tv The Situation Room CNN October 24, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT
suspicious goo was. major league baseball responded to us saying there were no complaints from the umps or cardinals and you can't draw any conclusions from the video. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer who is right next door in a place i like to call "the situation room." mr. blitzer. thanks very much. happening now, fireworks on capitol hill. >> will the gentleman yield? >> no, i will not yield to this monkey court or whatever this is. >> this is not a monkey court. >> monkey court. lawmakers face off over the problem-plagued obama care website. contractors blame each other for the mess. the two congressmen in that heated exchange, they will join us live for a debate this hour. and we've heard all the complaints but is it really all that difficult to sign up for obama care? these people are getting ready to go online and try to enroll right here in "the situation room" live. plus, new details on the murder of a young massachusetts
teacher. sources allege the 14-year-old suspect used a box cutter to kill her. but why? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." take a look and see what's going on live in "the situation room" right now. these three people are interested in signing up for obama care. they're about to log on to the website and try to enroll. we've heard about all the problems with the system, including new details during that testy house hearing today. but we're going to try something very different with the help of our guests and cnn's tom foreman. you'll be able to see how the obama care website works or doesn't work in realtime. the clock starts ticking right now. the sparks meanwhile were flying on capitol hill today as lawmakers squared off and obama care contractors blamed each other for the website problems. let's begin our coverage right now with cnn's joe johns. he's up on capitol hill. >> reporter: wolf, if there was one big loser today, it was cms,
the centers for medicare and medicaid services. contractors testified at this hearing, put a lot of blame on the government for making one key terrible decision. fireworks on capitol hill as lawmakers took aim at the botched rollout of obama care's website. >> $500 million later, we find the american public have been dumped with the ultimate cash for clunkers. >> reporter: as to who's to blame for the obama care website, government contractors weren't taking responsibility. >> the federal exchange, including the sfm, is not a standard consumer website. >> equifax's role is limited. >> we have no role in the development of the website. >> reporter: cgi blamed another company seated at the very same witness table without naming names, of course. >> the first set of issues on the exchange concerned another
contractor's enterprise and daily management or eidm function. >> reporter: that other company, qssi, owned by united health insurance company, passed the buck to the federal government's centers for medicare and medicaid services or cms, which made what amounts to a last minute call. >> one of the reasons for the high concurrent volume at the registration system was a late decision requiring consumers to register for an account before they could browse for insurance products. >> reporter: because of that last minute call, the contractors admitted the system had not been fully tested before the website went public october 1st. a member of congress who used to program computers for a living asked a key question. >> cms made a decision. how late in the game did they make the decision to make a drastic change like this? >> for cgi, they asked us to turn that flag off or functionality off at two weeks before go live. >> reporter: cms said today that making consumers essentially register before browsing was a
business decision. cms is expected to testify on capitol hill next week. kathleen sebelius, the head of hhs, is also expected to testify next week. 32 republicans have now called for her to resign. obama applications we're told are now up to 700,000 so far. wolf? >> let's see what happens. thanks very much, joe johns up on the hill. at the obama care blame game escalates, let's go in depth. michael sharer is joining us. the latest edition of "time" is on the stands right now. you see the forgotten prince on the cover. also joining us, chief political analyst gloria borger. they used to say the buck stops here, referring to the president of the united states. should we be hearing more from him as opposed to others right now? >> at some point, he's going to have to decide where the buck does stop because that hearing today was the buck stops there, not here. i think the president has come out, spoken about this, he said he's angry about it. he has to address it
periodically. he has to let the technocrats brief him regularly on it, fix it, see what happens in a couple weeks and then maybe take some more action. i think right now, he has to kind of let this play out and make sure the american public understands that the website is not obama care itself. that there's a difference. just because you don't like the website doesn't mean that the product isn't good for you. >> they're trying to be a little bit more transparent right now but still have a long way to go. they're not releasing official numbers at least until next month sometime. >> that's right. they're not saying what the technical problems are. they won't confirm the things we have been finding through our reporting. they won't discuss how bad it is on the back end. we basically know the website is broke because we can't use it. we know the user experience on the front and we know insurers are complaining on the back because the data they're getting as people go through the system is oftentimes garbled or not usable. we don't know how bad the inner workings are or how long it will
take. >> the insurers say we will work together with the federal government, finally, by the way. it's amazing this did not happen before because if the data that they're getting is unclear about who's enrolling, then they can't insure people. >> there's a lot of pressure also coming in from republicans but even a few democrats right now to delay some of the individual mandate parts of this, maybe the penalty phase or whatever. you think the white house is ready to make that kind of concession? >> they're not ready now and they have time. this is a six-month enrollment period. they really don't need people to be totally signed up until march of next year, and they're hoping that most of the people, they have always kind of been expecting, most of the people won't really sign up until the last minute because that's what happened in the massachusetts case when they had a similar system. the question, though, is if they can't get this online and we're getting through november into december, you're going to hear the insurers start making a lot of noise about this, and the pressure will grow so intense that i think it will at that point become in the interest of the white house to do a delay.
