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LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Processing Bowe Bergdahl After Pick Up; Manhunt for Shooter Who Killed Three Canadian Police; Obama Videotaped in Gym
Aired June 5, 2014 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to LEGAL VIEW. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.
President Obama says his decision to negotiate with the Taliban for the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl wasn't a matter of military principle, he said it was personal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn't seen in five years, and weren't sure whether they'd ever see again. And as commander in chief of the United States armed forces, I am responsible for those kids.
And I get letters from parents who say, if you are in fact sending my child into war, make sure that child is being taken care of. I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don't see their children again after fighting a war.
I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So that certainly raises the question why, five days after Bergdahl's return, that soldier has still not been reunited with or even spoken to his long-suffering parents, his mother, his father. They're not even in Germany. They're nowhere close to him.
Joining me now with insights on that and other issues, former Navy SEAL Chris Heben and New York State Senator and U.S. Army Reserve JAG Corps attorney Major Lee Zeldin.
Chris, first to you. When I watched those pictures of Bowe Bergdahl being rushed into that helicopter by those special forces, I could not help but wonder, what are they saying to him when they get into that chopper and it lifts off? What are they doing? What are they looking for? And are they trying to extract any kind of information, other than the obvious, about his health?
CHRIS HEBEN, FORMER NAVY SEAL: First off, they're going to make sure he doesn't cause damage to them or the airframe or to himself, so they're probably going to use passive restraints on him. They'll probably zip tie him so he can't flail around.
They'll have a handler on each side of him so he can't jump out of the helicopter, grab anything, grab a weapon, you get the picture. So they want to contain him as much as possible. They're also physically assessing him, eye contact, hey, you know, stay with me, we're Americans, you point to a patch, the American flag, we're here to get you home.
You're assessing his -- you're taking vitals. What's his heart rate? What's his blood pressure? What's his oxygen levels? You're looking at all of these things and you're taking all this data down, not so much interrogating him at this point. That will take place once he gets to the base. So protecting him and the airframe and yourself, that's what happens in a helicopter in that moment.
BANFIELD: I was so fascinated to see these notes about the critical- incident stress debriefing and this quasi-quarantining, once he does get back to base.
I don't understand. Why five days? Look, I'm a layperson here, but if that were my child, I would have been in Germany the minute this news broke. I would have stowed away on an airplane to get close to him, and yet here we are five, six days and they can't even see him. It just -- it defies logic.
HEBEN: Ashleigh, what happens is, once you allow that individual to make contact with family, friends, it become emotional, and once someone's emotions come out, a lot of data gets lost. So right now what they're doing is isolation, examination, interrogation, equals data extraction. So they're isolating him from society, from family. They're examining him medically, psychologically.
And then they're interrogating him, not in the sense of the word they're waterboarding him, not that I'm aware of, and all those factors equal data extraction. So you want to isolate him from any of his relatives, because like I said, once the emotion gets involved, everything goes out the window.
BANFIELD: State Senator, maybe you can weigh in on this, as well, with your JAG experience. Do you have any idea what they're asking him and how they are asking him the questions in this sort of quarantined interrogation?
LEE ZELDIN, NEW YORK STATE SENATOR: Ashleigh, before I was a JAG officer I was a military intelligence officer.
Listening to Chris, obviously, incredible insight, the fact is he has so much actual intelligence, Bowe Bergdahl does, that it's helpful for the military and our intelligence assets operating all over the Middle East to be able to find out exactly what Bergdahl knows and doesn't know. Maybe there's something we can act on to move forward with the mission.
BANFIELD: Yeah. But you've got to weigh that against the price this guy's paid, being five years a prisoner, and the fact that at some point he's going to want that emotion. He's going to want to hug his mother, and she sure wants to hug him, too.
How long does this go on for? And how much of it is geared towards how he went missing in the first place and these allegations that he was AWOL or a deserter?
ZELDIN: I sure hope that there would be an opportunity for him to be able to see his parents. His parents would want to see him. I would assume that that would happen soon. I'm not surprised, though, that they're spending a few days with this opportunity to get some -- hopefully some actionable intelligence.
BANFIELD: One last question, just a couple seconds left here, and that is this. If he ends up in any kind of military proceeding under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, would he be judged by a jury of his peers, fellow soldiers?
ZELDIN: If he is court-martialed, he has the right to have a panel, a military jury. He also can have a judge decide. It's really his choice as the accused.
BANFIELD: Yeah. In this case, would you pick the judge, even the fact he's got so many soldiers who are so angry right now?
ZELDIN: That's what it seems like. It seems like there's a lot of peer resentment really making its way through the military.
BANFIELD: I could talk to the two of you forever. I just find it so fascinating, especially you Chris Heben with your training and all the secrets that you hold, and I know you're not allowed to give them out, but your insight's been amazing. Last word?
