tv NBC Nightly News NBC June 1, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
on this sunday night, soldier stories. new questions tonight about the prisoner exchange that led to the release of a u.s. army sergeant as his parents celebrate and deliver a very personal message to their son. including from taliban leader himself who in a statement tonight is calling the release by the u.s. a five taliban commanders from guantanamo bay a great victory. by keeping its promise to not leave any american behind on the battlefield, the obama administration says it has kept the faith with our troops. but growing chorus of lawmakers is tonight asking at what cost. we have two reports starting off with our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. jim, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, lester. bowe bergdahl is at the u.s. military hospital in landstuhl, germany, tonight for a thorough physical exam. but his release this weekend has raised many new questions for the obama white house and bergdahl himself. less than 12 hours after bowe bergdahl departed bagram air base in afghanistan, defense secretary chuck hagel thanked american troops there for bergdahl's safe return. >> this is a happy day, as you all know, for our country, for our armed forces, because we got one of our own back. >> reporter: but just how bergdahl was freed has sparked a political firestorm. on nbc's "meet the press," secretary hagel defended the release of five top taliban prisoners in exchange for bergdahl. >> sergeant bergdahl is a member of the united states army. this was a prisoner exchange. after five years, he has been a prisoner of war. >> reporter: but u.s. military
officials tell nbc news the five top taliban leaders freed are considered among the most dangerous at guantanamo bay. in secret documents obtained by wikileaks, the pentagon classified all five as high risk/likely threat to the u.s. and recommended for continued detention. >> these are the hardest of the hard-core. these are the highest high risk people. and others that we have released have gone back into the fight. >> reporter: even though the five taliban leaders will remain under the control of the government of qatar for one year, others claim their release alone in exchange for bergdahl puts a price on the heads of all americans in afghanistan. >> we have a changing footprint in afghanistan, which would put our soldiers at risk for this notion that if i can get one, i can get five taliban released. >> reporter: today there were photographs of three of the freed taliban in qatar. while the top taliban leader,
the reclusive mullah omar declared victory over the americans. critics also claim president obama broke the law by not notifying congress 30 days before the taliban prisoners were released. national security adviser susan rice claims congress was informed once bergdahl was released, but that his failing health required immediate action. >> we did not have 30 days to wait. and had we waited and lost him, i don't think anybody would have forgiven the united states government. >> reporter: but by all accounts, bergdahl was in good physical condition when turned over to u.s. special operations forces. once safely on the helicopter, bergdahl wrote sf for special forces on a paper plate. when one of the soldiers replied yes, we've been looking for you for a long time, bergdahl broke down in tears. and in boise, idaho today, a somewhat cryptic statement from bowe's father, robert bergdahl, praising his son for helping the
afghan people. >> i'm proud of how much you wanted to help the afghan people and what you were willing to do to go that length. >> reporter: officials here still want to know why bergdahl walked off his base there in afghanistan. but secretary hagel said today that any possible investigation can wait until well after bergdahl recovers from his five years in captivity, lester. >> jim miklaszewski tonight, thank you. and as jim mentioned at the state capitol in boise, idaho, bergdahl's parents had some highly personal and emotional comments about their son. nbc's janet shamlian is there tonight with more on that for us. janet? >> reporter: lester, good evening. what a sense of relief here. the yellow ribbons have been wrapped around the pillars of the capital for a long time. people here now know they will be coming down. bowe's parents are back in idaho tonight, and they're telling us more about their son. [ applause ] >> reporter: fresh off the plane
from d.c. this afternoon, jani and bob bergdahl spoke to reporters in boise, idaho, but directed their comments to their son, army sergeant bowe bergdahl. >> i love you, bowe. give yourself all of the time you need to recover and decompress. there is no hurry. i'm so looking forward to seeing your face after these last 5 1/2 years, long, long years, and to giving you a great big bear hug and holding you in my arms again. >> reporter: the bergdahls don't know when they will reunite with their son, but hope he will hear their message. >> i want you to know that i love you. i'm proud of you. i'm so proud of your character, your patience, and your perseverance, your desire and your action to serve this country in a very difficult, long war. >> reporter: a difficult time for bergdahl's parents, who led a tireless campaign to keep their son's story in the public eye. bob bergdahl immersed himself in the culture of the taliban, growing a beard and learning
pashto, the language spoken by his son's captors. stephen farrell is "the new york times" reporter who was held captive by the taliban in 2009 for four days. >> it's interesting to watch his father. they know that every word they say is searchable on google, on youtube. they know the taliban is reading newspapers, is watching tv. in the front of the mind at all times is don't say anything that is going to get my son killed. >> reporter: the bergdahls know it's a challenging road ahead, but bowe's hometown is ready to welcome him back. >> very, very happy. tremendously good news. bowe is a very personable person. he has a great personality. he likes people. and that comes across. >> reporter: the town organized its first bring bowe back event last year, and planted four trees in a local park, one for every year he was in captivity. this year the event is named bowe is back. >> we're all hugging, even if we don't know each other. everyone is ecstatic.
