Skip to main content
Search
Services


 

Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Marine Biologists Use Whale Sounds to Lure Humpbacks; Search Continues For Three Missing U.S. Soldiers in Iraq; Family of Killed U.S. Soldier Speaks Out; Battling Florida Wildfire; Coast Guard's "Deepwater" Project Beset by Costly Wave of Defects

Aired May 18, 2007 - 15:00   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, they're struck the jackpot on the ocean floor. Deep sea explorers have mined what could be the richest shipwreck treasure ever.
The Tampa-based Odyssey Exploration Group unloaded 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins, actually, from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. The haul is worth an estimated $500 million.

For obvious reasons, the company isn't saying much about the ship or the site. But court records show that the coins may be from a 400- year-old ship found off the coast of England.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Don Lemon.

An unknown soldier is identified. A family in limbo, well, they can mourn now.

PHILLIPS: Any minute now, we expect to hear from the family of Army Sergeant Anthony Schober, killed in action in Iraq. Three of Schober's comrades are missing. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Missing almost a week, are they alive or dead, three American soldiers somewhere in Iraq captured last Saturday in an ambush that killed four of their fellow troops, one of whom was unidentified until today?

The military needed a DNA test to confirm the badly burned victim was Army Sergeant Anthony J. Schober, a 23-year-old Nevada native who was on his third combat tour in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SCHOBER, UNCLE OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER: He was very proud, and he was -- going into the Army. And the Army life fit him very well. He enjoyed it a lot. And that's why he re-upped. And going over to Iraq and being with his buddies was something he felt he needed to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: As we said, three soldiers with Schober's unit that day are still unaccounted for. A monumental search effort, thousands of troops working around the clock has so far turned up nothing.

Now we're waiting for a live news conference out of Carson City, Nevada, with Robert Schober, the family spokesperson and uncle of Sergeant Anthony Schober, the soldier, we told you, that was confirmed killed in last weekend's ambush just south of Baghdad.

LEMON: The three missing soldiers aren't the only Americans to disappear in Iraq. The U.S. military says more than 20 U.S. servicemen and civilians are officially listed as missing, after being captured or kidnapped.

Here's CNN's Hugh Riminton. We will have that report for you in just a minute.

First, we want to get to the wildfires.

PHILLIPS: In Northern Florida, some people forced to evacuate their homes are being allowed to go back. Rain overnight helped firefighters gain more control of the wildfires straddling Florida and Georgia. It's about 70 percent contained, but for how long?

This weekend, winds are expected to kick up again, and the temperatures will be rising, not exactly ideal firefighting conditions. So far, the fire has burned more than 320,000 acres.

Rob Marciano back from the fire lines, after some days of reporting.

How much longer can it go on?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we have got to get more rain, Kyra.

And, really this long-term drought is the main issue. So, it's not just one piece of rain or one night of showers, like they saw last night. They got anywhere from a quarter-of-an-inch to a half-an-inch of rainfall. That certainly helped things.

But now -- now behind that front that caused those showers are -- is some wind. So, that's our -- our main issue. In this part of Florida, especially the north central part of Florida, a drought they haven't seen in several, several years. And a lot of the natural firebreaks, the streams, the lakes, the rivers, are gone. So, that's one of the challenges that firefighters have been having to deal with, and then the winds as well.

And the low levels of humidity continue to be there. And one of the reasons that the air is so dry above this area is because the ground is so dry. So, there's not a whole lot of evaporation coming from the actual soil. So, this is kind of a cycle that feeds itself.

Right now, we have northeast winds. Tomorrow, they will go more a little bit more easterly. That's better. Northeast winds actually bring the smoke and the flames a little bit closer to I-10 and -- or south of I-10. And that's where the issues lie, is where there's more population there.

Definitely populated across the Northeast, love -- would love to get some of this rain down across Florida. We will probably get some of this rainfall across Florida once we get into hurricane season. But, until then, it's going to remain dry, heavy, heavy rain expected across eastern parts of New England.

