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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  January 7, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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tomorrow night. even a few rain drops make me happy. >> i hope it arrives. >> beautiful shot. see you at 6:00. >> good night. on our broadcast tonight, america on ice. the coldest day in decades leaves much of the country in the grip of unusual cold. behind the scenes. a blistering critique from former defense secretary bob gates. tonight what he's revealing about president obama, congress, the war, and what was really going on. drinking too much. a sobering new look at americans and alcohol and the number of people whoo too far. and mystery solved. the small group of everyday americans hiding an incredible secret for decades. tonight the crime they've admitted to would change things for good. also, the biggest name on the u.s. olympic team is out, right before the games begin. "nightly news" begins now.
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good evening. today it was below freezing, at least somewhere in each of the 50 states. that doesn't happen often, and yes, even hawaii where it was 25 this morning near the summit of a volcano. in new york, it hasn't been this cold since 1896. in cleveland, you'd have to go back to 1884. in asheville, north carolina, the old record was set in 1879. again tonight it's not just the 25 below zero temperatures in minnesota making news, it's the dangerous cold in the deep, deep south making news, like 6 degrees in atlanta, georgia. it's been record shattering cold, straining power grids, cancelling thousands of flights and forcing people to find warmth. we have it covered again with kevin tibbles in chicago. kevin, good evening. >> reporter: brian, it is day two here in chiberia. and across the frozen chicago river behind me, and across most
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of this nation, this arctic grip is not letting go. sub-zero, bone chilling wind whipping cold. stomping down on much of the lower 48 for another frigid day. from the air, chicago blanketed in arctic splendor. on the ground, javier pushed through his first day as a courier in the windy city. >> you can't play with this weather. you'll literally die. >> reporter: just one of tens of thousands braving the elements to make a living. even keeping others warm. >> i'm going to be here all day. i have to provide a city with electric. >> reporter: black ice in minnesota got the best of this car, toppling off a bridge. the driver escaped without serious injury. still, there have been dozens of wrecks across the country, and officials are urging folks to take it easy out there. hundreds of truckers are stranded in indiana, forced off highways, too dangerous to navigate. aaa facing a tsunami of calls. today the job was breathing new
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life into frozen engines. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> airports not faring any better. thousands of delays and cancellations, de-icing the order of the day. arriving passengers at washington's reagan national this afternoon found baggage claim to be a soggy business. a burst pipe released hundreds of gallons of water, flooding the american airlines claim area. even in toronto, canada, used to the cold, the airport was shut down completely, stranding thousands with mountains of luggage and lots of frustration. hundreds of amtrak passengers were bussed to chicago. after spending the night aboard a train stuck some 80 miles from the station. >> it was safer to leave passengers on the train with full hotel systems instead of trying to transfer people through a trench in the snow at minus 5 temperatures. >> reporter: even down south as the sun came up in atlanta, the temperature didn't. in the sunshine state, people bundled up, donning their northern gear. and the cold helped nab a
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fugitive in kentucky, as escaped inmate robert vick turned himself in. too cold on the lam. and this picture of hell, michigan, says it all. yes, it's frozen over. good news tonight for parents, if not for kids, gradually warming temperatures means that schools will be open here in chicago, and many other places tomorrow. as for jetblue airlines that grounded all its flights in the northeast yesterday, those planes were back in the air today. brian? >> a cold kevin tibbles along the cold chicago river to start us off tonight. kevin, thanks again. al roker is at the map again in the studio with the forecast and a status report on all of this. al? >> the good news is we are seeing the worst of it. it's just about over. 24 hours ago, temperatures were 24 degrees warmer in caribou. 14 crease warmer in washington, d.c. the polar vortex is finally
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starting to break its grip. so we have one more dangerous morning of bone-chilling temperatures and windchills in the upper great lakes. you can see chicago, it will warm up. it will feel like only 13 below. only 2 below in columbus. new york city minus 8 below. no windchill in washington, d.c. and as we head to the south, you can see temperatures not so bad. it will feel like 17 in atlanta. 20 as you make your way into further parts of the south. but the good news is that arctic air will be retreating. the polar vortex moves away. and so we get more of a zonal flow by friday. 39, cleveland. d.c., 45. atlanta, 47. and on saturday, look at this. near 60 in washington. 55, new york city. temperatures actually a little warmer than what they should be at this time. chicago is a veritable heatwave, bri, a temperature of 37 degrees. >> al roker, thank you for being with us again tonight. a fatal avalanche in vail,
