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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Whitney and Bobby; Privacy a Casualty in War on Terror?; Italian Authorities Arrest London Bombing Suspect
Aired August 1, 2005 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us tonight.
Tonight, we deal with national security. Is your privacy about to become a casualty of the war on terror?
ZAHN (voice-over): Lesson from London. It's tough to stop a terrorist using a fake name and a phony background. Tonight, the first in our series, scanning, Big Brother watching. How much privacy would you give up to be safe at home?
What if your child crossed this border and disappeared without a trace? It happened more than 40 times in the last year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would call it epidemic.
ZAHN: Why is this town so dangerous for Americans?
And from dazzling diva to tabloid target.
BOBBY BROWN, MUSICIAN: Me and her were playing. And she took it wrong. I took it wrong. And then the 911 people took it wrong.
ZAHN: Our exclusive interview with Bobby Brown, as he and his wife Whitney Houston tried to ride their reality show back to the top.
ZAHN: Terror is where we begin tonight, first the latest on the London attacks. Late today, police in South London arrested two men in connection with the failed bombings on July 21. Earlier, Italian authorities charged one of the July 21 suspects with terrorism.
So far, investigators haven't been able to tie the failed bombings to the deadly July 7 attacks. And that is anything but reassuring.
Here's Matthew Chance.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): London remains a city on edge, police on heightened alert, concerned a third terror cell may be intent on bombing the British capital. Less than a month since more than 50 passengers were killed on the city's transport system, even though the key arrests have been made, people seem to need the reassurance of increased visible security. Police in Italy say the suspected bomber they've now charged with international terrorism had been living in Britain under a false name, is in fact an Ethiopian, Hamdi Ados (ph) Isaac. He earlier identified as Hussain Ahmed Osman of Somalia, the name on his son's British birth certificate.
Isaac was arrested in Rome, as co-suspects in Britain were detained in raids across West London. He was traced through cell phone calls, including to Saudi Arabia, where authorities are investigating further links. At least one call was recorded, Italian police matching it to a sample from their British counterparts.
CARLO DE STEFANO, ITALIAN ANTI-TERROR POLICE: It's turned out that the voice of the suspect was exactly the same as the voice recording which we received from the Metropolitan Police. So, we were more or less convinced that this was one and the same person.
CHANCE: Isaac's defense lawyer says he has told police the failed attacks in London on July 21 were meant to scare, not to kill and that he's linked to neither the July 7 bombers, nor the al Qaeda network. That issue is central to the investigation.
DE STEFANO: You have to realize that we're confronted here with facts which have to do with what seems to us to be more like an impromptu or informal group, rather than some kind of well-organized terrorist network.
CHANCE: And while police forensic experts try to determine whether the two London attacks were in fact linked, security analysts say the idea isolated groups carried out separate bombings is provoking concern.
CRISPIN BLACK, SECURITY ANALYST: I think most people would accept, better to have two cells that are connected in some way, because then you have unraveled the whole plot. Than you've got a handle on what is going on, rather than two possible completely different groups of people, both emerging with the same sort of fiendish techniques, both at about the same sort of time, and both with the same sort of aims, but they have developed completely separately.
That would suggest that there are other groups of these people gestating, if you like, somewhere within our society.
CHANCE: And while high-profile police patrols are aimed, at least in part, at easing public concerns, there may also be a last line of defense against a threat authorities here still don't fully understand.
ZAHN: Matthew Chance joins us now. And we want to more fully understand the arrests of earlier this evening. Two more folks in custody, are they related to any of the other suspects being held?
CHANCE: Well, according to the police, Paula, they are, yes.
They were arrested in south London suburb of Stratham (ph), under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in this country, in connection with the July 21 bombings, bringing to 20 the number of people now held in police custody in connection to those series alone, including of course the four main suspects, the four main suspected bombers -- Paula.
ZAHN: So, Matthew, are they giving investigators anything that's helpful?
CHANCE: Well, in terms of the three main suspects, the main bombers that are being held in British custody, they're being interrogated. They're being held at the Paddington Green high- security police station here in Central London.
But, Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the London police force, are being absolute adamant that they're not going to give a running commentary on what is being talked about in this interrogations. These are still top-secret talks. They say they're preparing a prosecution. And so, all this evidence has to be held in secret at the moment.
It's a very different story, as we reporting there, from Italy, where that one suspect is being held by the Italian police there. We're getting all sorts of information trickling out to us about what he believes the attacks were for, who he was or wasn't associated with. It's a very different situation when it comes to that suspect -- Paula.
ZAHN: Well, we're hoping that all a great assist to investigators who are working around the clock there.
Matthew Chance, thanks so much for the update. Appreciate it.
Back home here, do you feel like you're being watched, being examined more than ever before? Well, no wonder. After 9/11 and now even more after the London bombings, we have grown use to policeman with automatic weapons, security cameras just about everywhere, our bags being searched. So where it is all headed? Do we need more security or is Big Brother already here?
We're looking at that this week in a special "Security Watch" series called safe at home. Now, take a look at these numbers from a new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll. First, a shocking result. More than half of all of us say that Arab Americans should be singled out for special security checks before getting on planes. What that means, an awful lot of us in the United States favor some kind of racial profiling when it comes to our security.
Also, close to 80 percent of us want airport-style security, you know, bag searches, metal detectors, for subways and buses and trains. And 81 percent of us favor sending everyone who goes into office buildings through metal detectors.
Looks like a lot of support for tighter security. Here's more of what we can expect from Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the four years since the world came to face greater fears, greater forces, greater security, Lisa Casmer (ph) has accepted one thing above all else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world has changed a lot. It's a difference place to live.
FOREMAN: Living and working near Washington, D.C., she watches America's security revolution up close. And she doesn't always like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have to worry every time I go anywhere about emptying my pocket and having somebody look at everything that I have and look through my purse.
(on camera): Some people say we just have to put up with this and it's worth it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To some extent, I definitely agree. But, like I said, I think that there is such a thing as too much, as excessive.
FOREMAN: But jumps forward five to 15 years and security analysts say most Americans will be in for a lot more. Commuting, count on cameras. Experts say the millions of police and private surveillance cameras already at work will be increasingly watched by computers. So, if you circle a government building too many times, license plate recognition could give police instant pictures and a map of everywhere else you have been, then match that with your driver's license, cell phone, Internet and credit records.
JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: There are some really big gaps in our security.
FOREMAN: Jim Lewis is with the Center For Strategic and International Studies.
LEWIS: We're seeing some of these things tested for power plants, where cameras will notice if a car is driving around, if someone appears to be in a vehicle and surveilling the plant.
FOREMAN: At some offices and large public places, biometric systems are already becoming more common, scanning eyes or fingerprints to guard access to buildings and especially computers. Sophisticated I.D. badges designed to thwart counterfeiting are also growing in use at work and at schools. And more contain radio tracking devices to record your location every second, again matching your electronic record with any suspicious activity. The use of sophisticated software to do data mining is already something that the private sector is doing. And it will be natural to look for solutions in antiterrorism there as well.
FOREMAN: The biggest challenge is public transportation because it involves so many people moving so rapidly. Today, security is obvious at most hubs, with police sometimes armed with machine guns making their presence known. Bomb dogs, random bags searches. And experts are promoting more of all of this in the name of future safety.
In a dozen years, they say, when you enter many train stations, subways or airports, you will walk through built-in biohazard, bomb and weapon detectors. Even highly advanced X-rays that look through your clothing may become cost-effective. No wonder, in the rush to security, privacy experts say American laws, written long before such technology, much also be scrutinized.
CEDRIC LAURANT, ELECTRONIC PRIVACY INFORMATION CENTER: The problem is that there no privacy framework in place that specifies what's going to happen with that data, for which purpose it could be used.
FOREMAN: ... electronic data.
LAURANT: Who will get access to it.
FOREMAN (on camera): Still, the Security Industry Association says, while, right now, the nation's security infrastructure is like an unfinished building, with bare beams and wires hanging everywhere, over the next decades, it will be completed. And in the process it will largely disappear.
