Return to Transcripts main page
Captured British Sailors Return Home; Hard Landing for Helicopter Hit in Iraq; New Car Safety Feature Mandated by 2012; More Dog Food Added to Recall List
Aired April 5, 2007 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Brianna Keilar in for Kyra Phillips, who's on assignment in Iraq.
LEMON: The British are back with quite a story to tell and, interestingly enough, a few parting gifts from their captors.
KEILAR: Plus, new rules on the roads. It means big changes for the car of the future.
LEMON: And we are waiting for a live briefing at the Pentagon today.
KEILAR: What will top brass in the U.S. say about the Iran-U.K. incident?
You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: Relieved to be home, the Britons held in Iran are back on their home turf. What happens to them next? And what are the British people and government saying? And what does the U.S. do if this happens to American service members?
We're covering all the angles right here for you in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: But first, a story that comes to us from the Greek island of Santorini. A cruise ship there carrying almost 1,200 people, most of them American, is taking on water. It's listing. And so because of that, all of these people had to be evacuated off of this cruise ship. It's a Greek flagged ship called the Sea Diamond.
Now, at this point, no reports of injuries. But we understand that this ship had to be evacuated because it ran into rocks there. This is a volcanic island. And we understand that the ship hit a reef inside this volcano's lake-like lagoon.
We also understand that at least 30 students from the Raleigh, North Carolina, area are also on this ship. And as these details continue to unfold, we'll bring you the very latest -- Don.
LEMON: And we'll go back now to our top story. A nation exhales. Fifteen British families are right now celebrating the safe return of their sailor or their marine at the end of a 13-day staring contest with Iran. It's still unclear who, if anyone, blinked, but today is a day of tears, hugs, and also smiles.
And ITN's Helen Callahan is at a marine base in North Devlin.
HELEN CALLAHAN, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the day that these families have been waiting for. They didn't dare believe that it would ever happen. But now, their loved ones are back on British soil. And that's exactly what they've been praying for for the last 13 days or so.
I was with some of the families over the last few days, and they were telling me what an emotional roller coaster they've been on. Just relief, really, when they heard yesterday what was going to happen. That they were cautiously optimistic, I suppose, stoic, really, just trying to hang in there, waiting for their loved ones to actually come home.
And now, finally, they've been reunited with them. So really, here, they were just so anxious before they arrived. And now that they've seen them, there's been tears aplenty. There have been hugs, and there have been kisses.
We're being told really here at the naval base that it depends on what the sailors and marines want to do next. It really is up to them. They deserve a bit of down time, said their minders today.
And they know that the first thing they'll want to do is to have a chat with their family, to be reunited with them and just to have perhaps a dinner tonight more than anything else.
They'll probably stay here in Devlin tonight. And then they'll be debriefed over the next couple of days.
Really, it's informal at the moment. They're having a physical check. They're having psychological assessments and that kind of thing. Even, perhaps, toxicology tests, we're told, as well.
But, of course, there will be intelligence the various authorities need to glean from these people, and that will be done at various intervals between their meetings with their families.
LEMON: All right, in just moments ago, we have a statement from the British Royal Air Force on behalf of the British sailors and marine. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: All right. We'll get that statement for you in just a minute. But sailors are back home, again. They were released yesterday, traveled this morning by airplane commercially to Britain. And now they're back.
Let's take a listen to the response now from the British Air Force, the Royal Air Force on behalf of the sailors and the marine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It goes without saying that we're extremely happy to be back home in the U.K. and reunited with our loved ones. Touching down at Heathrow this morning was, for all of us, a dream come true, and the welcome home that we've enjoyed today is one none of us will ever forget.
The past two weeks have been very difficult. But by staying together as a team, we kept our spirit up, drawing great comfort from the knowledge that our loved ones would be waiting us on our return to the U.K.
It is only now that we have learned of the enormous public support we've all enjoyed in the U.K., and we wish to thank everyone for their thoughts, kind words, and prayers. It means so much to us all.
We will long to be back with our loved ones, and now that we are home, we are all very much looking forward to spending some time with them. While we're extremely grateful for all of the support we've had from the media, we would also ask that we would have some space and privacy at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All smiles, new clothes and souvenirs from their almost two weeks in Iran. Fifteen British sailors and marines, looking well fed and healthy, are back in the U.K. and back in the arms of their families.