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colorado. we get a report from joel fryer. >> reporter: an avalanche outside the vail ski area swept up four people. one was killed, the others were injured and had to be rescued from the mountain. just two weeks ago the scene of this avalanche. a moving mound of snow buried edwin, burying everything but his head and left arm. he was rescued by his younger brother jack, escaping with torn ligaments. were you afraid for your life? >> when i was deep under the snow before it stopped completely, i was really worried i was going to be buried completely and suffocate to death. >> reporter: the avalanche danger is high right now throughout much of the western united states. snowstorms have stacked new layers of heavy snow atop old layers of weak snow. so far this season, avalanches have claimed five lives. a snowmobiler died last week when he was buried beneath 5 feet of snow near eaglehead
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mountain in mountain. last season 24 people were killed by avalanches. nearly all of them in the western part of the u.s. experts hope back country skiers pay close attention to avalanche forecasts and carry the proper equipment so this year's numbers are lower. joe frier, nbc news, los angeles. more breaking news tonight from overseas. four american airmen presumed dead after a specially equipped u.s. air force black hawk helicopter crashed along the coast of england. defense officials say the chopper was on a training mission when it went down. no word yet on a cause or the identities of those on board. and a story that broke late today in washington. robert gates, a republican former cia chief and defense secretary who president obama held over from the bush white house has just landed a devastating critique of the current president's national security policies. this is making news in washington and beyond tonight. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in
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our d.c. newsroom tonight with more on this. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. sources who have read bob gates' book titled "duty" have confirmed the accounts in three major newspapers tonight, and it is causing heartburn in the white house. when bob gates left the obama cabinet, he surprised him with the medal of freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. >> you're not only one of the longest serving secretaries of defense in american history, but it is also clear that you have been one of the best. >> i'm deeply honored and moved. >> reporter: but in his sensational new memoir, gates excoriates the president, joe biden, and former national security adviser tom donilon for their handling of the war in afghanistan and the military. gates says suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior white house officials, including the president and vice president became a big problem for me. after a march 2010 national security council meeting gates writes, i thought the president doesn't trust his commander,
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can't stand karzai, doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. for him, it's all about getting out. this although gates had told matt lauer about the war -- >> i think we're all on the same page. >> reporter: but in his book, gates accuses biden of poisoning the well against the military leadership, and cites donilon and his national security team for, quote, aggressive, suspicious, and sometimes condescending and insulting questioning of our military leaders. and while praising hillary clinton, gates expresses dismay at hearing clinton tell the president she only opposed the iraq war because she was running against him in the iowa caucuses. gates writes the president in turn conceded his opposition to the iraq surge was political. still, despite his unusually harsh criticism of obama, gates calls the president's approval of the raid against osama bin laden one of the most courageous decisions i had ever witnessed in the white house. but the gates' book is arming
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critics of obama's iraq strategy as well. >> 90 some young americans died in fallujah, 600 were wounded. now we see people driving around with black al qaeda flags, that's so sad. what do we tell their families? >> the white house says that the president deeply appreciates bob gates' service, welcomes differences of view, but disagrees with his assessment, in particular, though, joe biden has been one of the leading statesmen of his time, and the president relies on his good counsel every day. brian? >> andrea mitchell in our washington newsroom tonight. andrea, thanks. the lid has just been blown off a high profile crime that went uninvolved. and, in fact, the case was closed a long time ago. now, some of those involved in a break-in at an fbi field office are coming out of the shadows. the story tonight from our justice correspondent pete williams. >> reporter: bonnie raines spent years developing child care centers, john raines, retired university professor, keith forsyth engineer and teacher. all hiding a secret for more than four decades.
