tv The Situation Room CNN December 30, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PST
russia. two deadly blasts in two days. could the winter olympics be next? i'll talk to a republican congressman who is afraid that security threats are being swept under the rug. plus, nsa hackers revealed. new revelations about an elite spy team that even plants bugs in computers before they are shipped to your door. and the nfl's black monday. we will take you inside the mass firing of pro football coaches and why they were sacked. wolf blitzer is off. i'm jim acosta. you're in "the situation room." a long-running battle between republicans in the white house is reigniting over the deadly attack on the u.s. diplomatic mission in benghazi, libya. some top gop lawmakers are challenging a new report that undercuts their claims about the attack and allegations of a cover-up by the administration. our foreign affairs correspondent jill dougherty is here. we are hearing angry push-back against this "new york times" report that really started as soon as that report came out. >> it did.
you know, it's the same repeat of the same debate that's been going on for more than a year over al qaeda and that anti-muslim video. top republican lawmakers insist al qaeda was behind the benghazi attack. >> there was aspiration to conduct an attack by al qaeda and their affiliates in libya. we know that. >> al qaeda is not decimated and there was a group there that was involved that is linked to al qaeda. >> reporter: but the "new york times" investigation shoots down the republican case, saying there is no evidence that al qaeda had any role in the attack on the american diplomatic compound in benghazi in which the ambassador chris stevens and three other americans died. instead, the "times" says local militias and looters were to blame and the state department monday agreed. >> at this point, we have no indications that core al qaeda which i think is what most people are referring to when they talk about quote, al qaeda, directed or planned what happened in benghazi. >> reporter: the newspaper also
says an anti-muslim video did play a role in motivating the attackers, at least in part. something republicans claim is untrue. but the attack it says was not a copycat of street protests in egypt against the video as then u.n. ambassador susan rice suggested on sunday talk shows. >> our current assessment is that what happened in benghazi was, in fact, initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in cairo. >> reporter: the obama white house isn't commenting on or disputing the "times" report which notably did not mention then secretary of state hillary clinton. >> what difference at this point does it make? >> reporter: but former white house national security spokesman blasted republican demands for a benghazi hearing and for their claims that the obama administration was lying. tweeting, they were wrong, and we could have avoided months of
disgusting demagoguery. will the truth about benghazi ever be known? >> it would really be tragic if we didn't understand really in a very full and transparent way what happened, both for not only this incident but for the safety and security of our diplomats around the world. >> why can't we understand that at this point? >> because at the moment, there's an awful lot of politics involved. >> the state department won't use the word vindicated but it obviously feels its position has been vindicated. republicans for their part still insist the obama administration lied to the american public. jim? >> thanks very much. now, more nsa secrets revealed about the brazen ways that government spies are getting information about their toughest targets, from hacking to actually intercepting computers when they are delivered. our brian todd is digging on this story. >> reporter: this group of nsa hackers is young, highly skilled and always coming up with head-spinning techniques to infiltrate computers. but the agency insists no americans inside the u.s. are targeted and these hackers are
needed to protect america. a typical error message from microsoft telling you of a bug in your computer. many of us get them all the time. for some users, that error message may be a way into their computer for an elite unit inside the nsa. >> this is nsa's hacking organization. it's 1,600 men and women, military and civilians, average age, mid 20s, maybe early 30s, so it's a very young, very tech-savvy organization. >> reporter: the unit's called tailored access operations or tao. new details of its activities are reported in the german magazine which cites internal nsa documents. the magazine says some of the hackers are based in this building in san antonio. aside from getting into a computer through an error message, the magazine says tao hackers can access so-called cookies, the tags that pop up showing a computer's favorite websites, and they can redirect users to a dummy page on a site
like linkedin or facebook. it looks like a real page but is a fake one controlled by the nsa. >> this is a dummy facebook page. when you go there, what does the nsa want to find out? >> one would be to simply intercept and sniff your traffic. for example, i would be logging into this page and they would be able to see now they have my user name and password. but in this particular scenario, what they really want to do is infect my machine. >> reporter: the unit doesn't do just remote hacking. according to the magazine, tao operatives physically intercept some computers being delivered to plant spyware and plant their own monitor cables and usb plugs into targeted computers to collect data. an nsa official told "60 minutes" the agency was concerned enough about the connecting cables on edward snowden's computers that it removed those cables after he leaked nsa documents. according to the german magazine, this nsa hacking unit targets potential terrorists,
foreign security agencies and corporations. >> from an eavesdropping perspective, this is a gold mine. if i can own your computer, if i can gain access to it and gain a foothold into it, now i have access to all of your secrets. >> we contacted the nsa for response to the report. in a statement, the agency said quote, tailored access operations is a unique national asset that is on the front lines of enabling nsa to defend the nation and its allies. tao's work is in support of foreign intelligence collection. that means they are saying that americans inside the u.s. are not targeted by this. >> still, more important questions being asked about what is going on over at the nsa. brian todd, thank you very much. coming up next, a second deadly bombing in russia and growing fears about a terror attack at the upcoming olympics. i'll talk to a republican congressman who fears the winter games could be like the boston marathon bombings, or worse. and new information about the gunman in the colorado shooting at that school earlier this year and the surprising
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the united states now is offering to help russia tighten security at the upcoming olympics after two deadly bombings in two days. an explosion tore through a trolley bus in volgograd this morning. at least 31 people were killed in the two attacks. now serious concerns are being raised about security at the winter games in sochi, russia that begins in less than six weeks. joined now by republican congressman michael grimm of new york. thanks for joining us. i want to get to a statement that you issued in light of these attacks. let's put it up on screen. it says each time we fail to recognize these threats, we not only risk the lives of innocent
americans but appear weaker and vulnerable in the eyes of the enemy. in doing so we allow the terrorists to become emboldened and continue their reign of terror throughout the world. are you trying to say that we should have anticipated these attacks? what did you mean by that? >> no, actually i was referring to benghazi. what we have right now is much bigger than the united states' problem as evidenced by the latest bombing in russia. this is a global problem and to defeat terrorism, we have to have cooperation and coordination throughout the world. but if we do not, if we are not honest with the american people and we put out information that is not accurate, how are these other countries going to be able to rely and depend on us and cooperate with us? i think it's much bigger than just that statement. it really goes to the heart of how do you combat a global problem like terrorism if we can't honestly and sincerely discuss the issues of our own breaches in security such as
