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Missing Michigan Boy Found in Basement; George Man Who Left Child in Car Charged with Murder; U.S. on Same Side of Iran, Syria in Iraq; Are IRS Emails Really Missing; Nichelle Nichols Talks "Star Trek" Historical Kiss

Aired June 26, 2014 - 11:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: The hunt for a missing Michigan boy came to a bizarre conclusion last night. This 12-year-old boy had been gone, disappeared for 11 days. HLN anchor, Nancy Grace, had his father on live TV. They were doing an interview about this child being missing, and told him that his son, live on the air, had been found in his very own basement. Watch this.


NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST, NANCY GRACE: We're getting reports that your son has been found in your basement. Sir? Mr. Bothuel, are you --


GRACE: Yeah. We are getting reports that your son has been found alive in your basement?


GRACE: Yes. That's -- if you can hand me that wire very quickly. We're getting that right now. From -- from, yeah. How could your son be alive in your basement?

BOTHUEL: Oh. I -- I have no idea.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Raising so many questions, to say the least. The father went on to say the FBI, police cadaver dogs had searched the house and not found the son. Police say the boy was not shocked or scared when he was found. And he appeared to have arrived recently.

Let's talk about this. We'll bring in "Legal View" anchor, Ashleigh Banfield.

Ashleigh --


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR, LEGAL VIEW: Hi, guys. BERMAN: This reads like a ton of questions. How could a kid be in

the basement after an 11 day search?

BANFIELD: So the first question that came to my mind was not that. Why did the police need a warrant? This is a missing child. You would think the parents would say come in.

PEREIRA: Please look wherever. Help us.

BANFIELD: Help us clear this house. Help us. Apparently, they had been there before. Dogs had been there before. So I am very curious. I'm not going to say suspicious. Curious as to why they would need to execute a warrant on this house. Makes me think the police became suspicious long before this interview, which was, by the way, remarkable with Nancy Grace.

PEREIRA: A couple things intriguing in this case. The child had run away before, but again --




BANFIELD: Every kid does. As far as the back fence. But we can't read --


PEREIRA: So we can't read into anything. But this child was missing for 11 days. Another thing, a split family here. What other circumstances do we know? He had been down there. But there was food and other things found?

BANFIELD: Fresh chicken apparently. There was cereal and milk. Apparently, the child was very hungry. I think in a defense capacity every time I hear allegations, because that's what makes America great. That's what we do. We give people the benefit of the doubt. Finding all sorts of ways to find good benefits and doubts here. It's tricky. I can see a ripe field, but what the investigators are doing right now, they are interviewing everyone within the vicinity of earshot, interviewing that spouse, anyone who came to that home.

PEREIRA: And that little boy. Lots of questions for him too.


BANFIELD: He's 12. He can articulate a lot of information. He will be a wealth. Hopefully, we'll get that soon. The more this is speculative the more it's troublesome.

BERMAN: Another case everyone is talking about, the toddler in Georgia, the kid left in his car, the father being charged with murder. I want you to take a listen to what our legal analyst, Sonny Hostin, had to say about this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I left my daughter, when she was 14 months old, in the back of our car. And I was with my husband, and it was a hot July day. Literally, Anderson, my husband left her in the car, I left her in the car.


BERMAN: So is this a case of "this happens," parents sometimes leave toddlers in cars? When does it go from casual parenting to murder?

BANFIELD: There but for the grace of god go I, you, every frenzied parent. You have a Blackberry phone, iPhone.


PEREIRA: Sleep deprived.

BANFIELD: Within one minute, we can forget where we were headed to get the keys upstairs. There's the benefit of the doubt I'm going to give this man. What the police are doing now, there is an intensive forensic search going on through all aspects of that man's life, and his wife's life.

PEREIRA: Was there intent?

BANFIELD: Anything. Those hard drives in that house will be scoured within the end of the week. I guarantee you they're already out of that house. That's the way this works. The police move in fast, seriously, often times without the knowledge of the homeowners at the point as to what is going to happen with their -- what they think are private materials. I guarantee there are warrants that have searched that the computer forensic labs are going over. To my knowledge, the wife has not spoken, publicly.

PEREIRA: That is curious.

BANFIELD: I will guarantee you, for the sake of these two people, they should have good attorneys and exercise their right to remain silent.

PEREIRA: We're grateful you would stick around and do this. You have your own show to prepare for, "Legal View" with Ashleigh starts at the top of the hour.


PEREIRA: We like to gang up.


BANFIELD: He's my next-door neighbor and it's already --


BERMAN: Coming up next, Syria, Iran and the United States, friends, enemies, on the same side against terror? What's going on here?

Plus --

PEREIRA: Dams, airports and oil refineries all targeted by ISIS militants. What is their strategy? Do we know? That's ahead @THISHOUR.


BERMAN: The crisis in Iraq creating bizarre situations for the Obama administration. We're seeing the U.S. on the same side sort of with Syria and Iran in the fight against Islamic militants.

