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AMERICAN MORNING

New Message Believed to be From Osama Bin Laden; Blow Dealt to Bush Administration's Plans to Try Suspected Terrorists in Military Tribunals

Aired June 30, 2006 - 07:30   ET

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


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Miles O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Soledad O'Brien.

A new message believed to be from Osama bin Laden to talk about. This would be the first time that we have heard from the al Qaeda leader since the death of his top lieutenant in Iraq, Abu Musab al- Zarqawi.

CNN national security correspondent David Ensor has more for us this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATL. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the new nineteen-and-a-half-minute audiotape posted on the Web, the speaker purported to be Osama bin Laden praises the slain al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as a lion of jihad, saying he died in a, quote, "shameful American raid." The CIA is analyzing the tape to authenticate the voice, but an intelligence official says she no reason to doubt that it is, indeed, bin Laden, who addresses President Bush directly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I say to Bush, you should deliver the hero's body to his family, and don't be too happy. Our flag hasn't fallen. Thanks to God, it has passed from one lion to another lion in Islam. You have prevented Abu Musab from entering his homeland alive. Don't stand in his way now.

ENSOR: The tape comes just over three weeks after Zarqawi's death, and less than a week after a videotape from bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: They don't seem to be feeling the head of the war on terror, because they're releasing these tapes. We've had three from Zawahiri in the last three weeks. We've had three from bin Laden in the last three months. It's their way of staying relevant.

ENSOR: Addressing President Bush, bin Laden also he said that, quote, "We will continue to fight new Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Sudan. We will drain your money," he said, "kill your men and send you home defeated."

(on camera): Analysts say the tapes are also an effort by al Qaeda central to capitalize on the popularity of Zarqawi among Islamic extremists. Even though bin Laden's deputy in the past urged Zarqawi not to kill so many Shiites in Iraq and was ignored.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

S. O'BRIEN: Coming in our next hour, we're going to get a little deeper into Osama bin Laden's message with our terrorism expert Sajjan Gohel. We'll bring him in to talk to us. That's at 8:15 a.m. Eastern Time -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: In court, dealing a blow to the Bush administration plans to try suspected terrorists in military tribunals. The White House now looking at ways to make those tribunals meet the Supreme Court guidelines. The ruling raising questions about the future of that prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken joins us live now from Washington with more.

Good morning, Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATL. CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Miles.

Question No. 1, Guantanamo Bay prison, which has become in the eyes so much of the world something of a devil's island, it is going to continue open. At least the Supreme Court justices did not have anything to suggest that there was a necessity to close it.

As for the military commissions, the justices said that if the Congress would pass legislation that was specifically designed to authorize the commissions, perhaps they could go forward. Congress is deciding it's going to try and do just that right after the July 4th break. We can see some legislation. Although there are others who saying that maybe the answer is just to conform to the court-martial procedures that the Supreme Court justices has said would be adequate.

Now, what is also interesting was that the ruling by the justices really was slap in the face to an administration that's claimed it has inherent power and doesn't need a lot congressional support all the time. That is raising questions about such matters as the National Security Agency wiretaps and, Miles, I think we can bet that lawyers are going to explore possibilities there.

M. O'BRIEN: I would bet on that one.

Bob Franken at the Supreme Court, thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Floodwaters on the East Coast starting to recede. Problems, though, are not. At least 14 people have been killed, entire cities still submerged. The cleanup costs in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Let's get right to CNN's Allan Chernoff. He's live in Binghamton, New York this morning. Hey, Allan. Good morning.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

And yesterday morning, there is no way that I could possibly have been standing here. In fact, no one could have. The water was very, very high. In fact, it was more than halfway up that American flag, and the water that was here was rushing through very, very rapid, but can you see just how much the water has receded. It's receded to the point that people can finally make their way up to their homes and begin the cleanup.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHERNOFF: Bad enough to have your home flooded. But Stacey Gould saw it happen to her restaurant, too.

STACEY GOULD, FLOOD VICTIM: It felt like I was going to fall apart yesterday. It's just really too much to bear to think I might, you know, at one time lose my home. And then if we can't financially recover from this, you know, with a business, it just seemed like -- it seemed too much to take on both ends.

CHERNOFF: About half the people in Broome County, New York suffered flood damage, and about 5,000 were unable to return to their homes. Though few were as hard hit as Stacey's.

GOULD: By the time we were done with the last of getting our TV and our dining room chairs and tables upstairs and everything, the house was completely surrounded.

CHERNOFF: Surrounded, but she thinks it still won't be covered by her catastrophic flood insurance.

GOULD: It was probably about, you know, up to here, but the fire department was there, and they said please don't do that. We've got a boat.

CHERNOFF: With her home engulfed, Stacey focused on trying to save her natural food restaurant, the hole in the wall. She and her business partner pumped three feet of water from the basement, then looked over the damage.

