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Freezing Temps Blanket U.S.; "Deep Fake" Video Threat; Future of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement; Facebook Posts Record Profit. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 31, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Behind you, by the way.


HARLOW: This looks like out of a movie.

YOUNG: Well, first things first, I -- you never do this on your own. So I've got Bill Clerk (ph), who is producer, Aleno Mendez (ph), my photographer with me.


YOUNG: We've been going through this for the last few days.

But we wanted to go somewhere different today than yesterday. We were in the city blocked by the buildings. But you've got to take a look at this because this we all thought was breathtaking. We saw this yesterday and -- as we were driving around looking for another live location and we thought this was just gorgeous.

You can tell, the water's actually warmer, and that makes this fog just come across the entire city. The Midwest is getting hit by a hard punch.


YOUNG (voice over): A brutal arctic freeze sweeping over nearly a quarter of the country, bringing the coldest air in a generation to parts of the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's freezing cold. My face, my toes, everything.

YOUNG: With a low temperature of negative 23 and a wind chill of negative 52, the windy city's temperatures lower than parts of Antarctica and Alaska, causing giant ice breaks to blanket the river and a wall of ice steam to form across Lake Michigan and across the skyline. The dangerously cold weather even showing its strength inside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The steam froze around where the leaks are in my front door.

YOUNG: In Minnesota, a wind chill of 65 below zero. These ultra- marathoners crossing the finish line with their faces fully covered in ice.

Police uniforms frozen completely upright to showcase the freezing cold. Residents in both Minnesota and Michigan asked to turn down their thermostats to conserve natural gas.

Meanwhile, snow squalls ripping through the northeast, bringing near whiteout conditions and winds of up to 30 miles per hour in New York and Philadelphia. This time lapse video showing the squall blowing through New York City. Lake effect snow creating blizzard-like conditions in upstate New York, dropping two to three inches of snow per hour in Buffalo, where temperatures dipped to negative 35 below zero. Near Rochester, a 21-vehicle wreck bringing this highway to a standstill. A snow squall also to blame for this 27-vehicle pile-up near Reading, Pennsylvania.

ROBERT STRAUSE, DRIVER: We couldn't see anything because the snow was being driven perfectly horizontal.

YOUNG: First responders across the country forced to brave the treacherous conditions.

DEPUTY CHIEF JOSH BUSH, MAHAFFEY, PA, COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT: The temperature not only affects the manpower, but also the hose lines freeze up instantly.

YOUNG: Firefighters in Indiana covered in ice as they battled this house fire in negative 22 degree weather.


YOUNG: Yes, your heart really goes out to the people who can't get away from this cold. You think about first responders or people who work for power companies who are trying to make sure they can restore power to folks who have lost it throughout the Midwest. Luckily, those numbers seem to be down.

Overall, though, I can tell you, this -- the air feels piercing against your skin. We know of one man or somebody, a Good Samaritan, actually paid for 70 hotel rooms for some homeless folks in the Chicago area. So that's such a heartwarming story.

Jim and Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. I love that one.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Those folks -- those folks need help.

Ryan, I feel like you're our arctic explorer there in this weather, but thanks to you and your team for covering the story for us.

One of these videos is real. The other is not real. Can you tell the difference? Up next -- and you really want to watch this story -- why so-called "Deep Fakes" have top intelligence officials very worried. This is a real -- really important story. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [09:37:48] HARLOW: Intelligence chiefs and lawmakers on edge over a new type of information warfare. They're calling "Deep Fake" videos.

SCIUTTO: Watch this and listen. Anybody you speak to in intelligence has been warning about this for some time. A high quality manipulated video that makes it hard to decipher whether it's been tampered with or not. That's a big deal ahead of the next election. Imagine the effect on the election of fake videos targeting candidates.


SCIUTTO: Joining us now, CNN national correspondent Miguel Marquez. He's been looking into this.

I mean explain this to our viewers, how big a deal this is, and actually just how authentic these videos look.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So the fakes we saw in 2016 are just the warm-up. The term "Deep Fake" comes from a Reddit user's name who made adult content, but now it is taking on security implications that could soon come from here at home or abroad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially our friends who are --

MARQUEZ (voice over): Which Barack Obama speech is real? Which is fake?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I visited with the families of many of the victims on Thursday.

MARQUEZ: The one on the right -- fake. Researchers at the University of Washington took Obama speaking and made it look like he said the same thing at a different time and place.

How about this one? Which one is fake? If you pick the man, you're wrong. Researchers at Stanford University transferred the expression, head position and eye gaze from the man and applied it to the woman.

They're called "Deep Fakes," videos that look so real it's hard to tell what's fake.

"BuzzFeed" published this Obama video, his lips digitally altered, his voice, the actor, Jordan Peele.

JORDAN PEELE, ACTOR: This is a dangerous time.

MARQUEZ: It doesn't take much imagination to see how videos like these could confuse, disrupt and intensify anger in everything, from business, to foreign policy, to politics.