We take you to Boston, Massachusetts, where it is raining. There it is, a bit of a gloomy sight. WCVB, our affiliate out that way in Boston, Mass., and some -- some rain, also some wind out there today. And we will see winds gusty for the next several days, as this storm is developing right now across the Carolinas and will be moving slowly up the East Coast.

Here it is. And then it will be heading off towards the Northeast, as we go on through the next couple of days, though, tomorrow, it's still off the coastline and will be lingering, it looks like, on Sunday.

So, where we need the rain, we're not getting it. Where we really don't need the rain -- they got a tremendous amount of rain across much of the Northeast this past, well, spring -- they're going to get more, it looks like.

So, probably, some flooding, Kyra, over the weekend in parts of Boston and eastern parts of New England.

PHILLIPS: All right, we will be tracking it. Thanks, Rob.

MARCIANO: OK.

LEMON: Everybody is also tracking those humpback whales. Sounds from Alaska humpbacks, well, those sounds didn't work.

Maybe a recording of California whales will do the trick. Well, that's what Marine biologists are trying today to do to lure two humpback whales out of the Port of Sacramento and back toward the Pacific Ocean. For a brief moment, it looked like they were right on track. But the whales ventured into a deep channel, then they swam right back where they started.

Jon Cilley is a petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard. And he's on one of the boats helping with the rescue effort. And he joins us now by phone.

You aren't on the same boat as -- you have got a whale whisperer, I understand, with you. Are you on the same boat with him?

PETTY OFFICER JON CILLEY, U.S. COAST GUARD: No, actually. I'm currently on the Coast Guard -- the Coast Guard Auxiliary's boat.

We're probably about a good 1,000 yards away from them.

LEMON: From the... CILLEY: They're -- they are about the -- they're -- we're about as close as we can possibly get to them. They are -- they're out there on the Sacramento River -- using these -- these sounds that you mentioned to try to entice these animals back to their natural habitat.

LEMON: It's -- and -- I'm sure people are going to go, whale whisperer. We have heard of the dog whisperer and what have you...

PHILLIPS: Horse whisperer.

LEMON: ... and the horse whisperer, what have you.

Jon, do you know much about a whale whisperer?

CILLEY: Not too much. That would probably be more of a biologist type question.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLEY: Our main (AUDIO GAP) at the moment is to not only facilitate these scientists, but also work this 500-yard safety zone that we have around...

LEMON: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLEY: ... the area.

LEMON: And, Jon, I understand, too -- I have some -- a little bit of information, new information, here, that you are playing the sounds again from -- you think, from a California whale, or at least the sounds that they would be familiar with.

But you are in a smaller boat today in an effort to reduce the confusion from engine noise. Talk to us about that.

CILLEY: That -- that was part of the problem the other day. We were -- at first, the -- the scientists were actually on board the Coast Guard Cutter Pike.

And one of the problems with that was is, it's an 87-foot patrol boat. And there's a lot of low-frequency noise.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

CILLEY: So, we tried actually upgrading to a smaller boat, a 25- foot safe boat, Coast Guard vessel, in hopes that maybe the -- the low-frequency noise wouldn't confuse them.

LEMON: OK.

So, the whales, at one point, it looked like everything was OK. You were on track. And then they went right back. They were swimming to where you wanted them to go, and then they went right back to where they were in the part of the water that you don't want.

LEMON: Was everybody...

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Did everybody just go, man?

(LAUGHTER)

CILLEY: Well, I don't know. I can't really comment on that.

That's -- that's part of the reason why our 500-yard safety zone has been instituted, and then also a 1,000-foot no fly zone. There's -- we believe, actually -- a lot of the biologists have been commenting -- that the helicopters in the area, especially the news helicopters, could possibly be interfering with what -- the frequencies that we are trying to emit from the speakers and try to entice the animals away from the turning (AUDIO GAP) which they're in.

LEMON: So, have you asked the helicopters to get out of there?

CILLEY: They have been requested -- and they're -- you can probably hear over the phone -- I don't know -- there's still a couple in the area.

LEMON: Mm-hmm.

CILLEY: Again, they are still following the -- the 1,000-foot no-fly zone, but, again, as you know, helicopter noise is still pretty loud. So...

LEMON: So -- and I know we have been reporting this, but this is a channel. Is this a shipping channel? And -- and, if so, tell us about this channel. If you are with the Coast Guard, you know all this, the dangers and the obstacles that they may face where they are now.

CILLEY: Well, they are in fairly deep water right now. They are in a turning basin. So, they are more or less at a standstill right now, because, again, they -- they are believed to be trying to travel north.

And that's where, you know, the, you know, confusion could have started for them. The water gets awfully shallow from where we are this point on north.

So, actually, they're -- they are at a standstill right now. So, the only possible way they can go is south. And that's what we're trying to do right now.

LEMON: OK.

Jon Cilley, petty officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, I appreciate you calling in.

Can you keep us updated if something happens; they start moving back out to sea? I want to know. And, of course, the viewers want to know as well.

Thanks again, Jon.

CILLEY: All right. Absolutely. Have a good day, guys.

LEMON: You, too.

PHILLIPS: Attacked in church -- check out this surveillance video from Middletown, New York.

A man approaches a woman in a pew and starts grabbing at her chest. She fights back, taking a pen, and stabs him. The woman runs for an alarm. The man runs for the door. He's captured on another surveillance camera as he flees. Police have now charged a former psychiatric patient with attempted sexual assault.

LEMON: A suburban Atlanta mother is off the hook today. And now the questions being asked are aimed at the county officials who tried to throw her in prison.

A Cobb County jury acquitted Jean -- Jeanine Echols, who -- who lied about her address to get her kids into better public schools. Echols faced 16 felony counts and faced a possibility of spending years in prison. Some consider the charges a case of overkill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIC REYNOLDS, ATTORNEY FOR JEANINE ECHOLS: I think it was the school system that -- or school system that probably does have a problem with some folks who may live out of district. They don't know -- didn't how to handle it at that time period.

This was a circumstance that had went on for a number of years without any problem whatsoever. The DA's office took the stand that there's a right way and a wrong way. But, as we emphasized to the jury, there's a right way and a wrong way to handle this particular set of facts. And, thankfully, in the end, the jury handled it the right way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, Echols' attorney mentioned the jury. And the jury has spoken in this case.

And we would like to know what you think. Is it all right to lie to get your child into a different school? Well, send us your e- mails. The e-mail address is CNNNEWSROOM@CNN.com. And we will read a sampling after the break.

PHILLIPS: Well, when pump prices go up, convenience stores say they feel the pain, too. Take a look at where your money goes. The store where you pump your gas makes about 1 percent per fill-up, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The lion's share goes for crude oil, about 56 percent per gallon. So, don't get angry at the retailer, says Jeffs Lenard of the National Association Of Convenience Stores.

He tells CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING" that some stores are actually losing money on gas, and their frustrations don't end there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICAN MORNING")

JEFF LENARD, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CONVENIENCE STORES: I think frustration is -- is a pretty key word. Obviously, customers are frustrated. You hear a lot of that at the pump. We hear it a lot with -- with the profit margins, or if there are any profit margins, on a gallon of gas.

No one likes $3 gas. And I think everybody would love to see it $2. But that's where we are right now. I think, if there's any real frustration with retailers now, it's some of these bills that are going through Congress looking at gouging legislation, doesn't really define what gouging is, but it's possible that a retailer could be fined $150 million, which is kind of a hit when you have one store, and 10 years in jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: And that was from CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING."

From hell on Earth to an underwater paradise -- Iraq war veterans soothe their emotional wounds in the cool blue waters of the Caribbean.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Almost 15 after the hour.

Here are three of the stories we're working on for you right here in the CNN.

Still no sign of three missing U.S. soldiers that were kidnapped during an ambush that left four soldiers dead in Iraq. The identities of all the soldiers have been confirmed.

For a second day, Israel staged retaliatory airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. At least 14 Palestinians are dead so far. Israel says Hamas missiles wounded 17 people on Tuesday.