benghazi. >> is the administration not being honest about the threat to athletes in sochi? is that what you're saying as well? >> no. >> we'll get to benghazi in a moment. what about what happened in russia? >> there's no question there are vulnerabilities there. as these bombings evidence, if someone is willing to give their life like a suicide bomber, it is extremely difficult to protect from that outside a certain perimeter. within a certain perimeter, you can protect, you can have layers, security works like an onion and you peel different layers to get to the point that is most protected on the inside. but when someone is willing to kill themselves like a suicide bomber, it is very difficult, especially at the outer perimeters perimeters to prevent it. we have to take it very seriously. in any event, how are we going to be able to help russia? we have to cooperate with them, we have to increase their security, mostly because of what the olympics represent. the olympics represent really nations putting aside differences and coming together
with peaceful competition which is something we should promote. again, i think for russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security. >> as you know, u.s./russian relations have taken a hit in recent years. let me ask, you're the chair of the house russian caucus, should the u.s. be concerned about the security of our athletes at these upcoming olympic games, and what is being done about it? >> well, there's no question that russia has stepped up its security. my understanding is there's many, many layers. this will probably be one of the most difficult olympics to actually go as a spectator and watch the games because of the myriad of layers of security. but do i think the united states has cause for concern, absolutely. i do think that we have to have a relationship with russia good enough that we can have open and honest discussions about security for our athletes as well as the athletes of those from all around the world. >> should we have second
thoughts about sending our athletes there, do you think? >> no, i don't think we should. i think that's how terrorism or terrorists declare victory is when we stop doing things like the olympics, then they have won. we can't allow that to happen. we can't live in a state of terror or panic. but you do have to take the appropriate precautions and i think us offering to help russia with that is a good sign. that's also the reason why you have to have diplomatic relations with countries like russia. they are plagued by terrorism as we are and we have to work together if we are going to be successful in combatting it. >> let me turn to benghazi. you mentioned benghazi. there was a "new york times" report that came out over the weekend that basically said that it appears al qaeda was not involved in that attack on that u.s. mission last year and i just want to ask you, because republicans have been saying for the last year or so that not only was al qaeda involved or related in some way to that attack but that the administration was hiding the facts. who is right in this scenario?
do you believe the "new york times" report or do you still believe as many other republicans believe that this was an al qaeda related attack? >> well, i don't think it's a matter of belief. i think it's a matter of fact. the "new york times" is wrong, period. >> period. you're saying the entire story is wrong? >> yes. i would not -- i would not say that it's a republican point of view. for me, this is apolitical. as a united states marine, as a former fbi agent, i can tell you that security is not something that should have any political undertones whatsoever. the fact is that both republicans and democrats that have been briefed on the intelligence committee have tangible evidence, empirical data that has shown through different sources that could be somewhat tenuous but there was definitely ties to al qaeda, whether it was al shabaab, there were ties to some al qaeda. >> but let's get into this, because ties to al qaeda and al qaeda are two different things, as you know, congressman.
i know -- >> but not completely. >> -- shown by the intelligence community, you were going to say not completely, but where does the distinction lie? >> well, again, i would disagree with you. if al qaeda is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, there are terror proxy for al qaeda and they may call themselves something different. look, al qaeda has morphed. there is no more traditional al qaeda from 9/11. they have changed and they have splintered off into many different groups. they still fund and train -- >> let's say -- >> -- different terror groups. >> say the attack was carried out by al qaeda related elements. you are saying al qaeda can fund the al qaeda related elements. do you have proof that al qaeda was funding this, providing support, providing aid in any way? how does al qaeda come into this? >> my understanding is that there is intelligence reports that ties this in ways to al qaeda. i'm not at liberty to speak specifically about what those documents say and what that data
shows but there is definitely ties to al qaeda, it is my understanding from briefings that i have been in. in addition to that, i also want to say there's a little bit of common sense here. when you look at the attack itself, this was a methodical, military attack. this was not some group of individuals that was upset and had -- these are trained individuals that went through this, this was a military op. there's no question about that. anyone that has any military training could look at this and say these were people that were very well trained, had all the right weapons, so they were weaponized, they were trained and they were methodical. they have obviously worked together and trained together before. so the idea that this was a group that was upset because of whatever was happening in the region, internet, different -- >> "new york times" said this video may in the end have provoked this attack or may have had a role in provoking this attack. you're saying that that's nonsense, you don't believe it? >> i think it's outlandish just based on the attack itself. again, if it was something that a youtube video would have
gotten ordinary people, citizens in that area upset, then they would have maybe done molotov cocktails, thrown rocks, maybe someone would have had a firearm, maybe even an ak-47. this was a methodical well thought-out, well planned military style attack. >> congressman -- >> this is not something an average citizen could do. >> does this report at least create a question in your mind, in the minds of others, that you have spoken with, that perhaps new hearings are necessary to get to the bottom of this? >> well, i think we have been saying that all along. i think chairman darrell issa has been doing a very good job of trying to elicit the truth here and again, why is the truth so important. well, it's important for several reasons. number one, it's important for our own security to know exactly how many different factions and affiliates have splintered off from al qaeda and how tenuous is the relationship, how strong is the relationship. but then again, also, as far as
our credibility with countries like russia when we have new incidents, we have to be able to coordinate and we have to cooperate with them. if we're not honest with ourselves and our own security breaches, how will they respect us to help them with theirs? that's why i think this is very relevant in the conversation of the sochi olympics. >> congressman, we appreciate your time very much. happy new year to you, sir. thank you. coming up, a new low for the war in afghanistan. 12 years into the conflict, is this now the most unpopular war in u.s. history? and president obama is obviously a busy man but he still finds time to catch up with some of the country's most popular shows. we will tell you the shows that he says are his favorites, ahead.