This is the latest. An American official tells CNN that Iran is now flying surveillance drones over Iraq. Not known where they're being launched from but the Pentagon confirmed a week ago the U.S. has been flying manned and unmanned surveillance planes of its own over Iraq. Plus, both Iran and the U.S. are now providing Iraq's military with advisors, equipment and other supplies.

PEREIRA: Then, there is the Syrian involvement. Iraq's military denies that it was Syrian war planes that hit several towns in Anbar Province controlled by ISIS militants now. But local officials and residents used scopes and other high-tech equipment to see details on those war planes and insist the fighter jets were from Syria. Those air strikes killed close to 60 civilians.

Want to bring in our military analyst, retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, a former liaison officer to the U.S. office in Baghdad.

Colonel, really good to have you here.

It's interesting. You look at all of this, you look at the line, if you will, it's Iran, Syria, the United States, Iraq, versus ISIS, AKA the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Not officially on the same team. It's about the short-term goal. Should they, are they looking at the long-term effect?

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this is truly bizarre lineup of people on one side of the border, we're doing the same thing with the Syrians want to do, on the other side of the border we're supporting elements to overthrow the same government. There's no doubt these were Syrian war planes that struck inside of Iraq. They're the only ones that has those kinds of fighter aircraft. It had to be them. Here's what you've got. You've got American fighters, armed reconnaissance aircraft over Iraq, air got Syrian aircraft incursion into Iraq, and now Iranian drones in that same air space. This is a battle manager's nightmare. Three countries not coordinating with each other. Will there be coordination? I doubt it. It will be more along the lines we're going to declare this our air space, stay out of it.

BERMAN: You know firsthand about this? You are a pilot. You have flown many a missions.

FRANCONA: I'm an intelligence guy. BERMAN: So what goes on when these pilots and the planners are

thinking there could be Iranian drones and planes.

FRANCONA: You set up rules of engagement. You're going to be up there. There may be an opportunity to run into a Syrian fighter. We don't know what their intentions are going to be. You have to err on the side of caution. And, of course, you're going to have young men and women in close proximity in very lethal equipment. It's just a situation fraught with danger. We have to proceed very, very cautiously. If the Syrians are going to continue to conduct these air strikes, we have to make sure that we're not getting mixed up in that. The problem with the Syrians doing this is that they're not really concerned about collateral damage and they're trying to keep that border open. That border is very important to Baghdad and Damascus. And ISIS has really effectively closed that entire border and they're trying to keep it open, with not much success.

PEREIRA: At this point, air strikes are not on the table. You were telling us before that one of the reasons was that you want to get some people on the ground when you get that on the ground contact and intelligence, you're better able to make precise targets for those air strikes. Are we even close to that?


PEREIRA: Is this a possibility then?

FRANCONA: It's even worse than when we had spoken before. Now we're getting conflicting reports from the Iraqis and Syrians about what's going on. And from ISIS itself. ISIS says we're in control of this. The Iraqis say no, we're not. We're in charge of that. We don't know. So before you even launch an air strike on a facility you need to know who's in charge of it so you don't have friendly fire incidents. That's going to take U.S. advisors on the ground. We simply cannot trust what the Iraqis are telling us. That's sad because they're technically our allies here.

BERMAN: Gets to a much, much bigger problem.

Colonel Francona, great to have you hear with us. Really appreciate your time.

Coming up for us, emails disappearing, but gone forever? The IRS keeps saying it lost emails connected to the political targeting scandal, but is it possible these days to actually lose emails for good? We're going to ask our tech expert ahead.

PEREIRA: Also, pushing ahead to our series with the '60s, we have a neat opportunity today. We're going to speak with "Star Trek" actress, Nichelle Nichols. She's here with us and we'll talk to her live coming up.


BERMAN: Some new details on the political targeting scandal that rocked the IRS. Republicans say emails show Lois Lerner, who ran the division, suggested the agency should audit Republican Senator Chuck Grassley.

PEREIRA: She suggested this after both she and Grassley were invited to speak at a seminar. She found out the organizers were offering to pay for Grassley's wife to travel to the event.

BERMAN: Did not audit the Senator.

The new allegations pumps up the interest in Lois Lerner's missing emails even more. The IRS says a hard drive crash and some other issues left a lot of those emails missing and irretrievable from 2011.

PEREIRA: Republicans say that timing looks awfully suspicious. The emails were lost just 10 days or so after Representative David Camp sent a letter asking whether conservative groups were being targeted.

Oh, we need to bring in our technology analyst, Brett Larson, my former Tech TV colleague.

I want you to geek out with me a little bit.


PEREIRA: The IRS is claiming that these emails were lost or irretrievable due to a hard drive crash or something.

LARSON: Right.

PEREIRA: You and I both know and, John, you know this as well, that email is the most used computer program around. Also not stored on hard drives, it's on servers.

LARSON: Right. And have hard drives, usually multiple hard drives, are backed up. There is usually --


PEREIRA: And there's redundancies.

