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CNN SATURDAY MORNING NEWS

After A Chopper Crash, Iraqis Cheered And Threw Stones At British Forces; John McLaughlin Interview; Young Boy Suffers From Rare Skin Disease; Patrick Kennedy Being Treated At Mayo Clinic

Aired May 6, 2006 - 09:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


MELISSA LONG, CNN ANCHOR: Disturbing pictures coming in to us from Basra this morning. We'll give you the latest on the British helicopter crash in southern Iraq coming up in a live report.
Good morning from the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Melissa Long in this morning for Betty Nguyen and this is CNN SATURDAY MORNING with CNN.

TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning everyone. I'm Tony Harris. Thank you for starting your day with us.

Our top story in just a moment, first a look at what else is happening now in the news.

A developing story out of Iraq, a British chopper crashed in the southern city of Basra. There are reports of casualties. Iraqis cheered and threw stones at British forces who raced to the scene to seal off the area. New video showed the British tank on fire.

American soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The military says a transport helicopter crashed last night in southeastern Afghanistan, killing all 10 soldiers aboard. Officials say the Chinook helicopter went down during combat operation, but add that the crash was not the result of enemy action.

Goss is out. Hayden could be in. Top administrations officials say President Bush could name Air Force General Michael Hayden to replace porter Goss as CIA director. Hayden is the number two man to the national intelligence director. Goss announced his resignation yesterday, but gave no reason.

LONG: Representative Patrick Kennedy is being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota this morning. Kennedy checked himself in Friday. The congressman says he needs treatment for an addiction to prescription drugs. It comes after Kennedy was involved in a car crash at the capitol yesterday, actually earlier this past week in the wee hours of the morning. Kennedy says he doesn't even remember that crash.

Check out this nasty and dangerous weather in Texas. A storm chaser's car windows were shattered by baseball-sized hail in Seminole. Today's forecast calls for severe weather in central and eastern Texas.

And in Australia, rescue workers say they're within ten feet of those trapped gold miners. The mission is at its most delicate and dangerous phase. Rescuers first drilled through solid rock and now they're chipping away with hand tools to avoid causing a cave-in. The miners have been trapped for 11 days now.

Now more on that developing story which we told you about throughout the top of our program. The very latest on that British helicopter crash in Basra. CNN's Ryan Chilcote is live for us in Baghdad. Good morning.

RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Melissa, this is still very much a developing story, but this is what we're hearing from Iraqi police. They're saying that the crash, the British military helicopter went down in downtown Basra, right in the center of Basra in a residential area killing its crew of four British servicemen.

Also telling us that this helicopter was downed by a missile, now, the British military is saying that there were indeed casualties, but that they cannot confirm the number of casualties at this point and they cannot also confirm this report we have from the Iraqi police that it was downed by a missile.

What took place next in this comparatively quiet city in the south of Iraq is perhaps most disturbing. Hundreds of Iraqis could be seen in the streets. Some of them celebrating this apparent attack and then seen in clashes with the British troops in that area that were trying to secure the site. In fact, in some of the pictures we can see some Iraqis clearly setting fire to an armored personnel carrier.

Now, the British spokesman for the British military we just spoke with said that the British military now has secured the site where the wreckage is. It's right around a residential building, but they say that the civil unrest is continuing. The civil unrest is continuing in the city of Basra.

Melissa.

LONG: Ryan Chilcote live in Baghdad this morning. Thank you and we will keep you posted on this developing story this morning.

HARRIS: Well it could be a real spy thriller headman at if the CIA resigns. The military man may step in. It's unfolding this weekend. CNN security adviser John McLaughlin was once the interim director of the CIA. He joins us from Washington this morning. John, good to see you again.

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Good morning Tony.

