tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN September 23, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
out front, terrorists slauting more than 60 people at a popular mall. nearly 200 others are wounded, including americans. we are going to talk a woman tonight who was inside that mall. plus a concert turns into a mass casualty event. authorities are blaming a powerful new narcotic. and 80 political prisoners have been released by iran. one, a former american marine remains behind bars. what is america doing to free him? an exclusive out front report. let's go out front. ♪
and good evening, everyone, i'm erin burnett. terror at the mall. militants holed up in an upscale mall in kenya tonight. the horror began saturday when extremists stormed the mall with guns and grenades, going store to store, shooting primarily we understand, non-muslim men, women and children. kenyan authorities at this hour say that they have taken control of the shopping complex. there still may be several gunman inside. the situation is still unclear. there could still be hostages inside. we know right now confirmed is this -- at least 62 people have lost their lives in this mass slaughter. citizens of kenya, great britain, france among them. and that number may keep going up as the mall gets cleared. 65 people remain missing. the somali linked al shabaab has
claimed credit for it. we're going to show you, tonight, how the attack unfolded so you really get a sense of the space and what happened and where and how they broke in. how they took control of the mall. we are live with the latest. and kenyan authorities say they have control of the mall. do you have any idea how many hostages remain inside? >> reporter: no. we don't. and in fact, the government has been very tight-lipped when it comes to the specifics about the fate of the hostages in the last 24 hours. earlier in the day, there was an explosion. we then saw a massive plume of smoke that really covered the sky here for hours. there were sporadic bursts of gunfire. then the kenyan government came out saying they had control over
the mall. but there were an unknown number of gunmen that were possibly still inside and no clear indication as to what may have happened to the hostage as. we're right around the corner from where the mall is. there's a makeshift triage center. they have not actually been able, they're telling us today, to access the building it ever is. >> before we go, we've heard reports that terrorists were killing non-muslims. they asked a man, are you muslim he said yes. they said what about the mother, he said he didn't know and they shot him in the hid. what can you tell us about the situation? >> reporter: well, we actually met a couple earlier today who were in fact a husband and wife, our radio presenter time, and they were, of all things, hosting a cooking show for children on the rooftop of the
mall. the husband was describing how the kids why very happily chopping up their vegetable, making their dishes when suddenly the attack happened. they tried to gather all the children into a corner. he said that, then, the attackers deliberately threw a grenade at the location where they were taking cover. he stood up and began reciting prayers from the koran, they asked him if he was muslim. he said yes, i am. they asked about his wife. she had a bullet graze her head. and they managed to get away. and that's one of the horrific stories we're hearing. >> thank you very much. our second story out front is witnessing the massacre. earlier we talked to someone outside the mall. this was a saturday, even if were you a journalist, a lot of people were just there in their
personal lives. she heard the attack and ran inside the mall as the attack was happening, and i asked her how she first managed to get in. >> reporter: i'm outside, at first i assessed the situation. talked to some other journalists, talked to some of the medical professionals who were there running the ambulances and managed to fission out that there was probably a way in through third floor. i ran along thand followed some security forces where they were beginning to sweep the mall on the third floor. >> what was it like then? we're hearing they may have full control over the mall. but obviously, you know, it was days where there were still people who were hidden or who were held hostage. what was the scale of the mall as you saw it? >> caller: well, from my vantage
point, when i first arrived, you could see on the second and first floor there were bodies of victims still lying there. it was unclear exactly how many victims there were and how many people were still in the mall. it seems as we swept through different shops and beauty parlors, casino, cinema, everywhere you looked, there were people hiding from the attackers, people stuck in cinemas with you know, action movie posters surrounding them. it was a very surreal experience going through the mall that is not far from where i live that i've gone to just to pick up my groceries or meet a friend. suddenly transformed into the scene of terror. >> and nicole, we just saw some of the video. we're looking at it now of the
woman who climbed out through the air vent and there were people there trying to rescue her. it sort of conveys the, people going about their daily lives and then this horrific act happening. did you see people wounded or killed? >> caller: yes, looking from the third floor, later on during my time in the mall i was able to get down to the second and ground floor. and there were bodies in cafe, people who have lunch with their friends who had their lives cut short far too quickly. >> and that was a reporter. the third out front story is -- this was a big mall, and being able to hold people hostage for days on end, how does it happen in a popular fancy, upscale mall that was a
popular destination for foreigners? it was full on saturday afternoon and tom foreman is out front. they break in there. this, then, evolved into a military style battle. >> this is where it all began in the kenyan capitol of nairobi. now the attack started at about noon on saturday. according to witnesses, a group of armed gunmen came through the main entrance right down here. and they began spreading out here on the ground nor, throwing grenades and firing shots and turning the whole thing into there for tress. they were described as going floor to floor, shop to shop, searching for people who had hidden. by 1:00. the police had arrived. and they were inside the mall looking for victims and people
who might be hiding. many witnesses described the scene, immense confusion. hard to determine if there was any safe way out of all this or whether some of the gunmen were poses as sieing as civilians. >> it made it difficult for kenyan military to attack them. how candidate final phase begin? and i say final phase knowing that there are still serious question marks about who is in that mall right now. >> by 11:00 on saturday night, the police were focusing much of their attention on the mall's supermarket. right back here. they say the attackers had been p pinned down and isolated. al shabaab issued a statement about that time saying that's not the case. they are still strong inside west gate mall and still holding their ground.