And no luck yet with efforts to herd two injured humpback whales back into the Pacific Ocean. A mother and her calf are still stuck in a California shipping channel.

And we have been taking some of your questions and responses on the whole situation happening about lying to get your child in school.

PHILLIPS: J.C. writes: "Of course it's not OK for a parent to lie to get their child into another school. It teaches the kid involved that telling the truth doesn't matter. No wonder so many people pine for the past." LEMON: Well, Maurice is upset about it.

And he writes: "I think, if Bush can lie about No Child Left Behind, it is a small thing to lie to get a better education for your children. In Cleveland, our schools are being shut down because of underfunding."

PHILLIPS: And Carol was pretty fired up.

She has a question: "Ask those who say that the lying by this woman was not right how often they lie on their resumes, taxes, and at work. Let he who is without sin case -- cast the first stone" -- not case the first stone. "Make all schools truly equal, and there will be no need to lie."

Thanks to all of you for sending your e-mails. We appreciate it.

LEMON: Absolutely.

Well, no military man or woman returns from war the same person as before they went. They need physical care, emotional care, or they need both sometimes. A non-profit group operating in one of the most beautiful places on Earth claims to offer benefits for body and soul.

Robert Goulston from our Nashville affiliate WTVF went to see for himself.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very therapeutic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All this water as far as you can see.

ROBERT GOULSTON, WTVF REPORTER (voice-over): Cayman Brac, 14 square miles in the western Caribbean, where the beauty is only more impressive beneath the surface.

Here, soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division are on a mission to battle what has changed them, each with their own story of how...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Straight to Carson City, Nevada, Robert Schober, the family spokesperson and uncle of Sergeant Anthony Schober, one of the soldiers confirmed killed in last weekend's ambush south of Baghdad.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

EDWARD SCHOBER, FATHER OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER: ... when I met him, she wrapped his arms around my neck and called me dad.

I married his mom. And then I adopted him at the age of 5. He's legally my son. He used his GED and turned it into a high school diploma through Job Corps. At the age of 17, he came to me and said he wanted to join the Army.

He was affected by the 9/11 incident. I asked whether he really was sure about this, really wanted to do it. He said yes. So, I signed the papers.

When he came home from basic training, advanced training, I noticed a huge difference in him. He truly changed from a boy to a man. Anthony served one enlisted and signed up for a second. He became a sergeant and a noncommissioned officer. And I was very proud of him.

Anthony was serving his fourth tour of duty in Iraq. When the deployment was finished -- when his deployment was going to be finished, he was going to be stationed -- stationed over in Italy. He was looking forward to it. Not once did he mention he -- he wanted to leave the military, not once.

His sister Rebecca (ph) says she looks up to her -- him physically and emotionally. He was her hero. And she thought Anthony was invincible. Anthony's other sister, Jessica (ph), would have been here today, but she has to take care of her baby.

Well, my brother, Robert, and myself in a -- has a few words as well.

I, everybody to know -- want everybody to know that my hearts are with the families and the soldiers still unaccounted for. And my prayers go with them, too.

SCHOBER: I want to thank you all for your concern. It's been a hard time.

We are proud of our nation, proud of the young men and women that serve our nation.

And funeral services for Anthony will be arranged in the next few days. And I will be giving that information out to you guys as soon as those arrangements are done. There will be a pool where there will be a couple of cameras for the services and stuff, probably.

And, if there's any questions, I would be more than happy to try to answer them.

QUESTION: Is there a fund for Anthony that is being set up?

E. SCHOBER: Yes.

R. SCHOBER: Wal-Mart's got a fund that they are putting together for Anthony. I know of no other fund at this time.

QUESTION: What's -- what's a memory that you have of Anthony? What's something we can know about him personally?

R. SCHOBER: OK.

Anthony was a very strong individual. He tried to excel at whatever he put his mind to. He was a very forward-thinking young man, very energetic. He loved his friends and his family dearly.

And, so, he did nothing to get in trouble with any -- anything as far as law enforcement or anything goes like that. So, we're all very proud of the life that he led and the example that he held for others to follow.