HEBEN: Ashleigh, you know what? Lee made a good point. They have a formulated approach anytime they take somebody into custody like this. There's a certain process that they go through. It's like repatriation due process, if you will.
And Lee made some -- a really good point, this guy, we're going to look at to give us data on that organization. What kind of places was he taken to? What do they look like on the exterior? They'll show him pictures. Hey, was this where you were at? Was this where you were at? So data extraction, data mining from Bergdahl is key right now. He'll get to see his parents when they let him.
BANFIELD: Yeah. Yeah, it's distressing, though. As a mother myself I feel for the Bergdahl parents. Anybody who attacks those parents, they should just shut it. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Chris Heben, thank you, as always. Good to see you, sir. And, also, Major Lee Zeldin, I never know whether to call you "Major," "Counselor," or "Senator," so I'll just say all three. Thank you.
ZELDIN: Thank you.
BANFIELD: It's nice to have you again.
Another big story that we're following right now, the search for a man who went on a shooting rampage, killing three police officers, and take a look at the image of him.
This is the guy they're looking for. He's in Canada. They say he's got a rifle and a headband, and he has knives, and he is still on the loose, and neighbors are terrified.
More in a moment.
BANFIELD: So I want you to have a listen to something that transpired yesterday in the normally quiet province of New Brunswick, Canada. Take a peek.
That is not normal, coming from someone who lived there all her life. Law enforcement is on the hunt today for an alleged gunman wearing military fatigues who is still on the loose after a horrifyingly bloody rampage.
The 24-year-old used a rifle to shoot and kill three Royal Canadian Mounted Police, known as RCMP. The community's stunned at the sheer violence of this incident.
Jason Carroll has been following this story. You know, look, I told you before, I'm Canadian, I grew up in a country where gun incidents were rare, and certainly an incident like this almost unheard of.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can tell just from the way that the community seems to be grieving.
The community on lockdown, the community of Moncton, police are asking residents to stay inside, keep doors locked, not go outside and asking people to stay out of the particular area while this massive manhunt is going on.
As you know, this started last night at 7:30 p.m. That's when the shots first rang out, and residents saw this man walking in camouflage throughout the --
BANFIELD: Through their backyard.
CARROLL: Through the backyard, on the sidewalks, on the streets there. That's when the shots initially rang out.
Police, this morning, basically saying during a press conference -- there you see an image of the suspect as he was walking through the neighborhood -- they held a press conference saying they spotted him since then three times this morning, still have been unable to catch him because, as you know, the area's boarded by woods. Once he pops out, he's then able to like escape back into the woods. He knows how to hide. This is a relatively small city of 70,000 people. This has affected them very deeply.
Listen to some of the emergency officials as they try to explain how this has affected their community.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER BROWN, COMMANDING OFFICER, RCMP NEW BRUNSWICK: RCMP family lost three colleagues and three of our friends. Two more of our officers are in hospital at present and undergoing surgery. I met with the families this morning prior to coming here and, as you can all imagine, they're hurting. There's actually no way to describe the level of hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Jason, it's remarkable.
CARROLL: Yes, increasable.
BANFIELD: The pain and suffering that these guys are chasing, the bad guy, but they're mourning the loss of three of their colleagues. One of the things I could not believe is the accounts from some of these neighbors.
CARROLL: It's incredible.
BANFIELD: You know, at dinner time they were opening up their windows to get some fresh air and they could see this man running through their yards and some of them actually started rolling tape.
CARROLL: Right. Right, rolling tape. And they were posting it on Twitter, positing on Facebook. One family saw the shooting just as it was getting underway. It's really incredible to watch this. You can just see -- just take a look at this video. You can see how frightening it was for the people who were there who witnessed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). Oh my goodness. (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) go down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He shot him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shot the (INAUDIBLE) cop (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He shot a cop.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) call 911 (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, call 911. (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Wow. That's terrifying. That's terrifying.
CARROLL: It's incredible.
A little bit more information about that suspect. Twenty-four-year-old Justin Bourque. On Facebook he posted a number of postings, anti- government, pro-gun. Perhaps that gives some sort of motive in terms of why he did what he did.
BANFIELD: Oh, I hope they catch him soon. I mean that is just awful. Jason Carroll reporting for us live, thank you.
CARROLL: You bet.
BANFIELD: Good to see you.
A fiery plane crash and the action is caught on tape. A military plane crashing into a California neighborhood. A resident catching the aftermath. Amazingly, if you look at those pictures, hard to believe, everyone survived. We've got the details on how this happened, next.
BANFIELD: Hundreds are dead in northeast Nigeria after Islamic militants with terrorist - with ties to the terrorist group Boko Haram raided four villages. They were shooting dead the people who lived there. They were burning their homes. Some sources are putting the death toll, if you can believe it, at between 400 and 500. Survivors have fled into neighboring Cameroon. Boko Haram, you may remember, is the same group responsible for kidnapping over 200 school girls in April.