>> reporter: bergdahl's parents caution his reintegration as they call it is going to take a long time. and they say there is no firm timeline for him to return home here. lester? >> all right, janet, thank you. in massachusetts, federal investigators have begun the search for what caused a private jet to crash on takeoff last night, killing all seven people on board. they included a billionaire who had just completed a deal to buy one of this country's major newspapers. nbc's ron mott is outside boston in bedford, massachusetts, with our report. >> reporter: the crash of the gulfstream iv jet sent a large fireball into the night sky around 9:40 eastern time saturday, never getting off the ground, officials say. a three-person team from the ntsb arrived sunday morning to take over the investigation. >> when the aircraft departed the paved surface of the runway, it rolled into the grass. it went -- it struck a localizer antenna, which is part of an instrument landing system. and then it struck a fence.
>> reporter: among the seven who died is lewis katz, a former owner of the new jersey nets and devils who on tuesday, along with a business partner, won controlling interest of the philadelphia inquirer's parent company, an $88 million deal. the 72-year-old katz was in the boston area for an education fundraiser, tied to the son of presidential historian and nbc analyst doris kearns goodwin, who later shared dinner with him. in a statement, kearns goodwin called katz cherished friend of nearly 20 years and a force of nature, adding that his family has lost a great father and grandfather." katz was a trustee at temple university, serving with fellow alum and comedian bill cosby. his son drew called his dad his best friend, a man who never forgot where and how he grew up, who worked tirelessly to support his community in countless ways seen and unseen. >> they tried to persuade me to get on the plane. >> reporter: former pennsylvania governor ed rendell, an msnbc contributor, said he saw katz friday night and was invited on the ill-fated trip.
>> he is as good a friend as our family has, as good a friend. i can't believe he is gone. >> reporter: a source tells nbc news tonight that the crash scene itself is horrific. meantime, the ntsb's chief investigator says the agency will release a preliminary report in the next ten days or so, lester. >> all right, ron, thanks. overseas, one week after a gunman shot and killed three people at a jewish museum in belgium, a suspect is in custody tonight. authorities say he had recently travelled to syria and claimed responsibility for the shootings in a video. we get more on that tonight from nbc's duncan golestani. >> reporter: in brussels last week, a man walked calmly into the city's jewish museum and opened fire. he then picked up his bag and quickly walked away. the shooting lasted just moments, but left three people dead and jewish communities across europe fearing for their safety. prosecutors say this man is responsible, mehdi nemmouche. a french citizen arrested friday
at a bus station in marseille. in his bag police found a kalashnikov rifle wrapped in the flag of a jihadist group, islamic state of iraq in levnsk. prosecutors claim nemmouche spent more than a year fighting in syria before traveling back to france. it's alleged he is part of a new kind of threat, the returning jihadi. >> we're seeing now the appearance of training complexes in syria to train people to go back to their countries and of course conduct more terrorist acts. >> reporter: the state department confirmed friday this truck bombing in syria was carried out by an american, believed to be al busada from florida. around 100 americans are believed to be among several thousand foreign fighters in syria where extremist groups with links to al qaeda are operating. >> well, there is no wake-up call in the intelligence community. this threat has been known about and taken very seriously for at least a couple of years. >> reporter: abu salha's final