we're not there yet. we don't know how long it's going to take to fix this. >> the point is you want the young people like the ones we have here trying to log in today, you want the healthy ones to get in, because otherwise, the whole risk pool becomes a problem. so you need young, healthy people to affirmatively want to have this experience. >> we have asked three educated young people who are all healthy to go ahead and try to log on. >> they're not under any pressure, are they, with that clock? >> we will watch them over the course of this program to see how difficult it is, see what's really going on, because you're absolutely right. in order for the system, the obama care system, to work, to subsidize the people with pre-existing conditions, the poorer people, older people, if you will, you need young healthy people to come in and start buying health insurance. you saw the story in the "new york times" about ted cruz and his wife, who is an executive at goldman sachs. she's on the goldman sachs health care plan and he's on the
goldman sachs health care plan. what do you make of this, if anything? democrats charging hypocrisy here on his part? >> well, look, he's on her plan, nothing wrong with that. and she gets an employer contribution on her plan just like we do on our health care plan which is that goldman pays into a certain portion, right. what he wanted to get rid of on capitol hill was the employer contribution that the government pays for people who work on capitol hill and their staffs, and that's where there's a little bit of hypocrisy, because there's always an employer buy-in and there is one on the hill. it's just that in that case, the employer happens to be the federal government. >> i agree. the scandal is not that ted cruz's wife is giving him health care. it's that ted cruz was trying to take away the health care of members of congress and their staffs while arguing that it was really about obama care, when it wasn't. that whole argument about changing health care for people on the hill was really about
taking away the employer contribution of people who get it, just like we get employer contribution. had nothing to do with people without insurance, with the exchanges, with the programs we have. >> we did get a statement from a spokeswoman for the senator saying the senator is on his wife's plan which comes at no cost to the taxpayer and reflects a personal decision about what works best for their family. guys, thanks very much. coming up, a stunning new allegation about u.s. spying, this time a report that the nsa secretly monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders. and they have been at it for a few minutes. take a look at this. they are trying to sign up for obama care. they are doing it live here in "the situation room." we will find out soon if they are making headway, if they're just getting frustrated. stay with us. you'll see what's going on. the first eight minutes now over. sfx: birds chirping
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been 12 minutes. >> it's not a scientific experiment but we wanted to see what would happen as people tried to come in, knowing chief complaints people have had are connectivity, can you get online and make it work easily, ease of use once you get there, can you figure out what you're doing and third, bottom line, is that good for you. our three folks here right now, laura and david and gabe have been dealing with different problems. laura has had it fairly simple. she has been able to move forward. gabe has had a series of problems trying to get on the d.c. site. laura is using the federal site. and we are almost 13 minutes in and she has been locked out time and time again, maybe making a little bit of progress now but we will keep checking back to see if they can get to the finish line. >> we'll see what happens. laura had originally managed to get at least part of the process earlier. she got a little advantage there. we'll continue to watch it. thank you, tom, for that. meanwhile, other news we're following, including a new blockbuster allegation about u.s. spying.
just a day after germany's leader called president obama to complain, to complain about alleged u.s. monitoring of her cell phone, britain's guardian newspaper says a classified document shows the national security agency monitored phone conversations of 35 world leaders. cnn's chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is here in "the situation room" looking into this story. what are you finding out? >> it's incredible. i have that nsa memo here as first reported in the guardian which gives the details. it's dated 2006. remarkable detail they were going into, going after the direct line, fax, residence and cellular numbers of these leaders, but it also notes in this document that these calls have noted little reported intelligence value which begs the question why were they taking this risk, including of going after the phone calls of some of our closest allies. we already know there's been a very uncomfortable phone call between the german chancellor and president obama yesterday, where in that call, the white house tells us he assured her that the u.s. is not and will not listen to these calls, but
did not specify that they had never done this in the past, and the white house has been pressed on this a number of times and as far as jay carney has been willing to go is to say we are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity. of course, more difficult when you have so many of them. >> it's causing enormous diplomatic headaches for the united states. >> no question. today, you already have the german chancellor, the american ambassador summoned. you had the german defense minister saying there must be consequences for the relationship and you have angela merkel saying today in very strong words that trust between the u.s. and germany has been threatened. here's how she described it. >> translator: we are closely tied in with the u.s. and trust is an important part in the relationship, and now that trust has to be reestablished between us. spying among friends is never acceptable. >> trust has to be reestablished. the white house has said they are reviewing this surveillance to get a better balance between
