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California Fires Kill 17, Force Thousands To Flee; New Yorker: Multiple Woman Accuse Weinstein Of Rape; Hollywood Stars Accuse Weinstein Of Sexual Harassment; Weinstein Denies Claims Of Non- Consensual Sex; Hillary Clinton Says She's Shocked And Appalled; U.S. Men's Team Fails To Qualify For 2018 World Cup; Catalonian President Delays Independence, Urges Dialogue; Some Catalans Disappointed Independence Is On Hold; South Korea Lawmaker: North Korea Hackers Stole War Plans; Helping Trafficking Victims in Dominican Republic; U.S. President Boasts He Has Higher IQ than Tillerson; October 11th a Day to Promote Girl's Human Rights. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired October 11, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: And the Catalonia's president declares his region has earned the right to independence, but he stopped short of giving the secessionist everything they wanted. Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay. This is Newsroom L.A.
Well, authorities are issuing new evacuation orders as wildfires spread across Northern California. The flames have killed at least 17 people and destroyed 2,000 homes and businesses. High winds and drought conditions are making things extremely difficult for firefighters. CNN's Dan Simon reports.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From Northern to Southern California, more than a dozen wildfires still burning out of control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to get out of here. We saw it. Now, it's getting across the road. It's all bad.
SIMONS: 50 miles northwest of San Francisco, in Wine Country, flames tore through parts of Santa Rosa, California, turning cars in subdivisions into ash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were seaming fire, fire, fire, get out, get out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This just happened so fast. We just had time to run away with nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had cars and Harleys and boats, and all kinds of stuff, all gone.
SIMON: Fast food restaurants, hotels, and homes, all destroyed. Allison de Capo is just seeing her parent's house for the first time.
ALLISON DE CAPO, RESIDENT OF SANTA ROSA: They're 85 years old and I just don't know if they can rebuild. I mean, so many family heirlooms, I thought my whole life I'm going to inherit these someday, this is what I'm going to pass down to my kids. Oh, God, I can't.
SIMON: Hospitals in the area, evacuated. Flames turning several subdivisions into piles of debris.
PENNY WRIGHT, RESIDENT OF SANTA ROSA: All your life savings and work for all the years are gone.
SIMON: More than 115,000 acres have burned, much of it in California's Wine Country, Napa and Sonoma Counties. Penny Wright and her husband are trying to see what they can salvage. Even their safe, couldn't withstand the heat.
WRIGHT: Since we've lived here ten years, I never thought that Santa Rosa would have a fire like this and we would lose everything.
SIMON: Fires in Anaheim have lit up the skies over Walt Disneyland. Hurricane-force winds pushed the flames so fast, firefighters couldn't keep up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the eastern flank last night, we tried to go directly in a couple of different places and we got outrun by the firefighters.
SIMON: Mill Valley, California Fire Chief, Tom Welch's own home near Santa Rosa, burned.
BARRY BEARMAN, CHIEF, NAPA COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: The fires are still out there. They are still actively growing.
SIMON: And the firefighters are exhausted.
BEARMAN: The resources still continue to be limited. We have folks on the fire lines starting their third shift right; they not been relieved because there are folks not available to come in with so many fires in the area.
SIMON: More than 180 people are reported missing. That does not mean that they are feared dead, it just could mean that there's a problem with the communication. Meantime, authorities are now beginning to release the identities of those who died. They include an elderly couple; the Husband, 100; the wife, 98 years old. Dan Simon, CNN, Santa Rosa, California.
SESAY: So very sad. Meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, is following the situation in California and joins us now with more. Pedram, you know, people up and down the state just wanted to know what does the forecast look like? When will mother nature give these firefighters a helping hand?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, what, I think right now as we speak, as we go into the overnight hours of Tuesday into Wednesday morning local time, really the best bet here for firefighters is to get the upper hand. The fires have been, of course, expansive to say the least, and Micheal, if we can advance the graphics for me, I'm having difficulty with the clicker here.
The 34 active fires across this region, not just small fires but very large fires, in fact, you take the square kilometer region, you put it together, that's the size of Hong Kong, that's how much land has been consumed across California. The images looking something like this. You see the before and after perspective, and, of course, major destruction across some of these areas where communities have been entirely decimated from the active flames across Northern California. But look at the state of California in general.
We know we began, of course -- just a few months ago, we had an expansive area of coverage in the exceptional drought. In fact, it was the worst drought we've seen in well over 100 years over 200,000 square kilometers of land have been consumed. You fast forward to just a couple months later and eventually into the end of 2017, very little in the way of drought being left in place just because of the heavy rainfall. But unfortunately, all of that rainfall really began to allow the foliage, and essentially, vegetation to flourish across that region.
So, you look at the amount of land that's been consumed: 3.4 million hectares across the Western United States. That's more than a million hectares above what is normal. And that's the fifth highest on record even across the state of California. But you look at the condition there, of course, on satellite imagery, the smoke expanding on into the Pacific Ocean.
