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Holiday Travel; June Jobs Report; Colorado Woman Accused of Supporting ISIS; Whitey Bulger Documentary

Aired July 3, 2014 - 08:30   ET


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a much different story.


CARROLL (voice-over): A spectacular show from mother nature, lightning hitting the Empire State Building and New York City high-rises. Drenching rain from severe storms pummeled New York state causing flash flooding inland, washing away roads. Heavy winds brought a tree crashing down on a roof of this home. The severe weather causing temporary delays and cancellations at all three of New York City airports Wednesday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm much happier to be traveling today as opposed to tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be insane.

CARROLL: It's the same storm system that wreaked havoc across the Midwest, grounding planes and knocking out power lines. In Chicago on Tuesday, traffic into and out of O'Hare International Airport brought to a near standstill. Actually not standing, some passengers got out and walked to the airport to make their flights.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been walking about 20 minutes.

CARROLL: AAA predicts it will be one of the busiest travel weekends in the past seven years. All this as Hurricane Arthur continues to push up the East Coast. Heavy rain expected to remain mostly offshore, encouraging news to motorists. AAA expects 41 million to drive 50 miles or more this weekend, up nearly 2 percent from the last Fourth of July, an almost 14 percent more than this year's Memorial Day weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're out on the road, as probably 80 percent of those who will be traveling will be, pack your patience.

CARROLL: And it's not just roads that will be packed. An estimated 8 percent of Americans will travel by rail and bus this holiday weekend.


CARROLL: And we're still expecting some thunderstorms to pop up sporadically throughout the area. So the best advice, whether you're here in New York or possibly in Chicago, Kate, is to call your carrier before you head out to the airport.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely right. Jason, thank you so much.

Breaking news at this hour, the Labor Department just releasing the June jobs report. Let's bring in chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

Christine, this is one of those key economic indicators that we're always looking at and you just got the numbers in.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And it's strong. It's 288,000. It's much better than the expectation. It's 288,000 net new jobs created in the month of June.


ROMANS: That's more than many economists had been expecting and it shows you this trend, Kate, of now several months of more than 200,000 jobs created. So that's a strengthening trend that you want to see continue. The unemployment rate also fell. The jobless rate fell to the lowest since I think September 2008. The forecast had been for 6.3 percent. Instead we got 6.1 percent. So that's a lower than expected unemployment rate. So that's the kind of trend you want to see and it shows us, Kate, that we've been slowly, slowly healing from that bad recession.

BOLDUAN: You said lowest since September 2008. That was just before the big crisis.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes, that's absolutely right. And we've been slowly coming down, down. Now, one thing that you'll hear economists say is that people have been dropping -


ROMANS: For months people have been dropping out of the labor market. So you have a labor force participation -- that's a technical economic term -- but basically people believing the labor market because they haven't -

BOLDUAN: Not even looking for jobs.

ROMANS: They haven't been able to find their place. So you want to see that start to improve. But certainly numbers like this help that trend overall. I mean this is what happened in the really worst part of the recession -- the financial crisis. You had 10 percent unemployment and now you've got things slowly, slowly moving lower here.

What we'll need to see is the quality of jobs being added. We've added a lot over the past year and the trend -- the couple years the trend has been low-wage jobs, not mid and higher wage jobs. Over the past couple of months I've been seeing some of those higher wage jobs coming back. BOLDUAN: It's 288,000 jobs added. That is - we can -- hopefully we can

get back to that number. That is - that's highest - look at - I mean that's 288 --

ROMANS: Yes, two - so, look, 288 - 288 will take us back here, 288,000 jobs created. It will take us more than we've seen in at least a year. So that's strong.

BOLDUAN: Does this threaten to be a blip or do you think this is showing real strength?

ROMANS: You know, it takes a few months to make a trend.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

ROMANS: But I think when you see here this kind of a trend, that is - that shows you that the economy is healing. And it's what I've been hearing from CEOs and recruiters. I've been hearing that there are talent wars in parts of the economy that are doing very well in sciences and technology and I.T., anything that has to do with Silicon Valley, of course. You're also seeing this just slow general demand increasing for a lot of business and they've been working - they've been just so to the bone for so long that now they're finding they have to hire.

BOLDUAN: Fit this then into the broader context. You have strong numbers, a strong showing today for June's numbers, but you also had recently weak GDP number coming out.

ROMANS: Good point. Very good point.

BOLDUAN: You also have the Dow breaking records, knocking on 17,000 mark door. I mean what - how do you square all of this?

ROMANS: This is an important moment in the economy and in the recovery. The recovery has been the worst, slowest recovery in 100 years, right?


