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Al Qaeda Soldiers on Loose After Prison Break in Yemen; Controversial Cartoons Spark Another Round of Violence; Fate of Zacarias Moussaoui

Aired February 6, 2006 - 09:00   ET


ZAIN VERJEE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Zain Verjee, in for Soledad.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you with us. I'm Miles O'Brien.

A global security alert this morning. Thirteen al Qaeda foot soldiers on the loose after a daring prison break in Yemen.

We're live with the latest.

Will it be life or death for the only man charged in the U.S. with a crime in connection with the 9/11 attacks? A look at the case in a live report.

VERJEE: Did the White House break the law? That's the question for senators today as they look into the president's domestic spying program.

We're live on Capitol Hill.

Controversial cartoons spark another round of violence, this time with deadly results. We're live in Lebanon on this.

O'BRIEN: And facing the world. The woman with the first-ever face transplant goes before the cameras for the first time. We'll talk to one of her doctors ahead.

On the loose, considered dangerous, and perhaps now once again part of the jihad. We're talking about the escape -- escape, I should say, of 23 inmates from a Yemeni prison, 13 of them al Qaeda terrorists.

CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon with our "Security Watch" this morning.

Good morning, Barbara.


Interpol now, the International Criminal Police Organization, warning 184 member countries to be on the lookout for these men. Twenty-three of them escaped from a Yemeni jail in the capital city of Sanaa on Friday. Several of them, as you say, al Qaeda members terrorists, part of that organization.

One of them is this man, Jamal Badawi. He is said to have be heavily involved in the October 2000 attack on the Navy warship Cole when it was attacked in Yemen's Aden harbor.

Yemeni officials are said to have deployed their security forces across the country in the capital city of Sanaa. We are showing some picture that we have taken in our recent trip there about two weeks ago. Now security forces said to be fanning out across the capital, across the country.

The Yemenis launching a nationwide manhunt in their country for these people, but it is going to be a very difficult situation because the central government in Yemen does not control a good portion of the country, especially in the north. And there is great concern that these men could have fled north and have basically disappeared -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

Thank you.

Stay with CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security -- Zain.

VERJEE: Miles, the protests over those controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed is spreading in Tehran, Kabul, Damascus, and Indonesia. The Islamic world is venting its anger and outrage. Reports say two demonstrators were killed by police in Afghanistan during the protest.

And in Beirut, protesters burned the Danish mission.

CNN's Brent Sadler is there live. He joins us live.

Brent, Lebanon apologized to Denmark for the burning of the consulate, right?

BRENT SADLER, CNN BEIRUT BUREAU CHIEF: Yes, they did make an apology. The fact that the target was the Danish consulate, inside a high-rise office block, the actual consulate itself, those offices, were not damaged, however. I was there earlier today and managed to scramble through a lot of the debris, the gutted-out building, and found that the Danish authorities have been able to reinforce the doors.

I don't know how long before the attack this took place, but certainly the rioters tried but failed to bust their way inside that complex. So their main stated target, the Danish Consulate, was in actual fact missed -- Zain.

VERJEE: Brent, do most Muslims in Lebanon and in the region support the protests? Or are they essentially being hijacked, taken over by the extremist elements?

SADLER: It's been difficult to put a broad brush sweep across opinion in the Arab world, but certainly the cartoon images, the caricatures that really lit the fuse, certainly incited Muslims in many nations. We're seeing these protests, but largely peaceful protests in other parts of the world unfold in various capitals.

What is changing, however, is the infusion of politics, particularly here in Lebanon and neighboring Syria, very unstable relationships politically between those two countries. Infused politics, particularly by extremists, it's feared, is really igniting peaceful protests and the kind of wholesale violence and breakdown in law and order we saw here -- Zain.

VERJEE: Our Beirut bureau chief, Brent Sadler.

As a political cartoonist, Mike Luckovich of "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" is accustomed to controversy. So what's his take on all of this? We're going to be asking him 30 minutes from now -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: What will be the fate of the man known as the 20th 9/11 hijacker? One hour from now a court will begin deciding if Zacarias Moussaoui lives or dies. And 9/11 families are going to be a part of that decision.

Moussaoui is the only person in America to be charged in the 9/11 attacks. Jury selection to begin this morning.

Jeanne Meserve in Alexandria, Virginia, at the federal courthouse where this all unfolds.

Jeanne, give us a preview.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Miles, you can see behind me here some of the 500 prospective jurors who are gathering here in Alexandria this morning, a very large number indeed. Zacarias Moussaoui himself arrived here about two hours ago from his jail cell.

