Return to Transcripts main page


Latest on the Flt 370 Search; Sterling Scandal; Will Hillary Run?

Aired May 1, 2014 - 21:00   ET


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Michael Smerconish. The long awaited preliminary report from the Malaysian government on the disappearance of Flight 370 is now public. It not only raises a lot of new questions, the report is a window in the confusion and miscues among air traffic controllers. It shows that precious time (ph) was lost after this final verbal communication between the control tower and the cockpit.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9, good night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night Malaysian 370.


SMERCONISH: That's Malaysian air traffic control telling 370 to check in with Vietnamese air traffic control, but that never happened. The report shows that as controllers realize communication was lost, there was a four hour gap until an official search for Flight 370 was launched.

Let's take a look at the timeline and we'll highlight some of the newest information. The plane departed from Kuala Lumpur at 12:41 a.m., we already knew that at 1:07 a.m. the plane's onboard communication system, ACARS send its last communication.

At 1:19 a.m., the last verbal communication from the cockpit is made as we just heard. At 1:21:04, the plane is still observed by Malaysian air traffic radar. Nine seconds later, at 1:21:13, Flight 370 disappears from radar. At 1:28, and this we already knew, radar in Southern Thailand spots an unknown aircraft apparently flying in the opposite direction from 370's scheduled flight path. 1:38 a.m., Vietnam radios Malaysia that 370 never established contact. This is key. It's not until 5:30 a.m. that Malaysian authorities activate a search. Finally, at 8:19 a.m., the last satellite handshake from the jet was picked up by a ground station.

The report fails to mention what role Malaysia's military played when 370 disappeared if any? Also, it was released by e-mail, not by a news conference so reporters couldn't question Malaysian officials, we've got a lot to talk about and we're joined by CNN Aviation Analyst Miles O'Brien and Aviation Correspondent Richard Quest.

Miles, what did you learned today?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I learned that the Malaysians are still stingy with releasing facts, first and foremost. And I learned that there was really a scandalous almost apathetic response to a missing airline with 239 souls on board.

I knew that there was a gap to seeing the timeline laid out and the lack of response and the lack of integration between the military radar facilities and the civilian radar facilities left me feeling really a sense of sadness, because had there been a fighter jet scrambled and have this been some sort of deliberate act, maybe the course of events could have changed.

SMERCONISH: As someone lacking your expertise, I'm just someone who enjoys flying, I was alarmed by the idea that maybe this happens with some regularity, I don't mean planes that go missing, but something that's just not accounted for and no one immediately recognizes that.

O'BRIEN: Well the handoff, there's always a gap. Somebody says goodbye, you change the frequency, and you say hello to the next guy. And sometimes that can be just a matter of few seconds, sometimes there's a busy frequency and you can't get on, and sometimes there's radio problems. So, whatever.

And so sometimes, there can be long gaps where you're not talking to anybody and this is routine, but typically in those cases, you're still being interrogated by radar and your transponder is still on and there should be no any particular reason for alarm.

In this case, transponder went off, what was a, you know, three- dimensional piece of information for an air traffic control, it becomes just a blip, and the alarm bell should have started ringing pretty quickly.

SMERCONISH: Richard, we knew this was the day we've known from the last 24 hours and you of course elicited from the Malaysian Prime Minister that this report was forthcoming, what did you want to see that it didn't contain?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: What I wanted to see was more description and more understanding of the role of the military and the relationship between the military and the civil aviation authorities. We know the military saw the plane on the night.

But now, we have this four-hour gap and we don't know why the two sides didn't speak to each other. I can tell you, because today, I made inquiries back in Malaysia, unlike in the United States, the military and the civil authorities do not have that ongoing dialog so that it would be quick.

Many countries don't, by the way, it's a post 9/11 thing in the U.S. and many countries don't have this that I really wanted to understand. I think you summed it up perfectly at the beginning. What we have here is not mistakes, not errors, we have confusion and miscues. We have opportunities to discover, to find, to make inquiry, those are not taken. And this, I'm afraid, is quite typical of much global air traffic result.

SMERCONISH: Miles, that scan information that was released, does it comport with a model of nefarious conduct or malfunction or neither?

O'BRIEN: Well, I would lean toward the nefarious scenario because we just talked about that, that moment of handoff, the fact that everything happened in that moment where somebody who knows a little bit about aviation, would be aware that there be this gap, this opportunity where each controller thinks the other is talking to the aircraft.