ROMANS: Yet you have the stocks at record highs. About half of Americans are invested in the stock market. So stocks are at record highs. Investors have been rewarded. Companies holding cash have been rewarded. Employees haven't. You're finally starting to see employees -

BOLDUAN: That kind of catch up a little bit.

ROMANS: Coming into the mix here. It needs to be broader based, obviously, but these are strong numbers. They show they economy -- an economy that's healing.

BOLDUAN: And just to remind everyone, 288,000 jobs added, 288,000 jobs added in the month of June, 6.1 percent unemployment, the lowest --

ROMANS: Yes, the lowest since 2008. BOLDUAN: That's your news for right now. Thanks, Christine.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BOLDUAN: All right, Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, next up on NEW DAY, Whitey Bulger speaks out. The legendary gangster has his say in a new documentary. The director of the new CNN film "Whitey: The United States of America versus James J. Bulger" joins us right here on NEW DAY.


PEREIRA: All right, five things to know for your new day. Here we go.

At number one, it's Arthur. Arthur is now a hurricane, setting its sights on North Carolina's outer banks tonight. The hurricane warning now extended to the North Carolina/Virginia borders. Keep an eye on that.

The U.S. embassy in Uganda is warning there's a specific threat to attack the airport in Kampala tonight, specifically between 9:00 and 11:00 p.m. This all comes amid increased security on U.S.-bound flights over concerns that terrorists are developing explosives that would escape detection.

New talks to curb Iran's nuclear program have resumed this morning. The U.S. and allies are in Vienna to work out a deal that would reduce sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program.

The father accused of murder after his toddler died in a hot car will face a judge today to determine whether his case will indeed proceed. Justin Ross Harris has been in jail without bond since his arrest.

Some members of Congress are taking a trip to south Texas. The Homeland Security Committee will hold a field hearing about the crush of undocumented immigrants at the border, many of them children from Central America.

We do update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

Now to an American woman in custody, accused of trying to help ISIS, the terror group fighting in Iraq and Syria. The FBI arrested her. She's 19 years old. Shannon Conley. She's from Colorado. They arrested her back in April as she was trying to leave the country. CNN's Pamela Brown is in Washington with more of the details.

Tell us more, Pamela.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we've learned from a recently unsealed criminal complaint that this 19-year-old Denver woman, Shannon Conley, was on a mission to wage jihad and wanted to travel overseas to fight with ISIS. The FBI says it spent months trying to dissuade her before arresting her as she tried to board a flight to Turkey.


BROWN (voice-over): A Colorado teenager arrested and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. Nineteen-year- old Shannon Maureen Conley, taken into custody by the FBI, as she attempted to board a plane to Turkey at the Denver International Airport in April. Her goal, authorities say, to unite with the radical Islamist group ISIS in Syria and marry a jihadist she met on the Internet.

According to a newly unsealed criminal complaint, Conley discussed her radical beliefs with federal agents over the course of an eight-month investigation, referring to U.S. military bases as "targets" and telling investigators that she thought she could "plan an attack on U.S. soil but could not carry it out" because she lacked the means and opportunity. Ignoring warning that aiding terrorists would result in her arrest, Conley told investigators she needed to go overseas to be trained in jihad.

The teenager became the subject of an FBI investigation after a passer who feared she was planning an attack at a local church reported what he saw as suspicious activity to police.

GEORGE MORRISON, SENIOR PASTOR, FAITH BIBLE CHAPEL: She became more -- a little bit more hostile. Then eventually we came in and said, listen, it's just probably better that you not come back.

BROWN: According to court documents, Conley told investigators that she hates the people at the church, asserting, "if they think I'm a terrorist, I'll give them something to think I am." According to the complaint, agents recovered material about jihad and al Qaeda from her house, in addition to DVDs of Anwar al Awlaki, the American militant killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. The teenager joins a growing list of Americans who have been detained for attempting to join terrorist organizations abroad.


BROWN: And in the criminal complaint, Conley even received military training in an effort to train jihadists overseas about U.S. military tactics.

Michaela and Kate.

PEREIRA: What a story.

BOLDUAN: I know. Amazing and unfortunate, that's for sure.

PEREIRA: Yes, it certainly is.

BOLDUAN: All right, thank you so much, Pamela. Coming up next on NEW DAY, a year after his trial, Whitey Bulger

speaks out in a new documentary. We're going to talk to the director of the new CNN film "Whitey: The United States of America versus James J. Bulger."



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, I'll kill you. I'll stab you and then I'll kill you. I'm like, holy Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whitey killed my sister, took her teeth out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whitey popped him and killed him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bulger asked him if he wanted one in the head and shot him in the head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He murdered people there. He buried people there. And he went to sleep there.


