Return to Transcripts main page
Tighter International Air Security; U.S. Closes Embassy in Yemen; NBA, Guns & Bad Judgment; Full Body Scans in Britain; Lockdown at Newark Airport
Aired January 3, 2010 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to talk now about air travel as we know it. It is about to change. We're following new developments from the White House tonight as the TSA outlines stricter security measures for international flights in the wake of that failed Christmas Day airline bombing.
Starting at midnight all travelers flying into the U.S. from abroad will be subject to stricter random screenings. And if you're flying from a terrorism-prone country every single passenger can expect a tough security check.
A statement released just a few hours ago reads, quote, "The TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. from anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screenings."
Those countries identified by the State Department of sponsors of terrorism are Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran. A federal counterterrorism official says the other countries of interest that the TSA alludes to include Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria.
Well, these are some pretty big changes to airport protocol. Let's get some perspective on this now from a Tom Fuentes, he's a former FBI assistant director. He is joining us live by phone from Fairfax, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.
Tom thanks for joining us. How much, will these new measures help if at all?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (via telephone): Hi, Don. It seems to me that these new measures are very inadequate and very arbitrary. TSA seems to be coming up with a new security policy every other day since the incident happened. And to list the countries that they've put on for enhanced screening right now just seems to be completely inadequate.
They're not taking into account that these are just a fraction of the countries where al Qaeda has a very strong presence. And when they list countries of interest and airports of interest they're going to have to list places really throughout Europe because al Qaeda members in Europe that have been radicalized have European passports that do not require a Visa to come to the United States and they're going to be coming from airports London, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, Brussels, Rome, Copenhagen.
Then, you have countries in Asia that have had terrorist cells, al Qaeda cells like Sydney, Australia has had several sets of arrest. They fly nonstop into L.A. You've had the Toronto 18 in 2006 direct access to the U.S.
LEMON: So Tom, are these all part -- these are all going to be added? Because that was part of my next question, then -- if the TSA alluded to that partial list of the countries where 100 percent of the passengers traveling through will have to go through these enhanced screenings.
So are you saying these countries that you're mentioning, you're talking about Asia and Europe is that going to -- everyone?
FUENTES: Well, the TSA hasn't said that those countries and airports are going to be included. They're talking about other countries of interest.
LEMON: So do you think it will be updated, though?
FUENTES: Yes, the other countries are defiant of -- Nigeria, Yemen and Pakistan. I'm just saying that those are just only a fraction of the countries that have people that pose a threat.
And what about the U.S. airports? We haven't talked about the five Virginians that went to Pakistan. We had subjects from Minneapolis, New York, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Springfield, Illinois, Chicago, Raleigh, North Carolina, Buffalo, New York, that have all had al Qaeda either direct members or sympathetic members to an al Qaeda affiliate.
LEMON: So Tom, what are you saying here then? What are you saying, is this, do you think it's overkill? It's too much?
FUENTES: No, I'm saying it's not enough. It's not going to be -- it's not going to be adequate. You're talking that the threat is everywhere from all of these countries that have cells that have conducted major attacks. All of these cities have had cells that have either been arrested or neutralized through law enforcement and intelligence efforts.
LEMON: Well then, how do you do all of this? That's such a huge undertaking.
FUENTES: Exactly right. It's a huge undertaking. And until that undertaking occurs you're going to have a vulnerability and there's no two ways around it. Until passengers from everywhere that could pose a threat, and that's everywhere, much, much greater number of countries than what we have listed here.
Until that happens you're just taking your chances. And I think that -- I think that's what has to be addressed. And nobody wants to really say that out loud, but that's the truth.
LEMON: Yes. You know, guys, I want to tell the producer I want hang with this a little bit longer because Tom, I think this is very good information that you're giving.
We talked yesterday a lot about of civil rights when it comes to these screenings and protecting people and these puffer machines and these airport screening machines. Do you think that would help, Mr. Fuentes, if they allowed those sort of machines to go online?
FUENTES: Well, absolutely it would help. But the question here is that you have several challenges with the implementation.
First is the political. Do we have the will to impose that on every airline passenger in the United States? And then impose that through diplomatic and other means around the world for the flights that are coming to the United States?
It's already been mentioned, former Secretary Chertoff was on TV talking about the EU having restrictions of privacy, not wanting European airports to implement the use of those very intrusive screening devices.
And the problem is that the areas that need the most examination are absolutely the most private areas of your body. And you're not going to want people in a machine where you're virtually naked or a bomb-sniffing dog or someone physically touching you in the case of a hand search in those areas of your body. It's going to be the most intrusive search possible.