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obama care at a crucial crossroads as coverage kicks in for many americans on new years's day, the administration touting an surge in enrollment. athena jones is with the president in hawaii. i'm sure everybody commented about the live shot and the way it looks behind you. we will get beyond that all
together. talk about this rollout and how things have been going a little bit better lately with all these people signing up. >> reporter: that's right, good afternoon. after the disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov back in october, health officials now say the site is operating much better and the proof is in this building jump in enrollment numbers we're seeing. more than 1.1 million people signed up for health plans using the federal exchange between october 1st and december 24th. nearly a million of those, 975,000, came in december, this month alone. wo these numbers don't include new medicaid enrollees. they also don't include numbers from the state-run marketplaces, but many of those state exchanges we know have also seen a surge in activity. so it will take a few more weeks, we imagine, to get the final numbers for the month of december and for these first several months of the sign-up period. but even with this big jump that we're seeing in the last few days, it still looks as though the administration is going to fall short of its target of 3.3
million people signing up by january 1st. so as part of efforts to continue to encourage people to sign up, the white house is going to spend this week working with congressional democrats, outside groups and some high profile supporters of the health care law to share the stories of people who are going to be covered because of obamacare, and to tout some of the law's benefits. >> they want to get that good news out there, obviously. but today we saw an official over at cms, an agency inside hhs that helps oversee the health care program, that person is retiring. tell us about that. >> reporter: that's right. we are talking about the cms' chief operating officer, michelle snyder. she was in charge of supervising the whole rollout of healthcare.gov. she is retiring after 41 years as a public servant and cms administrator marilyn tavner who we saw testify before congress early on about the problems with this rollout, marilyn tavenner
called snyder a key member of the agency's leadership team with a formidable work ethic and also noted that snyder had planned to leave a year ago but stayed on in order to help with this rollout. so some news on that front as well. >> athena jones with the best-looking live shot of the day. aloha. thank you. it is no secret that americans are not happy with the war in afghanistan. it is a number that struck us today, just how many unhappy may surprise you. it's a grim finding. the country's longest war may well be its most unpopular. a new cnn/orc poll shows only 17%, less than one-quarter of americans, support the war in afghanistan. that's down from a high of 52% in 2008. a massive shift not lost on the president, who said just days ago he wants closure. >> by the end of next year, the war in afghanistan will be over just as we ended our war in iraq and we will continue to bring our troops home. >> reporter: but as the president looks to end the war
that's left 3400 americans dead and almost 20,000 wounded at a cost of well over $600 billion, a new intelligence estimate warns the white house a big draw-down in troops could allow insurgents to regain the upper hand. >> if we think that there is a scintilla of a chance for forms of terrorism to grow again in that part of the world and that is in fact a melting pot for all of that, then we need to pay attention to afghanistan in some way, and it appears like we are not. >> reporter: complicating the matter, afghan president hamid karzai has yet to sign an agreement that would keep a small number of u.s. forces in the country after 2014. without a deal, the white house warns the u.s. may pull out all of its troops. >> without a prompt signature, the united states would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no u.s. or nato troop presence in afghanistan. we simply can't do it. >> joining me now, white house correspondent for the "new york times," michael shearer and cnn
senior political analyst, ron brownstein. happy new year. little parting gift. let me ask you about the numbers on afghanistan. they struck us as being -- obviously the war is not popular but this unpopular, almost the level of the approval of members of congress unpopular. let's put up another number from the cnn polling. is the u.s. winning the war in afghanistan. 33% yes, 60% no. ron, what is striking, this is the war that americans all thought was a worthwhile cause in the beginning because of september 11th and rooting out al qaeda and osama bin laden. >> it may be as simple as you're still there 12 years later with inconclusive results despite incredible heroism, commitment and performance by the american military. and you know, you kind of look at these numbers and in that sense they're not surprising given that we're still doing this and there are consequential. we saw the impact of
disillusionment over afghanistan and iraq. there is the sense that faith has been enormously dissipated that american arms can truly transform these societies in a way that make them more favorable to our interests. >> one of the problems going into this year is that the president has said he wants to essentially wind down the war in afghanistan by the end of the year but as we have seen from this report and others, that afghanistan may not be ready. >> well, i think part of the other issue here is that the american people are taking their cues from politicians across the spectrum. both the president who wants to wind it down so that the american people are taking their cues from that, but also on the republican side, especially the more kind of rand paul libertarian wing of the party, they also don't particularly want involvement. so the american public is sort of naturally, you know, whatever support there had been is drifting down. >> and this president and people in the administration have said this president wants to be the one who ends wars and so i think whatever happens at the end of 2014, i think this country is
getting out of afghanistan. >> there is an afghanistan and iraq syndrome that is very real in american politics that we will look back as seeing something like post-vietnam syndrome. >> let's shift gears because i want to talk about what's happening coming into the new year with where the president, where the white house would like to lead. we saw the story in the "new york times" about the minimum wage. we heard the president talk about this in his speech on income inequality. is that really a message that democrats feel, that they believe can carry them into the midterm elections? it seems like a side issue. >> i think there are two things. one is the minimum wage is kind of the most concrete piece of this broader conversation that the president has signaled for some time that he wants to have on income inequality, on a kind of progressive populist tapping into this frustration people feel about this economy that is improving but they're not improving along with it. so the minimum wage is something rather than have a vague conversation, you can fight on something real. the polls suggest that a lot of
people, even republicans, even folks you wouldn't think are in that coalition support the idea of raising the minimum wage. so they think they can put some of the republicans -- >> if you look at the polling on it, it is a very popular issue. >> it is extremely popular. i'm not sure it's a vote driver for a large number of people. what's fascinating, if you think about the midterm election, i would say the biggest single threat to the democrats electorally are older, blue collar whites if these republican leaning states where democrats have to defend senate seats like west virginia, south dakota and alaska and arkansas. the president's approval rating among blue collar and older whites is under 30%. this is one of the rare issues on which they can speak to them. it's not clear that it's enough to convert them. you almost wonder if putting on some of these ballot issues, they may draw out people who would vote to raise the minimum wage on the ballot initiative, and vote republican in the election. interesting challenge. >> and is this anything to distract from obamacare? >> i think everything -- anything the white house can do to change that message, they probably think is a good