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I don't need to remind anyone in the room, when this country's democracy was attacked in 2016, it wasn't with a bomb or a missile or a plane, it was with social media accounts that any 13-year-old can establish for free. MARQUEZ: In the years since the 2016 election campaign, we have seen

fake after fake after fake, including photos of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump meant to stir anger, motivate or depress one side or the other. Many shared tens of thousands of times.

[09:40:06] AARON LAWSON, SRI INTERNATIONAL: Yes, I think any time you can misrepresent reality in a way that could convincing people of it being other than it really is, is potentially dangerous, especially if you have no way of detecting it.

MARQUEZ: Detecting fakes is exactly what SRI, along with the government's Defense Advance Research Projects Agency is trying to do. Trying to stay one step ahead of "Deep Fake" technology using artificial intelligence to teach computers the telltale signs of a fake.


MARQUEZ: For now --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was just -- I -- this was -- this was very truly surprising for me.

MARQUEZ: It's a little bit of fun, whether a Jennifer Lawrence, Steve Buscemi mash-up, or an seemingly obsessed Nicholas Cage man who's put him in everything from "The Matrix" or Julie Andrews from "The Sound of Music."


MARQUEZ: I cannot get enough Nicholas Cage as Julie Andrews there.

HARLOW: Oh, my gosh.

MARQUEZ: OK, look, this is a snapchat filter, which is easy enough to do, right. But these "Deep Fake" technology -- this "Deep Fake" technology is much more sophisticated. It takes a fair amount of technology to do it. It takes some know-how and it takes days or weeks to make a convincing fake. Soon enough, though, computers learn, as they learn to recognize both faces and voices, that power will become faster, smaller and more readily available and probably something that will fit in the palm of your hand.

HARLOW: Unbelievable. So important and so scary. Thank you.

MARQUEZ: You're very welcome.


MARQUEZ: It's amazing technology and it's coming.

SCIUTTO: And technology, as we know, in this space moves very quickly.

HARLOW: Very quickly.

MARQUEZ: It took these researchers a long time to do the one -- the simple ones that we saw. But that 3-D ability to do that, that's coming very soon. Harder to do big scenes, but faces, voices, that's where it's going to be.

HARLOW: Wow, Miguel, thank you. Great reporting.

Let's talk about this with Hany Farid, professor of computer science at Dartmouth College.

Not only that, sir, you've been an expert in numerous criminal trials on this stuff. You know, you're profiled in "The New Yorker" on this. You know this stuff. And you say this is a moment -- a moment, professor, of a perfect storm when so many forces are coming together to really jeopardize democracy.

HANY FARID, PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: I think that's right. There's a number of things happening at the same time. There's the ability, as you just saw, to create very compelling and sophisticated fakes. And we've democratized access to that, so it's no longer just Hollywood studios doing that, but it's literally Reddit users.

We also have the ability to distribute that content at a speed and a scale that is unprecedented due to social media and we have a very willing public willing to consume that because of the polarization and the speed at which we consume content.

And that, in many ways, is the perfect storm because we can produce, distribute and consume fake information and it only has to be live for hours, days to have an impact on how people vote in elections --


FARID: How people respond to social violence, how people respond to world events, whether we believe it or not. And there's a bigger threat here in some ways because when we get to the point where we don't believe the videos and the audios and the images, everything can be fake. And now everybody has plausible deniability. And I don't know how you have a democracy if we can't agree on some basic facts of what's happening in the world around us.

SCIUTTO: I mean, listen, we're already there, right, because fake information is already shared and believed by many people and by -- you know, sometimes shared by our political leaders.

Let me ask you this then, you know, because the technology is moving very quickly here. What are the measures that can be taken to help people distinguish or to say imprint real video and audio in a way that folks will believe, right, to verify it? What can be done?

FARID: Yes, that's the right question to ask. So there's a number of things that can be done. So one is, you know, we have to develop technology to counter this technology. We have to get better at the forensics. We have to get better at that. There's no question.

The social media companies have to get -- take more responsibility for allowing this type of fake content and conspiracy theories and misinformation to propagate through their networks, no doubt about it.

We, as the consumers, have to get more skeptical and more critical and more reasoned about how we consume content online.

There is another technology that is emerging which is called a controlled capture recording. And that the idea here is that in the camera, at the point of recording, you encode and you cryptographically sign details of the content and you put that information on a block chain, which is essentially distributed in mutable (ph) ledger. And then you can authenticate after the point of recording.

And so I think that's going to be a trend because authenticating after the fact is very difficult. But if at every time you record a critical video or image or audio and you authenticate that and you make that public, we then are going to have an ability to trust that content much, much more. And there's that emerging technology and I think we're going to see that now starting to play more of a critical role.

[09:45:14] SCIUTTO: That's -- that's interesting. It's so technological.

HARLOW: It is really interesting.

SCIUTTO: So now, of course, you'll imagine folks who won't accept that even. You have to allow that.

FARID: Sure.

SCIUTTO: But it seems like that's a solution. We've got to follow that.

Listen, we're going to be on top of this story. Hany Farid, thanks very much for explaining it to us in terms we can all understand.

