tv The Situation Room CNN October 28, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT
better than the odds you'll win your state lottery. a journalist in paris came up with the idea as a way to get people more involved in charity fund-raising. the drawing is set to take place december 18th. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. i now turn you over to wolf blitzer. he is next door in "the situation room." mr. blitzer? happening now, new revelations about u.s. snooping on allies sparking anger abroad, questions at home. did all of that massive surveillance take place behind the president's back? bill clinton back to doing what he does so well. the former president on the campaign trail trying to help an old friend and trying to help democrats take back a key governorship. and the pop star chris brown back in trouble again. he's still on probation for assaulting the singer rihanna and now faces serious new charges. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." all that coming up but this
just coming into cnn right now. a very strong reaction to the latest reports of u.s. spying abroad from senator dianne feinstein, chair of the senate intelligence committee. she's calling for a total review of all intelligence programs so that committee members can know just what is being done by the intelligence community and regarding eavesdropping on the german chancellor angela merkel, feinstein says, i'm quoting, it is my understanding that president obama was not aware chancellor merkel's communications were being collected since 2002. that is a big problem. american officials have some explaining to do here at home and around the world. let's find out what's going on from our chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto. he's here in "the situation room." this is a very strong statement from dianne feinstein. she confirms in effect, she's the chair of the intelligence committee, not only that she's upset, that the intelligence community wasn't informed about all the snooping, including on the german chancellor, but that
the president she says wasn't informed either and in effect, she's confirming all of these reports. >> that's exactly right. this had been the burning question, what did the president know, that old question, what did the president know and when did he know it. now we have the chairman of the senate intelligence committee telling us he did not know and senior administration officials telling us that as well. senior administration official telling cnn the president did not know of the surveillance of other world leaders including allies until the administration conducted a review this summer and then ended the program. a senior administration official went on to say quote, it's not reasonable to expect that the president would have been involved in or necessarily briefed on decisions about individual intelligence targets. rather, he approves a set of intelligence priorities and it's the responsibility of his administration to determine how to carry those out. white house spokesman jay carney warned that critics of nsa surveillance should be careful what they wish for. >> we're one attack away from
assessments about what went wrong in our intelligence capabilities and collections. the work that's being done here saves lives. >> reporter: whether listening in on the leaders of close allies such as german chancellor merkel saves lives, the white house didn't have an answer. though it confirmed it is reassessing such high level surveillance as part of its overall intelligence review. on the hill today, european lawmakers went head-to-head with congressional leaders on nsa spying. the head of the delegation told me their discussion was frank. >> you had a very stern message to deliver. >> i think we had a very robust and strong message when we came to congress today. this bill which has come through the allegations is something that's [ inaudible ]. they feel very uneasy. they don't know why it's happening, why our strongest ally is doing it. >> reporter: today, they had more to talk about regarding spain, where the nsa reportedly collected data from some 60 million phone calls in 30 days,
leading to one more u.s. ambassador summoned to explain. european officials tell me that nsa surveillance in spain and france only included metadata, not the content of the calls. still, it is spying on heads of state still causing the greatest outrage. senior administration official goes on to tell me it does not mean the nsa was going rogue or operating out of bounds, and that part of the review the administration is conducting is to ensure that intelligence agencies are getting quote, effective guidance from policy makers. so an admission there from the administration they were not getting that effective guidance which seemed to allow this to go on without the president's knowledge. >> if you read this tough statement from dianne feinstein which i read, the chair of the senate intelligence committee, she says flatly with respect to nsa collection of intelligence, on leaders of u.s. allies, including france, spain, mexico and germany, let me state unequivocally, i am totally opposed. she is not mincing any words. >> she is not. to be fair, we do have another senior administration official
telling evan peres the president would at least have to approve the framework of these programs, that these programs are presidential programs. they would require an executive order and they would at least include the information about countries targeted, maybe not individual leaders targeted, so it's plausible that he would not know that angela merkel, for instance, her cell phone in particular would be targeted but at least the framework of these programs, listening in on leaders, would require presidential oversight. so you have conflicting information there about how much the president would know. >> and she's also upset the senate intelligence committee wasn't informed, either. clearly she believes they should have been informed about all this. jim sciutto, thanks very much. so we're seeing one stunning allegation after another about u.s. surveillance abroad. the material handed over to a reporter by nsa leaker edward snowden and it's providing a seemingly endless stream of revelations. those revelations are rocking america's relationships with some of its closest allies.
