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CNN NEWSROOM

Chemist Linked to More Mishandled Cases; NSA Declassifies Documents, Reveals Problems; Schools Prepare for Gunmen; Ty Carter To Receive Medal of Honor

Aired August 21, 2013 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Who's excited about the next season of "PARTS UNKNOWN," a little Anthony Bourdain? You know we're all excited about this.

Anthony Bourdain is coming back with more wit, more wisdom, characters and awesome food from all around the world and also right here at home. We just got Anthony's itinerary for season two. So, without further adieu, first stop, Jerusalem. Up next, Holy Week in Spain. Watching this one. Anthony is going off the beaten path.

Also, we get a look, an insider's look at the rise and fall and the future of Detroit and go inside a city once considered the most dangerous in the world, Johannesburg, South Africa.

"ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN," season two premieres Sunday, September 5, set the DVR now, at 9:00 p.m. only here on CNN.

Four ex-Vanderbilt football players have now pleaded not guilty to rape and sexual battery charges. They're accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a dorm room while she was unconscious. Campus officials called police in June after watching surveillance video of that dorm and star Vanderbilt player, suspected wide receiver here -- suspended -- forgive me -- suspended wide receiver Chris Boyd pleaded not guilty to being an accessory in an alleged cover-up attempt.

Legal panel, "On the Case" today, criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky joins me in Atlanta, and Karen Charrington, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, joins me in New York.

So, Darren, you first. Extradition, two of these guys, I guess, live in California. Is that an issue, extradition?

DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, generally in a case -- a case is brought wherever the crime occurred. If somebody's in jail some place else, they could be extradited. The only reason that gets held up is if there's an issue about identity.

So a lot of times, if we know that the person who's in custody some place else is actually the person that's being sought in a foreign jurisdiction, extradition becomes a non-issue. You'll waive any hearing.

Otherwise, at an extradition hearing the only thing the judge is concerned with is, is this the person that's legitimately sought in the other jurisdiction?

BALDWIN: OK, and then, Karen, what about the alleged cover-up here? What exactly is suspended player Chris Boyd, what is he accused of doing?

KAREN CHARRINGTON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, apparently there was information that they tampered with the surveillance video, so with that and obstructing the administration and the governmental administration of prosecuting this crime, tampering with the surveillance tape or any type of cover-up after the crime will implicate you as an accessory.

KAVINOKY: This is just such a tragic case because obviously we've got a lot of student athletes involved, and, obviously, the victim as well.

And it really speaks to this other issue as far as I'm concerned, Brooke, that everybody lives their life in one of two ways, either as an example or as a warning.

And we've got these kids, these student athletes who were examples of life well-lived. And now, sadly, they may end up just being a warning of what not to do.

BALDWIN: Let me move to the second case here. This has to do with mishandled drug tests. They may have tainted 40,000 cases. This happened in Massachusetts, apparently.

New report finds former state chemist Annie Dookhan may be linked to 3,000 more mishandled drug cases than previously even estimated. Most cases involved minor drug offenses, we're told.

This woman has pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence.

So, Karen, my question is we know the state already released hundreds of people serving prison sentences.

Based upon her possibly tainted drug tests, do you think they'll release all 40,000 cases, the people involved in all of those?

CHARRINGTON: I mean, it opens the door for a defense attorney to question the viability or the "viable-ness" of the testing.

So, absolutely, it opens the door to having every defendant who may have had their blood or urine pass through this woman's lab to be questioned, and, therefore, possibly require the release of those individuals.

BALDWIN: What about not just the release, Darren, but then could those people, does that open the door for lawsuits against her?

KAVINOKY: Absolutely. But, look, anything that compromises the integrity of the judicial system has to be remedied, swiftly and effectively, and it appears to be what's happening here, that there's at least been a task force that's been set up to dig into each one of these cases. But it's not so simple as showing that this woman had something to do with the testing and, therefore, the case gets thrown out. It may be possible that that evidence was very minor in the context of the case. It may be that this woman had a very limited role in the testimony in the case.

So it's not an automatic get out of jail free card for everybody who she was involved with. But, oh, my goodness. This is a logistical nightmare. It involves multiple counties. She provided testimony in at least seven different counties. This is all over the place.

BALDWIN: Sounds like a mess.

KAVINOKY: It is.

BALDWIN: Darren, thank you very much, and, Karen, thank you as well.

Got some breaking news into us here at CNN. Now we are getting word that the NSA has declassified documents about its surveillance program, and, also, problems associated with it.

Justice reporter Evan Perez joins me live in Washington. Evan, you've been looking through this. What do these documents reveal?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, there are three court opinions. All of them go back to 2011, when the NSA and the Justice Department went to the secret court that oversees surveillance and said, essentially, we screwed up.

We've been collecting domestic communications, which is stuff that they're not supposed to be collecting, for three years, and part of it was because of the technology that we're using.

Now, the NSA, as you know, is supposed to be looking at foreign communications, looking at stuff to make sure that, you know, terrorists don't get into the United States and carry out an attack.

