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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Hurricane Threatens East Coast for Fourth of July; AQAP Developing Undetectable Bomb; Kidnapped Israeli Teenagers Found Dead; Amanda Knox Boyfriend Distances Himself From Her; Team USA to Take on Belgium Today; Obama to Take on Immigration Without Congress; Israeli Mourns Three Dead Teens; 300-Plus More U.S. Troops Deployed to Iraq
Aired July 1, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CO-ANCHOR: The East Coast could be facing a hurricane just in time for fourth of July. A new weather advisory has just been issue. We may have a tropical storm as early as today named Arthur.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN CO-ANCHOR: And a new security threat at airports. Officials think an al Qaeda affiliate could be designing undetectable bombs.
So how can we protect ourselves against something we can't see?
Hey there, everyone, I'm John Berman.
PEREIRA: And I'm Michaela Pereira, and let's get to it.
We want to start with looking at this storm threat that is off the East Coast. It could very well become a hurricane by the Fourth of July.
BERMAN: Chad Myers joins us now from the CNN Weather Center, and, Chad, just seconds ago, we got a new advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
How big is this storm, and where's it going?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's 40 miles per hour right now. That means it is now Tropical Storm Arthur. It was Tropical Depression Number One for a while.
The storm, to the northeast of Miami right about there, making onshore waves, big waves here across the East Coast, because the storm is going to stay off shore for most of its life, that will be the main threat, this rip current activity all the way up and down the East Coast that will take people as they're trying to swim in this water this week and this weekend will rip them out into the ocean, I need you to please wear a lifejacket if you're going to be out there.
You're going to see a lot of red flags up and down the East Coast, and a lot of the lifeguards saying stay out of this water.
Now the forecast is for it to become a hurricane, a minimal hurricane, but still a hurricane right offshore of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, so as it tracks up the East Coast, these waves are going to be all the way, Charleston, Wilmington, Myrtle, right on up into the Outer Banks.
And this is going to be where it's going to make its closest approach at about 80 miles per hour, so a Category I hurricane right here, guess when? Friday, July the 4th, at 8:00 a.m.
So right there is where it's going to make its closest approach to the U.S., but still, as it travels to the northeast as a hurricane, we're going to make these waves for all of these East Coast beaches.
And think about the millions, probably tens of millions of people that will be up and down this East Coast this week, so please be careful out there.
John, Michaela, back to you.
PEREIRA: So talk to us. So, obviously, flooding is going to be a concern when you have that amount of water and that amount of storm surge coming our way.
But also talk about the track of it. Are we looking at this sticking around through the weekend?
MYERS: No, this really accelerates. By the time Thursday and Friday morning come in, this thing is doing 25 miles per hour. And it will be up toward Halifax and Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. It's going to really roll.
When it gets picked up by the midlevel winds that are here, this thing starts to really rip on by. It's really two miles per hour right now. In 72 hours, it will be doing 35. That's what happens.
BERMAN: All right, Chad Myers for us. We have to keep our eye on this throughout the day and throughout the next few days. Our thanks to you.
Let's turn now to a new security threat at U.S. airports. Officials say they have intelligence that an al Qaeda offshoot, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is developing a new kind of bomb, a bomb that cannot be detected at airport screening machines.
PEREIRA: Those officials are now considering new measures to ensure our safety.
Now we want to emphasize. Right now there is no immediate threat or plot. We want to discuss it all, joining us, Michael Balboni, New York's former Homeland Security director.
No imminent threat right now, but we do know we have to stay a step ahead of the bad guys. How concerned are you about this new technology that they're -- that they've been innovating if you will?
MICHAEL BALBONI, FORMER NEW YORK STATE HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: Speaking with security officials, intelligence officials, they have been watching this probably for over six months, and what's happened really is you have the combination of two factors -- one, kind of a bomb-making faction of al Qaeda, but the also combining with a group that has access to passports and the ability to transmit people back and forth.
That's really the concern. If you have it overseas and you develop a new bomb, but you can't deliver it, nobody cares. Now the combination is what's getting everybody really kind of concerned.
BERMAN: We say they're using technology that cannot be detected. What does that mean?
BALBONI: So it means that we have magnetometers, we have back-scatter devices that are currently at our airports that are designed to pick up ferrous materials, metals.
If you use a peroxide-based weapon, then you can't pick that up with a magnetometer. Now you can pick up in terms of a bulge, in terms of the morphology of the human body, but nonetheless, getting it into bottles, into different types of devices, you can hide it much easier, particularly if it's peroxide-based.
