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EARLY START WITH JOHN BERMAN AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Terror Suspect Captured; Partial Shutdown Enters 7th Day; Guns and Drugs Available Online

Aired October 7, 2013 - 04:30   ET

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


ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN, CNN ANCHOR: The dramatic details on the strike.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Playing with fire indeed. The administration lashing out at Congress. The debt ceiling battle really just beginning. This as the government shutdown continues into a second week.

SAMBOLIN: Drugs, guns, chemicals -- all available at your fingertips. A $1.2 billion online bust last week alone. But how are these web market pushers already back in business? Some relaunching only a few hours later.

BERMAN: This is fascinating.

SAMBOLIN: It's than incredible story. Stay tuned for that.

BERMAN: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. Nice to have you with us. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

And we have more on our top story. A pair of raids in Africa this weekend nabbing a top al Qaeda operative. It's a big catch. Abu Anas al Libi, he was captured by U.S. Special Forces in Libya, 15 years after his alleged involvement in the deadly bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

So, what does a U.S. have in store for this suspect and could the raids prompt retaliation?

We turn to CNN's Nic Robertson. He is live in London.

What's the latest?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, al Libi, right now, is onboard a U.S. naval in the Mediterranean, and he's expected while there to be questioned by the high value detention interrogation team. Al Qaeda has been building up its strength in North Africa and in Libya, sending operatives there to build established camps. So does he have information about that?

Now, will there be retaliation? His wife says, look, he got out of al Qaeda in the mid '90s. Yes, he knew Osama bin Laden. Yes, he worked for him. But the indications are that al Libi has been living pretty much out in the open in Libya for the last couple of years. That gives you an indication he doesn't have an active al Qaeda cell around him, so potentially that level, no retaliation.

The message that these strikes show, these arrests show is to al Qaeda and Libya and elsewhere is the United States is on the offensive. So, I think in the initial phases, al Qaeda operatives will hide where they can hide. Will there be retaliation further down the line? There is always the potential for that and you got to be cautious for it -- Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: But also, Nic, I was reading in Libya, the government there called this a kidnapping.

ROBERTSON: Yes, that sounds kind of odd because we understand that the government there did know potentially that this sort of thing might happen. There is a level of frustration clearly creeping in that the Libyan government, they've known about this guy al Libi. He's been living on the streets of the capital, in the open for two years. They haven't picked him up.

But the prime minister in Libya, this is a country that hasn't rebuilt itself after the Arab Spring, weak government, no national security. And the prime minister there is in a difficult position. So, is he sort of hedging his bets, playing to those who say, look, this is against Libyan sovereignty to have this man arrested on our soil? Is that the reason why he is calling this a kidnapping? Is this just saving face for him to keep his government in place?

Hard to judge that at the moment, Zoraida.

SAMBOLIN: All right. Nic Roberton, reporting live for us in London, thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Back home, the bad news is we are in day seven of the partial government shutdown.

The worst news is we don't expect anything to change today. The pathetic news is they're really not even talking. It doesn't look like either side is ready to blink. House Speaker Boehner says a clean spending bill that doesn't address Obamacare has a zero chance of passing in the House, although I have to say, many analysts questioned his math.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says without a debt ceiling limit by October 17th, the U.S. will not be able to pay its bills.

SAMBOLIN: And in Syria, the destruction of chemical weapons has begun. A team is working under the supervision of international experts. The U.N. says they are using blow torches and saws to destroy mixing the bombs.

The goal is to strip Syria's ability to make new chemical weapons, then destroy its entire stockpile within nine months.

BERMAN: Syria is a major story and fallen out of spotlight. But I'm glad we are getting updates from there.

Meanwhile, this is a crazy story. Russian President Vladimir Putin lighting the ceremonial Olympic flame in Moscow, but the four-month relay to Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games off to a rough start when the blame went out for a brief time Sunday. Oops, game over. No Olympics! No, no. They still actually have the game, folks.

The glitch occurred when a torch bearer ran through a long passageway creating something of a wind tunnel, that extinguished the flame. There you see it right there, the cancellation of the games.

SAMBOLIN: Just relight it. Keep it going.

BERMAN: They had a lighter luckily. They're relighted it. And the thing went out, oh, it's out, someone help me. Somebody got a match?

SAMBOLIN: All right. This is an incredible story. A major Internet drug bust, shedding new light on the dark corners of the Web. Last week, police arrested the alleged kingpin of Silk Road, a $1.2 billion online drug marketplace. We brought you this story last week.

So, within hours, many who traded on that site were back in action elsewhere -- drugs, guns, chemicals, you name it, available at the click of the mouse.

CNN's Laurie Segall reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peter is picking up mail from the post office. It's not your typical package. Inside? Drugs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, that's going to be meth (ph).

