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Jobs Numbers Released; Threat Made Against Toronto Mayor; Attempted Hijacking
Aired February 7, 2014 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: CNN This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hour two beginning with breaking news. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
We are learning even more about this possible terror plot for the Sochi Games. A hijacker tells passengers a bomb is on board the plane. This is the first time we're airing this video inside. So, take a look at this. And this is new as well.
CNN has not independently confirmed that the man in the hockey jersey you see here is in fact the hijacking suspect, but passengers told a news agency that this is indeed the guy. He attempts to take over this commercial airliner which, by the way, had left Ukraine, and reportedly his goal with all 110 passengers on board was to reroute the plane to Sochi.
We know the pilot then managed to send out this hijacking signal and the Turkish government then scrambled F-16 fighter jets to intercept the plane, which ultimately landed in Istanbul. That attempted hijacker is now in custody.
The backdrop to all of this though is the opening ceremonies happening today in Sochi.
Joining me now with the latest on what we are learning now, Ivan Watson, our senior international correspondent in Sochi, and also Bob Baer, CNN national security analyst.
Ivan, first to you. Do we even know yet if there was indeed a on board this plane?
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know that yet, Brooke.
The Turkish government officials are saying the plane has been searched for explosives and more importantly just now Turkish government officials telling CNN and announcing over Twitter that they had begun evacuating the plane of some of these 110 passengers who are on board this Pegasus Air. It's a Turkish budget flight that was going from Turkey to Istanbul, which is good news in the sense that we are not hearing of any possible injuries or casualties right now.
As you pointed out, we have been getting images from inside that aircraft from Turkish news agencies that have been getting both still photos of what the Jahan news agency reports is the believed hijacker, a man who is clearly wearing some kind of a sports jersey.
That's according to a Turkish news agency identifying the suspected hijacker and also video of passengers aboard that plane, these images coming in as the plane presumably was on the ground at Istanbul Airport with Turkish government officials trying to figure out how to diffuse the situation.
The hijacker had demanded that that plane be diverted and we know from semi-official Turkish news agencies, the Anadolu Agency reporting that F-16 warplanes were scrambled within 20 minutes of the warning message coming out from the aircraft. They went out over the Black Sea where the plane was flying and they escorted that plane. It was on the ground in Istanbul within less than an hour after the initial warning message came out from that aircraft -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Bob Baer -- Ivan, thanks.
Bob, in all your years with the CIA, familiar with threats, et cetera, what does your gut tell you about all this?
BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It sounds like it's a loner, somebody sympathetic with the fundamentalists in the Caucasus.
I doubt it's truly a Chechen operation. Getting a plane into Sochi is virtually impossible. One hijacker doesn't sound like them. Doesn't sound like they found explosives. This doesn't sound like the real thing to me. Frankly, the fact that there hasn't been an attack today at the opening day is pretty good news.
BALDWIN: It's great news, and, too, especially if this is not actually the real deal and this is a loner of a lone wolf, as you mentioned. Bob, my other question though would be -- and Jim Sciutto made the point when we were talking last hour, listen , if this is the real deal, some sort of extremist group, it would have been more action instead of threatening I have a bomb. It would have been the bomb itself. Yes?
BAER: Oh, absolutely. There would have been a bomb aboard. I don't think it would -- they would have taken a different route from the Ukraine. Turkey is out of the way and there's also a question of whether the Russians would even let an airplane, a hijacked plane near Sochi.
I doubt it. They would shoot it down. This doesn't seem like the real thing to me. I think some crazy person may be -- of course, Ukraine is an easy place to get on to hijack an airplane, especially now with the problems there. Let's just hope we don't see more of these.
BALDWIN: Let's hope not. And it's good news as I knock on my desk here that nothing else happens. Bob Baer, Ivan Watson, thanks to you.
We mention the opening ceremonies and we will have much more on what happened today, those beautiful opening ceremonies. We will share that with you coming up here. But now to this. You are about to see what turned out to be a fatal argument over texting in a movie theater. I know you are familiar with the case out of Florida. This man was shot and killed after sitting in this theater texting his daughter's baby-sitter as previews of coming attractions played out on the big screen.