security and privacy which presumes they haven't gotten that balance right but they haven't told us how they are going to change this. are they going to rein it in, how far are they going to rein it in. still hard questions. >> the headaches for the secretary of state, john kerry, must be huge right now. it makes his life a lot more complicated. >> no question. we have a lot of big asks from these allies on iran and syria going forward. >> thanks very, very much. up next, sources say they now know how a young massachusetts teacher was murdered. the big remaining question, why? and they're trying to sign up as we have been reporting for obama care coverage live here in "the situation room." tom foreman is keeping tabs on how they're doing. some are moving along faster than others. we are going to get a fresh report, an update when we come back. you'll find reviews on home repair to healthcare, written by people just like you. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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hopscotch around this town from the school into the woods with the teacher's body, then to a local restaurant, even to a local movie theater all while changing clothes at the same time. the details are really gruesome and they are not for the faint of heart. as danvers high school mourns the loss of colleen ritzer following her shocking homicide, new details are emerging in the killing. a source close to the investigation tells cnn around 3:30 tuesday afternoon, her 14-year-old student philip chism allegedly beat and slashed her with a box cutter in a second floor student restroom. the source then he then stuffed her body into a recycling bin, rolled it out of the school and dumped her body about 20 feet into the woods behind the athletic fields. the bin was found thrown over an embankment approximately 100 feet away. chism allegedly changed clothes, went to a local wendy's, then on to the hollywood hits movie theater nearby. according to sources familiar
with the investigation. police caught up with chism wandering the streets past midnight in a nearby town. by then, 24-year-old colleen ritzer had been reported missing. a combination of statements chism gave to investigators as well as surveillance tape helped investigators discover ritzer's body later according to the criminal complaint. kai silva was a friend and teammate of philip chism. >> he was a really nice kid. he was in a new town so he would be shy and quiet. >> reporter: he says when chism didn't show up for soccer practice and a team dinner, he knew something was wrong, but not this wrong. >> that's what gets to us. he didn't demonstrate any signs, any signs of aggression, any signs towards any teachers. >> reporter: ritzer's family and friends continue searching for answers. >> it's a good person. it just doesn't make sense to me why something so terrible would happen to someone who is completely the opposite. she just would never, ever want
to hurt anyone. >> reporter: we are told that the suspect is cooperating with investigators. when last we saw him, it was 24 hours ago when he was in court but still, no plea as of yet. we have reached out to his attorneys. we have not heard back. of course, the prosecutor is charging him as an adult and they are seeking to try him as an adult as well. they are waiting for a grand jury to convene. >> even though he's only 14 years old. what can you tell us about the parents of this young suspect? >> reporter: we saw the mother yesterday caught on videotape as well leaving court. she did not say anything. we went by the home this morning and according to the kids here who knew him, the students who knew him, they say he moved here this summer with his mom and with his sister, not with his father. he moved here from tennessee. apparently his father is in the military reportedly and he doesn't have much contact with him, although the father does come to his soccer games every now and then. but again, a quiet kid here with
his mom and sister and really, nothing out of this kid until this bizarre happening that happened here yesterday just a little bit more than 24 hours ago. 48 hours ago, i should say. >> what a very, very, very sad story. don lemon on the scene for us. we will stay in close touch with you. thank you. just ahead here in "the situation room," two u.s. congressmen squared off in that fiery house hearing today. one called it a monkey court. they continue their heated exchange in "the situation room" coming up. also coming up, maryland's attorney general and gubernatorial candidate now under fire after being seen at a party where underaged drinking was reportedly taking place. and they're trying to sign up for obama care coverage live here in "the situation room." tom foreman is keeping tabs on how these three people are doing. some may be moving along a little faster than others. they have been at it now for 24 minutes. we will give you an update. [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up
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we're trying something very different here in "the situation room" today. we have invited these three people to sign up for obama care during this program. it's a mixed bag, we're told, so far. one is making some progress. the others, going slow and slower. now one person is reaching out to get some help online. we are going to find out how all of this is going. 26 minutes into their efforts. fancy robes... seems every hotel has something to love... so join the loyalty program that lets you earn free nights in any of them. plus, for a limited time, members can win a free night every day. only at hotels.com
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we're going to check in with tom foreman to see how these three young people are doing. they have been trying, what, for 29 minutes or so to get online to get -- log on to obama care. we'll see how they're doing and get a progress report momentarily. stand by for that. in the meantime, let's go over to the white house. athena jones is watching what's going on over there. the obama administration still
deep into damage control over the problems with the rollout of the website. what's the latest? >> reporter: damage control is right. the president tried to pivot to a new issue today, immigration, but the questions about the obama care website woes continued to dominate. the white house is trying to answer those questions with the help of regular briefings for reporters by the center for medicare and medicaid services, the folks who are managing the federal government's website. cms reveals today that nearly 700,000 people have submitted applications for health insurance, and they have handled 1.6 million calls at the call center. we also learned from cms that it was a quote, business decision to defer this window shopping feature on healthcare.gov. that's the feature that would have made healthcare.gov a lot more like the amazon type site the president promised. cms said they wanted to focus first on the application processing feature of the site. that of course wasn't working so well at first and they have been
making improvements on that. now, there are no plans to change the requirement that people buy health insurance by the end of march 2014, but i can tell you the white house is and will continue to be under a lot of pressure from democrats, from republicans, and from the general public about this until they get all these things fixed. >> athena jones, thanks very much. we heard what the white house has to say. let's check back with the folks who are actually trying to sign up for obama care right now live here in "the situation room." they have been at it now for more than half an hour. tom foreman has been watching what's going on. tom, give our viewers an update. >> this isn't a scientific experiment. it's just a demonstration. we brought these three people in, given them no coaching. these are the young healthy people this system needs. we gave them working computers, said give it a shot. there was connectivity, getting on the system, ease of use and the bottom line. let's go to laura first. laura, you actually had your account set up before you came in. i sort of thought you might fly through it.
