Return to Transcripts main page


Another Day of Firefighting in California; Fires Could Have Been Arson; Where is Flight 370 Data?

Aired May 16, 2014 - 06:30   ET


MICHAELA PERIERA, CNN ANCHOR: Now one thing that is contributing to these fires is the consistent drought. The entire state of California is in severe or worse drought conditions right now. Governor Jerry Brown is citing climate change as a factor.

Here to talk more about this, about the environmental causes for this, we have Columbia University scientist -- he is Hadley Horton -- it's really Radley Horton. It's really good to have you back with us, Radley.

Come on in. Let's talk about this. And I want to show people something that I think is really startling: this map. U.S. drought monitor for California, the entire state, Radley, is in dire need of water.

RADLEY HORTON, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: That's right. And if we look at the most extreme level of drought, that darkest red color, that's about 25 percent of the state. It's also a lot of the prime agricultural land.

PEREIRA: I was going to say, what are the other effects? I mean, you've got -- in central valley of California, a lot of agriculture comes there. There's other effects that it's going to have besides just this threat of fire.

HORTON: Absolutely. So it's competition for water in an area that can be short on water in a good year, right? So we're looking at agriculture, hydroelectric power, energy demands, cities, also wildlife. All things that are going to rely on that water. It's going to be tougher and tougher as a rainy season is over.

PEREIRA: Talking about rain, because we know how dry it is in California. We just showed you that. We know that there are other things contributing to the wildfire threat in California. They've this got this Santa Ana event going on. So you've got low humidity. You've got the wind. And then add to it, look at the lack of rainfall.

HORTON: That's right. Our last rainy season had about half the normal amount of rainfall throughout California. And it wasn't just -- what this is connected with this weather pattern we talked about a lot. We had a pattern over the last winter where a lot of the storms were getting deflected further north than usual. We had that big ridge the same time we had the cold dip in the east. And it wasn't just one year, right? We also had about three straight dry years for California. So you put it all together, major water shortage issues.

PEREIRA: And for folks out east, you know, we joke about the fact that it never rains in Los Angeles, but when you're talking about down something like 42 percent, San Diego down 50 percent, that's significant.

HORTON: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: All right, let's go on to this. I think is a really illustrative of why this is such a concern. From 2013, this is the snow cap. This is our water reserve, you call it, essentially, right? Look at 2014.

HORTON: That's right. I mean, the snow cover is the reservoir, once the rainy season ends. For a lot of California as you get to May you really don't expect much rain at all until about October. So what we need to rely on here is that snowpack. Unfortunately, right now, there's about a fifth, maybe about a fifth the amount of water that you'd normally expect in the snowpack.

PEREIRA: And it's not just meaning, oh, there's no -- we understand financial impact for the mountains, et cetera. They're not going to get the snow conditions they want for skiers, but it goes beyond that. As you said, it's like a reservoir.

HORTON: Absolutely.

PEREIRA: So you are part of this climate assessment that was released last week, the climate change report. You were part of the northwest chapter, I understand. Talk to us about this. What is it you're looking for long term? Because I think a lot of people are concerned what this is meaning for us.

HORTON: Yeah, so one of the key messages for the southwest is that water supply issues are going to get more severe, we think. More wildfires. But part of the story is just the affect of the higher temperatures. As temperatures go up, that snowpack is going to tend to get smaller. Also on that sort of dry summer days, more evaporation as temperatures are a few degrees higher.

PEREIRA: The new normal?

HORTON: The new normal. And potentially also a little bit less rainfall. We're not quite as sure about that, but that's a possibility, especially for the southern parts of California.

PEREIRA: We appreciate your expertise. Radley Horton from Columbia University, thank you so much, taking a look at this for us. Very concerning. We'll keep an eye on it.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Have to. Thanks, Mick.

Coming up on NEW DAY, fingers pointed everywhere over the Flight 370 data. So who has it and why aren't they sharing it, especially with the families? This is not a mystery, and we will get to the bottom of it coming up.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And they say they're all sorry. Beyonce, Jay-Z, Solange break their silence on that fight in the elevator caught on camera. But is that the end of the story? We'll see. Their latest response, ahead.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

New frustrations this morning as family members of missing Flight 370 ask once again where is the data search teams are using to find the plane? Demands continue for that raw satellite information to be released that investigators say is their best shot of finding the lost -- the lost plane. But who can release it to the public?

