tv NBC Nightly News NBC November 11, 2012 3:30pm-4:00pm PST
did they know and when did they know it? questions swirl around the cia and the fbi as we learn more tonight about what happened in the days leading up to the bombshell resignation of cia director david petraeus. money trail. new concerns about whether millions in donations are actually reachin families left shattered by sandy. tonight, our nbc news investigation. moment of crisis at one of the most trusted institutions in the world. explosive allegations against a popular tv star, now a shake-up all the way at the top. reunited, separated during the storm, we're there for the emotional moments when families find the pets they thought were lost forever. and paying tribute to those who served and those who continue to serve. tonight, honoring our nation's heroes on this veterans day.
good evening. the fallout from the surprise resignation of cia director david petraeus after admitting to an extramarital affair has taken two tracks tonight. first with the bombshell landing just days after the presidential election, there is a growing course of questions from lawmakers about exactly when petraeus's affair was discovered and who in washington was told about it. then there's the fbi investigation that inadvertently exposed the whole thing. a probe into some harassing e-mails allegedly sent by petraeus's biography, paula broadwell. tonight nbc has learned who the fbi believes was on the receiving end of those e-mails. nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker has been working the story. she joins us now with the latest developments. kristen? >> reporter: lester, good evening.
according to multiple government officials, the woman who made the initial complaint to the fbi is a close family friend of general petraeus, and there is no indication of anything more. now, the details are still murky, and lawmakers are demanding more answers. ♪ >> reporter: according to a senior federal official and close friend of david petraeus, 37-year-old jill kelly complained to fbi agents about being harassed by paula broadwell, david petraeus's biography. a senior u.s. military official says jill kelly is involved in wounded warrior fund-raising in tampa, is married, she and her husband are close family friends. officials say petraeus's downfall started when kelly complained to the fbi that she was receiving intimidated e-mails from broadwell. law enforcement and multiple u.s. officials tell nbc news that those e-mails led to the discovery of others between general petraeus and broadwell and were indicative of an extramarital affair. a senior law enforcement official told nbc news that fbi agents interviewed general
petraeus in late october and concluded there was no criminal violation. today, members of congress are asking why the fbi did not inform them or the president sooner. >> we received no advanced notice. it was like a lightning bolt. i mean, this is something that could have had an effect on national security. i think we should have been told. there is a way to do it. >> reporter: this comes as we are learning more about the days leading up to petraeus's resignation. house majority leader eric cantor said in late october he was tipped off by the situation. in a statement, cantor said, "i was contacted by an fbi employee concerned that sensitive, classified information may have been compromised and made certain director mueller was aware of these serious allegations and the potential risk to our national security." however, the president first learned about the incident on thursday, the day petraeus offered his resignation. a senior law enforcement official says the agent's call
to a congressional staffer had no effect on the petraeus/broadwell investigation or the timing of the disclosure. still lawmakers say there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. >> it seems as we've gone on for several months, and yet now it appears that they're saying that the fbi didn't realize until election day that general petraeus was involved, it just doesn't add up. >> reporter: several of petraeus's former aides say broadwell had too much access to the general. she hasn't been shy about sharing details about her relationship with petraeus, and their shared interest in running. >> ended up being a test for both of us since we both ran pretty quickly. but that was the foundation of our relationship. >> reporter: now, we have reached out to general petraeus. paula broadwell and jill kelly, so far no response. general petraeus was scheduled to testify on capitol hill this thursday about the attack in benghazi on the u.s. consulate. now, the acting cia director, michael morrell, is expected to testify in his place. that has upset some lawmakers who say petraeus is key to getting answers.
