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Olympics Protected By Ring of Steel; Iran Says No Agreement to Dismantle Nukes; Bieber's Bond Set for $2,500; NSA Spying Program; Interview with Peter King

Aired January 23, 2014 - 13:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, major questions about what's in a landmark nuclear deal. Iran says it never agreed to dismantle anything. We're going to hear the White House response this hour.

Also right now, Russia tightens its so-called ring of steel around the Olympic Games. Will that keep the athletes safe? And what about the hundreds of thousands of visitors?

Also right now, a brand new report lashing out at the NSA saying its surveillance program is both against the law and ineffective.

Hello. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Washington. We begin with the upcoming winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and the growing security concerns for the 2,000 or so athletes and more than 200,000 visitors. The Olympic venues are inside what President Putin describes as, quote, "a ring of steel." There are almost 40,000 security personnel attached to the games including police and the military. That compares with about 15,000 used to protect the winter games in Vancouver back in 2010.

One of the threats comes from a so-called Black Widow. The widow of a rebel fighter killed in nearby Dagestan, and she may already be inside that so-called ring of steel.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is in Sochi on the ground for us. Nick, once you get through that security perimeter around Sochi, what's it like on the streets of the -- of the actual venues where these athletes will stay and so many visitors will come?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, obviously the athletes and many of those who are going to watch haven't even begun arriving. But we're seeing right now, this time of night, deserted streets. Often during the day, there aren't many people around. A sense of anxiety, but a lot of tension, people waiting to see what happens ahead. There are measures in place to reduce the threat.

Now, when you fly inside Russia, you can't bring any kind of liquid on board inside the passenger cabin with you at all. That's obviously been Russia's long history of having had instance where liquids were to blame for explosions inside airplanes.

And around here, we see copious numbers of police officers often shipped in from other parts of the country, that means they don't have local (INAUDIBLE) no local contacts that could be abused during this, too.

We went inside the inner corridor past the first sort of ring (INAUDIBLE) right into near the venues. There's still a sense of preparation there, things -- final touches being done in somewhat of a hurry. But the key thing, Wolf, is the atmosphere here. You know, I think people obviously come to the Olympics, the festivities, international competition, a sense of (INAUDIBLE), you know, to watch sport happen. But right now, the focus seems to be clearly on security, a last-minute rush to get things finally done. People worried really about the safety of those who will simply be here, Wolf, not about how much fun this event actually could be.

BLITZER: Will the athletes, Nick, and the visitors who come to Sochi, will they all be inside that so-called security perimeter -- the secure area or will some of them, a lot of them, be outside of it?

WALSH: Many will be outside of that sort of outer ring of steel. The athletes, of course, will all be inside. There is plenty of accommodation laid on here. And, of course, most people won't be coming to Sochi unless they have some sort of ticket. In fact, it's going to be hard to approach any of these buildings at all unless you have what is known as a fan passport which means you've already passed through security checks done by the Russian security themselves. That's one of the reasons why people are concerned about the numbers who might actually show up is the complexity of the expense of simply being here, too.

This comes to a larger point, really. I mean, Vladimir Putin put this on, that remarkable spectacle behind me which glows in the dark here, $50 billion to bring this whole project together. Done to resurrect the former soviet glory of Russia that Putin is so fond of, so nostalgic of describing the fall of the Soviet Union is the greatest geopolitical catastrophe in history.

He wants to see Russia proud again but deciding to put it on in this really rested area is caused perhaps more problems than he had anticipated and instead people are focusing on the weak spot of his presidency, his long period in power. And that's how volatile this part of the country is he's repressed so strongly rather than the prestige he wants behind me to convey about where he's taken Russia in his 14 years of power -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, a nine-hour time difference between here and Sochi, the east coast to the United States. And where you are, it's already after 10:00 at night. Nick, we'll check back with you. Thanks very much.

Blood comments from Iran are raising new questions about that interim nuclear agreement. In interviews with CNN, Iran's leaders now say they never agreed to dismantle equipment used to enrich uranium. Here's what the foreign minister told our own Jim Sciutto.


MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, FOREIGN MINISTER, IRAN: What Iran has agreed is not to enrich above five percent. We did not agree to dismantle anything. What we agreed to was not to enrich over five percent. We agreed that, and we're not enriching over five percent. But we're not dismantling any centrifuges. We're not dismantling any equipment. We're simply not producing -- not enriching over five percent.


BLITZER: In a separate interview Iran's president echoed the foreign minister's position.

