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Manhunt Underway for Gunman in Istanbul Nightclub Attack; Trump Touts Insider Knowledge on Hacking; Incoming North Carolina Governor Sues to Get Power Back; Obama Takes to Twitter to Defend Legacy; Family Remembers Mom Killed in Brussels Attack; Amazon Resists Warrant for Suspect's Echo Speaker; Aired 3-4p ET

Aired January 1, 2017 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:01] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: He entered an exclusive nightclub in Istanbul and then opened fire. At least 39 people are dead, one of them a police officer, and 69 others were injured. No group has claimed responsibility for this attack.

CNN correspondent Sara Sidner is joining us live now from Istanbul.

So, Sara, all right -- all right. Sorry, we're not going to be able to go to Sara right now. Instead Michael Weiss joining me now. He is a CNN contributor and co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." There you are.

Michael, so this nightclub is located in a very wealthy neighborhood. Does the location say anything about the motivation behind this attack?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's a very chic and cosmopolitan area of Istanbul, also known for kind of secular fun- loving nightclub. Now beyond that it is very difficult to say. If you are asking what's my gut reaction, I would tend more towards an ISIS attack and a PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party attack for the simple reason or with the exception of a bombing in a football stadium a few weeks ago, a PKK and splinter groups tend not to go after these kind of soft targets.

They don't tend to attack civilians, rather they focus their eye against the Turkish military and police and, I mean, obviously, this bears a very eerie resemblance to the Orlando nightclub shooting of last year here in the United States.

Turkey ISIS has declared war against. It was very underreported I think two weeks ago just for the holidays that ISIS had captured two Turkish soldiers who are fighting as part of operations in Euphrates Shield and burned them alive on camera, much as they did with the Jordanian airmen two years ago. And they have all but said that Turkey is now considered to be, you know, an enormous target for ISIS, which is rather a belated acknowledgment given that Turkey has suffered the most number of ISIS attacks of any other country in the region or in Europe.

In 2014 they had something like half a dozen or seven ISIS attacks and the Turkish government previously wanted to downplay this because it's preferred to focus most of its foreign policy efforts and military efforts against the Kurdish separatist insurgency that it's been fighting for 40 years. But now it looks like this is a very nasty case of blow back.

WHITFIELD: All right, terrible situation. Michael Weiss, we appreciate your expertise on that. Thank you so much.

All right. Sara Sidner is there in Istanbul. Sara, are you learning anything more about the direction of this investigation?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, but we are learning more about the victims. Now we know that 24 of the 39 people killed here at this nightclub are foreign nationals. So this was a place that gives you some idea that was really popular with people who had come visit with tourists and people from all over the world. They'd love to come into this neighborhood where people of all different walks of life would come to eat, for example.

There's lots of shops, but there's also at night lots of places to party, just across the street from this particular night spot is another club. And then there are more clubs just down the street from here. It is a place where young people tend to frequent as well, making this particularly sad for so, so many people. We know that a father will be burying his son tomorrow -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And Sara, as we look at that surveillance video showing that one -- kind of grainy image of that one individual, is that enough for investigators to try to further identify him or are they revealing other ways in which to either zero in on other imagery of him?

SIDNER: They gave some indication that they are going to be doing some interrogations. Talking to people. Trying to get to the bottom of who might know this person. I'm sure they're using that video looking through it very, very carefully. And also perhaps showing it to other people, showing it to witnesses, trying to get anyone to be able to identify this person so that they can start fleshing him out.

We know that they are putting all their efforts towards that, but they're also putting their efforts at protecting this neighborhood. We're noticing a large influx of police here, especially outside of the club where this happened but also on both sides of the street. There are plenty of police officers and the police apparatus is very visible here.

We know that this area was also on high alert. It had extra security in place. But as you know, a police officer and not one, but two security guards were killed as this person was determined to create just absolute terror and chaos here in Istanbul.

WHITFIELD: And Michael, you know, the U.S. and Russia have both condemned this attack. But in our conversation yesterday you and I, you're talking about Russia being a power broker as it pertains to Syria. Turkey being a border state to Syria.