SEGALL: Welcome to the growing dark side of the Internet -- in a couple of clicks, drugs on your doorstep.

Peter, whose name has been changed, asked us to obscure his identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's basically powdered mushrooms and you can just go here and you say, hey, I want to buy 250 milligrams of it and you click the buy-now thing, like any other place you are buying something online, you end up with a shopping cart and you click the checkout button.

SEGALL: But the feds are cracking down. This week, online drug market, Silk Road, was blocked and its alleged leader arrested.

Peter's familiar with the site. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Things I've bought are generally psychedelics, namely LSD, because that's the hardest one to find on the street.

SEGALL: Users sign on through Tor, an anonymous network where the only payment accepted is Bitcoin, a virtual currency worth real money.

(on camera): The idea is it's just not traceable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not traceable if you do it correctly. But if do things like buying Bitcoins on the streets or things like that, it becomes untraceable.

SEGALL (voice-over): Silk Road specialized in drugs, but as Peter shows us, the Internet gets even darker. There are other sites that haven't been shut down. Here's one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the same kind of thing. There's a drug category and you can find different things. If you are interested in looking for LSD, you go and you select the LSD thing.

Apparently, on this site, you can literally buy guns -- AK-47, AR-15.

SEGALL: We were also shown screen shots of sites advertising hit men. They promised to kill for Bitcoin compensation.

Peter's never given that a test drive. He's only used Tor to buy drugs, often on Silk Road.

(on camera): Now that it's gone, you bummed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SEGALL (voice-over): It's not necessarily an end game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They killed a server. They didn't take down the technology that's used to make this happen.

SEGALL: A game of whack-a-mole in the dark corners of the web.

(on camera): What do you think the outcome will be of Silk Road officially being taken over by the government, being taken down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think people are going to be pretty fearful of using those kinds of services for a while. I imagine there will be discussions on what happened, what went wrong, how to improve on it. And later on, newer versions that have improved in some way will pop up and regain the trust that's probably dissipating right now.

SEGALL (voice-over): Laurie Segall, CNN Money, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: I've got to say, that is fascinating. Laurie Segall does fantastic reporting about things that are going online. I would follow her on Twitter if you get the chance. You will not regret it one bit.

Other news now, this morning we're going to hear from an Oklahoma zoo official about a female employee who is mauled by a tiger on Saturday morning. Joe Schreibvogel says the female employee admitted she was at fault when she struck her arm through the fence that housed a 14- year-old tiger. She has undergone successful surgery on her arm and is expected to recover.

You will see that interview with Schreibvogel coming up later this morning on NEW DAY.

SAMBOLIN: And coming up here, the weekly five, five stories you'll be talking about all this week, including a Supreme Court showdown that could tilt the outcome of the next presidential election.

BERMAN: And a 6-year-old and 7-year-old get into an argument about who is more stealthy, ninjas or Navy SEALs? This sounds like my boys. So, one of them writes a letter to the head of the Navy SEALs and guess what he got back?

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Thank you.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, welcome back to EARLY START.

Let's take a look at the big stories making headlines this week. Here is CNN's Rosa Flores with the "Weekly Five."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here now are five things you need to know for your week ahead:

A government shutdown won't stop the Supreme Court. It's business as usual on Monday as the high court holds arguments in some key high profile cases, including political campaign donation limits, lawyers are challenging government limits on what individuals can give to candidates, political parties, and political action committees.

Tuesday, the Benjamin gets a makeover. The new 100 dollar bills have colorful and high theft features, such as a wide holographic strip and colored ink. It's the biggest redesigns for the Big Ben since the big head bills went into circulation in 1996.

We are used to seeing them on the reality TV show "Duck Dynasty". Wednesday, Willie and Korie Robertson receive high honors from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. The organization recognizes people who have made extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of families.

Thursday, grab the tissues. "Glee" will say good-bye to one of its cast members, Cory Monteith. Monteith played Finn Hudson, the football star and glee club instructor at McKinley High School. Monteith died of an overdose of heroin and alcohol in July.

We'll find out who wins the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. This year brings the greatest number of candidates ever. Among the nominees include Myanmar President Thein Sein, for relaxing his country's military rule. And youngest ever nominee, 16-year-old Malala Yousufzai, a Pakistani shot in the head by the Taliban while advocating for education and women's rights.

With your "Weekly Five", I'm Rosa Flores.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: I'm voting for Malala, not that I have a vote. But I think it would be awesome if she won.

SAMBOLIN: Oh, my gosh. Are you kidding?

BERMAN: All right. Forty-four minutes after the hour.