so the final phase of it. let's talk about what happened in the final phase. sunday, around 2:30 in the morning, the government tweet, major operations are under way. it's not clear what that means. but there's a follow up saying the gunmen still have hostages in several locations, although troops now control the top two floors of the mall. by noon it's clear that hundreds of hostages have been rescued. then this morning, monday morning, a series of loud explosions, smoke goes up from the mall and soon there's a declaration that basically the government is controlling everything. although there's still this unanswered question as they search for any other gunmen who may be hidden in there. that's really how it happened here in this storm of chaos and fear. they managed to inject so much confusion here. even as the police hunted them, it was hard to know if they w e
weriwere rooting them all out. >> severcertainly a level of sophistication and planning that nobody thought this group capable of. still to come, the man of the hour. that may mean you love the person or hate the person. you're probably one camp one way or the other when it comes to ted cruz. dana bash had that conversation. she's going to be with us right after that. then huge news for blackberry and apple. you're probably carrying one or the other, or could you be a samsung guy. big news coming up. plus a trial under way for the captain of the cruise ship costa concordia. and what led the president to say this?
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our fourth story out front, threatening a shut down. congress hasn't reached a deal. they could still do it, but i don't know, might be a loser's bet. this week a bill to fund the government but defund obamacare, but ted cruz is not backing down. he has become the man of the hour. out front tonight, dana bash. he is that guy to everybody.
you spoke to senator cruz. what did he tell you? >> reporter: absolutely. and what's so fascinating is that he is that guy even among fellow republicans. some say that he is a fraud. that's a quote. and that he simply can't count the votes because this can't pass the senate. on the other hand, he says he is really a hero. and he is a hero to so many in the tea party movement who got him elected. that's really what he's doing, he's trying to keep a campaign promise, one that he doesn't think enough people in washington do, that is to defund or get rid of obamacare. he's not really making a lot of friends doing that. >> if you get outside of washington, d.c., there is a frustration with washington that is palpable. the answer is obamacare is killing job, taking away my health insurance, drive up my
premium, causing small businesses to shrink and go out of business. if we listen to the american people, that should be our priorities. >> reporter: so certainly, ted cruz thinks he is on a crew said. he is changing the way he's arguing this to fellow republicans and saying if you don't support this filibuster, you are effectively supporting the continuation of obamacare. i've got to tell you, it's not even working with the top republican in the senate, that's mitch mcconnell. he says he is not going to be with ted cruz. >> thank you very much. this is going to be great drama. and a great get by dana, talking to ted cruz. if it doesn't get raised, it will be what one expert told me is cataclysmic.
that will take a toll on what happen does america. the u.s. will not get the credit rating back until washington gets it together. our fifth story out front. apple announced it sold 9 million new iphones over the weekend. that includes the iphone 5 s which is the more expensive phone and it got hacked by germans today. then there's the 5 c which comes in the cool color, and then my beloved. today it announced it was going private. blackberry last week announced it sold 3.7 million devices over an entire quarter. richard quest is here. i was. >> hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm. >> it's a big violin.
