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NEW DAY

Thai Radar Tracked Unknown Flight; Time For New Obama Foreign Policy; Five Million In Obamacare Plans; Will Flight 370 Ever Be Found; Israel Tightens Air Space Security

Aired March 18, 2014 - 07:30   ET

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


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CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to NEW DAY. There's a lot of breaking news going on. Let's get right to John Berman. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Chris. We have breaking news on the search for the missing Malaysian jet. Thailand's Air Force says it picked up an unknown radar signal the day the jet vanished. Officials say they were tracking the flight when it disappeared. Minutes later, a radar station saw an unknown aircraft not sending out any data.

Meantime, the search has expanded to almost the size of the continental United States. The U.S. will scale back its role in the search as other countries increase their efforts while Malaysia looks for more help. Also a "New York Times" report this morning says the plane went off its route after orders were put into a cockpit computer. The CEO of Malaysia Airline says the computer system was originally programmed to fly to Beijing, but could not speak to what happened afterwards.

In a New York courtroom today, federal prosecutors will argue against allowing testimony for admitted 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed in an offense of Osama Bin Laden's son-in-law. Soliman Abugait is on trial for conspiring to kill Americans and acting as a spokesman for al-Qaeda. Mohammad is being held at Guantanamo Bay. In a statement just made public, he claims that Abugait is falsely accused of being involved in al-Qaeda's military activities.

Lawmakers in New York State failing to approve the so-called Dream Act that would enable children of illegal immigrants to receive state tuition assistance. The measure fell two votes short of passage in the state senate. Republicans voting against the bill said it was wrong to provide tuition assistance for illegal immigrant families while so many others struggle to pay for college.

Possible landmark evidence of how the universe came to be some 14 billion years ago. A team of astronomers say they have found the big bang theory smoking gun detecting ripples or gravitational waves, which say they are the signature of the universe getting instantly pulled apart. I told them they should look there. The discovery is a huge deal. Scientists wonder if the big bang theory could be ever be supported. With hard evidence now they say they found it -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: This is an exciting, exciting discovery. Thank you for telling us about that, John Berman.

All right, there's a lot going on in the world of politics. We have Mr. John King and his "Inside Politics." Good to see you, my friend.

JOHN KING, HOST, CNN'S "INSIDE POLITICS": Good morning, Michaela. I'll try to unpack most, but I think Berman should solve most of the world's great mysteries. He is more of a conspiracy theorist than I am --

PEREIRA: That's very true.

KING: We'll see you guys in just a minute. We're going to start with the big global challenge you've been talking about this morning facing the president of the United States and that is how to react to the situation in Russia and Ukraine.

With me this morning to share their reporting and their insights, Carol Lee of the "Wall Street Journal" and Zeke Miller of "Time." Let's start with what are the president's options, Carol? The White House put out sanctions yesterday. They are relatively modest. President Putin just addressed the Russian Duma and essentially laughed off these sanctions. He said we're not afraid of your sanctions. Others in the government have been even going on Twitter to mock the president of the United States for these sanctions. What's the next step for the White House? Do they have a strategy they believe will to be effective.

CAROL LEE, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": That's the million question. It's hard to see what the end game is here right now. The White House said they would set the stage to implement tougher sanctions on Russia including the arms industry, which would be significant. It's hard to see where this ends with Putin a tit for tat. I mean, it's going to keep going in this way. And so, really, behind the scenes they're hoping for some kind of way to give Putin an off ramp. But, you know, there's no signs that he's willing and eager to do that at this point.

KING: I think it's that willing and eager part that's important, Zeke, because we tend to think of things by our system. He doesn't think like us. How much does that complicate? How does the president -- the economic relationships are much tight, much more important with the Europeans and their sanctions are even weaker than the U.S. sanctions. So Putin at the moment really doesn't have a lot to be afraid of does he?

ZEKE MILLER, "TIME" POLITICAL REPORTER: It's harder for them. At the same time, a lot of their holdings are in the Russian economy, surrounding President Putin, the state controlled industries and the like. So the White House say they have crony capability. Will they pull that out remains to be seen, but the difficulty here really is that, you know, we've known where this is going for a month and a half now. You know, it's been very clear what each stage in the game is. The White House knows. It's been the same off ramp. He hasn't taken it in the past month.

LEE: Because it doesn't address what Vladimir Putin wants which is power. There's no incentive to take it off ramp when he's in the headlines of every major newspaper. His approval rating has gone up. They're not playing with the same kind of tools here.

KING: The president is taking some hits from his critics. That is some ways predictable. Remember Mitt Romney had a scornful exchange back in the presidential debates when Mitt Romney said Vladimir Putin was the big geopolitical challenge. The president said the 80s called, wanted their foreign policy back. Governor Romney writing in your newspaper today, in the "Wall Street Journal," an op-ed piece said President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton travelled the world in pursuit of their promise to reset relations and to build friendships across the globe. Their failure has been painfully evident.

