Skip to main content

tv   The Situation Room  CNN  January 13, 2014 2:00pm-3:29pm PST

2:00 pm
scalpers from scooping up tickets to throw on stub hub. make sure to follow me on twitter. check out our show page at c that's it for "the lead." i now turn you over to wolf blitzer. he is in "the situation room." mr. blitzer. jake, thanks very much. happening now, how can an airliner with 124 passengers aboard land at the wrong airport with a dangerously short runway? you're going to see what the pilots saw. first on cnn, governor chris christie now facing a new federal inquiry on a completely different matter. even a state lawmaker's looking into his traffic scandal. i'll speak with one of governor christie's toughest critics. plus, daily bombings and a brutal al qaeda comeback. two years after the last u.s. troops pulled out, is iraq now falling apart? we're going to baghdad. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
2:01 pm
an unscheduled takeoff following a dangerous and unexpected landing. this southwest airlines boeing 737 departed from an airport outside branson, missouri, just about an hour or so ago. it was supposed to land in branson yesterday, but in a shocking and still unexplained move, the pilots landed seven miles away, in a very small municipal airport with a runway thousands of feet too short for the plane. now the pilots have been grounded and everyone is asking how could this happen. cnn's brian todd is working the story for us. he's at a flight simulator in lea leesburg, virginia. what are you finding out? >> what made this so dangerous is that the plane packed with 124 pass be geengers stopped ju feet short of the end of the runway at the wrong airport. we came to this airport, went inside a flight simulator and recreated that very same approach in missouri to look at what could have gone wrong.
2:02 pm
this is a pilot's eye view of runway 14, branson, missouri, where the pilots were supposed to land. this is runway 12 at clark airport. also called trainee county airport, seven miles away, where they actually landed. >> one runway at 140 and one runway at 120 is 20 degrees difference in the direction that those runways are pointing. >> pretty close. >> very close. >> that's one possible explanation for why that 737 landed at the wrong airport, according to this man. he's a longtime pilot and president of a company that builds software for flight simulators. at the leesburg executive airport in virginia, inside a simulator, he entered in the exact gps readings and visual scenery of approach to both those airports in missouri. the gps instrument is straight forward. we're supposed to follow this magenta line and it will eventually become this white line and eventually you will hit the blue circle which is the branson airport.
2:03 pm
>> he says in these situation, the coordinates of the airport entered are actually the identifier, like lga for la guardia or lax. he says it's unlikely the southwest pilots would have entered that information wrong in this case because the identifiers for those two airports are fairly different. branson is kgbb. what could have gone wrong? he says at the point you're look at that gps and steering to that line, both the branson and trany county airports can come into parallel view through the same windshield, they're that close. it's possible the pilots were only looking out the window. >> it's clear that visual will have to be investigated for sure. because that's one of the definite factors in this kind of situation. >> former ntsb investigator peter golds told us among noncommercial pilots landing at the wrong airport does happen on occasion but he says among commercial flights this is truly
2:04 pm
extraordinary. the pilots in question in the southwest flight have been removed from flying duty pending an investigation. wolf. >> brian, we're also getting some new information on the situation with the air traffic control in this case. what are you learning? >> wolf, sources telling cnn that this flight was cleared to land at branson by an air traffic controller at the branson airport and the controllers didn't know of the mishap until minutes later when the pilot who was on the ground at the wrong airport at that particular moment radioed them and told them that he'd landed at the wrong airport. and also the aren't they actually landed there is no control tower. >> interesting stuff. brian, thanks very much. let's dig a little deeper right now with kevin of the international air transport association. he was a pilot for delta. thanks very much for joining us. you studied what's going on. how could this happen? a lot of folks are asking. >> well, at the flight safety foundation where i currently are i'm going to the air traffic
2:05 pm
very shortly. we did a study about disorientation. in this particular case, as it was just pointed out it appears that the pilots may have taken over visually and started going to an aren't they had fixated on instead of actually following what they were seeing -- >> in this day and age of gps, usually it has good instructions right in front of you as we just saw. >> it will take you right to the end of the runway. in this particular case, they were looking outside. that airport was actually first in the lineup of both of them. they fixated on that airport. i'm just, you know, taking a guess at this right now. of course, it will all come out in the investigation. >> that will be in time. in the meantime, these two pilots have been grounded, right right? the. >> that's normal procedure for anything after this nature. they'll be grounded, and they'll be interviews and research. and also investigation into what was happening in the cockpit. >> this was pretty dangerous for those passengers and crew members on board. if it would have gone a few hundred more feet, there was an embankment on to a major
2:06 pm
highway. there could have been a real disaster. >> they avoided a real disaster and good testament to the aircraft and good technology we've got in the air right now. it is a venerable aircraft, been in the air for many years. modern version good brake, spoilers and reverse that saved that aircraft. >> we have a graphic of how close it was. you can see where the highway is there. where the plane was coming. in the taney county airport. if it would have gone a few hundred more feet with that short runway, those passengers could have been in deep trouble, especially if it went over that cliff, if you will. if you were leading this investigation, what are some of the questions you would ask? >> i'll take a look at some of the human factors in this particular event such as the duty time of the pilots, how long had they been on duty, when was there last training, what was the last vsh waisual approa they may have done at an airport. also look at the weather conditions. also take a look at the aircraft
2:07 pm
itself, the integrity of the instruments on board. >> if everything was working. if the flight data recorder, all that, you're going to go through all that information. isn't isn't the first time we've seen a plane land at the wrong airport with a much shorter run way. >> no, it happens. unfortunately, when it does, it does get a lot of attention. in this particular case there was no loss of life. so we'll look at this one and see just what we can do to prevent it from happening again. >> you learn lessons and then you move on. >> you learn lessons and you build them back into the training programs at the air carrier so we move on. >> eventually this plane managed to take off despite the short runway. were you surprised it did? >> no, because of the performance characteristics of that aircraft, they had minimum fuel, no passengers no cargo or baggage on board. that airplane can lift off and get off safely. next on cnn, the new jersey governor christie now facing a new federal probe even as state lawmakers armed with subpoena
2:08 pm
power look into his troaffic scandal. new numbers are out. will there be enough young healthy people to make the entire program work? when it comes to good nutrition...i'm no expert. that would be my daughter -- hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste, and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing. helping me stay more like me. [ female announcer ] boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a delicious taste. grandpa! [ female announcer ] stay strong, stay active with boost. did you run into traffic? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner.