GOULD: A lot of our files, you know, they were in our desk drawers and stuff. So they're soaked, you know. I don't know. Some stuff is on computer. You know, but -- I don't know what you do about stuff like that. This is the freezer. Luckily it has a nice seal on it. But you can see we're going to have to get rid of a lot of the stuff that's on the base there. This represents, like, you know, 10,000, $12,000.

CHERNOFF: The business won't be covered by insurance either, leaving Stacey and her partner sifting through the restaurant to see just what can be salvaged.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE) CHERNOFF: Stacy, Jim and their friends were here late last night cleaning up. They were using shovels. Also they were using hoses to try to get rid of several inches of black silt from the bottom of the river. And they also had to use a sledgehammer to knock down this door from one of their bathrooms, and the reason they had to do that, this washing machine was actually floating and blocking the door. That was the only way they do get through to it. So they've got lots of work, already accomplished quite a bit, but lots of work ahead -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, gosh, what a big mess for them. All right, thanks, Allan. Allan Chernoff for us in Binghamton this morning.

(WEATHER REPORT)

M. O'BRIEN: NASA's countdown for the second space shuttle flight since the loss of Columbia. In many ways this return to flight is more tense than the last. The NASA administrator overruled his chief safety officer and chief engineer, who said they were no-go for launch, concerned about the problem that destroyed Columbia three years ago, that foam that falls off the fuel tank.

CNN technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg is at the Kennedy Space Center this morning with more.

Daniel, first of all, the last forecast we got, 60 percent no-go. It is after all, the summertime, in the afternoon, and that means thunderstorms in Florida. We should get another forecast in a couple hours.

What's the thinking right there, there right now, about weather?

DANIEL SIEBERG, CNN TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now it's holding at a 60 percent chance of not happening, Miles, tomorrow afternoon. As you pointed out, thunderstorms here in Florida are just a regular occurrence.

Right now, the weather is great, but in the afternoon, they're concerned that these thunderstorms are going to move in, these so- called anvil clouds, which could contain rain or lightning, which could dangerous for the shuttle to launch.

So they're going to have to wait and see what happens. They may go right up to the last minute. They can't do it Saturday, they will try again on Sunday, 22 1/2 minutes earlier, but they need to have this 20-nautical mile radius outside of the shuttle is going to take off from in order to have a clear window in order to take off. But right now, still looking like a 60 percent chance of no-go -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: A lot of people ask me, Daniel, all the time, why don't they go earlier in the day? It's not as simple as that, is it?

SIEBERG: It's not. There's a particular window that they have to hit. And each day that goes by, there's a different timeframe that they can get through, and it's a fairly small timeframe. In this case, we're talking about five to 10 minutes at 3:49 tomorrow afternoon, then it moves 22 1/2 minutes early, and it all has to do with the trajectory of where the shuttle launches from, trying to meet up with the International Space Station. So they have to be very precise with this. And of course the weather, they just don't have any control over that sort of thing.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, if they don't launch it at right time, they'll never catch up with the space station.

Now yesterday, kind of a dramatic thing, there's been a lot of talk about what happens if the shuttle is damaged on its way up by foam. And one of the scenarios, one of the worst-case scenarios, would be the crew would have to stay on a space station and wait for a rescue mission. And the question would be, what would happen to Discovery? And it's interesting what they revealed yesterday, isn't it?

SIEBERG: Right. They talked about this. You know, there is that possibility. We've heard a lot about this flying foam. Once they've analyze all the data. You know, they've got a lot of cameras looking at what happens when Discovery lifts off. They're going to be looking at it when it come up to the International Space Station. It will essentially go belly up, and they'll take some high-res images of it, to see if there are any serious pockmarks, or serious damage to the shuttle itself. If they decide that it cannot be returned and piloted back safely, then there are a few things that could happen, Miles. And these are to be determined, we should say. First of all, the crew obviously would be, on the International Space Station, they would have about a 17-day window, given the amount of fuel that's on Discovery, to decide whether they would control it automatically and bring it back to Earth.

Now, they could decide it's totally irreparable, there's nothing they can do, and crash it in to the ocean. They could decide to save it and land it somewhere in, say, Vandenberg Air Force Base out in California, where it's a fairly low-risk place to land it.

Now, of course, you have to wonder what happens to the astronauts at that point, if they're still up in the space station, what are they going to do? Well, there's a possible plan for that as well. Obviously, it's going to be fairly cramped. They're going to worry about supplies and that kind of thing. There's the possibility they send up another shuttle. They expedite the launch of say, Atlantis, to go up there and rescue them. Then of course the question, what if the same problem happens to Atlantis? Who rescues the rescuers? So there are a lot of contingency plans that could happen, a lot of what ifs. They're going to be watching this very closely. But as you pointed out, an interesting possibility and, of course, that's the worst-case scenario for them.

