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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  June 18, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

5:30 pm >> pelley: tonight, the secret is out: a spy master tells congress about terrorist plot we never knew. bob orr and john miller on today's revelations. the president says don't be critical until you've seen what he's seen. in an interview with charlie rose, mr. obama defends decisions on surveillance and syria. >> so you think a no-fly zone is not necessary? >> pelley: after the movie theater massacre, a colorado senator pushed gun control. he won the battle, but now may lose his job. barry petersen has the story. and a high-tech giant spin spends $100 million on an experiment. anthony mason on creating the next generation of edisons. >> it's cool. it's magical. >> reporter: because it takes it to another level? >> it's just a beautiful sight.
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captioning sponsored by cbs captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: good evening. keith alexander's job usually keeps him out of the public eye, but he stepped into the spotlight today for a second time in a week to defend the top-secret operations that he runs. alexander heads the national security agency where edward snowden once worked as a contract employee until he exposed two of n.s.a.'s surveillance operations. one of those collects the phone records of millions of americans the other program monitors internet traffic. well, today before the house intelligence committee, alexander answered critics saying that these programs save lives. homeland security correspondent bob orr begins our coverage. >> reporter: general keith alexander claimed the n.s.a. surveillance programs recently revealed by leaks have helped stop more than 50 potential
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attacks since 9/11. >> these programs are critical to the intelligence community's ability to protect our nation and our allies' security. they assist the intelligence community efforts to connect the dots. >> reporter: at least ten of the disrupted plots, alexander said, involved homeland-based threats. u.s. officials previously revealed two of them, n.s.a. intercepts of terrorist communications led the f.b.i. to arrest a colorado man, najibullah zazi for plotting to bomb new york's subways. similar intelligence nabbed chicagoan david headley was who was connected to the 2008 attacks in mumbai, india, and a plan to bomb a newspaper office in denmark. >> these are egregious leaks. egregious. >> reporter: today, f.b.i. deputy director sean joyce revealed two other plots disrupted by u.s. intelligence. a san diego man was arrested for planning to send money to a terror group in somalia. and surveillance of a terrorist
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in yemen led to a kansas city, missouri, man and a plan to attack new york's financial center. >> this was the plot that was in the very initial stages of plotting to bomb the new york stock exchange. we were able to disrupt the plot we were able to lure some individuals to the united states and we were able to affect their arrest. >> reporter: but alexander told minnesota congresswoman michele bachmann edward snowden's leaks now make the counterterrorism challenge more difficult. >> how damaging is this to the national security of the american people that this trust was violated? >> i think it was irreversible and significant damage to this nation. >> reporter: has this helped america's enemies? >> i believe it has and i believe it will hurt us and our allies. >> reporter: now, both alexander and joyce repeatedly said they're trying to strike a critical balance between defending america and, at the same time, protecting privacy. no one in today's hearing, scott seemed to challenge them. >> pelley: bob, thank you. so how serious were these plots and how much did electronic surveillance help?
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senior correspondent john miller was an assistant director of the f.b.i. when one of these cases was investigated. john, what do you know? >> reporter: well, scott, daoud gilani was the classic example of a terrorist sleeper agent. he was born in washington, d.c. to an american mother and a pakistani father who worked for the voice of america. but gilani became radicalized after making several trips to pakistan. he changed his name to david coleman headley, using his mother's maiden name to avoid detection. headley, seen here in this f.b.i. interrogation video, traveled the world on a u.s. passport, setting up the logistics for terrorist attacks. he was in pakistan working with elias kashmiri, one of the operational leaders of al qaeda. he worked for lashkar-e-taiba, a pakistani terrorist group that organized the attacks on hotels and a train station in mumbai, india. over 160 people were killed, including six americans. 300 others were injured. it was headley who mapped out the targets supplying videotapes maps, and g.p.s. coordinates to
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the attackers. between missions, headley remained under the radar screen, living quietly in chicago. in 2009, a tip from british intelligence led to headley being put under surveillance. the n.s.a. program stitched together communications between lashkar-e-taiba and a pay phone headley used in chicago as well as e-mails sent under a code name to al qaeda leaders. now, when headley was identified and arrested by the f.b.i. he was at the airport in chicago ready to board a flight to complete plans for his next plot. that plan: to take over the offices of a danish newspaper, hold hostages, and behead them on live television. >> pelley: john, thank you very much. we thought you might like to know what our research department has turned up about the n.s.a. the national security agency is america's largest intelligence agency.
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the budget is secret, but estimates are about $10 billion a year. n.s.a.'s 35,000 employees eavesdrop on communications all around the world using planes, submarines, satellites, and ground stations. it has always been one of the most secretive agencies. the old joke in washington is that n.s.a. stands for "no such agency." president obama defended the surveillance programs in an interview with cbs "this morning" co-host charlie rose. you saw that interview this morning and on the charlie rose program last night. charlie's with us now and, charlie, what is the president saying? >> well, during the interview, the president offered his most in-depth explanation so far of the controversial n.s.a. phone monitoring program 2015. >> point number one: if you're a u.s. person than n.s.a. is not listening to your phone calls and it's not targeting your e- mails unless it's getting an individualized court order. that's the existing law.