2:09 pm
you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security for just $29.99 a month. with limited availability in select markets. ♪ with limited availability in select markets. my dad has aor afib.brillation, he has the most common kind...'s not caused by a heart valve problem. dad, it says your afib puts you at 5 times greater risk of a stroke. that's why i take my warfarin every day. but it looks like maybe we should ask your doctor about pradaxa. in a clinical trial, pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate)... ...was proven superior to warfarin at reducing the risk of stroke. and unlike warfarin, with no regular blood tests or dietary restrictions. hey thanks for calling my doctor. sure. pradaxa is not for people with artificial heart valves. don't stop taking pradaxa without talking to your doctor. stopping increases your risk of stroke. ask your doctor if you need to stop pradaxa
2:10 pm
before surgery or a medical or dental procedure. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding or have had a heart valve replaced. seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have a bleeding condition or stomach ulcer, take aspirin, nsaids, or blood thinners... ...or if you have kidney problems, especially if you take certain medicines. tell your doctors about all medicines you take. pradaxa side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. if you or someone you love has afib not caused by a heart valve problem... ...ask your doctor about reducing the risk of stroke with pradaxa. hey there, i just got my bill, and i see that it includes my fico® credit score. yup, you get it free each month to help you avoid surprises with your credit. good. i hate surprises.
2:11 pm
surprise! at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. get the it card and see your fico® credit score. new trouble for the new jersey governor chris christie on two fronts. democratic lawmakers are forming a special committee with subpoena power to look into the traffic jams that threw a city into gridlock. first on cnn, we're also learning there's another inquiry into christie's office of a completely separate matter.
2:12 pm
cnn's investigation correspondent has been digging into this crisis. >> we're learning federal officials are now looking into another controversy of chris christies that has to do with money that was for hurricane sandy relief. when hurricane sandy hit new jersey, chris christie led from the trenches. and his skillful response to the devastating super storm rocketed him into political stardom. but the investigation into how the governor spent some of the sandy relief money could threaten to wash away his political brand. cnn has learned federal investigators will examine the state's tourism marketing campaign, that was paid for with sandy recovery money. >> the word is spreading. >> because we're stronger than the storm. >> you bet we are. >> a campaign that featured christie and his family during an election year.
2:13 pm
>> instead working together -- >> democratic congressman pallone, a vocal critic, requested the investigation. federal officials tell cnn it's now moving ahead. pallone says this is not about politics. >> this was money that could have directly been used for sandy recovery. as you know, many of my constituents still haven't gotten the money that is owed them, you know, to rebuild their homes or to put their, you know, to raise their homes or to help. >> pallone says promoting new jersey tourism after the storm wallace a go was a good idea. he has a question about the money for those ads. the winning bad, a $4 million campaign featuring christie and family. the next lower bid that lost out was nearly half the price. at $2.5 million. and wouldn't have featured the governor, according to pallone. the ads caused controversy as they hit the air waves. christie's opponents slammed him, arguing it gave the
2:14 pm
incumbent gov eithernor an unfa advantage. senator rand paul addressed it. >> you think there might be a conflict of interest there. you know, that's a real problem. that's why when people who are trying to do good and try to use tax mpayer taxpayer's money wisely, they're offended to see it wasted on political ads. >> today, the governor's office released a statement saying, federal agency reviews are routine and standard operating procedure to ensure funds are distributed fairly. we're confident any review will show that the ads were a key part in helping new jersey get back on its feet after being struck by the worst storm in state history. but after an initial review of the standandy relief spending, general has determined there's enough evidence to launch a full-scale investigation. >> taxpayer dollars that could have been used for sandy relief were used for ads promoting the
2:15 pm
governor because he was in them with his family during an election campaign. >> christie's office questions the timing of the investigation. indeed, it couldn't come at a worst time for the scandal-plagued new jersey republican. christie's already facing two probes into whether his staff tied up traffic near the country's busiest bridge to punish democratic mayor who refused to endorse him. as bad as the george washington bridge scandal has been for christie, if the investigation finds he improperly spent sandy funds, it could get far worst, tarrishing the signature achievement that helped propel him to the white house. the hud inspector general's office confirms they're investigating but it will likely take months before a full report is released to the public accordiaccor according to congressman pallone. at least two democratic mayors in new jersey have come out in favor of governor christie starring in those advertisements, telling a major newspaper in new jersey it was the right thing to do.
2:16 pm
this thing is clearly far from over. >> haven't other governors, though, chris, done similar campaigns, tourism commercials following disasters? >> sure wolf, louisiana did one after katrina. the gulf states did it after bp. no one's questioning that spending money on a tourism campaign is a good idea. even the hud secretary shaun donovan said so in a congressional testimony last fall. the question here is, was the money for the campaign spent properly? >> interesting stuff, thanks very much, chris frates with his good reporting. let's dig diaper. democratic congressman frank pallone of new jersey is a longtime christie critic, the one who asked for the federal probe into how taxpayer money was spent on this tourism marketing. the congressman joining us here in "the situation room." thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> anything potentially illegal going on here? >> well, i think the question is how was this contract drawn up or, you know, how was it manipulated. that's what we don't know.