And so what happened was in 2011 the NSA went to the court and said, we screwed up. We have been collecting all this stuff that we weren't supposed to be collecting.

And, you know, the reason why was because, you know, our computers basically -- essentially didn't know the difference between what was foreign and what was domestic. Couldn't separate the two.

BALDWIN: So that's their excuse, that's their reasoning behind it? The computers? This is the explanation from the government as far as why they're collecting the communications?

And then, I guess, based upon what you just said, are they changing the way they do things?

PEREZ: Well, yes. At the time the government decided that they were going to come up with new rules to try to figure out how to separate these types of communications. Now, this is very, very technical stuff. The NSA, you know, this is extremely, extremely technical, which is why you see members of Congress sometimes don't understand what they're being told when they're being briefed. Sometimes they're very surprised when the government comes out and explains some of this stuff.

Essentially what happens is every time you open your Gmail, for instance, and you get a picture of, you know, a screen, you know, of all your e-mails. Let's say 10 e-mails. That is one transaction.

And what was happening was the NSA was collecting -- if there was one of those e-mails that had something to do with, let's say, an e-mail that they were interested in, let's say they were looking at -- looking for someone in Yemen that they thought might be involved in something, you know, related to terrorism, then the NSA was collecting all of it, and that was where the problem occurred.

The NSA says that they went ahead and fixed that, and so there was a new court opinion that was issued that approved what they were doing.

And then there was another opinion that they were -- that the court essentially approved of procedures when they decided that they had to delete three years worth of data because some of it they just could not separate.

BALDWIN: You're saying the NSA has fixed it. Is anyone making sure the NSA has fixed it? Watchdog-wise?

PEREZ: The biggest problem here is I think a lot of people are very suspicious of what the NSA is doing, period. The NSA is still doing a lot of this collection. They're just claiming that they're better at it now.

They say now that while they're still making mistake here and there, this big one that they had in 2011 is not the type that is being repeated. Again, it's very technical stuff. I apologize to the viewers.

BALDWIN: No. I think we get it. Loud and clear. You talked Gmail. I think a lot of people understand what you just went through.

Evan Perez, we appreciate it so mu much. We continue to hear bits and pieces of what the NSA did and apparently how they are fixing thing.

When you look at Newtown, Columbine, Virginia Tech, dozens of students, all ages, gunned down. And now some schools are these days preparing for the worst.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on the phone inside the school gymnasium. I'm getting confirmation. We have a shooter on the second floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I know this looks very real. You see the word on the screen, drill. It's a drill at a school in New Jersey.

Find out what authorities think the other schools in the U.S. can learn from this kind of drill in which four gunmen storm a school. That's next.

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BALDWIN: Once again, on the minds of parents, teachers, students across the country, just how well are students and staff protected and prepared?

Just a short time ago we learned Michael Brandon Hill had nearly 500 rounds of ammunition with him when he entered this elementary school in the Atlanta area right around this time yesterday.

Here he is. Got this picture not too long ago. Here he is apparently holding the AK-47 he is accused of bringing inside that elementary school. Thank goodness no one was hurt there.

But the constant threats and attacks at schools has students, faculty, staff on guard. Like Liberty Middle School in West Orange, New Jersey. You prepared in a major way just this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on the phone inside the school gymnasium. I'm getting confirmation. We have a shooter on the second floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: A full-scale simulation centered on these four gunmen inside the school. This is not real. This is a drill. This was done by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

But you see the ambulances. This thing looks and sounds very real. Actors played the roles of worried parents, running in the school looking for their kids.

Superintendent here says the amount of time the teachers have to remain calm with kids before there's help on the scene is what resonated the most there in New Jersey.

CNN's Brian Todd joins me outside of Julius West Middle School in Maryland. Brian, what are school officials doing to prepare? Here we are, you know, starting school once again. How are they keeping classrooms safe?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, a lot of measures being instituted in places like this, Julius West Middle School here in Rockville, Maryland, elsewhere in Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, in the D.C. area, these new measures instituted in the wake of Newtown and because of Newtown.

A lot of them, as I'll illustrate here, they focus on the entrance ways of school, Maryland getting about $25 million in new funding for security measures, and here at Julius West, the head of the Montgomery County security for Montgomery County schools, he took me through what they're going to be doing at places like this.

They're going to start with the entrance ways and have what they call electronic access. You have to be buzzed in. The doors are locked. You've got to be buzzed in.

Once you get in, there's actually going to be another barrier at many of the schools here in Montgomery County. They call it a vestibule where you're going to have basically a wall made out of glass and other material that will shield you from going into the main body of the school.

It'll instead funnel you toward the main office where you'll have to deal with the administrators, show i.d. and things like that. And Bob (inaudible) also showed me how a lot of the schools here in Montgomery County are going to have more surveillance cameras.

Same with Prince Georges County, they're adding surveillance cameras to the schools.

In addition, Brooke, they're putting in additional devices called -- what they call panic buttons. This is not only here in Montgomery County, but it's all throughout the country, in classrooms, strategically placed areas in the schools, near the offices, especially, buttons administrators can hit.