Now, Moussaoui was in jail when the 9/11 hijackings took place on immigration violations. He had aroused suspicions at a Minnesota flight school where he had been learning to fly large planes.

He was questioned by investigators and he failed to tell them that he had gone to an al Qaeda training camp or that he had received money from the same men who funded the 9/11 hijackers. And prosecutors say if they had that information, they might have been able to stop the 9/11 conspiracy. And that is what he is charged with, conspiracy in this case. And prosecutors want to see him get the death penalty. He's already pleaded guilty to the charges involved here.

The people arriving at this courthouse, 500 of them coming in four shifts, will be filling out a very extensive questionnaire. They'll be asked about 9/11, about their religion. They will be asked about their views on terrorism and any connection they might have to anybody affected and impacted by the 9/11 attacks. A very lengthy, lengthy process going on here as prosecutors seek to find 12 individuals who would be open to giving the death penalty to this individual. Out of this 500, they will cull down to 12 who will decide Zacarias Moussaoui's life or death -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: So Jeanne, I see a lineup behind you there. I'm going to assume those are a lineup of prospective jurors. I assume it's going to take a long time to find an unbiased, neutral jury here.

MESERVE: It will. One of the reasons, by the way, you see this long line is that there is tremendous security around this courthouse because Moussaoui is here. They've blocked off roads and the like.

The actual process of selecting a jury itself is expected to take about a month's time because they anticipate that so many people here will have very distinct opinions about what happened on 9/11. And then the trial itself will play out. That's expected to last about one month, possibly three -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Jeanne Meserve in Alexandria.

Thank you very much.

Kelly Wallace in the newsroom for us with more on what is going on in the world.

Hello, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello to you, Miles.

And hello, everyone.

We're beginning with the woman with the world's first face transplant. She is going public.

Isabelle Dinoir held a news conference this morning in France, and to reporters she reported what it was like to discover she had been mauled by her own dog. Dinoir received a new nose, lips and chin. And we'll speak with one of her surgeons just ahead.

Paying tribute to Coretta Scott King. Her body arriving this morning at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. You're looking at some live pictures right now.

People waiting in line, obviously braving the bad weather. A rainy day there, but hoping to get inside to pay tribute to Coretta Scott King.

She is at Ebenezer Baptist Church, and that's where her husband, the late Martin Luther King Jr., preached in the 1960s. Mrs. King will lie in honor there. Her funeral set for tomorrow. President Bush and the first lady, Laura Bush, among those expected to attend.

Sticking with President Bush now, he has just sent his $2.8 trillion budget to Congress. Copies of the budget, that huge document, arriving on Capitol Hill in the past half-hour. The proposal boosts funding for the military and homeland security, but most programs not related to defense are expected to face cuts.

And it's a celebration that has been a long time coming, 26 years to be exact. That's because the Steelers came out on top over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. The final score, in case you happened to be sleeping, 21-10.

The partying in Pittsburgh has been going on nonstop and will likely continue until tomorrow when the city throws a huge victory parade. Thousands of fans are expected to show up.

And Miles and Zain, I bet a lot of people are call their offices and saying, not coming in this morning. Not making it to work. No way.

O'BRIEN: I don't think the boss is buying it.

WALLACE: I bet not.

VERJEE: Let's check the weather forecast now. Chad Myers is at the CNN Center.

Chad, what did you think of the game? I mean, I frankly thought there were more dropped passes and more mistakes in the game. And nobody really capitalized on that. Was anyone really on their A game?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, I don't know, Roethlisberger just had a miserable start with no first downs in the entire first quarter. I mean, I just thought that he would just take off like he took off in the championship game, but they did pull it out one way or the other.

And I kind of agree with Annie (ph). Some of the calls in that game were iffy at best, but going both ways, so not taking it against any one team there.


MYERS: Back to both of you.

VERJEE: Thanks, Chad.

O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, Chad.

Still to come on the program, holistic healing: a life-saving alternative or a dangerous false hope? Either way, it lures a lot of people facing a terminal diagnosis. Coretta Scott King among them.

VERJEE: Plus, the woman who had the first-ever face transplant. Her doctor will join us to talk about the surgery itself and her recovery.

O'BRIEN: And we'll talk with one of this country's leading political cartoonists. We'll get his surprising take on the outrage overseas about those controversial cartoons.


O'BRIEN: We're talking about warrantless wiretapping today. There's going to be a grilling in Washington today.

The attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, will appear before a Senate committee. And senators on both sides of the aisle loaded for bear on this one, concerned that the administration's effort to listen in on conversations between Americans and al Qaeda terrorists, or as they believe them to be, may in fact overstep the bounds of our civil rights.

And before we listen to Alberto Gonzales today, let's check in with Jeff Toobin, our senior legal analyst, who'll discuss some of the legal parameters here.

Jeff went off to San Francisco on us without -- you didn't tell me what you're doing out there, but welcome.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: I'm interviewing Justice Breyer in an event out here.

O'BRIEN: You are -- you are so connected to the Supreme Court. You should write a book. You're probably working on that right now.

TOOBIN: I'm working on it.

O'BRIEN: Let's press on and talk to the matters at hand.

There's an interesting op-ed piece out this morning penned by Alberto Gonzales. And I want to share with you a couple of excerpts that will give us kind of a springboard for discussion here.

The first thing in the op-ed piece, he says this: "A majority of Supreme Court justices have concluded that the AUMF" -- which is the authorization for war powers that Congress has given the president -- "authorizes the president to use fundamental and accepted incidents of military force in our armed conflict with al Qaeda. The use of signals intelligence" -- listen to this one -- "The use of signals intelligence intercepting enemy communications is a fundamental incident of waging war."

That really is the core of the issue, isn't it?

TOOBIN: Well, that's one of the cores of the issue. I mean, that -- you know, that's classic lawyering. It's not bad lawyering, but it's aggressive lawyering.

What the attorney general is saying is that in the cases that came out of Guantanamo Bay, all those cases about holding prisoners and when you can hold prisoners, five of them used the phrase that he used. Whether that phrase in the connection of the treatment of prisoners relates to or can be used to justify wiretapping is an open question.

Maybe he's right. Maybe he's wrong. I don't think it's a slam dunk either way.

O'BRIEN: All right. So, in other words, the Supreme Court has weighed in on this general issue, but as it relates to the treatment of prisoners. And thus, it's a general response to a specific problem.

TOOBIN: Correct.

O'BRIEN: OK. Which doesn't necessarily fit. It depends on how you define it.

All right. Another -- another issue that I found very interesting, "The surveillance program fully complies with the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Like sobriety checkpoints or border searches, this program involves special needs beyond routine law enforcement, an exception to the warrant requirement upheld by the Supreme Court as consistent with the Fourth Amendment."

Is this analogous to a sobriety checkpoint or a search at the border, Jeff?

TOOBIN: Well, the problem with the attorney general's argument there is those are areas that there has been a traditional, you know, freedom of use -- freedom of operation for law enforcement like sobriety checkpoints. The core problem with the administration's legal position here is that in 1978 Congress passed a law and the president signed it called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which deals with precisely this issue, phone calls to or from the United States and the wiretapping of them.

Congress said you need to get a warrant. And the administration is saying, we don't need to comply with FISA because of these other powers.

That's the problem here. And that's why Congress is so upset, is because there's a specific law dealing with this that the administration has to figure out ways of getting around.

O'BRIEN: So, in other words, if there's a specific law on the books, you need to ask specifically for an exemption to that. Or that's what many in Congress would say

TOOBIN: Well, that's what people in Congress are saying. And it's all well and good to talk about, you know, the general powers of the presidency and the general reach of the Fourth Amendment search and seizure requirement. But those don't deal with situations where there is a specific law on the books to address the precise issue that is controversial here. And I think that's where the Congress is going to be most upset.

Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman, has been saying all along, you know, you can't say that we authorized this in -- when we authorized the war in Afghanistan. None of us thought we were doing this. We thought there was a law on the books already dealing with wiretapping. O'BRIEN: All right.

Final thing here. He makes in this op-ed piece, Alberto Gonzales makes historical parallels going back to Lincoln intercepting telegraphic communication, Wilson in World War I, FDR, World War II. At that time, intercepting all kinds of communication in the context of war. Of course that was before this specific law was passed you just mentioned.

Is this -- is this a relevant discussion to talk about these previous presidents?

TOOBIN: Well, it's certainly relevant, but, you know, it ignores the fact that since World War II, much less the Civil War, the Supreme Court has weighed in on these issues about when you need a warrant and Congress has weighed in. And they seem to have come to different conclusions than Attorney General Gonzales has.

One thing I would warn people who are going to follow this, who are going to watch this today, it's going to be very unresolved. There's no judge in Congress. So it's going to be people largely just sort of talking past each other. It's going to be a debate, but there's not really going to be much of a resolution today.