2:17 pm
the daily in my district, down at the jersey shore, basically did this investigation, and they compared the contracts between the two bids. they basically said the lower bid was not willing to put christie in the ad. and that was the one that was $2.5 million. and then when the higher bid at 4.7 said it would put him and his family in the ad, they were chosen. the question is how did that process come about. >> you think because he was up for re-election? >> that's clearly my concern. keep in mind, as i think you pointed out, or chris pointed out, that christie's whole campaign was he saved the shore. if you look at those tourism ads saying that, versus his campaign ads there really wasn't that -- >> a lot of people think he did do a good job after sandy, right? >> i don't think that's the issue. we all worked hard to try to restore the shore. keep in mind, this was a block grant. this money could have been used for sandy relief for homeowners,
2:18 pm
for businesses. we're still not getting that money. a lot of that money has still not come through. some people said, $2 million. well, $2 million is a lot of money. i'm concerned about it. i think the fact that the inspector general has now said they're going to conduct a full-scale investigation is significant. let them see what they come up with. >> the ad agency that created this ad issued a statement just a little while ago. i'll put it up on the screen. mww's proposal including no mention or suggestion of using the governor in the paid advertising campaign. the decision to include the governor was arrived at after the contract was awarded based on timing, availability and federal expenditure rules. assertion, to the contrary are simply incorrect. what's your response? >> if theyish ish they initial suggest the governor was going to be in the ads, what happened in that period of time when they met with the governor's staff and the other people that chose the contract. one of the things that was in
2:19 pm
the ad was the statement that some of his advisers perhaps were insisting that he be in the ad. so, again, the question is, that needs to be investigated, to what extent is that the case. >> what's wrong with the governor appearing in an ad like this, saying we beat back sandy, it's time to come back, visit the jersey shore, spend money here let's help our economy. >> again, i think it goes back. let me make a comparison. in the case of new york, there was a similar ad campaign that did not use governor cuomo. they used billy joel and other celebrities. okay. in the case of new jersey, the governor opted to do that. we don't know how that came about. the fact of the matter is, he was running for re-election. his re-election was very much linked to his success in sandy. these ads were, you know, basically adding another $20 million to promote him. very close to the election. >> christie's office sent the -- an e-mail saying they find it, quote, amazing, in their word, that the inspector general's
2:20 pm
investigation has now been leaked to the news media. what's your reaction to that? in the aftermath of the traffic scandal, this issue comes up? >> about six months ago in august i asked the inspector general to look into this. they did a preliminary investigation. it took about six months. they just told me within the last few days they decided to do the full fledge audit and investigation. it's just a coincidence it occurred at the same time. there's an independent agency. >> you believe the governor told the truth when he denied any knowledge of all of this? >> i don't think the issue is whether he told the truth or not. i think the issue is he created this atmosphere around him. it's a bullying atmosphere. an atmosphere take no prisoners. which i think sectiessentially encouraged his staff to threaten mayors and do whatever is necessary to get elected. i think they went too far and it's deplorable. >> there's no smoking gun as far as i know directly linking him to the plot, if you will. >> i don't know whether he was involved in the plot. i wasn't there. but i will say this, that the
2:21 pm
atmosphere in that administration is always -- has always been one of, you know, threats and bullying and basically, you know, saying, look, if you don't do this, then we're not going to be too pleased. >> is there evidence in at all he was involved in so-called cover-up? >> i can't comment on that. >> potentially, he could survive this. >> well, again, he's the governor. he was duly elected. to me, the issue is not whether he survive. the issue is we shouldn't have this type of atmosphere, you know, around the governor's office. >> what else do you want to hear from him? >> i want to know exactly what happened. particularly -- >> he spent two hours answering questions the other day. >> i'm talking now in terp terms with the sandy relief. i'm concerned because i think this extra money spent on the ads to put him on the air during the campaign, that's money we fought hard for that could be used for other personurposes fo sandy relief. i still have homeowners that
2:22 pm
haven't gotten their checks or businesses that haven't been paid for inventory lost during the storm. you know, this is federal dollars, taxpayer dollars. >> what else do you want to hear about the traffic scandal? what question would you ask him that he hasn't yet answered? >> think there's a lot of unanswered questions. >> like what? >> about exactly how this occurred. in other word, to what extent was his administration involved and would was involved. we have some preliminary information on that but i think this investigation by the assembly will take it further. it needs to be looked at. >> congressman pallone, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> up next, new numbers showing a surge in obama care enrollments. will there be enough young healthy people to make the system work? people who actually put money into the system? and allegations of an affair landing a first lady in the hospital. that's coming up. stay with us, you're in "the situation room."
2:23 pm
before you settle for another ordinary mattress, isn't it time you discovered the sleep number bed? because only the sleep number bed offers dual air technology that lets two people find the perfect balance of comfort and support for their bodies. their sleep number setting. ok, right there. and only the sleep number bed is clinically proven to relieve back pain and improve sleep quality. oh that feels really good. it's hugging my body. and right now, we're offering our lowest prices of the season. save $300 to $800 on our newest innovations.
2:24 pm
it's the perfect time for you to try the sleep number bed. plus, take advantage of 18-month special financing on all sleep number beds. sale ends soon. discover the sleep number bed. costs about the same as an innerspring, but lasts twice as long. only at one of our 425 stores nationwide, where queen mattresses start at just $699.99. sleep number. comfort individualized.
2:25 pm
2:26 pm
new numbers in for the first time some details about who's actually signing up for obama care. the administration is now sharing demographic information about who's enrolling, including young people, who can make or break the obama care success system. cnn's joe johns. so these new numbers what are we finding out? >> wolf, 2.2 million americans signed up for obama care from the 1st of october through the end of december. the official position of the administration is that they have reached what they call the threshold of preliminary sustainability. which means they think they're now on the way to making the
2:27 pm
affordable care act stand on its own. they've always needed a large influx of younger healthier people who actually are paying in in order to make the program work. today, they said that 25% of those signed up now are young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 who would statistically be healthier. these numbers of younger people are lower than they ultimately need to be. the congressional budget office said the number of young adults need to be closer to 40%. what they always said is younger consumers are likely to enroll in the program at the last minute and the last minute in this case would be march 31st. so there's still plenty of time. >> are they saying how many of those younger consumers who have actually signed up for obama care are paying customers as opposed to, for example, medicaid recipients or simply on their parent's program? how many actually are putting their own money into this system? >> that's a very important distinction. we don't know right now. we don't have that level of
2:28 pm
detail. if they don't get the right mix of paying customers and if these numbers don't improve, it could mean obama care might be more expensive than was expected. premiumses could go up because there aren't enough young people to pay for everyone else. insurance companies say it's just too early to say whether obama care has hit its sweet spot yet, wolf. >> joe johns reporting. hopefully, we'll get all the numbers behind the numbers shortly. appreciate it. our chief political analyst gloria borger, our commentators, ryan, these numbers are critical right now. not only the percentage of young people but how many of them are actually paying into the system. >> paying. remember, on the young, it's young and healthy. right now, we know how many are young people. what you want to also know is how many are healthy. frankly, it's the young and healthy will subsidize -- >> it's taking so long, why