And the good news is for, right now, we do have the moisture content, the humidity's that have risen because the winds have been coming off of the ocean. By tomorrow it changes; the winds become of a northerly component. In fact, you take a look, high pressure offshore. We do have a front that is pushing through this region. There's a trough is place as well. All of this spell additional gusty winds, potentially up to 40 kilometers per hour across this region from Wednesday leading into Thursday.
And at one point here, some of these fire officials there, Isha, we're talking about the fire at one point over a 12-hour period and consumed the amount of land that was the equivalent every three seconds to a size of a football field for 12 consecutive hours. And of course, it's not just Northern California, the scenes out of Southern California, this is what it looks like in Anaheim near Disneyland there where the flames have been, again, beginning to really disrupt some of the communities across that region and pushing in towards the parks as well there, Isha.
[01:06:01] SESAY: Yes, scary stuff.
SESAY: We're hoping it takes a turn for the better soon. Pedram, I appreciate it. Thank you.
JAVAHERI: Thank you. SESAY: Now, new developments in the sexual harassment claims against
Hollywood heavyweight, Harvey Weinstein. His wife, the designer, Georgina Chapman, said she's leaving her husband. And former U.S. President Barack Obama has joined those condemning Weinstein calling the allegations disgusting. CNN's Brian Stelter has more.
BRIAN STALTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Harvey Weinstein stands accused of rape, assault, and multiple attempts to cover it all up. Explosive allegations, coming from this 10-month long investigation by the New Yorker, while at the same time, two of Hollywood's top stars: Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, are telling the New York Times, they were harassed by Weinstein too.
"This way of treating women ends now," Paltrow says, "putting other powerful men on notice." The New Yorker article sheds light on why Weinstein was fired by his company on Sunday. The board of directors knew this story was coming. Published on Tuesday, it says at least 11 women have come forward with misconduct allegations, including three who alleged rape. One of those accusers, actors, Asia Argento, tells me: "I can confirm every word of it. This is our truth," she says, "and it's time for the world to know." The New Yorker also unearthing audio from a New York Police Department sting in 2015. Weinstein, seemingly admitting to groping a model named Ambra Gutierrez
AMBRA GUTIERREZ, MODEL: I'm can feel uncomfortable.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN, AMERICAN FILM PRODUCER: Honey, don't have a fight with me in the hallway. Please, I am not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please, come in. On everything, I'm a famous guy.
GUTIERREZ: I'm feeling very uncomfortable right now.
WEINSTEIN: Please come in now and one minute and if you want to leave, when the guy comes with my jacket.
GUTIERREZ: Why yesterday you touched my breast?
WEINSTEIN: Oh, please, I'm sorry, just come on in. I'm used to that. Come on. Please.
GUTIERREZ: You're used to that?
WEINSTEIN: Yes, come in.
GUTIERREZ: No, but I'm not used to that.
WEINSTEIN: I won't do it again. Come on, sit here.
STELTER: The Manhattan D.A. says the recording is horrifying but it's insufficient to prove a crime. "If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have." Weinstein had no comment on the tape, but his spokeswoman said any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. He says, he believes all of these relationships were consensual. Weinstein's in counseling now and hoping for a quote, "second chance from Hollywood." But more and more A-listers are condemning the predatory behavior.
And Hillary Clinton, whose presidential campaign received hundreds of thousands of dollars through Weinstein is speaking for the first time saying through a statement that she was, "shocked and appalled by the allegations. The courage of these accusers and the support of others is critical," she says, "in helping stop this kind of behavior." Some politicians, some celebrities now doing some soul-searching about how this stayed quiet, stayed silenced for so long. Shocking allegations now coming to light after decades, a sign of how the United States is going through a profound cultural shift in the way sexual harassment allegations are handled. Back to you.
SESAY: Our thanks to Brain Stelter for that. Well, joining me now is Rebecca Sun, the Senior Reporter at The Hollywood Reporter. Rebecca, thank you for being with us. I know from checking the Hollywood Reporter's site and all the others. I mean, everyone is covering this, is talking about this. We heard on Tuesday that Weinstein's wife, Georgina Chapman is leaving him. Does he have any supporters at this point in Hollywood other than those he pays -- I'm talking about his legal team?
REBECCA SUN, REPORTER, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Right. I mean, I think at this point, if you want to speak out publicly in support of him, that would, you know, that would probably hurt your career. The only people who have said things were -- yesterday, the Fashion Designer, Donna Karen, sort of gave comments saying that you know, Harvey's a good guy.
And you don't know how these women, were dressed, possibly, they were asking for it. It was very, very bizarre comment, there was a media backlash, and she ended up walking back those statements. I think before I got here, I saw that Lindsay Lohan had some deleted posts saying that we -- you know, she feels bad for him and we shouldn't pile on. But I mean, that's pretty much it.