message. i suspect since you saw the president kind of put this on the agenda in his first state of the union address, which was clearly before the website problems, this has had a longer germination time here but i also don't think they worry if something can move the conversation we are talking about. >> in 1996, republicans did concede in the senate, in the congress, and they accepted a minimum wage increase rather than fight it out. it would be interesting to see i think 18 years later, it's a much more polarized environment. i would be surprised if they make the same call. >> $7.25 an hour, it just seems in this day and age to be a very low number. not to take a stance on that. but that's why i think perhaps it might be -- >> those numbers are pretty high in the polls. >> speaking of numbers, they do pay attention to. let's switch to something on the lighter side. some reporting that you had in the "new york times" and perhaps that you grew a beard as you were working on this story. >> in honor of wolf, who is not here today. >> somebody had to have the beard today. the president i guess laid out or i don't know if he laid this out but some of his friends late
out some of his favorite television shows. what struck me about this is how grim some of these shows are. no light-hearted rom-comes in here. >> it struck me exactly that way. you would think here's this guy that deals with afghanistan and terrorism and economic -- >> and the house. >> and the things that he watches are all those sort of heavy serious, you know, "homeland" is one of his favorite shows. "breaking bad" is one he's working his way through. >> gave a shout-out to "house of cards." >> "game of thrones." he slightly aged out of the 18-49 demographic that they care about. but in every other way, he is like the perfect target audience. it is exactly right that -- in some ways that these are the shows he likes because it is a cable revolution of kind of high end drama on cable. he just seems exactly who they are aimed at even if he didn't happen to be the president of the united states.
>> i'm surprised "pete" wasn't in there. >> i think that's biden's show. >> maybe it hits too close to home. that might be it. all right. michael, ron, thank you very much. happy new year to both of you. good luck with the beard. we appreciate it. coming up, new details about the gunman who opened fire on a colorado school. we know where he went before the shootings and it's one of the last places you might expect. a historic event just two days away. for the first time, people above the age of 21 can buy pot for recreational use but will the sellers actually be ready for it?
new details about the gunman who opened fire at a colorado high school earlier this month. an investigation has revealed how he got into the school that should have been locked and surprising place he went before the shooting. fred, what have you learned? >> reporter: yeah, there was a lot of details that came to light today. a lot of it had to do with the planning that karl pearson did. the sheriff there saying that he actually planned this in a lot of great detail, that he wanted to kill as many people as possible but there was also some new details as to the security lapses that facilitated him actually getting into that school building. let's have a look. it was the early afternoon on december 13th when 18-year-old karl pearson entered the arapahoe high school armed with a shotgun, a machete, three m molotov cocktails and 125 rounds. he opened fire immediately as students and teachers began evacuating the building. >> it was pretty scary. there were two shots by my classroom.
we heard the screaming. >> one car on the north side. >> reporter: now new details are merging showing pearson was able to get into the building easily because a door that should have been locked wasn't. according to the arapahoe county sheriff. >> we know that the doorway on the north side that the murderer entered is supposed to be locked. unfortunately, it rarely is because it is more convenient for people to come and go from that area and not have to be obstructed by a locked door. >> reporter: pearson fired several shots, one of them fatally wounding 17-year-old clare davis. the arapahoe sheriff released new details about how pearson planned his shooting spree, saying he passed the background check and legally bought the shotgun on december 6, continuously acquired ammunition until the morning of the shooting and then tried to mask his intentions. >> we know that on the morning of december 13th, the murderer
conducted his business as he normally would. gave no indication that anything was amiss. took time to have a meal and actually took time to go bowling. by himself. >> reporter: police say pearson was looking for a librarian and that claire davis happened to be in the line of fire. the whole incident only took about a minute and 20 seconds to unfold and he praised the deputy on duty in the school for reacting quickly. otherwise, many more people might have been killed. jim, as you know, the police believe he was actually looking for his debate team chairman who apparently had disciplined him before that and he went into the school library because the debate team leader is also the librarian. then he apparently heard this deputy coming closer and that's the moment that he shot himself. so a lot of people are saying the fact that this deputy moved so quickly could have potentially saved a lot of lives. >> thank you very much. for more on these details, let's turn to denver post reporter
sandy german who has been covering this story since it happened. this revelation about the unlocked door, do police think that would have prevented the shooting from happening? >> reporter: well, the sheriff said at the news conference today that basically, it's unfortunate that the door was unlocked, but this gunman, karl pearson, was intent on evil is how he put it, and he would have found a way into the school no matter what, because he came armed with not just the shotgun but also a machete and some molotov cocktails and a lot of ammunition, like more than 125 rounds. so it just seemed from that alone that he was bent on getting inside and he would have found a way regardless. >> the sheriff also praised the school for the way officials handled what happened there. it's unfortunate that lessons have to be learned this way. but what was done right, according to authorities out there? >> reporter: so basically, the janitor saw the gunman and he immediately initiated the school lockdown protocol. these kids, these students were
trained on how to do this and they did it quickly and perfectly, according to the sheriff, where they locked the doors and they get in the corners of the room and they just drop what they're doing and they hide to make sure that nobody can see them. the sheriff said that that happened so quickly and so effectively that it probably saved a lot of lives. >> and the movie "bowling for columbine" talked about this rumor that the shooters went bowling before their shooting spree at columbine and today it was revealed that the arapahoe shooter went bowling. so i'm just curious, is there any kind of connection there? what did the authorities have to say about that? >> reporter: so we asked about that, and it's unclear whether there's an actual connection between, you know, whether this gunman was motivated by columbine or if this was just sort of him tipping his hat to the columbine shooters. but nevertheless, that was a detail that has been part of our cultural, you know, framework for some of these shootings we've had out here.