As CNN's Jim Clancy tells us, it seems to depend on who you ask.


JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What happened to Flight 370 is the biggest mystery in the history of modern aviation. But the raw data gleaned from satellite handshakes as the plane flew thousand of miles off course is not a mystery. It may, instead, become a controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The raw data is with Inmarsat, not with Malaysia, not with Australia, not with MES (ph). So if there is any request for this raw data to be made available to the public it must be made to Inmarsat.

CLANCY: Australian officials heading the search in the southern Indian Ocean tell CNN they don't have the raw data either. But Inmarsat, the company that owns the satellites, insists that data has already been released.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've shared the information that we have, and it's for the investigation to decide what and when it puts out.

CLANCY: The truth it seems somewhere in between. Malaysia, as the country in charge of the investigation, is supposed to control the release of any information. But in this case, the conclusions were shared in a presentation on a laptop computer. Malaysia's transport minister insists he doesn't have the raw data itself.

Malaysian and everyone else have the conclusions, that's the sequence of maps that was produced by reading satellite data that showed the jetliner was somewhere along a huge arc.

Further calculations aided by Boeing, Malaysia Airlines, and others, placed Flight 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, nearly out of fuel, and far from land.


CLANCY (on-camera): Is a reassessment of raw satellite data in order? Well, CNN has asked the Malaysian government if it would request raw data from Inmarsat in the hopes that it could then in some form perhaps be made public and openly examined. Angus Houston, the in charge of (inaudible) search warrants (ph) some of the world's best experts are confident the current analysis is correct. But even he doesn't rule out some kind of review.

CUOMO: All right, Jim, and as you qualified, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. That's probably being generous.


CUOMO: The truth is somebody is unreasonably withholding data in an investigation that really has no criminal basis at this point.

And in just a few minutes we're going to talk to somebody who wants to make that point stronger than we ever could. Sarah Bajc. You know about her partner, Philip Wood. He was on Flight 370. We'll get her take on why the families want this data and who she thinks is keeping it from them.

BOULDUAN: Also coming up on NEW DAY, Jay-Z, Beyonce, and her sister, they're breaking their silence about that epic fight in the elevator. The video that went viral. What the family is now saying publicly about their very private battle. Just ahead.


CUOMO: Another sign of just how frustrating the investigation for the flight of 370 can be. This morning many are asking where is the data, the raw satellite data used to track Flight 370? We know that Inmarsat, this company, collected the information from the satellites and says it turned it over to the Malaysian investigators. But Malaysia is now saying, "We don't have it".

The families of those on board have been asking for this data for months because they want to know just how Inmarsat made its assumptions and get the information to other experts and see if someone can help find a point that hasn't been found yet, especially in this vast Indian Ocean that is so largely unmapped.

To bring us that perspective joining us now from Beijing is Sarah Bajc, the partner of the only American adult on Flight 370, Philip Wood.

Sarah, thank you for joining us once again under this circumstances of this kind of frustration. I want to play something for you because I've been saying all morning this is not a mystery. Where the plane is is a mystery, but this part is not a mystery. I had the guy from Inmarsat on the show, and I asked him specifically about this. Here is the question. Here's what he said. Take a listen.


CUOMO: So to be clear, you're saying that Inmarsat has no data that it hasn't made public for people to help with this search? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's absolutely correct. We shared the data that we have with the Malaysian authorities. It's for the Malaysian authorities to decide what they do with their data.


CUOMO: Now, I don't know why this guy would have a reason to lie about this, Sarah Bajc. I don't know how it helps him to control to the data. I don't get why he would have lied about this. The Malaysians now say, "Well, he only showed us on a laptop. We don't actually have the data." What do you make of all this?

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER WAS ON FLIGHT 370: Well, I think, we can't determine if somebody is lying if we don't understand the definitions of what they're talking about. So somewhere earlier in that interview the gentleman from Inmarsat had said that they had turned over the seven pings.

