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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Delta Force Captures Al Qaeda Operative; Government Shutdown Drags On; Twitter Prepares for IPO

Aired October 7, 2013 - 04:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Members of al Qaeda, another terrorist organization. Literally run but you can't hide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Surprise terror raid. A top terror target captured in Libya. SEAL Team 6 swimming ashore striking in Somalia. New details inside this dual missions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: We are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: Government dysfunction. Republicans vow to fight the debt ceiling increase as the government shutdown standoff enters a second week.

BERMAN: And new arrests. Two more bikers charged in that terrifying New York motorcycle confrontation. We have new details emerging this morning. Police say at least six men involved in the assault on an SUV driver, including stomping on his head.

SAMBOLIN: Good morning to you. Welcome to EARLY START. We're glad you're with us. I'm Zoraida Sambolin.

BERMAN: And I'm John Berman. Hope you had a great weekend. It is Monday, October 7th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East.

And we begin with U.S. Special Forces staging two raids in Africa and capturing one very big target.

Take a look at this man. This is al Qaeda operative, Abu Anas al- Libi. Wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He is a key figure possibly with a treasure-trove of knowledge of al Qaeda's workings all the way back to the 1990s. Agents from the Army's elite Delta Force seizing him Saturday right off the streets of Tripoli and Libya.

All this while Navy SEALs were staging another raid 3,000 miles away in Somalia. Nima Elbagir live from Nairobi in Kenya this morning.

And Nima, what can you tell us about these dual raids?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we understand from Abu Anas al-Libi's wife that masked men ambushed her husband's car in the early hours of Saturday morning when he was on his way back from prayers. She said he reached for the handgun that he keeps in his glove compartment but it was already too late.

Now she said that these were Libyans. She said he could them speaking Arabic, they were speaking with Libyan accent and this is causing a bit of an issue between the Libyan government who say that they weren't told that this raid was even taking place. U.S. officials, however, maintaining that this was done with the knowledge and the permission of the Libyan government.

Now what this -- how does this tie to the raid in Somalia that -- took the Navy team -- Navy SEAL Team 6 into al-Shabaab, that al Qaeda- linked militant group, right into their heartland? Both the men that they were after, Abu Anas al-Libi and Ikrema, we only have one name here at the moment, where on the U.S. Department Reward for Justice list. Both of them are believed to have been involved in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings.

But in Somalia, while the U.S. aren't quite clear that they did actually get their man they said they sustained very, very heavy gunfire, John, and we're forced to withdrew.

BERMAN: Forced to withdraw. And meanwhile, Abu Anas, we understand, U.S. military officials confirming now on a U.S. naval vessel perhaps in the Mediterranean being questioned.

ELBAGIR: Well, and we're also hearing that he is on his way to a court perhaps in New York, although we're still verifying that.

Abu Anas, we should say, has -- for many years now maintained that he renounced al Qaeda, that he stepped away from that organization and all it represented, but the reality is that he knows an awful lot about what was happening during the heyday of al Qaeda's operations.

Some people are seeing this as part of the cleanup, you know, the kind of tying the loose ends of those operatives still out there in the field who knew exactly what happened in the 1998 U.S. bombings but here in Kenya, especially given the horrific terror tacks here in Nairobi that the al Qaeda-linked militant group al-Shabaab was a part of, they're also seeing this as part of a broader message for the militant groups that continue to operate in this area.

And we're just learning now, John, that there is a link between one of the al-Shabaab militants who carried out the Kenyan mall attack and Saleh Ali Nabhan, another one of those operatives who was in Somalia. He was actually killed by the U.S. on Somali soil. He was part of that 1998 U.S. bombing ring.

Omar Nabhan, one of the mall attackers, is actually a relative of his and he was radicalized within the same cell in that Kenyan coastal town of Mumbasa. So a lot of information that I'm sure the U.S. intelligence agencies would be very keen to get their hands on from Libya in the days ahead -- John.

BERMAN: No doubt. Nima Elbagir for us in Nairobi this morning. A lot going on this weekend. Special Forces on the move. Thanks, Nima.

SAMBOLIN: It's four minutes past the hour. And we're entering week two of the government shutdown and no one is talking.