like you said, michael moore spent a lot of time out here filming that movie "bowling for columbine" so you know, the thought of bowling and school shootings sort of goes hand in hand out here, a little bit. but they're still looking to see whether there's an actual link between this and columbine. they are searching his computer, his cell phone, anything that would give an indication of that. >> one thing that we have noticed about the sheriff is that he does not use the shooter's name. what's going on there with that? one thing that i have covered, i covered the virginia tech shooting and it came to a point where people wanted to stop talking about that shooter's name. perhaps is the sheriff perhaps making a statement here by not using the shooter's name? >> reporter: yes. i think the day after the shooting, he held a news conference and we were asking some questions about you know, the shooter's birthday and he said i'm obligated to tell you certain things but i'm never going to use the shooter's name in public again. i don't want to give him that notoriety.
i don't want to cause any more heartache to the family of the victim claire davis and so he took a stand right there, i'm not going to refer to him by name. then today, we heard that and he just referred to him as the murderer repeatedly, not even a gunman but the murderer, because he said, you know, the girl was murdered. so i think that's sort of a statement by him and you know, whether or not that's brought any comfort to the family, i don't know. >> it's hard to bring comfort to those families at this time and it is sad that something like this keeps happening in colorado. but we appreciate your reporting on this. thank you. just ahead, pot smokers finally have their day. recreational marijuana hits the shelves in two days. will the sellers be ready? and terrifying video as a man, a drunk man, plunges off a tall guardrail at a washington train station. we're aig. and we're here. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild.
for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays. there's no secondhand smoke in here... ...and no cigarette advertising around here. there's a reason we know this is really bad... ...and this is really good. there's a reason 2 in 3 people are surviving cancer. and we cannot be silent until it's 3 out of 3. this shout-out is for everything the american cancer society has done in the last 100 years. make your tax-deductible donation by december 31st and help finish the fight.
to colorado now, where anticipation is growing for a historic moment in our country's history. colorado is about to become the first state to allow sales of marijuana for recreational use. cnn's casey wian is joining us from denver. casey, are pot retailers stoked out there? >> reporter: they're stoked and they're scrambling, jim. some of these retailers, 14 of them here in denver, did not get their city licenses until friday. some of them even today are still waiting for some of the tags that they need to identify the pot plants that are going to be used in this retail business, but they all say they're going to be ready for retail sales new year's day, 8:00 in the morning.
two days to go until colorado becomes the country's first state to sell marijuana for recreational use. at evergreene apothecary, employees scrambled to get ready. pot retailers must navigate so many regulations, only 14 of about 250 medical marijuana businesses in denver have received one of these, a license to sell to anyone over 21. there are multiple inspections, packaging requirements and in some cases, new construction. >> we're building an absolutely impressive showcase for the world to see that this is an industry. this is not an underground business. >> reporter: at medicine man, all the pot sold is grown on site. >> customers don't want it really leafy. they like it nice, tight and dense. >> reporter: it's hiring 25 new employees and installing new equipment. >> we have to tag all these plants with an rfid tag, radio frequency identification, and so it's another inventory control that we have to implement here.
this is a light-tight, airtight container. this is our san fernando valley o.g. the smell will hit you from there. >> reporter: each of these containers holds about $7500 worth of marijuana so it's no wonder medicine man has an armed former army ranger guarding the front door. lines are expected outside pot stores january 1st. >> demand is going to be very high on day one. with a potential shortage of supply, prices will go up. >> reporter: no one's expecting a marijuana mardi gras. >> it's illegal to take the product out of state, to sell it to anybody, to give it to somebody under 21 or consume it publicly. >> reporter: state-wide, about $300 million worth of medical marijuana was sold in 2013. the industry expects sales to more than double next we haven't seen an negative impact from ten years of medical marijuana and we don't expect to see that with retail marijuana. >> recreational marijuana retailers say they expect about
30% of all of that new business to come from out of state visitors. it's important to remember, though, if you come to colorado to partake, it's still illegal to take it home with you. >> casey wian, thank you very much though. al jazeera say the arrests involve a member of the journalist and member of the muslim brotherhood. last week the government declared the muslim brotherhood a terrorist organization. federal workers are going to get their first pay hike in three years. president obama ordered the raise last week, giving all federal workers a 1% cost of living bump. the budget deal passed allowed for a moderate raise. d.c. metro has an importance message for the city's residents there's such a thing as being too donald trump to ride.
multiple people falling at d.c. train stations, all of whom appear to be intoxicated. they're taking from escalators metro says there taking a cab, you are too drunk to walk properly. a young doctor goes missing. and now police are scrambling to identify that person she is speaking to. it's judgment day in the nfl. half a dozen coaches lose their jobs. we'll tell you who and why, next.
