tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC February 20, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PST
>> it is. we're tracking this storm and a brand-new issued flash flood warning in the south bay. i'll have details at 6:00. >> more updates coming then. right now, lester holt with "nightly news." tonight, stunning breach caught on tape. a metal detector at jfk left unguarded as passengers walked through. some setting it off. then apparently boarding flights. why didn't the tsa alert police for two hours? the replacement pick. president trump's new national security adviser revealed. as the vice president tries to calm anxious allies overseas. a new wave of bomb threats. evacuations at nearly a dozen jewish community centers across the country. tonight, parents alarmed. scandal rocks uber. an urgent investigation as a former employee makes explosive allegations of sexual harassment against women. dentist alternative. the new trend in getting your teeth taken care of. dress for success.
inspiring america by helping the suit make the man. "nightly news" begins right now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening to our viewers in the west. police were alerted to a serious security breach at a tsa screening checkpoint at new york's jfk airport this morning. the only problem, they were alerted two hours after nearly a dozen passengers walked through what we've learned was an unattended metal detector. nbc news has learned surveillance video shows some of those passengers actually triggered the alarms but continued into the terminal and onto airplanes unchallenged. the security gaffe raising questions about tsa staffing and who's in charge. nbc's tom costello has details. >> reporter: it happened at 6:00 a.m. at jfk as the precheck lanes were opening. 11 passengers managed to walk right through without being
screened. even though their carry-on bags were. three of the passengers tripped the metal detector, yet weren't given a secondary screening. two of the three shown here. but it took the tsa two hours to report the incident to airport police, and by then the passengers were gone, already on their flights. in a statement the tsa says, a k-9 team was present at the checkpoint at the time of the incident. we are confident this incident presents minimal risk to the aviation transportation system. police say the passengers were identified and checked on arrival in california. at jfk today -- >> yeah, i'd say that's pretty unnerving. i don't know how that happens. seems like there's pretty tight security here. >> i find it shocking given how tight security is these days. >> reporter: nationwide the tsa screens 2 million people at 440 airports every day. so far, president trump hasn't appointed a new tsa chief. veteran deputies are running the agency, which has been under public scrutiny. nearly two years ago, a devastating undercover test found
agents failed to detect 90% of fake weapons and explosives. meanwhile, from brussels to istanbul to ft. lauderdale, airports remain a target. security pros say today's lapse is a red flag. >> a checkpoint must be run properly, fully staffed. if you are unable to do that, it must be shut down. >> reporter: tsa says it's investigating thoroughly. that could result in disciplinary action and retraining. but lester, more than 15 years after 9/11, day in and day out one of the biggest challenges the tsa faces is guarding against complacency. back to you. >> tom costello tonight, thank you. in florida this evening, at his private mar-a-lago club, president trump revealed his pick to replace michael flynn as national security adviser. army lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster, a veteran military strategist earning widespread praise. our white house correspondent kristen welker has more on a new and critical pick. >> reporter: in a made
for tv moment, president trump announcing his new national security adviser. >> general h.r. mcmaster will become the national security adviser. he's a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience. >> reporter: a senior administration official tells nbc news the president chose lieutenant general h.r. mcmaster because he's both a warrior and a defense intellectual. at 54 years old, mcmaster is highly decorated, having served in both iraq wars and in afghanistan. also hailed for his military book "dereliction of duty" about officers who refused to tell president johnson at the time he was wrong about vietnam. now mcmaster is in a position of having to weigh if and when to speak out to the president and while some in foreign policy circles question his national security expertise, the announcement was largely received with bipartisan support. >> i don't know if h.r. ever sleeps at night. >> reporter: the former u.s. ambassador to iraq, ryan crocker, praised mcmaster's leadership over an elite
