on his life if word had leaked out?

RICE: We had reason to be concerned about his life, but we also had reason to be concerned that the 30-day period that would normally be honored was too long. That had we waited that long, we may well have missed what General Dempsey has called the last best opportunity to bring him back. We don't leave anybody on the battlefield, regardless of the conditions of their capture. And as a prisoner of war, Bowe Bergdahl deserved and we had the obligation, and the commander in chief had the obligation to do what was necessary to bring him home.

ACOSTA (voice-over): For the first time, Rice explained her description last week of Bergdahl, who is now being accused by some of his fellow soldiers of being a deserter.

RICE: He served the United States with honor and distinction.

ACOSTA (on camera): Did you misspeak? Did you get that wrong?

RICE: Jim, I realize there has been a lot of discussion and controversy about this. But what I was referring to is the fact that this was a young man who volunteered to serve his country in uniform at a time of war. That is itself a very honorable thing.

ACOSTA: But honor and distinction?

RICE: Jim, really? I mean, this is a young man whose circumstances we are still going to learn about. He is, as all Americans, innocent until proven guilty. He is now being tried in the court of public opinion after having gone through an enormously traumatic five years of captivity. His parents the same.

ACOSTA: Was he a deserter?

RICE: We don't have reason to come that conclusion yet. Obviously, he needs to be debriefed. His side of the story matters too.

ACOSTA (voice-over): This is not the first time Rice's comments on a Sunday talk show have landed her in hot water. Republican critics blasted Rice after she blamed the Benghazi attack on an anti-Muslim video. Rice insisted she has been truthful.

(on camera): Are you being up-front with the American people, or are you being guided by talking points too much when you go on these programs?

RICE: Jim, I'm up front with the American people. I provided the best information that the U.S. government had at the time. Parts of it turned out to be wrong. I regret that parts of the information I was provided was wrong and I provided to it north western people. That doesn't make me a liar.


ACOSTA: As a top official on the White House National Security team, Rice knows the administration's foreign policy has been under fire for weeks. But she insists the president's approach is working. From Russia and Vladimir Putin to the bloody civil war in Syria, Rice says the president's critics are wrong -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you very much for that, Jim. OUTFRONT tonight, CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger. If I could spend my Friday evening with anyone, it's you, Gloria.


LEMON: So thank you so much for spending this time with me on a Friday evening. I thought she was particularly strong in that video. I was fascinated by it. You heard Jim's interview.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: Is Susan Rice defending Bergdahl's honorable service? I mean, some say this comment shows that she is tone deaf. What is your take on this?

BORGER: Well, look, what she is saying is that he is somebody who volunteered to serve his country and that is something of honor, OK. I think if she had it to do all over again, she might not have characterized his service because as she pointed thought Jim's interview, and this kind of struck me, she said we need to rescue people, obviously, regardless of the condition of their capture. So she was leaving the door open to the question about, well, just how did he get captured.

Did he leave his base voluntarily, et cetera, it set. So she was clearly leaving the door open on that. Finger she had to do it all over again, she might have chosen different words. But on the substance of the matter, she was clearly not backing down, and neither has the president.

LEMON: You know, Gloria, on the day that Susan Rice defended the Bergdahl deal, her predecessor, General James Jones, was asked about it in an interview with OUTFRONT take a listen, and then we can talk.


JONES: I come down on the side that I don't negotiate with terrorists. I think that's a rock solid principle. And I think once you show that there is weakness there, that you open the door for possibly other bad things to happen. But I think that story has to be played out yet. And there may be some things out there that we don't know. But the fact was there was a negotiation, whether it's done by a third party or not, I don't know. But we did strike a deal and there are people who will draw conclusions from that.


LEMON: Do these comments undercut the White House?

BORGER: I think he clearly seems to me to be disagreeing with the White House here. As the president pointed out to NBC today, he said you don't do prisoner exchanges with your friends. You do them with your enemies. But the point that General Jones is making, and he left, don't forget, in 2010, is the point that was discussed by then Secretary of Defense Gates, then CIA Director Leon Panetta, I'm told.

That when this was raised, the same exact question came up, which is you don't negotiate with hostage takers. You don't negotiate with terrorists. Now, the situation is different. The war is winding down. This is a president who wants to say he ended the war in Iraq. He ended the war in Afghanistan. He killed Osama Bin Laden. No soldier left behind.