Before they left Tehran, though, some of the troops made a last appearance Iranian television. We've translated their comments from Farsi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAYE TURNEY, FREED BRITISH SAILOR (through translator): I had a very pleasant stay. I will go back to my country to see my daughter and my family. Under the circumstances it is apparent that our stay was pleasant in Iran. All our wishes were granted. We do not have any bad feelings towards Iran. And we are indebted to the Iranians. They were kind to us, and they took care of us.
LT. FELIX CARMAN, FREED BRITISH SAILOR (through translator): We had a very kind treatment -- they were generous and good to us. Many Britons do not know much about Iran or the Iranian people. I think if the west knew more about Iran, we would witness more cooperation. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now check out those colorful bags the troops were carrying as they got off of the plane in London. We're told that sailors and marines received parting gifts from the government of Iran. So what's inside? Well, we can only guess at this point.
Today, though, the troops are home. The families are relieved. Prime Minister Tony Blair says he's rejoicing. So now what?
CNN European political editor Robin Oakley is in London -- Robin.
ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN EUROPEAN POLITICAL EDITOR: Hello, Brianna.
Well, of course, Tony Blair shared the joy and relief of the nation of the marines and sailors being back safely in Britain, back in uniform, back with their families.
But he chose to greet their return in a rather somber way, linking it with the deaths of more British soldiers in Iraq and pointing out that Iran may have released these captives, but it is still actively involved, he said, in financing and supporting terrorism in Iraq.
It was a deliberate counter to the kind of public relations coup that President Ahmadinejad had had in releasing the captives. And Tony Blair insisted that he was keen to use the new channels of communication opened with Iran, but if that was going to happen, then Iran was going to have to change. Iran, he said, have a choice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The choice, in a sense, is a choice that has to be made by Iran because, as I've said before, and I say again, the possibility of the different relationship with the international community is there. But it has to be based on proper support for the will of that community. And the choice in the end is one that Iran will have to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OAKLEY: Mr. Blair was also keen to defend his handling of the crisis, and particularly his involvement of the United Nations Security Council and the European Union, getting them to back Britain and put pressure on Iran.
Iran had argued that, look, you get the best results with us by respecting us as a nation, dealing directly with us in bilateral talks. And that was how in the end the problems of getting the captives out were resolved.
But Tony Blair is arguing still that, if you don't have the international pressure as well as those bilateral talks, you don't get results with Iran -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Robin Oakley following this all for us from London. Thanks for that, Robin.
LEMON: And President Bush spoke with Tony Blair today about Iran's release of its British captives. Let's go to the White House and our White House correspondent, Elaine Quijano -- not at the White House. She's at the ranch near Crawford.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The western White House.
LEMON: Yes, the western White House. I'm so used to saying that you're on the White House lawn.
So what did the president say to Tony Blair? Did we get word of that?
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's interesting. Gordon Johndroe, who is the spokesman for the National Security Council, just wrapped up the off camera briefing today known as the gaggle, of course, here in Crawford.
And he says that President Bush spoke to British Prime Minister Tony Blair by secure video conference for about an hour. In that time, the president welcomed the safe return of the British personnel who had been detained in Iraq.
He also commended the British on their resolve, as Johndroe put it, in bringing the situation to a peaceful resolution.
Now, Johndroe made it a point, though, to go on and talk about how the United States, Bush administration, hopes that the Iranians will now move forward in their compliance with their obligations under the U.N. Security Council resolutions. Of course, the United States and other countries want to see Iran take steps to curb its nuclear ambitions.
And Johndroe was pressed just a short time ago about what the White House's role specifically might have been in these negotiations, in this whole process between the U.K. and Iran.
Johndroe essentially emphasizing that it was just that: a process between the U.K. and Iran and really describing the efforts to secure the release of those British navy personnel as something that was conducted between those two countries.
He was asked about a report -- a published report that perhaps there might be some sort of linkage between the White House and the situation and the process. He said, if you're suggesting that there was a linkage between any other releases or others held in detention, there have been none. He said, really, this is a process between the U.K. and Iran.
And what he was referring to there is the release of an Iranian diplomat in Iraq. But the White House emphatically saying today that this indeed was a situation and a process that was carried out between the U.K. and Iran and really talking about the White House playing a supporting role in all of this -- Don.
