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NSA Leaker Revealed; Santa Monica Shooter Identified

Aired June 10, 2013 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: He's behind the leak that sparked this national debate over your privacy. So is he an American hero or a traitor? You are about to hear both sides.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

EDWARD SNOWDEN, LEAKED DETAILS OF U.S. SURVEILLANCE: This is the truth. This is what's happening.

BALDWIN (voice-over): This former CIA employee says he knows much more than he revealed. How long can he hide?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that point, you know something is not right. Something is very wrong.

BALDWIN: Doctors saving an infant's life with super glue.

Plus, a high-profile oncologist accused of spiking her lover's coffee with poison.

And he carried out his rampage dressed in black armed for war. And now much more about what led this suspect to shed blood on a college campus.


BALDWIN: Hour two. Thanks for sticking with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

From going rogue to going public, the man behind the NSA leaks has revealed who he is and why he did this, why he exposed the documents that put the National Security Agency, or the NSA, exactly where it never wanted to be, smack dab in the public spotlight.

His name, Edward Snowden. And he asked the British newspaper "The Guardian" to publish his name. He told the paper over time it just got to him knowing that the NSA was tracking nearly every phone call made by Americans and monitoring the online communications of foreigners.

"The Guardian" recorded an interview showing his face and everything with this man who is 29 years of age.


SNOWDEN: When you see everything, you see them on a more frequent basis and you recognize that some of these things are actually abuses.

And when you talk to people about them, in a place like this, where this is the normal state of business, people tend not to take them very seriously and move on from them. But over time, that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up, and you feel compelled to talk about it.

And the more you talk about it, the more you are ignored, the more you're told it's not a problem, until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public, not by somebody who was simply hired by the government.

Because even if you're not doing anything wrong, you're being watched and recorded and the storage capability of these systems increases every year consistently by orders of magnitude, to where it's getting to the point you don't have to have done anything wrong. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you have ever made, every friend you have ever discussed something with, and attack you on that basis to sort of derive suspicious from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.


BALDWIN: Snowden talked to "The Guardian" from a hotel room in Hong Kong, but his whereabouts right now not known. He could still be in Hong Kong,maybe not. Snowden said he has no regrets, but the paper said the one thing that made him tear up was fear, fear over what his family will have to go through.

Let's go straight to CNN's Brian Todd in Ellicott City, Maryland, where Snowden's mother lives.

And, Brian, you have been there knocking on doors talking to neighbors. What have they told you?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They say that they're shocked, Brooke, shocked at what happened to this family.

I just spoke to a neighbor here at his mother's complex, his mother, Elizabeth Snowden, also known to friends and associates as Wendy Snowden. One of the neighbors here said she is completely shocked about this, described the family as being very nice, very personable. She always says hi to Elizabeth Snowden when she goes to work and she is just very worried about -- the neighbor is -- about what may happen to Elizabeth Snowden, the mother, and at least one of Edward Snowden's siblings.

We're told by the neighbor that he has a sister who lives and works in the broader D.C. area, but overall just some bits and pieces that we're finding out about Edward Snowden and about his family. We just were on the phone with an official with Anne Arundel County Schools.

We did confirm that he went to Crofton Woods Elementary School and Crofton Middle Elementary in Anne Arundel County, Maryland,that he went to Arundel High School for about a year-and-a-half before he left that system. From various reports, including in "The Guardian" and elsewhere, it's apparent that he did not get a high school degree. It's unclear whether he actually went back and got a GED or something equivalent to that. But at least at the outset, he did not get a high school degree.

We have confirmed that his mother who lives here, Elizabeth Snowden, is a top clerk official at the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Maryland. Her title is chief deputy clerk technology for information technology and administrative services. So a technology background does sort of run in the family.

But, as you mentioned, Edward Snowden in his interview with "The Guardian" newspaper did say that fears the repercussions for him family and I believe he told "The Guardian" that at least one or possibly more members of his family work for the U.S. government. We have now confirmed that his mother works for the U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Maryland. So that does check out on that end, Brooke.

So, he did say he's concerned about this. I believe that the man who interviewed him for "The Guardian" said that his ties to his family are now severed and to his girlfriend are now severed. We also tried to reach his girlfriend's father in nearby Laurel, Maryland. We were not able to reach him.

BALDWIN: We will be following your reporting throughout the course of the evening. We will see what you get. Brian Todd for us in Ellicott City, Brian, thank you.