Do you see Russia playing a pivotal role potentially in helping to quell -- end some of -- this recent wave of terrorism in Turkey or at least helping Turkey even address it?

[15:05:09] WEISS: I see Russia offering to play such a role, whether or not it can materially do so is another question. If you talk to the U.S. counterterrorism officials going back decades, Baer included, they will say that the Russians don't tend to really play ball when it comes to sharing vital intelligence on terrorism. Now you'll recall the Istanbul bombers. All of the perpetrators have come from former Soviet Union countries. They all likely spoke Russian, not Arabic, and, you know, that occurred just at the moment that Putin and Erdogan were undergoing this said process of rapprochement.

Now I would be very surprised if the Russian president didn't tell Erdogan, as part of (INAUDIBLE), the wheels of better relationship with Turkey, look, you know, you have this problem, all of these fighters are coming from Chechnya, Dagestan, Central Asian countries, my intelligence service can help you dig them up. In fact, we do know that the FSB and Russian intelligence operatives have been going around Turkey assassinating people from Chechnya and the Caucasus.

So yes, I do think that Russia will lean heavily on this sort of let's get tough on the war on terror together rhetoric. But, again, as I told you yesterday, Ankara, Moscow, Tehran and then Damascus almost as a footnote. These are the people who are going to decide the fate of Syria. The United States is now an afterthought in this.

WHITFIELD: All right, Michael Weiss, Sara Sidner, thanks to both of you. Appreciate this.

All right. Straight ahead, North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un hinting at a long range missile test. What this threat could mean for his New Year's plans.

Then, Trump disputing U.S. intelligence, again. This time he says he knows more than anyone else.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: I also know things that other people don't know. And, so, they cannot be sure of the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you know that other people don't know?

TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.


WHITFIELD: And North Carolina finally has a new governor sworn into office, but the old one or his predecessor, we should say, is still refusing to leave. The controversy straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. As early as Tuesday President- elect Donald Trump may reveal new information about the cyber hack that has led to sanctions against Russia.

[15:10:02] At a New Year's Eve party at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Hotel, he told reporters that he had doubts about the CIA's conclusions.


TRUMP: Well, I just want them to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure and if you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster. And they were wrong. And so I want them to be sure. I think it's unfair if they don't know. And I know a lot about hacking and hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know. And so they cannot be sure of the situation.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you know that other people don't know?

TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's go now to CNN's Ryan Nobles in Washington. So, Ryan, did Trump say how he will tackle this once in office?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, he didn't, Fredricka. And in many ways the president-elect has made this situation even a bit more unclear, as you heard there suggesting that he actually knows more about this situation than others that are directly involved in it. And he continues to cast doubt on the overall U.S. intelligence community's assessment that it is Russia that is directly involved in this hack. And even went a bit further suggesting that perhaps the United States government is using technology the wrong way when it comes to its intelligence gathering. And he told reporters last night that perhaps the government should take a more old school approach. Take a listen.


TRUMP: It's very important. But you know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I'll tell you what, no computer is safe. I don't care what they say. No computer is safe.


NOBLES: So perhaps that gives us a clue as to how Donald Trump may conduct business once he takes office. And as we showed you before Trump has hinted that he may reveal more information about what he knows about this alleged hack later this week. We know that he has an intelligence briefing coming up some time in the middle of this weekend.

And Fredricka, we also may learn more information after a very public Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that Senator John McCain has called. There will be three leaders of the intelligence community from different agencies that will appear before members of Congress and we expect them to be pushed a little bit by these members about the specific evidence that they have that links Russia to this hack. Now many members of Congress both Republicans and Democrat have been

briefed on this matter. They say the evidence is overwhelming, but at this point, none of that evidence has been brought out into the light of the public square.

WHITFIELD: All right. Ryan Nobles, keep us posted from Washington. Thank you so much.

NOBLES: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, up next. A power struggle. A North Carolina's governor steps into office after a tough election and a dramatic transition. A look at the hurdles he is facing.


[15:15:37] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. North Carolina has a new governor today. Democrat Roy Cooper was sworn into office this morning. Former governor Pat McCrory known for the bathroom bill refused to concede for weeks after the election and even signed a bill before leaving office stripping Cooper of his executive power. Cooper had a small win this week hoping to take back some control.