christiane amanpour is joining us right now. you just spoke to the reporter who has been breaking all of these edward snowden leaks. what did he just tell you? >> reporter: well, first of all, they have thousands and thousands of documents but also, that he just simply rejects what, for instance, mike rogers, chairman of the house intelligence committee, british prime minister david cameron, many, many u.s. and other allied officials are saying, which is that this is dangerous, what they're doing, that they are putting all sorts of people at risk, they are compromising all sorts of abilities to close down terrorist cells and plots and this and that. he rejects that and always has. this is what he said to me on that. >> every terrorist who is capable of tying their own shoes has long known that the u.s. government and the uk government are trying to monitor their communications in every way that they can. that isn't new. we didn't reveal anything to the terrorists they didn't already know. what we revealed is that the spying system is largely devoted
not to terrorists but is directed at innocent people around the world. none of this has anything to do with terrorism. is angela merkel a terrorist? are 60 or 70 million spanish and french citizens terrorists? this is clearly about political power and economic espionage. the claim that this is all about terrorism is seen around the world as what it is, which is pure deceit. >> reporter: he gets very, you know, angry and righteous about the fact that what they're doing is in the public interest, wolf, even though so many people are questioning, mostly governments, obviously, are questioning why he's doing it and why snowden is doing it. >> did you get a sense how much more information has not yet been released, snowden related documents, if you will, that are still out there about to expose more u.s. secrets? >> reporter: well, they clearly are sitting on a huge trove of them. as he said to me, that there are so many, a mountain of it, like
thousands and thousands, but they have chosen so far only to put out, in his words, 250. so we don't know whether there's more. he is never going to be, you know, drawn into saying precisely what but there probably will be more. but he did talk a little bit about his new media online venture and that is saying that he wants to make that a place where there will be no sort of cozy relationship between the press and government and that this will be a place where government, where power is actually held accountable. so you can imagine that this new venture is also going to be very much like this leaking that we've seen from snowden via glenn greenwald. >> christiane, thanks very much. government officials say the obama care website is working again, a day after contractors' networking failure caused a system crash. for so many people, the website was barely working anyway and now some democratic lawmakers
are calling for a refund from the companies that built it at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars to american taxpayers. cnn's joe johns has the latest developments for us. >> there is even more than that. the latest salvo over healthcare.gov came just this afternoon when three house republicans slammed health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius for blaming problems with the rollout on the government shutdown. but the latest issue with the website wasn't political at all. it was another big technical problem over the weekend that only got fixed today. is it working or not? 27 days after it was supposed to be open for business, the healthcare.gov website crashed again over the weekend. it was up and running again on monday. the administration blames this latest problem on one of the 56 contractors for the project, a subsidiary of verizon called terremark which was responsible for website capacity issues. >> the healthcare.gov technical team continued troubleshooting
the issue with the online creation account process. >> reporter: meanwhile, the administration had other pressing problems. a triple threat on capitol hill. republican chairman darrell issa and his house reform and oversight committee wanted a slew of documents related to obama care and the rollout by 5:00 p.m. today. that deadline came and went, but issa has more on his mind than the website. he wants to ask the administration about obama care in general. >> are we actually rolling out an effective, cost effective program and what's next in the way of other problems. >> reporter: on tuesday, in a different committee, we'll meet marilyn taverner, a former nurse who was administrator of the centers for medicare and medicaid services. they were supposed to be quarterbacking the obama care rollout and no doubt will be reminded of what she said in august before the energy and commerce committee. >> when americans will be able to compare and enroll in affordable health care coverage and that implementation is on track.
>> reporter: on wednesday, hhs secretary kathleen sebelius has her turn on the capitol hill witness stand but she's become a saturday night live punch line. >> or if the regular english site isn't working, try signing up in a different language like, say, icelandic. then choose one of four simple plans. now, that's fun. >> reporter: the republican senatorial committee is trying its hand at comedy too, now selling these error 404 bumper stickers, which is what you get when a website malfunctions. five democratic members of congress have now asked the justice department to review contracts for the companies that built the obama care website to see if the government can get any of its money back. no word yet from doj but the short answer from now is probably not because it's still a work in progress. >> we don't have a final number. we know it's hundreds of
millions of dollars. is it $400 million, $600 million? i have heard all sorts of numbers, how much that website cost american taxpayers. >> right. the number that's been kick around a lot is $500 million but who knows. you have to add in how much it costs to fix it, sort of while the airplane is in the air flying. >> they will ask kathleen sebelius how much is being spent to fix it, how much more will it cost, those numbers maybe will come out wednesday during that testimony. thanks very much, joe johns, for that. up next, nobody can campaign quite like bill clinton and now he's doing it to help an old friend and to help democrats try to win back a key political office. and with the winter olympics only three months away, unfinished construction isn't russia's only problem. now, a startling turnabout on a social issue that sparked worldwide outrage. it's a growing trend in business: do more with less with less energy. hp is helping ups do just that. soon, the world's most intelligent servers, designed by hp, will give ups over twice the performance,
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between the u.s. spying revelations and the problem with the obama care website, it seems president obama may have a management problem on his hands. our chief political analyst gloria borger is here watching all of this for us. is the president on top of these critically important issues? >> it seems to me that at the very least, wolf, there is some kind of a management problem over at the white house. you have the president saying he's angry that he didn't know that the website was having problems with his signature
domestic legislative achievement. he also, we're now told, didn't know about angela merkel's cell phone being tapped as well as other friendly leaders' cell phones being tapped, until very recently. and so the larger question that i think you have to think about here is how does a president actually get to know what he needs to know. now, you know, on the face of it, you might think that's pretty simple, he just asks. but you know, the way the system is built here is that a president is really isolated. this is a president who prides himself by the way on not being disengaged, on asking a lot of questions, on being up to date on everything, but the way the system is built, people don't like to give the president bad news. when you're at hhs, the question is did they want to give the secretary of hhs bad news. did the nsa want to give the president all the information about whose lines were being tapped or did they consider it