That is an interesting coincidence if in fact the mechanical event happened at the very moment. Now, I still can't -- you still can't rule out some sort of fire scenario that would knock out certain series of electrical gear that would cause it that the plane to have difficulties and be unable to communicate, but it gets harder and harder to build that case.

So -- and I think Richard agrees with me that you have to lean towards some sort of deliberate act here.

SMERCONISH: Does that make sense if you and I were a couple of no good necks and we were -- would we have circled this precise spot that this is where the bad stuff should go down?

QUEST: Yes, you would. Because if you look at the flight plan for the rest of this flight, once it crossed the South China Sea, it goes up by Vietnam and up towards, skirts (ph) Cambodia, it doesn't go over Cambodia. And then pretty much before you can say Malaysian Airlines 370, you are up into Chinese air space that you head on to Beijing.

So there weren't many opportunities. Where I do think this -- as presented, it does suggest -- it does lean nefarious, but where I might ventured this agreement is I don't think it tells us one way or the other what we learned today. What we got was a data done. A vast amount of information, some of it's relevant, some of it's not. But I think fundamentally, Malaysia has more questions to answer as indeed to other countries as a result of this.

SMERCONISH: Miles, a final question for you if I might. As you look now at this report, is there any reason that you see where it could not have been released five days ago, 10 days ago, 25 days ago.

O'BRIEN: It could have been released five days after the plane was lost, really. This is, you know, it's one thing for we and the media to say we want our information. I just think of the families. The families have -- they have no trust or faith whatsoever at the Malaysian authorities and this is a big reason for it. This kind of rudimentary basic information and this information would have been out there fairly quickly.

This kind of information should have been released when it was available to these families, I mean, they deserve better than they've got.

SMERCONISH: And Richard is agreeing with you. Miles O'Brien, thank you so much. Richard, please stay with me. I want to get your thoughts on this. The report makes a key safety recommendation, the tracking of jetliners in real-time.

Malaysian officials asked the International Civil Aviation Organization to examine the benefits of doing so. Exactly one month ago on this program, I brought up the same issue. I talked about it with Jay Monroe. He's the CEO of Globalstar. A satellite company that offers a tracking device that he says could have told us exactly where the plane is.


SMERCONISH: So here's the question that I asked, is the market going to sort this out? We are all so frustrated. And I have to tell you, on my radio program for the last three weeks, everybody calls with an example of saying, you know, "If I can track my iPhone, why the heck can't they find this plane?"

I said the other day, I flew home on JetBlue across the country a couple of days ago watching CNN. If I can watch CNN in real-time, why can't we find the plane? You think you have a solution, what is it?

JAY MONROE, CEO, GLOBALSTAR, INC.: Well, the technology does exist. And in fact, there's a next gen system that the FAA is mandating which has a component called ADS-B. ADS-B allows you to track aircraft from a signal that is emitted from the belly of each airplane to ground infrastructure. The challenge with ADS-B is that A, it's not rolled out everywhere and B, it doesn't work on areas that can't see ground infrastructures.


SMERCONISH: We're joined by CNN safety analyst David Soucie. He is the author of I have a copy in my hand of "Why Planes Crash." Thanks so much for joining us. Is the net, net of this that we will get some type of real-time transmission of information about an aircraft?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, I would sure hope so. But we said the same thing after Flight 447 now, didn't we? And we have that information. We knew exactly where it went. There is other information about extended range on the pingers to 90 days instead of 30. This is a history.

This has gone on a long time, not only in the United States, but in ICAO. There's a lot of lessons we learned but not only do they not get implemented in the United States. But to try to get that through ICAO to enforce it, to have our ambassador for the United States take it to ICAO and say this is something that United States is demanding. We have to have standards for the people that fly in your airlines in your countries and that's what ICAO is all about. They're not impactful. They are not doing that. There's many examples of that.

SMERCONISH: It confounds Americans. I mean, here we are having this conversation on a week, Richard, where the Supreme Court is looking at whether a warrant is necessary before we look at your Smartphone because they recognize there are so much data that's being exchanged via that device in your pocket.