Well, seven pings is clearly not all of the data, right? There would have been data from the time the engines were turned on on that plane. He's never mentioning data beyond seven pings. So he could just be misleading in the way he's supporting his case, and when the Malaysians are saying that they don't have any of the factual data, they could just be saying that they only have the analysis. I mean, I don't know. We don't know what happened what to make of this, crazy.

CUOMO: It just -- it just seems that, like, Inmarsat, they're saying we want to provide our service for everybody for free. They seem like they're trying to get their abilities out there. If anything, you would think that they would, you know, err on the side of over- promoting themselves, over-exposing themselves.

It is the Malaysian authorities where you seem to have had the most frustration in the past about them sharing information. Do you believe them when they say, "We don't have it"?

BAJC: Not really. The Malaysian government has a very long history of not always being truthful, or at least not always giving all of the information, not only in relation to this case. There's a long history behind that, as well.

So it's hard to tell. You know, I think the comedy just continues to get more extreme. I think when it's time to make a movie on this situation, we need to recruit Quentin Tarantino to do it along the lines of what he did with the other black comedies that he's done.

CUOMO: You know, sometimes in law they have a loose definition of the truth or of the lie. A lie sometimes is defined as withholding the truth from someone who has the right to know it. Now, do you believe the families have a right to have the data and to put it to experts and to kind of conduct their own look at the situation?

BAJC: I think the world has the right to have that data released to third parties. You know, from what I know about the original analysis done on that data, it was all done by companies and organizations that actually hold liability in this case or have potential liability in this case. Boeing, right, they have potential liability. Rolls Royce has liability -- of course Malaysian Airlines and the Malaysian government.

So what we really feel is the smartest thing for everyone who is innocent in this situation is to push for the full set of raw data from that airplane going back even a week, so that we have comparison points to look at and let a third-party set of experts, who do not have any kind of vested interest in this, look at it from scratch. They may just find something that other people overlooked.

CUOMO: And obviously, the more of this that goes on of being pushed back by the authorities, the less confidence you can have that there's going to be an outcome here that will be satisfactory to you. And that's obviously what matters most. That's why we're pressing the situation.

Sarah Bajc, thank you very much. Hopefully, we'll get some answers on this. Let us know how we can help going forward.

BAJC: Keep up the coverage. Thank you.

CUOMO: Mick?

PEREIRA: All right, we turn to a very different type of story now. We may never know exactly what caused that elevator brawl between Jay- Z and Solange Knowles. But they are breaking their silence, issuing a joint statement, along with Beyonce, saying in part, quote, "Jay and Solange each assumed their -- share a responsibility for what has occurred. They have both apologized to each other. We have moved forward as a united family."

We know, of course, that Beyonce and Jay-Z are known for keeping their private life private behind closed doors, so the question is, will this statement be enough to please public curiosity?

Let's discuss it with our entertainment correspondent Ms. Nischelle Turner and our senior media corespondent and, of course, host of "Reliable Sources" Mr. Brian Stelter.

Good to have you both here. First off, I know you looked at this with a fine tooth comb.


PEREIRA: Twenty-five times.

TURNER: But who's counting?


PEREIRA: What did you read into this statement?

TURNER: Do we have time to tell you what I read into this statement? There was a lot. I mean, you didn't have to read too much into it because it was there for you to see. But first of all, I do blame Chris Cuomo for all of this today because he just said to me yesterday, "Nischelle, where have you been talking about Solange and Beyonce?" And I'm like, "Oh, I took a day off." Thanks, Chris.

Now -- but, you know, what I read -- what I read into this statement was basically they were trying to say, look, we're just like you guys. Things happen. Nothing to see here. Let's just move it along.

However, you said is this enough to, you know, squelch the public curiosity? No. Because we're talking about it this morning. And that video is so incendiary that just a statement of "stuff happens", I don't know if it does justice.

PEREIRA: But Brian, first of all, this is such a notoriously private couple. We don't really know much about them beyond the managed public image that we see put out there for us to assess.

BRIAN STELTER, "RELIABLE SOURCES": And this statement reminds me of a strategy you will see in politics all the time. If you want to move past something, you put out a carefully worded statement that doesn't really say anything. And then in the future when you're asked about what happened, if you're asked about the elevator fight, you can say, "Oh, we addressed that. We put of a statement. We have nothing more to say". I bet that's the strategy here.

