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U.S. Military Stretched Too Thin?; Hotel O'Hare; Real ID and DMV

Aired February 26, 2007 - 14:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is the top of the hour, and we start with troubling reports about a top U.S. ally in Iraq. From Jordan comes word that Iraqi president Jalal Talabani is in intensive care after undergoing a heart procedure. Talabani was flown to Amman yesterday in a U.S. plane. A hospital official tells CNN that doctors inserted a cardiac catheter, an account being disputed by Talabani's son.

QUBAD TALABANI, SON OF IRAQI PRESIDENT: He has not had a catheter inserted into his heart. His condition remains stable and improving.

I have spoken with him this morning and I've spoken with his medical staff as well. They are very pleased with the progress that he is making. Again, his spirits continue to be high and is improving all the time.


LEMON: As its president remains hospitalized, one of Iraq's two vice presidents narrowly escaped assassination today. VP Adel Abdul Mahdi was addressing government workers in Baghdad when a bomb exploded. At least 12 people were killed and 42 wounded. The vice president was treated for minor hand and leg injuries and released.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Smiles and handshakes aside, Vice President Dick Cheney lays down the law to Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf -- get tough in the fight on terror or face potential cuts in crucial U.S. aid. That message follows reports from intelligence that the Taliban and al Qaeda are running terror training camps in Pakistan's western frontier.

Cheney's trip to Islamabad shrouded in official secrecy. It wasn't even announced until after he left.

A sobering warning about the state of the U.S. military from the highest ranks of the Pentagon.

Let's get now to Barbara Starr. She's got more on this story.

Barbara, is this another sign that the U.S. military is just stretched too thin?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kyra. The latest sign that it's stretched too thin, as you say.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, has now made a classified finding that the risk is significant. That's the word, "significant" risk that the U.S. military cannot meet its obligations if a third crisis were to break out after the ongoing wars, of course, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Could not meet its obligation without some significant risk, and that is that it would cost more money, they would have to send troops that may not be as readily trained, not front-line combat troops. A big strain on equipment, manpower, all of it if a third contingency were to break out.

Accordinging to officials who have seen some of the details in all of this, they say the military now is stretched so thin that it could take years, they say, for the military to reduce its risk levels to an acceptable situation. Lots of efforts going on to try and fix it all, of course, but it will take years now -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Now, Barbara, we're also hearing the military is holding a top leader of Iran's al Qods force in Iraq. Of course, these are the radicals that we were talking about that are allegedly making weapons and funneling them into Iraq.

STARR: Right. There are approximately five Iranian operatives it is believed the U.S. military is still holding inside Iraq. Several of them for some time now the U.S. has said are tied to the al Qods force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard corps, the link that some people in the U.S. military believes exists between Iran and the Shia militia groups.

What we now know is that one of these people is Brigadier General Moisan Chirazi (ph). And he is said to be an Iranian who is really very high up in the al Qods, possibly the third-ranking Iranian official in the al Qods force. In U.S. Custody, still undergoing questioning, by all accounts, about Iran's involvement in shipping those weapons into Iraq that are killing both U.S. troops and, of course, Iraqi citizens -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: It will be interesting to see what we get from that interrogation.

Thanks, Barbara.

LEMON: O'Hare Airport looked more like O'Hare hotel this weekend. But there was no room service and no real beds. Just hundreds of travelers stranded by the storm who couldn't wait to check out. Well, some of them might have to wait a bit longer today.

Let's go straight to O'Hare airport and CNN's Reggie Aqui.


REGGIE AQUI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The line of passengers here just trying to get through security keeps ebbing and flowing throughout the day at O'Hare International Airport. It has been a rough weekend, to say the least, for a lot of these passengers. Many of them trying to get out days ago, only to find out that their flights were either canceled or delayed.

In fact, on Sunday, more than 500 flights were canceled, which has caused a huge backup in the system. And now, because of low visibility, a completely separate problem today, we're finding out that more flights are being delayed and canceled.

Some folks actually had to spend the night here at the airport. We're told that 1,000, perhaps even more than that, spent the night on the floors, or in sleeping bags they may have brought, sometimes even cots if the airport system was able to bring out for them. Not exactly the most comfortable situation for those folks, but it's basically what they had to do to get through this and finally, hopefully, get back to their destination.

