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tv   Dateline On Assignment  NBC  May 29, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT

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on that note, that is "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. i'm thomas roberts reporting from new york. thank you for watching tonight, nbc news goes on assignment. >> you feel like you are in the air fleet to fly a mission. >> what's the difference? >> you are not. >> richard engel in the desert outside vegas where the top secret war on terror is really being waged. >> ready to launch left ssile. >> drones. targeting terrorists with deadly efficiency. >> al qaeda was very methodically dismantled. >> but tonight the drone war program comes under fire from the inside. >> i lost a piece of my humanity. >> being able to press a button from the opposite side of the world and kill another human being is way too easy. >> josh mankowitz with an investigation.
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>> we are just off the brand new bay bridge, an architectural marvel connecting san francisco with oakland. >> it is built to with stand earthquakes and aftershocks. what about sticker shot? >> 6.5 billion. >> kind of like a soap opera. >> the twisting tale of the bridge that broke the bank. >> we got completely ripped off. ♪ cynthia mcfadden is in a real-life downton abby. >> my gosh, look at this. >> the grand estate where princess diana grew up. >> one of the most -- >> tonight you will see something never seen before. the reason for this rare tour -- would make the princess proud. >> you are a real rabblerouser. >> i am really sort of bucking all of the big kids on the block. >> comedian seth rogen joins me for a walk around the rock. >> and memorial day heroes.
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who is yours? >> my family. >> my dog. >> my dad. >> also my mom. >> a special salute tonight at the kids' table. on assignment continues in a moment. oooh! [ brakes screech ] when your pain reliever stops working, your whole day stops. excuse me, try this. but just one aleve can last 12 hours. tylenol and advil can quit after 6. [ cheering ] so live your whole day, not part... with 12 hour aleve. hi! hey! i've made plans for later in case this date doesn't go well. same here. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi double cash card does. earn 1% cash back when you buy, and 1% as you pay. double means double.
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good evening, welcome to on assignment, i'm lester holt. it's war by remote control. the u.s. military says its drone program has saved american lives by hitting countless terrorist targets. just this past week the leader of the taliban was struck and killed in pakistan. but now the drone warfare
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program has become a target, itself. tonight we get rare access inside. richard engel is in nevada. ♪ >> reporter: cruising on an open road outside of vegas, will looks like he could be heading home from a night out on the strip. but he is on his way to fight isis. >> does it feel like you are going to war right now? because you will be in a matter of minutes? >> yeah, we do go to war every day. >> reporter: will its a u.s. air force captain at kreech air force base, epicenter of president obama's secretive military drone operations. the air force doesn't want us to use will's last name but did allow us to see him train some of the 2,500 other airmen here. >> ready to launch left missile. >> reporter: they control drones launched thousands of miles away overseas, flying them 24/7 in shifts by satellite link. >> when i am flying a mission i
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am for all intents and purposes there fighting the war. you are so involved in what's going on that you feel like you are in the airplane flying the mission you are there. >> one key difference? >> you're not. >> reporter: using high powered drone cameras and electronics tens of thousands of feet aloft, operators often keep watch over u.s. troops on the battlefield. we have asked the pilot of a predator drone flying above us right now to zoom in on me so we can get a sense of the resolution. and it is pretty clear. but there are other capabilities that government agencies don't want to reveal, like the ability to recognize voices, faces, or even someone's individual gait. all from thousands of feet above. drone operators also gather intelligence, sometimes spying on terror suspects for weeks or months. getting to know intimate details of their lives before killing them with an exotic array of on board bombs and misses.
