tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN December 18, 2014 7:00am-8:01am PST
a reclusive country. they don't travel outside the country. one of the ways you sometimes can sanction is to say their military leaders or anybody from bureau 121, anybody who has any ties to this, whenever they go on vacation somewhere, well, we're going to grab them. that doesn't happen here. this is a country that doesn't really let its citizens go anywhere. it's very limited what we can do. >> evan perez, thanks so much. as sony's financial losses pile up, potentially reaching hundreds of millions of dollars, there's a jaw-dropping relalt. sony has been through this nightmare before. in 2011 hackers launched a disastrous cyber attack on their play station network. at the time it was one of the biggest security breaches in history with tens of millions of customers exposed. sony settled a lawsuit with gamers. why did sony seemingly not learn from this very expensive lesson? let's head to tokyo and ask cnn's will ripley. good morning, will.
>> reporter: hey carol, yes. it was quite an alarming situation for sony in 2011. it was in april when it was announce thad some 77 million play station users had their accounts compromised. they had to shut down the entire play station network for nearly a month. then that same year there was also a hacking incident involving sony pictures where another 150,000 people had their user names and passwords leaked out. but even after those debacles, sony was still caught off guard, taken by complete surprise when this group, guardians of peace, was able to infiltrate their computer system earlier this year, steal an incredible amount of data. you're talking about e-mails, movie scripts, unfinished movies and movies that hadn't been released yet, they posted on file sharing sites. they did all of this and took control of sony's computers. people showed up to work one day and found red skulls flashing on their computers with a list of all the things stolen off those devices and then deleted. i went to a tech lab here in
tokyo today and asked did sony do something wrong here? what they told me is that this attack was so unprecedented in the united states that it would have been very difficult for almost any corporation to fully prepare. but they say what sony could have done better, carol, is monitor the leak as it was happening and perhaps stopped it before so much data was stolen. >> can you tell us a little more, too, about this bureau 121, these cyber workers working within north korea? >> so we know these are people who are hand pick friday the technical universities in pyongyang, the smartest of the smart in a country that, by the way, from going there myself a few months ago, is full of a large number of very smart people who oftentimes aren't able to fulfill their potential within the system because every person's job is assigned to them. it's remarkable the level of access these 1800 people have, that they are allowed to not only surf the internet which is unheard of for most north
koreans who haven't heard of social media, never mind websites or the internet, but these people, they're trained on how to conduct these cyber attacks. what north korea, if they are, indeed, the ones behind this catastrophic hack as the united states government believes, what they're finding is this is a relative inexpensive way to inflict a great amount of damage and fear on other countries. south korea, they've attacked banks, broadcasters. now you see a major american corporation brought to its knees, pulling the release of a movie. this is unprecedented. it could be, unfortunately, a sign of more trouble to come if there isn't some way to penalize this type of behavior. >> will ripley reporting live from tokyo. many thanks to you. kim jong-un and his oppressed population may be forced to watch "the interview" after all. the human rights foundation plans to drop dvds of the movie using hydrogen balloons.
the goal is to get north koreans to see what's happening in the outside world. sadly, watching such movies can mean death. halverson is the president of the human rights foundation. welcome back. i'm glad you're here. >> thank you for having me. first of all, i'd like to get your reaction to sony's decision to pull the movie, "the interview." >> i believe, as someone who lives in a free society, it's their right to do so. it shows gutless cowardice. if the north korean government now said we'd like you to turn over seth rogen, would we do that? would they say we'd like to change your programs. it's blackmail. it's sad that sony did not have the sense and the leadership to say, no, we're not going to do that. we live in a free country and we're not going to do that. there are terrorist attacks on the united states. there are people who say we don't like the way you live your
life. we don't like the way you allow women to drive, we don't like the way you allow gays and lesbians to have the lives that they do. are we going to give up our freedoms because a bunch of people in a far-away land run by a crazy dictator say you shouldn't live this way? i think what sony did is shameful actually, really shameful. >> how do you think kim jong-un is reacting this morning? >> i think what you have to see and what a lot of people missed is the reason why the north korean government hates this film so much is not because it insults their dear leader. their dear leader gets insulted all the time in the west and gets made fun of. what they're deathly afraid of is that the film is going to make it into the country. because in the last ten years, there's been a significant development in the black market routes into the country. in the last ten years, north korea has consumed and has enormous thirst for cultural artifacts like films and like tv
shows. people inside north korea, they know the risks they run. they know they could get executed. they know they can end up being arrested or tortured for watching these films, for watching tv shows, for having forbidden material. but they nonetheless are willing to run that risk and willing to take that material. that is very, very scary. >> that brings us to your operation, the dropping of dvds over north korea using these hydrogen balloons. first of all, i'd like to show our viewers a picture of the balloons we're talking about. explain how this works. how and where do they launch? >> well, we launch from the border, the southern border with north korea, right by the river. the balloons are filled with hydrogen, and attached to the balloons are enormous plastic bags. into side the bags there are, for instance, hundreds of thousands of leaflets.
