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NASA Astronauts Caught Up In Love Triangle, Spurned Houston Woman Attempts To Kidnap Her Rival In Orlando

Aired February 6, 2007 - 07:00:00   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Begin with that cockpit video just coming to light this morning. The video, from the beginning of Iraq war, in 2003, obtained by "The Sun" newspaper, in London. On it you can see and hear the action as American pilots fired on a British convoy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a visual.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. I want to get that first one before he gets into town then.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get him -- get him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we got the rocket launchers, it looks like. Number 2 is rolling in from the south to the north, and 2's in.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm off your west.



O'BRIEN: CNN's Robin Oakley live from London.

Robin, first of all, how did this tape come to light?

ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN LONDON BUREAU CHIEF: That's still a something of a puzzle really, Miles, because we know that the British ministry of defense had a tape, although apparently they denied the existence of this tape to the family of Lance Corporal Howell, the British soldier who was killed in this attack.

One possible source is somebody within the British Ministry of Defense. We're not quite sure whether tapes have been handed to the coroner conducting the inquest into Lance Corporal Howell's death, but that would be another potential source among his staff, if he had received the tape. But he has been complaining that he hadn't been allowed to play the tape in court, as he wanted to during the inquest last week, Miles. O'BRIEN: Robin, there's all kinds of jurisdictional issues here. There's an inquest underway, but if, in fact, they for example wanted to call the pilots in for testimony, they would have no subpoena power, would they?

OAKLEY: No, they wouldn't have any subpoena powers. And there is a certain amount of tension going on here between the British authorities and the U.S. authorities. U.S. authorities always say that they will not release their personnel for investigations of this kind, But the Harriet Herman (ph), the British constitutional affairs minister has been saying that they have been sending very strong letters and requests to the U.S. authorities asking them to give greater cooperation to the coroner in this case.

They're saying that everything possible should be made available to the family. And, of course, one thing the family will be particularly interested in is the reaction of the pilots when they were told by the ground controllers that this actually was what is called a blue on blue situation, and the friendly fire. And this is the kind of exchange that took place then.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger, POPOV, be advised that in the 3122 and 3222 group box you have friendly armor in the area. Yellow, small armored tanks. Just be advised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ahh. Got a -- got a smoke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, POPOV34, abort your mission. You've got -- it looks like we may have a blue on blue situation.




OAKLEY: So certainly two worried pilots there in reaction to what they realized they had done, Miles.

O'BRIEN: And, Robin, is there any open inquest as far as the U.S. military is concerned, or is it a closed issue as far as the Pentagon is looking at it?

OAKLEY: Well, we're still waiting for a Pentagon reaction to the release of these tapes, there, which I believe they're calling a criminal act. And we're waiting to see if the degree of cooperation from the Pentagon will be stepped up following the request from the British authorities. But what we're not going to see is any U.S. military personnel appearing before a British court.

And, of course, one of the difficulties the coroner has here is that he has no power to empower anybody else from another country to come and appear before a coroner's court in Britain -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Robin Oakley in London, thank you.


ALINA CHO, CNN ANCHOR, AMERICAN MORNING: Now to that brutal cold snap, and, boy, is it cold. Temperatures as low as 42 degrees below zero. Blamed for at least six deaths across the Upper Midwest and Northeast Monday. Right now it's shaping up to be another cold one. In Syracuse, New York. 11 degrees, but with the wind chill it feels like s7 below, and in Ely, Minnesota, minus 29!

The good news, if you can call it that, is that the winds are calm. So, with the wind chill, well, it feels like 29 below still. And in Chicago, it is around zero, with calm winds. That's where we find CNN's Keith Oppenheim. Meanwhile, Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers at the CNN Weather Center. Start with Keith there.

Hey, Keith, good morning.


That's exactly what my thermometer indicates that it's right around zero degrees, but that reading could be deceptive because the wind chill makes it feel more like 10 below here in Chicago.

Take a look at the very frozen Chicago River behind me. That is, if you will, just a piece of a long stretch of ice that has gripped much of the northern U.S.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm freezing! Way too cold!

OPPENHEIM (voice over): From the Midwest to the Northeast the weather has been so cold it's dangerous to go outside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just stepped out here maybe ten, 15 minutes ago, and I'm already half frozen.

OPPENHEIM: And treacherous to drive. In central Ohio motorists got stuck in deep snow. Winds whipped up chills that felt as cold as 25 below zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really got to keep your hands and your extremities covered up because they feel like they could freeze off out here.

OPPENHEIM: In Michigan whiteout conditions closed many schools. Similar story in northern Indiana where icy roads caused accidents -- and injuries. Farther south the Indianapolis Colts, returning from the "Super Bowl" in Miami, got a warm reception from fans who braved temperatures in the single digits, as the players and cheerleaders took part in an outdoor victory parade.

