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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  June 25, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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developing nation. the nba airs an ad for spurs championship ads. now i turn you over to wolf blitzer. >> here's the question people are asking is president obama tough enough? and a dagger in the heart, that's how congressman john lewis describes today's u.s. supreme court ruling. he'll join us this hour. >> and another emotional day in the zimmerman murder trial with graphic testimony and for the first time jurors see images of the victim's body. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> the mystery of the nsa
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leaker's whereabouts answered today by russian president vladimir putin. he says edward snowden remains at moscow's international airport. >> translator: snowden is still in transit area as a transit passenger. our special services never worked with snowden and are not working with him today. >> but putin is not complying with requests from the obama administration to turn edward snowden over to u.s. authorities. that once again raises the question is president obama tough enough to do anything about that? what can we expect to hear from the president? we'll hear from john king and fareed zakaria in a moment. it seems the president is getting criticized by a lot of different quarters, jim. >> that's right. we should point out that president obama is just wrapping up a meeting with top
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congressional leaders here at the white house. those congressional leaders are making their way out of the white house, we believe, right around now. and as you know, wolf, the president is not just seeing his leverage being tested by members of congress, but also on the world stage where he's not getting much public cooperation in the search for nsa leaker edward snowden, and that has some republicans up on capitol hill questioning his toughness. revealing in a news conference that fugitive nsa leaker edward snowden -- >> he's a free man. the sooner he chooses his destination, the better for us and for him. >> reporter: u.s. officials are pushing for more assistance saying we are asking the russian government to take action, to expel mr. snowden without delay.
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secretary of state john kerry pointed out the u.s. has done similar favors for russia in the past. >> we're not looking for a confrontation, we're not ordering anybody. we're simply requesting under a very normal procedure for the transfer of somebody just as we transferred to russia seven people in the last two years that they requested that we did without any clamor. >> reporter: republican senator john mccain on cnn's "new day" accused president obama of showing weak leadership. >> the first thing would i do is go to the oval office and say i've told vladimir putin that we want this guy back and when you believe in light footprints and show the world you're leading from behind, these are the consequences of american leadership. >> what we know is we're following all the appropriate legal channels. >> reporter: the president has personally avoided any saber
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rattling over snowden. it's a similar approach he's taking with congress where he's doing an end run around lawmakers, pursuing new policies on climate change that don't need approval on capitol hill. >> this is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock. >> reporter: mr. obama said the state department should approve the keystone pipeline only if it adds no new greenhouse emissions. >> the net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. it's relevant. >> reporter: and the president is largely staying out of the fight over immigration reform, just as the senate reached a breakthrough on the issue, a key house republican appears to be slamming on the brakes.
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>> the house will do its own legislation. we're going to do our own plan, which is going to be far more methodical, we're going to take our time. >> reporter: getting back to edward snowden, a smokpokesman the national security council noted the u.s. does not have an extradition treaty with russia. vladimir putin noted today he has no legal authority to forcibly return edward snowden back to the united states, leaving put in in a comfortable legal position following national law and also telling the u.s. you're on your own. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. and let's dig a little bit deeper now, john king and fareed zakaria. the president didn't make the statement. it was released by a spokeswoman for the national security council. would it have been more effective if the president of the united states would have publicly made an appeal for
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president putin to release and send back to the united states snowden? >> we don't know what's going on behind the scenes but at least as we know, no calls to president putin and no calls to the chinese. what the administration is essentially saying is now, pretty please, we may not have an extradition treaty, in the past we've cooperated with us. look at what president putin said today, wolf. he gave no indications the russians are prepared to do that. it looks at the moment that the administration is being snubbed by the chinese and the russians. >> if the president would have opened up his speech on climate change and said independent going to talk about climate change in a moment but first i just want to say this, a direct appeal to russia to sended? back to the united states, it would obviously escalate the situation because the president has a lot more at stake then. >> i think the danger, wolf, is that if the president makes a
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public appeal like that and it doesn't work, you really do look bad. you lose credibility. so i think the white house is probably calculating exactly how much pressure they can put. that statement you just read is interesting in that it is a dial back, as was john kerrey, the secretary of state's most recent remarks where they had started out very tough with the russians, thinking that they might even kind of push them into doing something and it became very clear the russians weren't willing to do that so they're now playing nicer. they're saying, looking can't you help us? the u.s. has extradited a number of people but this is a unique situation. this is a situation in which the person we're talking about has revealed that the united states is engaging in massive surveillance programs of many, many foreign countries and governments. so from the point of view of those foreign countries and governments, it is of course a very complicated issue. i bet you if you were to poll public opinion in russia and china, they would support what their governments are doing
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right now. >> how does the president, john, turn this around, get some leverage on the russians to send snowden back to the united states? >> he doesn't have any good known options. the putin/obama relationship has been more sour than the putin/bush relationship was at the end. as the president does this publicly, he risks humiliation. you have on the world stage this playing out at a time when he's already upset with the russians over syria. a lot of domestic issues at home are stalled. so the president right now is in you'd have to say a funk. what can he do to resolve this one? it appears like his direct levers are limited. he essentially need as favor. >> can he sweeten the pot, fareed, if you will, give the russians something they've wanted from the united states for a long time and try to make a deal along those lines? >> you know, part of what's happened here is that the
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asymmetry of power has become so great. during the cold war we spied a lot on them, they spied a lot on us, they would catch one of ours, we'd exchange them. we developed ever since the end of the cold war and after 9/11 this massive surveillance capacity that dwarves anything these guys have. what could we give them? we tower over them and they resent it. the chinese resent it, the russians resent it. so they look upon this as such wonderful p.r. that i don't know what we could give them in return. i think there are things in a more general sense. the russians want the relaxation of jackson vanek, which is about grain exports from russia, an old cold war relic. there are probably other trad trade-related issues. typically in espionage, you've done an apples-for-apples swap,
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except we now do stuff nobody else does so i don't know what we could offer them. >> thanks very much for joining us. on this note, we'll have an hour-long special report, the nsa leaker on the run. that will air at 6 p.m. eastern at the top of the hour here in "the situation room." >> a dagger in the heart of the civil voting rights. and a day of graphic images in the zimmerman murder trial. we'll have full coverage. anyone have occasional constipation,