they're made of plastic and are quite durable and waterproof. the leaflets basically say you're being lied to, there's another life, another world outside. they have all sorts of educational material in them. in addition, dvds and thumb drives. we put thumb drives that have entire copies of wikipedia, thanks to jimmy wales we were able to raise the technology level here so they can insert a thumb drive into a computer, and even though there's no internet in north korea -- because there is no internet there. it's why it's known as the her mitt kingdom. it's completely closed off. these thumb drives contain a full copy of wikipedia. we put these in plastic bags. there's a timer on the bag. and the bag -- the fastener to the bag debt naets and the bags open and they spil the contents. >> people who help you with this operation have escaped north
korea. how did they tell you that this helps? >> it's interesting, because obviously like in any defector situation, whether it's cuban exiles in miami or defectors from north korea, people have different opinions about what works and what doesn't work. we take the approach that we should go on all levels trying to use smuggling routes, trying to use radio and at the same time trying to use balloons. many of the people you actually see in those photographs received a brochure, received a leaflet and realized they had been lied to or started questioning what their lives were like. and that's really -- the effectiveness of the balloons can be measured by anecdotal evidence for certain. >> i must ask you this, because we know that if a north korean is caught watching an american movie, a western film, they might face prison, they might face death. is it worth it?
>> consider the following: there are 25 million north koreans. of those, a good 10 million of them have access to something from the outside, whether it's a transistor radio, a dvd player, a cell phone. so they do have a thirst for this. the government knows they can't control everyone. so they engage in these very public ways of executing people or saying that people who allow this into their country are besmirching the culture of north korea. the reality is the regime has suffered so much in terms of its waste and corruption, that it's only a matter of time before more and more ideas cause the downfall of the regime. the north korean regime will not fall because of missiles or tanks. the north korean regime will fall because of the power of ideas. we're trying in a very small way
to assist and to accelerate the education of north korean people. they want it. they're willing to pay for these things in the black market. so we're certainly not going to stop regardless of their threats. they've threatened us on multiple occasions with theft, bombing, slitting our throats. we're certainly not going to stop. >> thor halverson, thank you. i appreciate you being here this morning. >> thank you for having me. more breaking news out of wall street. the dow continues to skyrocket. let's bring in cnn money correspondent christina al learn she to tell us more. >> we have a confluence of factors driving the dow up. yesterday the fed says it will keep the easy money going for longer than many investors anticipated. wall street loves that. you a bevy of economic data coming out looking like the
economy is getting better. jobless claims were lower than expected. consumer confidence was higher. of course, that's going to be positive. then you have oil coming back just a little bit. that's helping some of the energy producer get a boost here. then we can't discount the santa rally. december is a pretty strong month historically for stocks. you've got all these factors going on, really boosting the stock markets really around the world today. >> up, what, 261 points. i know you'll keep an eye on it for us. >> it will keep going. >> i hope so. christina, thanks so much. still to come in the "newsroom," secret diplomacy and back room deals all leading the the homecoming of alan gross. now we get a sneak peek inside the closed door meetings of the united states and cuba, moving in a different direction.
