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Aviation Security; Hillary Clinton in Iowa; Interview With Florida Senator Marco Rubio; Gov't Warning: New Planes Can Be Easily Hacked; Hidden Cams Catch Luggage Thieves. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired April 14, 2015 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hillary Clinton is in Iowa, and Marco Rubio is in our studio, your one-stop shop for 2016 news.

I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.

The politics lead. The Scooby has landed. Her van has pulled into Iowa and Hillary Clinton does a meet-and-greet on a small college campus, but will this low-key rollout of her campaign do enough to woo skeptical voters in a state that gave her a bronze trophy last time?

And fresh from his Miami announcement, Senator Marco Rubio will tell you why he wants to be president and how he thinks he can beat the Clinton juggernaut coming up live in a one-on-one interview right here on THE LEAD.

And the national lead. Forget cockpit door locks and all that extra TSA security. A startling new report reveals that soon all terrorists will need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection to possibly take control of a commercial plane.

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We're going to begin today with the politics lead and the first that we're hearing from Hillary Clinton at her first official campaign stop, talking to voters about why she wants your vote.

She did so in this new modest campaign style, taking the I out of Iowa, as it were, hitting the Hawkeye State not with a raucous rally to lay out her 2016 agenda, but with a more intimate gathering with teachers and students at a community college in the small town of Monticello.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A lot of people in the last few days have asked me, well, you know, why do you want to do this and what motivates you?

And I have thought a lot about it. And I guess the short answer is, I have been fighting for children and families my entire adult life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Before the roundtable, Clinton engaged in what you might call a little coffee talk at a quaint family-owned business in Le Claire, Iowa, population 4,000.

And just in case you didn't get the memo that Clinton was learning from the mistakes of her last campaign, she has pulled a page from her former Democratic rivals' fund-raising playbook. Much like then Senator Barack Obama in 2008, Clinton is initially asking for small donations from her supporters, as little as $5.

The hope is that this new approach will help her build a broader base of grassroots support.

Let's go live now to CNN senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar. She's in Monticello, Iowa.

Brianna, Iowans, as you know, they can be a tough crowd. Did Clinton seemed to connect with them at all?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, she connected very much with the folks inside of this event.

There is, I will tell you, one protester here, and he appears to have found our live shot. But there were three students and three faculty that she spoke with. You said she took the I out of Iowa. She certainly did and she did say about her rationale for running she doesn't want to walk away from the challenges that the U.S. faces.

But at the same time, most of the question, aside from three lone questions about education and family, were questions that Hillary Clinton posed herself to those in the roundtable.


KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton back on the campaign trail, her first public stop, a small coffee shop in Le Claire, Iowa, a town with fewer than 4,000 residents.

From there, it was on to a roundtable conversation at a satellite campus of Kirkwood Community College in Monticello.

CLINTON: I'm going to work hard to meet as many people. I will be rolling out ideas and policies about what I think will work. But I want it to be informed by what's actually working and to build on what works.

KEILAR: It's a far cry from the look and feel of her campaign eight years ago, marked by big rallies filled with thousands of cheering supporters.

CLINTON: I'm in it to win it.


KEILAR: And travel around the Hawkeye State in what the campaign dubbed the Hillicopter. Iowa Democrats ultimately dealt Clinton's presidential hopes a serious blow by sending her to a third-place finish in the caucuses.

CLINTON: Well, we're going to take this enthusiasm and go right to New Hampshire tonight.

KEILAR: Now she's looking for a second chance.

CLINTON: I'm back.

KEILAR: And going for a more personal touch, putting the focus on who she is calling everyday Americans.

CLINTON: I'm running for president because I think that Americans and their families need a champion and I want to be that champion. I want to stand up and fight for people so that they cannot just get by, but they can get ahead and they can stay ahead.


KEILAR: I have talked today with some Democratic operatives here in Iowa and overall they really like this low-key rollout, but there was an interesting note, some of them telling CNN privately that her appearance in Ohio on the way here, Jake, this is the Chipotle appearance where she stopped in Joliet to get a bite to eat, they look at that and they see this appearance where she didn't really seem to schmooze much, especially with these voters that are in a key swing state.


And they said, that's not going to fly here in Iowa, also another key state for Democrats, not just in the primary, but in the general election, where you would expect it would really matter for Hillary Clinton if she's going to clinch the nomination as so many expect she will.