Now, we're told the roads were also a major problem this weekend in the Midwest. Some areas getting up to two feet of snow. We're told that at least nine deaths are now being blamed on all the snow that has hit this part of the country. But today the problem is air travel again as this system tries to get back to normal.

Reggie Aqui, CNN, Chicago.


LEMON: Well, the worst of the storm has moved on, but it's left behind low clouds and low visibility at a lot of airports.

Jacqui Jeras is tracking it all in the CNN severe weather center.


PHILLIPS: Well, Florida cops hoping this man won't be smiling much longer. Vicente Ignacio Beltran-Moreno is still on the run after kidnapping, allegedly, a 13-year-old boy at a school bus stop on Friday. Clay Moore was taken to some woods and tied to a tree in what police believe was a kidnap for ransom plan, but he managed to escape, giving police the info they needed to nail down the suspect.

Moore's family told CNN's Rick Sanchez this is one tough kid.


LISA RUMSEY, AUNT OF CLAY Moore: He's hanging in there. He's a trooper. He's a fire. He is -- he's a warrior. And he won.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, I'd say so. I mean, he tells his story of what? He used, what, a safety pin, to be able to untie himself from the tree, right?

RUMSEY: Correct. I can't go into any more details than - right.

SANCHEZ: Have the authorities said that he could get any kind of counseling at this point? Are they -- what are they recommending to the family?

RUMSEY: I'm sure the entire family -- I don't know about him, but I'm going to need counseling after all of this.

SANCHEZ: It's been hard on you, hasn't it?

RUMSEY: It's been hard on the whole family. This is hitting very close to home.

SANCHEZ: What was the time like in that interval between the point where he was gone and the point where he finally came back?

RUMSEY: Very emotional. A lot of prayers. A lot of prayers. The entire world was praying for this child.

SANCHEZ: What do you know about the suspect, who is still at large?

RUMSEY: Very little. The only thing I know is just the composite that Clay had written up.

SANCHEZ: Vicente Beltran is his name. If you could send a message to him right now, what would you say to him?

RUMSEY: I hope somebody finds you before we do.


PHILLIPS: Clay Moore's description of his kidnapper allowed police to put out this sketch. They now think Beltran has fled to Florida.

LEMON: He repeatedly risked his life to make sure no soldiers were left behind.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My crew chief shot through the throat. The radio operator was hit and killed before he could unhook.


LEMON: A hero honored four decades later straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Faith and forensics collide in Jerusalem. Some say the contents of this box could blow the lid off of centuries of Christian beliefs.

We're digging for details in the NEWSROOM.

And the thrill of the chase. It may be popular TV, but when should cops hit the brakes? The Supreme Court considers that issue. And it's the topic of our e-mail question.

What limits should be placed on high-speed chases? Send us your responses --

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Real ID and DMVs. The Bush administration is about to tell the 50 state Departments of Motor Vehicles how to carry out tough new regulations for handing out driver's licenses. But many states fear gridlock for departments already synonymous with long and frustrating delays.

CNN homeland security correspondent Jeanne Meserve takes a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I definitely don't think this is going to work.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): But it does. The prankster goes into the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles and comes out with a valid driver's license, silly picture and all.

From a security perspective, it is not a laughing matter. After 9/11, Congress mandated tough new federal standards for driver's licenses called Real ID. States are supposed to implement them in little more than a year.

Every one of the 245 million license holders in the United States will have to reapply in person with documents that prove they are citizens or legal residents. The states predict it will swamp motor vehicle offices, creating long waits. Currently, each state issues licenses following their own security standards and with their own features.

KAREN JOHNSON, ARIZONA STATE SENATE: They have no business in our state's business. And that's what they're doing.

MESERVE: Arizona state senator Karen Johnson is sponsoring legislation saying her state will not comply. She says Real ID would invade privacy by creating a large national database of driver information.

JOHNSON: I mean, Homeland Security is the one that's going to be running this database? Give me a break.

MESERVE: Arizona is one of 24 states that has passed or proposed legislation opposing Real ID. The big complaint, the cost -- an estimated $11 billion over five years. The biggest expense is likely to be a requirement that states verify the authenticity of identity documents used to get a license.

DAVID QUAM, NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION: It's verification that not even the federal government can complete for its own employees.