>> i think they would have sold 10 million phones if there hadn't been a the supply issue. stock goes up, still down 30%. is this enough? >> of course it's not. this is a blip. a good one, but they've still got to come up with the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. if you look at samsung, samsung is nimble, faster. knows how it's going to change its phones 15 times before they come out. apple probably knows what they're doing this year, next year and the year after. and apple still has to come up with the quantum leap. io 7 is incremental. >> what about blackberry? a couple good things about it.
in places like the middle east maybe because of government snooping they're popular phones. now it's going private. what's this going to do? >> first of all, somebody's prepared to pay 5 billion for this. 5 billion is a lot of money. really listen to what they say. the ceo says we can deliver immediate value to shareholders with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions. what does that mean? superior and secure? it means it's not for every tom, dick and harry on you. >> it means the government can't snoop on you if you work for a big company and they want that. >> it mean the professionals. it means people who want to pay a little bit more to have the reliability.
has the reliability been there. i think they're looking for this niche market of secure and superior. >> i have one, and i do love it, but we'll see. >> we all love it. >> we do love it. all right. thank you very much. sometimes the best companies don't always win. more than 40 people died when the costa concordia ran aground. now they are saying the captain is guilty of manslaughter. and then the woman at the center of the irs scandal abruptly retired today. the word, everyone, is retired. that might be a really great thing for her. ♪ norfolk southern what's your function? ♪ ♪ hooking up the country helping business run ♪ ♪ build! we're investing big to keep our country in the lead.
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our sixth story out front, the costa concordia blame game. the captain of the ship asked a panel of judges today for permission to now tour the now righted ship. he says the wreck was the fault of his crew. 32 people lost their lives. he insists that he quote asked the helmsman to turn the ship left. he made an error and did not and turned hard to the right. now danny , how likely is it tht
he will go to jail? >> first he has to be convicted. and italy has a very different procedure than we have in the united states. he is not being tried by a jury of his peers. this is a justice or a judge. and in most cases you do not get a jury of your peers in italy. if they have to prove negligence because they have the same concept of negligence, although i'm sure it's different there. if they have to prove negligence with all of these other people being implicated. even though he is the captain and he has the liability, is he liable if there are at least seven other factors. because when we think of criminal liability we think of a high burden. and it's high in italy. >> he and he alone. so if there is any doubt that other people turned the ship the wrong way or did something wrong. >> italy doesn't have a reasonable doubt, but the judge must be internally convinced, whatever that means.
so when you start implicating other individuals, it becomes more difficult to say this person was the most negligent or 90% negligent. consider this. when it comes to negligence, we have an ordinary idea of what negligence, negligence is when we drive a car or do ordinary things, but when it come does captaining a ship, that requires expert testimony. it's going to be a sessionized area that this judge has to make a determination about. >> so the bottom line, in a word, he may not go to jail. >> he may not. >> we look forward to your feedback on that if you think it's fair or not. out front next, lois lerner. remember her? she'd been sort of stepping aside. well, anyway, she took the fifth rather than answer questions. guess what? today she retired. and the word that is so important is retire. gloria borger has the story
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half of out front on a monday. we begin with a possible hate crime. a columbia university professor says about 15 young men called him a terrorist yelling get osama. they likely mistook him for a muslim because he was wearing a turban and has a long beard. he is not, he is a sikh. this comes after a year when sikhs were killed in wisconsin. president obama didn't quit smoking for his health. here he is today caught off mic talking with an official about his bad habit.
okay. like i said, president obama says he hasn't had a cigarette in probably six years. but is he crunching the numbers? back in 2010, the former spokesperson robert gibbs said the president had not seen him with a cigarette in nine months. if gibbs was right, the timing remaybes uncertain. well, louisiana's angola prison is one of the most difficult prisons from which to escape. and yet two inmates tried to make a run for it during yard time. they used gloves to scale a razor wire fence, according to our affiliate wbrz. they then tried to throw off the k-9 unit by spraying pepper around the nearby woods. they were carrying 30 bags of peanuts. i don't know why, and i don't
know how think got them. the next time, the warden says they will get their exercise in a small came. just after 2:30 in the morning in nairobi. security forces are expected to scale the westgate mall to take out the remaining gunmen they believe are still in there. there could still be hostages fighting for their lives as well. now a huge question is whether americans were involved in the terror attack. according to al shabaab. three americans took part in the massacre. we have not confirmed this. al shabaab has a history of recruiting americans to terror. >> reporter: at midday prayer in this minneapolis neighborhood, largest sew moll yan population.