counterinsurgency team in 2007. >> he was precise, he was focused, and gave us just what we needed to develop a plan that actually worked for the next two years. >> reporter: lieutenant general mcmaster beat out three other candidates who the president interviewed this weekend and replaces former national security adviser michael flynn, who was fired for misleading vice president pence. on a diplomatic trip in brussels the vice president was pressed on the shakeup. >> i was disappointed to learn that the facts that had been conveyed to me by general flynn were inaccurate. >> reporter: tonight the white house insists mcmaster will choose the team he'll now lead. tonight mcmaster called the opportunity a privilege. he's a father of three who in 2014 was one of "time's" most influential people. he's viewed as apolitical, a welcome change for critics after flynn who during
the campaign led "lock her up" chants. >> kristen welker, thank you. there were rallies this presidents' day in cities across the country, so-called not my president's day marches were staged in los angeles, atlanta, philadelphia and over two dozen other places. another display of defiance against president trump, including a large crowd outside his trump international hotel in new york. as that played out in this country, overseas the vice president was among those trying to calm anxious u.s. allies unnerved by some of the comments made by president trump. we get the very latest on that from our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. >> reporter: from brussels to baghdad tonight, the president's men trying to explain and in some cases walk back the president's own words to anxious allies. on nato, after repeated campaign blasts -- >> nato is obsolete. >> reporter: mr. trump now says he's a nato fan, just wants members to pay their fair share. >> they're not paying their bills. >> reporter: the vice president reaffirming the commitment but still grilled on the
world stage by european reporters. >> who should european leaders listen to? you or president trump? >> the president directed me to go to munich, to come to brussels, with a very specific message, that the united states is expressing strong support for nato. >> reporter: on keeping iraq's oil. >> we should have kept the oil. but, okay -- maybe we'll have another chance. >> reporter: but that would be a war crime. the defense secretary saying it won't happen. >> we're not in iraq to seize anybody's oil. >> reporter: and on refugees and terror, the president igniting a new firestorm in europe over sweden. >> you look at what's happening last night in sweden. sweden. who would believe this? sweden. >> reporter: apparently mr. trump saw a report on fox news, but it was false, prompting complaints from sweden's prime minister. >> we must all take responsibility for using facts correctly. >> everybody around the world is watching what he says at those rallies and they see that it is at variance with what general
mattis is saying, what vice president pence is saying, and it worries them. >> tonight, despite all the assurances from the president's men, allies are still rattled not knowing who really speaks for mr. trump and waiting nervously for the next tweet. lester? >> andrea mitchell, thanks. there is a developing story we're following tonight, a new wave of bomb threats made against jewish community centers prompting evacuations across the country. parents alarmed, the fbi is involved. now the white house is weighing in. we get details from nbc news national correspondent peter alexander. >> reporter: at the jewish community center in birmingham, alabama, today, a phoned-in bomb threat and evacuation. the second scare in a month. police and fire crews responding. last month, staff and parents hurried children to safety. some babies wheeled away in cribs. just today, 11 separate jewish community centers receiving similar threatening calls. since early january, 54 centers targeted across 27 states. so far, no injuries as
the threats all appear to have been hoaxes. >> it's absolutely outrageous that this is occurring. it's unprecedented in terms of the scale of that. >> reporter: jewish groups say these threats, meant to terrify children and their families, have failed. president trump, questioned about rising anti-semitism, has repeatedly tried to deflect criticism by emphasizing his own beliefs. >> i am the least anti-semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. >> reporter: but as president he's yet to denounce anti-semitism. >> jewish people, so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now -- >> reporter: his press secretary late tonight telling nbc news, the president has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable. >> the issue is we need the president to show moral leadership and acknowledge the issue and announce steps to address this problem before communities go from anxiety to real trauma.