MESERVE: Rody Marshall just got his license renewed in Phoenix in 20 minutes. If Real ID lengthens his wait, it's fine with him.

RODY MARSHALL, PHOENIX RESIDENT: I don't think everybody should just automatically get a driver's license. If it takes -- if it takes a day of your time, that's what it takes.

MESERVE: Homeland Security is taking an even harder line.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: If we don't get it done now, someone is going to be sitting around in three or four years explaining to the next 9/11 Commission why we didn't do it.

MESERVE: Because the next person who tries to get a driver's license may want to do harm to the country, not just get a laugh.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Phoenix.


A small plane crashes in the water. One more brush with death for an Olympic champ. We'll have the details straight ahead from the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Well, an odd twist and the trial of Scooter Libby. Odd and potentially crucial to the perjury trial of the former top aide to Vice President Cheney.

Joining us now from the federal courthouse in Washington, CNN's Brianna Keilar -- Brianna.


The jury continued deliberations late this morning with just 11 jurors. One of the jurors was dismissed from the jury for having some contact with outside information, information about the case outside of the courtroom.

What we understand is that this woman -- this is a woman, a white woman. She's a former curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She's also full time now a researcher and writer. And she's one of the older members on the jury.

Now, right now, or earlier, we heard arguments from both the defense and the prosecution about what to do as this juror was being dismissed. Libby's defense attorneys argued for continuing deliberations with just 11 jurors. The prosecution, the government, said that they wanted to add a 12th juror and begin deliberations back at the very beginning, starting all over.

In the end, Judge Reggie Walton decided to go ahead with 11 jurors, saying that he didn't want to scrap two and a half full days of deliberations -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Brianna. Appreciate the update.

LEMON: When the weather outside is frightful, you can always send us something delightful. Viewer I-Reports at CNN are piling up, along with the snow.


PHILLIPS: Want to take you live to the White House right now. We're waiting for a very special Medal of Honor ceremony.

Forty-one years ago, Bruce Crandall flew his unarmed Huey helicopter into the deadliest landing zone of the Vietnam War not once or twice, but 22 times to save his comrades. Pretty soon retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall will receive the Medal of Honor, the military's highest award. We'll take it live.

LEMON: Look forward to that.

And Pandora's box, child play compared to the potential trouble inside a limestone casket that allegedly turned up outside of Jerusalem.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What they've done here is simply tried, in a very, very, I think, dishonest way, to try and go and con the public into believing that this is the tomb of Jesus.


LEMON: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, do you believe it or not?

And a quick check of the markets before we go to break. Susan Lisovicz has more from the New York Stock Exchange a little bit later on in the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

"Courage under fire" -- Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall wrote a definition for that phrase more than 40 years ago flying helicopters in Vietnam. We'll share the story that's finally earning him the Medal of Honor.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

It is the bottom of the hour. Ammo in, soldiers out. Again and again, under enemy fire, the GIs were wounded, the chopper shot up and replaced. Again and again, Bruce Crandall flew in, flew out, flew back in again, all in the line of duty.

The place is Vietnam. The year, 1965. And today retired Lieutenant Colonel Crandall receives the Medal of Honor at the White House. We'll bring that ceremony to you live as it gets under way.

You're looking at live pictures there.

Now, here's more on the recipient from CNN's Barbara Starr. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LT. COLONEL BRUCE CRANDALL (RET.), TO RECEIVE MEDAL OF HONOR: The top row, that's a distinguished service cross.

STARR (voice over): Bruce Crandall is already a Hollywood war hero. Greg Kinnear played him in the Mel Gibson Vietnam War film "We Were Soldiers."

GREG KINNEAR, ACTOR, "WE WERE SOLDIERS": I don't suppose I have a choice in all of this.


STARR: But Vietnam was agonizingly real for Bruce Crandall. Forty years later, his heroics will be recognized by the nation when President Bush awards him the Medal of Honor, the highest military recognition.

It was November, 1965. U.S. troops dropped by helicopter into a remote area of South Vietnam. Crandall is in the lead helicopter when hell erupts on the landing zone below.

LT. COL. BRUCE CRANDALL, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I had my crew chief shot through the throat. The radio operator was hit and killed before he could unhook.