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i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand., it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just a click away with our free mobile app. outrage today from civil rights groups and the baum
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administration after the u.s. supreme court limited a key part of the voting rights act dating back to the civil rights movement in 1965. congressman john lewis calls it a dagger in the heart of that law. he'll join me next. but first, here's cnn's crime and justice correspondent joe johns. >> the court's bitterly divided guts a parts of the voting rights act that singles out 15 mostly southern states and other jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. federal courts and the justice department are no longer allowed special oversight on changes to their voting laws. >> this decision restores an important constitutional order to our system of government. that requires all 50 states in every jurisdiction have the laws applied equally to them. >> chief justice roberts said discrimination still exists but things have changed dramatically
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since the law was enacted. as roberts read the decisions, the court's conservative majority read along with him but the liberal justices on the losing side stared stone faced into the audience. justice ginsburg said there was sad irony in the court's utter failure to grasp why the law has proven effective. civil rights advocates angry and disappointed. >> we come a long way but we are no there yet. we're not there where we need to be yet. >> in a statement president obama said he was deeply disappointed and said the decision upsets decades of well established practices that helps make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination was prevalent. >> we will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action using every legal tool that remains to us. >> this case could have a lot of impact on elections at the local
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level. certain states and localities will no longer have to ask the federal government before making changes to voting laws. before the ruling, mississippi would have had to ask the government for approval to-to-chang their voting law. >> and representative john lewis is with me here in the situation room. this is a significant decision by the supreme court today. you say it's awful. why? >> it is awful. it's a sad day. i never thought that i would see the day when the united states supreme court would put a dagger in the heart of the voting rights act of 1965. i marched across that bridge on bloody sunday in selma, alabama when people stood in unmoveable lines, when people had to pass a
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so-called literacy test, people were asked to count the number of jelly beans in a jar. my mother, father, grandparents could not register to vote because of the color of their skin. >> but those five justices said that was then, this is now and times have changed and they a argued all 50 states should be held to the same standards. >> the question of race is deeply embedded in the american society. and we cannot sweep it under a rug in some dark corner. the state of alabama, the state mississippi, the state of georgia, 11 states that are old confederacies, they selected it themselves. they made a decision in a systematic deliberate way to make it hard and difficult for african-american and other minority to participate in the
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democratic process. >> but there are other problems in some of the other states as well. the chief justice roberts spoke about massachusetts, for example, that there are serious problems as far as voting rights as far as massachusetts is concerned. why shouldn't massachusetts have the same standards as alabama or georgia? >> when we passed the voting acts right and president johnson signed it into law -- >> and you were there. >> i was there. i was there. he gave me one of the pens he used to sign the voting rights act. these states was covered by the law. now, if we want to move to that point and cover other states, places in new york and places in alaska are covered but if we want to move to that point and cover all 50 states, let's have that debate. but the serious violation of the right of people to participate is in the heart of the deep south. >> and that still exists -- >> in the state of georgia,
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alabama, mississippi and other parts in the south, there are still problems, serious problems, why we continue to insist that we need the voting rights act. we need section 4. >> where do you go from here? how do you fix this? >> i this i we need to meet with our leadership on the democratic side, as well as on the republican side and say let's do what we did in 2006. let's reauthorize the act. >> you have the votes in the house, for example? there's a republican majority there. >> in '06 we came together republicans and democrats and we passed it. only 33 members of the house voted against the reauthorization of the act. on the senate side, not a single senator voted against the reauthorization of the act. we didcan do it again. >> you can do it again? >> we can and we must.
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we have an obligation to do it. >> because the supreme court said now they've thrown it back to congress. it's up to congress to decide. >> but the people elected us and we should be responsible and responsive and do it. >> congressman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, sir. >> joining us jeffrey toobin and gloria borger. jeff, in terms of voting rights legislation, how much of it was dismantled today? >> it's important to point out as chief roberts said in his opinion discrimination against people trying to vote and discrimination in voting is still illegal. what is different and dramatically different is the system that had been in place where certain parts of the country had to go first for approval, for what was known as preclearance. that's gone now. and that basically gives a green
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light to these nine southern states and a handful of other jurisdictions to change the law any way they want and basically to say to the justice department catch me if you can. it looks like these southern states are going to start making some changes and we'll see how that affects the actual right to vote in the relatively near future. >> so the political fallout, gloria, from this is pretty significant. >> it is very significant. i mean, you heard what congressman lewis said. there's going to be a move from the democratic leadership in congress to revise this act so that they can do exactly what justice roberts said, which is essentially update it because he said it's outmoded, that what occurs today is not what occurred 40 years ago. he basically said to congress fix it. john lewis wants to fix it. the question is whether congress can agree. i know when it was reauthorized,
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it was a very lopsided margin. but now this is a different congress, this is a different political environment. i believe personally that it's going to come into play in the mid-terms elections. th democrats will be able to mobilize their voting base to kout out and vote on this particular issue. but in the short term you've got mississippi and texas both coming out today saying they're going to implement their voter i.d. laws and that's going to be a problem for democrats as they try and turn out their voters. >> but if there's real discrimination, jeffrey, there are other laws out there right now that will enable the justice department to intervene. >> indeed. and chief justice roberts made that point repeatedly in his opinion, that we're not voting out all of the voting rights act. the justice department can't
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investigate every county in every state in the south. there a lot of changes that now will certainly go under the radar. the real test will be do those changes really hurt african-americans' right to vote? certainly a lot of civil rights groups are very worried about that now. john lewis made that point. it is still illegal to discrimination against people in voting. the question is justice department now has to go seek it out rather than have all the counties come to them and get preapproval first. that shift is going to be very significant. >> you know, wolf, during the 2012 election, a lot of democrats you spoke to said, look, it was this section of the exact that really helped them win wh it came to keeping voting booths open later, curtailing all those lines that were forming and blocking voter i.d. requirements. and they say now that without that, that's going to stop because they don't have that. >> political fallout is
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significant. gloria, thanks very much. jeffrey, thanks to you as well. go ahead, jeffrey. >> tomorrow morning, 10:00 we'll get the same-sex marriage decision. >> that's it. the last day of this session of the supreme court. we'll have live coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. two issues involving same-sex marriage before the u.s. justices. thank you. >> coming up, jurors in george zimmerman's murder trial hear graphic testimony and for the first time they say graphic images of his victim's body. [ 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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happening now, jurors in the george zimmerman murder trial