QUEST: Just about everybody I speak to airline, CEOs, regulators, everybody says it's coming, this real-time tracking. ICAO has got a meeting schedules for the 12th and 13th of May to look at -- start looking at some of the lessons of this. Now, this is a body frankly that is slow. It is deliberate, and some would say, sclerotic because you've got to keep everybody on board.

It's part of the United Nations. I mean, need I say more? Getting agreement until (ph) something like this ain't going to be easy.

SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, we did learn something about cargo hold today. I want to ask the two of you. And I'll start with David, with you. The ion batteries, of what significance?

SOUCIE: Lithium ion batteries are very significant, in my opinion, others may not share that because ...

SMERCONISH: What are they, by the way. Don't take for granted that the knuckle head between the (inaudible).

SOUCIE: Well, in your phone. You have a lithium battery right here.


SOUCIE: I am sure if I have a extra in here but it's very small. That lithium battery is used from everything from this to the Dreamliner to cars, the new cars that are all electric-used lithium batteries. They're light. They are very powerful. They carry a lot of energy inside of them. But, they're a little bit volatile. They can have problems. And when they do, it's explosive, it' explosive problems, very hard to control those.

SMERCONISH: So how -- in what quantity did we learn today?

SOUCIE: Well, we thought that it was originally 250 pounds. That's what they have said. And they said there's 250 pounds loaded in the back part of the aircraft which is where it's safe and then we find out later it's 450. Now, we have this report, almost 5,000 pounds. That's more than two vehicles, two cars. That's how heavy that is. That's a lot of lithium batteries.

SMERCONISH: You agree with this (inaudible) of this potentially?

QUEST: No. Not really.


QUEST: Because I think if it's been in the lithium, there is a risk. I don't deny that. But even have been the lithium that it caused the problem that would have been plenty of opportunity for mayday. That would have been plenty of opportunity for a variety of responses. And David ...

SOUCIE: Perhaps.

QUEST: ... and how do you get the plane from there down to the South Indian Ocean?

SOUCIE: This isn't a point I'm making Richard. The point I'm making is in United States, that wouldn't happen. The batteries wouldn't have been in there. I'm not saying that this is a singular caused. In every accident investigation I've ever done, there's never been a singular cause ever.

But listen, let me finish, because taking this over to ICAO. We learn this lesson in 2010. Four years later, there's not even mentioned that this needs to be a standard into the international environment, not even talked about, at all. They are still flying these batteries on board.

SMERCONISH: For the domestic flight in the United States, have had that quantity?



SOUCIE: Well, they could have had that quantity, but on a cargo airplane, not a passenger airplane.

SMERCONSIH: Not a passenger airplane.

SOUCIE: You don't put -- you don't have to put these batteries right underneath your feet. It's not just a smart thing to do.

QUEST: I'm not saying it's not a risk.


QUEST: I'm saying I don't think it's a factor in this incidence.

SOUCIE: It may not be, but we have to look beyond the factors. We have to look -- give these families something to deal with. Give everybody -- we're on about in safety aviation and there's other things to be learned other than -- until we know -- and I agree with you. I can't put together why those lithium batteries would have cause this exclusively by themselves.

But what I can do is look beyond this and look at other mistakes, other things that we can all through focused on trying to fix one thing and trying to figure it out. There's bigger things at hand here.

SMERCONISH: Why are we 50 plus days into this and only now recognizing that that was in the cargo hold?

QUEST: Well, who would know? We are the only recognizing it, but they thought it about it. I mean, you know ...

SOUCIE: That's a good point.

SMERCONISH: Well, there's a transparency issue. I guess that's my point. QUEST: No, no, no. Come on. No, come on. You can have transparency and you can have just facts to fact sake providing the NTSB, the AAIB, the BEA. All the relevant authorities in the room know the facts. You're not obliged to just jump everything through out there because they have to be selective specifically because there's so much -- they could be releasing, but they have to choosy about it.

SMERCONISH: Gentlemen, thanks so much. David Soucie and Richard Quest, you know we appreciate you both.

A Beijing hotel has been their home for more than 50 days, but now, the families of the missing aboard Flight 370 are getting kicked out. I'll talk to Sarah Bajc, the partner of one of the American passengers.

And they're damned if they do damn if they don't. The NBA Board of Governors needs to decide between setting up potentially dangerous precedent for being called racist.


