Return to Transcripts main page


Drones Used to Watch Americans; Profiling Controversy in New York

Aired June 19, 2013 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: When he speaks, people listen. And what Ben Bernanke has just announced impacts your wallet. We will tell you how the markets are reacting in this final hour of trading.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(voice-over): Tragedy at a pool party. Someone forced liquid nitrogen into the water. What happens next is horrifying.

What really took down TWA Flight 800? Filmmakers say they have new revelations. But we're not so sure this is new.

Plus, identifying suspects, not by race, not by appearance, but by wardrobe? New York police officers trying to make a point about a proposal to limit profiling.


ADLOURDES DESVALLONS, MOTHER: I really don't know why. That's my question. I don't know why.

BALDWIN: A teenager kills his sister after practicing WWE wrestling moves on her. And now he's charged with murder. We're "On the Case."


BALDWIN: And here we go, hour two, top of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Big Brother's eyes aren't just watching online, but from the air. Today, the FBI director told senators that the FBI uses drones on Americans. Here he is, Robert Mueller stating the facts himself today.


SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on U.S. soil?

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: Yes, very, very minimal way and very seldom.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: Mike Baker is a former covert operations officer at the CIA.

Mike Baker, let's talk about this, because, listen, no matter how you cut it, this is a big deal. This could open up a lot of possibilities, using drones in the U.S. What's your reaction?

MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA COVERT OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, I think this is obviously coming on the heels of the disclosures about the NSA surveillance programs. It's coming on the heels of IRS actions.

So you can understand the -- sort of the overreaching Big Brother concept that's starting to get fed here into almost near hysteria. The drones themselves here in the U.S., they have been used by DHS for border security. They have been used by local law enforcement. So using drones on -- inside the U.S. is not something new necessarily.

But the fact that, you know, the FBI now has said, OK, we have used them for 10 to maybe 12 operations in very targeted investigations, that, again, it kind of -- right at this moment, collectively, all these stories, really start to feed this concern that maybe what we have got is an overreaching government.

BALDWIN: Let me just play a little bit more of what Mueller said in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee today, again, about the FBI saying, yes, very seldom, but, yes, we use drones on U.S. citizens. Here he was.


MUELLER: It's very seldom used, and generally used in a particular incident where you need the capability.

I will have to go back and check in terms of what we keep in terms of the images and the like. But it is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs and particularized cases.


BALDWIN: So particular needs, particular cases, Mike. You pointed out, you know, that the usage of -- for border security. But what other uses might you need drones for?

BAKER: Well, I mean, setting aside the commercial value of drones, which is significant in a variety of ways, for government activity, for investigations, protection of your personnel that are on the ground during the course of operations, I mean, they can be very, very effective.


BAKER: Obviously, you know, armed drones overseas in the counterterrorism operations have proven to be very efficient, very effective, and an important part of what we do.

Here in the U.S., we are talking about surveillance capabilities. So, you can imagine during the course of, say, a hostage situation on a large facility, maybe a campus, having the ability to have that surveillance coverage real time feeding down to those personnel, the SWAT teams and whoever else might be on the ground, trying to resolve the situation, that is invaluable.

In terms of drone for maybe a long-term chase scenario, you never know what the investigation may require. But I think it's a technology that, you know, it's already here. The cat's out of the bag. And a lot of it was driven by the commercial sector. But, you know -- and then again, for border security.

So, it's already here. I'm surprised. I will say, I'm surprised that the FBI hasn't already created sort of a set of standard procedures.

BALDWIN: Right. They said that they're working on that, the rules, the policies.


BAKER: Right, right. That should have been done years ago, because we have been dealing with this technology and this concern for years.


BALDWIN: Mike Baker, as always, a pleasure. Thank you so much.

BAKER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Once upon a time, you had the Berlin Wall, west side, freedom, east side, walls had ears, police state, surveillance state, whatever you want to call it. Today, we found an uncomfortable irony here, because here you have Barack Obama, now the leader of the free world, a man Germans once adored, found himself explaining his own surveillance programs to the Germans.

He said they're legal. He said that they help keep us safe, Americans and Germans alike.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our current programs are bound by the rule of law, and they're focused on threats to our security, not the communications of ordinary persons. They help confront real dangers, and they keep people safe here in the United States and here in Europe.


BALDWIN: In that speech, the president also proposed new nuclear arms talks with the Russians, with the goal of reducing arsenals by one- third.

And now to the news affecting your retirement account, what a new mortgage will cost you. The Federal Reserve decides to leave interest rates right where they are. No change there. They will continue to pump money into the economy by buying billions of dollars in bonds each and every month.

Christine Romans hosts "YOUR MONEY" on CNN. And Rana Foroohar is a CNN global economics analyst and assistant managing editor for "TIME" magazine.

So, ladies, welcome back.

Christine, let me begin with you, because, you know, you heard -- you read the statement, paraphrasing it basically last hour. Headline, really seemed to me, not a lot of change. So, do you hear optimism here?



When I look at what the Fed says, I mean, it's more of the same, a recovering economy. The jobless rate's still too high. But this is a Fed that's a little bit more upbeat, that sees fewer risks to the economy right now than they saw the last time they met.

And, ironically, because things are better, that's why stocks are down, because it means the Fed eventually will begin to do the thing called taper. It will have to stop this practice of putting so much money into the economy every month -- $85 billion the Fed is throwing to the economy every month to keep it -- you know, to keep it steady. At some point, they're going to have to pull that back. The stronger the economy is, that means the sooner they will be able to do that.

The Fed, to be clear, is saying now, we are going to continue this stimulus. We are not going to stop it right now. But at some point, they will have to. And that's what markets are anticipating.

BALDWIN: Rana, we talk about tapering with the bond buying, tightening of the interest rates. Not seeing that quite yet. But when you talk to someone living, eating, breathing here in this country, it's still talk. Despite the consumer confidence seeming to bounce back, despite the improving housing market, there -- a lot of people say it doesn't feel normal to me.

When does the economy go back to normal?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN ANALYST: Well, if the Fed's right, the economy should start going back to normal within the next year, year-and-a- half.

One of the most interesting things that we saw in this statement are the expectations for unemployment. So, the Fed announced a while back that it would like to see unemployment go down to 6.5 percent, which is a full percentage point below where it is now, before they really start pulling back the big guns.

And this time around, they're expecting that to happen as soon as the end of 2014 or maybe early '15. That's sooner than the last time they made an announcement. So they are sort of whispering that America is coming back, that the economy is starting to come back. You might not feel it yet, but you should in the next year.

BALDWIN: I think so many people are ready for more than whispers. We are trying to be patient.

Christine Romans and Rana Foroohar, thank you both so, so much.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

BALDWIN: Coming up, a chilling case that has one community in shock and a family torn apart, a 5-year-old girl, 5, found dead. Police say her brother practiced wrestling moves on her, jumping on her, elbowing her. He is now charged with second-degree murder. We're "On the Case."


BALDWIN: I want to tell you about this case now. This involves this 5-year-old girl who was allegedly murdered by her half-brother, who says he was merely practicing wrestling moves on her little body.

Viloude Louis died Sunday. Her half-brother says he body-slammed, punched, elbowed her. He told police he was imitating WWE-style wrestling moves. His mom wasn't home. She was at a nearby store. She left him in charge of baby-sitting.


DESVALLONS: I don't know what he's got in his mind. I don't know if he's got it on purpose or no. But -- and I -- even that, you know, I really don't know why. That's my question. I don't know why.


BALDWIN: Want to bring in CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, who joins us from New York, and attorney Esther Panitch. She joins me here in Atlanta.

So, first, welcome to both of you. Let me just read a statement from the WWE -- quote -- "The death of Viloude Louis is a tragedy and we express our heartfelt condolences. Authorities have already charged the accused with second-degree murder and determined that this was not an accidental death due to a wrestling move. The facts of this case clearly point to a lack of parental supervision. It is illogical to conclude that a repeated, brutal and ultimately fatal beating of a 5- year-old little girl by a teenager could be confused with imitation of WWE action seen on the television."

Esther, I want to begin with you. They point out parental supervision in this statement. Here, as we mentioned, the mom away at the store. How much responsibility should lie with her?

ESTHER PANITCH, ATTORNEY: Well, unless she knew that her son had a propensity to beat his sister before she left and left them alone that day, none.

It's completely legal to allow a 13-year-old sibling to baby-sit his sister. So, unless she knew that he had this -- that he wanted to abuse her or had previously abused her while no parent was present, then I don't see how she has any legal culpability in this case.

BALDWIN: Sunny, do you agree?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I don't. I think that certainly there is a case that could be made for neglect. And I hear this all the time about people that leave their younger children.