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see images of the body of the teen-ager he shot. that and graphic new testimony about the night trayvon martin died just ahead. also, a suspect at large after a brazen ambush on two l.a. police officers. and more than a million dollars disappears from a flight that landed at new york's j.f.k. airport. when did it vanish? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> another dramatic, emotional day in the george zimmerman murder trial. jurors saw images of trayvon martin's body taken in the moments just after he was shot and heard powerful testimony from a first responder who attempted to save him. cnn's martin savage was inside the courtroom today. he's joining us now with the latest details. martin? >> hello, wolf. on day it would have this trial transported that courtroom back
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to that fateful night, which would have been february 26, 2012. >> reporter: for the first time jurors in the george zimmerman murder trial saw the body of the teen-ager he shot, trayvon martin, and heard graphic testimony from one of the first responders to the scene that night. >> did you attempt to see if trayvon martin was still alive? >> yes, sir. i attempted to get his pulse, sir. >> did you detect a pulse on trayvon martin? >> no, sir, i did not. >> they attempted cpr on the 17-year-old. >> i breathed for mr. martin. i tried to. >> what was your role in the cpr attempts on trayvon martin? >> i was doing breaths sir. >> trayvon's mother sat stoicly listening to testimony about her son's last moments of his life. >> the famous phone call george
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zimmerman made have been wildly heard but not calls like this one in. >> we've had some break-ins in our neighborhood. >> zimmerman phone calls over the years. they want to introduce six including one where he repeats a well-known line "they always get away." prosecutors want to show zimmerman as seeing people he thought were suspicious as eluding police. >> his actions and behavior that night are very different from his other actions. >> reporter: the defense says any calls zimmerman made prior to that night are irrelevant. >> you're going to be asking this jury to make a quantum leap from good, responsible citizen behavior to seething anger. >> reporter: of course the defense maintains that it was
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trayvon martin that began all of this by attacking george zimmerman and george zimmerman simply acted in self-defense. it should be pointed out the judge has yet to rule on whether those other >> it's obviously going to have an impact on those six jurors. >> it definitely has to. the evidence is what is important. the jury will be told when they deliberate they cannot go their emotions. but that room was filled with emotion today because all of a sudden, as martin said, you were taken back to the scene of february 26th and you saw trayvon martin, you saw his body, you saw the gunshot. you didn't see any blood on his
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hands, didn't see any other marks on him but he was dead. and then in stark contrast, the crime scene investigator took pictures of george zimmerman not too much later when he went to the police department, he looked immaculate. it didn't seem as though he had a wound on him. so that was their first image in that courtroom. then on cross-examination the defense brought out all the photos of the back of george zimmerman's head. he had been cleaned up by the crime scene techs and fire official there is but you saw the bumps, you saw the lumps, you saw the blood. and it's just interesting to look because you're looking at the evidence here and the devil is going to be in the details, wolf, the inconsistencies with george zimmerman's stories as to the position of trayvon martin's body on the grass. the evidence is continuing to be developed. >> it's going to be in the hands of six women, the six jurors in this trial. and, you know, trayvon martin's parents, they're out there, they're sitting in the courtroom, they're weeping,
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they're pretty distraught. they're seeing what's going on. that potentially could have an impact on the jurors as well. >> it does. it really does. it's not supposed to but they are sitting on the side of the jury. but do you know what is really limiting the view today is what the clothes of trayvon martin and the clothes of george zimmerman, i've never seen this done before, they are like between plastic with great big frames around them. it is so huge that i think it really impacts the view of the jury to the family of trayvon martin. and they were shown to the jury today, too, the clothes that trayvon martin was wearing. >> we heard martin talk about these six other 911 calls that george zimmerman made. they were played for the judge, they weren't played for the jurors. but the prosecution, what's their goal right now in getting these earlier 911 calls admitted as evidence? >> wolf, this could be so critical for the pollution because this is second degree murder. they don't have to prove intent
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to kill, but they do have to prove a depraved mind, ill will, hatred, spite on the part of george zimmerman toward trayvon martin. well, he didn't know trayvon martin, burr they want these calls to come before the jury so the jury can hear all these different phone calls the months before when george zimmerman -- when he's asked, though, he says he's black and he says he looks suspicious and he always repeats "they always get away" to show that that state of mind was building, building, building and finally on february 26th he didn't stay in his house anymore, he was in his car and he pursued him unlike he did any of the others but it got to that boiling point where he just had to do something and tab the law into his own hands. that's what the prosecution wants to show. >> we'll stay in close touch with you, jeanne. thanks very much.
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>> when we come back, paula deen's sons break their silence about the racial controversy that could destroy her empire. we'll see the exclusive cnn interview just ahead. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪
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than 100 points on the string of positive economic data. consumer confidence is at its highest level since 2008 and a big surge in the housing market. >> carnival cruise line is replacing its ceo after a string of mishaps with its ships. more than 4,000 passengers were forced to endure power outages and food shortages. >> and days after being fired from the food network and losing a major endorsement with smithfield foods, paula deen's sons are speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with cnn's chris cuomo. >> we were raised in a family with love and of faith in a
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house where god lived. and neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted towards any other person for any reason. and this is so saddening to me because our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted, empathetic people that you'd ever meet. and these accusations are very hurtful to her and it's very sad. >> this environment of racism that's been spoken about could not be further from the truth. >> her sons are also chefs, both with their own shows. >> thanks, mary, for that. >> it turns out the irs was not only targeting conservative groups. there were also liberal groups on its list. we'll have a full report coming up at the top of the hour, our special report, "the nsa leaker on the run." love holds us in the beginning.
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conservatives weren't the only ones targeted by the irs. now a new wave of controversy and more outrage. cnn's chief congressional correspondent dana bash has the details. >> reporter: in these newly revealed irs memos terms used to screen liberal groups, progressive, medical marijuana, even blue as in blue states, hardly words targeting tea party conservatives. democrat sandra levin is lashing out at the irs inspector general for leaving that out of his explosive report last month. >> it was a serious mistake, and i think the republicans took advantage of that by claiming that there was some kind of an
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enemies list of the white house. >> reporter: what's worse, says levin, the irs i.g. was asked last month about so-called be on the lookout memos for liberals. he wouldn't answer. >> i'm not in a position to give you a definitive response on that question at this time. >> reporter: the i.g. report did detail how many groups labelled tea party, 9/12 or patriots were targeted. liberals groups were in the 212 "other terms." >> he failed to indicate the liberal groups were among the 202. >> as for republicans, they're pushing back on the notion that progressives were targeted the way tea party groups were. >> they continued as usual through the process while conservative groups were stopped there their tracks. >> reporter: what about the big question, whether irs targeting was politically motivated?
