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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES: Civil Liberties In a Time of War; Still Searching for Scott Speicher; New Concerns About SARS In America

Aired April 17, 2003 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: New finds near Baghdad.

A bomb-making factory and one of Saddam Hussein's last hiding places, but where is he?

Whoever looted Baghdad's health lab may have grabbed the wrong things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Hepatitis A virus. Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis B virus. Hepatitis D virus.

ANNOUNCER: 10,000 Iraqi-Americans had to answer questions. Critics say it was an invasion of privacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of these interviews were voluntary. We will not tolerate those who would seek to do harm to our nation.

ANNOUNCER: Plus -- new evidence on how the deadly SARS virus may be spread.

LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES with Paula Zahn in New York and Wolf Blitzer in Washington.


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Welcome. It is Thursday, April 17. Glad to have you with us from CNN's broadcast center in New York. I'm Paula Zahn. Wolf has the night off tonight.

Coming up tonight -- an explosive find. Clocks, batteries, detonators -- the tools of a terrorist or suicide bomber. Our Ryan Chilcote has that story from Baghdad.

Also ahead -- SARS in America. Word tonight that there are new cases of the deadly respiratory virus. We'll tell you where.

But we begin in Iraq on the trail of what may have happened to Saddam Hussein. Coalition forces are hoping to get some clues from a member of Saddam's family who has just been taken into custody.

That story from Jim Clancy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. troops captured Barzan al- Tikriti, Saddam Hussein's half brother and the former head of Iraqi Intelligence, Thursday.

Barzan is a half brother of Saddam Hussein and an adviser to the former regime leader, with extensive knowledge of the regime's inner workings.

Clearly, the U.S. hopes Barzan will prove a valuable asset in both the search for Saddam and hidden weapons of mass destruction. Meantime, more evidence of the regime's final days emerged on television.

This relatively modest home in a residential area of north Baghdad is described as the last known residence of Saddam Hussein as his forces crumbled under a U.S. onslaught last week.

The Arab news network, Al Jazeera, broadcast video of the sparsely furnished flat. The yellow and green striped sofa and other backdrops were said to be where the Iraqi dictator held his last meetings.

Another room shows an Iraqi flag, plastic chairs, and a table around which Saddam was shown on television, meeting with his two sons and other top regime members.

This may have also been the safe house where the Iraqi leader videotaped his last message to a nation slipping from his grasp.

It's unclear how many resources the U.S. can devote to tracking down the former leader and his top aides. At the same time, it tries to tackle security and organize a new regime. On that latter front, there are many unanswered questions.

One of those at the center of the controversy is Mohammed Ali Zubaydah, a member of the London-based Iraqi National Congress who announced he had been designated interim governor of Baghdad.

"This is a great honor that I meet with you," said Zubaydah in front of the cameras -- adding, "I tell you Iraq has been liberated and Iraq is for the Iraqis."

And the questions turn to whether he was an outsider being hoisted on the capital by the U.S. One of his aides tried to intervene.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They would see you as having been put there by the Americans.


CLANCY: Even U.S. officials distance themselves from the returned exile's assertion he was the man now in charge of the capital -- an assertion his supporters have been making for the last week in public appearances. Many ordinary Iraqis want the help of the U.S. in rebuilding Iraq and re-establishing security. But abundantly clear, they reject outsiders, even some of those in the exiled groups. While it takes no convincing from anyone that they're better off without Saddam Hussein, many Iraqis will take a lot of convincing indeed before they trust outsiders perceived as hand-picked in Washington. Jim Clancy, CNN, Baghdad.


ZAHN: The United States, this afternoon, awarded the California- based Bechtel Corporation a multimillion dollar contract for reconstruction in Iraq.

Bechtel is one of the world's largest engineering and construction firms. Congress still has to approve the money.

Now, for many Iraqis running water and reliable electricity can't come back a minute too soon. U.S. forces are working with Iraqi engineers to restart Baghdad's power stations. But the power service is intermittent, at best, as is police protection and security.

Rula Amin is in the Iraqi capital. She has the very latest for us, now.

Good evening, Rula?


Well, Paula, among Iraqis, anger and disappointment is growing for the lack of security, the lack of basic services. There's basically no power, no running water, and no medical services for most residents of the capital -- about five million of them.

They're very frustrated because they say they were promised by the U.S. that they will have these services as soon as Saddam Hussein goes away. And now, although that many of them are very happy to see him go, are wondering about the cost.

The chaos is really alarming for so many of them. They feel their lives and their property is in danger, and there are concerns that this continuous power outage is causing a lot of destruction to their normal lives.