Separate probes are underway right now after two U.S. military jets crashed Wednesday in the southern California area. It happened near San Diego. A Marine single-engine attack plan smashed into a neighborhood there. The video is remarkable. Three homes were destroyed, eight were evacuated, and the pilot, luckily, was able to eject safely. And also luckily, no one on the ground was hurt after all of this. Later, a U.S. Navy fighter jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean as it approached an aircraft carrier. That pilot was also able to eject and we are told his condition has stabilized.
Thirty-four people, including 23 firefighters, are recovering after a five-alarm fire tore through a multifamily home on New York's Staten Island. A neighbor tells CNN that he and his fiance caught two children whose father had tossed them from a second floor window to help rescue them. The fire's cause is still under investigation today.
Police in New York have made an arrest. It is this man, Daniel St. Hubert. And his alleged crime? Stabbing two young children inside an elevator in Brooklyn. One of those children, a six-year-old boy, was killed. And now police are looking into whether St. Hubert is linked to a stabbing on Wednesday inside a Manhattan subway station. Hubert was released on parole last month in connection with a domestic assault. Another story in the headlines today is raising questions about your
privacy and that guy's privacy. Yes, yes, he's the United States president. But this brand-new video shows the president working out at a hotel gym. It was taken by someone else who was working out as well in that gym. Wouldn't you like to know it if that is fair or legal or if there's any difference between the two? Private moments, should they be private? Can they be private? Does anyone have recourse about this stuff? Anybody? Anybody?
BANFIELD: We're certainly used to seeing President Obama on video all the time. So why are we so surprised when we get a video like this? Because it's private! Here he is doing a workout at the Marriott in Warsaw during his trip to Poland this week. The video and the pictures came out on a Polish tabloid. The Secret Service official who was questioned about it said rest assured the commander in chief was never in any danger and, yes, the guy in the blue and the others, they are gym-goers. Everyone going in out of that hotel was screened for potentially dangerous items.
And when the president works out in hotels around the world, his staff typically does not ask the hotel guests to refrain from taking pictures and they also typically don't close off the gym so that he gets it all to himself. So basically a selfie or a snapshot with the leader of the free world is not illegal, but doesn't this image just smack of someone who's a real jerk? I'm talking ethics here. There's legal and then there's ethics and moral.
I want to bring back in CNN legal analyst Mel Robbins, along with our attorney, Paul Callan, who just so happened to have been a media law professor at Seton Hall University as well.
Paul, I'll start with you, it ain't illegal. I get it. You don't have an expectation of privacy. But there's something that smacks of dirty.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Because they did this and publicized it and they shouldn't have, yes. I would call it optics, presidential optics. I think the president has to be more careful about projecting his image when he's around the world. He looks like --
BANFIELD: What's wrong with working out? Man, I wish I could do what he's doing.
CALLAN: He looks like an - he looks like an ordinary guy just pumping iron, as opposed to the most powerful man on earth. I mean, I think - I think Putin's laughing at him right now. So --
BANFIELD: I don't think Putin could lift those two dumbbells, I'll be honest with you.
CALLAN: Well, he'd be riding on a horse, shirtless.
BANFIELD: I - Putin puts himself nude on a horse. That's funny. Now that's - (INAUDIBLE) funny. I look at the president and I think, that's guy's badass. Mel, what do you think about this?
MEL ROBBINS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the first thing that struck me, honestly, and this isn't legal or ethics, is, I can't believe how skinny he is and also that he kind of does the bop as he's like lifting it up. And so here's the thing. In every article that I was reading this morning to kind of look at the issues, something struck me, and that is that there were a couple members of the Secret Service that said, you know, we saw people that were holding up their cameras and taking photos and it's pretty normal that people take pictures of him and so they knew and they didn't ask them to put the photos away.
And Paul's point is, is I think the one that's worth talking about, which is, is this really the kind of image that the most powerful - you know, that the leader of the most powerful country in the world wants to portray, leaning back, yawning. You know, come on.
BANFIELD: OK. You guys - all right. So, I hear that. What about just someone out there right now who's watching this, who goes to the gym and she does not want to be videotaped while she's on certain machines -
BANFIELD: And some guy is out there holding his iPhone real low like. Paul, is there anything she can do about that?
CALLAN: Well, there are actually different laws in different states about this, about surreptitious recording of people. But most gyms, of course, have rules that you're not supposed to record, and you can be thrown out and lose your membership. So you're rarely going to be called into court unless someone is in sort of an intimate situation or naked and it gets publicized, then they're going to go to jail for taping that.
BANFIELD: All right. Well, you know what, watch out, folks, because we're on our own when it comes to this. Paul Callan, Mel Robbins, thank you both. Nice to have you weigh in on this.
And to you, Mr. President, keep doing your vodou (ph) thing. I think you look great and you have every right to do it.
Thanks for watching, everybody. "Wolf" starts now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, President Obama doubles down on his decision to trade Afghan prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl.