Return to Transcripts main page
CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS
Mitt Romney Visits London; Olympic Security Called into Question; Violence Continues in Syria; Jackson Family Possible Feuding; DEA Sweeps Synthetic Drug Producers; Shark Steel Underwater Camera
Aired July 28, 2012 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, this is CNN Saturday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Security is in shambles, isn't it? I cannot disagree with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: An embarrassing scandal for the London games. How the firm tasked with protecting the Olympics failed and what new dangers may be lurking. This morning, we put Olympic security in focus.
And later, new details on the Aurora shooting suspect. We'll tell you what CNN has learned about his mental state before the shooting.
Threats from Paris, pleas from Prince, the Jackson clan making headlines again, but this time it's a family feud with millions at stake.
Good morning, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It is 10:00 on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. out west. Thanks so much for starting your day with us. We start in London, where the Olympic Games are under way right now. A 23-year-old Chinese woman nicknamed "shooting beauty" competing in the 10-meter air rifle competition has won the first gold medal in London. Meantime, U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps will compete against Ryan Lochte in the 400 individual medley tonight, but Phelps narrowly qualified after a slow finish this morning.
But it was Queen Elizabeth who almost certainly stole the show during last night's opening ceremony. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good evening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: The creative mind behind the ceremony, Danny Boyle, used his movie magic to show the queen teaming up with James Bond actor Daniel Craig. In the scene, stunt doubles, not actually the queen, jumped from a helicopter portraying the two parachuting into the Olympic stadium.
Mitt Romney got to see an Olympic men's swimming event today after meeting with British and Irish leaders in London. The Republican presidential candidate has said he's leaning toward Michael Phelps in Phelps' much-anticipated showdown with Ryan Lochte. But Romney won't be poolside. He has just left London for Israel. CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta reports Romney's campaign is shrugging off a string of diplomatic misfires in the British capital.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The headlines here in London were not what mitt Romney anticipated when he embarked on this overseas trip, but his campaign is confident he can clear the hurdles ahead.
Mitt Romney hit the reset button on his overseas charm offensive during his lone public meeting of the day in London. He was asked by the leader of Ireland about how he had to walk to the Irish embassy due to the city's intense pre-Olympics traffic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see you had to walk from the hotel.
ACOSTA: Romney's response?
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I enjoyed it.
ACOSTA: Romney is walking on eggshells and eager to please after being blasted by British leaders for appearing to question London's readiness to host the Olympic Games. Dubbed "The Party Pooper" in "The Daily Mail," "Nowhere Man" in "The Times of London," and "Mitt the Twit" in "The Sun," Romney sidestepped the controversy in an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT": You've been slightly criticized for knocking the British enthusiasm. Are you feeling it now?
ROMNEY: Well, I'm delighted to see the kind of support that has been around the torch presence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: The uproar in London reached its crescendo when the city's mayor taunted Romney in front of 60,000 people at a pregame celebration.
MAYOR BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON: There's a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether or not we're ready. He wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes, we are!
(APPLAUSE) ACOSTA: Romney is also taking heat for disclosing that he visited with the head of Britain's intelligence service, the MI-6, a meeting normally kept secret.
ROMNEY: I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI-6 and as we discussed Syria.
ACOSTA: But Romney's top surrogates are brushing off the controversies, seeing openings in the next two legs of his foreign trip, Israel and Poland.
NORM COLEMAN, ROMNEY SUPPORTER: The governor will be in Poland. Poland had the rug pulled out from under them on the missile defense.
ACOSTA: President Obama had his own awkward moments in Britain last year when he tried to toast queen Elizabeth as an orchestra played "God Save the Queen."
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the words of Shakespeare, to this blessed front, this earth, this realm, England, to the queen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're selling papers.
ACOSTA: You're selling papers here.
As for that morning headline hangover, we found Londoners who were willing to cut Romney some royal slack.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything in "The Sun" should be taken with a bucket of salt.