Without power, there is no clean water. There is no sewage treatment, and the hospitals can barely work. That's why so many of them are busy trying to fulfill and satisfy those basic needs.

They're buying water. They're trying to buy small generators. And some of them are each coming here to the Palestine Hotel, where the Marines and the journalists are staying, calling on the Marines to try to do more in order to restore power.

Now the Marines and some local Iraqi electricians have been trying to restore this power, but they're facing a lot of problems -- multiple problems. Their lack of equipment, lack of workers, as well as the lack of organizing -- all this because many of the transmission lines between the major power grids and the local substations have been down, and they're trying to fix t.

It's a challenge, but Iraqis are getting very frustrated -- Paula.

ZAHN: So how long do you believe it's going to take to restore electricity in most of the city?

AMIN: Well, the Marines have been telling us that they're working really hard on trying to do that and they've been saying for the last few days that the next few days we will see results, but it's been a frustrating process for them as well because more Iraqi workers are showing up at the power grid, but there's very little progress being made.

Tomorrow, we do know that they were going to try to helicopter some Iraqi workers along with the transmission lines -- from the north to Baghdad -- in order to find out where are the damage among the transmission lines, to try to fix it as soon as possible -- Paula.

ZAHN: Rula Amin, thank you so much for that update.

Now, U.S. troops have stumbled across a facility that they say was used to make bombs and train terrorists. Who was running the factory, and what do they plan to do next?

Ryan Chilcote was with the Army's 101st Airborne Division as they investigated.


RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Acting on a tip from an Iraqi farmer, the troops moved in. His neighbors, the farmer had told them, disappeared three days ago but left their bomb-making production line behind.

STAFF SGT. MIKE TAYLOR, U.S. ARMY: Got bags which I haven't been able to look at -- inside of them yet. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)


TAYLOR: This is all terrorist stuff.


TAYLOR: This is terrorist stuff going on. So...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we do with it? How do we transport it?

TAYLOR: We can't. We can't, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't blow it here?

TAYLOR: We're going to have to do it here, sir. CHILCOTE: The troops say they found enough to blow three city blocks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, you put up a nine-volt battery and they will go.

CHILCOTE: Explosives individually packaged, possibly for use, they said, by suicide bombers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the bag of explosives were here.

CHILCOTE: And there was also plenty of shrapnel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just bags and bags of shrapnel. This is a terrorist camp.

CHILCOTE: And detonators from alarm clocks to phones. They even found a miniature model for practicing sneak attacks on highways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a sensor. It senses the first vehicle. Once the line's broken for the sensor, it drops a device that creates a roadblock hazard, stopping your convoy and the whole convoy is susceptible to attack at that point.

CHILCOTE: Sophisticated tools for unconventional tactics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is made for a covert operation terrorist attacks, where it's not aimed at just killing soldier to soldier, it's made for everything that you can go at. Instill fear, terrorist action just like World Trade Center.

CHILCOTE: Still unclear, who was building these bombs and who was the target.

Ryan Chilcote, CNN with the 101st Airborne Division in southern Baghdad.


ZAHN: Secretary of State Colin Powell today said the U.S. has given Syrian officials information about Iraqi leaders believed to be in Syria. Powell also said he expects a visit to Syria soon, although a date for the visit has not been set. The U.S. is making many of the same accusations against Syria as it did against Iraq and today the secretary of state appeared on the news hour with Jim Lehrer.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Syria has sponsored terrorism over the years and it is on one of the states that is sponsor terrorism. It's on our list of such states, and that's always been a concern to us, especially the support they provide to Hezbollah.

We have also stated clearly over the years that we believe Syria is developing weapons of mass destruction and we are concerned about especially their chemical weapons program. I think what highlighted it at this particular point in time, however, is the changed situation in the region. We have been successful in Iraq. There's a new dynamic in that part of the world. And we wanted to point out strongly to the Syrians that this is a time for you to take another look at your policies.


ZAHN: Syrian officials deny the allegations that they support terrorism. On Wednesday Syria floated a draft U.N. proposal to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.

Still to come tonight, an alarming find in a Baghdad health lab, looters not taking money or clothes, but infectious diseases and virus samples.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these viruses could spread in our population on what you are doing for many years, for maybe 40 years will grow to be zero.


ZAHN: Christiane Amanpour and the startling story from Baghdad.

Also tonight, FBI wartime interviews of Iraqis in America. Some say they violated civil rights. The question tonight, were they worth it.

And then a little bit later on, remembering the fallen, Arlington National Cemetery on this Thursday evening.