Let's focus on the Secretary Clinton part for a second. How much pressure does she face as this plays out, to speak out or is it best for her to just step, one commander in chief work on her book and deal with it hopefully after?

LEE: I think she's probably liking that whole one commander-in-chief at a time cover. There's nothing really good that could come out for her to speak at this point in time.

MILLER: And that whole reset has been a problem for her from the start. I mean, that button didn't actually reset when she presented (inaudible) Russian counterpart and obviously, you know, she has to sort of lay low here because this is something that Republicans can go back to and use to rally their base and drive the fundraising for Republican candidates this fall and into 2016.

KING: Let's bring the challenge home. About 12 days left in the month, 13 days left in the month, the health care deadline, the enrolment deadline set at the end of the month. The administration put out new numbers yesterday. They say they are at 5 million now. They wanted to get the 7 million by March 31st. Unlikely they'll get there. The question is can they spin it as close enough and then within that they wanted about 40 percent to be younger.

Get younger, healthier people in the system to make the finances of it work. They are at 25 percent earlier in the month. How important is the next couple of weeks and is there -- if they get to six, can they spin that as a success or is this baked in as a failure.

LEE: If they get to six, they will spin as a success and it's still a significant amount of people. What's interesting is all of the stops that they are trying to pull out to get young people to sign up. That's a real problem for them because that's the only way that this system is actually going to work. And so, you know, and so they are using --

KING: So Zack Galifinakis, Lebron James, the president's --

LEE: Call all your friends. You know, Lebron doing a spot for them. They have that -- the woman with the drunk cooking show on YouTube, you know --

KING: But a lot of people say it's beneath the presidency, Zeke, but if it works -- MILLER: It's certainly good policy at the same time, you know, they need that number above 25 percent, you know, somewhere above -- around 30. It's certainly better at all. It all comes down to just how much (inaudible) next year. I mean, you saw -- Kathleen Sebelius last week on the Hill saying, you know, premiums are likely to rise next year but maybe not as much as they would before the law regardless of that. The powerful clip for Republicans used.

So they are going to sort of create this massive montage and you know, you and I, we've already seen some draft of it so far for the fall. But they are going to pair the president sort of joking around with late night comedians and doing all these goofy things that the White House doing to reach out to some of the target demographic here, which doesn't watch off in traditional media, which, you know, using the tools perfected on the campaign.

At the same time going to marry that with, you know, the fact that, you know, pretty names are going to rise to some people. You know, you are going to have to change your doctrine in some instances like the president said last week. So that's going to be really some position --

LEE: Like the "Between Two Ferns" and then, you know, Jane Smith who lost her health care. I mean, that's the kind of stuff you are going to see.

KING: The question is even if they get some policy numbers that point them toward success maybe not where they wanted to get, but close to that, can they change the political dynamic out in the country because if you go to these key states, it seems like Obamacare is still a liability.

We're going to see Chris Christie today with another town hall. He's going after the Midwest to fund raise. He's going to juggle two roles a day after. There's no question. His campaign manager was involved in the damage control after bridge-gate and Fort Lee. Are we learning anything new or is the problem for Governor Christie is that he is treading water now as these investigations continue so he can't break free of it?

LEE: That's a great way to put it. He's treading water. He has not getting any moment. I mean, he just has not figured out a way to get above this. It hasn't completely sunk him. Certainly it's not -- he's not even in the mix in the way he was before.

MILLER: It's the drip, drip of the e-mails, the way normal governing happens. In every White House, in every administration, we saw it last week with the Hillary Clinton documents and the Clinton Library documents coming out. There are e-mail exchanges that happen internally. When they come out in the subpoena process, everybody looks bad. You sort of hope you have 15 to 20 years to allow time to fade and not be a factor. In both -- interesting in both Governor Christie's case and Secretary Clinton's case, e-mails are a factor in bids for the White House.

KING: Zeke and Carol, thanks for getting up early with us this morning. We go back to you guys in New York, John and Michaela and Chris. Interesting time in politics particularly watching Governor Christie trying to go out on the road. For now it's not a liability. If he doesn't have this behind him into August and September, the question is will those gubernatorial candidates he's supposed to be helping want to be standing next him?

PEREIRA: No question indeed, John King.

CUOMO: Strong insight from the man in D.C. as always.

PEREIRA: All right, coming up next on NEW DAY, one of the probable theories that we're looking at about missing Flight 370, there's a chance it's in the Indian Ocean. If it's there, what will it take to find it? We are going to ask an explorer who found a submarine dating back to World War II.

CUOMO: The missing flight now has Israel on edge. We are going to tell you why some people there fear the plane could be used as a weapon against them.

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PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. As the search for the missing Flight 370 continues to yield no results. One area of focus is whether that flight crashed into the Indian Ocean. If it did, how will it be found? Captain Timothy Taylor is the president of Tiburon Subsea Services, it's an ocean research exploration and expedition corporation. They specialize in underwater imagery.