PEREIRA: And I know one of the things that you've talked to us about before is the importance of intelligence, because you say look for the bomber, not so much the bomb.
BALBONI: Exactly correct.
PEREIRA: Explain that more, because I think people say, well, what about me? I'm at the airport and I'm getting patted down.
BALBONI: The Israeli security team has developed this behavioral assessment detection system where basically they go out and they interview people. And they kind of say, so where are you going today? Where are you traveling? Actually, it was really out of Boston, believe it or not, right after 9/11.
And so it's kind of interaction. If you're going -- about to do something really violent and you're going to take your own life, you don't normally act the same as everybody else.
But what's key here is you have what they call layered and depth, which means that you use a whole bunch of things, the technology, the intelligence, and also bomb dogs.
We've spent billions of dollars looking at different systems, what they call standoff explosive detection systems. You still can't beat a bomb dog. So -- but it's --
PEREIRA: And they can even sense this new material that they're using?
BALBONI: They can. Well, it depends obviously on how it's shielded. When these particles, these chemicals, begin to devolve, they send off molecules in the air, and that's what is detectible.
So -- but if you can somehow develop something which makes it inert, which means you don't have this release, it's much harder to detect. And that's really the challenge that they're looking at -- what they're putting it in, and what kind of substance it is, and then how powerful it is.
PEREIRA: Fascinating stuff. It's really great to have you here with us, Michael Balboni joining us @ THIS HOUR.
BERMAN: Other news we're looking @ THIS HOUR, three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and killed on the West Bank, they're being buried, side by side.
We're looking at live pictures right now as thousands of mourners gather for the burial. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to deliver the eulogy.
Searchers found the bodies of the teenagers in a field near Hebron. They've been missing for almost three weeks.
Israel's military retaliated throughout the night, at least 34 air strikes against targets in Gaza.
Hamas, the militant Islamic organization that controls Gaza, denies it was behind the abductions. We're going to have a live report from the West Bank on all these developments later this hour.
PEREIRA: Tough year for G.M., the automaker announcing six new recalls involving more than 8.4 million vehicles worldwide. Now most of those recalls are for faulty ignition switches. That's the same problem that is linked to at least 13 American deaths.
So far, this year alone -- look at that -- General Motors has recalled more than 27 million vehicles just in the U.S. That is one out of every ten vehicles on the road. Yesterday's recalls include models mostly from the late 1990s and early 2000s.
BERMAN: Another twist in the ongoing case against American Amanda Knox, at a news conference in Rome, Knox's ex-boyfriend seemed to be trying to distance himself from her as his attorneys lay the groundwork for an appeal of his murder conviction.
Raffaele Sollecito and Knox, they were both convicted in her roommates death. Sollecito called Knox's version of events "imagination" and "hallucination," but he also says he believes she is innocent.
PEREIRA: Ahead @ THIS HOUR, the "Man Versus Food" host is facing a new challenge, clearing his name online. The TV host made some nasty comments on social media, and as a result, his new show on the Travel Channel got pulled. We'll look at the reaction.
BERMAN: Then Team USA survived the group of death. Can it survive the country that invented Smurfs?
BERMAN: We are live from Brazil with a look at today's game against Belgium. PEREIRA: What?
BERMAN: The powerful, mighty Belgians invent Smurfs.
PEREIRA: Here we go. It's game day. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Team USA preparing to face the Belgians. For our boys, it's beat Belgium or bust.
BERMAN: Belgium might be most famous for bringing us Jean-Claude Van Dame, or maybe even the Smurfs.
Our Chris Cuomo is in El Salvador. You've become a fan man. How the U.S. fans have befriended down there, how are you all feeling about the game day?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": I'm an American. For me the sport is beside the point. This is an American experience, a cultural flashpoint. This is a time the country needs to come together and is doing exactly that.
The U.S. has purchased the most tickets second to Brazil. The people we met last year, we were at this one nation, one team for this party that they had for the U.S. Soccer Federation, over 25 states, half the country we had represented, just there, it's just who I could meet before I lost my voice.
I want to play you some sound of somebody who has really come to symbolize America, a former president, Teddy Roosevelt. Meet this man, who has a clever play on that. He's known as Teddy Goalsevelt.
Just take a look at this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE D'AMICO, "TEDDY GOALSEVELT": My name is Mike D'Amico, but I'm better known as Teddy Goalsevelt.
CUOMO: Teddy Goalsevelt?
D'AMICO: Teddy Goooooalsevelt.
CUOMO: Oh, I said it wrong. Let me try again. Teddy Goooooalsevelt.
D'AMICO: Much better.
