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High-Ranking Officer Dies in Iraq; Guantanamo Bay Controversy

Aired June 8, 2005 - 14:30   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: An act of sisterly love makes medical history. Stephanie Yarber, seen here on the left, gave birth to a baby girl on Monday, a year after undergoing the first known successful ovary transplant in the U.S. The ovarian tissue was donated by her identical twin, Melanie.
An investigation is under way into a high ranking army officer that died this past weekend in Iraq. As CNN's Barbara Starr reports, the military says the 44-year-old West Point professor, who volunteered to go war, died of non-combat injuries.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Colonel Ted Westhusing had one of the most high-pressure jobs in Iraq: training Iraqi security forces in counterterrorism and special operations. Ted Westhusing died Sunday in Iraq. No one can say for certain what happened.

His mother got the call on her birthday.

TIM WESTHUSING, COLONEL'S BROTHER: She was expecting a call from him, and that was not the call she got.

STARR: His family, like so many others, in agony.

WESTHUSING: It tears at your insides like you would never know.

STARR: Ted Westhusing is the highest ranking Army officer to die in Iraq. He was a professor at the military academy at West Point before volunteering for Iraq.

WESTHUSING: He just wanted to go over there and help out, because he felt that he could make a difference.

STARR: Westhusing's death is listed as non-hostile. That category includes accident, illness, foul play, an act of nature, such as being struck by lightning, or suicide.

Military sources confirm to CNN that family members have been told Westhusing was found with a single gunshot wound. But the Army emphasizes it is conducting a full investigation to determine what happened.

WESTHUSING: It just breaks your heart, it really does, that there's such, you know, a great person that had so much capability, so much to offer. It's gone. I'd just like for people to know that he gave everything he had to make a difference.

STARR (on camera): No one can yet say what may have happened to the Colonel Ted Westhusing, but friends and family remember a military career served in peace time and war time with years of honor.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


PHILLIPS: Former president Jimmy Carter is joining the debate over what should be done with the U.S. military lock-up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Allegations of prisoner abuse and mistreatment are leading to calls from several lawmakers to close the facility down. Last night, Carter agreed that the prison should be shut down, but said doing so would definitely be difficult.


JAMES CARTER, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... not be possible, as I said in my remarks, to close down Guantanamo immediately. They would have to be phased out. Over a period of time, there have been a lot of people. And now there are about 520 people at Guantanamo. And I think that all of those should be given a trial. As a matter of fact, one thing that concerns me is the secretary of defense has publicly announced that if these people are tried and found innocent, they will not be released. This is not the way to treat people.


PHILLIPS: Karin Ryan, a senior adviser for human rights at the Carter Center, joins me now live from Washington to talk more about this controversy. Karin, it's good to have you. I know you've been at the State Department all day, a number of meetings. What have you been telling leaders with the State Department?

KARIN RYAN, THE CARTER CENTER: What we've been sharing with our colleagues here in Washington is our concern that -- it's very important in the war on terror, that human rights be respected at the same time as nations work to combat this very real scourge of terrorism. We acknowledge that it is very important to do this in concert with other nations. But it is also very important, and I think Americans feel this overwhelmingly, that we must abide by the rule of law and that we must do this very carefully.

And President Carter, in his comments yesterday, I think the emphasis was maybe a little not exact. He specifically said he thinks that Guantanamo should be closed, but he also said that all the secret detention facilities should be examined by an independent commission. I think Senator Biden has called for that this weekend. These should be investigated because Americans believe that we can fight the war on terrorism while at the same time protecting the rights of people. We want...

PHILLIPS: But Karen, let me ask you. If you shut down the prison, what do you do with all these detainees? Detainees that could, of course, again become a threat overseas and even in the United States.

RYAN: Yes, of course, that's important. But what Americans understand is the rule of law, the idea that a human being -- and I think Americans have a profound respect for human life. And for the idea that the individual has rights. So each individual should be treated as a human being. And as such, they are -- they have the right to a fair trial to be processed.

So what they should do is they should give each person access to a fair trial, and a remedy, in that way and then send them to their home countries or send them to where the most logical places for them to go. What we can't do is continue this -- basically a policy of disappearing human beings in these many detention facilities all around the world, in Afghanistan and Iraq and et cetera.

PHILLIPS: But what about the immediate rights of U.S. citizens? Your rights, my rights. You know, the freedom of fear that President Roosevelt...

RYAN: That's right.

PHILLIPS: ... talked about.

RYAN: Yes.

PHILLIPS: I think that if let all the -- if this prison were to be shut down, you let all these detainees go. And of course, you know, the former president talking about there may be many innocent people there. I know you would agree to that. But what about those that are not innocent and that are a threat? I mean, so many of those detainees are in there for a reason.

RYAN: Well, first of all, he did say it should be shut down. And his emphasis on that it will take time is just acknowledging that in practicality, it will take some time to do that. But they are -- you know, the point is that there are -- you and I do have the right to be free from fear. But we also -- the question is, will we be safer by this policy that we are carrying out? I don't think so.

Our policy -- if we were to be engaging in these activities in Iraq and elsewhere with respect for human beings and their rights, this would make us safer in the long run, because there is a great deal of anger that is coming up from around the world. In fact, we had a conference of human rights activists, from all over the world. This is where those comments came out yesterday.

We had human rights defenders from 14 countries coming and over the last 18 months, in fact, a large group of human rights and democracy leaders. These are the people who are really on the front lines of freedom. They fighting every day in Guatemala and Colombia and Africa and Asia to build democracy.

That is our strategy for fighting terrorism. We have to help build a Democratic culture in those societies and we can do that non- violently by looking to these front line human rights defenders who understand the challenges of their country. So I understand that we need to feel secure in this country and we will feel more secure if the United States carries out a policy that is anchored in those very principles of the Bill of Rights that makes America so special and so -- such a beacon of light to the world. And we have praised President Bush for his strong language on behalf of freedom and human rights and democracy throughout the world.

And we -- in fact, at the State Department, that's what we were doing. We were working with State Department officials to look at how can we do this? How can we help -- how can we work together to support those movements at the grassroots? So what I'm saying is that our government needs to adjust its policy to conform with human rights principles. Because this is consistent with the American -- with American values.

PHILLIPS: Karin Ryan, senior adviser for human rights at the Carter Center and of course to the former president. Karen, we sure appreciate your time. We'll continue to follow to see what happens between you and members at the State Department, of course.

RYAN: Thank you, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: You bet. It was my pleasure

Also joining us to talk about the Gitmo controversy, CNN military analyst and retired Army Brigadier General James Marks.

General, you heard what Karin had to say. I'm sure you have some thoughts. Shutting down that prison could be very dangerous if a number of these detainees go back to their home country. And you even talked about -- they'd just join the insurgency again. If nothing's done, if they're just let go.

BRIG. GEN. JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Kyra, very true. I can tell you what I heard the president say. And I'm not sure I know what the president meant, none of us do. But let me for a second, if I can, tell you what I think he meant. And I don't want to put words in his mouth. But by closing Guantanamo Bay, which is an interrogation facility used exclusively to extract information and intelligence so that soldiers and marines on the grounds and coalition forces in Iraq and elsewhere around the world can prosecute -- gain good intelligence, actual intelligence and prosecute the war on terrorism.

Were we to close that facility, were the United States to close that facility, these detainees would go someplace else. And so I can't for assume for a minute that anybody would be so naive to assume that they would simply be released.

And I don't think that's what the president meant. I think what he meant to say was if Gitmo is a problem, then what we need to do is close Gitmo. That might be very symbolic -- I disagree with that -- but albeit, that might be something that's symbolic...

PHILLIPS: Because he may feel -- yes, he may feel it shows Americans, look, we're committed to doing something about human rights violations.

MARKS: But these guys are going to go some place else, and the rules, as established by the Geneva Convention and how U.S. law has interpreted and followed those rules and then how DOD -- Department of Defense -- and the Army Doctrine and the training of soldiers and interrogators has taken place, all falls within that rubric of the Geneva Convention.

PHILLIPS: Well, I think Abu Ghraib...

MARKS: So, these bad guys are going some place.

PHILLIPS: Well, and Abu Ghraib I think is very much in the forefront of people's minds. But, really, can you compare Abu Ghraib to Gitmo?

MARKS: You can't. Unfortunately, there's a tangled web, there's this -- kind of a ganglia of ideas and notions, and whether we're spreading democracy, look, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the principals of the Carter Center are being met by and being employed today by soldiers and Marines on the ground. My goodness, what are they not doing in Iraq other than spreading democracy, for goodness sakes?

PHILLIPS: General Marks, thanks for your time.

MARKS: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Ahead, farewell, Mrs. Robinson: remembering Anne Bancroft.

And later, how well is your boss protecting your personal information? See how easy it is for someone who knows what they're doing to hack into some of America's biggest companies.



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Reporting from the Dotcom Desk, I'm Christina Park.




DUSTIN HOFFMAN, ACTOR: Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me, aren't you?


PHILLIPS: She was an award-winning actress, who played a host of roles, but Anne Bancroft will perhaps be best remembered for her role as Mrs. Robinson, seducing a younger man in "The Graduate." The 73- year-old actress died Monday of uterine cancer. She won a Tony for best actress in the Broadway production of the drama "The Miracle Worker," and got an Oscar for best actress in the same role two years later. Bancroft is survived by her husband, director and comedian Mel Brooks, and their son, Max.

Well, straight ahead, nervous about all the reports of identity theft and lost data? Well, we're going to show you just how easy it is to worm sensitive information out of your company. An expert hired to test security gets through every time.


PHILLIPS: This story just coming in to CNN through the Associated Press. We understand that a man is being questioned right now due to an Amtrak scare. It's happened in Richmond, California. Evidently, the bomb squad is examining some packages aboard an Amtrak train here in Richmond, and the FBI is questioning a man who left them on the train after making threatening statements.

