tv The Situation Room CNN June 21, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
"liftoffs." and check out our show page at cnn.com/thelead for videos, blogs and extras. i turn you over to jim april cos -- acosta, who is filling in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." a jet is ready to fly. i'll ask a wealthy businessman why he's helping to arrange that risky effort. >> and a frightening near collision over new york city. why such a close call? and breaking news, the food network is dropping tv chef paula deen despite her videos apologizing for using racial slurs. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta. you're in "the situation room." and the breaking news,
renowned celebrity chef paula deen is being dropped by the food network over the revelation of her having used "the n" word in the past. up until this controversy emerged, she was beloved by millions of people all over the country. so to have something like this happen is really a major development in the cable tv news industry. >> it really is. it's a huge shake-up. it's a devastating blow for her, for the network, for everyone involved. this all started after deen acknowledged using the "n" word during a deposition in a lawsuit. a former manager in her restaurant is suing deen and her manager for sexual harassment. this video was published on youtube. >> i want to apologize to
everybody for the wrong that i've done. i want to learn and grow from this inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable. i've made plenty of mistakes along the way but i beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners, i beg for your forgiveness. please forgive me for the mistakes that i've made. >> that video was later replaced by a new one, this time acknowledging a missed appearance on the "today" show this morning. >> the pain has been tremendous that i have caused to myself and to others and so i'm taking this opportunity now that i've pulled myself together and am able to
speak to offer an apology to those that i have hurt. i want people to understand that my family and i are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. i've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter. to me. but it's what in the heart -- what's in the heart and my family and i try to live by that. and i am here to say i am so sorry. i was wrong. yes, i've worked hard and i've made mistakes but that is no excuse. >> so paula deen today and yesterday doing a lot of damage control but, jim, not enough at
this point. can't sustain it. the food network drops her again. as we talked about a huge development in the cable news and tv genre, for especially those food networks. her two sons got their own shows because of her success. millions of followers of course. >> the food network owes a lot to paula deen i would imagine because of her success. it seems the channel has just decided baecause of this controversy she is just too hot to handle at this point. this is not the first time that paula deen has been in the same sentence as controversy. there is this whole issue of her health, which she had kept hidden for many years and called into question her cooking. her cooking can be very unhealthy. and all of a sudden it turns out she's suffered from health problems of her own. >> that didn't in itself take away from her popularity. of course when you cross over into this other thing, it was
just too much for the food network to sustain at that point. aga again, when you think of the marquee star they have now lost -- they have other big stars. they have bobby plflay and somef the others but she is a huge loss for them. >> let's bring in donna brazile. this is such huge news and because of the nature of what paula deen has been accused of doing and i guess she's admitted to it in its apology, did the food network do you think have any other choice? >> i don't think so. she's a culinary giant. everybody knows paula deen if you're from the south. we know about not just her recipes but we know a little bui bit more about her family and her food is quite famous. but her comments in the deposition, unacceptable. the things that i guess we heard
that was said about her using the "n" word, she admitted to using the "n" word, to often hearing racist jokes and never condemning those jokes. so this was bad. this was not just bad for paula deen but it was terrible for the food network and i think they made the right decision to let her go. >> you can't imagine the food network having listened to all of this and then deciding to keep her around. one of the things that we heard from paula deen in this deposition and in this video is the sense that, well, these are things that i said in the past and i wish i hadn't said these things. i wonder, donna, is there a cultural lesson to be learned from all of this do you think? >> no question. as a native born southerner, we've heard those words. i mean, people sometimes use them in jest, sometimes in jokes, but they're unacceptable. the "n" word should be banned from the dictionary. it belongs in the past.
it doesn't belong in the present. and i think paula deen understood that. it's unfortunate that, you know, she didn't step out ahead of this story and waited until the full deposition came out public. she knew it would be made public but rather she waited and i think in waiting she only added fuel to the fire. and i'm sure she knows what adding fuel to the fire means. >> and it looked bad. the "today" show said this morning she bailed on an appearance she was supposed to have on that program and then she comes out with the series of youtube messages. one went up and all of a sudden it was off, you couldn't get it online anymore and then there were a couple of others. >> it was clearly the sloppiness of it that led to some of this and some of the fallout. absolutely. >> very good. let's move on to nancy asenseio. she is on the phone with us. she is paula deen's former publicist. you just joined us in the last few moments so we appreciate your time. what is your reaction to this news?
this is very, very big news. >> well, i just got out of meetings myself and i just learned of it a few minutes ago. and naturally i'm just incredibly saddened by all this. i mean, it's -- i've had the pleasure of working with paula and her team of people for close to six years. i admired her incredibly because she's a self-made woman. this is not someone who, you know, inherited her success. she started late in life, which i found incredibly attractive. and, you know, she just -- she works hard. i mean, she works hard. and it's sad. >> nancy, let me ask you this because i suppose this is an appropriate question to ask, did you ever hear paula deen use
that language around you? >> no. there's one thing i learned in working, i think there is a cultural difference. that's one education that i've had. >> what do you mean by that? >> well, i think the way people speak and i never heard her speak like that. i know her heart and her heart is a good heart. >> but she may have at times said things that maybe people down in -- >> i think that -- i know her heart and her heart is a good one and i know that she is very giving. i know that she loves, you know, i mean, she's surrounded by a very diverse group of people who work with her. we travelled all over together for six years.
and it's a very diverse group of people. >> and what you mean by that of having a diverse -- she worked with people of all different shapes and sizes -- >> not on shapes and sizes. ages, ethnicities. it was fascinating in anything. her manager is asian and every kind of -- every background is on her team. so, you know, i don't think that she's judgmentsal that way. at least i never saw that. and i just -- i think this is really sad. it's very -- it's disappointing turn of events, especially knowing how hard that she has work worked. and it's not the ending that one would hope.
i'm not surprised by the food network, but it's not an ending that one would imagine she would have hoped for herself. >> nancy, thank you for her time. we appreciate it. let's show the third video that paula deen released earlier this afternoon when she apologized for not appearing on the "today" show. >> i'm paula deen, and i'm here to issue an apology to matt lauer. i was invited to do an interview with him this morning and, matt, i am so sorry. i was physically in no shape to come in and talk with you. the last 48 hours have been very, very hard.
