tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS February 25, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
>> pelley: tonight bumper-to-bumper storms, chain-reaction collisions. three americans are busted for allegedly planning to join isis and attack the u.s. cbs news finds thousands of veterans' pleas for help go unanswered at the v.a. >> why would you suddenly after all these years send a letter to a dead man? >> pelley: and the search for long-forgotten history leads to an eyewitness. >> he just impressed me as a man of great passion. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: well, the hits just keep coming. with storm after storm this scene in maine today was all too familiar, a pile-up on an icy
interstate. less familiar is the winter the south is having. in shreveport, there was a rare chance to make a louisiana snowman. snow, sleet and freezing rain are falling from texas to the carolinas to virginia. a blast of arctic air will freeze the night in the north. here's jericka duncan. >> reporter: blizzard conditions in et that, maine triggered this 40-car pile-up along i-95, leaving a mangled trail of vehicles and injuring at least a dozen people. >> just as i came to a stop, a woman came around and slid in front of me, and an 18-wheeler went flying by us on the inside and slammed into all those cars that were stopped and then people started piling into the back of me. >> reporter: it's the coldest february on record in many parts of the northeast. harrisburg pennsylvania, hartford, connecticut, worcester, massachusetts, and rochester, new york, all broke records. it hasn't been this cold in rochester in 144 years.
those low temperatures are helping this man-made fountain in nearby letchworth state park reach enormous heights. it's attracting thousands many traveling long distances and going to great lengths to take photos at the fountain. >> i have never seen anything like it. >> reporter: christopher kirkwood used a drone to get a bird's-eye view of the water shooting out. >> it's really interesting. it's definitely pretty cool here. >> reporter: park manager roland beck keeps track of the fountain's height. he says it's grown three feet since last week and now stands 53 feet tall. have you ever seen the fountain this tall? >> i've been here 11 years at letchworth and the fountain this year is very high, and it's probably the highest i've seen it. it's quite slar. -- spectacular. >> reporter: park managers say with these low temperatures, this frozen fountain could grow another ten feet before the end of winter. scott, they also say they expect this to be around until may. >> pelley: looks like an ice
volcano. jericka, thanks very much. late today three foreign-born residents of brooklyn, new york, appeared in federal courtrooms and were ordered held without bail after their arrest on terrorism charges. they're accused of conspiring to provide material support to isis. here's our homeland security correspondent jeff pegues. >> reporter: the f.b.i. made one of the arrests this morning at john f. kennedy international airport, as akhror saidakimetov was preparing to fly from new york to turkey. according to court documents he and abdurasul juraboev wanted to join isis, and if they couldn't get to syria the back-up plan was an attack on american soil. saidakimetov allegedly told an f.b.i. informangtdly" just go and buy machine gun ak-47, go out and shoot all the police. then we will go to the f.b.i. headquarters and kill the f.b.i. people." juraboev came to the attention of the f.b.i. last august when he posted a threat to the president on a militant web
site. "what i'm saying is to shoot obama. that will strike fear in the hearts of infidels." u.s. intelligence estimates more than 150 americans have traveled to or tried to reach syria and iraq to join the fight. 22-year-old moner abu salha, a palestinian-american from florida, is among them. he recorded this so-called martyrdom video before becoming a suicide bomber in syria. >> we're coming and we'll dominate over you. >> reporter: here in u.s., there are investigations into home-grown violent extreme itselfs in all 50 states. just this month alaska was added to the list. f.b.i. director james comey says through social media isis is encouraging followers to act. >> if you can't come, kill somebody where you are. that's a message that goes out to troubled souls everywhere. >> reporter: and we have photograph of a third man arrested. he's been identified as
abravov habavov, a self-known repairmen who helped the other two men buy their tickets to turkey. scott, it's not clear how much of what the suspects were plotting here in the u.s. was just talk. >> pelley: jeff pegues in the washington newsroom tonight. jeff, thanks. tonight a cbs news investigation has found that claims for v.a. benefits filed by thousands of veterans have gone unanswered for years in some cases until it was much too late. here's wyatt andrews. >> why did they take ten years to send me a letter? >> reporter: dorrie stafford says this letter shows how badly the v.a.'s claim system is broken. it's dated july 29, 2014, thanking dorrie's husband wayne an army veteran for the disability claim he filed ten years before in 2004. but wayne died in an accident seven years ago. does this upset you? >> it upsets me. why would you suddenly after all