A theater surveillance camera captured this encounter. The video is fuzzy, so let me just get that out there. The video is fuzzy. It was played this afternoon in the Florida courtroom during a hearing to decide if the alleged gunman should in fact be released from jail on bond.
CNN's Martin Savidge is following this for us.
Just let's watch the video. Again, it's tough to make out exactly what's happening. Tell me what we will see.
SAVIDGE: Yes. It's going to be the theater which was is January 13. It's a matinee. "Lone Survivor" was the movie. You have got two men that get into an altercation.
You got remember this camera is looking infrared from the side.
BALDWIN: Here we go.
SAVIDGE: It's really hard to see. That would be Curtis Reeves returning to his seat after he complained to a manager about the texting by Chad Oulson. He is sitting back down. It appears to be more confrontation. He's leaning forward.
You don't see Chad Oulson. He is out of frame right. Something thrown and then that's also when the shot apparently goes off, according to the prosecution. You know that because that's dust particles floating down. They say the concussive force of that gun going off in the theater shook the dust from the camera, creating that kind of snowfall.
SAVIDGE: Now what you're seeing is an off-duty that saw that or heard the shot, comes over, gets the gun from Curtis Reeves and then stays by Mr. Reeves to make sure he doesn't leave. In the meantime, off- camera, people are attending to Chad Oulson trying to administering CPR, but of course he died a short time later. That's the video.
BALDWIN: To the hearing that's been happening. We know this was played in the hearing and we also know you mentioned Chad Oulson and his wife, widow, Nicole Oulson, she was hit. You said her ring finger or ring hand was hit?
SAVIDGE: Yes, and still may require further surgery.
BALDWIN: She was supposed to testify in this bond hearing and she did not do so, but how has she been holding up? Because we have seen, and understandably so, a very emotional woman. SAVIDGE: Yes, this has gone on for two days, this evening. It was on Wednesday all day until the evening and now today. At times, she has been crying, she's been emotional, as has been the suspect in this particular case.
It has been a lot of drama, a lot of dramatic testimony. As you point out, it's a bond hearing. She is going to we are told issue a statement and perhaps speak to the media after the proceedings. We are still waiting for that. Right now, closing arguments. Again, it's not a trial, but closing arguments in the bail hearing going on right now. We still don't know if Reeves will be allowed to bond out.
BALDWIN: OK. We will wait for that news. We will to hear from Nicole Oulson. Martin, thank you very much.
Coming up, the chief of AOL getting some heat after slashing employee 401(k) benefits, but the CEO, Tim Armstrong, blames Obamacare and -- I'm quoting him -- "distressed babies." We will talk about that coming up.
Also, Justin Bieber not exactly lying low. See him hanging out at a club with P. Diddy and others in Atlanta a couple days ago, as prosecutors charging him for felony vandalism for that egging attack back home in California? We will talk about that coming up.
BALDWIN: Another case of AOL's CEO trying to put his best foot forward and landing it squarely in his mouth.
Tim Armstrong's latest gaffe involves while AOL is cutting back on its 401(k) benefits for its employees, despite the fact that the company calls 2013 actually its strongest year in a decade.
He talked to Poppy Harlow, talked about the loss in benefits, that it was due to the increasing cost of health care, partly because of Obamacare. But he got much more specific when he spoke to this employee-wide conference call just yesterday.
Capital New York quotes a transcript of the call it says an AOL staffer gave on the news Web site. Armstrong told his employees -- quote -- "We had two AOLers that had distressed babies that were born that we paid a million dollars each to make sure those babies were OK in general. And those are the things that add up into our benefit cost. When we had the final decision about what benefits to cut because of the increased cost, we made the decision and I made the decision to basically change the 401(k) plan."
To remind you, this is from the same CEO who fired a creative director on another conference call because the man was photographing Armstrong.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TIM ARMSTRONG, CHAIRMAN & CEO, AOL: ... from an experience -- Abel, put that camera down right now. Abel, you are fired. Out. (END AUDIO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Joining me now, Denise Albert, the co-founder of TheMoms.com, and CNN's Poppy Harlow.