you know, i'm a strong woman but today i wasn't. this morning i was not. and so i do apologize. >> donna, they appear to be heart-felt apologies from paula deen. can she make this right again? >> i think so. on a personal level i'm sure there are so many people that know her personally, that will come to her defense that, will say the good things she's done. i know about those, i've heard about some of her good work. but at this moment the apology is appropriate. people will have to express their disappointment, the food network has made their decision. but people like paula deen, by that i mean just like a politician, mark sanford, whoever, they come back. she will make a comeback. she made a comeback after admitting she had type two diabetes. but this is a huge blow to her brand, to her image and her many fans and followers, many of whom
are black who loved paula deen because paula deen knows how to stir up the pot. >> she does. for anybody who sits at the table. >> i can tell you, for anybody who tried a little bit of her food, it's as good as your mother's recipe. >> i've tried it too. maybe she need as time-out and maybe that's about to happen here. let's go to howard bragman. it's a good segue to you. do you think she's doing the right thing at this point by apologizing and is the food network doing a good thing at this point by perhaps letting her sort of go away for a while? >> can you hear me? >> i'm here. it's jim acosta with cnn. >> okay. >> we want to ask you about what's happening with paula deen and her apology. what do you make of her apology and the food network's decision to drop her? >> i think this is really, really damaging, if not a fatal
blow for her. paula deen is a $15 million to $20 million a year business right now, jim. and the food network, while it may not pay the most money, it's the engine that drives awareness. it's the engine that drives everything else. and from a crisis p.r. point of view, all i've seen is horrific mistakes. how do you put a $20 million a year business at stake by not resolving a million dollar lawsuit? that's the first question. second question is how do you not prepare a client for a deposition better than she was prepared? it's easy to say i don't recall when you're asked a question. >> she was fairly honest in that deposition, which -- >> yes. there's a way to be honest and there's away -- you know, as my first boss in p.r. used to call it, telling the truth appropriately. the third thing was that when she made the appointment with
matt lauer today and then she cancelled it, that was a really bad error in judgment. >> she should have just gone on no matter the consequences? >> no, i don't think she should have done it in the first place. i think she has to understand that this is the kind of situation that's going to go to trial, it's going to be a very big thing and that you have time to do it. this should not be a rush. you should take your time and be prepared. lack of strategy and preparation is what put her in this situation. i don't think you're going to resolve it in three or four minutes on a morning show or even ten minutes. i think you need a longer interview. i think you need longer preparation and clearly not when she's stressed. then she put out that 45-second apology tape, overly edited, overly pink, a very bizarre looking paula deen. and then finally she comes out with a separate apology.
think about it strategically, jim. you want the story to go away. every one of your actions is making this a bigger story. i don't think she left the food network with a lot of options. and i think other people are going to follow suit. >> no doubt about it. a p.r. train wreck for paula deen. howard bragman who specializes in damage control. we appreciate it. >> also, a jet is ready to fly nsa leaker edward snowden to iceland. and coming up, why did two airliners have such a close call in the skies over new york city? we'll look to the latest frightening near collision. that's coming up. ♪ [ mom ] for big girl jobs there's bounty select-a-size.
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if nsa leaker edward snowden wants to flee to china, it appears there is a jet on standby ready to kb. a businessman with ties to wikileaks says he has a jet ready to go. joe? >> it's the latest twice in the real live story of international intrigue. a wealthy businessman from iceland has entered the picture offering to lend assistance to edward snowden but it's more risky business for the man suspected of taking top-secret information from the u.s. national security agency. >> he's with the software company data cell and has connections to julian assange. he's offered to supplied edward
snowden to iceland in case he wants to go. but he's told cnn it's an expensive proposition. >> i believe the total number will be, you know, somewhere around $400,000, $500,000 to u.s. dollars. it's not the cheapest ticket you buy. >> reporter: could it really happen? the answer is maybe. for example, we know the fbi is looking into snowden. >> he is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation. >> so far the government still hasn't said whether snowden has already been charged, month less where he is, though many legal analysts believe an indictment has already been handed up but it's under seal so the government doesn't have to show its hand. >> somewhere there's a seal indictment charging him with stolen property or espionage. >> reporter: which is why leaving hong kong could be tricky for snowden.
typically the government would ask interpol for a red notice. snowden recently had an intermediary, also with connections to wikileaks, to ask the icelandic government for help. >> i was asked to relay a formal request for political asylum and political support by the iceland government. >> the iceland interior ministry told cnn "in order to apply for asylum in iceland, the individual in question must be present in iceland and make the application in his or her own name." >> in iceland there's more of an established tradition of being very reluctant to extradite individuals who are accused of offenses like the ones that we think snowden committed. hong kong you have the complicated factor of our diplomatic relations with china. it's six of one, half a dozen of
the other. >> the u.s. does have an extradition treaty with iceland but it could come down to whether any charges against snowden could be seen as political in nature. however, the first step would be just getting there and that's a little tricky, jim. >> and we have not heard the end of this. >> absolutely not. >> thank you. we appreciate it. >> and joining us is icelandic businessman olafur, we're thank you for joining us. >> yes, i hi. >> tell us about your plan to get edward snowden out of china. is this serious? >> yes, it's serious. he just figured out that he might be scared of, you know, international afrmt, et cetera. so we have arranged a private
jet to take him to icelands for authorities to grant him asylum and then we will transport him as a passenger. >> are you sympathetic to mr. snowden's cause? is that why you're doing this? i know that you're affiliated in some way the wikileaks organization, the organization that seeks to publish classified and secret information. are you sympathetic to mr. snowden's cause? >> yeah, of course i am. and i think what he did is a great thing. >> why is that? >> because i want to know who is observing my -- looking at my private information. the u.s. government has no right to do so at all and i think the world needs to know it. i think mr. snowden, he in my mind and in a lot of other people's, he's a hero. >> and so how will this work?
are you in communication with people who are communicating with mr. snowden at this point? >> yeah, yeah. it's not like i pick up the phone and i call him. we have our way to communicate. a lot of it is over the internet and using modern technology to can't from point to point. >> and have you not been in touch with mr. snowden; is that right? >> not personally, no. >> i'm sure you're aware if you try to go forward with this plan, there are going to be people in the united states who are going to be very upset about this, perhaps people in the law enforcement, national security agencies of the united states. are you planning to do this whether they like it or not? >> i have had no indications about anybody being against this plan. as it looks now, it's just
logistic management, which involves moving a person from a to b. and we have to the extent we have the full right to travel between countries with proper paperwork in place. >> even though the united states or officials in the united states would like to see mr. snowden brought to justice, you are going to be interfering with that. >> like i said, i can't see why. there are probably as many politicians in the u.s. that are against this spying secretly on individuals. i believe so, you know. the u.s. is a great country and -- >> and what about what's going into this operation? how much money is this costing you? where are you keeping the plane?
tell us a little bit about that. >> actually, what we have done last week is we have activated several different plans for transportation. all of them involve an airplane at some point but i can't give that out in detail but the cost is ranging from 3 to 500,000 euros. >> that's how much this operation is going to cost. are you footing that bill? who's paying for this? >> i'm not paying for this but there is a lot of people who believe in this cause of personal privacy and that the u.s. government is the party who did wrong in this case and snowden is just, like i said, we look at him as a hero to bring the message to the world.