The Justice Department is now just beginning to chip away at this preliminary investigation of the former computer tech, no charges as of yet. And the FBI has just begun searching Snowden's home, his computers. But at least one congressman is calling Edward Snowden's admitted actions criminal.


REP. PETER KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: ... is not true. And there's so much that he said is untrue. Again, this person is dangerous to the country. He had -- I think there's real questions as to why he left the CIA.

The fact that he's in China right now or in Hong Kong, which is a sub- state of China, he knows where our intelligence assets are, where our intelligence agents are around the world. And the fact that he has allowed our enemy to know our sources and methods are is extremely, extremely dangerous.

I believe he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I consider him right now to be a defector.


BALDWIN: So what now and also how do you go about tracking down someone who is an expert in keeping secrets?

Let's go to Gary Berntsen, a former CIA officer, and Bob Baer, a former CIA operative.

Welcome to both of you.

Bob, look, the debate is raging on whether the public views him as a hero or a traitor. Either way, tell me right now what is going on behind closed doors at the CIA.

BOB BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They're using the same methods that he revealed to go after him. Right now, I can assure you, they are looking at him as a potential agent of a foreign country, maybe China.

The question is why did he go from the United States to someone who is in counterintelligence terms considered an enemy? And that's China. There's no other way to look at it. Hong Kong is not an independent country or region in any sense. Chinese intelligence controls it. Did he cut a deal with the Chinese? These are all questions they want to get to as quickly as possible, and what did he take with him when he left? We still don't know.

BALDWIN: Gary, just bouncing off the idea that he did go to Hong Kong -- again, he may have left. We don't know. What are the benefits in going to that geographic location?

GARY BERNTSEN, AUTHOR, "HUMAN INTELLIGENCE, COUNTERTERRORISM AND NATIONAL LEADERSHIP: A PRACTICAL GUIDE": Well, of course, in Hong Kong, he might have the ability to avert or at least deter an early arrest or capture of him.

Look, a lot of people are horrified to see the -- what the government was doing as an overreach, but he had other options. He could have gone to the Senate Select Intelligence for Committee. He could have gone to the HPSCI. He could have told people that it was a problem that was going on.

But, instead, he goes to China? Gigantic problem with this, a very big problem with what he's done. Terrible judgment. Even if he's not an agent of a foreign power, he demonstrated arrogance and stupidity in what he's done.

BALDWIN: This is how he told "The Guardian" he's trying to stay off the grid -- quote -- "Snowden lined the door of his hotel room with pillows to prevent eavesdropping. He puts a large red hood over his head and laptop when entering his passwords to prevent any hidden cameras from detecting them."

So, Bob, as you mentioned, they're going to be using the same tools to try to find him. How quickly and how easily will that be?

BAER: Well, it's going to be very fast. They can search these databases, Skype, his e-mails and the rest of it. They will see what sort of contact he had, who he was calling before. Give us a wider net.

Look, you just have to look at this as a counterintelligence problem, the fact that he went to China, and every tool at the government's disposal will be brought out and they will find out what his connections were.

He also -- he talks -- I want to play one more sound bite where he talks about revealing what he knew if he could have revealed more. Let's play that.


SNOWDEN: Anybody in the positions of access with the technical capabilities that I had could suck out secrets, pass them on the open market to Russia. They always have an open door, as we do.

I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community. But that's not my intention.


BALDWIN: So, Gary, what's to say he wouldn't reveal more?

BERNTSEN: Well, you know, we don't know he won't reveal more. We don't know what he's taken, as Bob correctly had stated earlier.

There's concern about what did he take out of there, what did he bring out with him? Look, he's not an operations officer. He might be an intelligence guy with technology, but he's not an ops officer. He probably doesn't have the human skills to last long on the ground. We will see.

But I can assure you, as Bob stated, they will be in pursuit. And I would suspect before not too long, we will see Mr. Snowden back in the United States in front of a federal district court.

BALDWIN: How does the CIA keep track of former whether they're employees or in Snowden's case former contractors?

BAER: Well, they don't do it as a matter of course. They expect people to treat their security clearances seriously in their contract with the U.S. government.

He has committed a felony, as Gary said. He has broken the law in no uncertain terms. He's not Daniel Ellsberg. He is not a crime. He is has exposed sources and methods, which you just can't do, especially when it comes to signals intelligence. I don't agree with the overreach either.

I can see why some people look at him heroic. But he did break the law and he should be tried for it. End of story.

BALDWIN: Bob Baer, thank you so much. Gary Berntsen, thank you.

Tonight at 6:00, we're going to have an entire hour dedicated to this notion, this CNN, "Special Traitor or Hero: Inside the NSA Leak." Stay tuned to CNN for that.