[01:10:12] SESAY: That's pretty much it, OK. The board, the Weinstein Company board put out another statement on Tuesday, and let me just read it out. They say, "These alleged actions unethical to human decency, these allegations come as a surprise to the board. Any suggestion that the board had knowledge of this conduct is false." That's from the Weinstein Company board. Bearing in mind, the New Yorker piece, the New York Times piece, both speak to the fact that this was an open secret.
SESAY: Is anyone buying the statement from the board? I mean, what are you hearing from your reporting? What are you picking up?
SUN: I mean, I think that that statement is the only statement they can make, right, without opening themselves up to, you know, sort of being accomplices, if for example, any criminal charges end up getting filed because of The New Yorker, you know. Those charges about, you know, Harvey Weinstein actually committing sexual assault and rape, you know, that could open itself up to a criminal investigation.
Now, obviously, like you said, the reports, I mean, he had employees at the Weinstein Company sort of serve as honeypots, you know, arranging these setups with women, various cover-ups, you know. There was even the very first report last week from The New York Times, there was an internal memo from, you know, somebody outside said this is happening, I'm troubled by it.
SESAY: That's right.
SUN: And, you know, she reached out, too, by a senior executive at the company saying I've gotten into fights with Harvey about this. So, absolutely, there were people who knew.
SESAY: Yes. So, for them -- people will kind of raise an eyebrow when they see that statement from the board. The New Yorker Piece which came out on Tuesday by Ronan Farrow is explosive because, as you say, it takes it further from The New York Times piece which was allegations --
SUN: From harassment.
SESAY: -- of harassment to actually physical contact assault. Ronan Farrow interviewed 13 women who say, Weinstein, either sexually harassed or assaulted them; three women alleged rape. I will read some of what they say. Let's put up a quote from an Asia Argento, she's an Italian film actress and director, and this is what she says, she says: "At some point, Argento said, she stopped saying no, and feigned enjoyment," this is during the assault itself, "because she thought it was the only way the assault would end. 'I was not willing,' she told me, 'I said no, no, no.' 'It's twisted.'"
Let's put up Lucy Evans. She also describes a case of rape, of unwanted and sexual conduct with Harvey, and this is what she says this in part of her interview with Ronan Farrow, "In the end, she said, 'he's a big guy, he overpowered me.' At a certain point, she said, 'I just sort of gave up. That's the most horrible part of it,'" and she goes on to say, "and that's how he's been able to keep this going. That's why he's able to do this for so long to so many women. People give up and then feel like it's their fault." And that is a thread that runs through these allegations made by women that he's this big force, he's this big character physically but also his power --
SESAY: -- in the industry.
SUN: Yes, absolutely. And I think what you're seeing with this case is unfortunately and heartbreakingly something that plays out, you know, around the world with this whole dynamic of power and sexual assault, you know. Harvey Weinstein was not only a physically intimidating guy but absolutely one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood. You know, you're worried not just for your physical safety in that moment, you're worried about just your livelihood. You're worried about, you know, just the legal ramifications. You know, it's going to be he said/she said sort of thing.
SESAY: And again, some man who has a team, a flees of attorneys.
SUN: Every legal, you know, recourse at his fingertips. And so, you know, the reactions from these women, from Asia Argento, Lucy Evans, and others is absolutely a very common thing. You see of victims, survivors, sort of being able to cope with this negotiation. What can I do in this moment to survive and get out of this situation as quickly as possible?
SESAY: What is your sense, again, as you are embedded in the Hollywood community and reporting it or reporting on it of having the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie at their voices to the women or the chorus of women saying: Harvey Weinstein basically came at them?
SUN: That was really powerful not just because of, you know, how famous they are now, but Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow are both descended from Hollywood royalty. And so, if Harvey Weinstein was able to take advantage of these young starlets who already were connected and that sort of thing, it makes you think, like, how much easier it was for him to take advantage of young women who truly had no connections, and no other ties, you know, to the industry. The fact that they would speak out is really powerful in letting you know that there's really nothing that would stop this.
Something else is interesting, the actor, Terry Crews, you know, today, he's a big guy, he's a former football player, and he came forward and said that you know, "these stories give me PTSD about my own encounter." You know, there was a male producer who grabbed his private, you know. And you can really see that there's -- if people like that can be violated in that way, you can only imagine the extent of it.
[01:15:28] SESAY: Yes. And I think it speaks to the abuse of power --
SESAY: -- in Hollywood and in places where people are desperate to make it, and those that look to capitalize on that. We should point out; Harvey Weinstein denies any allegations of rape. He does, though, in response to the New York Times piece, basically say, you know, I did bad things in that statement.
SESAY: With regards to the sexual harassment that was alleged in that piece. He also says in the statement that was released on Tuesday that he's working -- working to better himself in the hope of a second chance. I know that Hollywood, I know that the U.S. loves a comeback story.
SESAY: What are the chances?