lester? >> kristen welker tonight, thank you. now to the other big story that has consumed washington in the days since the election. the so-called fiscal cliff looming at the end of the year. if democrats and republicans can't come together and agree on a deal to avert it, taxes are going to go up for most americans. we get the latest tonight from nbc's mike viqueira. >> reporter: today top democrats drew a hard line. it's either higher taxes on the wealthy or the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. >> if the republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire, and we'll start over next year. >> reporter: this as one influential conservative called on republicans to give ground. >> let's have a serious debate. don't scream and yell where one person says, you know what? really? the republican party's going to fall on its sword? a bunch of millionaires half of whom voted democratic and half of whom live in hollywood. >> reporter: but house speaker john boehner rejects any hike in
tax rates. instead he would close loopholes in the tax code. >> raising tax rates will slow down our ability to create the jobs that everyone says they want. >> reporter: failure to agree by the end of the year would trigger a combination of deep spending cuts and expiring tax cuts. that could mean an estimated $2,000 more in taxes next year for the typical household. the jobless rate soaring to 9.1% by the end of the year. and possibly another recession. boehner and the president were close to a deal last year. the so-called grand bargain. $4 trillion in debt reduction including politically sensitive changes to social security and medicare. many think that blueprint still works. >> and the real problem is uncontrolled entitlement spending and a government that has grown massively. not just under this administration, under republican administration. >> reporter: experts warn of serious damage to the economy if the standoff drags on. >> if three or four weeks from now they're making no progress at all, you're going to see the
anxiety and the nervousness growing both in the markets and in corporate boardrooms. it's going to be a rough two months for the u.s. economy. >> reporter: and lester, as the clock ticks with the two sides still at odds, they'll try to take the first steps towards common ground on friday here at the white house when the president hosts the entire congressional leadership. >> mick viqueira, thank you. tomorrow marks two weeks since sandy roared ashore here in the northeast, wiping out homes, leaving families with nowhere to go as they try to even think about how to pick up the pieces. a housing crisis that has the feds scrambling to help them. nbc's michelle frandsen is in staten island with more on that. good evening. >> reporter: good evening. this distribution center is the hub for this darkened neighborhood on staten island where people can come and get a hot meal and also much needed supplies. tonight, more than 120,000 homes and businesses in new york, new jersey and connecticut are still without power two weeks after sandy hit, and thousands of
others displaced and in search and in need of housing. patrice sotomayor has spent the day clearing out her staten island home. >> the water came up to here. >> reporter: since sandy hit, she has stayed with friends. but with her flooded home now gutted, patrice worries about finding a new home. >> i'm taking it a day at a time. i can't even think long term. >> reporter: today homeland security secretary janet napolitano returned to staten island for the second time since sandy struck. >> we know we have more to do. this is going to be here for the long term. and we are here for the long term as well. >> reporter: one of the biggest needs and questions, where to house the thousands of displaced residents. more than 4,800 displaced residents in new york, new jersey and connecticut are still in shelters tonight. fema is helping pay for temporary housing and says more than 369,000 have applied for individual assistance. and fema has approved more than
$455 million of assistance so far. meanwhile, organizations like new york-based architecture for humanity which has helped rebuild communities in haiti and new orleans say the long-term needs for sandy victims are just as great. >> what we've noticed is that there are pockets that are very similar to some of the hardest-hit areas after katrina. >> reporter: the company plans to help rebuild seaside heights, still closed off to residents. back in staten island, patrice says she doesn't know what's next, but she does know what she needs. >> i need some place to stay permanently. that i can afford to pay once fema help ends. >> reporter: and this is a community-based center run by volunteers. also fema has set up 55 centers throughout the hardest-hit areas of staten island. >> michelle frandsen, thank you. meanwhile, the red cross says it's received $117 million in donations to help victims of sandy. and tells us that so far its response has been near flawless.
but that's not what we heard in some hard-hit areas of new york city where storm victims claim the country's preeminent disaster relief organization has been missing in action. here's nbc's senior investigative correspondent lisa myers. >> reporter: two weeks after sandy hit, residents of breezy point, new york, still wonder if more help will ever arrive. >> we haven't seen red cross at all. red cross hasn't offered any assistance up until yesterday. >> reporter: carrie lynn allen says she's donated to the red cross before and is very disappointed. >> they take people's hardworking money to assist people. and then when push comes to shove, they don't assist. >> reporter: her neighbors also wonder what happened. >> the red cross, you know, they're normally a wonderful organization, and it's just that they're not here. >> reporter: ann marie willis coordinates volunteers in the community and rates the red cross performance here poor. >> they need help with
everything from housing to just hold them, say you're going to be okay. you'll get through this. we need everything. and i know the red cross has it. >> reporter: even in areas with a greater red cross presence like brooklyn, there is criticism. >> they were all saying "too late. way too late. we needed help back then, and now people are sick and people are in trouble." >> reporter: red cross ceo gail mcgovern defends what she calls a massive relief effort. 5,700 volunteers, hundreds of emergency vehicles serving 4.8 million meals and snacks, shelters, clothing, health services. so what grade would you give the red cross so far? >> i think that we are near flawless so far in this operation. i'm just so proud of everything that we are doing on the ground. it is incredible. >> one truck offers sandwiches with a blowhorn? it's disgusting. >> reporter: the red cross also
has drawn fire in the past. it was accused of a chaotic and uneven response to katrina. and of being too slow to spend money in haiti. as for sandy, mcgovern says this storm poses unique challenges. the first cold weather hurricane. victims stacked in high-rises. a storm area the size of europe. the red cross promises that 91 cents of every dollar donated will be used to help victims of this storm. mcgovern says she hears the cries for help and is moving as quickly as possible to get as many resources as possible to the hardest-hit areas. lester? >> please sa meyers, lisa myers. ors are trying to figure out what caused an explosion. the explosion sparked a huge fire, flames shooting into the night sky that damaged or destroyed about three dozen homes. and take a look at the scene in denver. a southwest airlines 737 slid
off a snowy taxiway last night during a snowstorm. the jet came to a stop in the grass. none of the 130 passengers or crew members was hurt. still ahead as "nbc nightly news" continues, the new fallout tonight as one of the most trusted broadcast institutions in the world is now described as being in a near meltdown. millions of tv viewers in shock. and later, we are there for the emotional reunions. families and the pets some worried they'd never see again. okay, now here's our holiday gift list.