>> but i have to ask you a logistical question, olafur. a plane from hong kong to iceland, i can't imagine that's direct nonstop. you're going to have to stop somewhere, which means you're going to have to find a country somewhere along the way that is willing to cooperate with this. isn't that right? >> that's one way of doing it. you can also -- there are planes that can take this in one leg. so we have looked at all the options and, like i said, we just wait for 100% commitment from the icelandic government to protect snowden. and if they come up with that, then we just execute the plan of transportati transportation. >> and are you personally investing your own money into this operation? >> no, only time.
only time. >> only time. so there are other resources coming in from around the world that are going to be paying for this operation? >> yes. >> all right. well, it's -- we're going to be keeping an eye on this, mr. sigurvinsson. it's an icelandic businessman who has offered to arrange transportation for snowden to iceland if he gets clearance from the government there. we appreciate your time. thank you for talking to us. >> thank you. >> coming up, a frightening near collision in the skies over new york city. that's just ahead. plus much more on the breaking news, the food network dropping celebrity chef paula deen after she admits to having used a racial slur. you're in "the situation room."
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autopsy results are back in the death of james gandolfini. mary, what could you have? >> jim, a family friend tells reporters it was a heart attack and thus natural causes that killed the star actor best known for his role as tony soprano. gandolfini's son apparently alerted hotel staff wednesday after his father failed to respond to repeated knocks on the bathroom door. the staff then broke down the door and called an ambulance but it was too late. funeral services are being planned for next week. >> police in massachusetts are searching for clues that could help determine what happened to a 27-year-old man found dead less than a mile from the home of new england patriots tight end aaron hernandez. the nfl player has remained
silent amid reports he's being questioned by police. three search warrants have reportedly been issued in the case. the victim, who is said to have been friends with hernandez, apparently died of a gunshot wound. much more on the story in our next hour. >> and on a completely different note, call it a new direction in celebrity baby names. north west. that's what reality star kim kardashian and rapper kanye west is calling their baby girl. the name was confirmed in a birth certificate filed today. it's now fueling plenty of buzz online and beyond. jim? >> i guess it does go with west. mary snow, thank you. i appreciate. >> coming up next, a frightening near collision in the skies over new york city. why did two airliners have such a close call.
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happening now, breaking news, the food network announcing it's dropping celebrity chef paula deen after she admits to having used the "n" word. plus a near collision in the skies over new york city. how did they manage to get so close to each other? >> and how a 2-year-old managed to survive a five-story fall from a building window. amazing. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim acosta and you're in "the situation room." >> a frightening near collision in the skies above new york city. authorities now are trying to determine how a delta 747 and a shuttle america flight got within just about a half mile of each other at one point. it's just the latest in a string of close calls. rene marsh is working the story
and joins us with the details. this is scary stuff, rene. >> it certainly is. it's not what you want to hear when you're a passenger on a plane and tonight we know exactly how it happened. 2,000 feet above queens, new york, a dangerously close call in one of the country's busiest airspaces. >> 172, turn left now. >> a delta jumbo jet nearly collides with a delta regional aircraft. the planes a half a mile apart horizontally. they're required to be at least three miles apart. windy conditions set off the chain reaction of problems last thursday when an american airlines 737 and delta 747 were coming in for landing at j.f.k. on parallel runways. the wind forced both planes to abort landings. american went right, delta left. but the traffic controller's order to turn left put delta
straight in the path of a different plane taking off from nearby laguardia. >> 172, i, are you turning? >> we're almost there now. >> it seems like they were so focused on the event happening in front of them they didn't foresee what was going to happen as a result of diverting this delta plane to the left. >> stress causes tunnel vision. >> mark weis, a former airline pilot of more than 20 years since the instruction the pilot received shows an faa system break down. but in the end it -- the training was there. >> the faa tells us that this was a rare event, where you have two planes simultaneously aborting landing. the faa also says that they are
investigating it. they're looking into what can be done to prevent another close call like this from happening again. they are calling this a teachable moment. jim? >> that is an understatement. just ahead, we'll break down just how close these two planes came to colliding. and if a sales clerk asks for your zip code after swiping your card, do you need to comply? what you might want to think twice about. i don't ever want to have another heart attack. i'm on a regimen of bayer aspirin. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. be proactive. see your doctor.
before you begin an aspirin regimen. hey guys, thanks for coming. are we in trouble? no, you're not in trouble. i just want to set some ground rules. like what? well, remember last week, when you hit vinnie in the head with a shovel? [chuckling] i do not recall that. of course not. well, it was pretty graphic. too graphic for the kids. so i'm going to have to block you.
new york city? tom foreman is over at the magic wall breaking down the distance. tom, you know, it doesn't sound like a big space that was dividing these two planes, but in aviation terms this was close. >> yeah, this was close. initially when i heard about it, i thought the guidelines are pretty liberal there, maybe it's not that close from what we hear. but look at the math on this. we actually came much closer than you might think from having a plane like this which can have in some configurations 350 to 400 people, one like this that can have 90 people, over one of the most popular areas in the country coming down. they were about 2,000 feet in the air. how close were they vertically? vertically they were only about 200 feet apart. that's two-thirds of a football field. that's how far apart they were vertically. they weren't right on top of each other like this. but if they were in this kind of configuration, the faa says they
then have to have a separation of at least a thousand feet. much, much, more. so they were too close to be this way vertically if they were in the same space but beyond that, if you look at the side-to-side frame, we see they're a half mile apart here. well, if they're going to be that close together vertically, then this distance has to be much bigger. this is an either/or. you can be close vertically, you can be close horizontally but you can't do both. in this case we were talking about both because this distance should have been more like three miles apart. the simple matter, jim, is if you take these two planes at the kind of speed they're capable oaf that area, they truly could have been less than five seconds apart from each other if they both started heading in the same direction. that's why this is considered such a close call. yeah, it's a half mile but aircraft like this can cover a half mile in the blink of an eye. >> they should have never been that close.
thank you, tom. >> president obama nominated james comey to be the next director of the fbi. he once famous live butted heads with the bush white house over the use of wiretaps at that time. the president eluded to the current controversy over the surveillance of e-mails. >> we are judged solely by how many plots we disrupt or how many criminals we bring to justice, we judged by the constitution we've sworn to defend and values of civil liberties we've sworn to protect. and this work of striking a balance between our security and also making sure we're maintaining fidelity to the values that we cherish is a constant mission. >> if confirmed, comey will replace robert mueller, who is leaving after heading the fbi for 12 years.
