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Facebook Pulls Suspected Russian-Linked Accounts; 3-D Gun Site Founder Speaks Out; Cal Fire Pilot Discovers His Own Among Those Lost. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired August 1, 2018 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And making it more difficult as, you know, Facebook, and Google and Twitter work to keep up with them and eliminate the threat?

MICHAEL DANIEL, FORMER CYBERSECURITY AND SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Sure. I mean that's how it's always been in the cybersecurity field. As the malicious actors make a change and the defenders adjust, then the attackers adjust again. Miss Sandberg's comments about it being an arms race is a very apt analogy.

HARLOW: Yes. I want you to listen to something that Vice President Mike Pence said just yesterday here in New York. Really pointing his finger back at the White House in which you work. I mean, you work leading cybersecurity under the Obama administration and here's his read.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES The last administration all but neglected cybersecurity. Even though the digital threats were growing more numerous and more dangerous by the day. In 2014, a foreign government actually hacked in to the White House network itself, and yet in the face of constant attacks like that, the last administration too often chose silence and paralysis over strength and action.


HARLOW: Hindsight being 20-20, do you believe the Obama administration could have done more on this front?

DANIEL: Well, Poppy, I think that's a very interesting interpretation of history there. I think if you asked any cybersecurity expert, they would tell you that no administration has done enough to combat this threat including the Bush administration prior, which I also worked for, the Obama administration, and this administration. All have to -- you know, the important thing is we have to step up our game going forward and increase the level of operational collaboration between the government and the private sector, increase our collaboration with our allies and like-minded governments around the world and do more to bake in security from the very beginning and the kinds of IT devices we're using from our cars to our refrigerators.

HARLOW: So where do we go from here? I mean if Facebook is going to throw all this money, resources, energy, at this, if government is stepping up in the way it is, I mean, is this just the new reality?

DANIEL: I think it very much -- cybersecurity is one of the great threats that we face as a nation in the 21st century, and it is something that we are going to have to come to grips with as a society and we are going to have to invest across the board in, you know, greater resilience as a society, and increasing our digital defenses and increasing our ability to impose costs and disrupt the malicious actors systematically, that we're facing.

HARLOW: Michael Daniel, appreciate you being here and the expertise this morning. Thank you.

DANIEL: Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: A judge has blocked the ability to upload 3-D gun designs and directions to the Internet. The maker of the site that was posting that says this fight is far from over.

You will hear from him one-on-one, next.


[10:37:36] HARLOW: So for now, at least, blueprints for 3-D printable plastic guns are not just a mouse click away. Critics call them ghost guns. Why? Because you can make them at home, on a 3-D printer that most people don't have yet but some day they will. They have no registration, no serial numbers, potentially they are lethal, but completely untraceable.

This is because of a settlement with the Trump administration that this Texas group called Defense Distributed was set to begin to share the 3-D gun plans on its Web site this morning with the government's blessing. But last night a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary hold on that.

My colleague Laura Segall is here to pick up the story from there.

So, Laura, you spoke with the man at the center of all of this, at the center of Defense Distributed, before this ruling came down. What did he say?

LAURA SEGALL, CNN MONEY SENIOR AND TECH CORRESPONDENT: Interesting. I think one thing we should note, a lot of people don't realize, he put up all of these blueprints. They were saying they were going to do it today.

HARLOW: He did yesterday.

SEGALL: He actually put them up a couple of days ago,


SEGALL: And over 1,000 people had already started downloading them. So I did have the opportunity to speak to Cody Wilson. This is before the temporary hold. And I asked him what he thought about the president weighing in. And, you know, you had President Trump weighing in.


SEGALL: And he talked about this being a First Amendment issue. Take a listen.


SEGALL: President Trump tweeted that he's looking into 3-D plastic guns. And he said this doesn't seem to make sense. What's your response to the president?

CODY WILSON, FOUNDER, DEFENSE DISTRIBUTED: I don't sell 3-D guns. So the president will understand that in time.

SEGALL: Are you worried that the government will reverse its decision?

WILSON: Like I told you, I already uploaded the plans. I mean, the -- you know, the ship has sailed. It's public domain information now. It's irrevocable. No one can take it back.

SEGALL: The democratization of guns online, giving people the ability to 3-D print their own guns would make it feasible for felons, minors, mentally ill to have access to the firearms. Are you worried about those repercussions?

WILSON: No, I don't believe that access to information is ever tremendously negative or a bad thing. I know that people can use information for bad things. But this isn't a justification to what? Stop a publisher from speaking?

SEGALL: How would you keep a minor away from 3-D printing a gun when you have the democratization of these plans online that would make it readily available for folks to do this on a click of a button?