Athena jones is joining us from the White House right now. Athena, a fact sheet issued by the Obama administration right after the deal was signed does use the word dismantle. What about the actual agreement, the text of the formal agreement? For some reason, the U.S., the Obama administration, the other members who put this all together, they're refusing to release that document, aren't they?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. Well, there's the (INAUDIBLE.) The White House has not released the full text of this agreement. White House spokesman, Jay Carney, was asked about this a couple of weeks ago. He said the international atomic energy agency, the IAEA, wants to keep some technical aspects of this agreement confidential. So, that's what the White House says. But, of course, we can expect Jay Carney to get a lot of questions about this today. It sounds like this is an argument over semantics but turning out into something that could be a much bigger deal.

I can tell you, the White House did release the fact sheet around the time of the deal. They've also released other statements that use the word dismantle. The most recent release by the White House was a summary of technical understanding. That document doesn't use the word dismantle, instead it says, rollback.

So, there's a lot of discussion here about what exact words were used. And that's where this issue is arising where they're going to get a lot of questions about this today. And as I said, Wolf, it could end up being a much bigger deal.

BLITZER: It certainly could be because the comments that the president of Iran, Rouhani, told our Fareed Zakaria, or the foreign minister, Zarif, told Jim Sciutto, they will only play into the hands of those in Congress right now who want to pass new sanctions against Iran even during this interim period. The White House, I'm sure, is sensitive to that.

JONES: Wolf, certainly the White House has made the argument that if Congress passes these newer -- these new tougher sanctions on Iran, it's going to scuttle the deal. I want to read for you what the White House said in response to those comments from the foreign minister, foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. They said, we expected that the Iranians would need to spin this for the domestic political purposes and are not surprised they are doing just that. So, both sides are needing to convince their own audiences to let this deal go forward -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Ashleigh, thank -- Athena, thanks so much. I'm thinking of Ashleigh Banfield. She's in New York. She's following another story that we're watching right now. What's going on, Ashleigh?

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, we've been following the breaking news of the arrest of Justin Bieber, a 19-year-old sensation. And now, he's appearing via a video uplink for a bond hearing in front of a judge in the Miami circuit court. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (live): Mr. Prez (ph) and Mr. Craig (ph)?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, on the case of Mr. Bieber, the state is just asking (INAUDIBLE.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your hone, we agree with that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. What would the standard bond be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the count of resisting without violence, --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $1,000. DUI, $1,000. And on the count driving without a driver's license --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corrections (INAUDIBLE) on the expired D.O.?

UNIDENTIFIED: That would be $500.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $500, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the total bond would be $2,500, broken down $1,000 resisting without violence, $1,000 for the DUI and $500 for the expired driver's license. Is there anything else before me involving Mr. Bieber?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, your honor, but thank you very much for hearing us right away. And we appreciate your honor's courtesy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're welcome.

Corrections, do you need anything else other than what I've noted?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, your honor, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you need anything under here?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I've done -- if I've done these, do you need anything here?

BANFIELD: The second person who was arrested along with Justin Bieber, I'm listening for the name if it is Khalil Sharieff. He would've been the second person. It's hard to tell. Khalil Sharieff is a star in his own right, a recording artist and a colleague of Justin Bieber's, with Def Jam Records. But in his promotional material, it would look a lot different than that. It's difficult to know if this is the next person who's up on this bond hearing. But you can see right there --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. The next person, please, is Khalil Amir Sharieff. Mr. Sharieff, you're charged with --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- driving while under the influence, a DUI. State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, the state requests the same bond be set for Mr. Khalil as well, Sharieff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, (INAUDIBLE) appearing on behalf of the defendant. At this stage, we have not yet determined whether there is a conflict, but I will act as temporary council at the very least. And we agree with the state on the standard bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, the standard bond, in this case, would be $1,000, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, your honor.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have an attorney that's named Greg Coenthal (ph). He just wanted to know (INAUDIBLE.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is he on the phone now?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to try to reach him, please? All right. Let's see. We'll try to reach this phone number.

BANFIELD: All right. So, you know what's happening right now. The person who is alleged to have been in a drag race with Justin Bieber driving a red Ferrari is the man on your screen, Khalil Sharieff. And he's had his bond set at $1,000. He's only facing a DUI charge because both Justin Bieber and this young man, Khalil Sharieff, were brought in at the same time and charged with the same DUI. However, Justin Bieber was also ladened with a couple of other things, resisting arrest without violence for which he's facing an additional $1,000 in bail. And also, driving with an expired Georgia driver's license. And so, that's another $500. So, Justin Bieber has just been told he can bail out if he can find, somewhere in his vast accounts, $2,500. And then, also, Khalil Sharieff could bail out if he could find $1,000. The bigger issue here that you may have just heard, the man whose voice and I think you saw him briefly who's appearing on behalf, it looks like, of both of these defendants. We know, for sure at this point, Justin Bieber has hired Roy Black. And if that attorney sounds familiar to you, it darn well should. He was the defense council for William Kennedy Smith in Florida. He also represented Rush Limbaugh in Florida when he had his battles with prescription drugs. And he also represented Kelsey Grammar.