>> reporter: so far, no arrests with the fbi now investigating what it calls possible civil rights violations. peter alexander, nbc news, washington. let's turn to the sudden death of russia's ambassador to the united nations here in new york today. a shocking passing at a very tumultuous time for u.s. relations with russia. nbc's anne thompson has late developments tonight. >> reporter: a moment of silence at the united nations marking the sudden death of russia's ambassador vitaly churkin. russian president vladimir putin said to be deeply upset by churkin's passing. 30 years ago churkin was the first russian diplomat to testify before congress, defending the then-ussr's handling of the chernobyl nuclear accident. >> no harm was done, real harm. >> reporter: most recently russian-backed criticism of russia's role in syria after former u.n. ambassador samantha powers' passionate speech. >> who built her statement as if she was mother theresa. >> reporter: in 2015 churkin privately
described putin's administration as a kleptocracy to tom brokaw but publicly defended his policy. his death coming the day before his 65th birthday might ignite suspicion. >> we should think about him and what a great diplomat he was. i think it does reflect a kind of moment that we're in, given that there's been mysterious deaths in russia recently that people want to run to that kind of explanation. >> reporter: those suspicious deaths include boris nemtsov and alexander nipenenko, both vocal critics of putin, something churkin never was. remembering a son of russia through a lens of his time. anne thompson, nbc news, new york. a dangerous outbreak of tornados has carved a path of destruction through south-central texas. more than 150 homes were damaged when a line of severe storms ripped through the san antonio area, spawning at least six tornados. in northern california, a monster storm has 15 million under flood alerts. the powerful two-day storm is blamed for at least four deaths.
now to a scandal rocking a big american company tonight. the ceo of uber has ordered what he's calling an urgent investigation after a former employee made explosive allegations about sexual harassment against women in the workplace. a post that quickly went viral. tonight we've learned the company has hired former attorney general eric holder to lead that investigation. our business correspondent jolene kent has details. >> reporter: susan fowler describes her year as an engineer at uber as strange and slightly horrifying. beginning, she says, with an unwanted sexual advance just weeks into her new job. in a blog post on sunday, fowler wrote, my new manager sent me a string of messages over company chat. it was clear that he was trying to get me to have sex with him. fowler said she immediately took screen shots of these chat messages and reported him to uber human resources. she says upper management called her manager a high performer and they
wouldn't feel comfortable punishing him, because it was "this man's first offense." however, fowler says, fellow women engineers later told her they had experienced the same problem with the same supervisor. in a statement to nbc news, uber ceo travis kalanick said he'd only just been informed of fowler's complaint and her description is abhorrent and against everything uber stands for and believes in. he's launched an urgent investigation adding, anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is okay will be fired. >> i hear these stories from women all the time. and there is a sense that women need to put up with it, there is a sense that it's part of what it means to be an engineer in silicon valley. >> reporter: fowler's allegations are common in the male-dominated silicon valley. a recent survey found 60% of women in tech reported unwanted sexual advances. 60% said when they reported sexual advances they were dissatisfied with the course of action to resolve them. fowler says her supervisor is no longer at uber but doesn't know why he left. she left uber too,
starting a new job in january. jo ling kent, nbc news, los angeles. still ahead here tonight, saving your smile. they can fill cavities and restore your teeth, but they are not dentists. the alternative that's catching on across the country. also caught on camera, new video that appears to show that shocking airport assassination as it happened.
more states are allowing dental therapists to practice. they don't go through all the same schooling dentists do but they are allowed to perform many of the same procedures. more now from nbc's kristen dalgren. >> reporter: in minneapolis, 5-year-old madigan is getting a cavity filled. >> open wide for me. >> reporter: gina is manning the drill but she's not a dentist, she's a dental therapist. more training than a hygienist, but not as much as a dentist. and in minnesota, it's perfectly legal for her to perform the procedure. >> we go through the same requirements for testing with the state, our licensure exam is the same the dds take, we just take a smaller portion of it. >> reporter: now a handful of states across the country are following suit, passing or consideration legislation to make the mid-level position legal, allowing dental therapists to perform common procedures like fillings, temporary crowns, and extractions. according to advocates, providing options for lower-income and
elderly patients or those with limited access to dental care. only 40% of dentists nationwide accept medicaid. >> we just get to have more time with patients. we get to take the time over just seeing them for for restorative care. >> reporter: the american dental association is wary, concerned over safety. >> they are licensed and have taken boards. why wouldn't you have to have dentists treating patients that have high levels of disease? >> reporter: in vermont dental therapists work only under the supervision of dentists. under proposed legislation in massachusetts, they would only serve medicaid patients or in counties with a shortage of dentists. back in minnesota, madigan's mom feels they're in good hands. >> i wouldn't change a thing. >> reporter: in many states the debate rages on over just who should have a license to drill. kristen dalgren, nbc news, new york. we're back in a moment with breaking news. some sad word tonight from a hollywood star.