John Boehner and President Obama digging in their heels. The House speaking insisting no deal will be struck without concessions from the White House. All this while potential disaster looms. In a week and a half, America hits the debt ceiling and no one has a plan to solve that crisis either.

Here's Brianna Keilar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten days away from a possible economic disaster, the White House and House Republicans are as far apart as they've been.

BOEHNER: We are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase.

KEILAR: House Republicans continue to demand concessions as President Obama still refuses to negotiate on the nation's borrowing limit. The United States is set to default on October 17th if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling.

JACK LEW, TREASURY SECRETARY: I'm telling you that on the 17th, we run out of our ability to borrow and Congress is playing with fire.

KEILAR: In a rare Sunday show interview, House Speaker John Boehner shifted, backing away from defunding or delaying Obamacare as an add- on to increasing the debt ceiling or funding the government. Instead he wants entitlement reform.

BOEHNER: My goal here is to have a serious conversation about those things that are driving the deficit and driving the debt up.

KEILAR: As the government remains partially shut down for a seventh day, the White House wants a vote to fund the government, no strings attached. Again, rebuffed by Republicans.

BOEHNER: There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR.

KEILAR: But President Obama, bolstered by many objective observers, questioned that assertion in an interview with the Associated Press saying, quote, "We know that there are enough members in the House of Representatives, Democrats and Republicans, who are prepared to vote to reopen the government today. The only thing that is keeping that from happening is Speaker Boehner has made a decision that he is going to hold out to see if he can get additional concessions from us." The stalemate in Washington becoming good fodder for late night. "Saturday Night Live" featured guest host Miley Cyrus as Michele Bachmann celebrating the shutdown with Speaker Boehner in this risque parody.

Brianna Keilar, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Is that risque, do you think?

(LAUGHTER)

I don't know about that.

SAMBOLIN: Watched the whole thing, huh?

BERMAN: Meanwhile, as Washington bickers about this whole thing, Americans across the country are very much feeling the pinch. The government shutdown, safe to say, which is too long already and a possible fight over the debt limit has many people now sending a pointed message to Washington. People around the country say, you are playing with fire.

More now from CNN's Ted Rowlands.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From communities outside Chicago to people unable to go inside the St. Louis Arch. People across the Midwest are furious with lawmakers and more than happy to talk about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're there for a bigger purpose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think they would have stopped playing silly games like a bunch of little kids and get this thing done and straightened out. Otherwise, come this November or whenever they're up for re-election, don't worry, we are not voting for you.

ROWLANDS: At 30/30 Coffee in Peoria, Illinois, people we talked to had a clear message to send to Washington.

(On camera): What message would you like to send to lawmakers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To get their act together and get the Congress back open again. This is ridiculous.

ROWLANDS: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just nonsense. I mean, they are grown adults that they can't get along and come to a conclusion, you know, maybe we don't need them in there after all.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): In every city we went we did find some people who didn't care. (On camera): Doesn't bother you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nope.

ROWLANDS: Doesn't affect you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, not really.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): We found Democrats who blame Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can't get over the fact that President Obama beat them twice, OK? That is all there is there. They are so losers.

ROWLANDS: We also found Republicans who blame Democrats and the government and who support the shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm very much in favor of what they are doing, frankly. As you can see, the world isn't coming to an end.

ROWLANDS: While there's universal disgust for both parties, many Republicans we talked to are concerned that their party will end up taking a hit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Republicans will get a lot of blame for it, unfortunately. I don't think it's their fault. I think there's plenty of blame to go around but I think they'll get most of the blame. Yes.

ROWLANDS (on camera): What would you say to the president and Harry Reid?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say, let's get off this my way or the highway stuff. You know? Let's compromise. Let's figure out what pieces we can make work and let's figure out what pieces we can make work and let's adjust.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): Karen Boliger is with a company that runs the trolley inside the arch. Forty-eight of her employees are not getting paid, and unlike federal employees who will get compensated down the line, they will never get paid.

(On camera): What message would you like to tell lawmakers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To please come to your resolution soon. Every day matters. You know, we wake up every morning hoping that this is the day that it will come to an end and we're ready to get back to work.