HARLOW: Yes, exactly. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Coming up next, a nuclear treaty, an important one, in jeopardy. Why U.S. officials say that one of Russia's missiles violates a 32-year-old agreement that has helped keep the peace in Europe.


[09:50:10] HARLOW: Two days from now, the U.S. could start withdrawing from a 32-year-old nuclear treaty with Russia. Right now the two sides are meeting in Beijing discussing the future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Agreement.

SCIUTTO: This is raising a lot of alarm. This agreement has helped keep peace in Europe for decades. Russia says that no progress has been made in the talks and that the U.S. position is, quote, ultimatum like. The U.S. says that Russia has a missile system in place that violates that agreement already.

Senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is live in Moscow with more.

I mean are there the outlines for an agreement here, because this would bring back a whole class of nuclear missiles?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Yes, and it could potentially be very dangerous. I think right now, Jim, the two sides are extremely far apart on this. The U.S. essentially says that with this class of missiles that they're talking about, Russia essentially, because it's tested and fielded (ph) these missiles, it needs to destroy all of them. The Russians claim that the missile in question does not violate the INF. It seems so far there is very, very little room for negotiation.

Here's what we learned.


PLEITGEN (voice over): After more than 30 years, the U.S. is set to pull out of a milestone nuclear disarmament agreement. The treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF. Washington saying Russia is cheating.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We either bury our head in the sand or we take common sense actions in response to Russia's flagrant disregard for the expressed terms of the INF treaty.

PLEITGEN: And this is the missile system that the U.S. says violates the INF, the nuclear capable 9M729. Moscow denies the allegations and claims the U.S. is the one breaching the deal. Russia's army even putting on a briefing displaying the 9M729 system and claiming its range is within the limits of the INF

LT. GEN. MIKHAIL MATVEEVSKY, RUSSIAN ARMY (through translator): Russia has implemented and continues to meticulously implement the requirements of the treaty and does not allow for any violations to happen.

PLEITGEN: The INF treaty was signed in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev aiming to eliminate land based medium ranged nukes. Today, both Russia and the U.S. view the treaty as largely obsolete because it constrains the two while non- signatories like China are free to field medium range nuclear weapons. Moscow claims it wants to try and turn the INF into a multilateral treaty to try to save it.

SERGEY RYABKOV, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We are open to different ideas how to move things further forward. We do not exclude anything before him.

PLEITGEN: Moscow says if the INF fails, it could lead to a new arms race and make the danger of nuclear conflict much higher almost three decades after the end of the Cold War.


PLEITGEN: And, guys, especially America's European allies very concerned about this treaty possibly going away because, of course, they fear, if there is some sort of nuclear standoff or nuclear conflict using those intermediate range nuclear weapons, that Europe could be one of the place that would be extremely impacted obviously by all of this. But, again, right now, those negotiations still going on. Not much progress it seems so far.


HARLOW: Wow. Let's hope that changes.

Fred Pleitgen, really important reporting. Thank you.

So ahead, Facebook, it looks like all the PR drama, the privacy scandals not hurting their bottom line at all. Facebook with a huge profit jump of more than 60 percent in a year, ahead.


[09:57:48] SCIUTTO: Well, if you thought Facebook was hurting, think again. It has posted a record $6.9 billion profit in just the last quarter of 2018. This despite a scandal (INAUDIBLE), including a major security breach affecting tens of millions of users.

HARLOW: Exactly. Let's bring in our business technology correspondent, Samuel Burke. $6.9 billion.


HARLOW: What struck me in these numbers was that 1.5 billion people use it every day.

BURKE: And if you look at it monthly, almost well over 2 billion.

Poppy, Jim, Facebook is defying gravity. The stock market just opened up and their stock already out the gate ten percent plus right now. Incredible when you think about all those scandals from Cambridge Analytica, to links to violence in Myanmar and India. And remember all those people who told you that they were deleting Facebook? Well, they may have but then downloaded the app again.

Let's just go back and look at this earnings report. I want to just put up on the screen my three takeaways. Number one, Facebook 2018 incredibly bad PR year but great for business. Advertisers saying, well, where else are we going to get to millennials. Number two, Facebook is shifting away from just talking about numbers in terms of their own platform, that social media core, and they're going to start reporting numbers for all of their platforms, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and look out for way more ads on Instagram. Number three and perhaps the most alarming, fake accounts, not down, they're actually up 27 percent to a whopping 116 million accounts. That is stunning.


HARLOW: That's stunning and a huge problem.

SCIUTTO: It's interesting, we should say, that the usage in the U.S., though, has been flat. At least growth. But users around the world, they're finding the growth there.

Samuel Burke, thanks very much for following the news.

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: I'm Jim Sciutto.

[09:59:50] Almost two years into the special counsel's probe, a probe that President Trump, of course, has consistently attacked as a hoax, a witch hunt and called it politically biased, but now he says I have chosen to stay out of it. In an eye-opening interview with the conservative website "The Daily Caller," the president says the Justice Department, not the White House, will decide what to do.