(on camera): Is it cold?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's freezing! OPPENHEIM (voice over): In Minnesota where cold weather is part of the culture, firefighters were worried about exposure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crews get wet with the water, then come outside. They're exposed to the elements.

OPPENHEIM: In Chicago some tourists got a lot more winter than they bargained for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from San Diego, so this is hell.

OPPENHEIM: But at least some of the locals took the frigid conditions in stride knowing that it can always get worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was minus 11 when I got out of the train this morning, so -- and it's been in 11 years of working down here, it's been a lot colder.


OPPENHEIM: Some hardy souls in Chicago, obviously, but also some vulnerable ones. We've heard from the Cook County medical examiner that there are three people who have died from exposure to the cold in just the last few days, so this is the time, Alina, to listen to your mother. Bundle up. Back to you.

CHO: That's right. You may want to consider a face mask when you are off the air, Keith. Keith Oppenheim in Chicago for us. Keith, thank you.

It's 7:15 Eastern, Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers will tell us how much longer this cold snap could last.

And, also coming up, a tale of two winters. The mayor of International Falls, Minnesota, America's Icebox, joins us with the mayor of Palm Springs, California. Wouldn't you like to be there right now? High of 82 expected there today. That's going to be in our 8:00 Eastern hour -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: In Indonesia this morning floodwaters starting to recede, but a major health threat is looming. Doctors warning the filthy water in Jakarta could trigger an outbreak of serious illnesses, like malaria. Nonstop rain and flooding has killed at least 29 people and forced more than a quarter million from their homes.

Also, happening this morning, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Peter Pace will face the Senate Armed Services Committee today; the main topic, money. Like the $93 billion extra being requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by the White House.

In Clayton, Missouri, accused kidnapper Michael Devlin now facing 71 additional charges. Among them, 17 counts of forcible sodomy related to Devlin's alleged abduction of two boys, one 13, one 15. Prosecutors say Devlin has acknowledged committing these acts. Each count carries a possible life sentence. Earlier Devlin pleaded not guilty to kidnapping charges.

In Barnestown, Kentucky this morning, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville, a fatal fire to tell you about. Seven people dead. No word on the cause right now. Temperatures there, 13 degrees this morning. We'll bring you details as they become available.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says he will go to rehab to stop drinking. Just last week the 39-year-old Newsom admitted he had an affair with his former campaign manager's wife in 2005. He says he will be a better person without alcohol in his life. Newsom has been San Francisco's mayor since 2003.

And a toy icon is being recalled this morning. The Easy Bake Oven, those made after 2006 -- in May of 2006. The Consumer Products Safety Commission says kids are getting burned by them. About a million of the ovens are being recalled.

CHO: Both parties say they're ready and willing to debate President Bush's Iraq policy, but Senate Republicans have derailed the process for the moment with a filibuster. CNN's Andrea Koppel live on Capitol Hill for us.

Hey, Andrea, good morning.


You know, Monday's procedural vote was supposed to clear the way for the Democratically controlled Congress to begin the most comprehensive debate on the Iraq war to date.


KOPPEL (voice over): In one corner, Democratic Leader Harry Reid; in the other, Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The two men deadlocked over how the Senate will debate the president's plan for Iraq, or even if it will be debated at all.

Reid, determined to keep attention focused on a bipartisan nonbinding resolution, opposed to the president's plan to boost troop levels in Iraq. Some moderate Republicans have said they would support this resolution. A vote, if it happened, sure to embarrass President Bush.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Is there anyone who believes the Senate should remain silent on the most pressing issue facing the country today?

KOPPELL: McConnell, equally determined to block that debate until Reid degrees to bring two Republican alternatives into the mix. One, offered by Senator John McCain, in support of the Bush plan; another would ensure funding could not be cut off or reduced for U.S. troops in the field.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: We welcome the debate. We're happy to have it, but the minority will insist on fair treatment, and our definition of fair has been pared down to two resolutions.

KOPPELL: Democrats were unable to muster the votes to break the deadlock, and both sides vowed not to give up.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), MAJORITY WHIP: They succeed today. They stopped us from moving forward on the debate on this issue on President Bush's policy in Iraq. This is not the end of the debate.

MCCONNELL: We're not afraid of the debate. We're ready to have it. Anxious to go forward, but we're going to insist on fair treatment.


KOPPEL: Now, just what happens next isn't clear. While it's still possible that the Senate could begin an Iraq debate, in coming days, the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that it's more likely to happen later this month, because in the meantime you needs to turn the Senate's attention to another pressing concern, Alina, and that is funding the federal government, which runs out of money next week -- Alina.