what's happened? >> i did fly through it. i thought it was really easy to fill out. the problem is once it was completed, it told me that my application was incomplete and directed me back to the beginning to re-enter my information. >> i have seen you do this at least twice already. >> twice. yeah. >> we thought laura would be done in four or five minutes. we're a half hour in and she's still waiting. gabe, what's happening with yours? you are trying to apply through the d.c. system, not the federal one. what's happened? the screen doesn't look good. >> i might have just crashed. >> what's happening overall? >> overall, it's pretty slow and it doesn't seem to be loading correctly. a lot of errors and just a lot of blank spaces. >> even when you get into it, you are also running into use issues because it's asking all sorts of questions that maybe don't work. >> it's not streamlined. it's kind of a lot to sort through for my first time on this website. >> you're a new resident to the area here, it wants proof you live here and what your income is even though you're looking for a job right now. little bit complicated for you.
and hazani, you've had the worst problems. you've had something red on your screen, saying you can't move forward since you sat down. have you connected yet? >> i have not. i haven't been able to make an account at all. it won't even let me make a log-in. >> you are trying to go to the federal account. you pulled up a help screen, is that correct? >> a help screen. absolutely. they said they will call me back to help me work through the issues within two business days. i asked her if they could e-mail me instructions. she said it would have to be by phone during business hours. >> everything you've done so far, you haven't even been able to get an account established. are you surprised at this? >> i actually am surprised. from what i heard, it was supposed to be an easy process. i was looking forward to it. it's pretty surprising. it keeps reverting me back to the very beginning where i have to enter security information and it goes back to the same freezed screen. >> let me have you all turn around. i will ask you the same question in general. if you were at home trying to do this, and you had been at it for half an hour like this, and you weren't on tv, you were just
trying to make it on your own, would you be pressing on at this point or would you have since said i'm taking a break, i'm giving up, i'm doing something else? >> i mean, i would be pretty frustrated, frankly. but this is important to me. it is something that i would pursue but to be doing this for half an hour and get only here, where i am, it's frustrating. >> what about you? >> i think i would definitely try to call the hotline and see what they can do to offer help on the phone, although i don't really -- it doesn't seem to look like they can do much. >> i would probably try to push through myself. >> just the idea, you all like? you are in favor of the idea. it's just the practicality of it right now that's hanging you up? >> absolutely. like i said, i have already tried at home. i already did my log-in. i was ready to start applying immediately. but it's not going through. i'm going to try the live chat, i'm going to try calling them and i will keep trying. it is important to me.
>> let's look at our board and get a sense while you guys get back to work and try the best you can. what we have right now, for laura for connectivity, she's connected easily, ease of use is turning into a big problem. i will leave it yellow for now. but that's bordering on red. gabe is having both connectivity issues. he had a hard time getting on and ease of use is not going well. and hazami is flat out in the red on connecting, can't get there. bottom line, if you're the white house, you want all of this to be green. we only have one green box so far and look at the country out there right now, all the states that are run by the feds, that's every yellow state here has to rely on one of those sites that's not been working well. state exchanges in blue have done a little better. then we have the joint exchanges in green. but this is the landscape and on that landscape, they have got to get a way to get more of these green or you'll have a lot of these people out here that they've got to have in the system having this exact same
experience. again, it's not a scientific experiment. but this is an example of what many people seem to be going through and why there's been so much frustration. >> tom, we will keep checking in with them and see if there's a breakthrough, what's going on. we will stand by. you're absolutely right. for the entire system to work, young people like these three young people have to manage to get in there and get some health insurance and have got to do it relatively quickly. we're in week four right now of this process. we see some, still, some serious problems. we will continue to check in. thank you. just ahead, lawmakers at the center of an angry exchange in today's obama care hearing. they will resume their heated debate, guess where, life here in "the situation room." and maryland's attorney general running for governor, takes heat after being seen at a party where underaged drinking was reportedly taking place. >> there could be kool-aid in the red cups but there's probably beer in the red cups. my mantra?
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once again, we're almost halfway into our live obama care sign-up efforts. so far, we're seeing a little bit of progress, some serious setbacks. we will keep on checking in throughout the rest of the program to see how far these three young people are getting in their effort to sign on. sign up for obama care. we'll check back with tom foreman and get all the day's other news after this. at od, whatever business you're in, that's the business we're in with premium service like one of the best on-time delivery records and a low claims ratio, we do whatever it takes to make your business our business.
maryland's attorney general, a democratic gubernatorial candidate, is under fire after being seen in this picture at a party where underaged drinking was reportedly taking place. you will see that picture in a moment. brian todd is outside of gansler's campaign office in silver spring, maryland, just outside washington, d.c. he addressed the controversy surrounding the photo. what's going on, brian?
>> reporter: wolf, douglas gansler is minimizing his presence and his responsibility at that party, saying he was only there to talk to his son and that he left quickly. but considering everything that was going on around him in those moments, the state attorney general is very much on the defensive. a wild beach week party in bethany beach, delaware with teenagers dancing on tables. but look at the man near the center in the white shirt. that's maryland's attorney general, douglas gansler, who is running for governor. he says he was at the party in june just to talk to his son, but underaged teenagers reportedly admitted they were drinking alcohol and now the photo has surfaced, and gansler is taking serious heat for not stopping it. substance abuse expert michael gimbl. >> you have an obligation to protect our children, to stop them from hurting themselves. now, call the police, stop the party, do something to protect the children. it's all of our obligations as
parents. >> reporter: the baltimore sun which broke this story quotes gansler as saying he doesn't have moral authority over other people's children, and he defended himself at a news conference. >> i wasn't the leader of the party, you know, i wasn't the chaperone. i didn't buy the beer. i showed up, talked to my son and left. >> reporter: he also says he didn't have legal authority to stop anything at this house, since he's the attorney general of another state. but another embarrassment, gansler has been in a psa speaking against underaged drinking. >> parents, you are the leading influence on your teen's decision not to drink. >> reporter: i asked about accusations that he's hypocritical. >> hypocritical, be strong, again, should i have recognized -- should i have decided -- what i could have done was to investigate whether there was drinking going on and then taken action on that. >> reporter: gansler says at the time, he wasn't sure there was drinking going on. >> there could be kool-aid in the red cups but there's probably beer in the red cups.