SMERCONISH: This is an image of the Lido Hotel in Beijing. It's been the home of many of the families of the 239 people aboard Flight 370. But today, those families were effectively told by Malaysia Airlines to pack their bags and leave the family support centers that it had established. It's already Friday morning in Beijing. And today, the airline is closing its hotel support center there and that's our unfinished story tonight.

So how did the families feel about the release of the preliminary report by Malaysia? Are they satisfied or did they feel there are still too many unanswered questions. Let's bring in Sarah Bajc. Her partner Philip Wood was a passenger aboard Flight 370. She was also at the Lido Hotel Thursday when families were briefed by officials. As a matter of fact, Sarah, I'd love it if you would paint that picture for us in terms of how the report was received by those family members.

SARAH BAJC, PARTNER OF PHILIP WOOD ABOARD FLIGHT 370: Well, the report that was given at the hotel was only a briefing on the fact that they would be closing the support centers and sending the families home. The families did not receive any kind of overview of the preliminary report that it was released by DCA. So, you know, let's separate those topics.

I had actually been at the Lido Hotel earlier about 6:00 to do an interview and we were shutdown by the police. So the police came and made the camera crew go away. So I went inside with my camera and it was a very tense place. More than 500 families gathered. Probably about a hundred police officers in full battle fatigue and, you know, the whole report was done in English.

So the average person in the room really had no clue what they were been hearing until a translator started after the fact. And that's when I left because it started getting very tense. SMERCONISH: And I know that the tense nature of it that you're describing is attributable in large part to the fact that the family had been now -- the families have now been told that this facility will no longer be their home for the duration of this process. And I'm wondering if it's an emotional concern that they have or a practical concern. In other words, emotionally, does this say to the families that there's really nothing else that we see in the near future and consequently, we think you should return home or is there a practical consideration in terms of the information flow.

BAJC: It's both. Partly, this is a support network that everybody has developed, right? It's (inaudible) big giant family. But also, the average Chinese person, when they go home, they will have no other means of communication. So, Malaysian Airlines are sending everybody home, but they haven't actually created any kind of interim step for them.

But, you know, I think there's something very important to raise here is that the timing of this was almost too perfect to distract from the release of ICAO report because that report raises far more questions than it answered. It is riddled with discrepancies. It contradicts itself even between the maps given and the document of the report, as well as the list of actions taken. If there are actual contradictions between what they've put in those three documents.

SMERCONISH: I know from a prior conversation that we've had that you participated in the drafting of 26 questions that you were looking to be answered. How many of the 26, if any, were resolved with the issuance of this report?

BAJC: Well, they did issue the cargo manifest. So that was one of the things we had been asking for, but they still have not released any data. These reports does not address any of the civilian radar data from three different air traffic control facilities that would have all fed into DCA. So what this report does is it highlights that there were three catastrophic points of failure.

The first is that Malaysian operations with communicating incorrect information. They reported two Ho Chi Minh that the plane was registered and coordinates (ph) in Cambodian airspace. It never was. So that was a fabricated piece of information. I would like to know who that Malaysian operation center employee was who did that because it was either gross incompetence or intentional misleading, you know.

So they failed to surface that information and DCA completely failed to respond to an unidentified object going through it with the airspace. The military failed to respond to an unidentified object going towards its own military base. And then on top of it, the rest of the response cycle was completely broken because the cooperating airport of Ho Chi Minh was being said incorrect information.

SMERCONISH: I know that you continue to post Facebook messages to your partner. If the status quo doesn't change, for how long will that continue to be your approach, your outlook?

BAJC: Well, I continue to write messages to fill up several times a day. We have constant communication when he was present and we continue to have constant communication at least one-sided. I haven't been posting as many recently because frankly most of them are fit for public consumption. But, I'll continue to do that. It's (inaudible) outlet.

SMERCONISH: Sarah Bajc, God speed. Thank you for joining us.

How will the owners vote? It may seem clear with the rest of us, but if the Board of Governors forces Sterling to sell, they may suffer consequences later. And how will the Sterling scandal affect race relations not just in the NBA but across other sports leagues?


SMERCONISH: Major news tonight. And NBA owners committee met this afternoon and move to force Donald Sterling to sell his basketball team. The league released this statement.

"This afternoon the Advisory Finance Committee met via conference call to discuss the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers. The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and we'll reconvene next week."