CHO: And then there's that. Andrea Koppel on Capitol Hill for us. Andrea, thank you.


O'BRIEN: A NASA astronaut is in jail this morning, in Orlando, charged in a lover's triangle kidnap plot. Lisa Nowak is accused of driving from Houston to Orlando to confront and kidnap Colleen Shipman. Police say both Nowak and Shipman were romantically linked this man, shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein.

Authorities say she wore diapers as she drove so she wouldn't have to stop to use the bathroom. They say she wore a trench coat, and a wig, and confronted Shipman at the Orlando Airport parking lot armed with pepper spray, a knife, and a B-B gun.


SGT. BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO POLICE: It's a really, really sad, sad case that, you know, somebody of that stature, that success in her professional career ends up finding herself on the other side of the law.

It's a fairly elaborate plan, and we believe that she was probably going to try to kidnap the victim, and, you know, possibly do serious bodily harm.


O'BRIEN: Nowak, married with three children, first flew on the Shuttle Discovery in July, she is being held without bail.

CHO: Coming up, more on that deadly cold snap. Severe Weather Expert Chad Myers is in with the bitter cold temperatures across the Midwest and Northeast.

And Rudy Giuliani has his sights set on the keys to the White House. A look at what Republicans think of the former New York mayor. That's later on AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning right here on CNN.


CHO: Welcome back. It's 11 degrees in New York this morning. You're taking a live look there, a towercam view of the Hudson River. Up to the George Washington Bridge. It's zero in Chicago. Live look there, too. Still dark out. Looks like the Chicago River is icing over. It's 15 minutes after the hour. Chad Myers at the CNN Weather Center with more on the bone-chilling temperatures.


O'BRIEN: This morning jurors in the Lewis Scooter Libby trial will hear more of those secret grand jury tapes of 2004. On the tapes, the prosecutor grills Libby about Vice President Cheney, his former boss, and how and when they discussed the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Libby is accused of lying to investigators who were investigating the leak of Plame's name to the media. AMERICAN MORNING's Bob Franken has been watching it for us.

Good morning, Bob.


And the crux of this case is whether, as Libby claims, he did not intentionally lie to the grand jury and federal investigators, but whether in the frenzy of activity at the White House he simply forget when he had talked to reporters about the Valerie Plame matter, when he had first talked to reporters.

What the prosecutor has been able to do, thus far, is to show that he talked to them long before he said that he had even gotten the information. As this has gone, on Libby has described his role, and on the tapes -- by the way, it's unusual that these tapes would be played, but not unprecedented.

On the tapes he was describing his role in the vice president's office and one of his roles, he said, quote, "occasionally as part of my job, on his behalf," meaning the vice president, "to talked with the press and to relay its positions to the press, if he so wishes, or to other issues that the White House is doing."

The point is, is that Libby was one of those administration sources that we've heard so much about over the years, Miles.

O'BRIEN: What this case has done, though, is kind of laid to bear the relationship that the White House has or had with the media. Tell us what we've learned. FRANKEN: Well, what we've seen, as some of us have probably already suspected this -- or known it, in my particular case -- that it's a schmooze relationship. That you try and win friends who are among the influential, and that oftentimes people lose sight of the fact that somebody who is a leaker has an agenda. And we've also seen how White Houses, plural, will sometimes use the power of access to persuade or dissuade somebody from using information, and will freeze somebody out if they're not happy with the reporting.

O'BRIEN: So it goes inside the Beltway, doesn't it?

FRANKEN: Is it does, indeed. Of course, that's everybody -- but us.

O'BRIEN: Of course. Naturally, present company excepted, of course. Bob Franken in Washington -- Alina.

CHO: Coming up, $2.9 trillion -- of your money. Find out just where you'll be shelling out to pay for the president's budget.

Plus, more on that astronaut accused of trying to kidnap a rival in a love triangle involving another astronaut. We're all talking about it this morning. Find out why she was wearing diapers. That's ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


CHO: The most news in the morning is right here.

New this morning, cockpit tapes released from a U.S. fighter jet that mistakenly shot and killed a British soldier in Iraq in 2003. No comment yet from the Pentagon.

An Iranian diplomat kidnapped by insurgents wearing police uniforms in Iraq overnight. Iran saying it will hold the U.S. responsible for the man's fate, according to wire reports -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Coverage of NASA and its astronauts is usually fair for publications like "Aviation Week" or "Popular Science" magazines, but this morning the agency is in the tabloids. Get a load of this. This is the New York's "Daily News." There you have it, "Space Cadet".