TAPPER: Brianna Keilar, thank you very much.

Beyond chowing down at Chipotle, as we just saw, and showcasing her knowledge of Middle America's vast interstate highway system, just what message is Clinton trying to relay to voters on these first few days of her campaign?

Let's go now to communications director for the Clinton campaign Jennifer Palmieri.

Jennifer, good to see you. Thank you so much for coming on the show.


TAPPER: So we just heard Secretary Clinton say in that meeting that "There's something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker."

OK. That's a good sound bite. What does Clinton propose to do about it and did she try to do anything about it during her time in the Senate?

PALMIERI: Well, I think, you know, what she is doing on this tour -- and you saw a lot of it in this roundtable that she did, where she was there for about 90 minutes -- is she has thought a lot about the challenges that are before the country, you know, what she thinks we would need to do in order to -- so that the middle class could get ahead.

She has a lot of policy ideas, but she wants to come out into the country and talk to people one-on-one, individually, to see what, you know, what are they trying to get out of their lives, what are the obstacles that are standing in their way, what are their ideas and what will actually work.

So you saw her today. She, you know, offered up a couple of ideas that she's thinking about. And you will see a lot more coming in the -- we have about 570 days, 570-plus days, so she is -- I think you will see her -- she's got some ideas about issues that she's pushing on that she will be talking.

But this next part of the next four or five weeks, she really wants to hear from people, get their ideas and, you know, I think along this time we will be rolling out policy proposals, but you will see more later on in the -- as the campaign progresses.

TAPPER: OK, I understand it's the first few days, she doesn't have a big document of policies she's going to present yet.

But, as you know, there are a lot of people, a lot of voters on the progressive left either urging a more liberal candidate like Elizabeth Warren to run or urging Secretary Clinton to be bold and not just pay lip service to the populist wing of the Democratic Party.

Can she credibly offer a plan that will do something about income inequality? We're hearing all the candidates from Ted Cruz all the way over to Bernie Sanders talk about income inequality. Does she have a plan that she will present to voters that will do something about it?

PALMIERI: So, I think you would be hard-pressed to find someone who is a more committed progressive that's achieved more in their career than Hillary Clinton.

So this is someone who going back for decades has been fighting for kids and families and she has -- I don't think people think that Hillary Clinton is going to be short on any policy ideas. It's something she spent many months thinking about, but she doesn't want to just come right out two days after having announced and say these are the answers.

She wants to talk to people and hear what their ideas are. She wants to find out other things that are working in the country. So I promise you -- and there is no doubt that she believes we need really bold ideas to help solve the problems that we're facing. But she wants to talk to other people before we -- before she gets to

the point where she's saying I'm convinced this is the right solution for the country.

TAPPER: All right, this is your first appearance and her first day, so I will rain check you on that, Palmieri, but let's move on.

PALMIERI: You have 500 and -- yes, we have got a long time.


TAPPER: It's 500-something days if she gets the nomination. I just might put that out there, but in any case.

PALMIERI: All right. You're right.


TAPPER: Marco Rubio yesterday cast Secretary Clinton as the candidate of yesterday from yesterday. What's your counter to that? What is her large-bore vision for the future?

PALMIERI: Her large-bore vision for the future is that she wants the middle class to be able to get ahead and stay ahead. That's something -- we have come a long way, but that's like the big -- it's the obvious big, huge problem still facing our country.

That is her big idea. She -- you know, I know there's a lot of attention on the other side about Hillary Clinton. She's focused on people in Iowa and she's focused on people that she met in her drive along the way. She's having a great time doing that. She's thinking about the future.

So, you know, I know some people think the election is about her. She is not one of them.

TAPPER: Don't stop thinking about tomorrow. Jennifer Palmieri, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

PALMIERI: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: And, in just a few minutes, of course, my live interview with Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio. That is coming up on the show, but first to some breaking political news.


The White House says that Cuba should no longer be considered a state sponsor of terror. The president made this announcement just seconds ago, filing the paperwork today to erase Cuba's name from the list of states that finance and fund terrorists around the globe.

In a brief statement notifying Congress of his recommendation, President Obama cited assurances from Havana that Cuba will not support acts of international terror in the future, assurances that were perhaps given this past weekend when President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuba has been on this list since 1982.