Richmond police say that the man boarded the train in Sacramento. It was headed toward the Bay Area and then the man was approached about missing his stop. He then told a train worker, quote, the train was going to fall into the sea and train was going to disappear.

Well, the FBI is now questioning him. In an initial X-ray of one of the packages, evidently, that the man left on the train revealed an electronic device consistent with a bomb. So businesses in the area and all the train cars at the stop have been evacuated. FBI questioning that man and the packages are being X-rayed. Once again, an Amtrak scare there in there in Richmond, California. We're on the story. We'll continue to follow it for you.

Well, a CNN "Security Watch" now. We all know identity theft is a big problem, but you may be surprised at how easy for someone to steal your personal data simply by walking into a corporation that has your information.

CNN's David Mattingly introduces us to a man who does it for a living.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to identity theft, Jim Stickley is Jesse James, John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd all rolled into one, minus all the guns and violence. He's claimed to have stolen enough sensitive data to run up credit cards and drain bank accounts of tens of thousands of people. And he's done it by breaking into supposedly secure systems at hundreds of corporations, from small regional banks to Fortune 500 companies.

JIM STICKLEY, TRACESECURITY INC.: I know your mother's maiden name, I know your Social Security number, I know all of your bank account numbers, I possibly know your visa numbers or credit card numbers. I know all of your references, if you've done like a loan, where you had to put reference accounts on there of other people. I know what car you drive. I know your driver's license number. I know every last thing you would ever put on a loan application.

MATTINGLY (on camera): And what can do you with that?

STICKLEY: I can be you, I can just become you tomorrow.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): If you were among the legions of Stickley's victims, you probably never knew it and never will. That's because he's one of the good guys. Corporations pay his company, TraceSecurity in Baton Rouge, to test the security of the data they keep on you. More than a hacker, Stickley is a conman, a master at exploiting human weaknesses. From a Six by 12 cubicle, he concocts schemes and disguises, talking his way into sensitive areas, sometimes as an air conditioning serviceman or pest control guy.

STICKLEY: You should make sure you have an appointment ahead of time. You wouldn't just walk in and say, I'm here to do a pest inspection.

MATTINGLY: But his favorite is posing as a uniformed fire inspector.

(on camera): Does anyone question you when you walk in just wearing this white uniform shirt?

STICKLEY: No. And actually, the uniforms are bought from an actual fire department uniform supplier.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Once inside, Stickley can deploy a number of easy-to-get devices. Connected to back of a computer, this device records everything put into it. A wireless transmitter like this can send data to a waiting van.

Posing as an OSHA inspector, he's actually convinced companies to use this keyboard rigged to record every key stroke. But nothing, he says, is more surprising than how easily he can take things the old- fashioned way.

STICKLEY: The first time I got backup tapes, I walked out with, you know, a box, a box of backup tapes. You know, I figured someone's going to like tackle me as I'm walking through the door. Nobody noticed. Nobody said a word.

MATTINGLY (on camera): If you're worried right now thinking about all that personal information you've given away to any number of companies, experts say you should be. As a customer, there's not a lot you can do once you've given your information away. So consumer groups recommend that you ask a lot of important questions up front.

JAY FOLEY, IDENTITY THEFT RESOURCE CENTER: By more consumers asking the questions, why are you collecting it, who gets access to it, what steps do you take to protect it, and when you're done with it, how will you dispose of it?

MATTINGLY (voice-over): One exhaustive checklist for consumers can be found on the Web site of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. Some of it, simple things, like, is the company's data encrypted? Do they conduct employee background checks? Even if it's a public official, do they ever allow outside personnel into sensitive areas unsupervised?

STICKLEY: If I'm a fire marshal, for example, I'll try to use my authority to tell them, go get me these documents, go get me coffee, go do things, make them leave me alone. If they're not trained and told never leave that person alone and tell that person, you must stay with me, they'll say, OK, and they'll go.

MATTINGLY: But as long as humans can be fooled, no system will be fool-proof. Jim Stickley's perfect record of data theft will remain intact and your debt will remain at risk.

David Mattingly, CNN, Baton Rouge.


PHILLIPS: Well, CNN is committed to providing the most reliable coverage of news that affects your security. Stay tuned to CNN for the latest information day and night. .



PHILLIPS: "Now in the News," guilty of being drunk in the cockpit. That was the verdict for two former America West pilots arrested almost three years ago as their flight was about to take off. They have since been fired and they will be in jail until their sentence next month.

Associated Press reports a bomb squad checking some packages aboard a train in Richmond, Virginia (sic) just outside San Francisco. The FBI is questioning a man who left them on the train after making threatening statements. The train and businesses in the area reportedly have been evacuated.

Aids to Africa. Britain's prime minister Tony Blair is making that his cause just weeks before leaders of wealthy nations held a summit in Scotland. Mr. Blair wants those countries to help bail out the more impoverished nations of Africa.

No verdict yet for the king of pop. Jurors in Michael Jackson's child molestation trial are still deliberating the ten counts against him. They've been at it since late Friday.


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