Just moments ago, Justin Bieber appearing before this circuit court judge. By the way, this is Judge Joseph P. Farina who's adjudicating this bond hearing.

And something interesting that we've heard was that this was held over for magistrate. I want to bring in Paul Callan on the significance of the files that read hold over for magistrate. Should I be reading anything into this?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what I found out through a source that I have in Florida was that his Department of Corrections marking was hold for magistrate. Now, that would indicate that the police thought he would have to go to see a federal magistrate probably on immigration issues as a result. So, this is a marking that was on the file, but the judge here hasn't said anything about it. So, we don't know if anything will come of it.

BANFIELD: OK. Can you also let me know about the prison guard? We call them jumpsuits often, but I don't think these are actually jumpsuits. They're more like scrubs. But they're red, reddish- orange. And that can signify a different classification while you're in holding. What is it?

CALLAN: Yes. Well, I just had a long talk with an experienced Florida attorney, Janet Johnson, who does a lot of this work. And she was saying that normally if they come in in a green garb, they're just in general prison population. Red indicates that someone is being kept in isolation. Now, here because he's a celebrity and they would be fearful that he would be harmed in prison, he was also allegedly intoxicated, not unusual that he would be held in isolation pending production before a judge.

BANFIELD: And Joey Jackson, not unusual that the young man who was brought in with him also wearing I believe the same red jumpsuit-ish (ph) --


BANFIELD: -- you know, outfit. Because he also is a rapper and he also has a degree of fame and he's brought in with Justin Bieber which is making headlines all over the country, --


BANFIELD: -- including in some holding cells, I would imagine.

CALLAN: Absolutely, but let's focus on the amount of bail set here. And the amount of bail set here seems to be requisite with the offenses they committed, which are misdemeanor offenses. And if that's any indication of how the case is going to ultimately work itself out, I think it bodes well for both of these defendants. And, remember, Ashleigh, these are misdemeanor offenses. I do want to point out, however, that because of Justin Bieber's age, remember he's 19, it's a .02 that would have to be determined in terms of the level --


CALLAN: -- of alcohol as opposed to a .08, which is if he was 21 or over. So, it's much easier for the prosecution to approve.

BANFIELD: Yes, and it's interesting to note that that even though it is not legal to drink under the age of 21, there is actually a different standard for drinking and driving.

JACKSON: Absolutely.

BANFIELD: And it's much, much more stringent.

JACKSON: And interestingly enough too, is what they'll do is they'll talk about the indish (ph) of intoxication. That's a fancy way of lawyers addressing the issue of, did he appear, did he have the classic signs of intoxication. They'll focus on the eyes. Were they watery? Were they bloodshot? Was his speech slurred in any way? Did he -- was he unsteady on his feet in any manner.

BANFIELD: Hey, Joey -

JACKSON: And those are things that they'll really be looking at.

BANFIELD: Do you want to hear what Officer Medina (ph) said in his affidavit -

JACKSON: Exactly that.

BANFIELD: When he actually filed his arrest paperwork? It said, "I immediately smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver's breath and bloodshot eyes. The driver had slow, deliberate movements and a stupor look on his face. This - this affidavit goes on to detail a number of f-bombs that Justin Bieber is alleged to have dropped on this arresting officer while resisting, as he alleges, without violence.

I want to go out to Tory Dunnan, who's standing outside of the Dade County Jail right now.

I had heard a rumor that there's a radio station that's already started printing up "free Bieber" signs. I don't know if there's any evidence of that, but I can see people behind you. Set the scene for me, Tory. TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ashleigh, I mean there are people who are here and they're holding up "free Bieber" signs. Just a few of them though. And some fans as well who are sort of walking around trying to take pictures and see what's going on.

But mostly happening here behind me, you can see the media all set up. Everyone is trying to catch a glimpse of someone coming in or out of the corrections facility here. And, Ashleigh, now that we know that bond was set at $2,500, the talk is going to be, will he make bond, when will he make bond, which exit will he come out of?

And I just kind of want to rewind a little bit to remind everyone what happened with this story. It was about 4:00 this morning when police say they spotted the two SUVs blocking the roadway in this residential area saying that it had basically been set up as a racetrack. And then they spotted the yellow Lamborghini, the red Ferrari, Justin Bieber behind that yellow Lamborghini, pulled him over and said that he was uncooperative, that he showed signs of being impaired.