CUOMO: Brian, how silly do you think the question of whether or not this is newsworthy is?

STELTER: I think it's newsworthy because the couple is newsworthy.

CUOMO: Right?


CUOMO: That's the only shock to me. And elevator fight, I'm not shocked. Who knows what was going on? Every family fights. But the idea of whether or not this was something we cover in today's America, look, it would be nice if we did. It would be nice if we let people have their private lives, but I didn't get that part of the story at all.

TURNER: Well, because I think that it's public, and they're public figures, and they're probably arguably the most famous couple in --

CUOMO: I know.


STELTER: And role model as well.

CUOMO: I know the name of the baby. You know, I k now what she's doing to get her body back.

TURNER: You know more about it than --

CUOMO: You know, I know about Jay-Z, what he's wearing.

TURNER: How to pronounce her sister's name.

CUOMO: I know, Solange, all these things.

PEREIRA: But it does speak to this notion of celebrity and the fact that we have greater expectations of views into them, and because we haven't, that made it news.

CUOMO: Of course.

BOLDUAN: Brian, do you think -- do you -- the Standard Hotel moved so fast finding out who did this, firing that person. But then it also came out, first, release of this video made something like $250,000. Isn't that part of the problem?

STELTER: Well, TMZ's editors came out very belatedly, and they said that number was hilariously inaccurate. Made me wonder if it was way too low or way too high. You know, TMZ will never tell us how much they really paid for this content. So we won't know.

The fact that this video was worth anything at all speaks to what we're talking about, about celebrity, and the fact that the Standard Hotel said they fired that employee who leaked it, who they say leaked it, also speaks volumes. There are always limos lined up outside the Standard. They can't afford to have a reputation as somewhere where people are going to be leaking secret videos from the elevator.

PEREIRA: So Nischelle, to that point you made about the fact that they put out the statement -- and actually Brian said you put out the statement, and they can always rely on that and say, "Look, we addressed it with the statement. You can't ask me anymore." Let's say next week, two weeks from now, you sit down with Jay for a conversation --

TURNER: That would be nice. Could that happen? Just saying, it could happen.

PEREIRA: You're going to bring up the question. You have to.

TURNER: Of course you bring up the question.


TURNER: You can't not bring up the question.

PEREIRA: You have to ask the question.

TURNER: Well, absolutely you have to ask the question.

CUOMO: Would you bring it up with Solange when you know that she may come --

TURNER: Absolutely.

(CROSSTALK) TURNER: I don't want no parts of Solange. She is whew!

CUOMO: I think she's going to get a reality show where she will ref elevator fights.

TURNER: Well, this is what I think. She should be --

PEREIRA: What? You did not --


TURNER: She should go on "Saturday Night Live", though, this Saturday and make money herself. She should do that. That would put a lot of things to rest.

PEREIRA: Final question, can they put the genie back in the battle, Beyonce and Jay-Z --


PEREIRA: -- in terms of now the -- you know, the privacy -- there's a crack in the privacy, the public image, can they? Or no?

BOLDUAN: And do they have an unrealistic expectation of privacy as such stars? Look, I'm not one to say they should not have privacy.

TURNER: Well, in an elevator, no. I do think --


TURNER: They should have that expectation of privacy in an elevator. I mean, even though we do know there are security cameras.

BOLDUAN: OK, good, there's a line.


CUOMO: Yeah, Brian?

STELTER: They profit so much off their personal lives, and I bet we will hear hints about this in future songs.

PEREIRA: Oh. Maybe Brian.

CUOMO: "People Magazine": How the family got back together. That's the most surprising part. When you come at me that strong in an elevator and we make up just a couple of days later?

BOLDUAN: Well, I'll tell you, when Brian --

CUOMO: It would be months in my family.

BOLDUAN: -- and I got into a fist fight in an elevator once.


PEREIRA: Don't forget to watch Brian's show. It's called "Reliable Sources".

BOLDUAN: I won't say who won, but Brian did have a black eye.

PEREIRA: Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

Nischelle Turner, good to have you with us.

