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NEW DAY

Report: Plane Flown Toward Islands On Purpose; Search For Missing Jet Expands To Indian Ocean; Russian Troop Buildup At Ukraine Border; President Obama Orders Deportation Review; Malaysian Officials' Reports Not Adding Up?

Aired March 14, 2014 - 06:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I find it extremely difficult to think that somehow the system failed. I believe that it was taken off by intent.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, new evidence just out may show Malaysia Airlines flight 370 flew toward islands in the Indian Ocean. But now, investigators are expanding their search and looking in the opposite direction as well.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Final moments. We have learned flight 370 may have been flying for as many as five hours after losing contact. And there are new reports that two communications were turned off just minutes apart. What happened on board?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CUOMO: All right. We do have breaking news this morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Friday, march 14th, 6:00 in the East.

We have all hands on deck for new developments overnight in the search for Malaysia flight 370. The theory Malaysian officials have that missing -- this missing jet altered course and flew toward the Indian Ocean has new support. Reuters is reporting that several sources suspect that course change not only happened but may have been deliberate. What does that mean?

That someone directed the plane, perhaps, toward the Andaman Islands, a report territory in the ocean, a few hundred miles northwest of the plane's last known location. The basis for that report is that the radar data apparently suggests the plane was following a navigational route, indicating someone with flight training was at the controls. Now this comes after a senior U.S. official told CNN there's, quote, "a significant likelihood the plane is at the bottom of the ocean."

Now why do they think that? Because Malaysian authorities say there were pings, signals transmitted to satellites hours after the last communication from the plane. Those pings came from over the Indian Ocean, which would put the plane 2,500 to 2,800 miles off course and an area with no significant land masses.

PEREIRA: So now, of course, the focus is still on finding that aircraft. We have just learned, as we mentioned, that that search is expanding. It's pushing further east and further west. The U.S. is also trying to help. They are sending in the Navy destroyer, the USS Kidd to the Indian Ocean.

And now there are reports also out of China about activity on the sea floor hours after the plane went missing nearly one week ago. We are turning to our reporters all around the world for answers this morning. We will start with Jim Clancy in Kuala Lumpur -- Jim.

JIM CLANCY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, Chris, Brooke, let me give you a little bit of perspective and take you back and this may explain what we're talking about, about the deliberate track that this plane took. As long ago as last Sunday, Malaysian officials, right here and they are in a press briefing right now. Not a lot of new information coming out there so let me get to this.

They told us that the pilot may have attempted a turn back. Transponder went off. Remember, they can turn that off if they think there's a short and it's causing a problem. Maybe that's why they turned it off. They had a problem. Then the pilot turned and they think he was trying to turn back to come back right where I am near Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

But he didn't make the turn sharp enough. He didn't come back all the way. Suddenly nothing. We don't know what happened in the cockpit. But that same course carries on. Yes, it passes over the Andaman Islands, that's where the Indian military has an army base, but it doesn't have much significance and obviously there was no attempt to land there.

There would have been places right here in the Malaysian peninsula much closer for that aircraft to land in an emergency. But all of this really has setoff alerts today. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY (voice-over): Breaking this morning, Reuters citing unnamed sources reports the radar data suggest missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was deliberately flown towards the Andaman Islands. The focus in the search shifting west into vast waters of the Indian Ocean.

COMMANDER WILLIAM MARKS (via telephone): We went from a chest board to a football field. So now what do we do? We have to come up with new strategies, new tactics.

CLANCY: That's just what the Malaysian government is doing. Using radar to follow the likely course of the plane. A senior U.S. official told CNN that Malaysian authorities believed they have several pings from the airline's service data system transmitted to satellites in the four to five hours after the last transponder signal suggesting the plane flew toward the Indian Ocean.

Both India and the U.S. dispatching ships to aid in searching the radius. This after Chinese satellite images of floating debris off the coast of Vietnam emerged giving families of the missing false hope that pieces of the vanished aircraft had been found.

Today, new intel from Chinese researchers recording a sea floor event between Malaysia and Vietnam roughly 72 miles from the plane's last known location and a little more than an hour and a half after the plane dropped off radar.