Here's CNN's Polo Sandoval.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roy Cooper will be sworn in as the state's 75th governor right after midnight on New Year's Day. The private ceremony comes after the governor-elect moved a bitter battle with Republican lawmakers into a courtroom Friday.

Cooper, a Democrat, hoping to block a set of Republican-backed laws that limit his authority as a state's chief executive. Just 34 hours before Governor-elect Cooper was to take the oath of office, a North Carolina judge granted his request for a temporary restraining order that blocked some provisions of a law that called for a shakeup of the state's election board. A second law that significantly decreases the number of political appointments the governor can make will still take effect January 1st, though the governor-elect's attorneys made clear they plan to file more motions challenging the law signed by Republican predecessor Pat McCrory.

UNC law professor Michael Gerhard believes the first few weeks in office will be challenging for Cooper.

MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNC LAW PROFESSOR: Early on he's going to try and establish his authority with the people of the state and also remind the legislature that he's there, he's the governor, he's got some discretion and he's a player in this system.

SANDOVAL: Limiting the new governor's power is only the latest chapter in what's been a bitter and highly contested race.

Cooper beat out his Republican incumbent opponent by only 10,000 votes. McCrory claimed fraud and challenged the outcome before conceding four weeks later.

And this month both sides blamed the other for failing to repeal North Carolina's controversial bathroom bill.

GERHARDT: He may well want to talk to legislature about any possible revisions to that law even if some kind of repeal isn't possible. So compromise may be a big term that comes up fairly soon when he's governor.

SANDOVAL: Reaching that compromise may be harder with a legal fight just getting started.

Polo Sandoval, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead, North Korea as a nuclear power. Kim Jong-un saying in a televised address today his country is close to testing an international ballistic missile. Details next.

Then President Obama takes to Twitter in an effort to cement his legacy.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

WHITFIELD: All right. Breaking news now on the terror attack on a nightclub in Turkey. We're learning that one of the people injured in the shooting was an American citizen. We're also getting brand-new surveillance video of the nightclub. You'll see people fleeing the scene. We'll keep you updated on that as we continue to try to get more information.

We're also trying to evaluate the bit of information we have. David Rohde is with us now on how we can assess -- how we can assess thus far what we know. We saw that there was this grainy surveillance video of what's believed to be the suspect. We don't have any names nor motivation. But this comes on the heels of a string of attacks throughout Turkey from Ankara to Istanbul. What does this represent?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's -- you know, it's a deep concern, I think, for the Erdogan government. The choice of this target which is a nightclub sort of used by foreigners, you know, is designed to further decrease tourism in Turkey and most importantly foreign investment. And if these attacks continue and it starts hurting the Turkish economy, that's what's a real danger for President Erdogan. So it was -- you know, there was a reason there was this club that was so popular sort of with the elite and with Westerners was chosen by this attacker.

WHITFIELD: And so, David, investigators clearly are going to be looking at all angles of surveillance video. We're looking at images right now that have just come in. I don't know all the details of what is but clearly you see a gunman there, you know, who comes in. You also see other people who are, you know, crouched down. A dog. You see the gunshots there before in this, you know, rewind. You're going to see then a gunman kind of come into view.

All we know is that this nightclub is in an upscale area. Our Sara Sidner is there in Istanbul. She also described it as a location where there are a number of nightclubs. What will investigators try to discern from this view in this video, in your view?

ROHDE: You know it suggests to me that this is a well-trained gunman. I mean, first he's going it alone, he's killed, you know, the police officer outside. To be this calm in this type of situation, you know, suggests this was a planned attack and he's had extensive training. Again, we don't know who carried this out. You know, it does have hallmarks of the Islamic State. But, you know, an amateur, you know, doesn't mount this kind of attack and act that calmly when walking into such a crowded place.

WHITFIELD: So what do you mean it has hallmarks of the Islamic State? In what way?