>> reporter: this comes on the heels of another scandalous story involving douglas gansler. the "washington post" reports that he often ordered state troopers who drove him to speed, to run red lights and to drive on the shoulders with lights flashing, even on routine excursions. gansler says those accusations are untrue. >> what a story that is. brian, thank you very much. brian todd in silver spring, maryland. let's check back with tom foreman, see how these three young people are doing. they're trying to sign up for obama care. what's the latest? >> wolf, we have been telling you that the system really needs healthy young people like this to make it work, and roland tweeted why does obama care need youth to make it work. can you please explain this. we do want to explain it because this is an important part. this is just how insurance always works. if you think about it, bottom line is if this system is working right now, what they have to have, they're saying they have about 500,000 applications as of a few days ago. now they're saying 700,000. it's about 25,000 per day. they need seven million by march
31st, according to the white house itself, and to the cbo. they're on track right now, based on this, for about four million but about 40% of them need to be these young and healthy people. the reason that is so is just like any insurance system, the way you pay for it is the people who don't ultimately end up needing it, those premiums pay for the people who do need it. so if this system gets a whole bunch of people in it who are older and sicker, and you don't get enough people like this who really probably won't use that much health care, then it starts what some people say, you get an economic death spiral. it's sort of adverse selection is the term they use for it. if you have too many people coming in just because they think they really need a lot of service, and not enough people who are doing it because they think it's responsible health care, that's why it's a problem. these people become the cash that makes the system work if they all get in it. it's just the way insurance works and it will work in this as well if it's going to work at all. so that's why we have that question out there and that's
the answer to that question. >> tom, 45 minutes into the process, do a quick survey. with all three of them, how are they doing? >> laura, have you made any progress? >> no, unfortunately i haven't. >> still back to the application is incomplete, no matter how many times you do it. gabe, you seem to be moving on a little. what's happening now? >> i was just browsing plans to see if i could move forward, how much it might cost me. >> okay. and what about you down here? >> i'm trying a different browser to see if i can log in. >> you are trying to shift all together. you haven't logged in yet. >> i have not logged in yet. i looked up how to trouble shoot the website. >> i notice you have been going to all sorts of information just to try to get past that essential problem. right now we're still back where we were a moment ago in terms of or overall board here. connectivity okay for laura. ease of use is still a problem. gabe, connectivity, ease of use, still a problem. he's sort of okay on connectivity now, at least he's in. hazami still held up. >> all right. tom, we'll check back with you and see how this process goes.
sparks were certainly flying earlier in the day when a house panel held hearings on the messy rollout of the obama care website. contractors blamed each other, lawmakers accused each other of playing a partisan blame game. >> once again, here we have my republican colleagues trying to scare everybody. >> will the gentleman yield? >> no, i will not yield to this monkey court or whatever this thing is. >> this is not a monkey court. >> do whatever you want. i'm not yielding. >> joining us now, two members of the house energy and commerce committee, the democrat frank pallone of new jersey, you just heard him, and republican joe barton of texas. congressmen, thanks very much for coming in. all right, congressman pallone, you called it a monkey court. there are serious problems with the website, so why is it a monkey court if this committee which is in charge of overseeing the executive branch of the government oversight, if they're trying to do their job, why is it a monkey court? >> because they're strictly idealogically driven. this is the tea party. they come in when i say not with
clean hands, they just try to shut down the government, if we didn't delay or defund obama care, and now all of a sudden the republican leadership is saying oh, well we care so much about this, we want to fix it. most of what they discussed wasn't about fixing it. then i got upset with congressman barton, i like congressman barton, but he started to suggest that somehow, people were going to have to provide health information and that hipaa applied, and that gave people the impression that their privacy was going to be compromised in some way, and i think that scares people into saying well, i won't go on the website because my privacy's going to be compromised and i'm very worried that the republicans are strictly trying to scare people not to go on the website, not to sign up, because then the whole system becomes a failure. and they don't have clean hands, because they have done everything they can to get rid of the i'm sorry, joe, whether that's what you intended or not, people are going to come back
from that hearing thinking i better not go on the website, because i will have a privacy problem. it's not true. there's no hippa involvement here, no requirement of providing health information. >> go ahead, congressman. >> well, i like frank, but he's wrong on this particular point. as you can see, my hands are clean. my paint point was that the obama administration claims that they're protecting privacy in what the individual sees when he signs on, but if you accept you're going to go through and fill out the application, what you don't see is a provision that says you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. that's in the hidden code. that's a conscious decision by somebody? the obama administration, not congressman pa lone, but somebody in the obama administration, and i think that's wrong. on the hippa issue, that's a privacy protection law passed in 1996, to protect people's
individual medical history, and in this application, it asks if you have health insurance, it asks your social security number. it asks if you have any mental, physical or emotional condition that would preclude you from any activity, and if you're a female, it asks if you're pregnant. those are health issues. if you combine what you have to answer the questions with, if you have health insurance with your social security, that's private information that should be private, and under their disclaimer that you waive the right to privacy, i think that is a violation of hippa. >> it doesn't say that you're waiving. >> he might agree with me we want to protect the privacy. >> it doesn't say you're waiving the right to privacy. no. and keep in mind -- it doesn't say you're waiving your right to privacy. i this is the same thing, joe,