Researchers from the University of Science and Technology in China adding that the event could have possibly been caused by a plane impacting the South China Sea notably in an area that has already been searched in previous days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still not a shred of evidence that it crash landed anyplace in that search area.

CLANCY: One week after vanishing and the multi-national pursuit for answers continues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CLANCY: You know, you look at the families and their situation. They were angry today in Beijing. They were demanding that they meet someone from the Malaysian military, someone from the Malaysian government. They continue to want answers. As they hear the various theories coming out, they support the hijack theory. That gives them a glimmer of hope that perhaps they would see their families again. Michaela, back to you.

PEREIRA: All right, Jim, yes, this is an agonizing wait for those families to be sure. Thanks so much for that. So all of this points to several big questions. Among them, were flight instruments deliberately shut down? Did someone on that plane try to land on that remote Indian Island? And was the plane brought down deliberately?

Here to break some of this down for us, CNN Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr. We know, of course, the U.S. is also aiding in the searching sending the USS Kidd to the Indian Ocean.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Michaela. The U.S. military, the Indian military also now joining the search out in the Indian Ocean. In fact, the U.S. Navy 7th fleet saying a short time ago they have now finished their first sweep out into the Indian Ocean, about a thousand miles out finding nothing so far.

Look, all of the theories are being looked into, but as they say, first, they have to find the aircraft. They have to find the wreckage and some clues from the aircraft data about what did bring it down. U.S. officials saying they do believe there's a great probability that it is somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Even though that search now expanding in the other direction out to the South China Sea. I think it's fair to say the U.S. focus will remain to the east of Malaysia for now as they continue to look for this plane -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Barbara, thank you very much for tracking this down for us. We know it's all hands on deck this morning. So let's bring in aviation attorney and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo as well as Richard Quest, you know him of course, CNN international correspondent, host of "Quest Means Business," our in-house aviation expert.

OK, let's do this the most efficient way. Instead of going each of these different reports and different aspects, Mary, let's begin with all the new universe of information, reporting and speculation, give us what you believe is the best course of suspicion right now.

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER U.S. DOT INSPECTOR GENERAL: The best course of suspicion focuses on what we know and that is the transponder and other equipment on the plane stopped sending signals. There's not a shred of evidence that somebody turned it off. That somebody landed the plane on remote island.

What we know is that signals stopped and we have the pings from the aircraft further on. I think we still need to examine and we should never jump to the conclusion that it was hijack because it still points to some sort of catastrophic problem on that plane.

And the attempt of the plane and if someone was still flying the plane to survive that and keep that plane going. In the past other accidents, we've jumped to conclusion on terrorism and it wasn't, such as TWA 800. If they had gone with that, we would have left a potentially a very dangerous situation on an airplane uncorrected.

So that's why we must stick to the facts. All we know is the transmission stopped. We don't know that someone turned them off.

CUOMO: All right, so let's unpack that a little bit because what you're saying fundamentally is whatever sources Reuters says they have about it being turned off at different times and intentionally isn't something that's overwhelmingly convincing to you. Richard Quest, you're shaking your head in agreement because?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Mary is talking the voice of common sense this morning. All we have is a series of facts. One plus one plus one and it does not necessarily add up to half a dozen. What we have here is the fact that the plane appeared to fly waypoints. These way points, think of the interstate of the sky. They're the junctions that you fly from one to the next.

CUOMO: They're like buoys in the ocean.

QUEST: Absolutely. You go from one and then you maybe told by a traffic control or your flight plan maybe told you turn left at air point x. All we know about what Reuters are reporting is that this plane flew way points.

CUOMO: Could that be done by auto pilot.

QUEST: Yes, absolutely. It would normally be done by auto pilot. CUOMO: So it doesn't mean that it was someone flying a plane. We don't know that these things were turned off separately manually by a person. We just know that they went off. That's suggestive of a massive decompressive event as it is anything deliberate, personal or terrorism, yes, Mary?

SCHIAVO: That's what I think too and we really this is so crucial for the safety of flight. If you jump to conclusions that it's terrorism or suicide, you miss the potential to save untold lives in the future and correct problems that otherwise will be lost.