QUESTION: What did he say the last time he spoke with (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you repeat it, please?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) When did you last talk to him? (OFF-MIKE)

E. SCHOBER: The last time I talked to him, in January, he didn't have any concerns about getting out, he wanted to get out. He told that me he had been promoted to a sergeant. And I was -- I gave him a hug, and I said, I'm very proud of you.

I'm always proud of my kids. No matter what, I am proud of them.

QUESTION: Did he plan on making the military his career? Is that what he wanted to do?

E. SCHOBER: When he got finished with his tour over in Italy, he was going to decide whether he wanted to stay in or not. I'm going, whatever you decide, I'm behind you 100 percent.

I'm always behind my kids 100 percent.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) you live here.

(CROSSTALK)

R. SCHOBER: Home -- home would be here in Carson City.

E. SCHOBER: Carson City.

R. SCHOBER: His family -- his family is here in Carson.

QUESTION: The military (OFF-MIKE)

R. SCHOBER: That's because he -- he graduated from Job Corps there.

And that was the last residence that he had on his own. So, that's why it's kind of confusing that way. But his home is with Ed and his mother, Roberta. And that's here in Carson.

QUESTION: How long was the tour (OFF-MIKE) When you say four tours, I don't know how long that is.

R. SCHOBER: You would have to -- the military would have to answer that question, on -- the length of time for a tour of duty can vary.

If there's no further questions.

One more?

QUESTION: Was he, like the oldest in the family, the youngest, or...

(CROSSTALK)

R. SCHOBER: He is the oldest in the family.

QUESTION: Of the three?

R. SCHOBER: Of the three, correct.

QUESTION: How many months had he been in Iraq?

R. SCHOBER: I'm not aware of exactly when his deployment over to Iraq was. Again, you probably would have to check with the military. They could give you the exact time and stuff.

OK. If there's no other questions, thank you.

QUESTION: Would you please all spell your names for us, so (OFF- MIKE)

R. SCHOBER: The last name, spelling correctly, is S-C-H-O...

PHILLIPS: It has to be the worst moment of a parent's life, talking about the death of a child.

But you heard this man right now, Ed Schober, talk about how his son joined the Army because of 9/11 and the effect that it had on him. He watched a boy turn into a man.

He died in Iraq after that ambush. He was among the soldiers killed Saturday in that attack on his unit just south of Baghdad.

You know, there's three other soldiers believed to have been captured. The search goes on for them.

Meanwhile, Sergeant Anthony Schober died at the age 23, adding to that number, 3,406 men and women killed in the war in Iraq.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PHILLIPS: Sergeant Anthony Schober, 23, you just heard from his father, tearful words from his family, as they finally were able to find out that that body that was recovered in Iraq was that of their son, Anthony Schober, 23 years old. His body had burned so badly from that ambush on Saturday, they weren't able to identify them. But now they have.

Meanwhile, three other soldiers from his unit are believed to have been captured.

And Barbara Starr now brings us more from the Pentagon on that search for those men. BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, so tough to watch the Schober family weeping as they discuss the loved one that they lost in this ambush.

But the hunt does go on for the three additional soldiers that are missing at this point. We have talked continuously to military officials about the status of the hunt. What they are telling us is, they continue to follow up every lead that they get on these three men. But they have had a number of false leads.

Still, they are following up everything in this rough terrain in Iraq that they are looking at. Military officials very familiar with the search are now telling CNN, confirming to us that the searchers have recovered some items that would be identifiable as U.S. military uniform items, the type of items that a U.S. soldier would wear in the field.

They are not being more specific than that, for obvious reasons. They want to hold their cards very close to their vest. But those items are being tested.

A military official, when asked for the public reaction to this, said to CNN -- quote -- "Any potential evidence we find in the field is being tested for connection to the missing soldiers. If and when that evidence is determined to be definitely connected to the search, and after we have exploited all possible intelligence, we will discuss it."

So, there is a bit of a hint there that they are looking at some items they found in the field. Now, that, of course, does not go to the question of whether these three missing soldiers are still alive or not, or what their status is. But we've asked at the very highest levels, and they tell us today, and until they find them, and until they find evidence to the otherwise, they are assuming these three men are alive and that they will continue to look for them -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Barbara Starr, live from the Pentagon.

Thanks.

LEMON: And from this very sad story we have to check in now on Wall Street.

Susan Lisovicz standing by with a look at the trading day for us.

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, hundreds of millions of your dollars spent for a state-of-the-art Coast Guard fleet. What did you get? A lot of boats that are barely seaworthy.

What went wrong? We're asking Admiral Thad Allen for answers straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Calmer winds and milder temperatures are just what firefighters ordered in their battle over that enormous wildfire on the Georgia-Florida state line.

Reporter Angela Williams with our affiliate WTLV, well, she is in Lake City, Florida.

And Angela, how is the firefight going? Hopefully it's good.

ANGELA WILLIAMS, REPORTER, WTLV: Well, you know, everyone here in Lake City has been praying for that much-needed rain. Yesterday, we finally saw a little bit of it, but we only saw about two to three- tenths of an inch.

Now, the Division of Forestry said that was enough to really just wet the ground and provide some humidity and to contain the fire a little bit. But we still need a lot of rain out here.

For most of the day, people -- firefighters have been out here mopping up, looking for hot spots, digging around in the ground, making sure that all of that is contained. Right now it's about 70 percent contained.

Yesterday, actually, when the -- when the showers were rolling in, it actually put out some of the prescribed burns. Now, a prescribed burn is when firefighters set the fire in order to get more of a control over it. So they weren't too happy about that. But today they are looking to the brighter side.

A few residents were allowed to go back to their homes. People living north of Burlap Road (ph) were allowed to return home. But they have also been told that at a moment's notice they may need to leave if the fire flares up again. So that's something obviously they don't want to happen.

The amazing thing about this whole thing is that through this whole ordeal, no homes have been lost here in Lake City. And that's definitely something for people here to be happy about.

For now, we're live in Lake City, Angela Williams.

Back to you.

LEMON: And Angela, no homes, and so far there are no deaths, right? And I'm not sure about injuries. If so, just very minor, correct?

WILLIAMS: Very minor. There was one firefighter who broke his ankle. He was actually on a roof trying to make sure that everything was up to fire code. He fell off of the roof and shattered his ankle.

Other than that -- we are told that he is OK. But nobody has suffered from any smoke inhalation. And really, out of that, when you think of the mass scale of this fire, no one really being hurt really is a good thing.

LEMON: Very well put. Thank you so much.

Angela Williams.

PHILLIPS: By any measure, Deepwater was a tall order. Modernize, overhaul, refurbish a Coast Guard fleet that bears far too much resemblance to the fleet that helped fight the Nazis in World War II.

Deepwater is the name of a $24 billion project that rocked some votes on Capitol Hill by letting defense contractors take the helm. Almost $2.5 billion in, the project is best known for its worst failures. Among them, patrol boats. Not this one that had to be scrapped after their overhaul rendered them unfit for duty.

Coast Guard commandant Thad Allen inherited Deepwater and is determined to turn it around. He joined us in the CNN NEWSROOM last hour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: What is going to change? How fast will it change? What's your plan of action?

ADM. THAD ALLEN, COAST GUARD COMMANDANT: Well, Kyra, as the commandant of the Coast Guard, I'm responsible for this procurement. And we need to get it right. And I've been work with the inspector general, our oversight committees, Government Accountability Office.

We were making significant changes inside the Coast Guard to unify and strengthen our acquisition organization. But at the same time, we have to be a better, more informed customer, and we have to play a larger part. And we're going to do that.

PHILLIPS: So, let me ask you, these patrol boats that you said, hey, look, these aren't even seaworthy, even these national security cutters that have structural issues, can you fix those at all or take any parts from those boats? I mean, can any of that money be saved? And can you get paid back at all?