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man, back home in united states. public pleas and secret meetings led to his release. now we're learning more ab the diplomacy and deal making done behind closed doors that led to gross's freedom and a monumental shift in u.s. policy. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto has more for you. >> carol, this is a truly remarkable piece of diplomacy conducted in secret over more than a year and a half in multiple countries, principally canada and the vatican and somehow kept secret until yesterday. it had everything, even a cold war spy swap before that moment when alan gross stepped foot back on american soil. >> i guess so far it's the best hand-ku i'll be celebrating for loong time. >> allan xwroes's emotional return to the u.s. became a reality only after 18 months of secret con tants and shuttled diplomacy. >> to president obama and the nfc staff, thank you.
>> reporter: the president first orchestrated contacts in spring last year, followed in june in canada which would host the majority of meetings between the two sides to follow. also playing a key role, the vatican. >> i want to thank his holiness pope francis. >> reporter: the first head of the catholic church from north america pressed obama in a face-to-face meeting in march to renew talks with cuba and raised the issue again in a letter this fall. it was at the vatican in october this year where details of gross's release and the new u.s. trade policy with cuba were hashed out between the u.s. and cuban delegations. culmination coming on tuesday, president obama spoke to cuban president raul castro in a call that lasted about an hour, the first communication at the presidential level since the cuban revolution more than 50
years ago. on wednesday, a year and a half after negotiations first began, gross was able to embrace his wife judy who flew to havana to take him home. judy gross was joined by a team of congressmen. >> on the airplane back, as we finally crossed into u.s. air space, you saw him give a big hoorah. >> we were flying there and watching some of the news on the airplane, and i said, you know, alan, you're free. he got up and threw his arms around me, hugged me. >> reporter: then a phone call from the president to congratulate him on his freedom. >> i spoke to him on his flight. he said he was willing to interrupt his corned beef sandwich to talk to me. needless to say, he was thrilled. >> u.s. officials say this will move fairly quickly. they want to reopen the embassy in cuba as quickly as possible. and some trade will be allowed right away, things that deal with the telecommunications, for instance, opening up the
internet there which has largely been blocked. i went on one of the early exchange visits under the obama administration in 2011 to cuba, and at the time, some trade in food was allowed. i went to an exposition in havana. american food companies there, they were champing on the bit to come in. you can imagine a similar influx when some of the trade restrictions are lifted. >> jim sciutto reporting, thanks so much. while the gross family is thanking the obama administration this morning, other families are outraged. the cuban five, that cuban spy ring was convicted of murder. in 1996 they shot down two cessna planes flown by a group called brothers to the rescue. that group had been dropping antigovernment leaflets over havana. news of the cuban five's release sparked outrage from some of the families of the men who were killed when that plane went down. two of them talked with cnn yesterday. they shared a harsh message for president obama. >> this is a slap in our faces.
it is very sad that an innocent man like alan gross is going to be exchanged for a criminal, somebody that wanted to do so much harm to the united states of america like gerardo hernandez because he's not only tied to the shoot-down and murder of my son, marlene's dad, and two other americans. he's tied to espionage and wanting to do harm to the united states of america. >> he has completely disrespected and dishonored my father who was a vietnam veteran, voluntary vietnam veter veteran. when he was 19 years old he went to fight for this country against communism. the only thing we have as a form of justice for her son, my father and the two other men was this one man that he just gave up. >> michael itzkoff is the chief
investigative correspondent for yahoo! news. he talked with gerardo hernandez, the cuban five's leader. >> nice to have you here. >> president obama said the deal with cuba was a spy-for-spy swap. michael gross was sort of an awesome bonus. how should americans look at this? >> well, what the u.s. and cuban officials are saying is the release of alan gross was done on human grounds. the spy-for-spy swap was the release of the last three remaining members of the cuban 5 for the u.s. espionage agent who has been held in a cuban prison for nearly 20 years now. that was the spy-for-spy swap. the u.s. has never acknowledged and there's no evidence that alan gross was a spy. he was an american contractor working for a.i.d.
