Return to Transcripts main page
LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Drug Kingpin Captured; Faster Alerts for Stolen Data; Holder Calls for Data Breach Law Changes; Supreme Court Rejects Concealed- Carry Case; Supreme Court to Hear EPA and Presidential Authority Case
Aired February 24, 2014 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The most wanted man since Bin Laden, the lord of drug lords, whose trail of death and destruction leads straight into your city and right through the heart of America, taken alive on film by Mexican marines.
Also this hour, 65 miles of the Mississippi River closed for business. Closed between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Oil spill cleanup crews on the scene after an oil barge collides with a tug boat.
And it's already happened to 100 million of you. Why companies don't want you to know when your personal data has been hacked. Is it time for Congress to force them to fess up?
Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. It is Monday, February 24th. Welcome to LEGAL VIEW. Good to have you with us today.
Nobody believes cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines will suddenly stop flowing into the Midwest from Mexico, but -- and it's a big but -- the man who allegedly engineered and nearly perfected that distribution system is out of commission. Joaquin Guzman, nicknamed "El Chapo" or "Shorty," had a spot on the "Forbes" list of billionaires and also on Chicago's most wanted list when Mexican marines took him down without a shot on Saturday. My colleague, Ted Rowlands, shows us how it happened, and what may happen next.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After eluding capture for more than a dozen years, how did authorities nab Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the world's most ruthless drug lord? Focusing on five wiretaps, the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Mexican officials tracked Guzman down to this hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico. Also arrested, Carlos Hoo-Ramirez, Guzman's alleged communication conduit who authorities say was carrying multiple cell phones. In the end, it was a single wiretap linking authorities directly to where Guzman was staying, room 401. Federal prosecutors want him extradited to face trial in the U.S.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I do think, though, the biggest problem in our convincing Mexican authorities to send him back to the United States is that he's a Mexican national. Most of his killings have taken place on Mexican soil. And certainly a lot of Mexican families would like to see him tried and incarcerated in Mexico.
ROWLANDS: Guzman is known for his evasiveness. Just last week, police raided one of his compounds while Guzman was still inside. The drug lord fled through a secret door beneath a bathtub, disappearing in a network of tunnels connecting him to his other six homes nearby. Dubbed public enemy number one by Chicago's crime commission, a title once held by Al Capone, indictments have been filed in four states against Guzman and his lieutenant. The U.S. attorney general says the drug kingpin contributed to the death and destruction of millions of lives.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), INTERNATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE: He escaped from a prison in 2001. There is corruption in that country. And I would ask that the Mexicans consider extraditing him to the United States.
BANFIELD: And Ted Rowlands joins me now, live from Chicago.
Ted, what's amazing is the statistic in the city where you are right now, roughly 80 percent of the street drugs allegedly coming from this particular cartel, the Sinaloa cartel. So how are they reacting there in Chicago to this capture?
ROWLANDS: Well, they're pleased, as you can imagine, Ashleigh. The superintendent of police here, Garry McCarthy, says he's very happy. Of course, he's also a realist, and getting rid of the head of this snake doesn't mean it's going to go anywhere because there is still demand on the streets of Chicago. And they're using Chicago as a distribution point for the entire Midwest. But that said, everyone in law enforcement very pleased that at least there's a disruption in the system with El Chapo now behind bars.
BANFIELD: Ted Rowlands reporting for us live from a city undoubtedly elated over this capture. Thank you, Ted.
I want to also bring in my legal team, defense attorney and former New York prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, joined by defense attorney and HLN analyst Joey Jackson.
OK, so my first thought when I heard of this capture, that it happened in Mexico, Paul, was that, who's going to get at him first? The Americans, who have indictments that string all across this country naming this guy, or the Mexicans, who are really mad that he has eluded them, escaped prison, and they need a little bit of personal revenge, or at least image revenge.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's a great question. We've had an extradition treaty with Mexico since 1978. That's the most recent version of it. We've had it actually for longer than that. Very cooperative relationship between the two governments. Extraditions going back and forth over the border constantly.
But in this case, thousands of Mexicans have been murdered in connection with El Chapo's cartel, allegedly. And I've got to think that the local population is going to want to see him brought to justice. On the other side of the ledger, though, is, he escaped from custody once before when the Mexicans had him. If he's extradited to the United States, he would get incarcerated in a super max penitentiary and would be safer and wouldn't be able to communicate with his cartels. So we bring some strong arguments to the table about why he should be extradited.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely.
BANFIELD: Do we ever.