these years send a letter to a dead man? >> reporter: five current and former employees tell us that wayne stafford's claim went to the oakland california, veterans' benefits office and was stuffed in a file cabinet and ignored along with some 15,000 informal claims sent by veterans between 1996 and 20 09d. informal claims tend to be letters from veterans asking for help, and by law the veteran is owed an immediate response. >> we were getting letters from elderly veterans and for widows. >> reporter: rusty ann brown worked at the oakland office and was part of a team assigned to process the claims in 2012. most of the claims, she says, were for agent orange or ptsd. 13,184 veterans who were waiting for an answer. >> begging for help. i mean you have to understand a lot of these letters it wasn't just, this is what i'm claiming. it was oh, my gosh, please help
me. i have nobody else. >> reporter: then brown learned that thousands of the vets had died while waiting. >> half of the veterans were dead that i screened. so almost every other piece of paper that i touched was a veteran who had already passed away. >> reporter: current and former oakland v.a. employees confirm her account. they told us that oakland supervisors ordered the team to label most of the claims "no action necessary." >> we pulled 15 indiscriminately to look at, just 15. eight of them were owed money. one was owed $36,000. they took them, they put them in a file and they stuffed them away. >> reporter: they wanted you to basically put it aside hide this claim. >> absolutely. >> reporter: brown, along with former oakland employee tony silveria, say that claims are being ignored because of intense pressure on supervisors to
reduce the disability backlog. >> it's all about the numbers. numbers had to look good. >> reporter: so when they hid all of these thousands of claim that was not in the backlog? >> oh, no. >> . >> reporter: they took the claims out of the backlog? >> they were never part of the backlog. >> no, sir. >> reporter: the v.a. declined our request for an interview on camera. it answered our questions by e-mail, saying the v.a.'s brand-new electronic system has transformed mail management for compensation claim minimizing any risk of delays due to lost or misplaced mail. have they already been answered? >> yeah, they owed him an answer. >> reporter: the loss of just one claim hurts both the veteran and their surviving family. dorrie stafford lives in the mountains of northern california in a home with no electricity. >> i wasn't even aware there was widow benefits. i really wasn't. >> reporter: even if it was a modest pension. >> a modest pension. say $400 a month it would so help. >> reporter: the v.a. says it
has reduced that disability backlog by 60% and by all accounts there has been progress, but, scott the outside experts from the veterans service groups to the inspector general now say they don't trust the v.a.'s numbers anymore because of all the files that have been concealed or are just not counted at all. >> pelley: wyatt andrews working with cbs producer jennifer janis. thank you. it took the american sniper jury about the same time to reach a verdict as it takes theatergoers to watch a movie. the jurors rejected eddie ray routh's insanity defense and late last night convicted him of murdering former navy seal chris kyle and kyle's friend chad littlefield. here's manuel bojorquez. >> reporter: while eddie routh showed no emotion after the guilty verdict chris kyle's brother and parents embraced. chad littlefield's mother judy spoke outside the courthouse. >> we waited two years for god to get justice for us on behalf of our son and as always god
has proved to be faithful. >> reporter: a restriction on audio from court proceedings has been lifted, allowing insight into key testimony. the prosecution opened with kyle's widow taya, who spoke about the last time she saw him alive. >> we said we loved each other and kissed and hugged like we always did. >> reporter: kyle, who is portrayed in the film "american sniper" -- >> she's carrying something. >> reporter: -- was with chad littlefield at a texas shooting range with routh when he turned his gun on them. jurors did not believe routh's insanity defense and statements like this made on the night of his arrest. >> i don't know pi was insane or i don't know if i was sane. >> reporter: they were persuaded he knew what he did was wrong by evidence like this, dash cam video of routh leading police on a high-speed chase after the murders. and a confession where he was
asked the question the case hinged on, whether he knew right from wrong. >> [inaudible]. >>. >> reporter: shay isham was one of routh's defense attorneys. is it almost impossible to prove insanity? >> someone used the analogy it's like throwing a dart over your house in the backyard and trying to hit a postage stamp in the front yard. >> reporter: routh's attorneys plan to appeal. they believe the trial should have been moved out of the county because of pre-trial publicity. >> pelley: manuel, thanks. one day after southwest airlines grounded 128 plane one-fifth of its fleet, for missing inspection, the f.a.a. has now cleared the planes to fly before they're inspected. chip reid is following. this. >> reporter: the planes were grounded after southwest airlines says it inadvertently missed the periodic deadline for inspecting the system that backs up the hydraulic rudder.