we've heard from the white house in the last few minutes that the president called the miami heat today to congratulate them on their second nba championship. >> coming up, paula deen's scamable to save her reputation. >> please forgive me for the mistake that i've made. >> but that video and two more like it may not have been enough. and you may want to think twice before giving merchants your zip code. we'll tell you why coming up. [ engine revs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] just when you thought you had experienced performance, a new ride comes along and changes everything. ♪ the 2013 lexus gs, with a dynamically tuned suspension and adjustable drive modes. because the ultimate expression of power is control. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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explain why. you know, brian, this almost sounds like another kind of surveillance, not that we want to hear another one of these. >> no, you don't, and it almost is like that, jim. it may sound innocuous when you're at the counter making a purchase, but giving that zip code could lead the retailer and maybe some others who could be more menacing, to get other information about you that you don't want out. joanna davis says the situation was so absurd, she laughed out loud in her car afterward. she had tried to return an item at an ulta beauty store near sacramento. they asked for her zip code, which she didn't want to give them. what happened when you refused to give them your zip code? >> they called the manager, she wanted it and then said she couldn't go forward with providing me with a refund or a store credit or whatever. >> reporter: davis says it led to an ugly confrontation in the store. for many of us, it doesn't get that far. we're often asked for our zip codes when we make a purchase and think nothing of giving it, but if a sales clerk sees your name while swiping your card, then gets your zip code --
>> stores can take this information to a data broker and ask them to match up the name with the zip code in order to get the person's home address, and they can get other information, too. they might able to get e-mail address or phone number as well. >> chris hoofnagle, who teaches privacy law at the university of california berkeley, says researchers can use that information to target you for marketing campaigns, even share it with other retailers. he says they can gain information about your income, whether you've gone through bankruptcy. experts say the practice is not unlike what political targeting groups use to find independent voters in certain zip codes, but those groups usually don't match names to addresses. retailers, experts say, often do. there are now lawsuits in some states over whether the practice is legal or should be. hoofnagle says retailers are usually playing within the rules when they go to data brokers to get added information about you. a worst-case scenario, he says, is the possibility that some employees might move outside the lines. >> employees of a store might
decide to stalk you or might simply decide you're good looking and to show up at your house or call you. >> reporter: it's joanna davis's own sense of those possibilities that raises her guard when a clerk asks for a zip code. >> i am a domestic violence survivor, and so, i highly regard my privacy. and whenever there are those rewards programs, i do give a fake birthday. and you know, i could have given them a fake zip code, but why should i have to do that? >> jo anna davis's story first appeared on forbes.com. as for that beauty products chain, alta, where davis had that experience, an official there told us it is disappointing to know that they've lost a valuable customer and that the service in one of their stores was less than great. the company did offer to make it up to davis, but they did not comment on the practice of asking for zip codes. and we do have to say that many retailers ask for zip codes simply to understand where their visitors are coming from so they can make decisions about how to use advertising resources, jim,
but many of them do not. they really want to kind of get their claws into you marketingwise. >> it's not always that benign. >> that's right. >> and when these data brokers and retailers and all the other people who are involved in this industry, which i assume is doing quite well these days, have that information, they're pretty efficient about it, right? >> they are, and they are the middle men in all this. some of them boast 100% accuracy in finding more specific information about you once they have that name and a zip code. some of them boast that they can boost a marketer -- a retailer's marketing by over 100%. so, they're very efficient and they can easily get this information about you and get more specific information about you -- your address, your phone number -- and then that's just, sometimes you don't want that out there. >> privacy is just not what it used to be. >> that's right. >> brian todd, thank you very much. just ahead, much more on the breaking news. the food network dropping celebrity chef paula deen. plus, an amazing rescue caught on tape. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but a friend under water is something completely different.
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>> reporter: an incredible rescue in china. taking a break from work, a group of couriers hear crying. they look up to their horror, they see a 2-year-old girl on the ledge outside her window five floors up. the whole sequence caught on a security camera of the company. they tried to calm the young girl, nicknamed chichi. then the nightmare scenario. she loses her footing, the men rush forward and she falls. and just in time, they catch her and she gets a hug. their actions have set chinese social media alight. good job, mr. mail carrier, said this user. "this is the best marketing," said another, about the courier company. the company says they will reward their workers who saved chichi. two were likely injured. and the young girl whose parents say she got through the window when they were out buying medicine, was left shaken but with just a scratch and quite a story.
david mckenzie, cnn, beijing. >> just incredible. now, "the situation room" continues with my colleague, jake tapper. jake? happening now, paula deen's pr disaster p.m. t. the food network is dropping her after the tv chef admitted using the "n" word and begged for forgiveness. plus, an nfl star under scrutiny after his friend is shot dead. this hour, the investigation and unanswered questions about patriots' tight end aaron hernandez. and police don't know how thieves are doing it. there's a new mystery box that lets criminals unlock your car and steal everything. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off. i am jake tapper and you're in i am jake tapper and you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com we begin with the unraveling of a beloved tv figure's career and image.
celebrity chef paula deen publicly apologized today for using a racial slur in the past, but her bosses at the food network announce they're dropping her anyway. the controversy exploded in recent days after deen acknowledged using the "n" word during a deposition in a lawsuit. earlier today, deen promised she would release a video responding to the uproar, and later, this video was published on youtube. >> i want to apologize to everybody for the wrong that i've done. i want to learn and grow from this inappropriate, hurtful language. it is totally, totally unacceptable. i've made plenty of mistakes along the way, but i beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners, i beg for your forgiveness. please forgive me for the
mistakes that i've made. >> that video was later replaced by a new one. this time, deen acknowledged the missed appearance on the "today" show this morning. >> the pain has been tremendous that i have caused to myself and to others, and so, i'm taking this opportunity now that i've pulled myself together and am able to speak to offer an apology to those that i have hurt. i want people to understand that my family and i are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. i've spent the best of 24 years to help myself and others. your color of your skin, your religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me, but it's what in the heart, what's in the
heart, and my family and i try to live by that. and i am here to say i am so sorry. i was wrong, yes. i've worked hard and i make mistakes, but that is no excuse. >> deen's apologies got odder, still, when she released a third video. this time, she targeted her comments to "today" show host matt lauer. >> i'm paula deen, and i'm here to issue an apology to matt lauer. i was invited to do an interview with him this morning. and matt, i am so sorry. i was physically in no shape to come in and talk with you. the last 48 hours have been very, very hard. and you know, i'm a strong wo n
woman, but today i wasn't. this morning i was not. and so, i do apologize. >> now let's get more on these videos. cnn's elena ma chada spoke to one of the people who videotaped deen. what did they say? >> jake, i spoke with the man who shot the second video, judah eng englemeyer, senior vice president of a public relations nirm in new york city. his firm does not represent deen, but he says she is his friend. englemeyer says deen thought the first video was overly produced. he told me she said "this is not who i am, this is not what i wanted to say, this is not what i'm about." that's what he says deen pulled him into a room and wanted to do this her way, so she took the camera and they shot the longer, unedited video, the second video that surfaced late this afternoon. now, he says that's the video deen wants out there as her official apology.
