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THE SITUATION ROOM
Oklahoma Aftermath; Jodi Arias Jury Deadlocked
Aired May 24, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news right now.
We're getting a new glimpse of the fear and the panic that spread across Moore, Oklahoma, as a monster tornado was tearing up the town of Moore, Oklahoma. Powerful 911 calls were released only moments ago. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 OPERATOR: Moore 911, where is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is the tornado at?
911 OPERATOR: Last we heard was 19th and Western.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
911 OPERATOR: OK. If you're able to take shelter, you need to.
911 OPERATOR: Moore 911, where is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got hit.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Is anybody injured?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are any of you guys injured? My (INAUDIBLE) There's A bunch of stuff like on top of us or broke. I'm able to get out, but I don't know if they will be able to.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Are they -- they're trapped or they're just injured?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are guys trapped. Can you get up? My stepmom is down. I can possibly get out and help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you guys trapped?
911 OPERATOR: They're trapped?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they got it.
911 OPERATOR: Can they get out at all, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
911 OPERATOR: Are they trapped? (INAUDIBLE) ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we get out of this in any way?
911 OPERATOR: We have got several places hit. This is very important. I need to know this now. I understand it's crazy
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They can possibly get out if they can find a way out. But everything in front of us, from what we can see, is wiped out.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Just take a -- try to get out if you can. If something happens, and someone cannot get out and they're trapped, then call me back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
911 OPERATOR: And be very careful where you walk, OK? Make sure everybody's got shoes on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. All right, hon. Thank you. All right, thank you.
911 OPERATOR: Moore 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's people down. We're stuck under rubble.
911 OPERATOR: We have got a call. We're getting them out there as soon as we can.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please hurry.
911 OPERATOR: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have got a day care full of babies. We need help bad.
(CROSSTALK) 911 OPERATOR: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help bad. We got a day care that just got cremated.
911 OPERATOR: Moore 911, where is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tornado just hit us. We're trapped in the closet. There's stuff all on top of us. We can't get out.
911 OPERATOR: In the closet?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
911 OPERATOR: OK. Are you injured?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. We just can't breathe.
911 OPERATOR: Moore 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, we just got a call from a gentleman that lives in Moore that his house has collapsed on his kids.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: Shocking, shocking 911 calls. We have just gotten those. There's more that we're getting as well.
Meanwhile, here are other new developments out of Moore, Oklahoma, right now. Funeral services were held today for four tornado victims, 9-year-old Nicolas McCabe, 8-year-old Kyle Davis, 39- year-old Randy Smith, and 49-year-old Terri Long.
The Oklahoma University Medical Center says five adults and one child remain hospitalized. Two of them remain in critical condition. One new estimate shows the damage from Monday's twister could cost as much as $5 billion.
Oklahoma school officials are still reeling from the deaths of seven students at the Plaza Towers Elementary School that was flattened by the twister. They held a news conference just a little while ago. At times, it was very, very emotional.
Brian Todd is in Moore, Oklahoma, and he's joining us now with more on this part of the story -- Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this was maybe the most extraordinary meeting between local officials here and members of the media.
This was a meeting of school officials, and namely the two principals of the schools that were leveled. Amy Simpson, the principal of Plaza Towers Elementary School, and Shelley Jaques, the principal of Briarwood Elementary School, met with members of the media.
Both got very emotional when recounting in chilling detail what happened to their schools. But really the most extraordinary account was from Amy Simpson, she the principal of Plaza Towers Elementary School that got completely leveled, just basically disintegrated in the storm.
Ms. Simpson said that when she got word that the tornado was coming, they made their preparations. She saw the tornado coming. They got everyone hunkered down. Some parents had come in to get their children. Some parents came in, left, and then ran back in the school when they saw how close the tornado was, she said.
She said at one point when the tornado was basically there, she got on the intercom and yelled to the entire school, it's here. Then she says she got into a bathroom with some other staff members. She said the only time that she yelled was at that moment when she said, in God's name, go away. When she reflected on the entire day, that's when she was at her most emotional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY SIMPSON, PRINCIPAL, PLAZA TOWERS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: What started off as a normal day at Plaza Towers turned into a horrible, horrible thing for seven families.
The rest of the story, however, is how great Moore has been, to rally together, and behind my teachers and the students. Yesterday, seeing them all, not one parent blamed us. Not one parent blamed us, because they're Oklahomans, too, and they know what a tornado means, and they know what it means in school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Simpson said that today they buried one of the children killed. Tomorrow -- excuse me -- today, they -- yesterday, they buried one. Today, they buried two children. Tomorrow, they are going to bury two more. Monday, they will bury one, and next Friday one more. She was very emotional when talking about the children who were killed.
She had effusive praise for the teachers at Plaza Towers Elementary School, saying that they had -- that they were covered in debris and that they covered the children themselves, very high praise for the teachers there, Wolf.
BLITZER: Understandably so. Those teachers were excellent. There's no doubt about that.
I was there for three days this week, just got back to Washington. The issue of safe rooms in schools kept coming up. Did they address that issue today, Brian?
TODD: Amy Simpson was asked about that, Wolf. She said that she never thought of having a safe room in the school. She never thought of getting on the school board to, you know, pressure them to put safe rooms in these schools.
She said this was a phenomenon, that tornadoes normally don't happen, according to her, at that time of the afternoon. They just happen at other times, usually later in the day, I think is what she said. But she said she never thought of having one.
Now, we also have to say Susie Pierce, the superintendent of the Moore Public Schools, has said in statements that they had a safety plan in place, that they executed those plans, that safety is their number one priority. But there have been two news conferences now in which she has left before getting a chance to be asked about safe rooms by reporters.
So that's the situation there with the principal talking about it, the school superintendent not really talking about it. Other officials have told us that it was a matter of funding from the state legislature, that there were other priorities because the last couple of years have been fairly light for tornadoes in Oklahoma.
BLITZER: Brian Todd doing some excellent work for us all week, as he always does, in Moore, Oklahoma, Brian, thanks very much.
And this special programming note for our viewers. Join us Saturday night, 6:00 p.m. Eastern, for a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM, as we focus in on the tragedy in Oklahoma. You're going to want to watch this, a one-hour special, "Tragedy in Oklahoma," a SITUATION ROOM special.
Up next, the terrifying bridge collapse in Washington State up close -- a witness joins us with his firsthand account and exclusive video.
And, later, the woman who helped bring down David Petraeus opening up about her affair with the former CIA director.
And don't forget, the people in Oklahoma need your help. The country singer and Oklahoma native Toby Keith is with Anderson Cooper to show you what you need to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What's it like for you to see this place like this?
TOBY KEITH, MUSICIAN: It ain't nothing I haven't seen before. Growing up here my whole life, 35, 40 years, was -- we have seen this a lot. So, it's pretty much the same. It gets you right here every time.
My sister, my sister-in-law and my niece all got hit. If you lose everything, that's pretty much a strike. And then obviously losing a loved one, it's just devastating.
COOPER: Can this place rebuild?
KEITH: Oh, yes. This will be vibrant, rocking. A lot of these people you see around here working are -- first-responders get in and take care of the necessary stuff. People get out, they bring water and shoes and transportation.
They pitch together and this thing will just pop right back up.
Hey, this is Toby Keith. Find out how you can help the tornado disaster. Go to CNN.com/impact. You can help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: One of America's aging bridges is in pieces right now, and it's raising safety concerns all across the United States.
Two cars wound up in a frigid river when the bridge collapsed in Washington State last night, and we're hearing gripping accounts from a survivor and witnesses, and we're also learning more about what went wrong.
CNN's Dan Simon is joining us now from Mt. Vernon in Washington State. That's right outside of Seattle.
What do we know right now, Dan?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, first of all, the question that many folks have in this community is how something like this could happen. How could a semitruck making contact with this bridge cause a major chunk of it to collapse?
But I have to tell you, given everything that we have seen in Oklahoma, and all the heartbreak and misery there, people here feel fortunate knowing that it could have been much, much worse.
SIMON (voice-over): It happened after rush hour. The bridge was nearly empty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Riverside bridge over I-5 just collapsed. We have vehicles in the water.
SIMON: One of those vehicles, a pickup, belonged to a couple heading on a camping trip. Dan Sligh was driving.
DAN SLIGH, ACCIDENT SURVIVOR: I saw the bridge start to fall at that point. Forward momentum just carried us right over. And as you saw the water approaching, it was just one of those -- you hold on as tight as you can and just a white flash and cold water. It was definitely cold this time of the year.
SIMON: Sligh tells Seattle's KIRO TV the fall dislocated his shoulder. Worse, he couldn't get a response from his wife.
SLIGH: Popped my shoulder back in so I could unbuckle everything and get over to her, unbuckled her, and pulled her into my side, which had less water, because it was filling up about belly deep.
SIMON: The Slighs eventually were rescued and taken to a hospital. Onlookers crowded by the side of the river and watched as searchers made sure no victims had been overlooked. In the end, only three people went into the water. They will be OK. Nobody died.
DAVE CHESSON, WASHINGTON STATE DOT: I think it's amazing that there were only a handful of people on the bridge. It's typically heavily used. And so I think we're very fortunate.
SIMON: During the night, police said part of an oversized load on a tractor-trailer hit a bridge support girder, leading to the collapse.
Dale Ogden tells Seattle's KING 5 he saw it happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw the truck strike the corner, upper right corner of the bridge. It almost tipped the truck over. But it came back down on it. It tipped it up to about a 30-degree angle to the left, and it came back down on its wheels, and almost instantaneously behind that, I saw girders falling in my rear-view mirror.
SIMON: The big truck didn't go into the water. State police questioned the driver, but he wasn't detained. Today, plenty of people are getting a firsthand look at the twisted wreckage of the bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration listed it as functionally obsolete, meaning it was old and narrow, and not up to modern standards.
SIMON: Well, authorities estimate it's going to take $15 million to fix this bridge. They don't know how long it's going to take, weeks, maybe even months. This is going to be a major inconvenience, Wolf, for the people who live in this area. This is a major roadway, accommodating about 71,000 vehicles each and every day -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Dan Simon on the scene for us, thank you.
Let's talk to a man now who arrived at the scene of the collapse soon after it happened, and shot some exclusive video.
Richard Dessin is joining us now from Seattle.
Richard, thanks very much.
Walk us through what happened. When did you know something was terribly wrong?
RICHARD DESSIN, EYEWITNESS: Well, sir, my friend Alex Goans (ph) and I were just heading back from Bellingham.
We had taken that freeway up north and were coming south back down about two hours later, getting close to Exit 229. And all of a sudden the traffic just came to an absolute, complete stop rapidly. We were there for about five minutes. We noticed truck drivers starting to get out and look. And then we started seeing EMS lights on the eastern side of the banks showing up.
I had a camera that I had just got with a telephoto lens, and we started looking through it and started seeing the onlookers. Next thing you know, they're taking us off the exit, and we saw just literally 100, 200 yards ahead of us, the bridge was gone.
My friend and I decided that we saw the Home Depot parking lot. We immediately went down there and got up on the levee, and as soon as we got there is when we started seeing the sheriff beginning to show up and the rescues starting. And that's where all the photographs and the video you have is where I took about 105 photos of the rescue scenario.
It was amazing. We watched the gentleman being removed from the pickup truck and being put in the sheriff's boat. Outstanding job on all the EMS, the way they did it, the way they approached the bridge. And just to see both lanes of the bridge were -- you know, how it was buckled in the water, I mean, thank goodness nobody was hurt. We found that out a little bit later as we were driving back away on the back roads.
But thank God it was the section that was close to the shore, because had it been the middle section of the bridge, I think it would have been a completely different story for the individuals. So, I'm just -- I'm happy everybody was safe, and people can see the photographs of what the bridge looked like and the actual vehicles on it.
BLITZER: Yes, we're showing our viewers the pictures that you took, the photos, the video.
Richard, how -- you know this area well. You know this bridge. How surprised were you to see that this, at least big chunk, huge chunk of this bridge was gone?
DESSIN: Very surprised.
I mean, it was one of those irony moments where just two hours earlier, we headed north on this section and now, spinning around, heading south on it. We were up in Bellingham some taking pictures at the university, decided to stay for about an extra minute or so before we got on the freeway. Had we got on when we did, it could have been a whole different story for us as well, because we were, I mean, we were right there close with that first group of vehicles.
So it's amazing. It's -- we had a lot of thoughts afterwards, a lot of what-ifs for the next couple hours.
BLITZER: Richard Dessin, thanks so much for sharing your story. And thanks so much for sharing the video and the pictures, the still pictures as well, Richard Dessin joining us from Seattle.
DESSIN: Yes, sir.
BLITZER: Still ahead, the woman at the center of the David Petraeus scandal gives her first interview about her affair with the former CIA chief. Stand by.
And President Obama's oops moment today during a trip to give a graduation speech.
BLITZER: So, what's next for Jodi Arias? A hung jury raising some new questions about whether the convicted murderer will live or be sentenced to death.
And the mayor of Toronto makes his first public comments about allegations that he smoked crack cocaine.
BLITZER: Happening now: justice delayed. Will a new jury decide the fate of the convicted murderer Jodi Arias or will prosecutors offer a deal?
FOX News fires back at President Obama after the feds go to great lengths to investigate one of their reporters.
And critics aren't amused by a video spoof of "Star Trek" that pokes fun at safety hazards at a nuclear plant.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
It may be weeks before we know if the convicted murderer Jodi Arias will live or die. An Arizona judge declared a mistrial last night in the penalty phase of her trial. Jurors couldn't agree on whether to sentence her to death for killing her ex-boyfriend. A new jury will decide Arias' punishment, unless prosecutors offer a deal.
CNN's Ted Rowlands has more from Phoenix.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Jodi Arias is back in her cell here at the Maricopa County Jail. She is still waiting to find out her fate for killing her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No unanimous agreement.
ROWLANDS (voice-over): The Jodi Arias jury couldn't decide if she should live or die. Eight favored death. The other four wanted to spare her life, including the jury foreman, who told "Good Morning America" that he believes Arias was the victim of abuse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very sure in my own mind that she was mentally and verbally abused. Now is that an excuse? Of course not. Does it factor into the decisions that we make? It has to.
ROWLANDS: Arias still may be executed. Maricopa County has the option of retrying the penalty phase, which would extend the already nearly five-month-long televised trial.
The county attorney has already released a statement indicating they plan to proceed with the intent to retry. A new jury would only decide life or death, and would only hear a fraction of the evidence against Jodi Arias.
DWANE CATES, ARIZONA ATTORNEY: This new jury isn't going to have nearly the information that the old jury did. And the jury that made this decision saw every gruesome detail, saw all the lies, saw everything.
SAMANTHA ALEXANDER, TRAVIS'S SISTER: Our lives will never be the same. We can never get him back.
ROWLANDS: One factor in the decision to retry will be the family of victim Travis Alexander. They openly wept in court after hearing the jury was deadlocked. If they decide they've had enough of the courtroom, prosecutors may settle for a life sentence for Jodi Arias.
AARON DEWEY, FRIEND OF VICTIM: I'm with a lot of people out there. I believe that the only appropriate sentence for Jodi is the death penalty. But at this point in the game, I so much would have rather had the jury come back with a life sentence than no sentence at all.
ROWLANDS: And Wolf, one of the jurors as she was walking out of the courtroom, said, "Sorry," to the Alexander family. We expected a decision will be made on whether or not to retry the penalty phase within the next few weeks before an upcoming status hearing scheduled for June 20 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ted, thank you.
We're joined now by a leading trial attorney, Thomas Mesereau, who is perhaps best known for defending Michael Jackson when he was acquitted of child molestation charges back in 2005.
Tom, thanks very much for coming in.
Obviously, a very, very emotional situation for Travis Alexander's family. What if they don't want to go through more testimony, go through this again? What's the likelihood that a deal could be brokered that would spare her the death sentence; she would instead certainly get life in prison?
THOMAS MESEREAU, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Wolf, if the family doesn't want to go through this anymore, that will have a significant impact on the prosecution's decision.
I don't see the prosecutors picking a new jury and essentially retrying the case. I know other people are saying most of this evidence won't come in. I don't believe that.
The prosecutor, in a re-hearing, is going to want in bring in all the grisly, disturbing evidence to convince the jury there should be death. The defense, by contrast, is going to want to bring in every mitigating factor they can: abuse, distortion, paranoia, personality disorder, you name it. It's going to go on for months, and it's going to be another painful experience for the family to sit there day by day.
I think if they plead with the prosecution and say, "Look, she's going to be locked up for the rest of her life. We don't want to go through this again," I think they'll make a deal.
BLITZER: Let's say they don't make a deal. Let's say there is another trial, as far as the penalty phase is concerned. How can you even find a fair, unbiased jury at this point, given all the publicity that's been out there?
