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Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan; Karachi Airports Under Siege; Couple Executes Las Vegas Cops; Bowe Bergdahl Backlash; Hillary Clinton for 2016?

Aired June 10, 2014 - 05:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It's Tuesday, June 10th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

BERMAN: And up first, we do have breaking news.

Five U.S. service members killed overnight in Afghanistan. This happened in the southern Zabul province. An Afghan national army soldier was also killed. Not exactly clear what happened yet, but these fatalities mark the deadliest day for allied forces in Afghanistan since April. We'll have more on this breaking story throughout the morning.

ROMANS: And more breaking news out of Pakistan. Another attack under way right now at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport. Five members of airport security have reportedly been killed. The attack coming just two days after another siege at the same airport claimed more than 30 lives. The Pakistani Taliban taking responsibility.

Saima Mohsin joining us now on the phone from the airport in Karachi.

Saima, explain to us, this is still an active scene, isn't it?

SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): It is, Christine. This is very much under way right now. We've seen sirens blaring, rushing past us, both paramilitary troops, the rangers here in Karachi in Pakistan. We've seen the police.

We've seen dozens of vehicles and ambulances. We counted at least 30 ambulances coming through. They were rushing towards the airport security force academy, which is right next to Karachi airport. They are the very people, the force that first confronted those ten militants that attacked Karachi airport at terminal 1, an older terminal, overnight Sunday here in Karachi. They themselves may well be now under attack.

Now, I must emphasize, Christine, we haven't been able to verify exactly what is happening there. We don't know how many attackers there are or what kind of attack this is. All we know, Christine, is we were actually filming, me and my team, my producer and cameraman, were actually close to the runway, filming the damage of the attack on Sunday night.

We were given access by the airport manager. He was with us when we heard an alarm sound. We were told to rush to safety. Another attack was under way nearby. At that point, we thought it was the airport itself. We then heard that it was the airport security force that was under attack.

We are still working to confirm what exactly is happening there -- Christine.

ROMANS: Now, remind us, Sunday's attack was apparently retribution for a U.S. drone attack. Explain to us what is the motivation, you think, behind the attackers?

MOHSIN: Yes, this is one of the few reasons that we're given by the Taliban. The Pakistan Taliban released a statement saying this was a revenge attack for the drone strike that killed their former leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, back in 2013, November, last year.

They also said this was a warning to the Pakistani government and military to say back off, stop attacking us, stop targeting our militant hideouts, stop carrying out operations against us. Otherwise, you will see more bloodshed like this. And we did get notification that the Taliban was distributing pamphlets last week saying that they would declare all out war on June 10th -- that is today -- on June 10th against the Pakistan state, should they not stop targeting them.

Early morning, when I woke up, we confirmed here on CNN that they had carried on their air strikes against militant hideouts in the mountainous terrain in the Tirah Valley, that between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that mountainous area that the Taliban, both Afghan and Pakistan Taliban use to their advantage to hide out in because of the nature of the mountains and the caves there, Christine.

So, the Pakistan government hasn't stopped targeting them. The military is still targeting them, and now, we're seeing heightened states of alert here as we think there may well be another attack under way -- Christine.

ROMANS: Saima Mohsin, please stay safe. Stay safe with your team and we will check in with you again.

Again, that attack under way right now at the Karachi airport.

New details this morning about the husband-and-wife team that slaughtered two Las Vegas police officers and a Wal-Mart shopper who tried to stop their rampage, they've been identified as Jerad and Amanda Miller. Investigators uncovering a social media footprint of antigovernment rants, among them a chilling warning that a sacrifice was about to be made.

Let's get the latest this morning from CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're learning disturbing details about the crime as well as the people behind it. Police identified the shooters as a married couple, Jerad and Amanda Miller. Jared Miller on social media expressed a number of antigovernment leanings, and he expressed that to many of his neighbors, one of whom says she saw them just hours before the shootings began.

KELLEY FIELDER, NEIGHBOR/FRIEND: I got five deaths on my shoulders. I should have called the cops.

It was yesterday morning, 5:45 in the morning, and he said that the revolution begun. He says, I've got to do what I've got to do.

They had, I mean, a cart just full of ammunition, ammunition, guns, everything.

LAH: Were they carrying them? Can you describe what they were doing?

FIELDER: They were carrying them because they said they were going under ground.