But that's where the explosives are going to be hidden and were in this particular case in Detroit.
LEMON: Yes, so...
FUENTES: But that's the political issue.
Then you get to the second issue of is it practical? How many machines will it take? How many TSA employees and the lines of people waiting to be searched are going to go out the door in many airports and down the sidewalk which that might be fine in Miami in January; that's not going to be fine in Minneapolis when it's 40 below zero and people are outside for an hour and a half with little children or the elderly.
LEMON: Well, that's why -- that's why I asked you initially if it was overkill. I mean, if it's and I guess what I meant by that was, is it practical to do all of this when you're trying to get people through? Of course we want to keep people safe.
And I saw that particular interview that you're talking about. And the former Secretary Chertoff was -- is also a consultant for one of these screening companies as well and talked about his particular machine.
But here's the thing, if people are hiding those particular devices in those areas then I don't understand why not do it? I wouldn't mind if someone screened me in that area if it was going to keep hundreds of other people behind me on an airplane safe.
FUENTES: Well, here's the problem now. Even if we all decide collectively, politically, administratively, operationally, to do it, how long to get the machines in place, in force to where it can be adequately and effectively utilized?
LEMON: And how many of those machines you'd have to have in order to get people through quickly then?
FUENTES: Exactly, how many you have to have worldwide in many countries...
FUENTES: ... that are poor. Not even to mention the United States. How many examiners, how much training, how long will it take. How many companies make those machines, how quickly can they fill the orders? If such -- there's an order for them.
LEMON: Ok, let's say that's an overwhelming task that people can't manage to get online quickly. What about targeting certain people? What about because -- I asked this question yesterday, we look at Israel -- Israel hasn't had a major attack in quite some time. And they say they know who's coming through their airports.
If the research shows and I've heard some say the research is not accurate, that 90 percent of the people who are committing these sorts of acts of terrorists or trying to terrorism are of a certain decent or a certain background, then why not look at those people?
FUENTES: Because the members that either are members of al Qaeda or sympathetic to al Qaeda are from every country, every race, every ethnic background at this point.
FUENTES: It would be -- if you zero in on one group you're going to exclude another, and, you know, there's just many other possibilities of why somebody might want to do something or carry a dangerous item on an aircraft even if they're not members of al Qaeda.
FUENTES: What if the little old grandmother is told that we're holding your grandchildren hostage and we're going to torture and kill them if you don't carry this bag on the plane?
LEMON: Yes. So much more to talk ...
FUENTES: Those are all possibilities that exist and have to be thought out when they come up with these policies.
LEMON: Tom Fuentes, former FBI assistant director. So much more to talk about here, great information. Thank you so much, sir. FUENTES: You're welcome.
LEMON: Meantime, Charles Schumer has his own plan for tightening airport safety. He says U.S.-based airlines should threaten to stop flying to airports with lax security. The New York Democrat wrote to the heads of the major airlines today asking them to report any security issues at foreign airports. And he says if those problems aren't fixed, we should stop landing there.
Schumer is also asking the State Department to double check all travel visas for people who have been added to a terrorist database.
It is the most dramatic evidence yet that Yemen is emerging as a new and increasingly serious terror concern for the United States and the West. The U.S. government today closed its embassy in Yemen's capital city -- citing security I should say, threats and the continued possibility of terrorist violence. Britain has shut down its embassy as well.
CNN's Samantha Hayes has more from Washington tonight.
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula where the Red Sea meets the Indian Ocean is Yemen, that's where a strike just last month killed three al Qaeda members suspected of targeting the U.S. embassy for attack.
CNN has learned a fourth was captured with his suicide vest on, according to a senior U.S. military official.
Now, the U.S. and British embassies have been closed because of continued threats in the area.
JOHN BRENNAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: There are indications al Qaeda is planning to carry out an attack against target inside Sanaa, possibly our embassy.
HAYES: Saturday, General David Petraeus visited Yemen to coordinate increased counterterrorism aid while President Barack Obama in his weekly address tied al Qaeda operatives in Yemen to the attempted bombing of a Northwest jet Christmas Day.
Brennan says the suspect, a 23-year-old Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, reached out to al Qaeda and received training at one of the camps hit in a December strike. But a lack of coordination among U.S. government agencies failed to keep him off the plane.
BRENNAN: There is no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there that said he was a terrorist; he's going to carry out this attack against that aircraft. We had bits and pieces of information.