2:29 pm
aren't they sharing these num r numbers with us? >> because they only want to report good number, not everything on a rolling basis. most young people, young and healthy, especially people who don't need health insurance most but don't want to pay the fine, they will jump in at the last second. the late march deadline is crucial. >> if you're laooking for some good news in this, whoolf, the numbers they've avoided is the death spiral that everybody was worried about. that no healthy people would be involved. and therefore the whole system would not be able to sustain itself. so i think they're on their way -- >> it's passed that threshold now. >> avoiding the death spiral. the problem is is more than half of the people who have enrolled are between 45 and 64. this is what ryan's talking about. you need young healthy paying custome customers. >> the reason they need them so badly, remember from the debate, the claim was obama was going to be deficit neutral, was not
2:30 pm
going to cost the treasury nothing. the reason they could make that claim was it wasn't that it was going to be cheap, it was going to be massively expensive, but the subsidies would happen beyond the treasury, from one customer to another customer. so if you don't -- this problem, this agonizing problem of making sure you have the right customers is a product of the earlier decision to make this program look cheaper than it really was. >> you signed up for obama care, right? >> i have eventually -- >> you have succeeded? >> how's that working out? >> we will find out. the first time anybody in my family gets ill. >> is it costing you more? >> it's costing me more. >> a lot more or a little more? >> we, it's costing me about a third more for the policy. it has some differences in some improvements in coverages and has a slightly higher deductible. >> politically, if you're a republican who is sort of waiting to sit back and wait for obama care to sit back and collapse under its own weight because you think it's impossible for it to work, you probably look at this say, otka,
2:31 pm
this thing may actually work out. >> gloria, let's move back to the governor christie scandal, if you will. you're digging in. you're getting some new information. what else are you learning? >> there's a series of e-mails. this was first reported by "the wall street journal" i should say. there is a series of e-mails between jersey city mayor and chris christie aides. and what they point to is essentially politics -- i'm sure you'll be shocked about this -- which is he was elected mayor, set up a bunch of meetings with top christie officials in the state, he decides -- christie went around looking for democratic endorsements because he wanted to get a lot of democratic endorsements when he was running. this mayor, jersey city, says sorry. around the day or the day after he said sorry, all of the appointments were canceled at the same time. >> the meetings? >> the meetings. so -- let's put this on the screen, he wrote this e-mail to the senior official at the port
2:32 pm
authority at the time, since resigned. i'm not sure if this is a coincidence your office canceled meetings several weeks back that seemed to be simultaneous to other political conversations elsewhere that were happening. prior to that, you were always very responsive and i sincerely hope the two issues are not related. of course, he believes that the two issues are related. today, a christie spokesman said, and i'm quoting here, again, mayor phillip's words and actions must be viewed through the lens of partisan politics and his attempt to advance his own political agenda. what they're talking about there is they believe phillip say leading democratic contender to run for the governorship in -- >> how much trouble is christie in? >> he faces a real risk of trouble. this is not an irretrievable situation. in a way, he's encountering something that governors often encount encounter when they run for
2:33 pm
president. the instincts of the staff that take you a certain way for national office become inadequate. that's what happened with bill clinton's arkansas operation in 1981. you have to grow. these politicians all have demons to slay. politicians seem to have more of them and they have to slay them sort of in public in a way that most of us are spared. the question for chris christie is can he use this to say i need to be a larger kind of person than new jersey politics has called for to date. >> i think canceling meetings is not the biggest deal in the world. anyone who has covered politicians know they do this. >> hilarious, right, one day they're all on, the next day, they all cancel at the same time, right? >> politics is transactional. in new jersey, it's more transactional than other places. he presented himself to the national audience as someone who did things differently in new jersey, you know, he came in and said i know what you thought about new jersey politics but we're going to clean house, we're going to make it different under my regime. what's happening now is a lot of
2:34 pm
these stories as they come out, the accumulation makes it seem like, wait, maybe he wasn't all that different than the previous new jersey politicians after all. >> what you discover when you're president is, to david's point, you can't be that petty, because when you're that petty, people don't think you're worthy of the office of president of the united states. if you're canceling appointments on a petty basis, i mean, remember this, i keep thinking about this, president obama had joe lieberman, who endorsed john mccain and he had an opportunity to take him out of the chairmanship of the homeland security exity acommittee after elected and he said, leave him, i'm not going to do that. he looked like someone worthy of a big office and not petty. >> petty politics. >> sometimes obama has been criticized for not being more into paying his opponents back. >> this is going to be a growth
2:35 pm
moment. this could be the thing that makes governor christie, if he rises to it, if he learn, if he gets new kinds of people played by larger and -- >> it's why so many of the supporters -- everything he said the other day turned out to be true. >> you might be able to do this in new jersey but on a larger scale i think governors often find out you can't. >> it's very difficult. new jersey governor's office is also very powerful. >> ryan, gloria, guys, thank you very much. up next, is iraq on the verge of simply falling apart? a deadly wave of violence is inundating the country. we're going to baghdad. plus, some of america's favorite liquors get an international twist. we have detail, of a new multibillion-dollar deal. your eyes really are unique.
2:36 pm
in fact, they depend on a unique set of nutrients. [ male announcer ] that's why there's ocuvite to help protect your eye health. as you age, your eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite is a vitamin made just for your eyes from the eye care experts as bausch + lomb. ocuvite has a unique formula that's just not found in any leading multivitamin. your eyes are unique, so help protect your eye health with ocuvite. so help protect your eye health thmortgage didn't start here. it began on her vacation in europe. someone stole her identity and opened some credit cards in her name. checking her experian credit report and score allowed her to better address the issue...and move right in. experian.
2:37 pm
2:38 pm
we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness if you qualify, and new car replacement, standard with our auto policies. so call liberty mutual at... today. and if you switch, you could save up to $423. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
2:39 pm
at the supreme court today, extraordinary constitutional test of the president's executive power. in what is a rare case affecting all three branches of the federal government, the justices heard arguments over president obama's recess appointments to a federal agency made without formal senate confirmation. our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin was there, heard all the arguments for us. the president of the united states, he likes these recess appointments right now. when he was a senator, he didn't like those recess appointments. >> this is a classic problem. when barack obama was the united states senator, he didn't like it when george w. bush made -- >> john bolton. >> john bolton the u.n.
2:40 pm
ambassador. today, he has responded to republican obstruction in the senate by making recess appointments. he's trying to defend them. that's the crash in the senate, in the court today. justices were very intrigued. it wasn't clear how it will come out. >> explain what it is. >> okay, the founding of the constitution in the 18th century, it was a very big country and the senate, you couldn't get around very easily. in the horse and buggy era when the senators were gone, they were gone from the senate months at a time. the framers of the constitution said let's have a provision that the president can fill these vacancies without the senate being present. in the current day, that's still on the books, even though the senators can always be called back on a moment's notice. >> sometimes there's a recess that's not a formal recess because you have a maryland senator who lives outside of washington, d.c. or a virginia senator who lives outside who just comes in, gavels and just goes home. >> it's become sort of a game.