there's no question in the eyes of u.s. officials the cubans were holding alan gross to get the release of the cuban 5. this was a national cause in cuba. they are national heroes. the cuban sponsor conferences, publish books, their pictures are all over billboards, all aimed at getting those last three remaining members of the cuban 5 released. so the raul castro government did win a big victory here by getting those three members released. >> you talked to mr. hernandez while he was in prison. what was he doing in the united states? >> well, he actually -- it's interesting. he totally acknowledged he had come here as a spy, that he broke u.s. laws. when i asked him if he had any regrets, he said i regret i got caught. he smiled when he said that. but with a caveat.
he didn't acknowledge he was spying against the u.s. government. he said he was spying against anti-castro exile groups that had been linked to bombings and terrorist acts in cuba. in fact, there was a horrific 1976 cubana airline flight that was bombed, killed teenage members of the cuban fencing teams. a string of bombings in havana, all of which the cubans believed had been inspired and instigated by these anti castro compile groups. from hernandez's viewpoint, he was a terrorist fighter. he said, look, you americans have drones to go and kill the terrorists who are attacking your country. we don't have drones in cuba, so they sent me. that's the perspective that the cubans had on this. it was one very deeply held inside cuba. >> did mr. -- i know he was --
he had two life terms, that was his sentence. did he ever think he would get out? >> when i interviewed him two years ago, it looked very bleak that he'd ever have a chance of getting out because of those double life sentences. that was, in fact, linked to the brothers to the rescue shootdown in 1996. those were very powerful statements you had from family members yesterday. but the evidence that linked hernandez to that shootdown was very much in dispute. in fact, one federal judge who reviewed it -- one of the appellate court judges didn't think the evidence was there and voted to overturn hernandez's conviction on that count. she was overruled. senator leahy issued a strong statement yesterday saying an objective view of the evidence doesn't hold up that hernandez was directly implicated in that shoot-down. people will debate the evidence on this, but there's no question
that that was the complication, that conspiracy murder charge. frankly i, and a lot of other people, were surprised that president obama took this step given that count against him. we'll see what the political blowback is. i wouldn't be surprised if senator rubio and others want to revisit that, maybe bring the fbi agents and federal prosecutors who worked the case to see if they were consulted on this. the bottom line is gerardo hernandez is now free and he's in cuba. >> that is true indeed. michael itzkoff, thanks for your insight. i appreciate it. still to come in the "newsroom." we're not war monthers. putin points his finger at the united states. cnn's matthew chance in moscow this morning. >> if you're looking for vladimir putin to soften his tone and back down in the face
of economic hardship, you'll be very disappointed in his latest press conference. more details on that after the break. when you don't get enough sleep... and your body aches... you're not yourself. tylenolpm relieves pain and helps you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. we give you a better night. you're a better you all day. tylenol® the mercedes-benz winter event is back, with the perfect vehicle that's just right for you, no matter which list you're on. [ho, ho, ho, ho] lease the 2015 ml 350 for $579 a month
president vladimir putin pulled no punches. the united states, putin says, has reignited the cold war. >> translator: russia's only made contribution where it's supporting its national interests in a harrer and harsher way. we're not attacking anyone. we're not war monthers. we are only defenders our interests and the dissatisfaction of our western partners are huge because of this. >> in other words, the united states is a war monger. of course, mr. putin may be deflecting blame because russia's economy is tanking because of u.s.-led sanctions and falling oil prices. he tried to make the best of it in this news conference. the moderator asked reporters at the beginning to keep their questions short so we could all
hear more from president putin. also a question from the pair pris hilton of russia is who is also running for office. matthew chance is in moscow with more. hi, matthew. >> hi, carol. it was a pretty defined performance from vladimir putin as we've come to expect. as i mentioned before the break, if you're expecting him to back down in the face of this economic chaos that is gripping his country, you'd be very disappointed because he didn't do that at all. there was no u turn on crimea, no softening of its tone when it comes to russia's confrontation which has been growing with the west and with the united states in particular. just more of the same hard line rhetoric. you mentioned his criticism of the united states as an aggressor saying russia only spends $50 billion a year on defense, only. the united states spending more than ten times that figure. he was very much trying to make