LEMON: Elaine Quijano at the western White House at the ranch near Crawford. Thank you so much for your report.
KEILAR: Another U.S. helicopter has crashed in Iraq. Investigators want to know whether enemy fire brought it down.
And CNN's Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Baghdad with more on that.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.
Early indications are that this U.S. helicopter was, in fact, hit by small arms fire as it was flying over southern Baghdad. Now it's not clear whether the small arms fire was indeed what brought this helicopter down or whether the pilot maybe noticed that his helicopter had gotten hit and decided to land as fast as possible.
Now, nine people were onboard this helicopter, and four of them were injured in this very, very hard landing south of Baghdad. And really, the helicopters here in Iraq have been a major concern for the U.S. military all of this year. From late January to late February, eight U.S. helicopters were brought down here in Iraq. And for a long time, the U.S. military feared that maybe the insurgents had found some sort of new tactic to bring U.S. helicopters down -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And what can you tell us now? We're understanding that the U.S. Army now reporting about a friendly fire incident that took place back in February.
What can you tell us about that, Frederik?
PLEITGEN: Absolutely, Brianna. The U.S. military tells us that it is investigating this possible friendly fire incident.
Now, all of this happened in early February, as you said, as the unit that these two soldiers were in was in operations in Anbar province. That, of course, is very much a hot bed for the insurgency in this country. And the U.S. military told us that it had informed the relatives of these two soldiers that they had been killed while by enemy fire while in operations in Anbar province.
But now additional analysis seems to indicate that maybe friendly fire was involved. Now, the U.S. military says that this is still very much under investigation and that new information will be disclosed once that investigation is complete -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Frederik Pleitgen, reporting for us from Baghdad. Thanks for that report.
And Pentagon brass are planning a news conference later this hour. You'll see it right here in the CNN NEWSROOM at 1:45 Eastern.
LEMON: In the meantime, Brianna, I want to get to -- to some developing news happening in Pasadena, California. Let's take a look at some pictures now from our affiliate, KABC, in Pasadena, California. Here's what's happening here. A balcony of a two-story office building has collapsed. Now we're going to pictures from KCAL in Pasadena. The balcony of a two-story office building collapsed. There are reports here that at least eight to ten tenants who are trapped, and they are sheltering in place in this building.
But again, a balcony has collapsed. And we don't have any word on any injuries yet, exactly how it happened, what caused this balcony to collapse. You can see emergency workers there on the scene, trying to get a handle on exactly what happened. On the left of your screen, that's the emergency workers. On the right, it would appear to be the balcony there.
And then some folks, I would imagine inside according to the reports that we're getting here to CNN that they're sheltering in place.
Again, no reports of any injuries here. We're checking all of this out for you to try to figure out exactly what's going on. We're going to bring you the latest here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
But again, this is in Pasadena, California, some developing news here that we plan to follow and get to the bottom of.
KEILAR: Captured by the enemy. It's a hazard of war, the U.S. military trains for. And coming up, a crash course from retired Army General Spider Marks.
LEMON: And setting a new standard for what's standard in your new car. Ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM, we've got control issues. Buckle up. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: Seventeen after the hour now. And here are three of the stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM.
No reports of injuries after 1,600 passengers are evacuated from a Greek cruise ship. The Sea Diamond began taking on water after it struck rocks off the island of Santorini.
And 15 British sailors and marines are back home after being held by Iran for almost two weeks. They're undergoing medical checks and debriefings at a marine base southwest of London.
Also, a U.S. military official tells CNN that an Army helicopter that went down south of Baghdad today appears to have been damaged by small arms fire. Four of the nine personnel onboard were hurt.
LEMON: All right. You can flip a coin, you can flip a house, but you don't want to flip your car. That's for sure. By the year 2012, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. will have to have anti- rollover technology.
CNN's Allan Chernoff has more on today's announcement at the New York International Auto Show. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Department of Transportation is hoping to make driving safer by requiring all new cars and light trucks to have electronic stability control by model year 2012.
The department estimates that will reduce the incidents of single car crashes by a third and crashes involving one SUV by more than half and would eliminate the majority of rollovers, as well, which are so deadly. The transportation secretary says the new technology is a lifesaver.