Coming up, a 13-minute rampage, five people shot and killed, and now we're learning more this gunman who opened fire in Santa Monica, including mental issues the suspect had just a couple years ago. Next, what he said that committed him.

Plus, just into CNN, we are getting word that schools in Newtown, Connecticut, were put on lockdown today, this as the town marks six months since that horrendous, horrendous massacre at Sandy Hook in December. We have new details on that next.


BALDWIN: All right, here's what we know about Newtown. This is just in to us here at CNN, that schools in Newtown, Connecticut, put on lockdown out of -- quote -- "a precautionary measure."

I can tell you we just learned the lockdown has now been lifted. Tweets from the local high school said that the district was assessing, and I'm quoting here, "a phone threat to another building." So, again, just to stress, everyone is in the clear. Parents can now pick up their kids. But just keep in mind the context here, of course, of what happened in December. That was six months ago and this week specifically marking six months since that tragic shooting that killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, including 20 children.

Also today, a candlelight vigil to be held this evening at Santa Monica college three days after that deadly shooting near and on campus. security has also been increased. Five people were killed in the 13-minute rampage; 26-year-old Marcela Franco died from her wounds just yesterday. She was shot in an SUV that her father was driving, Carlos, her father, who was also killed in that attack.

The suspected gunman identified here as 23-year-old John Zawahri was killed by police at the college library. He allegedly murdered his father and brother and then set their home on fire before the shooting spree began. A woman who tried to stop his carjacking attempt was also shot several times and she lived to tell her tale.


DEBRA FINE, VICTIM: I will never forget his eyes. They were just so intense and so cold. I laid down just thinking, please stop, please stop shooting, thinking that if I just acted like I was dead, he might go away.


BALDWIN: Zawahri had some mental health issues in the past. This is according to a law enforcement source.

I want to talk about that angle specifically with psychologist Wendy Walsh, bringing her back in live from Los Angeles with me.

And, Wendy, I was reading. So, this law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told CNN that this suspect had been hospitalized. This was a couple of years ago, treated for allegedly talking about harming someone. My question is, if you are committed to a hospital, how closely are you watched after you're allowed out? WENDY WALSH, FAMILY THERAPIST: Not really at all. I mean, the law is pretty clear that you have to be an imminent danger to yourself or others.

And what that gets you is a 72-hour lockdown, where they put you on meds and get you stable and let you out again. Now, remember, if you are under the age of 18, you can have your parents fighting for you, but if you are over the age of 18 and considered an adult in this country, Brooke, then you are -- our individual rights and freedoms allow to be free to be insane and mentally ill without help. So...

BALDWIN: So an imminent threat. And, again, we don't know, it's not quite, quite clear if he committed himself or if his family committed him. But in order to be committed, you have to prove this imminent threat?

WALSH: Right. So, therefore, a therapist might be able to report, someone else could report, but you have to be an imminent danger to yourself and somebody else, because we want to protect the freedoms of people.

So the question is, how are these people allowed to gain access to guns really if you have ever been committed? I don't know where the law stands on that. I think it varies state by state.

BALDWIN: The obvious question is, how did he get a gun? That's a question that law enforcement is asking. We don't know that yet.


BALDWIN: But as we just mentioned, Wendy, we just mentioned Newtown six months here this week. And I know that the whole gun and mental health debate at least in terms of legislation didn't get anywhere. Just from your own opinion, what will it take for this to change when it comes to mental health?

WALSH: Well, I think more and more shootings aren't helping. I think, Brooke, they are making us more numb.

I have to tell you that the Santa Monica shooting happened, let's see, 10 minutes away from a fund-raiser where the president was.


WALSH: I will tell you personally it happened in my neighborhood and the big blue bus, the Santa Monica big blue bus that was shot out and people were injured on would have been the bus that my high school teenager was on, except she was on a field trip.


WALSH: So it's that close to home, yet I kind of went, OK. Next? Because it starts to make you numb after a while.

BALDWIN: And that is the problem. That is part of the problem, we should say. Wendy Walsh, thank you so much. WALSH: Yes.

BALDWIN: Self-defense or murder? Jury selection started today in the trial of George Zimmerman. He is charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in a case that has gotten national attention. You have family members today on both sides holding very public appearances. Are they trying to win over the public? And could what they say impact potential jurors? That's next.