ZAHN: Welcome back. The United States is sending about a thousand specialists into Iraq to start a new phase in the search for mass weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq survey group will be able to offer rewards in order to get tips. So far the search for chemical and biological weapons has come up empty.

But as Christiane Amanpour shows us, Iraqi looters may have grabbed some biological hazards they'd wished they'd never had gotten their hands on.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Iraq's Central Public Health Lab, urgent hand scrolled warning on the gate. Pollution, biohazard, danger. In the courtyard, vials, syringes and paper strewn around by looters. At first the doctor Raja Ala (ph) gave alarming warnings of looted viruses.

Like AIDs, cholera, black fever, polio and hepatitis, she said. But Ala is a chemist and later the lab's biologist came out to correct her saying they don't have AIDS or cholera or black fever, but they were concerned about the following. DR. KAMELEDEEN MOHAMMAD, BIOLOGIST: Polio virus, Hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis b virus, Hepatitis c virus, Hepatitis d virus, all of these viruses could spread in our population.

And what we've been doing for many years, for maybe 40 years will go to be zero.

AMANPOUR: The lab was looted last week and the director has been calling for U.S. military protection which finally turned up today and along with it, a special task force.

LT. COL. CHARLES ALLISON, U.S. ARMY: We are here to find signs of weapons of mass destruction.

AMANPOUR: Colonel Allison and his team donned gloves and protective boots. They did a survey. Their conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a facility very similar to our Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. They do all of the analysis of blood work and diseases and people around Iraq. They bring it here to test it.

AMANPOUR: Indeed, over the years this facility had been surveyed by U.N. weapons inspectors.

(on camera): This task force pulled out saying it hadn't found anything that you wouldn't find in any public health and research lab anywhere in the world. There are four of these special scout teams scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. This one is has inspected 16 sites and so far, it says, it's found no smoking gun. No evidence of chemical, nuclear or biological weapons capability.

(voice-over): Just last week they were called in to examine what the U.S. Army he told reporters might be 11 mobile chemical and biological weapons labs in the town of Karbala. On closer inspection, that proved not to be the case. Here at the public health center it seems most of the vials and samples were dumped on the ground. But researchers are worried that some left with the looters who took the refrigerators, computers and equipment.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Baghdad.


ZAHN: And still to come, millions of Americans were on it and tonight the leader of a major diet movement is gone. Dr. Robert Atkins, the man behind the best-selling low-carb diet died today. We'll look back at his career and his unorthodox watt loss plan coming up.

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kelli Arena in Washington, FBI Director Robert Mueller talks about what the FBI is doing in Iraq. And how efforts before the war helped the U.S. military.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Jason Carroll live in Manhattan where businesses in Chinatown are having a tough time dealing with SARS. I'll have an update coming up.


ZAHN: Dr. Robert Atkins is being remembered today as a trailblazer whose theories turned the conventional weight loss world on its head. Dr. Atkins died today from injuries he suffered from in a fall last week.

Whether you agreed with his approach or condemned it, one thing is certain: he gave a nation obsessed with dieting a whole new perspective.


ZAHN: (voice-over): He revolutionized the diet world with his theory that you could lose weight by eating fat. His followers thought Dr. Robert Atkins was a pioneer. His critics accused him of selling a dangerous idea.

But Atkins was never one to listen to calorie counters.

DR. ROBERT ATKINS, DIET GURU: See, that's -- I think is a big mistake is to tell people to restrict calories. Now, they lose the weight, they -- they feel fine, but then they get to the goal weight and they've still got 16 more years to live. And are they going to go hungry for all 60 years?

ZAHN: Dr. Atkins was a cardiologist and businessman, selling supplements and food on his Web site and at a center for complimentary medicine.

But he gained notoriety outside of the operating room. He wrote several best-selling diet books over the past 30 years. His first, "Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution" would be the prototype for several more to follow, all with the same philosophy. He claimed a diet high in fat and protein, low in carbohydrates was a sure way to lose weight.

ATKINS: So it's not that it needs to be low calorie. As long as you cut out the carbohydrate, the weight loss automatic.

ZAHN: Atkins' philosophy of loading up meat and cheese instead of breads, pastas, even fruits and veggies went against the nutritional grain among mainstream dietitians, the American Dietetic Association among Atkins' critics over the years.

MAYHEED ZELMAN, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSN.: The weight loss comes primarily from water. At least in those first 14 days, it's primarily a water loss. But then you shift into mobilizing fat that's in your storage. But you also burn up protein and body protein can be in the form of muscle -- your heart muscle.

ZAHN: There have been some studies that supported his theories. Others debunked them.