STARR: For hours, Crandall flew wounded troops out of the killing zone. Fourteen times he landed, no matter how heavy the enemy fire became.

CRANDALL: It was the longest day I've ever experienced in any aircraft.

STARR: Crandall and his wingman saved more than 70 men. Each time his helicopter got too shot up to fly, he switched to a new one, taking troops out, bringing in more ammunition to the stranded troops below. At a time when the nation is again focused on an unpopular war, Crandall speaks to today's young pilots with modesty most of us cannot fathom.

CRANDALL: Most young aviators have a question of how they're going to react if they haven't been in combat yet. I found out I didn't like to get shot at but it was part of the job.

STARR: Many of Crandall's aging comrades wrote letters to the Pentagon detailing their memories of a man who risked his life to make sure no one was left behind. This man, they say, deserves the Medal of Honor. Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


LEMON: Back now live to the White House and that ceremony. Let's take a listen.

BUSH: As an officer, Bruce always put his men before himself. Today, his men are here for him, and this afternoon, 41 years after his heroic actions in Vietnam, America recognizes Bruce Crandall with our highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor. I appreciate Secretary of Defense Bob Gates joining us today. Mr. Secretary, you are always welcome here at the White House. I appreciate the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, welcome. I appreciate members of the United States Congress who have joined us starting with the ranking member of the senate appropriations committee, subcommittee on defense, Ted Stevens, senator from Alaska. Congressman Norm Dicks who happens to be the U.S. congressman from Colonel Crandall's district. Congressman welcome. Congressman Jim Marshall, Congressman Patrick Murphy, we are glad you are here. Thank you for coming. Appreciate very much, Dr. Fran Harvey, as secretary of the army. General Pete Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs, General Pete Schoomaker, chief of staff of the United States Army. I thank all the other members of the military who joined us, particularly want to say thanks and welcome to the Medal of Honor recipients who are with us today, Harvey Barnham, Bob Foley, Jack Jacobs, Joe Mann, Bob Patterson, Al Riscon, Gordon Roberts and Brian Thacker, welcome.

I appreciate the families, friends and comrades of Bruce Crandall. David Hicks, thank you for your blessings. The journey that brought Bruce Crandall to this day began 74 years ago in Olympia, Washington. Growing up, Bruce was a gifted athlete and a bit of a handful. A teacher once observed that he had, quote, a unique ability to get into trouble and out of trouble without any trouble at all. At Olympia High School, Bruce was named an all-American in baseball. He batted .612 for the league champs. We better check the scorecards. His dream was to be drafted by the New York Yankees. Instead, he got drafted by the U.S. Army. He was commissioned as an officer, trained as an aviator. His early career took him on mapping missions over Alaska and North Africa and Latin America. In 1963, he reported to Ft. Benning to help lead a new unit that would become known as the air cavalry. Two years later he arrived in Vietnam as a major and as a commanding officer in the 229th assault helicopter battalion. As a leader, Major Crandall earned the respect of his men with his honesty and his humor. He earned their admiration with his remarkable control over a Huey. His radio call sign was ancient serpent 6, which has been shortened to old snake. Or sometimes they used a more colorful nickname. Which we better not pronounce.

On the morning of November 14th, 1965, Major Crandall's unit was transporting a battalion of soldiers to a remote spot in the Yadrang Valley to a landing zone called x-ray. After several routine lifts into the area, the men on the ground came under a massive attack from the North Vietnamese army. On Major Crandall's next flight, three soldiers on his helicopter were killed, three more were wounded. But instead of lifting off to safety, Major Crandall kept his chopper on the ground in the direct line of enemy fire, so that four wounded soldiers could be loaded aboard. Major Crandall flew the men back to base where the injuries could be treated. At that point, he had fulfilled his mission. But he knew that soldiers on the ground were outnumbered and low on ammunition. So Major Crandall decided to fly back into x-ray. He asked for a volunteer to join him. Captain Ed Freeman stepped forward. In their unarmed choppers, they flew through a cloud of smoke and a wave of bullets. They delivered desperately needed supplies. They carried out more of the wounded. Even though medical evacuation was really not their mission. If Major Crandall had stopped here, he would have been a hero. But he didn't stop. He flew back into x-ray again and again. Fourteen times he flew into what they call the valley of death. He made those flights knowing that he faced what was later described as an almost unbelievably extreme risk to his life.

