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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  January 15, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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on our broadcast tonight, placing blame, a scathing new report about what really happened in benghazi. tonight, who investigators say is at fault for a massive security failure overseas. proof of life, suddenly there is news about a u.s. army sergeant who vanished almost five years ago in afghanistan. the only american service member currently being held captive overseas. unding the alarm about the most popular pain killer in america. it is in everything from tylenol to nyquil, now a new warning about how much you should take. and the risks of taking too much. and olympic spirits, two identity twins with identity dreams and the sacrifice one just made for the other. nightly news begins now.
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good evening, it was not a household name until a disaster happened. and since then, benghazi has become a lightning rod, a rallying cry, a highly charged partisan issue. but most of all it was a tragedy, the night 16 months ago on the 9/11 anniversary, when four americans were killed, including our ambassador to libya. it is back in the news tonight because of a scathing report issued by the senate intelligence committee. it says the deaths could have been stopped by better security, better communication. and the state department, they say, gets most of the blame. it is where we begin tonight with our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, in the d.c. news, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, 16 months after the terror attack that killed four americans, including our ambassador the senate committee
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has blamed the state department for warnings and getting adequate security. benghazi, libya, 9/11, 2012. the month and day alone should have set off alarms but did not. the report says the attacks that killed the four americans, including ambassador chris stevens, were preventible, in fact, hundreds of intelligence reports in prior months had warned that militias and terrorists and affiliate groups had the capability and intent to strike u.s. and western facilities and personnel in libya. >> the intelligence is ample, i had the opportunity to review it myself. >> reporter: was it the state department that should have ramped up the security with all the warnings, the cia or both? >> it is the state department that is responsible for the security of our missions in embassies. >> reporter: the report says the cia increased security at its annex, a mile from the diplomatic mission, the state department did not. >> they needed more security and personnel, all of that was ignored. >> reporter: a major new
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finding, ambassador stevens declined two specific offers for african command general carter ham for more military support. and the report says the pentagon, whose closest fighter jets were more than five hours away were not prepared to respond to the attacks. committee republicans also issued a blistering attack on former secretary of state hillary clinton, who last year tried to rebut charges of a cover-up. >> what difference at this point does it make. it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from happening again, senators. >> reporter: but the republican committee members blamed clinton, citing at the end of the day she was responsible for the safety of our americans serving in our diplomatic facilities. her failure to do so clearly made the difference in the lives of our four murdered americans and their families. that will be fodder for any presidential campaign. >> she herself says the buck stops at the top, and she was in charge of this at the state department at the time. >> reporter: hillary clinton
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office referred all questions back to the state department which tonight said we are focused on the security of our embassies and will leave politics to the others. >> andrea mitchell starting us off from d.c. tonight, thank you. and now surprising news about an american being held captive by the enemy. the united states has intercepted a video that showing army sergeant bowe bergdahl is alive almost five years after he disappeared from his base in afghanistan. our correspondent jim miklaszewski live with the details on this, jim, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian, the u.s. has not released this latest video, the first proof in three years that army sergeant bowe bergdahl is still alive. now, bergdahl was an army first class or was a private first class when he was abducted in afghanistan nearly five years ago. it is still believed that he is being held by the haqqani
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terrorists in pakistan, his cap tors released a first video showing him fit and well fed. but u.s. officials say in the latest video he appeared frail and shaken. as proof of life he made references to nelson mandela in south africa. his family in sun valley, idaho is happy about the news and in a statement told bergdahl himself to remain strong, your endurance will carry you to the finish line, breathe. now, there is no indication that this video means that bergdahl will be freed any time soon. but late tonight, bergdahl's father told nbc news that his family has never lost hope. >> jim miklaszewski, thank you, at the pentagon for us tonight, jim, thank you. the tonight the u.s. air force says 34 of the officers who maintain the missile defenses have been caught up in
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a cheating scandal accused of sharing answers on a monthly refresher exam on the knowledge of how to use the missiles. all of those accused were stripped of their certification. it was discovered during a separate drug investigation that involves 11 air force officers at bases in the u.s. and the u.k. and one day after the shooting in roswell, new mexico, we learn more information about the boy who allegedly opened fire in his middle school gym. authorities say he had warned some students away just before the attack. and the victims, the 11-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl were chosen randomly, the little boy is in critical girl, the girl in satisfactory condition. officials say the suspect got his shotgun from his family's home and had three rounds of ammunition on him. it was the teacher in the school that persuaded him to put the gun down and the teacher now is hailed as a hero. now to the chemical leak that tainted the water in west virginia and disrupted the lives of hundreds of thousands of