ROHDE: Well, you know, there's been a variety of attacks as you mentioned earlier, over 400 people have died in different attacks in Turkey since 2015. You know, they're divided roughly between Kurdish separatists. Those attacks have tended to target security forces. And this, because, again, it's a nightclub. It's a New Year's Eve celebration. It's, you know, popular with Westerners. That, again, suggests the Islamic State. I don't know for sure. Again, I don't want to get ahead of myself. We don't know at this point, but choosing this kind of club does, you know, it seems like something that ISIS would do. An attack on a nightclub, drinking and, again, foreigners. It does have those hallmarks.

[15:25:09] WHITFIELD: And do you have your own views about why Turkey -- Turkey bordering Syria? You know, since 2015 as you underscore it there have just been a spate of attacks for a long time, Turkey had felt whether it be tourists or people who lived there prior to 2015, you know, as a relatively peaceful place in modern in recent years.

ROHDE: It could be in response to this new cease-fire agreement that Turkey had brokered with Russia and the Syrian government. You know, there's just been an increase, a sense that a certain amount of a crackdown I think by the Turkish government on Islamic State operations inside Turkey. But, clearly, beginning with the attack on the Istanbul airport that you mentioned earlier, that was -- you know, according attack with various ISIS members, there seems to be an increasing effort by ISIS to destabilize Turkey itself.

That didn't happen initially. ISIS operatives were sort of moving through Turkey and carrying out attacks in Europe in the past, but as 2016 comes to a close and this happens, it suggests there could be more attacks by ISIS in Turkey.

WHITFIELD: And how do you see potentially Russia as being a real power broker or potentially a peacemaker in this region given you talk about Russia's involvement in the cease-fire?

ROHDE: Well, the cease-fire could, you know, end the terrible bloodshed that's happened in the war in Syria in terms of the main Syrian opposition and the modern opposition that the U.S. has backed a certain point. If this cease-fire, which is sort of, you know, taking hold somewhat now, that would sort of reduce fighting, again, between the Syrian government and the main opposition in Syria. That won't stop the fighting among ISIS. There's been talk of a joint possibly Russian-U.S. operation. Donald Trump has talked about attacking ISIS in Syria. Just focusing on that slowly.

So this could lead, though, to ISIS' territory being shrunken and ISIS sort of dispersing and carrying out attacks in countries like Turkey. They could send their fighters down into Iraq, into Europe, into Tunisia. So even if ISIS is eliminated the entire many state it has in Syria is gone it can exist as an underground terrorist organization for many years.

WHITFIELD: David Rohde, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

ROHDE: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.


[15:30:41] WHITFIELD: All right. We're getting breaking news on the terror attack on a nightclub in Turkey. We're learning that one of the people injured in the shooting is An American citizen. We're also getting brand-new surveillance video of the nightclub you see right here. People fleeing. You can see what appeared to be gunshots as people casually kind of walk around and then suddenly start crouching and then in plain view you end up seeing a gunman there. That information and those images clearly just might help investigators there in Istanbul.

Joining me right now, CNN correspondent Sara Sidner. Sara, what more do we know about this angle in this video?

SIDNER: So the video shows going into the club. And what it appears to be is the gunman coming in, you see a couple of shots being fired. You can actually see the fire coming off of the gun. And then you at one point see someone falling to the ground.

We know that a police officer and two security -- members of security here, private security, were killed. So in order to get into the club, this gunman decided that he was going to kill whoever he needed to in order to perpetrate this terrible act.

You also see as he's kind of going through, you get a better shot of what he may look like. So this will definitely help investigators try and figure out who this person actually is or be able to show it to people to try and get them to see what it is. They'll also be able to perhaps tell what kind of weapon he was holding because that is very visible in this video. And he's in the video for quite some time, this surveillance video that's very wide. It gives you a good idea of exactly where he was, how he came through and what he did and the weapon that he used. So I'm sure those are some of the things that law enforcement are looking at as we speak.

WHITFIELD: All right. Frightening images. Very frightening images. So, Sara, what more do we know about the victims?


WHITFIELD: We know that at least one is being identified as American citizen?

SIDNER: Right. This is only somebody who has been injured. And there are about 60 plus people, 69 at last count people who have been injured. Some of them in the hospital. A few of them are in critical condition. We know very little about this U.S. citizen who has been injured, but that is something that the embassy here has said that yes, indeed, the consulate says, yes, there was a U.S. citizen that has been injured in this attack.