SUN: It's within the realm of possibility, you know, because you have -- for every Roger Ales or probably Bill Cosby at this point, you have a Roman Palansky or you have a Woody Allen who's never been, you know, formally charged with anything, but certainly has been able to continue to have a career. I mean, in the immediate future, Harvey Weinstein is absolutely toxic right now, has to lay low. There are reports that he flew to Europe tonight too, you know, for rehab. But, you know, we have seen -- we have seen men, you know, with enough power be able to come back from this sort of thing.
SESAY: The only thing I'll say to counter the examples of Allen and Palansky who, as you make the point in terms of their legal situations are different and Allen was never charged, is that it was a different time.
SESAY: It was a different time. There was a shift -- there's a cultural shift, and one wonders whether the shift is permanent enough to allow Harvey Weinstein to make a comeback.
SUN: You'll see. The other example we didn't mention is the president.
SUN: So that sort of thing.
SUN: So, we will have to see
SESAY: That is a good way to leave it. Rebecca Sun, we appreciate it. Thank you.
SUN: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you very much. We're going to take a very quick break now. And Catalonia's president says, the region has earned independence from Spain, but he's hitting the breaks for now. He says he wants to talk with Madrid, we will explain next.
Plus, North Korea's accused of stealing military secrets from the U.S. and South Korea. A live report from Seoul later this hour.
SESAY: Well, for the first time since 1986, the U.S. men's football team will not be a part of the World Cup. They fell to Trinidad and Tobago 2-1 in Tuesday night's qualifier. The last drop team the USA to fifth place in a qualifying table, meaning they will miss out on next year's tournament in Russia. [01:20:05] Well, the president of Catalonia is delaying a formal
declaration of independence from Spain. Instead, Carles Puigdemont is now calling for dialogue with the central government. The Spanish government will meet in a few hours to decide how to respond. Meanwhile, Catalans themselves are divided: many don't want to break away from Spain, but outside parliament on Tuesday those who favor independence waited anxiously for news. CNN's Senior International Correspondent, Atika Shubert, was there.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, supporters of independence are now starting to gather here. These are the farmers for independence, and they've come in their tractors lined up under the (INAUDIBLE). This father told us, "today, I don't think there is the more important day, it could be that they declare independence, but if not, we are still here to make it happen when the time is right. Our president will know the moment, when, and how to do it," he said.
Now, the crowd has really grown thousands of people are out here on the streets waiting to see if there will be that declaration of independence. You can see there are music and flags, it's a very festive atmosphere here. But the moment they've been waiting for, waiting for the Catalan president's speech has just been delayed for another hour. "I'm nervous this man," this man says, "waiting for what's going to happen. But I really wish for a happy ending as soon as possible," he says.
So, while we wait during this delay, a Barcelona resident has kindly let us use their balcony so we can look over and see just how many people there is out here today. Thousands, and you can hear them chanting for independence and cheering every time they see the Catalan T.V.
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
SHUBERT: This is clearly not the declaration of independence that people wanted to hear. There was initially a huge cheer, people hugged each other when they heard the words, "we have the right to independence." But then that quickly died out when they realized it wasn't quite what they wanted. The parliament session which is still ongoing, but as you can see, many of the people have left. And as they were leaving, quite a few told us they were very disappointed.
"I'm in shock. It's not the declaration we expected," this woman told us. "I don't know what's going to happen now. We're just trying to make sense of it all. I expected a complete declaration of independence," she says.
"It's too early to make an evaluation. Both parties are on this long road," this man says. We have to make an evaluation when it ends, but this discourse, we've gone through, has made me a little sad," he says.
Well, like a lot of the people that came out today, we're also going to pack up and go home. Clearly, a lot of the people here are disappointed, but many people we spoke to said they still have faith in the Catalan parliament and the Catalan president to come up with a realistic timeframe for independence. But their dream of having an independent state now have clearly been delayed. Atika Shubert, CNN, Barcelona.
SESAY: Dominic Thomas is back with us, he's the Chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dominic, thank you for being with us to help us understand what exactly took place in the regional parliament. The Catalan President Puigdemont made the speech where it has people wondering: was it an olive branch to Madrid or is he setting the stage to blackmail them?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, FRENCH ANC FRANCOPHONE STUDIES AT THE UCLA: Right. Well, I think, Isha, when you look up in the dictionary, "political crisis," you find two words: Catalonia and Spain. And I think that's where we're at right now. It's two sides competing for some kind of uncertain goal or victory. On the one hand, as you just mentioned, he announced that they had the (INAUDIBLE), that he has the mandate, that the vote of October 1st, essentially, confirmed, that there was support for secession and for the separatist, but came short of actually proclaiming official independence.
SESAY: But he did sign a declaration.
THOMAS: He did sign a declaration, and what was interesting is he also shifted between speaking in Catalan and speaking in Spanish to sort of to appeal to a broader audience. So, as far as he's concerned, he has acted responsibly and reached out to the government in Madrid. Some would say he's now thrown the ball over the in their court to see how they react, and it's a trap in a way. Now, the prime minister has to respond. But the prime minister can ask himself to what does he have to respond? It's been declared unconstitutional. They don't recognize the validity of the referendum.
[01:25:00] So, Puigdemont is some ways has disappointed his hardcore separatist supporters by not claiming independence. But the prime minister will now also have pressure on him to act in a forceful manner to demonstrate his support for the Constitution. And this, of course, will potentially galvanize supporters in Catalonia in favor of the referendum. What's interesting, though, of course, is that the background to this, and the prime minister knows it, is that ultimately the Catalonian referendum was not a true referendum, and doesn't reflect the will of the people in the region.
SESAY: It was what? A 43 percent turnout?
THOMAS: 43 percent turnout in a referendum that had been declared unconstitutional, and in which the government had threatened to come in and close down polling stations and used the police as necessary, which, of course, drove people away. Now, one could argue, but why doesn't he just go ahead and call a referendum? But that is, of course, the issue. The Spanish state is indissoluble, it cannot be broken down into smaller part. So, there's no such thing even, as the Prime Minister Rajoy is concerned as a legal referendum on this issue.
SESAY: Well, we heard from the deputy prime minister after Puigdemont spoke. Let's take a listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SORAYA SAENZ DE SANTAMARIA, SPANISH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER (through translator): President Puigdemont or anyone cannot impose mediation without going back to democracy. The dialogue in a democracy is drawn by the rules and not in bending them as you please.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: OK. That's a dismissive response to Puigdemont's speech in parliament. But I mean, as you look at it right now, I mean, we've already laid it out in stark terms that this is a crisis. Is there any room for compromise? Is there any area of common agreement that would bring them to the table?
THOMAS: Well, if Puigdemont wants a referendum and wants to secede or to separate from Spain then, no. If he's going to be a bit more realistic and realize that --
SESAY: But what would that look like, realist?
THOMAS: Well, there are some genuine grievances that people living in the region have, and by addressing those he could perhaps alleviate some of those tensions and move away from a referendum and from separation or secession. But that's not what he wants, it's not what his supporter wants in this particular context. So, it's very difficult to see a way out of this short of a negotiated settlement. But there is absolutely no way that the Spanish state will recognize a secession of the region of Catalonia. So, there's no way out in that particular context.
The prime minister could also completely ignore this, and just simply say that you know, we don't recognize this referendum and we're not going to act on it. What was interesting, though, today is that he was scheduled to speak at 6:00; it was delayed for an hour which most likely led to this suspended proclamation of independence. And also, the European Union stepped up today, because there were forceful statements made by E.U. Commission Council, by the council and the commission and so on, asking for him to stop short of proclaiming independence so that some kind of mediation could come about. But then, French President Emmanuel Macron said, no, there should be any of this, it's not the job of the European Union. So, this is something that we need to keep watching and the outcome is uncertain that the stage.
[01:28:18] SESAY: Dominic, we appreciate it, thank you. Thank you very much. It is indeed a political crisis. Quick break, South Korean lawmaker is accusing North Korea of hacking classified military documents. A live report from Seoul is straight ahead.
[01:30:00] SESAY: Hello, everyone, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles, I'm Isha Sesay. The headlines this hour.
Firefighters are battling more than a dozen wildfires raging across Northern California right now. At least 17 people are dead. Nearly 200 are missing. High winds are fuelling the flames. Forecasters say they don't expect rain for another week.
A number of women are now accusing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape. "The New Yorker" magazine first reported on the women's claims. One of whom confirm her account to CNN. A spokeswoman for Weinstein denies the allegations.
The Catalonian president is delaying a declaration of full and immediate independence from Spain and is calling for talks with Madrid. The Spanish prime minister has said he won't negotiate unless Catalan leader stop claiming independence. The Spanish government's cabinet will meet on Wednesday to decide how to respond.
The Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric power company have been ordered to pay thousands of people affected by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.
A court says officials should have been better prepared for the tsunami which knocked out the plant's backup systems and forced nearby residents to evacuate. The payouts total more than $4 million.
North Korean hackers allegedly stole classified military documents from a South Korean Defense Ministry database last year. As South Korean lawmaker also says the documents include war time plans between Washington and Seoul and procedures to, quote, "decapitate" North Korean's leadership in the event of war.
Our own Ben Wedeman joins us now live from Seoul.
So, Ben, what more are we learning about this alleged hacking which according to reports happened back in 2016?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Yes, according to a member of the South Korean National Assembly, the initial hack took place or it rather began in August of 2016. And now according to this lawmaker and of course it should be stressed that both the Pentagon and the South Korean Defense Ministry are neither confirming nor denying this story.
But according to this member of the National Assembly, the hack was able to steal 230 gigabytes of data.
And among them, what is known as Oplan 5015, which is a plan that in the event of hostilities with North Korea, how the South Korean military and the United States would decapitate, take out the leadership of North Korea including of course North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un. Now since then, it has been claimed by officials in Seoul that the cyber defences have been improved and the plans have been updated, but it does appear that 2016 was a very busy year for North Korean hackers.
In addition to hacking into the South Korean military's database, they also according to experts were able to hack into the New York Federal Reserves account for the Central Bank of Bangladesh and steal $81 million.
Now, it goes both ways. In 2010, according to WikiLeaks documents, the United States was able to hack into the intelligence agency of North Korea.
SESAY: A lot of people have been very busy at computer terminals.
Benn Wedeman joining us there from Seoul. We appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, a CNN military analyst retired Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona joins us now. He joins us from Port Orford, Oregon.
Colonel Francona, always good to see you.
First off, what are we talking about when we are referring to Washington and Seoul's stolen war time plans?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. This would be the mother load of intelligence operations. If the North Koreans were able to access that kind of information and you know 235, 240 gigabytes is a lot of information, that would be a real intelligence coup for them. Not only would they know what the plans are, they would know the exact details of the plan. Which units would do what in any plan?
[01:35:10] There are multitudes of plans. There's a plan for every contingency. It has been referred to 5015 is the decapitation of the North Korean military.
If you had access to that plan would you know exactly what was going to happen, who was going to do it, when they were going to do it, what aircraft they would be using, everything. All the way down to the communications plans.
There would even be detailed operations plans of what kind of other missions would be going on simultaneously. If you knew that, if you were the North Koreans, you could easily defend against that. All the other plans likewise have that same kind of information.
If there was going to be a large confrontation between the United States, North Korea, with South Korea and Japan involved, and the United States was going to reinforce the South Korean Peninsula, every detail of how that would happen would be available to the North Koreans. This is really dangerous when this information is not protected. And I'm glad, as Ben said, that the South Korean say that they are increasing their Cybersecurity. It's events like this that are driving the creation of the U.S. cyber command as a major unified command. We've got to secure this data.
SESAY: And to that point, let me ask you this just for a general perspective. The fact that North Koreans were able to allegedly hack all this information, does this speak to the strength and advancement of North Korea in technical capacity, their ability to hack, so to speak, or does it speak to just the weakness in the defences of the cyber systems of South Korea?
FRANCONA: It could be, either, it's probably both. I mean, but we've seen the North Koreans demonstrate a level of expertise that many did not credit them with.
I think we've been surprised with how effective the North Koreans can be and I don't think they're doing it alone. I think they probably got some help from the -- maybe the Russians and the Chinese.
The problem there is if the North Koreans are hacking using any support or any equipment or any Internet access from those other two countries, are they sharing that data with those other two countries. I would imagine they would.
So we have to assume that that information is already in Beijing and Moscow.
FRANCONA: OK. So now what? What's the next move? I mean, I know this allegedly happened back in 2016, but bearing in mind, as you say, there was a plan for every contingency, every possible configuration of conflict.
I mean, what does the U.S. do? Set about creating new plans? Different visions for confrontation?
FRANCONA: Yes, and here's the difficulty with that some of these things can't be changed. You know, if you're going to deploy units from the United States, there's only a few ways to do that. You're going to put them on ships. You're going to put them on planes.
So that part of the plan probably won't change. But maybe you change the command control nodes. Maybe you change the communications plan. Maybe you sequence them differently. But that's not the problem.
The problem is once they get into country, the North Koreans will then know where everybody is. They'll know how many people they've got to fight and they'll know their relative strength. What weapons are there?
You know, this is what intelligence agencies, you know, thirst over with this kind of information. So the United States will change anything that they can. But more importantly, and I think one of the things we need to do, is secure the data so that when you make the new plans, they're not easily stolen as well. SESAY: You make the new plans, which one would assume even though South Korea and the U.S. -- the Pentagon aren't commenting on this. You would assume that is under way or has been done. But do you take any further steps? Are there retaliatory steps that are taken against North Korea for this?
FRANCONA: Well, I don't know we would call it retaliatory. I have to assume and I hope that we're doing the exact same thing to them. This is what intelligence agencies do. So I assume that we're trying to penetrate their networks as well. I hope we're having a better success than we've had in the past, but you know, we're pretty good at this, too.
SESAY: Yes. Yes, it has been said. You know, I think one of the big takeaways from this is once again it is a reminder that North Korea poses a threat on multiple levels, not just in terms of, you know, the battlefield, the real physical battlefield so to speak but also in cyber space.
They occupy a unique position of being able to be a problem on multiple fronts at the same time.
FRANCONA: And disproportionate to their size.
SESAY: Yes, absolutely. Colonel Francona, always good to speak to you. Thank you so much for the insight.
FRANCONA: Thank you.
SESAY: Quick break. Next on NEWSROOM L.A., advocacy group One Africa says more than 130 million girls are out of school right now. The toughest place for a girl to get an education. We will tell you where those places are just ahead.
SESAY: Well, CNN's "Freedom Project" is committed to shining a light on modern day slavery.