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was accused of having a long history of child sex abuse, the top official resigned this weekend. we get the latest from nbc's keir simmons in london. >> reporter: it is a british institution described today as in near meltdown. >> the terrible crisis which is entirely self-inflicted. >> reporter: the bbc, watched and trusted by millions, now overwhelmed by scandal, leading to the resignation this weekend of its director general after just 54 days on the job. a broken broadcaster, its leaders admitted today. >> if you're saying, does the bbc need a thorough structural radical overhaul, then absolutely it does. >> tonight, historical allegations -- >> reporter: for a week the bbc wrongly implicated a senior politician in child sex abuse claims. other networks made the same mistake. but for the bbc, it followed the decision to kill an investigation by the program "newsnight" of an alleged child abuser in its own ranks. for decades, one of the bbc's
star hosts. >> it really is one of the most serious crises the bbc has ever faced. >> reporter: there are continuing questions as well about the man who entered a few months ago was the bbc's director general and editor in chief, mark thompson. tomorrow is he scheduled to become the ceo of "the new york times." in a statement, thompson said, "during my time, i never heard any allegations about jimmy." but nbc has spoken to one journalist who says he informed thompson's personal assistant about the claims. >> i absolutely said that. i always felt it extraordinary that no senior people within the bbc, including mark thompson as director general, ever addressed this issue. >> reporter: the bbc disputes his claim, but admits in the report it did call thompson's office. they've seen public trust stop and his successors step down. now some predict more of thompson's former colleagues may have to resign before this is
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in the middle of all the loss and suffering from hurricane sandy, tonight we take a look at another part of the story that's gotten less attention. the plight of all the animals that became separated from their owners when the big storm hit. nbc's jill rappaport has that story. >> reporter: survivors of hurricane sandy are holding on to whatever they can find. >> everything is gone. everything. >> reporter: all you have left is what's on your back? >> on my back. >> reporter: and by your side.
despite losing their homes and belongings, these people feel lucky. >> she's my heart. >> reporter: she's your heart and soul. >> yes. >> reporter: as sandy approa approached, officials in the northeast told residents to evacuate. >> don't leave your pet at home because you don't know when you can get back. >> reporter: but some didn't heed the warnings. >> most people did not think they were going to be gone for this long. they thought they would be back within three days. so they're heartbroken. >> reporter: animal rescue teams spent days scouring the hardest-hit areas, rescuing thousands of animals. >> my cat. >> reporter: in new jersey about 200 pets are in a temporary shelter run by the humane society of the united states. many animals here are accounted for. but since not all evacuation shelters allow pets, it may be some time before their owners can reclaim them. >> we're going to reunite you in a second. >> reporter: some are waiting patiently. >> daddy missed you so much. my baby boy. >> reporter: others a little less patiently.
then there are the four-legged survivors without owners. like max who survived after a tree fell on him. tragically, that tree killed his owner and her friend. >> we didn't think he was going to make it for the first 48 hours. and then his strength and his will to live just really, really shone through, and now he's going to bring some comfort and joy to the parents who have really lost everything. >> reporter: the aspca is helping this group of displaced new yorkers and their pets move to an animal-friendly shelter. >> not having your pet here would be like not having a family member here. >> we love these guys and each other. >> reporter: happy reunions after a harrowing ordeal. as people count their blessings in the midst of devastation and loss. jill rappaport, nbc news, new york. the producers of "skyfall," the latest james bond movie, might want to rename it
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it was on this date, the 11th day of the 11th month 94 years ago, an armistice was signed drawing world war i to a close. sadly, it would not prove to be the war to end all wars. and so with members of the u.s. military serving here at home and overseas, many in conflict, today on this veterans day, we celebrated and honored those who have worn this nation's uniforms and preserved our freedom. ♪ aim, fire! >> each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause as a nation and as a people to pay tribute to you, the heroes over
the generations who have served this country of ours with distinction. [ playing "taps" ] ♪ >> we have to remember who fought for our country and who gave us our independence and our freedom. it's our veterans. >> we lose sight of what has been paid as far as the price for our patriotism, then we're lost. ♪ >> i believe in what they do for our country. and support our freedom and defend our country so that we can live free. >> in this country, we take care of our own. especially our veterans who have served us so bravely and sacrificed so selflessly in our nation. >> welcome home, daddy. >> thank you, buddy. >> we carry on, knowing that our best days always lie ahead.
>> americans expressing gratitude for our veterans on this november 11th. one final note here, earlier in this broadcast we showed a picture of several people including a woman named jill kelley. while showing the photo, we inadvertently zoomed into the portion of the picture which showed kelley's sister on the left. to clear up any confusion, jill kelley is the woman second from the right. and we apologize. that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. brian williams will be here tomorrow. i'm lester hou eer holt reporti new york. for all of us here at nbc news, good night.