ACOSTA: Mitt Romney's next stop is Israel, where he has a full slate of meetings scheduled with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as other Israeli and Palestinian leaders, then a major foreign policy address in Jerusalem.
Jim Acosta, CNN, London.
KAYE: The Romney camp is naming names, and that is leaving some to wonder if it is his short list for potential VP picks. Beth Myers, the woman in charge of his running mate search, tweeted out a list of 13 names for other tweeters to follow.
Among them, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and Ohio Senator Ron Portman. Up to this point, the Romney camp has been quiet about possible running mates. The campaign is still not saying who's on the short list, only admitting to vetting Florida senator Marco Rubio.
The man accused of killing 12 people in Aurora, Colorado, last week had been seeing a psychiatrist. That's according to a court document filed yesterday by James Holmes' defense attorneys. They are requesting that the contents of the package be handed over to them. What's still in question is the timeframe surrounding the package's arrival, whether it was before or after the shooting rampage. Legal and medical experts say it's still unclear whether courts would uphold an assertion of doctor-client privilege.
A billboard on an Idaho road is causing a whole lot of concern. It compares President Obama and his foreign policy to Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes. The Ralph Sneed Foundation, which owns the billboard, says it wants to draw attention to military men and women dying overseas. The group's spokesman says everyone has a right to their own opinion, but others say this crosses the line.
Olympic security in focus -- so, how do you handle a job this size with such a high profile? We'll talk to the guy who was in charge of security at the Atlanta Olympics and helped secure the L.A. games as well.
KAYE: The Olympic Games are under way in London, and while the thousands of athletes are going for gold on the track or in the pool, there are even more people there watching their backs. I'm talking about security. That is our focus this morning.
Among the security detail are nearly 20,000 British troops. They were called up to protect the high-profile event that's being watched by billions. Many of those troops were needed because of a problem with a private security company that failed to live up to its promise. Joining me now from Tyler, Texas, a man who is one of the few that really knows what it takes to protect an event like the Olympics, Bill Rathburn was the security director for the 1996 games in Atlanta and was the police coordinator for the 1984 L.A. games. Good morning to you, Bill. What is the biggest challenge, do you think, the athletes, the venues or the spectators, really?
All right, it sounds like maybe Bill -- Bill, can you hear me? Give you one more try. OK, he can't hear us. We will get back to that and we will continue to follow the Olympic security.
In the meantime, terrified civilians flee for their lives, the streets of Syria's largest city now a battleground, and anyone who stays behind could be caught in the cross fire. We'll talk about what role, if any, the U.S. should play in Syria. We'll be joined by former U.S. ambassador Christopher Hill.
KAYE: Welcome back. We're talking about security at the Olympic Games in London this morning. And Bill Rathburn was the securities director for the 1996 games in Atlanta, and he's joining us this morning to talk about the challenges. Bill, we got the audio issues worked out, so glad you're with us. Tell me what the biggest challenge is, the athletes, the venues, or the spectators, do you think, when it comes to Olympic security?
WILLIAM RATHBURN, FORMER DIRECTOR OF SECURITY, 1996 OLYMPICS: I wouldn't say any of those, really. I think the biggest challenge is staffing all the positions that have to be staffed. There are not thousands of security people waiting to be put into a position, so there are people that have to -- you recruit crew from every possible source to generate the numbers of people that we need to provide security.
KAYE: We all remember the Olympic park bombing during the Atlanta games. Do you think that changed security and plans for security at all?
RATHBURN: Well, I think it certainly changed the ceremonial aspect of the games. There's always some gathering place for Olympic spectators, and that was certainly the case with Olympic park. But in some places in London, everybody will be gathering and trading pens and getting acquainted. In fact, I think that's a very important part of the games. And so those areas have to be secure better than they ever have been before since Atlanta.
KAYE: So, tell me how this works. I mean, take us behind the curtain a little bit, if you can. I mean, is there always a crisis plan in place?
RATHBURN: Oh, absolutely. You do the best planning you can. You try to anticipate every possible scenario. You prepare for every possible scenario. You then try to prevent incidents from recurring. If you fail in that, then you have a response plan so you'll respond very effectively and very decisive.