In any case, millions followed Atkins' advice. The Pied Piper of the high fat, low-carb way of life became a celebrity with his 1992 book, "Dr. Atkins: The New Diet Revolution." It became one of the top 50 best-selling books of all time.

Dr. Atkins was 72 years old, but even at that age he was still seeing patients, still trying to teach his way to lose weight.



ZAHN: While the Pentagon is fighting a war in Iraq, the war on terrorism is still very much on the front burner here at home.

Our Justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, has an update for us now. Hi, Kelli.

ARENA: Hi, Paula.

Well, the FBI has agents on the ground in Iraq, looking for leads that could help in the fight against terror. But that is just part of the FBI's mission.


ARENA (voice-over): Helping to deflect criticism the U.S. military did not do enough to protect Iraq's antiquities, FBI Director Robert Mueller says his agents are making an all-out effort to recover stolen art treasures.

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: These steps include sending FBI agents to Iraq to assist with criminal investigations, issuing Interpol alerts to all member nations regarding the potential sale of stolen Iraqi art and artifacts on both the open and the black markets and then assisting with the recovery of any such stolen items.

ARENA: There are also 25 FBI agents on the ground in Iraq, going through documents obtained from locations such as the Ansar al-Islam terrorist camp, looking for leads about future threats to the United States.

Agents are also interrogating Iraqi prisoners.

The FBI also called attention to the role it played before the war in helping gather intelligence. Agents interviewed 10,000 Iraqis and Iraqi-Americans living in the United States.

MUELLER: As a result of these interviews, approximately 250 reports were provided to the United States military, to assist in locating weapons production and storage facilities, underground bunkers, fiber optic networks and Iraqi detention and interrogation facilities.

ARENA: Mueller says the interviews went well, resulting in only two official complaints from the Iraqi community. But some Arab- American groups say some Iraqis felt profiled.

NIHAD AWAD, COUN. ON AM. ISLAMIC REL.: Ethnic profiling, religious profiling never served our country and I'm afraid that it will hinder the efforts of the government to build relations with a community like the Muslim community.

ARENA: That relationship is very important because of the unique help Muslim and Arab-Americans give the FBI in its fight against terror.

And on the terror front, officials say al Qaeda remains a potent threat. But they're also increasingly concerned about the Lebanon- based group Hezbollah -- Paula.

ZAHN: And let's talk about those specific concerns. What are they telling you about that?

ARENA: Well, it seems that rhetoric from Hezbollah, anti- American rhetoric calling for suicide bombings and so on has -- has increased in recent weeks in a way that it hasn't before. It's causing some concern, but officials say that they are more concerned about attacks on U.S. interests overseas, if Hezbollah were to act, rather than attacks on U.S. soil. At least that's where it stands right now, Paula.

ZAHN: Kelli Arena, thanks for the update. Appreciate it very much.

Now pretty much on the same note, FBI Director Mueller and Attorney General Ashcroft went out of their way today to stress that the government's interviews, as Kelli just mentioned, with thousands of Iraqi-Americans were voluntary, but civil libertarians remain very concerned.

To discuss civil liberties in a wartime, I am joined from Wilmington Delaware by Jan Ting. He was assistant commissioner at the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the early 1990s. He now teaches immigration law at Temple University. And joining us from San Diego tonight, Hussein Ibish. He is the communications director for the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

Welcome to you both. Glad to have you both with us.



ZAHN: Mr. Ibish, I'm going to start with you this evening. You heard some of the statistics FBI director Mueller just shared with us. Out of the 10,000 interviews 250 reports led to very useful information on either weapons production or weapons storage. Do you agree this is powerful information for the U.S. to have?

IBISH: Well, I' m sure that some Iraqi-Americans or Iraqis living in the United States have that kind of information about the storage facilities and bunkers and things like that. But I don't believe 11,000 did, and I don't think that you need a program that goes after 11,000 people to find out.

I mean those are things that would be known former senior government officials, former Army officers. Certainly not the huge (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of people that have been interviewed. And I would like to say that not all of the statistics that we heard today were entirely accurate.

This notion that there were only two formal complaints I don't think is right, because we know of at least five serious problems that emerged in five separate incidents that have been reported to the Justice Department through our group alone. So there's a little bit more to this than I think we are being led to believe today.

ZAHN: Some would argue that might be an unacceptable ratio, whether it's two or five former complaints. Mr. Ting, do you think it was worth it for the kind of information Mr. Mueller said was delivered here.

TING: Well, I think, unquestionably, in a time of war, we want our government to be asking questions. We want our government to be gathering information. Indeed, part of the criticism of our government prior to 9/11 was that they weren't asking questions, that they didn't do a good job on the intelligence side.