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will talked us through drone videos declassified for nbc news of successful strikes on isis. so this is a hot weapon sticking out a window? >> yep. >> reporter: while the air force did not release the much clearer image the drone operator saw you can make out a moving white dot on the screen. that is a missile following the drone's laser beam right into the window. >> i have seen a lot of videos, i haven't seen a weapon do that -- arc. >> reporter: another drone strikes a hidden isis mortar position. the weapon leaving most of the building intact. a third clip shows a drone strike on a moving isis vehicle. the occupants obliterated. >> do you ever feel guilty that you are fighting against an enemy who can't hit you back? >> we are saving people or helping our troops on the ground. you know -- when would i ever feel bad about taking care of our guys? >> reporter: after eight hours of teaching on raters the art of
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drone war, will heads home. cooks dinner with his wife. and they walk the dog. relaxing after just another day at the office. >> reporter: it is a commuter war, you go to war, go back home. >> yeah, absolutely. >> there is no one in our air force that is more deliberately engaged against those that would do us harm than the men and women of this community. >> reporter: the commander of kreech air force base distinguished combat fighter pilot colonel case cunningham says drones are decisive weapons key to u.s. military dominance. >> think it would be fair to say that the american tradition is not to work towards a fair fight. and so i will never apologize that we are not in a fair fight. >> drones are now part and parcel of war. >> reporter: peter singer senior fellow with new america think-tank and leading drone expert says in the eight years of president obama's term in
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office, drones have changed the way america wages war. >> if you are telling the story of american foreign policy in this period, obama is the president that takes drones from being seen as abnormal to the new normal of national security policy. >> reporter: one of the architects of that national security policy is john brennan, director of the cia. >> you are okay with being considered one of the architects of this changed way of warfare? >> i take great pride in being part of a national security team that has done some great things to protect this country. >> reporter: the drone revolution can be traced back to this moment when a cia drone picked up a figure in white believed to be osama bin laden. no one took a shot. because back then, drones weren't armed. that was a year before 9/11. soon, drones went from intelligence gathering to killing. >> counterterrorism
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professionals always would prefer to capture individuals and devices that they might have with them. taking kinetic action against a target or an individual is usually a last resort. >> reporter: the cia director said his agency would prefer to capture a terror suspect than kill him. is that true? >> i'm sure they would prefer to if both were equally riskless. the reality is they're not. so we have consistently chosen kill rather than capture. >> reporter: with no american troops at risk under president obama drone strikes surge sharply. the main targets, were the september 11th plotters. >> the al qaeda organization as it existed then was very methodically dismantled. >> reporter: nbc news has obtained a top secret list of 285 terrorist targets. president obama's first so-called kill list. of all the names about half are
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gone. including seven potential successors to al qaeda leader osama bin laden. all seven killed by drones. >> the organization has been hollowed out in many respects. >> reporter: it's because drones are so effective that we use them more than we should critics say. brandon bryant, sean westmoreland and lisa ling among a dozen and former air force and cia operators and technicians speaking out against drones. they're here with their lawyer because they fear prosecution for breaches of security as they describe the u.s.'s drone use as immoral. >> being able to press a button from the opposite side of the world and kill another human being or multiple human beings at once is way too easy. >> reporter: is it video game warfare? >> it is. i mean the skill set that you use for video games is the exact same skill set you have when operating a drone. >> i have actually deployed overseas and the drone program for me was worse. i lost a piece of my humanity.