KAYE: And if you look at what's happening in London, we see the security people there, we see them standing at the venues. The troops are very, very visible. What is going on behind the scenes to protect the games themselves?
RATHBURN: Well, the most important thing that has been done and is being done is the intelligence effort. That effort has to be worldwide in scope, and certainly is. I think that's the very first and most important priority for security. Then based on that intelligence, you deploy people in a preventive mode. And then as I mentioned before, you have a very strong response capability.
KAYE: Bill Rathburn, appreciate your time and your insight this morning. Thank you.
RATHBURN: Thank you.
KAYE: Terrified civilians flee for their lives, the streets of Syria's largest city now a battleground, and anyone who stays behind could be caught in crossfire. Is it time for the U.S. to step in? We'll explore, next.
KAYE: Fighting is raging in the streets of Syria's largest city, rebels battling government forces for control of Aleppo. The commercial hub has been under siege for more than a week. It was home to 2.5 million people. Many now have fled. The death toll across Syria is ramping up. Opposition activists say at least 71 people have died today alone.
Back here in the U.S., Syria's on the mind of the nation's top intelligence officials. They are gathered for the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, which wraps up later today. And joining me now from aspen is former U.S. ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill. Good morning, ambassador, nice to see you. Let's talk about Syria. Do you think the U.S. should be there, should be involved there in any way?
CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: Well, I think the U.S. should be extremely involved diplomatically. I know we are working in the U.N. I think it's very important that we get extremely involved, because this Syria situation is qualitatively different from what we saw in Libya and elsewhere. I mean, this is a situation that really could kind of metastasize to other countries as well. This is not just about Syria, this is about Sunni, this is about Shia, it's about Muslim Brotherhood, and there's a lot to be concerned about. And I think it's very important that we get behind whatever political arrangements people can come up with and see if we can make those stick.
KAYE: You know, you look at some of the actions that the U.S. has taken, and it seems as though the U.S. is picking and choosing where to go. I mean, the U.S. military was actively involved helping the Libyan people against Moammar Gadhafi. The U.S. provided aid to Egypt, we well know, during the Hosni Mubarak political unrest. So, why not help Syria?
HILL: Well, I think, certainly, we are doing what we can in humanitarian terms. We're obviously working with neighbors, including with turkey. As you know, Iraq -- and this is rather ironic -- flew eight planeloads of Iraqi citizens out of Damascus to the safe haven of Iraq. So there is a lot going on in terms of humanitarian assistance. I think there's a little less going on in terms of political arrangements.
And I think we've tended to focus on the need for Bashar al Assad to leave the scene, and I don't think too many outsiders would argue with that policy. I think the problem is, we need to figure out what's next. And when you look at that opposition, or the Syrian rebels, as they are often referred to, they are a pretty disparate lot, and it's very hard to see who's going to emerge on top. And I suspect we're going to see some combination of Muslim Brotherhood and other more sectarian Sunnis trying to grab power.
KAYE: Among the many topics that you've probably been discussing in Aspen, I would imagine, is the stockpile of chemical weapons and where those may be today and who has gotten their hands on them. What is the concern there?
HILL: Well, obviously, a great concern that the stockpile could get into the hands of various elements. If it falls into the hands of rebel leaders, we have no assurance of who those leaders would be, so I think there are a lot of people spending a lot of time on that issue. And it was interesting at the conference, whenever people are asked, they said "I can't say very much about that," but certainly their answers were full of the notion that they really are tracking it very closely.
KAYE: Yes. Let's talk about Iraq. I mean, you're obviously very familiar with that. We were fighting alongside the people in Iraq, but in Syria, the U.S. really has no presence, as we've been saying. Are there lessons or possibly even strategies from Iraq that can help bridge communication gaps with the Syrian people?
HILL: Well, you know, when you say fighting alongside the Iraqi people, actually, Iraq has several communities. Iraq is on one of those sorts of key fault lines in the Middle East between the Shia world and the Sunni world, between the Iran world and the Arab world. And so, it has not been easy in Iraq trying to forge some kind of governance where Shia and Sunni and Kurds all feel that they have a stake in it.