. every user the nfl regular season ends on a sunday and coaches wait for what's got to be the scariest day for them, what's become known as black monday. joining me is our rachel nichols. thanks for joining us. they call it black monday for a reason. this monday is perhaps more black than others. several head coaches have gotten the ax in recent weeks, including mike shanahan. who is on this list? it's a sight to behold, rachel. >> we have it laid out before you. it's kind of like murderers'' row. one was fired last night. they gave hem two hours. gary kubiak a few weeks ago, but still a pretty crazy group. leslie frazier had some of his players crying in the locker room, he but they couldn't win. so in each one of these cities,
there's something a bit different going on, but 20 teams that woke up this morning that hadn't made the playoffs. six of them now have vacancies. we still don't know what's going on in tennessee. we don't know what's going on with dennis allen in oak len. jason garrett's job is safe, and jerry jones the owner has guaranteed that again, even though last night they had another heartbreaking loss. i think there's fans watching this show that might not be so happy to hear that, but in fact his job is safe, and tom coughlin is also going to cityic around, the owner john mara said he is welcome back next year. somebody else asked if everybody else -- he said, i don't know about me, you have to ask my mom, because you know it is a family-owned team. >> but mike shanahan, i have to tell you, as a lifelong redskins fan driving into work this
morning listening to sports radio, it sounded like group therapy instead of talk radio on sports. what are you hearing will his dismissal? it sounds like it was a story. >> it is amazing. people who have never lived in d.c. may not realize the fervor of redskins fans compared to other cities around the country, but the saying in washington is there's two important people in the city, the president of the united states and the quarterback of the redskins, and not necessarily in that order. that's certain the feeling. last season, this amazing wave of optimism, they finally had things turned around, people thought. finally we have a young quarterback, and finally won the division and got into the playoffs again, annilphily the drought is over, suv injuries, back biting, shifting allegiances, and a terrible finish to give you an idea, jim, you mentioned on talk radio this
morning, everyone's talking about the redskins. at that time earp listening, the media is gathered at the practice facility trying to get in. the organization has some paranoia, and mike shanahan gets stuck behind that mess i have media. he can't get in, so he's late for his own firing because of this dysfunctional situation. things are not good in washington. >> and dana snyder, who has a good tin ear, locking people out garnered more attention for this firing of mike shanahan. shifting away from pro football to the college ranks, i want to ask you about this bcs championship that's coming up from auburn and florida state. this is basically the last of the bcs championship games. college football switch toss a playoff system. did the bcs work, do you think, rachel? >> it worked this year. you are getting the teams that everyone think are the number one and two teams in the country, but there's been so many times over the life of the system it hand worked.
i think all college football fans are excited to see this go out the door. the question is, what happens next year when a committee will decide who the top four teams are? are people going to complain about the difference between number four and the fifth team that was left off? we know from the ncaa basketball tournament, there's always conversations about that bubble, right? you can expect more dissension against next year, but at least it will be over who is the fourth or fifth betts team. the top couple teams having the chance to compete. so enjoy this last time of the bcs coming up while you still have it. >> what would college football be without controversy? rachel nichols, thanks so much for joining us, happy new year, and we appreciate it. >> you too. that's it for me. "the situation room" now continuing with jake tapper. jake? >> happening now, spreading terror after a second deadly bombing. can russia handle security at the winter olympics? i'll have the ceo of the u.s.
olympic committee about the possible danger to athletes and fans. plus trapped at sea. a dramatic effort to rescue dozens on a stranded ship locked in ice on the other side of the world. and missing doctor mystery. candid videos of the woman surface. who was she serenading. did that person play a role in her disappearance? wolf blitzer is off today, i'm jake tapper, and you, my friend, are in "the situation room." we begin this hours with growing fears around the world that terrorists will strike at the olympics. another deadly bombing rocks southern russia, the second attack in two days. for you the united states is offering to help russia tighten security for the winter games in sochi that begin in fewer than six weeks. diana magna joins us.
>> reporter: hi, jake. russian officials always maintained that they would be the safest effort. -- that is believed to be where the attackers in this latest string of bombings came from. let's take a look at what happens over the last 24 hours in the city of volgograd. two deadly attacks in electric than 24 hours. more than a dozen killed, authorities say the blast the work of a suicide bomber, possibly detonating his device toward the back end of the bus where the damage seems worse. many on board were students. this is exam time in russia. among the injured, a baby boy, now in a coma with multiple skull injuries. authorities say they don't know who he is or whether his parents
were killed in the blast. this followed another attack at noon on the main railway station. the moment of the explosion caught on surveillance video. 17 people were killed in that blast. authorities say that was also the work of a suicide bomber. these attacks come less than six weeks before the start of the winter games in sochi. president putin has vowed the highest security, but it is clearly hard to police the whole of russia. russia is fighten an islamist insurgency in the caucasus. a chechen extremist, and leader in the north caucusus. intelligence officials believe further attacks are entirely possible. >> i would be very surprised.
now, jake, of course, around sochi itself, security is extremely high, and officials are say they don't need to change the security irrespective of the games, but think of the other place where is athletes and visitor may be coming through, transportation hubs, these are places that need to be highly secured ahead of the games in this vast country. you can be sure also that many russians feel extremely vulnerable from these attackers in the nor north. scott blackman is on the phone with us, and here in our stewedy, tom fuentes, and jill doherty. mr. blackman, i'll start with you. in the wake of the terror attacks in russia and direct threats, what measures are you
taking to ensure the security of u.s. athletes and tourists? >> jake, if i could, i'd first like to offer or condolences to russia, and particular the people of volgograd, for the lost of life they have experienced. as you may or may not know, we do not bring our own security force to the games. we rely on local law enforcement, the expertise and cooperation of the u.s. state department, and we take security very, very seriously for each games, every time our athletes leave american soil, we have different challenges, and sochi is one of those challenges. we rye lie on the russian law enforcement working with the state department to make sure it's as safe as possible. >> have you heard from the athletes and others expressing concern about how safe it will be to go to sochi?