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>> i supported 2,400 close air support missions and 200 plus enemy kills. i asked to see civilian casualties. nobody would give that to me. >> i killed 13 people with missiles. three of them were enemy combatants. the other ten people, i don't know who they were. >> reporter: a critic would say -- what did you think you were going to do you were in the air force, a military organization that fires from afar? >> okay. integrity first. service before self. excellence in all we do. if we don't have integrity of what we are doing. what are we doing. >> there is no honor in drone warfare. >> this fight is above honor. i think it is without ra proeep. >> some say the is war by video game? >> it is so far from a video game. it is laughable, when that comparison gets used. >> what about the cost to civilians? >> war is an ugly thing. but i can guarantee you that every effort is made to make
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sure that civilians are not being injured on the ground. >> reporter: international human rights organizations say hundreds of civilians have been killed overseas including many children. criticism that has forced the president to defend his use of drones. >> there is no doubt that some innocent people have been killed by drone strikes. it is not true that -- that it has been this sort of willy-nilly, let's bomb a village. that is not how it is, folks have operated. >> reporter: he went on to say the rate of civilian casualties from drones is "far lower than in conventional war." >> there is an enormous discrepancy over the number of civilian casualties? who is right? why such a gap? >> you have two poles of argument, the reality, it is probably some where in between. much of it turns on how people are defining civilian versus combatant. >> reporter: he says those murky definitions contribute to an
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overall lack of transparency. that's especially true of the cia he says, which unlike the air force, can carry out covert operations never publicly acknowledged. including so-called signature strikes. where a person not known to be a terrorist is killed because he behaves like a terrorist. or what's called a double tap. what is a double tap? >> you strike the target. people gather around. you strike the target again. >> reporter: to kill the people who have come to that target? >> yeah. >> reporter: it is that dark, hidden side of drone warfare says singer that does critical, potentially long term damage to the u.s. >> it has seen a huge amount of pushback when it comes to, you know, anger at america, public attitudes across the muslim world. >> reporter: and worse, he says. >> it is also been effective inspiring other people to join terrorist groups. >> reporter: cia director
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brennan insists the u.s. is safer now than 15 years ago. but acknowledges the number of terrorists has grown. >> we still see that this very strong anti-western, anti-u.s. dimension of the terrorist groups continues to propagate in a number of areas. >> the same progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away, also demand the discipline to constrain that power. or risk abusing it. >> reporter: three years ago the president pledged more transparency and oversight over u.s. drone warfare programs. >> one example would be moving the operations over from the covert intelligence community world to the military side. >> reporter: so far he says, there is no sign cia operations are under military control. >> not happened. >> reporter: meanwhile, as the president prepares to leave office, the power of u.s. drones has been seen by the world. they're now being developed and
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flown by 86 countries. what happens to the united states when our enemies have these as well? and know how to use them? >> we'll adapt. we don't rest on our laurels and wait for our adversaries to catch up. >> the drones are part of president obama's legacy and are part of your legacy, you are okay with that legacy? >> it is very, very difficult to make decisions that result in the loss of life. when i see the extent of evil and the number of individuals who wantonly murder innocence, the obligation of government ties do what it needs to do to protect its citizens from that type of violence. >> coming up -- a bridge in america outsourced to china? >> guys like you keep sending the business overseas. >> the saga of san francisco's new bay bridge. why it cost billions more than planned. and thousands of american jobs.
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>> people will do dumb stuff. >> josh mankowitz investigates. >> buckle your seatbelt. kle you. thanks for the ride around norfolk! and i just wanted to say, geico is proud to have served the military for over 75 years! roger that. captain's waiting to give you a tour of the wisconsin now. could've parked a little bit closer... it's gonna be dark by the time i get there. geico®. proudly serving the military for over 75 years. don't let dust and allergies get and life's beautiful moments. with flonase allergy relief, they wont. most allergy pills only control one inflammatory substance. flonase controls six. and six is greater than one. flonase changes everything. they never be good. purina believes it can. inspecting every ingredient for quality? that's big. being confident that your pet's food is 100% safe?