Let's remember that this is a 5-year-old with a 13-year-old. These are two children. And the fact that a mother would just leave her children alone like that, I just don't get it. I mean, I'm a mom. You know that, Brooke. And I have a 10-year-old and a 7-year-old. And I would never leave my 13-year-old, who has no propensity for violence, alone to watch a 10-year-old.

I just think it's inappropriate. It's improper. And I suspect that authorities are looking at whether or not this is child endangerment, child neglect.

BALDWIN: You're shaking your head.

PANITCH: Yes. Ask any parent with a young child who pays the neighborhood baby-sitter who's a 13-year-old. That happens all the time. Are you calling all these parents irresponsible for allowing a 13-year-old...


PANITCH: Really?

HOSTIN: I am. Yes, I am.

PANITCH: OK. I'm one of them. I allow my 13-year-old to baby-sit her two brothers, 12 and 9.

HOSTIN: I think it's too young. I think it's too young.

BALDWIN: Well, let me ask this, because here we have this 13-year- old. And this little boy is now charged with second-degree murder. He is a juvenile.

Sunny, do you think that's unusual?

HOSTIN: Well, it's not unusual if the police really think that this wasn't an accident. They think that this was an intentional murder. And that's what second-degree murder is. It's sort of you get into someone's mind and you have to show that they intended to cause a murder or bodily harm.

And that's what this charge is about. I will say this. I mean, wow, 13 years old. In Louisiana, my understanding, Brooke, is that could lead to life imprisonment when you get convicted of second-degree murder.

BALDWIN: Wow. Really? HOSTIN: So, I'm surprised that this early in the investigation, the charge is second-degree murder and not something less.


PANITCH: Well, we don't know that he's been charged as an adult. You can charge a child with murder or second-degree murder in juvenile court as you could charge an adult. So, we don't know if the decision has been made. I hope the decision has not been made and they take into account this child's maturity level, whether this child has ever suffered from any mental illness, if he's ever been in trouble before.

All these factors need to be taken into account before you expose a 13-year-old to life in prison.

BALDWIN: Esther Panitch and Sunny Hostin, thank you, ladies, both very much. I appreciate it.

PANITCH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just into us here at CNN, a discovery at the home of a real- life mobster. Police say they found -- quote -- "material," material, whatever that may mean, at the home of Jimmy "The Gent" Burke. He's one of the main characters in the "Goodfellas" movie. Could that mean human remains? A live report next.


BALDWIN: No dice in the latest search for the body of Jimmy Hoffa. It is over.

FBI agents are wrapping things up in a suburb -- this is north of Detroit -- after a two-day excavation based on this tip from former mobster Tony Zerilli. Even though authorities expanded the search site today, they went away empty-handed once again.

Now, the Jimmy Hoffa search may have gotten nowhere, but that is not the case for another mobster mystery, this one in New York. Just into us here at CNN, a law enforcement source says investigators have come across a lead after searching the former home of the late Jimmy "The Gent" Burke.

You may not know the name. You may know this. He was the real-life inspiration for the Robert De Niro's unforgettable character in the great movie "Goodfellas."


ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: Here's your graduation present.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What for? I got pinched.

DE NIRO: Everybody gets pinched. But you did it right. You told them nothing. And they got nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I thought you would be mad. DE NIRO: Mad? I'm not mad at you. I'm proud of you. You took your first pinch like a man. And you learned the two greatest things in life.


DE NIRO: Look at me. Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.


BALDWIN: CNN's Jason Carroll is following this one for us today.

So, Jason, what is this material that's been uncovered here?

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is the big question, Brooke, one that we're all trying to find out now. The law enforcement source that I spoke to simply described it this way, saying the material that was found may be human remains.

More testing obviously needs to be done before anyone can be sure of this. Whatever material was found was sent to a lab for more analysis. Still waiting for the result of that, those lab tests which are under way.

In the meantime, the search at the former home of James Burke, Jimmy "The Gent," continues in Queens. FBI agents began searching Burke's former home in Queens on Monday. It's now owned by his daughter. A law enforcement source says investigators are looking into a case that occurred before 1996.

It is widely speculated that Burke was involved in the now infamous Lufthansa heist back in 1978 and that he may have killed other people associated with the heist. But it should also be noted, Brooke, that investigators say Burke was also allegedly involved in a number of other illegal activities. So this search that that is under way right now at the former Queens home may have nothing to do with the Lufthansa heist.