we're back now. another stunning twist in the assassination of north korean leader kim jong-un's estranged half brother. video has emerged that apparently shows how he was poisoned and the dramatic moments that followed. nbc's janis mackey frayer has the tape. >> reporter: an alleged airport assassination captured in new security footage apparently showing kim jong-nam waiting to check in when a woman comes from behind, wipes his face with what's thought to be lethal poison, and walks away. the man believed to be kim tells airport workers he feels dizzy. as he's walked to a clinic what appears to be the same woman strolls out of the airport to a taxi. then the man believed to be the north korean dictator's half brother and one-time rival is wheeled away on a stretcher, later pronounced dead at a hospital. the alleged attack happened here in an area that, like at any airport, was crowded with people moving in
every direction providing the cover needed for an escape. tonight malaysian police and interpol are hunting for four suspects. all north korean men they say who left the country the same day kim was killed. four others are already in custody, including that woman in the lol shirt and another woman whose family says she thought it was all part of a tv prank. a week later, there's still no autopsy, no confirmed cause of death. only a murder mystery that's deepening. janis mackey frayer, nbc news, kuala lumpur, malaysia. there is sad health news about "partridge family" star david cassidy. the 66-year-old actor and musician tells "people" magazine he's fighting dementia. he says his grandfather and mother also suffered from the disease. cassidy says he's made the decision to stop touring to concentrate on his health and happiness. his spokesperson tells nbc news there are no statements at this time except that those close to him are saddened and of course wish him well.
especially during a job interview. and there's a family-run store dedicated to helping the unemployed dress for success. nbc's joe friar has our "inspiring america" report. >> that's the suit. >> reporter: it's not just another piece of clothing. >> looking good, let's put the jacket on you. >> reporter: a suit can say things words cannot. they know that well at utah woolen mills. >> this really is a family business, right? >> oh, yeah. >> reporter: b.j. stringham represents the fifth generation of this 112-year-old high-end clothing store. >> this is my great grandfather right there with the hat. >> reporter: a place steeped in tradition, that this year decided to try something new. >> yeah, that looks nice. >> reporter: giving suits to folks who are struggling to find a job. >> it's not about the suit, it's about the man inside. and it's about giving that person a chance to shine and to not be worried about what people think about them. >> how does it feel? >> feels awesome. >> reporter: they call it suited for good. for every suit the company sells, another is donated, complete with a head to toe
fitting. >> can't get a job with that, you can't get a job, right? >> that's right. >> reporter: among the recipients is john boss, who not only drives a truck, he lives in one. >> this is home sweet home. >> reporter: his dream is to work in the business world, but without a suit just dropping off his resume was a challenge. >> i have to admit, i got embarrassed and left without doing anything. i didn't look the part. >> reporter: a few weeks ago, boss got his suit and with it his confidence. >> couldn't help but stand taller, prouder, bigger smile. >> reporter: for craig carter, father of two, looking for work, a new suit represents hope for him and his kids. >> you see that light in my eyes again. they're like, oh, dad's okay. dad's okay. i was excited. >> reporter: while clothes may not make the man, the lesson here is a good suit can build him up. joe friar, nbc news, salt lake city. that's going to do it for us on a monday night. i'm lester holt. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night. a powerful storm continues tsla.
right now at 6:00, a powerful storm continue to slam the bay area on this president's day holiday. we'll show you the new problems it's causing and the growing issues that some of the usual trouble spots. the news at 6:00 starts right now. good evening. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. it is relentless, the rain coming down hard all day. and that had some people trapped by rising flood waters. south bay crews jumping into action for two separate understand dents.
heavy machines are working to clear the debris. and lanes in a major freeway in san jose covered in water. >> we have a team of reporters. let's begin with jeff ranieri. >> we have good news to report right now when it comes to the weather. the final back edge of the storm system is just offshore. so i think in the next three to four hours we'll begin to see a lot of the activity beginning to break up. i want to take you to the top two flood canconcerns. flooding is happening near belmont creek and el camino real highway we have some flooding occurring right now. you need to be very careful if you're planning on traveling in that location. the other flash flood warning, flooding is happening now until 6:30 tonight, upper pen tins ya creek at t