the equipment allows pilots to steer if the main system fails. nearly 100 flights were canceled, leaving some passengers angry. >> that's something that shouldn't be overlooked. it's just negligence. >> reporter: but the f.a.a. has now allowed the planes the fly while inspections continue over next five days. in a statement the f.a.a. said it had level waited the risk -- it had evaluated the risk and agreed the airline could continue to operate the planes during the short interim. it's not first time southwest has made headlines over safety and inspections. last summer the f.a.a. proposed a $12 million fine due to the airline's alleged failure to comply with regulations on aircraft repairs. in 2011, the f.a.a. ordered inspections of dozens of older southwest planes after a five-foot hole opened on one plane mid-flight. and in 2009, southwest was fined $7.5 million for failing to inspect planes for cracks in the fuselage. in a statement today southwest said, "the safety of customers
and employees remains our highest priority, and we are working quickly to resolve the situation." it should be noted scott that southwest airlines has been in business for almost 50 years and in that time, only one person has died in an accident. >> pelley: chip reid. thank you very much, chip. hillary clinton has a new strategy for winning. and did a hit song blur the line between creativity and theft? have a listen when the "cbs evening news" continues. at's coming down let's get some rocks, man. health can change in a minute. so cvs health is changing healthcare. making it more accessible and affordable with walk-in medical care, no appointments needed and most insurance accepted. minuteclinic. another innovation from cvs health. because health is everything.
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>> pelley: if hillary clinton has a shot at becoming the first woman president, she'll need women voters. and we're beginning to see how she hopes to do it. she spoke yesterday to women in technology in silicon valley, and we have more now from nancy cordes. >> hello! wow. what an amazing crowd. >> reporter: the new tone was not hard to spot. clinton took the stage to the strains of "i'm every woman" and opened up about sexism, about being a grandmother and about her own pregnancy in the late '70s. >> i was the first woman to be a partner in that law firm, and so nobody said anything to me, and i didn't say anything to them. i just kept getting bigger and bigger and bigger. [laughter] >> reporter: it's a big change from her first presidential bid when clinton downplayed her gender, until it was too late. >> we weren't able to shatter
that highest hardest glass ceiling this time. >> reporter: a second run clinton says, would be different. >> i still am going to learn from what i did right and what i didn't in thinking through doing this again. i think that the family issue putting family first creating more supportive work environment, because if you do that, what people find, i mean, is that women who get treated well are such loyal employees. >> reporter: the former secretary of state has reportedly been working with a marketing team to help refine her public image. judging by her remarks in california, she's been advised to show her softer side. >> i'd like to bring people from right, left, red blue, get them into a nice purple space where everybody is talking and where we're actually trying to solve problems and, you know, that would be my objective if i decide to do this. >> reporter: when she will
decide clinton did not divluge but, scott, sources tell us given the lack of competition on the democratic side, she could wait until the summer to announce she's running. >> pelley: "the purple space." nancy cordes, thanks very much. coming up, will it be the people's internet, or will big business rule the web? the fcc is about to decide. that i can fight psoriatic arthritis from the inside out... with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage and clear skin in many adults. doctors have been prescribing humira for nearly 10 years. >>humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers including lymphoma have happened, as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where
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should all americans including corporation, have equal access to the worldwide web? we asked don dahler to explain what's called "net neutrality." >> reporter: the fcc wants to prevent big users of the internet like netflix and social media sites from buying express lanes on the information super highway. althea erickson is the policy director at etsy, an online shopping site. what's at stake here? >> >> the internet is at stake. this will impact everyone's lives. the dechris the fcc makes will impact the internet and you and me and our parents and our families and our friends. >> reporter: millions of americans expressed concern on the fcc's web site. one big worry is large companies would be allowed to pay a fee for internet fast lanes smaller companies that couldn't afford the fees would have lower access to their sites. >> it's really hard to imagine a world where your cable company gets to decide which web sites load fastest.