And I suspect that as we move forward with Syria, we are going to have to make sure that all these different communities feel they have a stake. After all, when you look at the Syrian Christian community, the Syrian Kurdish community, they seem to be still supporting the government, not that they have any love for Bashar al Assad, but they're obviously worried about the possibility of Muslim Brotherhood. So, when we look at our experience in Iraq, we realize that there is a great deal of concern among these smaller communities about a larger community. I think there is some experience that we can apply to the situation in Syria if we can get to a political end game. And right now we're really in the midst of a war there.
KAYE: Yes, still such destruction taking place there. Christopher Hill, thank you so much for your time this morning.
HILL: Thank you.
KAYE: Today, nearly one quarter of women in America have experienced severe violence at the hands of someone close to them. This week's CNN hero asks survivors to dream their best lives and then gives them the resources to take their first step. Meet Joe Crawford.
JO CRAWFORD, CNN HERO: When I was 13, my dad was very violent and attempted to murder my mom. It wasn't until I was 55 that I came to work in a shelter and met a woman who had fled Chicago with two young children. She had no documentation. She did not legally exist. She said, can you help me? I need $40 to get all the documentation.
It is totally forbidden, but I gave her the two $20 bills. And I'm thinking, I just changed three lives with $40. I had no idea that I had actually changed my life as well.
My name is Jo Crawford, and I ask women survivors of domestic violence to dream their best life, and I give them the means to accomplish the first step. This is what you want and this is what you deserve. The women are all out of a relationship for at least six months. They have to be free of alcohol and drugs, and they have got to have a dream.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go back to school to do social work, be a social worker.
CRAWFORD: It's not a gift. She agrees to pay it forward to three other survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to be helping three ladies get their GED. Thank you.
CRAWFORD: These women need to know that they deserve to dream and have the power to create it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got so much help, which enabled me to buy a sewing machine, and that made me realize I should be a person who not only receives help, but gives help.
CRAWFORD: I am so proud of you.
One woman can make a difference, but women working together can change the world.
KAYE: It's Jackson versus Jackson, Paris versus Janet. What in the world is going on in that famous family now? We've got two people who know, real Jackson insiders. Attorney Tom Mesereau and reporter Marco Gonzalez will clue us in to the family fiasco, next.
KAYE: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye. It's 27 minutes past the hour. Here are some of the stories that we're watching this morning.
The Olympic Games underway. They kicked off with the opening ceremony last night in London, and the first gold medal of the summer Olympics goes to a 23-year-old woman from China. Her nickname is "shooting beauty." She won the women's 10-meter air rifle shooting competition.
In Syria, the civil war raging in the country's largest city now, Aleppo. You see here the rebel army firing back against government forces. The United Nations has asked Syria to call off their offensive in Aleppo.
Back in the states, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is being treated for depression and gastrointestinal issues at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. That information was released in a statement from the hospital yesterday. The Illinois Democrat is son of civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson. He has not been on Capitol Hill since May.
What started out as a single tweet from Michael Jackson's 14-year-old daughter, Paris, has unraveled this week into a bitter family feud as strange as it is downright confusing. Now, in that tweet, Paris Jackson said, quote, "Nine days and counting. So help me god, I will make whoever did this pay." What she was referring to, we later learned, were the circumstances regarding her grandmother, Jackson family matriarch Katherine Jackson. Turns out four of Katherine's children, Rebbie, Janet, Jermaine, and Randy, had taken the 82-year-old to a spa in Arizona where she was hold up for ten days. Because of that sudden disappearance, a California judge appointed her grandson, T.J. Jackson, temporary guardian over Michael's kids, Prince, Paris, and Blanket, the youngest. T.J., by the way, is the 34-year-old son of Tito Jackson. I hope you're keeping up with all this.
But just yesterday Katherine's attorney announced that she and T.J. had agreed to now share guardianship. Even still, the drama is not over yet.