LARSON: Right. Any corporation will have a back-up strategy, have an I.T. department takes of this. Hard drives will crash in their lifetime. They're going to die the second you pull it out of the box or die in three five years. These are devices that spinning, 70 to 100 time a minute. So at some point, it's going to give out. But when they do, there's data recovery services, there's back-ups and back-up strategies. And, Michaela, email lives on. It goes to -- if it's sent from someone it's on their computer in their out-box, goes through their mail server, and then goes through your mail server where it then goes to your in-box. That's at least four places.

PEREIRA: Even if her hard drive crashed, there would be other places where emails would be found.

LARSON: Absolutely. You could go to person she sent an email to or anyone she received an email from, and you should able to retrieve it and be able to get the whole thing. The other thing I find suspicious and begs the question, when is the government doing with technology that a hard drive crash loses like five years of email. We have phones, tablets, desk tops, web-based emails. That's four different places where you could have an email saved because it was served there. It's very suspicious.

BERMAN: They have found some of the emails based on who they were sent to. That's what they've done. They've collected some 24,000 of them, not all of them. And they say there was a back-up but it was on tape. And those tapes that were backed up were recycled every six months.

LARSON: Right, for cost reasons. Tape back-up is somewhat popular because you can get a lot of data on a tape. A tape can hold several terabytes worth of data. Again, the hard drive, you can get this for $50 at Amazon and it's going to hold three terabytes of data. That's like all eight Harry Potter movies 25 times.


That's how much data is going to fit on this $100 thing. If the IRS is having a problem with money and they are reusing tapes, I get it. You'd probably have a strategy where you'd have a back-up A and back- up B and you'd run a whole set of tapes for a year. You'd have a weekly, a monthly, a yearly back-up.

PEREIRA: Yeah, a weekly, a monthly and a yearly, and you'd keep those for awhile and then -- but you'd still have a tape back-up. That's what I don't understand.

LARSON: Right. To say that the tape back-ups were recycled, well, was her computer not backed up for the past six years? If my computer was backed up yesterday, and my hard drive crashed and the back-up was from yesterday, I'm going to be right back where I started from because it's all backed up.


PEREIRA: Thank you for indulging us, John Berman.

BERMAN: Thank you.

PEREIRA: Brett Larson, we appreciate it. Have fun in Atlanta.

LARSON: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up, they only went where TV had not gone before. We're talking to the woman who kissed Captain Kirk on TV. It was an historic moment during an historic movement. Nichelle Nichols joins us. We're very lucky to have here. That's right after the break.


PEREIRA: It's thursday, right? That means CNN original series "The Sixties" is back tonight with the Freedom Fighters, the men and women who never fired a single shot but blazed the trail for civil rights.

BERMAN: And one woman blazed the trail with a much different way, with a kiss on television.


BERMAN: It is shocking to think how ground breaking that was. That was Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner, and Nichelle Nichols. Their kiss on "Star Trek" is considered to be the first interracial kiss in the history of American television, and it happened in 1968, which was a key year in the civil rights movement here in the United States.

PEREIRA: It's such a delight to welcome to @THISHOUR, Nichelle Nichols from Los Angeles, looking as beautiful, regal and elegant as ever.

What a delight to speak with you, Ms. Nichols.


PEREIRA: I have to ask you. Can you believe that we're still talking, almost 45 years later, about one moment on the TV?

NICHOLS: Yes, and it changed television for ever and it also changed the way people looked at one another. If two of their favorite actors can battle through it and come through it on top, why can't everybody?

BERMAN: It wasn't just the kiss. It was the character, the idea of the lieutenant, who was much a part of the Enterprise as anyone else, on equal footing. It was a ground-breaking character that you played.

NICHOLS: Yes, it was. And the fact that they made it a communications officer I thought was very thoughtful in Gene Roddenberry's mind, but he had a great thought about what the future was going to be as far as men and women and the races. And I had a great admiration for him.

PEREIRA: I wonder if you'll share a story with us. I understand that you at one point had thought about leaving the program and one very special and influential person helped you change your mind. Who was that?

NICHOLS: He didn't help to change it. He ordered me. That was Dr. Martin Luther King. I was so happy to have met him, to be meeting him, and so I thought I would tell him some of the things that was happening because he said this was one of his favorite shows. And so I was telling him what I was doing and why, and he got to one point and he said, no, don't change that. That has to go on. That has to go on. Leave it and do it as you would, as any person would do it in a situation such as this. And so it cleared for me in what I was doing in the first racial kiss on television because I had no idea that that was so. And it was he who apprised me of that fact. So I took another feeling -- aspect in my mind into doing that because I was really very nervous about it. And I talked with the producer and realized that this was exactly what he had in mind.

BERMAN: Well, you are a pioneer. It was a pioneering show. But more importantly, it's how the country changed that is so important. Nichelle Nichols, thank you so much for being with us.

NICHOLS: It's been a pleasure.


BERMAN: "The Sixties" airs tonight on CNN at 9:00 eastern. Please watch or set your DVR.

PEREIRA: I think we end with that, don't you think, John?

BERMAN: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: That's it for us @THISHOUR. I'm Michaela Pereira.

BERMAN: I'm John Berman.

"LEGAL VIEW" with Ashleigh Banfield