tv NBC Nightly News NBC January 24, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
on our broadcast tonight, a fighting chance. the military makes it official, but what does it really mean for women in combat? home invasion. the new computer virus that gives strangers direct access to your home, your computer and can watch every move you make. and the warning tonight about how to avoid it. out in the cold. with much of the country frozen solid this evening, think of all the storm victims living in places like this with no heaor much else. and hidden treasures. an amazing collection from the life of john f. kennedy, locked away by one of the president's closest confidante's, until now. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. as the president's defense
secretary prepares to leave office, he is leaving behind, with the boss's permission, a huge change to the u.s. military. the announcement officially today from the pentagon, women will soon be able to serve in direct combat units. while it's been happening slowly in the field on its own for years during our dual wars of this last decade, and while it will open a huge number of jobs and career pathways for the women who volunteer to serve this country in uniform, it is a huge change in military tradition. a change in the tanks and in the trenches. a change announced at the highest levels today. it's where we begin tonight with our pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski. jim, good evening. >> reporter: president obama praised the pentagon's decision to open combat roles to women. and of the 152 u.s. service women who died in iraq and afghanistan, he called them patriots, whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender.
with the stroke of a pen, defense secretary leon panetta and joint chiefs chairman general martin dempsey today lifted the 20-year ban against women in combat. panetta said the new policy is finally catching up with the brutal reality on the ground in iraq and afghanistan. >> female service members have faced the reality of combat, proven their willingness to fight, and yes, to die to defend their fellow americans. >> reporter: it first hit dempsey during a battlefield tour. >> i hopped into the upper armor humvee and slapped the turret around, and i said who are you and she said, i'm amanda. and i said okay. >> lifting the ban potentially opens all combat positions to women, including special operations like the elite navy s.e.a.l.s and army's delta force. but they'll first have to meet the most demanding physical requirements. army first lieutenant's audrey
motan and carley turnage have already proven they've got what it takes. they survived 28 grueling days of the leader course, one of the toughest combat training schools in the military. >> so send females to those schools so they can be just as prepared as their male counterparts. >> reporter: turnage argues in some respects women are better prepared. >> i think that mentally and emotionally, women are stronger than men in some cases. and it's just -- it's really just about finding the right type of woman to do it. >> reporter: outside ft. stewart georgia today, female soldiers are ready to answer the call. >> for us to say i'm 11 bravo, i'm a bang bang, i go out to the front line with the guys, it shows that we are equal. >> reporter: especially on the battlefield. >> when people trying ardently to kill you, it really doesn't matter to you who is on your left and on your right, as long as they're doing their job. we fight to accomplish the mission, we fight for the
country, but most of all, we fight for each other. >> reporter: but military officials here aren't really convinced that many women will even want to sign up for combat infantry. out of nearly 1,200 combat jobs open to women last year, there were only 113 volunteers, brian. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon tonight. ted koppel tonight has an interview with general dempsey by the way, on tonight's broadcast of "rock center." elsewhere in washington, secretary of state hillary clinton was back on capitol hill today, though this time it was to introduce the man nominated to replace her. massachusetts senator john kerry testifying before the very same committee he chairs, receiving quite a different welcome than the one she received 24 hours earlier. our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, in our d.c. newsroom tonight with more. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the son of a diplomat, raised partly at u.s. embassies abroad, even republicans said john kerry has lived his whole life preparing to be secretary of
state. what a difference a day makes. a day after hillary clinton was grilled about benghazi, she was back to join the same senators and lavishing praise on her presumed successor. >> john is the right choice to carry forward the obama administration's foreign policy. and i urge his speedy confirmation. >> if you confirm me, i would take office as secretary, proud that the senate is in my blood. but equally proud that so too is the foreign service. >> reporter: john mccain and kerry forged close bonds over vietnam. both naval officers, mccain was imprisoned. kerry returned to testify against the war in 1971. his first appearance before this committee. >> how do you ask a man to be the last man to die in vietnam? >> reporter: decades later, they united as senators to resolve p.o.w. issues and normalize relations with vietnam. >> working toward that end with
john and witnessing almost daily his exemplary statesmanship is one of the highest privileges i've had here. >> reporter: today, they do have differences. mccain is more willing to arm the rebels in syria. >> i think we ought to tell the syrian people that we're either going to help them or we're not. >> if you have a complete implosion of the state, nobody has clearer definition of how you put those pieces back together. >> reporter: he and others also pressed kerry on benghazi. >> are you willing to work with me or do you basically kind of agree hillary clinton that that's kind of yesterday's news and let's move on? >> well, senator, if you're trying to get some daylight between me and secretary clinton, that's not going to happen here today. >> reporter: kerry promised to stress economic issues, climate change and stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon. >> we will do what we must do to prevent iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. and i repeat here today, our policy is not containment.