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people. more than half the water customers have been given the okay to use it again. meanwhile, the chemical has been swept hundreds of miles down river now in the ohio river where it is being detected in the cincinnati river and beyond. we get our report tonight from our chief environmental correspondent, anne thompson. >> reporter: every hour, there is a special delivery, to the richard miller water treatment plant on cincinnati's east side. inside the cooler, vials of water from the ohio water to be tested for the mchm, the coal processing chemical that made charleston, west virginia's tap water unusable. >> this machine takes a sample and breaks it down to its original component. >> reporter: including mchm which is present in the sample. that is dangerous to human health? >> this is well below any type of health levels that are being talked about now. >> reporter: still, cincinnati's water intake valves from the river are closed as a precaution, and the city is using its reserves, even though the chemical had been severely
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diluted on its 200 mile journey. the authorities first detected the chemical spill thursday at freedom industries. it travelled down the elk river to the river and found in ohio. and the chemical was found in the drinking water there and several other intake drinking water areas. impacting thousands who make their lives along the water. down river in louisville, the water intake valves will remain open and the authorities will catch whatever chemical remains. back in charleston where some tap water still smells like licorice and is discolored authorities urged customers to keep flushing their faucets. >> if there is additional coloration, we ask they flush wait for an hour and do that step again. >> reporter: now, officials here think the chemical plume will be gone tomorrow, certainly friday at the latest. brian? >> anne thompson, in kentucky,
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thank you. across the river from cincinnati, thank you. and the battle over abortion was back before the supreme court today specifically this time, abortion protests and an effort to limit them around the entrances to clinics. the question before the justices today, does it violate free speech? we get our report from our justice correspondent, pete williams. >> reporter: this grandmother shows up twice a week in boston hoping to persuade women not to get abortions. >> they're abandoned, they're alone, i'm just saying wait, don't rush in, can't reverse this. >> reporter: but under state law protesters can't cross a line that keeps them 35 feet from the door. they say it violates free speech and makes conversation impossible. >> we don't want to scream at them. we're not, but it sounds like we are if we have to holler. >> the government is not allowed to say the sidewalks are opened for planned parenthood but closed for offering alternatives.
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>> reporter: but the clinic says the law is response to years of aggressive tactics by protesters. >> they were allowed to physically be up against the door and scream at patients as they walked into the clinic. >> the protesters who want to have a quiet conversation with our patients have it right out on the sidewalk. and they do that on a regular basis. they just need to do it outside the buffer zone. >> reporter: in court today, justice ginsburg says the buffers make sense because they can't screen people to know who will be well behaved and who will disrupt. but they say it is equal to a good portion of the courtroom in court. justice kennedy adds you want me say there is no free speech on a right to converse on an issue of public importance? nationwide, 15 other states have similar buffer restrictions on zones. the judges seem prepared to
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strike the massachusetts law down as a blunt instrument that restricts too much speech. pete williams, nbc news, at the supreme court. in new jersey tonight, the legislature there named a special counsel for the committee that will investigate the george washington bridge scandal involving governor chris christie's administration. he is a former assistant u.s. attorney, reid schar, the man who prosecuted former illinois governor rob blagojevich on corruption charges. in a poll tonight, 44% believe governor christie is telling the truth, while 33% say he is not. 30% view him favorably, and 28% have a favorable view of the governor. and tonight's story has to do with drugs found in homes, the ones prescribed for patients after surgery and injury. the pain relievers and prescription pain meds that contain acetaminophen, the active ingredient in things like tylenol. the fda is taking action to limit the amount of
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acetaminophen because of overdosing is the most common cause of liver failure. our chief medical editor dr. nancy snyderman is here with more on this. >> reporter: hey, brian, the fda was very pointed on taking action on this today, because it has to do with the fact that many people don't know it is a common component in spripgz prescription pain killers like vicodin. patients may not realize they are at risk for liver damage, and that is why the agency is asking doctors to stop prescribing medication -- combination medications with more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen per dose. it all breaks down to why this is so important, it targets the prescription pain killers and is a reminder to keep the dosage down to common levels, that is don't exceed more than 4,000 milligrams in a 24 hour period,
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usually about eight or ten pills. ask your doctor what is the content in any prescription pill, and acetaminophen, and remember, alcohol is not your friend when it comes to acetaminophen and don't drink when you take the medication. and for most pain that isn't severe, when you just need an over-the-counter medication, one pill can sometimes take care of routine pain and there is no evidence, interestingly that two pills is better than one. >> and in that way, it is big news today, nancy, thank you. as always. and still ahead, five years since that miracle landing on the hudson tonight. and which major airports are facing a growing threat of bird strikes. and later, a big announcement today, why apple is giving money back to apple customers.
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prior to what happened five years ago today, few americans who fly had ever given that much
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serious thought to bird strikes while in the air. but then five years ago today, a plane landed on the hudson in new york city. and captain sully sullenberger was hailed as a hero for his perfect emergency landing. as we learn tonight, though, the threat to planes is still an urgent issue five years later. our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it was an ice cold day just after takeoff when captain sully sullenberger radioed he was in big trouble. >> hit birds, both engines, turn >> reporter: near the george ing back towards la guardia. washington bridge, flight 1539 had just hit a flock of geese, both engines dead. seconds later, sully and the first officer pulled off one of aviation's greatest saves, landing a fully loaded air bus on the hudson river.
