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Some in Congress Criticize Prisoner Exchange for American Released by Taliban; EPA to Announce New Carbon Pollution Reduction Targets; FBI on Manhunt for Suspect with Explosives; Bull Shark Bites Woman in Florida; CNN Correspondent Detained on Air by Turkish Police
Aired June 2, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Nic, thank you very much for that update from on the ground in Germany.
So while Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been returned to safety it sure did not take long for many Republicans and some Democrats to question the deal, taking to Sunday's shows soon after his release to slam the Obama administration for how they pulled it off and what precedent it may set. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: How many soldiers lost their lives to capture those five Taliban terrorists that we just released? You know, Ambassador Rice basically said to you, yes, U.S. policy has changed. Now, we make deals with terrorists.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: These are the hardest of the hard core. These are the highest, high-risk people. And others that we have released have gone back into the fight.
REP. MIKE ROGERS, (R) MICHIGAN: If you negotiate here, you've sent a message to every Al Qaeda group in the world. That is dangerous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And as Mike Rogers said, it also gives excessive price for their lives. But national security investigators say they acted to save Bergdahl's life plain and simply.
We're joined not by Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby to discuss. Rear Admiral, thank you very much. We'll get to the criticism in just a second, but first of all, and probably most importantly, what is the very latest with Sergeant Bergdahl? What's the update? How's he doing?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESMAN FOR SECRETARY OF DEFENSE HAGEL: Well, I think you heard it really well from Nic there. He's at Landstuhl, and we know that he's beginning now this reintegration process. A team of doctors are certainly looking over him. And as Nic said, this process will take as long as it take. We won't go any faster than Sergeant Bergdahl is ready. BOLDUAN: Do you know if he has been able to speak with his family? I know there was a question of when they were going to be able to talk to him and when they were going to be able to see him.
KIRBY: As far as I know, Kate, he has not spoken to his family right now. And, again, that's part of this reintegration process. It obviously will occur, but it won't occur until I think everyone believes it's the right time.
BOLDUAN: Along with the release that s U.S. soldier has been rescued from captivity, very quickly, as you just heard it there, the criticism of what had to be done to cut this deal. This is how James Clapper described those five Taliban were held in Gitmo, how he described those five men back in 2012. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I don't think anyone harbors any illusions about these five Taliban members and what they might do if they were transferred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And described also as the worst of the worst. What has changed since 2012?
KIRBY: Well, look, first of all, these five are mid to high-level Taliban. Some are fairly low-ranking -- I'm not trying to diminish what they did to warrant us bringing them to Guantanamo Bay. But I can tell you this, the secretary defense himself, Secretary Hagel, made the determination that this transfer was in the national interest. And I can also tell you, and he's made this very clearly, he would never have signed that order, he would never have done that if he didn't believe that we have the appropriate assurances from the government of Qatar that these individuals were not going to pose a direct threat to the national security of the United States.
BOLDUAN: I think, rear admiral, everyone wants to know more about what those assurances are, because as Buck McKeon put it yesterday, many believe it's "ludicrous" to believe that these five men are not going to reenter the fight now that they're out?
KIRBY: Again, I can't go into all the detail of the assurances that we got from the government of Qatar. And as you know, we have transferred detainees in the past. This is in line with the same process we've used in terms of transferring detainees. We get assurances from the locations where they go. In many ways this is no different, but we don't publicly disclose all those assurances. The secretary has made it clear, too, he understands there are no questions by members of Congress and he looks forward to talking to them and answering as many questions as he can.
BOLDUAN: When is he going to answer those questions, because you know a lot of them feel burned that they didn't have those questions answered before the fact? KIRBY: Look, the secretary knows they have questions and concerns. Again, he's willing to engage with them. I won't get into a schedule here on TV on how and when that's going to occur.
I do want to go back to another point about the speed with which we moved here. And we really did need to move with the speed. We had information that propelled us to act quickly based what we believe to be some deteriorating health conditions for Sergeant Bergdahl and real jeopardy to his life.