it is prevention. and the clock is ticking on our efforts to secure responsible compliance. >> reporter: and there's this. if sworn in next week as expected, kerry would be the first man to be secretary of state in eight years. brian? >> andrea mitchell in our d.c. newsroom tonight with that footnote, thanks. also on capitol hill today, the latest step in the ongoing response to the newtown, connecticut school shootings. a democratic proposal to bring back an assault weapons ban first passed back in 1994. our report on this tonight from nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: 40 days after the horror of newtown. taking aim at weapons like these. >> if they're not in the stores, they can't be bought. think of the lives that could be saved. >> reporter: the proposed ban names 157 specific firearms, including semi automatic rifles and pistols, and magazines holding more than ten rounds. but the bill would not ban more
than 2,200 models of hunting and sporting weapons. for senator dianne feinstein, this is a retooled version of her 1994 assault weapons ban that expired. >> no weapon is taken from anyone. the purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over time. >> reporter: gun violence is personal for feinstein. back in 1978, as a san francisco supervisor, she was first to discover harvey milk shot dead when he and the mayor were assassinated. the national rifle association responded to feinstein's proposal, saying in part: the american people know gun bans do not work, and we are confident congress will reject senator feinstein's wrong-headed approach. today, in an online chat about guns, vice president biden was asked, if in a crisis like a natural disaster, citizens should be able to have assault weapons for their self defense. >> it's harder to use an assault weapon and hit something than it is a shotgun, okay? you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.
>> reporter: as the gun debate rages, "slate" magazine reports 1,200 americans have died in gun violence since newtown. and in pennsylvania, a sportsman show set for next weekend is postponed indefinitely after complaints about the organizers' decision to exclude automatic rifles. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, washington. big bad news for apple today. their stock is taking a beating after a disappointing earnings report. much-loved stock lost more than 12% of its value today alone. put another way, apple lost $52 billion in value today, more than target, nike, starbucks and costco are worth individually. even that didn't stop the dow jones industrial average, s&p 500, as they continue their steady climb toward breaking their all-time highs. the dow today closed at 13825, 339 points from its all-time high reached in october of '07 right before the meltdown.
s&p is closing in on its high. nasdaq was down because of the apple stock. now to the stubbornly brutal cold that has so much of this country in its grip. coldest place in the country today was embarrass, minnesota where the temperature was 42 below. near boise, idaho, the weiser river is frozen over for the first time in two decades. in bryant park here in new york, the famous fountain actually froze. and now think about the victims of hurricane sandy. many people left with just a structure around them, no heat, just the studs where the walls once were. like the home where nbc's katy tur is visiting tonight, staten island in new york. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. outside the real-feel temperature is about 6 degrees. inside, where people are living, it's about 32 degrees. it got so cold in here last night, these water bottles on the wall actually froze. and this home has heat. >> up.