just a data point? i would argue that angela merkel's cell phone is a little more than a data point. did the president ask the right questions or did he not know that those questions even needed to be asked. why wasn't the nsa more forthcoming to the president of the united states? >> and dianne feinstein has just confirmed publicly that this spying on angela merkel's telephones goes back to 2002. it's my understanding president obama, she says, was not aware of chancellor merkel's communications were being collected since 2002. that is a big problem. he's met with the chancellor of germany on numerous occasions. you would have thought somebody would have said to him mr. president, by the way, we listen to her phone conversations on her cell phone, you should know this. >> i talked to people on both sides of this. some say if he didn't know, he should have known. he should just have assumed it. others say well, this is the way
the nsa operates and you need to pierce that and you need to change the system, because just because as jay carney said today, just because they can gather all this information doesn't mean that they should gather all this information. that's why it's clear the president is having a review in the wake of the edward snowden disclosures but there is something wrong with the way we operate when the president of the united states doesn't know these very basic facts, and dianne feinstein as chairman of the intelligence committee is also outraged that she didn't know. because she opposes it. >> somebody should have told her, too. thanks very much. bill clinton is once again doing what he does so well, hitting the campaign trail. this time for his old friend, the virginia gubernatorial candidate, the democrat, terry mcauliffe. polls show the former democratic chairman is leading the republican but clinton warns democrats not to take anything for granted in next week's election. cnn's erin mcpike is on the scene for us covering this for us. what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, this race is still relatively close,
but mcauliffe does seem to have the edge. democrats want to hang on for just one more week so they're bringing out bill clinton to events like these that's about to start here in just about an hour so they can make a splash and in doing so, they hope to freeze out attention on ken cucinelli and his complaints about obama care. >> ladies and gentlemen, it is my honor to welcome back to virginia the 42nd president of the united states of america, bill clinton. >> reporter: he's back on the campaign trail. the former president is in the middle of a whirlwind four day tour of virginia to help one of his closest and most loyal friends, a man who stuck by him even at his darkest hours. >> just telling you things that i know about him that make my blood boil when i read these sort of cartoon characterizations of him. he is a very, very good man. >> reporter: democrat terry mcauliffe, former dnc chair and top fund-raiser for clinton in 1996, is trying to close the
deal with voters in a race of his own, which wrapped up next tuesday. in clinton, he's got one of the most famous closers in politics, a southerner who can help him turn out votes in the more conservative parts of the state. with a way of helping smooth things over. >> look, the computer glitches, it's a bad deal but they'll fix that out. >> reporter: despite concerns about obama care, mcauliffe has been leading republican ken cucinelli, the state attorney general, in every poll since mid-july. in a place like virginia with its heavy concentration of federal workers, the government shutdown did no favors for the republican party. now the gop is making a last ditch effort to turn the tide. potential 2016 republican hopeful rand paul hit the deeply conservative liberty university to help cucinelli energize the far right. >> i thought maybe this morning we would do an experiment. maybe we can all get our phones out. that's probably against the rules. we all get our phone out and try to sign up for obama care.
but then i realized we only had an hour and we would never even get started. >> reporter: aconservative super pac will air a commercial tonight. >> defeat terry mcauliffe and elect ken cucinelli who told the truth about obama care from the start. >> reporter: now, remember, ken cucinelli was the first state attorney general to sue the federal government over obama care and tomorrow, louisiana governor bobby jindal will be out here in northern virginia campaigning with him and talking about that. wolf? >> thanks very, very much. coming up, a dramatic standoff outside a movie theater. you will see how it all played out. that's ahead. and with the winter olympics now just three months away, there's unfinished construction and it isn't the only problem the russians have. now a startling turnabout on a social issue that's sparked worldwide outrage. [ sneezes, coughs ]
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raleigh, north carolina closing in on a suspect after a two-hour standoff outside a movie theater. it reportedly started when the theater manager was confronted by two men who attempted to rob him. one was immediately taken into custody. the other reportedly ran back into the theater. no one was injured in the incident. two of the four inmates who escaped from an oklahoma jail over the weekend are now back in custody. the inmates managed to pry open a maintenance hatch in their shower and get out through a crawl space. it was the first escape from the two-year-old facility. the other two men are still on the run. the man charged in michael jackson's death is now free. dr. conrad murray was released from the l.a. county jail today after serving two of a four-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. murray's lawyer says he will try to get his medical licenses reinstated in certain states so he can resume his career. michael jackson died in 2009 from an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol. a federal judge has ruled parts of a controersial new
texas abortion law unconstitutional just 24 hours before it was scheduled to take effect. the suit filed by planned parenthood on behalf of women's health providers across the state says the law violates the constitutional rights of women and puts unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions. the texas governor rick perry just issued a statement saying today's decision will not stop the state's ongoing efforts to quote, protect life. five people are dead and dozens injured after a jeep plowed in a crowded part of china's landmark tiananmen square and burst into flames. the crash temporarily blocked off the area which remains under heavy police presence. the driver, two passengers and two tourists were killed. no word yet on the krause of the accident. with a controversial russian law on homosexuality triggeri i possible boycotts of the winter olympic games, vladimir putin seemed to roll out the welcome mat. the state-run news agency quotes him as saying we are doing everything so that participants
and guests feel comfortable in sochi regardless of nationality, race or sexual orientation. that may encourage visitors but will the city of sochi be ready for all of them? the games are only three months away. >> reporter: from a distance, this olympic park looks close to ready. shiny new sports venues finished and tested but look closer. there is still so much to do. top of the list, finish the stadium. it's not hosting any sport but it will be the stage for the opening ceremony. the people directing that spectacle have demanded big changes to the design, including a roof. russia is not famous for its efficiency so delivering all this on time will be a statement to the world. it's one reason why president vladimir putin is taking such a personal interest. dmitry gregoria manages the speed skating arena and says putin's regular visits and direct oversight have made a big difference.