and again, i -- i respect you, but trying to give the impression that somehow people's privacy will be compromised, and that is going on give them the impression that they shouldn't go to the website -- well, that is -- >> that's what it says. that's what it says. >> it seems to me you're almost suggesting to people now they shouldn't kroo the website for those reasons. >> no, i'm simply saying that that code says you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. >> no, this is -- >> you should help me eliminate that. we can fix this next week when we -- when we question the secretary. >> it's the same old, all over again republicans trying to make -- scare people, don't sign up, you're going to have a problem, you know, let's repeal -- >> i'm not trying to scare anybody. >> the bottom line is -- >> i'm reading the language. >> it's not the plain language. you found that language somewhere, and it doesn't say you're giving up your privacy to
sign up. >> you define for the -- you define for the american people what no reasonable expectation of privacy is. what does that mean to you? >> you know the affordable care act abolishes any health -- as a basis for getting insurance or charging more for the insurance. so hipaa, and the health issues simply do not apply. again, even having this conversation, which we're having now, which suggests in some way that your privacy is many xroed, there are going to be hundreds, if not thousands of people who will simply not go on the website. >> congressman, hold on for a moment. we'll take a quick break. more from these two members of congress right after this. [ male announcer ] who loves social networking as much as you?
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we're continuing the debate over the obama care website with two members of congress who grilled representatives from the contractors earlier in the day. democratic representative frank pa lone of new jersey, and joe barton of texas. congressman pallone. if the weapon side were working well, we probably wouldn't be having this debate. how frustrated and angry are you that they didn't get it right? >> well, they have to get it right. i don't think there's any question of that. keep in mind that the republicans -- again, i'm talking about congressman barton. the state of texas has more uninsured people than any other state. the governor refused to take medicaid, which is 100% federally funded. all of the people eligible remain uninsured. then they refuse in texas to set up a state exchange, forcing everybody or most people to go to the federal exchange, which now has this glitch, but people can still sign up, wall the
1-800 number, have various nonprofits, and they still can get enrolled. focusing on this federal website misses the point. the point again is they're trying to scare people, trying to scare the seniors with the death panels. even if it's not joe's intention, he's scaring people with the privacy option. they need to sign up, try to get on the website or call the 800 number. or go to an insurance agent. the people need health insurance and the republicans aren't doing anything but scare people or making it more difficult particularly in texas. >> congressman mart barton, go ahead. >> i'm going to make two points. first of all, the truth shouldn't scare people, number one. number two, i will put on my congressional facebook page the disclaimer i've been talking about, and will let the american people that want to look at my facebook page make a decision for themselves, whether it
violates their privacy protection. number three, i'm assuming that congressman pallone, when this was passed, when he was still in the majority, will work with me to protect people et cetera privacy, if it is as i say it is. if if i'm right, that you waive your privacy rights if you go through this process, and i'll ask congressman p.m. allone and the other democrats on the committee to work with me to protect people's privacy. this is a solvable problem. they could delete that hidden code, put an explicit privacy protection in it, and i guarantee you every republican on the committee, and i would assume every republican in the house of representatives and united states senate will vote with me to protect people's privacy as we go through obama care. >> we just go down the same road again of scaring people and making people feel this is not going to work, there's not a death panel issue here. these are just all, you know
different things trying to scare people. i know it's not your intent, but that's what happens. we've got to leave it there there. i'm going to invite both of you back, congressmen. we're going to continue this debate. there's a lot of sensitive issues. i want to hear both sides. thank you both. happening now, we're standing about i to hear from the health secretary kathleen sebelius. she's on the road defending obama care only hours after the testy house hearing, in new attempts to make -- calling her the fall guy. live right here in "the situation room." they're experiencing some of the problems we've been hearing from across the country now for more than an hour. we're going to check back live to see how they're doing. a bombshell report on u.s. drone strikes. top secret memos raising serious questions about pakistan
olympics outrage and bl it's all an act. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." right now the health secretary is in arizona defending the program, trying to convince americans that it's worth their time and trouble to sign up. when she starts speaking, we'll hear a bit from her. stand by for that. calling for her resignation are growing, as republicans launch investigation into obama care's failures, and it got very heated on the hill today, when contractors, who developed the website blamed one another. cnn's joe johns is up on the hill. he watched all the fireworks under way. tell our viewers what happened. >> reporter: the contract owes are are blaming the government to making a key last-minute decision. cgi, the so-called lead blamed
the initial problem on qssi. qssi blames the federal government. cms for making that bad last decision requiring consumers to register before they could browse for insurance on the website that decision created a situation where there wasn't enough time to test the website before it went online. one member of congress who used to program computers for a living asked a key question about this tess hearing today. listen. how late in the game did, he asked us to turn that flag off or functionality off. two weeks before we go live. >> krmt ms said that last-minute bad decision essentially wall street a business decision. cms is expected to testify in capitol hill next week. also kathleen sebelius, the head
of hhs is supposed to testify as well. 32 republican members of congress have called for her resignation in a her, wolf. >> joe johns on capitol hill, thank you. now we want to hear from some people who were actually trying to sign up for obama care, live right here in "the situation room." they logged in an hour ago, tom foreman has been watching, checking the progress along the way. more than 60 minutes now, tom, how is it going? a little progress here. laura, tell me where you stand right now. you've managed to start shopping around -- >> yes. >> reporter: still some problems? >> i'm actually able to look at the different options quite easily. the biggest problems is after i completed the application, as i mentioned earlier, it said you're still incomplete. it won't tell me what i need to finalize in order to move forward. in looking at the new plans, it won't allow me to apply -- >> reporter: so you hit a brick wall, you've seen the options. >> i love the options.