Over the course of the day, Major Crandall had to fly three different choppers. Two were damaged so badly they could not stay in the air. Yet he kept flying until every wounded man had been evacuated and every need of the battalion had been met. When they touched down on their last flight, Major Crandall and Captain Freeman had spent more than 14 hours in the air. They had evacuated some 70 wounded men. They had provided a lifeline that allowed the battalion to survive the day. To the men of Yadrang, the image of Major Crandall's helicopter coming to their rescue was one they'll never forget. One officer who witnessed the battle wrote Major Crandall's actions were without question the most valorous I've observed of any helicopter pilot in Vietnam. The battalion commander said without Crandall, this battalion would almost have surely been overrun. Another officer said, I will always be in awe of Major Bruce Crandall. For his part, Bruce has never seen it that way. Here's what he said. "There was never a consideration that we would not go into those landing zones. They were my people down there, and they trusted in me to come and get them."

As the years have passed, Bruce Crandall's character and leadership have only grown clearer. He went on to make more rescue flights in Vietnam. He served a second tour and he retired from the army as a lieutenant colonel. As a private citizen, he's continued to serve. He's worked in local government. He speaks to students all across our country. One of his favorite stops is Midland, Texas. Happens to be where Laura and I grew up. In fact, he'd been to Midland so many times, they gave him the key of the city. It's not exactly the Medal of Honor. It's not a bad thing to have. Maybe one day I'll get a key to the city. A few years ago Bruce learned he was being considered for our nation's highest military distinction. When he found out that Captain Freeman had also been nominated, Bruce insisted that his own name be withdrawn. If only one of them were to receive the Medal of Honor, he wanted it to be his wingman. So when I presented the medal to Captain Freeman in 2001, Bruce was here in the White House. Captain Freeman wished he were here today, but he got snowed in Iowa, but his spirit is with us.

And today, the story comes to its rightful conclusion. Bruce Crandall received the honor he always deserved. And men like Bruce Crandall, we really see the best of America. He and his fellow soldiers were brave, brave folks. They were as noble and selfless as any who have ever worn our nation's uniform. On this day of pride, we remember their comrades who gave their lives and those who are still missing. We remember the terrible telegrams that arrived at Ft. Benning, the families devastated, the children who traced their father's name on panel 3 east of the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Our sadness has not diminished with time. Yet we're also comforted by the knowledge that the suffering and grief could have been far worse. One of the reasons it was not is because the man we honor today. For the soldiers rescued, for the men who came home, for the children they had and the lives they made, America is in debt to Bruce Crandall. It's a debt our nation can never really fully repay. But today we recognize it as best as we are able, and we bestow upon this good and gallant man the Medal of Honor. Commander, please read the citation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States of America authorized by act of congress March 3rd, 1863, has awarded in the name of congress the Medal of Honor to Major Bruce P. Crandall, United States Army. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Major Bruce P. Crandall distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism as a flight commander in the Republic of Vietnam while serving with Company A 229th assault helicopter battalion 1st cavalry division air mobile. On 14 November, 1965, his flight of 16 helicopters was lifting troops for a search and destroy mission from (INAUDIBLE) Vietnam to landing zone x-ray in the Yadrang Valley. On the fourth troop lift, the airlift began to take enemy fire. And by the time the aircraft had refueled and returned for the next troop lift, the enemy had landing zone x-ray targeted. As Major Crandall and the first eight helicopters landed to discharge troops on his fifth troop lift, his unarmed helicopter came under such intense enemy fire that the ground commander ordered the second flight of eight aircraft to abort their mission.

As Major Crandall flew back to Play May, his base of operations, he determined that the ground commander of the besieged infantry battalion desperately needed more ammunition. Major Crandall then decided to adjust his base of operations to artillery fire-based falcon in order to shorten the flight distance to deliver ammunition and evacuate wounded soldiers. While medical evacuation was not his mission, he immediately sought volunteers and with complete disregard for his own personal safety, led the two aircraft to landing zone x- ray. Despite the fact that the landing zone was still under relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall landed and proceeded to supervise the loading of seriously wounded soldiers aboard his aircraft. Major Crandall's voluntary decision to land under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft. And in the ground forces, the realization that they would be resupplied and that friendly wounded would be promptly evacuated.