There could be potential repercussions. Are the owners setting a dangerous precedent for themselves and what if Sterling refuses to sell and file a suit against the NBA?

We're joined by Lanny Davis, former White House Special Counsel for President Bill Clinton and author of "Crisis Tales." Rick Horrow, a sports business analyst and former NBA player Cedric Maxwell. Lanny, are you surprised as I that there has still not been an apology from Sterling?

LANNY DAVIS, AUTHOR, "CRISIS TALES": Well, it's amazing to me unless his goal in life is to lose credibility with friends, colleagues, and doesn't care about his personal reputation. And there are people get a point in life who really don't care. It looks that that is the case. If he did care a long time ago, he would have apologize and put the team up for sale himself and indicated that he doesn't deserve to own the team given what he clearly feels about African-Americans which is racism.

SMERCONISH: Cedric, I think I saw out of the corner of my eye that as I was doing the intro and talking about the repercussions, and perhaps, setting a precedent here that could come back to hunt the owners, I think I saw you nod, maybe I didn't. So let me just say (ph) ...


SMERCONISH: OK. Speak to me on that issue if you would.

MAXWELL: Well, I think one of the things you'll really look at, you are setting a precedent when it comes in. I mean, look at a couple years ago, Kobe Bryant said something that was homophobic, you know, about an official. What happens if somebody finds a tape of Kobe Bryant saying something like that again? Where do we go? I mean, this is a slippery slope. Mark Cuban said this, "I'm not sure where you go, who is the next guy up." There are going to be a lot of ramifications which come into play here if you think about what has happened.

SMERCONISH: Rick, I took a look at the bylaws, the owner's bylaws that applied to a circumstance like this and if I'm interpreting it correctly and going to the proper paragraph it says "At such price and on such terms as the Commissioners shall dim reasonable and appropriate." That would put a great deal of power in the hands of the NBA Commissioner. Because I've been wondering, how do you facilitate the sale and I guess my question for you is, is it to the disadvantage of Sterling, the longer that this goes off the clock because the franchise will be devalued?

RICK HORROW, SPORTS BUSINESS ANALYST: Absolutely. At any contact we don't hold the big sale for Donald Sterling. By the way he bought the San Diego Clippers for $13 million in 1981, forge values this franchise at 575. Based on distressed sales by the way, the L.A. Dodgers for $2.1 billion and all the over win free types that are lighting up to buy this. Here is 20 bucks by the way Michael, I'm officially in the race. I want to buy that franchise as well.

SMERCONISH: Well, everybody else is in, why not you?

HORROW: Yes. Well, and I am in now. But the bottom line is the reduction of brand value continues sponsors flee, players will flee, Doc Rivers doesn't coach, the longer the thing gets tarnish. He may litigate but it's to his own personal financial detriment and certainly to the owners as well.

SMERCONISH: Hey, Lanny Davis, to Cedric Maxwell's point, I want to address something to you, because I know in the past on that illustrious list of your clients was one Daniel Snyder, the owner of the Redskins and I know you provided him with advise previously, Harry Reid on the floor of the Senate has now drag or attempted to drag Daniel Snyder into this conversation. I think that's precisely what Cedric was talking about. Is that a appropriate Lanny Davis?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, with all do respect to Senator Reid, he's just flood out actually wrong. There is an -- a racist speak at phone in Dan Snyder's body and nor has he ever indicated purchase towards any group. The debate of that whether the Washington Redskins is a racist name is a reasonable debate based upon peoples point of view. There are many Native Americans that are proud to say "Hail to the Redskins" and seeing match on at the stadium just as I have been.

But it's an 81-year-old name. And to compare the debate on that name and respect for those who are offended by it to the man that is a racist and overtly -- over the years has been racist. Why it took so long for the NBA to catch up to man or discriminate against people on the basis of race in the housing marketplace, so there's no comparison. Senator Reid is really I think unfairly and in accurately making that analogy. SMERCONISH: I want to bring in Arnie Fielkow, the CEO of National Basketball Retired Players Association who's been involved in discussions about the Sterling situation. What about this idea of precedent, has Silver started one in your view?