BANFIELD: You know, I think a lot of people who are watching this right now are thinking, you know, gosh, drug war, there's been so much and I kind of - I conflate some of these figures and over the years I don't even know who the biggest of the big are anymore. This guy allegedly either he or his compatriots were hanging the heads of their victims from trees to scare people in the villages as to their bravado, their power, their force. This was terrorism, you know, at its finest. So it makes me wonder, when the Mexicans get a hold of him, the kinds of things that they're doing to get information from him, to get information from those who led to his capture, is it the kind of evidence we can even use in a court of law?
JACKSON: Absolutely. That's a wonderful question, Ashleigh. I mean, look, he absolutely has tons of information about his reign of terror upon the people of Mexico and indeed the people in the United States, based upon what he's done, about his lieutenants, about the people who work for him, about other drug cartels. So certainly he could bring a lot to the table.
That being said, however, the issue remains, would it be admissible here? Well, remember this, Ashleigh, and you pointed it out at the open, and that is, in the United States, of course, he's indicted in Brooklyn, we know. He's indicted in Chicago. He's indicted in a string of other states.
And I don't even know that there would be information we need from him to successfully prosecute him. And the question will remain, and Paul pointed it out, you know, will he be, of course, tried first in Mexico or the United States? I think there's going to be a lot of tension with the State Department to address that issue.
BANFIELD: And that's just the stuff I'm thinking of, you know, people getting, you know, shoots under the fingernails for their information leading to this guy's capture.
BANFIELD: Because there were plenty of informants in his network going all the way down to the couriers. And I can't imagine what happened to these -
JACKSON: That's how they got him.
BANFIELD: Well, what happened to these couriers in order to squeeze the information.
BANFIELD: Whether they did it the way Americans do it, or whether they did it the way other countries do it (ph)?
JACKSON: I don't know (INAUDIBLE).
CALLAN: Well, you know, I was talking yesterday when this story first broke to somebody from a Mexican newspaper and they were asking about the extradition issue, you know, do you think the United States will put pressure on Mexico. And, you know, I was thinking, the one thing that's very different about our two forms of justice, in Mexico, when you see these guys taken into custody, what do you always see with the police? There's a mask on.
BANFIELD: They're all masked.
CALLAN: Even the military guys have masks on.
BANFIELD: Yes. I see that here. I see that here now more and more.
CALLAN: No. It's pretty rare in the United States.
BANFIELD: There's a lot of undercover DEA guys who stay masked while they're doing perp walks, et cetera, sure.
CALLAN: Yes, but -
BANFIELD: It's for their safety and for their continued professionalism.
CALLAN: But there's - there's a lot less of it because I think that -- we provide a level of security in our system that it's hard to provide in the Mexican system. And they -- his cartel has murdered politicians. There have been supreme court justices there that have been murdered. He's -- it's been a reign of terror by a drug cartel.
JACKSON: Absolutely. And I think -
BANFIELD: Do you know what remains to be seen?
JACKSON: What's that?
BANFIELD: Is he going to get out in another laundry basket? Is he going to put another suitcase of money -
JACKSON: You see -
BANFIELD: On someone's desk so that he gets spirited out through the back door -
JACKSON: And, Ashleigh - exactly.
BANFIELD: Or the sewage system. Because this is his MO of another incarceration, you know?
JACKSON: And that's why the United States is really going to be moving to have him extradited -
BANFIELD: To get him here.
JACKSON: So he can get in one of that -- those maximum security prisons in order to prevent something like that from happening.
BANFIELD: And I'm wondering who is writing the screenplay on this one as we speak.
BANFIELD: I mean this is "Scarface" and worse.
CALLAN: It is.
BANFIELD: Guys, thank you. Stick around.
BANFIELD: Lots more to talk about. This is LEGAL VIEW and you're experts. Thank you.
Investigators are now taking a death threat that's been made against Detroit Police Chief James Craig seriously. Police say the threat was made on a social media website. Craig says the threat is likely a response to his department's recent drug raids.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JAMES CRAIG, DETROIT POLICE: Made a statement in his street jargon, "we need to clap him out." Certainly that was meant for me. He referenced the chief. Because there's been what his group would say, a disruption. We will not be deterred. I will not be deterred because the community and the police officers are counting on us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: CNN's affiliate WXYZ is reporting the FBI and the Michigan State Police are investigating this threat against Chief Craig. We'll continue to keep you updated.