Joining me to make some sense out of all this, criminal defense attorney and Jackson insider Tom Mesereau, who famously defended Michael Jackson in his 2005 molestation trial, along with us, Marco Gonzalez, senior reporter for X17Online.com. Thank you both. Good morning.
TOM MESEREAU, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FORMER ATTORNEY: Good morning.
MARCO GONZALEZ, SENIOR REPORTER, X17ONLINE.COM: Good morning, thank you.
KAYE: Tom, let me start with you on this one. Clearly a confusing story with a lot of moving parts. But despite all of that, what do you think is really going on here? You know this family well.
MESEREAU: Well, first of all, it's a lovely family. Katherine is a kind, gentle, spiritual, wonderful person. Anyone who knows her loves her. Her children are very, very nice people. The idea of kidnapping her sounds ridiculous to me. When you have a large family, a large family that deals with fame and fortune and media scrutiny with everything they do, you've got Michael's children, who are teenagers, who are growing up, and everyone's trying to fill this void that was left by the untimely passing of Michael Jackson, another wonderful person.
KAYE: But is this all about money?
MESEREAU: Well, I think it's about people growing, teenagers growing up, it's about siblings and a grandmother stepping in to help raise them because of the untimely passing of their father, and it's also about an estate plan that a lot of family members are not happy with. They see lawyers and others making millions of dollars off a billion- dollar estate that Michael Jackson, you know, developed and built, and there's a lot of tension there about that, too, yes.
KAYE: Marco, I know that you're quite familiar dynamic, but first, let me show a graphic to illustrate that pretty clearly here. On one side, you have Janet, Rebbie, Jermaine, and Randy, and then on the other side, Marlon, Jackie, Tito, T.J. and Michael's kids, Prince and Paris. Why did Katherine get taken to this Arizona spa by four of her children to begin with, Marco?
GONZALEZ: Randi, it's been quite the dramatic week for the Jackson family. And when the story came out that she was reported missing, you know, I immediately contacted my sources within the family, and they said, what? She's not missing. She merely is taking a break. She's resting at a resort in Arizona. And I did not mention what the resort was just to keep her privacy. Eventually, it did come out that it was Mirror Ball. But they said she's relaxing with Rebbie, her daughter, and playing Uno. And I said, I need photographic proof. Please send me a photo of what she's doing.
So, sure enough, I was sent a photo that went around the world. There she is playing Uno, and people around the world love to see her smiling, and there's Rebbie right in the front on the left-hand side holding up the cards. And you know, Katherine was reportedly, you know, they were saying she was drugged, and, you know, and she was propped up for the photo. I mean, honestly, I mean, she's happy, she's smiling there.
And Katherine herself said in an interview that she was not drugged, that it's absolutely absurd. And of course, once the world found out that Katherine wasn't missing and that she was in Arizona safe, well, that's when all the tweets started happening from Paris Jackson, saying, where is my mother? I demand seeing her. And, well, the family wanted to make sure that Paris, Prince, and Blanket were able to talk to their grandmother, and that's when that confrontation, I'm assuming we're going to be talking about, happened last Monday.
KAYE: Yes, we'll get to that in a moment. But Tom, I want to read what M.J.'s son, Prince, tweeted this week after his grandmother actually returned home. He tweeted, "I'm really angry and hurt, although I am happy my grandma has returned. After speaking with her, I realize how misguided and how badly she was lied to," he wrote. So, what would Michael, do you think, of all this infighting in the family, and do you get the sense that he trusted his other siblings with his own children?
MESEREAU: Well, Michael was a devoted father. I observed him a lot with his growing children, and he was loving, he was caring, he was very protective. He wanted them to grow up very well-read, well- educated, well-traveled. He wanted to educate them on the difficulties of having fame and fortune. And they're teenagers, they're growing up. There are going to be issues with Michael's siblings, who never expected to be raising the children or helping their mother raise the children the way they are. So, everybody's sort of learning and growing, and there's bound to be tension.