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there are no names, there is no content in that database. all it is is when those calls took place, how long they took place. now, if the n.s.a. through some other sources-- maybe through the f.b.i., maybe through a tip that went to the c.i.a., maybe through the n.y.p.d. gets a number that whether where there's a reasonable articulateable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to al qaeda and some other international terrorist actors then what the n.s.a. can do is it can query that database to see does this number pop up? did they make any other calls? >> pelley: should this be transparent in some way? >> it is transparent, that's why we set up the fisa court. look, my concern has always been not that we shouldn't do
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intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism but rather are we setting up a systems of so on this telephone program you've got a federal court with independent federal judges overseeing the entire program and you've got congress overseeing the program, not just the intelligence committee, not just the judiciary committee, but all of congress had available to it before the last reauthorization exactly how this program works. >> the president also discussed his recent decision to arm the syrian opposition in that country's civil war. >> one of the challenges that we have is that some of the most effective fighters within the opposition have been those who, frankly, are not particularly friendly towards the united states of america and arming them willy-nilly is not a good recipe for meeting american interests over the long term. a lot of critics have suggested that if we go in hot and heavy-- no-fly zones, setting up humanitarian corridors and so
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forth-- >> heavy artillery. >> heavy artillery. that that offers a simpler solution. but, for example, 90% of the deaths that have taken place haven't been because of air strikes by the syrian air force. the syrian air force isn't particularly good. they can't aim very well. it's been happening on the ground. >> pelley: so you think a no-fly zone is not necessary? >> what i'm saying is that if you have you haven't been in the situation room poring through intelligence and meeting directly with our military folks and asking what are all our options and examining what are all the consequences and understanding that, for example, if you set up a no-fly zone that you may not be actually solving the problem on the ground foryou set up a humanitarian corridor are you prepared then to bomb damascus and what happens if there's civilian casualties? unless you've been involved in those conversations then it's
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kind of hard for you to understand the complexities of the situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the middle east. >> pelley: fascinating what he said "if you haven't been in the situation room." when you look at the longer interview on the charlie rose program which went on almost an hour, it was almost as though the president was trying to explain to you what it's like to be president and how hard that can be. >> that's exactly it, scott. there was a sense, one, he wanted to have a conversation. secondly, he wanted to explain what it's like to be president and try to explain to me what the balance was in syria, what's the risk of getting involved yet at the same time we want to provide enough support so that they can be a push for negotiated settlement with respect to surveillance. we want to make sure that we do not invade the privacy and freedom of americans yet we want to protect the country from terrorist attack. always the balance he's looking for.
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>> pelley: not so easy to be president, is it? >> exactly. >> pelley: you rarely see the president like that. charlie, thank you so much, thank you for the interview and we'll see you tomorrow morning. >> thank you. >> pelley: four american service members were killed today in an attack at the bagram air base in eastern afghanistan. it came on the same day that nato handed over control of the country's security to the afghan army and police. we also learned today that the united states will try again to work out a peace deal with the taliban. chief white house correspondent major garrett is traveling with the president tonight in berlin. major? >> reporter: scott, the white house consider this is a breakthrough, one that took more than a year of quiet diplomatic prodding and patience to create. the first-ever direct talks between the united states and the taliban are scheduled to begin thursday doha, qatar. until now, the taliban had refused talks with the u.s. and afghan governments until all american and nato forces had
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been withdrawn from the battlefield. that condition no longer applies. but there is no date for direct talks between the afghan government and the taliban, prompting this cautious assessment from president obama at the g-8 summit before arriving here in berlin. >> we don't anticipate this process will be easy or quick but we must pursue it in parallel with our military approach and we in the meantime remain fully committed to our military efforts to defeat al qaeda and to support the afghan national security forces. >> reporter: for months now in norway the taliban met secretly with representatives from the united states, afghanistan, and other nato countries with troops in afghanistan. that led to the creation with a peace process with afghanistan in the lead as today it is officially on the battlefield. scott? >> pelley: major, thanks very much. a top colorado politician may lose his job for pushing through a gun control law. what happens when a tornado made a beeline for the denver airport? and two stranded teenagers are
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but senate president john morse has since then been in the sights of gun rights advocates. today, colorado certified there are enough signatures on petition to force a recall election and barry petersen on this story. >> reporter: colorado passed new gun control laws in march that limited magazine size to 15 rounds and mandated background checks even for private and online gun sales. >> 100 rounds? >> reporter: the effort was led by the state senate president john morse. the democrat gun control advocate is a former police chief. >> i've watched people die. i've helped people not die. >> reporter: from gun violence wounds? >> absolutely. >> reporter: a gun owner himself he is the target of a recall despite seven years as a popular legislative leader. >> my message is that i am pro- choice on self-defense. >> going door to door -- >> reporter: conservative activist laura carno is leading
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the recall. the former banker-- who bought her first gun 25 years ago-- made this t.v. ad. >> don't you dare tell me how the best defend myself. >> reporter: what is it about the gun laws that have people upset. >> colorado is sort of a wild west state and we're accustomed to taking care of ourselves. to say we will decide for you how you should best defense yourself people don't take kindly to that. >> reporter: this is the first legislative recall ever in colorado, but morse believes that tougher laws passed here should give victims of gun violence-- including newtown families-- hope that congress will follow suit. >> don't stop, no matter what. >> reporter: even if it costs you a political career? >> it's costing me nothing, nothing, compared to what these families are paying. stand up and do something! stand up and make sure this never happens to another family. >> reporter: you're going to fire senator morse? >> yes, you need to listen mo- to-me because you work for me. i got you hired and i can fire you.