LAH: Where they went instead, CiCi's pizza and killed officers Igor Soldo and Alyn Beck. Police say they draped an American Revolution flag and a swastika on the officers' bodies. Then they headed across the street to Wal-Mart.

A Good Samaritan, Joseph Wilcox, was shopping there. He tried to stop them using his concealed weapon, but he was killed.

The rampage ended when they exchanged gunfire with responding officers. The wife wounded and cornered turned the gun on her husband, killing him and then turned it on herself.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Las Vegas.


ROMANS: The Millers moved to Las Vegas from Lafayette, Indiana.

A close friend of Amanda Miller says her husband, Jerad, was always talking about the government keeping tabs on him. She was stunned to learn her best friend, Amanda, was even involved in the bloody ambush.


JESSICA BERNARD, SUSPECT'S FRIEND: The only thing I can think of is saying that -- she kept saying something about the government, like, watching their every move. I was a little skeptical of Jerad when I first met him, but I was there for her because I knew she loved him, and I tried to see through everything.


ROMANS: The father of Amanda Miller says he begged his daughter not to marry Jerad and not to move to Las Vegas. Once she left, he says Jerad kept shutting off her phone, isolating her from her family.

BERMAN: The White House still dealing with the fallout from the Bowe Bergdahl situation. At a House briefing last night, lawmakers were told as many as 90 members of the Obama administration knew about the deal to free Bowe Bergdahl while Congress was left in the dark and that the final decision to move forward with the prisoner exchange, now they're being told it did not come from the president.

So, that came as a shock to the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.


REP. BUCK MCKEON (R), CALIFORNIA: That was the last question asked, and the answer was Secretary Hagel, which kind of surprised me, because I did see the president out there with the Bergdahls, sounded like he was taking full credit for the operation. And now, they're saying that Secretary Hagel made the decision. Probably parsing of words or probably, maybe now that there's a little pushback or, I don't know. I don't know who's in charge or who's making the decisions.

It did seem to me that it was the president, and that was the emphasis up until this briefing. And now they're saying Secretary Hagel.


BERMAN: All right. Now, I want to show you a new "USA Today" poll. A majority of Americans, 43 percent to 34 percent, say that President Obama was wrong for approving the prisoner swap, 23 percent say they're not sure. In a survey of just veterans, 68 percent said the president made a mistake. Only 16 percent say they think he did the right thing.

Since his release, Bowe Bergdahl still has not spoken to his family. Doctors say he's in stable condition but he's not ready to travel back to the United States just yet.

Karl Penhaul is tracking the recovery live from Landstuhl, Germany, this morning.

Karl, what's the latest?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the Pentagon really is now trying to control the information flow about Bowe Bergdahl's recovery, and for that reason, medics here at the hospital in Landstuhl are no longer being authorized to update us about Bergdahl's condition.

But we did hear overnight from a Pentagon spokesman in Washington that he said Bergdahl continued to improve every day. Well, essentially, we already knew that from a statement put out before the weekend. That spokesman also said that Bergdahl so far has not had any contact with his family, although we know he is authorized to do that at any time he chooses. Now, we do also know that every morning, Bergdahl's physicians and his

psychologists come together in a huddle to decide whether Bergdahl is fit enough to be transported back to the United States to continue the recovery process in San Antonio, Texas. So far, they haven't taken that decision, and you really have to ask yourself the question whether there's also a political factor there, whether the Pentagon may be trying to wait for the political firestorm over the circumstances of Bergdahl's release to die down a little before they decide to transfer him.

Just to give you an idea, on average, we're told that wounded American soldiers who come through Landstuhl as in-patients usually spend an average of between three to five days here before they're transferred back to the United States. Bergdahl has now spent double that amount and still no word on when he'll be transferred -- John.

BERMAN: That's interesting, Karl.

Just, any sense of urgency? Is there any real need to move it along more quickly, or will they let it take the time that it needs?

PENHAUL: It is very difficult to get any sense of that at all, because like I say, the last updates that we had here on the ground in Landstuhl about Bergdahl's condition was on Friday. Since then, the Pentagon seems to have clamped down on this information flow.

But certainly, on a medical and on a psychological front, what the medics have said is, no, take this slowly. This is a process that could take minutes or days. It could even take years. And we don't need to hurry things now.

And another interesting detail that's come out from the Pentagon as well overnight is that Bergdahl may be owed up to $200,000 in back pay. But so far, no decision has been taken to pay him that money, pending the judicial review on why he fell into Taliban hands, John.