BOLDUAN: Can you describe those health conditions. He clearly looked through the videos that were released over the years that he was getting thinner. Can you get into more detail about what that deteriorating health condition was?
KIRBY: No. To protect his privacy and information that we had, I don't think I would do that today publicly. I can just tell you that we had good reason to believe that there were significant -- there was significant risk to his life, and jeopardy to his conditions. And I just simply wouldn't go beyond that.
But I can tell you that, again, we wouldn't have done this, we wouldn't have done it the way we did it, the speed with which we did it if we didn't have a good idea that his life was in jeopardy and we had to move quickly. And there was a window here. And windows open and close, and we had a window that we believed was only going to open for a short period of time, and we took advantage of that.
BOLDUAN: There seems to be competing priorities as there always are in these difficult decisions, the priority of leave no soldier behind. And the priority, as policy, we do not negotiate with terrorists in part of the United States. The defense secretary said very clearly we did not negotiate with terrorists here. On some level, are you trying to have it both ways? I know it's difficult, but it's hard to have those two competing priorities happening at the same time.
KIRBY: No, I don't think we look at it that way at all, Kate. We did not negotiate with terrorists. We're grateful for the mayor of Qatar for having brokered this transfer. So that's one point. Point number two, it is true we don't want to leave any soldiers behind. And we're going to work by all means possible to recover a prisoner of war which Sergeant Bergdahl was. And it would have been irresponsible for us not to continue to pursue all kinds of means and measures to get him back. And he was never off our radar screen for the last five years, I can assure you of that. Again, we had to move quickly in this particular case based on information we had on his life being in jeopardy.
BOLDUAN: How do you answer the criticism clearly coming from many this has set the price on American lives, the one for five deal? How can you argue -- what is your argument that this does not set a dangerous precedent and put Americans' lives at risk overseas?
KIRBY: I think the U.S. military's record against terrorism around the world speaks for itself. I've been in the military a long time, and certainly was wearing a uniform on September 11th, 2001. And I can tell you we have been resolute and determined all around the world going after terrorism. And I don't think any terrorist anywhere in the world should take any comfort at all from this, because we're still out there. We're still engaged. It's not just about Afghanistan. The United States military is engaged all around the world. And no terrorist and certainly nobody who wishes United States ill should take any comfort from this at all.
BOLDUAN: And after five long years, it is a relief for everyone to have a U.S. soldier back in safe hands. But I do want to ask you, finally, there are suggestions, and it's difficult to discuss alongside the relief of having a U.S. soldier rescued, but there are suggestions from even though who served with Bowe Bergdahl that he left his post without permission, that he is a deserter. Will those accusations, will those questions be investigated by the Pentagon?
KIRBY: We still don't have a complete picture of what caused him to leave his base that night. And I know that at the time an investigation was started by the unit in question. I don't know the status of that and whether it was complete or whether they figured that out. I don't think right now we know exactly what was in his mind when he left that post.
But let's not forget, he was held captive as a prisoner for five years, five years by himself. That's a pretty high price to pay for whatever impelled him to walk off that base. And the mantra is we're not going to not leave any soldier behind. We don't qualify that. He's an American sergeant in the U.S. army, and we're not going to leave him behind, and we didn't.
BOLDUAN: Rear Admiral, it's always great having you on. Thank you very much for your time. I know you're very busy. Thank you so much.
Later this hour we're going to talk more about Bergdahl's release with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, hear from their perspective.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Despite the political disputes there's no slowing the celebration in Bergdahl's hometown. News of the prisoner swap was met, of course, with jubilation Hailey, Idaho. The town never stopped working to bring Bergdahl home, and now they're ready to welcome him back with open arms. Nick Valencia is there with more. Nick?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. This community is overjoyed at this news that they've been waiting for nearly five years, has been beaming with happiness. Bowe Bergdahl, their hometown hero, has finally been set free from Taliban captivity.