MARY PETERS, SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: Electronic stability control has the potential to save thousands of lives every year. Right up there, when we look back, we look at the seat belt, we look at adding automatic brakes, things like that are very important in terms of safety features. And ESC has the potential to save, as the administrator said, between 5,000 and almost 10,000 lives a year.
CHERNOFF: Indeed, the department estimates the technology could save between 5,000 and 10,000 lives a year on the nation's highways and roads.
Right now, electronic stability control is in about one-third of all new vehicles. And adding that technology to a vehicle on average would increase the cost by about $111.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, New York.
LEMON: All right. And we will get the lowdown on stability control systems ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM. Why they are needed and what they are going to cost car drivers or car buyers. Csaba Csere of "Car and Driver" magazine joins us next hour.
KEILAR: And coming in right now, new details on that pet food recall. The Food and Drug Administration just has some new information now, and CNN medical producer Miriam Falco was at a news conference that just wrapped up. She's on the phone with us now.
What can you tell us, Miriam?
MIRIAM FALCO, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: Well, actually, the telebriefing is still going on as we speak. But the Food and Drug Administration announced today that they've identified an additional company, a different company from Menu Foods that's produce some dog biscuits that appear to be contaminated with the wheat gluten that is contaminated with melamine.
They have not specified which dog biscuits. They say this will be announced later today. The company is called Sunshine Mills, and they're based in Red Bay, Alabama.
And Menu Foods also now -- they're also announcing at Menu Foods, the first company that's been mentioned in this ongoing pet food recall, is expanding the recall -- the dates, the recall dates of some of the products. And that information will be released a little later today, too.
The only other thing that they've added at this point is that the FDA has still no evidence that any of this contaminated wheat gluten has entered the human food supply. That's about it.
KEILAR: Well, it sounds, Miriam, like this is a situation that a lot of pet owners really were concerned about, that how far was this going to go? So obviously, this is going above and beyond what it was in the last weeks.
FALCO: Well, the FDA has told us that they've received over 10,000 complaints from consumers about pet products. They're still sifting through those. This is an ongoing investigation and it's -- it's obviously not over yet. And there will be updates when the FDA learns more.
KEILAR: All right. And we'll keep an eye on that. Thanks for that, Miriam Falco, CNN medical producer.
Again, dog biscuits containing contaminated wheat gluten, wheat gluten contaminated with melamine. The FDA has not announced at this point which biscuits are included in this recall, but that should be coming later this afternoon. And we will bring you the very latest on that as it becomes available -- Don.
LEMON: What can you feed your pet? That's going to be the question coming up.
Well, a tense drama staged to perfection? That's the question. A look at how Iran handled the British sailor standoff, straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: And a reminder: we're standing by for a Pentagon briefing at 45 past the hour. We're expecting to hear from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and joint chiefs chairman, Peter Pace. That's straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.
LEMON: This just in to the CNN NEWSROOM. We want to get you to Reddington, New Jersey. You're looking at pictures from our affiliate, WABC.
Now according to reports there, an FBI agent was wounded in a shootout with three bank robbery suspects. It's in north central New Jersey. And that's according to the Associated Press and to law enforcement officials.
Now here's what they are telling us here, that the FBI agents were investigating a string of recent bank robberies in that area when they came upon the suspects leaving a bank near Route 22 in Reddington. And then a shootout ensued. One suspect was captured, and two fled to nearby woods. And then the state and local authorities are searching for the suspects with helicopters and also with dogs.
You're looking at video here. This is new video just into the CNN NEWSROOM.
If you're in that area, State Route 22 is closed off. Live pictures now: a flood of police cars and officers from multiple law enforcement agencies are on the scene in the area.
This is a PNC Bank in Reddington, New Jersey.
Now, the agent who was shot was rushed to the hospital. No details on his condition. But, again, they were chasing some suspects. They were on a job in that area and then came across some suspects in recent bank robberies.
This is all unfolding right now as I'm speaking in Reddington, New Jersey, live pictures now from our affiliate WABC. We'll try to get the condition of that FBI agent and some more details about this incident and bring it to you right here on the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: Some business news for you now. Think of the worst possible place for a security breach. And here's a hint: it's very busy every year on the 15th of April. You probably got it there.
Susan Lisovicz, though, if you didn't, is at the New York Stock Exchange with all of the details.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna.