jake? >> and alina, how does this friend of paula deen's say she's coping? >> englemeyer says deen is miserable. that's his words. he says she's very depressed and has been distraught since all of this came out. jake? >> thank you so much. a pastor in savannah, georgia, who knows paula deen has publicly defender her. he's gregory a. tyson sr. from the first jerusalem missionary baptist church, and he joins us now on the phone. pastor tyson, thanks for joining us. first, tell me about your relationship with paula deen. how well do you know her? how often do you see her? >> well, i know her pretty well. i don't get a chance to see her that often, but i know her through our mutual friend, her employee. that's how i met her years ago. >> now, obviously, this latest incident of the food network not renewing her contract, news that just came in the last couple hours, is because of her admission that she had used the
"n" word on occasion. what is your thought about that? >> actually, i'm just getting wind of that. i'm just getting home now, and i was loading some stuff into the garage and my neighbor just told me that. so, i wasn't really aware of the food network taking those type of actions towards her. >> what do you think about her using the term, the "n" word? >> who hasn't, jake? the "n" word -- >> i haven't. i mean -- >> excuse me? >> i haven't. i've never used the "n" word. i don't think it's necessarily something that everyone has said at any point. >> well, the majority of people have said the word before. the point is, it's a matter of context that you meant it in. if it was a negative way, a slandering way, trying to degrade the opposite race or a person, because obviously,
within the same african-american culture, we use it. it's been used against, towards each other. but when it's used in the way, a hate way, that changes the whole concept of using the word, when it's used towards the race as a hate mode. you understand what i'm saying? >> yeah, no, i do, but here's my point, though. i mean, you've been defending her. and i'm wondering if you're at all personally offended and if you think that there's something else about paula deen that makes you like her and appreciate her far beyond that ugly word. >> far beyond that ugly word, because she stated that she used the word, but it wasn't in a way, a hate, a negative way. just because you said the word, the "n" word, doesn't make you a racist. i believe to be a racist, it has
to be some type of action shown towards the opposite race in a hate way or a negative way. to say that she's a racist because she admitted to verbally saying the word, the "n" word, it doesn't make her a racist, does it? do you feel that way? >> well, i didn't call her a racist. i certainly think it's a racist word, especially when used, as you say, by people who are trying to refer to african-americans in a derogatory way, but my views on race and the "n" word aren't really particularly germaine right here. i wonder what you think that your message should be to fans of paula's who are right now wondering whether or not they want to support her. obviously, there are a lot of people out there who are her fans. she's very successful, worth i believe $17 million. but this is the ugliest charge, or one of the ugliest charges
that can be attached to a public official, or a public figure's personality, reputation. what -- >> right, and that's what it's meant to do. it's meant to -- this whole thing is meant to tear her down or bring her down. somebody's angry at her, and this is definitely an avenue that has been used throughout history to tag someone that everybody's going to jump on because it's a real sensitive subject and topic. it's a chance to destroy her character, her name and everything that she stands for. but me personally, i can only tell you, personally, this woman can't be a racist, because someone that's a racist is not going to help the other race prosper, succeed or have success
in any form or fashion. why would someone that doesn't like the opposite race help them the way this woman does? >> well, tell us more about that, sir. when you refer to paula deen trying to help african-americans, i know what you're talking about, but our viewers might not. what exactly are you talking about? >> i've seen this woman give to charitable organizations that are based young black males. i've seen people that deal with her give to young black males on her account. my personal friend, college johnson, was employed by ms. deen years ago, and we prayed together about him accepting the job, and he accepted it years ago. now, from where he's come from, from being attached and connected to this woman, it's
phenomenal. this guy is majorly successful. and he has a limousine company and an executive limousine company that ms. deen gave hundreds of thousands -- thousands of dollars, over $100,000 to help finance this vision of my best friend, tyler johnson, to start his own company. would a racist do that? would somebody that's racist help an african-american, black male not only pursue his dream but fulfill his dreams of going into business for himself? that's the american dream for somebody to be an entrepreneur. why would a racist do that? that doesn't make sense. >> i hear you. i hear what you're saying and that's why i wanted you to tell that story. pastor tyson, i want to thank you -- >> and i'm kind of passionate about it because that doesn't happen. it doesn't make sense. >> no, it's obviously an extraordinary story. i understand what you're saying
and i agree with you. we have to take a break right now, but i thank you for calling in and we thank you for sharing your stories, pastor. >> yes, sir, any time. >> all right. up next, an nfl player and a homicide investigation. why the spotlight on the patriots' aaron hernandez heating up. and 100,000 people forced to flee catastrophic flooding in canada. we'll talk to one of them about a disaster that could get even worse. my mantra?
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they show every wrinkle. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. another public figure in hot water today. it's not clear how much trouble nfl player aaron hernandez may or may not be in after his friend was found dead less than a mile from his massachusetts home. wherever the investigation leads, the patriots' tight end is under a red-hotspot light right now. cnn national correspondent susan candiotti is outside hernandez's home. susan? >> reporter: hi, jake. at least three search warrants have been executed so far, but no public filing of what evidence has been seized. investigators have seven days to do it, but even then, it could
be put under seal. the question everyone wants to know is will that evidence lead to the arrest of new england patriot aaron hernandez? after staying away from home since thursday morning, patriots tight end aaron hernandez returned friday afternoon, accompanied by his lawyer. he entered through his garage. a bit later, his lawyer left, avoiding reporters' questions. can you let us know what's going on, please? earlier in the day, two massachusetts state police investigators, one carrying paperwork, rang the doorbell and were invited inside. after a minute, they left, leaving as quickly as they came. it hasn't been a good week for the player. on friday, he lost an endorsement deal, the maker of muscle milk yanked its contract with hernandez and issued this statement -- "in light of the investigation involving aaron hernandez, cytosport is terminating its endorsement contract with mr. hernandez effective immediately."