>> reporter: scott and dee mcgrath's whole life has been moved into one small bedroom. >> this is my dining room -- >> living room. >> living room -- >> bedroom -- >> bedroom and computer room. everything all in one. >> reporter: thermostat set to 90, actual temperature, 65. downstairs, though, it's a whole other ball game. >> as you can see, we have a lot of exposed walls. >> there's a lot of people living like this. just because we have heat and electric back on doesn't mean we're actually staying warm. >> 39. >> 39 degrees. >> reporter: the mcgraths have been living this way for three months. in november, they pleaded for help at a town hall. >> i still cannot find an apartment. where am i supposed to live? >> reporter: back then, their only source of heat was their car. now the boiler is in, the bathroom finally installed, but with temperatures like these, both are nearly worthless. >> i can't even venture to think of taking a shower now, because it's just so cold. there's so many holes in the walls and the wind blowing, and
there's just no way. >> reporter: more than 400 customers in staten island don't have electricity, because their homes are too damaged. many are finding refuge in makeshift warming tents. but even here, they can't escape the wind. >> i can't sleep in my house. can't even go in my house. without this place, i don't know what would happen to a lot of people. a lot of elderly people, a lot of people don't have any place else to go. >> reporter: along the coastal streets, the damage is like an open wound that just won't heal. back at the mcgraths, they say they may not be able to completely rebuild until late spring. so for now, it's sweat pants, piles of blankets and each other. >> it's nice to have her sleeping right next to me, because she puts off some really nice heat. so she keeps me warm. >> reporter: of course, part of the problem, brian, is that there are no floors, there's no insulation. there's even holes in the wall here. that's why all the heat is escaping. tomorrow, it is only expected to get worse. it's going to snow. brian? >> thanks to you, katy tur. our thanks to the family, so
important to remember on these cold nights, parts of an entire region look just like that. still ahead, as we continue on this thursday evening, a warning tonight about a frightening invasion of privacy that uses your own computer. one wrong move, then strangers can see and hear every move you make. and later, treasures from camelot. jfk, jackie kennedy, the incredible collection hidden away until now.
back now with as we mentioned that warning about your computer and the frighteningly easy way strangers have figured out now to gain access to your home and watch, in effect, every move you make. all it takes is one bad incoming e-mail, and the camera on your computer turns on, and then someone is spying on you, without you knowing it. we get our report on this tonight from nbc's jeff rossen. >> reporter: these teenagers don't know it, but a stranger is
spying on them. inside their bedroom. >> what about you? >> reporter: and in their dining room, as the family eats dinner. little do they know, thousands of miles away, this man has broken into their laptop, and turned on their web cam. >> people who are victims generally have no idea they are victims. >> reporter: that man is working with us, computer expert, jim stickley. he says families like this are easy targets for web cam predators. like luis mijangos. prosecutors say he was spying on over 200 women through their web cams. even blackmailing some of them. he's now serving six years in prison. >> these are predators. they're your worst nightmare. >> reporter: who can watch you live in your most intimate moments. >> anywhere you might have your laptop, which could be your bedroom, your bathroom, your kitchen, anywhere. >> reporter: so we set up an experiment, using this new jersey family. with the dad's permission, we had our expert hack into their computer, by sending them this innocent-looking e-card, the kind we get all the time.
but this one has a virus, giving him full access to their web cam, able to see and hear them, even when the computer is in sleep mode. overall, you feel safe. >> i do. >> reporter: remember, the family has no idea we have been spying on them days earlier. time for a wake-up call. we actually recorded your family dinner the other night. no one was in your house except for you guys. >> it's really creepy. i mean, my children are on their computers in the evening, in their bedrooms. >> reporter: then, we showed her our video of that too. >> i'm sick over it. i really am. i actually appreciate it, because i'm hoping i can learn from this and try to avoid this ever happening in my home. >> reporter: so how can you avoid it? never open e-mails or attachments from anyone you don't know. and when you're not using your web cam, take a piece of black tape and put it right over the lens. better yet, power off your computer when you walk away, or if you have a laptop, simply close it.
and if you're wondering has a criminal already sent me that virus? the only way to know, experts say, is to have a professional inspect your computer. jeff rossen, nbc news, new york. when we come back, it's been a while since there was a bug in the white house in the news. but it was again today. there's this island -- and it's got super-cute kangaroos.