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about the cost. josh mankowitz reports from california. ♪ >> reporter: you're going to want to pay attention here, because these are literally your tax dollars at work. we're just off the brand new bay bridge. an architectural marvel connecting san francisco with oakland. the bridge came in billions of dollars overbudget and behind schedule. in the end, it actually cost thousand of american jobs. how did that happen? well, buckle your seatbelt. and you might want to get a good grip on your wallet too. we are on a voyage to find out. it turns out you get what you pay for? >> in this particular case, i don't think we got what we paid for. i think we got completely ripped off. >> reporter: if it was a ripoff, it's one taxpayers never saw coming. >> what happened? >> earthquake --
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>> reporter: this epic tale began with a natural disaster. a monster 6.9 earthquake in 1989 that killed dozens of people caused billions in damage and collapsed a portion of the old bay bridge. engineers said the bridge wouldn't survive another quake. so the state transportation agency, caltrans proposed a sturdy, if basic new one. and estimated the cost at $1.2 billion. but that was a low ball figure. and it was just the beginning. >> i was fortunately in a position to find that the real cost was going to be $2.6 billion. >> reporter: an investigator for the california state senate says that $2.6 billion was the tab before egos got involved. >> couple of people around here in position of influence and power wanted to have an iconic
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structure that somehow would be able to rival the golden gate. >> reporter: a committee produced this soaring, majestic design. which was also very, very expensive. >> i found in point in fact they decided never wanted to tell any body it was going to be $5.3 billion. >> reporter: $5.3 billion. $4 billion more than the original estimate. with that money on the table, well that's where the real fun began. >> it's kind of like a soap opera. >> karen frick, a u.c. berkeley professor who wrote a critique of this drama. >> there are just fantastical plot twists that happen. you have every layer of government. >> reporter: all these politician ttz. >> all these elected officials in place. >> reporter: like san francisco's then may your willie brown. who had big plans for the city's treasure island. an undeveloped slab of land at the base of the bridge. true you were thinking about
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putting a casino on the island? >> correct. generate huge amounts of revenue. >> reporter: when he looked at the plans for the fancy new bridge something was missing. >> they were not putting in any off ramps to treasure island. >> reporter: without ramps you can't really develop that island at all. >> you can't use the island. >> reporter: and so brown said no ramps no new bridge. and he stopped the project. >> we have almost 280,000 vehicles crossing this bridge every day. filled with people. significant quake, an 8 or that magnitude, goodness knows what could have happened. >> reporter: politicians on both sides of the bay were flirting with disaster pretty literally. >> modest statement, yes. >> reporter: did you feel any sense of urgency maybe there was going to be another earthquake. >> no, no, no sense of urgency. i believe the old structure was adequate, period. >> reporter: and as so often
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happened here in the bay area, mayor brown won the battle. you can see crews working on the off ramps as we speak. but all of that delayed the project for another two years. at a cost of about $100 million. they could have paved those offramps with 20s. but at least construction was back on track. until a new player took the stage. >> i, arnold schwarzenegger -- >> reporter: when actor-turned-governor arnold schwarzenegger thought maybe the state could save some money by going back to the original simpler bridge. >> he had the entire thing stopped. everybody started pulling their hair out. screaming, yelling. and we had to go through all of it all over again. >> reporter: in the end the elaborate design survived. all governor schwarzenegger managed to do was hold construction up for another year. and it cost maybe what? >> most people say in the
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neighborhood of $1 billion extra because of that. >> the earthquake happened in 1989. we are now in the mid 2000s. and we still don't have a bridge. >> reporter: in 2005, the state legislature picked this man, steve henninger as the de facto head of a new agency in charge of the new bridge. his orders -- finish the job without wasting any more time or money. >> the saddest part of the story in many ways. rancheros in one of the most union friendly states in the country the decision was made, let's bypass american workers. >> all we have to do is go to china. china is booming. china builds stuff all the time. china has cranes all over shanghai. they must know about fabricating steel. >> reporter: the group hoped to save $400 million by having the suspension part of the bridge, the centerpiece of the project, built in china. by a steel fabricator called
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zpmc. in its promotional video set to the star trek theme. zpmc sound ready to boldly go to the final frontiers of capitalism. just one thing -- zpmc had never built anything this complex before. and whistle blowers later told state investigators, zpmc's early work on the bridge was dangerously subpar. >> hundred of cracks in the welds. >> not up to snuff? >> doesn't meet code. doesn't meet any standard. unacceptable. >> reporter: time is passing and the meter is running? >> and, the cash register is ringing. >> reporter: the bad welds delayed the bridge another year. and when caltrans demanded that the chinese step on the gas. >> they said in order for us to speed this up and bring in more
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workers you are going to have to pay us even more money. we are not going to be able to finish this on time unless you give us another $100 million. >> reporter: you heard right. another $100 million to finish work that had been delayed by poor workmanship. >> the caltrans engineers in china said this was extortion. >> reporter: in the end caltrans paid it. and more. a lot more according to this california state senate report. a total of $243 million more. >> the chinese had a difficult time i think getting into the right rhythm. >> reporter: did you feel look you were essentially paying extortion to get that thing done? >> not at all. >> reporter: they basically said we want some mr. money to finish this. and instead of fighting them on this, and saying "you guys didn't du didn't do good work, made the mistakes you guys said okay."
