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Former FEMA Director Faces Congress; Interview With Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman; Counterfeit Luxury; Pills That Chill

Aired February 10, 2006 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Really appreciate your being with us tonight.
Controversy and confrontation, as Hurricane Katrina sends shockwaves through Washington once again.


ZAHN (voice-over): Storm warnings, Katrina, who knew, and when did they know it?


ZAHN: But, this time, the guy who got all the blame is lashing out.

BROWN: For them to now claim that we didn't have awareness of it, I think, is just baloney.

ZAHN: Was Michael Brown really a scapegoat?

Vital signs, pills that chill, helping millions of overactive kids -- but is there something else that parents should know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's just staying there like a zombie, and it was awful.

ZAHN: New warnings and new questions about ADD drugs.

And the "Eye Opener" -- the counterfeit connection, designer knockoffs that look like the real thing for hundreds of dollars less. How can you tell the difference? A CNN investigation -- hidden video takes you deep into the illegal world of counterfeit.


ZAHN: Why did the government blow it after Hurricane Katrina? Well, that simple question made for a tense and, at times, explosive day on Capitol Hill.

Michael Brown, who, at one time, headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and took the fall for FEMA's bungling, testified before a Senate committee today.

So, who did blow it? Well, Brown pointed fingers at a lot of people, including himself, and in more detail than we have ever heard before.

At the White House, Jeanne Meserve recaps a dramatic and emotional day.



MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR: It was balls to the wall. I was literally constrained by Secretary Chertoff. And I was certainly screaming and cussing at people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like you have been sort of set up to be the scapegoat...

BROWN: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... to be the fall guy?

BROWN: Yes, sir. I -- I can't lie...


BROWN: ... lie to you. But, yes, I feel that way.

MESERVE: But, today, Brown got even, dishing who know what when about New Orleans. President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff have said they didn't know the enormity of the crisis until Tuesday, August 30, the day after Katrina made landfall.

But Brown said he had made the picture clear Monday in video conferences with top Homeland officials.

BROWN: So, for them to now claim that we didn't have awareness of it, I think, is just baloney.

MESERVE: He also testified, he had talked that Monday to Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joe Hagin.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Did you tell Mr. Hagin in that phone call that New Orleans was flooding?

BROWN: I think I told him that we were realizing our worst nightmare.

MESERVE: But Brown said he didn't remember whether he had talked to the president or Chertoff the day of the storm.

Brown said that he was well aware of FEMA's shortcomings long before Katrina, but his efforts to improve preparedness had been futile, because FEMA was doomed to failure in a Department of Homeland Security focused on terrorism.

BROWN: This was a natural disaster that has become the stepchild within the Department of Homeland Security.

MESERVE: But not all the senators were buying Brown's pitch.

SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R), MINNESOTA: But as I listen to your testimony, it is as if you're not prepared to kind of put in front of your -- your face and recognize your own inadequacies, and say, you know something? I made some big mistakes.

BROWN: Senator, with all due respect, what do you want me to say? I have admitted to mistakes, publicly. I have admitted to mistakes in hearings. What more, Senator Coleman, do you want from me?

MESERVE (on camera): The White House is not reacting to Brown's testimony, saying only that it has its own report on the Katrina response in the works. But a Department of Homeland Security spokesman says, if there was a failure in Washington to grasp the situation in New Orleans, it was the fault of the battlefield commander on the ground, Mike Brown.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


ZAHN: And, as we just saw in Jeanne's report, the tension was running pretty high when Michael Brown was questioned by senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. He happens to be a Republican.

And, as the former mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, he knows a thing or two about emergency management.

Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

COLEMAN: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Thank you.

So, do you think Mike Brown had the sole responsibility for what went wrong in the aftermath of Katrina?

COLEMAN: No. It's not sole responsibility.

But, Paula, Mike -- Mike Brown is not a scapegoat. You know, we had -- in Katrina, you had the perfect storm of poor leadership, including a governor who wasn't decisive, a mayor who was holed up without communications, and Michael Brown, who didn't exhibit any leadership.

If you listened to his testimony today, you would think that Katrina was -- was bound to happen the way it happened, because FEMA was stuck in Homeland Security, and that he had fought the battle to change it.

The -- the record simply belies that. We have -- we literally have tens of thousands of pages of documents. He didn't lead the charge before Katrina. During Katrina, he was simply unresponsive. And, as a result, what you had was poor leadership. There's a lot of blame to go around.

ZAHN: All right. But you...

COLEMAN: But -- but Mike Brown was not a scapegoat.

ZAHN: You didn't say anything now about the culpability of the White House. How much blame does the White House deserve for this?

COLEMAN: Well, first of all, there's -- they're -- we're going hear from Secretary Chertoff.