>> we have received a hand -- to whether we've gotten any updates from the organizing committee or state department. we've shared what we know. at this point our athletes are focused on competition, it's the most important competition of their lives, and the good news is that's where their attention is focused now. >> tom fuentes, the obama administration put out a state saying -- we have offered full support to the russian government in preparation for the security operations for the u.s. olympic games and would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation. translate that for us. are they saying let us bring our security forces in there to help you? >> yes, basically that's right, jake. they're offering any assistance the russians would be willing to accept, but again that's a political situation, because many countries, not just russia in this case, but many countries don't want to admit they can't
handle the security requirements. they make statements we're in command, we're in control, no problem, when really you can't in this situation, you just cannot have enough security personnel in russia to handle this situation. >> especially when it's a three-hour drive away from an area of the world russia has been fighting with. >> jill, when president obama went to the funeral -- or memorial service for nelson mandela, the u.s. relied upon south africa, and thankfully nothing serious, but somebody who should not have been close to the president, the sign language trance lator were able to get will you how are the russians handling this. >> they say it's going to be secure, but one of the problems -- and this is from personal experience. they can say something is locked down, but often behind the saenz there's something that's really
not locked down in the proper way. for example, just talking about it right now russia sometimes goes through a magnetometer, it looks as if everything is fine, but it's turned off. it's a figment of their imagination. they actually will turn them off because somebody either forget or didn't want to be bothered. it's very poor security. >> you have seen this? >> i have. i can tell you other stories. one of the problems is they are very -- when they begin to crack down, they become rather -- it can radicalize people by being so crude about t right now at least a phenomenon of young russians, actual russians being radicalized towards islam, believe it or not, because of this crackdown. that's another factor. so before the guys with the beards might stick out, a russian guy might get through.
>> scott blackman, from the olympic committee. when you talk about how the russians are in charge of security, are you talking about taking other steps in any way, hiring a russian security firm, trying to get permission from the russian government, to allow u.s. security to accompany your athletes? what more can you do? >> yeah. it's not possible to get into any security plans, but we have a customized plan. it's a plan that evolves as we get closer to the games, you know, on this issue, the interests of american and russia are probably more aligned than on any other issue. they have the will, the means and the motivation to make sure the people who come to compete and watch the games are protected. we feel good about the information we are getting. we feel good about the fact that we have our state department in
direct communication with the russian authorities, so we, you know, obviously these incidents are concerning to us, but i think we're doing everything we can to make sure that americans are same in sochi. >> terrorist in at the olympics is not if any new. about in this country striking at the 1996 games in atlanta. how concerned are you? >> well, i'm very concerned. i was an assistant tactical commander at the atlanta 1996 olympics. the planning that went into years in advance was extensive. that any group in the world was planning an attack. in this case you have dok doku urarov, the leader of the group, announcing that he's going to wage an attack on these
games. so this is the first time you've had a group publicly state that they're going to disrupt the olympic games, and in this case now it's widely assumed that the two attacks in volgograd were generated about i that group. >> jill, how concerned are you? >> i'm quite concerned. it may be that they can lock down the venue, but there's a lot of transit from the athlete from place to place. dagastan is the center, very close, right east of sochi. that is the center of all of this radicalism right now in russia. >> jill dougherty, scott blackman and tom fuentes, thank you. ahead, still attempts to -- this attempt will be different, they hope. it could feel like 50 degrees below zero in some places
tonight. stand by for the brutal forecast into the new year. being your own boss!othing like and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order. good news. i got a new title. and a raise? management couldn't make that happen. [ male announcer ] introducing fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. [ male announcer ] introducing fedex one rate. there's no secondhand smoke in here... ...and no cigarette advertising around here. there's a reason we know this is really bad... ...and this is really good. there's a reason 2 in 3 people are surviving cancer. and we cannot be silent until it's 3 out of 3. this shout-out is for everything the american cancer society has done in the last 100 years. make your tax-deductible donation by december 31st and help finish the fight.
this just in. we have new picture from a fiery train crash in north dakota. flames reportedly have shot as high as 100 feet in the air. at least a den firefighters are on the scene in castleton. the train was carrying oil. officials say no injuries have been reported, but people in the area are being warned to stay inside. authorities are not sure when they'll get the blaze under control. we'll stable on top of the story. a deadly blast of brutal cold will spread across the u.s.
in the hours and days ahead in parts of the midwest, the windchills could be as low as 50 degrees below zero tonight. let's check in with alexandra steele. that just sounds awful. how long will the temperatures last? >> jake, the worst is really over. we had 40 and 50 below windchills yet. the day before that, blizzard warnings. i predominantly in the upper midwest. but really we're talking about e dakotas, minnesota, iowa. below zero, high temperatures not factors in the windchill, and highs below freezing. current temperatures, currently 5 below in duluth, 8 below in fargo, that may seems cold, but windchill currently, jake, 26 below zero, but it was at 46 yesterday morning. 16 below is what it feels like in duluth. on the whole, the next couple days, not a lot of relief, but
the winds have settled down. highs only in the single digits and even below that. but this arctic air modifies, it drops south, drops east, in boston, new york and pittsburgh all staying from above average temperatures, but it's a modified version. certainly 20s and 30s is a far cry from 0 to 8. >> what about the snow. >> there's a potential snowstorm brewing. they're kind of seeing and developing different scenarios. the european model has, if it forms, staysed east. there's two different plays with this. very cold air well ensconced. scenario number two, a different computer model, has it moves farther east, more in northern new england.