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the parts they played at a daring break-in at an fbi office outside philadelphia. stealing thousands of files that exposed fbi dirty tricks against the anti-war and civil rights movements. >> we called ourselves the citizens commission to investigate the fbi. we were going to investigate the investigators. >> reporter: they tell their stories in a new book by former "washington post" reporter betty medicine -- medsger, who wrote some of the first accounts of the documents they stole. >> these files opened the door into the secrets of the fbi. >> reporter: and they tell nbc's michael isikoff how they did it. bonnie raines got a look inside the fbi office by posing as a college student working on a paper. careful to leave no trace behind while meeting the agent in charge. >> what he didn't notice during the whole interview, was that i never took my gloves off. >> keith forsyth quietly picked the locks the night of the break under march 1971, but made a
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loud noise using a crowbar to pry open a dead bolt. >> my heart was racing, i know i stopped and just literally held my breath to see if i could hear any sounds. >> reporter: john raines drove a getaway car. >> i was sitting by myself in the station wagon at night, and i was getting very, very scared. >> reporter: the stolen documents forced fbi director j. edgar hoover to end the abuses, and led nbc's carl stern to expose even more fbi secrets. >> forged blackmail letters and threats of violence were used to try to stop anti-war marches. >> reporter: the time when the burglars could be prosecuted has long passed. but why come forward now? >> it would seem like if you said no, that you were somehow ashamed of it, which i'm definitely not. i'm proud of it. >> pete williams, nbc news, washington. still ahead for us tonight, the story from health news about binge drinking. there's an eye opening new look at just how many americans are keeping a major secret. and later, u.s. hopes go downhill with the crushing news that arrived today about lindsey vonn. that arrived today about lynsay
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i'm a believer. as we said earlier, our health news tonight has to do with drinking. a new report from the centers for disease control about how many millions of americans drink too much. and how rarely their doctors ever talk about it with them. we get our report from our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman. >> reporter: journalist gabrielle glazer admits she used to unwind every night with two or even three glasses of wine. you just knew you were going down a road you didn't like? >> yeah, i was going down a road that was rendering me less effective in the evening. >> reporter: she managed to cut back on her own, and then wrote a book about women and their relationship with alcohol, called "her best kept secret." a new report from the centers for disease control says too many americans are able to keep that secret because their doctors simply don't ask about their drinking habits. >> cheers! >> reporter: at least 38 million people in the united states drink too much and most are not alcoholics.
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yet three out of four binge drinkers say their doctors never discussed alcohol with them. binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men within a two to three hour window. cdc guidelines encourage moderation. no more than two drinks a day for men, no more than one drink a day for women. never during pregnancy and never by anyone under the age of 21. so what is a drink? five ounces of wine a day, 12 ounces of beer a day, and no more than 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor a day. the report is a call to action, directing health care professionals to have this conversation with their patients. because if they don't ask, patients won't tell. >> it doesn't have to take more than five, ten, or at most 15 minutes. what's remarkable is that brief interview can result in a substantial reduction of problem drinking for a long period of time. >> these conversations are
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crucial because drinking too much can lead to heart disease, dementia, breast cancer, unintended pregnancy. all kinds of violence, domestic problems. you do not have to be an alcoholic to have a problem. that is the take home message, tonight, brian. >> thank you, doc. as always, dr. nancy snyderman here with us. we're back in a moment with a tough call by a tough young woman. a tough young woman.erni? ♪ like, really big... then expanded? ♪ or their new product tanked? ♪ or not? snyderman, thanks for being with ♪ imagine a company's future with the future of trading. company profile. a research tool on thinkorswim. from td ameritrade. i took medicine but i still have symptoms. [ sneeze ] [ male announcer ] truth is not all flu products treat all your symptoms.