mission was a suicide bombing. the challenge for western governments is tracking those who do make it home. duncan golestani, nbc news, london. hurricane season officially began today, and while forecasters predict it won't be as bad as some, parts of the country remain highly vulnerable in any hurricane. our report on this tonight from weather channel meteorologist mike bettes. >> reporter: strong winds, heavy rain, and large waves. the start of hurricane season brings even greater risk to the millions of americans living along our vulnerable coastlines. this year, noaa's atlantic hurricane season outlook forecast as many as 13 storms. six could become hurricanes with two of those major hurricanes, a category three or higher. experts say it could be a near or below average season. >> overall, this forecast is good news for those living along the coast, but again, remember, it only takes one storm. >> reporter: over the past
decade, atlantic systems have caused nearly $300 billion in damage. cool atlantic temperatures and el nino's band of warm water expected in the pacific mean less potential risk this year. the national weather service will release storm surge flood maps showing areas most at risk. >> most people don't even know if they live in a storm surge zone. water is the number one killer in a hurricane. >> reporter: and noaa and nasa are using drone technology to monitor these monster storms in realtime, tools that could help save lives and prevent damage like we've seen in past storms. like 2005's hurricane katrina along the gulf coast, the costliest ever. or hurricane andrew in 1992, one of only three category 5 hurricanes in the 20th century. and this destructive storm. when super storm sandy struck in 2012, it devastated the community right here in breezy
point in queens, new york. but new construction every day means homes are now more hurricane-resistant. but right next door many homes still remain untouched. communities still in recovery as we enter a new season of uncertainty. mike bettes, nbc news, breezy point, new york. when "nbc nightly news" continues on this sunday, preventing gun violence with a new way to intervene before it's too late.
meanwhile, a move is under way in california to try to prevent this kind of gun violence. we have more on that tonight from nbc's mike taibbi. >> reporter: police say that when elliot rodger left his home that friday, his three roommates were all dead with multiple stab wounds, and that he then took three legally purchased handguns into the streets of isla vista, killing three more ucsb students, including christopher martinez, before turning the gun on himself. martinez's father richard told us -- >> i want something to change. and i want my son's death to mean something. >> reporter: one change now being fast-tracked, a proposed bill california assemblywoman nancy skinner says might well have stopped rodger beforehand. >> it's a common sense measure. and it's one that other states have in place. >> reporter: skinner's bill spells out procedures for concerned friends or relatives to temporarily obtain a gun violence restraining order. with that tro in place, the police could then retain any
firearms found and bar the ownership purchase of other guns for up to a year. >> it gives an effective tool to both law enforcement and the concerned friend or family member to stop that action, at least temporarily. >> reporter: it turns out rodger's parents requested a police visit to their son on april 30th, nearly a month before the rampage. though the police did everything their crisis intervention training told them to do, it clearly wasn't enough to ferret out his true intentions. we're now learning the police did not examine his online presence prior to the visit. months and months of increasingly angry and despairing and desperate videos and blogs, and didn't know he had already stockpiled his guns and ammo legally from three different gun shops. ucla law professor adam winkler says it wouldn't take a new law for police to factor that public information into future checks. but -- >> they're stuck between a rock and a hard place. they want to protect someone's privacy, but at the same time they want to protect the public. >> reporter: the police say they conducted the april home visit to rodger by the book. but if the result was more
anguish -- >> what, this is the normal way of life in the united states? >> reporter: -- then the book critics say has to change. no comment yet from the nra. but the new gun violence tro law is heading for a vote. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. when we come back, follow the money. it's spreading far and wide as more and more people play hide-and-seek for cash.