2:41 pm
whether the senate wants nominees confirmed or wants them not to be confirmed, they keep themselves in session or not. and the justices seemed inclined basically to say, look, senators, we're not going to tell you how to make the rules. we're not going to tell you they are not appropriate. it's up to the senate. >> bottom line, what do you think is going to happen? >> bottom line is barack obama's party better control the senate in 2014 if he wants to get anything done. because the justices seem inclined to say the senate can make whatever rules it wants. so if harry reid is still the majority leader, obama will be in pretty good shape. but if mitch mcconnell, who is in court today, is the majority leader, he is going to be able to gum up the works even more than he has now. so the stakes for the 2014 campaign seem to get higher in that courtroom today. >> we'll get the result by the end of june, right? >> yes, of the decision. >> of the decision. thanks very much, jeffrey.
2:42 pm
other top stories we're following here in "the situation room," leaders and dignitaries from around the room attended a memorial for the former israeli prime minister ariel sharon outside the israeli parliament today. the vice president joe biden representing the united states. sharon died saturday after eight years in a coma that resulted from a stroke. he was buried later in the day in his family ranch. some spirits are changing hands. the japanese beverage company is buying beam in a $16 billion deal that includes jim beam and maker's mark. the combined companies will be the third largest prem yum spirit maker in the world. she wasn't a runner until now. in fact, celest says she hated running but nine month, after she lost both legs in the boston marathon bombing, she's running and more. she says she refused to give up,
2:43 pm
because she wants the best life she can possibly have. good for her. just ahead, president obama and lawmaker, at odds as a critical milestone over the nuclear deal with iran approaches. plus, iraq, the civil war, even greater civil war, right now, imminent. we'll go to baghdad. plus, an alleged affair, the first lady in the hospital. details of developments in a real-life soap opera that's still unfolding. [ children yelling ]
2:44 pm
[ telephone rings ] [ shirley ] edward jones. this is shirley speaking. how may i help you? oh hey, neill, how are you? how was the trip? [ male announcer ] with nearly 7 million investors... [ shirley ] he's right here. hold on one sec. [ male announcer ]'d expect us to have a highly skilled call center. kevin, neill holley's on line one. ok, great. [ male announcer ] and we do. it's how edward jones makes sense of investing. ♪ there's nothing like being your own boss!
2:45 pm
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.
2:46 pm
the clock is finally about to start ticking on that interim
2:47 pm
nuclear deal with iran. lawmakers are working to keep the pressure on tehran. let's bring in our chief security correspondent jim sciutto. a little complex but critically important. >> no question. you can argue the administration had two very difficult negotiations under way. one with iran over its nuclear program. another with congress to hold off new sanctions on iran while this diplomatic path is open. now, at least those first negotiations are moving forward. the landmark nuclear deal with iran will spring into action on january 20. one week from today, u.n. inspectors will be inside iran to begin verifying the requirements of the nuclear agreement. including it stops enriching uranium to near weapons grade and dilutes its current stockpiles. beginning february 1, over six months sanctions relief will be paid out in eight installments of roughly half a billion
2:48 pm
dollars each for a total of $4.2 billion in unfrozen overseas assets. >> the agreement that we reached in geneva is the beginning of a long and difficult road in order to address this issue and in it the process create a bit of confidence. >> that confidence has been shaken, however, by a growing push on capitol hill for new sanctions against iran. the two sides reached agreement in geneva in november. wait until iran fails to live up to the agreement before imposing new penalties. >> now is not the time to impose new sanctions. now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work. we will be able to monitor and verify whether or not the interim agreement is being followed through on and if it is
2:49 pm
not, we'll be in a strong position to respond. >> that argument, however, has not swayed a majority in the u.s. senate, 59 senators have signed on to support a new sanctions bill. that includes the democratic chairman of the foreign relations committee bob menendez who wrote in "the washington post" opponents of prospective sanctions against iran argue sanctions are like a but he argues passing legislation in congress paired with implementation takes time. throughout iran's position remains clear. he told cnn quote, the enactment of sanctions by the senate will ruin the entire agreement. we hope we will not face that. >> as this interim deal kicks in, the two sides will begin talks on a long-term agreement. secretary kerry traveling in europe calls the next phase very difficult. and as if to highlight that difficulty both sides have been emphasizing that the deal is
2:50 pm
reversible if either side doesn't live up to their commitments. >> there's word that iran and russia have worked out a new deal that will import a lot of iranian oil to russia. >> this is a significant problem. reports come out that iran and russia are in an oil for goods swap. that's a lot of money considering we're only talking half a billion dollars a month during this interim nuclear deal. if the reports are true, they say such a deal would raise serious questions as it would be inconsistent with the terms of the p plus 5 agreement. that's from kagan hayden at the national security council. it was very measured reversible sanctions relief as iran meets each of these gateways in terms of reducing its nuclear program. this would dwarf the agreement with the u.s. >> russia is a signatory is one of the permanent members of the
2:51 pm
security council to this deal. >> exactly. we're told that secretary kerry did raise this with russian foreign minister lavrov today. >> while they were in jerusalem for the funeral. biden was there not not kerry. biden represented the united states. cnn is on the ground in iraq right now with renewed fears of an all-out civil war two years after the u.s. troops pulled out, is iraq now falling apart? michael holmes is joining us from baghdad right now. i know you were there in 2011 when u.s. troops left iraq. you say the situation right now is a whole lot worse than it was then. what are you seeing? >> reporter: it is, wolf, from the moment we came in from the airport down the old route irish as the military used to call it, the number of checkpoints and just sheer security presence is more than it was back in 2011. not as much.