monday night, police found the body of a friend of hernandez, odin lloyd, shot dead. lloyd's body was found less than a mile away from the football player's home. tuesday, investigators searched hernandez's home as part of the investigation. on thursday, hernandez drove to gillette stadium as a news helicopter hovered overhead, tracking his white suv. hernandez hustled into the facility. next, he stopped for gas, where he was bombarded with questions from reporters. >> can you tell us anything you want to say? what happened on monday night? can you just tell us what happened on monday night? >> reporter: the family of odin lloyd also wants to know what happened monday night. police are not calling hernandez a suspect in the murder, yet, lloyd's family wants to know why police are searching hernandez's home. >> what do you make of the questions that he is being asked and what would you like to know? >> i'd like to know why, you know?
he's a very great guy. what could he possibly have done to anger anybody to do that? and that's all i can really say. >> reporter: do you think he might have had something to do with it? >> i don't want to make a comment about that. >> reporter: olivia tuveau explained the relationship between hernandez and the victim, saying her girlfriend and hernandez's fiancee are sisters. she confirms that on friday, both men were at a nightclub together. as far as you know, ever have any angry words between them? >> not that i know of. the last time she saw her brother alive was sunday afternoon, and several hours later, in the wee hours of monday morning, police say he was gunned down. the "boston globe" reports that images of lloyd and aaron hernandez were captured on a surveillance camera, and, it turns out, on the very same street where lloyd lives. jake? >> thank you, susan.
many americans may not be familiar with aaron hernandez, even if they're football fans, but cnn's mary snow joins us now with more on his career and questions about his past. >> and jake, you know, he's used to getting attention on the field, but aaron hernandez's personal life is coming under scrutiny, and that includes a recent lawsuit. aaron hernandez hasn't received this much attention off the field since the new england patriots drafted him three years ago. >> he was just another guy in that team, no better, no worse than all the rest of them, and no more interesting and no more outspoken and did not stick out in any way. >> reporter: a pats fan growing up, hernandez came out of the university of florida a year early to enter the draft. at 23, playing as a tight end, he has a contract reportedly worth $40 million. by thursday, the interest in him became so intense, his movements throughout the day were followed by boston tv stations' helicopters. hernandez's time off the field
is now under a microscope, and that includes a civil lawsuit stemming from an incident in february after a trip to a miami strip club. a man who said he was with hernandez that night claimed in court documents that hernandez shot him after an argument, causing him to lose his right eye. but according to the palm beach county sheriff's office and this police report, the victim wouldn't cooperate or name names and charges were never filed. there was also a shooting incident of two men in gainesville, florida, in 2007 while hernandez was playing for the university of florida. gainesville police confirm hernandez was questioned, but they say it was only briefly and he was never charged with anything. and sports columnist bob ryan says there were questions about hernandez's college days and why hernandez wasn't drafted earlier, given his talent. >> we knew about his problems at florida, why he was drafted in the fourth round instead of, perhaps, in the first or second
round. there were questions about his "character." >> reporter: questions surfaced about marijuana use. hernandez addressed that after being drafted, saying, "i had one single violation of the team's substance testing policy over the course of three years at the university of florida." now, hernandez, as we've seen, has not said anything publicly. his attorney's office hasn't answered specific questions, only putting out a statement wednesday, saying, "it has been widely reported in the media that the state police have searched the home of our client, aaron hernandez, as part of an ongoing investigation. out of respect for that process, neither we nor aaron will have any comment about the substance of that investigation until it has come to a conclusion." and jake, that was on wednesday. we have not heard from the attorney's office since then. jake? >> all right, mary snow. thank you so much. coming up next, what killed actor james gandolfini so suddenly? we'll go to rome next for the autopsy results and funeral details. and one of the most hated faa rules could be changing
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autopsy results are in for actor james gandolfini, and new details are emerging about the dramatic event surrounding his sudden death in rome. cnn's senior international correspondent, dan rivers, is there for us. dan? >> reporter: well, jake, family and embassy officials have come here to the morgue where the body of james gandolfini is lying to identify him. they're now going through the grim process of having to complete all the paperwork before the body can be released. the autopsy has now been carried
out. family friend michael kobel described the process and what they found. >> we received the results of the autopsy, which stated he died of a heart attack of natural causes. the autopsy further states that nothing else was found in his system. >> reporter: we've also had it confirmed it was james gandolfini's son, michael, just 13 years old, who alerted the authorities when he found his father slumped in a hotel room. they actually had to bash the door down. they administered cpr all the way to hospital, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. now they are making arrangements for a funeral in new york thursday, friday, perhaps at the latest saturday. meanwhile, the film festival that he was due to attend in sicily is going ahead as a tribute to the 51-year-old actor. jake? >> thanks, dan. up next, a major north american city under water. >> holy [ muted ].
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kaopectate. one and done. happening now, a victim of historic flooding shares her heartbreak. the water is rising, the rain keeps coming, and homes are being washed away. also, you may soon be able to keep your gadgets going during takeoff and landing. details of a major rule change afoot. plus, a high-tech mystery. what is this device that unlocks your car for thieves? wolf blitzer is off. i'm jake tapper and you're in "the situation room." we have some breaking news in the nsa leaker investigation. our crime and justice correspondent joe johns is on the phone. joe, what do you have for us? >> reporter: well, jake, this is confirmation of what a lot of legal consultants and advisers and so on have been saying for a while, and that is reporting by the "washington post" this evening that the accused,
suspected leaker in the national security agency cases, edward snowden, has been charged in a sealed indictment in the eastern district of virginia with three charges. that would be theft, also conversion of government property as well as espionage. not a surprise. the fact is, we are told, as many have suspected and we reported as recently as 5:00 this evening, that those charges would be sealed in federal court, and the "washington post" now confirming that their sources are telling that. our justice department sources have not confirmed that as of yet. so, once again, edward snowden, according to the "washington post," charged with theft, conversion of government property and espionage in this long-running story involving the alleged leaking of materials from the national security agency. >> thanks. let's bring in cnn's senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin.