And I have got to tell you, I have some questions about -- in his leadership, particularly with his guy on the ground, Mike -- Mike -- Michael Brown, being as unresponsive as he was. People should understand that. The president himself has accepted responsibility. He's the guy in charge. He says, I accept responsibility.

But this idea of Michael Brown as a scapegoat is simply false. This -- this was a guy who didn't send an order in to take care of the Convention Center until Friday. He told us today that he sent it in on Wednesday. The records clearly show the opposite.

This is a guy that got e-mails that said people needed oxygen and other things, we need some help, and the response, four days later. He was a deer in headlights. So, yes, you know, does the president take responsibility? He does. Should Secretary Chertoff take greater responsibility? I think he will, and we will deal with that when he comes before the committee.

ZAHN: But, Senator...

COLEMAN: But -- but this guy was not a scapegoat, Paula.

ZAHN: What is still not clear tonight, though, is, Mike Brown said he informed the White House on Monday that the levees had breached, that there was flooding in New Orleans, and the White House maintains they didn't know anything about this until Tuesday. So...

COLEMAN: Well, it's interesting -- it's interesting.

ZAHN: ... who is...

COLEMAN: If you look at...

ZAHN: ... who is lying here?

COLEMAN: If you will -- first off, if you look at the e-mails, Brown said that, I knew 8:00, 9:00 in the morning. There is an e-mail that he got at noon that -- that afternoon, where he's being told that the levees breached, but he's fighting about that. He says he doesn't think so, etcetera, etcetera.

I can't tell you exactly when the president knew. But, clearly, Michael Brown's responsibility was to inform the president. He was the guy on the ground. And, Paula, he did a rotten job.

ZAHN: All right. But...

COLEMAN: This guy -- this guy literally showed no leadership during that period of time. Now, you got to ask...


ZAHN: Are you saying, though, you don't think the White House knew anything about this until Tuesday?

COLEMAN: No, I'm -- I'm saying, I don't know what the White House knew. All I know is that the guy on the ground was the wrong guy on the ground.

So, you can ask the question, who is responsible for that? That's a legitimate question. But, on the other hand, it's -- it's -- they're -- it is very clear. The record is very clear. The guy on the ground was way over his head.

ZAHN: Senator Coleman, thank you for joining us to help us better understand what happened during that testimony today. Appreciate it.

COLEMAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: And we will continue to watch what happens down the road here.

And the people who live along the Gulf Coast already know how bad things were after Katrina. Thousands of them are still struggling every day to help their communities try to come back. So, what do they think about Michael Brown's testimony and Washington's endless finger-pointing?

We sent Sean Callebs to New Orleans to take us "Beyond the Headlines" tonight.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Charlie and Mary Carrone spent the day, as they have so many over the past five months, cleaning the remnants of their New Orleans home. They're only mildly interested in what the former FEMA director had to say in Washington today.

CHARLIE CARRONE, RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: No one has still taken the blame. No one says they're guilty of anything. And when the storm hit it, it was like, who is in charge? Nobody was in charge. Nobody wanted to take the responsibility.

CALLEBS: They vividly remember the horror in the agonizing days after the levees broke and the canals spilled over. The Carrones understand that it is important to know what went wrong. That could help deal with future disasters. But, right now, they have bigger problems -- around them, debris and empty houses. Like so many people in the region, this couple is moving out and moving on. C. CARRONE: Never did meet this neighbor. Two -- they bought the house two weeks before the storm. We are told it was a rapper. I have never seen him. And their house was flooded -- never did move in or any furniture in it.

The guy next door, also, was a doctor, who is now living in Memphis, not practicing, though -- but he lives in Memphis. Next is a dentist, who is not coming back.

CALLEBS (on camera): This affluent New Orleans East neighborhood was flooded for weeks. You can see just how high the waterline went. Imagine the devastation.

Now, nearly six months after the hurricane blew through, the few residents in this area we could find say there has been enough finger- pointing.

(voice-over): They ask, why doesn't Washington address some pressing concerns, instead of dissecting the past?

MARY CARRONE, RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: We kind of liken them both. Should we rebuild, not rebuild, or is the neighborhood coming back? I mean, these are all questions, and we don't know. I mean -- and the more you talk to people, the more they are not coming back.

CALLEBS: Did FEMA really understand what was going on during the storm? Did the president or his staff? Probably, they say.

C. CARRONE: I think the White House knew. I think everybody knew. And, like I said once before, I don't think anyone wanted to, as they say, step up to the plate, take the responsibility.

CALLEBS: A few miles away, in a low-income neighborhood of Chalmette, Marlene Savoie is preparing to move into her new FEMA trailer. A former first-grade teacher, Savoie says bureaucrats could learn the same lesson she has given 6-year-olds.

MARLENE SAVOIE, RESIDENT OF NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA: Doesn't make it -- just like spilled milk, it is done.

CALLEBS: But she understands all the finger-pointing.

SAVOIE: If this was something good, they all would be hollering, oh, I did this. They would take all the credit.

CALLEBS: People here are listening to what is going on in the nation's capital, but their real concerns are much closer to home.

Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


ZAHN: And while New Orleans cleans up, and Washington talks and talks and talks, there is one last thing to point out. The 2006 hurricane season, believe it or not, is just a little over three months away.

Speaking of storms, guess what is heading east this weekend? Are you ready for what is coming? Who is going to get hit the worst? Some answers in just a minute.



People come to New York City from all over the country to buy counterfeit bags. People think they're getting a good deal, but you will be surprised to know where some of the money is going -- coming up on PAULA ZAHN NOW.


ZAHN: And, a little bit later on, have you looked for those controversial Mohammed cartoons online? Well, guess who else is looking? Is any computer safe?

Right now, on to our countdown of the top 10 most popular stories on Nearly 20 million of you logged on today.

At number 10, today, the kidnappers of American journalist Jill Carroll issued a new deadline, threatening to kill her if their demands aren't met by February 26.

And, number nine, fresh global outrage over those Mohammed cartoons -- one person was shot and wounded at a protest in Kenya.

We are going to much more on the latest protests, as well as seven and eight on our countdown.

We will be right back.


ZAHN: Millions of kids take these pills, but did you know they could be getting a very scary new warning label, like, perhaps even deadly in some cases? Coming up, what exactly is the risk?

Now we move on to a scam that has spread all over the country, maybe even to your own town. Have you ever wondered how flea markets, bargain stores and street vendors can sell merchandise with a famous designer name on it dirt cheap? We have even heard of house parties where handbags that look just like the ones that sell for $1,500 in a boutique go for $20 or $30.

Well, the merchandise, it turns out, is counterfeit, knockoffs, that some people can't tell from the real thing, except, of course, for the price. But what you may not realize is the criminal, possibly even terrorist, connection to those bargain bags.

Consumer correspondent Greg Hunter has tonight's "Eye Opener."


HUNTER: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, and Christian Dior. If you're looking for a bargain, you won't find one here. High-end fashion powerhouses like these are known for peddling top-of-the-line goods and charging top dollar, from the runway to the red carpet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who did your dress?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Giorgio Armani.

HUNTER: Luxury brand names have become the ultimate status symbol. We use them to define ourselves, a need reflected in pop culture, in TV shows like "Sex and the City."


SARAH JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: The Birkin bag. Really? That's not even your style.

KIM CATTRALL, ACTRESS: Oh, honey, it is not so much the style. It is what carrying it means.

PARKER: It means you're out 4,000 bucks.

CATTRALL: Exactly. When I'm tooling around town with that bag, I will know I have made it.


HUNTER: And getting your hands on a designer must-have doesn't come cheap. A Burberry wool scarf will run you $50 -- a pair of Prada pumps, 850 bucks -- and a Christian Dior handbag, nearly $3,000.

But what if you can't afford the real thing? Welcome to the underground world of knockoffs, look-alikes, and fashion fakes, all brought to you by our hidden camera investigation.

This is the seamy side of Chinatown in New York City, where counterfeit luxury goods cost a fraction of what you would pay for the real thing. And you won't believe the secret world we walked into. So, what is the harm in getting a good deal, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How much are you going to charge me for this?

HUNTER: The answer may surprise you.

MARTIN FICKE, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY'S IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT IN NEW YORK: We have got plenty of examples of cases where money is being sent to areas of the world that are of much concern to the United States, as it relates to terrorist activity.

HUNTER: Martin Ficke is the top investigator for Homeland Security in New York City. He says trafficking counterfeit products is a $250-billion-a-year criminal business in America. Some of that is fakes like these.

So, what happens to the illegally generated money? Some of it is sent out of the country to crooks and possibly terrorists.


HUNTER (on camera): Al Qaeda could end up with profits from counterfeit bags?

FICKE: Yes, they could. Yes, they could. And I -- I -- I think that people should think about that when they're out there buying counterfeit merchandise. It may seem like it is a victimless crime, but, clearly, from our perspective, it is not.

HUNTER (voice-over): And, Ficke says, that counterfeit fashion profits also fund other organized crime, such as drugs, prostitution and human trafficking.

The private security investigator you see here has agreed to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what is really going on.


HUNTER: Luxury good companies hire people like her to catch counterfeiters. Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Louis, all the big labels, and, our experts say, all knockoffs.


HUNTER: And in secret showroom...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make a left and then go upstairs, OK?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Make a left and then go upstairs?

HUNTER: ... after showroom, we saw vendors eager to make a sale.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should be giving that to me for $30.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You lose money. That's not my problem.

HUNTER: And take our money.