A 6-year-old boy got quite a surprise after writing a letter to the Navy SEALs. Walker Greenfreith (ph) and a friend, they were having a fight who is quieter, a Navy SEALs or a ninja?

SAMBOLIN: What do you think, Berman?

BERMAN: I think a ninja.

SAMBOLIN: Do you think a ninja?

BERMAN: I do.

So, to settle the debate, young Walker penned a letter to the top SEAL, Admiral William McRaven and get this McRaven wrote back, saying that I'm right, ninjas are probably quieter but Navy SEALs are better swimmers. I think it's awesome that the admiral wrote him a letter back. I kind of wish that what he did was sent some SEALs and ninjas to sneak up on the kid. Like jump out of the closet.

SAMBOLIN: Can you imagine?

BERMAN: That would be awesome. He would never forget it. He would then know who is, in fact, quieter, the Navy SEALs -- that would be great. If you're with me, tweet us back.

SAMBOLIN: Only a guy would think of that. Poor kid.

BERMAN: Coming up, we have "The Bleacher Report"!

SAMBOLIN: Oh, gosh, so much to talk about! >

BERMAN: There is.

An epic shootout. This NFL quarterback threw five touchdown passes over 500 yards and he lost the game! Is that even possible? Joe Carter will come back and tell us about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: They are still scoring touchdowns in this game. There is no stopping Denver Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning. The Dallas Cowboys led by Tony Romo's five touchdown passes, they played their best game in years but five touchdown passes was not enough to stop the Broncos.

Joe Carter, do the math for us here. How does this happen?

JOE CARTER, THE BLEACHER REPORT: You know, 99 points, John, 99 points, they scored combined. I mean, what an incredible game. When you look back on it pretty much had everything.

I mean, who would have thought coming into the game the first team to 50 would have won? Tony Romo, as you said, threw for over 500 yards, but he still lost the game. For the first time in five years, Peyton Manning would score a touched by running it. But as good as Peyton was, you could argue that Tony Romo actually played better until he made the one mistake at the end of the game that will haunt him in Dallas for ages! That interception set Denver up for the game winning field goal.

The two teams combine to score 99 points. It was the fourth highest scoring game in NFL history.

Denver is now 5-0 after a 51-48 win.

While most of us were watching that epic shoot-out in the NFL, in Pittsburgh, the Pirates won another playoff game and are now just five wins from going to the World Series. They beat the Cardinals 5-3. The Pirates could win their first playoff series in 34 years with game win later today.

And in Los Angeles, the Dodgers absolutely hammered the Atlanta Braves. They scored 13 runs, the most for the dodgers in a playoff game since 1956. Their 13-6 win is just a reminder of how lethal this lineup can be.

If you like baseball, I like baseball, we got a lot of playoff games today. The Tigers and the A's play at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. That series is tied 1-1.

After that on TBS, our sister network, Pirates and Cardinals at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. At 6:00 p.m., you got Red Sox/Rays, and Boston could close out the series with a win.

The late game is at 9:30 Eastern, Dodgers/Braves. Dodgers could advance as well with a win and both games are on TBS.

But real quick, guys, back to the NFL game. Broncos play Jacksonville Jaguars next week. The Broncos are a 28-point favorite, the largest point favorite in the history of the NFL, 28-point favorite.

BERMAN: It might be reasonable to take that bet the way they are playing.

SAMBOLIN: I cannot believe that you didn't go back to the Red Sox.

BERMAN: Well, the Red Sox, everyone knows that they are America's team and they re playing at 6:00 tonight, and everyone with a heart and soul wants them to win, that goes without saying. But he was talking about football right there.

I think, Joe, that they could have played some defense. I mean, that game was defense optional in the Broncos and Cowboys. There was nothing there.

CARTER: Yes, the defense never left the locker room. You got to wonder about the Broncos. I think the formula for the Broncos you have to score 50 points is what it comes down to. No defense but for those of us who like offense, boy, that was fun to watch.

SAMBOLIN: It was a fun game to watch.

BERMAN: You're disagreeing with Joe because you want to disagree with --

SAMBOLIN: Yes, it's true.

All right. Coming up, Miley Cyrus is rocking "SNL." Not a lot of twerking but she created a whole lot of buzz.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: A wonderful song, isn't it?

SAMBOLIN: How do you feel about Miley?

BERMAN: It's better than the Beatles. Like Mozart, modern day Mozart.

SAMBOLIN: All right. So, welcome back to EARLY START.

There was minimal twerking but Miley Cyrus was all over the government shutdown while hosting "Saturday Night Live" and her performance is generating tons of buzz. This is all John Berman --

BERMAN: I can hear it right now. The buzzing is everywhere!