ALLEN: Well, Kyra, on the 123-foot patrol boats there is equipment that can be reused. But in the end, we will not have gained the value that was invested in those boats. And we need to recover that right now. We're taking appropriate steps with our contractors to do that.

In regards to the larger cutters and the issue of fatigue life, we feel there are changes that can be made in the course of construction of those vessels, and we're in the process of doing that. And we think they're going to be just fine. In fact, our national security cutters will be the most capable cutters we've ever produced for the Coast Guard.

PHILLIPS: Now, I've had a chance to be on those cutters. They're pretty amazing, going through Antarctica and cutting through the ice, and getting to the South Pole. They're an -- it's an incredible ship. What is different about these cutters that's going to make me feel more safe as an American citizen?

ALLEN: Well, what we did was we changed our requirements after 9/11, which is one of the issues that drove the price of these boats up. But we did some things that will make them more survivable in a chemical, nuclear, biological attack. We changed the flight deck configuration so we could accommodate Navy helicopters, and also accommodate better intelligence capability on these ships.

Everything was directed at the new requirements and the new threat environment that we found ourselves in after 9/11.

PHILLIPS: So, Admiral, here's what I want to ask you, just hearing about the money wasted and these assets not up and operating. If a ship were to come in to U.S. waters, potentially a threat to the United States, moving towards, say, the Port of Miami, are you capable to defend the U.S. right now with what you have?

ALLEN: Well, we're much more capable than we were on 9/11, but we need to understand that we have over 12,000 miles of coastline. If you take the navigable shore lines, it's up closer to 95,000 miles. And we have a permeable border.

What we are doing is incrementally trying to build layers out there of which these cutters are a part of. But we also need what we call maritime domain awareness. And that's very persistent surveillance out there so we can detect anomalous activity and then intercept it. And it's part of a large system that's going to take several years to build out, but that's our intent.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS: Admiral Allen told me before Deepwater that the Coast Guard actually replaced its oldest cutters, 64 years old, with its second oldest cutter, 63 years old.

LEMON: High drama at the arbitration hearing for Tour de France champion Floyd Landis. He's trying to clear his name after failing a doping test during last year's race.

Landis is challenging the science behind his test results. Until yesterday, testimony had been dominated by mostly just dry descriptions of lab procedures.

Then three-time tour champion Greg LeMond, well, he took the stand and revealed that he had been sexually abused as a child and that the Landis team had tried to use that information to blackmail him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREG LEMOND, TOUR DE FRANCE CHAMPION: I think that this was an intimidation to keep me from coming here, thinking that I feared being exposed that I was sexually abused somehow, that this equates to me admitting that I doped or whatever their purpose was. It was a real threat. And it was very -- it was very -- I hate to say it, creepy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Well, a Landis employee acknowledged making a phone call to LeMond. The employee was fired on the spot during a break in the hearing. After several more days of testimony, the arbitration panel will decide whether the Landis test results stand.

If so, Landis will be banned from cycling for two years and stripped of his Tour de France title.

PHILLIPS: A Marine's dream deferred by the war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I was younger, you know, my ultimate dream was to become a major leaguer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: From tossing grenades to throwing fast balls, he's living the dream, straight ahead from the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Well, if you can't like something to like about the immigration reform bill that burst on the scene just yesterday, keep looking. If you can't find something to hate, keep looking as well.

There's something for everybody in the vast and complicated compromise that brings together people who usually don't agree on anything, and divides people who usually agree on everything.

CNN's Anderson Cooper reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Americans demanded action, and they got it.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: And the agreement we just reached is the best possible chance we will have in years to secure or borders, bring millions out of the shadows and into the sunshine of America.

COOPER: A bipartisan group of senators struck a landmark deal that could pave the way to citizenship for every undocumented man, woman and child in this country.

Here's how the plan would work.

After meeting certain criteria, millions of illegal immigrants would receive temporary visas called Z visas before applying for permanent, legal status. They also would have to pay a $5,000 fine. Every head of household would have to return to his or her country of origin within eight years. They're guaranteed to be let back in. And green cards would be issued based on a point system that would favor education over family ties.