Yes, it's yet another case of missing laptops. And this time it's at the IRS.
Between 2003 and 2006, nearly 500 laptops were lost or stolen from the IRS, and that could put many thousands of taxpayers at risk of identity theft or fraud.
And here's what may be even more startling. A new report from the inspector general of the IRS says the agency was warned about security problems back in 2003 but didn't act until three years later.
Senator Chuck Grassley, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said there will be a hearing next week, and he plans to ask the IRS what it's doing about identity theft and fraudulent tax returns.
But in the meantime, there are 500 of them that have disappeared. That is laptops -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Of course, that's a concern, but the real concern, too, right, is that any of this stolen information that might be used or will be used in the future. Is there any concern? Has that happened? LISOVICZ: Not yet, Brianna. Boy, when you think about what the IRS has -- the most personal of information from millions of Americans. The IRS says there are no reports of I.D. theft that can be linked to the missing laptops so far.
It's certainly a concern. The report says the laptops lacked adequate password controls and encryption software. But the IRS said it's moved aggressively since last summer to fix security flaws. Employees have been trained in computer security, and most laptops now have automatic encryption software. Let's hope so.
LISOVICZ: Coming up in the next hour, the days of golf and shuffle board may be waning. More -- more Americans are saying no to retirement.
Back to you, Brianna and Don.
KEILAR: All right, thank you, Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange for us.
LEMON: I want to get back to the scene of a developing story happening in Reddington, New Jersey, a very strange story. It appears that there were a string of bank robberies in this area. FBI agents were investigating these bank robberies when they came up on the bank robbers at a bank that they were going to.
Now according to the Associated Press, one of those FBI agents was shot, and he is in the hospital. Don't know his condition at this hour.
Again, investigating a string of recent bank robberies in central New Jersey when they came upon the suspects leaving the bank. The bank is a PNC Bank, near Route 22 in Reddington. A shootout ensued when they came upon this suspect.
One suspect, however, was captured. Two fled, as you can see there from these pictures, into the woods where you can see the officers and that SWAT team. They're looking for him. According to local authorities, they're searching this area not only with people in the woods, but also with helicopters and with dogs. That's State Route 22, which is where that bank is near is closed off. And a flood of police cars and officers, as you can see there from the pictures that we just had on the scene, all looking for the suspects.
Live pictures now. You can see the police car working its way through the parking lot as they continue to look for these suspects.
Again, one agent shot here, rushed to the hospital, is being treated. Don't know the word on his condition. We'll try to get that to you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: And good news coming out of the story there in California. This is Pasadena. There was a balcony collapse at a two- story office building. This happened inside an atrium area of the building. We now understand from Pasadena Fire Department officials that all of the tenants have safely managed to get out of the building uninjured. There was some concern there, because about eight or 10 tenants were trapped, and they were sheltering in place. And so at this point, those tenants are safe and everyone has gotten out of this building safely. And at this point, emergency workers are trying to shore up the building. So a good ending there -- Don.
LEMON: All right, we'll be back right here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Details on all of these developing stories when we come back.
LEMON: Hello. I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.
KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar. Resistance training -- it's got nothing to do with the gym. How are U.S. troops schooled to cope if they're captured by the enemy. We'll find out from retired Army General James "Spider" Marks. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
LEMON: New details in now about a shootout between FBI agents in north central New Jersey, a shootout they got into with three bank robbery suspects. The Associated Press and our affiliates are now reporting that an FBI agent who was wounded has now died. Again, this is in Reddington, New Jersey. Pictures coming from our affiliate, WABC.
What happened here -- FBI agents are investigating a string of recent bank robberies in central New Jersey. And they came upon suspects who were leaving a bank there near Route 22 there in Reddington. This is where the shootout happened. One suspect was captured. Two fled to the nearby woods. State and local authorities are still searching for those suspects. But one of the FBI agents was injured. And now according to the Associated Press and our affiliates, that FBI agent has passed away. We'll bring you more details as we get them -- Don.
LEMON: And now to news overseas. It was the ending everyone was hoping for -- safe and sound at home. Fifteen Royal Marines and sailors getting an energetic welcome just hours after leaving Tehran, and 13 days in captivity. You can certainly understand their excitement.
CNN's Alfonso Van Marsh is in the Cornish town of Hale, a town with a good reason to celebrate today, Alfonso. And I understand there is a huge welcome sign behind you.