CUOMO: All right, so now let's take another step and keep common sense going here. What happened with Egypt Air when it was hijacked and somebody flew it in the ocean, it's fueling a lot of the confidence and speculation about this being a terrorist act. I know that from the intelligence community. But that doesn't mean it's compelling.

We have another example that we could lean on, the golfer Payne Stewart, a massive decompressive event in his plane. He was lost at the controls, but the plane continued on for several hours because the engine wasn't decommissioned by what happened. That's just as plausible as well, isn't it, Richard?

QUEST: This is the airliner where the pilots became overwhelmed by decompression, but the plane also carried on. We have all these examples. Mary reminds us to keep coming back to this point. The eventual cause of these incidents was something deep in the technology of the aircraft. Something went wrong with the plane. The chain of events began and that led to unknown and untold consequences.

CUOMO: So here's my big question of the day and one that has not been asked, at least by me. Mary, Richard, what is your take on this? We do not know what was in the belly of that plane. We have not heard about the cargo manifest. Isn't it possible at least if not increasingly probable that that plane was carrying something that was haz material that wasn't properly stored, that went off at that altitude of full flying speed caused a massive decompressive event? Isn't that in the world of possibility given what we are learning about the situation, Mary?

SCHIAVO: Well, it certainly is. But what we need to know is if Malaysia Air followed the modern protocols for luggage inspection and we don't know that yet either. So those two questions have to be answered.

QUEST: You're talking about something in the belly of the aircraft. Yes, it is possible. We would need to know something about --

CUOMO: We have not heard what was the cargo.

QUEST: It was a flight -- we have from -- to Beijing, so it would have had good cargo capacity. In the press conference we just heard in Kuala Lumpur, which I think is quite significant, the Malaysians now say they are sharing information we don't normally share on grounds of national security. Until now, the criticism by the U.S. has been, we're just getting their interpretation of the raw data. They're not letting us see the actual numbers and charts and graphs. Now it seems that the Malaysians are handing over the raw data. In other words the U.S. are doing the analysis.

CUOMO: Right. And the U.S. is also, this intelligence committee -- the community of intelligence agencies, they want to know what was in the belly of the plane. They're going down that road of speculations so I think there's something to it.

And also in fairness, Mary, as we leave this particular segment here, Richard, we're going to stay with this throughout the morning, in fairness to them, this theory of this dramatic turn in flight and it wound up leading to the demise of people on board, the Malaysians have had this theory for days now.

QUEST: Since the beginning.

CUOMO: But Mary, we are going to come back to you on this. Richard, thank you very much. Michaela, over to you.

PEREIRA: Well, as you said, Chris, we will stay on this search for that missing airliner, but we want to look some more of the headlines right now.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in London for 11th-hour talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The goal is to convince Moscow to withdraw its forces from Crimea and stop trying to annex it from Ukraine. But time is running out, Crimeans are expected to vote to become part of Russia on Sunday.

Right now, we are told there is a massive Russian troop buildup along the Ukraine's eastern border. Ukraine's acting president says that he fears Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale invasion.

I want to bring in Nick Paton Walsh. He is live from Simferopol, Crimea -- Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Michaela, this really is crunch time in London. Will John Kerry have any influence at all on Russian policy here when he meets Sergey Lavrov. A very few think that's likely and in fact, the focus of this meeting seems to be shifting. Now we have this remarkable 8-1/2 thousand strong Russian exercise on the Eastern Ukrainian border.

Really they are saying, the minister of defense, to familiarize these troops with that territory. That's causing a lot of nerves. I think many consider what's happening here in Crimea to be a bum deal. It will move closer. If not join Russia entirely after Sunday. That's the only two choices. In fact, they have on the ballot in front of them.

The issue now with one day in the clash between pro-Russian and pro- Ukrainian rallies and 17 people injured last night, is that violence going to be perhaps a reason for Russia to feel it needs to intervene in the Eastern Ukraine and then spot another front in this crisis.

Crimea, I think that decision is being made. We're looking to see if diplomacy is dead or if on Monday as John Kerry we'll see very tough sanctions from the United States and that could spark another freezing in this new cold war many are talking about here -- Michaela.