HAYES: But information about underwear bombs like the one used on the Northwest flight was already known, according to Fran Townsend, CNN contributor and former Homeland Security adviser to George Bush. FRANCES FRAGOS TOWNSEND, FORMER BUSH HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: John Brennan this morning said that he did get a brief on the underwear bomb from the Prince Mohammed Benaya (ph) the head of the Saudi Security Service.
HAYES: Senator Joe Lieberman says former al Qaeda prisoners once held at the Guantanamo bay prison may also be to blame.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: One of the shocking facts about al Qaeda in Yemen is that some of its leaders are people that we had previously captured and were holding at Guantanamo. We released them back to the Saudis for rehabilitation. They were sent back to Yemen.
HAYES: Six more Yemeni detainees are scheduled to be sent back to Yemen, although Brennan refused to say when.
LEMON: Before he was a bombing suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was reportedly a student of extremism known by British intelligence for his radical ties while at school in London. A senior British official tells the Associated Press that the Nigerian man started making contact with extremists under surveillance about a year after arriving in the UK.
But the official says no one considered him enough of a threat to alert American authorities.
With evidence of a growing terrorist threat in Yemen some lawmakers say now is not the time to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Critics say once that happens former detainees will be back fighting against the U.S. But President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser says, "The failed terrorist attack isn't going to change plans to close Gitmo."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENNAN: I have been in constant dialogue with the Yemenis about the arrangements that are in place. Several of those individuals were put into custody as soon as they returned to Yemen so we are making sure that we don't do anything that's going to put American citizens, whether they be in Yemen or here in the states, at risk.
LIEBERMAN: It would be irresponsible to take any of the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo and send them back to Yemen. We know from past experience that some of them will be back in the fight against us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Obama had originally planned to close the facility by the end of last year. No new deadline has been set.
An NBA player admits to having a gun in the locker room. But it's not part of the story that he didn't talk about that everyone else is talking about.
And we've been covering the violence against students in Chicago for a while and it is not ending. Two more high school students killed in just the past week including one in this video right here.
Police need your help and we're talking to the head of the Chicago Police Department.
Also we want to know what's on your mind. So if you want to comment about that story or other ones here on CNN, make sure you log on to those sites.
LEMON: Now to a story that everyone is talking at. It goes beyond the sports world. NBA star Gilbert Arenas says he used bad judgment in taking guns into the Washington Wizards locker room.
Arenas spoke last night after 2 days of reports regarding an alleged locker room showdown between two Wizards players. Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti has the very latest for you.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas is a3-time NBA All Star but his alleged locker room gun antics could get him into serious foul trouble legally.
GILBERT ARENAS, WASHINGTON WIZARDS PLAYER: I'm a jokester. Nothing in my life is actually serious.
CANDIOTTI: But it's no joke. The D.C. police, U.S. attorneys office, and National Basketball Association all say they're investigating. The "New York post" reports Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton allegedly drew guns on each other in the locker room December 21st over a card wing (ph) gambling debt.
ARENAS: I can't speak on that. But you know, if you've known me, you've been here, I never did anything violent. Anything I do is funny -- well, it's funny to me.
CANDIOTTI: Team owners say Arenas kept unloaded weapons in his locker with no ammo; a practice they called dangerous and disappointing. Quote, "Guns have absolutely no place in a workplace environment and we will take further steps to ensure this never happens again."
ARENAS: I agree. That's bad judgment on my part storing them here. And I take responsibility for that.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): When players are working there's a great deal of security, but away from the spotlight, it's a whole new ball game.
(voice-over): Some professional athletes own or carry guns saying they consider themselves potential targets and need protection; protection from attacks like that suffered by Washington Redskins defensive back Sean Taylor who was murdered in his Miami home during a robbery. But carrying a gun can be costly, even for a celebrity.
Ex-New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burris is serving a two- year prison sentence for illegal possession of a gun after accidentally shooting himself in the leg at a nightclub.
Megastars like Cleveland Cavaliers' Lebron James and Shaquille O'Neal create fan frenzy when they hit the court. And post-game fans get up close and personal with their heroes. Shaq, who works with police in his spare time, declined to talk about the Arenas incident.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, BASKETBALL PLAYER: No, no. I can't talk about that.
CANDIOTTI: Neither did Lebron James but he did talk about security in general.
LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS PLAYER: I live in Akron, Ohio, which is my hometown, so I don't need security.
CANDIOTTI: Do you carry -- do you own a gun?
JAMES: I don't travel with security. Only thing I do is continue to make sure my family's always safe.
LEMON: All right. So we did a segment in the 6:00 hour on this story with Stephen A. Smith and it was a pretty interesting segment. He had been responding on Twitter and we're going to tell you, he's responded within the last five minutes on Twitter about -- we believe it is this segment. We'll play it for you.