They took him to the police department. That's when he was given the field sobriety test. Failed that field sobriety test. And beyond that he admitted to officers that he had been drinking earlier, used marijuana and prescription pills. So even beyond these charges here many people here in Miami speaking about what does this mean down the line for Justin Bieber in terms of possibly seeking help.

BANFIELD: Thank you, Tory, as she continues to watch what is sure to become quite a media circus. In fact, the court even issued some parameters and guidelines real early on this just for what is particularly garden variety a video link bond hearing for Justin Drew Bieber, date of birth, March 1, 1994 -- Wolf, just to make us all feel exactly how young he is -- age 19, 5'9", 140 pounds. Justin Bieber now facing resisting arrest without violence, driving under the influence and the charge of the expired driver's license.

But, you know, Wolf, you and I both know that when you have initial charges, that may not be the full picture and that oftentimes additional charges can be levied depending on what evidence. We don't know if there's a warrant being executed after the allegations from the police in a press conference that he was taking prescription medication, for his hotel room to find out what kind of prescription medication. We don't know perhaps even a reckless endangerment charge may be coming his way because drag racing on a residential street, going double the speed limit, is dangerous. So there's a lot still left to be found out.

But one thing we know is that he's a Canadian citizen and he's a guest in this country. And people really like him here. And he makes a lot of money here because he is such a famous recording artist. Whether he can get back in this country on a regular basis remains to be seen given the trouble that he's in right now, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, well, we'll see what happens. We'll learn a lot more, I'm sure, in the coming days. Ashleigh, thanks very much.


BLITZER: Ashleigh Banfield reporting for us.

When we come back, the NSA under fire now from a government watchdog group. What are they recommending? Well, for one thing, they're suggesting that the whole program, the controversial program, may be illegal, unlawful. We'll discuss that. Representative Peter King of New York is standing by live. Stay with us.


BLITZER: Welcome back.

Last week President Obama defended the NSA phone call database where the agency collects details of millions of American's private phone calls. The president said it's legal and important but admitted the surveillance program needs some greater oversight. Now, though, a government watchdog group is taking direct aim at the program and the claims that it's helping stop terror attacks. Their new report says, among other things, "we have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation." And it also says, among other things, the controversial part of the program "does not authorize the NSA to collect anything."

Let's bring in our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, who's gone through this report.

Give us the major details and how the White House, the Obama administration, is reacting.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which is a bipartisan board, five members. And they came down pretty harsh on the NSA. They say not only has it not been very useful in stopping terrorists, that the one time they have found that it did anything, it also could have -- other programs could have helped find and identify a terrorist for the FBI.

They also say that there's some question as to whether or not this is legal under the Constitution, whether or not the law that authorizes this, the Patriot Act, even allows the NSA to do anything. That it's the FBI's job. And even then, the FBI should only be doing investigations on particular people, not just bulk collection of data.

Now, the White House tells us the president was aware of this report before he went last week and did the speech at the Justice Department to defend the NSA. And they've issued a statement to us, which we can put up on screen. "We disagree with the board's analysis on the legality of the program. The administration believes that the program is lawful. As the president has said, though, he believes we can and should make changes in the program that will give the American people greater confidence in it."

Well, the president is basically says that this is a good program, we just need you to feel better about it and that's the way he's approaching it.

BLITZER: Take some modest reforms, if you will, try to figure out what those reforms are right now.

PEREZ: Right.

BLITZER: This is a five-member panel. And on the legality issue, what was it, three to two, three of the members thought it was illegal, two of the members thought it was legal. And it sort of broke along party lines.

PEREZ: That's right. That's right.

BLITZER: The three who say it was illegal or basically appointed by Democrats, the two who said it was legal were appointed by Republicans.

PEREZ: That's right. That's exactly right. The two members issued a very strong dissent. And I - you know, I've spoken to people who are preparing the report and they say that, you know, they believe not only is it legal, it's very necessary. And they think that this -- some of these folks who prepared this report, the majority, were perhaps already headed in that direction before everything was all said and done.

BLITZER: Evan Perez, thanks very much.

Joining us now from West Babylon, New York, out on Long Island, is Republican Congressman Peter King. He's a member of the House Homeland Security Committee. He's chairman of the subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence.

Congressman, so what's your reaction to this report that has just been released by this watchdog group, specifically the part that asserts the meta - the data program, if you will, collecting all that data, is illegal?