Poppy, let me begin with you because you just talked to Tim Armstrong just hours before he had this company-wide conference call. Did he explain to you why they were reducing benefits and 401(k)?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he did. Let's get to that in a moment, but as you said, our conversation was before that company conference call.
We didn't get to ask him about those comments. But here is what changing at AOL, OK? Employees who leave the company, either they are laid off and they leave for another job before December 31 will now not get the company match to their 401(k) unless they stay until December 31.
That used to be every pay period. What does this mean? It means -- it could mean a sizable hit to their retirement savings if they do not stand until the end of the year. The question is, why did AOL make this decision, especially CEO Tim Armstrong called 2013 the company's most successful year in a decade?
I asked him about that in our interview yesterday. He said, look, this is in part because Obamacare is costing the company, he says, $7.1 million more a year and overall the health care costs are going up. I want you to listen to what he said to us yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARMSTRONG: If you look at our average employee, we would have to actually increase their payments per month they were going to make on their health care plans. That's where the balance of that and the Obamacare act and some of the changes that happened there had increases in our health care costs.
We also provide benefits for people with at-risk pregnancies and a whole bunch of other things that we try to do to be a great business. We got one of the places' working mother of the year, AOL, one of the awards there for best place for working mothers.
We are very specific about our benefits package and we are also very specific of what the costs are and we basically try to manage what benefits we can give in a very competitive environment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: All right, so as you heard in our interview, he touted the company's benefits and he mentioned the benefits for people with at- risk pregnancies, for example, and then it was after our interview and after other interviews he had done yesterday morning that he had this call with employees and that those now controversial comments came out. I think part of the controversy in this, Brooke, is that this is a company that have such a strong 2013, more than $2.3 billion in sales, nearly $93 million in profit. And so people are scratching their heads, sort of saying health care costs are going up, but why are you taking away in part from some people's 401(k) match?
BALDWIN: I think that, yes, but I think it's also too that he is calling out these two mothers and I would guess if I were the mother, I would think, my goodness, that's, A., my personal private information, and the fact he's doing it on this company-wide call talking about distressed babies costing us a million dollars each, Denise, as a mom, how does that rub you?
DENISE ALBERT, THEMOMS.COM: It's sort of outrageous that that is what he used as an example.
I sort of want to believe it was really a bad mistake, because, as he said, it's a working mother-friendly company. And he's a smart guy. I'm hoping, I'm really hoping that it was a really bad mistake and he will come out and explain it. I know he sent an e-mail right, but he didn't really apologize for it.
But I think as mothers have a hard enough time getting back to work. I think that where we want to sort of be equal in the workplace, this is a really -- sort of sets it back a little bit, that, of course, mothers should be covered, women with sick babies should be covered under their companies that they worked so hard for. As outraged as I am by his comments, I sort of want to believe that it was a really bad mistake.
BALDWIN: Sunny, I'm talking to you as a mom and also as a lawyer. Is this OK? Can the boss of a major, major company that is ranked high for a working parent company as well, is this OK for him to divulge this kind of information or there like a -- should H.R. be calling?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: When I put my mommy hat on, which I often have on, as you know Brooke, I'm outraged. I'm thinking why would you call me out like this? I'm a valued employee.
But, as a lawyer, with my lawyer hat on, I'm thinking he is probably OK, because, yes, there these privacy laws and, yes there are HIPAA laws which protect generally sort of individually identified health information. And so when we think about that, we don't really know the identities of these two women, of these two individuals. He didn't name them. We don't have their Social Security number and we don't have a lot of what is typically identifiable information.
HOSTIN: But is there a reasonable basis? I don't know. Is there a reasonable basis that they say we are the only two women that gave birth that year? Everybody on the call knew who he was talking about. If you start talking about that, then maybe he is in a little bit of trouble at least civilly with those two ladies. Right?
BALDWIN: Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL, I would love to talk to you. Come on the show any time. I'm extending my invitation officially right now.
Sunny Hostin, Poppy Harlow, and Denise Albert, thank you all very, very much.