So the circumstances are very different right now. And as you know from the White House point of view, these really bad guys may have ended up getting set free anyway because maybe we couldn't prove the case against them. I think General Jones clearly comes at this saying very black or white, you don't negotiate. John McCain, by the way, has a different point of view, which he sort of allowed that at some point you might negotiate. He thinks this is a bad deal.

LEMON: OK, now I want to get Hillary Clinton's point of view, another former Obama administration official. She weighed in on the Bergdahl deal on ABC News. Here is what she said. She said one of our values is we bring everybody home off the battlefield the best we can. It doesn't matter how they ended up in a prisoner of war situation. Are you surprised that Clinton --


LEMON: That she is defending President Obama?

BORGER: Well, she is defending him on the point that you leave no soldier behind. She said very clearly, you know, you don't. And I think, by the way, don, I don't hear a lot of people disagreeing with that. That is a matter of faith with our troops. You do not leave a soldier behind. What I'm not hearing in that quote, and I would be interested to hear the full context of that information, what I'm not hearing in that is a defense of this particular deal.

LEMON: Right.

BORGER: Right.

LEMON: With the five Taliban members.

BORGER: Those are different parts of this controversy.

LEMON: Right. OK. Happy Friday. Happy weekend to you.

BORGER: You too.

LEMON: Always good to talk to you, Gloria. Gloria Borger.

Still to come, what was going on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's unit? A CNN investigation uncovers discipline and security problems in his platoon.

Plus some Michigan lawmakers under fire for this tweet. Is it sexist?

And it's been more than 35 years since we last saw a Triple Crown winner, but there is something special about California Chrome. We'll tell you about it tonight.


LEMON: In the days since Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was released, his platoon members have accused him of being a deserter. But there are a lot of questions about the unit itself. A CNN investigation has uncovered disciplinary problems and poor security within this platoon. Chris Frates is OUTFRONT tonight.


CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Patika Province, Afghanistan, 2009. Bandit country not far from the Pakistan border. Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl and his platoon were building a fortified bunker near several Afghan villages. That's him with the pipe in his mouth just weeks before he walked off base and into Taliban hands. In this video, you hear a member of his team sympathizing with Afghan villagers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had -- from the Russians for 17 years, and now we're here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. These people just want to be left alone.

FRATES: These shots from British filmmaker, Sean Smith. After they were published by the British newspaper, "The Guardian," there was trouble in Bergdahl's unit. Why? Because some of the pictures show members without helmets. An Army source tells CNN discipline in the platoon was lax.

A sergeant was demoted and two other sergeants reassigned after the pictures became public according to a 2012 "Rolling Stone" article. Bergdahl's former team leader, Sergeant Evan Beutow says the whole thing was blown out of proportion.

EVAN BEUTOW, FORMER PLATOON LEADER: There was pictures taken of us building those bunkers and with soldiers without their equipment on. And it's -- it blew up, and there is some people who are really angry that people -- that soldiers weren't wearing their protective equipment out in the field. And it's something that got exaggerated way bigger than it should have.

FRATES: Sean Smith says other issues were at play as well.

SEAN SMITH, BRITISH FILMMAKER: There was some new commander and some changes. I think one of the senior sergeants who had been with them a long time was coming up to retirement. A new boss, if you like.

FRATES: A former lieutenant colonel who advised officials investigating Bergdahl's disappearance said that while some of the unit's commanders didn't have their act together --

TONY SHAFFER, LT. COL. RETIRED: There is nothing going on there that could justify in my mind or justify in anyone I talked to about this that would allow for or explain Bergdahl simply walking away and abandoning his post.

FRATES: And there is one constant theme in this story, it's that Bergdahl walked away. Chris Frates, CNN, Washington.


LEMON: Still OUTFRONT, two major shootings in less than 24 hours. Tonight, we're live in Seattle to learn more about the man who risked his life to end a deadly rampage.

And then we go to Atlanta, where a quick-thinking deputy was able to keep a man armed with explosives from entering the courthouse.


LEMON: Tonight, a major catastrophe averted outside Atlanta.