That's refers to the story of Lisa Nowak, the astronaut behind bars this morning. She is charged with in a lover's triangle, kidnapping plot.


O'BRIEN: Lisa Nowak, astronaut in training; Lisa Nowak, suspect facing some serious charges. Police in Orlando say it's all about a high-flying love triangle. They say Nowak, a Navy captain that flew for the first time on the Shuttle Discovery in July, drove 900 miles from Houston to Orlando to confront Colleen Shipman at the airport.

Authorities say both women were romantically linked astronaut Bill Oefelein, the pilot on the last shuttle mission in December. SGT. BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO, FLORIDA POLICE: It was a fairly elaborate plan. And we believe she was probably going to try to kidnap the victim and, you know, possibly do serious bodily harm.

O'BRIEN: Police say Nowak, married with three children, wore a trench coat and wig, and waited for Shipman in the parking lot at the airport when she arrived on a flight from Houston. They say Nowak pepper sprayed Shipman as she sat in her car, but there is more. Police say Nowak was armed with a knife, a BB gun, and a steel mallet.

JONES: It's a really, really sad, sad case that, you know, somebody of that stature, that success in her professional career ends up finding herself on the other side of the law facing some very serious charges.


O'BRIEN: Nowak faces kidnapping, burglary, battery, and some other charges. She's being held without bail. Police say she was wearing diapers when they arrested her. Investigators say she told them she did not want to have to stop to use the bathroom on her dash from Houston to Orlando. Now, astronauts wear diapers when they suit up for launch and re-entry.

CHO: I just can't get over this story.

O'BRIEN: That's an interesting little point there, isn't it?

CHO: How will President Bush's new budget proposal affect your wallet? It's 24 minutes after the hour, Ali Velshi, "Minding Your Business"

Hey, Ali, good morning.


The first volley in the whole budget battle has just begun. President Bush wants to achieve a budget surplus by 2012 but the budget boosts military spending again, so the cuts have to come from somewhere. And because the president believes so strongly in his tax cuts, if lots of money is being spent, and more money isn't coming many in taxes. The domestic programs are once again on the chopping block.

For now, let's look at what the president is proposing on taxes. Back in 2001 and 2003 President Bush introduced temporary tax measures, like a cut in capital gains tax, in dividend income tax, an increase in child taxes, a repeal of the estate tax, and some relief from the marriage penalty.

Those tax cuts, and several others, which directly affect how much money you have left to spend after you pay your taxes, are largely due to expire in 2001 (sic), and the president has once again called for them to be made permanent. Now, calls for relief for one more year of the -- for the 2007 tax year for middle class relief from the alternative minimum tax is also in that budget. The AMT was originally intended as a tax for small -- like a small group of people who make a lot of money, but as incomes have generally grown, more and more middle class Americans are paying the AMT, which is basically a higher tax.

Every year millions of Americans are finding themselves paying that. The problem is that it brings in so much money for the government, they don't want to get rid of it. President Bush is recommending one more year of relief before tens of millions of more people end up with the AMT.

O'BRIEN: Why not just float it with inflation?

VELSHI: That would be a great idea. That's the problem AMT doesn't move up. So, as we all get higher wages, we just get trapped in this new tax.

O'BRIEN: Let's start a little taxing policy there.

VELSHI: If you're running for anything, I'll help you out.

O'BRIEN: All right, thank you, Ali. Appreciate it.

Top stories are coming up next. Security crackdown in Iraq, and why critics say it could put U.S. troops at higher risk.

Plus, part two of a special investigation you'll see only here. Soldiers who say a weapon they used in Iraq is making them sick. What the military is saying in response ahead on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning right here.


President Bush wants to give billions more to the military.

video just coming in out of a U.S. fighter jet shooting and killing a British soldier.

And bone-chilling blast. Subzero temperatures gripping the nation. It's now a deadly cold snap on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning to you. Tuesday, February 6th. I'm Miles O'Brien.

CHO: I'm Alina Cho in for Soledad this morning. Thanks for joining us.

MILES O'BRIEN, CO-HOST: Spending your money. President Bush puts the squeeze on domestic programs while giving billions more to the military. But will his budget make it through the Democratic controlled Congress?

ALINA CHO, CO-HOST: Friendly fire. Cockpit video just coming to light of a U.S. fighter jet shooting and killing a British soldier. O'BRIEN: And a bone-chilling blast. More subzero temperatures gripping the nation. It's now a deadly cold snap on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Good morning to you. Tuesday, February 6. I'm Miles O'Brien.

CHO: And I'm Alina Cho in for Soledad this morning. Thanks for joining us.