It's the role of government to ask questions. I think -- you know Mr. Ibish says, well, why don't you just go correctly to the people that have the information? Well, it's not always easy to know who's got the information. You've always got to ask more people questions than people who have answers.

We do know that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi-Americans are very enthusiastically in support of the military action in Iraq. And they've shown their support in tangible ways by providing material information and support to this war effort.

IBISH: Yes. I think the question really, though, has to be do we really want to investigate thousands, tens of thousands, multiple thousands of people based on their national origin? Because, among other things, this is an investigation. Among other things, this information will be added to various databases like the interviews with 8,000 students last year.

And what we are developing here is a mentality, I think, that says that certain people are of interest to the authorities and, in some cases, suspicious, potentially dangerous, because of their national origins. So there are costs to this as well. Cost to our values of being a country that doesn't discriminate on the basis of, for instance, national origin.

And there's no question that to break people up and divide them into different pools based on the country they came from is discriminatory. And then to investigate people based on that, which is, in fact, what this is, does carry with it the stigma of discrimination. I just think there's no question about that.

ZAHN: Mr. Ting, can you address that question? Why isn't this racial profiling?

TING: Well, it's not racial profiling, to the extent that it's completely voluntary. People don't have to respond to these particular series of questions. The questioning of students was not voluntary. That was an exercise of the immigration power. But it's like comparing apples and oranges.

IBISH: Yes, but can I just address that for a second?

TING: But let me just respond to your point.

IBISH: All right, sure. OK.

TING: I mean I think it is the role of the government. You do need to ask more questions than you are going to get answers. You need to talk to -- if you're going to have 250 people supply you with useful information, you're going to have to talk to a lot more than 250 people to get that number.

IBISH: He said 250 reports, he didn't say 250 people -- 250 reports.

TING: Two hundred and fifty reports.

IBISH: They may have come from a much smaller group. Let me just say something about your other point, though. The voluntary aspect of this is not absolute. We've heard many cases of people who said, "OK" and "I'll cooperate, but I want to bring an attorney. I'm being threatened."

Or, "I'll cooperate, but I really don't want to meet you today. I'd like to meet you tomorrow or the day after." And then be told, "No, if you're going to cooperate it has to be now." So -- and in an immigrant community...

TING: But no one was told they couldn't bring an attorney. No one was told they couldn't bring an attorney.

IBISH: No one was told they couldn't bring an attorney, but they were given vague threats that, "OK, if that's the way you want to play it, then that's the way we're going to play it."

You know there has been -- some of this has been conducted in an intimidating manner. And that probably has more to do with the people who were actually conducting the policy, rather than the policy itself. But we have to understand that that is going to happen.

ZAHN: OK. Hang on one second. Mr. Ibish, let me let Mr. Ting respond to that. Do you understand why some of these people interviewed felt intimidated or threatened, maybe if it wasn't even in an overt way?

TING: Well, sometimes intimidation is in the eye of the beholder. You know I can' t say that our government is perfect, that it never makes mistakes. I can say that the government has a primary responsibility here to support the effort of our men and women overseas as they engage in war, and to protect the American people against terrorist attacks at home.

IBISH: I think we all agree with that.

TING: I think the government is carrying out that responsibility in a responsible and modulated way. I think, to the extent that there's any kind of strict scrutiny warranted in what the government is doing, I think that test is well satisfied in that the government has the compelling interest that it's pursuing, and it's pursuing that compelling interest in a narrowly-defined way.

ZAHN: Mr. Ibish, let me close with this question. You had attorneys present in a couple hundred of these interviews.

IBISH: That's correct. Attorneys or other...

ZAHN: If you said only five formal complaints, the government is saying two formal complaints...

IBISH: That we know of, yes.

ZAHN: If these attorneys had a problem with the tone of these interviews, why weren't there more formal complaints?

IBISH: Well, because we were certainly not privy to the whole 10,000. And I think it is not a question of how many instances did the government overstep its authority or how many times were there abuses that were against the law.

The question is whether it's reasonable government policy, whether it really makes us any safer to cast such a wide net, to interview tens of thousands of people based solely on their national origin. In fact, to start again using national origin as a determining factor in deciding who is suspicious. I think there's a real test (ph) there.

ZAHN: Mr. Ting, you get the last word.

TING: It's absolutely...

ZAHN: He brings up an interesting point. Do you see any danger, Mr. Ting, to this program being expanded to other groups?