he's also on the phone. jeffrey, does espionage necessarily mean that you are working in collusion with another country? >> reporter: it doesn't. in fact, the definition of the crime of espionage is a lot -- is a lot broader than the conventional definition of in the old days spying for the soviet union. there have been leakers in the past, people who have given documents to the press who have been charged with espionage just as snowden did, but it's important to point out that espionage carries enormously high penalties. and if snowden is found and convicted, and of course, neither has happened yet, he could be looking at decades in prison. >> are you surprised by these charges at all? >> reporter: no, no. it was a foregone conclusion that they were going to criminally charge him. what's interesting is they have not charged him with illegal
disclosure of classified information. that is sort of the most obvious charge. but prosecutors have a lot of leeway, and of course, this is only the beginning of what is likely to be a very long legal process. prosecutors could add charges, they could make different charges. so, this is by no means the justice department's last word on the subject. and of course, just to state the obvious, snowden has not been found and arrested. and if he's found in hong kong and arrested in hong kong, it is going to be a long and complex process to negotiate with the chinese to get him back to the united states or get him back from wherever he is, because i don't think anyone knows for sure where he is at this point. certainly, it's not public where he is. >> and of course, the latest development in the snowden manhunt is that nic robertson, cnn's nic robertson reported that there is an associate of wikileaks who says he has a charter jet in hong kong ready to fly snowden to iceland, if
iceland's prime minister gives permission for that to happen without threat that snowden would be extradited. in terms of the legality of this all, jeffrey, i know that iceland does have an extradition treaty with the united states. do you envision the prime minister ever promising he wouldn't honor that treaty, given the amount, the degree to which the united states government wants this man? >> reporter: well, jake, i don't want to overstate -- [ inaudible ] >> it sounds like we're losing jeffrey toobin on the phone there. all right, we'll come back to jeffrey toobin later today. "the guardian" newspaper is defending its decision to publish material from the nsa leaker. it's a response to concerns raised by senator claire mccaskill yesterday right here in "the situation room." >> i think "the guardian" has an agenda. i respect the fact that "the guardian" is putting this information out there and that
it's been leaked. i get that's a role of journalism, but at the same time, there's been an awful lot of distortions around the facts of this information that's come to light and an awful lot of context that's been missing. >> here's what "the guardian" is saying to us. "we were very disappointed to hear senator mccaskill's comments about the guardian in her appearance on cnn yesterday. as an independent, global news organization, it is our responsibility to publish material that is in the public interest. we reported these stories to stimulate an open debate about the tension between security and privacy, a debate which is best held in public." coming up next, the days of turning off your cell phone before takeoff may end sooner than you think. plus, 100,000 people forced to flee catastrophic flooding in western canada. we'll talk to one of them about a disaster that could get even worse. (announcer) born with a natural
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in canada, a grim forecast for calgary. more rain is expected to fuel catastrophic flooding that's forced entire communities to flee. it's already on track to become the costliest disaster alberta has ever seen. cnn's paula newton has the latest. >> reporter: the sheer speed and strength of the water took many by surprise, leaving them in awe of the destruction. >> holy! there it is. >> reporter: in brag creek, alberta, utter shock, watch as an entire home is swept down river and under a bridge. >> oh, there goes a building! no idea. no idea where it came from. somewhere up there. >> reporter: and there was so much more devastation. rivers swollen to levels not
seen in a generation. more than 100,000 people have been evacuated. the community surrounded by water. their homes ravaged first by torrential rain and flash flooding, and then those rising, raging rivers. for a time, rescues were routine as hundreds of people saw the water around them rise several feet within just a few hours. >> like everything, everything is destroyed there, our homes, like, everything. >> reporter: downtown calgary, one of canada's largest cities, was all but abandoned, leaving the waters to creep upwards as city officials anxiously watched key dams and bridges. >> i saw when i was out there a lot of things i've never seen before. i saw water levels that were incredibly high. i saw areas of the city that were deeply under water, things i've never seen before. knock on wood. we haven't had any injury, we haven't had any loss of life. >> reporter: yet, there are many anxious hours ahead.
rain is in the forecast all weekend long. and even when the waters pressed, water levels could remain high for days to come. paula newton, cnn, ottawa. more than 100,000 people have been evacuated, as paula newton just reported. one of them joins us on the phone now, nancy ruder. nancy, thanks for joining us. where are you right now? >> caller: i'm sitting in a dry house up high on a hill in calgary, alberta. >> so, explain to us what happened. the fire department showed up at your door to evacuate you? did you expect that? what did they tell you? >> caller: yeah, we actually got a call from a friend yesterday afternoon, saying oh, my gosh, are you guys all right? i heard that your community was one of, you know, a whole bunch that were being evacuated. and we said, oh, my goodness, we've heard nothing. nobody's come by and we checked online and the radio. then they said those communities that were affected by the flood in 2005, when we had the bad flooding, would need to be evacuated. so, we were kind of not so
worried because we thought we were only two blocks from the smaller of the two rivers in calgary, the elbow river, and we didn't have any problem then. so, we thought, okay, this will be fine. but then, all of a sudden, firemen were coming door to door, quite a few of them were coming down our street going door to door handing out mandatory evacuation notices with last of what to do and places to go and stay, if need be. and then we realized, oh, this is obviously a serious situation. and we heard the river was, i think three to five times higher than it was in 2005. >> nancy, do you know if your house is okay? >> caller: no, our house is not okay. we knew that the river was probably going to crest at about 4:00 in the morning, so when we got up, we went down and we walked down a hill towards our house, and it was just like a river through our house. and we just went down this afternoon and the water on our street has gone down. it isn't a river. it's not meant to be a river on our street. but we went into our house.
we had to wade through knee-deep water, freezing-cold water to get to our house, and the basements of our whole community are totally flooded. >> how many floors is your house? >> caller: well, all our houses here in canada all have basements, then two stories up above. so, basically a three-story house. >> okay, so the basement or the first floor is ruined but the upper two floors are okay? >> yeah. so, the floor below ground is, yeah, just totally flooded. so, yeah, but the rain seems to have stopped. it's been raining, raining, raining all day, and it seems to have stopped. there's still clouds around, but the big problem is there's so much rain in the foothills in the mountains and that's what, you know, caused. and there's still a lot of snowmelt in the mountains, so the rivers were just raging higher. and everybody's in absolute shock in the city. we have never, ever, ever seen anything like this anybody can ever remember, even older people, you know. it's hard to imagine the whole
city's been shut down for the whole day. >> but as i understand it, nancy, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported. is that right? >> caller: no. it's, like, amazing. yeah, it's been absolutely horrific for what everybody's had to go through, but everybody has a smile on their face thinking all their family and friends and everybody is okay. so, the city's done an amazing job of evacuating. i think over 25 communities in the city and warning people to stay away from the river. and people in calgary know this time of year rivers are very dangerous, so i guess people have been listening, thank goodness. >> indeed. thank goodness for that, and we're glad that you and your family are okay, and good luck with your house. nancy ruiter, thanks for joining us. >> caller: thank you. just ahead, more on the breaking news. nsa leaker edward snowden reportedly charged with espionage. joining me, journalist glenn greenwald, who snowden leaked the information to, next. she's still the one for you -
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back to this breaking news. the "washington post" reports that u.s. authorities have charged the nsa leaker, edward snowden, with espionage. "the guardian" columnist who broke the leak story, glenn greenwald, joins us now on the phone. also with us, cnn international correspondent nic robertson from hong kong. glenn, the charges according to the "washington post" are espionage, theft and conversion of government property. you on twitter are referring to this as overcharging. i suppose i should ask you what you think he should be charged with, if anything? >> i'm not sure he should be charged with anything at all. what he has done is an immense
public service, an act of patriotism to inform the public of things the government has been doing of great consequence in the dark and it's triggered a debate that president obama himself says he welcomes. i think the key context here is that in all of human history, all of american history before barack obama, a total of three whistleblowers have been accused under espionage statutes, and since barack obama took office, this is the seventh such case, more than double the number of all previous presidents combined. and i think that really illustrates how vindictive this president is, how much acrimony he has towards any kind of transparency, even though he ran on a platform of bringing more transparency than any other president in history. >> well, the government response would be -- and since the obama administration would not give us someone to talk, i'll try to guess what they would say, which is that he was an official contractor and before that, a government employee, who knew the top-secret documents were not allowed to come to light and this is not a surprise.