>> you're seeing things happen? >> yes. >> reporter: sochi's other challenge, overhauling the city's soviet era infrastructure. the skyline is a mess of cranes and partially completed buildings, many of them much-needed hotels. then there's the traffic. it's appalling. the mayor is firmly on team putin, and insists somehow, it will all be fixed in three months. security is an especially big concern at these games, because russia's islamic terrorists have promised to disrupt them. organizers can't even rely on mother nature to deliver the white stuff. it's subtropical here so snowfall is patchy. that's why they're storing vast amounts of last season's snow just in case. phil black, cnn, sochi. up next, hurricane force winds in britain, death, destruction and blackouts. we'll have the details. and four weeks after the
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the obama administration is reporting that a weekend crash of the obama care website has now been fixed. things are back up and running again. but up and running is, of course, a relative term. four weeks into the obama care rollout, where does the controversial program stand right now? where is it heading? let's have a serious discussion right now between the "new york times" columnist nicholas kristof and bill kristol. thanks for coming in. do you have an understanding how the administration could screw this up, the signature achievement of president obama, during these past four weeks? >> it's astonishing. i think the republicans completely blew it when they were diverting everybody from this mistake by focusing on the government shutdown and then the obama administration completely blew it by having an absolutely awful rollout and then waiting so long to acknowledge its severity and waiting for the surge.
so the only thing i can say is that i think that attention was broken among so many different folks in the obama administration, that there was no single adult really in charge. >> do you have a good understanding, bill, of what happened here? because i would have thought the last thing this administration would have serious troubles with was the rollout of a website. >> well, i think the obama campaign was good with their web operations but a campaign is a private sector operation with a ton of flexibility, doesn't have government procurement rules and other such things. i think for a conservative, this is an example of perhaps why you don't want big government running huge chunks of the u.s. economy and you would prefer to have reforms where they're necessary that are private sector and free market friendly. >> one of the major criticisms, nick, is that the president promised in three years ago when he was rolling out, when he was pushing for obama care four years ago, if you have an insurance policy, you can keep your insurance policy, if you have doctors and like them, you
can keep your doctors. you don't have to worry about that. but clearly, that is not necessarily turned out to be the case. >> yeah. i think that is a fair criticism. i think there are a lot of people who have been very worried by the letters they are getting, saying that their policy has ended. now, in fact, in many cases, that's because a better policy is going to be offered and i think that as we get closer, some of those people are going to be happy with what they end up with but there's no question, it's a real shock to a lot of people and is something i think that the administration did not do a good job of managing expectations on. >> the good news, bill, you can weigh in on this, is millions of people who couldn't afford health insurance or had pre-existing conditions or they're old and feeble and sick or whatever, now for the first time in their lives, will be able to get health insurance either subsidized by the federal government or through medicaid or some other procedure. you welcome that, right?
>> medicare did provide health insurance for the elderly. medicaid for the poor. there's a reasonable debate about whether we should expand either of those or find other ways to insure and republicans have proposals on this to insure those with pre-existing conditions but the big story is not the website. they can fix the website, presumably. they can't fix this part of obama care which is the destruction of the private insurance market for 19 million people who were purchasing individual health insurance plans, they are now going to be forced, 16 million of them looks like will be forced into the exchanges where most of them will have to pay more and most will pay more for a plan that in many cases will be inferior or will provide a bunch of benefits they don't want. they liked -- they are young, healthy, liked having a catastrophic plan. these are responsible people. these are not the young invincibles who don't want health insurance. i think that's why the bill that's being introduced in an hour by fred upton, chairman of the energy and commerce committee in the house, not a back bencher, this is a leadership sanctioned bill, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, i think they will bring it to a vote in the house.