TING: Well, it's absolutely a reasonable policy that the government has carried out here. We can't just sit back and say, well, people that have useful information, we'll wait for them to come in. You have to go out and find that information.

We know that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi-Americans and Iraqi immigrants to the United States want to be helpful to the United States. So I think it is highly responsible for the United States government to go out and ask for that help.

Seek and ye shall find. Should we keep an eye on what our government is doing? Absolutely. We know that government is capable of committing excesses against civil liberties, but I think the reality is -- you know we have to remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf. Let's not cry wolf too soon. Let's just keep an eye and see what happens. And if something bad happens, then that will be the time to complain.

ZAHN: Mr. Ibish, I can only give you 10 seconds and we have to move on.

IBISH: Well, I think it does cross the line to basically start erecting a whole set of policies that essentially cast people as suspicious just because of the country they came from. And that is, in effect, what this policy and at least seven or eight other new policies since September 11th have done. We don't need that to be safe. We really don't.

ZAHN: On that note of discord, we must end this segment. Hussein Ibish, Jan Ting, thank you for both of your perspectives this evening.

Still to come tonight, he was shot down over Iraq 12 years ago and tonight American officials are getting ready to move in to search for Commander Scott Speicher. We're going to talk to his family's attorney right out of the break.

Also ahead: SARS in America. There are reports of new cases tonight. We'll tell you where.

And then a little bit later on, remembering those lost in war. Bruce Morton and the importance of Arlington National Cemetery.


ZAHN: Welcome back. The U.S. is taking advantage of the new climate in Iraq to focus some unfinished business from the last Gulf War. A team of U.S. intelligence officials is in the region to look for information about Scott Speicher. He was the Navy pilot shot down the first night of the war 12 years ago.

Let's go now to the Speicher family's attorney, Cindy Lackadera. She joins us from Jacksonville, Florida tonight. Welcome. Good to see you, Cindy.


ZAHN: Tell us about the briefings that the Speicher family is getting from the Pentagon. What have they learned?

LAQUIDARA: They are frequent and they're detailed. Most of them are secured briefings, where a team flies down to Jacksonville or I go to Washington. Sometimes we set up a secure line and they give us the details of the latest sightings of Scott, the type of information, the type of intelligence they're getting.

We discuss the quality of it. We ask questions, they give us answers. It works out quite well, really. ZAHN: And now that you have U.S. troops on the ground in Baghdad, how has that enhanced, do you think, the quality of the information you're getting?

LAQUIDARA: Well, we haven't gotten -- since our team has been in place in Baghdad, we haven't got additional detail, and that is fine with us. What we do get is the daily call from the Pentagon liaison, and I call that person frequently so I know that certain contacts have been made and certain areas have been checked.

But I'm leaving them to their business, as opposed to knocking on their shoulders, saying, please tell me what you've done this past few minutes. We have great confidence in the team.

ZAHN: Do you have reason to believe there have been new sightings of Scott Speicher since U.S. troops have gone into Baghdad?

LAQUIDARA: No. I don't have that information. It was tough to get intelligence, of course, during the war itself. People were very focused. And right now we're just at the initial phases of the process and having the key team in there. I do know the commanders in the field are aware and are looking at every opportunity themselves also.

ZAHN: Cindy, as you probably know, some U.S. officials have told CNN they do not believe that Scott is alive. But the Speicher family clearly believes he is. Are you able to share any of the evidence they've been privy to that would make them come to that conclusion? I mean you've talked about some of these sightings, but obviously some of these officials discount those sightings.

LAQUIDARA: Well, first let me tell you something. It is very tiresome for officials who are not being briefed at the level that I'm being briefed or Senator Pat Roberts, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee of Intelligence, who himself has stated often and recently that he strongly believes Scott is alive.

And so you have these other people -- and we've been fighting that battle for seven years -- they don't know. And, frankly, they mustn't care. And that's discouraging and annoying.

The greater number of people and the people who have received these intelligence briefings, like Senator Roberts, believe he's alive. I can tell you the unclassified portions and work that I've done myself.

I've spoken to an Iraqi intelligence officer. I had him at my home. I've spent a day and a half with him. I'm a trial lawyer, I evaluate people's credibility.

He's credible. He was in the same room with Scott when Scott was alive. I think that's quite powerful.

ZAHN: I guess what must also be quite powerful for the family is now that you've got seven American POWs returning home, I guess that must give them some increased hope. Cindy Laquidara, thank you very much for sharing your case with us tonight.

LAQUIDARA: Thank you for your time.

ZAHN: Good luck.