one model has had smack indeed big cities, a big nor'easter, so divergent looks. it's still early. tomorrow we'll be able to fine-tune things. >> all right. thank you so much. rescuers are trying a dramatic new way to save 74 people trapped at sea for nearly a week. they're on board a ship stuck on -- so far other attempts have failed. sun lan ser fatti joins us. >> even this morning, an australian icebreaker tried to get there, but it was stopped by a blizzard. today they have given up trying to get a ship to them. now they'll try something new from alove. above. trapped by sea, must now be rescued by air. this helicopter will be launched from "the snowdragon" as soon as
the weather improves. the condition you new york city gusty winds and poor visibility. >> the winds are quite intense, not ideal for the helicopters operations, unfortunately. >> reporter: it's been nearly a week since the russian ship was stranded, locked in ice. three separate ikebreakers attempted to rescue them. the closest got within six nautical miles, bull all three missions failed. the ice is simply too thick. >> unfortunately they couldn't get through. it's deeply frustrating. >> reporter: in the meantime, the passengers have made life aboard the stranded ship seem fun. >> we'll have some singing on the ice. >> reporter: they've celebrated birthdays, taken up ard, and bonded with the locals, but now that fun is over. experts who knows the region say the sustained bad weather now a newsance could become deadly. >> it's extremely unpredictable.
the ideal thing would be to get them out as quickly as possibility. the it's the coldest place on earth, the windiest and the driest. if you put all those elements together, you have very dangly conditions that could easily kill new a matter of minutes. >> reporter: it's not just the temperature that has those on board worried. >> we have a -- we did a stock take of fresh food. we have several weeks of delicious dehydrated foods in packets after that. >> when this helicopter does come, 18 people from the crew will stay behind to man the ship. in the meantime, jake, we did hear from one person on board that more real is getting lower by the day. people are getting anxious. i would. sunlen, thank you very much. ♪ you walked into my life ♪ and stopped ♪ who is she singing to in could the answer crack the case?
possible clues have surfaced in the search for a young drr who vanished earlier this month. videos show the woman singing apparently to a mystery love. here's cnn's alexandria field. ♪ you walked into my life ♪ >> reporter: investigators are examining new youtube videos of talika patrick serenading an
unidentified love interesting. >> hi, baby. good night. >> reporter: she refers to someone as love and baby. investigators wonder if this person may have information about what happened on december 5th, the night she vanished. >> the search has been intensified, but to date no leads. authorities say this is the last place where she was seen. the 30-year-old had just graduated from medical school, it was only months into her residency at the hospital just hours after she was captured on this surveillance cameras, authorities found her car abandoned with a flat tire, about 100 miles from where she worked. inside a credit card, cash and her driver's license.
her bizarre disappearance has investigatoring in two states stumped after the all-out searches have turned up nothing. >> we are desperate to hear something. >> you can hear the desperation in that mother's voice. the family insists she would not just voluntary vanish. in fact she had bought plane tickets to visit them in florida over the hold days. they are not providing a $15,000 repardon for anyone who can provide information. turning now to what was one of the most popular videos in 2013, a man who wakes up from surgery and comes to a fairly shocking realization he's married. here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: he seemed to be waking up after a hernia operation, eating a cracker when his eyes focused on the woman beside his bed. >> did the doctor send you?
>> man you are eye candy >> my name is candace. i'm your wife. >> you're my wife? >> yeah. holy [ bleep ]. >> reporter: the youtube video entitled seeing her for the first time again has women gushing. that time when you laugh and cry, but at the same time watching a video at lunch. >> do we have children? >> not yesterday. >> man, have we kissed yet if irmgts. >> reporter: any talk show hosts were smitten. some skeptics cried fake. when we got ahold of the lovestruck husband on the phone, and he assured us it was true. had el gave us the name and number of the doctor to verify the surgery. american fork hospital in utah said that surgery was performed.
jason sis his wife candace has been by his side through five surgeries in the six years they've been married, but who is counting? how long have we been married? >> a long time. >> oh, my god, i hi the jackpot. >> reporter: not since the youtube video david after the dentist surfaced. >> is this real life? >> yes, this is real life. >> reporter: has a sedated person awakened such interest on the web. >> whoa, your teeth are perfect. >> jason told me on the phone he was reluctant to post the video, because for one thing he didn't like he swore. >> holy [ bleep ]. >> reporter: something he doesn't usually do it. blame it on the anesthesia. might as well blame this on it, too. >> turn around. >> no. >> reporter: responded one poster -- turn around. men are all the same even when they're all doped up. lol. not many guys get to experience
love at first sight dwight. jeanne moos, cnn, new york. that's it for me, "crossfire" will start right now. tonight on kroif controversy. 1.3 million americans dumped from unemployment. which party wins when the economic is issue number one? on the left, howard dean on the right s.e. quup, hillary rosen, and kevin madden, a top republican strategist, as the gap between the rich and the middle class groce, who will get the blame? tonight on "crossfire." . welcome, two-party strat
yis. in the new year, democrats a problem, a big problem. they seem to think they can have it both ways. they want to take credit for the surging stock market and small decline in unemployment, while at the same time read against economic inequality. the american people overwhelmingly think the obama economy is in rough shape. in a new catherineport, two thirds rate it poorly. president obama can't take credit and dish out blame for the same economy, conflicting messages don't work and won't work. >> but in fairness, s.e., this problem has been going on for 20 years, through clinton, bush, obama, the lower 80% of wage earners have not seen a real wage increase for 20 years. this is not a republican or democrat problem, but an american problem. fair enough. joins, is hullry rosen, and
kevin madden. governor, as our guest host, your first question. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. republicans are always talking about tax cuts and this will always be trickle down the truth is these have been tried for a long time, neither terribly successful. it occurs to me it may not be possible for a republican >>lution to work.