ROWLANDS: No matter where we've been -- St. Louis, Chicago, or now here in Kansas City -- we're hearing basically the same thing, people are disgusted with the federal government and it's safe to say that the longer this federal government shutdown goes on the longer people outside of Washington will be.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Kansas City, Missouri.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: Our thanks to Ted. And one of the top Republicans behind the shutdown says he is not stopping there. Senator Ted Cruz confirming he also wants to link raising the debt ceiling to Obamacare.

He spoke exclusively with CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN'S STATE OF THE UNION: You think that some facet of the president's health care plan should be attached to an increase in the debt ceiling?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: The debt ceiling historically has been among the best leverage that Congress has to rein in the rein in the executive.

CROWLEY: So yes?

CRUZ: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: The U.S. reaches its borrowing limit on October 17th. A default could severely damage the fragile U.S. economy.

BERMAN: Not much time left. Meanwhile, the federal government acknowledging for the first time that the Obamacare sign-up Web site needs some work. According to the "Wall Street Journal" federal officials said Sunday that the online marketplace needed design changes and more server capacity in order to improve efficiency.

Last week, the Obama administration said there was an unanticipated surge of Web traffic when the site went live. It did undergo some maintenance over the weekend.

SAMBOLIN: This is a disturbing security breach involving a 9-year-old boy at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. Did you hear about this?

BERMAN: I did. This is crazy.

SAMBOLIN: Insane. Officials say the child, a runaway, somehow made it past security checkpoints and gate agents last Thursday and right on to a Delta flight headed to Las Vegas. The boy wasn't even questioned until the plane landed in Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY TRIPPLER, AIR TRAVEL EXPERT, THEPLANERULES.COM: All of this, since 911, has been to keep us safer and it has, but still we have gaping holes and this was a perfect example of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: I got to say, you could sort of see how a kid could do it more easily than a grown-up. Maybe a little boy gets behind two people who look like parents and just sort of sneaks on, do a --

(CROSSTALK)

SAMBOLIN: But he has to have a ticket.

BERMAN: Well, clearly there was a lapse there. I'm just saying that maybe the people at the gates aren't looking for a kid, they now should be obviously.

SAMBOLIN: I don't understand it. I've had my kids fly alone, I've had them fly with other adults and all the time, you know, they check those tickets so I'm really baffled by this. So this boy is being flown back to Minnesota. Both Delta airlines and the TSA say they are investigating the security breakdown.

BERMAN: There's a lot of questions, no doubt about that.

SAMBOLIN: Crazy story.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Two bikers charged this weekend in that terrifying highway confrontation here in New York. Police say Reginald Chance used his helmet to smash the SUV driver's window. Another driver Robert Simms accused of stomping on the driver's head. Police now say around six bikers were involved in that beating and they are asking for help locating others at the scene. Both men are facing gang assault along with some other charges.

SAMBOLIN: It was another horrifying Indy car crash on Sunday. Last lap of the Houston Grand Prix.

BERMAN: My goodness.

SAMBOLIN: I know. This is insane. Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti sent airborne, slamming into protective fencing and the debris, injuring 13 spectators as well. Franchitti suffered a concussion, a broken ankle, and two fractured vertebrae. His estranged wife, actress Ashley Judd, reaching out on Twitter. She wrote this, "Thank you for the prayers for Dario. I have only the clothes on my back and the dogs but that's all we need."

Franchitti is in fair condition this morning. Three spectators were hospitalized. Luckily they're in good condition also.

BERMAN: You see that crash again and again.

SAMBOLIN: Horrible.

BERMAN: It's amazing he's only --

SAMBOLIN: No, I remember --

BERMAN: Got a broken ankle and the vertebrae. SAMBOLIN: Yes, I was watching actually when it happened and, you know, we cut in with breaking news and everybody was worried that there was an incredibly serious injury here. So he is doing really well in stable condition.

BERMAN: All right. More than six inches of rain in 24 hours triggering dangerous flash flooding in Louisville, Kentucky. Homes damaged, roads closed. Look at that, what a mess. At least 100 people either rescued by firefighters or forced to evacuate there.

The flooding is so widespread that the Red Cross still doesn't know exactly how many residents have been displaced. So far, luckily, at least no reports of serious injuries.

Now with that and a look at what else is going on with the weather, let's check in with Alexander Steele.

