Return to Transcripts main page


Target Breach Linked To Russian Mob?; "Whitey" Bulger Speaks In New CNN Films Documentary; Judge: Dad Accused Of Killing Daughter Is Forbidden From Attending Her Funeral

Aired January 17, 2014 - 14:30   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. government is today warning retailers all across the country be on high alert because it turns out those hackers who used the malicious software to steal your information, information from millions of Target customers may be using that very same software at other stores across the country and I'm afraid it gets worse. Because there are now reports that these hackers could be tied to the Russian mob.

Let's talk about this with David Kennedy. He is a security consultant and ethical hacker. David, this is quite a twist. We are talking connection to Russia. I mean, if you are one of these Target shoppers who think maybe your information was compromised with the reports that the hackers, you know, using this code from the Russian mob, what are you thinking? Who are these people?

DAVID KENNEDY, SECURITY CONSULTANT/ETHICAL HACKER: Well, you know, what the hackers were actually doing is they bought this code called the black POS or point of sale. You can either buy it for $2,000 or you can give the hackers 50 percent of your profits that you get from the companies that you hacked. So this is a big underground market now where, you know, hackers are developing this type of code to hit retailers so you can funnel it all back.

They are doing analysis right now on how the actual attack occurred and what they are able to do is trace it back through a couple of different servers that connect it back to Russia and a lot of the code and things like that were in Russian as well. So it's pretty evident that the origination of the attack came from some sort of organized crime unit on Russia. Right now, apparently the going rate for credit cards is about a buck 50 for the Target credit cards that are being sold on the black market right now.

BALDWIN: A $1.50? That's it?

KENNEDY: That's it. So your personal information, your credit card that's out there is getting for $1.50, anywhere between $1 to $100 depending on how valuable they are. But since the Target breach was notified. A lot of companies are scrutinizing the credit cards or the prices dipped down to about $1.50.

BALDWIN: If they are getting closers and finding the criminal groups in Russia, do you think that will they actually be able to nail down exactly who these individuals are? KENNEDY: They may be able to get what group may have fabricated or grabbed this actual piece of software code, but I don't think they are going to actually be able to dive down to find out who actually did it. The reason being is on the Internet it's extremely hard to track back things to an individual. It's extremely easy to be anonymous and cover your tracks. The fact that they got this far to go back to the Russian is a good stuff, but I don't think they will be able to determine who actually did this.

BALDWIN: Well, that doesn't make me feel any better. Then you have -- you have the security firm alerting law enforcement and banks as well, but at this point, I mean, isn't it too little, too late here?

KENNEDY: Yes, and we don't know the extent of how many retailers were breached. Three additional were compromised, but that number will grow. They don't know if they are hacked or not. You may see large retail stores throughout the entire year this year and bleeding into next year already have the same type of symptoms and the same type of problems where they are lifting all their credit cards and stealing them.

BALDWIN: So what am I supposed to do just carry around a ton of cash and go to Target that way or wherever else? I mean, that's not really practical, just asking.

KENNEDY: I have a big bag of cash in my back right now. No, what you can do is monitor your credit cards. Obviously, that's a big, big deal right there. We are moving to a new technology in the United States. It's an old technology that everybody else in the world is using except for us. It's called EMV or smart cards.

What happens in that case is you insert your card into the point of sale system and it's all encrypted so these hackers can't get into it. The problem we have is that the U.S. economy hasn't moved to this technology that could have prevented this from the get go. The banks and the retailers are slow to implement this. We will not see them from 2015 to 2020.

BALDWIN: EMV cards? I will remember that. David Kennedy, thank you very much.

KENNEDY: Thank you so much.

BALDWIN: Former crime boss, Whitey Bulger, is serving not just one, but two life sentences for orchestrating 11 murders. He didn't say a word during his two-month trial. Coming up next though, there is a new CNN film that features recordings between Whitey Bulger and his attorney. These are recordings the public has never heard, but you are about to hear some of them next.


BALDWIN: When I say the name Whitey Bulger, you think mobster, murderer, extortionist and informant. We have heard so much about this man, but we have rarely heard from him until now. Tomorrow, a CNN Films documentary will make its world premier at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah "In Whitey, the United States of America Versus James J. Bulger," the gangster who is serving two life sentences for his part in 11 murders, speaks for himself.