It also gives you some idea, because I want to give you an idea of just what the makeup of this club was like. And the victims tell you that. 25 of the 39 victims are foreign nationals. They come from all over the place. This was a club known as kind of the intersection between east and west very much what Istanbul is and has been throughout history to the world. On one side it's Asia. The other side is Europe. And this is kind of a place that brought people together. People from the Middle East and Europe and the U.S. would hang out at this club to have a good time.

We do have some of the nationalities that some of the other people who have actually been killed in this. It includes Tunisians, there are some people from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Libya and Lebanon, just to name a few. But now we're hearing that a U.S. citizen has been injured and many others have been injured. We do not know, though, at this point what the status of that American citizen is, whether their status is critical or something less dire.

WHITFIELD: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you so much from Istanbul. Keep us posted. Appreciate that. And we'll be right back.


[15:37:02] WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

So the plane carrying nearly three dozen expelled Russian diplomats and their families has left the U.S. It took off from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. this morning. This, of course, after President Barack Obama on Friday ordered the diplomats to leave this country within 72 hours as a consequence of Russia's meddling in the U.S. election. Meanwhile, President Obama continues to defend his legacy just as incoming officials threatened to dismantle some of the pillars of the Obama administration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the one big thing we are going to see after he takes the oath of office?

SEAN SPICER, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it's going to be not one big thing, it's going to be many big things. On day one he's going to sign a series of executive order to do two things. One is repeal a lot of the regulations and actions that had been taken by this administration over the last eight years that have hampered both economic growth and job creation and then secondly, do the same on a forward-thinking thing.

He's going to start implementing things, he's going to bring a new brand to Washington, he's going to institute a lobbying ban, five years, it's very forward thinking. What have we had in the past as people have looked in the rearview mirror. This time we're thinking forward.


WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by CNN's Athena Jones in Honolulu where President Obama and family are vacationing.

So, Athena, might it be a little unusual to see the president go to Twitter and then outline essentially some of the high points of his eight years?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. That's right. The president does tweet. He just doesn't tweet nearly as much as the president-elect. And so it is a little unusual to see a whole series of tweets like we have today.

The president kicking off the New Year by looking back over the last eight years of his presidency, saying on Twitter, "It's been the privilege of my life to serve as your president. I look forward to standing with you as a citizen. Happy New Year, everybody."

He also tweeted about a number of legacy items including his signature domestic achievement Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. He tweeted, "After decades of rising health care costs today nearly every American now has access to the financial security of affordable health care." He also included a graphic showing that since 2010 the percentage of Americans without health care has fallen by nearly half, down to 8.9 percent.

And this comes of course as Republicans on Capitol Hill have said it as their number one priority to repeal and replace Obamacare. Starting in just a matter of days. And so you have the president who heads back to D.C. tonight planning to head up to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet with House and Senate Democrats to try to game out a strategy to push back at this GOP effort to undo one of the things he is most proud of.

And this, Fred, is just one more example of the president doing what he promised to do, which is run through the tape, work up until the very end of his administration to get things done. And so that's why in the last couple of weeks you've seen him announce things like the plans to transfer more detainees from Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, banning offshore drilling in parts of the arctic and the Atlantic. Granting clemency to another 200 people, the White House saying more is coming.

[15:40:05] And also on the foreign policy front having Secretary of State John Kerry come out and laid down the administration's views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the talk about the need to continue to work on a two-state solution so he is having his say up until inauguration day -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Athena Jones, thank you so much.

All right. So this week some are remembering the horrific terror attack in Brussels back in March that killed more than 30 people. Nine months later one of the families who lost a mother during the attack on the airport opens up talking to CNN's Barbara Starr about that fateful day when their lives changed forever.


KIANNI MARTINEZ, SURVIVOR OF BRUSSELS TERROR ATTACK: I'm pushing through it every day. It's difficult. To go through the pain. But you have to look forward.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 18-year- old Kianni Martinez, her brother and sisters, there is utter devastation beyond the pain of burns, shrapnel and broken bones.