HUNTER (on camera): This isn't like going shopping at your local mall. We are going to go down a secret passageway here.

ANDREW OBERFELDT, PRESIDENT, ABACUS INVESTIGATIONS & SECURITY INC.: There is nothing in there that is legal to sell. And that's why that is a secret. And that's how you know they know what they're doing, because all of the stuff that is legal to sell is outside of that secret showroom.

HUNTER (voice-over): Andrew Oberfeldt, a former NYPD-detective- turned-private-investigator, helps luxury companies protect their brands by getting these copycats off the streets.

(on camera): Selling counterfeit goods is a crime.

OBERFELDT: Right. It is a felony. It is a -- a serious crime. If it was legal and OK, why are they all sneaking around doing it?

HUNTER: But, if you buy it, it is not a felony.

OBERFELDT: Not yet. We're working on that.


HUNTER (voice-over): The reality is, right now, it is not a crime of any kind to buy a knockoff. We had no problem buying any counterfeit bag we wanted, whether it was a secret showroom or making a deal right on the street, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, all bought within two hours, for a fraction of what the real thing would cost.

And even though you buy knockoffs dirt cheap, crooks rake in huge profits. If caught, the chance of these criminals doing any jail time is slim to none.

OBERFELDT: The profit of selling counterfeit goods is exactly the same, if not more, than selling drugs.

HUNTER (on camera): You're telling me that some guy selling counterfeit purses makes as much as some guy selling heroin?

OBERFELDT: Yes. Yes. I don't know why anybody sells heroin anymore. They must be stupid.

HUNTER (voice-over): We decided to go back to Canal Street, this time with no hidden camera. We had a few questions for the places that sold our undercover people the counterfeit bags.



HUNTER: They weren't eager to talk, like this guy, who closed his shop when he saw us coming.

(on camera): Are you selling counterfeit goods?

(voice-over): And in store... (on camera): Do you sell counterfeit bags? No?

(voice-over): ... after store, the answer was the same. Everyone told us they didn't sell counterfeit products.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no counterfeit bag here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything is good.

HUNTER: So, where do all the counterfeits come from?

Most are shipped to the United States in 40-foot containers to places like Port Elizabeth, New Jersey.

(on camera): I'm inside a steel shipping container. Just one of these things, filled to the brim, say, with fake Louis Vuitton bags, could mean as much as $2 million to $4 million to the counterfeiter.

(voice-over): It is Customs and Border Protection's job to try to stop things like bogus bags before they hit the streets, a mammoth job, considering, each year, 2.3 million of these containers come through this port alone. That's more than 6,000 containers each and every day.

(on camera): No way, you could physically inspect each one of them?

LORRAINE SPINA, CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Each container is examined in one way, shape or form, like I said, either electronically or physically, depending upon the circumstances.

HUNTER: The day we were there, officers were unpacking shipments of seized handbags. To the untrained eye, some look like the real thing, but, no matter how good they look, buying counterfeit products really comes down to a simple question of what is right and what's wrong.

OBERFELDT: It is wrong. It is wrong to take somebody else's stuff. That's -- we all learn that in grade school. You know, if it is not yours, you don't take it.


ZAHN: So, Greg, you look at these pictures on TV, and the merchandise looks authentic.


ZAHN: So, what is the immediate dead giveaway that things are a knockoff?

HUNTER: Well, for example, they put this plastic -- this is a Birkin bag, thousands of dollars. And they try to really make it look real, like this lock really works good. But this is supposed to be... ZAHN: And this looks like the enclosure that the...

HUNTER: That's right.

ZAHN: ... $5,000 one has, right?

HUNTER: And this is supposed to be a durable bag, but, you know, the last time I checked, this durable bag wouldn't be made out of plastic that you could do this. This is supposed to be, like, alligator or some exotic, tough skin, right?

ZAHN: So...

HUNTER: Piece of junk.

ZAHN: So...

HUNTER: Plastic.

ZAHN: So, this one is a little more obvious than some of the other ones.


HUNTER: It is with a razor blade. But it looks pretty good.

In the wintertime, these things get really tough, OK? So -- and, then, they really go through great lengths to make them look special, like this Louis Vuitton bag. It had "Louis Vuitton" on the outside, and you look here, and -- and this is a plastic handle. And it would never be covered with this.

And this is a plastic handle with painted-on junk. And, then, check out this zipper. This is supposed to be an expensive bag.

ZAHN: I get it. It's a piece of junk.

HUNTER: Piece of junk.

ZAHN: All right.

HUNTER: Plastic. And...


ZAHN: ... last two down there?

HUNTER: OK, last two. And this is all about the labels, right?

So, we have, you know, Kate Spade label. Never -- never will do that. Prada label -- it would never do that. I mean, the Prada label is -- you -- you would have to get a screwdriver and a hammer to pull it off. These things are on there. And, of course...

ZAHN: And, once again, this is supposed to be leather, right?

HUNTER: This is supposed to be some leather.

And, you know...

ZAHN: Ouch.

HUNTER: See? It is just foam rubber and plastic right here.

ZAHN: Buyer beware.

HUNTER: Just junk.

ZAHN: It is amazing what a big business this is, though.

HUNTER: It is huge. Why sell drugs? Sell this.

Don't buy it.

ZAHN: More profitable, as your investigator told you.

HUNTER: That's right. But don't buy it. Don't buy it.

ZAHN: Thank you for the very smart investigation.

HUNTER: Thank you.

ZAHN: Just remember, once again, if you buy one of those on the street, you could, potentially, be helping terrorists.

HUNTER: You're helping crooks, for sure.

ZAHN: Greg Hunter, again, thanks.

And the furor over those Mohammed cartoons has been in the news for weeks now. So, have you tried to find them online? Well, guess who else is searching?


ZAHN: Have you been waiting for number eight on our countdown?

Well, here it is, the amazing find in Egypt, the first new tombs uncovered since the discovery of King Tut's tomb. We are going to have a lot more on that ahead.

And, at number seven, the CIA's former national intelligence officer for the Near East now says the White House misused intelligence in making the case for war in Iraq.

On to number five and six of our countdown when we come back.

But it is no exaggeration to say, there is still worldwide fury over those cartoons first published in Denmark that show the Prophet Mohammed as a terrorist. Well, since Friday is a Muslim day of prayer, today's protests were huge. More than 10,000 people marched on the Danish Embassy in Dacca, Bangladesh. And then, in India, thousands more gathered outside New Delhi's main mosque, where they tore apart red and white Danish flags, and burning Danish effigies.


ZAHN: And, in Tehran, an Iranian crowd threw gasoline bombs at the French Embassy, because French papers have reprinted the cartoons. Protesters also stoned the Danish and British missions in Tehran.


ZAHN: Protesters gathered at the Danish Embassy in Nairobi -- Nairobi, that is -- Kenya. When the crowd grew to about 10,000 and started throwing stones, riot police responded with guns and then tear gas. In Gaza City, the militant group Islamic Jihad organized a protest of about 7,000 Palestinians.

And while CNN is reporting on the furor the Danish cartoons have caused, we're trying not to inflame the situation by showing the actual images. But they are very easy to find online.

And although hackers are finding them, too, actually sabotaging the Web sites.

Technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg takes a closer look at what many consider cyber-terrorism.


DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Angry Muslim protests like this have spilled over into the cyber-world, as hundreds of Danish Web sites have been targeted, in apparent response to the cartoon controversy.

ALI AL-AHMED, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR GULF AFFAIRS: Several Web site popped up, requiring visitors to take action by destroying Danish Web sites. There is actually a Web site dedicated to this issue, to the boycott issue, listing companies, products, and even religious edicts designed to further attack, not only Denmark, but other Western countries.

SIEBERG: That downtime can take anywhere from a few hours to several days costing the companies money and customers in the process.

But for sites that have been victimized by hackers, it is a case of washing off the digital graffiti and plugging the security holes.

NED MORAN, TERRORISM RESEARCH CENTER: Cyber activism is in an essence a protest if you will online in cyberspace. Something that we see commonly is a web site defacement.

SIEBERG: According to a group that tracks web site defacements, more than a thousand such digital attacks have been carried out in recent days on Danish sites. That's up from just a handful before the explosion of cartoon protests.

Miscellaneous targets, a Danish real estate site, an online auction site, seemingly random businesses, even a site for American country music fans. However, some cyber vandals are only interested in causing mischief.

MORAN: A lot of is it is a great excuse. There is probably not a great deal of possibility they're going to get caught.

SIEBERG: Moran provided us with this video that purports to show a hacking in progress on the Danish newspaper site that published the cartoon. But Moran couldn't verify its authenticity.

He also demonstrated for us how easily this type of attack can be carried out.

MORAN: I think it is the kind of thing that anybody with almost a little bit of know how could do. Any bit of computer sophistication and knowledge you could carry these attacks out.

SIEBERG: Cyber activists on both sides also clashed during the Chinese-American dispute over a fighter jet collision in 2001, as did Israeli and Palestinian hackers after renewed violence in the territories in 2000.

(on-camera): Proponents of hacktivism, as it is known, argue that it can be a useful tool for protesting things like human rights violations or censorship on the Internet. Obviously though a controversial tool at best.

Daniel Sieberg, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: And we change our focus when we come back. Are your kids taking pills to help them calm down? Well, those pills may be about to get some very scary new warning labels. What's the problem? We'll explain.

And have you heard about the big find among the tombs of the pharaohs? Well, you're going to get your first look here tonight.

First though, we move on to number six on our countdown. Our lead story, former FEMA Chief Michael Brown's contentious testimony about Hurricane Katrina during today's hearings on Capitol Hill.

Number five, in Italy a big legal setback for this man. He tried to bring a priest to trial for writing that Jesus Christ did exist. Today that case was thrown out. Don't go away number four is straight ahead.


ZAHN: So is your front yard going to look like this tomorrow? Coming up in this half hour, the latest forecast for what could be this winter's meanest storm yet.

Of course, there's no snow in Egypt, but there is an exciting new find among the tombs of the pharaohs. Did these guys actually know King Tut?

Now on to a story that I think will be a great deal of interest to those of you parents that are watching tonight. Ritalin is the focus of tonight's "Vital Signs."

The drug is standard treatment for millions of kids with a condition commonly known as ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But now a new and potentially explosive development to talk about tonight.

This week a government panel recommended that Ritalin and similar drugs carrying a black label warning about the possible risk of heart problems and even sudden death.

While the FDA considers that, doctors continue to write three million prescriptions for these drugs every month. Is Ritalin worth the risk? In a moment, we'll ask senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta that.

But first, I want you to meet two families faced with an agonizing decision whether or not to give their children Ritalin.


MARY BETH BURROW, THOMAS' MOTHER: He was active in my womb, always kicking and moving, and he sat up at six months old, so he was just busy into everything.

ZAHN (voice over): Mary Beth and Tommy Burrows first son Thomas was a handful from day one. But when Thomas went to preschool teachers thought there might be an even bigger problem.

BURROW: He's walking out of the classroom. He's doing this. He's, you know, taking away from the other children learning, and so they were suggesting that I go see somebody about Thomas to find out kind of what is going on.

ZAHN: A doctor delivered the news. Thomas had attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and was given a prescription for Ritalin. Thomas did well during the school day. But at night when his dose wore off, his behavior was shocking.

BURROW: It is off the wall. It is like you've thrown a bunch of rubber balls in your room and it is all over the place. Just jumping on furniture, jumping on the table, making weird sounds, not caring if he breaks things or pushes somebody down.

ZAHN: Thomas was given a different ADHD drug to try, Concerta. This time Mary Beth and Tommy noticed an even more disturbing change in their son. He seemed to be a totally different child. Mary Beth remembers watching her son on the playground. BURROW: Everyone is picking teams or whatever and Thomas doesn't get picked or doesn't, you know, raise his hand to be picked. He's just standing there like a zombie, and it was awful. I mean it was so sad.

Then my mother went up one day and said it makes me want to cry to watch him.

DR. PETER BREGGIN, CHILD PSYCHIATRIST: You have a young child whose brain is being bathed in a toxin that is disrupting multiple neurotransmitter systems. And the brain is trying to adapt to that while it is growing.

ZAHN: Dr. Peter Breggin, a child psychiatrist and author of the book, "Talking Back to Ritalin," thinks that drugs like Ritalin can alter a child's brain chemistry stunting their growth and suppressing their personalities and their creativity even possibly leading to depression.

And the FDA has been taking notice recently tracking reports of possible side effects like suicidal thoughts, hallucinations and violent behavior trying to determine whether Ritalin and other drugs in its class should carry stronger warning labels.

Dr. Breggin also worries that there may be a link between use of the drugs and addiction later on in life.

BREGGIN: Ritalin and amphetamines that we give our kids are gateway drugs because the adverse effects of these drugs lead to additional drugs, and then the more drugs that the child becomes a life-long mental patient.

ZAHN: Dr. Harold Koplewicz, founder and director of the New York University Child Study Center, disagrees.

DR. HAROLD KOPLEWICZ, NYU CHILD STUDY CENTER: Ritalin and Ritalin-like medicines are the only effective treatment for children who suffer with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or with ADD.

ZAHN: He thinks that used wisely drugs like Ritalin can be transforming for struggling children and their familiars.

KOPLEWICZ: The reports that are coming out of the FDA deserve our attention and should be investigated carefully. And if there is concern then there should be a warning label.

But if there turns out that this is not significant, then there shouldn't be a warning label because the one thing we don't want to do, we don't want to prevent children who really have this disorder from getting treated.

ZAHN: Eleven-year-old Allison Stoll is an energetic big sister.

SUSANNAH BUDINGTON, ALLISON'S MOTHER: She's outgoing. She's personable. And she's just a great kid to be around.

ZAHN: But five years ago this family's story was quite different.

BUDINGTON: And we were just watching her struggle so much and always running around, couldn't stay still ever, restaurants, home, always climbing on things, always talking, talking, talking, which was great, but, you know, interrupting, a lot more oppositional, a lot more temper tantrums.