(voice-over): So much so, that they dream of a day when at the airports you will be so thoroughly scanned, identified tracked walking through the building that you'll get right on to your plane.
Lisa Casmer can't wait, because right now, the endless of talk of terror and security is unsettling.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That it definitely makes people more aware.
FOREMAN: And when she turns on the news each evening, though she knows she is safer, she doesn't always feel that way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're starting to see a pattern here.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: Very scary prospect to think about.
Tom Foreman joins us now.
Tom, I think the bottom line is, we all want to be safe. But I'm not so sure that we're all that comfortable not knowing how our privacy will be protected down the road. Your expert raised the question about who is going to have access to this information. Do we know?
FOREMAN: We don't really know.
And even a lot of the people who are behind all of this technology are saying, we really have to look at our laws, because this is technology we never dreamed of. Nobody thought you could connect all of these things instantaneously and pull it up just because somebody drove past your building. That is one of the concerns.
Now, on the positive side, they say, so far, we're able to do a lot of this anyway. And a lot of industry is doing this. And horrible things don't see to be happening every day with our private information. But as the country gets concerned about identity theft as this technology gets better, there's a war coming to a head over this whole thing.
And you know this one thing, Paula. No matter where you go to school, to work, on the highways, to the airport, to a ball game, you're going to be watched in the future.
ZAHN: And, of course, the other issue you raised at the very top was the issue of profiling as well, which is a big concern to a lot of folks.
Tom Foreman, thank you for walking us into the future.
Coming up, a mystery, how could a young American woman just blocks from the U.S. border vanish without a trace?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I can see the American flag from here.
WILLIAM SLEMAKER, FATHER OF MISSING WOMAN: Yes, she was not far at all. It's very unfortunate that she didn't make it from such a close distance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Stay with us and visit a frightening, lawless no-man's land. And, unbelievably, it's just steps from our border.
ZAHN: Still ahead, you know that voice. But now she's in a new reality show that some critics are calling a train wreck, although millions of Americans are watching it. Is there any hope for singer Whitney Houston's career?
Also, the border town where Americans simply vanish. Where it is and why would anybody go there?
ZAHN: Coming up, a father's very lonely search. What happened to his daughter?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Parked my car there, stood at that intersection, looking and wondering to myself, where could she be?
ZAHN: Where is she? And why are the people who live there apparently not helping out, according to her father?
And a little bit later on, she has gone from calling 911 on her husband to starring with him in a reality show. What is going on with Whitney Houston?
ZAHN: A rise in drug violence and a shoot-out last year have led the U.S. to temporarily close its consulates in the popular Mexico border town of Nuevo Laredo. Now, on the top of that, at least 45 Americans have either been killed or kidnapped in Nuevo Laredo in just the past year alone.
Among the missing, the stepdaughter of the man you're about to meet. He says the Mexican police haven't helped find her. So, he's taking matters into his own hands.
Here's investigative correspondent Drew Griffin.
SLEMAKER: No, is that the correct time?
GRIFFIN (voice-over): William Slemaker says he has made this crossing more than 100 times, crossing the international border into the narrow streets of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, searching for a daughter who has not called, not come home, not been seen since September.
SLEMAKER: See, I cruised up and down all these streets looking for Yvette's car.
GRIFFIN: Slemaker's stepdaughter, Yvette Martinez, is 28 years old. In the early morning of September 17, she and her friend Brenda Cisneros were on their way home from a concert and a night on the town in Nuevo Laredo. It was Brenda's birthday. At 4:00 a.m., still on the Mexican side, but just four blocks from the border, they called a friend.
SLEMAKER: And the call she got was from this intersection right here.
GRIFFIN: The young women made the call to ask their friend to meet them for breakfast on the American side. Somewhere, within these four short blocks, Yvette Martinez and Brenda Cisneros vanished.
(on camera): I can see the American flag from here.
SLEMAKER: Yes, she was not far at all. It's very unfortunate that she didn't make it from such a close distance.