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darrell issa says this? >> i said it comes out of washington. >> reporter: do you think based on what you have know now that the white house simply was not involved, that the obama political team was not involved? >> for years the president bashed the tea party groups. he was very public against these groups and on his behalf, perhaps not on his request, the irs executed a delaying tactic against the very groups that he talked about. >> reporter: but do you have evidence of that based on the interviews that you've done or are you making an assumption? >> dana, can you not close a case on what you don't know. you can only close a case on what you do know. >> reporter: translation, issa and many fellow republicans are not letting the president off the hook on this and say they're not going to do this until they finished their investigation. gop sources say they're just in the opening stages of the
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investigation. democrats want to continue this probe, too, not because they think there is anything political because they say they really do worry about irs mismanagement and they want to fix that troubled agency. >> dana, thanks very much. coming up more than a million dollars missing from the cargo hold of a passenger airline. ♪ (annoucer) new beneful medley's, in tuscan, romana, and mediterranean style varieties. ♪ just mix it in, and take play to new places. three cans in every pack. new beneful medley's. hoo-hoo...hoo-hoo. hoo-hoo hoo.
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now on the hunt for a suspect after a brazen shooter. someone opened fire from behind them. one officer suffered a head injury. the other had a bullet graze. both have been treated and released. the men work on an undercover burglary task force. it's unknown if that is linked to the attack. the fbi is on the hunt for whomever is behind a $1.2 million heist from a swiss international airlines flight that landed at new york's jfk international airport. mary snowe is joining us. what do we know?
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>> reporter: as fbi agents trace its path, a federal law enforcement source says the theft wasn't discovered until two days after the flight. more than a million dollars disappears from a swiss international airlines flight. what's unclear is when the $1.2 million all in $100 bills vanished. was it before passenger flight 17 left zurich on saturday? or after it arrived in new york? a federal law enforcement official says the cash was part of a bigger shipment. roughly $50 million coming through the jfk airport. the money belongs to a u.s. bank shipped in a cargo container headed to a federal reserve facility. the shortfall was discovered, the source says, when the shipment arrived there monday. former federal agent robert stran says shipments aren't unusual. >> is it common so much cash
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would be on a commercial air flight? >> when you look under the belly, you'll find things you can't believe are there. you're transferring money, assets whether it's gold bars, jewelry. other valuable items all around the world. that's done mostly in passenger aircraft. >> reporter: the federal reserve declined comment. swiss international airlines would only say an investigation is underway. the caper brought back memories of the 1978 heist at jfk made famous in the movie "good fellas." >> it looks like a good one. >> reporter: thieves made off with $8 million in cash and jewelry. at the time it was the biggest heist in history 37 but the amount pales in comparison to one this year in belgium. men broke in in two vehicles and stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a plane.
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months later more than 30 people were arrested. and in that brussels heist, authorities received some of the diamonds and cash and luxury cars >> what a story. thank you. coming up here in "the situation room", nsa agent on the run. we'll talk to the wikileaks owner who is helped snowden. matt's brakes didn't sound right... i brought my car to mike at meineke...
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -free is good. -free is very good. [ male announcer ] now get 50% off brake pads and shoes at meineke. sounds like something out of a jurassic park story. tourists on safari being chased by a wild animal. >> reporter: don't look now. but something's following us. step on it or we'll be neck and
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neck with a giraffe. the guy who describes shooting this video says they were on a safari after a wedding when a giraffe started chasing their jeep. chased it three miles. remind you of anything? say a a tyransaurus rex? >> must go faster. >> the comparison was irresistible. now, the t-rex is terrifying. but a injure ra? people posted why is she panicking? what's it going to do? obviously he hasn't seen the untamed and uncut. >> it is a shocking display of animal on animal brutality. >> reporter: it's called necking. there is nothing romantic about it. it's just how male giraffes
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fight using their necks as clubs. fortunately this giraffe didn't try to neck with the tourists. when they yelled and the park ranger beat on the jeep, the giraffe finally stopped. of course there was the usual internet squabble about how the video was shot. this versus this. say no to vertical videos was met with things like if your subject is very tall like a giraffe, it's acceptable. both the chase scenes had happy endings. in no time some youtuber put the sound track from one over the other. >> we've got to get out of here. now. right now. let's go. >> reporter: if you're ever chased by a giraffe, you know what to tell the driver. >> must go faster. >> reporter: faster than a giraffe's top speed of about 35 miles per hour. cnn, new york. >> the man who described
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shooting the video says the winding dirt road that they were on was about to run out when the giraffe finally gave up the chase. and we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. this is a "situation room" special report. nsa leaker on the run. russia unveils where he's hiding and refuses to hand him over to the united states. we're live inside the moscow airport right now. we're searching for edward snowden's exact location. and we'll talk to someone who tells us he knows exactly where snowden is but isn't saying. also, what does all of this mean for the united states' relationship with russia? now that vladimir putin won't help the president catch a globe trotting fugitive. as far as we know right now, the nsa leaker is holed up inside a moscow airport planning
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the next move in his cat and mouse game with the world. the russian president putin today confirmed snowden remains in the airport transit area. he says snowden is free to leave and he won't be handing him over to the united states. the white house is asking russia to expel snowden without delay based on his passport being revoked and the espionage charges against him. but the obama administration may not have a whole lot of leverage to force president putin's hand. john is in the airport in that transit area. he's joining us live now. set the scene for us. what do we know about his whereabouts where you are? >> reporter: when we first heard from president putin, it was in a sense changing the outlook here of what was coming out of moscow. it broke that code of silence. according to president putin, snowden is in this area where we are.
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it's a typically large area. but unlike the passengers that are roaming around here when wuf 24 hours in the area without a ticket, edward snowden has been here close to 72 hours. putin said he's a free man, he's free to move. that is not the case. we have not seen him here. he's behind closed doors. the other thing is there's only one transit hotel he could be in. we checked with that hotel and he's still not there. snowden is likely here tucked behind a high security area. that's the latest we know right now. and we do know that president putin thought it was important for him to weigh in suggesting there's not something being conducted here by moscow. whether it's to a place like ecuador or a negotiation with washington. one slight twist today, president putin suggested while in finland that perhaps the fbi director and his counterpart in russia can start having a conversation. it was at least put out there. this is not diplomacy, but the
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rule of law. and that has not been determined yet. >> we're going to get back to you shortly. we know you'll be in the hotel in the transit area as well. we'll get back to you with more. meanwhile, the white house is asking russia to expel snowden based on his passport being revoked and the espionage charges that have been leveled against him. but the obama administration may not have too much leverage to force putin's hand. let's bring in our correspondent jill doherty. she's picking up this part of the story. jill? >> reporter: yeah, they really don't. and a really interesting detail, putin today suggesting that suggestion security agents are not working with mr. snowden. another detail that came out today as he broke his silence on this case. russian president vladimir putin put a stop to the speculation about where snowden was.