BERMAN: Two hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, an interesting development.

Karl Penhaul at Landstuhl. Thanks so much, Karl.

ROMANS: Happening today, the House taking up a bill to get faster help to veterans on V.A. wait lists. It would allow them to seek care outside the V.A. system. It comes on the heels of a scathing report from the agency's inspector general. That report found more than 57,000 veterans waiting 90 days or longer for their first appointments, another 64,000 never even got appointments.


PHILIP MATKOVSKY, DEPT. OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Secretary Shinseki and acting Secretary Gibson have stated that we now know that within some of our health care facilities, there are systemic and totally unacceptable lack of integrity. This is a breach of trust. It is irresponsible. It is indefensible and it is unacceptable.

I apologize to our veterans, their families and their loved ones.


ROMANS: According to the inspector general's report -- about one in seven V.A. schedulers said they were told to manipulate files. One in seven told to manipulate files to make wait times for patients appear shorter.

Time for an EARLY START on your money this morning.

Markets around the world pulling back. European stocks mixed after reaching record highs yesterday. Investors waiting for economic reports later this morning. Asian stocks ended their day mixed.

Futures down right now in the U.S. stocks edging back from a record day yesterday. The Dow and the S&P both closed at highs.

Apple shares are up in premarket trading right now. Today will be the second day of trading after the company's 7-for-1 stock split. The price of one share went from almost 650 bucks to $92, and investors are loving it. Shares climbed almost 62 percent yesterday. So, if Apple was out of your price range before, now could be the time to buy, if you think you like the story about its products and its future.

BERMAN: Someone's making some money.

All right. Breaking overnight, according to Donald Sterling, at least, the deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers is off, or at least that's what he would like to see. Multiple media reports say that Sterling is withdrawing his consent of the sale of the team and going ahead with a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA.

Now, Sterling had consented to the sale of the Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion. The move comes after the league refused to rescind Sterling's lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine for his racist comments. His suit alleges his rights were violated by an illegal recording of his racist comments.

But here's the thing. Now, if you read "The New York Times" this morning, there's a fascinating article -- Donald Sterling might not have to consent to the sale at all. There may have been something within the trust that allowed that if there was a cognitive impairment by one in those couple, Donald or his wife, Shelly Sterling, ownership would go to the other person.

Now, Shelly Sterling could move ahead without his consent. That's very key, but the legal wrangling only just beginning.

ROMANS: I would say there are some attorneys making some serious cash on this whole story, every day.

BERMAN: Indeed.

ROMANS: All right. Hillary Clinton on the record about the terror attack in Benghazi that left four Americans dead. What she says went wrong and why the tragedy could influence whether she will run for president.

BERMAN: And severe storms set to hit millions across the country. Indra Petersons tracking the threat today. She's smiling, but the threat severe. That's right after the break.


BERMAN: All right. Hillary Clinton's new memoir "Hard Choices" finally hits the store shelves today. After you've read every excerpt there already is, as the former secretary of state continues to drop hints about whether or not she will run in the 2016 presidential race. In a new interview, Mrs. Clinton says the criticism over her role in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi gives her more of a reason to run for president.

And while the secretary takes responsibility for the incident, she insists she was not making security decisions.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: What I did was give very direct instructions that the people who have the expertise and experience in security --

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: But you personal --

CLINTON: That is personal, though, Diane. I am not equipped to sit and look at blueprints to determine where the blast walls need to be or where the reinforcements need to be. That's why we hire people who have that expertise. I take responsibility, but I was not making security decisions.

I think it would be a mistake for a secretary of state to sit and say, OK, let's go through all 270 posts and let me decide what should be done. That to me is inappropriate, where the experience and the expertise lies elsewhere.


BERMAN: The former secretary of state has not said whether she will testify before the new congressional select committee investigating the Benghazi attack.

ROMANS: Millions of Americans from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio Valley facing the threat of severe thunderstorms and more flooding today. On Monday, powerful storms kept emergency responders in Newark, New Jersey, very busy. Heavy rains triggering flash floods, forcing car rescues and evacuations all over Newark. A woman and her five children were pulled from their car when it became stuck in rising waters below an overpass.

Officials tell us, thankfully, there were no serious injuries.

BERMAN: That's lucky.