MESEREAU: I don't think Michael would like a lot of this scrutiny. I don't think he would like his children being in the middle of a fishbowl like this. But, you know, it's reality. His untimely passing shocked everyone, saddened everyone, and now everyone's trying to deal with the reality of that, and it's not simple.
KAYE: Marco, let's talk about surveillance video that you mentioned just a moment ago. We got a glimpse of it there for a second, showing Janet confronting her niece, Paris, outside Katherine's home in L.A. we show you who's who there. There was talk of slapping, fighting, headlocks. What do you know about what really happened there, and what did Janet and Jermaine really want from Paris?
GONZALEZ: Well, I was told that this confrontation wasn't going to be a confrontation to begin with. Rand randy, Janet, Jermaine and Rebbie's son, Austin, had gone to the home to merely tell Paris and prince that they are more than welcome to see their grandmother any time they want. And what happened was, Trent Jackson, who lives there with Katherine -- he is the son of Joe Jackson's brother -- he and the security would not allow Janet and randy into the home, their mother's home. So, of course, that caused tension, and they had no idea they were being videotaped from inside the house.
And so, what you see there is Paris talking to Janet. There were reports on various websites saying that Janet slapped Paris, and Janet absolutely said that's absurd. And as you see in the footage -- let's look at that footage right there. You see Janet holding up her cell phone, and that was merely to protect themselves, because they said that this exact thing would happen. The story would be spun that there was slapping and that she called her the "b" word and all this stuff, where they have that footage. I mean, to prove that that did not happen.
But the fact of the matter is that Katherine's own children weren't allowed inside her home. They were instructed, apparently by security, that they could not come in --
KAYE: Right. It's just incredible that --
GONZALEZ: We do know that from --
KAYE: Marco, it's just incredible when you look at this video, does this really come down to them videotaping themselves with cell phones? I mean, it's kind of pathetic that it's come down to this to show they weren't slapping each other. What is next for the family? Are both sides even talking?
GONZALEZ: Well, there is a bit of a riff, obviously, but their main concern is their grandmother. And you know, the fact of the matter is that x17online.com reported that Paris herself confided in a cousin that her tweets are being manipulated. Paris is 14 years old and she was a girl who was barely putting out the family's information on Twitter, nonetheless, but now she seems to be tweeting everything. And Katherine, I'm told, specifically has told her granddaughter do not tweet. You should be in summer school, you should be focusing elsewhere. But I mean, her tweets make news around the world. And now, you know, the family has to move forward. And frankly, the will is really going to be an upcoming issue.
GONZALEZ: Especially with Randy Jackson, who just tweeted recently about this whole confrontation was set up by the executors of the estate. This is sources from the family are telling me that the executors, including Barranca, McLain and Howard Weitzman, are behind this whole, you know, mystery disappearance of Katherine Jackson to sway away from the will being fraudulent. KAYE: Right, a lot of allegations being thrown around. But Tom, let me ask you one quick thing about this latest development before I let you both go. Conrad Murray, as you know, the doctor convicted in Michael Jackson's death, he has apparently invited Katherine Jackson to visit him in jail to, quote, "answer any questions" that she might have. Do you think -- why do you think he's doing this? And do you think that she'd actually go?
MESEREAU: I hope she doesn't go. Conrad Murray is right where he belongs, Los Angeles county jail. He's a fool. He's someone who always tries to blame others for his mistakes. He caused Michael Jackson's death. He was convicted. He's a felon. He's been stripped of his medical license, and I hope Katherine doesn't go anywhere near him.
KAYE: Tom Mesereau saying it like it is, as always. Tom, thank you very much. And Marco Gonzalez, our thanks to you as well.
MESEREAU: Thank you.
GONZALEZ: Thank you.
KAYE: A court ruling in a controversial custody battle. Just who will raise baby Veronica, her adoptive parents who cared for her since birth or her biological father who wants her back?