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within minutes ferry boats were pulling passengers off the wings. >> we have much to be thankful for. today, captain sully, crew members and passengers returned to the hudson to give thanks. >> had even one person not survived, i personally couldn't have celebrated any of this. >> reporter: five years later, much of the focus remains on the birds that still pose a threat. since that day, airports have taken bird strikes much more seriously. and bird strike reporting has soared, especially at airports near bodies of water and near bird migratory flight paths. at the airport in atlanta, bird strikes are up 45% since 2009. at chicago's o'hare, 47%, at l.a.x., 50%, and in san francisco, a 77% increase. every day, wildlife technicians use noise makers and grow the grass at just the right height to keep away the geese and rodents that attract bigger
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birds. at three major airports in new york, bird medication is a constant challenge. but on the river this afternoon, the survivors of the miracle on the hudson raised their glasses. >> it is a lot of emotion, raw emotion and feeling. >> reporter: together, they toasted life, tom costello, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with something not seen in over 100 years, the new additions announced to a very exclusive club.
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some welcome news tonight for many of the parents who have been horrified to discover that the kids got ahold of the iphone or ipad and made a bunch of app purchases without permission. the federal government has announced a settlement with apple that announced the agreement to customers, many of whom had no idea until the bill showed up, in some cases, thousands of dollars. we have put the information for this on our website tonight. a sad milestone in afghanistan, after this nation fought its longest war there, after so many failed attempts to
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eradicate the poppy, opium production hit an all time high last year, up over 50% from the last year. the minister of counter narcotics admitted it is such a cash crop for farmers they need to have an alternative livelihood. and many woken up near fontana by an earthquake, mostly it was broken glass and shelves, mostly, though, it reminded people in california that two days from now marks the 20-year anniversary of the north ridge quake that killed 57 people, injured over 5,000, and caused $20 billion worth of damage. speaking of infrastructure, a new associated press report finds the u.s. has 100,000 bridges that are quote, old enough for medicare. and their global ranking finds
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u.s. infrastructure in 25th place behind barbados. the news in the transportation business this week, the american eagle, the commuter airline wing of american airlines is re-naming itself envoy. they take pains to point out it is not envoy airlines, just envoy, doesn't need new planes or food, just a logo and a brand-new name. and a victory for those who love them, the westminster kennel including dog show that always showed purebreds, is opening the door for other dogs just a beat. while they can't compete for best of show they can enter a new agility trial. and for all of those with floppy ears and imperfect fur, it is a start for recognition some day. when we come back here tonight, two sisters in an olympic spirit in a way we've never quite seen it before.
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and finally tonight, as we round the corner toward the winter olympic games with just a few weeks until the competition begins in sochi, in russia, the teams are getting set, travel plans are being made for the athletes who make the cut. it turns out one of those
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athletes made the american team in a most unusual way. and it is a true example of what we call the olympic spirit. our story tonight from our nbc's chris jansing. >> reporter: for identical twins, lanny and tracy barnes, the dream was the same, to compete in the olympic games. they both made the team back in 2006. >> there were a lot of questions if just one of us made it, we're both glad we made it. >> reporter: now, eight years later, tracy was facing exactly that dilemma, what if just one sister could go to sochi. at the qualifiers, she lost her spot and thought her chances were over. but tracy had other ideas, deciding lanny would go to sochi instead. >> she is my best friend, she deserves to go, she is having a great year. and i think when you care enough about someone you're willing to make that sacrifice, even if it
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means giving your dream so they can recognize theirs. >> reporter: it was an inspiring act of selflessness. >> this is really partially a love story between two sisters. >> reporter: for 32 years, they have been nearly inseparable, sporty and adventurous even as children. fierce competitors who leave their rivalry on the course. by phone, we called lanny, she got emotional telling her story. >> it was one of those moments that i think changed my life forever. and you know, i don't know how or where you begin to thank someone for something like that. she basically gave me a second chance. >> reporter: tracy is asking fans for just one thing in return? to cheer for her sister. >> be behind her, she will do great things, it will be exciting. >> reporter: she certainly will, chris jansing, nbc, new york. >> great story, by the way you can hear from both sisters
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tomorrow morning on today. that is our broadcast for tonight. thank you for joining us, i'm brian williams, we of course hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. right now at 6:00, it happened here in this san francisco intersection. this man ran over and killed a 6-year-old girl. tonight we investigate the black mark on his driving record that the ride-sharing company may not have been aware of. thanks for joining us. i'm jessica. >> i'm raj mathai. investigative reporter lisa
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joins us now and they say the background checks are more than taxi drivers. >> oober said it happened more than seven years ago. after being booked for reckless driving, this is him. according to the 2004 arrest report obtained by the investigative unit, he's described as showing a disregard for the safety of others driving at a high rate of speed with three children and wife in the vehicle. he is being charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and failure to yield after police say the driver hit and killed a six-year-old on new years eve in san francisco. nearly a decade ago, a reckless driving arrest took place on a florida highway. authorities witnessed the 57-year-old pulling into oncoming traffic to pass several cars and driving in an excess of 100 miles per hour in a 45. but according to oober, he had a

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