I'll tell you what he says after this. So what are the league rules in all this? NBA bans employees and players from handling guns on company time or company property and recommends against it for personal protection. The discussion now is whether teams can or should write a gun clause into players' contracts similar to banning car racing or sky diving or other dangerous activities.
So again, this is in response to the Stephen A. Smith segment. That idea of pro basketball players might be bringing weapons into their locker rooms is pretty hard to believe. But NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith told me last hour that he thinks a lot of secondary issues including race, that's African-American players, male players in general is all a part of this story.
Take a listen and we're going to talk about the tweets right after this. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN A. SMITH, COLUMNIST, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: You have quite a few players, it's not the majority but the actions of a few taint the many. You have the actions of a few acting like prisoners in a prison yard or something.
LEMON: Wait, wait -- what do you mean about only African- Americans? What do you mean -- explain that to me.
SMITH: I'm talking about the arrest of African-American players in the NFL. I'm talking about the behavior of some players on the NBA level of African-American decent. It's something that hasn't been talked about quite enough.
LEMON: You think it's cultural?
SMITH: I think you can make the argument that it's cultural right now because you look at the way guys act and you look at the way some guys are conducting themselves. It has been a problem that has been lamented by league commissioners for quite some time. They don't go to that level where they point out that it's occurring in the African-American community because they don't want to go there. But I'm on national TV with you and I am going there.
LEMON: Well, if you look at...
SMITH: That's what we're saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. So that was Stephen A. Smith in our last hour here. I just want to make it -- Gilbert Arenas is the person who has been tweeting. He stopped tweeting about 2:30 this morning. And then right after the segment that we did here on CNN he started tweeting again.
I asked some of my followers to tweet him and tell him to get in touch. And so Gilbert Arenas said, "Why do people try to make me look bad? I can do that all by myself. LOL and I'm out. Need to put some jump shots up."
That's what he said. Gilbert, if you're there, tweet me or get in touch with us here at CNN. We'd like to hear the reason why you brought the gun in and what's going on with the NBA and if you agree with Stephen A. Smith.
Is there an issue among African-American professional athletes when it comes to guns, violence and the culture -- the culture of thugism (ph) as they call it? We're going to continue to update the story throughout the evening here on CNN.
It is some of the worst flooding one Australian town has seen since 1971. Hundreds of people and animals are doing what they can to get to higher ground.
Plus, another blast of winter is on the way in the U.S. Our Jacqui Jeras, what do you have for us? JACQUI JERAS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I know. As if this weekend wasn't bad enough, right, Don? Arctic blast is heading toward the nation's midsection and it's going to be impacting a whole lot of people.
Plus your holiday travel today really brutal. Will that carry into the workweek? We'll let you know coming up in the forecast.
LEMON: The worst flooding in nearly 40 years is forcing hundreds of people to evacuate their homes in Australia. Ten days of heavy rain have all but submerged New South Wales just northwest of Sydney. While the worst of the rain is over, rivers and reservoirs are still overflowing with extra water.
Jacqui Jeras, a problem here. What was rain, you said, on the coast, possibly flooding, right, yesterday on the coast? But it's snow and freezing temperatures.
JERAS: Yes. It was the coastal flooding. So it's the wind that pushes the wave up on the coast, and, you know, covers up some of the roadways and some homes. It caused some damage.
It was actually a lot worse in the Canadian Maritimes and it's all due to this system which was a backwards mover. Normally we see these pull out this way. This one's been sneaking back in. But we do think it's going to pull out by tomorrow and we'll watch for improved conditions across the Northeastern Corridor.
In the meantime, the travel delays have been so ugly today so my apologies for folks who have been at the airports in the northeast. Delays still over an hour and a half at Boston, more than two hours at JFK, LaGuardia, hour and a half. Just over two hours at Newark and Teterboro nearly an hour and a half. So we think you're going to continue to have problems probably through tomorrow morning.
Now, behind the system we have that cold arctic air. We had some record lows yesterday across the upper Midwest; cold air blowing every the warmer lake waters. We've been getting some really decent lake- effect snows. Look at that. Just east of Cleveland, around the buffalo area; check out the pictures that we have for you out of Buffalo today. 14 degrees is your temperature right now but it feels like zero. You've had about 15 inches of snow since the beginning.
The lake-effect snow warnings have been extended now until midnight. We could see some of those heavier bands move in up to an inch an hour. Wind chills tonight hovering down between about zero to negative 5. We'll see those lake-effect snows really continue throughout much of the week unfortunately.