TURNER: We're all one big happy family here.


BOLDUAN: Brian, are you going to be talking about this on Sunday?

STELTER: I have no idea.


CUOMO: How I can say no. (inaudible)

There are other big stories to help start your new day. Two arrests for arson as wildfires continue to just rip through California.

The V.A. secretary, Eric Shinseki, he says he's mad as hell about the scandal at the V.A., but he says he's not going to resign over it. Now, who is that making mad as hell?

And she was a high school sophomore. The problem was she was, she was 34 years old, and it's not about being left back. We're going to tell you about an impostor drama that has everyone scratching their heads. Let's get at it.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two individuals. They appear to be involved in setting small fires.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything burnt all of the way around us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We walked up, and we just all started bawling. It looked like a bomb hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Public outrage mounts. The general turned secretary now at the center of the V.A. fire storm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe that you're ultimately responsible for all of this?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The double life, posing as an high school sophomore. She's actually 34.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't know why she did it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's truly mind boggling.


CUOMO: Breaking news for sure. And unprecedented wildfire battle unfolding in southern California. And now police are making arrests for arson. Two suspects believed to be responsible for starting at least two fires in the south Escondido area.

Now, in Carlsbad, firefighters made a grim discovery did a hot spot check: a badly burned body.

Here's the city of San Diego. This is where the fires are burning right now. There are seven of them; 10,000 acres have been incinerated. Dozens of structures are destroyed or heavily damaged.

We have people on the scene, of course, Dan Simon is in Escondido, California. He has the latest. Dan, what are you seeing?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hey, Chris, it was a very busy night of firefighting. It still is. As you said, we're the town of Escondido. This is the latest area to get hit. You can see this home behind me obviously leveled, just charred debris. Really can't make out anything.

You know, in terms of what we've been seeing with all of these fires, we talked about arson. Authorities did take in two people, two teenagers into custody. They're questioning whether they might be responsible for some of these big fires. They're accused of basically trying to start a brush fire.

But because at one point, Chris, you had nine fires burning at once, investigators immediately thought it might be arson.

Now, in terms of where we are today, we're seeing lower temperatures, higher humidity. So authorities are optimistic that they might be able to get the upper hand on this thing. But you still have, you know, more than 2,000 firefighters out here, more than 2 dozen military aircraft continuing to drop water during the day. So hopefully that will make a difference. But still a lot of active fire out there, and there is still some concern that things could get even worse.

Chris, Kate, we'll send it back to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Dan. Thank you for the update. I'll take it. Thanks so much. That scene we behind you just gets worse and worse every time you look at it.

Let's get more on the fires and where things stand right now.

Captain Mike Muller from CAL FIRE San Diego County Fire Authority is part of the state fire protection agency working to contain these blazes. Captain, thank you so much for taking the time the this morning.

MIKE MULLER, SAN DIEGO FIRE AUTHORITY: Sure, thank you for having us. BOLDUAN: So, I mean, right off the top, what is the latest? How bad is it this morning?

MULLER: Well, last night we had some success with the higher humidities; we didn't have the wind. But we still have open fire lines, so with today's weather it's going to play a big portion on what we see happen today.

BOLDUAN: What do you -- how -- do you think -- is it too optimistic to say you could turn a corner today if the conditions help you and you could be in a good containment, in a place of good containment?

MULLER: Yeah, no, I want to say cautiously optimistic because, again, we have open fire line. And as we're standing here right now, we're starting to get a shift in the wind. We have additional resources, but again, we're concerned mother nature is going to play a big part in this firefight today.

BOLDUAN: Unfortunately, mother nature always does play a big part in this. The video that we have been seeing coming in from viewers, coming in from homeowners, some of the those -- the images of those firenados, they're truly astonishing. Can you help describe what firefighters are up against right now?

MULLER: Well, those firenados or fire tornadoes that you're looking at is an example of the critical fire weather and the explosive fire growth that we're seeing out here. Our fuel conditions are at a critical level. We're in May. These are levels that we normally wouldn't see until August/September. So I can tell you yesterday was a very difficult fire fight. Firefighters were very aggressive, but again, those fire tornadoes are just a example of what we're experiencing out here.