WILSON: And so, like, I mean, do public libraries perform background checks on people before they read books? It just doesn't -- it's just not how speech and publication works. So look, it's illegal for you to make a gun in this country. It's illegal for you to make a gun. All right. I mean, you're violating the law. But that doesn't mean that that possibility prevents people from being able to legally share and freely access this information. Just doesn't work that way.

SEGALL: Look at the case of the 25-year-old man who went on a shooting spree in Santa Monica with a homemade AR-15 killing five people.

[10:40:06] Are you worried that the implications of democratizing this type of information would lead to similar types of deaths?

WILSON: I guess the question then is, like, connected to the word you used. Democracy. Is democracy dangerous or not? Right? Can the people be trusted or not?

SEGALL: You're a provocateur. You like to push the limits. Do you think felons, minors, mentally ill folks who are able to click and download and print -- do you think they can be trusted or do you think there should be more government oversight over what you're doing?

WILSON: No, I definitely don't think there should be more government oversight. I believe that people can publish this information, I know that they can legally under the First Amendment. Now if the question is a moral question, like, was it right, should you do it, again my answer is yes. I believe that I should. I believe in what I'm doing. When I'm called a provocateur that somehow takes away like the seriousness of what I do. Like I'm only doing it for status or something. No. I believe in what I'm doing.

SEGALL: What is the world look like to you in the next decade with some of the technology that you push forward?

WILSON: If people have like an Internet resource of some type of encyclopedic scope, they should allow like more rapid innovation in this space as well. I know that that upsets everyone. Chuck Schumer's out there with a bill today saying, you know, no, guns should only ever be the way they've always been. And we have to prevent that from being new.

SEGALL: What's your response to him?

WILSON: It's just a depressing world to live in. There's less to hope for when things have to be frozen, things have to be managed. And I don't know. I found it profoundly unromantic.

SEGALL: I think a lot of people would say it's depressing to live in a world where you think about a lot of people who probably shouldn't have access to handguns being able to readily have the ability to make them from home.

WILSON: Look, that might depress them but it excites and inspires imagination of many other people. And unfortunately, we have always had the law on our side.



SEGALL: Yes. Inspires the imagination for him, for others I think very worrying. Now there's another hearing set on August 10th so we'll hear more of that next week.

HARLOW: This is someone that does not do a lot of interviews so thank you for getting him to talk and bringing it to us. You've interviewed him a number of times over the years. Who is Cody Wilson?

SEGALL: It's interesting. I mean, I called him provocateur, he calls himself an anarchist. He pushes the limits of what he believes is limit for free speech. And last time I interviews he had created a crowd funding site to give room to neo-Nazis and trolls who wanted to raise money for their causes because they've been kicked off Facebook or Twitter for hate speech. So you get the sense, you know, but this is something he's been doing since 2013. So this is something he really believes in. And he really pushes those limits and it's become as you see a national conversation with tremendous implications.

HARLOW: And this fight far from over. We'll see what happens. This is again only a temporary stop by the judge. Thank you, Laurie.

Ahead, "I'd rather be helping than feeling sorry for myself." Amazing words from a California father who lost the home that he, his wife and children share in the raging wildfires across the state. He and his wife will join me next.


[10:46:43] HARLOW: At last check, the biggest, deadliest, most destructive of the wildfires burning in California right now was 35 percent contained. Just 35 percent. The weather that has made the Carr Fire so hard to fight is not expected to change until this weekend. More than 115,000 acres have burned so far in the rugged outskirts of Redding. Almost 1,000 homes have been lost, six lives have been taken, and four more people unaccounted for overnight.

Joining me now are David and Ava Spliethof. Dave is a pilot for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and one of the homes destroyed was theirs.

Thank you both for being here. And I'm so, so sorry.


HARLOW: You know, Dave, you said something extraordinary. You said, "I'd rather help than feel sorry for myself." So walk us through what you've been doing on the front lines since losing your home.

D. SPLIETHOF: I really don't think I'm doing anything different than anybody else in my position would have done. Everybody I work with I think approaches the job the same way. We do this every day across the nation. And I really don't think that -- I don't feel that I did anything special. It's just once I saw my house gone, it was -- there's going to be plenty of time to go back through the remains and see what we can salvage and move forward with our family.

HARLOW: We're seeing these aerial shots of where your home was and it is just gone. I mean, everything is gone.

Ava, you are the mother of two children. You have a 5-year-old, Savannah, 7-year-old Dylan. As you ran through the house obviously getting them and getting the few things that you could, how did you explain this to your kids?

EVA SPLIETHOF, LOS HOME IN WILDFIRE: Well, I didn't have much time to say anything to them. I was starting packing up the bags when I saw the fire coming over the ridge. So we had a little bit of time. I packed up the horses and the dogs in the meantime. And then in the morning I said you just got to wake up, we have to go on a little adventure. And we pulled out of the driveway, so they thought they were going on a little adventure.

HARLOW: How are they doing? How are the kids doing?