O'BRIEN: Happening this morning: at least six deaths now blamed on the blast of arctic air slamming states from the Midwest all the way into New England. The bone-chilling cold wave, with temperatures as low as 42 below zero, shutting down schools, causing icy roads, knocking out car batteries everywhere.

NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak is in jail this morning in Orlando, charged in a lover's triangle kidnap plot. Nowak is accused of driving from Houston to Orlando to confront and kidnap Colleen Shipman. Authorities say Nowak wore diapers as she drove so she wouldn't have to stop to use the bathroom. Police say she confronted Shipman at the Orlando Airport parking lot armed with pepper spray, a knife, and a B.B. gun.

And a report just coming into us within the past hour. Seven people dead in an early morning house fire in Kentucky. It's happening in Bardstown, about 40 miles southeast of Louisville. Temperatures there about 13 degrees. No word on the cause of the fire.

CHO: President Bush's new strategy for Iraq is getting started, but his budget to pay for it is hitting a roadblock today.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is at the White House, Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Let's begin with Suzanne.

Hey, Suzanne, good morning.


Well, the president and the White House and his top economic advisers say this is a budget that's more transparent and detailed about the cost of the war on terror, but it is far from certain whether or not Congress is going to pass this budget, because some of these numbers are staggering.


MALVEAUX (voice-over): It's our money, and President Bush wants to spend almost $3 trillion of it. It's a staggering figure that's hard for any of us to imagine. But consider this. After you crunch the numbers, it's estimated that the total cost for the war on terror will approach $800 billion within the next two years.

President Bush says the increases he's seeking in the new budget are justified.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our priority is to make sure our troops have what it takes to do their job.

MALVEAUX: The breakdown, more than $93 billion additional for this year's war operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of $70 billion already approved. More than $140 billion for 2008. And an 11 percent increase in the Pentagon budget.

Mr. Bush insists the country can afford to boost military spending, while balancing the budget in five years without raising taxes, a claim members of Congress, now controlled by the Democrats, quickly dismissed.

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: That's why I say this budget is a combination of deception and of debt in a way that's disconnected from reality.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The day of the blank check for the president and the war is over.

MALVEAUX: The president's budget aims at paying for the military increases by cutting out more than $95 billion in other areas over the next five years, including sharply reducing or eliminating more than 140 government programs for a savings of $12 billion, and squeezing $78 billion out of Medicare and Medicaid, health programs for the elderly and poor.


MALVEAUX: Alina, White House officials are defending those numbers, saying looking at the big picture, entitlement programs represent half of the budget. They say it's the fastest growing segment of the budget, that the cut in Medicare is less than 1 percent.

Alina, it's all about selling this. You'll see top economic officials on the Hill testifying. President Bush heading to Virginia to a computer technology firm to preach about fiscal responsibility -- Alina.

CHO: Taking it on the road. All right. Suzanne Malveaux at the White House. Suzanne, thank you -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: In Baghdad this morning they are bracing and readying for that much-touted, much-debated troop buildup which will lead to, the U.S. says, a security crackdown in that country. General David Petraeus also heading that way in Iraq soon to implement the president's new strategy as the man in charge there.

CNN's Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon with more.

Good morning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR: Good morning, Miles.

Well, a new military boss, a new military strategy, and maybe the last best chance for some measure of peace in Iraq.


STARR (voice-over): On the streets of Baghdad, U.S. and Iraqi forces working together, manning checkpoints, directing traffic, watching for car bombs.

General David Petraeus, the new top U.S. commander, arrives there in the next few days as the biggest security crackdown of the war unfolds. U.S. and Iraqi troops will pour into Baghdad for the next several weeks trying to control the unending, unrelenting cycle of sectarian violence. Petraeus is well aware how tough that job will be to accomplish.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: The situation in Iraq is dire. The stakes are high.

STARR: U.S. troops will go to unprecedented lengths to clear and hold Baghdad neighborhoods. They will now live and work with Iraqi forces in small bases, known as joint security stations, used as staging areas to patrol some of the most violent areas.

But there is great concern U.S. troops will be increasingly vulnerable to attack.

Petraeus says he and his troops will walk the streets and talk to Iraqis.

PETRAEUS: If the mission is as it is now, under the new approach, to focus on the security of the population, then forces must locate with and live with that population.

STARR: There are huge problems. In some areas Iraqi police don't trust the Iraqi national army and they say they won't go on patrol without the presence of U.S. troops. That's something American officers say will have to change. And commanders say Iraqi forces still haven't shown up in Baghdad in sufficient numbers.


STARR: Miles, General Petraeus will be on the ground in Baghdad in the next couple of days, but due to security concerns, his staff will not say exactly when he arrives -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you very much -- Alina.