ARNIE FIELKOW, CEO, NATIONAL BASKETBALL RETIRED PLAYERS ASSOCIATION: Well, I think the Commissioner has taken great steps here, he is shown great leadership. I though that the decisions and the position that he announced on Tuesday was absolutely correct. You know, he was responding to a terrible situation a bigotry and hatred. And I thought the league's actions so far had been outstanding, one step further today with the advisory in finance committee. Eventually this will make its way to the board of Governors. But, you know, I'm really proud of how all the basketball family has to come together, but whether it be that the players, the Union, the league, the retired players. This is one family and we've all been together on the right side.

SMERCONISH: Rick, the issue of where we go from here and the forced sale of the team, the lawyer in me recognizes that to the extent that franchise is diminished by this process Sterling can turn around and try and try and lay that off on the NBA. And say, you know, "It was a $500 million franchise that now is worth a rock bottom of 200 million or whatever the data may say."

HORROW: And the lawyer and me says that he probably caused a lot that himself. When the NBA looks back historically and when history judges this, maybe even four months from now. They may get a billion dollar assets sale, the Bucks just sold 551 out of a billion here. And every time the names were lined up to buy, the price goes up. The players as we just heard are unanimously behind this and unprecedented show of solidarity and a significant decision by a Commissioner who's only been on board for two months, although been in a shadow that David Stern for awhile.

The International Globalization of the NBA, 215 countries now looking like a league of diversity, not a league of racism. So I would say four months from now history is kind to this process and as long as Donald Sterling keeps his lawyers to the transactions side of this business not the litigation side of this business.

SMERCONISH: Cedric, do you think that the current players in the NBA are wise to the point that you're making the Kobe Bryant point, the point that says "Hey this guy needed to go but be careful this could comeback to bite some of us in fanny."

MAXWELL: Absolutely. I think if you look at the players right now, I think they have a understanding. But do they really have an understanding? At the end of the day everybody is on board right for scrutiny, players, owners, everybody. So now, you look at me that, "How are you going to judge all this." If you're an official of a basketball game and we're start talking about language right now, you have enough right now judging the NBA game. Now you have officials looking at language which is said, in Football, basketball.

So the slippery slope is there. How are you going to control this thing to me? I am not sure. But all the players right now have lined up, all the older players have lined up and they are following what the new commissioner has lay out and I love it.

SMERCONISH: Arnie Fielkow, Cedric, as well as Lanny Davis, and Rick Horrow, thank you so much. We are just learning that there is some new information about the search for flight 370. We're going to take a quick break and we'll be right back with that.


SMERCONISH: At the top of the program, we said that Malaysian officials emailed out the preliminary report on the investigation into Flight 370, rather than allowing question from reporters. But we've just learned that Malaysia's Acting Transportation Minister will hold the media briefing in Kuala Lumpur at midnight Eastern Time. And we're back with CNN's Richard Quest. Was this anticipated?

QUEST: No, it wasn't because the briefing was supposes to have been at the time that the report came out 5:30 in the afternoon. They canceled that briefing. They issued this. And so we were expecting a briefing out some point but it was canceled this morning we did wonder why.

SMERCONISH: Was it to give everyone in the media the opportunity to digest this report.

QUEST: I wouldn't go that far, I think it's just one of those things. Angus Houston, the head of the JACC in Perth is also in KL at the moment. My guess is that there are also very high level meetings taking place in Kuala Lumpur to discuss and to talk about the future direction of the search. Because although Australia has the job of actually doing it. Malaysia is still the State of registry, the state of operator. And therefore it's still in control.

SMERCONISH: And of course you've got that limited activity in the Bay of Bengal, although I know there's, not a consensus but perhaps -- they're going to -- you sum it up for me. Are people buying into that?

QUEST: No, but they're going to have to go look at it. Because if they didn't go and look, so they are going to go and have a look because that's the price you pay for basically having no information. You dare not ignore something like this.

SMERCONISH: If Richard Quest were at that media availability at midnight tonight our time, what is it you'd most want to ask having read that report?

QUEST: Oh easy, Mr. Administer, do you think it is acceptable that four hours went by before the search operation? For whatever reason is it acceptable to the traveling public?

SMERCONISH: Do you anticipate that there will be Australian participation in the briefing? Is that what I hear you say by making reference? QUEST: I don't know, is the short answer. I do not know if Houston will be there. I do not know the purposes. But I have to say when do they do have this briefings, they're quite open, it's not like a sort of a, you know, I'm not the (inaudible) type thing. You turned up, they're all there, it's well organized, it's coordinated, you're asking questions, you don't necessarily get the answer you want to hear. But it's all about done in one time.