they are worried it could be true. 17 year old hassan was a straight a student who wanted to be a doctor and disappeared in 2008. his mother at the time didn't want to be identified. she told cnn she had no idea where he'd gone. >> mom, i'm in somalia. i'm okay. >> reporter: but he wasn't okay. he was fighting for the group al shabaab. not long after, she was told he was dead. this week's ram page in kenya has many wondering how long until it comes to the u.s. they say al shabaab is already here. how many people do you think have been taken from this community by recruiting? >> approximately 30 to 40. and that is the most often asked
question. and i think nobody can nail down the exact figure. >> reporter: even as we sip coffee in middle america, he is sure they are recruiting nearby. they are often raised in single parent homes with no hope, and they are perfect targets. >> they have never seen their dad, they live in poverty environment. and need badly to find a male role model. and al shabaab has become that father they never had. >> reporter: unless something's done, they predict they will stay and fight here, explaining the logic this way. >> it's just a fraction of a second. where should i do that? i'm in minneapolis, what the heck. why not do it here. >> reporter: you know, it would be very easy to listen to that
last word there and think that this whole community here is somehow going to go al shabaab's way. i just had a fascinating conversation with the young people here in this park. they don't buy into al shabaab. and they warn that in this community al shabaab's not welcome. it is not a philosophy of terror that they support. it's america, it's freedom. it is everything that is the american ideal. it's refreshing to know that maybe al shabaab isn't going to find a great deal of success here. thank you. our irs official at the heart of the tea party scandal, she retires. lois lerner is no longer with the agency. now this had been in question, but she had been collecting a paycheck and other things, and our political analyst gloria borger is out front. you did a whole lot of reporting
on this. so let me just ask you. this has been going on for a while. she's been defensive. she pled the fifth. why today does she retire? >> well, categorize this as under not a coincidence, because the resignation was received just after the irs internal review board finished its review of the irs controversy. and we've learned that the board was really going to recommend that she be fired, based on what it called neglective duties. so you have to presume that she was given a choice, either resign or be fired. so i should also add that the review board didn't say that she willfully directed people to target conservative groups. what the review board is saying is that it was gross miss management or incompetence and republicans still say that she purposefully targeted these republican groups. we tried to contact her lawyer.
and we haven't heard back. >> so now let me just ask you something. i've spent a lot of time covering the business world. when you get fired, you lose things. you lose your pension, your salary, all these things. when someone gives you the option of retire or fire, and you take retire, that means you get all those things, which a lot of people find shocking and offensive. is she going to get to keep the money? >> she's been on paid leave since may, as you know. and we've been making a bunch of phone calls on this, and i've talked to some republicans in the senate. one senate aid said there's no reason to believe that she will not get her pension, and you see there that she's worked in government for quite a long time. >> 34 years. >> exactly. and there are some who say that even if she had been fired, she may have been able to get her pension, but definitely, since she's clearly resigned, it seems to me that she's going to get
the money she's entitled to having worked for 30-something years. some people would disagree with that. but i have to say her last salary job was $177,000 a year. so she'll probably get quite a pension. >> yeah. all right. thank you very much. gloria borger. please let us know what you think about it, everyone. and now, our ninth story out front, a lethal high. so a concert at a connecticut amusement park turned into what police are calling a mass casualty event. several collapsed with drug overdoses. four people still in the hospital tonight. they are blaming 2 cp which causes hallucinations, and molly, which is a powdered form of ecstasy. it's popular with celebrities that's responsible for two deaths that we covered recently
at the electric zoo in new york. dr. drew, you look at the emergency room related, you know, cases here with molly, for example. more than doubled since 2005. now you have this new drug that we're talking here about, 2 cp. is this just our perception that there's more of this going on? or is it reality? >> oh, no. there is more -- well, i can't say more drug use going on. but there's more drug use with molecules that are a problem. for instance, i believe what's happening here is young people are believing the marketing of the people that distribute the drugs. what i mean to say is, for instance, molly. molly is straight old mdma ecstasy. we've always known that's a dangerous compound. it has long term effects, short term effects including death. and back when it was marketed as ecstasy, they began to think of
it as adulterated. as though the adulterated agent was what they had to watch out for, not the mdma. and now that we have the pure mdma in the form of molly we can go at it. they're coming out with other designer products that have very similar effects to lsd. but we will really, we don't kn long term effects. >> there's some water called molly water or something, my point is, there's products out there and people who are perceived as hip members of pop culture who are talking about it, singing about it. i'm talking about molly in particular. is this why a lot of teenagers view it as acceptable? you know, or is it not fair to point the finger there? >> i don't know that i would point the finger in any particular direction except to say when we measure the
perceived harm by a compound, we're seeing a sudden decline in the perception of harm from various substances. and the really sad part of it is they're trusting people who distribute the drugs for their source of information. and that's what are getting people into trouble. make no mistake about it. the one kmop feature of ha lus generals. mood disturbances, seize usual d seizure disorders. >> thanks very much, dr. drew. a former u.s. marine held captive in iran for more than two years. as the president of iran comes to america, his family speaks out. plus a procedure that could change the way that all of us vote.