2:52 pm
i've been coming here since the war began. and, of course, in 2006, '07 and the like it was more than it was today, but it was certainly a great deal more tense, if you like, than it was when the americans left, no doubt about it. you've seen that unfold in the bombings that have gone on. even today four in the space of three hours just here in baghdad. >> what are iraqis on the ground saying to you, michael, about this uncertain future for iraq? >> reporter: they're fearful, wolf. i think it's fair to say. i've spoken to a lot of iraqis who are. it is a possibility, it could go that way if some sort of compromise is not reached. nuri al maliki portrays this as a fight against terrorism, a fight against al qaeda in anbar province in particular and there are no elements there. there's no doubt about it. but the root cause of the dissatisfaction among sunnis is the fact that they feel
2:53 pm
disenfranchised, completely alienated by a sheer dominated government that when mr. maliki came to government promised to power share. they say they've seen none of it and they're fed up to the point where they are picking up guns. >> the u.s. is going to try to provide some weapons, maybe a little bit of training or whatever, to the iraqi government, but not send back u.s. troops. nobody here is ready to send back u.s. troops. so militarily speaking, can the iraqi military security forces alone get the job done? >> it depends where and how. if they got that -- the things that we've been talking about, like hellfire missiles, apache helicopters and they tried to take on al qaeda in the desert camps that they're in in anbar province near the syrian border, they can probably do so with that sort of hardware and drone ds and the like. going into a place like fallujah
2:54 pm
would in the eyes of many be a mistake. going in to take on the elements of being in that city indeed. the troops said let us do it. interesting nuri al maliki was threatening to go in with the army to fallujah. he's backed off that and will wait, in his words, as long as it takes, as long as the tribes take care of the al qaeda in their cities. those sunni tribes in places like fallujah, most of them are no fans of these al qaeda-linked guys. they don't like the way they run things and the brutality in which they do it. so a bit of a standoff at the moment. nuri al maliki saying i won't come in with the troops into fallujah, the tribes saying, ox, and don't try that anyway, by the way, or we will make this a fight that goes well beyond fallujah. they've said that. now a wait and see to see if the tribes do get on to the al qaeda militants outside the towns the and cities and see what happens there. there's not a meaningful compromise on the political
2:55 pm
inclusiveness side of this. this restiveness, this anger, this bubbling, fermenting annoyance by sunnis isn't going to go away. it will still stay there. this is a country that's sort of rumbling along on that sectarian divide, wolf. >> michael has written an excellent article on his eyewitness account of what's going on in iraq right now. michael, be careful over there. thanks very much. and coming up, a chemical nightmare leaves hundreds of thousands without water. is loose regulation to blame? and a steamy scandal puts a first lady in the hospital. my lenses have a sunset mode. and an early morning mode. and a partly sunny mode. and an outside to clear inside mode. new transitions® signature™ adaptive lenses now have chromea7™ technology making them more responsive than ever to changing light. so life can look more vivid and vibrant. why settle for a lens with one mode.
2:56 pm
experience life well lit. upgrade your lenses to new transitions® signature™. thmortgage didn't start here. it began on her vacation in europe on the day she arrived in london. someone set up a bogus hotspot, stole her identity and opened some credit cards in her name. but she's not worried. checking her experian credit report and score allowed her to better address the issue ...and now, she can move right in. experian. live credit confident. ♪ drimusic stopsusic
2:57 pm
♪ music resumes ♪ music stops ♪ music resumes ♪ ♪ [announcer] if your dog can dream it, [whistle] purina pro plan can help him achieve it. nutrition that performs. is your tv powered by coal? natural gas? nuclear? or renewables like solar... and wind? let's find out. this is where america's electricity comes from. a diversity of energy sources helps ensure the electricity we need is reliable. take the energy quiz. energy lives here.
2:58 pm
affairs aren't normally a
2:59 pm
big deal in france. but this one is making headlines. >> the international love saga that's playing out in the tabloids. first lady of france, the nine-year partner of president francois hollande has been hospitalized since friday with exhaustion after allegations surfaced that he was having an affair with a french actress. it reported that holland, allegedly shown here in a black helmet would slip out of the palace where they live and be driven on a motor scooter to gayet's apartment. he's not denied having the affair but he's threatening legal action against the magazine. >> there's a feeling of embarrassment because it is not, of course, the dignity of the to have his name and photograph in such a story.
3:00 pm
>> he's no stranger to having his private life in the public eye. he's never been married. he spent 30 years with his longtime partner before leaving her in 2007. a relationship that began two years earlier while they were both with their former partners. its all plays out in an oh so french way where extra-marital affairs of state aren't given a second thought. >> we're not usually interested in the personal life. it's not political. it's just love story wee don't really care. >> we've always had a much more tolerant attitude towards sex stories. >> reporting for cnn, london. happening now, spying strategy as the president gets ready to unveil changes. stand by for a heated debate on snooping on americans' phone records. could the program have prevented 9/11. plus slow drip. a break in west virginia's toxic
3:01 pm
water crisis but hundreds are still at risk if they turn on the tap. they'll ask a state environmental official if he'd drink the water right now. and the former nba star lands in the united states this hour with surprising new take on the situation in north korea. the controversy from his trip is dogging him all the way home. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." president obama is on the verge of revealing reforms over at the national security agency. critics are worried he won't go far enough to ease up on mass spying and protect americans' security. a just released study is adding fuel to the fire. it finds that one of the controversial programs hasn't done much to prevent terror attacks. let's go straight to brianna keilar who has the latest. >> reporter: this is adding to the tension not just between the obama administration and american citizens but allies of
3:02 pm
the the u.s. other countries who worry the nsa is going too far. you saw that today as spain's president visited the white house. president obama meeting up with yet another leader of a country upset with u.s. spying. this time spanish president mariano bray. since the first time since it came to light in october that the nsa scooped up information about 60 million phone calls made by spanish sit sens. the explanations were satisfactory, he said, as long as there were no new developments. it comes as president obama finalizes reforms that he will detail on friday. where is he at in that process? are those decisions complete? >> they are near completion. he is finishing his work and will be doing so for the next several days. so we're not quite concluded yet in that process but coming close. >> the president has signaled some openness to the changes
3:03 pm
especially spying on allies. >> just because we can do something doesn't mean we necessarily should. >> reporter: and the white house is considering several other reforms including an improved system for issues security clearances and limiting access to classified information. a response to nsa leaker edward snowden's easy access to vast amounts of classified data. also new transparency reports that detail how the nsa queries phone companies and how many people have their records pulled. but the president has defended much of the intelligence gathering. >> we believed that we have scrubbed these programs and struck an appropriate balance. >> reporter: even outside experts wonder if the programs really help, a new analysis of 225 individuals linked to al qaeda and charged with terrorism since september 11th says nsa blung surveillance programs had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism. and review of intelligence gathering ordered by the president said the metadata
3:04 pm