In national news, a terrifying new warning from the federal government about the vulnerability of U.S. passenger jets. A shocking report released just minutes ago says some new planes can be easily hacked, allowing a person to take control of the aircraft, even possibly crashing it into the ground. One pilot with whom we spoke says, it's easy to do.

That's next.


[16:15:20] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Some breaking news in our national lead: an alarming government watchdog report exposed flaws in newer airliners. Computer systems on board, the report says, could be hacked, causing a major system failure or potentially even a crash.

CNN aviation correspondent Rene Marsh joins me now.

Rene, I have to say, this sounds really rather terrifying.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does. I mean, this report here, and it's a whole 56 pages long, it's by the GAO, and essentially what they are say something there is a serious cybersecurity concern that the FAA really needs to address, one of the vulnerabilities that they point out here are the ultra modern aircraft. We're talking about aircrafts that are highly automated.

And the issue that they find here is that someone with just a laptop could possibly hack the aircraft from either onboard or on the ground. Again, all you would need according to this report is a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection.

TAPPER: Now, it's a little counterintuitive. What about the older planes? Are they as vulnerable?

MARSH: When we talk about the modern planes they are more connected to the Internet. So, it makes them a lot more vulnerable. They spoke to cybersecurity experts, as well as aviation experts, and these people essentially told them that when you have such highly automated systems on an aircraft connected to the Internet, it's like a flying router. We all know, you know, hackers can get into your personal computer.

So, if an aircraft is made up of nothing but computers it's just going to make it that much more vulnerable -- anything from getting around the firewall to possibly some of these modern aircraft. If you have a USB plug-in, you may even be able to get access that way.

TAPPER: What makes the feds so sure that a hacker could compromise an aircraft system on the ground or onboard? What are they basing their analysis on? MARSH: Well, again, they are saying that they are talking to --

they're talking to aviation experts, cybersecurity experts, however, they made very clear that they haven't done any actual testing or mock-ups of these scenarios.

But here's what these experts say could essentially happen: using a laptop, someone could take control of the aircraft. They can put a virus onto the airplane's computer systems. They could even jeopardize the flight by taking control of the plane's computers. And lastly, they say they could take over the warning systems and the navigational systems, and we all know those systems are extremely critical.

TAPPER: Rene Marsh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And the money lead now, if that report scared you, this one might infuriate you. Watch what happens to some checked luggage in this must-see hidden camera video from Miami International Airport. You can see baggage hammers going through suitcase after suitcase, stealing valuable items. It is a problem in airports nationwide.

Senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin shows us how they pull it off and which airports are the riskiest for your valuables.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are airport baggage handlers, thieves, inside the belly of a plane rifling through passengers' bags. What are they looking for? The valuables that you packed that you thought would be safe.

But in never before seen video obtained by CNN, undercover cameras and the police are catching the baggage handlers in the act, stealing on planes and in supposedly secure areas of the airport. The video even caught a security guard apparently in on the act.

(on camera): My reaction to seeing those videos is, I was really disgusted.

LT. PETER ESTIS, MIAMI-DADE POLICE: It's pretty incredible, isn't it?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The video comes from a sting set up by Miami- Dade police to stop a rash of thefts. Thirty-one ramp workers and baggage handlers have been arrested since 2012, caught on camera red- handed.

(on camera): And when you catch them, catch them in the act like you did on these videos, what's the response?

ESTIS: A lot of times, there is no response, other than shock that they were caught. And that's OK with us. As many of them that we can take away off the airfield, the better it is for everybody that travels through Miami International Airport. GRIFFIN (voice-over): But it's certainly not just happening in Miami.

A CNN analysis finds over the past five years, nearly 31,000 passenger claims of items missing from luggage filed with the TSA. About 25,000 of those claims, alleged valuables missing from checked bags. The rest, they disappeared from a TSA checkpoint.

[16:20:01] Five hundred thirteen TSA officers have been fired for theft since 2002, including one who hit stolen items in this secret compartment. It adds up to $2.5 million worth of passenger belongings gone.

These petty thefts are a big deal to police chiefs like Pat Gannon at Los Angeles International Airport.

CHIEF PATRICK GANNON, LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT POLICE: I believe there is a connection between baggage thefts and potential terrorism.