M. O'BRIEN: Yes, and a very remote one, to be very clear about it. But the fact that they've actually come up with a wiring harness to fly it remotely for the first time ever says something about how they're thinking right now.

Daniel Sieberg, I'll see you this evening.

SIEBERG: Yes, I believe they're going to hold the launch just until you get here. So we'll be waiting for you.

M. O'BRIEN: Welcome to the space cadet corps. Good to you have with us.

Weather permitting, Discovery will launch tomorrow afternoon. 3:49 p.m. is the launch. We have a special coming on at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and of course we've be live all throughout the day for you. I'm honored to be joined by Eileen Collins, the former commander. She has left NASA now. She was the commander of the last mission. She's the first female shuttle commander ever, and she'll; walk us through the launch and what it's like to strap in to such a thing.

(NEWSBREAK)

M. O'BRIEN: Anyway, soon we may be calling New York the Big Snapple, a judge clearing the way for the beverage company's sweet deal with the city coming up. Andy "Minding Your Business" with that -- Carol.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: And here's the meow heard around the world. OK, it was heard around country. Star Jones plays classy on Larry King. The lowdown on this AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

S. O'BRIEN: Latest now in the she said-she said battle between Star Jones and her now former boss on the view, Barbara Walters. Carol Costello has got that.

Good morning.

COSTELLO: It's just making everybody look bad now, isn't it?

S. O'BRIEN: It's getting ugly.

COSTELLO: Yes.

S. O'BRIEN: It's been ugly for a couple of days.

COSTELLO: I think it's bound to get uglier. But don't you hate it when high-powered professional girls fight like those mean girls in high school. "The View" was supposed to elevate female-oriented conversation to a higher level, illustrating how most women really talk and disagree.

But now, sadly, meow. It's Walters versus Jones, and it was a Larry King exclusive.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STAR JONES, FMR. CO-HOST OF "THE VIEW": I was told you'll be able to leave on your own terms. The terms I chose was to tell the truth.

COSTELLO (voice-over): Star Jones firing back in the war of words with Barbara Walters over Star's sudden departure from "The View." In her first TV interview since making the announcement on Tuesday's show, Jones tells Larry King she couldn't have blindsided her former boss and co-host.

JONES: I don't want anybody to think I all of a sudden came in there on Tuesday and just dropped a bomb to my colleague Barbara Walters and said I'm leaving. She's known since April that she didn't renew my contract.

COSTELLO: Star's announcement accompanied a "People" magazine interview, in which Jones said she felt like she was fired. When the ladies of the view went on the air Wednesday, Walters said Jones departure, originally scheduled for July 13th, was effective immediately.

BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": Since her announcement yesterday, she has made further announcements that have surprised us. So it is becoming uncomfortable for us to pretend that everything is the same at this table.

JONES: I'm sad that the platform that I helped to build was used in a way to attack me professionally.

COSTELLO: Jones was on "The View" for nearly 10 years. The show made her a star, and "Star" helped make "The View."

ABC said Jones disturbed viewers by refusing to reveal whether surgery was behind her dramatic weight loss, and using the show to solicit freebies for her over-the-top wedding.

JONES: And yes, Star, 100 percent confesses, used my celebrity 100 percent, and if you ask me was that a mistake, I'm going to tell you yes. If you asked me if some of my viewers were turned off by it, I'm going to tell you, yes.

S. O'BRIEN: Despite her apparent fall from grace, Jones says the media-driven feud with Walters has not made her bitter.

JONES: And I've sat across from the greatest female journalist of our times, and I have learned from that woman. She is my mentor. I have learned as much about television from her as I learned about the law from my friend the late Johnnie Cochran. And I got to tell you, I will not, no matter what anybody does or tries to bait me to do, I will not denigrate Ms. Walters ever. That's not who I am.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COSTELLO: Do you believe her?

S. O'BRIEN: OK.

COSTELLO: Well she didn't really seem sincere. I don't know.

On another level, it's all kind of sad. Don't you find it's assumed that women who compete against each other continually find ways to stab each other in the back. You know, we're all in a cat fight. That's what everybody really thinks. Cone on, you know do you! Who knows if that's what's happened in this scenario. Maybe the best thing now would be for everyone to just cease talking.

S. O'BRIEN: Good advice. I'm going to take that advice -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: All zipped.

Andy, you going to say anything?

ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: I learn so much about television from Miles O'Brien. I really did. It's just staggering that...

(LAUGHTER)

S. O'BRIEN: Excellent, excellent point, I think, really.

SERWER: Yes, I'm sure you'd like that.

Some business news coming up. Minivans and Mercedes. Daimler- Chrysler wants to link them in your mind.

And Snapple versus the Big Apple. How did the beverage company and the city end up in court?

We'll tell you about that, coming up next on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BUSINESS HEADLINES)

M. O'BRIEN: Top stories are coming up. We're going to take a short break right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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