GRIFFIN: You must have stood here many a'time and thought, what happened?
SLEMAKER: What happened?
GRIFFIN: In the five minutes it would take?
SLEMAKER: I have stood there, parked my car there, stood at that intersection looking and wondering to myself, where she could be, trying and praying, hoping she could contact me and let me know, to get a feel of what to do.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Bill Slemaker and his wife, Maria, no longer know what to do. Days have turned into weeks and now months.
(on camera): The last phone call that she made, that you know she made, was so close to the border, it must be absolutely frustrating to have heard that.
SLEMAKER: Yes. To know that she was so close and was -- didn't make it.
GRIFFIN: She probably could have seen the border.
SLEMAKER: Oh, yes.
GRIFFIN: Certainly the lights.
(voice-over): Bill and Maria are not alone. People are being kidnapped, killed or simply disappearing at an alarming rate. In past years, the numbers of Americans kidnapped in this border town averaged just three or four a year. But in the past year, 40 American citizens have been kidnapped or have gone missing. Police are quick to say, those are only the reported cases. Nuevo Laredo, just a walk across the bridge from Laredo, Texas, is being described by U.S. police officials as lawless.
Patrick Patterson (ph) is the FBI's special agent in charge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would call it epidemic.
GRIFFIN: And according to Patterson, the kidnapping is out of control. Yvette Martinez and Brenda Cisneros are just two of the missing, caught up in a violent Mexican border town, says Patterson, where drug cartels are battling for turf. What's worse, according to Patterson and others, Mexican police seem to stand on the sidelines.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's why we're having an epidemic problem, because there is very little being done to resolve the problem on that side of the border. And that is what you're has to be done.
GRIFFIN: Without help from the police, Bill Slemaker has spent endless days and nights trying to track down his daughter himself. He spent a month searching for her car. He finally found it in a place that made him very angry, a storage yard used by Lou, police.
Walking through here, you find dozens of other cars with U.S. license plates, just like Yvette's. Bill says he has asked how Yvette's car got here, who brought it in, and when. But no one can tell him. It has never been dusted for fingerprints or searched for evidence in any investigation.
SLEMAKER: I hope she comes home. I hope she come comes home.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Are you afraid, Bill -- I hate to say it -- that this is all you'll ever find of your daughter?
SLEMAKER: I'm afraid, yes.
GRIFFIN: And that you'll never know what happened?
SLEMAKER: I hope we find her. I hope we find her.
ZAHN: And we hope so, too. Drew Griffin reporting.
A year after his daughter disappeared, William Slemaker is still searching. And he's speaking out for other parents of people who have simply vanished in Nuevo Laredo. He joins me from San Antonio tonight.
Good of you to join us, sir.
We have just watched you retrace some of Yvette's last step, painfully trying to understand what happened before she disappeared. What do you think happened to her?
SLEMAKER: Well, Paula, I couldn't really tell you. I wish -- that's something that I ask myself every day. And we're still hopeful that we will find an answer. Hopefully, we will find her.
ZAHN: Of course, officials we have talked with say it is no secret that anybody who was potentially involved in either the buying or selling of drugs could be targeting for kidnapping. Was there any way of Yvette was involved with drugs?
SLEMAKER: No. No. She was not involved in drugs. I think her crime and Brenda's crime was the fact that they were two beautiful women at the wrong place at the wrong time.
ZAHN: And were they aware of violence in that area before they ever went across the border just to celebrate that night?
SLEMAKER: Yes. It's something that is known to everybody, that it was violent. But we have family there. So, we didn't think anything of it. It's something -- we grew up going into Mexico. And so, we were not worried. It didn't affect of us at the time.
ZAHN: I know you have been highly critical of the Mexican police for not even trying to fingerprint the car that you found in that lot that we saw earlier in the piece.
But, today, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico actually reissued a travel advisory warning Americans about the violence in Mexico. Does that advisory goes far enough?
SLEMAKER: It helps.
I wish that our city leaders, local leaders would issue their own advisory to protect the citizens of Laredo, also. I mean, it's -- it's -- I wish there was more that could be done. Unfortunately, we have been doing this for nine months, 10 months. And there's people out there that still don't know the dangers.
ZAHN: Why do you think your city leaders are resistant to doing that?
SLEMAKER: Oh, the economy is what, I guess, they're worried about. And, mainly, I feel that they were kind of hoping that this would go away on its own. And they were trying to use the excuse that, well, they may have been involved in drugs, and so, you know, clean their hands, so they wouldn't have to deal with it. And as the FBI has stated and also the U.S. counsel, we know that it's not only involving people involved in drugs.
ZAHN: Well, my heart goes out to you. I know this has been a tough, long ride for you and your whole family, as you look for any answers at all.
William Slemaker, thank you very much for your time tonight.
SLEMAKER: Thank you.
ZAHN: Appreciate you sharing your story with us.
SLEMAKER: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.
ZAHN: Coming up, we change our focus in minute. And it's a story that raises a lot of questions. But can we believe all the answers?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: My wife is doing wonderful. She looks amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Well, a lot of people might dispute that. I guess everybody has different ideas of what is healthy and what is beautiful. Coming up, what has life with Bobby Brown done to singer Whitney Houston. You'll see.
ZAHN: Well, just a few weeks ago, more than a million viewers tuned into the Bravo network's new reality series, "Being Bobby Brown." A lot of them probably wanted to see his wife, singer Whitney Houston. Their 13-year marriage parallels her decent from the top of the music charts into drug addiction and rehab. But now, could things be finally turning around?
Well, Bobby Brown himself, spoke with us about his wife, for tonight's "People in the News" profile.
ZAHN (voice-over): It's June 27th, 2005. The press has gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, for the reality series premiere of "Being Bobby Brown." The red carpet, just a few feet long. The VIPs, few and far between. The woman emerging from the limousine, a shell of the superstar we once knew.
BROWN: As you know with disease, you're never fully recover. As long as you've been using, is how long it's going to take you to, you know, to kick it. You know, but my wife is doing wonderful. She looks amazing.
ZAHN: Flashback 12 years: If ever an artist had one moment in time, this was hers.
CASTRO: It was almost superhuman.
WILLIAMS: Just Streisand.
MUSTO: You could not escape "I Will Always Love You."
ZAHN: And with that stunning ballad, all eyes were on Whitney Houston: 1992's "The Bodyguard" ushered in a musical icon, a crossover talent with blinding beauty, unlimited potential.
Nine albums, seven consecutive number-one singles. There were Grammys, there was glory. She was pop's greatest love of all.
CASTRO: This was not something that was cooked in a recording studio. This was raw, raw talent.
ZAHN: With a cousin named Dionne and a music mogul named Clive, Whitney Houston was packaged, polished, primed. But long before the darkest of days, there was pressure. And there were hints of rebellion ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we go through?
WILLIAMS: What she found is that: Oh, my gosh, I can't, you know, bring my soup up to my mouth anymore. I can't -- you know, I'm so micro-managed and so under a microscope. Oh, I'm just ready to be who I used to be.
And then she meets Bobby.
ZAHN: Bobby was Bobby Brown, R&B's chart-topping bad boy and Mr. Brown's prerogative? Make Whitney Houston his wife.
WILLIAMS: Nobody expected it to last. Everybody thought it was a fleeting moment. All girls love bad boys. You know, it's one thing to date one, it's one thing to do one, but you married him?
MUSTO: Well, the public is so believing that even as we've read about Bobby using drugs and getting into all kinds of trouble with the law, we somehow thought: Well, poor Whitney. Never thinking she might be doing drugs, too. And then we finally saw her on that Michael Jackson tribute, where she was all skin and bones and had to be digitized to look human and you knew something was terribly amiss in the Bobby Brown household.
ZAHN: Fourteen years later, the marriage survives, but what about the voice? The superstar? Where is Whitney Houston?
PASTOR BUSTER SOARIES, FAMILY FRIEND: We believe that Whitney Houston can come back. What would it take? A miracle. But people of faith believe in miracles.