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Yes, Wolf, first I strongly disagree with that. And it seems like you have a board here going outside its lane. I mean I don't know who qualified them to decide whether or not it's legal or constitutional. We've had 38 court rulings, 17 federal judges who have said that this is legal and is constitutional. And, to me, that - you know, that's the appropriate venue, the federal courts, not a privacy board. I'm not aware of any findings that the privacy board made showing that anyone's rights have been violated or that the NSA has abused anyone. And, to me, that's what they should be looking at, is there anything in this program which has led to the abuse or the depravation of rights of Americans. And so far, as far as I know, whether it's Snowden, whether it's the president's panel, whether it's this board, the privacy board, I'm not aware of anyone who has found any significant violation of anyone's rights.

BLITZER: Yes, well, one district court did suggest that -- not a few weeks ago, that it was unconstitutional. Another one said it was constitutional.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: I assume it's eventually going to go up to the United States Supreme Court.

KING: Right.

BLITZER: But what about the other more -- perhaps more substantiate part of what these five panelists are suggesting on. This, I think, there's pretty much unity among all five, that they really didn't find any evidence that all of this collection of data has prevented any terrorists from operating in the United States?

KING: Again, I would look at the fact that you have two administrations, whether it's George Bush or Dick Cheney or President Obama or whether it's Attorney General Mukasy (ph) under the Republicans, whether it's John Brennan, CIA director under the Democrats. The fact is, they all believe it is helpful.

Let me give you one case that I am aware of and I was even somewhat on the ground during this. That's the Zazzi (ph) subway case, where Zazzi himself was found by section 702, which is the overseas portion of the Patriot Act. But then a co-conspirator of his was found under 215c (ph), which is the internal. And that showed the connection between Zazzi and the co-conspirator. As a result of that, they were able to then trace Zazzi coming from Denver to Brooklyn, where this co- conspirator was located. He's now serving life in prison. So just that one case alone, which would have involved the deaths of hundreds if not more on the New York City subway system.

But it's not just the actual threat that you stop. What this does is part of a mosaic. It fills in blanks. It leads authorities one way or the other. Also can exclude threats. For instance, last summer, during the embassy bomb -- attempted embassy bombings overseas, that plot, we were -- the government was putting -- quickly able, through using 215c, to realize that there was not an American component to that, that there was not going to be an attempted attack here in the U.S. So it helps you not only to include but also to exclude. And, again, virtually every law enforcement and counterterrorism expert in the field believes that this is necessary.

BLITZER: But what do you say to some of - some of your own fellow Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul for example, who believes this is a real violation of the privacy rights of the American people?

KING: Well, I would say there's no program where the privacy rights are more protected. It's monitored on a regular basis, systematic basis by the courts. It's monitored by the justice department and by two committees in congress. And again, with all of the millions of papers that are out there, millions of documents that Snowden's released and all these so-called exposes, no one has been able to show any abuse of anyone's rights, nothing to be used for political purposes. And, to me, if you go to almost any law enforcement or government agency, you're going to find some violation of someone's rights. We're not finding that with the NSA. So I would say if there's any program which has been managed honestly and with protection of the rights of Americans, it's been the NSA. And, quite frankly, I don't know who made Rand Paul an expert on the Constitution. I mean, I - I read Judge Bill Paulie's (ph) decision last week in New York. If I listen to that and listen to Rand Paul, I'll go with Judge Paulie. You're right, there's one decision by Judge Hulian (ph). One out of 38 different opinions that have been written. Only one that said it's unconstitutional. And he again is talking about possible violations in the future. He was not able to point to any violations happen thus far.

BLITZER: Well, three of these panelists, three of the five panelists, now agree with Rand Paul, it is constitutional. So the debate, I assume, you agree as well, will continue. The stakes, as you well point out, congressman, are pretty significant.

KING: And also, again, Wolf, this board was not there to judge constitutionality. They're not judges. They're not federal judges and they're not in the Justice Department, nor are they in Congress. They're there to discuss privacy and they apparently didn't find any privacy violations.

BLITZER: I think one of them was a former federal judge, Patricia Wall (ph). Maybe two of them were former judges. But we'll go back, we'll look at the exact makeup of that five-member panel. But they've been in business now what since 2006-2007. The president asked them to come up with these recommendations. They studied it, he reviewed it. He disagrees with them on the sensitive issue of the legality of all of this, but they've now weighed in. So the discussion will continue and the debate will continue. Maybe one of these days we'll have you and Rand Paul on our show together and you guys can debate this out. That would be a good serious debate.

Congressman, thanks very much.

KING: Yeah, you can sell tickets to that one, Wolf.

BLITZER: I know. I'm ready.

Thanks, Congressman.

KING: Thank you.