ALEXANDER STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi, everyone. Good morning. Well, you know, this week, big changes from what we saw this past weekend. A front now near the coast and with that, showers and storms today and some gusty winds all the way from New England down to mid- Atlantic and even down toward the southeast. So what we are going to see behind it, big changes in terms of the temperatures.

Highs today in the seventies in the northeast and enjoy it because as we head toward this week, temperatures get much cooler behind it. Today 80 in Washington, only 71 in Atlanta, Georgia. Seattle and Portland in the 50s and big changes in Los Angeles as well. Down from where we were at the 90-degree mark to 78 today and 75 in Albuquerque.

So if you're traveling today at the airports, the biggest trouble spots will be on the eastern seaboard. Baltimore and Washington, shower, storms, could even see some hail but some very gusty winds. Raleigh as well as Charlotte and even into New York City and New Jersey.

Hope you have a great day whether wise. It'll be nice rest of the eastern seaboard.

I'm meteorologist Alexandra Steele. See you later. Back to you.

SAMBOLIN: Thank you, Alexandra.

Well, break out your checkbooks. Sotheby's is offering up the largest diamond of its type ever at auction. Look at this beauty.

BERMAN: You OK? You need a drink of water?

SAMBOLIN: My goodness. I don't know. I could stare at this all day long. This is unbelievable. It's a spectacular sparkler. It comes in a cool 118 carats. Give or take. It's known as an oval D-color. What does that mean? Flawless.

BERMAN: You're sweating here.

SAMBOLIN: And you can see why. It can be yours from your $28 to 35 million. This is -- you're not in awe?

BERMAN: It's a rock, I don't care. Look at it. It's a rock.

SAMBOLIN: Gorgeous. Look at the way that it sparkles and glistens. Plus the air fare. You've got to go to Hong Kong where the five-day auction starts today. So if you're interested, that is where you need to be.

BERMAN: I feel so bad for your man.

(LAUGHTER)

I got to say.

SAMBOLIN: My man did a nice job with my sparklers.

BERMAN: Very nice job.

All right. Fifteen minutes after the hour, and coming up, a tip for an Oregon bartender that this bartender will not soon forget.

SAMBOLIN: This is such a great story.

BERMAN: A customer leaves her a couple of lottery tickets for a tip. Wait until you hear what happened next. Use your imagination, folks.

SAMBOLIN: What would you do? What would you do?

BERMAN: Run. Take the money and run.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. Security officials in Kenya naming four of the terrorists who went on that deadly shooting rampage in Nairobi's Westgate Mall. Police say all of these terrorists were killed.

Kenyan media reporting that the men were all well-known terror suspects. They also, for the first time, aired this closed circuit video of the gunmen inside the mall, and contrary to earlier accounts, none of these gunmen were westerners. Police also ruled out the involvement of the white widow who was an infamous terror suspect named Samantha Lewthwaite.

SAMBOLIN: The father of a Michigan infant who went missing two years ago -- look at the picture there of an adorable child -- is now charged with killing her. Baby Kate Phillips was just 4 months old when she disappeared. Her father, 23-year-old Sean Phillips, now charged with her murder.

Phillips was arraigned Friday after police say that new evidence emerged. The little girl's body has never been found.

BERMAN: All right. Some Republicans facing a backlash for buttons really going after Hillary Clinton. Critics are calling them crude. We will let you see why for yourself especially the ones at the top there. Take a look at that. We'll let you read them. They were on display at a Republican convention in California Saturday and they were tweeted by "San Francisco Chronicle" reporter Carla Marinucci. The convention was focused on recruiting Republican voters specifically women.

I think you can see what has --

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my goodness.

BERMAN: Yes, I would not read that out loud on TV.

SAMBOLIN: Pathetic.

BERMAN: Yes.

SAMBOLIN: Twenty minutes past the hour.

Aurora Kephart is still pinching herself this morning. One of the Oregon's bartender's regular customers always tips her with Keno lottery tickets. So last Tuesday night, he gave her two of them. The first was a $5 winner. The second was worth $17,500.

BERMAN: More than 20 percent.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh. Aurora tried to give it back to her customer. But he wouldn't hear of it. She did wind up giving him a cut and Aurora is using the rest to buy a new couch and she said she is going to pad her savings account as well.

BERMAN: So I love her, congratulations. I don't think she should have given the guy a cut and let me tell you why.

SAMBOLIN: What?