O'BRIEN: OK. You mean what you're telling me is that the senators will do a little posturing? Is that possible? Really?

TOOBIN: Do you think that's even possible?

O'BRIEN: I'm shocked.

TOOBIN: Yes, I think so.

O'BRIEN: Thank you, Jeff.

TOOBIN: It will happen with the witness, too.

O'BRIEN: Jeff Toobin, it may be early, but you're sharp as ever out there in San Francisco.

TOOBIN: Oh, always.

O'BRIEN: Thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

Stay with CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security -- Zain.

VERJEE: Miles, still to come, the world's first face transplant recipient faces the world for the very first time. Her story ahead here on AMERICAN MORNING.


VERJEE: Now to the death of Coretta Scott King and her desperate trek for medical treatment. Toward the end of her life Mrs. King went to a Mexican clinic for an alternative treatment for ovarian cancer. We were just looking at a live picture there of Ebenezer Baptist Church where a private ceremony is under way for Coretta Scott King.

The treatment that she underwent is pretty questionable at best. A matter of fact, the Mexican government has now shut it down.

AMERICAN MORNING'S Dan Lothian is here with more.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Across the border 16 miles south of San Diego, Michigan Army veteran Dick Doletzky put his life in the hands of a small alternative medicine clinic after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was referred by a relative who had been treated there.

DICK DOLETZKY, PATIENT: Just been in great shape ever since. I said, "If I ever get cancer, that's where I'm going."

LOTHIAN: Santa Monica Health Institute in Rosarito Beach has claimed its holistic approach of magnets, diets and oxygen therapies can heal chronically and terminally ill patients like those battling cancer. What some have called quackery was just the right prescription for Doletzky, who says he's suspicious of traditional treatments and the U.S. health care system.

DOLETZKY: They don't know how to cure cancer. It's all money.

LOTHIAN: But here, patients say they were offered hope.

BRENICE BRITT, PATIENT: I would have died if they had not taken me.

LOTHIAN: The families of other patients have been less impressed and blame the clinic's unorthodox treatments for hastening the death of relatives being treated there. And just days after 78-year-old Coretta Scott King checked in for treatment of advanced ovarian cancer and then died, the Mexican government ordered the facility closed, citing unproven treatments and unauthorized surgeries.

The clinic claims the government's action is unrelated to King's death. The founder and director says they are working with the health department to correct any alleged infractions. And he expects the clinic to reopen soon.

(on camera): This case puts the spotlight on alternative clinics growing in popularity south of the border. They are often controversial, operating outside of U.S. regulations and oversight. And experts say the claims they make and treatment they offer are sometimes dangerous.

(voice over): But patients who say they've exhausted all traditional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation, or have lost faith in those therapies, say they are willing to take the risk.

BRITT: They know what they are doing. They are saving lives. LOTHIAN: And in this case, they seem unaware of our unphased by the criminal record of the clinic's founder, 72-year-old Kurt Donsbach. Among the list of charges and accusations, court records show he pleaded guilty to federal charges a decade ago of smuggling illegal medications into the U.S. from Mexico. And Donsbach, who has no medical degree, was charged by authorities in California during the '70s for practicing medicine without a license.

For now, his Mexico operation is closed. Patients told to find other facilities. But it's clear more and more American will keep traveling south of the border hoping to find the miracle cure.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


VERJEE: And this one note. The clinic founder declined to be interviewed by CNN for Dan's report -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Still to come, he's got his hands in just about everything, TV, music, fashion, and now fragrance. What is he Puffy or P. Diddy? What is he now?

VERJEE: P. -- It's P. Diddy now.

O'BRIEN: P. Diddy. Puffy is gone. Puffy?

VERJEE: Puffy was gone a long time -- yes, ages.

O'BRIEN: Yes, that was a long time. All right. P. Diddy now, and he has a way, whatever his name, of stirring up a little -- oh, you don't like that, do you, Bruce?

He's not into it.

Anyway, onward we go.

And some controversial cartoons sparking a firestorm, quite literally a firestorm, among many Muslims. We will talk with one of the top political cartoonist in the world. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich will be with us shortly. You'll be surprised what he says about these cartoons ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


O'BRIEN: Still to come, more on those cartoons that have really caused a stir all throughout the Muslim world. We are going to talk to a cartoonist who can tell us what is appropriate and what is not. And we'll find out if he thinks the Prophet Mohammed is fair game for cartoons, or did those cartoonists cross the line?

Stay with us for more AMERICAN MORNING.



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