VALENCIA: On and off for two years before being deployed to Afghanistan, U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl worked here at this coffee shop in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho. Tributes to the soldier are all around.
SUE MARTIN, BERHDAHL FAMILY FRIEND: There's drawings. There's just a little bit of everything. Here's a tree with a yellow ribbon. There's poems in here. It's just a really lovely, as well as the boards are, a lovely now keepsake that will be for Bowe.
VALENCIA: Sue Martin was Bergdahl's boss here, but she's always seen herself more as his friend.
MARTIN: You know, he has a tender personality. He's a strong person and very personable. He got along great with all the employees. And all of the customers have nothing but good to say about Bowe. They really enjoyed him while he was working here.
VALENCIA: This town says they're a community of heart and for the last four years and 11 months the small town of nearly 8,000 has been a cornerstone of support for the Bergdahls, ensuring that he'd never be forgotten.
STEFANIE O'NEIL: There's one tree for every year that Bowe was held captive.
VALENCIA: Few have been as committed to cause as Stephanie O'Neil.
O'NEIL: We're waiting for Bowe. We're anxious to get him home, get him here with us. We know it's going to be a long process, but we're hoping that day comes sooner rather than later.
VALENCIA: Yellow ribbons and balloons line the main street, symbols of solidarity for a hometown hero who has finally been set free.
What are you going to say to Bowe when you see him? What do you think that's going to be like for you?
MARTIN: I thought about that. I think it's probably going to be silent, a very dear embrace.
VALENCIA: Organizers here have already planned a June 28th for Bowe around what would have been the fifth anniversary of his disappearance. That event will still go on. It will be more of a celebration. Bergdahl is not expected to be here, but he will certainly be on the minds of everyone in attendance. Kate?
BOLDUAN: A town rejoicing for sure this morning, Nick, thank you very much.
Also happening today, potentially historic changes to the environmental policy. President Obama is using executive authority to push a plan that would cut carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent by the year 2030. Erin McPike is following all these developments for us in Washington. When it comes to environmental policy, we know that also means it's also up for a fight, Erin.
ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And according to our sources briefed on this plan, EPA chief Gina McCarthy will announce at 10:30 this morning that current coal-fired plants must cut their carbon pollution emissions by an average of 30 percent from their 2005 levels. President Obama is making the change via executive order and bypassing Congress. That has Republicans steamed. The Chamber of Commerce says this proposal will cost the economy $50 billion a year. Others say it will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in coal country, which is risky ahead of the midterm elections. So far the president has begun selling this by saying illnesses like asthma are aggravated by air pollution and he feels compelled to act for the sake of future generations and their health.
In today's announcement we expect to hear how states will have to make the changes. And our sources say there will be, quote, "a menu of options" for how they can do that. The administration wants the transition to wind and solar power and not just close power plants, Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right, Erin, we'll talk about that throughout the morning. Thank you so much.
CUOMO: A lot of issues -- what it does to jobs, what happens if India and China don't do it as well? We're not the biggest carbon producer here. So we're going to have to see how it unfold.
That's one story we're following. A lot of news this morning, so let's get to John Berman in for Michaela with the other top stories.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Chris. Breaking overnight, the NSA is reportedly intercepting millions of images per day from e- mails and social media and feeding them through facial recognition programs. This is according to "The New York Times" citing documents from Edward Snowden. An NSA spokesman would not confirm or deny the reports but tells "The Times" the agency wouldn't be doing its job if it did not keep improving intelligence.
New this morning, King Juan Carlos of Spain has decided to abdicate paving the way for his son Felipe to take over the throne. For much of his reign Carlos was seen as one of the world's most popular monarchs. He helped to reunite that country in the '70s but recently many Spaniards lost confidence in him, primarily because of a long- running corruption probe into his daughter and her husband.