Burke, as you know, was suspected of killing many, but he eventually was only convicted of killing one man, a street hustler. That was back in 1985. And Burke, as you know, was sentenced to life in prison and eventually died in prison back in 1996. But this is what could be a promising lead. We will have to see where it takes investigators.

BALDWIN: So maybe, emphasis on maybe, human remains.

CARROLL: Correct.

BALDWIN: Jason Carroll, I know you're on it. Thank you so much.

Now let me take you back 17 years to an airline disaster, Flight 800, TWA Flight 800. Look at this. This was the eerie nighttime glow atop Long Island Sound cast by flaming wreckage of the ill-fated 747. Flight 800 exploded and crashed minutes after taking off from JFK Airport, killing 230 people, every single soul on board. They had an exhaustive investigation. They pieced it together. You see it here, this plane, and identified faulty wiring as the cause of the blast. But for whatever reason, conspiracy theories abounded. And so now comes this guy, this filmmaker, who claims he has built a case that the fatal explosion was caused by something that occurred outside the plane, like maybe a missile.


TOM STALCUP, "TWA FLIGHT 800": We have inside investigators who handled the wreckage directly that are saying this. These aren't people just on the street. This isn't just me. I have investigators behind me backing up everything we say in this documentary. They're saying it themselves.

As you said in the lead-up to this show, there was an external detonation, external of the aircraft. The person who said that actually laid out the reconstruction of the aircraft and oversaw the entire reconstruction of the inside of that aircraft, senior NTSB investigator Hank Hughes.


BALDWIN: That aside, it's unclear what new evidence this filmmaker has. He says he is petitioning the federal government to reopen the probe into that deadly crash.

Coming up, suspects, profiling, and the New York Police Department. City leaders are considering this proposal that would limit suspect descriptions to little more than the color of their clothing. Officers are fired up. Look at this ad, releasing this, saying -- quote -- "How effective is a police officer with a blindfold on?" We will talk about this proposal next.

But, first, in this week's "Impact Your World," singing superstar Enrique Iglesias is trying to help increase the number of bone marrow donors. He explains how you can help.


ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, MUSICIAN: Hi. I'm Enrique Iglesias. And we can make an impact on people in need.

Love Hope Strength is a rock 'n' roll cancer organization.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, this is just the eligibility.

IGLESIAS: They're getting people to register for a bone marrow transplant. It's extremely easy. All it takes is one of these and one person.

And you just get a swab and that's it. So, that's how simple it is. And that's how you can save someone's life. I think part of the mission on this tour was that we get different ages in our shows and different ethnic backgrounds. And I thought a lot of people would sign up. I think there comes a point, and you reach a certain age where you feel responsible.

You ready to get crazy?

You have a certain level of power. And by power, I mean you can communicate to your fans, especially nowadays over Twitter, with Facebook. I feel like I can do something that's positive. It's a good thing.



BALDWIN: Near the bottom of the hour. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for staying with us here.

I want to talk about this controversial ad from the New York City police union. It shows this blindfolded police officer. This here is the union's response to a proposed bill that it says would effectively blindfold people and hamper them from doing their job day in and day out.

So this bill would reportedly let people sue New York police officers personally -- we're getting you in a minute, Mike Brooks -- if they felt they were victims of racial profiling.

So, let me bring in Alina Cho. She is reporting on this for us out of New York. And here is HLN law enforcement analyst Mike Brooks, who is clearly fired up sitting next to me here in the studio.

Brooksie, we're going to get to you.

Alina, first to you, because you have been tracking this, this controversial bill. Walk us through why some of these officers are so frustrated.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they basically say, Brooke, that they can -- that this would embolden criminals and result in a crime -- a spike in crime.

And really all you have to do is look at the cover of "The New York Post" today and you will see, as part of it drops, why this story is getting so much attention. You showed it right there. This provocative ad was released today by one of the city's police unions.

And the ad asks, "How effective is a police officer with a blindfold on?" Now, the union says the City Council is essentially trying to ban officers from using race, gender or age to identify suspects. Now, that is not necessarily the case.

Listen carefully. The new proposal, which was introduced by some members of the Council, would essentially allow people to sue not only the city, but police officers personally, if they feel they were the victim of racial profiling. It is a little confusing. But it comes down to those words. It wouldn't ban the officers from necessarily using race or gender or age to profile. But if the wrong person is chosen, they could sue.