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since taking office, iran's new president, rouhani is here today for the new u.n. general assembly, tweeting this picture here, okay, ambassador to the united nations. there is a lot riding on there, he has said he wants to work with the president. today, he freed 80 political prisoners, estimated out of a 100. one prisoner not released who has been behind bars for police more than two years, accused of being a spy. his father is dying of brain
cancer. and he along with others spoke to our drew griffin. >> reporter: amir is as american as you can get. born in flagstaff, arizona, joined the marines, and becomes a rifleman serving in iraq. >> my kids here are born in the united states. they were born free, go where they want to go, say what they want to say. he was raised here in the united states. >> reporter: he is also the son of iranian immigrants who two years ago were told by amir their son finally wanted to go to iran, visit the relatives he had never seen, find his roots. >> so he was excited to go to iran? >> yes, very excited to go. >> reporter: like all parents, but especially those raised in iran, they were more nervous than excited and tried to explain to their american son
the dangers of traveling in a country where no one is free. >> he said mom, i didn't do anything. i just want to go see you know, iran, my relatives, my grandmother. i'm not afraid of anything. >> reporter: in late august of 2011, he called his mom from iran to say he was having the time of his life. and he was coming home. he told them he would leave two days after a final good-bye party his iranian relatives were having on august 29th. that party came and went. amir never showed. the former u.s. marine had simply vanished. and for three months, no one in his family knew anything. >> it was ami. >> reporter: then, a news report on iranian state tv. amir, imprisoned and admitted he was a spy for the cia. >> that day that we saw his
face, and he was confessing -- this kind of big news. like he is -- a cia spy, and i said wow. >> do you have any idea why him? >> we have some speculations. that -- somebody got jealous of him. and didn't like the idea that he lives in america, came up with some lies about him. called him a cia spy. >> it has turned into a two-year ordeal. amir hekmati tried and sentenced to death, the death sentence overturned, 16 months in solitary confinement. a month-long hunger strike. his sister has struggled to get support. >> we just hope that we are
reaching the years, especially now with this new transition in government in iran, are the right people. >> reporter: the new reportedly moderate president in iran, rouhani, just released 11 prisoners, and it was to the family a sign of hope. >> i think my wish was praying and hoping that amir's name was among the people on the list that were released. >> reporter: and it was not? >> no, but we're not going to give up. >> reporter: there was talk of another prisoner exchange of the just last month, amir managed to get this handwritten letter s g smuggsmu smuggled out to secretary of state john kerry, in it he explains he was not a spy, was note up. and this former marine says there should be no deal on his behalf. while my family and myself have suffered, i will accept nothing but my unconditional release.
his parents just want him released. amir has this tearful wish to the president. in english and iranian language, his plea, to come home. >> this has been more than two years. to just let amir come home, and amir didn't do any crime. he didn't do anything. just let him come home. and make this family happy again. >> now you said in your report, this is a former american marine, true american being held in iran with new proof he was doing anything wrong, and i think a lot of people watching didn't know his story, his story was unknown to a lot of people. is his story getting pressure in washington, to put pressure on the iranian government, maybe this only moment with this much leverage to try to free him? >> yes, they certainly think it is a crucial moment. secretary of state john kerry
came out recently calling for the iranians to release hekmati, others say listen, the charges against him are completely false. but the real support the hekmati family is getting is in congress. and it is bipartisan, erin, in fact, take a look, these are all members of congress, republicans, demanding that iran's new president release amir hekmati, our u.s. marine who is being held on charges that the courts in iran even threw out. so there are currently no charges that he is being held under in iran that we know of. so release the guy. erin, maybe it will happen this week. >> all right, well, we'll see. obviously that would be a huge development. thanks very much to drew griffin and of course to that emotional reporting which will be a part of that. next, new regulation could change the way americans vote forever. isn't about where you'. ♪
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. do americans care about politics? it sure seems like the answer is yes. >> this is the most important election of our lifetime. >> this is the most important election of our lifetime. >> the most important of our life time. >> this is the most important election of our lifetime. >> it is extremely important we get out and vote. >> the right to vote is at the very foundation of our
democracy. >> your vote really matters. >> nobody should have to vote you to vote. >> americans sure love to talk about voting but they don't take action. in last year's presidential election, only 50% actually voted, and that was high. in this week, the german elections voted to the amount of 70%, that is a low turnout for germany. some companies do better, belgium and luxembourg have 90% voting, if you don't show up, you get a fine. in australia, apparently this is enough to get them to the polls to do their civic duty. would it work in the u.s.? we look at every country with mandatory voting, and a lot of them, granted are not democracies, only a few had