SMERCONISH: You wonder what response if any they'll offer to the family member I interviewed Sarah Bjac a little bit earlier in the program, the family members are devastated at having now to leave the Lido Hotel in Beijing. And I'm so pathetic to them on the other hand, you know, at some point it just can't go on forever.

QUEST: That's the point. Make it at some point and what have you read what Malaysian airlines said. They're quite open. We're not stop getting information. But the comfort of home is now the place to be in their view. It's time to move right on. Angry got, the advance payments being made under article 28 of the Montreal convention. So the process has to move forward. And I'm afraid to say the one of the harshness of it, you can't keep people in hotels out in for night.

SMERCONISH: The whole law enforcement aspect of this is what I most want to learn and of course we did hear anything on that score today.

QUEST: No, because that's not what this report is about. It's factual design for aviation. It's important to understand everything to do with (inaudible) 13 of ICAO. Everything about it is not to do with criminal or to do with law enforcement. It's to do with aviation safety. So you have two distinct tracks, criminal and law enforcement and aviation on safety.

I can honestly say I've already qualified to talk on one of them.

SMERCONISH: Well, I may not be qualified to talk on either but I'll simply say this, to extent there's nothing forth coming about the law enforcement side of the equation I think all that it does is grow concern and speculation that there's just nothing productive taking place there.

QUEST: They haven't got any facts Michael. Did everybody keep thinking, there must be some great ...

SMERCONISH: Right, yes ...

QUEST: ... unknown fact.


QUEST: There isn't I've been there. You've got the Inmarsat hand shakes, you've got the pings under the water and you've got this air traffic control and that is ...

SMERCONISH: How reliable could those pings have been if they were in a triangulated area and now they've been inspected that area and they came up with nothing. QUEST: They've inspected the smallest 10 kilometer radius from the second ping. Now they're going to go a little bit wider up to the first one. And then they're going to go a bit wide still. So you're still in the bull park, you're just not at the diamond.

SMERCONISH: Richard Quest, thank you so much and Don Lemon will be live at midnight here on CNN with that press conference from Kuala Lumpur. As Hilary Clinton weighs a bit for the White House, there's one looming obstacle that could be a deal breaker. And our own Jake Tapper exclusive interview with President Bush. What he says about his brother in 2016.


SMERCONISH: Hillary Clinton keeps saying that she has not made up her mind if she'll run for President in 2016. But Politico has published an intriguing article. And what it says maybe the single biggest factor that may lead her to decide not to run. CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman co-wrote the article and she joins us now.

May I read the lead aloud? "Over the 25 years Hilary Clinton has spent in the national spotlight. She's been smeared and stereotype. The subject of dozens of over-hyped or downright fictional stories and books alleging, among other things, that she is a lesbian, a Black Widow killer who offend Vincent Foster then led an unprecedented cover up, a pathological liar, a real estate swindler, a Commie (ph), a harridan, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So, you say and you attribute to someone close to her, "Hey she hate you guys" meaning the media?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It's a very blunt assessment and it was backed up by many, many people who Glenn Thrush I spoke with for this story. She has a very long difficult history and you know this with the media. And she has good reason to dislike as you just laid out, the media for many, many attack she have gone on. Remember she famously claim that's right-wing conspiracy. And her point was that there is a legitimate thing there and no one is looking into. It is true. She has been accused of things that almost no other public figure has been accused of.

On the other hand, she is very, very mistrustful of the press, always has been and there's never made much effort to engage.

SMERCONISH: But Maggie, you know what occurs to me? You and I are having this conversation on the Clinton News Network, right? That's what they use to call CNN from the right. So, the people on the right they say "Oh my God, you people in the media you cuddle her."

HABERMAN: Yes, oh yes, and this is been going on for a very long time and we will hear much more of that going forward if she runs. We are going to hear that we are treating her too softly. I heard people criticize our story as going to easy on her. Which is not -- I think the response that a lot of her supporters had. So it's a very mix views...

SMERCONISH: Does she work it? Does she make the effort? HABERMAN: No. This is the thing. She has been out -- not really office but out of the State Department for the last 18 months, 17 months something like that. As far as I know other than two books that she set for, she has not done any real sort f smooching with columnist or with reporters -- recently not reporters who worked the beat.