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he was right there in the transit area of moscow's airport. and mr. putin added russia was surprised when snowden arrived there sunday. >> translator: mr. snowden is a free man. the faster he chooses his ultimate destination, the better for us and for him. >> reporter: but putin said russia cannot turn him over to the u.s. there's no legal agreement with washington, no extradition treaty. and thank god, he said, snowden has committed no crimes in russia. the white house says even without a treaty, there's a clear legal basis to send snowden back to the u.s. based on the status of his travel documents and the pending charges against him, we're asking the russian government to take action to expel mr. snowden without delay. secretary of state john kerry insists the u.s. just wants russia to follow normal procedure and do what the u.s. has done for russia. >> just as we transferred to
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russia seven people in the last two years that they requested that we did without any clamor, without any ranker, without any argument and according to our sense of the appropriateness of meeting their request. that's what we would hope they would reciprocate with here today. >> reporter: those seven were high level criminals. from 2007 to 2012, the u.s. at moscow's request deported more than 1700 russian citizens back to russia. more than 500 of them criminal deportations. and wolf, the irony here is there's no extradition treaty because back in the old cold war days, the united states didn't need -- did not want one fearing that they'd have to turn over dissidents to moscow. now, president putin says he doesn't want this case to hurt
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u.s./russian relations. but his claim his hands are tied legally isn't going over well here. >> thanks very much. the anti-secrecy group wikileaks is helping snowden try to dodge authorities and find a safe haven somewhere in the world. a spokesman from wikileaks is joining us now. thanks very much. we spoke 24 hours ago here in "the situation room." you said we'd soon know about the location of snowden. are you surprised that president vladimir putin announced precisely where he is? >> well, i mean that was not real surprise. but i will not go into details about that issue for the plans that he has in the future. i said yesterday that this would clear up, i would guess, in the near future. >> what do you expect?
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do you expect he's going to stay in that transit area at the moscow area for some time? i assume you're working on trying to get him out of there whether to ecuador or iceland or some place. >> all i can say is he's in a safe place and is comfortable and possibly relaxing after a very stressful weeks behind him. >> because we can only assume in that transit area in the airport, there is a hotel of sorts. and he's in one of those rooms. can you confirm that? >> i do not want to confirm his exact location. >> one of your colleagues from wikileaks is still with him, is that right? >> that's correct. >> and have you spoken to your colleague or snowden? can you tell us how he's feeling? his mood, if you will? >> no, i have not spoken with him directly myself. but my team has been in contact with him through the intermediaries as well as my colleague who is there. and in terms of his mood, i cannot speculate about that.
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>> how much coordination, if any, has wikileaks done with authorities in moscow to make sure he's okay, edward snowden. >> as has been reported, there was no cooperation with russians prior to him coming to moscow. that remains the case. >> when he leaves now that his passport has been revoked, he'll have to leave under a legal transit document. does he have something like that? has ecuador given those transit papers he would need to leave russia legally? >> i cannot go into details on what kind of documents that he may or may not have assisting him in going from one place to another. i simply want to reiterate that of course he left hong kong legally and for moscow. and will continue his journey at a later time.
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>> how worried are you, if you are at all, that the russian government under enormous pressure from the u.s. might decide to hand him over to the u.s. authorities? >> well, i am fairly confident that they would never consider that. and especially not after the outrageous demands and threats that were sent out by the state department. although where the state department has somewhat toned down its rhetoric today, it did not surprise me that putin would act in anger to these kinds of demands under threats. and call for suggestions that there was some cooperation between russia and snowden. >> when you talk about threats, i want you to be precise. what do you mean by state department threats? >> well, there was a latent threat that was sent back if you go back to the statements that
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were made by officials here that nations were urged not to assist snowden in any manner. and it was fairly obvious that you could read into that that there was a threat underneath that would hurt relation. everybody knows what that means. >> hurt relations between the u.s. and russia or the u.s. and china. but you're not talking about a threat directly to the physical safety, security of snowden, right? >> i was not speculating about that. but your correspondent was previously talking about bargaining chips and negotiation. and that is in terms of trade and cooperation. that's the usual kind of threats that are made in the international venue. >> well, the u.s. administration has made it clear if the russians let snowden leave and go to another country for safe harbor, that would have an effect on u.s./russian
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relations. >> yes. but now you are asking me to speculate about geopolitical matters and how it will affect relations between the nations, this is a ga. and we are totally overlooking the most important aspect of it which is of course the revelations that snowden has offered us. >> well, we're going to focus on that. i want you to stand by if you don't mind. we have much more to talk about. up next we're also going to be speaking about concerns that snowden has what has been described as a devastating backup plan. what some people are calling, quote, doomsday insurance if he's taken into u.s. custody. and later, we're searching for snowden over at the hotel at the moscow airport. there is a possible hideout inside the moscow area. there is this little hotel there. we're inside. i want to make things more secure. [ whirring ]
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u.s. intelligence officials are working on the assumption that the nsa leaker gave china all the documents and information he had with him in hong kong. the question now, are there more secrets for edward snowden to reveal? our pentagon correspondent barbara starr has the latest damage assessment. >> the public is owed an explanation. >> reporter: what if edward snowden the self-confessed leaker and computer expert has one last cyber trick up his sleeve? u.s. intelligence officials worry snowden may have some type