>> reporter: you love the options. >> absolutely. >> reporter: gabe, tell me what's happening with you here. you got to a shopping point here, about you what did you see? >> well, i think i saw a couple options, but i wasn't sure if i was eligible for them. i applied for the eligible. i think you have to wait about 45 days. it said maximum 45 days. >> reporter: so on his screen, one of the responses was a sentence that actually is just not a sentence, it's a lot of people talked about getting jibberish back -- we have received your health care application for inebl jib for financial assistance, so it's a sentence, but it's not a sentence. that doesn't help. and hasami, you have almost bailed out here? you've never been able to get past the first part. >> no, i've been looking for an application by mail. which is what they're
encouraging. >> you guys are young people here. in all fairness, you do so much on the internet, which has been your life. when you think somebody says do it by paper? >> i can't believe it, to be honest. >> again, these are people who like the idea of this, you like the options you see. these are people who i would say are supporters of obama care, what the system needs, yet these are the frustrating barriers in front of them. again, this is not scientific. we had discussions beforehand they might come in here, and be signed up and happy, but now, wolf, we're at 65 minutes, and not one person here has made it forward, more importantly all are beginning to bog down. >> that's not what we anticipated four weeks into this program. we'll see what happens in the next 25 minutes. have them keep on working.
here in "the situation room." meanwhile, jeanne moos has taken a look at some of the most heated moments on capitol hill. >> reporter: the company officials swore to tell the truth, but sometimes what he didn't tell was more telling. for instance, when grilled about how the dysfunctional website had been tested -- >> anybody want to answer? you're using up a lot of my time by your silence. >> that was a good nonanswer. >> here's the problem. nobody believes it's going to get fixed when we get answers like this. >> reporter: they were asked to name names. >> give me a name. >> henry chow. >> give me another name. >> michelle snyder. >> got another one? >> i don't have any names with me. >> reporter: but the republicans had any names for the health care website mess. >> unmitigated disaster. >> train wreck. >> not ready for primetime. >> the ultimate cash for
clunkers. >> a mockery. >> but democrats described it as merely -- >> a poorly designed website. >> no, slow website is better than the alternative. >> reporter: perhaps the understatement of the hearing came from a vp for the website's main contractor. >> you know, in principle it worked. it's not working great. >> reporter: whatever you do, don't call the problems glitches. >> i call them gaps. >> these are more than glitches. they can't be fixed. you know, you can't recook eggs. >> he's obviously not convinced by the democrats new obama care slogan. >> fix it, not mix it. >> let's the goal here to fix it, not innics it. >> let's work it to fix it and not innics it. >> they were so fixated. >> fix it, don't nix it. >> reporter: they should put it on a bumper sticker. >> we should have to fix it, not nix it. >> reporter: just as comedians
have tried. >> we want to know the size of my prostate. >> reporter: one congressman also tested the website during the hearing. >> i got this after 41 minutes. >> reporter: if only he could get his ipad to stabilize. what no one got from the company reps. >> i've not heard "i'm sorry." >> once again we have our republican colleagues trying to scare everybody. >> will the gentleman yield? >> no, i will not yield. >> this is not a monkey court. >> do whatever you want. i'm not yielding. >> talk about throwing a monkey wrench in obama care. jeanne moos, cnn. new york. >> we'll continue to see how the three young people in "the situation room" are doing, trying to log on to obama care. stand by for an update. there's other news we're following in "the situation room" as well, including pakistan's outrage over -- was it all just an act?