This greatly enhanced morale and the will to fight at a critical time. After his first medical evacuation, Major Crandall continued to fly into and out of the landing zone throughout the day and into the evening. That day, he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire. Retiring from the battle field only after all possible service had been rendered to the infantry battalion. His actions provided critical resupply of ammunition and evacuation of the wounded. Major Crandall's daring acts of bravery and courage in the face of an overwhelming and determined enemy are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.

LEMON: Very moving moment there at the White House. Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall being bestowed upon him the highest honor of military personnel can get, the Medal of Honor there. Alongside him in the blue dress is his wife Arlene. Also in the audience his three sons, his three grandchildren, being honored for his heroic effort in the battle of Yadrang. Do we want to listen in to him? Let's take a listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bless our president, his family and the leaders of our nation as they guide this great country. Today we pray for the servicemen and women who are on deployment and, in particular, those who are in harm's way. We lift their families before you. May the goodness of God, the steadfast love of the lord and enduring strength of God reside with our nation, the United States of America. We pray this in the gracious name of our lord, amen.

LEMON: The Medal of Honor today being bestowed upon Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Crandall.

PHILLIPS: A number of heroes trying to survive the violence in Iraq. Getting word right now that a suicide car bomber exploded outside a police station in Ramadi killing at least 13 people and wounding 10 others. As you know, this is the second bombing to strike this volatile area of the Anbar Province in less than a week. A truck bomb had struck worshippers leaving a mosque on Saturday in Habaniya, and that's just to the east of Ramadi, killing more than 50 people. We're being told the bomber tried to slam through a checkpoint just outside the police station in central Ramadi but exploded after police opened fire against them. At least three policemen were also killed, 10 civilians while the wounded included three women, three children and six men according to our reports. We'll stay on top of that.

Faith and forensics collide in Jerusalem. Some say the contents of this box could blow the lid off of centuries of Christian beliefs. We're digging for details, is that where Jesus was buried? We're going to look at it, straight from the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Well, it's a provocative project to say the least. A new documentary suggests the bones of Jesus and his family were found in 1980 in Jerusalem. Clearly that wouldn't mesh with biblical accounts that Jesus was crucified, resurrected and ascended into heaven. Joining us now with his perspective Professor Darrell Bock of the Dallas Theological Seminary. And Daryl, I want to get right to a clip from the director's news conference today James Cameron speaking about his film. Let's take a listen.


JAMES CAMERON, FILM DIRECTOR: I think there will certainly be those that will say that we're attempting to, in some way, undermine Christianity. And that's really, really very far from the case. I think what this find does and what this film does and what this investigation does is it celebrates the real life existence of these people, this man who 2000 years ago had a vision, communicated it to people and in a viral way it spread around the world over the next -- over the subsequent centuries. And it resounds down to us now in present day in a way that no other human being has ever had the same type of impact.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Do you think this really is a find as James Cameron says, or is this all hype?

PROF. DARRELL BOCK, DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY: It's a lot of hype. I mean, it is a find in the sense that we have known about it for -- since 1980. Those of us who work in the discipline have known about this find for quite some time. We've known about the names that were on these Ossuaries for quite some time. And the reason it didn't cause a stir when it was originally discovered is because the names on the Ossuaries are quite common.

COLLINS: So what would you need to see to tell you without a shadow of a doubt that these are the remains of Jesus?

BOCK: Well it would need to be in a location that fits the location of Jesus' family. Jesus' family comes from Galilee. What we have to believe here is that pilgrims came down to celebrate a feast in Jerusalem. One of their members was executed, controversially. They secretly bought a tomb and then put the rest of his family in it. And that's very unlikely. If there were a family tomb tied to Jesus it would be far more likely be in Galilee than in Jerusalem.

COLLINS: All right, so the location already debunks this theory in your eyes?

BOCK: That's correct. The location is a problem. The nature of the Ossuary itself is a problem. We have to believe that these people stole the body, secretly purchased this location, had a year to prepare the Ossuary, did it with graffiti-like script on the Ossuary to honor this one who they thought was great and then they turn around knowing that they've buried him and go out and preach that the tomb was empty and that his body disappeared along with him.