ZAHN: Still to come tonight, new concerns about SARS in America. Jason Carroll is in New York. Hi, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And hello to you there, Paula. You know there are 10 likely cases of SARS here in New York City. But even so, hundreds of businesses in Chinatown have been affected. I'm going to have that story for you coming up in just a few moments.

ZAHN: Thanks, Jason. See you in a little bit.

And coming up in our next hour, the five of clubs. That was his position in the deck of cards depicting the most wanted leaders of Saddam Hussein's regime. More about who he is and what information he can provide now that he's in custody in the next hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES.


ZAHN: Welcome back. As we move up 13 minutes before the hour here, federal health officials say 35 Americans probably have the respiratory illness known as SARS. Scores of other people are suspected of having the virus. About 10 of those cases here in New York.

Our Jason Carroll joins us live from Chinatown, which has its own worries. And I guess, Jason, a lot of tourists just aren't going there anymore, are they?

CARROLL: Absolutely. New York City is really feeling the effects of what's happening overseas. 3,389 cases of SARS worldwide; 165 people have died. And as you said, so far 10 likely cases here in New York City. Even with that small number of cases, though, businesses here in Chinatown really feeling the effect of SARS.


CARROLL (voice-over): From shoppers on a subway in Queens...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone is constantly aware of these things.

CARROLL: ... to construction workers on a street in Manhattan's Chinatown...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been walking around with my T-shirt over my nose like this.

CARROLL (on camera): You walk around with your T-shirt? And what do you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I walk around with a handkerchief. I put it over my face.

CARROLL (voice-over): ... there's concern about catching SARS, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

(on camera): You actually had a conversation with your husband.


CARROLL: He was concerned about you coming down here?

CHARMANE LEE SCOTT: I was concerned about coming down here.

CARROLL: SARS made Charmane Lee Scott (ph) think twice about heading to Chinatown to buy seafood for her fish stew. But fears soon gave way to good bargains. But she came with an attempt at protection.

(on camera): So the reason why you have this tissue here is just for protection?

LEE SCOTT: Yes, for protection.

CARROLL: And you think that will do it?

LEE SCOTT: Not really, but hey.

CARROLL (voice-over): Reality is doctors say tissues and T- shirts don't offer real protection. And they also say you need to be pretty close to an infected person to catch it. In Chinatown, though, fears of SARS has translated into empty scales at grocers and poor sales at other businesses, such as Weyleigh's (ph) Pharmacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess there's not enough education with the disease, you know? So people are just trying to stay away.

CARROLL: New York's mayor dined in Chinatown with hopes his presence and a dose of common sense would ease fears.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK: Most people, should they worry about it? No. They should worry about getting hit by a car going across the street, which is much more likely.

CARROLL: To date, there have not been any cases of someone contracting the disease in New York. All 10 SARS victims being treated in the city contracted it overseas. The airline industry, already reeling from fears of terrorist attacks, now taking another hit from SARS.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have experienced a drop in sales. We have experienced also cancellations and postponements of trips.

CARROLL: Many airlines forced to cancel flights both to and from Asia. DR. JULIE GERBERDIN, CDC DIRECTOR: Every time there's an epidemic of new infectious diseases, it is also followed by an epidemic of fear.

CARROLL: And then, many hope, discovery of a cure.


CARROLL: And health officials will tell you that it is extremely unlikely that you're going to catch SARS simply just from walking down the street. But as you can see from hearing from some of those people in the piece, that's definitely not what the perception is -- Paula.

ZAHN: Bruce -- excuse me -- Jason Carroll, thanks so much. Got a lot of names coming at me here.

ZAHN: Moving on now, tensions over the disease are rising across the globe. Officials in Hong Kong said today they think the SARS virus is not transmitted by air or water, but infected human waste. What does that mean?

Well, let's ask Dr. Stephen G. Baum. He joins us from Beth Israel Medical Center here in New York, where he is chairman of the Department of the Medicine. He also specializes in infectious diseases. Thanks for join us tonight.


ZAHN: What does that mean? You are talking about communities where you don't have a safe water supply, that will be more prone to this kind of thing?

BAUM: Correct. And not having enough water to wash your hands and keep yourself clean. Even the common cold all over the world is transmitted more by shaking the hand of someone who may have just blown their nose into a kleenex than it is by having them cough on you.

ZAHN: How concerned should Americans be that you have these dozens of cases here?

BAUM: Well, actually there is a relatively small number of cases in this country. And almost all of them, if not all of them, can be traced to the fact that someone has either been to Asia or been in very close contact with someone who has been in Asia. Thus far, there really doesn't seem to be much evidence of spread within this country, other than those classes of people.

ZAHN: Are doctors making any progress in the way they treat this problem?