CUOMO: All right, I'll take it. Thank you very much. We are busy testing new reports about the Malaysian Air flight this morning. We're trying to get you the best information on what may have happened. So stay with us for more on that, but there's other news to tell you about this morning. So let's get to John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A lot going on, Chris. Thank you so much. In just a few hours, President Obama meets at the White House are a group of immigration activists pushing for reforms that don't seem likely to happen this year. This comes as the president ordered a review of deportation practices seeking to carry out -- carried out what they say would be more humanely.

CNN's Athena Jones is live at the White House.

And, Athena, the president has been receiving pressure on this issue from some in the immigrant community.

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Good morning, John.

The president has been under increasing pressure from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus here in Washington and also from Hispanic groups and pro-immigrant groups like La Raza, like the Dream Action Coalition.

These groups say that even as the White House and Democrats try to push Congress to pass immigration reform, they say the president himself can do more to stop these deportations that are tearing families apart. Some activists are even calling the president "the deporter-in-chief."

And so the White House has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to take a close look at how they can conduct enforcement as you said more humanely but also within the confines of the law. Now one of these groups responding to that announcement last night. The Dream Action Coalition said that actions speak louder than press releases.

And so you get a sense there that they're going to be keeping this pressure up on this White House -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Athena Jones at the White House. Thanks so much.

Passengers on a Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale flight now talking about their scare at takeoff, describing immediate panic, smoke coming out of an engine and a fairly orderly evacuation. Initial reports indicate the U.S. Airways flight blew a tire on takeoff and the pilot just decided to abort.

It's nose gear collapsed during the hard landing. You look at the pictures here. 149 passengers and five crew members evacuated. No serious injuries reported.

An eighth body now pulled from the rubble in New York City following an apparent natural gas explosion at level 2 five-story building in east Harlem. Several people still unaccounted for. Federal investigators are on site waiting for the all-clear to inspect an underground gas pipe that may have triggered this blast.

Troubling new allegations against General Motors. The Center for Auto Safety claims that airbag failures in two GM models, the Chevy Cobalt and the Saturn Ion, led to 303 deaths from 2003 to 2012. And the auto maker should have taken action sooner.

GM calls the findings flawed. The auto giant is already being investigated for faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths. NBC News reports GM decided against implementing a fix for that problem nine years ago because of the cost.

Investigators -- sorry, investors, I should say, are hoping for a market rebound this morning. Agents there plunged to one-month lows overnight. Concerns about Ukraine and China's declining economy but at this hour the Dow and Nasdaq, S&P futures all pointing slightly higher. After sharp selling Thursday, the Dow plunging 231 points with the Nasdaq and S&P also suffering sharp declines -- Chris.

CUOMO: Thank you for that.

We're going to return to the search for Flight 370, but we want to get you the weather today so let's get to meteorologist Indra Petersons -- Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, definitely. Starting to see a nice change. We still have a lot of cold air in place, thanks to that system that was in place yesterday. But the big story is going to be these morning temperatures that are really like freezing out there. Why? Well, high pressure in places but also a little clipper is going to be making its way in through the north.

So with that we are talking about maybe a little bit of a chance of snow, most likely rain overnight in the northeast areas. Very minimal but it's just enough that it's going to keep that cold air around just for about another day or so.

Well, let's talk about what we're talking about. Freeze temperatures. I mean, freeze warnings all the way down even to the south where many places are seeing temperatures in the 20s and 30s and it is March, guys. Unfortunately Columbia, 29, Atlanta right now just 37, D.C. in the 30s, even New York City waking up at 23.

But a hint of good news is on the horizon. That's all that matters, right? As we go to the afternoon, finally we switch the pattern, we're going to be warming up. It looks like D.C. goes up to 58 today. Even New York City will rebound to about 46. Saturday will be even nicer. But keep in mind there is something else developing notice some rain in the south? This is what we're going to have to be watching as we go towards the weekend. Because we have a severe weather threat by tomorrow. Then the system continues to push even farther off to the east. So Austin, Dallas, looking for a chance for thunderstorms tomorrow, even isolated tornadoes. Spring right around the corner here. That's going to be the new story. Meanwhile, all this moisture pulls into the mid-Atlantic. By Sunday night in through Monday, a lot of people thinking about St. Patty's. There you go. Wintry mix, potentially some snow. Sunday night right in through St. Patty's Day. Something we'll all be watching, of course.