Coming up next, Justin Bieber, the eggs, the drag racing and the pot plane and now this. Not a care in the world, or so it seems. Kicking it with pals P. Diddy, Rick Ross, Jermaine Dupri, as prosecutors figure out whether Bieber should face felony charges. Look at that.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BALDWIN: All right, we are just some getting news from the White House. We have learned that the White House is officially on lockdown at this hour.
What apparently happened, this is according to our reporting, is that someone, some man tried to jump the fence right along the road in front of the White House. Anyone can walk up and down. So, apparently, someone tried to jump the fence and this individual had two different bags. Just think about the security presence around the White House and the Secret Service. Secret Service, they all swarmed in and this man has been apprehended.
And now they're just waiting for D.C. police to arrive on the scene. Also what we know, the Secret Service has moved everyone who could be milling about outside the White House inside the White House, certainly as a security precaution, as you have this man again apprehended outside the White House after trying to hop a fence with two bags. President Obama is not there.
Remember, we saw the president last hour in East Lansing, Michigan, after he had just signed the farm bill. That's the latest at the White House. Obviously, we're making phone calls. And as soon as we get more information, we will pass it along to you here on CNN.
The jobless rate dropped again to start the new year here, but the number of new jobs actually didn't grow very much. You see the number there on the bottom left-hand side of your screen, 113,000. Those are the new positions in January, big disappointment especially after jobs creations really slowed down in December.
You have the speaker of the House, John Boehner. He of course pounced all over this. This is a statement we have: "The American people continue to ask, where are the jobs? And the president clearly has no answers," said Speaker Boehner.
Here's a great breakdown on the jobs picture from our own Christine Romans.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: By now, Brooke, you have seen the headlines, but this is a pretty disappointing report, 6.6 percent, the lowest jobless rate since 2008. But there a lot of other numbers in here that show us the labor market not healing as quickly as you would like -- 12.7 percent is the underemployment rate. These are people who are out of work or people who are working part-time, but would like to be working work full- time, people who have not been able to get back after the recession.
That number falling a bit, but still too high. When you look at the trend compared with last year, you can see hiring did pick up a little bit from December, but when you compare this month's report, January, with the average for last year, on average, last year, we were creating 193,000 jobs a month.
This year, 113,000 jobs created in January , not enough to even absorb new entrants into the work force. The bottom line of this report is I think it shows you this. The long-term unemployed still having trouble. If you're out of work six months or longer, not much as changed for you. Still a very dire situation there.
For the more recently unemployed, you have got a better chance of getting job than you have in years, two different labor markets, one that is starting to heal and another that is not -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Christine Romans, thank you very much.
Coming up next, a newborn five days old swiped out of his bassinet as his parents were sound asleep, he has been found. He was found hundreds of miles away from home in this tote bag outside a gas station. Look at the snow. It's freezing there. One woman in is custody, but police will not say she is a suspect.
Plus, we are now hearing there has been a threat made against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. That's next.
BALDWIN: Just about the bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
And we mentioned this before the break, this just into us here at CNN. Toronto police are investigating threats against Toronto's crack- smoking mayor, Rob Ford. I believe just recently, he was caught jaywalking. He has been stripped of much of his duties, but again this man this man is still in power, sits in the seat of the mayor of Toronto.
Paula Newton is calling in.
And, Paula Newton, what do you know about these threats and this investigation?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Police did confirm just a short time ago to CNN that indeed two police officers have gone to the mayor's office to discuss with him a threat that allegedly has been made against him and perhaps also his family. We don't know the nature of the threat, when it came, or how it came to him today, just that they are investigating the possibility of a threat to him and apparently his family as well.
In the middle of all this, though, Brooke, always a lot of controversy there at City Hall. They were having quite a heated debate about whether or not the pride flag should be raised over City Hall. With the openings of the Olympics, there has been debate. One protocol officer at City Hall decided that the pride flag should not go up.
The mayor of Toronto decided it should not, and he tried to have it ordered to be taken down. In the meantime, he tweeted that he supports all athletes at the Olympics, and that's all he would say.
You know, Brooke, just another one of those turbulent days at City Hall, where it's difficult to know what's going on and exactly what the mayor's stand is on any of these events.