A heavily armed gunman earlier today drove his SUV loaded with ammunition and explosives up to the front steps of a local courthouse. He then threw a smoke bomb out the window, which is the orange smoke you see towards the center of your screen. Seconds later, he opened fire, hitting a deputy in the leg.

And as you're about to hear, that shot was met with a barrage of bullets from officers who were closing in.


LEMON: We're told the gunman's plan was to wreak havoc inside the building. David Mattingly OUTFRONT tonight live near the courthouse in Cumming, Georgia.

And, David, what are you hearing about the suspect?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing right now, Don, we're confirming through local officials that this man apparently was acting alone. We don't know exactly what his motivation was. But he definitely had the skills and the tools to do a great deal of harm at this courthouse.

He was very heavily armed. He had an AR-15, a couple of handguns, grenades. He had bombs that he made. All of this appears ready to go inside the courthouse, take hostages, and then cause whatever mayhem that he may have had in mind.

And he would have gone through with that and came very close to doing it except he ran into a single deputy at the courthouse who was outside doing his normal rounds, a normal security check outside the courthouse. That's when the two crossed paths. Gunfire was exchanged. That deputy acting the way he did delayed that man enough so that officers inside the courthouse, inside the nearby jail, even the SWAT team, which actually just by luck happened to be in the area, responded to the gunfire. They showed up, and that's when you heard that huge barrage of gunfire going off in the audio from that video that you had.

Now, at this point, they were then wondering what else is going to be going on here. They were very cautious when they approached this man's home. We're now finding out that once they went inside, there were no booby-traps inside, but they did find four more explosive devices.

The sheriffs saying there was a booby-trap here. There was something attached to the man's body after he was shot and killed, there was actually an explosive device attached to his body that would have gone off if they had moved him the wrong way.

So, fortunately, no more injury, no more loss of life. The officer who was hit, who was hit, has gone through surgery, and he is expected to be OK. But there was a very, very tense time. In fact, you can hear it in the voices of the officers that responded in the radio traffic. Let's listen to that right now.


OFFICER: Radio, I don't have any visual. We have pepper gas going off at the front entrance.

DISPATCHER: Pepper gas going off at the front office.

OFFICER: Sots fired! Tear gas has been deployed!


DISPATCHER: He is down, he is down.

(END AUDIO CLIP) MATTINGLY: And that's how it all played out. You heard it, a very quiet, seemingly routine Friday morning at a county courthouse here in Georgia.

Suddenly, that peace broken by a gunman. His motives unknown. However, his actions are returned by a great deal of gunfire from very quickly responding officers here -- Don.

LEMON: David Mattingly, high drama down South.

High drama in the West today as well. Tonight, the search for a motive is under way as investigators continue to question the suspect in the shooting at Seattle Pacific University. The alleged gunman, Aaron Ybarra, making his first court appearance this afternoon. He is currently being held without bail in connection with the shooting that killed a 19-year-old student and injured two others.

Also tonight, we're learning more about the man being hailed a hero, 26-year-old John Meis, who armed with just a canister of pepper spray, was able to take down the accused shooter.

Let's go to CNN's Kyung Lah. She is OUTFRONT live in Seattle, Washington, for us.

And, Kyung, what are you learning more about the young man who stopped the shooter?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, people will tell us here that he is very shy, and we're certainly sensing that, because he has told ought the press that he doesn't want to talk right now, that he is requesting privacy. He is asking his friends and family not to make such a big deal out of this.

But certainly for the people here in this campus, in this building at the scene, they think this is a very big deal what he did.

As far as the gunman, you mentioned he was in court. He is being held without bail. He has not yet been charged.

And we are learning more about the artillery that he was found with at the time of his arrest -- a hunting knife, a shotgun, and 50 rounds of ammo. Certainly, this could have been, according to the mayor of the city, a far worse situation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It sounded like a very, very loud balloon popping.

LAH (voice-over): The first shot didn't register to most students at Otto Miller Hall. Then, they saw their classmates bleeding.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw she had a lot of blood on her chest, probably indicating a chest wound.

LAH: Sophomore Rodney Greiling was just 30 feet away inside his physics class.

RODNEY GREILING, SOPHOMORE: It took a shot outside and then went inside, walked to the right, took another shot.

LAH: Greiling heard the two shotgun blasts back-to-back. Then, a pause.

GREILING: That's the time he was reloading.

LAH: He is suspect Aaron Ybarra, not a Seattle Pacific University student, but a man who police in the Seattle disturbs had taken into custody twice on a mental health hold in 2010 and 2012.

CNN affiliate KIRO TV reports a police source says the accused gunman had a fascination with school shootings.

Engineering student John Meis didn't know any of this. He is the student desk monitor, a fixture in the building's entryway.

GREILING: He was sitting in that glass room right there, and he ran out. His instincts said you're either going to die or, you're going to - you know, go hide. And the guy didn't hesitate. The guy went out and jumped on him and potentially life-threatening situation.

LAH: Armed with pepper spray, Meis sprayed him in the face and then tackled him, holding him until police arrived. Meis stopped the gunman just inside the front door.

Greiling says what makes this so surprising isn't just the action, but who took it. Greiling played intramural volleyball with Meis. He describes Meis as a smaller guy on the team, a bookworm.

GREILING: It turns out somebody you would totally not expect to do it. It's the coolest thing. It really is, you know? I mean, as bad as this was yesterday, it could have been multiple of times worse, you know, exponentially worse. Every single person that was in that building had a potential to be bed right now.

LAH (on camera): Including you.

GREILING: Absolutely.

LAH (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Paul Lee (ph) didn't make it. He died of his injuries. Three of his classmates were hurt.

Another college campus dealing with the loss of young life, the loss of security, but today grateful that an unlikely hero saved so many of them.


LAH: Now, classes were canceled today so students could attend that memorial service.

As far as finals next week, because finals are scheduled here, we haven't heard whether or not they will take place. Many of the students believe they want to come back to school, they want things to return to normal as quickly as possible.

And, Don, we are learning from the police that the shotgun used was legally purchased -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you, Kyung. Appreciate that.

Still to come, three Michigan lawmakers being called sexist for what they did in a photo.

Then, it's like something out of a movie, but it's all too real. Police using CIA technology to track your every move.


LEMON: This could happen. I'm going to ask you, what if every time you drove past a police car, your license plate and location were fed back to a central database? That's exactly what is happening in Los Angeles. But is it a revolutionary new way to fight crime, or a violation of your civil rights?

Rachel Crane -- our Rachel Crane, excuse me, has our story.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in Los Angeles, the LAPD is embracing new technologies and big data analytics like never before, changing the way we fight crime.

Watch commander, Sergeant Kennedy, showed us how big data analysis is changing the force.

SGT. SCOTT KENNEDY, LAPD: This is our license plate reader. We have three cameras attached to the light bar.

CRANE: License plate readers installed on patrol cars have become commonplace, and they automatically scan every license plate they drive by.

KENNEDY: It goes through the Sacramento database to check for California vehicle systems to see if it's stolen or if there is a warrant on it for some reason.

We got an alert. A $30,000 warrant on a parked car that we just passed that's right behind us.

CRANE: Over the course of a day, the LAPD can scan tens of thousands of license plates across the city. Those license plate scans are fed into a game-changing data mining system called Palantir.

CAPTAIN JOHN ROMERO, LAPD: Palantir is a federated search system. It combines disparate data sets, allows us to access them very quickly. With a single key stroke, you get the effect of a 30-person task force.

CRANE: After searching over 100 million data points, Palantir displayed an impressive web of information on one burglary suspect, creating intuitive graphs linking him to cell phone numbers, arrest record, known associates, and past addresses. They could even track the suspect's past locations based on previous license plate scans.

ROMERO: If we are searching for him, we know where he frequents. We cannot just go searching for you or anyone else without a reason, because we have a lot of data for people who have done nothing.

CRANE: For those people who have done nothing, the ACLU of southern California believes the LAPD's license plate readers may be violating civil liberties.

PETER BIBRING, ACLU: A system of license plate readers that's pervasive enough to really track the movements of every car in the city within reasonable detail would effectively substitute for GPS trackers, for everybody. The public should be the ones deciding what the proper balance is between their privacy rights and their public safety.

CRANE: The LAPD believes the public wants Palantir on its side.

ROMERO: You want the effect of 30 detectives working that theft. It's hugely important to make those cases solved.


LEMON: Rachel Crane, Rachel Crane. Thank you very much.

Now, let's check with Anderson Cooper with a look what's ahead on "AC360".

Hi, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Don. Yes, we're keeping them honest tonight on the program. There are new facts emerging tonight on what happened to Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in the nearly five years he was held by the Taliban. We're going bring use those details, facts tonight.

Here is what you won't see in the program, speculation, thinly sourced reporting, or rush to judgment. Barbara Starr leads our fact-based reporting ahead on "360".

You'll also hear from someone who knows what it's like to be alone on the run in Afghanistan. Former Navy SEAL Marcus Latrell. Latrell was part of a covert mission in Afghanistan. The movie "Lone Survivor" is based on his book "Lone Survivor," his memoir. You'll hear his perspective on Sergeant Bergdahl.

Those stories and our tributes to heroes on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. That's all at the top of the hour, Don.

LEMON: We'll be watching. Thank you, Anderson.

Republicans' so-called war on women is heating up in Michigan tonight. It has to do with this picture featuring three GOP state lawmakers pretending to read women's magazines. A reporter tweeted it out and, quoted one of the legislators, Peter Pettalia, as saying, don't say we don't understand women, right? Pettalia says the comment was taken out of context, but Democrats were quick to fire back with this tweet featuring four women lawmakers and the text, "Real women read bills, not fashion magazines."

OUTFRONT tonight, one of legislators in that photo, Vicki Barnett, and CNN political commentator Ben Ferguson join me this evening.

So, Ben, first to you, I see you smiling there.


BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm worrying about women right now. Very excited because we can't take that has a joke, right. I have tips on the new fall fashions, summer fashions and 25 miracle bras. So I mean, you can't joke about that, Don, it's very serious.

LEMON: Well, come on, is it a bit sexist, though, do you think?

FERGUSON: It's called a joke. I mean if anybody should be apologizing, it should be the Democrats and their picture who implied that real women are the only ones that actually read bills. You're implying that women -- if we're going to be citizens, if you're implying that any woman that reads a fashion magazine isn't a real woman because she's reading a fashion magazine, I mean, how sexist is that towards their own women.

I don't think there's any problem with women reading these magazines. I think sometimes we should look at these things as actually being what they are, which is a joke. It's a joke, it is funny.

LEMON: How sexist that two men are sitting here and a woman is sitting here, and we're not letting her speak for herself.

So, Vicki, we spoke to Peter Pettalia earlier. He was supposed to be a guest on the show tonight. He says that men in the photo were joking.

Do you think there is any humor to this?

STATE REP. VICKI BARNETT (D), MICHIGAN: I think you have to look at what the context is of the photo. We are on the house floor in the Michigan state capital. And our job is to read legislation and pass legislation.

This was a picture that was not taken at a bar, at a men's poker game or at a frat house. This was on the floor of the House while we were working.

And the actions that we take in the legislature affect daily life throughout Michigan. It affects the lives of men and women and school children and police officers and local communities.

So in the sense that it was in context on the House floor, yes, we should be reading bills and passing legislation and not joking around on something that could be taken out of context and read as sexism. LEMON: OK, Ben --


LEMON: Ben, let me play devil's advocate here, right? Because what if, let's just say, a white lawmaker posed with a copy of "Ebony" magazine, which is a black magazine, like ebony, or out magazine, which is a gay magazine, and said hey, don't say we don't understand black people, we don't say we understand gay people, I mean, would you find that offensive?

FERGUSON: I think that's a little bit different that a joke about women's magazines and men's magazines, and a woman gave these guys the magazine, than what the scenario you just described.

I mean, let's be also very honest about lawmakers. I think sometimes you guys take yourself a little bit too seriously. Have you ever seen your colleagues play video games or actually text people from their phones or sit there and fall asleep because normal people, we've seen Democrats and Republicans. And your serious jobs, you fall asleep, doze off, write notes all the time on both sides of the aisles.

So, to act like these guys were not doing their job? I mean, I'm sorry, come on, it is a little bit ridiculous. Sometimes lawmakers actually have fun while they're at work like normal human beings do, too.

LEMON: Vicki, does he have a point?