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the biggest name on the u.s. winter olympic team is out, with less than a month to go now until the games begin in sochi, russia. lindsey vonn says she is devastated but has to skip the olympics to have knee surgery. our report tonight from nbc's chris jansing. >> reporter: it had all the makings of a legendary comeback story. lindsey vonn going for gold in sochi, just one year after a heart-stopping crash. >> and she is down. >> reporter: off the slopes for nearly seven months, recent signs have been promising. last month, she had an
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impressive fifth place finish in the super g. >> i'm just -- i'm happy to be back. >> reporter: but at her next race, just over two weeks to go in france, the surgically repaired knee she worked so hard to rehab, buckled. with boyfriend tiger woods in the crowd, vonn was visibly in pain. >> unfortunately my knee just gave out on me. i tried to make the turn but i just didn't have a chance. >> reporter: the anterior cruciate ligament that helps stabilize the knee wasn't just torn, it was gone. and today we learned so was her dream of an olympic comeback. in a statement, vonn said, i am devastated to announce i will not be able to compete in sochi, i did everything i possibly could to somehow get strong enough to overcome having no acl. but the reality has sunk in that my knee is just too unstable to compete at this level. >> she's certainly consulted with a lot of people on it. she knows her body, and the demands of her sport. and ultimately it was lindsey
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vonn who made the decision. >> reporter: vonn is famously fearless. even after crashing head first into a fence in november, she remained optimistic. >> there's still a lot of time before sochi, and things are going to turn around. >> reporter: she would have likely been the face of these games with glamorous looks and formidable talent. sponsors loved her. last year, forbes estimated she earned $3 million. >> please welcome lindsey vonn! >> reporter: her winning personality charmed late night talk show hosts from letterman to leno. >> lindsey is big, i mean, as big as it could possibly get in the world of professional olympic sports. what lindsey's absence is going to do is give an opportunity for somebody else to step up. >> reporter: but for vonn, another trip to the olympic podium will have to wait. chris jansing, nbc news. word arrived from the west coast today that larry mann has died. he's better known as the voice of a key character in an annual christmas television tradition. larry mann was the voice of
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yukon cornelius. >> didn't i ever tell you about bumbles? bumbles bounced. [ laughter ] >> the canadian born actor had small film roles in "the sting, and "in the heat of the night," and "bewitched" "and mcgyver", but mostly he was the great but fallible prospector and explorer in "rudolph the red nosed reindeer." larry mann was 91 years old. when we come back here tonight, the son of a hollywood legend who started out following in his father's footsteps until a life changing event inspired him to make a difference. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends.
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call today, and we'll make it easy to move that old 401(k) to a fidelity i.r.a. finally tonight as promised, our "making a difference report" finally tonight, as promised, our "making a difference report" about the son of a hollywood screen legend. unlike his father for most of his life, he stayed as far from the limelight as possible. choosing instead to make a difference for tens of thousands of veterans of america's wars. his story tonight from nbc's mike taibbi. >> reporter: steven peck started out following in the footsteps of his famous father, the great actor gregory peck. but the son had been to war. his war, vietnam. and when he came home and made a couple documentaries about veterans and their post war
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struggles to survive, he abandoned hollywood for this. >> we're focusing a lot of our energy these days on permanent housing. >> reporter: no glitz and glamour here, just long l.a. days with military vets who have all hit rock bottom. >> i have been living out of my car. >> my marriage dissolved. >> i couldn't get any work. >> reporter: all in this room and 11 u.s. vet service centers, have a chance to come back because of the role steven peck has filled for decades. >> what we try to do here is to get them to work together. get them to help each other. >> it's grown into a $35 million a year operation that houses 5,000 vets a night, and finds jobs for 85% of those who want one. one of gregory peck's lesser known rules was as captain neumann m.d., an army medic who was among the first to treat what later became known as post traumatic stress disorder, ptsd. >> you guys seem a bit depressed this morning. >> reporter: steven peck says when he quit the movie business,
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his dad, old captain neumann, was proud of him. >> he was very, very pleased that i was doing something that was so satisfying and helpful to other people. >> reporter: he does it as the head of a big organization now. not the guy scouring the streets for homeless vets. >> there's the boss, now. anything you want, you have to ask him right now, this is your window. >> reporter: but they are getting what they want. a bed, a job, a rediscovered future. >> if it wasn't for u.s. vets, i don't know where i would be right now. ♪ >> hollywood endings for veterans who thought they had reached the end of the line. mike taibbi nbc news, los angeles. and that's our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams, and, of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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for the past four years, i have been under surveillance by some department of the government of the united states. >> a glimpse inside the mind of an admitted child abductor. admitting how he attempted several kidnappings before he took a 7-year-old girl. i'm jessica. >> i'm raj mathai. he said what he did is a cryout for help. he adds he didn't harm the little girl.
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that seven-year-old girl is safe tonight and 43-year-old davis is locked up. jodi hernandez has the jail-house interview and jodi, chilling information how he was circling that neighborhood looking for the perfect victim. >> reporter: that's right, raj, he said he was close to kidnapping others not once, not twice but three other times before he found the seven-year-old victim. he talked very openly with us inside the jail this afternoon providing disturbing details of the kidnapping and what led up to it. >> it took a period of three days of repeated situations, repeated situations before me and me turning them down, trying them and saying no, that's too much, no, that's too extreme, that's too scary. >> reporter: he scanned this walmart parking lot looking for the perfect kidnapping victim coming close to snatching three others over several days

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