CHO: Now to that cockpit video just coming to light this morning. That video was attained by "The Sun" newspaper in London and posted on its web site today.

It shows an American pilot's view, firing on a convoy near the beginning of the Iraq war back in 2003. Well, it turns out to be a British convoy, and a British soldier was killed. British officials are still investigating the incident and say the video should not have been released -- Miles.

O'BRIEN: Well, now to our AMERICAN MORNING special investigation on the fallout, if you will, from the use of depleted uranium in the war zone. It can cut through a foot of enemy armor and leave behind radioactive dust that some say is making vets sick.

AMERICAN MORNING's Greg Hunter joining us now with part two of the series.

Good morning, Greg.


Depleted uranium, the controversial weapon and the radioactive dust it creates are at the center of a debate that just won't go away.


HUNTER (voice-over): Samala (ph), Iraq, spring 2003, Iraq, site of a fierce coalition offensive. Soldiers operating, sleeping, eating in areas that were hit by depleted uranium, or D.U.

For some soldiers it marked the beginning of another type of battle. These five National Guard veterans claim they got sick from serving there.

RAYMOND RAMOS, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I just got to the point where I could not physically stand sometimes. The headaches were unbearable. I would get dizzy spells.

HUNTER: They report similar ailments: painful urination, headaches and joint pain. They say Army doctors blame their symptoms on posttraumatic stress.

We showed them a tape the Army made in 1995, a tape the Army never distributed. It warned of potential D.U. hazards. The Army's expert on D.U. training concedes some information contained on the tape is true. For instance, inhaling radioactive particles can be harmful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alpha is the least penetrating but is the most hazardous if it does get into the body.

HUNTER (on camera): So you're saying in part this is correct, but too much information?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really doesn't provide any useful information to the soldier.

HUNTER (voice-over): These vets say they were never warned about D.U. They're suing the Army for what they say is knowingly exposing them to D.U. dust and failing to properly treat them.

ANTHONY YONNONE, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: They didn't furnish us with any of that information.

HUNTER (on camera): At all?

YONNONE: At all. HUNTER: Does it make you angry?

YONNONE: Absolutely.


YONNONE: Because here we are sick. We don't know why. The Army don't know why, and they're just calling us liars.

HUNTER (voice-over): The veterans' claims against the government may be barred by a statute that protects the military from lawsuits by soldiers. But a judge is permitting the soldiers' claims of malpractice to go forward.

DR. ASAF DURAKOVIC, URANIUM MEDICAL RESEARCH CENTER: I personally call it not so depleted uranium.

HUNTER: In the 1990s Dr. Asaf Durakovic studied D.U. health effects for the U.S. military. Now a private researcher, Durakovic says his own test of these veterans showed abnormally high levels of D.U. in their urine and that those levels pose a serious health threat.

DURAKOVIC: There is genetic change in chromosoma of the regions (ph) in the people who have been found positive with depleted uranium.

HUNTER: The military's overall health expert says tests on thousands of veterans from both Iraq wars have produced very few positive D.U. tests.

DR. MICHAEL KIRKPATRICK, DEFENSE DEPARTMENT HEALTH AFFAIRS: We are not seeing it in 74 individuals who are most heavily exposed, and that, I think, is really the golden standard if you take a look at people who had heavy exposure, internalization, some still having the depleted uranium in their bodies, still excreting very high levels in their urine, and their health appears at this point to be normal.

HUNTER: Some scientists and politicians claim the Army's testing is not sophisticated enough. Connecticut state representative Pat Dillon helped pass legislation allowing her state to do its own testing of National Guardsmen.

PAT DILLON, CONNECTICUT STATE REPRESENTATIVE: It's a heavy metal. It gets absorbed into your bones. So I don't think that the test that they're using is sensitive enough to find whether or not you've been contaminated.

HUNTER: The Army tells CNN its policy is to get every soldier training in depleted uranium and hazard protection. It also has an updated instructional video, produced in 2000.

We asked why these soldiers say not only did they not see the video, but they knew nothing about D.U. before going to Iraq.

COL. MARK MELANSON, WALTER REED ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: I'm not able to give you any statistics on who received training and who didn't receive training. I can just talk about the training that was provided and what the policy is.


HUNTER: Dr. Durakovic says one thing is for sure: a large part of Iraq is contaminated, particularly in the south where heavy tank battle took place. He calls it, quote, "a radiological sewer." The Army adamantly denies that.

O'BRIEN: When you go back and look at another war and another toxic agent, in that case Agent Orange in Vietnam. Veterans there had similar claims. Were sick because we were in contact with this Agent Orange. Ultimately, did they get claims from the military, and is that likely what's going to happen here?