CUOMO: What is the goal of being Goalsevelt?
D'AMICO: It is to motivate these people back here into sending their energy down onto the pitch to help the U.S. soccer team to win another match.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: See? And that's what it's about, John. Somebody could look at this game. They could stay impartial. They could stay on the fence. They could not want to go all in.
That's not American spirit, John. I think you are in, you are out. Me, brother, I'm in. Other people sitting next to you, not so much.
PEREIRA: He's not throwing you under the bus this time, actually. It's me.
BERMAN: How can someone be impartial?
PEREIRA: Yes. Yes, right. I know. It's all right. I know who I am.
Let's get down to brass tacks, because one of things we know about you, Chris Cuomo, is not only are you all in for the American team, but you have also become kind of a soccer aficionado, hanging out with all the sportscasters down there, getting an inside look at that game.
Let's talk about this. We've got a couple of veterans, at least four veterans of World Cup matches on our squad, while the Belgians don't.
And then there's the controversy. Coach Klinsmann, apparently a little concerned about the ref that's been assigned to the match, what are you hearing about that?
CUOMO: I think he's probably creating it. This is what you would call, Mich, a "nontroversy."
His theory is that the Algerian ref, who by everybody's estimate has done a good job here, would have a somewhat subtle insight into the game because he'll be speaking French, and many of the Belgian players speak French as well. And he's worried, the U.S. coach, that that would be undue influence. It would allow Belgian players to talk to the ref in a way that the U.S. players can't.
But most don't believe that, or they certainly dismiss it, much along the lines of U.S.-German collusion, although there was more of a basis for that theory than there is for this one.
And nevertheless, the coach has certainly been playing a certain type of psychological game with this team. He started off by saying it's unreasonable to expect us to win. Then he said, Who you calling underdogs?
Now he's telling the families of the U.S. players, reschedule your tickets for after July 13th. That's the World Cup final.
So he's doing what he needs to do to motivate his side, and on paper, that need is urgent, Mich and John because they don't sign up well on paper. They call these Belgian guys, the "Golden Generation" for a reason. The team is stocked with Premier League players. They are supposed to be great. Many would argue that they haven't been great in the tournament thus far. But the U.S. has their work cut out for them nevertheless, nevertheless, I believe.
PEREIRA: He does.
BERMAN: This game, Chris Cuomo, is not played on paper, as we both know. It is played on turf and that is where the United States will prevail. We're counting on you down there, fan man.
PEREIRA: Fan man.
BERMAN: Good luck.
CUOMO: I'm here for you, JB. I'm here for you.
PEREIRA: I'm glad to know you guys are bonding in that fashion. It's a beautiful thing to behold. We'll talk to you later, Chris.
BERMAN: Ahead for us @THISHOUR, President Obama pledging to take on the immigration crisis, doing it without Congress.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.
(END VIDE CLIP)
PEREIRA: Welcome back to @THIS HOUR. President Obama just wrapped up his weekly cabinet meeting and we had heard he had a good message for Team USA. Why don't we take a listen to the Presidents comments?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Everybody set up? All good? Almost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All set.
OBAMA: All right. I thought I would get the cabinet together this morning because we all know that America will be busy this afternoon. Go Team USA!
You know, about the halfway point through this year, we can look back and see some enormous progress that we've been able to make on the economy. We continue to create jobs, over 9.4 million created over the last several years. We're continuing to see improvement in the housing market, we're continuing to see real progress in terms of the energy sector.
But what we also know is that there's so much more that's possible, and part of the reason that I wanted to bring the cabinet together today is to under score for them my belief, I think shared by most Americans, that we can't wait for Congress to actually get going on issues that are vital to the middle class. We've already seen the power of some our executive actions in making a real difference for ordinary families, whether it's on minimum wage for federal workers or for workers who are with federal contractors, equal pay, the terrific work that's being done around climate change, so we're transitioning to a clean energy economy.
But what I'm going to be urging all of you to do and what I'm going to be continually pushing throughout this year and for the next couple of years is that if Congress can't act on core issues that would actually make a difference in helping middle class families get ahead, then we're going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.
Keep in mind that my preference is always going to be to work with Congress and to actually get legislation done. That's how we get some more permanent fixes, and as I had mentioned yesterday with respect to immigration, whatever we do administratively is not going to be sufficient to solve a broken immigration system.
The same is true when it comes to infrastructure. We'll be talking a little bit about how we need to renew the highway trust fund, but more importantly, we could potentially put people to work all across the country, rebuilding roads and bridges, putting construction workers back to work. That could boost our economy enormously and now is the time to do it, but that requires congressional action. And so we're always going to prefer working on a bipartisan basis to get things done.