i think that will get democratic support. i think it gets support from the democratic senators. president obama said over and over again if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. why can't you keep it if you like it? if you want to subsidize more people, sick people, fine, that's a traditional public policy debate but preventing people from having the health insurance they want, that seems odd. >> nick, go ahead. >> let me push back at that a little bit. you know, there's no question that this is complicated and there are going to be mistakes that go beyond the website itself. but the same was true of medicare when it was launched. same was true of medicare part d, the drug benefit. at the end of the day, what we have and what we have had is a disaster. according to the world health organization, our health system ranks 38th globally, even though we spend more than any other country. and so there's no question that there are going to be problems and difficulties as we move ahead. but we're moving up from an extraordinarily -- a system that does an extraordinarily poor job providing efficient health care
to americans. >> let me move on to another subject i want both of you to weigh in on. the u.s. spying on friendly countries, on allies. dianne feinstein just confirming that the u.s. has been eavesdropping on angela merkel's phone calls since 2002. that, she says, is a big problem. nick, first to you. do you support this program, this nsa program that's been going on now apparently for years of spying on friendly allies? >> i think the basic problem has been that there's been no adult supervision. i think that too often, people have been spying because they could, because they had the technical means and there wasn't somebody saying look, what will we actually gain from this, and what are the risks if it's disclosed. the truth is that at some point, there are real risks of disclosure. so it's kind of the classic foreign policy dilemma that you have very modest tactical benefits and a huge strategic risk. that has now blown up in our faces. >> bill? >> i would say if you're going to eavesdrop on phone calls of
the german chancellor, that has to be something that the president of the united states authorizes and thinks frankly is worth the risk of exposure, as nick says. you can't just have the bureaucracy doing that. i would like to know, did this president or the previous president, for that matter, sanction that and if so, maybe they thought it was worth it. i don't have a principled problem with listening to other people's calls, even some allies, if we think it's important. you shouldn't do it in a haphazard way which generally damages relations with the real ally. >> do you think it's true that the president of the united states would not know that the nsa is listening in to angela merkel's phone conversations? >> you know, i'm a little mystified by that. i talked today to a former senior cia official and asked about that, and this person said that in the past, when there was an effort to listen to a head of state or head of government, a major person, that was approved by the national security advisor or by the president, i wasn't
something that was just done blithely by the intelligence folks. in this case, what we're reading is that indeed, the president did not know and was taken by surprise. i do think that the government, the bureaucracy, has an amazing capacity to operate with one hand not knowing what the other is doing. i really don't know what is going on right here. >> well, bill, this started back in 2002, if you believe dianne feinstein, who has been briefed, the chair of the senate intelligence committee. do you think the former president george w. bush didn't know? >> i don't know. but i think he might have. i had access, sat in with him on obviously classified briefings, the daily presidential briefing, and i don't want to give anything away that i shouldn't, but i'm not, you know, there were obvious moments when there was information that could only have come from an intercept. we would be let's say preparing for a meeting with a foreign
leader, and they would say we have reason to believe the foreign leader has on his mind, it intends to raise at this meeting the following points or following objections to u.s. policy. that could be an intercepted leader or intercept of one of his advisors but there is clearly penetration of a foreign government's internal communications. i don't know. maybe they never revealed that fact in their briefings of president obama but it would be hard, if they had that information and didn't, it's a little hard to understand. >> it's hard to believe that they wouldn't tell the president of the united states, especially as he goes into a meeting and he's had many meetings with angela merkel, that they're listening in to her phone conversations but apparently, if you believe dianne feinstein, the president didn't know. all right. thanks very much. just ahead, serious new legal trouble for chris brown in the nation's capital. we'll have a live report from the courthouse what's going on. plus, remembering a rock and roll legend, next. [ male announcer ] the founder of mercedes-benz
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pop star chris brown. in court today, after being arrested on a felony assault charge. let's bring in brian todd. he's outside the courtroom. he was there inside. what is the latest, brian? >> reporter: he's to appear about any minute from now inside d.c. superior court to face his arraignment. this is the latest of a string of run-ins, but this one could land him some serious jail time. he was in washington to host this party at a nightclub saturday night. according to the police report, the victim isaac parker, tried to get into a photo being taken of brown and a female fan early sunday morning outside the w hotel in washington. according to the police report, brown said, quote, i'm not down with that gay -- expletive -- and i feel like boxes. here's an eyewitness.
>> seriously hurt. >> i didn't see hi throwing any punches. >> reporter: which could have severe consequences for the popular grammy award-winning r&b singer. brown, who signed his first record deal at age 15, is serving probation for felony domestic violence against singer rihanna from what happened on the eve of the grammy award four years ago. he bruised and bloody face seen in this picture. he probation was revoked briefly this year after a hit-and-run at a woman said he went ballistic on her, he was given an additional 1,000 hours of community service, but probation rules from the rihanna case require him to stay out of all legal trouble. what could happen now? >> the new arrest a potential new crime, even without a conviction, can trigger a violation of that probation and the judge can, again, decide to send him to state prison for the
duration of his probation. >> reporter: that could be for up to a year. well, what happens now is brown's probation attorney -- probation officer will write a report on this d.c. arrest and send to a a superior court judge, who will then decide on possible james time. the l.a. county district attorney's office is not commenting right now on this d.c. arrest. the victim isaac parker, according to police, was treated for bruised and swollen face and released from a d.c. hospital. more troubles for him. thank you, brian. coming up, what happened to the now famous face of the obama care website? there she is, jeanne moos trying to solve the mystery.