Some of those signals will go straight to emergency call centers. At places like this, the panic buttons are in every classroom. They go to the office. The office can call police.

BALDWIN: One of the questions being raised, as we actually saw it play out at an Atlanta school yesterday, whether or not someone at the school should actually engage and try to talk to the shooter.

I know you have an answer to that question just from different opinions. We'll look for your reporting on "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.

Coming up, a deadly battle ending with eight American soldiers dead, a fire fight that lasted from dawn till dusk. In the end, a hero emerged.

Staff Sergeant Ty Carter will soon receive the nation's highest military honor. Next, the heroic actions that earned that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Next Monday, Army Staff Sergeant Ty Carter will attend a White House ceremony to receive the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award.

It is because of his heroic actions in one of the most intense battles of the war.

Hundreds of Taliban fighters in surrounding mountains launched an all- out assault against these 53 soldiers trapped inside this remote outpost. Chief Washington correspondent and host of "THE LEAD," Jake Tapper, spoke with Carter about that deadly day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hours into the battle, the soldiers of Black Knight Troop are fighting back, but two of them, Ty Carter and Brad Larson, are pinned down in a Humvee.

You're in this Humvee. You're just like sitting ducks.

STAFF SERGEANT TY CARTER, U.S. ARMY: Yes.

TAPPER: You can't leave. But you can't stay. And then what happened?

CARTER: It got to a point where a sniper knew where I was at, and I would open the window and fire across the river at insurgents.

And then I remember closing the window. As soon as I closed it, sparks shot out. The two-inch gap that I had my rifle out there, the sniper had zeroed in on and was trying to put a bullet inside the vehicle to get either myself or Sergeant Larson.

TAPPER: To make matters worse, Taliban fighters are now inside combat Outpost Keating.

CARTER: We were low on ammo. Everybody around us that was friendly was either wounded or dead.

TAPPER: Specialist Stephen Mace was severely wounded outside the Humvee, exposed to the enemy.

CARTER: He says, help me, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I want to bring in Jake to talk about this one-hour special we'll be watching tonight about Carter and this battle, this Combat Outpost Keating.

These soldiers knew this was a death trap. Why wasn't it shut down?

TAPPER: There had been efforts to shut it down over the years.

Ultimately, the commander in the area, Colonel Randy George, and his second-in-command, Colonel Brad Brown, went to General McChrystal and said we want to shut this base down and some others. They're just not worth the risk. They're not worth the effort.

But there are a lot of considerations that made McChrystal hold off on that decision, including the fact that the Afghan election was coming up, this is 2009, and the election was in August, and Karzai did not want any U.S. bases closed before the election, because he thought it would communicate lack of U.S. support for Karzai, so that delay is why the men were still there on October 3rd. BALDWIN: So you have this sit-down interview with him. We'll be watching, of course, the ceremony at the White House, but ahead of that, we're watching and I just tweeted, Jake Tapper, "Set the DVR" -- in addition to watching you 10 minutes from now -- "watch your special tonight about Ty Carter."

"An Unlikely Hero" is the name, tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, here on CNN. Look forward to it, Jake. Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Thanks, Brooke. Appreciate it.

BALDWIN: And coming up, the stunning moment when a pickup truck goes airborne. Don't miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Got some video you have to see. This is not at all what you would expect while driving along the interstate, but look at this, pickup truck pulling a mower, lands ultimately, but airborne.

This was in Lansing, Michigan. Another driver saw the truck veer into the median. It was actually recording the video when this truck took this leap and fell.

It goes down. This is something like a 20-foot creek bed. The 59-year- old driver broke his leg, suffered some other injuries.

And we're also told he might have had suffered a medical condition before this happened.

So the next thing, this is my favorite story of the day, bar none. This starts off like any college speech a college student would give and then --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We chose Georgia Tech because we want to do the impossible. And this school is equipped with the resources and faculty to help us do just that.

And so --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So you just have to wait because it takes a turn, and it has everyone talking. And that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: OK, this is just so awesome. At first, this looks like another run-of-the-mill welcome to your freshman class kind of speech, but then, cue the music, things take a dramatic turn.

You're going to hear this Georgia Tech student's welcoming speech, and to quote my intern sitting here with me in the studio, it was epic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We chose Georgia Tech because we want to do the impossible, and this school is equipped with the resources and faculty to help us do just that.

And so, in the words of Sir Isaac Newton, if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

Georgia Tech is proud of its many traditions, but the one I find most exciting is our tradition of excellence.

Our mission as students is not to follow in the footsteps of the astronauts, Nobel Prize laureates and presidents who graduated before us, but to exceed their footsteps, crush the shoulders of the giants upon whom we stand.

We are all such innovative people, so I am telling you, if you want to change the world, you're at Georgia Tech! You can do that!

If you want to build the Iron Man suit, you're at Georgia Tech! You can do that!

If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a bad ass, we're at Georgia Tech! We can do that! I am doing that!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Look at them all. I love it, best video of the week by far.

By the way, that video already has something like 300,000 hits on YouTube, and I think that's about to change after we just showed that. That is awesome.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.