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of cyber doomsday insurance. threatening to publicize an online link to all the classified material he took so anyone could access it if he's taken into custody. >> i had access to the entire intelligence community. and undercover assets all around the world. the locations of every station. >> reporter: glen greenwald told the daily beast snowden has arranged for password access to his encrypted file if, quote, anything at all happens to him. the u.s. assumption is that china has already read everything snowden brought with him to hong kong. but still to be determined, the precise damage snowden has done by revealing eavesdropping and surveillance programs and what additional classified information he could leak. >> there's always concern that when information like this is leaked, what's the impact it
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has? >> reporter: intelligence officials are trying to figure out how many laptops snowden travelled with and the size of the hard drives. that could help them calculate how much material he still has or whether he has handed it off to supporters. quote, we are seeing indications that several terrorist groups are in fact attempting to change their communications behaviors since news accounts of snowden's leaks. >> it's possible the united states will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves. >> reporter: but former air force intelligence officer clayton says some of the problem is the red face the u.s. has been left with. >> looking at what he's released so far, i give it a 60% embarrassment ratio to 40% security risk ratio. >> reporter: the reality is al qaeda has used encrypted communications for years. some of their operatives even
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long ago giving up their cell phones. but now u.s. officials saying other terrorist groups are reacting to these disclosures by snowden and very quickly also changing their communications methods. >> thanks very much, barbara starr at the pentagon. let's bring back kritian from wikileaks. do you know if that's true? this doomsday insurance. if he's taken into u.s. custody, all those other thousands of documents would automatically be released on the internet? >> i have to object to this wording of a doomsday scenario. this is simply information that should be out in the public. part of it is already out there and already extremely important to have knowledge of that. there is more as has been indicated by the journalists directly working with him. and the reference that the worst case scenario is the chinese authority will get ahold of
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information there is quite surreal in my mind. how should that damage the u.s. or if the chinese knows that the authorities here in the u.s. are spying on their own citizens. >> well, from the u.s. perspective, from the intelligence communities perspective, they are the ones calling it this doomsday insurance. forget about what they're calling it. does he have a plan as far as you know that if in fact he's taken into u.s. custody, everything automatically is released? >> well, i mean, he has obviously made very careful plans. but i don't have detailed information about those plans. and even if i would, i would not disclose them. >> do you agree with the u.s. intelligence community's assumption, but they're working under the assumption that the chinese managed to get access to
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all those hard drives, the thumb drives, or whatever information he had during those days he spent in hong kong. do you believe they did? >> i think it is propaganda. and this is information about internet communication of american citizens between themselves. this is propaganda, i believe. totally. >> how difficult would it have been for china to get access to that information -- i don't know if you're a computer expert, but i'm told it wouldn't be necessarily all that complicated. >> well, i'm a simple journalist, not a computer expert per se. but mr. snowden is an expert in computer technology. and i am fairly certain that with the topnotch encryption technology, all the data would have been safe.
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with reference to the fact a that the information has somehow changed the way terrorists or criminals are communicating, i think it's an absurd allegation. i mean, everybody in the community of journalists know that terrorist or even smalltime criminals do not communicate through gmail or skype or even use telephones. so i think it's absurd this is endangered anything or changed anything with regard to those criminal elements. >> well, the u.s. does say that in recent years they have thwarted some terrorist plots precisely because they were able to intercept some sort of communications and they prevented those plots from going forward. but we'll continue this conversation down the road. it's kind of you to join us. we'll stay in close touch with you in the coming days, i'm sure. thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. up next, an update from the
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moscow airport. could snowden be hiding there? stand by for more of our special report. nsa leaker on the run. hey. they're coming. yeah. british. later. sorry. ok...four words... scarecrow in the wind... a baboon... monkey? hot stew saturday!? ronny: hey jimmy, how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars switching to geico? jimmy: happier than paul revere with a cell phone. ronny: why not? anncr: get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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is a free man, but are they also secretly pumping him for information? and one of the leads on the leaker that came up empty. stand by for a first hand account of a rather bizarre flight to cuba that snowden never got on. i'm wolf blitzer. this is a "situation room" special report. nsa leaker on the run. there are only so many places inside the moscow airport that the nsa leaker can hide. as we've told you, the russian president vladimir putin conf m confirmed today snowden is somewhere in the transit area between the arrival gates and the passport control check points. but his exact location right now remains a mystery. let's go back to john defeterios. john, you went inside the place where snoeden may be sleeping. there's a little hotel there.
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what did you see? >> reporter: well -- wanted to be a normal transit passenger, you'd have two choices. either camp out on the floor like some of those behind my shoulder are doing right now. or the single transit hotel available here. let's look at the pictures. it's called a capsule. it's not very space age-like like the name suggests. only has 40 rooms and modest in size. it's about the scale of a large walk-in closet in the united states with a shower, couple of beds if you have a double. single if you don't. and basically a square room. we spoke to management and said did -- and they said categorically he has not checked into this hotel. wolf -- here because they have this huge -- outside -- >> john, we're really having trouble with the audio.