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>> we had a situation where there was a stalemate. the stalemate had to be resolved one way or another. the fact that we paid them some money doesn't mean they were holding the steel hostage. it means we resolved a construction dispute. >> reporter: would california have received a better overall deal from an american contractor? tom hickman led a consortium of steel fabricators in portland that prepared a bid on the bridge, but watched the chinese do it instead. >> the real takeaway is that we lost jobs. that we have some 3,000 jobs over a five-year period during one of the worst economic times in hiss country any history could have supported the middle -- could have supported the people who work hard for a living. >> the taxpayer was not going to get a good deal if we built this project in the united states. >> well, unless you consider the money that had gone to the steel workers they would have bought
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houses and cars and go to the supermarket and paid taxes. >> we played by the rules fair and square. the fact is the american steel industry is not what it used to be, unfortunately. >> reporter: but the american steel industry would argue one of the reasons, is that guys look you keep sending the business overseas? >> guys like we have to comply with federal law. if the american bid is higher, are we still supposed to award that with tax money? >> we were going to create a world class fabrication facility. one that would rival any fabrication facility in the world. we deidn't do that. >> reporter: actually we did. but it is in shanghai and owned by zpmc and the chinese government. >> zpmc with our money got to build this huge facility to be able to do this kind of work in the future. >> reporter: just before leaving office, governor schwarzenegger personally met with bridge workers to show his appreciation for a job well done.
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>> thank you very much. thank you, thank you, thank you for the great work you are doing. >> reporter: nice except he said that at the dockyard in china. in the end, china got the jobs and the new steel plant. we got the bridge, and the bill. >> reporter: what is the price tag now? >> $6.5 billion. >> reporter: maybe that much again to service the debt. >> yeah, we borrowed the money, sure. we have to pay off the bonds. >> reporter: from $1.2 billion to more than $6 billion. during the time the toll went from $1 to $6 during rush hour. costing a daily commuter about $1,500 a year. >> our job when we started was to get this bridge built before the next earth quake. we did that job. now did it take too long? yes. did it cost too much money? yes.
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>> reporter: the next big transportation project in california -- high-speed rail between l.a. and san francisco. current price tag -- $65 billion. here's one of its biggest boosters. >> i am completely committed to high-speed rail. >> reporter: is there any chance that that is going to happen on budget or on time? >> not in my and your lifetime. we can forget it. >> coming up -- >> oh, my god. >> seth rogan and i take a neighborhood stroll. you have been called a come degenius. you make us laugh. what makes you laugh? >> it is a walk around the rock. also -- >> makes downton abby look downton shabby. >> a tour of princess diana's childhood home. how the new american lady of the house is keeping her legacy alive. >> hopefully we are giving these children a little taste of a family. (vo) if you have type 2 diabetes,
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questions and my guest, seth rogen. how is it going? >> i've been waiting on the street for you. >> appreciate that. with all of your fans. >> people taking pictures. >> strangest fan encounter? >> man, i have had a lot of them. i am always amazed what illegal things people would pull out to have me sign. >> things that could become evidence at some point? >> you have been called a comedy genius, you make us laugh. what makes you laugh? >> mostly what i am laughing at the people i know. and people falling down always makes me laugh. >> you are an actor, writer, producer, what do you like? what are you best at? >> i think we are best at writing. probably the thing i spend the least amount of time doing. the thing i think i am best at. >> superbad" you wrote at 15? >> 13 we started. >> mclovin, nice. >> no idea what it was going to become? >> hoped it would be a movie. we weren't sure it would happen at all. ♪
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>> oh, my god. they don't know your name. >> i know. ha-ha. >> what's the funniest comedy of 2016? >> other than "neighbors 2?" >> welcome. >> is that a greek restaurant? >> our sorority. >> nomination for the academy award? >> don't think it will, no. >> because they're anti-comedy or it is not that good? >> because comedy never, the best of comedies don't get nominated. >> why is that? they make us laugh? >> people find comedy to be a lower art form. i actually saw an interview with jay leno once, he put it best. because everyone thinks they're funny. so it doesn't seem like a skill to make people laugh. >> who is your favorite dictator in the world? >> not kim jong-un. >> the north korean government is now threatening merciless retaliation if this film, a comedy is released. >> you are not his favorite comedian by the way. >> exactly.