ALFONSO VAN MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We'll get to that in just a moment, Don. But as you mentioned, a lot of good sentiment here, a lot of good feelings, and a lot of calls, as summed up in the local paper here. It calls for their hero to come home. Of course they're referring to 21-year-old Nathan Summers, one of those 15 British service members held in Tehran, as you mentioned, recently released. And it seems like those calls have been answered. As you mentioned, those 15 service members now at a Royal Marines base here in the southwestern part of the country. As you mentioned, we saw some truly emotional pictures of those service members reuniting with their family.
Nathan Summers, for example, from this town here in Hyde, his mother, his brother, and his girlfriend are now with him. They spoke briefly, and Nathan even had a chance to speak briefly to reporters as well, saying that the service members had no idea how much media attention that their situation has gotten.
Back here, we had a chance to speak with Nathan's grandmother this morning, mentioning that it's been an emotional roller coaster these last few weeks of seeing her grandson, as she said, paraded on television, Iranian television, and then eventually seeing him freed and back on British soil. Let's hear a little bit of how she said she was feeling this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
APRIL RAWSTHORNE, NATHAN SUMMERS' GRANDMOTHER: Just excitement and overjoyed that Nathan found his way home and everything turned out fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN MARSH: Now, that excitement absolutely spreading all throughout the town, even to the pub where Nathan used to work before he joined the Royal Marines. You'll see behind me that gargantuan bedsheet, just one sign of many that this town is ready to party. In fact, they started last night opening bottles of champagne when they heard the news that Nathan Summers was on his way home. His mother told me last night, she will truly be happy when she has him in her arms. It seems that has happened. Everybody behind me is waiting to do the same -- Don.
LEMON: All right, Alfonso Van Marsh. "Welcome home Nathan," we see i right there. Thank you so much for your report.
KEILAR: Throughout the British troops' ordeal in Iran, we saw them on Iranian Television meeting with the president, appearing on camera, apologizing for the infraction Iran blames them for committing.
You may wonder whether American troops would do the same thing. Well, that depends, it seems. U.S. forces in hostile areas are bound to what's called the code of conduct. It outlines what U.S. troops should do if they're captured. One article of the code is very specific. It says simply, should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will avoid answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies."
Simple language, but, of course, a complicated military regulation. Joining us now, CNN military analyst, retired Brigadier General James Marks joins me now to clarify -- Brigadier General, or Major General?
BRIG. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Oh, I'm retired as a brigadier general.
KEILAR: OK, all right, terrific. So, you know, this really begs the question here what happened with these British troops. Could this happen to U.S. sailors and marines?
MARKS: Sure it could. And in many instances it has before. If you'll recall, we have had U.S. service members that have been captured during this conflict since we've been in Iraq. Most notably in March of '03, we had six service members that were captured in al Nazry (ph) and elsewhere during the battle and then they were released.
So the specification is very, very clear in terms of what you can do. You also understand that the most desirable outcome is for that service member to be set free without loss of life. At the same time, you cannot afford to give up information that would put at danger or risk your brothers and sisters in harm's way.
So it's a very thin line you have to walk. But you have to be very, very conscious of the fact that you don't want to get yourself killed but you also don't want to get your buddies killed. So, that's the difficulty. And that's why the regulations specifies very emphatically what should and should not be done.
KEILAR: The point obviously, is to not get into these situations, right? To evade capture from the get-go?
MARKS: Sure, absolutely. It's a thing called seer training, which is survival, escape, resistance, and then evasion. And what you want to do in the British sailor and marine instance, in the very first, I would say, evaluation is they failed on the first count in that they got captured. But the outcome was very, very positive and so they succeeded in the second count in that they escaped. They were given up.
So in a doctoral sense, the outcome was very, very favorable. You have to look at what they were forced to do and say during that period of captivity. And I would tell you what's happening right now, is all of those sailors and marines are being debriefed individually so that they can get into -- they can be forced to remember, and encouraged to remember what took place so they can gather intelligence about this very critical event.
KEILAR: All right, I actually want to get back to that because there is some valuable information that they could bring with them coming out of this situation.