PEREIRA: Chilling. That was a look at the new CNN film "Whitey: The United States of America versus James J. Bulger." It looks at the trial of legendary gangster Whitey Bulger, known as one of the most vicious and feared criminals who ruled over Boston's underworld in the 1970s and '80s. It examines his relationship with law enforcement during his reign of crime. Bulger was captured in 2011, essentially living in plain sight after 16 years as a fugitive. He was found guilty of 11 murders and racketeering charges.

The director and the producer of the film Joe Berlinger joins us now.

Oh, this is so much to dig into.


PEREIRA: First of all, there's been a lot made of this story -


PEREIRA: Since it captured headlines and everyone's attention when he was arrested and then sentenced, but there's books, there's movies.


PEREIRA: Why did you decide to take a documentary approach to the story?

BERLINGER: Well, Bulger has been so mythologized over the years. As you say, a dozen books, you know, Johnny Depp's doing a movie about him right now as we speak. You know, everyone has their own kind of spin on him. And the truth has been somewhat elusive, in my opinion. And so taking the present tense of the -- last summer's trial and covering that trial and using that as an opportunity to separate the man from the myth.

PEREIRA: Kind of from his point of view, too, right?

BERLINGER: Well, his point of view is included, which some people have criticized. But, you know, you have to show both sides of the story. You know what I - what I wanted to do was to understand, how is it that a guy could be at the top of Boston's criminal empire for 25 years and not even so much as be stopped for a traffic ticket. I mean, he was allowed to kill. And that's the question, why? What service was he performing that allowed him to, you know, the authorities to look the other way?

BOLDUAN: It's really interesting because you take on - you take on a more difficult path in what you kind of examine in your documentary. It's not really looking at guilt or innocence on the 19 counts of murders, essentially -


BOLDUAN: It's kind of the drama that began to come out in the courtroom -


BOLDUAN: And the relationship with the FBI.

BERLINGER: Yes. I mean, look, it was a foregone conclusion that Bulger was not emerging from that trial as a free man. And so I thought the trial should have been a much more open forum to allow the victims' family members to understand how their loved ones were killed. And I think right up - right from the start, the judge in this case, before the trial even began, made it very clear that this was going to be a narrowly focused trial. For example, the biggest issue is Bulger was not allowed to present his immunity claim. He claimed he was not an informant, but he was -- which is the standard story.

BOLDUAN: Which is a big bone of contention.

BERLINGER: A big issue, you know, and we don't -- just because Bulger says is doesn't mean we necessarily should believe it. But he claims that he was given an immunity deal because he was helping to protect the life of the then prosecutor in New England who was bringing down the Italian mafia, and that prosecutor was scared that there was going - there was credible threats that he was going to be assassinated in a retaliatory strike by the Italian mafia, and so Bulger promised to protect him from that. There's a long story why. And in exchange, he was not prosecuted. And that whole line of inquiry was not allowed to happen in the trial.

Now, we can say that that's a ludicrous defense, that he had a license to kill -

BOLDUAN: Right. Right.

BERLINGER: But it should have been allowed to have been explored. And that's what my documentary does. ROMANS: You also point out that he was so much more concerned about

being seen as a rat than as a vicious murder.

BERLINGER: Well, that - that's - that -- exactly. That's the essential question. You know, a lot of people who have covered this story for a long time say that Bulger's claims that he was not a rat and that he had been given a deal of immunity was simply - this is simply an old criminal about to kind of pass into -

ROMANS: Right.

BERLINGER: The metaphoric criminals hall of fame and he doesn't want to be known as a rat, which is the worst thing that can happen in criminal culture and in Irish culture. Look, Irish revolutionaries over the years, you know, in their fight against the British lost a lot of people to turncoats and informants. And so being a rat in the Irish culture and in criminal culture is the worst thing that could happen.

PEREIRA: Which is such a crazy notion for some people to get their heads around because, you know, he's facing two life prison sentences plus, you know, some many other years in the charges for the murders that he was found guilty of.


PEREIRA: There were others I'm sure he was accused of.

BERLINGER: Yes. Although an 83-year-old guy getting two life sentences, he -- in my opinion, he got away with murder.

PEREIRA: Right. Fair point.

I find it interesting that you don't want this necessarily to be seen as a portrayal, but more a look at the system that allowed him to flourish.


PEREIRA: What did - I don't -- you don't want to give away the story because we want people to go see the film.


PEREIRA: Give us an idea of how you came away from this process looking at what happened there.