Two anguished fathers devastated by the Santa Barbara killing spree have met for the first time. The father of the man behind the deadly rampage spoke with the father of Christopher Martinez, one of the six victims. Richard Martinez told CNN affiliate KEYT that he and Peter Rodger have reached common ground and plan to work together so other families do not have to go through the pain that they have had to endure.
So fresh off the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the Senate is set to take up a new bill aimed at fixing the long delays for veterans care. CNN was really the first to report a federal investigation found some 1,700 veterans in need of care were at risk of being lost or forgotten. This new bill would allow veterans facing long delays to get care outside the VA system at private doctor's offices, health centers, and military bases. Chris?
CUOMO: That will be the key. We had the political battle. Shinseki stepped down. Now, it's how do you make the fixes and make them right away so they get better care. BERMAN: One option is for doctors or nurses, they would have some of their student loans forgiven if they went to work at a V.A. hospital for a period of time.
CUOMO: That's a good idea. They have huge personnel problems there, with health providers. And this sending it to the private sector, supposedly really complicated. There's a lot of fee structures and paperwork structures, so not --
BOLDUAN: Can it be made easier? You don't know. Maybe.
CUOMO: Right. It's easy to complain politically. Fixing it has always been the challenge so let's see if they do any better this time. Certainly, the men and women deserve it. Nobody disagrees with that.
Let's take a break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, the controversy surrounding the trade deal to secure the release of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Does the release of five Taliban members in exchange set a bad precedent? We're going to ask the White House press secretary, Mr. Jay Carney.
BOLDUAN: And also the search is on for a man considered dangerous after the FBI found explosive material in his San Francisco home. We're going to talk about this bizarre story.
BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. The FBI is on a national manhunt this morning for a man considered to be armed and dangerous. The suspect is 42-year-old Ryan Kelly Chamberlain. He's suspected of explosive materials. On Sunday, federal agents served a warrant and recovered explosives from the suspect's San Francisco apartment. And this morning, we're learning that Chamberlain was known in local political circles, also journalism circles.
I want to bring in Steven Moore right now, retired supervisory special agent for the FBI. Steven, I want to start with this. This man had explosives found in his apartment. He is now on the run. How does the fact that he had an apartment loaded with explosives, how does that now shape this investigation?
STEVEN MOORE: Well, I'd think you have to find out how the FBI got on to him. What is the investigation? We really don't know whether the explosives are secondary to the investigation or whether they're the primary reason for the investigation.
BERMAN: In a sense, I guess the question is why does that matter though? The guy had explosives in his apartment; he is now on the run. Shouldn't there be a fear that he has some with him and might want to use them?
MOORE: Well, I think that is the fear. You have to assume that he may have these things. What I'm wondering how much he actually had in the apartment. They didn't evacuate even the floor around him. So it doesn't seem to me that he had a lot of explosives in the apartment. BERMAN: We do not know what exactly he had in there, as you say. We do not know why the FBI raided this apartment, as you say. But let's talk about explosives in general, broadly speaking. How difficult is it to amass explosives that can cause serious damage to a lot of people?
MOORE: It's not dangerous -- or not difficult at all. I mean, you can go down -- the Oklahoma city bombing was perpetrated by an ammonium nitrate fertilizer combined with diesel fuel, neither of which is really controlled. You can get 25 pounds of that and do serious damage.
BERMAN: We also saw what happened in Boston, too, of course, so do know, all too well, that even things that might seem innocuous can be quite dangerous.
What's unique in this case, very unusual, at least as I look at it, people in the Bay area, they knew this guy. Ryan Kelly Chamberlain was active in political campaigns. He was a blogger. He wrote a blog on the San Francisco 49ers for a while. People in journalism circles knew him. It seems unusual to me that a guy who might be harboring, hiding explosives in his apartment, a guy who the FBI is raided as some kind of threat, would be as public a figure as this gentleman seems to be.
