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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  December 8, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PST

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wednesday night. and thursday the main event, heavy wind and rain. >> thank you for joining us, nightly news is next. >> you can always find us on line at big cia secrets about torture are about to be intentionally exposed. tonight, u.s. embassies and marines bracing around the world over warnings these revelations could cost american lives. towering inferno. it looked like a bomb went off. a massive fire levels a city block right at the intersection of many major highways, setting off a traffic nightmare in los angeles. inside the raid. stunning new details tonight about what went wrong on a mission to save an american hostage being held by al qaeda. and royal engagement. while kate charms new york, the prince meets the president where he shares a crucial detail about the birth of his son. "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world
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headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. u.s. embassies and facilities around the world are preparing for possible violence within the next 24 hours. because of the intentional release of a report detailing the torture of terrorism suspects by the cia under the banner of the war on terror and in the wake of 9/11. this is not a leak. this is a prepared document, 600 pages in length, released by the democrats who still control the senate intelligence committee, who believe once this evidence is out for the world to see, the u.s. will never again use torture as a means of interrogation. it's where we begin here tonight with our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell. >> reporter: embassies in cairo and other capitals are on alert, bracing for the release of the explosive senate torture report. 2,000 marines are mobilized on amphibious ships equipped with
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ospreys in the gulf and on a base in sicily. a showdown between the cia director at the white house today and intelligence chair dianne feinstein on capitol hill. >> our own intelligence community has assessed this will cause violence and death. >> reporter: a call from secretary of state feinstein -- kerry to feinstein only hardened the democrats' intention to go public, despite threats. >> there are some around the world who are already angry at the united states because torture was used in the past. this report doesn't change that. >> reporter: those who've read the report say it is graphic. similar to the interrogation in "zero dark thirty" and devastating to the cia. it accuses three cia directors and their deputies of lying to congress, the white house and the american people and cites 20 cases where investigators say the torture produced no useful intelligence. it describes a waterboarding of three detainees in 2002 and 2003 including osama bin laden's
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right-hand man kalid shaekh mohamed. in 2010 former president bush told matt lauer why he authorized the program. >> caled sheikh mohammed is the guy that order at the attack on 9/11. and they say he's got information. i said find out what he knows. i said, are the techniques legal? a legal team says, yes, they are. and i said, use them. >> reporter: other harsh techniques continued for years, slamming detainees into walls, sleep deprivation, dousing them with cold water. defendants argue it helped disrupt terror plots and find bin laden. they claim the cia briefed congress every step of the way and cite the pressure to prevent another 9/11. >> the trade towers were still in a smoldering ruin at ground zero when this program began. >> reporter: president obama ended the practices as soon as he took office. tonight former vice president dick cheney told "new york times" any idea that the cia misled the white house is "a crock" and that the cia
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officials ought to be decorated, not criticized. brian? >> andrea mitchell starting us off from our d.c. newsroom. andrea, thanks. now we turn our attention to los angeles and a huge inferno visible from the pacific ocean to the california foothills. and in a city that gets around by car, this fire has had a colossal impact on travel, still ongoing. now investigators are trying to determine if it was deliberately set. we get our report tonight from nbc's hallie jackson in l.a. >> reporter: the flames torching an entire city block lit up the l.a. skyline. a fire so big you could see it for miles early this morning. scaffolding collapsing minutes after the blaze began at the construction site of a new seven-story apartment building. >> it was very hot to the point where you could just feel it pinching on your ears and neck. and we wear pretty thick coats
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to protect us, but it was very intense. >> reporter: it was that intense heat, not the flames themselves, that set off sprinklers and more fires inside two other high-rises, melting computers, bursting windows, falling glass adding to the danger for 250 firefighters on scene. a quarter of the city's department. >> there's a freeway sign right there. it has just been destroyed by the heat of that fire. >> reporter: the 110 freeway just feet from the building and other crucial roads shut down, paralyzing traffic at the peak of rush hour. >> you're heading into downtown los angeles this morning give yourself plenty of time. >> reporter: firefighters making room for water hoses and keeping commuters away from falling debris. crews mopped up hot spots all day. more than a million square feet destroyed. still too hot for investigators to get in to determine the cause. >> one of the things we do with a fire of this magnitude, we always bring our arson
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investigators on scene. we always treat it as a criminal fire, in the event it does become a criminal fire. >> reporter: the atf is now spending in a national response team, which could go inside the building to begin the investigation as early as wednesday. fortunately, nobody was hurt in this fire, but it did cause tens of millions of dollars in damage. brian. >> hallie jackson after a wild night in los angeles. hallie, thanks. a terrible and sudden tragedy outside washington, d.c. today. a small private passenger jet fell out of the sky, crashing into a suburban neighborhood and setting homes on fire. tonight, at least six are dead, three on the aircraft, three on the ground below. nbc's tom costello has our report from gaithersburg, maryland. >> reporter: it was just after 10:45 this morning when the first fire units arrived on scene. >> got a working fire, plane into a house, reported three people in the house.