BERLINGER: Well, when you hear all the different perspectives and when you finally hear Bulger - and, look, this is the first time Bulger has ever participated in any project. I mean he's been the subject of wiretaps, but he's never willingly participated in a film before. And by the way, this is no apology for Whitey Bulger. He's he a brutal, vicious killer who deserves to be behind bars, but we do hear his side of the story. And by delving into some of these questions, I think some of the conventional narrative that he was a valuable informant for the FBI in their fight against bringing down the Italian mafia, some of the story doesn't quite hold water. And I don't care about it for Bulger's sake. What I care about is truth for the victims' families


BERLINGER: Because Bulger should have been taken off the streets long before he was and these - and people got killed in the crossfire. And I don't think the government should be in the business of deciding who should live and who should die.

BOLDUAN: Why is -- is that why - why is this story so captivating? Because as we started this conversation --

PEREIRA: Oh, yes.

BOLDUAN: It's well documented -


BOLDUAN: What he's done.


BOLDUAN: So much -- he's been covered over the years and the trial was covered as well. Why is this story then so captivating?

BERLINGER: Well it's -- it's an irresistible saga. A guy who rules over Boston's criminal empire for 25 years, doesn't even get so much as stopped for a traffic ticket, why? You know, another part of the story is his younger brother. You know, Billy Bulger, you know, made it to the very top of Boston's political machine. He was the president of the Massachusetts senate, later president of the University of Massachusetts. And so you have two brothers from a south Boston housing project, one becomes the most well-known criminal of modern times and the other begins a very highly - highly --


PEREIRA: Same parents.

BERLINGER: Yes, highly important political figure in Boston, in the state of Massachusetts.

PEREIRA: OK, we're hooked. We're going to see it. And you can too. You can catch "Whitey" in theaters now. It's going to be on CNN later this year. The director of this film, thank you very much, Mr. Berlinger.

BERLINGER: Hey, thanks.

PEREIRA: We appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Joe. Thank you for waking up.

BERLINGER: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

PEREIRA: Have a safe and happy 4th, OK? BERLINGER: You too.

BOLDUAN: We're going to take a breath though. Coming up next on NEW DAY, after losing both legs and an arm in Afghanistan, a veteran builds a new life and breaks ground on a new home, with a little help from friends and, oh, the New York Jets. It's "The Good Stuff" coming up.


PEREIRA: All right, we're going to do a little "Good Stuff" today, ladies. I thought we would do it with a double dose. It's "Good Stuff" for that's (INAUDIBLE) for a big man. But the other thing you'll see in a second. You'll figure it out I know because you're clever girls.

ROMANS: All right.

PEREIRA: A hero's welcome for U.S. Army Sergeant Bryan Dilberian on Staten Island Tuesday. He's a triple amputee. He lost an arm and both legs in an IED attack three years ago in Afghanistan. It also took the life of his best friend. I want you to know that things are looking up for Dilberian who was on hand for the groundbreaking of his future smart home. That was made possible by a group of veterans and home building charities and a generous $1 million donation from who? The New York Jets.


BRIAN DILBERIAN, TRIPLE AMPUTEE: Three years ago I got hit today, and I lost a couple of friends and, you know, it's just - it's like another rebirth.


PEREIRA: Another rebirth thanks to Chris' Jets. The completed three- bedroom smart home. It is going to be outfitted with customized fixtures, an array of high-tech features, all controlled from an iPad. This is going to help him to regain some of that precious thing he lost in the line of duty, his independence.


WOODY JOHNSON, NY JETS OWNER: Freedom is not there by accident. It's there because we -- of our young men and women who serve. And he's got a challenge going forward and hopefully the house is a little bit of an aid to him.


PEREIRA: More than just an aid, Dilberian says the gift is going to mean everything to him. A fantastic reminder, underscoring the importance -


PEREIRA: Of recognizing Independence Day, of thanking our vets. Great to see all these charities and even the Jets getting behind this interesting (ph) man.

BOLDUAN: Christine and I are thinking the same thing, good for Woody Johnson, right?

ROMANS: Yes, good for you, Woody Johnson.

PEREIRA: Isn't that something.

ROMANS: And remember that we have a long road ahead of us. Everyone -- all of us as a community have to pull together to make sure that -

PEREIRA: Absolutely.

ROMANS: The sacrifices on the battlefield are (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: The veterans that are coming back with different brand of injuries. We (INAUDIBLE).

PEREIRA: Evidence right there.

BOLDUAN: Have a great day, everybody. But a lot of news to cover. So let's get you straight over to the "Newsroom" with Ana Cabrera, in for Carol Costello.

Hey, Ana.

PEREIRA: Hey, Ana.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, ladies. The ladies show over there today. I like it. Have a great day.

NEWSROOM starts now.