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hold on for a minute. we're going to try to reconnect with you. we'll get back to you. but in the meantime, i want to move on. john is over at that airport in moscow right now. edward snowden landed in moscow with a treasure-trove of america's top secrets. and you have to wonder if the russians are trying to get their hands on that information right now. brian todd is here in "the situation room." you've been looking into this extremely sensitive part of the story. >> that's right. vladimir putin denies it, but former spies we spoke to have no doubt the russians are trying to get their hands on that intelligence. the chinese may have already had their turn. >> reporter: vladimir putin says russian security officials have not been quote, working with edward snowden. but those who know the spy game say the temptation may be too strong. >> the russians are aggressive and there's no doubt in my mind they would not let this
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opportunity pass ever. >> reporter: former cia operative robert baer and others have different takes on how they might approach snowden. that's not how olig sees it. he's a former officer. >> how would they approach him? would they flatter him? >> they would probably say something nice about how nice that americans understand the value of improving relations and knowledge of each other. >> reporter: but also with a keen eye on his potential weaknesses and needs. possibly offering money or perks. he says they'd start out using a proven interrogation technique. >> asking questions they know answers to to make sure he knows what he's talking about. >> reporter: he and other
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experts say the russians would want information about spies america might have been trying to recruit. then there's the technical side. a key question, if edward snowden has a laptop with him, what will the russians want from him? and how long will it take to get it? i'm joined by a former u.s. intelligence officer who spent 13 years in the intelligence community analyzing russia and russian intelligence. mark, how long would it take them to download everything from his laptop? >> it'd just be a matter of minutes for them to be able to strip all the data off the hard drive of snowden's computer if they're able to get to it. and that doesn't require snowden's cooperation. the files on that may be encrypted. once they have copied that data, they can decrypt it for however long it tooks. >> reporter: stout says snowden may be able to tell russians -- maybe with a secret back door or a trojan horse. but stout says snowden can also
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give them simple information. just saying americans have extracted data from certain systems. the russians just like the chinese and the iranians can reverse engineer it. and the spy game goes on. >> could he resist that kind of questioning, if you will? >> reporter: bob baer does not believe he could. he thinks snowden is in over his head and desperate to find safe haven not to be turned over to the americans. if the russians promise to help him find a place to live, offer money, that he'll start listening and not resist then. >> amazing stuff. thanks very much for that report. let's dig a little bit deeper now with our national security analysis fran townsend. she's a member of the advisory board. also joining us the former cia analyst mud. mr. mud, do you just assume the chinese, for example, have
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copied and had access to everything on those laptops, those thumb drives that he had during his few days in hong kong? >> absolutely. i don't know how you assume anything else. let's reverse this. i'm sitting in a staff meeting in the united states and someone walks in and says well, to be polite, we're not going to mirror his hard drive. and let's say we had a chinese intelligence officer. my answer would be are you kidding me? the first thing is i want to talk to the guy and download everything he's got. not only got to assume that. i believe it's an almost factual statement. >> fran, do you agree? >> yeah. absolutely. i think it's true both in china and in russia. by the way, he doesn't have to cooperate. they can do this without his even knowing it. >> when you say that, because i've been told -- i've been to china. i went to north korea. and security experts said to me don't take your laptop. don't take anything, because within a few minutes if the chinese want it or if the north koreans even for that matter
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want it, they can get it pretty quickly with or without your knowledge. do you buy that, fran? >> absolutely. the only thing he might have done was to keep it on a thumb drive which may give them a harder time of access to it. >> go ahead. >> i agree with fran. if you're a businessman with intellectual property or busy credits, take the battery out of your phone or leave it overseas. don't bring a laptop. if it's got bits and bites, it's going to get ripped off. >> what do you do assuming the russians or the chinese have now gone through or are in the process of trying to go through everything that snowden stole while he was a contractor for the nsa. what do you do now? >> well, he would have had access to a lot more information than he was able to actual steal, take with him. and even remember. i mean, one of the things is to the extent that he was aware of sites or individuals, that sort
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of thing unless he downloaded documents that he could remember all that, he may not be able to compromise as much as he had access to. that's the good news. the bad news is to the extent you have identify the documents he took, you're going to change encryption and access to all of those programs and try as best you can to protect those assets so that others can't access them if he's betrayed the united states. >> phil, there's a bloomberg news report out there suggesting that u.s. officials are exploring the possibility that china may have actually coordinated what did and that he wittingly or unwittingly was used to that effect. what do you think about that theory? >> it makes a lot of sense to e many. look. you're flying into hong kong and you want to tell me that people there are in the spotlight of global media and diplomacy don't have a sense of their plan to both get access to this guy's
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material and get him out of the country? that doesn't make sense. you're going to look and say not only how do i maximize advantage, but how do i get out with the least amount of damage? >> fran, i'm just curious because it's been going through my head what you think. would it make any difference if the u.s. were to say to the russians right now we want snowden, we'll do an exchange. we'll give you aldrich convicted of espionage for the soviet union. both serving life sentences in u.s. prisons. would it make any difference? do you think the russians would be interested in getting either or both in exchange for snowden? >> oh, wolf, i think the russians would be absolutely delighted to make that sort of a trade. i think it's a bad trade for the united states. i mean, these are guys who absolutely we know and can establish got blood on their hands. i think the russians would be interested in that deal.
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i don't think the u.s. ought to consider it. >> phillip, what do you think? >> i would fall on my sword against that one if i were at the cia or fbi. these guys destroyed the lives of american families for decades. we have someone in russia who probably has already given away the farm. i'm not sure what we're trying to protect. we have information already given away from an individual who does not compare to someone like aldridge james who led to the murder of americans. >> guys, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. also coming up, asylum irony. we're going live to ecuador. and did snowden seek out his job as a contractor with the actual intent of this massive leak? we're going to ask a "new york times" reporter who's in hong kong and has written some amazing stories over the past few days. [ woman ] we had two tiny reasons
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adt. always there. ecuador could be snowden's final destination. he's already applied for asylum there. but it's an ironic choice. >> reporter: the paradox at this place is hard to miss. ecuador, a small striving south american country is going out of its way to antagonize its largest trading partner, the united states, by considering granting asylum to edward snowden. it's especially tough to take for one carlos calderon. >> you were a whistle blower like edward snowden and faced consequences for it. >> translator: political fear has been established. and many think twice or don't publish at all what happened to us. >> reporter: calderon was at the
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heart of the so-called big brother case. blew the whistle on tens of millions of dollars in government contracts awarded to the brother of president coreya. he claims he knew nothing of the contracts and he sued calderon. not for defamation, but moral damages. he won. calderon was ordered to pay a million dollars in damages. the president withdrew his complaint before the case went to appeal. but now new so-called gag laws expected to be approved would be further restrict press freedoms and would make it a criminal defense to disclose and publish classified information and government secrets. >> translator: mr. snowden couldn't do what he did here in ecuador. whoever does it will go to jail. mr. snowden, therefore, will be in jail in ecuador. >> reporter: stil calderon and others in the country could see
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why the president would welcome him. talked about press freedom and human rights in the past. so replying with a rebuke of its own could amount to a political master stroke in south america. it's unfortunate to say, wolf, but here in south america standing up to the white house, standing up to the united states really does go over well. having said that, the ambivalence you'll hear from people is more that's fine. but what is it going to do for ecuador? especially when they hear it could effect the trading relationship between ecuador and the united states. wolf? >> paula newton in ecuador for us. thanks very much. the snowden case is certainly straining relations with earthquake ecuador right now. and with russia where he remains in limbo. christian amanpour joins us now.