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>> if you could hack anyone's computer who would it be? >> kim jong-un's computer. give him a taste of his own medicine. >> last question -- hilarity for charity. organization supports alzheimers research, it is personal. how has the disease affected your family? >> my mother-in-law was diagnosed with early onset alzheimers in her early 50s. we just saw that no one in our generation was really advocating for it or educating people at all about it. so -- we just started doing that, really. >> terrific. seth rogen. thank you for the walk around the rock. >> thank you for having me. >> come back anytime. >> no problem. >> that was nice. >> good. >> coming up. >> this is a room that i associate with diana. >> the magnificent mansion where princess diana grew up. 31 bed rooms. 88 fireplaces. >> we are going to open the home, allthorp. >> you could be a guest for the weekend. d. "stay" per roll. more "sit" per roll.
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it has been called a real life downton abby and could be bedrooms it comes with a title too. >> you are a count else? >> yes. the long version, the right honorable the countess spencer.
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>> while this world is all new to karen spencer, it is something her husband charles has known all of his life. >> you are the earl? >> yes, the ninth one to live here. >> reporter: but most know this place because of its most famous occupant, princess diana. this is the home where she grew up and where she is now buried on a small island. nearly 20 years after his emotional and controversial speech at her funeral. >> she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic. >> reporter: diana's brother charles says the memories of her are still strong. >> this a room that i, i mean, associate really with diana tap dancing. this is got great acoustics in here, as a sort of teenager used to endless tap dancing in here. that is my main connection in this house of her. >> reporter: as the the current lady of the house we have come to see because she has new idea for this old place. but before we get into that, we get a tour.
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>> welcome to althorp. >> reporter: a real life downton abby only some say much grander. >> there was a piece about this hour, it said it made down tan abby look downton shabby. 100,000 square foot home with 8 # fireplaces and one of the finest art collections still in private hands. >> this was actually all an open courtyard in the original building. they covered it over. >> reporter: a grand entrance made by world leaders and dignitaries for centuries. >> think of the guests who have stayed here. winston churchill, mandela, gorbachev, all that sort of thing. >> kings, queens? >> lots of kings and queens. >> now this is the picture gallery which is -- the room in the house. and i, i -- i love seeing all of this. because this is 500-year-old room as it always was. >> what would people do in a room like this? >> on a day like today, go up and down it 20 times, it is a
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mile. that's what they would do, drift along. >> the gym. >> it was, without the sweat. >> reporter: it is clear charles relishes the history of the house. but growing up here wasn't always easy for him and diana. your mother left when you were little? >> yes. >> reporter: after their mother left their father remarried. their new stepmother gave her own children, althorp's bed rooms while relegating charles and diana to the smallest rooms. >> we were put up in the attics. for a house like this, very, very, very modest rooms. >> we go upstairs to see. the first time cameras are allowed in. >> former maids' rooms. >> junior maids, i would imagine. >> how old were you when they told you this would be yours someday? >> i remember being told by a rather upset cousin of mine. he would have inherited if i hadn't been born. he said this will be yours, some day, i was 5, or 6, i remember, thinking, oh, no, i don't want this. it was too daunting.