Another blast of arctic air moves in by the middle of the week. And temperatures are going to be dangerously cold, again, on average for the eastern two-thirds of the country 10 to 20 degrees below normal.
That's the latest on your forecast. Don is going to be back in the NEWSROOM right after a break.
LEMON: Time now to check the top stories.
The U.S. has closed its embassy in Yemen citing the threat of a potential terrorist attack. Britain has closed its embassy there as well.
President Obama's top adviser for counterterrorism tells CNN there are indications al Qaeda might launch an attack in Yemen's capital possibly against the U.S. embassy. No word on when the embassy might reopen.
The man suspected of trying to bomb an airliner on Christmas day was already on the radar of British intelligence agents. A senior British official tells the "Associated Press" that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was known for his radical ties with a school in London.
Now, the Nigerian man first caught the attention of the government agents about a year after arriving in the U.S. when he started making contacts with extremists under surveillance but he wasn't considered a serious threat.
Boarding a flight bound for the U.S., are you? Well, starting at midnight the TSA is amping up its international security in the wake of that botched Christmas airline bombing. So if you're coming from a high-risk nation you'll be patted down and your carry-on will be searched as well. Those nations have been identified by the State Department at Cuba, Sudan, Syria and Iran.
But a counter terrorism official tells other countries - says other countries of interest include Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria. And the TSA says all U.S.-bound travelers could be subjected to stricter random searches.
Modesty may soon be a thing of the past at London's Heathrow Airport. Full-body scanners are being introduced in the wake of that failed Christmas day airliner bombing right here in the U.S.. Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the policy earlier today. And Brown tells BBC that all airport security will be increased all across Britain.
At Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, it's always a matter of security over privacy. And many say as a result it's one of the safest airports internationally. Our Paula Hancocks takes a look at why American officials are taking notice.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's considered one of the safest airports in the world. Israel's Ben Gurion has much of the latest technology and sophisticated machinery. American security officials came to visit a few years ago to watch and learn.
But in Israel, there is also a human element. Almost every passenger is questioned, sometimes by more than one security officer, some are strip searched. No matter how distasteful it may be to civil liberty groups, Israel actively profiles passengers and makes no apology for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good profiling is distinction, it's not a discrimination. And I think that you should profile. If you don't profile you waste time, you waste money, and you might miss what you're looking for because you're searching it on the wrong people.
HANCOCKS: (INAUDIBLE) says profiling needs to be based not simply on ethnicity but also on behavior, intelligence gathering and statistics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The concept, as I see, is that you should impose 90 percent of the efforts toward, let's say, 10 percent of the public.
HANCOCKS: But what if you find yourself on the wrong side of profiling? Palestinian human rights lawyer Muhammad Dalleh deals with many cases of what he calls discrimination of Arabs at the airport. Saying he, himself, has been a victim.
MUHAMMAD DALLEH, PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER: We're talking about 1.2 million Palestinians who are citizens of the state of Israel. They cannot be treated as a security threat. The whole collective, more than one million citizens are to be treated as a suspect.
HANCOCKS (on camera): Israel knows it has be enemies it has to protect itself from. So inconveniencing passengers comes with the territory. Up until today no airplane that has left his airport has ever been hijacked. And Israel's national carrier, El Al, is probably one of the safest if not the safest in the world.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Ben Gurion Airport.
LEMON: New video and strong words in Iran today adding to the political powder keg there.
LEMON: What you're looking at is amateur video believed to be from last weekend's bloody street battles that left eight opposition protesters dead. Government officials had been saying that no guns were used, but this tape appears to show a man in black firing several shots. And new today, Iran's interior minister threatened to take a harder line saying police are under orders to show no leniency to protesters. This comes one day after opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi said he's willing to die for his cause.
Human rights democracy and freedom of the press, the demands of Iranian protesters are being brought to President Obama's front door. About 100 people rallied just outside the White House today and they say the world is looking for answers from President Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIAM MEMARSADEGHI, PROTESTOR: If Obama doesn't speak up and condemn more strongly the human rights violations and also lend his support more overtly to the green movement, the government will feel further empowered to continue with the rape and torture and killing on the streets.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world has watched this, you know, on Youtube, on Facebook. Because foreign journalists are not allowed to go there. But all of these videos has come to us. We've seen how the government has crushed down this movement.
SAMAN NEMOVI, PROTESTER: We've actually been writing letters to the White House and I think that's the most effective. But we've also been doing protests because I feel like if we do protest and it's on video the people in Iran will have a little more hope knowing we're with them at the same time.