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so we can all produce energy more safely. our commitment has never been stronger. a new report reveals a top secret agreement. pakistan has been critical of drone attacks for years. but now evidence that pakistani official were secretly endorsing the u.s. program. our chief national security correspondent jim scuitto has been looking into this story. >> we have always known what they say in public is different from what they say in private. but now with documents showing
that pakistan not only knew about the drone strikes, but actively participated. the documents labeled top secret give detapes -- lead with maps, before and after photos, and some of these documents point to direct involvement in start selection, describing one attack as being, quote, at the request of your government. that's the pakistani government. my sources have long told me there's good intel to intel cooperation between the u.s. and pakistan. in fab former president mu harrick has acknowledged cooperation on drones in an interview earlier this week, and today the white house referenced wider cooperation with pakistan. >> what i can tell you on bilateral cooperation matters, we have regular conversations with pakistan. >> regular conversation, that assumes exchange of information
on the strikes. there was the pakistani minister in the white house yesterday demanding that the attacks end and calling them, quote, a major irritant to relations. the irony of all this controversy now is that the drone program is already shrinks, both because of the tighter rules imposed by the obama at mrgs as well as a decline of but it's also interesting, secretary of state john kerry earlier this year let on that the drone program may in fact end soon it's also drew in part -- >> keyword is "soon." jim scuitto, thanks very much for that report. just want to update you, kathleen sebelius is getting ready to speak -- or is actually
speaking in arizona right now on some of the problems. we're going to monitor what she's saying and check in,y up date you about the problems of the obama care website. stand by for that. let's get back to some other news in the meantime. this coming in, a new military response to a pirate attack on a u.s. ship in the abduction of two members. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is following the story for us. pirates on the high seas, two americans missing. what's the latest? >> nigerian authorities are saying they're going to argue some sort of rescues for the americans kidnapped from the oil supply vessel off the coast the niger nigeria. the ship is called the "sea retrevor" it goes off the coast of guinea and resupplying oil installations. the capital and chief engineer kidnapped when pirates attacked the problem is, of course, in this very tragic incident the u.s. has no idea where the two americans are at this time.
this is a very tough neighborhood, wolf. pirate attacks, violent attacks have been rising steadily for the last couple years. last year alone 62 attacks, and you can see the previous two years, the same thing, a rice in attac attacks. this is in such contrast to what's been going on in east africa. we kept hearing for years about pirate attacks in somalia. well, that's down now, because security has xwroismd so much off the coast of nigeria. in fact right now there's a maritime exercise of several militaries in the region and include the u.s., trying to learn to improve maritime security. wolf? >> into usual ra star with that disturbing report. thank you. just ahead, a former u.s. am bass tore to the u.n., former governor, i'll ask bill
coming in. >> thanks, wolf. quickly, though we've got these three young people, educated, they want to sign up. they've been trying for 82 minutes, some with a little more success than others, but basically unable to get the job done. frustrated, angry, as a supporter of the program, are you that these people are having such a tough time? >> the administration has to clean this up. when i was governor, i had problems with tech companies, but this is the president's signature domestic achievement. they should have anticipated there were millions trying to sign in. a lot of people, though, wolf, they're not tech savvy, but at the same time they should just
have a massive effort to clean this up. if -- this has to get cleaned up, this is the president's singular achievement in his first term. it's covering more, its health care costs less. this is a good plan. >> these are smart young people who are having trouble. let me pick your brain. the reports that -- 35 world leaders, angela merkel was really upset yesterday when there was word that the u.s. was eavesdropping on her cell phone. what is going on here? >> first of all, the white house has said nobody is spying on her
cell phone. we should at least believe the white house spokesman. when i was in the cabinet, i was in two positions. the national security agency never asked me for any phone calls and numbers. i had cell numbers of a lot of important people. what we are losing is this is the damage that this guy snowden hag done, the fact that you can't have some kind of secrety in a discussion. when i was in government, in cabinet positions, what the in the meantime sa and cia gave, when i was negotiating was very valuable. but you know, we're focusing on on the phone calls and buys stuff. they do good raw intelligence.
i don't know who that official was that said we give out phone number to the nso, it was unidentified so -- how to sweet talk a shark" strategy and stories from a master negotiator. we'll continue this conversation as we always do. thanks for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. let's get a progress report on how the sign-up here in "the situation room", as you know we've had these three young people trying to enroll for almost an hour and a half. what's the latest? >> we've had a breakdown for hazama. >> i went to check my e-mail, and it had sent me a link to sign up. i started the process, and it was a very easy process. >> so you got a please wait sign. >> it's processing now. >> but the middle seems to be
working better for you? >> yeah. >> i've had some troubles from the beginning throughout, yet you've been crawling forward over the last hour and a half? >> that's a good way to put it. >> i think i've done everything i can today, apply for medicaid and applied for something else. you seem to be steaming ahead. , where do you stay on that? >> i'm not able to fully submit. application. from progress or fully submitted, and we'll see. >> we're going to look at the board here. in the end, laura, we're going to have to change your ease of use here to a block, that's red.
game, who's had the sketchiest process all along ends up at least somewhere near the bottom line. somehow he's getting through it all. haza mmt a, we're going to change it back to yellow, and ease of use she had is very good. but this is the bottom line, and this is the problem. this does not tell you whether obama care works. it tells you would the website works, and the web side has been a problem. they do illustrate the frustration for millions of people, many of home want it to work. this is the challenge. almost 90 minutes into their
efforts. >> nobody completed. >> not one them. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "crossfire" starts right now. they're beautiful, entertaining, and just like their name says, killer whales. do they belong in activities, or should they be left in the wild. ? associate producer of "blackfish" and a wildlife trainer and conservationist. free the whales or put them on display. welcome to "crossfire." >> in the "crossfire" tonight. tizi