Yes, doesn't mean good news. But I don't think anyone's going to be troubled by some rain on St. Patty's. I think it's -- green, does that count? I don't know.

PEREIRA: It does.

PETERSONS: Green rain?

PEREIRA: It does. All right, Indra, thanks.

CUOMO: Rain makes rainbows. Rain makes rainbows.

PEREIRA: All right. Good way to focus on it.

PETERSONS. Good. Pot of gold.

PEREIRA: We could use one of those right now.

Next up, much more on the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370. We're going to take a closer look at the conduct and the credibility of Malaysian officials, amid all of these confusion that they've caused since the jetliner vanished. Are they inexperienced or could something else be at play?

CUOMO: And what can we conclude from all this reporting now that it's been revealed Flight 370 may have been flying for hours after it disappeared from radar screens? We're going to ask former CIA director and retired Air Force general, Michael Hayden, for what he makes of the situation ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PEREIRA: Welcome back. Breaking new details on the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370. We have learned that the search is expanding now further into the Indian Ocean and also further east. This as an astonishing new report shows that the plane may have been flown deliberately toward the -- Andaman Island in the Indian Ocean. Investigators now say it could have stayed airborne for up to five hours after losing contact with the ground.

Malaysian authorities for their part are denying some of these reports but frankly they're not elaborating on others.

With all of these confusion and reversals this week, the credibility of Malaysian officials has taken a serious hit.

CNN's Brian Todd has more. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been confusing from the first moment Flight 370 went missing. When did it vanish?

Malaysian officials first said it disappeared at 2:40 a.m. local time, Saturday morning. A day later, after issuing six statements, a new time on when it was lost. 1:30 a.m.

Where did it go? The flight path, a major point of confusion for six days. Malaysian officials first said it vanished in the South China Sea. Then a Malaysian Air Force official said it turned sharply, flew hundreds of miles west. Another Malaysian official then said that's not correct. Then we were told there was a radar blip heading into that area but they're not sure if that's the missing jet.

STEVE WALLACE, FORMER FAA ACCIDENT INVESTIGATOR: There is a consistent failure to get the most accurate information before the world's best experts who I assure are there ready to help.

TODD: Wednesday, Malaysian Police tell CNN they searched the home of the pilot. A day later --

HISHAMMUDDIN BIN HUSSEIN, ACTING MALAYSIAN MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION: Reports suggesting that the Malaysian Police searched the homes of the MH-370 crew are not true.

TODD: Now sources close to the family say police have been outside the captain's home but haven't gone inside.

Critics say the Malaysians are constantly giving conflicting accounts, holding back on information, can't control the flow of information, and if American officials were in charge --

WALLACE: You have organizational meetings immediately, you would have groups formed to look at different areas, experts on weather, experts on maintenance, experts on -- air traffic control, every aspect of it.

TODD: There's no indication the Malaysians haven't done that and they fiercely defend their handling of this. They say they only hold back information when there's more analysis needed.

HUSSEIN: This is a crisis situation. It is a very complex operation and it has not always been easy.

TODD: Analysts say part of the problem could be cultural. There's been one coalition governing Malaysia for decades. Its leaders not used to being challenged.

JAMES KEITH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MALAYSIA: They haven't had to account for themselves in ways that they have to now in the glare of international publicity.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CUOMO: All right.

PEREIRA: So much scrutiny because there's so few answers. Right?

CUOMO: Absolutely. And in fairness to the Malaysians, the predominant theory of the plane making a dramatic shift and flying on for hours is when they've been forwarding almost from the beginning.

PEREIRA: Yes, that is true.

CUOMO: So we'll continue that aspect of the investigation which is testing whether it's being done the right way, as well as new questions and answers that are coming up because we do have late- breaking details on the search for Flight 370.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, there's new reasons to suspect the jetliner flew for hours after it fell off radar screens. If so, does that point to a possible hijacking?

There could be a better explanation. And you're going to get it from former CIA director, Michael Hayden. And also you'll get his take on these allegations about the CIA spying on U.S. senators.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)