LEMON: A lot of those protesters are talking about how that amateur video is really resonating around the globe. CNN's Reza Sayah is manning the Iran desk at our world headquarters in Atlanta. And Reza, I'm told you have new video to show us at this hour.
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Don. A very interesting and rare taped telephone conversation we're going to play you in a few seconds. You know, over the past few months, we've heard a lot of analysts weigh in on what's happening in Iran, the post-election turmoil and where things are headed. But rarely have we spoken to the supporters of this opposition movement themselves. And there are two reasons for that, one because of the strict media restrictions and two, because many of these people are afraid.
They're convinced that Iran security officials are listening in on their phone conversations. But a few hours ago we managed to tape record a conversation with the support of the opposition movement, the supporters identity, we will call in Hesam. He's a 28-year-old university researcher who participated in many of these demonstrations, including the one last Sunday when he said he was attacked by security forces.
Remember, people have died in these protests. People have been detained without charge. And certainly they have been hurt so we asked, Hesam, are you afraid for your safety and why do you keep going out there? Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICE OF HESAM, PROTESTER IN IRAN: I'm afraid, but I don't have any chance - it's not a good way just to see it come and just do nothing. So I want to change the condition. If I want to have a better life, I have to do that. Yes, maybe it's a dangerous condition. Maybe I would be, you know, attacked, maybe I would be shot. Maybe I would be killed, maybe arrested. All of them could happen. But I, myself, I do my job. SAYAH: Hesam, what do you and your fellow protesters want from these demonstrations? What will make you say, OK, I'm not going to protest anymore? I'm satisfied.
HESAM: I think we need a democracy based on our (INAUDIBLE) - all of the main principles, freedom of speech and respecting to the civil rights, respecting to the, for example, human rights, the minorities and everything that is common and universal in most of the democracy of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAYAH: And Don, that's what you hear most often from members of this opposition movement, a call for true democracy. And they say keep going out there until they get it.
LEMON: All right. Reza, thank you very much. We have some breaking news to tell you about out of the New York City area. Newark Airport.
A lockdown is under way. Security scare. Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti here with all the details. Suzan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have been finding this out from the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, that in fact, there is a lockdown at Terminal C at Newark International Airport that is happening at this hour. Here's what they say is happening. That a man walked through one of the security checkpoints from the public side to the sterile side and right now they are looking for that individual.
Apparently at this time they're not sure whether this person was once on the other side, the sterile side and came back through security or whether he wasn't properly checked to begin with. So at this hour TSA is not only looking for this person, they're also reviewing their security tapes from that checkpoint.
But at the present time they are not allowing any flights that are currently scheduled to leave from terminal C to depart the airport. So again, at this time, lockdown at Terminal C at Newark International Airport until they try to figure out exactly what happened with this individual, whether he was properly checked or not, to determine whether there was a security breach. But at this moment they're trying to settle things.
LEMON: Stand by with me for a little bit. Getting just a little bit more guidance. I want to make sure. So they're looking for this individual inside the airport because they're on the sterile side. That's the side inside the airport but they have no idea now if, you know, if anyone is in any harm. They're just saying that they happened to get to the other side.
CANDIOTTI: As a precaution, that's right. We don't know at this time whether the person had any kind of carry-on luggage with him or whether they did not. Whether it was checked or wasn't it checked. I also have heard back from the FBI at Newark and they are telling me that they so far have no information about any of this. We have a full round of calls out.
LEMON: Terminal C is Continental Airlines. That terminal is operated by Continental Airlines in many airports. And we're looking at terminal C there. In many airports, you know, A, B, C, D or whatever will have certain airlines attached to it.
CANDIOTTI: That's right.
LEMON: And sometimes they do share but this one is Continental. We don't have any guidance as to where, you know, who exactly this passenger is, obviously, because they have not found this -
LEMON: We don't know if it's a man or a woman, right? Is it a man?
CANDIOTTI: No, we know that it's a man. It is a man and we also know, of course, as everyone knows, Newark is an extremely, extremely busy airport. Very tight security there under normal circumstances. And we have been receiving a lot of Twitter traffic about this from people who are watching us and wanting to know what is going on.
Because they're at the airport, they can see something isn't quite right. And so that is why we've been, of course, alerted to this and reaching out and so far we're staying in touch with TSA on exactly what is happening out there.
LEMON: And Susan, as Susan has been here speaking to our desk here in New York, our New York desk, who's on top of this. What I'm wondering here is that lockdown, again, it's just for terminal C? They said no flights are taking off? Do we know if they're landing in terminal C or what have you in that area?