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i took over. you realize it is bricks and mortar, you can make it what you want it to be, really? >> which brings us back to charles' american wife, karen. her journaly here, the stuff of fairy tales. the daughter of a park ranger she dropped out of college to become a fashion model. and was introduced to the earl on a blind date. it is her second marriage. his third. >> i feel very lucky. i have actually finally cracked it, i reckon. i have a wonderful, wonderful wife. >> we both have cracked it finally. >> reporter: when they met she was a divorced mother of two, nearly broke and about to lose her home. that's because she was pouring her divorce settlement into her passion, a charity to help transform orphanages. it is something that might have scared away most men, but not charles spencer. >> i remember the very first time i met karen, i was of course struck by her great beauty. when we talked about her passion for looking after abandoned and
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orphaned children, i was really impressed. >> reporter: karen's idea for improving the world's orphanages is simple but urgent she says making sure every child has a loving, caring adult. >> warm, interaction with a consistent adult care giver. >> reporter: that is not the case in most orphanages? >> that is not happening. we had one child who was 3 years old and didn't know what his name was? >> because no one was calling him by his name. he had been rope tated through so many care givers and so many groups that -- that, probably nobody actually did know what his name was. >> reporter: to understand the mission of her charity, whole child, we travel with karen from the luxury of althorp to the poorest neighborhood in nicaragua. in orphanages staff are often encouraged not to bond with the children. with kids being passed between 50 care givers by the time they're 5. she took us to one of the orphanages where they have instituted her simple ideas.
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>> whether a child is growing up in a place that has a dirt floor or not, i don't believe that is going to be the indicator of that child's ability to go on to do well. >> reporter: without hiring any more staff they retrained and rescheduled the people who are already here. encouraging them to make a connection with the kids in their care. >> a lot of the care givers really focused on feeding the baby which is important. you see the eye contact they're having right now. every child has his or her own space. >> reporter: what a difference. >> well for a child to have your own things is part of having a sense of identity. >> reporter: and every child is given their own baby book. >> the primary point of it is that gives a child a history of their life. they will ultimately have some sort of record of who they are and their firsts and all the important moments. it sucks the care giver into a deeper relationship with a child. it is a trick. >> reporter: the changes may look small. when researchers from the university of pittsburgh studied
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the impact the results were astounding. >> to be honest even we were surprised at the kind of impact that we were able to see. we had 85% of the children that were scoring as though intellectually disabled later with no change in number to care givers, using the existing facility, only 15% of those children were scoring as though intellectually disabled. >> how many kids were testing as functionally disabled? >> 85%. >> how many after retraining the staff? >> 15%. >> reporter: just as amazing the children's height and weight increased dramatically without any change in what they were eating. in two years, kids are taller, bigger, stronger, and mentally more with it. >> with no change to nutrition. >> reporter: and no increase in the amount of money spent? >> no. it's crazy not to be doing it. crazy. >> reporter: while it may seem obvious to karen spence ser, it's not what is happening.
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your position though it sound totally reasonable as we sit here today is not the popular position. >> it is highly unpopular. yes. i get yelled at at meetings. >> reporter: that's because many of the biggest and most powerful charities don't want to invest in orphanages arguing money is better spent moving kids out into foster care or back with living relatives. >> reporter: unicef doesn't agree with you. the united states government won't put money into orphanages around the world. >> the policy is they don't believe in the institutionalization of children, i don't either for the record. i don't think it is a good idea to institutionalize children. >> reporter: in the meantime millions of children are growing of in the orphanages? >> yes they are. >> you are a real rabblerouser? >> i know, i am really sort of bucking all the big consider on the block here with the idea and it is rather contrary to what a lot of people are pushing for.
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his name is jose. >> reporter: she refuses to back down and has been invited by the government of el salvador to bring her staff and training to 72 orphanages there. >> hopefully we are getting the children a little taste of a family. >> reporter: but that cost money. and now she has an idea to pay for it. which brings us back to althorp. >> we are launching a campaign to raise fund for whole child where we are going to open the home, open althorp to raise funds. >> reporter: an offer that puts even the best air b & b to shame. allowing anyone with deep pockets to spend a weekend here. it is not going to be cheap to get to spend the weekend here? >> no, it's not. >> reporter: the cost, $40,000 per couple. and for $250,000, a private group of 1. >> reporter: whose idea was it by the way to open? it was your idea. they're all my ideas. yeah. >> but i was instantly on board.