KAYE: 40 minutes past the hour. Welcome back. South Carolina's Supreme Court has finally reached a decision in a bitter custody battle. You've probably seen this adorable face on our air before. Her name is baby Veronica. I shared her story with you months ago, and now the state Supreme Court agrees with the lower court and says this little girl has to be raised by her biological father, Dustin Brown. The problem? He actually gave her up for adoption to this couple, Matt and Melanie Capobianco, who raised her since birth. But Brown took her back thanks to a federal law from 1978 called the Indian Child Welfare Act. Here's the complex and heartbreaking story.
KAYE: Her first name is Veronica. Her last name is, well, complicated. At just 2 years old, this little girl from Charleston, South Carolina, is caught up in one of the strangest adoption cases we've ever heard. Her story begins in 2009, when Veronica's biological parents, who weren't married, put her up for adoption.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to be an engineer when you grow up?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
KAYE: That's when Matt and Melanie Capobianco entered the picture. They tried to have their own children, but in-vitro fertilization failed them, so an adoption attorney connected them with Veronica's biological mom, who told them the father, Dustin Brown, a U.S. soldier from Oklahoma, wanted to waive his parental rights. Veronica was born in September in Oklahoma, and from that moment, the Capobiancos were a part of Veronica's life.
MELANIE CAPOBIANCO: We were at the birth, in the delivery room. Matt cut her umbilical cord. She's never not been with us.
Want mommy to hold you?
KAYE: They Capobiancos thrilled to have their new baby girl. They took her straight from the hospital to their house in Charleston and were in the process of finalizing the adoption. Four months after they brought Veronica home, Dustin Brown signed a waiver saying he would not contest the adoption. But two weeks later, Brown decided he wanted his daughter back, and filed for paternity and custody. Jessica Monday is a friend of the Capobiancos.
JESSICA MUNDAY, CAPOBIANCO FAMILY FRIEND: It wasn't until this child was four months old that he decides he wants to be a part of her life. With no regard to the birth mother, her decision, the pregnancy, the family that's taking care of his child. And to just come and say I've changed my mind, it just doesn't work -- it shouldn't work that way.
KAYE: South Carolina law says a father is stripped of his paternity rights if he hasn't provided pre-birth support or taken steps to be a father shortly after birth. But in this case, state law was trumped by a little known federal law from 1978 called the Indian Child Welfare Act. You see, Brown is a member of the Cherokee Nation, which means Veronica is part Cherokee, too. So, before the Capobiancos could finalize Veronica's adoption, a family court judge ruled in favor of Veronica's biological father, ordering the Capobiancos to hand her over.
The law is designed to protect the interests of Indian children and to keep Indian children with Indian family members. Congress took action after a 1976 study showed that about 30 percent of Indian children were being removed from their homes, and of those, about 90 percent of them were being placed with non-Indian families.
The attorney general for the Cherokee Nation told us the law is working.
One of the original authors of the Indian Child Welfare Act said that his intent with this law is not to take adoptive children away from loving homes. How would you like to respond to that?
TODD HEMBREE, CHEROKEE NATION ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's not anyone's ever intent to rip a child away from a loving home, but we want to make sure those loving homes have the opportunity to be Indian homes first. And you look at the welfare of the child, and if at all possible, we want that child to be raised in a traditional Indian family.
KAYE: That logic is lost on Veronica's adoptive parents.
MELANIE CAPOBIANCO: This law has been used unjustly.
MATT CAPOBIANCO: With the Indian Child -- the Indian child welfare act is just destroying families like ours.
KAYE: Following the court's ruling, Veronica's adoptive parents released the following statement, quote, "There really are no words to describe the incredible heartbreak, disappointment, and pain we are feeling. This is a complete failure within our justice system." now, matt and Melanie Capobianco have one option left. They can take their case to the federal Supreme Court.
A warning to drug makers, the illegal kind, that is -- if you're making bath salts, the DEA is coming for you. They've already nabbed dozens, and they are looking for more.