CANDIOTTI: The TSA did not say that flights are not being allowed to land but right now they're not letting any flights go out. That would stand to reason because if, in fact, there was a security breach then they wouldn't want anyone to leave.
LEMON: You know, it's very interesting, especially on this day. This is a very busy travel day. A lot of people are coming back from Christmas and new year holiday, not only they're dealing with travel delays because of the weather, now they're having to deal with this. And as we know, these things can have a domino effect. You close one terminal and that backs everything up and it just snowballs and it just goes and goes and goes.
Listen, we're working our sources here in New York, our New York desk is right behind us. And they're all over it. We're glad to have our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, who knows the area as well. She's here checking on this. So we're going to regroup here, get more information for you on this breaking story that's happening. Newark Airport, a lockdown, Terminal C happening there.
I'm Don Lemon, Susan Candiotti here. We're back in a moment with breaking news here on CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: All right. Breaking news here on CNN. I'm Don Lemon. Reporting tonight from New York City. In the New York City area at Newark airport, there's a security lockdown. And we're just getting new information in here to CNN. I'm here joined by my colleague, Susan Candiotti. She's our national correspondent. Susan, there's a map of Terminal C there, and that's where this problem is happening. Take us through it.
CANDIOTTI: All right. Let's give you the latest first. There is a lockdown at Terminal C, and we have this update from the Transportation Security Administration's spokesperson. Her name is Ann Davis. And she tells us this that they are, in fact, clearing Terminal C. This does not mean they are not evacuating. Let's make it really clear.
LEMON: Evacuation would mean people would have to go outside.
CANDIOTTI: That's right. They're not doing that. What they are doing is they are moving everyone who has gone through the security checkpoints at terminal C from the public side through to the gate area and they're moving everyone back out to the area before you go through security. So back out to where the ticket counters are and all of that. They're moving them from the sterile side to the public side.
LEMON: And if you're looking at just that shot, Susan, as we have it up there. That is looking across the river at Newark Airport from one of our tower cams here into the city. And it's pretty tough to see, but again, as Susan said, there are no flights that are leaving, right? That are leaving terminal C at this point.
CANDIOTTI: That's right. Exactly.
LEMON: Because obviously they're looking for a person who came from the outside on the inside. So I would imagine what they're doing is checking all the passengers and those flights that are still there at those gates. If they're on the runway they may possibly be bringing them back. Just to give you a little bit more information, Susan, before we go on, located near the north area of New York's Liberty International Airport, serves as the fewest airlines.
However, Terminal C contains the most retail shops and restaurants of the three terminals there. So it's still a sizable terminal there. The airline served by terminal C, Continental, Express Jet, also operated by Continental, Fly British European, has a number of shops and restaurants and again also with wi-fi internet service. If you're in Terminal C, you get us here, you can reach me on Twitter or you can call us here at CNN or e-mail us.
So Susan, you have information from a spokesperson? Do we have more information here?
CANDIOTTI: Just to recap here, this was all started because a man went through security, says TSA, and they're not quite sure whether this person was thoroughly checked. They think he went from the public side to the sterile side. But they're not really sure whether he was just on the sterile side and then came back through to the main ticket counter area.
And so what they're doing is to make perfectly sure what happened, they're looking for this man. They are also reviewing security tapes. Everything is on camera when you go through TSA security. And they are also moving everyone that has already gone through security. They're down at the gate areas, shops, whatever else might be past the security gate area and bringing them back to the other side of security so they can rescreen them.
LEMON: Yes. Big problem here. So we're going to continue to update you on this. Delays more than two hours I'm told by our Jacqui Jeras due to weather and wind. This is in addition to the security issue that Jacqui Jeras just told us about. So two-hour delays on arrivals there. Already have this. It's causing some big, big problems. We're going to stay on top of this story for you.
Susan Candiotti on top of it, also our national desk, the resources of CNN. And we will bring it to you just as soon as we get more information. But again, we don't have any indication that there's any foul play here. But we're certainly checking it for you. Thank you very much, Susan Candiotti and Jacqui Jeras for that information.
In the meantime, it's only the third day of the new year and already there are at least two new violent crime investigations in Chicago. My conversation with Chicago police superintendent in just a few minutes here on CNN.
LEMON: For those of you who are regulars of this particular program, our program here on the weekends, you know, we have been paying particular attention to the violence in Chicago. We spent a greater part of 2009 focusing on the violence or the problems, possible solutions. And three days into the new year the police are already investigating at least two violent crimes.