that comparison with the united states defense expenditure. he was also asked some quite tough questions. one of them, isn't this economic crisis in russia at the moment that has seen the ruble plunge in value against the dollar all to do with crimea. you may remember russia annexed crimea, part of ukraine back in march. it's a thing that provoked international sanctions from the united states and from the european union. but vladimir putin categorically denied that the sanctions and the crisis had anything to do with crimea, basically restating this rhetoric that he's been coming up with all the time, that the sanctions are all about trying to limit russia which was emerging as a power and as a threat to the west. something that he's been banging on about for several months now. this kind of rhetoric has gone down very well in the past with the rux public. it's made putin very popular, popularity rating somewhere in the region of 85%. in this new environment where people are actually feeling economic pain, it's difficult to
see how he's going to manage to sustain those popularity ratings. >> the polls in russia, do they also show that people still widely support putin's actions in crimea? >> they do. as i was saying, his approval ratings are still sky high. president obama would kill to have approval ratings like vladimir putin, i can tell you. but the question is, are they going to be able to be kept up if russia -- as russia slowly and gradually and continually feels this economic pain. interest rates went up 6.5% to 17% a couple days ago. imagine that if you've got a mortgage or you're paying for a car, what kind of impact that's going to have on your life. how long are russians going to support their leader in that kind of economic environment? that's the question being asked right now. >> matthew chance reporting live from moscow. thanks so much.
good morning. i'm carol costello. thank you for joining me. moviegoers hoping to catch "the interview" on christmas day will have to buy tickets to a different flikt. sony is pulling the plug on the release of the economy after a terror threat by cyber hackers. officials believe north korea is behind this crippling attack. some people are questioning whether sony made the right decision by bowing to those who committed this cybercrime. let's talk about all this with cnn senior media correspondent brian tell ter, also joined by cnn's laurie segall, a tech wizard herself. i must say, brian, i was surprised sony made the decision to pull the film. >> i think they had little choice because so many of these major theater owners all lined up and said, sorry, we're not putting this on our screens on christmas. i talked to mark cuban yesterday. he co-owns a theater in new york
where the premier was supposed to be held tonight. he said it was pretty simple about why they decided to cancel the premier and the next day many other theaters pulled out. here is what he said. >> why didn't the interview premier at landmark? >> we just discussed it last night. the three principals discussed it. the downside was too dramatic versus the upside. you can't go and enjoy a movie when in the back of your mind you're concerned something is going to happen. it just wasn't worth the risk. >> as he said, just wasn't worth the risk. >> mr. tough guy, mark cuban, look what the new york says. kim jong-un won. a lot of people feel the same way. >> he said he wants to uphold freedom of express. i understand this was a real conundrum for theater owners and sony. it's hard to find someone
defending the decision. a lot of folks in hollywood are concerned this sets a terrible precedent. what's going to happen in the future if there's another controversial film, and there will be. >> let's listen to chris rock. >> were you surprised the normally courageous, fair minded citizens of hollywood didn't stand up and stand with their brothers and sony? >> this whole thing is just scary, man. e-mails and it's your private stuff. the whole town is scared. everybody's got to be scared. >> nobody knows. >> nobody knows what to do. >> including the u.s. government. maybe that's not fair, but let's put it this way, there's this thing in north korea, laurie, bureau 121, made up of these cyber warriors. apparently they've been plotting this kind of attack on sony for quite some time. it's scary to know that north korea, number one, is capable of that and that they have these cyber warriors, not only stationed in north korea, but