MESEREAU: It's going to be very difficult, Wolf. But I have great faith in our juries. You know, many high-profile cases, you have people who were supposedly affected by the media -- O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Robert Blake -- and people thought the media have already cooked the defendant, and juries came back and acquitted.
I think when people sit on a jury and take the oath, they take it very seriously. They try to follow the judge's instructions. They respect the court, the judge. They respect the proceedings. And I think American juries do their very best to be fair. So I have faith that a fair jury could be picked, who will objectively follow the law, and look at the evidence and make a decision.
BLITZER: Is it unusual in this penalty phase for a jury to make the final decision as far as life or death is concerned?
MESEREAU: No, it's not. Most states require that the jury make a decision. Now, there are a couple of states, like Alabama, where a jury may come back and cannot agree on death, and a judge will overrule them. Those are rare states. Usually the jury decides.
BLITZER: Looking ahead to July, let's say there is another trial, another jury. They can't reach a unanimous decision, all 12 members have to agree, life in prison or the death sentence. If they don't, then we simply go back to life in prison. The death sentence is removed, right?
MESEREAU: No, if they can't agree, it then goes back to the judge, and the judge, as I understand it -- I don't practice in Arizona -- but the judge will decide whether she gets life with the possibility of parole, after 25 years, or life without the possibility of parole. That's the judge's prerogative at that point.
BLITZER: At that point it would be up to the judge, if all 12 members can't agree one way or the other. Tom Mesereau, thanks very much for joining us.
MESEREAU: Thank you, Wolf. I appreciate it. BLITZER: Up next, we're getting new information about the attorney general's role in investigating a FOX News reporter, and secrets the administration has tried to keep.
BLITZER: Right now, we're learning more about the Justice Department's controversial investigation of leaks within the administration, and very disturbing ways one FOX News reporter was targeted. Even President Obama has raised concerns.
Here's our crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight a Justice Department official is defending the way DOJ handled the controversial decision to seek a search warrant involving a correspondent for FOX News. Justice says it took great care and vetted the decision all the way to the top before going forward. And the official confirmed that Attorney General Eric Holder himself participated in the process.
(voice-over): FOX News was almost poking fun at how much attention its reporter, James Rosen, got from the Justice Department for a story that said North Korea was going to test more nuclear weapons.
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: So Rosen, when are you going to jail? Because we're taking up a collection for the bail now. And we've got to -- so when are you going to jail?
JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS REPORTER: Well, I'm touched by your sentiments. But that's about all I would say.
JOHNS: What launched the controversy was a leak investigation and an application for a government search warrant seeking information about Rosen's personal e-mails. The government used words such as "aider or abettor and/or conspirator" to describe Rosen in a search warrant affidavit.
He hasn't been charged with anything. A Justice Department official confirmed Friday that deciding a search warrant was necessary involved vetting the decision at the highest levels of the department, including discussions with the attorney general. The statement said the department "followed all applicable laws," and a "federal magistrate judge made an independent finding that probable cause existed" to approve the search warrant.
It's a new worry for advocates of media freedom.
GREGG LESLIE, REPORTERS COMMITTEE FOR FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: It kind of changes the nature of what we've been understanding about this situation. First it looked like something that maybe one agent did. But when it gets the approval of the attorney general, it suggests it's more of the Justice Department's policy. JOHNS: At his last news conference, when the issue was only about subpoenas to the Associated Press, I asked the attorney general about the policy.
(on camera): Given the fact that this news organization was not given an opportunity to try to quash this in court, as has been precedent, it leaves us in the position of wondering whether the administration has somehow decided, policy-wise, that it's kind of going to go after us?
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: That is certainly not -- I mean, I can talk about policy. But that is certainly not the policy of this administration.
JOHNS: In his national security speech on Thursday, the president expressed concerns about the chilling effect of putting reporters at legal risk for doing their jobs. He said the attorney general would review existing guidelines for investigations involving reporters, meet with media organizations and report back to the White House by July 12 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with CNN contributor Ryan Lizza, the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine.
Ryan, you've done a lot of reporting on this. And I must say, over the past few days, the extent of the surveillance of James Rosen is even more chilling than I ever imagined. It's hard -- hard for those of us who are journalists here in Washington to even believe what's going on. But describe a little bit what you've learned.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: What's happened all week is some of the sealed documents have now been unsealed. And we learned a few things.