BAUM: Well, the treatment for this problem is really not available in terms of an antibiotic-like drug. It's supportive treatment once you get it. What I think is unbelievably dazzling is the rapidity with which people have made the diagnosis, figured out what's causing this, and figured out how to try to contain it.

ZAHN: But it could be a death sentence if you -- particularly for people who have weakened immune systems.

BAUM: It could be. I think one important thing to remember about all epidemics and outbreaks is that the most severe cases are the ones that are noticed first. So diseases -- infectious diseases almost always start out looking as if they have a higher mortality than they eventually end up looking like.

ZAHN: So if it is now believed this is transferred through human waste, what difference is it going to make to use these masks that people are using all over the world?

BAUM: That's an excellent point. I guess...

ZAHN: Are they wasting their time?

BAUM: Somewhat.

ZAHN: And wasting their money.

BAUM: I guess so, somewhat. If you can't touch your eyes or your nose or your mouth with your hand that's now contaminated from some other source, I guess that can protect you. But masks are usually warn to protect you against things that are aerosolized, that are made into a foam or droplets that then get coughed on you. So I would agree with you that hand washing is worlds more important than wearing a mask.

ZAHN: But you really think that you're going to be able to disrupt a number of cases given the areas in Asia where we think this disease was spawned?

BAUM: Well, again, I think once you know what's causing it, in particular if you know the route by which it's being spread, you've come a long, long way. Again, the fact that we've only known about this for several months, and so much is already recognized about the spread, the virus that causes it, the genetic makeup, the virus is really an amazing feat.

ZAHN: Can I ask you a hand-washing question? How long do you need to wash your hands for?

BAUM: Well, the frequency is probably more important than the duration. So the more often you can wash your hands, the better off. But certainly, 20, 30 seconds is more than enough. Warm water, soap.

ZAHN: How about the antiseptic soap?

BAUM: Well, CDC has just come out with a study that indicates that the antiseptic hand wipes and hand washes are probably better even than soap and water, probably because people are more likely to use them, carry them in your pocket, take out a towelette, take out a bottle of stuff and just rub your hands together, and that seems to be very effective. ZAHN: Dr. Baum, very helpful information. I promise, I washed my hands before you came on the set.

BAUM: Thank you.

ZAHN: Thanks again for your perspective.

Still to come tonight, a place full of pain and honor. Bruce Morton remembers those lost in war at Arlington National Cemetery.

And then coming up in our next hour, reshaping a region. Who should be involved? How will the war in Iraq affect the peace process between Israel and Palestinians? An in-depth look in the next hour of LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: A new war is producing a new crop of fallen soldiers. One by one, many of their families will be making their way to one of the nation's most revered and solemn sites. They join a fraternity to which no military family wants to belong: those with loved ones buried at Arlington National Cemetery. We leave you at this hour with this report by Bruce Morton.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Honor Guards know the rituals by heart, of course. The commands to fire, the ceremony with the flag. Arlington National Cemetery performs more than 20 funerals each weekday. Some of them lately for Americans killed in Iraq. The service is for Marine 1st Lieutenant Fred Pokorney, Jr.

The cemetery holds more than a quarter of a million military graves, and it all started out of spite. The big mansion belonged to Robert E. Lee's family. Union troops took it in 1864 and said, "We'll put a graveyard here so they'll never be able to go back." These are some of the first graves where the garden is next to the house.

TOM SHERLOCK, HISTORIAN: What did begin as a way of preventing the Lee family from returning to their land and desecrating it what they thought with burial of soldiers has blossomed into certainly the most preeminent military cemetery in America, if not the world.

MORTON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). This is a memorial to the confederate soldiers buried here, some 500 of them, along with black and white soldiers who fought in the Union Army. Men and women from all the wars.

The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the War of 1812, from later wars, when a plane crew, say (ph), crashed and died together. Medal of honor winners. An eccentric artilleryman named Wallace FitzRandolph (ph), who said he had spent so much time with his guns he wanted to be buried under one. He was. But mostly it's ordinary Americans.

Historian Tom Sherlock has worked here since 1975. SHERLOCK: I have two feelings. One is a bittersweet, almost sadness, you know, when you read a name and you can see by the age that this young person died. You can tell by the years that it was the Korean War or Vietnam War or the first Gulf War.

Then there's also a sense of gratitude. And I'm able to walk down these rows and people are able to come here and enjoy its beauty because of the freedoms that these people bestowed upon us.

MORTON: The place is full of pain and honor. The family gets memories and a flag. Bruce Morton, CNN, Arlington, Virginia.



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