HARRIS: We spent a lot of time talking about this yesterday and we spent a little more time talking about it today. I'm curious. In your opinion to this question has the influence of the CIA been diminished with the formation of this new conglomerate, this new, big super agency the National Counter Terrorism Center? What do you think? MCLAUGHLIN: Well, in some respects, Tony, it has. Obviously the CIA director was once the leader of the entire intelligence community and that is not the case now. All that said, I think most people would say that the CIA remains the premiere intelligence agency in terms of its analytic capability and its operational capability. It's the only agency that, for example, is not hooked to a department that makes or implements policy. So it's the place you have to go to get that kind of nonpolitical analysis that is just part of the woodwork there.

So it's an influence is diminished in some ways, but it still remains a critical, vital part of the community. One of the problems here, of course is it's having to operate these days in the context of a reorganization that was hastily implemented in the midst of a rather bitter presidential campaign in which itself is still taking shape. So there's a lot of ambiguity, I would say in exactly how this community is operating these days.

HARRIS: I'm trying to think of where you were. Certainly you were interim between porter Goss and George Tenet.

MCLAUGHLIN: Correct.

HARRIS: As -- this was unfolding as you were interim director? This move to create this new center?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, the reorganization that has come about creating the director of national intelligence who oversees all 15 of the agencies came about in the summer and fall of 2004 when I was still there as acting director and then briefly as a deputy under porter Goss and it was enacted into law back in December of 2004.

HARRIS: Did you agree with it?

MCLAUGHLIN: I took a different view. I must tell you now it is the law and my view is we have to figure out how to make it work because it's the law of the land. My preference at the time was to strengthen the authorities of the director of central intelligence and to not introduce this ambiguity into the situation about the role of the CIA.

HARRIS: I have to ask you, the word now -- well, let me ask you about Porter Goss. Do you have a better sense today of why you think he's moving on and is it this sort of job, the fact that he was passed over for the job of DCI?

MCLAUGHLIN: Tony, I don't have a lot of insight into that, but the first thing I'd say is I think it's complicated. Part of it is that Director Goss who is a very decent man and a fine public servant got off to a rocky start there for a variety of reasons. I don't think he was able to connect with the workforce as well as director ideally ought to in part because I don't think he was well served by the staff that he brought in with him from Congress.

So that's one factor. Another factor is, I think there has been a concern at the agency that some of its key people have left and also his capability is being directed elsewhere. He probably has had the feeling that he doesn't have quite the material that he needs to do his job.

HARRIS: Let me ask you one more quick question. This idea of moving people out of the CIA and into the National Counter Terrorism Center, does that further diminish in your mind the work of the CIA? Is this a good idea?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, look, again, we're dealing with the law here. The law says that the National Counter Terrorism Center is now the preeminent political organization to counter terrorism. People in the CIA must resource it, but at the same time they probably worry that their own counter terrorism center which has existed now for many, many years can have its effectiveness diluted in the process.

It's been a very effective center and it has the capability to provide analysis and operations to direct action over seas, which the new center to which they are contributing people does not have, that latter capability.

So I suspect the attitude at CIA, is before you make changes first do no harm. I'm sure this can all be worked out. It's complicated and it will take time and in the meantime, I think you have to worry about, this is a dangerous time for our country and it's difficult and I think a dangerous time to have any ambiguities rattling around our intelligence community, which at the end of day is our first line of defense.

HARRIS: I want to ask you about General Hayden, but I'm out of time. John good to see you.

MCLAUGHLIN: Thank you. Appreciate it.

HARRIS: This, of course, is a developing story. Just a couple of moments ago our CNN cameras caught up with Porter Goss outside his home in Washington, D.C. Take a look at this exclusive video to CNN. Here's what he had to say about his resignation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us why you're quitting?

PORTER GOSS, CIA DIRECTOR: I think that got cleared pretty well yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody knows why?

GOSS: Well, it's one of those things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want it to be a mystery?

GOSS: Actually, I am and ...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: The director saying he's got things to do. He's on his way to Ohio to deliver the commencement address at Tiffin University. Stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable information on your safety and security.

LONG: A big book deal for an outed CIA officer. The Associated Press says former operative Valerie Plame has agreed to a seven-figure deal fallout from the leak of Plame's identity led to the indictment of Scooter Libby, former top aide to the vice president. Plame's book is scheduled to be on the store shelves in fall 2007. It is tentatively titled "Fair Game."