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>> reporter: a quiet suburb northwest of washington rocked by fire and explosion when a private jet slammed into several homes. >> the wing went into the front of their house and blew their window out and i guess it hit this house and caught on fire. >> reporter: on the second floor of one home, marie gemmell, her newborn and her 3-year-old. >> we have confirmed the loss of the three family members of the gemmell family in the house that burned behind us. >> reporter: the plane was on approach to the nearby airport. seconds before the crash other pilots reported many birds in the air. >> we've got an unusual amount of birds out here. >> reporter: on the ground witnesses said the pilot seemed to be in trouble. >> obviously wildly not being able to hold his position, up, down, left, right, a lot of instability. >> reporter: the plane, early indications suggest it was flying below 100 knots. very slow for a landing attempt. >> the question for investigators is going to really be looking at the flight profile to see why the pilot got the airport so slow. >> reporter: that investigation just beginning tonight.
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on board the plane dr. michael rosenberg, the ceo of a health care company. he was involved in a plane crash four years ago. the ntsb will be looking at piloting, mechanical issues and whether those birds played any role at all. brian? >> tom costello on the scene for us tonight. tom, thanks. we may be having weather in the news by midweek as we're tracking two big storms taking aim from west to east. a nor'easter is on the move from the carolinas on up the eastern seaboard through maine bringing a mix of snow and heavy rain. and there are warnings of major flooding. on the west coast, northern california about to get slammed by the strongest storm to hit there in about five years. meteorologist janice huff in the weather center with all of it tonight. janice, good evening. >> hi, brian. it is going to be a mess for the east coast and west coast starting with the nor'easter on the east coast. this satellite and radar picture doesn't look impressive. but this storm is going to be developing rapidly and moving up the coast. this is 5:00 a.m. tomorrow
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hitting norfolk with heavy rain. snow back in the mountains of west virginia. hitting new york city in the afternoon with very heavy rain. and then a bullseye of very heavy snow around the albany area, maybe up to two feet expected. boston will get heavy rain. there will be coastal flooding along the areas as well from boston down to the jersey shore. here's a look at the snow forecast. that 18 to 24-inch bullseye is near albany, new york. the storm will last for several days as well. so there are warnings and watches that stretch all the way into new england that will continue into thursday. and on the west coast we've got that next storm you're talking about. they're already seeing rain around the seattle area. and they could see anywhere from four to eight inches of rain. flood alerts are already in effect, brian. >> janice huff tonight from the weather center. janice, thanks. on both coasts anger over the eric garner grand jury decision continues to boil over. protesters started laying down outside the barclays center in brooklyn where britain's royal couple will attend an nba game tonight. on the other side of the country, overnight protests over the police killings of eric
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garner and michael brown turned violent in berkeley, california. police claim demonstrators hurled objects including an explosive at them at one point. they used tear gas to break up crowds of hundreds. nbc news has learned some of the details tonight about the failed raid to rescue an american hostage being held by al qaeda in yemen, including how big and complex this mission was and what tipped off the terrorists that u.s. special forces were indeed closing in. we get our report tonight from nbc's richard engel. >> reporter: american journalist luke somers had been missing for 13 months, kidnapped by al qaeda in yemen until last month just before thanksgiving, military sources say there was a break. u.s. special operations forces tracked him to a cave in hadhramaut in central yemen. a first rescue mission was launched on november 25th. u.s. commandos killed three to five guards, rescued several
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arab hostages, but somers was gone. and now al qaeda was angry. on december 3rd they released a new video of somers. >> it's now been well over a year since i was kidnapped. >> reporter: and threatened to kill him within 72 hours. u.s. military sources tell nbc news, american special operations forces tracked him down again. he'd been moved to shabwah, but not to a cave this time but an al qaeda compound. eight buildings surrounded by a berm. 100 to 200 militants inside. on saturday in a highly risky mission, several dozen navy s.e.a.l.s. landed seven miles away from the compound and walked to the target. >> rescue operations like this succeed far less than 50% of the time. and i would say particularly in this circumstance when we'd already tried it once, the chances of success maybe 10%. >> reporter: just a hundred yards away, dogs started barking. they can be heard on this al qaeda-released video. [ gunfire ]