SAMBOLIN: We get more from CNN's Victor Blackwell.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Live from New York, it's Saturday night.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Love her or hate her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Miley Cyrus.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Miley Cyrus took the stage once again, this time taking aim at herself. MILEY CYRUS, PERFORMER: In case anyone is concerned, you should know there will be no twerking tonight. I used to think twerking was cool but now that white people are doing it, it seems kind of lame.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And Cyrus spoofed her "We Can't Stop" video, playing a sexy singing Michele Bachmann and poking fun at the government shutdown.

(MUSIC)

BLACKWELL (voice-over): This is the latest public appearance from Cyrus as the 20-year-old star continues to grab headlines wherever she goes.

(MUSIC)

BLACKWELL (voice-over): Few can forget Miley's controversial performance recently at the VMAs.

CYRUS: Every VMA performance, anyone that performs, anyone that performs, that is what you are looking for. You're wanting to make history.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): And most recently her war of words with Irish songwriter Sinead O'Connor. O'Connor, if you recall, sent Cyrus an open letter, warning not to let herself, quote, "be prostituted by the music industry."

Then again, O'Connor made her own "SNL" headlines in 1992, when she did this.

SINEAD O'CONNOR, SINGER: Fight the real enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want my daughter acting like that. But at the same time, she's an adult. She's got to make her own choices.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, hopefully, she can fix her image. But then that's up to her. So I think if she's going to strike while the iron is hot, she might as well do it now since everyone is talking about her.

BLACKWELL (voice-over): No matter the outcome, her fans who waited for hours to see Cyrus on "SNL" said they cannot wait to see what she's going to do next.

CYRUS: Thank you guys, so much. Thank you, for -- everybody at "SNL" for having me this week. It has been awesome. Good night, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAMBOLIN: That was CNN's Victor Blackwell reporting. She definitely, you know, everybody talks about her which is exactly what her objective is, it seems like. BERMAN: And get this -- the top CNN trends on the web this morning, our first big trend is more Miley Cyrus news. Seems there will be a lot of Miley Cyrus lookalikes for Halloween this year, thank goodness -- from a hot pants, to bras, and even large foam fingers, the twerking of Miley is considered to be one of the hottest costume ideas of the season right now.

I actually thought I was the original, but I guess I won't be now.

Shocked? You can't go on.

SAMBOLIN: I really -- yes.

Congratulations to Halle Berry. The actress gave birth to her second child over the weekend. It is a baby boy. It's her first with husband Oliver Martinez. The baby's name is still under wraps. The 46-year-old Berry also has a 5-year-old daughter.

BERMAN: Congratulations to them.

All right. It was a family affair over the weekend for the Combs. Sean P. Diddy Combs or whatever he is calling himself now sat in the front row to watch his three daughters make their runway debut in New York City's Fashion Week. Twins D'Lila and Jessie joined by half sister Chance strut down the catwalk at the (INAUDIBLE) fashion show.

The trio donned sneaker wedges and frilly dresses.

SAMBOLIN: (INAUDIBLE) crystals.

BERMAN: How about that? They also had on sparkly headbands. P. Diddy Sean Puffy, whatever his name is, he tweeted his excitement, saying, "My three little super models #prouddad."

SAMBOLIN: They are adorable.

BERMAN: They look terrific.

EARLY START continues right now.

(MUSIC)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States of America will never stop in its effort to hold those accountable to conduct acts of terror.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAMBOLIN: Terror raids. Two bold missions. U.S. Special Forces strike in Somalia and in Libya, capturing an al Qaeda mastermind accused of multiple bombings in U.S. embassies. We have new details inside the secret missions.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Brace yourself, folks. Another economic crisis on the horizon. The debt ceiling deadline just ten days away and now, some lawmakers threatening to play politics with the global economy.

SAMBOLIN: And a horrifying wreck. During the final lap of the Grand Prix in Houston. Three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti airborne in the turn. We're going to have the latest on his condition is coming up.

BERMAN: That crash is horrifying. You see that again and again, and you just cannot believe that he got out of that alive.

All right. Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm John Berman.

SAMBOLIN: And I'm Zoraida Sambolin. It is 59 minutes past the hour.

Up first, U.S. Special Forces snagging a top al Qaeda operative. This is Abu Anas al Libi, wanted for the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Agents from the Army's elite Delta Force taking him into custody Saturday right off the streets of Tripoli.

Nima Elbagir live from Nairobi, Kenya, this morning. What can you tell us?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zoraida, Abu Anas al Libi's wife said that she watched from her nearby home in Tripoli as 10 men got out of four cars and ambushed her husband while she says he was reaching in the glove compartment for the gun he keeps there for safety. We should also say, Abu Anas al Libi, in addition to the U.S. believing that he is implicated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings, he was also part of Osama bin Laden's personal security detail.