ZAHN: She was born Whitney Elizabeth Houston on August 9th, 1963, in Newark, New Jersey. Her pedigree reads straight out of music's hall of fame.
CASTRO: If you went into a lab, you could not concoct a better pop icon in the beginning than Whitney Houston. I mean, you had Cissy Houston as your mother, Dionne Warwick as your cousin and you had, you know, Aretha Franklin dropping in every so often into your church to sing a few bars and then leave.
ZAHN: Whitney's mother was gospel and blues great Cissy Houston. And not only did she work with the King and the Queen, she also led the choir at New Hope Baptist Church. It was here that a little girl found a great big gift.
SOARIES: Whitney sang in church every Sunday morning, New Hope Baptist Church. She just had a sense of timing. She had vocal clarity. She had range and she sang with power.
ZAHN: She adored her father, revered her mother. They nicknamed her Nippy and pampered her from the start. SOARIES: Cissy and John always wanted more for Whitney than to just be a singer. They wanted her to be educated, articulate. They wanted her to surround herself with good people. And so they were very protective of her. They really wanted to keep the brakes on her so that she did not become consumed by her own talents.
ZAHN: But Nippy was drawn to the spotlight. By 1981, the 18- year-old was modeling and auditioning for studios when cousin Dionne Warwick introduced her to the best ear in town.
MUSTO: Clive Davis is one of those music biz icons who creates talent, makes careers and can remake careers. And he had remade Dionne Warwick to be hot again. He'd remade Aretha Franklin to be relevant again. And when he set his sights on Whitney Houston, he knew that this was the next Dionne and Aretha combined.
ZAHN: Coming up, the making, the madness, the molding of a mega star.
CASTRO: Everybody knew that her first album would be huge. No one expected it to be this huge.
ZAHN: But later, drugs, demons: Bobby Brown speaks.
BROWN: She took it wrong, I took it wrong and then the 911 people took it wrong.
ZAHN: Still ahead tonight -- Whitney Houston's bizarre interviews, alarming behavior and shocking appearances. Is the downward spiral finally over? We're going to continue our "People in the News" profile in just a minute, but first, at just about 20 minutes before the hour, time for another quick update of the top stories from Erica Hill at HEADLINE NEWS.
HILL: Thanks, Paula.
President Bush says it was just too important, but some critics call it an abuse of power. Either way, John Bolton arrived in New York today as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. The president's recess appointment ended months of debate over Bolton's fitness for the job.
Meantime, the White House is warning Iran it should abandon its uranium processing program. Iran has backed off a pledge to stop, but says it has no plans to use the material for weapons.
Another drop in overall highway deaths for last year, but not for SUV drivers. The figures show while alcohol-related deaths were down, SUVs death were up 5.6 percent.
And all this month, CNN is celebrating 25 years of the most intriguing people in sports. Here's Larry Smith.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LARRY SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The top sports characters of CNN's first 25 years. We asked the editors at "Sports Illustrated" magazine to come up with a list.
At number 25, quarterback Doug Flutie proved stature had nothing to do with impact on the grid iron.
At number 24, skier Picabo Street took no guts, no glory to new heights as she sped downhill to victory.
At number 23, former NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden.
ROY JOHNSON, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "SI": He was the first guy to take that pen and wipe it across the screen in ways that were not only informative but entertaining.
SMITH: At number 22, skateboarder Tony Hawk elevated his extreme sport to the mainstream.
At number 21, Scotty Bowman was the winningest hockey coach ever. He took three teams under his wing to skate to nine Stanley Cups.
Stay tuned as we count down to number one.
HILL: And Paula, that's the latest from HEADLINE NEWS at this hour. We'll hand it back over to you.
ZAHN: Thanks so much, Erica. "LARRY KING LIVE" gets under way at 9:00. Hello, Larry. Who's joining you tonight?
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Hello, Paula.
ZAHN: Can you hear me?
KING: Yeah, I hear you. You hear me?
ZAHN: I hear an echo, echo, echo.
KING: You don't hear me?