Our Don Riddell introduces us to women in the Dominican Republic who is making a positive difference in the lives of sexually exploited women.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the surface, the Dominican Republic is a beautiful country. That's why 5 million tourists go there every single year. But away from all the luxury resorts and the sandy beaches, some people are sometimes making heartbreaking choices.
ERIKA JUDE, INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION: We have women who have said before they were going to commit suicide. And I asked her what is your debt? She said $400. $400 with tears in her eyes. $400 she believe she should take her life because there was no way she could pay off $400. RIDDELL: According to the NGO International Justice Mission, human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors is a major problem in the Dominican Republic. Involving work with the government to help rescue the victims and prosecute the perpetrators, Erika Jude is one of those helping to rehabilitate the young women.
She arrived from West Virginia as a missionary worker back in 2006, never imagining that she'd go on to help so many victims.
JUDE: I usually think that Lily House is a great example of what ordinary people can do. I just knew that I had had such a healthy, positive life that I wanted other people to experience. And so we just said we're going to start with one girl and within three months there was one girl who wanted to come off the street. We needed a place for her to live. We didn't have the finances. We're scrounging literally for $250 to rent a cheap apartment here and begin working with her.
RIDDELL: That was 2009 and it was just the beginning. Now Erica runs a dynamic sprawling facility which first and foremost offer shelter for the girls and when necessary their children. From small acorns grow mighty oaks or in this case the symbolically named Lily House.
JUDE: I love the lily, because in the Amazon they come from the darkest, dirtiest parts of the Amazon River and they come into these huge lily pads and when the light shines on it, this beautiful lily blossoms.
RIDDELL (on-camera): What, for you, is the hardest bit of this? What is it that moves you?
JUDE: For the girl who's still out there that she believes she can do nothing but be sold or she can do nothing but sell herself. To have someone encourage you that you can do something besides this.
RIDDELL: For Erica and her own young family, this has now become a life's work. That every young girl who knocks on the door still faces a difficult journey. However, Lily House tries to provide the tools to first survive and then thrive from shelter and counseling to the acquisition of new skills and a business mind.
Erica's charisma is infectious. Today, she estimates that around 50 young women have moved into Lily House to rebuild their lives and through various outreach programs they've helped up to two hundred more.
JUDE: We see ladies who come in at the beginning who believe they can do nothing and yet they turn around and they're teaching the other girls you are so special. There's so much that you can do in life. And so we get to see that complete transformation, that cycle broken and a completely different girl walk out of here. That's a picture of freedom for me.
RIDDELL: Don Riddell, CNN, Dominican Republic.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SESAY: Well, coming up tomorrow in the CNN Freedom Project introduces us to a U.S. pro-football player who is using the off-season to make a difference in the Dominican Republic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: Max Garcia has only been in the NFL for two full years, but already he's a Super Bowl champion. The giant Denver Broncos guard is now trying to make an impact off the field as well.
He ventured to the Dominican Republic to get a firsthand look at something others often turn a blind eye to, the trafficking and the exploitation of children.
On this occasion, Max heard from a young woman, only 18, who shared her story about her exploitation and what she went through to survive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAX GARCIA, DENVER BRONCOS PLAYER: You understand too emotional and just hearing her testimony, you just don't realize, you know, how good you really are it. You don't realize the type of evil that there is in this world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, more on Max's story and his work with survivors in the Dominican Republic on Thursday, only here on CNN.
We'll be back with much more news right after this.
SESAY: Well, tensions are flaring again between President Donald Trump and top Republicans. The president has seemly challenged his own secretary of state to an IQ duel and he also slammed an influential Republican senator who had been a key ally of his not so long ago.
More now from CNN's Jeff Zeleny.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson breaking bread today at the White House. A week after their long simmering feud broke into the open.
The president insisted he had confidence in his secretary of state. Brushing aside suggestions he tried to undermine him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't undercut anybody. I don't believe in undercutting people. Thank you very much, everybody. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: No cameras were allowed in the private dining room just off the Oval Office where the president, his top diplomat, and Defense Secretary James Mattis sat for lunch. The face-to-face meeting didn't answer one of the biggest questions in Washington, how long will Tillerson hang on as secretary of state?
CNN has learned the president was furious after reports surfaced last week Tillerson described him as a moron this summer.
In a Forbes magazine cover story out today, the president had this to stay about the derogatory remark. "I think it's fake news, but if he did that, I guess we'll have to compare I.Q. tests and I can tell you who is going to win."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president was only joking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He wasn't questioning the secretary of state's intelligence. He made -- he made a joke, maybe you guys should get a sense of humor and try it sometime, but he simply made a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: It's not the only fight the president is picking with his fellow Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I'm really disappointed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: He escalated the hostilities today with Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee.
Writing on Twitter, "The failing New York Times set Little Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with."
Corker now joining the rings of fellow republicans branded by Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I call him Little Marco, Little Marco.