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>> oh, for sure. >> i always thought of this house as contributing. not just a little fortress of privilege. it should be doing good for the world. >> reporter: guests will share intimate dinners with the earl and countess and sleep in the grand bedrooms. >> this is the king william, named king william because of course king william stayed here. >> it is beautiful. fit for a king. >> reporter: also where princess diana slept when she came to visit. >> this is the queen mary room. but she was the houseguest from hell, you did not want queen mary to stay. >> why? >> she was basically, a very upmarket thief. sitting around having tea, and, she would say, i really like the silver teapot. and the hostess would go yes been in my family for generations. she would go but i really like it. these poor hostesses would have to hand over thing after thing when she came to stay. she was a nightmare. >> reporter: but they trust none of their paying guests will
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cause those problems as this house continues on a long tradition of spencer women helping others. >> it is about growing that circle. how do we connect with people who might be interested in the same sorts of things, share our passion for helping children and of course leverage a wonderful asset that we have here. >> reporter: of putting a 500-year-old mansion to work for children who need a place to call home. ♪ coming up -- hail to the heroes. >> a soldier protects someone who is special to them. >> a big tribute from the little troopers. >> thank you for standing up for america. >> next at the kids' table. ♪ ♪
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real meal for five bucks. real meal for five bucks. real meal for five bucks. real meal for five bucks. [deep breath] finger lickin', finger lickin', finger lickin'... gooooood!!! here's how it feels to gete amerfifty percent off mostork. national carrier rates too. ♪ so, imagine how it feels to switch to sprint and buy an iphone 6s and get another one free when you add a second line. hi! hey! i've made plans for later in case this date doesn't go well. same here. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi double cash card does. earn 1% cash back when you buy, and 1% as you pay. double means double. i take pictures of sunrises. it's my job and it's also my passion. but with my back pain i couldn't sleep... so i couldn't get up in time. then i found aleve pm. aleve pm is the only one to combine a sleep aid
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plus the 12-hour strength of aleve... for pain relief that can last into the morning. and now... i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. tomorrow, america observes memorial day. tonight it is all about service at the kids' table. ♪ ♪ >> my hero is my family.
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>> my dog. >> daddy. >> james. >> allie. [ laughter ] >> i would say my hero is my dad. because once i was about to fall and he caught me. and also my mom. she will watch this. i wa i don't want my mom to get offended. so. not my sister. awe my hero is a grandfather. risked his life. fought for us. he is still alive. ♪ ♪ >> walk a bridge and it is wobbly and it is almost fell down and i run across the bridge and it could not fell down. >> i went on a roller coaster when i was scared. >> when i get my check i cry and don't really be brave.
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>> when i saw a ghost, i was not afraid. >> what ghost? there is no such thing as a ghost. >> outside mine backyard. >> a real live ghost? >> a soldier is a person who fights in an army. >> a soldier is somebody that goes to war. >> they protect people. a soldier protects someone who is special to them. >> say, hut, two, three, four. hut, two, three, four. ♪ >> thank you for all of you have done for america to fight to make our country free. >> thank you for helping us be free and for risking your life. >> thank you for protecting us and being brave to fight. >> thank you for standing up for america. >> thank you for saving the world. >> a warm tribute from some young hearts on this memorial day weekend. that's on assignment tonight.
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we will see you here again next sunday. 7:00, 6:00 central. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ rmichael show is recorded in front of a live studio audience. ugh! why is donald trump even in north carolina? hey, maxine, can you turn that down for a minute? i got to ask you something. why are people even going to his rally? it's-it makes me want to move to another state. maxine. what?! sorry, it was just my outrage for trump talking. what were you asking me? we got any more orange juice? seriously? that's what you're gonna ask me? just check the fridge. uh, okay. oh, also i was gonna ask-- what do you think about me asking you to marry me? wait, what? what-what are you saying? are you proposing to me? maxine, you got the kind with the pulp! i mean, if i wanted chunks in my juice, i'd just eat an orange. okay, jerrod, jerrod, wait, focus. did you just ask me to marry you? what? oh, well, no, no. no, i mean, not yet. um, i'm thinking about it though. i wanted to talk it through first.

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