But first let's listen to an interview that our Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr did. This is with Admiral Mike Mullen, chief of U.S. naval operations. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. MICHAEL MULLEN, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS: My expectations is that American sailors are never seized in a situation like that. And individuals and units are guided by the right of self-defense. They don't have to ask permission to take action to protect themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: So, we -- we've heard -- and he told Barbara Starr that he would just not expect for U.S. sailors to be captured. But is that realistic? I mean, obviously, there has to be a plan b.
MARKS: Of course, I mean, the CNO, the chief of naval operations is absolutely correct in that. As are the British sailors -- I mean, their rules of engagement and their terms of resistance are very much the same, right. They're all under the same command and control in the theater of operations in Iraq and in southwest Asia. So they have the same rules of engagement. They have the right to self- defense.
In this particular instance, I do not know what took place specifically aboard that boat at that particular moment, whether they were surprised, whether they realized that if they resisted they all would have been at the end of a barrel and then dumped into the ocean. You don't know what took place.
And that's what has to happen now is there has to be an evaluation, after action review, very specifically, of the incident, what occurred, what the British sailors and marines did. And it will be determined how you need to move forward. But the real thing is to get to the bottom of the instance of the capture and then what happened afterwards, because there was some great intelligence that needs to be exploited.
KEILAR: What intel might they bring back?
MARKS: Well, it's the type of capture, the individuals that were involved, what type of equipment did they have? What was their activity? What was their location? Did they have a certain type of operating habit that needs to go down so that we can look at other types of operations that they might be conducting? Were other languages being spoken? Was there kit or equipment from other nations? Were other faces involve? Were there other folks with the Iranians during that period of capture? A lot of good intelligence could be derived that could be used to better prepare for the next potential incident.
KEILAR: All valuable information. And just one more quick question because we're running out of time here. But would U.S. soldiers have apologized for this infraction that their government would say -- in this case, didn't even happen? Would they have been released now if it were U.S. soldiers?
MARKS: I would hope not. They are trained not to do that. Absolutely not.
KEILAR: All right, thank you very much. General Marks, we appreciate your time.
MARKS: Thanks. LEMON: All right, we want to update you on our developing news happening in New Jersey. Sad to report there, an FBI agent has been shot and killed while chasing some suspects who were robbing a bank. CNN has confirmed that that FBI agent has died -- died at the hospital. You see some live pictures there from WABC -- that's our affiliate in New York City there, Reddington, New Jersey just across the river.
Here's what happened. The FBI agents were investigating a string of recent bank robberies in that central New Jersey area when they came upon the suspects leaving a PNC Bank, and that was near route 22 in Reddington. The shootout ensued. One of the FBI agents was shot, one of the suspects was captured and two others fled into nearby woods. They're still searching for those suspects by helicopter, by dogs, and also with manpower there.
But, again, an FBI agent has died in the shootout with some bank robbers in Reddington, New Jersey. More details to come right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: And a reminder -- we are standing by for a Pentagon briefing at any moment. We're expecting to hear from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and also Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace. That is straight ahead here in the NEWSROOM.
KEILAR: Just in now to the CNN NEWSROOM, some new video, some really amazing video. This is coming from just off the Greek island of Santorini. This is a cruise ship, the Greek flag, Sea Diamond. It struck rocks in the area. It is obviously taking on water. It was listing (ph) there as you can see, and there were about 1200 passengers in addition to hundreds of crew members on the ship.
Many of those passengers were, in fact, American. And we understand now Rueters reporting that all of them have been safely evacuated from the cruise ship. But obviously a somewhat scary ordeal there. You can see how these passengers have been taken by small sort of inflatable rafts to shore there. So, again, this is a Greek flag cruise ship with hundreds of Americans on it taking on water, listing there in the Mediterranean Sea. We'll continue to monitor this story.
LEMON: I want to get you live to the Pentagon. A briefing happening now. You're looking at the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace speaking. He's there with Bob Gates, the Secretary of Defense. Let's listen in.
PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS: From China was here. He's Admiral Mullen, our Chief Naval Operations counterpart. So at the senior level, we have a lot of dialogue going on. We're trying to find ways that are comfortable for both governments to increase the amount of interaction between our junior folks so when they grow up, they'll know each other better.
With that, I'll take your questions. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you about the arrest of the British and naval and marine personnel by Iran and their recent release? Did you see that action as an act of belligerence against an ally? And what steps are you considering taking to avoiding a situation like that arising again?
ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, first of all, I think it's clear that the British sailors were well inside Iraqi waters when they were seized. Naturally, this kind of an event is of concern. And we have asked for, have asked the chairman through the command and central command and others to examine our procedures and make sure that, first of all, that we're playing well within the baselines just like the British were. And that our sailors are properly protected against any similar kind of activity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think this says about Iran's actions, behavior and intentions generally in that region?
GATES: I think the honest answer to that question is we don't know. There are some, I think, fairly important unknowns about what went on inside Iran during all of this. And it will be interesting to see what information we get or they put out.
BARBARA STARR, PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Secretary and General Pace, the United States, of course, is still holding five Iranian members suspected of being members of the Al-Quds Force inside of Iraq. Has anybody in the Bush administration, since this incident occurred, had any discussions with the British government about the fate of those five Al-Quds and is there any consideration at this time of either one releasing them, or turning them over to the Iraqi government which then, of course, could dispose of them as they see fit.
GATES: Well, I think there's no inclination right now to let them go. It's my understanding that consular access is not required. Also, the Iraqi government officials and the U.S. officials are discussing if there's some way, perhaps, that there could be some kind of Iranian access to them. But as far as I know, there's no requirement for that and no plan or attention to turn them back.
STARR: Just to be clear, sir, are you considering consular access and did anybody in the Bush administration have any discussions with the British ...
GATES: I don't think that consular access is being considered. I think the issue is whether there's some other means by which some other access might be given.
PACE: The Red Cross has had access to them.
STARR: Have you discussed anything other than with the British government about the fate of these five?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Secretary, we're getting up on spring in Afghanistan. You said many times that we're going to make the spring offensive our offensive. Has our offensive yet begun? And as a lesser question, don't you still have a request to provide yet another brigade of troops for Afghanistan?
GATES: The outstanding request we have is for additional trainers in Afghanistan. And we are looking into that. In terms of the military action, let me ask the Chairman to take that.
PACE: The NATO commander on the ground, General Neil, United States Army, has begun his operations. I do not want to get into the specifics of the operations, but it will unfold very clearly here in the next couple of days what he has begun. But to answer your question specifically, yes, the NATO operations have begun. And as the secretary pointed out, the U.S. request for forces have been fulfilled. There are some requests for forces on the NATO side that the NATO command and the NATO structure is working to fulfill.
LEMON: The Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Peter Pace, holding a press conference there along with the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, talking about getting more troops into the war zone. But specifically, what they're talking about, they touched on five Al-Quds being held in U.S. custody. Our Barbara Starr asking if the military had planned to give Iran any type of access to those. He said it's not being discussed but there's a possibility that it can be discussed.
They have not also discussed strategy in releasing the Al-Quds with the British government, with Tony Blair or anyone there. We are going to continue to follow the press conference, we'll listen in here. If there's anything you need to know, we'll bring it to you, if we can, live so you can have it.
KEILAR: We told you about that cruise ship that's listing, taking on water in the Mediterranean Sea off the Greek island of Santorini. Aboard this cruise ship, about 1200 passengers, many of them Americans, and including a couple dozen students from North Carolina. Coming up in the next hour, we are going to talk with the mother of one of those passengers. That's straight ahead on the CNN NEWSROOM.
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN NEW YORK: Lou-ann Burkett from Dolores, Colorado, asked: we just remodeled our home and donated a lot of items to Goodwill in the process, I'm concerned that if I claim deductions for my donation, it will cause my return to be a flagged for an audit. Any advice?
Well, Lou-ann, for non-cash donations, so that's stuff. All clothes, furniture, electronics, appliance, have to be in good used condition. And if you donate things worth more than $250, you have to have a receipt from the charity. Having all of that paperwork, very important.
Now, for cash, you do need some kind of proof. It could be a receipt, a statement from the charity. Or could be one of your records, a canceled check, a monthly bank statement, or your credit card bill, those will all do it. The paperwork should show the name of the charity, the date, and how much you gave. Now, if it's a big donation, more than $250, you can't just use your own records, though. In that case, you have to have some paperwork from the charity.
For Tax Time Made Easier, I'm Jennifer Westhoven.
LEMON: Hello, I'm Don Lemon live at the CNN world headquarters in ...
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com