Lyin' Ted Cruz. The bible held high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The president was literally belittling the 5 foot 7 inch Corker over his weekend interview with the New York Times where he bluntly suggested Mr. Trump was unfit for office.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
CORKER: He feels like he's on a reality show of some kind, you know, when he's talking about these big foreign policy issues. We could be heading towards World War III with the kind of comments that he's making.
(END VOICE CLIP)
ZELENY: Meeting in the Oval Office today with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the president addressed Corker's criticism the U.S. is heading toward a Third World War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We were on the wrong path before. All you have to do is take a look. If you look over the last 25 years through numerous administrations, we were on a path to a very big problem, a problem like this world has never seen. We're on the right path right now, believe me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The fight comes as the president is trying to jump start his stalled legislative agenda.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: People want to see tax cuts, they want to see major reductions in their taxes and they want to see tax reform, and that's what we're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: The rising tensions in the West Wing is weighing on many officials who worry the drama will make a tax plan even more difficult to pass.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: How do you think his ongoing fights with Republicans on Capitol Hill helps the president's agenda, tax reform first and foremost?
SANDERS: The president is very committed to getting tax reform done. Look, he's calling on Congress to get their job done. They're on another vacation right now.
I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished. The president is here and he's committed to working with them to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY (on-camera): White House officials trying to put these feuds with fellow Republicans behind them and move forward on the tax agenda. Move forward on making a decision on what to do with the Iran nuclear program. Those are the issues front and center here for the rest of the week at the White House as the president hits the road to sell his tax plan.
The question is, will the president lay off Bob Corker, Secretary Tillerson and others, or will he pick new fights with new Republicans?
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, the White House.
SESAY: Away from U.S. politics, and October 11th is International Day of the Girl. It's a call to recognize girl's rights and the unique challenges they face around the world.
One of those challenges is a lack of access to quality education.
A "One Africa" report found South Sudan tops the list of toughest places for girls to go to school. In fact, nine of the top ten countries are in Africa.
Nachilala Nkombo joins us now from Lusaka, Zambia. She's the deputy director of "One Africa."
Thank you so much for being with us.
Help us understand as you read it why nine of the top ten countries of the toughest places for girls to go to school are in Africa.
NACHILALA NKOMBO, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ONE AFRICA: Thank you, Isha, for having us on the program. Well, in response to your question, l think if you see the other characteristics of the ten countries where is the toughest place for a girl to get an education, now also fragile countries where they have not managed to secure peace and security. So the lack of peace and security plays in as an additional barrier for girls accessing quality education.
SESAY: Yes, I think that's an interesting point. I mean, if we take South Sudan, for instance, this is some data from the reports. 73 percent of girls in South Sudan don't go to primary school and South Sudan's government spends just 2.6 percent of its total budget on education.
I mean, when you look at that, am I looking at a situation where cultural, economic, and security challenges are all intersecting to keep girls out of school.
NKOMBO: Yes, most definitely. We don't have sufficient political will in addition to the security challenges and the economic status and the culture status of South Sudan.
But I think that the lack of focus on development and also the perpetuation of the conflicts in that country has meant that marginalized community such as women and girls get the least attention.
SESAY: But I think it's also interesting that your report reveals that poor countries aren't destined to perform poorly. I mean, just in case our viewers at home are saying, you know, if you're poor, a girl automatically, you know, you perform badly. That isn't necessarily the case.
[01:25:00] Burundi has the world's lowest national income per capita at $286, but it outperforms 18 other wealthier countries.
Why is that?
NKOMBO: Well, it speaks to the long term education policies that the government of Burundi has had, irrespective of the current ongoing political and security situation.
And I think that the ten toughest places for a girl to get an education can learn from Burundi. Burundi is making bold investments in education, but also in making sure that that investment is targeted. Also to ensure that girls do access quality education.
SESAY: So using Burundi and extrapolating that and moving it further, I mean, what are -- what are you calling for with this -- with this report. What is "One Africa" asking to see? What are the specific steps that you're advocating for?
NKOMBO: So to address the problem of this global girls education emergency, as a global campaign, we're asking global leaders within the G7 and the G20 to make sure that they support the replenishment of the global partnership on the education which ensures that there's sufficient global funding that's channelled towards education of the poorest communities in the world.
And also that poor countries are supported with systems that they need -- for them to be able to deliver good quality education.
As you see from the case of Ethiopia and Asia, it's not just about the money, but also how the money is managed and is spent and making sure that going right down to the school level. The school infrastructure is right. Going down to the curriculum.
The curriculum is also supporting both boys and girls to be able to have education, knowledge, and skills for them to be players in the economy of today and tomorrow.
SESAY: Well, Nachilala, thank you so much for joining us there from Lusaka, Zambia, and giving us some more perspective on the "One Africa" report.
We appreciate it very much. Thank you.
NKOMBO: Thank you so much for having us.
SESAY: We cannot stress it enough, educating girls is the key to so many of the world's problems, at least to unlocking them. We've got to educate those girls. You're watching NEWSROOM L.A. I'm Isha Sesay. Back with more news right after this.