In south Louisiana, a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River is still closed right now after an oil spill from a barge accident happened on Saturday. It is not clear at this point how much oil is in that water, but the authorities are hoping to keep it contained in the best way they can. At last resort -- or at last report, rather, 16 vessels were held up and waiting to go south, 10 vessels waiting to go north. Again, 65 miles shut down. A lot.
How quickly should you be alerted if your personal information is compromised? Stolen somehow through the interweb? Serious stuff. And today the U.S. Justice Department is pushing Congress to make sure that you are told sooner rather than later if your credit card information is stolen. You be the police of your own information superhighway. But can you be? Details just ahead.
BANFIELD: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
If your personal information is exposed in a cyber attack, should companies tell you right away about it? Well, the attorney general wants them to, and he's sending that message right to Congress today. He wants Congress to take action to notify you as soon as possible. All of this more than two months after a massive security breach at Target.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm calling on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised. This would empower the American people to protect themselves if they are at risk of identity theft. It would enable law enforcement to better investigate these crimes and to hold compromised entities accountable when they fail to keep sensitive information safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Well, that's one side of the argument. Justice reporter Evan Perez joins me live now from Washington.
You know, Evan, when I heard this, the first thing as a consumer I thought, whew, finally someone will be on my side. But then I thought through this a little more and there are plenty of reasons why this is also maybe perhaps not the greatest idea. Law enforcement could be overwhelmed by cases all of a sudden. Not only that, but investigation might be harder. If you actually just blow the lid off it, you might not be able to find these guys who are doing this as fast.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right.
BANFIELD: And also this could be a big hit to some of the companies who all of a sudden have to do this. There have to be lots of reasons why and why not. And how is Congress going to chew on that?
PEREZ: Well, that's right, Ashleigh. There are over 600 of these types of breaches in the most recent year that there are statistics for, so it just goes to show you how extensive this problem is, and how big of an issue it is for law enforcement.
Congress has been looking at this issue now for about seven years, and it's been -- never really gone anywhere, in part because you have the retailers, a lot of the companies say, well, it's a little more complicated than just sending out a notification whenever these things occur.
Some of them are very minor. Some of them are things that, you know, people don't necessarily have to be worried about.
But then there's also, like, the ones in target and Neiman Marcus, where your data, credit card information, your pin numbers, social security numbers, email addresses, a lot of information is received by these guys and then sold on marketplaces on the Internet. So it's a lot more complicated than just a simple notification rule that has been thought about for the last few years.
BANFIELD: There was another little detail that really stood out to me and maybe in the back of my mind I knew it, but to see it in print, that the FBI director, James Comey, told a Senate committee last fall that cyber-crime and the threat will equal or surpass the threat from terrorism.
It sounds hyperbolic, but we're starting to really see numbers in the millions and millions of people who are being affected regularly.
PEREZ: Well, right. I mean, just in the target breach alone, you're talking about 70 million people's information that might have been compromised. One of the other things that -- especially for people who have a legal view of this issue, is who owns this data?
You and I are going to a retailer and we think this is my information, right? But it's not so simple. A lot of these companies gather a lot of data on you.
They figure out what types of things you're more likely to shop for and create these databases, they sell some of that information, and they don't think that necessarily this belongs to you anymore, because it's something that they created. So it's a little bit more complicated for the FBI and for others to try to tell them when they need to notify.
And as you pointed out, you know, this has become such a big problem, because, you know, it goes beyond just a cyber criminal out there.
There is also a lot of data breaches done by governments, by some countries that are not friends of the United States, or are rivals and they have an interest in doing some of this stuff, as well. So, again, it's a fairly complicated issue.
BANFIELD: But you're so right. Who owns us? You like to think that your information is yours. Balogna, you check that box after 20 screens of information that you don't read.
Evan Perez, thank you for that.
PEREZ: Every time they ask for your phone number. Right.
BANFIELD: OK. Well, you know what, caveat emptor. Thank you, Evan. Nice to see you.
Here's a big question everybody is pondering on a regular basis these days. Is the president pushing his presidential powers a little too far? It was the issue that was at the heart of an argument before the Supreme Court today.
We're going to show you what's at stake and what was said about it, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BANFIELD: A big blow to the NRA at the nation's highest court, for now, the Supreme Court is staying away from concealed weapons laws. The justices decided to reject reviewing a Texas case on whether 18- to 20-year-olds can get carry permits for self defense.
The justices, which is not unusual, gave no reason for denying an appeal from the National Rifle Association, and also rejected two other separate gun control cases. And the court did decide, though, it to hear a case this morning, involving the Environmental Protection Agency and how far the president can stretch his executive powers.