There are couples of people that she trusts. There are certain reporters with deep entice like your Joe Conason who we quote in the story. But for the most part, she has not sort of forge this relationships over time. She's not seen the benefit to it. And yet reporters who spent time with her of the record almost to a fault come away thinking she was warm and funny and the person that they hear about from friends.

SMERCONISH: I want you to say something. Jake Tapper sat down with President George W. Bush and asked him about 2016 and here's a piece of what he had to say.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I hope Jeb runs. I think he would be a great President. I have no clue what's on his mind. And we all talk when he's ready. As he said publicly, I'm thinking about my family. And of course he knows for well what -- I run for the Presidency can do on family after all he seen his dad and his brother run for President.

I hope he runs. So hey Jeb, if you need some advice, give me a call.


SMERCONISH: Maggie Haberman, (inaudible)

HABERMAN: I think you actually have taken out his word here. They truly ...

SMERCONISH: How could they not talk about it?

HABERMAN: Everyone says around them, this is not really top the conversation that they get into deeply, perhaps for variety of reason. You know that's going to a complicated relationship over time. I think George W. Bush is genuine when he say, "Please run." I think he genuinely thinks his brother would be a good President, but it would be rather complicated for both of them. So ...

SMERCONISH: I hear the country groaning at the prospect of Bush, the Clinton and the media is saying "Oh my god."

HABERMAN: Bring it on, bring it on.

SMERCONISH: This could be -- can we start tomorrow? This is a great piece. Congratulations Maggie Haberman and Glenn Thrush. And yes, I read the whole darn thing, OK?

HABERMAN: I believe you, I believe you. SMERCONISH: How could you question me on that?

HABERMAN: I did check. That's sure.

SMERCONISH: She showed and she said, did you really read the whole thing? Of course I did.

HABERMAN: Where we're talking about it 12 hours ago.

SMERCONISH: There you go. Thank you, Maggie Haberman.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: It maybe first a big day. Here's I wanted to say, it's May 1, it's College Acceptance Day. And I shall explain in just a minute.


SMERCONISH: In 1 Last Thing, today is B-Day. It's May the 1st. It's College Decision Day where high school seniors have to make their final decisions of which school to attend. Then not many had quite the array of choices of one Kwasi Enin. Do you remember him?

He's the Long Island 17 year old who was accepted at every single school in the Ivy League. All eight Ivy's and four other schools where he applied, he was 12 for 12. And proved that he's a good kid, he told the New York post that he credited his helicopter parents for his success.

The aspiring doctor had a lot going for in his in his applications. His parents are immigrants from Ghana. His achieves straight A's at the William Floyd public high school. He plays the viola, sings in acapella group. He's a shot putter and volunteers at a Long Island Hospital while singing at church.

Oh by the way, he scores 2250 out of 2400 on the SAT. I offer that last bet, a bit dismissively because I doubt the Ivy's needed to see that score to know that he's a good investment. The college board recently announce that it's attempted to change that nature of the SAT in a way that will recognize evidence-based thinking that students should be gleaning in high school instead of a test that can be gained by higher preparation. And I think that's a step in the right direction but I'm hoping that the schools will go even further.

Today at a roughly 2800, four-year U.S. colleges and universities about 850 of them make SAT or ACT submissions optional. And a recent study by two former colleagues at Bates College, William Hiss, he was the former Dean of Admissions and Valerie Wilson Franks, they found that there's a negligible difference between the performance of students who submit test results and those who do not.

The study looked that 123,000 student at alumni records and it found only a .05 differential between JPA's of those applicants who submitted a standardized test score and those who did not. And graduation rates for the submitters were only 0.6 percent higher than those of non-submitters, in other words very trivial differences.

Hiss told me recently, "In our one study, there were tens of thousands of students whom any statistician would call false negatives. That is, these students' SAT scores suggest they could not do strong college work, when in fact they can."

Yesterday, Kwasi Enin, he announced that he is now probably a member of the Yale class of 2018. Based on his scholastic achievement over a period of years, I'm pretty sure they're happy to have him regardless of how well he tested on one Saturday morning.

I'm Michael Smerconish. I will see you back here tomorrow night. CNN's Special Report: The Trials of Amanda Knox, starts right now.