ZAHN: No, I do hear you now.
KING: OK, thank you, Paula.
We're going to do the story in Aruba, and then we're going to do the story about the fellow on a honeymoon missing on a cruise ship. Two incredible missing stories tonight on LARRY KING LIVE at the top of the hour, following the one and only Paula Zahn, my favorite.
ZAHN: Are you just saying that?
KING: No, I don't just say things.
ZAHN: Because I'm here and you want me here? KING: You think I just say things? No!
ZAHN: Well, I'm glad.
KING: I wish you were here. I wish you were there.
ZAHN: OK, good, good.
ZAHN: Appreciate your graciousness, Larry. Have a good show. I know you got some important stuff to talk about tonight.
KING: Thanks, Paula.
ZAHN: Coming up -- we return to Whitney Houston, her biggest hit of all, and the moment we all knew something had gone very wrong.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CASTRO: It was like, if there's any doubt before that Whitney Houston was having problems with substances, you know, look no further. This is the ultimate proof.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So is it over? Will there be a comeback with this rendition? Bobby Brown talks about his wife, Whitney Houston, coming up next, in an exclusive interview.
ZAHN: What a gift she has. Or some argue, used to have. We continue now with our "People in the News" profile of singer Whitney Houston, and our exclusive interview with her husband, Bobby Brown. They've been married now for 14 years, and a lot of people blame that union for her undoing.
ZAHN (voice-over): On Valentine's Day, 1985, Whitney Houston's love affair with the public began.
MUSTO: Whitney's first record was huge from the get-go, but it got bigger and bigger. It kept snowballing.
CASTRO: People fell in love with the wholesomeness, the beauty.
ZAHN: One year, one Grammy and 18 million albums later...
CASTRO: Let's see how that second one does.
ZAHN: ... album number two.
WILLIAMS: Everybody loved Whitney when she came out. Remember the album cover? It was sex appeal with girl next door. Appealing to black, white and everyone in between. And the world loved her.
ZAHN: Except, perhaps, the critics. And as Whitney's sophomore title rocketed to number one, the press scoffed at the pop star's sound.
MUSTO: I remember having arguments with critics who would say, well, she doesn't sound black. But I understood their point, that she had some gospel. And now, the gospel had been smoothed over, and she was Ms. Middle-of-the-Road R&B.
ZAHN: But in 1989, those middle-of-the-road rumblings dramatically changed lanes, as a squeaky clean princess met a notorious bad boy.
WILLIAMS: Bobby Brown, are you kidding me? He's humping around, he's my prerogative. Bobby was a mess from the beginning of New Edition. He always wanted to be the breakout star at all costs. And I think Whitney dug it.
ZAHN: On July 19th, 1992, Whitney and Bobby swapped rings, and the world scratched its head.
WILLIAMS: I think that Bobby was the person who co-signed on her wanting to get out of the box of being the good girl.
ZAHN: But hold that thought. Four months later, a blockbuster big screen debut.
"The Bodyguard" grossed more than $400 million. Its soundtrack sold 33 million copies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Whitney...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whitney...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whitney Houston!
ZAHN: And that single? Well, like a bullet, it hit number one and stayed there for 14 record-breaking weeks.
SOARIES: When she did "Bodyguard" and she had the number-one record and the number-one movie, it's almost impossible to prepare for a moment that's unprecedented and unless you're surrounded by and saturated with an unusual support system, you're going to make a mistake.
HOUSTON: Don't laugh.
ZAHN: In the coming years, step by step, we followed Whitney Houston's meteoric rise. But by the late '90s, a dramatic turn of events. Amid Bobby's multiple mugshots, Whitney began a string of missed appearances and cancellations. Soon, buzz began to build regarding the state of Mrs. Bobby Brown. CASTRO: You started to get the hard evidence of Whitney Houston perhaps sliding into a world of dependency. It was around 2000. A string of things happened, which were calamitous for her.
ZAHN: In January of 2000, a pot bust in Hawaii. March 2000: An Oscar rehearsal goes up in flames.