ZAHN: At the age of 6, Allison was put on Ritalin.

BUDINGTON: And within the first day at school and at home, we saw a remarkable difference in her without changing her personality, which was important to us too. I like to say on a scale of one to 10 on normal activity level, Allison is about 11. And this probably brings her to a nine.

I don't think anybody would ever meet her and say, oh, she's drugged. It is something -- it's just one tool that we use to help her.

ZAHN: Allison is still on medication. Even so the daily struggles go on.

ALLISON STOLL, 11-YEAR-OLD: Sitting here right now is really hard because I want to get up, like, I don't know, walk around my room or something. Just sitting still in general, just because I want to be able to do something, like -- it is real really hard to explain.

ZAHN: But Allison believes that the medication is helping.

STOLL: The medicine just helps me be a better person because I'm not really being me because me would be hyper, not paying attention, bouncing off the walls. But it helps me be a better more nicer, calmer, little more on task person. That's who I want to be and that's who I am.

ZAHN: Thomas Burrow's parents recently took him off his ADHD medication. Mary Beth and Tommy are experimenting with diet changes and testing Thomas for allergies that they think may be contributing to his ADHD. A very active Thomas will start first grade in the fall.

THOMAS BURROW: I like being at recess like playing with my friends, and I like writing. I really like art because I want to be an artist one day.

ZAHN: Mary Beth and Tommy know the road forward won't be easy. But one thing is certain, they think that getting Thomas off the drugs gave them their son back.

BURROW: Thomas is smiling, and it is a true smile like a happy, happy, happy, happy, and, you know, that's what matters.


ZAHN: So let's turn our attention now to senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay, this is a wrenching decision for any parent to have to make. So if these bottles of these drugs carry ultimately this warning, what would you do as a doctor or parent? Would you feel comfortable giving your child these pills?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I tell you, it is a good question. As a parent, first of all, Paula, I think you can't ignore, you know, significant warnings. This is one of the most severe warnings that is actually placed on medications, these black box warnings you're talking about. So you have to pay attention to those if they get passed.

As a doctor though, a couple of things. One, if ADHD is interfering with my child's way of life, I'm going get her treatment. And I know that the vast majority of these children, this treatment works. These medications do work over 90 percent of the time.

But, you know, this concern about heart troubles, I might want to get her blood pressure checked, get a quick heart exam or something before I start on these medications. That's probably how I would balance it as a doctor and as a parent.

ZAHN: And are there any other alternatives? We heard what that last family was trying with diet. Does that work?

GUPTA: Yes, well, you know, it is interesting. And, you know, you mentioned with Thomas that he had food allergies ultimately and that could play a role.

And I think it brings up a very important point, Paula. People always criticize the medical establishment for being too quick to pull out the prescription pad.

Make sure you get everything else checked out in your child, food allergies, things like that. Changing the diet can get make a difference. Behavioral modification sometimes can make a difference.

I know a lot of parents are watching saying, come on, that stuff doesn't work, but there have been lots of stories where it can, and it should be tried.

ZAHN: Well, we appreciate all of your advice tonight.

Thank you, doctor. Appreciate it.

And are you ready for a big dose of winter this weekend? Well,guess what, it is coming your way. And where exactly is the storm coming from? Where is it headed? We'll have the very latest for you.

And then what exactly is inside the new tomb discovered near King Tut's burial site? We're going to give you your first look.

But before that let's move on to number four in our countdown. A California woman with a rare disorder, she's just three feet tall, weighing only 37 pounds before her pregnancy, gives birth to her first child, a healthy baby boy.

We've got number three right after this.


ZAHN: All right. We have to admit it not too many complaints this winter. For most of us, this has been a pretty mild one. But, guess what? That's about to change.

A big storm is hitting Memphis, Tennessee, tonight. It is heading east. It is going to make one big mess all along the East Coast.

Let's turn to meteorologist Jacqui Jeras for more. Hi, Jacqui.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi, Paula. Yes, go ahead and plan on being indoors tomorrow night as the storm system comes together and brings in the brunt of the storm across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, about 24 hours from now.

It's been wreaking havoc along the I-40 corridor earlier today, and Little Rock still pushing through this, and we've been kind of going back and forth with rain and snow in Nashville, but we'll eventually be changing over to some snowfall, and expecting to pick up a good two to four inches of snow there.

By tomorrow morning, mid-to-late morning, we'll watch that moisture spread into Washington, D.C., on up towards Baltimore, heading up towards Philadelphia by the middle of the afternoon, then on into New York City by the evening, and late into the night, as we head into Boston. Our low pressure storm system, came, believe it or not, all the way out of the Southwest. It's making a trek across the Southeast, and by tomorrow afternoon will be pulling off the coast and into the mid-Atlantic states. And that is going to start to wrap in all this moisture from the Atlantic, and we'll have a very tight gradient between this low and this high up to the north to drive in those winds, which is why we have a blizzard watch in effect for New York City extending through Long Island, up along the coastline here of Connecticut and also into Rhode Island, out into the cape, where winds could gust as much as 50 miles per hour.