china and russia as well. >> let me give you a little background on them. i got off the phone with a security analyst very familiar with sony who has been following this group since 2007. they've been around since the early '90s, but they've gotten very, very sophisticated. he said to me, laurie, this is their army. they start training these guys at 16 years old. this is a very well-funded group. he said we underestimated north korea's capabilities because it seems as though, wow, now they're capable of doing this. he said, no, they've been capable of doing this kind of attack for a very long time. this is the first time they've had the motivation. what's very scary about this kind of thing is the motivation here wasn't based on wanting to steal money. it was based on them looking humiliated by a film coming out. this is the first time, against the united states, that we see this could be looked at as an act of cyber terrorism. there are talks about that now. >> the other thing going back to sony's decision for just a minute, there's another movie
being made, not by sony, but by another production company about north korea. this was a serious documentary starring steve carell. they've already ditched the project. >> i think that's what he tweeted yesterday, this is a sad i do for freedom of expression. i think he was referring to his own project as well as "the interview." >> laurie, i'll ask you because you've talked to some hackers that were not so savory, unsavory hackers. what did they tell you about how the united states can stop this bureau 121? >> you know what's so scary, right as i got off the phone with this security researcher, he said it's not only that these guys were so sophisticated. all these tactics are available to buy on the dark web and all this type of mallware. he said it's companies just not sophisticated in the united states and can't take a hack like that. it's like walking through a neighborhood where people don't
have locks on the doors. that's how he described it. it's going to be up to the united states, up to every single major corporation that we look at and we think they are rock solid with security. guess what, they're not. this is a good indication of just how unsafe -- >> i think it goes beyond just the companies providing security now. this is a foreign country. there was a terror threat issued, right? if they're threatening a 9/11-style attack, that's a terror attack. the government is going to somehow get involved with the security of these companies or at least find a way to protect these companies. >> there are a lot of steps the u.s. can take. last night we heard the national security council say they have a wide range of things to consider. it reminds me what a sony executive said, he said brian, tell your boss to tell his boss to spend more on i.t., to further increase security of your computer systems. it's not just sony or media companies. it's any company. this is essentially extortion.
they were saying, if you show the film, you're going to be in darng. that is something that sony eventually, sorry to say, capitulated to. >> brian tell ter, laurie segall, appreciate it. back in a minute. what is your wish? no...ok...a million bucks! oh no... geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara®. it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ... stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and increase your risk of infections. some serious infections require hospitalization. before starting stelara®...
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former kush ban prisoner alan gross is waking up at home following his return to united states. but for politicians in twash wash this is a no time to rest. senator marco rubio slammed president obama's decision to ease restrictions on cuba citing its oppressive regime. >> let's run through the list, full diplomatic relations, that means a recognition of their legitimacy. opening up the banking sector, more telecommunication, higher re milt tanses, things that truly undermine the regimes against the cuban government for being a teary. >> house democratic representative jim mcgovern saw a distinctly different side to the news, welcoming new and open lines of communications with the castro regime. for the last 50-plus years, this policy toward cuba has been
a miserable failure. it's a relic from the cold war. i'm glad the president did what he did yesterday. i wish it happened decades ago, and i think the more difficult it will be for the cuban government to be repressive. >> is this a monumental mistake on the part of president obama or the opportunity for real change? let's talk about this with dennis hayes. dennis is the former cuban affairs coordinator at the state department. welcome, sir. >> thank you, good to be here. >> so is it a closal mistake or move for the better? >> i fall on the side it's a mistake. it's mistake because we underestimate our ability to influence events in the world. cuba at this point desperately needs additional support and help. the venezuelan oil they've been getting for many years is drying up. so they need some kind of new injection of funds and resources, and i think this is what we're providing.