W. CARNEY JR., BULGER DEFENSE ATTORNEY: A couple of things I wanted to ask you about. The first is that you told me since the first day I met you that you never have been an informant.

JAMES "WHITEY" BULGER, CONVICTED MOBSTER (via telephone): That's correct.

CARNEY: That means in your entire life?

BULGER: Never. As a teenager, I never cracked. As a bank robber, I was captured, I plead guilty to free the girlfriend that I was with. I got a 28-year prison sentence, first offender. In prison, I was part of an escape plot. I had a guard bring me in hacksaw blades and I spent months in the hole. I went through a lot there. After four months of punishment, they send me to Alcatraz and that was it, I never, never cracked.


BALDWIN: To finally hear his voice, joining me live from Sundance in Park City, the film's creator and director, Joe Berlinger. Joe, welcome back. First of all, I have to ask you, how the heck did you get your hands on the audio of Whitey Bulger himself?

JOE BERLINGER, DIRECTOR, "WHITEY": Well, you know, we spent a lot of time with a lot of players involved in this care and in particular we spent a lot of time with the defense. We just basically gained their trust and I convinced the defense attorneys that we really need to hear from Whitey himself.

You know, I can't think of a contemporary figure like Whitey Bulger who had so much media attention. A dozen books, movies, TV shows and yet he's never spoken for himself. I felt that was an essential ingredient to telling his story.

BALDWIN: I think the one word I read, he said almost this mythical creature and this mysterious because we had never heard from him. During this whole trial, we heard he was shouting expletives at people, but the guy never testified. You listened to so much of the audio. What was your number one take away just from hearing his voice?

BERLINGER: Well, so many things. One of the big disappointments of this trial this summer was that many people hoped that it would be a full airing of all the misdeeds that went on in Boston, and yet the trial was a very limited scope. Hearing from Whitey, this film does not purport to say that what Whitey is saying is truthful just because he said it.

But we did not get a chance to hear from Whitey Bulger during the trial and to hear from him now to talk about the fact that he was not an informant, for example. To deny something that people have accepted as fact is fascinating to hear his side of the story.

He sounds educated. He sounds intelligent, you know, but this is not to, you know, condone any of the horrendous activities that he is guilty of doing. But there is much deeper story here that I think the trial did not get at. There is a much larger web of conspiracy that he alleges. I think it's very important to get to the bottom of it.

BALDWIN: So I know that's what too much of the thrust of your documentary is, but of course, you have this other layer. I mean, Bulger talks about his girlfriend, Katherine Crigg, who is serving years in prison for helping him. Remember, they were busted living not too far from the ocean in Santa Monica some years back. Let's listen to this piece.


BULGER: I never committed a crime in 16 years. She said I hoped you never hurt anybody or anything. In my first (inaudible) my whole changed when I was with her, I can become very, very human, I guess. I loved the woman intensely.

When I was captured, I told my sister, please, you will see the crimes, innocent or guilty. He is going to execute me. I want her to be free and I meant it. Right now, plead guilty and we will let her go free. I would do it.


BALDWIN: So this is telling me, this man, and we know what he has done, loved this woman despite it all.

BERLINGER: It was an amazing thing to hear. I mean, he was willing to give it all up if they would let her go free. Again, we are not trying to condone this man, some of his activities and we are not trying to, you know, it's fascinating to actually hear from the guy who has been the subject of so much media attention, and to hear how much he loved this woman was fascinating.

BALDWIN: Once again, this is "Whitey, The United States Of America Versus James J. Bulger." Joe Berlinger, thank you so much. Look forward to watching it.

Coming up next, a heart breaking story here, a dad in jail accused of shooting and killing his daughter. He said it was a mistake. He wants to go to her funeral. Mom agrees. Now a judge is weighing in with a controversial ruling.


BALDWIN: A father is forbidden from attending his little girl's funeral. Police say his father killed his daughter in a drunken spree. Take a look at 11-year-old Shantee Lanza. She was having a slumber party with friends inside this house, her mother's house last weekend.

Her mom got angry because her father brought a gun to the party. She told the dad to get out, to leave. Prosecutors say Shantee's father left and got really drunk and came back hours later. Outside the house her father allegedly fired four wild shots into the air.

One bullet pierced the second story bedroom where Shantee was hiding and landed in her chest. The father has pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide. Shantee's mother wanted him at the funeral just to help her say goodbye, but a judge now says no way.