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>> reporter: several militants opened fire, slowing down the seals. somers and a south african pierre corky were both shot by their kidnappers, but still alive. given emergency first aid as they were taken to the ospreys that had advanced to the target. both hostages died a short time later. military sources tell me they believe that the kidnappers had actual standing orders to kill the hostages if the americans arrived. and when the americans did arrive at that compound, most of the militants inside didn't stick around to fight. they pulled back. the americans went in, found the hostages. they were still alive, they died afterwards, the americans left. >> richard engel here in new york with the anatomy of this raid. richard, thanks. in political news the republican wave on election night just kept going into this past weekend in a runoff race in louisiana. senator mary landrieu, the democratic incumbent lost in a landslide. another gop pickup. that now gives republicans a nine-seat pickup in the senate.
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and this represents nothing short of a reshaping of the american south. for the first time in 50 years there won't be a single democratic u.s. senator or governor from texas, all the way east to the carolinas completing a political transformation from the era of lyndon johnson. still ahead on a monday evening, dire warnings trying to shock the public about what some fear could be the biggest looming disaster in u.s. history. experts on the west coast say it's coming and we're not ready for it. also, the british invasion, william and kate drawing crowds from new york to washington. and speculation about a big evening ahead.
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a disaster is waiting to happen in los angeles, and that's not hype. that's according to the city's own assessment. officials there released a report today with a warning that an earthquake could devastate the second largest city in our country. and as an nbc news investigation reveals, right now the west coast is woefully unprepared for the big one. our report tonight from nbc's jacob rascon. >> reporter: imagine america without los angeles. in a report released today addresses the very real possibility that a long overdue massive earthquake would collapse the economy in the country's second largest city. >> those responsibilities have been shirked for far too long. that stops now. >> reporter: an 18-month study led by renowned seismologist lucy jones, recommends it be
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mandatory that building owners partially rebuild thousands of old structures. wood frame buildings like the one that killed 16 people in the north ridge quake in five years. older concrete buildings within 30. it's an idea jones told brian earlier this year is essential to the city's survival. >> how do we move from the los angeles now, which will have huge deaths in a local earthquake, potentially economic disruption in a lot of earthquakes, to a los angeles that can live and thrive through the earthquake? >> reporter: an ongoing nbc news investigation also found critical gaps in earthquake planning that could lead to system failures. first responders told nbc news not even they have a central supply to sustain their families which will affect deployment in the critical first three days. this is key, given that the big one may cause more than 1,600 fires at a time when fire trucks could run out of fuel. >> we all saw fire this morning. imagine 1,600 at the same time. >> reporter: add to that l.a.'s century-old water main system. remember the catastrophic water main break near ucla last summer?
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imagine 70 of them, says jones. her recommendations now go to the l.a. city council which will consider the plan's staggering cost. just one building, l.a.'s hall of justice, has taken three years and a quarter billion dollars to retro fit. >> one thing we can't afford to do is to wait. we simply cannot afford to wait any longer to make this happen. >> reporter: and even with the best government plans, experts tell us californians should be ready to go it alone for a long haul after the big one without -- for weeks or even months without basics like electricity, phones, gas, and sewage. brian? >> jacob rascon live in the south land for us tonight. jacob, thanks. we're back with a big announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. awe're back with a announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. nowe're back with announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. twe're back with a announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. hwe're back with a announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. erwe're back with g
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announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. we're back with a big announcement that could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. announcement that the olympic games as we've come to know them. could change the olympic games as we've come to know them. the olympic games as we've come to know them. to know them. to know them.
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ralph baer has died. he had a big idea in 1966. and while rough at first, the invention he called "the brown box" went on to change the world.