As -- as Joe just reported, originally the government went to a judge to get a search warrant to look at James Rosen's e-mails, and in that search warrant, argued that he was a co-conspirator, essentially accusing him of committing espionage.
BLITZER: He was just trying to do his job.
LIZZA: He was trying to find out information about North Korea. That was unprecedented. As far as I've been able to determine, no -- the government has never accused a reporter of being a co-conspirator in espionage for reporting classified information. That was the first thing we learned.
Today, looking through some of these documents, what I saw was the government wanted to keep that search warrant secret, so they went to a judge, and they argued that one of the reasons they needed to keep it secret was that, if Rosen -- that they may need to go back and monitor his e-mail long term. In other words, they said, "We can't tell James Rosen about this, because once we go in and find out -- we may find out some other crimes committed in these e-mails, and we may have to go back and monitor his e-mail long term."
The government -- the federal judge in Washington agreed with that argument and allowed the Department of Justice to keep the search warrant secret. James Rosen never found out about it until this week.
That's, to me, highly alarming. Because in both instances, in both of these legal documents, what it shows is that originally, the theory of the government was that they were not just going after this guy at the State Department who leaked the documents. They were pursuing, at least early in the case, a conspiracy, and potentially, you know, if you read -- the Justice Department hasn't confirmed this, but if you read the documents closely, it looks like they were saying, "We may have to indict this guy."
BLITZER: Is there any evidence to believe that this was a battle between the Obama administration on one hand and FOX News on the other hand? FOX News being very critical, obviously, of President Obama.
LIZZA: I don't believe there is. There are conservatives that have pointed out that the U.S. attorney in Washington, Macon, is close to the attorney general and has contributed to Obama's campaigns. I don't see evidence that this was the Justice Department going after FOX.
So far, what I see is the Justice Department being overly aggressive in trying to crack down on classified information being leaked out. And that pushed them into this realm where the government has never been, and that is accusing a reporter of being a criminal for doing their job.
BLITZER: Let me play a clip of what the president said yesterday about the issue of the news media and leaks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A free press is also essential for our democracy. That's who we are. And I'm troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.
I've raised these issues with the attorney general, who shares my concerns. So he's agreed to review existing the Department of Justice guidelines, governing investigations that involve reporters. And we'll convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Now, we're told now that the attorney general personally approved this investigation of the FOX News reporter, right? Now he's going to meet with news executives to see if they can come up with a new policy. But is it true that this administration has done more leak investigations than all previous administrations combined?
LIZZA: Yes. There have been six, I believe. All using this 1917 law. This law that was passed in the wake of World War I. It's the 1917 Espionage Act. They've done more than any previous administration, but I think the problem -- I think it's great that the president said that and it's good that he's asked the Justice Department to look into this.
The problem is, you now have an attorney general who approved this very, very controversial search warrant, who is now being charged with, you know, investigating himself, reviewing his own policies.
And as we know in this town, when an agency is tasked with investigating themselves, they don't always do such a great job. I think that's one important issue.
The other important issue is, now that we know that Holder approved this, it's worth asking, did he tell anyone at the White House? The White House counsel's office and the Justice Department exchange information all the time. I think we need to know, did the White House have any knowledge of this. If so, what did they do about it?
BLITZER: If anything.
LIZZA: If anything.
BLITZER: Thank you very much. Good reporting, Ryan Lizza for THE SITUATION ROOM.
The woman who was at the heart of the David Petraeus scandal is now speaking out. We're going to show you what Paula Broadwell has to say about her affair with the former CIA director.
And for the first time, Toronto's mayor is talking about allegations he smoked crack cocaine.
BLITZER: She had an affair with General David Petraeus. Now Paula Broadwell is speaking out about the scandal that led to the former CIA director's resignation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA BROADWELL, HAD AFFAIR WITH PETRAEUS: I have remorse for the harm that this has caused, the sadness it's caused my family and other families. I'm very blessed, blessed with an awesome family. A wonderful community that's been a great part of my rehabilitation, if you will, and wonderful organizations that realize that, even if you made mistakes in life, you can still contribute and pick up yourself and move on.