The heaviest of snow right in this corridor here, along I-95, and just off to the east, expecting to see a good six to 12 inches. Somebody is going to get more than a foot -- Paula.

ZAHN: And some of us are pretty excited that this is happening on a weekend and we have our sleds all ready.

JERAS: All right. Wax up those skis too, Paula.

ZAHN: And you have never seen how competitive sledders are in New York City. It is a very exciting sight in Central Park.

Jacqui, thanks.

JERAS: OK. ZAHN: I do understand that that will bring dangers to some parts of the country as well, so good luck, everybody.

But from now to sand. Archaeologists have just dug up one of King Tut's neighbors. What's inside the tomb that has been lost for more than 3,000 years? We're going to show you in a few minutes.

First, though, here's Erica Hill with the Headline News business break.


ZAHN: "LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up in about, I don't know, six, seven minutes or so. So hi, Larry. Who is going to be joining you tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Hi, Paula. We're going to do a segment with the family of Jennifer Kesse, that's the young girl in Orlando who has been missing now, and find out the latest on that, and hopefully some hopeful ideas about a return. And then spend the bulk of the program with Michael W. Smith, the three-time Grammy Award-winning gospel star. He's one of the major figures in contemporary Christian music. He's had a drug problem and an alcohol problem and has overcome them both.

Michael W. Smith and a look for the missing Jennifer Kesse, all ahead at the top of the hour. Paula, have a great weekend with the snow.

ZAHN: I know. If I don't catch the whole show, just know we're all hording up on food to get us through the weekend, Larry. Have a good one.

KING: Oh, come on, they do it in Minnesota every day. Idaho has got it every night.

ZAHN: Come on, it's (INAUDIBLE) inches.

KING: Why is it a big deal? Idaho has got -- 42 inches, we don't even cover it.

ZAHN: Because we're wimps here. We don't get it that often. Have a good...

KING: Unfair to Idaho.

ZAHN: They're going to yell at me if I don't get out of this now. Bye, Larry.

So who are King Tut's neighbors? You'll meet them when we come back.


ZAHN: My all-time favorite song. Thank you, Jeff, for playing that for me tonight. That's one of my producers. Right now, an exciting new discovery unearthed in Egypt. A tomb containing five mummies was officially opened today in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, and our Ben Wedeman was there.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In archaeology, being in the pits is a good thing. And in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, this pit is now the focus of attention.

(on camera): We're going down.

(voice-over): Down in the bottom, in a chamber sealed for almost 3,500 years, five coffins and mummies inside.

ZAHI HAWAS, EGYPTIAN COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES: They look New Kingdom, and they look maybe important, maybe the sons of a king, maybe the wives, maybe a queen, maybe a king.

WEDEMAN: Plus more than a dozen jars.

HAWAS: They put inside the food and the drink that they want to use in the afterlife.

WEDEMAN: For the man who led the expedition from the University of Memphis in the United States, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

OTTO SCHADEN, UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS: And so to find something new, you know, after being out here -- first time I came here was 1962 (INAUDIBLE). So after all those years, to find something brand new, that is almost indescribable.

WEDEMAN: Of course, brand new to archaeologists means thousands of years old.

SCHADEN: And our little photographer, Heather Alexander, came down, took pictures as soon as we hit the top of the shaft, and she looked in and she said, "I see coffins." And then young man from Northern Ireland, Allister Dickie (ph), he looked in another hole and he yelled, "I see pots. I see pots!"

WEDEMAN: The American archaeologists have yet to get over the thrill of discovery.

HEATHER ALEXANDER, EXPEDITION PHOTOGRAPHER: Just a little bit of disbelief in the moment that you're there. Pretty exciting. And it was just kind of -- took your breath way.

WEDEMAN: King Tut's tomb, just a few steps away, was discovered more than 80 years ago. Many members of that expedition died grisly, mysterious deaths, giving birth to the tale of the pharaoh's curse. And do any members of this expedition harbor similar fears?

ALEXANDER: Never thought about it.

WEDEMAN (on camera): Never thought about the curse? ALEXANDER: Never thought about it. Of course, now that you brought it up...

WEDEMAN: This is the first major discovery here since the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922. And it is a discovery that has archaeologists thinking there may be a lot more to find underneath all the rocks and dust.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Valley of the Kings, Egypt.


ZAHN: On to finally number one. A Missouri man who won't reveal where his missing children are, and he's convicted of kidnapping.

And that's it for all of us tonight. Thank you so much for being with us. See you again Monday night.


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