and in the view of the government, this has made it easier for america's foes, some of whom are terrorists and mean the u.s. harm, >> when barack obama ran for president in 2008, what he told the american people in an effort to get them to vote for him was that he considered whistleblowing to be among the most noble and patriotic acts one can commit and that we need more protections, not persecution the way the bush administration was doing, he said. this is -- there is zero evidence or any kind of information that has been disclosed as a result of snowden's leaks, that it's remotely harmed national security. this has opened the eyes of the american people. and people around the world to the fact that there is this massive spying apparatus being built. the duty of someone in government when they see something happening that's wrong in secret is to blow the whistle. and that's why americans consider them heroes and that's what snowden did here. >> i want to get to you in a
moment. because you bring up daniel ellsberg, he leaked the pentagon papers and stayed in the united states. edward snowden as far as we know is in hong kong. >> right. i was on cnn a few nights ago, he was asked do you think that it was wrong for edward snowden to leave the country and not stay. ellsberg said, no, it's a completely different country. if are you a whistleblower, you are guaranteed persecution. he's a 29-year-old and knows if he engages in whistle blowing, he will be threatened with life in prison. to demand he stay in a country with a record of persecuting whistle blowers as this country has is unreasonable in the extreme. he want to be part of the global debate, not stuffed in a cage somewhere. he wants his freedom because he knows he did nothing wrong and knows the united states won't provide that. >> nick robertson in hong kong, you've spoken to a individual who is part of the wikileaks organization about his attempts to provide an escape for edward snowden from hong kong if he can
get all his plans together. tell us more about that. >> reporter: well, this plan has several parts to it, we're told. we're not told the details of all of them or the specifics of any of them. but several different plans to get him out of hong kong and to get him to iceland. they rely on the fact that icelandic authorities would grant him asylum and citizenship if he office their soil. that wasn't been greenlighted at the moment. one of these plans would have been to fly edward snowden on a private business charter jet from hong kong at the cost of between $4 lu00,000 and $500,00 u.s. dollars to fly him to iceland. this is something that hasn't gotten off the ground yet. just picking up on what sglen talking about, the point of persecution, of course these charges now do set in motion a legal process here in hong kong. the chief executive must now look at those charges and decide
whether or not to pass them to the court, to issue an arrest warrant. all the indications are that he probably would. the way that edward snowden can respond to these charges is -- is in one of the ways that glen just outlined. that is persecution, political persecution, claim asylum, non-return as it's known here. on the basis of persecution, or he could do it on the basis that if he went back he would be tortured or on the basis that he would be subject to cruel and inhumane treatment if he went back to the united states. this political persecution, listening to glen, sounds like the avenue that edward snowden might be trying to pursue here. >> nic robertson in hong kong and glen greenwald on the phone. thank you very much for joining us at last minute. coming up, thieves caught on video with a mysterious box that unlocks cars. police are baffled. [ male announcer ] we've been conditioned to accept less and less in the name of style and sophistication. but to us, less isn't more.
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new zealand sheep graze a field near the mountains. in brazil, a toucan sings alongside a river. near where a jaguar is on the prowl. and in colorado, well wishers welcome back firefighters who battled forest fires. "hot shots," picture coming in from our cnn ireporters around the world. all of us with computerized car locks may be vulnerable right now. criminals across the country have been spotted with a mystery box that lets them break into cars with ease. here's cnn's kyung lah. >> reporter: jake, police are stumped. they're getting reports across the country of crooks using a simple looking device that can seemingly open up any vehicle. long beach, california. a man walks up to the car and using a small box opens it. right next to him, another man, also using a box, opens that car. the problem -- they're thieves. no keys.
now they've swiped all valuables from the cars. in chicago, exact same scenario. a man by the sedan unlocks it, no key. alarm, disabled by some mystery device. >> you feel you've been outsmarted. i thought i had everything on lockdown. >> reporter: the same thing happened to steven doy of corona, california. his car's computer system was hacked, but the crook didn't get away clean. doy's dash cam caught the suspect pacing, hold something mystery box. >> whoa, you see this guy walking in front of the carment sure enough in the video, you hear the door locks -- >> reporter: in 1 8 seconds, th crook emptied out $3,000 worth of electronics. same device, different cities? >> same device, same premise. >> reporter: mike bender, ex-cop, calls it the latest crime tool hitting new york to l.a. like police across the country, he doesn't know exactly what it is. >> the ease that this is working and the frequency that we're seeing it reported throughout the u.s. means it's only become
a greater problem. >> reporter: bender says your car is a rolling computer. what it takes to break in, not sledgehammers but hacking devices. >> if you can hack into nsa, you can hack into g.m. >> reporter: the federal agents may be closing in on what the boxes are. law enforcement sources tell cnn they have one of these devices in texas. they're now trying to figure out if this is the same device used in all of these car burglaries. jake? >> all right, kyung lah, thank you very much. remember, you can follow us and follow what's going on in "the situation room" on twitter, tweet,@cnnsitroom, or tweet me @jaketapper, all one word. thanks for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. be sure to congratulate her. "out front," next. breaking news, edward snowden charged with espionage. a star nfl player remains silent about the death of a friend. why police searched the new england patriots' home.
and dramatic testimony from the whitey bulger trial. a man who survived a shag rampage shares his story. and we have the images of what happened that night. let's go "outfront." good evening, everyone, i'm erin burnett. i begin with breaking news on this friday. "outfront "outfront," according to the "washington post," edward snowden has been charged with espionage, theft, and conversion of government property. u.s. officials have asked hong kong to detain the former contractor on a provisional arrest warrant. snowden has been in hong kong since late may when he leaked a trove of highly classified documents about top-secret surveillance programs in the united states. joe johns is following the breaking news in washington. and joe, what is latest that you can tell us about this case right now? >> reporter: the justice department official confirms to