BALDWIN: Was it murder, was it self-defense? That is the question really at the crux of this trial of George Zimmerman. He is a neighborhood watch volunteer who killed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. And the jury selection, it is under way today. The court is searching for six jurors and possibly as many as four alternates.

George Zimmerman's brother talked to the media just a short time ago.


ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., BROTHER OF GEORGE ZIMMERMAN: I think it's important that jurors get to know that George is a person. He's not just whatever images people flash across the screen or whatever narrative people write about.


BALDWIN: Trayvon Martin's family also spoke today.


TRACY MARTIN, FATHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: We are relieved that the start of the trial is here with the jury selection as we seek justice for our son Trayvon, and we also seek a fair and impartial trial.

We ask that the community continue to stay peaceful as we place our faith in the justice system. And we ask that the community do the same.


BALDWIN: HLN's Ryan Smith, "Evening Express," "After Dark," joins me now to talk a little bit about this.

A couple questions. First, the fact since we just heard from both families, my first question is about that.


BALDWIN: We're hearing from both sides, both families often talking to the media, today, in a news conference just about at the same time.


BALDWIN: You ever see anything like that? SMITH: Yes, we see -- the conferences at the same time is a little bit rare. It could be for a number of reasons. We can't know for sure.

And then talking to the media, both sides have been very vocal about this case, so it doesn't surprise me that both are stepping up to the mike trying to make their thoughts clear, especially on the first day of jury selection, because everybody wants to know what's going through your mind at this point. So they're just trying to answer those questions now.

BALDWIN: OK. So then you have the defense, the prosecution. They are trying to find six jurors, right, who can sit through this whole thing.

SMITH: Right.

BALDWIN: And just walk me through the process. How does that work?

SMITH: So, here's what happened.

They go in -- all these jurors, they got this notice in the mail, these potential jurors. They go into court this morning and they all filled out a jury questionnaire. That happens in some of the big cases like this one. They fill out that questionnaire.

BALDWIN: Questions like?

SMITH: Questions like, have you seen anything about this case? What do you know about this case? Can you be fair and impartial? Your name, address, a lot of different stuff.


SMITH: Sometimes, they're short. Sometimes, they're -- in the Conrad Murray case, we had one that was maybe 20, 30 pages long.

So after that process, then once they start winnowing down the numbers they bring in a group of 20 or so into the courtroom and each one gets questioned individually. So, that's where we are now. Everybody is getting those individual questions. And what we're hearing already, the prosecution is being very broad about it, asking them, what did you know about this case? What did you hear? Did you see anything?

The defense is very narrow, for a good reason. If you heard or saw something, what did you hear? For example, one juror just stepped up and said, yes, I heard about this case, something about a kid in a hood and a guy on neighborhood watch. That's a critical distinction for the defense.

There are certain words they don't want in the case like self- appointed neighborhood watch. Also, George Zimmerman alleged that he was going to the store that day, that he wasn't on watch. So the defense is trying to get to what do these people actually know, the details, for consideration on whether they strike them or not.

BALDWIN: OK. So, then, ultimately they pick six? Four alternates. And then once that happens, do we even know how long that would take?

SMITH: Oh, it could take days. They're moving -- I have to say this. They're moving really fast right now.

BALDWIN: It is a tough judge, right? Got everything is in order.

SMITH: Yes, a tough judge. I like this judge because this judge is efficient. She wants to move this along. They're moving very, very quickly.

We have seen cases like the Casey Anthony case where it takes a lot longer, even though Judge Belvin Perry was very efficient. It's moving fast. It could take days. I would say it would at least take this week. But you only need six and then a couple of alternates.

BALDWIN: And that's the thing just quickly.


BALDWIN: Because it's Florida, Florida law, and it's not a capital case.


BALDWIN: Because to me, initially, we thought, six, that just doesn't seem like a lot.

SMITH: No, six. In Florida, non-capital cases, six jurors, capital cases, 12 jurors. That's why in Casey Anthony you saw 12. Now you see six. So, it's six, two to four alternates. The judge could ask for more, but I wouldn't be surprised to see her go with her.

BALDWIN: OK, Ryan Smith, come back.

SMITH: Yes. Yes. We will stay on it.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much.

Ryan will have much more legal analysis, of course, on the important court cases of the day on "HLN After Dark." That is weekdays, 10:00 p.m. Eastern time on our sister station HLN.

Now to this -- in his own words, the man behind the NSA leaks explains why he exposed documents revealing classified information about U.S. intelligence.


SNOWDEN: I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone.


BALDWIN: Edward Snowden says he will live in fear for the rest of his life and explains what could happen to him because of this leak.