KAYE: The DEA made a major bust this week. It was called "Operation Logjam," and targeted synthetic drugs in more than 30 states. You might not have heard of them, but the DEA says plenty of people have. They're often sold as plant food or bath salts. CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti is in New York this morning to tell us more about these drugs and why they are so popular. Susan, good morning.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Randi. They're called synthetic drugs because they're made from chemicals meant to mimic marijuana and cocaine, and they're cheaper, too. Some are sold as bath salts, plant food, but they're not what you would feed your plant or put had your bathtub. Agents went after them in a big way this week, raiding storage units, homes and head shops in more than 30 states from coast to coast, even Hawaii. More than 100 people were arrested. Now, it may not take these drugs off the street, but the DEA and ICE hope the sweep will get out the word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELE M. LEONHART, DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION: We're sending a clear message to those who profit from the sale of these dangerous substances -- you are nothing more than a drug trafficker and we will bring you to justice. The web of connections between the suppliers and the distributors and the retailers is enormous and it's complex. But at DEA, we're experts at connecting the dots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: Now, some of these synthetics are not illegal, but if the ingredients are controlled substances, Randi, they can be.
KAYE: So, tell us more about how these synthetic drugs are sold. I mean what do they look like and who is buying them and using them?
CANDIOTTI: Good question, Randi. They're big with the younger crowd, usually under the age of 25. The fake drugs have all kinds of catchy names, and I'm not making this up, like sexy monkey, alien incense, and tranquility. Now, bath salts that are burned, inhaled or smoked -- sometimes you see it like that, including fake marijuana -- they're all with chemicals that the DEA says can be as dangerous as cocaine. The chemicals mainly come, Randi, from China and Southeast Asia. KAYE: Wow. Susan Candiotti, thank you very much for that report.
CANDIOTTI: You're welcome.
KAYE: Underwater paparazzi? The sea creatures have an answer. We have got the story of some tiger sharks that aren't the least bit camera shy.
KAYE: Well, I don't know about you, but I love a good shark story, and this one is a keeper. It's about some tiger sharks and their love of photography. Jeanne Moos has more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officer, I'd like to report a theft in progress, expensive camera gear. Wait a minute! Perpetrator's already getting away. Somebody, arrest that shark!
GEORGE SHELLENGER, PRODUCER, "THIS IS YOUR OCEAN": We've known this shark for several years. Her name is Emma. She's 14 feet long.
MOOS: George should know. He's the one shooting the theft, which occurred at tiger beach in the Bahamas, known for its tiger sharks. The divers were shooting a documentary called "Shark Obsession" when Emma swiped their gear, leaving the dive master in her wake. Now, the only thing is, I don't think she knows how to press the shutter.
SHELLENGER: That's right. She was actually on the wrong side.
MOOS: Maybe the shark is just sick of all the annoying underwater Paparazzi always sticking cameras in her face, never giving her credit on "Shark Week." The gear was worth about 15,000 bucks and it weighed about 30 pounds, sort of a heavy snack. So heavy, Emma dropped it within 100 feet or so, and the dive master was able to recover it undamaged. And though Emma's camera wasn't rolling, the one stolen a couple of years ago by this tiger shark was. It happened to the Stewart coves dive team in the Bahamas.
SHELLENGER: He opened his mouth -- closed its mouth around the video camera.
MOOS: Now we know what it would look like to be a morsel in that mouth. This shark also spat out the camera about 30 feet away. Even an octopus has stolen a little go-pro camera, though it's photography skills style, shall we say, impressionistic? The diver eventually poked the octopus with his spear gun and grabbed the camera, as the octopus latched on to the spear gun instead. Now, if you put bait on your camera, you greatly increase the chances of having a shark steal it. The divers documenting Emma didn't hold her attempted theft against her. They're on such friendly terms, they do head butts.
SHELLENGER: It's very much like your dog swimming up to give you a kiss.
MOOS: At least they didn't have to kiss the camera good-bye. Stealing from humans, it's enough to make a walrus whistle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whistle.
MOOS: Jeanne moos, CNN, New York.
KAYE: Love that! There is much more ahead on "CNN NEWSROOM", which starts after a quick break.