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in that box was the first computer game, the precursor to pong. he later developed the memory game simon. he was an electronic engineer, a world war ii vet who entertained his fellow gis by making radios out of captured german mine detectors. baer fled germany to escape the nazis. he moved here to the u.s. as a boy. a member of the inventor's hall of fame, given the national medal of technology by president bush eight years ago. ralph baer was 92 years old. the international olympic committee has come out with some potential game changers. they've agreed to future summers games can be held outside a host city, and in exceptional cases, in more than one country. and they've opened a door to a slew of new sports that do not date back to the ancient greeks like surfing and skateboarding. as early as the 2024 summer games. interesting moment yesterday, bills bronco c.j. anderson scored for the broncos. when we viewers could have sworn we saw the refs fist bumping
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each other. sure enough they did. while we all thought, hey, refs aren't supposed to root for any given team. turns out it was a celebration of good refing by the ref team. while goal line calls are fraught and subject to review, and the players were not able to see the umpire and line judges celebrating, they got the call right, as they usually do, but in silence. the kennedy center honors were handed out last night. this year's class includes lily tomlin, sting and tom hanks. where hanks was concerned they apparently wanted to wait a few years to see if his career was going to pan out. from the president's box the honorees were introduced and then entertained by a galaxy of stars. when we come back, kate takes manhattan, will visits the oval office where he shares a detail about his son, the heir back home.
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the duke and duchess of cambridge, william and kate, are paying a visit to the colonies today and tomorrow. this evening in brooklyn they are attending their very first nba game. taking advantage of the fact that they have a sitter back home for young george. just the notion of them sitting courtside is a first for a royal couple.
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and one of many for this couple. our report tonight from nbc's kate snow. >> reporter: this was the glamorous entrance last night, but they didn't jet in on a private plane. the duke and duchess flew commercial. and today prince william did it again, taking the shuttle to and from washington. when he met with the president, he joked about being in the delivery room 16 months ago and forgetting to ask if it was a boy or a girl. >> as much as everything all the chaos, i didn't ask if it was a boy. so it was good that we -- >> reporter: that's because kate is about five months pregnant though you can barely tell. they've left 1-year-old prince george back home so they can run from one event to the next. at the northside center which provides education and mental health services in harlem, staff told the duchess some of the kids were expecting a disney princess. >> you know, they think you're out of "frozen." >> reporter: but a visit from real life royalty sent a message. >> i think when someone with
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that kind of stature takes on an issue, particularly children's mental health, the impact can be tremendous. ♪ >> reporter: teens from a center called the door and a group called city kids are practicing for their royal encounter tomorrow morning. are you nervous at all? >> a little bit. >> reporter: 20-year-old ellie olivera will tell the royal couple her story, how she went from being homeless to getting her ged, a job, transitional housing and learning how to present herself. if you had met the royal couple a few years ago, how would you have greeted them versus now? >> i would probably be like, oh, my god, like you got money! just acting crazy. and right now i'm just like, hi, highway -- how you doing, take off my hat and then greet them, like it's a pleasure. >> respect? >> respect, gratitude. >> reporter: gratitude for a duke and duchess using their high profile to help others. kate snow, nbc news, new york. that is our broadcast on a
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monday night as we begin a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we, of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. goodnight. . we are following two big breaking news stories right now. you're looking at a live picture from our chopper over berkeley in the area of college and dwight. you can see marches under way, maybe a thousand people we're guessing. we're hearing reports that it's going to be larger as the night goes on. hopefully not as violent as demonstrations in past nights. more on that in a moment. first, our other breaking news story. it's been more than three hours and counting. that's how long 68 o in san jose has been shut down in both
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directions, all because of a woman threatening to jump off a freeway overpass. >> i'm janelle wang. thousands of commuters are stuck in traffic unable to get home because of the impact on surface streets and freeways. look at all the red across the bay. cars are not moving at all or an absolute crawl. that's a lot of cars right now. >> it's been going on since 2:45 this afternoon when we shot this picture. multiple police officers have been on this overpass trying to talk this woman off the overpass. they haven't had any success. we're going into the evening commute. it's gone from bad to worse. 680 jammed up, affecting all freeways in the area and also side streets. you can see traffic being diverted off the exit there. it is just jammed up. it can go on for miles and miles, this backup. >> let's get back to berkeley. looking live at the protesters marching