I'm not focused on the past. I'm not dwelling on it. It was a devastating period for our family. We still have some healing to do. But we're very focused on how can we continue to contribute and use this for the greater good to do something good in the next chapter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Broadwell now works with charities involving veterans.
For the first time we're hearing from Toronto's mayor after allegations surfaced that he smoked crack cocaine. "The Toronto Star" newspaper and the Gawker News web site reported last week about a video purportedly showing Mayor Rob Ford using crack.
CNN has never seen the video. In fact, only still pictures of the alleged incident are on the Internet. Today the mayor addressed the accusations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB FORD, MAYOR OF TORONTO: I did not use crack cocaine nor am I an addict of crack cocaine. As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I've never seen or does not exist.
It is most unfortunate, very unfortunate that my colleagues and the great people of this city have been exposed to the fact that I've been judged by the media without any evidence.
This past week has not been an easy one. It has taken a great toll on my family and my friends and the great people of Toronto.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The mayor says he hadn't commented publicly on the allegations before today because his lawyers advised him not to.
Up next, first their nuclear plant was closed for a radioactive leak. Now the plant operators take more heat over the leak of a "Star Trek" spoof.
BLITZER: Here's a look at this hour's "Hot Shots."
Off the United Arab Emirates, a team prepares to race in a traditional sail boat.
In the U.K., a stunt team reenacts the days of King Arthur as Spanish warriors.
In Thailand, worshippers pay their respects to Buddha with candles and prayers.
And in Hungary, look at this: a 100-day-old baby elephant celebrates its anniversary at the Buddhist Zoo.
"Hot Shots," pictures coming in from around the world. Another embarrassing video has surfaced of workers taping a "Star Trek" spoof on the job. This time it happened at a nuclear power plant with serious problems.
CNN's Mary Snow is joining us. She's got the details and the backlash.
Mary, what happened?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is a video that is not intended to go public. And it might have gone unnoticed if not for problems at the nuclear facility it represents. Its operators say it has nothing to do with safety issues. Critics say it's the overall back story at the plant they find troubling.
SNOW (voice-over): Instead of the Enterprise, this crew's stars were managers at a troubled nuclear power plant, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Captain? Our ship has just come off a record run before encountering this unusual space fabric.
SNOW: The video was made in 2010 but just obtained by station KGTV in San Diego. The plant's owners say it was part of an employee recognition event.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So many safety hazards, Lieutenant. Are you prepared to get us out of our current situation?
SNOW: Silly, no doubt. But not everyone is shrugging it off, given the fact that San Onofre has been shut down since early 2012 after a small amount of radioactive gas escaped.
Shaun Bernie with the advocacy group Friends of the Earth has long been fighting to keep it closed and is a vocal critic of the plant's operator, Southern California Edison.
SHAUN BERNIE, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH: Edison, if they really are concerned about the people's lives in Southern California, and they want to live long and prosper, they can carry on making as many videos as they want. We'd be very happy. They just shouldn't be operating San Onofre.
SNOW: Southern California Edison says the video made three years ago was never completed or used and that it wasn't taped in an actual control room but a training facility. Adding, safety was never compromised at San Onofre.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees reactor safety, weighed in saying, although it may have been somewhat lighthearted, quote, "it was a teaching opportunity that had no safety implications other than reinforcing the importance of clear communications." The cost to make it was $800.
It's not the first time a "Star Trek" spoof backfired. The IRS made one, too, and the reported cost of that one was $60,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We received a distress call from the planet Low Tech.
SNOW: The fact that the San Onofre's video is making headlines has both the plant's operator and its critics agreeing on one thing: they hope it will focus more attention on the plant itself, which Southern California Edison is trying to restart.
SNOW: Now the operator of the plant wants to restart one of two units at 70 percent power, but when that may happen is uncertain -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Mary Snow reporting.
This special programming note to all of our viewers. Join us tomorrow, 6 p.m. Eastern, for a special edition of THE SITUATION ROOM. as we focus in on the tragedy in Oklahoma. You're going to see what happened and where we go from here. I spent several days walking around the streets of Moore, Oklahoma, this week and it was shocking to see what was going on, as can you see from the pictures right there. Our special, "Tragedy in Oklahoma," THE SITUATION ROOM special, tomorrow night, 6 p.m. Eastern.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.