i don't think many american consumers would want to put that trust in their cable company. >> reporter: the fcc is proposing a first reclassifying the internet as a public utility, like a phone company. that would ensure everyone continues to get equal access. former fcc chairman robert mcdowell doesn't like the idea. >> without rules, the internet works beautifully without the help of government. what is really broken that needs fixing? >> reporter: it will take a majority vote to pass the rule. scott, if passed, opponents are expected. >> pelley: we'll follow up tomorrow. robin thicke's hit "blurred lines" is at the heart of a federal lawsuit in los angeles. the late marvin gaye's family calls it a ripoff of his 1977 hit "got to give it up." is it? have a listen. first marvin gaye. ♪ ♪
♪ hey hey hey hey, hey hey ♪ >> pelley: the trial over those tunes is expected to last two weeks. we'll be right back. your eyes depend on a unique set of nutrients. that's why there's ocuvite. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite has a unique formula that's just not found in any leading multivitamin. help protect your eye health with ocuvite.
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>> pelley: it was 50 years ago this month that malcolm x was assassinated. there's a story about the black activist that might have been lost to history were it not for a student who came upon it by accident. tonight he shares that story with jim axelrod. >> reporter: ever since malcolm x was killed, every detail of his life has been scoured, at least that's what malcolm burnley thought until as a senior at brown university, he discovered a story about a campus visit. >> i was reading his autobiography. it was a really big moment in my adolescence. report now all of a sudden, wait a minute, he was on my college campus and you didn't know about it. >> i didn't know about it and no one knew about it. >> reporter: burnley had come across a 1961 article in the "brown daily herald" written by a student of katharine pierce
who argued that integration was the key to progress. malcolm x read the article and came to brown to push back. >> my instinct was to find her phone number, hope she was still alive and see if she remembered everything. >> burnley named in part for malcolm x tracked down pierce and she remembered it all. >> he did not detract from his central thesis, segregation is better than separation. >> brilliant speak center >> brilliant speaker. >> she had a tape. >> and the words of the man himself. >> we will follow the honorable elijah mohammed, absolutely reject integration because we feel that it's hypocritical and that it takes too long. >> reporter: the idea that somebody like malcolm x could come across the criticism in a student paper and say i want to
go there, would that happen today? >> no, i mean, usually if it was a battle it would happen on twitter if anything. >> to ms. pierce and to "the brown daily herald"... >> reporter: did he change your mind? >> oh, no, no, no. in fact, malcolm x would change his, moving closer to pierce's belief in integration before he died four years after he traveled to brown. >> it was almost giddy being in the midst of something potentially interesting historically. >> reporter: time has not eroded malcolm x's place in history, nor in her story either. jim axelrod, cbs news, providence, rhode island. >> >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
e! re-airs giuliana rancic's offensive comments about zendaya on "fashion police." >> will co-host kelly osborne really quit the show? >> i'm talking to her mom, what there without joan rivers? ♪ >> she smells like weed. >> people are offended. >> what's going on with kelly? >> kelly was really upset. >> why her first apology asn't enough. >> and what zendaya says today. >> then will and jada get candid with us about their marriage. >> plus music news, madonna talking about what caused hysteria and paranoia in her camp. >> i didn't sleep for weeks. >> as new mom kelly clarkson learns photo shoots will never be the same. >> smashed banana. >> also tonight are honey boo-boo and mama june making