we've received late word tonight that ann b. davis has died. the actress was best known for her role as alice nelson, the housekeeper in "the brady bunch" which ran from 1969 to 1974. davis later appeared in various brady bunch tv movies and other productions and in many commercials over the years. she suffered a fall yesterday in texas where she lived and passed away this morning. ann b. davis was 88 years old. more lucky winners today as the cash craze started by that mystery man leaving money around
california spreads well beyond with imitators now in several other states and even overseas. we get more tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren. >> wish me luck. >> reporter: in the hollywood hills today, a windfall for those who could figure out the clues. cold hard cash hidden in a jar of bubbles, near smoky the bear, or a dog park under the hollywood sign. >> i'm looking. >> reporter: others this weekend found cash buried in the sand. >> $124. >> reporter: all thanks to tweets from @hiddencash, the anonymous donor who spent the last week spreading smiles from san francisco to l.a. >> i reach down and oh, my gosh. >> reporter: the winners tweet pictures, and a lot of times what good deed they'll do with the cash. the man behind the tweets who says he made his fortune in real estate calls it a social experiment for good, saying he just wants people to pay it forward. he promises to give more than 100,000 bucks away. while today was his last day in los angeles, there have been hints the big apple could be
next. but the original @hiddencash is no longer the only one in the money hiding game. >> my friends couldn't believe it. >> reporter: in leeds, england, harry mccune found 50 pounds thanks to @athiddencashuk. >> reporter: turned out it was the real thing. >> reporter: real cash, a copycat donor. there are reports of cash in other countries, tweets from toronto and vancouver. while back in the u.s., there is hidden cash in kansas, tampa, florida. >> well, if he is being a copycat, that's a good thing. >> reporter: and colorado. >> it's pretty cool. you don't see this happen too often, people doing good things for people to find. >> reporter: a wave of generosity thanks to a social experiment that is rapidly spreading. >> gosh, i'm just so excited. i'm so happy. >> reporter: kristen dahlgren, nbc news. up next, a soothing sight for weary travelers making the airport not such a stressful place after all.
finally tonight, we've got the perfect antidote for anyone who feels stressed out at the airport. the comforting influence of some special visitors that completely transforms the experience. more from nbc's ayman mohyeldin. >> reporter: at just over two feet tall with glamorous eyelashes and a golden coat, you could say bailey was always destined to be a star. when bailey and her friends show up at los angeles' airport, paparazzi sightings become the talk of the terminal. let's face it.
airports can be stressful, from security lines to long delays and large crowds. there is little to make anyone happy about traveling, unless you run into this group of therapy dogs roaming the terminals to play with travelers. there is no one that wagging tails, wet noses and warm hugs can't make smile. colleen dickinson hung up the phone on her husband when the dogs passed by. >> i noticed the little one. i just told my husband right away, there is this little scruffy one. i just got to go see it. and then i saw the other ones coming in. it just made me kind of happy to see something a little bit different in the airport. >> reporter: the first of these programs began in san jose after the september 11th attacks to ease the anxiety of travelers. now several airports across the country are unleashing the hounds. >> here we go. >> reporter: after a deadly shooting rampage last year at l.a.x., lanny goodwin and his english setter grommet comfort passengers and airport workers. >> they take your mind, if only for a short period of time, it
takes your mind off it. >> reporter: like any other employees at the airport, the dogs have to be screened. they go through health checks, even take a personality test. but above all in a stressful and chaotic environment like the airport, they have to be disciplined. what have you found the reaction been from passengers when you actually physically see them? >> you actually can feel the stress level go down. you see people start to smile, shoulders start relaxing. >> oh! >> reporter: and for a brief moment, passengers can escape the stress of flying with a little canine affection. ayman mohyeldin, nbc news, los angeles. >> that's "nbc nightly news" for this sunday. hope to see you right back here tomorrow night. i'm lester holt reporting from new york. for all of us here at nbc news, good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com
teacher layoffs. and a 60 billion dollar budget deficit. that's what john perez faced when he became speaker of the california assembly. so he partnered with governor brown to pass three balanced budgets, on time. for the first time in thirty years. today, the deficits are gone and we've invested an additional 2 billion dollars in education. now john perez is running for controller, to keep fighting for balanced budgets. democrat john perez for controller.
there's a nationwide manhunt for san francisco man tonight. bi calls him armed and dangerous. we have new information on ryan chamberland and his connection to bay area politics. his family says he was the highlight of their family. we take you to the emotional gathering in the east bay. >> and tsa agent find a hand grenade in the luggage of a stanford professor. we will show you why the professor says it was all an honest mistake. >> good evening. i'm diane dwyer. >> i'm terry mcsweeney. a nationwide manhunt is under way after fbi agent and
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