That's what folks expect out of Washington. They are not looking for excuses and they are not looking for a lot of partisan sniping. But if Congress is unable to do it, then all of our cabinet members, head of big agencies that touch people's lives in all sorts of way and I'm going to continue to look for ways in which we can show some real progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's President Obama right there from a little bit earlier. A cabinet meeting talking about his statement yesterday that he intends to do some things on the immigration issue with or without Congress. We will talk about that and the controversial aspects of it ahead in a little bit.
PEREIRA: Right now, a night of violence gives way to a day of grieving @THISHOUR. Tens of thousands of Israelis are attending the funeral of three teenagers who were kidnapped and killed in the West Bank.
We are showing live images here, from Israel. Those young men will be buried side by side. The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is set to deliver the eulogy. He's vowed vengeance against the killers. He calls those killers animals.
BERMAN: This comes the day after searchers found the bodies of the teenagers in a field near Hebrom.
Our Atika Shubert joins us now from Jerusalem. Atika, you know the people in Israel, they held out hope for 18 days that these teenagers might be found alive, brought home. This is not the return they prayed for.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, this is a very sad outcome and we heard that grief from the families today at the service of Naftali Fraenkel, he is the U.S. Israeli teenager who was killed. His father said the teenagers quote, touched the very soul of our people. Thousands of people have come out for the funeral today. It's very much a nation united in grief at this point but divided about what to do next. There's already been some retaliation, air strikes in Gaza. A very aggressive campaign against Hamas in the West Bank. But we haven't heard yet from the government what steps it intends to take next.
PEREIRA: So Atika, Hamas has denied involvement. What are we hearing about in terms of any group taking responsibility for this act of violence?
SHUBERT: Yes. It's interesting, you know, Hamas is not a group that shies away from claiming responsibility, but in this case it says it's not responsible, even though it praised the abduction of the teenagers. We really haven't had much of a credible claim here. One small group claimed responsibility but it doesn't hold much water at this point. So this explains partly why the Israeli government still needs another cabinet meeting today to decide what to do next.
It's not clear whether or not this was ordered by Hamas or whether this was an opportunistic crime that took place. We simply don't knot that many details yet, so we are waiting to see. But what's clear is that the Israeli government has already taken some steps, dozen of air strikes across Gaza on Hamas facilities there. And a very aggressive campaign in the West Bank. In fact there were clashes overnight in Jenin and a 16-year-old was killed. So another funeral in the West Bank for the parents of the Palestinian teenager there as well.
BERMAN: Extraordinary sadness and extraordinary tension in that region right now. Atika Shubert, thank you so much.
Ahead for us @THISHOUR, 300 more troops sent to Iraq. How the U.S. is now adding, again, reinforcements to the region in Iraq.
BERMAN: Important developments in the crisis in Iraq. Some 300 odd American troops being deployed to that war torn country; this is an additional deployment as Islamic militants advance toward Baghdad.
PEREIRA: The Pentagon says that the new troops will provide security to the U.S. embassy, the Baghdad Airport and some other facilities in Iraq. As you mentioned, these are separate from the 300 military advisers that President Obama authorized less than two weeks ago.
We want to bring in our military analyst, retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, former military liaison officer to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. A place he knows very, very well. I remember you taught me this phrase, Mission Creep. Is that what we are seeing here?
LT. COL. RICH FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I hope not. I see what they are trying to do here. It make perfect sense. If the embassy needs to be evacuated, if the American contractors need to be evacuated and other American citizens, and there are thousands of them in Iraq, they are going to need to take them out of the Baghdad Airport. To do that you have to secure the airport, to secure the airport you have to secure the 12 mile road that goes from the airport into the city. Three hundred people on the ground as advisors are not going to be able to do that. You are going to nee a helicopter battalion, you are going to need people to man those helicopters and provide security on the route. I would be surprised if they don't need to send even more people to do that.
BERMAN: That is the question, next week we are going to hear about 300 more, then it does become mission creep.
FRANCONA: Pretty soon you have 1,000 and that's not enough, and more and more. That is the danger.
BERMAN: They are waiting, they say, for some kind of political solution there. That's what the U.S. really wants to see. They are waiting for that, but the Iraqi parliament today, the newly elected parliament, they were meeting, they need to form a new government. They met. They took a break and then the Sunnis and Kurds wouldn't come back.
FRANCONA: I don't know if this is a political ploy to delay that, but the Kurds and the Sunnis feel like they are not going to be represented, so why take part in this, what they believe to be a farce.