Indra Petersons has a look at today's forecast -- Indra. INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Looks like we're talking about

rain for days after days. I want to give a little perspective here. Let's talk about how much rain they've seen in just seven days. Notice places like Jackson, they've had nine inches of rain.


PETERSONS: That's double the amount they see in a month in just one week. You're also talking about Jonesboro, about four inches, more than they typically see in a month, and, of course, there, too, in just a week.

What are we looking at? Still more rain, flooding concerns very high day after day. Here's today. Taking you through Wednesday, same thing. Even Thursday, all the way into the Northeast, still talking about this same low producing these scattered showers across the area.

Now, I want to show it to you in a little different way. Keep in mind, around a low, we have a low right here. You can see everything goes counterclockwise, right?

You pull all the moisture out of the gulf, you have high pressure over here. Same thing, pulling all this moisture out of the gulf.

Why do you care? That means there's a lot of moisture coming out of the gulf. May be seeing it's tough to sleep, hot and sticky out there? Yes.

Take a look at these humidity numbers. OK, overnight, 70 percent, 80 percent humidity, that's typical, but when you go towards the high in the afternoon and you're still talking about 70 percent humidity, it is hot and sticky. You add that to these warm temperatures that are already in the 80s and 90s, and that is the story we are living, friends.

BERMAN: But you make it sound so pleasant.

PETERSONS: Totally, with a big smile, that's what you love.

ROMANS: Because it's not January. And remember what it was like January?

PETERSONS: I never complain about heat, never complain about heat.

ROMANS: I am not complaining at all this summer, Indra. Mark my words. Thanks.

Coming up, game three of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers hoping to rebound on home ice. The Kings looking to break out the brooms! Andy Scholes has the details in this morning's "Bleacher Report," next.


BERMAN: If you're a New York Rangers fan, you have had better days than this. Things not looking good, time running out in the Stanley Cup Final.

Just to give you a sense of the score, you're down 0-3 right now. Andy Scholes here with the "Bleacher Report."

ROMANS: Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, guys.

You know, New York fans have been waiting 20 years to get back to the Stanley Cup Final, but if the Rangers don't figure something out very soon, this may be a very quick series. Now, Madison Square Garden was rocking for game three last night, but the air was let out of the building in the first period. Time winding down, Jeff Carter scores with just one second left on the clock, and that one goal was all Kings goalie Jonathan Quick needs. He made some amazing saves on his way to a shutout.

Kings win 3-0 to take a 3-0 lead in the series. Only one team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup Final. That was the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs. So, history not on the Rangers' side.

All right. Johnny Football may have some competition in Cleveland. How about Lonnie Baseball? The Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall had a night to remember against the Rangers, hitting not one, not two, but three home runs in a 17-6 route in Arlington. He's the first player to go deep three times and knock in nine runs since A-rod did it back in 2005. The nine RBIs also tie an Indians franchise record.

Six-time gold medalist Amy Van Dyken is now recovering after a tragic ATV accident over the weekend. Van Dyken was thrown from an ATV, severing her spine. She could not feel her legs as she was air-lifted to a nearby hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona. After waking from surgery, her family says she's acting like her typical, spunky, boisterous self. Van Dyken is the first U.S. woman to win four gold medals at one Olympics, doing so back in 1996. She won two more in 2000. We certainly wish her well in her recovery.

All right. Trending on this morning, reports that Derek Fisher is retiring as a player in order to team up with Phil Jackson and coach the New York Knickerbockers. A five-time champ as a player, all those coming with the Lakers and Jackson. The Knicks are holding a presser today for a, quote, "major announcement," where they are expected to confirm the hire.

And, of course, guys, NBA finals, game three in Miami tonight. They call this the pivotal game three. Spurs and Heat tied at one game apiece. Tip-off at 9:00 Eastern. It should be another good one.

BERMAN: The Derek Fisher thing, it will be interesting to see whether he can return the Knicks to the greatness that they never really enjoyed except for like five minutes in the '70s before everyone was born, but we'll see.

SCHOLES: I guess that's the new trend, though. You retire and the next year you're a head coach, just like Jason Kidd. Two years in a row we've seen this happen. BERMAN: Good point, good point.

ROMANS: Andy Scholes, thanks so much.

I don't know how you guys are awake these days. All this sports action.

BERMAN: A lot of sports going on. World Cup begins in two days also. Then there will be no sleep.

ROMANS: All right. Five U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan. We have breaking news on that after the break.