COLLINS: So you believe that the bones are a stolen body?

BOCK: No, I believe the -- I don't know where the bones belong to. They belong to someone. We don't even know if that's a family tomb or just a tomb in the region. There are many things we don't know. When the news conference talked about all the questions that this raised, they are exactly right. There are a lot of questions here but the answers do not point in the direction that these are the bones of Jesus.

COLLINS: All right, well, let's just say they are. Who knows, right? I mean, you never know, Darrell. And let's say it's proven true. If you look at Mark 16:6 in the bible, this is just an interesting thought when Mary and others are at the tomb and an angel says to them, "You're looking for Jesus, the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid him." So there's that question of full spirit, full human. It leads to those questions.

BOCK: Yes, and what the Christian church has said for centuries is this resurrection was not a mere resurrection of the spirit. It's a bodily resurrection. This view of resurrection comes out of Judaism. Judaism believed in a physical resurrection along with the body that God would redeem the entirety of the person, not just some of him. We know this from works like second Macabees that come in the intertestamenal(ph) period between the old and new testaments. And so that's why a mere spirit resurrection doesn't really take us anywhere. We'd have to redefine Christianity and the Jesus that we have here is not the Jesus of Christianity, it's something else.

COLLINS: So what else could it be?

BOCK: Well, it's just a tomb, one of many that's located in Jerusalem. That's basically it. There are too many dots that have to be connected for this to be true. There are lots of assumptions in the facts that these -- that the documentary claims to have. There are too many assumptions in the facts they are quoting that are problematic and they all have to line up for this to be true.

COLLINS: Tell me the dots. You say that a number of dots would have to be connected.

BOCK: Well I've given you one of them, just the whole idea about how Jesus' family from Galilee ends up with a tomb in Jerusalem.

COLLINS: Location, right.

BOCK: But another one is the idea of Mary -- this Mary Amine Name. We have no idea that she's Mary of Magdalene that has to be assumed. The DNA claims prove absolutely nothing. If I ran a DNA test on you and asked, how many people -- how many males do you not match up with, I wouldn't expect to get many matches. There are only so many biological relatives you have. So having a non match is non news.

COLLINS: So has James -- I wonder if you'll get a call from James Cameron now. Are you interested in talking to him?

BOCK: I'd love to talk to him. We're all interested in pursuing the truth. And I think they are right to say that these questions are worth raising. I just think when you really take a look at it, the answers will be in a completely different direction than what they're claiming.

PHILLIPS: Professor Darrell Bock. You know we'll all be paying close attention, you're with the Dallas Theological Seminary, always great to talk to you. Thanks Darrell.

BOCK: Thanks, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight will host James Cameron. Hopefully Larry will ask those exact questions that Dr. Darrell Bock brings up. Watch "LARRY KING LIVE" tonight.

LEMON: 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN. Well, don't know where, don't know when. The burial of Anna Nicole Smith is still on hold. Meantime, it's off to the Bahamas to figure out fatherhood issues. The latest straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Hey, big buyout on Wall Street today, has many shades of green. Green not only in terms of historic price tag but also because of its unusual support from environmental groups. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange with all the green details for us. Hi, Susan.

SUSAN LISOVICZ: Hi, Don. Yeah, it's a huge deal. So that is your first shade of green. Forty-five billion dollars in cash and debt. That's how much a group of private equity firms will pay for TXU, a Texas-based electric utility. That makes it the biggest deal of its kind. Kulver, Kravitz, Roberts and Texas Pacific Group are among the buyers. "The Wall Street Journal" says those firms tried to buy utilities before but faced criticism from state officials, consumers and environmentalists. But now KKR and Texas Pacific are making early concessions to win the support of those groups, like agreeing to abandoned efforts to build eight of the 11 coal plants that TXU had planned. That would save an estimated 56 million tons of annual carbon emissions. And that is another shade of green, obviously Don.

LEMON: So Susan, because they're changing owners, does that mean any changes for consumers as well.

LISOVICZ: It does, at least at this point Don. TXU says the terms of the deal include a 10 percent price cut for residential customers adding up to $300 million in the first year. The utility company serves more than 2 million customers, but some analysts are skeptical, saying that if more plants aren't built, prices could actually rise because of a lack of supply.



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