In fact, one of his most notable accomplishments is the discovery and documentation of the World War I submarine, USS R12 that was lost in World War II. It's a real pleasure to have you here. Thank you so much. All right, look into this mystery. We want to talk about the current search area because we've just found out this morning that the area they're now searching has vastly increased. We are talking 2.24 million square nautical miles. Does that give you a little ice in your belly a little?

CAPTAIN TIMOTHY TAYLOR, TIBURON SUBSEA SERVICES: That's a lot of ocean.

PEREIRA: That's a lot of ocean. If we look at this, for folks at home to give you an idea of a point of reference, continuous United States, roughly the same size. How do we begin to start searching for something like that?

TAYLOR: You need clues to find and narrow down the area. Otherwise, you'll be looking for hundreds of thousands of years.

PEREIRA: Going back to that submarine, did you have a clue?

TAYLOR: Yes. We had historical data that we were able to narrow down the search and then use technology to search vaster areas. But even with the technology today, autonomous underwater vehicles, if you use one vehicle to search this area, it would take you 1,500 years. PEREIRA: But the great thing is they are not using just one vehicle. We know there are multiple nations involved. There is a vast search effort underway. Let's talk about that. If we were to look for example -- here's Manhattan that dot. If you were just to look at that area, in this small island or peninsula of Manhattan, how long would that take?

TAYLOR: With one vehicle, I could map one and a half manhattans a day. That's 11-12 square nautical miles. Do the math.

PEREIRA: Right.

TAYLOR: If you have 2.24 million square miles, that's 1,500 years. If you put ten vehicles on there, that's 150 years. There's only about -- I would say less than 30 vehicles capable of scanning the depth of the Indian Ocean. The average depth 13,000 feet, deepest 23,000 feet. The Indian Ocean is 6 million square miles.

PEREIRA: Give us an idea of what that looks like in terms of searching using deep water sonar equipment. What are you using?

TAYLOR: An autonomous vehicle, most are shaped like a torpedo. They go down on their own and run patterns and bring the data back to you. It's old technology in a ship, which is a much bigger operation.

PEREIRA: It takes a while for the ship to turn around and get going again.

TAYLOR: The cable itself is the task. The cable weighs so much. You can put multiple AUV on one ship and cover more ground. Even with that technology, 150 years if you had ten of them.

PEREIRA: If you had the technology that you're talking about and using, how quickly does that data come up to you and you can analyse it?

TAYLOR: You do not get the data unless you recover it. If we launched the vehicle and it went down for 24 hours or 60 hours. You bring it back up, download the data and review it almost instantaneously. Maybe an hour after it processes.

PEREIRA: Mary Schiavo, our aviation expert, was talking about depending on the number of ships, each country is assigned a certain grid. We're dividing it up. They each explore that grid. Sort of a redundant say I imagine. That's going to speed up the process.

TAYLOR: Yes, but you have to start some place and have higher probability places than others. Just going out there and doing a hunt with no idea what you're looking at, your coloring in boxes. You want to try to get a likelihood or a higher likelihood area where it's at. More clues, discovery of something floating, even ten days, two weeks, a month later if you found it. Plug it into the computer program. Run millions of different scenarios and take higher probabilities, hits, locations, and narrow that down.

PEREIRA: Malaysia has requested further support on air and on service assets from multi-nations. Hopefully they're going to get more of that support. Thank you for lending your expertise to us. Captain Timothy Taylor from Tiburon Subsea Services. We appreciate it.

PEREIRA: Going to take a short break here on NEW DAY. The disappearance of flight 370 now has Israel worried. It's tightening its air space. We'll explain why.

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BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. I'm joining you once again from Kuala Lumpur. We are following the latest developments in the search for Flight 370. A report from the "New York Times" this morning says the plane's change of course was pre-programmed into the flight computer. The plane's disappearance no doubt has much of the world concerned about the possibility of a hijacking.

It has Israelis particularly on edge. They fear the missing jetliner could be used as a weapon against them. Israel is under a heightened state of alert right now taking extreme measures to keep its air space safe. Nic Robertson is in Jerusalem with the story.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, as a direct result of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH 370, Israel has put its air traffic controllers on a higher state of alert the international airport, the center of air traffic control, they are effectively the country's first line of defense against a rogue civilian passenger jet. We understand they're going to implement their procedures more closely, more rigorously.

They are saying that the procedures are not hanging. They're going to look at detail and follow more closely. We're told this is an effort to identify aircraft when they are further away from Israel than has currently been the practice. What we understand is that aviation experts here have been meeting over a period of several days, come up with a set of proposals and procedures to tighten the situation. These won't be made public for security reasons. This is in direct response to the disappearance of MH 370. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Nic Robertson, thank you so much. I'm sure many nations are doing the same thing, taking a closer look at policies and procedures.

We're going to take another break. Coming up next on NEW DAY. More on the search for Flight 370. New information that the plane's trajectory may have been changed by someone in the cockpit. We're going to dig into this and tell you what it means coming from this "New York Times" report.

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