Jody Weis is a Chicago school superintendent, he joins us tonight from Chicago. Thank you, sir. It is, police superintendent, did I say school superintendent? Sorry about that. Police superintendent. Thank you so much for joining us. Listen, what is going on. I think there were two shot within a week, another student was shot, but survived. This 16-year-old, Fred Couch, shot and didn't make it. So what is going on there?
SUPERINTENDENT JODY WEIS, CHICAGO POLICE: Well, first let me extend my condolences to his family. I mean, they went through a tragedy that no family should have to endure. But you know, you have a situation, which gets back to the gangs, the guns and the drugs. So we have been successful this year in reducing the number of incidents involving CPS students, we're down about 26 percent.
But anytime you have a shooting, anytime you have a homicide that certainly is one too many. And I think this is a strong testimony to the fact, that any type of affiliation with gangs, you know, usually two things are going to happen, imprisonment, or in this case a tragic death. And again, my condolences go out to his family. But I think this should again reinforce our message. Please kids have to find an alternative to the gang life that unfortunately infects so many of our communities.
LEMON: So, listen, superintendent, we have that video up there. This was - let's see it happened at 8:15 on Wednesday night. This was the week of just after Christmas. At 333 West 119th Street in West Pulman neighborhood. I don't know if you can see this videotape. But it was caught on tape. Can you guide us through this, tell us what is going on in this videotape, superintendent?
WEIS: Don, unfortunately I don't have the capability here. I am not able to see that video at all.
LEMON: But the video shows the kid walking, appears to be in a parking lot, or somewhere, you know, on a sidewalk. Because cars are parked there, paring barricades, red barricades had come up. And then he falls. And I would imagine that is from the gunshot. And then I think he tries to stand up and then he falls again. And then people around him see what is happening they all rush to him.
Again I think it was at a convenience store. But again, you know, someone from the police department spoke out and said we are reminded once again dangers of guns, gangs, drugs, as you said -
LEMON: That was deputy chief Dana Alexander of area two patrol there. You know, I know that this student and other students, possibly have some issues, you know they have records, or they had run-ins before. But it is still, you know, doesn't mean that they need to be gunned down on the street, just because they, you know, might have a record or they got off to a bad start?
WEIS: Right. It's - it's very senseless. Unfortunately it's a problem that's - that's outside the scope solely of law enforcement. I think it is critical for all parts of the community to come together and try to give these kids an alternative. It boils down to they have to learn how to deal with anger management and conflict resolution and they need to learn those life skills.
If they're not getting it at home, you know, the black churches and the ministers have tremendous, tremendous power and tremendous influence in the communities. Then I think -
LEMON: To help out with this. Hey, I hate to cut you off, superintendent. We have this breaking news. But real quickly, the gunman ran off and got into a gray vehicle that fled the scene. You are asking for help, what do they need, how do they get in touch if they have some information?
WEIS: Just dial our area two detective division. Call our main number. And we'll be glad to take any tips we can. LEMON: We appreciate you coming on Sunday night for this story. Happy new year to you. And we hope you guys get a handle on this and you catch this guy. The superintendent of the Chicago Police Department Jody Weis. Thank you, sir.
WEIS: Thank you, Don. My pleasure.
LEMON: Breaking news. The latest developments in the lockdown at Newark International Airport when we return. We're on top of it for you.
LEMON: We're following breaking news on CNN. There has been a security lockdown at Newark International Airport. I am joined by our national correspondent, Susan Candiotti, on top of the story. Susan, we are being told this is only Terminal C and that it is only Continental flights there.
But can you tell us, is Continental flights only, ground stop is for Terminal C only. I just want to make sure we get that clear. But take us behind this. Someone got through security, and what happened?
CANDIOTTI: Yes, that's what started all of this. A man got through a security checkpoint in terminal C. This is a terminal that is largely serviced by mainly Continental Airlines and a few others. He got through security. They don't know if he wasn't checked properly or if he got through security once and then came back and went through without being rechecked. That's unclear.
So, right now, TSA is reviewing its security video to see if they can spot this person. They are looking for the person. And what they have done in an abundance of caution is they have moved everyone who has already gone through security, they're down at their gates, all that business, and they're moving everyone back out to the main area where the ticket counters are that kind of thing until they can rescreen them.
LEMON: And this is all happening on the same day that they have announced enhanced security measures for people who are coming into the country. And so a very busy travel day for people who are coming back from the holidays.
Susan Candiotti, our national correspondent on top of this story. Security breach at Newark International Airport. We will follow it here on CNN. I'm Don Lemon. I'll see you at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. In the meantime, "STATE OF THE UNION" starts right now.