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she was the face of the obama care website. now she's gone form here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: those twinkling eyes, that inviting smile. well, you can wipe that smile off the website. >> notice anything missing? >> it underwent a facelift. >> reporter: more like her face was lifted. >> her picture has now disappeared. >> disappeared before we even got to identify it. where oh where has the obama care website girl gone? someone tweeted. >> maybe she's happy about it. who knows? >> flesh and blood replace by soulless icons, the government says are meant to better guide those seeking insurance. we in the media were hot on tracking down obama care girl, but her trail stayed cold. i personally begged for her to
reach out. if this is you, call me. never heard from her. the national review put her on its cover with the tagline "abandon hope" all who click here, the is a tissual website adjusted her eyes and captioned it stalk photos now visibly panicking. and the conservatee blog red state replaced her with a painting entitled "the scream." it was almost spooky how prophetic "saturday night live" used to be during a skit of mag fun of kathleen sebelius, snl showed the home page with obama care girl missing. before it was known she had been removed. >> consider using our little rez website with simpler fonts and graphics. >> now instead of being plastered over the shoulders of anchors, she's plastered on a milk carton.
a fake twitter account is sending out tweets in obama care girl's name. fire me before sebelius, she sweets? oh, hell to the no. does that sound like a mystery girl worthy of being ser nated by roy orbison? luckily she was already safely of on the website. secretary sebelius called in tech support. >> i.t., can we get someone from i.t. in here? jeanne moos, cnn, new york. happening now, the president's i didn't know defense, was he really in the dark about obama care's troubles and u.s. snooping on world leaders? there may be cause for concern, no matter what the answer is. plus some desperate americans may be successful at signing up for obama care, about you they're not necessarily the people the administration need the most in order to make the
system work. one year later, many superstorm sandy survivors haven't been able to put the death and the destruction behind them. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room". right now, one of the -- is being asked of president obama, what did he know? and when did he know it? the senate intelligence committee chair de anifeinstein seems to be confirming records that the president was not aware about snooping on allied leaders until recently, this only days after the health secretary kathleen sebelius said the president didn't know about failures with the obama care website until it was launched. let's bring in jim acosta, who is watching all this unfold? what's the latest, jim? >> reporter: that's right, wolf, dianne feinstein now says it's her understanding the president did not know about the spying program on foreign leaders. i've been told by an aide to
that committee, that the senator is basing these conclusions on conversations she's had with the white house about these programs. and as you said, wolf, when did the president know and when did he know if 1234 the question these days is, is the president even in the know? it's a white house line that keeps coming up. the president was not in the know. on the allegations that the national security agency conducted surveillance on foreign leaders, including german chance lore angela merkel, cnn has confirmed this "wall street journal" headline -- obama unaware as u.s. spied on world leaders. on the care about the web side, the answer was, again, the president was not informed. >> i think it became clear fairly early on the first couple days -- >> but not before that? >> no. >> reporter: even back in may, when it was discovered the i.r.s. was targeted conservative groups, the president claimed he didn't know about it. >> i first learned about it from the same news reports that most people learned about it.
>> so there was no surprise that the rnc blasted out this e-mail. white house veteran david gergen said the issue is confidence. >> this is an administration that has been very, very good at its politics, but has never been very good at execution of policies from day one. they -- it's an administration which has some really smart people in it, and a lot of younger people. it doesn't have very many heavyweights. >> reporter: administration officials point out the president only learned of the spying effort this summer, halting some of the program, but dodged on whether mr. obama is being kept out of the loop. is there a colonel that the president is being kept in the dark on some of these issues? >> well, it's certainly true that you have contemplated a bunch of disparate issues. >> reporter: but -- >> i can give assurances to the publics in europe and around the world that we're not going
around snooping at people's e-mails or listening to their phone calls. >> reporter: is that statement still opera tiff? ijts jim, what president president said was true. >> reporter: but cnn has also learned that the president was made aware of the broad parameters of the surveillance, a spy program the white house cautions stops terrorist threats. >> and late today, senate intelligence chair dianne feinstein did say this program on allies of the u.s., quote, will not continue, and we should also point out, wolf, that that goes further than what white house press secretary jay carney has said during white house briefings. he was specifically talking about angela merkel, the german chancellor in previous briefings here at the white house. 9 feinstein statement appears to go further than that and talk about other u.s. allieallies. we should point out at this house where he do not have a comment about what senator
feinstein is saying. >> thank you, jim. let's get more on the latest in the allegations. our chief national security correspondent jim scuitto is here. what are you learning? i want two main headlines, the president did not know, but when he found out about the extent, he did end parts of it. administration officials say the president found out about nsa's finding only this summer when the administration conducted a review. he ended parts of the program, including surveillance of phone calls of angela merkel and other leaders. jay carney said that even as the world becomes more interconnected and there are more capabilities there should still be limits on surveillance. >> just because we've made these extraordinary technological advances, they give us greater capacities, we knead to make sure we're collecting intelligence in a way that advances our security needs and that we don't just do it because
we can. they want it would be understandable that the president wouldn't know the specifics of the targets of this kind of surveillance, only know the intelligence priorities. we have talked to other u.s. officials. our own evan perez said at least the framework, the president would have to approve that framework. these are presidential programs requiring orders. under the auspices of the programs he would note other -- maybe not the leaders themselves, so you have some conflict about how far the administration's knowledge went, how far the president's knowledge went. >> i'm surprised dianne feinstein says the white house has mismd me that the collection on you're allying will not continue, which i support. earlier u.s. intelligence officials were say some of this collection is important not to protect american citizens, but also protect allies that don't
necessarily have the intelligence-gathering capabilities. >> and these are long-held cooperative agreements. the allies want american help, because they know america has capabilities they don't have. the question is, when those capabilities are used beyond where the allies are informed. i think this is the issue here, when the president found that out, he put a stop to it immediately, partly to preserve those relationships. >> thank you, jim scuitto. still ahead, i'll ask peter king if he says the president is lying about the knowledge of nsa spying. if you have questions, tweet them to us, use the #sitroom. bus the northeast before and after superstorm sandy. why the recovery still has a long ways to go, one year later.