Some other stories from across America this morning to share with you. A student from a bible college tells police first he was called by god to set fire to an adult bookstore and then he got into a car wreck which he interpreted as god punishing him for setting the fire, so he confessed. Now a grand jury must decide if the student will be tried for arson.

An apparent case of food poisoning delayed an AirTran's flight bound for Orlando. The plane was on the ground at the Baltimore Washington Airport when several passengers became ill. Four vomited before the plane left the gate. The sick passengers were part of a tour group that had been given boxed lunches on a sightseeing bus.

Hey, what's the big deal, right? Just a poolside stroll, but this is not just any poolside stroll. Look at the character in question. A young brown bear caused a bit of a panic in California. This has happened in the subdivision yesterday in southern California. The bear, you can see it wandering around the area near the San Gabriel Mountain, checking out if maybe he wanted to go for a dip. Maybe the water was too chilly because he decided to scamper back to his mountain home as the wild life officials moved on in.

HARRIS: Just passing through.

This next story is one that tugs at the heartstrings. A young boy named Zach suffers from a rare skin disorder and doing every day little boy things can be extremely dangerous. Ed Yeates from CNN's affiliate KSL in Salt Lake City has his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KADEE TROOP, ZACH'S MOTHER: Peek a boo! There it is.

ED YEATES, KSL REPORTER: We scrub, rub, scratch, and pull our skin all of the time, but if Zachary does it, his comes off. That's why mom has to be extremely careful. His bath here is an infection pre-mixture of vinegar, Clorox and Epson salts.

K. TROOP: We can't pick him up by his armpits.

YEATES: Zach was born with Epidermal nervosa (ph). About 12,000 in this country have it. But Zach has an extremely rare form that happens only one or two times in a million.

DR. ELLEN ROY ELIAS, DENVER CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The body is making an abnormal protein that normally should glue the outside layer of the skin.

B. TROOP, ZACH'S DAD: Every day, Zach is wrapped in special non- sticking bandages from neck to toe, even swallowing food will pull off tissue inside his esophagus and GI track. A friend accidentally stepped on his finger and each though it was wrapped, he had done what they call deglove it. Which he basically took the skin completely off his finger?

YEATES: Kadee and Brad's life revolves around their son. Like a butterfly, his flight everyday has to be almost touch-free.

B. TROOP: It takes a lot of patience for Zach to go through what he goes through and it takes us patience to see a little boy who tries to have fun and falls apart.

YEATES: In pre-school an aide is with him all the time. Like the other kids, can he go outside when the weather turns hot and sunny?

BECKY MONEY, SCHOOL AIDE: He can't. That's why there have been two air conditioners installed in the preschool because he has to maintain temperature. He can't be above 75.

YEATES: Every six months Kadee brings Zachary here to the Children's Hospital in Denver. Though the numbers with this condition are few, this is the regional center where they get treatment.

ELIAS: He hasn't had any problems with his eyes, has he?

YEATES: The Denver staff keeps an eye on each patient like Zach, concerned always with nutrition, rehab and protection for the body. Scarring can eventually take over the hands and feet, rubbing everything together. Compassion, the kinder side of humanity. That's what Kadee and Brad say Zach has taught them.

B. TROOP: Just make him as happy as we possibly can.

K. TROOP: I think Zach has taught the family to be more kind and more caring. It's how much we really have. How your skin works and you wake up and it's still on your body.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARRIS: That was reporter Ed Yeates from CNN affiliate KSL. We learned that kids with this serious form of EB seldom live past their early 20s, but researchers are getting ready to test in its early stages an objection that might genetically modify the skin.

LONG: So the question we have this morning, we're hoping to find out, coming up on CNN SATURDAY what caused the crash of a U.S. military helicopter like this one in Afghanistan. We will have that latest information live from the scene of the incident, which killed ten U.S. Soldiers.