BERMAN: Because he tips her -- if he's a regular customer that tips her with a Keno ticket like every day, that's kind of cheap. You're doing that with the knowledge that if she hits, it's her money so when she finally does hit, she should keep it.

SAMBOLIN: Well, she -- he did say that. You know, he said, no, don't give me anything. So he is like-minded. He believes what you believe but I thought it was just so generous of her to do it. Right?

BERMAN: Unnecessarily generous.

SAMBOLIN: No, it was the right thing to do.

BERMAN: You're too nice. You're too nice. She should have kept it.

SAMBOLIN: No --

BERMAN: Give him a free drink. A free drink, I understand that.

SAMBOLIN: He was going to give her more tickets in the future. You never know. I think that's just -- it's just the kind of thing in the world. BERMAN: You're nicer than I am.

SAMBOLIN: What is wrong with you?

BERMAN: Coming up, Twitter's growth is slowing and there is no sign of turning a profit any time soon. So how can the company be worth $20 billion once it goes public?

SAMBOLIN: You know, if I win the lottery, I'm not going to share it with you.

BERMAN: I know. That's fine.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: I want to be rich, I want to win the lottery.

BERMAN: This morning, you want that giant diamond, you want to win the lottery. And you want to be rich.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

MARIBEL ABER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She wants to share.

SAMBOLIN: I do want to share, I do.

BLITZER: Good for you to say that.

SAMBOLIN: Maribel is in this morning to share what's going on money wise.

ABER: Let's talk money.

SAMBOLIN: Yes.

ABER: Let's talk Twitter where we left off the other day.

SAMBOLIN: OK.

ABER: Right? OK. So let's give you the riddle. What has never made a profit but might be worth $40 billion soon?

(LAUGHTER)

The answer is Twitter.

BERMAN: Nice riddle.

ABER: So if you use the valuation that Twitter put on its IPO price it would be worth almost near $13 billion when it opens. There are some fund managers that are telling Bloomberg News it can be worth $20 billion when it opens and eventually as much as $40 billion.

So what they're saying is that advertisers could flock to Twitter and expand its revenue rapidly. Twitter put the value of its stock at $20.62 and Twitter hasn't said yet when it expects to start trading but Wall Street definitely waiting to find out.

You may have noticed that you aren't spending so much at the gas pump lately. So a little bit of good news there. The gas prices plunged almost 14 cents in the past two weeks. The latest Lundberg survey of 2500 service stations is at the price of a gallon of regular gasoline is down 20 cents in the past two weeks.

So survey president Trilby Lundberg, she tells CNN that the average price of $3.39 is 45 cents lower than it was a year ago, adding that the drop in the past two weeks is the biggest since November of last year. And the reason really? Crude oil prices. But Lundberg does say the declines may have bottomed out.

Now let's head to the box office, a little bit of fun. "Gravity" was in orbit this weekend.

SAMBOLIN: Everybody went to see that.

ABER: Right? The outer space film starring Sandra Bullock, of course, and George Clooney debuted to a record breaking $55.6 million in North America. The Hollywood reporter says that it made the top October opening of all time and movie-goers loved it in 3-D. Eighty percent of "Gravity's" opening weekend revenue came from 2-D screens.

"Paranormal Activity 3" was the previous record holder for the top October opening. But interesting, though, "Gravity," they're saying -- I haven't seen it yet but they're saying it's terrifyingly beautiful.

SAMBOLIN: Really?

BERMAN: (INAUDIBLE) says it's like the best movie ever. Meanwhile, I saw "Madagascar III" on demand Friday night. Such is my life.

(LAUGHTER)

Maribel --

SAMBOLIN: As you should. As you should. Thank you.

BERMAN: Thank you so much.

Coming up, U.S. Special Forces targeting terrorists in two weekend raids in Africa. A top al Qaeda operative now in custody, but will this operation trigger more terror attacks against the United States. Nic Robertson joins us live with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAMBOLIN: Bringing terrorists to justice. U.S. Special Forces conducting a pair of raids in Africa. This was this past weekend. Top terror targets apprehended. The dramatic details on the strike.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEW: Congress is playing with fire if they don't extend the debt limit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Playing with fire indeed. The administration lashing out at Congress. The debt ceiling battle really just beginning.