the problem is not that you don't make a deal, but the issue is if you're going to make deal, get something for what you're giving up. i don't see that that happened. >> you think the united states is getting zero, zilch, nothing? >> again, this is a long-standing issue over many decades. the secret of all this, of course, is that the cubans always have had the ability to lift the embargo. all they had to do was provide a more democratic structure for their people and stop zut supporting terrorism worldwide. for 50 years they've had that. now we're in a situation where, if you look back when president obama was a candidate. he said if the cubans take steps to democratize, we will take steps to normalize relations. what's happened is we have taken many steps towards normalization, but cubans haven't taken steps towards democratizati democratization. what about the fact that fidel castro is 88 years old, his brother raul is elderly as
well. soon both men will be out of power and a new regime will step up, and this will give the united states a chance to interact with that new regime and effect some good change? >> those of us who have dealt with cuba over time now that that issue of the biological solution has been out there for a very long time. it hasn't happened yet. it will happen some day. but let's get to there first. i think what's important is we send a clear message that we believe our neighbors in cuba deserve the same sorts of freedoms and liberties that we do. that will help them continue to be a great nation and to produce the sort of economy that can then be a good partner form the united states. being a partner with a bankrupt dictatorship is not a good deal for the united states. >> some might argue that, why should the united states waste its energy on some aging despots
when you have north korea out there and they just successfully waged a cyber attack on the united states. shouldn't the united states be more concerned about north korea? why should it be concerned about cuba anymore? >> i think we need to be concerned about all these countries. don't form get this year there was a ship that was stopped that had 240 tons of armor and military weapons being shipped from cuba to north korea. there are connections. cuba is on the list of terrorist countries and it's there for a reason. this is the sort of thing that the government of cuba could change, could stop doing these things and i think it would lead to a much better situation for all concerned. >> dennis hays, thanks for your insight. appreciate it. i'm back in a minute. given new hope. during the subaru "share the love" event, subaru owners feel it, too. because when you take home a new subaru, we donate 250 dollars to helping those in need.
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i've never felt so alive. get the future of phone and the phones are free. comcast business. built for business. president obama is thanking someone who played a critical role in the u.s.-cuba deal. that would be pope francis. >> i want dothaning his holiness, pope francis, whose moral example shows us the importance of pursuing the world as it should be rather than simply settling for the world as it is. >> this summer pope francis made a personal appeal to president obama and cuban leaders and then a couple months later the vatican hosted talks between the united states and cuban delegations. joining me to talk about this from rome, cnn vatican correspondent delia gallagher. hi, delia.
>> reporter: hello to you, carol. >> hello. i'm glad you're here. why was this so important to the pope? >> reporter: well, you know, he said this morning, carol, to a group of am brass doors that the whole reason to get involved in diplomacy is peace. it's to bring people together, to help build bridges. it's been the vatican line for many years, without dialogue, there is no peace, there is no better world. so pope francis's rationale in all of this is something similar to what we saw this summer when he invited the delegates from israel and the palestinian territories to the vatican. it's to bring parties who are not speaking the the table. only in that way, according to the pope, according to the vatican line, can there be any chance for a resolution to any of the conflicts that face the individual countries. >> is it customary for popes to get so involved? >> reporter: oh, yes, they've been doing it for centuries.
it's very usual sort of thing. in fact, they're ahn accused of meddling in political affairs. we only have to look back as far as john paul ii to see what can happen when a pope with a certain amount of moral gravitas comes to the table with political parties. many people attribute the breakup of the former soviet bloc to some of the efforts of john paul ii, certainly in other communist dictatorships john paul ii had a role when he went to those countries. vatican thinking is always long term. one doesn't e peblth immediate results. certainly i think pope francis is in that line of popes that don't hesitate to get involved with political issues, that cross the boundaries of
religious issues. >> could this have happened -- i know people say the pope acted as a guarantor. i'm not sure what that means. did you hear me, delia? i don't think delia can hear me. all right. we lost delia. there you have it, pope francis played a big part in the normalizing of relations between the united states and cuba. still to come in the "newsroom," the boston marathon bombing suspect makes his first appearance in court in nearly a year and a half. security extremely tight around the federal courthouse in boston. we'll take you to boston next. blood clot in my leg. ua my doctor said that it could travel to my lungs and become an even bigger problem. so he talked to me about xarelto®. >>xarelto® is the first oral prescription blood thinner proven to treat and help prevent dvt and pe that doesn't require regular blood monitoring or