HUNTER: Some did, but it took decades. And let me tell you, Agent Orange is tame compared to radiological dust that you can breathe into your lungs, stays in your body forever, has a half life of 4.5 billion years. This stuff stays around forever. So it is -- it is quite a controversy.

O'BRIEN: Keep us posted, Greg. Greg Hunter, thank you very much.

In just a little while, Sanjay Gupta will join us, and he'll explain a little bit more about the medical implications of contact to this depleted uranium -- Alina.

CHO: And Miles, coming up, more on that brutal cold snap gripping the Midwest and northeast this morning. Chad Myers is up next.

Plus, fire and ice. A challenge for firefighters battling both flames and bitter cold temperatures.

AMERICAN MORNING, the most news in the morning, right here on CNN.


O'BRIEN: An astronaut is in jail this morning in Orlando, charged in a lover's triangle kidnap plot. Lisa Nowak is accused of driving from Houston to Orlando to confront and kidnap Colleen Shipman. Now, police say both Nowak and Shipman were romantically linked to shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein. You saw him there.

Authorities say Nowak wore diapers as she drove so she wouldn't have to stop to use the bathroom. They say she wore a trench coat and a wig and confronted Shipman at the Orlando airport parking lot armed with pepper spray, a knife, and a B.B. gun.


SGT. BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO POLICE: It's a really, really sad, sad case that, you know, somebody of that stature, of that success in her professional career ends up finding herself on the other side of the law. It's a fairly elaborate plan, and we believe that she was probably going to try to kidnap the victim and, you know, possibly do serious bodily harm.


O'BRIEN: Nowak, married with three children, first flew on the Shuttle Discovery in July. She is being held this morning without bail, and she'll face a judge a little bit later.

CHO: Certainly the water cooler story of the day, I would think, right?

O'BRIEN: It is, indeed, and I think the notion of her wearing diapers so she didn't have to stop.

CHO: I -- I'm going to guess that's what people are going to be talking about today. The astronauts do wear diapers.

O'BRIEN: They do. That's part of what you wear when you fly to space when you come back home, but she was apparently trying to get there in time to meet the flight, which itself had left from Houston.

CHO: Right. Didn't want to stop. She was apparently in a hurry.

All right. OK. Moving on now. Forty-five minutes after the hour. If you're heading out the door, let's get a quick check of the traveler's forecast. Chad Myers at the forecast center.

Well, if you're in certain parts of the country, you're not going to want to do any traveling. You're going to want to stay inside, right, Chad?


O'BRIEN: Thank you, Chad.

Happening in America this morning, in Oregon a father under arrest, accused of using 100,000-volt stun gun on his 18-month-old son. Police in Albany, Oregon, say Ryan Whitman used the stun gun on the boy at least 10 times. He's charged with assault and criminal mistreatment.

Fire and ice on the New Jersey shore. Firefighters face frigid temperatures and high winds, trying to bring a fire under control. Fifteen apartments destroyed in Sea Bright, New Jersey. One woman suffering severe burns there.

And in Indianapolis Colts fans in the cold. Temperatures in the single digits, not enough to keep them from greeting the Super Bowl champs. Celebrating with a parade downtown. Then a rally, fortunately, inside the RCA Dome. A little warmer than the outside, to say the least. And a little dryer, we should say, than Miami the other day -- Alina. CHO: Right. Coming up, soldiers say they're coming home from war zones sick because of radioactive dust. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a look at how dangerous depleted uranium really is.

And try this for a job swap, from CEO to salesman.

Stay with us on AMERICAN MORNING. The most news in the morning right here.


O'BRIEN: The most news in the morning right here. Top headlines for you right now. The jury in the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial will hear hours of secret audiotape today. The tapes form the basis for three of the five charges against him.

And deadly flooding in Indonesia. Up to 29 people are dead, hundreds of thousands displaced -- Alina.

CHO: A few moments ago we heard Greg Hunter's investigation on depleted uranium and the danger it may pose for U.S. troops in Iraq. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us from Atlanta on more with the medical side of this mystery.

Sanjay, good morning. So first things first, what are the symptoms of D.U. poisoning?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's sort of short-term symptoms and longer-term symptoms, and, you know, this is a difficult thing. The jury is still out among many researchers in terms of what's causing when and at what time.

But if you look at some of the early things, you can get things like nausea and vomiting as your G.I. tract sort of reacts to the depleted uranium. Also, kidney problems potentially and skin lesions.

There have been some case reports that it could possibly cause irritability and behavioral changes, as well, but that's not really nailed down.

Longer term, it can get a little bit more complicated. You might develop things like an immune system damage. So you could actually suppress your white blood cells, those sort of -- those fighting cells of infection.

