(TMU) — UPDATE (11.8.2019 2:40PM): According to Project Veritas, Ashley Bianco, the former ABC staffer fired by CBS, was not the source of the leaked hot mic recording of Amy Robach. Project Veritas published the following letter from the leaker on their website “in light of the actions taken against those wrongfully identified as involved in the leaking of the tape”:
To my fellow man:
I came forward with this information bearing no motives other than to have this information public. I did not and do not seek any personal gain from this information whether it be financial or otherwise and will always decline. When I became aware of this moment, I had the same reaction as many of you did. Anger, confusion and sadness. I care not about petty political quarrels and only hope for the best in all of us.
To my fellow ABC News employees:
I’ve walked the halls experiencing similar feelings we are all having right now. All of you regardless of your own personal differences in one form or another do an outstanding job. I sincerely enjoy working with each and every one of you and will continue to do so throughout our careers.
To those wrongfully accused:
It is terrible that you have been lashed out at by the company. I know some may put the burden of guilt on me, but my conscience is clear. The actions of the company towards you are the result of their own and not anyone else. The public outcry, from coast to coast, of all people, creeds, and political affiliations, is clear. I have not one doubt that there will always be support for you, and you will have prosperous careers. For neither you, nor I, have done anything wrong.
To Amy Robach:
You are the only person deserving of an apology. I am most certainly sorry. Not for my actions or for this to center around you, but for what is clear to have happened. When I first stumbled across this, my initial reaction was outrage. But this soon turned towards empathy. I can not imagine doing all the hard work to only have it shelved. If the past few years have taught us anything, it is the truth that some of us have endured many hardships in this industry. From the spiking of stories regarding prominent and powerful people in this world, and to yours. I believe you are an outstanding reporter and have done such tremendous work in the community as well.
To ABC News:
I sit right here with you all in complete shock. I, like many, are at a loss for words on how this has been handled. Instead of addressing this head-on like the company has in the past, it has spun into a mission of seek-and-destroy. Innocent people that have absolutely nothing to do with this are being hunted down as if we are all a sport. I challenge all of you to actually look inwards and remember why this company engages in journalism. We all hold the First Amendment at the foundation of this company, yet forget its history, its purpose, and its reasoning for even coming into existence to begin with. How lost we are… yearning to be found. I went to Project Veritas for the sole reason that any other media outlet else would have probably shelved this as well. I thank all of them, and James, for seeking truth.
We are all human and mortal, creatures of mistakes and redemption.
The road to redemption favors no soul.
UPDATE (11.8.2019 1:30PM): Kelly just posted a short clip of the interview scheduled to be released later today.
The former ABC staffer who allegedly leaked the hot mic Amy Robach tape sits down with me in an exclusive — here’s a preview — we’ll be posting the full exchange shortly at https://t.co/A53IqETTDd. Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/WgvUFgCnBX
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) November 8, 2019
Ashley Bianco, the former ABC staffer responsible for marking the clip of Amy Robach “in the system,” according to Kelly, can be seen in the clip in which she reports being “shocked” at the clip’s release by Project Veritas. Bianco reveals she was employed with CBS for only four days before the network let her go.
On the verge of tears, Bianco claims to have “begged” and “pleaded” with the network. She called the experience both “humiliating” and “devastating.”
Journalist Megyn Kelly announced on Friday in her debut Instagram post that she has a “really interesting” exclusive interview with the producer who was fired by CBS after Project Veritas shared video of ABC’s Amy Robach admitting on a hot mic that the network covered for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
According to the video posted to Instagram, Kelly sat down with the producer who “sort of marked that clip in the system” that was later leaked to Project Veritas. Kelly stopped short, however, of saying that this person was the source of the leak, as suspected by CBS.
Kelly also posted a tease promoting the interview on Twitter in which the former ABC and CBS employee is visible but partially shielded from view:
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) November 8, 2019
The interview, set to be posted later on Friday “here on Insta and on YouTube” according to Kelly’s post, will serve as the former NBC and Fox News journalist’s comeback interview. Kelly left NBC in January after joining the network in 2018 after having left Fox.
On Thursday, journalist Yashar Ali revealed in a tweet that “CBS News has fired the staffer in question.”
“This comes after ABC informed CBS that they had determined who accessed the footage of Amy Robach expressing her frustrations about the Epstein story.”
4. As I noted in this thread, ABC News has confirmed they're conducting an investigation into the leak.
In response to an email, CBS News says they're declining to comment for this story. https://t.co/OHEoyahppY
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 6, 2019
The Daily Mail has revealed that the staffer in question is Ashley Bianco, 25, an Emmy-winning producer for CBS This Morning. Bianco, who worked as a producer on ABC’s Good Morning America for three years, reportedly contacted Kelly directly, according to a source.
On Tuesday, Project Veritas exposed the video of Robach admitting that the Disney-owned network had witness testimony pertaining to the Epstein scandal at least three years ago but refused to air it.
Robach was recorded discussing what transpired on a hot mic while on set, saying:
“I’ve had this interview with Virginia Roberts. We would not put it on the air.”
Excuses ranged from being threatened “a million different ways” by “the Palace” after the royal family somehow got wind that the network had allegations from Virginia Roberts Giuffre against Prince Andrew, to a fear that ABC may no longer “be able to interview Kate and Will.”
ABC News released a statement Tuesday claiming to be investigating the Epstein scandal:
“At the time, not all of our reporting met our standards to air, but we have never stopped investigating the story. Ever since, we’ve had a team on this investigation and substantial resources dedicated to it. That work has led to a two-hour documentary and 6-part podcast that will air in the new year.”
Watch the full video from Project Veritas below:
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.