Their mother Gail was killed. All four children and their father, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Kato Martinez, were among the Americans critically wounded in the March ISIS suicide bomber attack on the Brussels airport.

Lieutenant Colonel Martinez was just back from Afghanistan. They'd been waiting to check in for a flight to go on vacation.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Local media are reporting an exchange of gunfire and they're reporting that this is a bomb blast.

STARR: 35 people were killed. 300 wounded. When the ISIS attackers detonated bombs hidden in suitcases at the airport departure area.

In their first interview ever, the family wants the world to know what ISIS took from them when Gail died that day.

(On camera): Tell me about your mom. What do you want people to know about her?

K. MARTINEZ: I live every day because of her. I live every day for her. And to remember her. And to honor her.

STARR (voice-over): Kianni says her mother was everything to the family. This young teenager is unflinching.

K. MARTINEZ: I think it's important for me to talk about this. At 18, when you're supposed to be going to college, becoming independent, having been prepared for everything by your parents, and then trying to learn for yourself what the real world is like.

The real world slapped me in the face on March 22nd. And I'm not going to forget that. STARR: Kianni was supposed to be in college by now.

K. MARTINEZ: When I heard news that I was awarded an Air Force ROTC scholarship the first person I told was Momma. And she was so proud.


STARR: Lieutenant Colonel Martinez now raising four children on his own, grieving his wife and recovering from his own injuries. Photos of happier times with Gail in Europe while Lieutenant Colonel Martinez held a NATO job.

M. MARTINEZ: I later learned that I took most of the shrapnel, because my son took the second air wave, and he got the burn, the flame. I didn't lose consciousness, I was blasted forward, and I knew I was bleeding because I felt blood coming from my ears.

STARR: Martinez instantly feared the worse.

M. MARTINEZ: My first instinct was to look for my children and for my wife. I couldn't find my son or my two youngest. I heard screaming and I found Kianni. The fact that she was screaming, I knew she was alive, she was coherent, and I went to look for her mom. I said, I'll be right back. I went to look for her mom. I knew I was bleeding out. And my body was going into shock. So I closed my eyes and welcomed it. And figured I'd join my wife and my three kids. But as I was slipping away, I heard this little girl call out to me. Daddy, don't you go. Don't you leave me. And just when I thought, you know, I was enveloped by a darkness and ready to go to sleep, I heard her voice and decided to come back.

STARR: Then the unimaginable, Gail, the love of his life, was gone.

M. MARTINEZ: The story I got from one of the first responders regarding my baby, the youngest one, was that they found her in Gail's arms.

[15:45:09] When they got to her, they told her, we got the baby now. She's going to be OK. And that's when they looked up -- she looked up to them, and smiled, and closed her eyes. For the last time.

STARR: Lieutenant Colonel Martinez would not learn the rest of his family survived until he woke up in a Belgian hospital. Initially he could not be moved out of bed to even see them. Military buddies came to the hospital to make sure the children were never alone.

M. MARTINEZ: They did shifts around the clock making sure my children were taken care of, and they were -- there was always a friendly face there.

STARR: Now home is Texas. The family is very slowly getting through its days. The two youngest, 7-year-old Kilani and her 9-year-old sister Nolani recovering from their injuries. Now tiny master chefs in the kitchen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then we're waiting for the rest so we can put it on top, smush it down to straighten it and then wrap the seaweed in that.

STARR: At physical therapy, 13-year-old Kimo loosens his burned scar tissue that covers his lower body so he can play sports again.

This American military family grief-stricken by honoring their mother, killed by terrorists, by recovering and regaining the lives they know she wanted for them.

M. MARTINEZ: I see her in the faces of my children. I see her in this house. I see her in the people that come to help us. I see her in all the things that are done for us to support us, to help us. All the good things that have happened.

STARR: It's more than just physical therapy to climb this wall. For the Martinez family, total determination to get to the mountaintop, and ring that bell.

M. MARTINEZ: That's what I'm talking about.

STARR: Barbara Starr, CNN, San Antonio.


WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead, a popular new smart device holding the key to a mysterious murder? Is it? Well, that's what investigators are asking. Amazon the makers of the Echo but the company is not giving up Alexa so easy. Details, next.