Senator Lindsey Graham says this bill will deliver justice.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: From the Ph.D. to the landscaper, there's a chance for you to participate in the American dream on our terms, a way that will make this country better.

COOPER: The other key points of the proposal include a guest worker program for hundreds of thousands to work in the U.S. for two years at a time; a new security perimeter created, and the border fence expanded. In the workplace, new enforcement procedures and strict penalties to employers who hire illegal aliens.

So far, President Bush likes what he sees.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a bill where people who live here in our country will be treated without amnesty, but without animosity.

COOPER: But to critics, it's amnesty. Shouts of the word were heard at the Capitol today.

REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: If you think we're going to control illegal immigration by telling the world we're going to reward it, you can't build a fence tall enough to stop illegal immigration.

COOPER: Still, the president says he's anxious to sign legislation as quickly as possible. He calls it a first step. The question is, is it the right one?

Anderson Cooper, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: One more aspect of the bill that presumably would appeal to those who want immigration enforcement? The legislation would increase the number of Border Patrol officers by 50 percent to 18,000.

PHILLIPS: A Marine's dream deferred by war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CPL. COOPER BRANNAN, U.S. MARINE CORPS.: When I was younger, you know, my ultimate dream was to become a major leaguer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: From tossing grenades to throwing fastballs, he's living the dream. And you're going to meet him straight ahead in the NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIPS: Well, from battlefield to ball field, a Marine makes the jump to professional baseball.

CNN's Larry Smith has his story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY SMITH, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like many kids, Cooper Brannan grew up with a very simple dream.

BRANNAN: I'd always told my dad when I was younger that, you know, my ultimate dream was to become a major leaguer.

SMITH: Like many Americans, the events of September 11th hit Brannan hard and encouraged him to put his dream on hold. He joined the Marines after high school.

BRANNAN: I felt like at that time the Marine Corps could give me what I needed, which was, you know, honor, discipline and respect.

SMITH: Like many soldiers, Brannan returned home after two tours in Iraq injured after a flash bang grenade accidentally exploded in his left hand.

BRANNAN: At first, I thought we got hit by a mortar. It was, you know, I started coming to. I felt a little dizziness and couldn't see very well. I started coming to and I started seeing guys like rushing over to me, and I couldn't hear anything.

SMITH: The blast resulted in the loss of one finger. But after several surgeries and months of rehabilitation, Brannan was able to regain the use of his hand.

BRANNAN: You know, I had a little anger built up, you know, like at first, you know?

But I realized that it's something that I can't change.

SMITH (on camera): But this is where Brannan's story becomes unlike any other. Last November, in San Diego for the 231st birthday celebration of the U.S. Marine Corps, Brannan and one of his buddies saw Padres G.M. Sandy Alderson and Manager Bud Black. Brannan's friend walked up to them and began bragging about Brannan's athletic ability.

BRANNAN: So he goes over there and talks to them. And I'm thinking oh, crap, you know? They're going to -- they're going to think this is, you know, another person coming up, trying to get a free ride, you know?

The next thing we know, he takes it serious. And, you know, I ended up getting the call in January.

SMITH (voice-over): When Brannan reported to spring training in February, it had been almost four years since the right-hander last pitched competitively. The 22-year-old knows he's got a long way to go to make it to the big leagues, but says he has no regrets.

BRANNAN: My father-in-law actually, it's a funny story. He wrote me a letter in Iraq, my second time, before I got hurt. And he said if it means you and my daughter taking a break to pursue your career -- you know, he's telling me, you know, that, you know, if you want to break up with my daughter, that's fine -- to pursue your career.

That -- it was just a funny story. But, you know, he was being serious, you know?

It's not that he wanted to ever push me away, but he wanted me to not have regret. And look where I am today.

SMITH: Larry Smith, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(NEWSBREAK)

LEMON: The closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(STOCK MARKET REPORT)

PHILLIPS: Straight to "THE SITUATION ROOM" now.

LEMON: And Wolf Blitzer.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

Search
© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by CNN.com
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines