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Karachi Airport under Siege; Sgt. Bergdahl in Good Health; Sgt. Bergdahl's Ordeal Revealed

Aired June 9, 2014 - 05:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news overnight. New information about the couple who murdered two police officers and a Wal-Mart shopper before killing themselves.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, dozens dead after Taliban terrorists storm Pakistan's busiest airport. This morning, the fighting just ending as terror leaders reveal they're attacking to get revenge on the United States. We're live this morning with the new developments.

ROMANS: Caged like an animal. New details this morning about how terrorists treated captured American Bowe Bergdahl during his five years in captivity. Live, team coverage and the very latest on that ahead.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BERMAN: Great to see you this morning. I'm John Berman. Thirty-one minutes past the hour. And this morning we do have new information about the armed couple that killed two Las Vegas police officers and an innocent bystander on Sunday before taking their own lives. They were reportedly white supremacists and police raided their apartment overnight.

Witnesses say the couple was shouting about a revolution starting when they opened fire on the officers at a pizza shop on Sunday, then they killed a woman at a nearby Wal-Mart before the female suspect shot her companion and then herself in what might have been some kind of suicide pact.


SHERIFF DOUG GILLESPIE, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have lost two officers with young families and a family of law enforcement who cares very, very much about them as well as a community that cares very, very much about them as well as the innocent citizen that lost their life. What precipitated this event we do not know. My officers were simply having lunch when the shooting started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had a backpack and I saw the gun in their hand and he just told me to tell the cops that it was a revolution and he had just killed two cops inside.


BERMAN: The murdered police officers have been identified as 41-year- old Alyn Beck and 31-year-old Igor Soldo. And our hearts go out to their families.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking news this morning, the Pakistani Taliban claiming responsibility for a bloody siege at the Karachi airport. Ten heavily armed militants storming the cargo area of Jinnah International Airport last night. Twenty-eight people dead and parts of the facility on fire. Authorities say at least two of the attackers detonated suicide vests.

We want to bring in Saima Mohsin live from Karachi this morning.

And this is troubling. This is a big international airport, and militants storming in there with a great deal of loss of life. Bring us up to speed.

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, huge concern this morning here in Karachi, Christine. This is Pakistan's largest, busiest international airport. People flying in and out from right around the world here. And a lot of passengers caught up in that late last night when the militants targeted the airport.

Now they were at the newer, bigger terminal where they fly in and out of. This was Terminal 1, set just a couple hundred meters away from the main terminal. It's an older terminal, it's used more for private jets really here, so that's probably why these terrorists targeted that area, because they perhaps thought that there would be less vigilance there, less people, of course, to stop them as they targeted it.

As they cut through the barbed wire, that's when the airport security forces, who are always there on standby, spotted them. There was a gun battle. All 10 militants were killed, two of them detonating their suicide vests and killing a number of people with them. At least 18 civilians killed in this, most of them airport staff and airport security force staff as well, Christine. But of course, a huge concern both for people traveling in and out of Karachi and for Pakistan itself.

The Taliban says that they've targeted this high-profile location out of revenge for a drone strike conducted by the United States that killed Hakimullah Mehsud, and of course just last week, the Taliban announcing all-out war against Pakistan if they didn't desist themselves from targeting militants in Waziristan, in the tribal areas -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Saima Mohsin for us this morning in Karachi at the airport. Thank you.

BERMAN: We have new information this morning about the captivity and recovery of Bowe Bergdahl. According to "The New York Times," the former POW claims he was tortured by the Taliban and kept in a locked cage for trying to escape. We'll have more on that just ahead. This morning, though, Bergdahl is

reportedly walking the halls of this hospital in Germany, said to be in surprisingly good health.

Let's get an update on his current condition. Karl Penhaul live in Landstuhl, in Germany this morning.

Good morning, Karl.

KARL PENHAUL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. We've heard in just the last few moments since we talked last, in fact, that there is here on the ground in Germany part of the medical team that will help Bowe Bergdahl transition through to the third stage of his recovery. That third stage will involve transporting Bergdahl back from Germany to San Antonio, Texas, to continue his recovery.

Now even though that team that will help him in that transition is here on the ground, according to U.S. Army spokesmen, that is not necessarily to be seen as an indication that he's about to be moved any time soon. What, in fact, happens is that every morning, the physicians and psychologists treating Bergdahl come together in a huddle and go through a checklist, and say is Bergdahl physically and mentally ready to be moved?

So far the answer is not, so there is no timeline for when he may be flown back to the United States. But we have heard over the weekend, and this by an unnamed DOD source quoted by "The New York Times," that Bergdahl looks to be in pretty good shape. He's not suffering from any serious physical problems beyond a gum problem and a skin disease, that because of the exposure that he had to the elements during his time in Afghanistan.

We're also told that he's weighing in about 160 pounds, which for a guy of 5'9" is a pretty good weight. No sign of emaciation. Also, interestingly, a Pentagon official tells us that he's calling on medical staff to refer to him as private 1st class. He doesn't want to be called sergeant, the rank to which he was promoted during his time in captivity -- John.

BERMAN: Going to be a very difficult recovery there in Landstuhl. Thanks so much, Karl. Appreciate the update.

ROMANS: More now on Bergdahl's five years in the hands of the Taliban. According to reports, Bergdahl is telling medical personnel he was tortured and beaten and locked in a cage for trying to escape from his captors.

Nic Robertson live for us this morning in Qatar, Doha. Of course, the country that helped negotiate the release of those five Taliban prisoners in exchange for Sergeant or Private 1st Class Bergdahl, as he'd like to be known.

What can you tell us, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, those five senior Taliban figures are still here in Doha. The government here has promised the United States to keep a close eye on them.

What we're hearing from a Taliban source who's had accurate information in the past on westerners held by the same Taliban faction in the Pakistan/Afghan border region, he said that after -- after initial phase of captivity, in a house that wasn't very secure, Bergdahl actually escaped and was on the run for three whole days.

Now he says the only reason that Bergdahl was captured was because the Taliban controlled the whole area, there was no way for him to get away from there. When they did get him, they put him in a much more secure location. They say, however, that they allowed him to practice his Christian faith, to celebrate Christmas and Easter. They provided him reading materials that he requested. Some of it was Islamic literature that they gave him. He stayed true to his Christian faith, however.

They say that he learned the local language, Pashto, so he could communicate with his Taliban captors. They say that he complained about his food, that the lamb smelled too much, that he wanted fruit and vegetables more often. They were giving him lamb every day apparently, so they did give him fruit and vegetables. They say that he was able to get exercise, even on occasion playing soccer with the Taliban.

Now this is information that this source has provided, but it's not clear that he knows everything about Bergdahl's time in captivity, but it paints an interesting, more detailed picture of why, perhaps, he's not as underweight as was initially feared -- Christine.

ROMANS: He was a valuable, a valuable bargaining chip for the Taliban, too. So, you have, you know, there must have been -- I can only imagine, Nic, competing interests in how to treat him and how to hold him. I mean, from the very beginning, they knew they wanted to use him as some sort of -- as some sort of a trade.

ROBERTSON: Sure, they did. And this is the Taliban's whole tactic all along. I mean, it doesn't matter if they're capturing an American soldier, a Pakistani diplomat or an Afghan official. They've done all of that now, and they always try and bargain them away for -- you know, for detainees.

What's interesting here is that the Taliban deal to get these five from Gitmo had been on the table for some time and they hadn't taken it. The Taliban are sort of trying to play this now as a success. But is it really for them such a major success? If it had been such a good deal for them, the expectation would have been that they would have gone for it some time ago -- Christine.

ROMANS: Yes, interesting. Nic Robertson for us in Doha. Thanks, Nic.

The VA is set to release more results of a nationwide audit of scheduling practices today. The VA has been under the microscope, of course, since CNN first revealed secret waiting lists, cover-ups and long treatment delays at the VA medical center in Phoenix. Dozens of veterans there died waiting for care. The House Veterans Affairs Committee is expecting updates on the investigation at a hearing tonight.

BERMAN: Relief may be on the way for some five million Americans with student loans. We are awaiting a major announcement today from the White House. The president expected to expand an alternative repayment program that would cap monthly payments for certain federal student loans at 10 percent of the borrower's discretionary income. The president also expected to back a Democratic proposal that would allow borrowers to refinance student loans.

ROMANS: Income-based repayment. If you can keep -- if you can keep your student loan bill at 10 percent of what you bring in every month, then you have the oxygen in your budget to do other things, and that's the real problem.

BERMAN: And there are requirements, too, as long as you meet your payments over time, too, that would be fair.

ROMANS: That's right. That's right.

All right. Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning. Futures are lower right now, edging back slightly from those record highs, records on Friday in stocks. Asian and European stocks also up this morning. A positive jobs report in the U.S. boosting consumer confidence, investors confidence around the globe, but it's not all good news for men.

BERMAN: It never is.

ROMANS: The labor market has gained back all the jobs lost in the recession, but men have about 700,000 fewer jobs today than they did before the downturn. Male-dominated industries like construction and manufacturing hit very hard, and they are coming back, those jobs, but much more slowly. More female-dominated industries, like education and health care, have been growing more quickly.

BERMAN: Interesting.

All right, Broadway's best in show taking center stage Sunday night at the 68th Tony Awards. Actor Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad" fame, he took home a Tony for playing former president Lyndon Baines Johnson in "All the Way," which also won Best Play. Actress Audra McDonald made Broadway history, winning a record sixth Tony for her role as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill."

Amazing. What an incredible performer she is.

And on the musical side, Neil Patrick Harris won a Tony for playing a transsexual rock star in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch." He also brought down the house with his own performance last night.

The award for Best Musical went to "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." Like the comedy and the original score of that, apparently. Forty-two minutes after the hour. Tornadoes touching down, leaving a

trail of destruction behind, but these severe storms, they are not over yet. Look at these pictures. Indra Petersons tracking who is in danger today. That's right after the break.


BERMAN: Serious severe weather in Colorado.





BERMAN: Look at that. A band of severe storms slamming Colorado with high winds, hail and tornadoes. One of those twisters touching down during a junior golf tournament. The funnel cloud flipped over an empty trailer and sent golfers running for cover.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw winds picking up. We saw the storm forming and we tried to get inside as quick as we could, but we were just caught in the middle of it.


BERMAN: Also caught in the middle of that was a caddie trapped underneath a golf cart picked up by the high winds. Wow. Luckily, he was hospitalized with only minor injuries.

What's in store for today?

Indra Petersons with a look at the forecast.

ROMANS: Good morning.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. Big change. It was gorgeous in the northeast. I think everyone is really happy.


PETERSONS: Even for a Monday, but that may change a little bit. It's going to feel like a Monday because the showers are starting to roll through into the northeast, already making kind of a soggy commute out towards New York City, even through D.C.

Notice, though, nothing in comparison to what you're still looking at into the south. Look at all of those lightning, all the instability that is still out there. Of course, we know we still have the threat for more showers in that region today. Two kind of systems, one in the northeast. That's the one that's still going to hang out for another day or so but eventually making its way offshore. All eyes are really going to be on the one in the south. Of course, a

lot more instability, but also very slow moving. So, day after day, you're still going to be talking about heavy rain in the same region. So with that, we have another threat for severe weather again today. Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas especially, always thinking about those airport hubs, and then back in through San Antonio. Even the threat for isolated tornadoes will still be out there, but there's that heavy rain and flooding concern we were talking about.

Temperature-wise, just keep in mind, a little bit milder. That's the good side of this. And a cold front into the upper Midwest. Still nice and warm into the northeast.

ROMANS: Great. All right.

BERMAN: Warm but very, very wet.


ROMANS: Thank you. Thanks, Indra.

Let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY." Chris Cuomo joins us this bright and shiny Monday morning.

Hi, there.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Hello, my friends. I hope your weekends were welcoming. So we've got a lot of news for you this morning. We're learning new details, really troubling. Have you heard about the reporting coming out about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's time in captivity? Officials tell CNN he was abused, locked in a cage after he tried to escape and still considers himself a private, not a sergeant.

We're going to have the latest on his recovery and talk with a family friend to find out how the Bergdahls are handling all of the controversy that's surrounding this situation.

Also, controversy at the Triple Crown. California Chrome came in fourth at the Belmont Stakes, got really bunched up there at the end. But what a moment in history it could have been.

Now he lost to three better rested horses. Why am I saying it so deliberately? Because his owner called their owners cowards for not running them in all three races. So is this much ado about nothing? Is it sour grapes? Or is this legit and is it really hard to win the Triple Crown because these other races, you know, the horses running, are they really fresher? Does it matter?

We're going to debate it today. We've got one of Chrome's trainers on to give us his perspective there, JB and Christine.

BERMAN: California Chrome asking for the rules to be changed again for that horse.

CUOMO: Yes. BERMAN: As if they haven't done enough already to accommodate the

Triple Crown there.

BERMAN: Wow. So California Chrome, when he was about to win it, JB's a big buyer. Now you're selling. Under the bus.


BERMAN: No, no, no. They keep changing the rules. I don't like to see people complain after the fact there. That was a little low-class to me.

CUOMO: Sounds a little bit. At least they didn't cheat. At least they weren't videotaping other horses on the build-up to the race.



BERMAN: Yes. All right, all right, Mr. Cuomo.


CUOMO: The Patriots.

BERMAN: I will let you mull this over with Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi for the next few minutes. Enjoy it.

CUOMO: Big Papi.

BERMAN: All right.

ROMANS: Hillary Clinton opening up on the health scare that some claim left her brain damaged and unfit for the White House. We've got that next.


BERMAN: All right, welcome back, everyone. Hillary Clinton is responding to questions about her health directly, one day before her new memoir hits the book store shelves, although you've probably read every single excerpt there is already.

We have an inside look. The former secretary of state opening up about her relationship with President Obama and her regret over voting in favor of U.S. military action in Iraq. In a new interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Mrs. Clinton talks about her recovery from that blood clot and concussion that she suffered during a fall nearly two years ago.


DIANE SAWYER, ABS NEWS: How serious was it?

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: It was -- you know, it was I think a serious concussion. SAWYER: The clot in addition.


SAWYER: If the clot had dislodged?

CLINTON: Well, can I tell you, that's what -- that was a scary point.

SAWYER: You had trouble with vision.

CLINTON: Because of the force of the fall, I had some -- I had double vision for a short period of time and I had some dizziness.

SAWYER: So no lingering effects?

CLINTON: No lingering effects.

SAWYER: Of any kind?



BERMAN: Secretary Clinton says if she does run for president in 2016, you know, she's thinking about it, don't know if you heard that either. She said if she runs, she will release all of her medical records.

ROMANS: All right, this morning Apple making some big price cuts.

BERMAN: Oh, really?

ROMANS: And it's not what you think. I'll explain next.


ROMANS: Let's get an EARLY START on your Monday money. Futures are slightly lower right now, but remember, the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs Friday. Very good news for your 401(k).

Asian stocks closed higher this morning. Positive reports out of China and Japan. European stocks are up as well.

Investors confidence around the globe is growing and the CNN Money fear and greed index shows extreme greed is driving the market, but that confidence can sometimes be a red flag. Stocks have been climbing for more than five years now. Investors may be too confident? We'll see.

Apple's stock is a lot cheaper this morning. The company's doing a stock split. One share of Apple once cost 650 bucks on Friday.


ROMANS: Now you can buy one share for $92, right? So do you buy at the new price? Apple is the most valuable company in the world. Shares have been climbing all this year, really close to an all-time high for Apple stock. Experts say the stock is cheap, and now it's more affordable. A lot of people, individual investors couldn't really buy it at 650 bucks. At $92, you can.

BERMAN: I always thinking of Lieutenant Dan from "Forrest Gump" who bought stock for Forrest, in Apple, invested some of the money from Bubba Gump Shrimp. They have a lot of shares now. Wow.

ROMANS: They do. Seven more than they did on Friday.

BERMAN: Congratulations to them.

"NEW DAY" starts right now.


SHERIFF DOUG GILLESPIE, LAS VEGAS METRO POLICE DEPARTMENT: What precipitated this event, we do not know.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Shoot-out. A married couple guns down two cops as they eat lunch, then open fire at a Wal-Mart. One shopper is dead. We have new details on the twisted ideology that set them off.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking overnight, a massive attack on an international airport in Pakistan. The battle waged for hours. Dozens killed and the Taliban now taking responsibility. How close did they get to passenger airlines?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Under threat, the family of Bowe Bergdahl now receiving death threats.