President Obama has been making good on using the power of his pen without Congress. He's raised the minimum wage for federal contractors and issued an executive order on fuel efficiency for big rig trucks.
In the EPA case, the court is deciding whether he went too far on factory and plants, all stemming from a 2007 case that regulates motor-vehicle emissions, little things that emit versus the big things that emit, stationary big things that emit.
Senior legal analyst Jeff Toobin is here to talk about the presidential powers.
As a neophyte, I look at this and say what's the diff? You get a car spewing something yucky to breathe versus a big thing spewing something yucky to breathe?
But there is a difference.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SNIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Your argument is the Obama administration's argument. If the EPA can say that greenhouse gases are a pollutant, that they can regulate, they can regulate it coming out of something small or coming out of something big.
So your argument -- I don't think the Obama administration said yucky.
TOOBIN: But they made the same point. And so far, the Supreme Court is actually agreeing with that.
BANFIELD: I guess I don't really understand where executive orders end. How -- how big and vast and powerful can they be? Because I'm just sort of seeing the British monarch, you know, in that action.
TOOBIN: Well, this is a very hard question, is, you know, laws tend to be written very generally.
The Clean Air Act, which is at the heart of this controversy, is a very long and complicated law, but it leaves a lot of things ambiguous.
The executive branch, the president is allowed to apply the law, but can't contradict the law, can't go beyond the law. Now, that's easy for me to say. How you translate that in the real world is something that's been before the courts many times and will be before the courts, know, long after we're gone.
BANFIELD: You really have to excuse my ignorance here, but is it such that because you're talking about something that's dangerous to people that ultimately you get a little more leeway, in say, commissioning the EPA to set the standards, as opposed to the president decreeing what the standard should be?
TOOBIN: That's not it necessarily.
Let's say a statute uses a word like "dangerous." Well, that could be a lot of different things.
And what the government -- what the Supreme Court has said about the Clean Air Act is, if the EPA can show, can prove that greenhouse gases are dangerous, and they have done that, they can regulate it. Because remember, when the Clean Air Act passed in the 1970s, no one knew anything about global warming. It wasn't even a subject people talked about.
But they gave the EPA sufficient latitude that the courts now say you can regulate, EPA. You can regulate greenhouse gases.
BANFIELD: Obviously, the critics would say this is something so sweeping, it would be best left to Congress.
Why is that not happening? Is it just that Congress is so embarrassingly paralyzed that the president has decided, well, to hell with them, I'm just going to do it?
TOOBIN: I think that's part of it. And it's not just that it's paralyzed. It's actually opposed to the president in lots of areas. Certainly, the House of Representatives, which is now under Republican control, is simply just against a lot of the things that President Obama is for, so it's not just paralysis. It's active opposition.
Now, it's also true that Congress passes a lot fewer laws than it used to, because there is a significant element of paralysis in both parts of Congress.
But, you know, I think we shouldn't criticize Congress entirely when they just have a substantive disagreement with the president. That's why we have elections.
BANFIELD: And I can't stand it and I get it this is their purview, but justices don't have to say why they decline to hear these cases, so I'm going touch on the other issue of the morning and that was the gun control.
And they said thanks, but no thanks. Can we read anything into this?
TOOBIN: A little bit, but probably not much. This is a setback for the NRA, but may be a temporary setback. They get something like 8,000 cases a year. BANFIELD: I was going to say, there's lot more coming through the pipeline.
TOOBIN: They take maybe 70 or 80 cases, so they can't explain why they're not going to take every single case. If they were super outraged, maybe they would take the case.
BANFIELD: Do you think the person to explain it would be Clarence Thomas?
TOOBIN: Funny that you mention that.
BANFIELD: Could you come back in a segment or two to talk about what you wrote?
This man over here wrote something very, very significant, and he's taking it on the chin by a lot of his friends and enemies.
TOOBIN: That's true.
BANFIELD: We're going to come back, because Clarence Thomas is the subject of your wrath today.
TOOBIN: Yes. Well, wrath --
BANFIELD: I read what you wrote. I'm going to take you to task on it too.
TOOBIN: Please do.
BANFIELD: I like Clarence Thomas. I know what his -- his silence irks you greatly.
Listen, Jeffrey wrote this, so he literally wrote the book and knows what he's talking about.
I have another case I want to highlight, as well, Robert Kennedy's daughter. She's actually going on trial today with a drugged driving, impaired-driving charge.
You might not think that would make TV, right, or the press. But it did. She's making a rare legal move in her case. She wants you to hear about it. She wants a jury to hear about it. Find out why this is significant in just a moment.