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where does this put the u.s./russian relationship right now? >> because we've known that for the last 24 hours. but the fact the russian president is fully confirming it puts the relationship in a bit of a biepd. even though there's no formal extradition treaty between the u.s. and russia, american officials are trying to convince the russians that actually this person they have just charged him with a felony. he doesn't have a passport. that must account for some irregularity under russian law. they're trying to persuade russia to figure a law he had broken. they want him back on a plane to the u.s. putin said not only is he there, and he has not committed a crime on russian soil. therefore we have no reason to deport him or arrest him or do anything. then he said that he would want to leave all of this to fbi director muller and the russian equivalent to talk it out
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between themselves. and he added that he hoped this would not damage what he called businesslike relationships between the u.s. and russia. particularly in the wake of the boston marathon bombing. so he's trying to sort of say on the one hand, hope this doesn't affect our relations. but right now i've got no reason to send him back to you. >> is there anything the u.s. can, president of the united states specifically, to sweeten the pot to make it attractive for the russians to cooperate with the u.s. and hand over snowden? >> well, i'm sure there must be. there must be sort of, you know, tit for tat kind of people the russians did want or whatever. but on a bigger scale, i think the u.s. -- and this is in the words of jane harmon. she thinks the administration doesn't have enough leverage with russia right now. and as you know, there is very, very bad blood really between the putin administration and the obama administration. a lot of it centers on the big
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differences over syria which have simply been magnified. and there's such a horrible war of words between the last two countries on this and on other issues. and putin is being difficult according to u.s. officials on any of these bilateral things they want to talk about. there was an attempt to try to see eye to eye during the g8 summit. but you see the picture of president obama and putin sitting there looking uncomfortable together and saying they had their differences. so where is the leverage? i don't know, but surely the u.s. is doing all it can to persuade russia it would be in their best interest to put snowden on a plane back to the united states. >> body language between president obama and president putin was very, very telling. obviously neither guy seems to like the other one very much. all right. we'll see where this goes. thanks very much. >> thank you. inside china's decision to
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let snowden leave hong kong. up next we have new details of the closed door high level deliberations. and the 30-hour airborne odyssey in search of the nsa leaker. dad. how did you get here? i don't know. [ speaking in russian ] look, look, look... you probably want to get away as much as we do. with priceline express deals, you can get a fabulous hotel without bidding. think of the rubles you'll save. with one touch, fun in the sun. i like fun. well, that went exactly i as planned.. really?
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new details of the edward snowden drama are emerging from hong kong. that was the "the new york times" hong kong bureau chief. keith, as you know the south times morning posted a paper saying snowden took the job with information about the nsa to what can you tell us about that. you have written some amazing pieces the last few days? >> that had seemed to be the case already from the schedule. that is, he established contact with glen greenwald in late january, early february. he want to work for booz, allen hamilton. the timeline presented
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throughout, he joined a month after he began contacting, activists, as well as the videographer to say he wanted to release government secrets. >> tell us about the lawyer who spent quality time with snowden in hong kong and the role he played in getting him on the flit to moscow? >> albert ho is one of the city's prominent politicians and lawyers. one of those in his law firm was representing mr. snowden, and a local barrister, mr. ho got involved, when we had a dinner of peat zashgs fried chicken, sausages, washed down with pepsi with mr. snowden. he says in fact, snowden really likes pepsi. what happened at the dinner according to mr. ho, they had a discussion what were the prospects if snowden stayed in
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hong kong and fought it out on asylum ground. according to albert ho, snowden had an unrealistic or overly optimistic assessment of whether he would be able to stay out on bail while that kind of a legal battle was going on. most, in fact, all of the several thousand people seeking asylum in hong kong at any given time are allowed to stay out on bail. they remain in the community. many of them find jobs. but what albert ho warned snowden, while he had a better than even chance of getting bail he was by no means assured. snowden could easily spend years in prison with no access to a computer while the united states and hong kong and beijing wrangled over his fate. that was very troubling to mr. snowden. according to albert ho and began leading him down the path towards deciding that he did not want to premaremain in hong kon. >> tell us about this person,
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snowden met on an earlier visit to hong kong, he then spent quality time before getting on the flight from hong kong to moscow. what do we know about this individual? >> albert ho did not provide a lot of details except to say that when edward snowden first arrived in hong kong he looked up somebody whom he had met previously when he had gone on a vacation here. that individual introduced him to his lawyers, that individual also helped him find, according to albert ho, a place to stay, with, with within of the individual's friend, a place somewhere out in the new territories which is an outlying area of hong kong. and he had a tiny room there in the other person's house. somebody here who is active in the community according to albert ho tried to help edward snowden during his three weeks in hong kong. >> i asked the question, bloomberg news is reporting that u.s. authorities, u.s. intelligence is, they're working
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under an assumption that perhaps, perhaps the chinese wittingly or unwittingly as far as snowden is concerned orchestrated what snowden did. do you have any reason to believe that? >> that is one of the questions that i think everybody is trying to figure out. albert ho and in fact, snowden's legal team and snowden himself have strongly denied that he was in any way acting on behalf of the chinese government. there have been accusations that he was. and i think everybody's trying to figure that out. but snowden and his lawyers, strongly denied that. and nobody has come forward with a specific, with specific evidence yet that i have seen to verify that he was anything other than what he says on that point. >> keith, keep up the terrific reporting from hong kong, from the new york time. thank you very much for joining
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what's in your wallet? [ crows ] now where's the snooze button? a report on the flight from moscow to cuba. >> reporter: there was a very strong belief among dozens of russian and international journalists that snowden was going to take the flight to havana. some say the sources confirmed it and it kind of made sense. on board, the search for snowden began immediately. was he already there? would he board last? would he be separated from everyone else in some secure part of the aircraft? some journalists were tweeting, saying they saw a vip car alongside the plane. we realized quickly he wasn't on
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board yet. we waited until the clock counted done to the scheduled takeoff time. then, the door closed. and we started moving. even as we were taxiing i stayed on the phone with headquarters in atlanta ready to pass on any news before we took off. we thought it was still possible snowden would board the plane some where on the tarmac. he didn't. and we took off without him. so we committed to a 12-hour-plus flight that was essentially a waste of time. very frustrating. according to some reporting, he and his wikilikeaks companion we to sit in row 17. those seats were empty. and became a focal point for disgruntled journalists who look us gambled and loss. so cuba, my first time. i didn't have a visa. so i had to stay in transit. it wasn't the authentic cuban travel experience i dreamed of.
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we tried random snowden hunting? >> have you seen edward snowden? >> no. >> reporter: hello, cuba. good-bye, cuba. been on the ground here an hour in havana. trying to negotiate our way back on to a flight become to moscow. we think we have didn't. >> that's it for me. "erin burnett out front" starts now. >> vladamir putin says snowden is a free man. and a key part of the voting rights act struck down by the supreme court today. what it means for the next election. >> day two of the george zimmerman trial. shocking testimony. graphic photos tonight of the moments after trayvon martin was killed. let's go "outfront." ♪ ♪ >> good evening, everyone,