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>> reporter: since october 1st, from the minute healthcare.gov went live, susan lane has been bulldogging her way through the website. >> i tried after midnight. i tried when i thought everybody was going to work, when they were coming home from work. >> reporter: she toiled on the broken site every day, five hours a day. >> at night i have dreamed about this green circle. >> you have worked really heart at this. >> really heart. >> reporter: you have been diligent. >> yes, i have. >> reporter: finally two weeks later it worked. she got a policy to cover herself and her daughter, who have a host of medical problems. they spent their life savings on medical bills, and are in and out in bankruptcy. >> you finally got a policy. how do you feel? >> relief. immediate relief. >> reporter: but here's the question -- will people who don't have health problems be as
determined on a site that's such a mess? >> it's incredibly important to have young, healthy people in the exchanges. >> reporter: without them, premiums could spike, or worse, too many sick costly patients would be enrolled and the system could failed. so the obama administration is trying to win over the young and the healthy. >> getting coverage this good at this price? i'm thrilled, and hey, i'm covered. >> reporter: online there's 13 things would rather -- young people even gave out an award for making it so difficult. it gave them an excuse, they want to opt out. the woes could spell trouble if young people spend more time making fun of it instead of signing up for it. now the administration has not released enrollment numbers, and, so we don't know how many young people have signed up, but the administration has always said, look, we expect enrollment to be like romney care in massachusetts, more people signing up towards the end of
the sign-up period and fewer people at the beginning. wolf? >> elizabeth cohen, thanks for the report. meanwhile superstore sandy survivors are making a long hard year out of the one of the deadliest, more damages storms. sandy hammered parts of the northeast, including long island and the jersey shore exactly one year ago tomorrow. poppy harlow has been following efforts. >> reporter: when superstorm sandy slammed the storm one year ago, swallowing this boardwalk and the iconic roller coaster, it took bubba's hot dog shot with it. >> reporter: but he reopened this summer, unwilling to give up. how was the summer? >> it was slow. it was a year of survival. >> reporter: then in a one-two punch, the new restaurant was wiped out in a september fire that demolished 60 businesses. >> probably the biggest feeling
of helplessness i've ever had in my life. >> reporter: the named is superstorm? >> that's the only type of superstorm i ever want toss again. >> vince is building back the casino pier. i think we had 1,000 man-hours a day, and what we accomplished in several months should have taken a few years. but a large churning of the pier still isn't rebuilt. he questions whether it's worth the investment, now knowing how many people will return. many have no homes to come back to. >> i think we've come a long way. >> seaside mayor big akearse stilts big was down 30% this summer. >> there was a time we don't know we would be open. 30% down or 70% you said up? he sis mitigation work could cost up to $20 million. >> reporter: this town gets whacked by sandy, and then this fire. >> it's a punch in the gut, poppy, i'm not going to kid you. you sit there and you -- there's
no reason why. there is no good answer. the only thing you can do is deal with it. >> reporter: at the beachcomber bar and grill, something astounding happened. the businesses on both sides of michael carbone's restaurant burned down, but his did not. >> fire -- we're here, this is or lives, this is how we making our living the lesson is we're jersey strong. >> reporter: strong, a good work to describe folks here. what bubba built twice, he's building again. come hell or high water. >> if i can get my doors open, pay my rent, pay my employees, i'll be happy. i'll be happy. i'll be open. that's the goal. >> he certainly embodies jersey strong. you know, bubba told me he needs a second job in the off-season just to get by, but when you're trying to rebuild your business for a third time, that's tough to do. he thinks it will take about three to four years to really
get back on his feet, business as normal. a big part is because, as the mayor told us, there's so many homes they haven't even started rebuilding. so until those residents and tourists come back, you have a long, long road ahead. i can tell you, wolf, we are going to see governor christie all across the state of new jersey, making stops in areas impacted by sandy on this one-year anniversary. good report, poppy. thank you. just ahead, republican congressman peter king is standing by to speak with us live about u.s. spying on world leaders, whether president obama has been out of the loop. you know what? tweet us your suggested questions, use the #sitroom. so there i was again, explaining my moderate to severe
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serious new questions are being raised by whether president obama is out of loop on key issues including nsa spying on friendly foreign leaders, we're joined by congressman peter king, republican of new york, key member of it is homeland security committee. congressman, thanks very much for coming in. >> wolf, thank you. >> is it credible to you that the president of the united states would not know that the u.s. has been listening in on the private phone conversations the the german chancellor angela merkel since 2002? >> again i can't say whether or not we have been doing it or not, but assume we have, no, i can't believe the president wouldn't have known that. he certainly should have known. if they didn't, i think that's