MOORE: You're absolutely right. But I think what you're going to find, and what you find with a lot of these people, is they are very, very successful or at least successful enough to go on with life until something happens that triggers a problem. My reading on this, my understanding is that in November he lost a job and people are saying that his personality changed drastically. Those are the kind of things you look for when people kind of head down this slippery slope.
BERMAN: Yes, you did mention he may have lost his job recently, something may have snapped.
How about advice now for everyone out there? We see the picture of this guy. We know the FBI raided his apartment and found explosives. We know there's a national manhunt now. What should the public be looking for?
MOORE: Well, if the public sees him, sees his car, sees anything that they recognize, don't approach the guy. We don't know what this is all about. But, you know, if you got some guy who's stockpiling explosives in his apartment, he's probably not safe to approach. So I would call authorities and, at best, keep an eye on it.
BERMAN: All right, some very good advice. Steven Moore, really appreciate it. A lot still unknown in this case. We'll bring you the developments as they come in. Guys.
CUOMO: JB, really interesting how they have to go about this investigation given what they're dealing with the circumstances. We'll keep watching that as well.
Coming up on NEW DAY, more on the deal that set Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl free. Five Taliban members are now "free," that's going to be in quotes because there are all these conditions we'll tell you about. But the issue is -- was this a bad precedent to set? We're going to ask the White House press secretary Jay Carney, coming up.
BOLDUAN: And our own Ivan Watson detained during a live report on protests in Turkey. Officials kicking him and demanding his passport. What happened during and after this confrontation.
BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. Time for a look at the headlines right now. We begin with President Obama using executive authority to take what could be one of the most significant steps to fight global warming in U.S. history. The Environmental Protection Agency announcing a major proposal that calls for deep cuts in power plant carbon emissions. A source briefed on the plan tells CNN it requires power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell says he turned down a seat on a private plane that burst into flames in Massachusetts on Saturday, killing everyone on board. The plane was owned by Lewis Katz, co- owner of "The Philadelphia Inquirer" who died along with six others when this small jet failed to get airborne during takeoff. Witnesses say it skidded off the runway, exploded in a fireball. The NTSB is investigating.
Terrifying moments for a woman in Florida. And just as a warning, the images you're about to see, these are disturbing. 22-year-old Jessica Vaughan is recovering this morning after being bitten by a shark while on a tubing trip with friends. Vaughan was swimming in the Intercoastal Waterway in Ft. Lauderdale when she was attacked behind from a bull shark. She suffered a pretty gruesome leg injury, wow, but she is expected thankfully to make a full recovery.
BOLDUAN: Was it a bull shark?
BERMAN: Bull shark. From behind.
CUOMO: Very aggressive. Fresh water and salt water attackers.
BERMAN: It was in the Intercoastal Waterway.
BOLDUAN: Very impressive shark knowledge.
CUOMO: Well, I've watched it on Discovery Channel.
BOLDUAN: Shark week, when is that? I don't know. Thanks, John.
All right, a dramatic scene between the CNN correspondent Ivan Watson and riot police in Turkey. And it was all caught live on CNN's air. Take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have supports as well -- so excuse me -- we're -- I think I'm getting -- I think we're -- I'm being --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a minute. May I see your passport.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN. CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Can I see your passport then?
WATSON: Sir, Errol, we're now being --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Journalist card, we need journalist card. Can I see your passport?
WATSON: Anyway, this is my press card. It allows me to --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is your passport?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Passport --
WATSON: Errol, we're being detained right now. So this is -- I'm being kicked. I'm being kicked.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Wow. Watson and his crew, they were detained of course while reporting on demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of major protests in Turkey. Ivan is joining us now from Turkey with much more on this. Ivan, you've been in the middle of a lot of stuff, I guess we can say. But what did happen? Why were you detained?
WATSON: Well, I wasn't legally detained. I was held for a half hour by the police; they say they were doing an identity check. They did not accept my Turkish press accreditation, which is issued by the prime ministry of Turkey and is accepted as the primary form of identity.