chevron has been developing energy here for decades. we need to protect their environment. we have a strict quarantine system to protect the integrity of the environment. forty years on, it's still a class-a nature reserve. it's our job to look after them. ...it's my job to look after it. ♪ with temperatures in washington hovering in the 20s, what may be the last surviving housefly of the winter season was hovering in the white house today, and had an encounter with the president during a press event. >> that's why today i am nominating mary jo white to lead the security and exchange commission, and richard cordray to continue leading the consumer financial protection bureau. this guy is bothering me here. >> the incident left us with this unfortunate still photo of the president. and while we presume secret service wrestled the offender to
the ground, the president has a history with flies, famously dispatching one during an interview with our own john harwood. the roar that could be heard for miles today around huntsville, alabama was the test-firing of a vintage rocket engine that was first built to take the apollo 11 mission to the moon. nasa's firing off old ones to learn lessons for the next generation of engines. one of the engineers on the project today, 27 years old, 13 years younger than the rocket they test-fired. and attention all late-night tv and infomercial aficionados. tonight's "rock center" broadcast will feature a profile of the man who became the best-known pitch man of the tv era. maybe the best salesman of all-time. tonight we go inside the world and beverly hills home of inventor and extraordinaire, ron popeil, and it's a wild ride. >> i feel like i know your kitchen already. >> hold it there for six or seven seconds. you tap it. you shake it.
not you. >> right. >> you shake this. you go up, out and down. ghl hairspray. you notice i have a nice-sized bald spot. >> it disappears with the glh hairspray. >> great-looking hair. you can't be splashed, because when the food hits the oil, the lid is in place. >> wow. >> now -- you just go straight down like that. but wait. there's more. >> there's more? >> inside the curious world of ron popeil, including his next invention coming soon to a tv screen near you. that's tonight, "rock center" at 10:00, 9:00 central. we'll take a break. up next, the hidden kennedy treasure.
finally tonight, a new trove of jfk memorabilia collected for years and kept hidden from view has suddenly surfaced. and tonight, before it gets auctioned off, we get to take a rare inside look at camelot. it's an intimate collection of time spent with the president of the united states and his family. it's the kind of memorabilia only a close friend would have. and it shows a man, our president, up close. >> we observe today not a
victory of party, but a celebration of freedom. >> as i think back, he was the only president for two years and ten months and two days. >> the material belonged to dave powers, widely considered jfk's best friend. dave powers was both the keeper of the kennedy flame and the president's secrets. powers was the curator of the kennedy library. now it turns out he kept his own private collection at home. all of this was just discovered 15 years after his death. >> when you look at the items, some specific things will bring goose goose bumps to you. it's really mind blowing. >> chief among the items, the commander in chief's air force one bomber jacket. the presidential seal. a letter from rose kennedy, warning her son about eating the local food during an upcoming trip to mexico. the pen the president used to sign a key document during the cuban missile crisis. and a now achingly sad birthday card from his 2-year-old son, john, who, of course, is now also gone. you would be forgiven for
wondering whether it seems right for this stuff to be in private hands, in some rich person's house, rather than in a museum for all to see. the powers family, for their part, says the kennedy library is fine with it, and they've passed on all of it. but still, kennedy biographer chris matthews says he understands the attraction of it all. >> there is a tremendous demand out there of people of my generation for some way of connecting to this lost president. we lost him. and a part of his life. and a lot of people want to find any way they can to bring him back. >> and so, to the highest bidder will go items like dave powers' own bound copy of the presidential inauguration speeches. a gift from kennedy's widow inscribed and signed, "you and i will miss him most." jackie. >> he was the greatest man i ever met and best friend i ever had. >> the auction of the dave powers' collection will be held next month. that is our broadcast on a thursday night. thank you for being here with us.
be sure to join us for "rock center" tonight at 10:00, 9:00 central. i'm brian williams, and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. >> two years ago, you were writing our obituary. well, it didn't happen. california is back. its budget is balanced and we're on the move. >> right now at 6:00, don't call it a comeback. a jubilant jerry brown sings the praises of california's return to greatness. so what's the real story behind the optimism? plus -- >> i'm live in san jose. tonight we talk exclusively to the family of the 13-year-old who fought off her would be kidnapper. >> wet weather sweeps the bay area. how long will the showers stick around and will it put a damper