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he's been locked up at a cell in a medical prison 40 miles outside of boston. but this morning tsarnaev is in court for the first time in a year. sirens rang out as he was transported to the courthouse. he's hat a final hearing before his trial is set to get under way on january 5th. prosecutors specifically requested he attend. the defense wants the trial moved out of boston and postponed. deborah feyerick is following this story for us. she's at the courthouse in boston. tell us more, debra. >> reporter: one of the reasons that prosecutors wanted him to appear in court is because they
wanted the judge to be able to ask him if he was pleased with his defense, his lawyers, whether he was up to date on the information. he didn't say much. to each of those questions he replied yes, sir. he looked a little different than during his first appearance which was 17 months ago. since then he's been held virtually in solitary confinement. his hair was very disheveled. he has a short beard which he twirled in his fingers. wear ag black sweater, gray slacks, white shirt. the judge took up matters about expert testimony. apparently there's an expert who has been questioning his family members, his friends in chechnya where he's from. prosecutors do not want this person to be able to testify and provide what they call opinion as to who may have been in control because their defense is that tamerlan is the one leading
the charge during the bombing. one outburst happened by a russian woman inside the courtroom as he was being cuffed and led out of the courtroom, she cried out that he has supporters and she called on the government to stop killing innocent boys. it turns out she is the mother-in-law of a friend who you may remember was implicated in a triple drug murder while he was there, allegedly swearing out a confession. the fbi says he lunged at him. the mother-in-law saying in fact the fbi killed him to silence him because they knew, in fact, he would testify as a friendly witness for dzhokhar tsarnaev. she was very vocal. that was the action going on inside the courtroom. dzhokhar, meanwhile, looking very relaxed as all this was playing out, carol. >> didn't this woman also have an outburst outside the
courthouse? >> she gave a very impassioned statement to members of the media who set up a microphone stand here. i asked her point-blank. i said are you alleging the fbi shot your son-in-law to keep him quiet? she said, exactly, because she says she knows he wasn't involved in the murder and she says her son-in-law would have been able to testify that dzhokhar and his brother tamerlan, none of them were allegedly involved in the bombing of which dzhokhar is now accused. his brother tamerlan now having been shot dead. >> i think, debra, we have some of the drama that happened outside of the courtroom from this russian woman that you're talking about. let's listen. >> they lie about how they kill my son-in-law. shea they shot him three times in the back, but they were stating in the reports for mr. mcfarland, fbi agent, he said my
son-in-law was trying to attack him and he did it twice. he shot him first time when he was trying to attack him. then he still stood up and keep walking. he shot him another three times, but he did not explain why my son-in-law have three bullets in the back and how did he got shot on top of his head. he died because we did not stay quiet. we was requesting for reports, we was asking for medical exam reports and we were asking for ten months. and all this time all my family had been harassed by fbi. when i was active duty army until april this year, they were coming to my command staff, they were saying i'm planning to buy a gun and shoot fbi agents and their family in revenge. they said i'm going to be under official investigation for this point. they flag me. basically they froze my career in the army. luckily for me and sadly for
them, i got medical in april. so now they can't destroy my career. i can come here freely and speak to all of you. >> did you say what you said in court? >> i said in court -- >> all right. you can hear a little bit of that drama. debra, the justice department investigated the fbi's actions and the fbi was cleared, am i right? >> reporter: that's exactly right. they deemed that the shooting was justified. clearly her daughter is married to the man who was shot and killed. she was very passionate. i asked her if she did show her veterans credentials. she was naturalized as a u.s. citizen after she joined the army in 2009. she was here speaking on his behalf and telling dzhokhar he's got supporters out there, keep fighting. >> deborah feyerick reporting looich in boston. thanks so much. thank you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "@ this hour" with burma and michaela starts now.
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com it was silent, tchls without bullets or bloodshed. did the u.s. lose a cyber terror attack? did it underestimate kim john un. this hour officials are planning to pick the hacking on north korea. >> the secret agent at the height of this sibler attack. >> an historic policy shift. is it the right move? president obama is betting that cold world tol politics have taken a turn. will he be proven right? good morning, i'm michaela pereira. >> i'm john berman. this morning state-sponsored cyber terror. it sounds extreme, but that is the scope of what we're talking about, the very real possibility that north corey wra is behind a