E. SPLIETHOF: OK. I think they understand a little bit what it means that our house is gone since they know about fires since their dad fighting fires all over the place so they are not too unfamiliar what it can do. But it is still hard to realize that, now they're realizing, oh, we lost this and this isn't there anymore. So we just said it's OK, we're all together, we're safe. And that's it.

HARLOW: And it's just -- you know, as you say, it is just material things. But David, as you know being on the front lines helping fight this, it's also lives. I mean, you've got at least six lives lost in this biggest of the fire, you've got four more people unaccounted for.

For Americans across the country watching who have never lived in the reality of being threatened by wildfires, just how -- just how striking is this to you and what do you want them to know?

[10:50:06] D. SPLIETHOF: I would say that is, by far, the saddest thing. I mean, my heart goes out to the people that not only have lost everything they've had but they've lost a loved one. That's just -- that's the part that really gets me. I just don't -- I don't even know how I would cope if I lost anybody.

HARLOW: Yes. It's extraordinary what you're doing to help right now in the midst of everything. I know you say a lot of people would do it, but I done think everyone would respond the way you are, David, in going back on the front lines to help. So thank you both for being with us. Our thoughts are with you and with your kids.

E. SPLIETHOF: Thank you.

D. SPLIETHOF: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: Of course. Hang in there.

So we just talk about lives lost and I want you to hear from one grandfather who lost everything. The man who lost his wife and his two great grandchildren in the Carr wildfire in California cried this morning as he told us our Alisyn Camerota that he wished that he had been there to protect them. 70-year-old Melody Bledsoe, 5-year-old James Roberts, and 4-year-old Emily Roberts all died in their home on Thursday.

Ed Bledsoe says he went to the doctor that day, just a little bit away. He thought the fire was far enough away from his home that his family was safe. It quickly turned and it spread so fast that his wife and great grandchildren could not escape.


ED BLEDSOE, LOST WIFE, TWO GREAT GRANDCHILDREN IN WILDFIRE: I got out and run toward the house and I got down there and some guy was blown over by the fire. I helped him get out. But I still went down there. And they stopped me and wouldn't let me go in. Those are my babies, that's my wife. I should have been laying on there with them. I should have -- I should have went regardless of what anybody said. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: It is heartbreaking. Our thoughts are with them and everyone in California that is suffering right now.

We'll be right back.


[10:57:20] HARLOW: All right. So the NBA continuing to embrace sports betting, inking a new partnership with MGM.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report." You know, Commissioner Adam Silva has been talking about this for a long time. So what's the deal?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: He certainly has, Poppy. You know, the NBA has been the league that's been the most supportive of legalized gambling. And now they're the first to have an official partnership with a sports betting operator.

Now the NBA announcing yesterday their non-exclusive deal with MGM Resorts. ESPN reporting that is a three-year deal worth $25 million. It allows MGM properties to use NBA and WNBA branding.

Now Silver has said in the past he believes the NBA should get a 1 percent integrity fee from each wager made on the NBA. That is not a part of this deal. But Silver still says this partnership is good for the fans.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: Whether they're a bricks and mortar casino or they're using his app online. That it's going to be an experience that both MGM and the NBA have worked on together where the consumer is first and foremost.


SCHOLES: A forgettable season for the Mets reaching its low point last night. The Nationals putting an absolute beat-down on the Mets. They were up 19-0 after the fifth and went on to win 25-4. It was the worst loss in Mets history. And it got so bad at one point the Mets broadcasters just started reading out of the media guide to pass the time.

Short stop Jose Reyes also came in to pitch in the ninth. It didn't go well. Hard to believe the Mets won 11 of their first 12 games this season. That seems like a lifetime ago.

All right. Finally the receiver on the end of the Minnesota miracle has been rewarded with a rich, new deal. According to ESPN, the Vikings signed Stefon Diggs to an $81 million five-year extension. Diggs was just a fifth round pick coming out of Maryland. And he got emotional yesterday when speaking about his dad who passed away back in 2008. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEFON DIGGS, VIKINGS WIDE RECEIVER: My dad sat me down a couple months before he passed away. He just told me that, you know, look after your brothers, look after your mom, look after -- basically look after your family and it meant a lot to me. I'm happy that I can look at my mom and smile and tell her that everything going to be OK.


SCHOLES: Yes. Diggs pulled out his mom for the announcement and posted a picture of him giving her a big old hug on social media and as a Vikings fan, Poppy, I know that this story definitely makes you smile.

HARLOW: It does in so many ways. I love that picture. I'm so proud of him. Good for him.

I have one question for you, Andy Scholes.


HARLOW: Super Bowl 2019, Vikings versus?

SCHOLES: Houston Texans.

HARLOW: There you go. Andy, thanks.

SCHOLES: All right

HARLOW: And thank you all for being with me today. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan begins right now.