MUSTO: She was missing cues, she was screwing up and then come showtime, we all turned it on and -- that's not Whitney Houston. That's Faith Hill.
ZAHN: Headlines reached a fever pitch one year later, when the skeletal superstar emerged at a Michael Jackson tribute.
CASTRO: It was like, if there's any doubt before that Whitney Houston was having problems with substances, look no further. This is the ultimate proof.
ZAHN: In December 2002, an infamous interview with ABC.
HOUSTON: First of all, let's get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack, let's get that straight. OK? I don't do crack. I don't do that. Crack is whack.
WILLIAMS: And approximately two weeks after Diane Sawyer, I did my radio interview that became a light-bulb moment in my career.
So, Whitney, as far as you stand with drug use, is there drug use going on at this present time?
HOUSTON: Who are you talking to?
WILLIAMS: To you, Whitney.
HOUSTON: No, you're not talking to me. I'm a mother. Only my mother has privy to that information. You talk to your child about that. Don't ask me no questions like I'm a child.
WILLIAMS: The conversation lasted for 28 minutes and had lots of peaks and valleys.
What would you say the biggest issue is in you all's marriage?
HOUSTON: You people. You (EXPLETIVE DELETED) people like to run your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) mouth. Yes.
WILLIAMS: But most of all, what I got from the conversation was a woman still in the grip, in the struggle.
ZAHN: Then, December 7th, 2003, the 40-year-old diva dialed 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fulton County 911, what's the address of the emergency?
HOUSTON: Ma'am, I'm at -- what's the address here? CASTRO: She was very excited and said that her husband, Bobby Brown, had hit her with an open hand and she had a cut lip and bruised cheek.
ZAHN: A domestic dispute Bobby Brown claims was overplayed.
BROWN: Me and her were playing, you know. She took it wrong, I took it wrong and then the 911 people took it wrong.
ZAHN: Three months later, an announcement that took no one by surprise.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Whitney Houston checks into rehab. The singer's publicist announced...
ZAHN: But just days later, Whitney walked.
Finally in March 2005, intervention by way of an unmarked police car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whitney Houston did not voluntarily admit herself into a rehabilitation facility.
CASTRO: Well, sources tell "People" magazine that it was Cissy that got a court order for Whitney's second rehab and just said, get yourself cleaned out. This cannot go on.
BROWN: I'm working on a year and a half of sobriety and my wife is -- she's working on her year. So, we're really doing good and I'm proud of her.
ZAHN: In June 2005, the embattled superstar emerged from rehab, just as the world got its first look at her husband's reality on Bravo's "Being Bobby Brown." Shot over the course of six months, it's an eye-opening look at Whitney's life before her latest intervention.
MUSTO: Well, the buzz around the show is, it's a train wreck, which makes you want to watch it. That's what a reality show should be.
HOUSTON: I'm ready to get down with the get-down.
BROWN: Good loving! Some good, good loving!
ZAHN: But what about the icon at the heart of Bobby Brown's now 14-year reality? Can she, will she, ever return as pop's greatest love of all?
WILLIAMS: Can Whitney come back? Not the way that we knew her.
CASTRO: I don't think that Whitney Houston will ever hit those notes again. But you know what? A Whitney Houston that's half of the original is still better than most people out there now. BROWN: I think anything that she does from this point on in her life is going to be historical. She's a very talented and very focused woman right now. And like I say, I'm very proud of her. Honey, I am extremely proud of you and I love you dearly.
ZAHN: And according to the latest industry buzz, Whitney Houston and her old mentor, Clive Davis, are now sifting through songs for a new album. No target release date just yet.
We'll be right back.
ZAHN: And before we leave you tonight, I wanted to give you a quick head's up about a report we hope you'll tune in for tomorrow. It involves your security and a proposal that's getting support from very high places. Are you ready to start carrying a national identity card? In an exclusive interview, former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, tells us why he thinks it's a good idea. So, please join us tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern, for more of our special series "Safe at Home."
Appreciate you dropping by tonight. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now. Have a great night, everybody.
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