BARNETT: Yes, we do, Ben.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

BARNETT: We do have fun and we work across the aisle and we collaborate.

But that's not what this is. You're blaming the Democratic women of the House for tweeting a picture and making it go viral. We're having this conversation today not because the women of the House started tweeting it all over. What happened was a reporter tweeted it.

FERGUSON: And they knew it was a joke.

BARNETT: Also added the caption that Pete Pettalia said, maybe they did make a joke. But the fact is that the majority of women and men across the country sent this thing viral which is why we were here today.


BARNETT: It is not just that they may have been offended on the floor but it was a large segment of the population.

FERGUSON: -- fashion magazines because you said they were not real women.

LEMON: No, that's not what she said, she didn't say they were not real women.


FERGUSON: You're saying non-real women are the ones who read fashion magazine. Shouldn't you have to apologize for saying that any woman that reads a fashion isn't a real woman? If we're going to really take this literally --

LEMON: Vicki, is that what you were saying?

BARNETT: That's not what we were saying. We were saying we were at work, we're on the House floor.



BARNETT: We are busy doing our job and reading bills and passing legislation. No, Ben, the thing is that these men in that picture also raised have taken women's right who instituted and passed a (INAUDIBLE) insurance bills for women.

LEMON: I'm up against a hard break, guys, I have to go. But thank you very much. We appreciate both of you joining us.

Still to come, no horse has captured the Triple Crown since 1978. When we return, I'll tell you why there is a good chance we'll see California Chrome do it.


LEMON: California Chrome, California Chrome! Hoping to become the first horse in 26 years to win the Triple Crown. His last challenge, the Belmont Stakes, which will run on Saturday. The number tonight is 20 -- 20 Belmont stakes winners have the names that start with a letter C. It's the most of any letter in the alphabet, you better believe there are plenty of gamblers out there hoping it is a sign of good things to come for a horse that has very humbled beginnings.

Here's Stephanie Elam.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): California Chrome was born a flashy horse, a beautiful chestnut brown with a blaze of white.

(on camera): And what is that with the chrome?

PER ANTONSEN, TRAINER: Well, the chrome is all the white that California Chrome got on him. You know, you got the full white legs and got the chrome, the white face.

ELAM (voice-over): The champion race horse was born here at Harris Farms, nestled in California Central Valley.

DAVE MCGLOTHLIN: California Chrome has a lot of finger prints on him. And everyone here takes pride of the fact that they got one there.

ELAM: There, being the road to the Triple Crown.

MCGLOTHLIN: Everyone who is in the horse business, one of the first questions you're asked, well, did you ever win the derby?

ELAM: That was the first hurdle, the Kentucky Derby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here is some little upstart in their minds, coming along, and just blowing everybody away.

ELAM: The staff who tended to Chrome day and night on the farm gathered to watch the derby. Folks were anxious.

As California Chrome's trainer at the farm, Per Antonsen laid the ground work for the horse's career.

ANTONSEN: I knew he had the kick going in there, it was really exciting. It brought a little tear to my eyes, that was the thrill of the lifetime.

ELAM: California Chrome went on to win the middle jewel of the crown, the Preakness, putting legendary status within reach.

(on camera): Not since 1962 had a horse from California won the Kentucky Derby. And if California Chrome goes on to win the Triple Crown, he'll be the first horse from California to do so.

But regardless, his feet have already put the spotlight on California horse horsing and breeding.

JEANNE BOWERS LEPORE, VETERINARIAN, HARRIS FARMS: It's pretty awesome. I mean, considering that I knew him when he was a pellicle.

ELAM (voice-over): Chrome's mother, Love the Chase, is lucky to be alive after she was injured while giving birth to Chrome. While doctors tended to Love the Chase, Chrome also got a lot of attention.

LEPORE: That is like a little above and beyond what the average will get.

ELAM: All of that affection may have helped Chrome in training.

ANTONSEN: The thing he did just came very naturally to him.

ELAM: And naturally, here on the farm, just about everyone believes Chrome is going to take the crown.

MCGLOTHLIN: It is amazing it is coming about the way it is. And we think there is at least one more very successful chapter to be written.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Coalinga, California.


LEMON: Very nice. Here is another C, Cooper -- Anderson Cooper starts right now.