Lung cancer potentially as well, although, again, it's somewhat controversial studies. And potentially birth defects in the offspring of people who were exposed to depleted uranium, as well.

Alina, I should say -- I think as Greg pointed out as well, the depleted uranium and its potential link to Gulf War syndrome is one of the most controversial things probably that exists in medicine. A lot of people sort of focused on it. Probably not enough studies as of yet, still.

CHO: All right. So what about treatment? Is there any treatment for this?

GUPTA: Well, not really. I mean, first of all, it's very hard to know, for example, if someone has actually been exposed. You can test it in the blood. You can actually get some blood tests that will tell if you have higher levels of the particular isotope associated with depleted uranium, but for the most part you've got to let the thing sort of run out its course.

It can cause damage to cells, and if those cells actually turn into tumor cells, for example, you obviously have to treat the cancer or remove the tumor, but it's hard to treat symptoms of depleted uranium poisoning overall.

CHO: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, live for us in Atlanta. Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

CHO: Miles.

O'BRIEN: Coming up, stop us if you've heard this one before. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom says he's going to rehab. Professional help is what he's seeking. We'll explain.

Plus, friendly fire in Iraq caught on tape, the startling evidence on a newspaper's web site. The most news in the morning is right here.


CHO: Welcome back. Stories we're watching for you this morning, at least six deaths now blamed on the blast of arctic air slamming states from the Midwest to New England.

And a million Easy Bake ovens made after May of 2006 are recalled. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says kids are getting burned.

O'BRIEN: Coming up in our business report, Dick Parsons in for Ali Velshi. Well, that could happen. He's the chairman of our company, and that's what's happening, kind of at Ford, a few minutes before 8 a.m. Eastern.

ALI VELSHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He would do a fantastic job.

O'BRIEN: Yes, Boss, we would love to have you, boss.

VELSHI: But it's interesting to think about what companies would do well with the boss running things, and in this case it's Ford's boss, Alan Mulally, who is going to spend a day as a car dealer at a car dealership.

Now, in the car industry the dealers aren't part of the company, as such. They're a separate organization. They own their own dealerships. They sell the cars, but they've been a big driver in the changes at Ford over the years, because they've got a big stake in it, obviously. When cars sell, they make a lot of money. So Alan Mulally is committed to being...

O'BRIEN: A point, by the way. That was a Buick.

VELSHI: That's right. He won't be selling those. He'll only be selling Fords.

Now, he came from Boeing where, because of the nature of that business, he had much more to deal with the end buyer, because they're buying dozens of planes and things like this. But in the car business, I wonder what the effectiveness is. I think in retail industries where you do deal with an end buyer, it's probably very necessary to feel what that end buyer is looking for.

CHO: I think there's a P.R. effect, right?

VELSHI: Listen, Ford needs whatever it can get. P.R. or sales. I don't know what you'd get out of this experience, but what you might get is, in an industry where so many people have been laid off, where so many workers complain about the high flying lifestyles of the executive, the idea of getting down and dirty and understanding what you hear from the customers, which is the thing that American carmakers have to hear the most, might actually have some resonance. It might actually have some effect, that our guy heard it from the customers.

O'BRIEN: If you're buying a car from him and he says, "I've got to go check with my manager," hang onto your wallet.

VELSHI: We'll tell you, we're going to try to find out where he's going to be a dealer for the day and tell you. That might be the best. You might be able to close a deal right there.

CHO: You might get the best price. That's right.

VELSHI: I totally think our boss could have done this business report better than me, though.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely.

You heard that, boss, right? He said it. I said it too, boss.

All right. One of the most popular stories right now on, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the latest. I mean, it's the thing to do. I feel like I'm not in by not having rehab.

CHO: It's the day two story.

O'BRIEN: Exactly. Or at least a week two.

He admitted last week he had an affair with a campaign manager's wife. He says, "My problems with alcohol are not an excuse for my personal lapses in judgment." That sounds familiar, too.

CHO: That's right.

O'BRIEN: The counseling won't affect his duties as mayor. He'll still, he says, run for reelection, but he's on his way to dry out or whatever.

CHO: That's right. And that will take a little bit of time.

O'BRIEN: The next hour of AMERICAN MORNING begins right now.

CHO: Friendly fire. Video released overnight showing a U.S. warplane mistakenly opening fire on a British convoy.

O'BRIEN: Zero hour, bitterly cold temperatures back in the forecast today. Things might get worse before they get better.

CHO: And ready to run. Former New York City mayor, Rudy Giuliani, takes a big step toward the White House. But can he make it past Hillary Clinton on election day? A closer look on this AMERICAN MORNING.


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