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>> reporter: moments after the recall petitions were validated, morse supporters filed challenges. scott, that means all of this could end up in the courts and the actual recall election could be months away. >> pelley: barry, thanks very much. it's not just the politics that's stormy in denver, a tornado touched down today on some of the runways at denver international airport. a wind gust was clocked at 97 miles an hour. flights were the diverted, passengers had to take cover in stairwells and restrooms. but the twister passed without causing any damage or injuries. chrysler makes a u-turn on a big recall. that's next. why let constipation weigh you down? as soon as you feel it, try miralax. it works differently than other laxatives. it draws water into your colon to unblock your system naturally. don't wait to feel great. miralax. take the miralax pledge to feel better sooner.
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grand cherokees and 2002 to 2007 liberties. those models will now be outfitted with trailer hitchs that protect the gas tanks. treasury secretary jacob jay lew has been working on his penmanship. a signature that once resembled a wornout spring has strung into something a bit more legible. the treasury today tweeted lew's signature as it will appear on u.s. currency beginning this fall with the $5 billion. we all know that teenagers don't always make smart choices. in california, two boys got stranded over the weekend in the sierra buttes. they'd gone hiking and wound up on a jagged cliff 8,000 feet up. climbing down was not an option. but california highway patrol sent a helicopter to lower a harness and carry them to safety.
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>> to keep your imagination and don't let people shut it down. >> reporter: in the class, sixth and eighth graders design and model their own virtual reality projects. anything from video games to military equipment to a frosted doughnut. it's a pilot program developed with the raytheon corporation, the giant aerospace and defense contractor. laura mcgill is deputy vice president of engineering. >> we're trying to do is invest in today to make sure the engineers and technical professionals that we'll need me the future. >> reporter: raytheon has pumped nearly $100 million into science engineering, and math education over the past five years. as part of the gridley program, raytheon engineers bring the kids and their projects to this state-of-the-art 3-d design screen called the cave. >> it's cool. it's magical. >> reporter: because it takes it
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to another level? >> it does, you can see your pieces and it's just a beautiful sight. >> just the power to expose them to what's possible gets their mind working. >> reporter: science teacher lisa kist has had no trouble filling the pilot class. you have a waiting list? >> we do. about 40 strong right now. >> reporter: the gridley middle school plans to add two more sections next semester because of the impact the class is having on students like rashad. do you think it's changed you as a student in any way? >> it has. i liked school but now i really see how i could do in math or science and just throw it into this and make something from it. >> reporter: how do you trigger a child's motivation? they may have found a model in tucson, arizona. anthony mason. cbs news, tucson. >> pelley: that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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after waiting years for an >> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald every american industry is bound by those laws. but major league baseball believes that they are above the law. >> after waiting years for an answer and no response, a fed- up bay area city goes to the extremes to try to snag the as and rewrite the playbook. good evening, i'm allen martin. >> i'm elizabeth cook. san jose has had it with all the delays. now it's making its toughest play yet for the oakland as. it's suing major league baseball. kpix 5's len ramirez tells us the suit could be a game changer and not just for the bay area. len. >> reporter: in this suit filed today in federal court, the city of san jose says that it has been wronged by major league baseball, that it has lost out on millions in current spending and future earnings and that it has been denied the
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right to freely compete with other cities to be the home of the athletics baseball club. >> after waiting for more than four years for an answer from major league baseball, it is clear we're not going to get an answer. >> reporter: mayor chuck reed and the san jose city council voted unanimously to sue major league baseball to finally settle the question, can the as move to san jose? >> i don't know what's going on in the mind of bud selig. i don't know what might impact this might have on major league baseball. we are going to assert our rights and defend the rights of the people of san jose. >> reporter: as owner lew wolff proposed a 400 to $500 million investment for a downtown ballpark. san jose set aside the land and a naming group is in the works. the only standing in the way is major league baseball. a study was begun by major league baseball in 2009 but that's where it ended. >> they have stalled and i hate to say this be