Also ... HARRIS: Take a look at this some nasty weather in Texas. Seems like we say that every weekend here. Reynolds Wolf will have the latest for us when CNN SATURDAY MORNING returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LONG: Thanks for joining us for CNN SATURDAY MORNING. The last few weekends we've been watching severe weather and it's clustered in one part of the country.

HARRIS: It rolls through Texas where it seems to pick up some intensity Reynolds and the next thing you know we have got baseball, softball-sized.

(WEATHER REPORT)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARRIS: Melissa Long is here, Betty's on vacation, well deserved.

LONG: I'm sure. I hope she's enjoying the sunny skies somewhere.

HARRIS: You know it. That's the way Betty was. All morning long we've been asking for your thoughts on our e-mail question. What do you think of the Patrick Kennedy case?

LONG: A lot of opinions out there on this one.

HARRIS: A lot of opinions. OK. Just to set the scene here, Wednesday night, Thursday morning he ends up in a crash. Wee hours of the morning he ends up in a crash. His Mustang ran into a barricade near the Capitol and says he doesn't remember a thing. The officer at the scene says, hey, look; I think he's drunk. I think he's impaired and what happens is there is no field sobriety test, no Breathalyzer or anything like that.

LONG: Thus.

HARRIS: And he's driven home.

LONG: Driven home. So leads many to wonder special treatment of course?

HARRIS: So Chris writes, "Are you kidding me? If you or I smacked into the Capital's roadblocks, was swerving to the point where police had to get out of our way had red eyes and was slurring our speech and unbalanced we would be so quickly strapped to a breathalyzer or more accurately a blood test would be taken." Thank you, Chris.

LONG: Chris thank you for your opinion. We appreciate it. C. Grant, a little more forgiving with this e-mail writing in "He who is without sin cast the first stone or pill, in this case. Patrick made an error in his decision making, we all do." HARRIS: Thank you for your responses. Once again, here's the question. What do you think of the Patrick Kennedy case? weekends@CNN.com. Send us your thoughts and we'll share some of those thoughts in the next hour of CNN SATURDAY MORNING.

While we have a moment, here she is, Melissa Long, pipeline. Let me tell you something it is handy every day. Every day, but it occurs to me that on Monday when you have all of the protests, the immigration protests around the country that would have been a particularly good time to log on to CNN.com. Is that the way you get there?

LONG: CNN.com/pipeline for the first time you ever log on. Once you logged once you download it on the laptop you're good to go.

HARRIS: You are good to go.

LONG: Yes.

HARRIS: And pipeline gives you an opportunity. You have four different pipes.

LONG: Four pipes which are essentially live feeds. We take you on a tour of the world and you don't have to leave your desktop, leave your computer. So you mentioned Monday, you had the protests in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Phoenix. You can see all of that live on your desktop.

HARRIS: And on a day when that is the major story, but there are other events going. There's a White House press briefing that you want to get caught up on.

LONG: We have it live and not just 15 seconds, 20 seconds of that White House press briefing. The whole thing.

HARRIS: You get there through CNN.com/pipeline.

LONG: Yes.

HARRIS: And it's Monday through Friday?

LONG: Essentially you can go on seven days a week, but if you want the crux of the news, Monday through Friday because people are working most of the time on Monday through Friday.

HARRIS: She's running things over that at the pipeline.

LONG: I wouldn't say that.

HARRIS: Still ahead, "OPEN HOUSE" with Gerri Willis, straight ahead. And next hour do you speak leets?

LONG: What's that?

HARRIS: I have no idea.

Chances are your teenager does.

LONG: Coming up we're going to help you decode new teen slang known as leet speak. And why you lead need to know what it is. We'll be back in 30 minutes.

CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Carol Lin, coming up this weekend a little girl on a big mission. A victim of sexual abuse and Internet pornography takes her story to Capitol Hill and brings CNN's Nancy Grace along with her.

NANCY GRACE: The continued photos online hurt her more than the molestations because they were over, but the photographs of her the pornography of her will live on and on in perpetuity online.

LIN: And surviving in the wild. Could you do it? We go inside a camp that teaches you how. That and much more this weekend.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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