collection was not essential. >> do we want to live in a just in case society where they have everything they want and they can say to the american people that we want to do this just in case. that's really what we're talking about. >> reporter: these studies show that traditional intelligence gathering, informants and tips the really do yield the best information. but white house officials will argue the metadata gathering where you have these, for instance, you can see where a call began, where it ended, you can identify phone number, they say that helps connect the dots. we'll be hearing from president obama. we'll have the final word on this. he'll be laying out his vision for changing practices at a speech at the department of justice here in washington. >> we'll have live coverage of that. brianna, thanks very much. let's dig a little deeper with cnn national security analyst peter bergen. the author of that new analysis of the phone surveillance
3:05 pm
program, its impact on terrorism, also joining us cliff may the president of the foundation of the defense for democracies. you thing this whole metadata thing, as far as terrorism is concerned, a waste? >> very marginal. the government can only point to one case. somebody sent $8500 to somalia to an al qaeda affiliate. not to be encouraged but even in that case the government waited two months to investigate this case. the idea that this is kind of critical to stopping terrorism is overblown. >> yeah, i'm for letting our national intelligence community have the tools they need in their toolbox. and this may be one of them. u.s. government officials say that 54 different terrorist events have been prevented in 20 different countries thanks to the use of metadata. >> do you buy that? >> we need to be kind of careful here. there's the telephone metadata, then there's overseas e-mail surveillance. what is controversial in this country in particular is in five
3:06 pm
years all your phone calls can be stored by the government. there's very little that's stopped in terms of terrorist. >> my friend peter has given himself a very hard task, which is to prove a negative. if my handyman comes to the house and fixes everything that's broken with a screwdriver and plier, does that mean he doesn't need a hammer? dianne feinstein, the chairman of the senate intelligence committee. general hayden of the cia, both believe that metadata is an important tool for prevents terrorism and has done so on numerous occasions already. we have to understand what this is and what this isn't. i'm all in favor of individual rights and constitutional rights and privacy. we're not talking about content, not talking about listening to people's phone calls. we're talking about connect kg electrons and looking for patterns in networks. all that can be useful. i don't think you can prove it hasn't. >> they're suggesting that at least president obama's national
3:07 pm
security advisers, some of them, concluded, have embraced this theory that if this metadata collection had been in place before 9/11, it could have prevented 9/11. >> this is a nonsensical claim. what would have prevented 9/11 is if the cnn and the fbi have been sharing information that they gained by conventional means that they didn't share with each other. that's an untestable hypothesis. what we do know is that conventional law enforcement techniques and the government actually understanding the information they already possess is the way that you stop terrorism plots, not like a sort of huge superstructure of information collecting that you don't really understand. and it isn't that useful. >> i would argue that, yes, a problem was at the cia and the fbi did not share intelligence, but this could have helped before 9/11. >> how kite have helped? >> very simply. the cia knew there was a foreign terrorist in this country, you want to get his phone call, his
3:08 pm
computer, his cell phone, whatever you can, then find out who he's called and find out who has been called by everybody he's called. you may get some dentists and haber dashers and others into this net, but at the end of the day you can find patterns and networks. >> the terrorists they read the same newspapers that all of us read. they know what this intelligence collection is capable of doing. they're finding other means of communicating right now. >> you make a great point about that and you're absolutely right. and that's why i wish less of this was being revealed. it's also why a lot of the uses of metadata we don't know about and we can't study because the intelligence community has not revealed it. but at the end of the day terrorists have to communicate with each other, and if they do, they leave a trail. >> you think they're still making phone calls between somalia and the united states? >> you can't underestimate people's stupidity, that's true. cliff and i disagree -- the
3:09 pm
things that americans are concerned about is phone data. this is not a sort of presumption on my part. there is only case where this was useful. americans have to manke a decision. one case in san diego where somebody was sending money to somalia. if people are comfortable having all their phone data preserved for five year. >> first of all, it's preserved anyway, just not by the government. secondly, are you saying that dianne feinstein is wrong to say there are multiple cases where metadata has played a role in thwarts terrorist event. >> i'll ask the viewers to review all the classified information. >> we'll see what the president says on friday when he announces his reforms to all of this. guys, thanks very much. still ahead, some west virginians are being allowed to turn on their water taps but hundreds of thousands of others are waiting for relief from a toxic water crisis. i'll ask a state environmental official if the water is now
3:10 pm
safe to drink. and dennis rodman's new apology. he's arriving back in the united states this hour and saying more about his rather bizarre trip to north korea. for aches and pains
3:11 pm
3:12 pm
3:13 pm
trust bufferin, the only non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain reliever formulated with special buffers so it's gentler to your stomach. in west virginia the first break in a contaminated water crisis that's been dragging on for days. 5,000 residents got the green light to start using tap water again with precautions after toxic chemicals leaked into the water supply. but get this, hundreds of thousands of others are still relying on bottled water and they're very worried about their health. alina mitched ao is in west virginia. >> 15 minutes. so i'll do this.
3:14 pm
>> reporter: that is the sound sandra fisher hasn't heard in her home since thursday. should you be touching it? >> oh, i touched it! crap! >> reporter: the charleston resident is among the 300,000 people in west virginia who have been under a no use water order for days. the ban was imposed after a chemical typically used to clean coal leaked from a tank at freedom industries and got into the water supply. >> i know the liquor smell in the air was something that probably couldn't be good. i didn't think it was candy. >> reporter: the leak was discovered thursday after someone reported smelling a licorice-like odor. >> we're finally at a point where the do not use order has been lifted in certain areas. >> reporter: the progress means residents like fisher, who are no longer under the ban, can start flushing the water out of their homes, but concerns about the safety of the water remain. >> i'm not going to drink it, for a while. >> i will be concerned probably
3:15 pm
for the rest of the time that i live here. i was very concerned when i found out that one mile from our water intake was this huge deteriorating chemical vat. >> reporter: the chemical, 4 mchm has a licorice odor. cnn has obtained this document from west virginia's department of environmental protection showing at least one other instance back in 2010 in which a person living near the chemical plant complained about, quote, an odor that smells like licorice. the complaint does not say that a leak was detected or that there was any danger to residents, but at least one other person who lives near the plant tells cnn he has smelled licorice in the air and in the water in his home before last week. >> i've smelled licorice here several times in the five times that i've lived here. >> reporter: that resident, who does not want to be identified,
3:16 pm
tells us he is worried about lou the exposure to the leaked chemical might affect his family's health long term. it's a concern others in this area share. reporting for cnn, from charleston, west virginia. let's dig deeper right now. joining us, the secretary of the west virginia department of environmental protection, randy hoffman. thanks very much for joining us. are you telling the folks now it's actually safe to drink the water? >> good evening, wolf. the water company and the team that's been put together by the governor has implemented a very strict set of protocols. and those protocols consist of a large amount of sampling and analytical work that's gone in to ensure the water's clean to the standard recommended by the cdc, and now we're in the process of opening that water system back up and flushing out the system in phases so we don't
3:17 pm
overtax the water system. and as we go through that process, the numbers that we've seen, the numbers that we know about, we believe it's safe, absolutely. >> are you ready to drink that water? >> yes. as soon as i send my home through the protocols outlined by the health department and my zone is opened up, i absolutely will drink it. >> a lot of us are wondering how could this happen in west virginia where 300,000 people are told you can't even -- don't drink the water, but don't even touch the water, don't bathe in the water, get a shower. basically just flush the toilets with that water. what was going on with that storage facility? how often had it been checked for potential leakage? >> well, i think the biggest problem is -- the protocols were in place and the system was in place to report any breaches of the system and have it reported to us, have it reported to the water company, and that's under investigation right now, but there was an opportunity to make
3:18 pm
some calls a lot earlier i think than what we had and had that been done, this whole thing may have been averted. >> was someone asleep on the job? >> well, i can tell you that the call wasn't made as soon as it could have been made. i don't know how early in the day on thursday that the company knew they had a problem, but i know it was -- they knew before we did, and when my folks showed up on sight we made the call in implementing the plan to contain the spill. >> one person described where this poison chemical took place, the leakage, as an antique, that it really had never been inspected for all practical purposes. i assume you're trying to get to the bottom of this? >> we are trying to get to the bottom of that. there's a lot of information out there, there's a lot that needs to be looked into. we're in the data gathering process and we'll take
3:19 pm
appropriate action. >> how much longer before everyone can start drinking the water again? >> i'm not sure, wolf, of the timeframe, the water company and the assessment team, they have that. i haven't been engaged in that this afternoon. i was engaged in that over the weekend. but i know we're in zone two right now in the charleston area, zone three may be coming up pretty soon. so, you know, it's certainly going to go into tomorrow. i'm not sure how much longer. >> randy huffman, good luck to you, good luck to everybody in west virginia. thanks very much. >> thank you, wolf. >> just ahead, dennis rodman has been slammed for his north korea trip and for some rather bizarre behavior. is he likely to go back? i'll ask rachel nichols about rodman's motives and whether he's just in it for the money. . open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here
3:20 pm
and pay no taxes for ten years... we're new york. if there's something that creates more jobs, and grows more businesses... we're open to it. start a tax-free business at we're open to it. so ally bank really has no hthat's right, no hidden fees.s? it's just that i'm worried about, you know, "hidden things." ok, why's that? well uhhh... surprise!!!
3:21 pm
um... well, it's true. at ally there are no hidden fees. not one. that's nice. no hidden fees, no worries. ally bank. your money needs an ally. and better is so easy withrning you cabenefiber.o something better for yourself. fiber that's taste-free, grit-free and dissolves completely. so you can feel free to add it to anything. and feel better about doing it. better it with benefiber. ♪ nothing says, "you're my #1 copilot," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪ say it with milk-bone.
3:22 pm
3:23 pm
rodman has just landed back in the united states after his controversial visit to north korea. there he is. we just have brand new video of him landing at the newark international airport. there you see him right in the middle of your screen. the former nba star's offering a vague new apology for what's going on inside the secretive nation run by his so-called pal kim jong un. but rodman is not apologizing for the trip. cnn was in beijing, china, when rodman made a brief stop over there. >> i'm sorry with what's going on in north korea. i'm not god, i'm not an ambassador, i'm no one. >> reporter: a slightly different tone from dennis rodman arriving at beijing's
3:24 pm
international airport after almost a week inside north korea. >> how was the trip? >> reporter: initially not wanting to talk about his trip, then within minutes he couldn't resist. >> i have done nothing wrong. nothing wrong. so i don't know why people are saying that, well, dennis rodman this, that. it's not about me. >> reporter: rodman believes his efforts inside this reclusive country have been wrongly represented and unappreciated. insisting his basketball diplomacy has been a success. >> i just went over there to show the world the fact that we can actually get along in sports. and that is it. >> reporter: members of rodman's team have also spoken out in defense of the controversial visit. >> i think i'm astute enough to understand the dynamics, especially collecting monetary dollars from north korea, no, we did not get paid by north korea
3:25 pm
at all. >> david stern told cnn that money motivated the trip. >> they were blinded by the payday. ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ >> reporter: his trip featured many odd moments and profanity laced interview with chris cuomo. the outburst igniting a firestorm of criticism after rodman's seeming justification for kenneth bae's prim izenment. >> do you understand what he did? >> you tell me. >> reporter: rodman later apologized for that comment and the whole episode. as rodman heads home, the debate over the trip's purpose continues while the safety and future of detained american kenneth bae remains uncertain. and rachel nichols is joining us now. rachel, the money, they say they're not getting money from north korea, per se, but obviously someone's paying for
3:26 pm
these trips. somebody is paying them, right? >> yeah, actually, it seems two someones are paying them. there's an irish gambling brokerage called paddy power that initially was sponsoring this trip. they were doing it because they thought they would get a lot of good, free publicity out of it. ha ha, when they realized they were getting only bad publicity they pulled out as the main sponsor. but they had signed some contractual agreements and they will honor those. and that means the money. also the documentary crew that was with this group filming this, and that intends to sell that documentary. also, according to charles smith, the former knick who was on the trip, they kicked in some money as well. according to the players, according to paddy power, that's where the money is coming from. of course, we don't know for sure that no money is coming from north korea, but that's what they're telling us right now. >> when david stern, the commissioner of the nba told me this would be a good payday for these former nba players, he obviously had some information along those lines.
3:27 pm
and rodman is suggesting he may go back to north korea fairly soon, maybe as early as next month. rachel, big picture, what is going on here? >> well, anybody who can tell you what is going on with dennis rodman should be given a hefty amount of money because i don't think even dennis rodman can tell you that. look, this is what we know. the leader of north korea likes dennis rodman because he grew up watching tapes the of dennis' bulls teams when he played alongside michael jordan. he idolizes rodman, it's exciting for him, it's cachet for him to say that rodman is his friend. we know that rodman will most likely be invited back. rodman, his whole career, he likes attention and this makes him relevant again. he's hounded by news crews. he's got a stadium full of people in north korea chanting his name. that is appealing for dennis rodman. on the other hand dennis doesn't seem to have realized going into this how much negative attention and publicity that he was going to get. i think that is going to be the
3:28 pm
war within dennis rodman over these next weeks or months as he decides whether to, in fact, take another trip. we've seen just here on cnn air wild vacillations and mood swing, opinions, pronouncements, statements, dennis seems to have many contradictory opinions within himself. i think we'll see those play out over the next few weeks or months whether he decides to go back. >> i suspect you're right. rachel nichols joining us. she's the host of rachel nichols -- unguarded with rachel nichols, friday nights 10:30 p.m. eastern. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. "crossfire" starts right now. tonight on "crossfire" -- fighting for middle class jobs and helping people who have lost their jobs. >> we waste so much time. >> why is it taking so long? what are the biggest hurdles? >> we think we have better ideas. >>