[15:50:35] WHITFIELD: All right. Tech giant Amazon is resisting a police warrant in a murder case. Prosecutors want access to a murder suspect's Echo smart speaker, saying the virtual assistant Alexa may have recorded the crime. But Amazon says the request raises privacy concerns.

Here now is CNN's Martin Savidge.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alexa, what did you hear?


SAVIDGE: Is it possible the digital assistant in Amazon's popular Echo device witnessed a murder inside this Arkansas home? That's what police in Bentonville are wondering. Only But they're not asking the device. They're asking Echo's maker, Amazon. And so far the tech giant is saying no to a police warrant seeking data and recordings the always-on gadget may have picked up.

NATHAN SMITH, BENTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, PROSECUTOR: It was a lawfully issued search warrant by a judge. And Amazon's position is they simply don't believe they have to comply with it. SAVIDGE: 47-year-old Victor Collins was found dead face down in a hot

tub late year. Authorities say there were indications of possible foul play, arresting 31-year-old James Bates on suspicion of murder. Bates' attorney says the death was nothing more than a tragic accident and her client is innocent. She applauds Amazon's refusal to comply with police demands, calling it chilling that a Christmas gift could be used against people.

KIMBERLY WEBER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR VICTOR COLLINS: It scares me that our criminal system is coming down to this technology which is supposed to help our daily lives, and now it's being used against us for an innocent client.

SAVIDGE: In a statement provided to CNN, Amazon seemed to imply it could change its willingness to cooperate in the case, saying, "Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us." The company went on, "Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

Amazon did give police Bates' subscriber information and authorities have analyzed the information contained on the device itself but believe more Echo evidence is stored in the Cloud, controlled by Amazon.

The case calls to mind the 2015 mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that pitted Apple against the FBI, as authorities wanting to access information contained in the locked iPhone of one of the shooters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alexa, what time it is?

ALEXA: It's 1:56.

SAVIDGE: The always-on voice-activated technology found in Amazon's product, is showing up more and more in our lives, from thermometers to cameras, even toys. But these modern wonders are also creating some modern worries over privacy, suggesting what happens at home may no longer stay at home.

Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.


WHITFIELD: All right. Very intriguing. So let's discuss more of this now. CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos and Joey Jackson with me now. Happy New Year to both of you.



WHITFIELD: Wow. This is -- this is a really fascinating case and could potentially open up all kinds of avenues for cases in the future. So, Danny, you first. If this Echo keeps less than a minute and a

half of information and then can be re-recorded over, what's the argument that there might be some critical information recorded on this to be presented into evidence?

CEVALLOS: I think that's what makes this case different. Back when we were talking about San Bernardino and an iPhone, that was a device that surely contained some information. And again, Joey and I are defense attorneys so maybe we're a little biased. But in a case like this, it seems like the odds that this particular device or the information in the Cloud contains a recording that has any probative evidence on it is a bit of a long shot. So this story really raises questions about to what degree is the law -- law enforcement or the government allowed to cast a wide, digital net on the very small chances that there may be evidence contained therein.

WHITFIELD: But then, Joey, isn't the other legal argument, we don't know what is there unless we have the authority to retrieve it or dig?

JACKSON: That's true. And we don't know exactly what's on this device. But how alarming is it, though, Fredricka, where you have a device in your home. And I know all the tech experts, they say you have to wake it up, you have to say certain commands in order for it to listen to you. You know, but there are people who use this who say, why is Alexa speaking to me and I said nothing to her, right? So the reality is, is that on the one hand, you have a situation where the government says, it is a lawful warrant. Release the information. On the other, think about it, this is a murder case we're talking about in Arkansas. The implications behind the release of this information has -- I mean, it affects every state in the union.

[15:55:07] And so in the event that Amazon complies with this, this would be government entering into our homes, reaching into as far as they can the broadest conversations that we ever had, and the unintended consequence of picking up something that we didn't intend for a device to have to bury you is problematic.

WHITFIELD: The flipside to that is the argument that, you know, the government is intruding or is it that this could be a tool, you know, in unraveling a mystery?

CEVALLOS: It's not so much that the government is intruding. You know, the idea that this is the first time that digital evidence has been our undoing is nonsense. Digital devices and technology has been convicting criminals for decades and decades. If it wasn't the Amazon Echo, it's your laptop. And then before that, many years ago, it was the information from a pay phone, where they would put a pen registry on top of it back in, like, the '60s or the '70s. So this is nothing new.

The price of doing business and using technology is the possibility that if you submit your information to some third party, it could come back to bite you.


CEVALLOS: But Joey is about to tell us --

JACKSON: True. There is a big but, though. There are things we bargain for, Fredricka. There are things we do not bargain for. We send out text messages, we send out e-mails, we do certain things, naturally we would expect the government would have it but for a --

WHITFIELD: And that stuff can be used against you.

JACKSON: It can. But for a device to potentially gather information, unknowingly, right? Because it comes on and it captures our voices and the government says, give us that. That makes this a critical distinction. It goes against the reasonable expectation that we have. We don't expect, Fredricka, when I'm speaking in my home, in private conversations, for a device to be listening and storing it in the Cloud. And then there is a warrant. And all of a sudden, what do you know? I'm being prosecuted by that. And that's the big problem that we're going to have here.

WHITFIELD: Interesting. So the suspect's father and his lawyer say this request is overreaching. This is exactly what that person said in their own words.


FATHER ALLEN BATES, MURDER SUSPECT'S FATHER: I have a strong feeling about personal privacy. But I have a much stronger feeling about my son's innocence. However, it is felt like, to me, that I am in this particular case, I have exhausted all of my personal resources proving his innocence again and again and again.

WEBER: But what they're trying to do is rather novel but it is a deep invasion of privacy.


WHITFIELD: OK. So how is this different from, say, a surveillance camera? You have a surveillance camera in your home. It records images, sound. Is it --


JACKSON: You expect that. Right? When you have a surveillance device, those are things you reasonably anticipate. You don't expect an electronic device to be recording things that it may not get. And if you remember, Fredricka, when it came to San Bernardino with the iPhone, how Apple objected. This was a terrorist who killed 14 people. If ever there was a case where Apple should comply and release information that would be it. Apple said no. And in effect, the case was resolved before it got to an inquiry where the judge made a final decision. But they did sell because they want to respect consumers' privacy.

Where do you draw the line? If you give up this information, what's next? And that's why I find it so problematic.

WHITFIELD: Danny? CEVALLOS: I totally agree with Joey. I mean, these tech giants have

very difficult choices to make. They are left having to fight on behalf of their customers who, in many cases, don't even have standing to challenge these search warrants. So as a matter of public policy going forward, we as a society have to decide that when we submit information to a third party, to the Cloud, to someone like Amazon, have we given up our right to privacy? When we invite these devices into our home, are we essentially saying, for the price of being able to shout out, hey, what's the weather in Alaska today, are we also giving up our privacy as a price for that technological advantage?

WHITFIELD: So how might this be imposing really new, I guess, restrictions or limitations on your Amazons, on your Apples? I mean, this is a new responsibility that they now are saddled with.

JACKSON: It is. But here's the problem, Fredricka. Look, there are certain devices. And they are going to be devices. Some -- next year, we'll be talking about some other device that's doing something. But the major issue is, quite frankly, as follows. When you have technology that does certain things, you know, gets you the weather, that gets you music, plays certain things, you know, that's fine. That's fair game. But the big problem I have here is the government is looking for because they believe that it could have unintentionally gotten information that relates to that murder.

And when we reasonably expect and anticipate that a device does something, that's fine. But when it reaches in and really affects the most private aspects of our home, that's where there is an objection. And that's where I think as technology burgeons, we're going to have to as a society really consider.

WHITFIELD: All right. Last word, Danny? Are you in agreement?

CEVALLOS: I agree --

WHITFIELD: I thought both of you are in agreement tonight.

CEVALLOS: I agree with Joey. And just because a judge signs off on a warrant and says that judge believes there is probable cause doesn't necessarily mean Amazon has to take it. And just take it at face value. You know, traditionally search warrants were about coming to your home, going in, and looking around. The modern search warrant served on Amazon is essentially saying --