GRIFFIN: Gannon and others believe stealing an iPad, rifling through bags is a potential first step towards something much worse.

GANNON: I think that that is -- it's a breakdown in their moral fiber and that's why we take it very seriously here. That if we don't may attention to the small things that happen around here, that it will lead to a much larger -- much larger things.

GRIFFIN: The top airport for items reported missing from luggage, JFK in New York. So many insider baggage thefts were going on here, the airline El Al set up its own cameras and found worker through luggage, stealing money out of wallets. Seven baggage handlers were arrested for stealing iPhones, iPads, watches, rings, cameras.

In Los Angeles, police last year raided homes of baggage handlers. According to the airport police chief, the case led to a major reduction in missing items from luggage.

GANNON: We caught thefts in those two terminals by nearly 60 percent because of doing that aggressive investigative work.

ESTIS: Insider threat is very scary for us in law enforcement and certainly taking somebody's cell phone, iPad, computer, you know, what's next?

GRIFFIN: For the traveler, the concerns can be eliminated with one simple tip: don't pack anything of value inside a checked bag. And in that last-minute push to check bags at the gate, make sure you remove anything that a common thief would find appealing because those thieves are everywhere, even in the belly of an airplane.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Miami.


GRIFFIN: Coming up a horrific story out of Florida. A young woman raped on the beach while hundreds of people stood just a few feet away. It was all in broad daylight and it was all caught on cell phone video. Even more shocking, police say this is not the first time this type of attack has happened there.

Plus, new questions about the volunteer sheriff's deputy who accidentally shot and killed an unarmed man. Did he buy his way onto the police force?


[16:26:45] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

In other national news, it's an act so audacious, so deplorable, it's almost impossible to actually believe. A young woman possibly drugged and then gang raped on a crowded Florida beach during spring break. This all happened in the middle of the day, and not only was it caught on camera, but people who saw what was happening apparently did nothing to stop it. The incident took place last month in Panama City Beach, Florida. Had is the only portion of the video that we can show you on television.

Investigators say two of the four men involved in the assault are now in custody. They're both students at Troy University in Alabama.

Joining me now by phone is Panama City Beach, Florida Mayor Gayle Oberst.

Mayor Oberst, thanks so much for joining us.

How did this incident come to light?

MAYOR GAYLE OBERST, PANAMA CITY BEACH, FLORIDA (via telephone): I really don't know, because it happened -- the sheriff is handling it with Bay County, and, of course, we have our own police department within the city.

TAPPER: So, the sheriff of Bay County said this is not the first time something like this has happened and that he's asked for help and changes for the past two years. Who has he been asking for help? Why has nothing changed?

OBERST: Well, the city council last year did take some pretty stringent action and made some changes and we are meeting with the county commission at this point and we are drafting some even more stringent requirements and laws for next spring break.

TAPPER: An ordinance put in place prohibited them from drinking on the beach during the most popular time. To state the obvious, I don't think that ordinance is being enforced, Mayor.

OBERST: Well, it was actually not put in place in the city until after an incident and it will -- it will sunset on April the 18th and we're looking then at will we put that back in place next year at the beginning of March?

TAPPER: I want to play a sound bite from something else that the sheriff said. Take a listen.


FRANK MCKEITHEN, BAY COUNTY SHERIFF: This is disgusting. We have got to get control of our beaches. It is not safe for our children to be out there on the beaches when these animals are out there. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Mayor Oberst, who do you blame for things getting so out of control? Are the bars over-serving? Are the liquor stores selling to underage kids? Are the police not patrolling?

OBERST: I think it's a combination of all of those, plus, the -- we've been a spring break destination for about 40 years and over the last five years, it has continually degenerated, and I think it's a combination of all of those things and we're to the point where we have to take control of what's going on on our beaches.

TAPPER: Well, it's a shocking and horrific story. Mayor Oberst, we wish you the best of luck in trying to get ahold of it.

In other politics news today, he jumped into the presidential race fewer than 24 hours ago. He's already jogging the memories of some political observers who say that Senator Marco Rubio reminds them a lot of certain other freshman senator.

[16:30:05] So, how can the Florida Republican plan to fend off critics who say the country simply can't afford to put another inexperienced one-term senator in the White House?

We will ask him in studio live next.