Because someone else might get shot at the funeral because this is held in a rough neighborhood. The judge worries that vigilantes might bring guns to the funeral. CNN legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, joins me here in New York and there a lot of layers to this one. Do you think that was fair?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do think it's fair. I mean, if someone is being held pending trial, a compassionate release even for the day is up to the judge. It's not something that is randomly given. There is a balancing test that needs to be done. You do have to look at security. You do have to look at victims' issues --

BALDWIN: It was just really about the neighborhood?

HOSTIN: Well, I think it was probably a bit about the neighborhood. I think it was a bit about security and I also think when you look at the history of this case, which I have done, this is a man who three times was charged with violent domestic abuse of his wife. Three times those charges had to be dropped because she refused to come to trial and testify against him.

And so we are not talking about someone that hasn't had activity with the law and when we are talking obviously about someone that is violent. When you have that kind of recipe, it's a recipe for disaster. So I think the judge did the right thing here because you can't continue to enable this type of violence.

BALDWIN: Sunny Hostin, thank you. Coming up here, an Ohio man executed with a drug combination never used before. Today the state of Ohio said it took Dennis McGuire nearly 25 minutes to die. His kids call it torture. Now that family is filing a lawsuit to stop all executions in Ohio next hour. We will look at how their case could impact death penalty in the U.S.


BALDWIN: If your mother went on television and told you no, do not go for a special job, how would you respond? Jeb Bush is who I'm talking about, former governor of Florida making jokes now about his mother's latest verbal volley. Former First Lady Barbara Bush told C-Span she hopes her eldest son does not run for president in 2016.


BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: I think this is a great American country, a great country. If we can't find more than two or three families to run for high office, that's silly. There great governors and great eligible people to run. I would hope that someone else would run. Although there is no question in my mind that Jeb is the best qualified person to run for president, but I hope he won't.


BALDWIN: She ends with that. Jeb Bush tweeted what date is Mother's Day this year, asking for a friend. Jeb Bush has said he is considering a 2016 White House run. So Peter Hamby, let me bring you in, our political reporter in Washington. It's fun to watch the back and forth. What do you think is going on here?

PETER HAMBY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, this is the second time she said this about her son running for president that she doesn't want him to do this. That's pretty interesting. To me Brooke, what's more interesting for him if he decides to run or not is his immediate family, his wife is sort of averse to politics and the anointed next Bush in line really in the family is his son, George P, an elected official in Texas who is a Spanish speaker.

A lot of people talk about him as the bigger rising star. One consideration for him as he thinks about running will be, you know, do I want to get in the way of my son running for higher office one day, Brooke. But look, there has been a lot of buzz in the news today because Chris Christie is facing some problems and Jeb Bush plays in that same establishment lane in a Republican primary. He could raise lots of money.

But look, putting aside donors and people in New York and Washington, political operatives, who worked in the Bush White House, there is not a lot of organic buzz for Jeb Bush out there in the country when I traveled to primary states and talked to Republicans, his name never comes up.

He is seen as too moderate, stylistically perhaps even though he is conservative. He has not run for office since 2002. Brooke, think about how much the media landscape has changed in 12 years.

BALDWIN: It could garner a lot of buzz, but who knows? But I want to go back to Barbara Bush's point because I feel like this is something we chatted about with a different first family because her point about, listen, aren't there more than two families who could help run this country.

You were just in Iowa. We were talking about Hillary Clinton and how they were saying to you, right? Can we get someone other than a Clinton? I mean, do you think she has a point?

HAMBY: She might. When I was out in Iowa like you mentioned talking to Democrats, there were plenty of Democrats who all like Hillary and there were plenty of Republicans who like Jeb Bush, but there is an impulse in the Democratic Party that kind of look ahead to the next generation.

We have seen this in many presidential nominating fights on the Democratic side. Barack Obama beat her last time. So there is a little bit of a hunger to look ahead and turn the page to a new generation. You see that among the Republican grass roots right now, Brooke, when you talk to them around the country. BALDWIN: Peter Hamby, thank you very much.

HAMBY: Thanks.

BALDWIN: And we continue on hour two. I'm Brooke Baldwin and I want to begin with this controversial dose of lethal drugs used for the first time to execute this man in Ohio. Today, we have new information and a major development here because the state of Ohio said it took nearly 25 minutes for Dennis McGuire to die after the drugs were injected.