more of a serious issue, that something like that, at that level would be conducted without him knowing it. let me just say, i support the nsa, i think that we should stop being defensive and apologetic. having said that, i don't believe -- i can't believe that he didn't know or he should have known or people very close to him had to have known. this is a key issue, which goes beyond the actual intelligence, and the president certainly should be aware of that. >> dianne feinstein, a woman you know, chair of the senate intelligence committee is fully briefed on all of these issues. she just issued a statement -- it is my understanding that the president obama was not aware that the chal lord's conversations were being collected since 20012. that is a big problem. i assume for her to say that, that's confirming the press reports that this u.s. spying on merkel's private conversations have been going on for more than a decade. she wouldn't just put out a
statement like that unless she had been told it was true. >> again, it may have been. i'm on the intelligence committee, and i can't close what we've been told or not told. i would say if the president did not know, that raises very serious questions about what he's doing as chief executive. the fact he would be going into negotiations and discussions and meetings with angela merkel or trench leaders or any leaders for that matter, and not be aware that there was surveillance going on of the private phone calls, to me either something is definitely wrong in his administration, or he just has a totally hands-off attitude of the to me this is unacceptable that he not know that, and also that it continue. this goes beyond the intelligence-gathering value. there's obviously a diplomatic component to it. to me the president should be advised, and if not, i would like to know how high up in the administration it went. who is the closest person to him that did know about it? and why didn't that person not
tell him? >> is it credible to you that the director of national intelligence or head of the nsa had made a conscientious decision, the president is better off not know, so we're not going to tell him? >> i don't believe that should be done, not at all. if it appears that the president is trying to put this back on general alexander or put it back on the nsa, i think that also will create serious more real problems. to me he should be out there with the nsa, thanking them for the great job they do. so wolf, it's hard for me to imagine. either he knew about it, and now saying he didn't, which is wrong, or he never knew about it. to me senator feinstein said it's a serious problem. or that the -- to me the serious problem would be if he didn't know, why he didn't know about it. >> she's also upset that, as chair of the senate intelligence
committee, she says she was never informed. she said the white house has instead me that collection will not continue, but congress need -- and the committee will initiate a major review. first of all, do you support this decision? she says the white house has now made a decision not to collect intelligence on friendly countries? >> no, i would not support that. for instance, let's go back to -- and yes -- and actually had agents, communists in his government. the fact that germany and france and other countries deal with iraq and iran, north korea, the russians as far as nuclear energy and other issuing, i think we don't know who the chancellor will be, who the president will be, who the prime minister will be, and there's a reason why we signed an agreement. there's only four order cunning in the world we said we are not
going to do surveillance on, as far as their leaders, as far as that are government. listen, when mall lynn albright was ambassador, she said her phone was tapped, the french were listening in and knew what she was saying. now she's in the president's cabinet. if we're not going to tap a chancellor, are we going to go to the vice chancellor? people in the cabinet? where does this end? suppose one of the these governments becomes uncooperative. chancellor schroeder when he and the russians basically formed an alliance as far as iraq was concerned, which is one thing, but then right after that, the chancellor ends up working for -- to me i would like to moe what is going on in his minds as far as policy in iraq was concerned. no, i think this is not something the president should unilaterally and forever write off. it can be done -- to me, this is something that comes within his jurisdiction and is isn't something he should write off.
believe me, if they could -- i really wonder when senator obama was there in berlin, was german intelligence, you know going into his blackberry to know what he was saying? this is -- all countries do it. for us -- i understand why angela merkel has to say something publicly. the fact is the nsa has done more to save german lives than the german army since world war ii. that's the reality. the nsa has provided so much intelligence to save them in terrorist attack. they should be thankful to us, not going through this charade. >> peter king, as a member of the house homeland security committee, the hout intelligence committee as well, the chair of the subcommittee, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you, wolf. appreciate it. remember, you can always follow what's going on here in "the situation room" on twitter. you can tweet me @wolfblitzer.
thanks very much for watches. "crossfire" with special guests ron paul, race mar reese turner, "crossfire" starts right now. tonight diagnosing what's wrong with obama care. even if he isn't worried, should he be? should the president have known more about the problem? on the left brian schweitzer, on the right s.e. kipp. in the crossfire, and grace ma returner, who thinks it's wrong for america. can obama care's problems be fixed? she it be delayed? welcome to "crossfire." in the crossfire tonight ron